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Thread: Question about Brennos' interview

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    EB on ALX player Member ziegenpeter's Avatar
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    Default Question about Brennos' interview

    Good day fellow EB-Fans!
    So I was reading the interview with Brennus/Brennos and stumbled upon the passage where he states that Brythonic and Iron Age Irish weren't Celts. He also says that he doesnt like the term itself. So I was wondering, if that term is so unclear, how can you say that they weren't? They spoke a 'celtic' language right? Or at least a language very close to Gaulish. As you can see my knowledge about this subject is very limited, please help my to broaden it.
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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    I thought Brennus explained it well enough. I'll try to do a stripped down version for clarity.

    The British and Irish had the material culture called 'La Tene' by archeologists. An archeological culture doesn't necessarily mean an ethnic culture (e.g. if my car is from a French manufacturer, it doesn't mean I am French).
    On the continent, Herodotus and Caesar together place a group of La Tene (maybe Halstatt for Herodotus) peoples in modern day southern France who are ethnically called 'Celts/Keltoi'.

    Later on, in the 18th Century, Edward Lluyd proposed that the British languages that were not English formed a group that was closely related to Gallic.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Lluyd
    As such Irish, Scottish and Welsh (and Cornish, but that was nearly extinct at the time) became called 'Celtic' although no-one had ever called them that before. But it soon became a foundation of nationalist movements in each country, although it hadn't been previously.

    The disconnection between the classical celts and the modern day idea of celtic identity is what Brennus is trying to underline. In the classical period no-one ever called a Briton celtic.
    Last edited by Maeran; 06-25-2013 at 19:56.

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    EB on ALX player Member ziegenpeter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Ok archeological culture doesnt equal ethnic culture, but what else have we got? Especially, when those Peoples spoke languages which shared a common ancenstor.
    What you are saying is that "Celtoi" was a greco-roman term for mainland "celts" (or only gauls? I didnt get that) and only because they spoke similar languages and had archeological similarities, you couldnt call the iron age irish and british "celts".

    Sooooo what term is there? How do we call this linguistic-archeological cultural continuum spanning from scotland to iberia, from armorica to galatia? Or are there hints that they werent related culturally?

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    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Sorry it took so long to answer this.

    Within modern Celtic archaeology there are two opposing camps; Celticist, who see the aforementioned linguistic-archaeological cultural continuum, and anti-Celticists (like myself) who prefer to see a more complex pattern. In truth there are a variety of cultural differences which lead us to think that the "Celts" were not nearly as uniform as previously theorised. One of the first to be identified is the fact that house styles differed considerably. In temperate continental Europe (except for a few isolated finds in Normandy which appear to be the result of British immigrants) people inhabited rectilinear houes, the same is also true for Celtiberia. However in Britain (except for late 1st century BC and 1st century AD south east Britain), north western Iberia and, we think, Ireland, people lived in round houses. The round house and rectilinear house pattern has is a continuation of Bronze Age traditions and predates the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures which we associate with the Celts.

    The cultual continuum is also not as uniform as it may appear. The Celtiberians did not make use of the La Tene style, except for a few imports from Gaul, and neither did southern Ireland or Galatia. The Britons, although usually classified as being part of the La Tene world, had a variant of La Tene which is unique enough to warrant it being ascribed its own typological sequence. Nor can we, with certainty, link the British style to the continental style and its developments. Also, within the continental style we find variations, most notably in Hungary where a regionalised style known as Dragon La Tene exists. The Gauls around Robertesque and in Bohemia produced stone sculptures whilst those else where produced wooden sculptures, or in some case no sculptures at all. Also a supposed cultural continuum doesn't explain why some Celts adopted coinage and some did not. Nor does it explain why those Celts who adopted coinage based their coinage on different Mediterranean models; the Belgae based their coinage on Tarentine and the Macedonian coinage of Phillip II, those east of the Rhine used the coinage of Alexander the Great, the Celtiberians used Roman and Punic coinage as the basis of their issues whilst the Arverni used Rhodian, Massaliote and Macedonian coinage. The Britons adopted Belgic coinage but then changed it so much that the later issues bear no similarity to the original Belgic coins. Likewise with the adoption of writing, the Gauls adopted the Greek alphabet, the Celtiberians used the Iberian and then the Latin script whilst some Britons used the Latin script whilst the Irish developed their own script, ogham.

