Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Romans, Gauls, Greeks and Egyptians - our well documented early history

Moderator: the_power

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Nerva on Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:15 pm

Hi Billy

One more thing to consider, and getting back to the original point, it's not always useful to consider Classical sources from the first century alongside manuscript sources from twelfth century Ireland, and hold them to be of equal contextual value. Not that anyone has specifically done that here, but it's always something that clouds our thinking on this issue.


Not sure exactly what your point is? My view of the "Celts" is probably a very limited one of a culture which is much in decline by the mid 1st century AD in Europe and Asia, and by the end of the 1st century in Britannia. By the 2nd century it's all but gone, with the possible exception of Ireland. This idea my well be wrong, but aboriginal Celtic culture was certainly dead at this stage and replaced by a Romano Celt fusion - whatever that was.

So to gain an understanding of what Celtic culture was like one has to look at the references of the time, hence the classics. 10th century manuscripts are of little scientific value as the period in question is long passed, and the Celts left no written sources. Like I said at the start, the Romans differentiated the Celts from other cultures by simple criteria. Today we tend to employ more subtle criteria in our definitions, perhaps in an effort to try and justify 'modern' historical arguments about or heritage.

But maybe the Romans were right after all, and while we might like to consider the idea that the peoples in question were all linked by 'Celthood', maybe that's wrong, and while they may well have shared similar traits of one kind or another, they no more represent a Celtic nation that the aboriginal tribes of North America did.

All I can say it that based on Tacitus' definition of a German, I'm sure glad I'm not one :lol:
Vale

Marcvs Vlpius Nerva

Legion Ireland - Roman Military Society of Ireland
Pilus Prior Cohors VIII Legionis XX Valeria Victrix

http://www.romanarmy.ie

info@romanarmy.ie

nerva@romanarmy.ie
User avatar
Nerva
Active Newbie
Full Name: Martin McAree
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:00 am
Location: Corcagia, Hibernia Pronvincia - Cork, Ireland, to you Barbarians!
Karma: 62

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Billy on Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:42 pm

Not sure exactly what your point is?


Well, it wasn't really aimed at you, just a general point on considering Celts. Nevermind.
Billy MagFhloinn
User avatar
Billy
Active Newbie
Real Name: None Set
 
Posts: 247
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Limerick
Karma: 32

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Nerva on Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:21 pm

Hi Billy

What I was asking (all be it not very clearly :) ) was this, are there later texts that provide a more complete picture of the Celts, and if so, what do these texts use as a reference?
Vale

Marcvs Vlpius Nerva

Legion Ireland - Roman Military Society of Ireland
Pilus Prior Cohors VIII Legionis XX Valeria Victrix

http://www.romanarmy.ie

info@romanarmy.ie

nerva@romanarmy.ie
User avatar
Nerva
Active Newbie
Full Name: Martin McAree
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:00 am
Location: Corcagia, Hibernia Pronvincia - Cork, Ireland, to you Barbarians!
Karma: 62

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby gaius marius on Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:11 pm

All i know is they both die 8-)
"The Kaiser knows the Munsters,
by the Shamrock on their caps,
And the famous Bengal Tiger, ever ready for a scrap,
And all his big battalions, Prussian Guards and grenadiers,
Fear to face the flashing bayonets of the Munster Fusiliers."

Go bua
User avatar
gaius marius
Active Newbie
Real Name: None Set
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:36 pm
Karma: 21

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Nerva on Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:13 pm

Oh oh...Pullo's back :twisted:
Vale

Marcvs Vlpius Nerva

Legion Ireland - Roman Military Society of Ireland
Pilus Prior Cohors VIII Legionis XX Valeria Victrix

http://www.romanarmy.ie

info@romanarmy.ie

nerva@romanarmy.ie
User avatar
Nerva
Active Newbie
Full Name: Martin McAree
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:00 am
Location: Corcagia, Hibernia Pronvincia - Cork, Ireland, to you Barbarians!
Karma: 62

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Leinsterman on Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:16 am

I wrote above;

"all 'empires' evolve by holding on to the 'best bits' of assimilated tribes to achive a uniformity some what different to where it started out... if you get my drift. The Romans left sufficient records of how they did it for us to see the process at work."

