On Thu, 18 Dec 1997, Raimund Karl wrote:
> Well, then you should better wait until I have put in my definition
> of Celtic. Neil usually makes it easy to himself and defines culture
> strictly through language, actually a very limited and strongly
> confined approach to culture. And he cares litte for his cultural
I'm sorry, but you're misrepresenting my position. I don't claim
that a mastery of Gaelic grammar is all that you need. What I'm saying
is that the language is like the hub of a wheel with the spokes of
cultural expressions, rituals, institutions etc. radiating outward from
it; without the hub there is no order to the spokes, but without the
spokes the hub itself is not terribly inspiring. I have time and again
stressed the importance of things you mention below like folklore,
poetry, and music, and although the topic doesn't come up much here, I'm
very interested in the history of the Gaels.
However, this changing nothing on the fact that you are NOT
> talking about different things, because ancient Celtic Culture is in
> its basics as well a culture as modern Celtic Culture.
> Now, in contrast to Neil, I do not define a culture strictly via it's
> language, even though language is a very important vehicle of
> culture. However, there's more to culture than language. A culture
> also defines itself via certain other things like Art, Legends,
> History, material Culture, Traditions, Customs, Religion, Beliefs,
> Concepts and so on. All those things together make up a distinct
> culture (although some elements may be missing, but most should be
> present as distinct elements). And, another central part is that you
> can live culture only as a part of a functioning cultural group.
> As such, Celtic Culture, be it ancient or modern, is characterised
> by such elements. If your life consists of these elements, and you
> live your life in a group which also lives according to these
> elements, you can claim to be a member of said culture. If you don't,
> you are not a member of that culture.
> To become more specific, if you want to become an "ancient" Celt,
> this is basically impossible, as there is no group of ancient Celts
> that still live, with which you can live and share their culture.
> Actually, you can try to revive ancient Celtic Culture, but for this
> you need a few more things than having a Celtic name (or claiming
> such a name). You would need a group that is going along with you on
> your way first. Then you would need to get away from anby modern
> culture to have the possibility to recreate a social system, a law
> system and a religious system (which, btw, should all be seriously
> reconstructed, not simply invented). As especially the legal and
> religious system might bring you in conflict with modern law, you
> should do this in an area untouched by human government. Then you
> should start to talk in Old Gaulish or a similar language, and start
> to tell the stories the ancient Celts probably told. There are some
> of which we know, at least in later derivation, which should suffice.
> And, of course, you should try to strat all of this in a recostructed
> Celtic Settlement with prehistoric methods of farming and everything,
> as this also is a central part of Old Celtic Culture. In this way you
> can slowly start to rebuild "Old Celtic" Culture, and, once this has
> been seriously established, try to evolve it into modernity (as such,
> get yourself a better house, an old Gaulish television show, and so
> Simply claiming that it is sufficent that one's distant ancestors
> came from somewhere along the Danube is not sufficent.
> RAY (Raimund Karl,University of Vienna,Dep.of Prehistory)
> email: [log in to unmask] (or [log in to unmask])
> homepage: http://unet.univie.ac.at/~a8700035/index.html
> The CELTIC-L Resources: