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"Celt" Conjecture
#16
Didn't that fine old Roman general SunTzu, advise the general to, "Know your enemy"?

I suspect that successful generals and Grand Admirals--from Julius Caesar to Mitth'raw'nuruodo ("Thrawn")--do that.
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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#17
Quote:Didn't that fine old Roman general SunTzu, advise the general to, "Know our enemy"?

I suspect that successful generals and Grand Admirals--from Julius Caesar to Mitth'raw'nuruodo ("Thrawn")--do that.

Nice! I agree with Ron. A little closer to home though...
The Ancient Greek aphorism "Know thyself" carved at Delphi. Big Grin
Craig Bellofatto

Going to college for Massage Therapy. So reading alot of Latin TerminologyWink

It is like a finger pointing to the moon. DON\'T concentrate on the finger or you miss all the heavenly glory before you!-Bruce Lee

Train easy; the fight is hard. Train hard; the fight is easy.- Thai Proverb
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#18
Quote:Rumo: Or was there just an amazing coincidence, that all Romans and Greeks happened to interrogate the same tribe and they always came up with the same name?
No.
Quote:Just to keep things at the surface, can you a name one American general who can speak Iraqi Arabic, Kurdish, Neo-Aramaic and Azeri Turkish (just to name the four most important local languages in Iraq)
I could ask my friends who have been in that theater, and they could tell me their names, but if I did that, since you're predisposed not to believe they could, it would not really be as useful to anyone. But yes, I think they do, and better yet, they have staffs of translators and cultural departments (I know a Lt. Col who headed up one of those teams). Not everyone has to speak Farsi or Arabic to have a good working knowledge of a culture. But never mind the facts, as stated already.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#19
Even if you have a good translator, it's good to have some knowledge of the language because people speaking different languages think differently from one another. The way they look at the world, form concepts and understand reality is influenced by the conventions of their (our) language.

During my thirty-year military career I was stationed in several nations. Where I could read and write the language, I discovered all sorts of things that I probably would have overlooked. Those where I learned the rudiments of the language--I called it "restaurant Italian"--gave me at least an opening to the people and culture. Those where I knew none of the language, I felt like a tourist: seeing and thinking I understood, but knowing I probably didn't. That went doubly so for dealing with members of the host country military. (Besides, it seemed like basic courtesy to meet and greet in the local language.)

A wise general would study not only the language but the art, religion and culture of an adversary, even if--especially if he was surrounded by competent translators. :wink: Especially if they were not his own close, well-known people. :roll:
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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#20
Quote:
Rumo:2coy92rg Wrote:But not ethnographer.

As that "profession" as it may exist now did not exist then , no he was not but as has been pointed out he was intersted enough to point out cultural traits and differences in Gauls and Briton so he or his entourage did soem ethnographing for sure.

Was he? Did he? Let's see. For instance, Caesar described significant social, economic and cultural differences between people west (Gauls) and east (Germans) of Rhine. Generally the latter were more primitive, poor and savage than the Gauls. Should we believe that? Well, of course not.

Andrew Riggsby, Caesar in Gaul and Rome. War in words, p. 59-71

If that is too much to read, then try:

Peter Wells' "Iron Age", chapter 10 in European Prehistory. A Survey
  • In the Late Iron Age, during the second and early first century BC, the archaeology in the lands west and east of the Rhine is very similar. The large and complex fortified settlements known as oppida dominated the cultural landscape, with intensive industrial production, long-distance commerce, and a developed money economy. The pottery, personal ornaments, tool technologies, and ritual practices on the two sides of the river show fundamentally similar societies, with the degree of regional variation that we would expect. The distinction that Caesar draws between complex Gauls west of the Rhine and simple Germans east of the Rhine is not reflected in the archaeology, at least not before Caesar's arrival in Gaul to begin his campaigns.
or

Nico Roymans, Ethnic Identity and Imperial Power. The Batavians in the Early Roman Empire. (read also the previous page for a Germanic identity constructed by Romans)
  • The archaeology of the Late Iron Age argues for a north-south articulation of the northwest European continent, in which the Rhine does not function as a cultural boundary. However, as part of the new politico-geographic order, all emphasis in Roman Germani discourse came to lie on the east-west articulation, with the Rhine functioning as a boundary between the civilised world and a world of barbarism.

Telling for Caesar's interest in truth is his description of fauna beyond the Rhine. He wanted his readers to believe that in the Hercynian forest live animals with one horn (6.26), elks with no knees (6.27) and elephant-sized bulls (6.28). With such a poor record in fact checking, I think we should disregard Caesar's descriptions of lands, mountains or rivers, animals or plants, people, customs, languages. To me the differences between Caesar's Celts and Germans are as real as those unicorns.