    It is also theorised that, until about c.200 BC, the phrase "Celt" was not commonplace among Celtic peoples. As a result of mercenary service in the Mediterranean and Near East and contact with Mediterranean societies who used the term, Celt was adopted by more people in Iberia and temperate Europe as a means of identifying themselves. However, until the 18th century, no-one in Britain or Ireland (except possibly the Belgae and Parisii) referred to themselves as Celts.
    Last edited by Brennus; 07-01-2013 at 09:15.



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  5. #5

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    What are the linguistic differences though? Modern day England and Germany vary considerably yet both countries speak Germanic languages.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    So, would the proper way to use the term Celtic be similar to the proper use of the term "Semitic," to refer to a large group of related languages/peoples (depending on the context) that are more-or-less related to each other? So, no one would speak "Celtic," they would speak a Gallic, Brythonic, Goidilic, Celtiberian, Volcae etc language, which is part of a larger Celtic language family. It seems like splitting hairs, but it emphasizes the locality rather than just painting with a wide brush of "Celtic."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Dargaron View Post
    So, would the proper way to use the term Celtic be similar to the proper use of the term "Semitic," to refer to a large group of related languages/peoples (depending on the context) that are more-or-less related to each other? So, no one would speak "Celtic," they would speak a Gallic, Brythonic, Goidilic, Celtiberian, Volcae etc language, which is part of a larger Celtic language family. It seems like splitting hairs, but it emphasizes the locality rather than just painting with a wide brush of "Celtic."
    Another way to look at it is in terms of it's meaningless within ancient writing. By which I mean, the term Celt (like Gaul) is simply a cover-all term. The nearest modern day example (at least that I feel comfortable using) would be 'Asian'. In certain contexts it can be a pejorative, and it is wide ranging in its use. Imagine some civilisation in a couple of thousand years from now, picking through the remnants of a mostly lost/destroyed literature and trying to piece together the 'Asian' language, orthe original homeland of these 'Asian' people. Perhaps we might have some mythical 'Asian' Kingdom or hegemony developed as a background for this 'peoples'/civilisation.

    In short; there are a lot of myths and beliefs around the idea of Celticism and most of these have no real bearing in contemporary historical data or archaeological data.
    Last edited by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus; 06-30-2013 at 22:46.

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    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Dargaron View Post
    So, would the proper way to use the term Celtic be similar to the proper use of the term "Semitic," to refer to a large group of related languages/peoples (depending on the context) that are more-or-less related to each other? So, no one would speak "Celtic," they would speak a Gallic, Brythonic, Goidilic, Celtiberian, Volcae etc language, which is part of a larger Celtic language family. It seems like splitting hairs, but it emphasizes the locality rather than just painting with a wide brush of "Celtic."
    Pretty much. Although you could further split hairs by adding a Belgic linguistic group, assuming you accept the work of Hans Kuhn "Volker schweissen Germanen und Kelten".

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Somnorum View Post
    What are the linguistic differences though? Modern day England and Germany vary considerably yet both countries speak Germanic languages.
    The traditional approach, although an increasing number of phonologists are questioning it, has been to divide the "Celtic" languages (Atlantean has not caught on as a term) into P and Q groups, based on the above differences in translation. It also helps that the extant Q languages all stem from Old Irish whilst the extant P languages all stem from Iron Age British. At present the classification is as such:

    Q Celtic:

    Irish/Gaelic
    Scots Gaelic (Incorrectly referred to by many Scots as "Gallic", also may have some influences from the now extinct Pictish and British Strathclyde languages)
    Manx (Extinct as of the 1974, however since revived, also strongly influenced by Early Medieval Norse)

    P Celtic

    Welsh
    Breton (Also influenced by Gaulish)
    Cornish (Extinct 1777 as a primary language but undergoing a revival since)

    I should also add that all of these languages have been strongly influenced by neighbouring English and French.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    Another way to look at it is in terms of it's meaningless within ancient writing. By which I mean, the term Celt (like Gaul) is simply a cover-all term. The nearest modern day example (at least that I feel comfortable using) would be 'Asian'. In certain contexts it can be a pejorative, and it is wide ranging in its use. Imagine some civilisation in a couple of thousand years from now, picking through the remnants of a mostly lost/destroyed literature and trying to piece together the 'Asian' language, orthe original homeland of these 'Asian' people. Perhaps we might have some mythical 'Asian' Kingdom or hegemony developed as a background for this 'peoples'/civilisation.

    In short; there are a lot of myths and beliefs around the idea of Celticism and most of these have no real bearing in contemporary historical data or archaeological data.
    You haven't read a book by Peter Wells "Beyond Celts, Germans and Scythians" have you? He makes pretty much the same point with regards to the term Asian.



