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CELTIC-L  May 2012

CELTIC-L May 2012

Subject:

Re: <listowner> Recent flood of emails

From:

Raimund Karl <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Thu, 17 May 2012 08:05:24 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (129 lines)

Hi,

Am 17.05.2012 01:48, schrieb john welch:
> The usual explanations are that the records are confused and cause 
> speculative and  tentative implications. 

What usual explanations? In academic literature? That of course states 
that there are difficulties in interpreting the evidence for Irish 
prehistory and, to a lesser extent, for Irish history, too. There are 
and always will be difficulties to do so, because none of us (whether 
academic or not) lived through most of it, and even if we did, our 
perspective would be very subjective. But that doesn't mean that there 
aren't many things that can be said with reasonable confidence. Like, 
for instance, that what evidence exists seems to be pointing at mostly 
local, small scale societies with only limited mid- and long-range 
contacts (and with long range, we're talking about contacts with e.g. 
France and Spain, not India) throughout all of Irish prehistory. The 
mid- and long-range connections which existed did allow for ideas to 
move between Ireland, Britain and the near Continent. So any 
similarities with far distant communities must either be coincidental, 
or a result of parallel evolution, or must have been transmitted via the 
societies on the near continent, which in turn had a few mid- and 
long-range connections with similar societies further east, who in turn 
has similar connections even further east, and so on.

> The core theme of Danu is unable to be defined. 

Danu is not a core theme for anything. It is a word, apparently one that 
is wide-spread and at least in many parts of Europe seems to have some 
connection with rivers or water courses. That is about it. If one wants 
to, one can now try and read a lot into that, and find 'mythological 
people' like the Tuatha De Danaan in some texts and try to recreate a 
distant prehistoric 'common Indo-European', or 'common Celtic' mythology 
from that in which a god or godess about who we know extremely little 
Danu was important and apparently in some places associated with rivers 
and water courses. Even this is already highly speculative, and doesn't 
get us anywhere really. And there's no point in trying to add any 
details, because the more you get into details, the more speculative the 
whole issue becomes, since there is no evidence for any of this from the 
time in which the alleged 'common' mythology existed, and as far as we 
can say as yet, never will be. And since mythologies change all the 
time, particularly in societies that are not very sizeable, are not 
incredibly centralised, and don't have an incredibly efficient way of 
recording and enforcing dogma, without evidence from the time and place 
of the existence of that 'common' mythology, if it ever existed, there's 
really not much we can say about it at all.

> The word "desa" is uncertain for 2 academics who wrote to me (one 
> wrote about Irish farming..).

Every word is uncertain, particularly in translation, and doubly so if 
seen outside its specific context. But uncertainty as such is no big 
problem, unless it affects your argument in a specific way when you are 
trying to answer a specific research question. As yet, I haven't seen 
much of an argument from you, and certainly haven't seen a research 
question. So I don't see a problem with the word 'desa' being uncertain 
for 2 academics.

> The lack of Celtic records in France is said to cause frustration.

What do you mean with 'Celtic' records here. Do you mean the lack of 
records written in a pre-Breton Celtic language in France, i.e. the 
'Ancient Gaulish' languages? Indeed, it's a shame that there aren't any 
more than those few that exist, particularly that there are only so few 
longer ones. But such is the nature of pre- and protohistory: textual 
evidence is largely or even completely missing, and as such one has to 
rely on archaeology to come to conclusions. And yes, archaeology does 
not allow the same conclusions to be drawn in the same way as in 
history, but it isn't as if in times before texts, no conclusions could 
be drawn.

At any rate, what frustration is said to be caused by the lack of such 
written records from pre- and protohistoric France? And what to do about 
it?

> I would be very interested to know the relationship between Danu and 
> lord:client as expressions of religion in Eire. Could you advise me on 
> that?

What do you mean with 'the relationship between Danu and lord:client as 
expressions of religion' in Ireland? Which religion? What do you mean 
with 'Danu' in this context? Any why should there be any particular 
relationship between that 'Danu' and lords and clients at all? And what 
sources should we use for trying to analyse this relationship 
(particularly if there most likely don't exist any particularly helpful 
ones)?

In many regards, this is one of the big problems here: the 'question' 
you are asking is not defined anywhere clearly enough to be able to 
provide an answer, let alone an answer that is likely to satisfy you. 
Not least because it seems to me that you are starting from the 
assumption that there must be a significant relationship between 
whatever you mean with 'Danu' and whatever you mean with 'lord:client' 
in a religious sense in pre-christian 'Irish religion', and that this 
relationship must both be uniform (in the sense that it is true for all 
of prehistoric, pre-christian Ireland) and unchanging through time (at 
least throughout the whole pre-christian period in Ireland). Yet, at 
least the last two assumptions, the uniform, un-changing nature of 
(prehistoric, pre-christian) 'Eire', are known with almost 100% 
certainty to be false; and thus is it exceedingly unlikely that there 
will be one single, clear answer to your question, if there is any 
answer at all. Yet, as far as I can see, what you are looking for is 
such a simple, single, clear answer, and thus any reasonable answer is 
going to leave you disappointed - which in turn means you won't accept 
it, and we will start the whole discussion again from the top. And 
that's where the real problem lies...

Best,

RAY

-- 
_____________________________________________________

Yr Athro/Prof. PD Dr. Raimund KARL FSA FSAscot MIfA
Pennaeth yr Ysgol / Head of School
Ysgol Hanes, Hanes Cymru ac Archaeoleg /
School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology
Prifysgol Bangor / Bangor University
Ffordd y Coleg / College Road,
Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG
Cymru, UK
Ebost / Email:<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Ffon / Phone: (+44 1248) 382247
Mobile:(+44 7970) 993891
_____________________________________________________

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