Have the British Ever Been Celtic

This is a forum for serious discussions and debate on Celtic linguistics and other scholarly topics regardic Celtic history and culture. Questions are welcome and those forum members who are knowledgeable in this field will do their best to provide questioners with accurate, verifiable answers or help them locate the answers for themselves. Opinions are welcome also, but it must be made clear that any unreferenced statements are the poster's own opinion and not necessarily historical fact. Be ready to cite sources for any assertions you may make.
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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby Heddwen » 16 Apr 2012, 13:52

I always thought that a small pocket of native Brits colonised the south of England where the ice didn't reach. Could these be called original celts as they didn't migrate from Europe?

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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby Gus » 16 Apr 2012, 21:17

Ermmm having read the book quite recently I can say that quite a lot of that post is bs.

e.g.
Oppenheimer seems to be under the impression that populations do not change their languages, rather language replacement only stems from population replacement.
Absolutely not he's quite clear that populations change their language with culture.#
claiming that speakers of a Celtic language arrived in the British Isles around 9000 BC is ludicrous,
He doesn't say that he says that various linguistic models indicate that the earliest it could've arrived is. He then clearly states that the frustrating thing about linguists is their refusal to date anything!
On the other hand, I don't concoct wild theories about genetics and foist them on the unsuspecting public in paperback form.
He's quite clear in stating what he know, genetics, and what he's taken from other studies in other disciplines. He then had his book reviewed by experts in the field. He also clearly references his information to the research papers it is based upon - so suggesting that he's concocted wild theories is somewhat of an overstatement.

There is only one area, from my reading of the book, where the quotes from the other forum raises a valid point
If during the Roman occupation of Britain this area was speaking some early form of English, why don't we have records of Germanic place names here (Ed DaRC - those In eastern England)?
This is something that is a valid criticism - although once again it's looking at a specific point rather than the themes which are around a genetic & cultural split between Eastern and Western Britain that started in the Mesolithic and has continued into recent times.
I think the point the guy was making , which I agree with, but now realise the original author also seems to be trying to make - is that the celts werent so much a race as a culture. It was ideas that invaded the land not genes. which I would ay is spot on - I mean future archeolgists might see a load of washing machines appear around 1950 - that doesnt mean that this signified the invasion of the washing machine people. Christianity is a fine example of a culture spreading throughout the world regardless of the race or even language of its host. However that doent mean we are wrong to say we were descended from Christians - it just means Christians were not a race. Now I know its not that simple with the celts - blood was important in some tribes - but the Celts were really if anything a loose conglomorate of different tribes - some even described as very dark skinned - linked together by some cultural and linguistic bonds . So nobody is wrong in saying they are descended from celts - even if it was a word made up by the greeks for something they didnt understand - anymore than Welsh choral singing is invalidated by the fact that the call themselves the Anglo Saxon word for foreigner.
One thing I would say I disagree with perhaps is the curious case of the Brigantes. They seem to be everywhere- in Austria - in Galicia (there was a city called Brigantes next to that 2000 year old lighthouse which points curiously northwesst towards the coast of Ireland) they are on Ptolemys maps in present day Wexford in Ireland, and of course in Northern England - they are probably the source of the word British and the goddess Brigid, Brittany, Brythonic and of course Brittania - I dont think the author seemed aware of them at all though. Coupled with stoires like the Book of invasions talking of the milinesian invasion from the North of Spain - I think this particular tribe have played a pivotal role in forming British cultural identity . The more I read the more I supect Scythia had a larger role to play in things as well.
At the end of the day we can all be traced back to Africa so I really dont think genetics has too much relevance to cultural heritage - I mean Im probably pretty much genetically identical to a Frenchman but....
The basque thing is interesting though - one of the few places they also have stone circles Euskadi....

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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby DaRC » 17 Apr 2012, 12:59

At the end of the day we can all be traced back to Africa so I really dont think genetics has too much relevance to cultural heritage - I mean Im probably pretty much genetically identical to a Frenchman but....
Agreed :applause:
Celts were really if anything a loose conglomorate of different tribes - some even described as very dark skinned - linked together by some cultural and linguistic bonds .
This is the root problem Celt / Kelt has been used by many people over many millenia to mean different things. It's why many historians / archaeologists want to drop the term completely as it cannot be categorically defined.
The basque thing is interesting though - one of the few places they also have stone circles Euskadi....
Which fits more closely to the Neolithic Atlantic culture / Maritime Bell Beaker. Cunliffe & Koch then propose an Atlantic Bronze Age culture see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Bronze_Age
Which they moot as the root of the modern Celtic cultures. This stands in opposition to the perceived Hallstat cultural root to the Celts.

However, as you have pointed out, the Brigantes don't fit easily into either theory.
they are probably the source of the word British

I don't think you can accurately say this though as there are other just as likely roots (e.g. Pretani)
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain_%28placename%29
The more I read the more I supect Scythia had a larger role to play in things as well.
Well they may well have been early Iron smelters (possibly teaching across Western Europe) but it maybe their later cousins the Sarmatians who, thanks to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, may have had a greater cultural impact.
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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby Fox » 17 Apr 2012, 13:33

Celtic is a state of mind :gulp:
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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby Gus » 17 Apr 2012, 13:55

[quote="DaRC"]
I don't think you can accurately say this though as there are other just as likely roots (e.g. Pretani)
[quote]

Aha - but thats the thing Briteni is the same as Pretani - its just Priteni is the P-celtic version ! It comes from Bri/Pri menaing lofty or something . The romans just hear Pri and wrote it down as Bri - how it sounded to them - phonetics being what they are an all.


