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"Celt" Conjecture
#46
How true.
I've only believed that I'm a Celt for 68 years.
Weber has 32 years on me. :lol:
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#47
Quote: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.
[...]
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.

Appeals to metaphors, allegory, propaganda, etc are tenuous and sometimes self-defeating when they not properly explained and argued. How would we know when someone makes a careful observation or when he just holds some preconceived ideas? People also lie, people are also ignorant, people are also wrong. If we don't allow Caesar and other authors to be like that, they will stop being people, they will become our own idealized constructs.

And the reason I'm arguing about the factual accuracy of BG is because it was argued here that Caesar's assertion on the name Celts have for themselves must be regarded true, must be read ad litteram.

Quote:Then please bash in these quotes attributed to Generals who said such things ... I am interested in who said what.
I meant the other way around. You should bring such quotes if you claim military officers have solid ethnographic knowledge. I'd like to read some memoirs, a journal, or, why not, a short study authored by a US general, about - let's say - marriage traditions and rituals in a small village on the slopes of Zagros mountains.

Quote: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.
There's a considerable hiatus between ancient Belgae and modern Belgians (care to discuss about Belgians in ... 9th century AD?). Modern Belgian identity is not really ethnic (though sometimes there might be a conjunctural emphasis which can be considered ethnic in nature), and most important, it was a revived under a bookish influence. Thus this example rather suggests the opposite. In a tribal, illiterate world, the identity and the name of the Belgae would have died (as it did, actually). So why then should we believe the name of the Celts reflects an authentic age-old aboriginal identity and not a Graeco-Roman construct?
Drago?
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#48
Quote:
Brennus:2dxlisaz Wrote:
MD:2dxlisaz Wrote:These people may very well be the same that inhabited the Oppida. Later (BG VI 24) he mentions that Gauls (Volcae Tectosages) are still living east of the Rhine. Thus there isn't any real contradiction between Caesars writings and archeology.
However archaeology does not show where the Gauls lived, it only gives an image of the material culture.

Let's read BG VI 24: ... now also they continue in the same scarcity, indigence, hardihood, as the Germans, and use the same food and dress; but their proximity to the Province and knowledge of commodities from countries beyond the sea supplies to the Gauls many things tending to luxury as well as civilization.

Well archeology tells us the material culture of these people that inhabited southern Germany and built hillforts and later Oppida belonged to the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures today commonly associated with Celts. That there was a gradual shift from Hallstatt to La Tène phase. In the 3rd and 2nd century BC they built proto urban Oppida and begun minting coins. Evidently they had contact and traded with the Mediterranean civilization as early as the 6th century BC. For example sherds of imported Greek pottery was excavated at several places like Würzburg.
At the same time those people that inhabited northern Germany had a distinct material culture, today called Jastorf culture and commonly associated with the early and proto Germanic tribes.
Than in the first century BC, when coincidently classic authors tell us the Celts were emigrating from those regions because of pressure from Germanic invaders, the Oppida were abandoned and there coinage disappears. Settlements change and the material culture with tem, now belonging to the northern type. Since this happened over several decades there's no surprise to find mixed populations and increased cultural exchange.

Maybe the oppida builders were Germanic and just disguised as Celts until the Roman conquest robbed them a reason to do so, but maybe the ancient authors just told us a little bit of the truth. Since it not just one author like Caesar, who pursued his own agenda, but others like Tacitus or Claudius Ptolemaios who tell us the same basic story you can't just explain it away.
Michael
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#49
Quote:
cagwinn:qfzhic5c Wrote:Celtillus is certainly a Gaulish name - the -us is simply a Latin substitution for the Gaulish -os (it was common practice for Latin authors to Latinize the endings of foreign names). There are numerous attested examples of the native Celtic suffix -il(l)-, so there is no need to suggest that we have some sort of Latin name here. That a *kelt- root existed in both the Gaulish and Celtiberian languages is beyond doubt - the root is amply attested in both.
"Certainly" requires arguments, but I see only claims. Which are those numerous examples?

