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Subject: Re: Celts Rampaging, II
From: Elisabeth Eilir Rowan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
Date:Wed, 16 Feb 1994 13:17:42 EST

text/plain (29 lines)

I seem to remember reading somewhere along the way the the Brennus referred
to may have been a clan God, akin to the Welsh Bran, who therefore appeared
as leader of the Celts on two such disparate occasions.  While different
tribes had different local Gods, it may be they were lumped together under
a name familiar to the Greco-Romans.  Also, it is important to rember that
the Greeks especially were biased against anyone whom they did not recognise
as cultured (="Greek").  This was defined as those who subscribed to the
elaborate code of hospitality which was seen as characteristic of Hellenic
peoples.  The Greeks also held as a indication of civilised behaviour the
mixing of water and wine (hence the beautiful mixing bowls we have from
the period).  "Barbarians" drank wine straight, and therefore were
characterised as drunk and disorderly.  Even the term "barbarian" comes
from the "bar-bar" sound that foreigners made to Greek ears (in other
words, non-Greek speech).  On the other hand, the ancient accounts of
Celts certainly do indicate a passionate, virile people whose brazeness
in battle clearly upset the more orderly Mediterranean peoples, and these
qualities were admired and feared by Roman sculptors and writers.
Unfortunately, order reigned over passion in many areas of Europe since
the Celts were never the unified people it would have taken to prevent
Roman encroachment.  Whereas the Greeks, who were also widely disparate
poleis sharing a common language and religion, were able to band together
when it counted to drive away the Persians, the Celts were never able to
do the same.  I would argue that the factionalism found in Northern
Ireland today, for example, is in part due to these characteristics, not
only because of the clashing between religions.
                                               Elisabeth Eilir Rowan
                                               [log in to unmask]

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