We often see credit given for what the Romans absorbed from the Greeks, Etruscans etc. We do not often hear similar attribution for the Celts.
'Paper never refused ink'
Leinsterman
Full Name: Kevin O'Toole
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:16 pm
Location: Athy, County Kildare
Karma: 5

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Nerva on Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:30 am

Salve Kevin

You have to bear in mind that the Celts we're seen as a Barbarian race. The Romans admired learning and civilisation. They saw none of this in the Celts. The Celts may have had a rich civilisation from our modern perspective, but it was not something that the Romans would have agreed with.

The Romans did learn much from the Celts, particularly in metal working and the making of arms and armour - but this is not something a Roman historian with a Greek education is going to say a whole lot about.

But let me ask you a question. If you we're an ancient historian, what aspects of Celtic civilisation would you have though noteworthy - then compare this with Greek civilisation - which one would you have spent your time writing about?
Vale

Marcvs Vlpius Nerva

Legion Ireland - Roman Military Society of Ireland
Pilus Prior Cohors VIII Legionis XX Valeria Victrix

http://www.romanarmy.ie

info@romanarmy.ie

nerva@romanarmy.ie
User avatar
Nerva
Active Newbie
Full Name: Martin McAree
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:00 am
Location: Corcagia, Hibernia Pronvincia - Cork, Ireland, to you Barbarians!
Karma: 62

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Leinsterman on Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:01 pm

The strength of Greek learning and culture undoubtedly influenced the Romans greatly. The wealthier Romans became the more they wanted of Greek education for their children. I think this had a lot to do with the fact that Greece was 'absorbed' by Rome over a number of centuries rather that crushed by it. The process allowed time for Romans to appreciate the culture and assimilate it. By contrast the Carthaginians, who had a culture, science base and society possibly equal to the Greeks were obliterated as a hated enemy, and little credit given by the Romans for benefits of contact there. The Celts by association - Hannibal used 25000 Celtic infantry and 5000 Celtic cavalry in the second Punic War - became reviled by Rome. The strength of opposition to Rome, and the speed of the conquest of the Gauls and eventually the Britons did not facilitate the process either.
But the biggest factor militating against any widespread appreciation of Celtic learning and though was the lack of written resources, which did not allow widespread study of the culture, or much opportunity for the philosophers, educators, poets and judges to pass on what they knew. When the 'rymers' (to quote a Tudor phrase) are dead, they are dead and their knowledge with them.

I agree that at a more day to day level some aspects for Celtic knowhow were taken up for the benefit of Roman activity. Besides metal work you could add; Charrioteering - in Caesars own words the Gauls were the best he had ever seen - of course he was not destined to meet Boudica's lot.
Deities - always ones to hedged their bets the Romans adopted some Celtic gods for their shrines.
Clothing - the ubiquitous 'brat', the woolen cloak was quite a fashion statement for Romans at one time.
Hunting dogs - while common in the ancient world the Roman favoured the use of war dogs from these islands.

I'm sure there are lots of other examples.
'Paper never refused ink'
Leinsterman
Full Name: Kevin O'Toole
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:16 pm
Location: Athy, County Kildare
Karma: 5

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Nerva on Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:44 pm

Leinsterman wrote: By contrast the Carthaginians, who had a culture, science base and society possibly equal to the Greeks were obliterated as a hated enemy, and little credit given by the Romans for benefits of contact there.


:shock: I'm not aware the Carthaginians had anything like the sophisticated culture of the Greeks. Yes, the Carthaginians had a trade focused culture, but no philosophical history that I'm aware of. It was Greek thinking that allured the Romans. Remember, the Greek city states we're long gone - absorbed by Macedon - by the time Rome had an interest in the area.
Vale

Marcvs Vlpius Nerva

Legion Ireland - Roman Military Society of Ireland
Pilus Prior Cohors VIII Legionis XX Valeria Victrix

http://www.romanarmy.ie

info@romanarmy.ie

nerva@romanarmy.ie
User avatar
Nerva
Active Newbie
Full Name: Martin McAree
 
Posts: 888
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:00 am
Location: Corcagia, Hibernia Pronvincia - Cork, Ireland, to you Barbarians!
Karma: 62

Re: Celts and Germans - A Roman's Definition

Postby Leinsterman on Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:38 pm

I came accross a reference recently that suggests that the Gauls may have introduced mail armour to the Romans. Early finds of mail include a 'Celtic' chieftain burial in Romania from 4th century BC. Could this be true?
'Paper never refused ink'
Leinsterman
Full Name: Kevin O'Toole
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:16 pm
Location: Athy, County Kildare
Karma: 5

PreviousNext

Return to Classical

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron