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Subject: The British-Irish nexus
From: Aidan Moore <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
Date:Tue, 15 Jul 1997 17:15:11 EST
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     Ann Edwards asked me why I think the English are genetically largely
     of 'Celtic' descent.

     Simply because as I understand it, the archaeological evidence
     suggests the Saxons occupied post-Roman Britain largely by peaceful
     immigration  rather than by war, as they later chose to believe. Their
     Teutonic culture took over, certainly, but I don't think they wiped
     out the earlier inhabitants, the Romano-Celtic Britons.

     This is a fascinating question in its own right. Did the effete
     Romano-Celts sit in their hilltop villas watching the foolish Saxons
     colonise the soggy valleys, ploughing the clayey soil with their heavy
     Gothic horses, and laboriously clearing the swampy forests? Until they woke
     up one day and found themselves superseded. Bede explained it away as God's
     punishment on the Britons.

     Let me acknowledge Ann's earlier contribution on how the colonised
     Welsh felt. Her account was emotionally gripping for an Irishman, or
     for any member of a colonised nation - and the world is full of those,
     today - hey, we're the majority, how about that.

     I also acknowledge Danielle Ni/ Dighe's contribution. She wrote
     "There's no such thing as Celtic DNA.  Celt is a linguistic and
     cultural term, not a racial term."
     So well put, I can't argue, but stand corrected. Of course, there were
     assertions last century and at the start of this one that the
     political dominance of the English was due to racial superiority. But
     she is right, human evolution is cultural, not biological, Lamarckian,
     not Darwinian.

     And I must accept Ray's verdict that there is no connection between
     'brehon' and 'briton'.

     So how come the Britons' great warrior queen was called 'Boudicca'
     (Buadach) which is pretty good Irish Gaelic for 'Victoria'. Or that
     the post-Roman British King's name 'Vortigern' is good Irish for 'Mhor
     Tigherna' or 'Great Lord'.

     And why did the Roman commentators say the peoples of Brittania and
     Hibernia were the same people.

     And why did they both have the La Tene culture, and the Belgae (Fir
     Bolg) etc. etc.

     Just asking.

     Aidan Moore

     Canberra

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