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  9. #9

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Brennus View Post
    Pretty much. Although you could further split hairs by adding a Belgic linguistic group, assuming you accept the work of Hans Kuhn "Volker schweissen Germanen und Kelten".



    The traditional approach, although an increasing number of phonologists are questioning it, has been to divide the "Celtic" languages (Atlantean has not caught on as a term) into P and Q groups, based on the above differences in translation. It also helps that the extant Q languages all stem from Old Irish whilst the extant P languages all stem from Iron Age British. At present the classification is as such:

    Q Celtic:

    Irish/Gaelic
    Scots Gaelic (Incorrectly referred to by many Scots as "Gallic", also may have some influences from the now extinct Pictish and British Strathclyde languages)
    Manx (Extinct as of the 1974, however since revived, also strongly influenced by Early Medieval Norse)

    P Celtic

    Welsh
    Breton (Also influenced by Gaulish)
    Cornish (Extinct 1777 as a primary language but undergoing a revival since)

    I should also add that all of these languages have been strongly influenced by neighbouring English and French.
    I would go a little further than this. I am working on an argument that English and Welsh have evolved from similar linguistic backgrounds; that, specifically the Welsh language is a form of vulgar Latin (and that the term cymru is based around the same concept as Latinis Vulgaris) upon a Brythonnic stratum - but that stratum is 'Germanic'.

    I also believe that Irish (Goidellic) has, itself, a strong 'Germanic' stratum. (I don't like the term 'Germanic' any more than I like 'Celtic' btw, I think both are steeped in quasi nationalist/ethnic drivel.



    Quote Originally Posted by Brennus View Post
    You haven't read a book by Peter Wells "Beyond Celts, Germans and Scythians" have you? He makes pretty much the same point with regards to the term Asian.
    I haven't. Is it worth pursuing in your opinion?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    (I don't like the term 'Germanic' any more than I like 'Celtic' btw, I think both are steeped in quasi nationalist/ethnic drivel.
    But there's the rub. From a denotative standpoint, 'Celtic' refers to a set of similar cultures and languages which tend to differ from cultures and languages termed 'Germanic,' or 'Latin.' The problem is that the term is over-generalised in popular culture. Most labels can be discredited on a connotative basis. Furthermore, the comparison between 'Germanic' and 'Asian' is frankly unfair. Germanic languages and cultures evince strong familial relations hinting at a common origin whereas the designation 'Asian' describes a geographic region. Obviously, outside influences can alter a language - for instance, about 70% of English words have a non-English root - but the grammar and base of the languages can still be identified as belonging to a certain group. Again, almost all the words in this post have Anglo-Saxon origins. Not to mention languages at the fringe of a lingual group tend to blend with neighbouring tongues like modern Swiss.

    Am I delusional, or does ancient Irish have more in common with Gaulish than Proto-Germanic?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Somnorum View Post
    But there's the rub. From a denotative standpoint, 'Celtic' refers to a set of similar cultures and languages which tend to differ from cultures and languages termed 'Germanic,' or 'Latin.' The problem is that the term is over-generalised in popular culture. Most labels can be discredited on a connotative basis. Furthermore, the comparison between 'Germanic' and 'Asian' is frankly unfair. Germanic languages and cultures evince strong familial relations hinting at a common origin whereas the designation 'Asian' describes a geographic region. Obviously, outside influences can alter a language - for instance, about 70% of English words have a non-English root - but the grammar and base of the languages can still be identified as belonging to a certain group. Again, almost all the words in this post have Anglo-Saxon origins. Not to mention languages at the fringe of a lingual group tend to blend with neighbouring tongues like modern Swiss.

    Am I delusional, or does ancient Irish have more in common with Gaulish than Proto-Germanic?
    The term Asian was intended specifically in terms of Celts. In terms of Germanic, I would agree that there exist a number of relationships in terms of language, but in terms of culture? How similar were the various peoples crammed into the 'Germanic' box in reality? In terms of archaeology there are pretty comprehensive differences in settlement type and, seemingly, religious practice between -for example - the Iron Age cultures seen in Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

    Was Caesar (for example) referencing language when he talked of Germani and Celts? Tacitus tells us that the Aesti, who lived to the East of the Suebi in his time, shared the dress and practice of the Suebi but spoke a language similar to that of the Britons.