Quote:
Rumo:2coy92rg Wrote:How many American politicians know the ethnographic map of Iraq?

You tell me .... maybe enough of them to make a difference, but you bet your next meal that the Generals who invaded were briefed on it or found out prettry quickley for themselves. Pretty daft to compare todays politician with JC as they are not in the same league.
I prefer evidence instead of bets. Quote from some memoirs.

Quote:Have a think about it ... the Greeks knew the Keltae from their interactions via Massilia, which is at the southern end of the area said to be held by those calling themselves Celtae in Ceasars time. What is so difficult about that?
The more I think of it, the less verosimile it looks. That was a tribal society. Most tribes have small territories and disappear after a while. Many tribal identities shift, many tribal names change. These Celts however were omnipresent and unchanging. Can you identify archaeologically this vast and remarkably stable society?
Another important point of view comes from linguistics. (Spoken) languages change, languages have variety (dialects, topolects), language contact is not always the same. So why always the same name as if it was copied from author to author?

You may notice that verosimility for me includes change. Lack of change is an extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary evidence.

Quote:I think if you are going to belive what you would rather believe rather than what the evidence (or lack of it shows) then a starting point would be to ask why you would rather believe that? I would suggest that ethnography is very useful to any general going to war, now as in the past, however you can persist in that stance if it suits you but please consider that getting reliable ethnographical information does not require presence in a partucular villiage by a general, he has guys who can help him. If you are not aware that the US has a large information gathering service please take this as notice that it has and so did Ceasar.


According to your interpretation, Caesar's "information gathering service" reported unicorns among several other things!

History showed that people in general (including military officers) are more often than not disinterested in having genuine ethnographic or even anthropologic information. And they replace the real information with stereotypes, post hoc justifications of their beliefs, decisions, actions. As Riggsby observed, Caesar's ethnography is supposed to show why Romans must conquer but also why they conquered Gaul and not Germany. And in Roman imagination, the frontier they set on the Rhine became a cultural frontier between two different types (ethnies) of people. Of course, after a while, it also became also a reality because of the real social, economic, cultural influence of Rome.

Here's a quote from Vegetius' De Re Militari, that is a late Roman military treatise:
  • They tell us that all people that are near the sun, being parched by great heat, are more intelligent but have less blood, and therefore lack steadiness and confidence to fight at close quarters, because those who are conscious of having less blood are afraid of wounds. On the other hand the peoples of the north, remote from the sun's heat are less intelligent, but having a superabundance of blood are readiest for wars. Recruits should therefore be raised from the more temperate climes. The plenteousness of their blood supplies contempt for wounds and death, and intelligence cannot be lacking either which preserves discipline in camp and is of no little assistance with counsel in battle.

This is a Roman point of view coming from the military higher ranks (it's about recruiting)! Reading that, how can anyone argue the Romans (their military leaders in particular) were careful observers of the populations in and outside their empire?
Drago?
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#21
My friends and I have discussed this topic a few times ourselves. Although not historically accurate as far as we know, but we have decided that Celt is short hand way of writing "Clearly Every Lunatic There".
After all, if I were in the greatest army the world had known at the time, armed and armored to the teeth, and a bunch of naked screaming guys threw themselves at me, I know I'd think they were mad.

"Sir...our men have suffered heavy losses to a bunch of painted up naked men"!
"Yes. Clearly every lunatic there has banded together to fight us".


Sorry folks. My early morning attempt at humor before I head out to Pennsic, to rejoin my Roman household there. Smile Haven't been there in 7 years and am quite excited.
Aut Inveniam Viam Aut Faciam
"I\'ll Either Find A Way Or Make One" from Hannibal

John Pruitt
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#22
Didn't the original question have to do with whether the "Celts" were called so by themselves, or others? Given that the "socialogical science of ethnography" didn't exist as a discipline in those days, it's likewise simple to assume that the peoples in any given area knew quite a lot about those nearby, and maybe only some reportage by travelers or prisoners concerning those farther away. Of course some of the "elk and unicorn, human sacrifice in a wicker man" stories are fanciful, but these are things that are reported to him, not things Caesar claimed to have seen. Reminiscent of the "Here there be dragons" inserts on medieval maps.

Let's look at it another way. Why in the world would Caesar open his commentary with the statement that the people in modern France/Belgium called themselves Celts if they didn't? What would be the point of that? He certainly knew what the Romans called them, right? And he was aware of dozens of tribal names for the regional inhabitants, and wrote about differing characteristics/local histories/political personalities of those. He didn't just make that information up, it was researched by various means, including interviewing people who lived in those areas and firsthand knowledge.

