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Author Topic: History proved wrong - Castle debate says ‘nay’ to Celts  (Read 7542 times)
A.D.
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« Reply #100 on: April 25, 2012, 02:01:10 PM »

There is from Ireland, the Tuatha De Dannan often translated as people of 'Danu' who in turn has been associated with the moon, the Scottish 'Paps of Anu' even a Hittite deity. I think we can be confident that she predates the 'Celts'. Similarly Brigid is of particular interest she became a christian saint in Ireland has her own feast day and is associated with a cross more a kin to a swastika. The kids still make them at school out of reeds. She is obviously of significant importance. She is also a fertility goddess so I'm wondering if there is any connection with the Bronze-age collapse? If famine was involved it's good to have a fertility goddess on side. I think JeanM posted that Northern Britain may have suffered a similar decline. Possibly to a lesser extent. The British Brigantes were far more numerous the the Irish tribe of the same name. Could these peoples be the descendants of survivors  of  the Bronze-age collapse carrying fragments of their culture into the Iron-age. It has been said that there were no such thing as island Celts (except for the Belgae and Parisi ) but a reconstruction of the collapsed Bronze-age society with cultural and technological in put from the continent. Maybe this has to do with the Q/P split. It does have a plausibility. I kind of feel if this is the case we could be talking about 'Bronze-age Celts'.
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Jean M
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« Reply #101 on: April 25, 2012, 02:32:57 PM »

.. the Tuatha De Dannan often translated as people of 'Danu'... I think we can be confident that she predates the 'Celts'.

Why? I wouldn't be confident of that at all.  

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Similarly Brigid..  associated with a cross more a kin to a swastika.... She is also a fertility goddess so I'm wondering if there is any connection with the Bronze-age collapse?

The swastika was a sun-symbol used by the Indo-Europeans. It is a common symbol found in too many places to be seen as exclusively Indo-European, but I would guess that in this case it's safe enough to see it as Celtic. Fertility goddesses or cults are common across the world. People might get even more keen on them than usual during famine, but they would be part of the pantheon anyway.  

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It has been said that there were no such thing as island Celts (except for the Belgae and Parisi )

Yes but that is just the line Simon James peddled with gusto, based on the "nobody called them Celts" argument which I never bought for a second.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2012, 02:40:33 PM by Jean M » Logged
Jdean
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« Reply #102 on: April 25, 2012, 03:47:31 PM »

@ Authun. Sorry - I see that came across like a criticism of you. I was intending to hint that we don't need to rely on JDean's memory of what Alan might have quoted ... etc. Fortunately for me, as my memory is useless, the classical sources tend to be readily accessible.

Which isn't the best :)
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authun
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« Reply #103 on: April 25, 2012, 05:51:15 PM »

Dānu is a Hindu goddess, mother of the Danavas, embodied in the waters; *danu- is a PIE root meaning river found in many european countries, Don, Dnieper, Dniester, Danube, Rhone (Rhodanus).

Irish danu is derived from proto celtic danona, which would probably be connected if we could go back in time but, as it is, it is not quite the same. HOwever, it is interesting to note that the proto celtic danona is a reconsruction based on many names of matrones, many of which are associated with rivers, though not in this case.
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alan trowel hands.
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« Reply #104 on: April 25, 2012, 07:40:09 PM »

Caerleon in SE Wales was named Isca Silurum by the Romans, Isca after the name of the river (it's now called the Usk) and Silurum from the local tribe to differentiate it from other similar sounding places.

According to Wikipedia the name Isca came from Brithonic for water which is also the derivation for whisky.

Thanks, thats interesting. The Ister mentioned by Herodotus by the way flows into the Black Sea, hence the identification with the Danube.

The modern welsh word for water is dŵr and although I don't know what the primitive welsh word was, Old Irish uisce means water. As you say, it's where we get whisky from, iskie bae in 1580.

I've seen the claim in your wiki link that Usk is derived from brythonic but given that modern welsh is dŵr and the roman name was Isca, it sort of makes me wonder if the territory of the Silures spoke a different type of celtic, possibly goidelic. Unless of course brythonic also had a similar word.

It's possible the Silures came from a different area to other Celts, Alan has posted a few times that Julius Caesar described them as looking quite different from the other inhabitants of Britain with dark skin and dark curly hair.

This is a look that still persists in the area today and was recorded by John Beddoe in 'The Races of Britain' minus the curly hair which he said was no more prevalent than elsewhere.

I came across this page today when trying to find the etymology for the river Severn

http://www.kmatthews.org.uk/arthuriana/severn.html

which sounds quite informed


There is also the Strabo observation:

The men of Britain are taller than the Celti, and not so yellow-haired, although their bodies are of looser build. The following is an indication of their size: I myself, in Rome, saw mere lads towering as much as half a foot above the tallest people in the city
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A.D.
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« Reply #105 on: April 25, 2012, 08:35:51 PM »

JeanM by 'Celts' I was referring to La Tane/Hallstatt peoples. If we are talking about Celts linguistically Danu probably came with them or any earlier wave of peoples and similar language and religion. I also think that assimilation or transformation of deities happened so a single deity might appear differently in different places. Different aspects of  maybe given in one place than another. e.g The Poseidon type (please take this comparison very loosely) deity god of horses and earthquakes and the sea. I don't think that the ea5rthquake bit was as important in Ireland.   
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Jean M
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« Reply #106 on: April 26, 2012, 06:44:17 AM »

@ A.D. I have always defined a Celt as a person speaking a Celtic language. We get into a lot of difficulties otherwise, so this is a pretty standard definition these days.