    As for Irish being like Gaulish...do you have any idea of how poorly Gaulish is actually attested? What written evidence exists for Gaulish is spread over a 400 year period, over a pretty large geographical area, mostly in the form of personal names. The idea that from this we can construct a language is...bizarre. It requires that a single language was spoken over a large geographical area over a very long period of time. Further, many of the inscriptions that are classed as 'Gaulish' are Galatian - on the basis that it was said to be Gaulish. It wasn't. It was said to be similar to that of the Treveri, who identified themselves as Germani.

    Of course if Gaulish dialects (particularly Northern dialects of Gaulish) were of a North European dialect continua then..Irish would have similarities - as it would with other Northern European dialects.

    In terms of language the big problem is the nortion of the language tree - it is predicated on a number of false premises. First, that there are/were standard languages from which degenerate dialects form (proto-Germanic, proto-Celtic etc.), secondly that languages are essentially genealogical. The former is an error we see playing out, still, in our understanding of language development - and it is a structure imposed by class bias (that of the original modelers of language structure). What is really going on is socially/culturally stronger languages (particularly written, Imperial languages) drawing local dialects toward itself. What really needs to be looked at, in terms of language groups - or rather what needs to be given greater emphasis are phonological structures and choices of orthography (and in terms of orthography, how those choices - and the social structure of language, have affected language).

    In terms of Celtic as a language group; John T Koch - having deciphered Tartessian as a Celtic language - put it subtly when he suggested that what we regard as 'Celtic' may in fact be a much deeper (read older) linguistic element in European languages. Bad linguistics, based upon bad history has created a monster. If I show you what these ideas are, at heart, based upon you might be surprised as to just how unscientific their basis are.

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    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    Was Caesar (for example) referencing language when he talked of Germani and Celts?
    He was likely quoting Poseidonius, who first described the Germani as being Celts east of the Rhine.



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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Brennus View Post
    He was likely quoting Poseidonius, who first described the Germani as being Celts east of the Rhine.
    Indeed, and so...was Poseidonius refering to language, or to perceived cultural affinity? All that it actually refers to is (as you were probably pointing out) that Germani refers to peoples in Germania - ie it is (initially) simply a geographical reference.

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    Uergobretos Senior Member Brennus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    It seems that, as far as I understand it, Germani was originally a Celtic term equivalent to "neighbours".



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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Brennus View Post
    It seems that, as far as I understand it, Germani was originally a Celtic term equivalent to "neighbours".
    Or...from the Latin Germanus (related to germen), meaning brother (hence hermano Sp.). I can't find a Greek cognate yet, perhaps Caesar used the nearest term in Latin to the original Greek form.

    *Though I think it is interesting that the Spanish languages (Catalan, Galician etc.) are the ones that seem more likely to use germanus as opposed to frater so that there may, indeed, be a deeper South-West European root. But the proposed Irish-Celtic roots are very weak.
    Last edited by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus; 07-02-2013 at 18:50.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    In terms of language the big problem is the nortion of the language tree - it is predicated on a number of false premises. First, that there are/were standard languages from which degenerate dialects form (proto-Germanic, proto-Celtic etc.), secondly that languages are essentially genealogical. The former is an error we see playing out, still, in our understanding of language development - and it is a structure imposed by class bias (that of the original modelers of language structure). What is really going on is socially/culturally stronger languages (particularly written, Imperial languages) drawing local dialects toward itself. What really needs to be looked at, in terms of language groups - or rather what needs to be given greater emphasis are phonological structures and choices of orthography (and in terms of orthography, how those choices - and the social structure of language, have affected language).
    But a lingual group might still have a core or point of origin, then. If a powerful tribe or confederation dominated or heavily influenced neighbouring peoples, the result should be an expanding sphere of languages which show more similarities closer to the centre. Take, for example, Romance languages today, (unless you're going to tear that commonplace notion to shreds.)

    Could you explain more, though, what 'genealogical' means in this context? I understand linear genealogy cannot explain the development of languages, but doesn't lateral mixing - a proverbial lingual marriage - make up for the deficiencies?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Somnorum View Post
    But a lingual group might still have a core or point of origin, then. If a powerful tribe or confederation dominated or heavily influenced neighbouring peoples, the result should be an expanding sphere of languages which show more similarities closer to the centre. Take, for example, Romance languages today, (unless you're going to tear that commonplace notion to shreds.)
    I have no need to tear to shreds the effect that Latin has had on European languages. In fact it is the impact of Latin that has, I think, caused confusion regarding the idea of lineage in linguistics. Latin (and the Empire that it represented) was a special case, in a number of ways. There are a couple of points to make, though, regarding Latin and then regarding how Latin the Romance languages are.

