On Tue, 15 Feb 1994, John Cahill wrote:
> Fellow Celts,
> My readings on Celtic history so far have suggested a theory worthy of DEBATE:
> that the Celts are so few in number now because of a systematic genocide over
> the past 2000 years started off by the Romans.
Thanks, John, for raising some very interesting issues/thoughts and for
getting a discussion going. I have some ideas to add, and I'd like to
hear from others where they both agree and disagree.
> At the height of the Celtic civilization about 290 BC the Celts (Brennus)
> sacked Rome and extracted tributes. There are many examples recorded where the
> Celts terrorized the Romans and must have implanted a deep fear at the heart of
> every Roman.
> The Romans had just about overcome the Etruscans about this time but were not
> strong enough to take on the Celts until a few hundred years later.
> Julius Caesar set about the systematic occupation and dominance of western
> Europe ONLY because the Celts were the most serious threat to Rome and things
My guess is that JC was also seeking an opportunity to cower the
powers-that-be in Rome and military conquest was the best way to do
that. Certainly the Romans history of contact with the Celts elsewhere
would have made them a more fearsome opponent, and therefore made his
(prospective) triumph all-the-more impressive. Also, I remember
something about the political situation in Rome becoming untenable for JC
when he left for Gaul.
> The written history left by Julius Caesar and other Romans
> give very one sided acounts of the Celts and have even given unsavoury
> meanings to the names of noble tribes such as "Barbarians". These writings
> seem more like propoganda used to de-humanize and demonize the enemy than to
> record accurately the essence of celtic civilization and culture. Julius
> Caesar seemed to have a particular target to eliminate the Druids who were the
> possesors of knowledge as the core of celtic culture.
I've read the same arguement in books on Celtic history written in this
century; it generally gets difficult to weed out the opinion from the facts.
> The image of the the druids nowadays is probably still colored by the same bias
> originated by Julius Caesar in his reports to Rome during his campaigns in Gaul
> and Britain.
> This biased account against the Celts continued to be reinforced wherever Roman
> influence was established, including Britain, and even if subliminal, continued
> through the policies of the Normans, and the church in Rome. Was their
> attitude really a reflection of deeply implanted values from the Roman Empire
Their earlier attitudes may have contributed to their opinions, but the
info I've read argues that the church in Rome was more concerned about
the church in Ireland becoming more independent from the pope than
historical conflicts with the Roman Empire.
> Was the granting of Ireland to the King of England in the 11th Century by Pope
> Gregory another Roman attempt to bring the unruly Irish Celts in line???
> The Romans were successful at many times in history by inciting Celts to fight
> OTHER Celts and mop up what's left. It seems the Celts didn't need much
> encouragement to have a good "scrap" with other Celts. Is Northern Ireland
> just another example of this in modern times where descendants of Scottish
> Celts are fighting the descendants of Irish Celts over lands and property
> redistributed by the Roman successors in London, England in the late 17th
> century?? I hate to think that Celts are fighting Celts to do Caesar's dirty
My opinion is that the conflict in Ireland arises from 1) conflicts over
land ownership, and a need by the english kings to finance wars on the
continent (guaranteeing loans with newly "liberated" land in Ireland),
and 2) power-plays related to the religious wars on the continent.