While it is possible that the Celts absorbed into their pantheon deities worshipped by Neolithic peoples in various places where they settled, it is liable to be difficult to prove this if the said deities were given Celtic names or their attributes simply attached to an existing Celtic deity. The whole subject is so complex that I tend to leave it alone, I must confess. I am no expert!

I see that there was a PBS programme on religion in ancient Ireland which referred to the climate change:

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By 2000 B.C., stone circles were built in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. A population concerned with birth and fertility, the Irish included movements of the sun in their religious monuments. The circles were temples for a solar religion. In 1159 B.C., there are indications that the weather got much worse and the gods and goddesses of water, in streams and lakes, took on greater importance. Material possessions, animals, and even people were sacrificed, probably to appease these gods.

      
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 06:48:47 AM by Jean M » Logged
Jean M
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« Reply #107 on: April 26, 2012, 06:55:17 AM »

I always like Nicolaesan (not sure if thats the right spelling) Placenames of Scotland

Thanks! W.F.H. Nicolaisen, Scottish Place-names (2001). I'm very tempted. Just read a bit of the relevant section via Amazon. Have to say that an earlier form of IE does seem more credible than trying to delve back to a Neolithic language. 

Its a brilliant book.  I imagine that the date 2001 is a reprint because the book is about decades old. 

No there was a 2nd edition in 2001, taking in all the new material published since the 1st edition in 1976. My copy has arrived. :) 
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razyn
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« Reply #108 on: April 26, 2012, 09:52:49 AM »

I was surprised to see in his Wikipedia entry that Dr. Nicolaisen seems to be still with us.  I used to see him at American Folklore Society meetings, though we had rather different specialties and didn't hang out together.  He was born in 1927, so simple math would suggest he's not working on revisions now -- but with productive guys like him, one really never knows.
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authun
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« Reply #109 on: April 26, 2012, 10:30:11 AM »

but with productive guys like him, one really never knows.

2008 he's still contributing, here a paper to Nomina, http://www.snsbi.org.uk/PUBS/AllNomina.html

Plus, when you get a classic such as his, or Cameron's book on english place names from 1961, many smaller publications subsequently provide extra data but on smaller areas, eg Crowley's Place Names of Arran. It becomes simpler to update the classic than recompile everything and start a new book.
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Jean M
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« Reply #110 on: April 26, 2012, 10:33:25 AM »

He is still an honorary Research Fellow in the Department of English at Aberdeen University.
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A.D.
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« Reply #111 on: April 26, 2012, 03:05:42 PM »

There a longstanding theory that Ireland (and I would think Britain too) was settled in part(s) by people of North African/Middle Eastern origin. These people are linked to the Formorians in Irish mythology. I think this is based on the Physical  appearance in the main but there is also the deities in particular Balor who is linked to the Phoenician Baal. The month of May in Irish Baltine is composed Baal and tine = fire. I don't know if there is a continental equivalent. I know people say there is but that should be treated with caution as a lot of what is considered Celtic is made to fit the Irish legends winch may not be entirely Celtic.  I've often questioned whether the Celtic 'priesthood' influences retained from the Neolithic Priesthood. The Germans had similar deities but seem far closer to Eurasian Shamanism.           
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Dubhthach
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« Reply #112 on: April 26, 2012, 03:27:02 PM »

Beltaine isn't connected to Balor, it's connected to solar deity Bel who is pan-Celtic (Belenus in Gaulish). Given that Beltaine is the beginning of Summer in Ireland (to this day our seasons begin on the Celtic feast days) and it's associated with purification of animals -- such as driving of cattle between two bonfires to purify them etc.

The Formorians some suggested basically fill the role of "Titans" eg. Elder gods that were replaced. There is often a lunar aspect to them. For example Elatha the father of Bres the beautiful (half formorian/half Tuatha Dé) has lunar deity type imagery associated with him.

The Tuatha Dé often have a solar aspect. For example Lugh is often equated with the sun (and thus Apollo in greek pantheon). Likewise Mac Gréine one of the three brothers who were kings when the sons of Míl arrived literally means "son of the Sun"

Regarding physical appearance well Elatha was  in the story was  as was his son the tyranical Bres whose kingship was overthrown by the Tuatha Dé ( he took after his father!) when Nuadha regained his whole (by the attachment of a Silver arm). This of course is what led to second battle of Maigh Tuireadh and the fullifilment of the prophecy that Balor would be killed by his own grandson -- Lugh.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 03:28:06 PM by Dubhthach » Logged
Bren123
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« Reply #113 on: May 01, 2012, 09:42:01 PM »

There a longstanding theory that Ireland (and I would think Britain too) was settled in part(s) by people of North African/Middle Eastern origin. These people are linked to the Formorians in Irish mythology. I think this is based on the Physical  appearance in the main but there is also the deities in particular Balor who is linked to the Phoenician Baal. The month of May in Irish Baltine is composed Baal and tine = fire. I don't know if there is a continental equivalent. I know people say there is but that should be treated with caution as a lot of what is considered Celtic is made to fit the Irish legends winch may not be entirely Celtic.  I've often questioned whether the Celtic 'priesthood' influences retained from the Neolithic Priesthood. The Germans had similar deities but seem far closer to Eurasian Shamanism.           

Baal actually means lord!
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