    The Latin that we know from written records (Clasical Latin) is itself a social dialect within Rome. There are suggestions that the grammatical structure is based upon Etruscan, and that "hyper-correct" Latin was a social marker (in much the same way that RP English is seen as such today). In terms of the Romance languages...they aren't Latin. Even with hundreds of years of domination what got spoken was what are termed Vulgar Latins. This is most likely due to much larger rural communities in Europe, whose interaction with Roman officialdom would likely have been fleeting. French is very litle like Italian (and both of those standard languages don't - or certainly didn't until very recently - relate to the dialects spoken within homes across large areas of their respective countries). In fact French bears a number of grammatical and lexical similarities with German and English.

    So, in terms of some powerful group, who would you suggest that might be? Who else in Western and Northern Europe had such a strong hand, and a literate elite capable of exemplifying 'proper' grammatical and lexical knowledge? Latin has, in fact, continued to dominate language in terms of it having ben seen as the language of learning. It's orthography and phonology have affected all of the languages of Europe well after the fall of the Empire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Somnorum View Post
    Could you explain more, though, what 'genealogical' means in this context? I understand linear genealogy cannot explain the development of languages, but doesn't lateral mixing - a proverbial lingual marriage - make up for the deficiencies?
    Language simply doesn't work like a family tree. There is no yy+ xy formula. Standard languages are not precursors to degenerate dialects (which is all that a tree can model) but rather dialects are constantly evolving due to contacts and isolations from other dialects. Dialects (and therefore language) are continually changing. In order to understand something of the languages of the past the best we can do is try and understand the sound systems and cognates between different groups. Trying to formulate some notional proto-Celtic or proto-Germanic is meaningless, because those languages did not exist (proto-PIE, the 'ultimate' goal ends up with roots that are, to all intents and purposes, phonologically empty, so that one might wonder quite how anyone could understand what anybody was saying amongst all the gasps and hoiks).

    There was a passage I was going to quote, regarding early linguistic thinking, to try and highlight how misplaced the idea is; what it is based upon, but I cannot find it right now. I will dig it out by tomorrow.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    So, in terms of some powerful group, who would you suggest that might be? Who else in Western and Northern Europe had such a strong hand, and a literate elite capable of exemplifying 'proper' grammatical and lexical knowledge? Latin has, in fact, continued to dominate language in terms of it having ben seen as the language of learning. It's orthography and phonology have affected all of the languages of Europe well after the fall of the Empire.
    No idea. I claim no expertise in the area. I'm only arguing to improve my own understanding.

    Language simply doesn't work like a family tree. There is no yy+ xy formula. Standard languages are not precursors to degenerate dialects (which is all that a tree can model) but rather dialects are constantly evolving due to contacts and isolations from other dialects. Dialects (and therefore language) are continually changing. In order to understand something of the languages of the past the best we can do is try and understand the sound systems and cognates between different groups. Trying to formulate some notional proto-Celtic or proto-Germanic is meaningless, because those languages did not exist (proto-PIE, the 'ultimate' goal ends up with roots that are, to all intents and purposes, phonologically empty, so that one might wonder quite how anyone could understand what anybody was saying amongst all the gasps and hoiks).
    Language trees, though inadequate in their current form, can be modified to represent a constantly shifting lingual environment where not all the languages are stem from the same root or even stem from a root at all but develop independently. The problem seems to me not to be the abstraction of trees but current designs, especially where all the languages in a group spring from the same ancestor. After enough alteration, though, I suppose the system's not really a family tree anymore.


    On the subject of ancient languages, I'm curious as to which tongue was used to represent the Sweboz in EBI. And how has new research changed the linguistic picture of the Sweboz and Lugiones in EBII?
    Last edited by Rex Somnorum; 07-03-2013 at 02:00.

