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Subject: 'Barbarian' Celts ...
From: "-s93000001-m.erskinerichmond-ccsd-200-" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
Date:Thu, 17 Feb 1994 09:53:49 EST

text/plain (41 lines)

Well, that's an original interpretation of 'barbarian', but
unfortunately it's incorrect.
Barbarian means 'bearded one'..  The Greeks were a clean-shaven
society, and considered the 'barb' (beard) a sign of slovenlliness.
> 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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