The inhabitants of the islands were called the Πρεττανοι (Priteni or Pretani).[4] The shift from the "P" of Pretannia to the "B" of Britannia by the Romans occurred during the time of Julius Caesar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britain_%28placename%29

Although it does beg the question - how do we know that the ancient Britons spelt it with a P ? Or even how they pronounced it ? Im sure a historical linguist would be able to answer this one.
I mean say it to your self now - Pritain - P r i t a i n - sounds pretty much like Britain eh ? The same word can be written down in a variety of different ways depending on the interpretation of the listener - since langauges start as oral traditions and writing is secondary it is important to recognise that homophones are more important than homographs when it comes to assesing the etymological origins of words.

Scrool down :

Celtic *briga 'hill, high place' > Irish brí 'hill'
Celtic *brigant- 'high, lofty, elevated'; used as a feminine divine name, rendered Brigantia in Latin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_toponymy

Im going to speculate that maybe the brigantes were a mountain tribe. I mean they were found here too :

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bregenz

The first settlements date from 1500 BC. Celtic tribe named Brigantii is mentioned by Strabo as a sub-tribe in these region of the Alps
Were these the same people ? - ancient celtic stories abound with visitss to the alps.

Granted its good to be cautious but I think in this case there seem to be a lot of evidence pointing in one direction.
Another thing that is interesting is the Morroco connection, hers a tone circle at Msoura :

http://lostcities.weebly.com/uploads/3/ ... 96.jpg?312

Then the Basque describe there stone circles as work of the Moors (basically Morrocans) and I was also reading somewhere jumping through a fire at Beltaine is still practiced in Morroco to this day.... then something else I was reading took this back to Egypt so..... the plot thickens !
Right off to work....

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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby DJ Droood » 17 Apr 2012, 14:02

Celtic is a state of mind :gulp:
I believe it was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1983.
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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby DaRC » 17 Apr 2012, 17:41

Although it does beg the question - how do we know that the ancient Britons spelt it with a P ? Or even how they pronounced it ? Im sure a historical linguist would be able to answer this one.
I mean say it to your self now - Pritain - P r i t a i n - sounds pretty much like Britain eh ? The same word can be written down in a variety of different ways depending on the interpretation of the listener - since langauges start as oral traditions and writing is secondary it is important to recognise that homophones are more important than homographs when it comes to assesing the etymological origins of words.

Scrool down :

Celtic *briga 'hill, high place' > Irish brí 'hill'
Celtic *brigant- 'high, lofty, elevated'; used as a feminine divine name, rendered Brigantia in Latin
Or they could havejust been arrogant :D
I thought pretani possibly had a meaning rooted in painted people (as in woad) although nothing is certain. It desn't seem to be related to briga.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bregenz
The first settlements date from 1500 BC. Celtic tribe named Brigantii is mentioned by Strabo as a sub-tribe in these region of the Alps
Were these the same people ? - ancient celtic stories abound with visitss to the alps.
Probably not the same people - a sub-tribe of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vindelicia. The trouble with linguistics and translations via Latin at this time is that a whole shedload of misinterpretation can happen. It's also unknown what language the Vindelicia spoke at this time and how far the languages that generated briga / brigant type words had moved from their postulated common root in PIE.
Granted its good to be cautious but I think in this case there seem to be a lot of evidence pointing in one direction.
Another thing that is interesting is the Morroco connection, hers a tone circle at Msoura :
http://lostcities.weebly.com/uploads/3/ ... 96.jpg?312

Then the Basque describe there stone circles as work of the Moors (basically Morrocans) and I was also reading somewhere jumping through a fire at Beltaine is still practiced in Morroco to this day.... then something else I was reading took this back to Egypt so..... the plot thickens !
Right off to work....
Granted that it is most likely that there was cultural cross fertilisation along the Atlantic coast. However, you have to also remember that the Vandals had a kingdom in Morocco in the 5th Cent CE so it could be that fire jumping went the other way!
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most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby Welsh Mythology » 03 Mar 2013, 01:32

It's difficult to reduce these things to pure academia as very often we mean much more than the standard given meaning when we use a term. But in this case I think it's fair enough to stick with the academic definition. Celt and celtic are easily used as language groupings, the surviving branches of which are largely found in Britain. If we're just talking about the British, then the name British or Britain come from the early Welsh Brython, and also Prydain.

In very general terms, these are Celtic (Welsh) names for Celtic (Welsh) concepts that evolved in what we know of as Britain (still called Prydain by the modern Welsh). So clearly, yes, the British have very obvious Celtic roots, especially the Welsh and their other Celtic language cousins on these islands. Bloodlines is another story, but until recently, language generally denoted heritage as much as anything else.
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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby Welsh Mythology » 01 Feb 2015, 02:24

...I can just imagine all the hippies dressed in Pope's hats dancing around Easter eggs...
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Re: Have the British Ever Been Celtic

Postby DJ Droood » 01 Feb 2015, 15:02

...I can just imagine all the hippies dressed in Pope's hats dancing around Easter eggs...
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I love you too, Welsh Mythology!
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