  19. #19
    COYATOYPIKC Senior Member Flatout Minigame Champion Arjos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    *Though I think it is interesting that the Spanish languages (Catalan, Galician etc.) are the ones that seem more likely to use germanus as opposed to frater so that there may, indeed, be a deeper South-West European root. But the proposed Irish-Celtic roots are very weak.
    I'm in no way a linguist, but could Goths, Alans, Vandals and Suebians have something to do with it?
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-03-2013 at 05:37.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Somnorum View Post
    No idea. I claim no expertise in the area. I'm only arguing to improve my own understanding.
    Sorry if it came across as confrontational, it wasn't intended as such. The point is that you are right. IF a language (dialect) is from a powerful enough group, then there is an argument for lineal descent - ie it can be shown that certain words, grammars etc. can be shown to have a particular origin. In terms of European languages that was Latin. Even the strong (Imperial) languages that have come since have been, themselves, heavily influenced by Latin as the language of learning (still retaining an elite structure within European societies). It is the experience of Latin (and the following Standard English, German, French, Spanish) that can give the impression that lineal heritage is reasonable, but even that impression is incorrectly based upon the idea that Romance languages degenerated from Classical Latin (and equally, in terms of the argument in English, that dialects are degenerations from some proposed original standard). The vulgar Latins were, essentially, creoles; languages containing Latin terms morphed by the local phonological diaspora and containing local lexical terms.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Somnorum View Post
    Language trees, though inadequate in their current form, can be modified to represent a constantly shifting lingual environment where not all the languages are stem from the same root or even stem from a root at all but develop independently. The problem seems to me not to be the abstraction of trees but current designs, especially where all the languages in a group spring from the same ancestor. After enough alteration, though, I suppose the system's not really a family tree anymore.
    You've pretty much hit the nail on the head; once you treat languages as they actually behave then the tree model becomes untenable. Here is the quote I was looking for (it is actually by Charles Darwin, but he understood the basis behind the tree model;

    "It may be worth while to illustrate this view of classification, by taking the case of languages. If we possessed a perfect pedigree of mankind, a genealogical arrangement of the races of man would afford the best classification of the various languages now spoken throughout the world; and if all extinct languages, and all intermediate and slowly changing dialects, had to be included, such an arrangement would, I think, be the only possible one. Yet it might be that some very ancient language had altered little, and had given rise to few new languages, whilst others (owing to the spreading and subsequent isolation and states of civilisation of the several races, descended from a common race) had altered much, and had given rise to many new languages and dialects. The various degrees of difference in the languages from the same stock, would have to be expressed by groups subordinate to groups; but the proper or even only possible arrangement would still be genealogical; and this would be strictly natural, as it would connect together all languages, extinct and modern, by the closest affinities, and would give the filiation and origin of each tongue."

    Origin of Species, Chapter 13 - Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Somnorum View Post
    On the subject of ancient languages, I'm curious as to which tongue was used to represent the Sweboz in EBI. And how has new research changed the linguistic picture of the Sweboz and Lugiones in EBII?
    I believe that it was based upon proto-Germanic, which is less problemtaic than many other proto languages, simply because it is acknowledged as being much more recent. It still has problems in my opinion, not the least of which is the idea of lineage from a single point; but also (and in order to fit that idea) such concepts as chain shifts (there may be an argument for independent chain shifts within etymologies, but for a whole set of dialects...?)
    Last edited by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus; 07-03-2013 at 09:31.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    I'm in no way a linguist, but could Goths, Alans, Vandals and Suebians have something to do with it?
    The word itself is from the Latin (from the same root germen (bud, seed), from which we get germinate). It has been argued that it came into more general use in order to differentiate brother as a blood relation as opposed to a more general 'brotherhood'(fraternity etc.)

    The point about the Goths, Suebi etc is interesting though, because they seem to have left very little impact upon languages on their way through Southern Europe.

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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Couldn't it be a description for an encompassing attribute for groups? Similar to Alemanni? Maybe something like Her- Manaz? Or has anyone proposed a convincing case for the 'e' sound turning into 'a'?
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-03-2013 at 10:50.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    Couldn't it be a description for an encompassing attribute for groups? Similar to Alemanni? Maybe something like Her- Manaz? Or has anyone proposed a convincing case for the 'e' sound turning into 'a'?
    To get things into context. It seems that the term hermano, irmano etc are from the Latin germanus (from root germen).

    In terms of why the original inhabitants of 'germania' were called Germani; the original (which Caesar is possibly quoting) may have been from a local term (hence no Greek cognate) that Caesar chose to relate as germani. The problems arise when, if it means 'neighbour' or 'arm of' and relates the term man in a Germanic sense then...it follows that the description of them as neighbours came from...their neighbours (a peoples are unlikely to define themselves as their neighbour's neighbour); it follows also that (being Germanic rooted words) their neighbours spoke a similar language.... Their neighbours are supposed to be 'Celts', yet here they are describing their neighbours in a decidedly Germanic way.

    I don't have an issue with that, but it doesn't really fit the 'Celtic' model.