Personal names attested (in some cases multiple times) in inscriptions: Celtillus, Celtilla, Celta, Celtus, Celt?, Celtienus, Celtea, Celtiatis, Celtiatus, Celtiaticus, Celtinus, Celtitanus, Celtis, Celtilia, Celtius, Celticus, Cetligun (gentilic name), Conceltus (meaning "Your Fellow Celt"), Arceltus (meaning "Great Celt"). The vast majority of these are from Gaul and Iberia (where these names were particularly popular). There was also tribe called the Celtici in Iberia.

Antonio Tovar has an interesting article on this, if you read Spanish:
[url:qfzhic5c]http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/SirveObras/01048741541256213018813/027468.pdf[/url]
Christopher Gwinn
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#50
Quote: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.
I believe the common "ethnic knowledge" is restricted to stereotypes of the worst kind: Scots are greedy, Americans are fat, etc and I see no reason why in Antiquity in should have been different.

One of my favorite games when traveling abroad in Europe is faking identity, often spontaneously when I realize it's an opportunity for me to find out what some people believe. Depending on the situation, sometimes I disclose my little game, sometimes I just let them believe what they initially chose to.

One time in northern Italy I was asked where I am from. I said I'm from Romania, but the Italian believed I'm from Emilia-Romagna. My badly spoken Italian was enough for him to see me a Romagnolo. To be sure, throughout Italy I was asked what province I'm from even when speaking my own language which was interpreted as an Italian dialect.

There are some districts in Istanbul with a substantial Russian minority (in Laleli, IIRC). While walking on the streets, being overheard by local Turks speaking in my own native language, I was questioned if I'm a Russian (Romanian indeed has some Slavic loans). Sometimes I could play the game to the end with my mediocre grasp of Russian.

However it's not only the language, but also the look. My wife has curly, black hair and slightly darker complexion. Often, based on her appearance I guess, we were questioned if we're Spaniards or Greeks.

Or in my own country. It's economically rather undeveloped and the middle class is thin. Thus sometimes when I enter a high-class restaurant, but with nonchalance and casual dress, I get a "Hello, Sir". That is my attitude and dress code doesn't reflect the (stereo)typical Romanian who affords spending time and money in such a place and I must be a foreigner, a tourist perhaps.

So it's difficult for me to believe that people care too much to know their neighbors. Even if you'd dismiss these stories as anecdotic (which they certainly are), it remains the question how do you know your ancient informants were not that ignorant and indolent about their neighbors as some modern people are?

Quote: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.
Similarly Caesar doesn't claim to have heard the Gauls calling themselves Celts.

You can try to explain unicorns that way, but the problem is these fabulous animals live in Germania, whose tribes are also described. So it seems that beyond the Rhine there was this mythical land with savage tribes and unusual beasts. In this case how can we rely on Caesar's account of the German or on the differences he set between Germans and Celts?

Quote: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.
But for Caesar Germans were less civilized (cities, by the way, are one of the hallmarks of civilization, back then and now). See Riggsby's careful analysis I linked above.
As mentioned repeatedly, beyond the Rhine there was a similar "city"-based culture, proving Caesar's account wrong.

Quote: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.
What evidence do you have for "research"" and "interviews" and "firsthand knowledge"?

Why would Caesar invent something? The question is why not?

So he calls them Gauls with their Roman name. And he knows this other names for them, Celts, a name which was known by many people (see Strabo) and he couldn't ignore (he writes about them as someone who was in their country, he couldn't afford to miss the important topics and names). Should we expect Caesar to write something like "I know some people called them Celts, but no more than that. This is what I've read in Poseidonios. Otherwise I don't give a damn about who these barbarians are anyway"? Isn't so tempting to link this name to a local tradition, to persuade the readers of the authenticity of the information?

