Talk:Celtic law

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Removed weird ending[edit]

In the modern Tribe we primarily utilize the Triads as our body of Law. We see the Triads as a contraction containing the very Spirit of the Brehon Law. We are also bringing forward applicable sections of the Law for use today.

This is inappropriately written in the first person, and links to articles which seem to have nothing to do with Ireland. -- Beland 01:40, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

The Iron age in ireland ended shortly after the Brehon Law was introduced.

And Brehon Law only refers to that in Ireland, not a code of law for all celtic people.

Someone should correct this.

Agreed. The current contents could be merged into Brehon law (if it is reliable) and this article turned into something more general. Rhion 21:12, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

The above comments seem to be based on misreading of the page. It is not simply about Brehon law, or about law in Ireland. It is primarily about how to make sense of law among various social groups who spoke some Celtic language. Its main focus is actually on continental groups, especially in pre-Roman Gaul. In much contempory literature in anthropology, linguistics and history there is a serious interest in attempting to use historical evidence from insular Celtic social orders to help make sense of continental Celtic social orders that existed prior to the Roman conquest of much of temperate northern Europe. The point is to use what we know from classical historical sources (here especially from what Julius Caesar observes in his Gallic Wars but including other Roman and Greek authors) in conjunction with our more direct knowledge from insular Celtic sources to make sense of the earlier continental social systems. It is not about how one might use the Brehon laws for contemporary purposes. The page on Brehon law stands as a seperate topic. It would be a disservice to many of us who have scholarly interests in continental Celtic social orders to try to merge this contribution with the one that deals directly with Brehon law. Brehon law was not exactly "introduced." It was codified. This codification, of course, made major differences in future practices. One of the interesting issues raised in a consideration of Celtic law prior to Romanization and Christianization is the effect of written law.

The comments you refer to were based on a previous version of the page and do not apply to the present article, which has been completely rewritten. Rhion 05:54, 17 July 2006 (UTC)


The article is a tad difficult to read - at times, it seems like every sentence contains a reference to the scarcity of evidence. I realise that it is important to stress that much of the information is speculative, but perhaps there is another way? Gabhala 19:39, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

some of the legal principles that make up Common Celtic law??? wouldnt it be the other way around if common law (law) supercede's statute law (legal)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.96.173.92 (talk) 10:43, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Surfeit of inverted commas[edit]

This page suffers from a surfeit of inverted commas which I find confusing in meaning and which make exactly what the writer is implying by them difficult to assess, namely, whether the writer implies pseudo-identity or lack of universality.

The title of the page is "Celtic law" and not "'Celtic' law". A title using inverted commas would imply that the Celticness of such law was in doubt, cf, modern 'Celtic' jewellery from England, a question of cultural identity. It would not imply that the law was not universal among Celts. Inverted commas in the title might imply that we were discussing a people who were not Celts, but the word Celt is usually most reliably defined academically in relation to linguistic identity, and one presumes that the legal systems of groups to which such a linguistic identity can be reasonably assigned is being discussed here, ie, there is no question of identity, therefore inverted commas are not appropriate in the title.

Either we are talking about the laws of Celts, whether of individual groups or of all Celts, or we are not really talking about the laws of Celts. If we are talking about the law of Celts, the preponderance of inverted commas around the words 'Celt' or 'Celtic' in this article is undesirable. Either we accept that these people are to be labelled Celts or not.

In my view, inverted commas would not normally imply lack of universality to the general reader. Lack of universality would be much less ambiguously expressed by the use of the term 'pan-Celtic' instead of inverted commas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.177.228.109 (talk) 12:46, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Hi anonymous. Just for the record, please use four tildes (4 x ~) to sign your posts. That way other readers will be able to know who said what. I would agree that the persistent use of inverted commas is gratuitous and this sort of punctuation may be prone to misuse in ordinary writing. A few at the beginning should suffice, but I think they are justified. They are meant simply to indicate:
(1) that, as you said, one should be extremely careful about using the label "Celtic" - one cannot assume uniformity among all prehistoric speakers of Celtic languages. The coinage "pan-Celtic" would actually be the wrong way to go and I don't see any other easy way in which one can distance oneself from potentially misleading implications of a term one uses. (What is left out of the discussion, and understandably so, is whether some aspects of legal culture as found among the Celts were also adopted by speakers of other (e.g. Germanic) languages.)
but also (2) that "Celtic law" as discussed in this article is in many ways a hypothetical reconstruction based to a large extent on parallels between Irish and Welsh law as recorded in much later times - in this respect, "Celtic law" looks more appropriate to me than "Celtic" law. Cavila (talk) 15:07, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Corporal and capital punishment in celtic societies, and practical examples[edit]

It's a very good article, Thanks! except that there is no very clear paragraph structuring, the topic is discussed in advanced scholarly terms without many practical layman's terms mixed in to explain some of the scholarly concepts,

i.e. it's like the terms that a scholarly historian would use with other historians, when an initiate(sic) to the field is present.

Also, i am interested in practical examples, for example, of treatments of historical cases of manslaughter, theft, etc. not all tort law?!?!

Also, i found no mention of capital and corporal punishments, and it is clear that many societies take a life for a life, if a daughter is killed by a lover, that family will want his death, and will try to obtain it. And i know that every man had a sword at the time, and they weren't averse to a whole lot of blood and gore. So, i was curious what kinds of punishments were known in ancient Europe, i know for example, of the eagle, which i learnt about from a peat bog corpse, that had been split at the thorax, apparently they had a punishment of taking people's lungs out of their body to watch them make an eagle sound as a form of punishment. having been marked by that information, yikes, i was curious to find information on their criminal justice system from any archaeological and historical factual examples, moderate and severe, and i didn't find any info's on that here.

The blood eagle is associated with the Norse, not the Celts, and the bog bodies are generally thought to be human sacrifices rather than executed criminals. I don't know about other Celtic cultures, but early Irish law was essentially a civil, not criminal, system. The job of the law was not to impose punishments on behalf of the state, the state being very basic at the time, but to adjudicate disputes between individuals and families, most of which were settled by payment of compensation according to the social status of the parties. It allowed for situations where it was permissible for the family of a murder victim to kill the murderer, but did not assume for the state the power to kill murderers. It also allowed for situations where it was permissible for one party to seize property from another (distraint) in recompense for a variety of injuries or torts. But society was essentially composed of more-or-less autonomous kin-groups, with the state and the law having very little power over them, and only providing a framework by which disputes between them could be settled. From what I can tell from reading Caesar, Gaul at the time of the Roman conquest included more developed states which did have the power to impose punishments on criminals, but little detail on Gaulish legal systems has survived. --Nicknack009 (talk) 19:15, 5 November 2014 (UTC)