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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    I had in mind more of a self-determination for something broad (socially or perhaps related to a particular activity; that to Germanic tribes had little to do with ethnicity), which the Keltoi would mistakenly apply to everyone, using their own phonetics...
    Similar cases afaik happened a lot in history...
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-03-2013 at 12:14.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    I had in mind more of a self-determination for something broad (socially or perhaps related to a particular activity; that to Germanic tribes had little to do with ethnicity), which the Keltoi would mistakenly apply to everyone, using their own phonetics...
    Similar cases afaik happened a lot in history...
    If Caesar is quoting Poseidonius then it was a description of Kelts the other side of the Rhine. Failing a Greek cognate of germanus (which I have not discovered) - which would explain the word in terms of a Greek form meaning brother/kin - then the term, even from their neighbours would also be 'Celtic'. The problem with seeking the 'Celtic' language is - as I say - that what we are looking for is a 'peoples' and their language which are simply the products of imagined scenarios, the inventions of 18th century 'historians' working on stories of Kingdoms, conquests, races...and including giants (I kid you not) and the genealogical histories of Noah's sons.

    The problem with this is that some of the evidence of this 'Celtic' language and who counts as 'Celtic' peoples are not evidence at all, but rather the equivalent of square etymologies forced into round holes - even when there is a perfectly round, well sized piece sitting right at hand. But...the piece that fits might be classed as 'germanic' so...that can't be right.

    the best example I have of this is volcae. It seems to be accepted that this is an ancient form of 'Welsh', derived from the Germanic 'wealah' - meaning slave or (allegedly) foreigner. So, in this scenario we are to believe that these Celtic people are Celtic because they were described as foreign by neighbouring 'germanic' peoples. Not only that, but they took the name up and declared themselves as the foreigners of Tectosages. Of course, the round piece that makes much more sense is known today in German as volk, in English as folk. It also has a cognate in Latin, vulg, from whence vulgaris.

    The problem is with treating 'Celtic' as exisiting as a language at all. It was a catch-all term and the idea of any 'homeland' or 'peoples' or language associated with it are later inventions. What Koch was getting at (when he had deciphered Tartessian as Celtic) was that what we have created as a Celtic language might actually be a much broader, older, root within European languages.

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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    What Koch was getting at (when he had deciphered Tartessian as Celtic) was that what we have created as a Celtic language might actually be a much broader, older, root within European languages.
    Is a Proto-Celtic Language suggested for the Unetice culture then? And related languages stemming from it? So there really were much more fragmented (ie: unintelligible) languages over the "Keltic world"?

    Is this so different from what is already thought? Or what are you getting at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    If Caesar is quoting Poseidonius then it was a description of Kelts the other side of the Rhine.
    About this, wasn't there already a mention of Germani in the late third century BCE? I'm pretty sure it was used to define generic transalpine allies of the Insubres...
    That's one century before of Poseidonios...
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-03-2013 at 14:53.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    Is a Proto-Celtic Language suggested for the Unetice culture then? And related languages stemming from it? So there really were much more fragmented (ie: unintelligible) languages over the "Keltic world"?
    I think that has been an argument. I don't think that is what Koch is suggesting (and his, and others', work on Celtic from the West is certainly not consistent with that), nor is that - at all - what I am saying. What is correct here is that there were many dialects being spoken, and certainly a greater degree of unintelligible fragmentation than the concept of 'Gaulish' or 'Celtic' (as they are currently projected) appear to infer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    Is this so different from what is already thought? Or what are you getting at?
    If there are proto-languages at all then they would have existed in the Last Glacial Maximum Refugia - where relatively confined geographical circumstances would have reduced dialectical divergence, and especially would nullify language contact. That is far deeper into the past than current proto-language models attempt to reach. It is probably impossible to do so given that for the greater stretch of this time there is no written record to work from. By the time we have written languages any proto-language (ie isolated self-consistent (intelligible) dialects) have almost certainly been lost within the centuries of contacts and evolutions that took place in the meantime.

    Latin itself is the result of numerous contacts and phonological evolutions, and Classical Latin is a particular dialect within that dialect group. We know of archaic Latin writings that are entirely unintelligible to 1st Century BC writers. Oscan and Falisian (for example) were treated as separate languages but were actually more intelligible to the Romans than the archaic version of their own language. What I mean to say with that is, Falisian and Oscan were dialects within the same diaspora as Latin, and Classical latin. Which is the 'purer' Italic? Did Latin degenerate from Oscan or Falisian? Its a nonsense to talk in those terms, obviously. But that is, essentially, what a language tree demands; that there was a proto-Italic from which sprung Falisian, Oscan, Latin etc.