The Germanics he describes were not "less advanced" than the Gauls, but they had less metal, were less affluent, and did not build cities at that time. Instead, they were more nomadic, staying in an area for a year or two, then moving on to another area. That didn't make them more or less civilized, just different. In the long term, being less centralized proved to be an advantage. The Gaullish people frequently surrendered when their hard-point cities were taken, but the Germanics simply moved back into the forest and vanished to fight another day. Of course this is overly simplistically stated. I'm hoping to avoid multi-page posts.

So why, then, would Caesar say the Gauls called themselves "Celts", if it were not so?
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#23
Quote:Was he? Did he? Let's see. For instance, Caesar described significant social, economic and cultural differences between people west (Gauls) and east (Germans) of Rhine. Generally the latter were more primitive, poor and savage than the Gauls. Should we believe that? Well, of course not.

Quote:The archaeology of the Late Iron Age argues for a north-south articulation of the northwest European continent, in which the Rhine does not function as a cultural boundary. However, as part of the new politico-geographic order, all emphasis in Roman Germani discourse came to lie on the east-west articulation, with the Rhine functioning as a boundary between the civilised world and a world of barbarism.

Exactly.
Christian K.

No reconstruendum => No reconstruction.

Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.

LEGIO XIII GEMINA

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#24
Why indeed?

If Caesar mentioned unicorns it was probably because such tales were in circulation, and he knew the home folks wanted tales of the exotic. The bulls as big as elephants did exist: aurochs. Confusedhock: They were not quite as large as African elephants, but they were really, really big.

Since the Mediterranean cultures had had contact with the Celts for over five centuries by then, it's possible that many Celts had adopted the foreigners' name, even if they retained they own tribal identity in conversation among themselves. For example, many native Americans of a certain heritage answer to "Cherokee" today, even though their own name for themselves is entirely other: ???, pronounced "Tsalagi".
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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#25
Quote:Why indeed?

If Caesar mentioned unicorns it was probably because such tales were in circulation, and he knew the home folks wanted tales of the exotic. The bulls as big as elephants did exist: aurochs. Confusedhock: They were not quite as large as African elephants, but they were really, really big.

Since the Mediterranean cultures had had contact with the Celts for over five centuries by then, it's possible that many Celts had adopted the foreigners' name, even if they retained they own tribal identity in conversation among themselves. For example, many native Americans of a certain heritage answer to "Cherokee" today, even though their own name for themselves is entirely other: ???, pronounced "Tsalagi".
Interesting points. And certainly the term "Celt" must have had some significance amongst themselves if a man who tried to be King of Gaul was known as Celtillus.
Todd Franks

"The whole race is madly fond of war, high spirited and quick to battle, but otherwise straightforward and not of evil character." - Strabo on the Celts
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#26
Quote:For example, many native Americans of a certain heritage answer to "Cherokee" today, even though their own name for themselves is entirely other: ???, pronounced "Tsalagi"
And they, along with the Lakota, Apache, etc., all collectively group themselves as "Native Americans" I suspect the various Celtic-culture tribes, knowing full well, the collective name was artificial, likewise understood what it stood for, and were not necessarily offended by it. (I don't think political correctness played into that, however, simple practicality was the motivator)
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#27
Quote:Was he? Did he? Let's see. For instance, Caesar described significant social, economic and cultural differences between people west (Gauls) and east (Germans) of Rhine. Generally the latter were more primitive, poor and savage than the Gauls. Should we believe that? Well, of course not.

Andrew Riggsby, Caesar in Gaul and Rome. War in words, p. 59-71

If that is too much to read, then try:

Peter Wells' "Iron Age", chapter 10 in European Prehistory. A Survey
  • In the Late Iron Age, during the second and early first century BC, the archaeology in the lands west and east of the Rhine is very similar. The large and complex fortified settlements known as oppida dominated the cultural landscape, with intensive industrial production, long-distance commerce, and a developed money economy. The pottery, personal ornaments, tool technologies, and ritual practices on the two sides of the river show fundamentally similar societies, with the degree of regional variation that we would expect. The distinction that Caesar draws between complex Gauls west of the Rhine and simple Germans east of the Rhine is not reflected in the archaeology, at least not before Caesar's arrival in Gaul to begin his campaigns.
or

Nico Roymans, Ethnic Identity and Imperial Power. The Batavians in the Early Roman Empire. (read also the previous page for a Germanic identity constructed by Romans)
  • The archaeology of the Late Iron Age argues for a north-south articulation of the northwest European continent, in which the Rhine does not function as a cultural boundary. However, as part of the new politico-geographic order, all emphasis in Roman Germani discourse came to lie on the east-west articulation, with the Rhine functioning as a boundary between the civilised world and a world of barbarism.