Yes, Caesar mentions many tribes. But a half of them show up only in lists (probably to impress his readers with the numerous tribes conquered), mostly undifferentiated or explained (who they were, what they did). His ethnographic survey is quite generous in broad terms, but failing in detail, in describing accurately each community.
Some of those tribes might have well never existed, their Roman name being derived from the name of some local leader or even envoy, the name of a village or a fortification chosen to be defended or even an indigenous uttering yelled in the eve of a battle. We have to understand that Caesar often faced conjunctural solidarities, and lacking a careful field investigation (modern anthropologists spend sometimes a lifetime living in indigenous communities), his groupings and names might tell nothing of the real tribal affiliations existing in Gaul prior to his conquest.
Drago?
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#51
Quote:Personal names attested (in some cases multiple times) in inscriptions: Celtillus, Celtilla, Celta, Celtus, Celt?, Celtea, Celtiatis, Celtiatus, Celtinus, Celtitanus, Celtis, Celtilia, Celtius, Celticus, Cetligun, Conceltus (meaning "Your Fellow Celt"), Arceltus (meaning "Great Celt"). The vast majority of these are from Gaul and Iberia (where these names were particularly popular).

What names I can trace from this list they show up in inscriptions dated after the Roman conquest (with recognizable Latin morphology and even derivation, e.g. Celticus), therefore this onomastic sample may be entirely irrelevant to pre-Roman identities. They could have get such names from the conquering Romans (I wouldn't be surprised if some of these Celts were freedmen), therefore it's no evidence they used that name for themselves prior to Roman conquest.

If such names occur mostly in Iberia, then the pre-Roman Celticity becomes even less plausible than before because we have now a even larger area with an allegedly Celtic identity. I somehow thought we're over that huge Celtic Europe, spanning from Iberian peninsula to Central Europe or even Anatolia.

Quote:Antonio Tovar has an interesting article on this, if you read Spanish
Sorry, it looks very unconvincing to me. Outdated perspective and outdated scholarship (well, the article itself was first(?) published in 1977).

And it confirms my position above. Those names are from the Roman period.
Drago?
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#52
There are two points that some folks here seem to be ignoring:
1) Caesar knew - and even counted as friends (Diviciacus, for instance) - educated Gauls, who certainly would have been able to tell him the name by which the Gauls called themselves.
2) A fair number of "Romans" in Caesar's day were ethnically Cisalpine Gauls - yes, they had become Romanized in the 2nd c. BC and spoke Latin, but they still maintained some sense of their Celtic heritage and surely would have passed on information about their former Celtic language and culture to their non-Celtic neighbors (and now fellow-Romans).
Christopher Gwinn
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#53
Quote:What names I can trace from this list they show up in inscriptions dated after the Roman conquest (with recognizable Latin morphology and even derivation, e.g. Celticus), therefore this onomastic sample may be entirely irrelevant to pre-Roman identities. They could have get such names from the conquering Romans (I wouldn't be surprised if some of these Celts were freedmen), therefore it's no evidence they used that name for themselves prior to Roman conquest.

If such names occur mostly in Iberia, then the pre-Roman Celticity becomes even less plausible than before because we have now a even larger area with an allegedly Celtic identity. I somehow thought we're over that huge Celtic Europe, spanning from Iberian peninsula to Central Europe or even Anatolia.

I see. So, I assume you would be saying much the same about Greek and Germanic identities if I provided you with a list of Greek of Germanic ethnic names found in Latin inscriptions with Latinized gender suffixes? :roll:
Christopher Gwinn
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#54
Quote:I see. So, I assume you would be saying much the same about Greek and Germanic identities if I provided you with a list of Greek of Germanic ethnic names found in Latin inscriptions with Latinized gender suffixes? :roll:
Greek identities existed independently, as they are attested and asserted long before Romans conquered the East (for more details on how Greek identity was constructed see the excellent books of Jonathan M. Hall), in literature and inscriptions addressing a Greek audience.
It was persuasively argued that the Hellenic identity was a response to the Persian threat.

At the same time, more and more scholars accept that a) there was no encompassing Germanic identity b) many Germanic tribes we know from our sources forged their identity during and after the contact with Romans (often on Roman soil).

I understand Spanish well enough to afford cursory readings. When Tovar's narrative is shaped by historicist approaches such as Bosch-Gimpera's, uncritical reading of sources etc.. For me material culture = people = language (and change in material culture = invasion) is an obsolete paradigm and I don't need a short article (in Spanish or in any other language) to change my mind.
Drago?
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#55
You ask for evidence of Celt- names - they are given, but you deny them as being admissible.
Christopher Gwinn
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#56
Quote:But for Caesar Germans were less civilized (cities, by the way, are one of the hallmarks of civilization, back then and now). See Riggsby's careful analysis I linked above.
As mentioned repeatedly, beyond the Rhine there was a similar "city"-based culture, proving Caesar's account wrong.