    I'm rambling a bit here but...my thinking is predicated upon the scientific method; I look for cause and effect. What is the mechanism that leads to....? is, and should always be seen as, a pertinent question. That is why I dislike the idea of series sound shifts - there is no mechanism to explain it, it just looks like a neat solution. What is(are) the mechanism(s) of language change? That, surely, has to be addressed.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    About this, wasn't there already a mention of Germani in the late third century BCE? I'm pretty sure it was used to define generic transalpine allies of the Insubres...
    That's one century before of Poseidonios...
    If there is such a quote I would be very interested. It might help in terms of where the word is actually from. But, if there truly were Germani as allies of the Insubres, and these are to be conflated with what has come to be understood as 'Germanic' then....their situation in Northern Italy in the 3rd Century BC raises more questions in terms of the 'Celtic' nature of Central Europe at that time.
    Last edited by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus; 07-03-2013 at 15:59.

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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    If there is such a quote I would be very interested. It might help in terms of where the word is actually from.
    I'll try to find it. If my memory serves, they were mentioned as allies in the sense of a dependent group, which Keltic polities could call up to fight...
    Obviously it was all from a Roman point of view, so there might be a lot of romanocentric rationalization...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    what Koch is suggesting (and his, and others', work on Celtic from the West is certainly not consistent with that)
    How does he fits something like Lepontic being attested, with a different alphabet, not even a century after Tartessian? Simply by moving the "however-he-likes-to-call" Proto-Celtic's homeland on the Atlantic?
    If so, what is that an Indo-European teletransport that skipped half of Europe?
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-03-2013 at 15:48.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    I'll try to find it. If my memory serves, they were mentioned as allies in the sense of a dependent group, which Keltic polities could call up to fight...
    Obviously it was all from a Roman point of view, so there might be a lot of romanocentric rationalization...
    Thanks. Even if it is Romano-Centric it may at least help understand the term's roots.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    How does he fits something like Lepontic being attested, with a different alphabet, not even a century after Tartessian? Simply by moving the "however-he-likes-to-call" Proto-Celtic's homeland on the Atlantic?
    If so, what is that an Indo-European teletransport that skipped half of Europe?
    That's a good question. I haven't read Celtic from the West yet (its a very expensive book), so I can't really explain Koch's view in terms of the argument he makes there. But, what he said about Celtic being a deeper root in European languages may be a separate argument than that made in Celtic from the West.

    As for Lepontic... I have tried to understand how such a thinly attributed language has been confirmed as being related to...very much at all. Equally mysterious is the confidence in Thracian as "definitely" an Indo-European language. I rather get the impression that Lepontic may have been 'confirmed' as a Celtic language because....well, it must be. There simply isn't anything like a structural understanding of it that would lead to a confirmation one way or another (even given that any such language group exists).

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    Default Re: Question about Brennos' interview

    Ok it's from the Fasti Triumphales and it goes:

    M(arcus) Claudius M(arci) f(ilius) M(arci) n(epos) Marcellus an(no) DXX[XI] / co(n)s(ul) de Galleis Insubribus et Germ[an(eis)] / K(alendis) Mart(iis) isque spolia opima rettu[lit] / duce hostium Virdumaro ad Clastid[ium] / [interfecto]
    This particular incision has been dated between 19 and 12 BCE. But other fragments have been discovered in other cities, with just variants of forms. So it is debated when the "originals" or other copies can be dated to. However events after 296 BCE seems to be taken from the Annales Maximi, written in 130 BCE. If all of that stands, in 130 BCE Publius Mucius Scaevola might've been speaking of Insubres and their germane (closely related?) allies fighting at Clastidium in 222 BCE.

    What source was he using (Annales recorded by the contemporary Pontifex of 222 BCE?), whether the Fasti that have survived were based on him or whatever. We do not know :P
    Still Poseidonios was writing something like 50 years later...

    And from what we know, the related people/allies were the Senones, Bouiroi and Gaisatoi. That would make Germani an arbitrarily term that Caesar applied to people across the Rhine, related to the Galli. Perhaps to fit his tripartite description of the province he was conquering. (Bad PR saying there are other keltic speakers across the Rhine, he was unable to subdue, let's just call them Germani :D) Subtle differences like Noric, Belgic and Vindelic tongues?
    Or it could be that Germani were "those who are related" to the Suebi, Caesar encountered and might be hinting the former spoke the same language as the latter. (did he ever heard them speak in a different manner?)
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-03-2013 at 18:43.

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