Telling for Caesar's interest in truth is his description of fauna beyond the Rhine. He wanted his readers to believe that in the Hercynian forest live animals with one horn (6.26), elks with no knees (6.27) and elephant-sized bulls (6.28). With such a poor record in fact checking, I think we should disregard Caesar's descriptions of lands, mountains or rivers, animals or plants, people, customs, languages. To me the differences between Caesar's Celts and Germans are as real as those unicorns.

I agree that the Rhine was not the cultural barrier between the Gauls and the Germans and I dont believe Ceasar did either, it was a convenient political border to illustrate that he can conquered all of Gaul. I dont take all he writes a verbatum statement of what he really believed. This does not prove that he was clueless to the reality.


Quote:I prefer evidence instead of bets. Quote from some memoirs.

Then please bash in these quotes attributed to Generals who said such things ... I am interested in who said what.


Quote: The more I think of it, the less verosimile it looks. That was a tribal society. Most tribes have small territories and disappear after a while.

Many tribal identities shift, many tribal names change. These Celts however were omnipresent and unchanging. Can you identify archaeologically this vast and remarkably stable society?
Another important point of view comes from linguistics. (Spoken) languages change, languages have variety (dialects, topolects), language contact is not always the same. So why always the same name as if it was copied from author to author?

You may notice that verosimility for me includes change. Lack of change is an extraordinary claim which requires extraordinary evidence.

I have made no claim to "omnipresent and unchanging" merely that the greeks called them Kelts, I suggest due to contact via southern France and because that name may have been given to the Greeks by them. That there were still those who called themseves Celts in Ceasars time. There is likely to be a cultural and linguistic shift. I myself believe that using the term Celt to cover those beyond this who speak a variant of the same language root is justifyable as these were the ones first noted as Keltic, despite the fact the Belgic Gauls may not have called the,mselves Celtic. Dialects and other variation can be used within this as we do with French, Italian and Spanish.

As for time dissipating identity there is still a country called Belgium today which has its route way back when, certainly longer that we are being asked to accept with the Massilia conection. Sure very different from back then but much more has happened in the interim.

Quote:According to your interpretation, Caesar's "information gathering service" reported unicorns among several other things!

I can't explain that one away... unless ....no :roll:


Quote:History showed that people in general (including military officers) are more often than not disinterested in having genuine ethnographic or even anthropologic information. And they replace the real information with stereotypes, post hoc justifications of their beliefs, decisions, actions. As Riggsby observed, Caesar's ethnography is supposed to show why Romans must conquer but also why they conquered Gaul and not Germany. And in Roman imagination, the frontier they set on the Rhine became a cultural frontier between two different types (ethnies) of people. Of course, after a while, it also became also a reality because of the real social, economic, cultural influence of Rome.

Here's a quote from Vegetius' De Re Militari, that is a late Roman military treatise:
  • They tell us that all people that are near the sun, being parched by great heat, are more intelligent but have less blood, and therefore lack steadiness and confidence to fight at close quarters, because those who are conscious of having less blood are afraid of wounds. On the other hand the peoples of the north, remote from the sun's heat are less intelligent, but having a superabundance of blood are readiest for wars. Recruits should therefore be raised from the more temperate climes. The plenteousness of their blood supplies contempt for wounds and death, and intelligence cannot be lacking either which preserves discipline in camp and is of no little assistance with counsel in battle.

This is a Roman point of view coming from the military higher ranks (it's about recruiting)! Reading that, how can anyone argue the Romans (their military leaders in particular) were careful observers of the populations in and outside their empire?

It looks bad doesn't it ... but only if you take it literally rather than as allegorical, and propoganda at that. This, for me, is not evidence that the Romans did not know their enemy in reality. I cannot equate the Ceasar who achived what he did with a guy who did not know where Germania really started. As I have intimated before enthongraphy was not a science back then.
Conal Moran

Do or do not, there is no try!
Yoda
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#28
David wrote,
Quote:
Quote:For example, many native Americans of a certain heritage answer to "Cherokee" today, even though their own name for themselves is entirely other: ???, pronounced "Tsalagi"
And they, along with the Lakota, Apache, etc., all collectively group themselves as "Native Americans."

Sure beats calling them/us "Indians," which also reflects how visitors/invaders occasionally are way off base on the ethnology. :?
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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#29
I'm one of the "usses", too (Oklahoma post-Trail of Tears ancestors). I wonder if we should call ourselves "Undocumented Neolithic pre-Asian Immigrants"...UNPAI for short. Chants well, anyway.... :roll: :wink:
But that's way off topic. Ahem.
* * *
I guess there's no way to know if Caesar really meant "Celt" when he said "ei qui ipsorum lingua Celtae appelantur", then, is there?
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
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#30
Oh, he really meant "Celt"; the question is whether they called themselves that. And that we'll probably never know . . . or agree on. :wink:
"Fugit irreparabile tempus" (Irrecoverable time glides away) Virgil

Ron Andrea
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