Caesars account says that the Germans don't have a city based culture, thats a difference. The Oppida across the Rhine were not inhabited by Germans. The casual reader of the BG may get the impression that are barely any Celts are living east of the Rhine, but Caesars doesn't deny the fact.
Michael
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#57
[post edited]

To all members in this discussion - relax! This is a very old - and unsolved - discussion, so please give up trying to resolve this here. You won't succeed.
Please do not make ad hominem attacks here either. No one here knows how many any other member has read, so please refrain from such remarks.
Quote:
Quote:Antonio Tovar has an interesting article on this, if you read Spanish
Sorry, it looks very unconvincing to me. Outdated perspective and outdated scholarship (well, the article itself was first(?) published in 1977).
And it confirms my position above. Those names are from the Roman period.
Also, it's quite unfair to dismiss this evidence 'because it's from the Roman period'. I imagine that you can tell us a good number of names from the pre-Roman period (that is, taken from other sources than Roman)?
Quote:What names I can trace from this list they show up in inscriptions dated after the Roman conquest (with recognizable Latin morphology and even derivation, e.g. Celticus), therefore this onomastic sample may be entirely irrelevant to pre-Roman identities. They could have get such names from the conquering Romans
Are you really suggesting thaat these names are Roman and unconnected to a Celtic linguistic group? I find that extremely difficult to believe.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#58
[post edited by moderator]
Quote:Also, it's quite unfair to dismiss this evidence 'because it's from the Roman period'. I imagine that you can tell us a good number of names from the pre-Roman period (that is, taken from other sources than Roman)?
Why? It is claimed here that Celts called themselves that way before Romans preconceptions shaped Celt-ness as an umbrella term for them, and moreover that Celt was an authentic and meaningful name for them (and so we got to Celtillus and the other "Celts"). If indeed this is the case, then we need pre-Roman evidence, don't we?
We do have pre-Roman inscriptions in both Iberia and Gaul in what we call Celtic languages (though I've read some recent suggestions - based on evidence such as the Botorrita plaques - that Celtiberian could be a non-Celtic IE language or a more divergent Celtic language, an early split from a proto-Celtic dialectal continuum)

Quote:Are you really suggesting thaat these names are Roman and unconnected to a Celtic linguistic group? I find that extremely difficult to believe.
Some may contain Celtic names and words re-used in Latin, but names like Celtillus or Celticus look Roman enough to me.

However we have no reason to believe that only Celtic speakers had "Celtic" names.
Drago?
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#59
Quote:You ask for evidence of Celt- names - they are given, but you deny them as being admissible.
I asked for some arguments for that "*kelt- root" which "existed in both the Gaulish and Celtiberian languages", being "amply attested in both". I am expecting Gaulish and Celtiberian texts, not Latin ones.
Drago?
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#60
Quote:
Quote:Also, it's quite unfair to dismiss this evidence 'because it's from the Roman period'. I imagine that you can tell us a good number of names from the pre-Roman period (that is, taken from other sources than Roman)?
Why?
Why? You challenged the claim by others that names with -celt- in them could be used as proof for 'Celt' being a correct name for the group - well, what's being discussed here. You say that the names provided are not admissable because the come from the Roman period.
First of all, I do not see why any name from the Roman period must be a name that arrived only after the Roman occupation. Hundreds of names that we find in Gaul and other occupied territories are clearly not Roman, so i fail to see your argument that these must be Roman and cannot be pre-Roman.
Secondly, I think that we do know precious little pre-Roman names, since history only begins with the Romans. Hence my question - if you dismiss names from the Roman period as inadmissable, I ask you if you even know sources that provide names from the pre-Roman period.
Quote:However we have no reason to believe that only Celtic speakers had "Celtic" names.
Are you arguing that this is a case like the personal name 'Dutch', which is not being used by a Dutchman, and also does not originate with a group calling themselves 'Dutch', but are referred to as such by others only?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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