Talk:Celts

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Celts:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Update : Use references like http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20101228-32083.html (December 2010) and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13225829 (May 2011) to document what BBC News calls evidence that the Celtic "heartland was actually in the region in the upper reaches of the Danube, from where the Celts could trade." Here's a quote from Dr Dirk Krausse, who is in charge of the excavation of the aristocratic burial site both articles are talking about, which is located at the Celtic hill fort at Heuneburg in Baden-Württemberg: "Celtic art and Celtic culture have their origins in south-western Germany, eastern France and Switzerland and spread from there to other parts of Europe. They were then squeezed by the tribes from the north and the Romans from the south, so that today they remain only on the western edges of the continent."

Traditional Celtic Medicine[edit]

I am curious what traditional Celtic medicine consists of as I believe it should be covered by Wikipedia Project Traditional Medicine, a new wiki project which aims to construct a detailed anthropological pharmacopoeia of medicines used by peoples all over the world; to give wikipedia the multi cultural perspective it deserves. Please help increase coverage on organisms and minerals used traditionally in Celtic medicine so this topic can at least go from from peusdo science to social science. There is currently no page for traditional celtic medicine, help change the world.

which vs that[edit]

@Urselius: "Celtic nations which retained [xyz]" implies that all Celtic nations retained xyz, whereas "Celtic nations that retained [xyz]" implies that some did, some did not. The fact the it says they are "the six" does not change anything:

  • 1. These are the Celtic nations
  • 2. Some Celtic nations retained xyz
  • 3a. These are the ones that retained xyz
  • 3b. These are the Celtic nations that retained xyz
  • 4. The Celtic nations that retained xyz are six
  • 5. These are the six Celtic nations that retained xyz

If you take 4. above, "The Celtic nations which retained xyz are six" you will clearly see that "which" implies that all Celtic nations retained xyz and that - as a secondary idea - that they are six. Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 12:06, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

Also, it is not true that "US English tends to restrict the use of 'which' unnecessarily" as you claim. If anything, quite the contrary. Regards, Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 12:12, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
"the six Celtic nations which [or that] retained significant numbers of Celtic speakers into the Early Modern period" is the full phrase. 'Which' or 'that' are both correct in respect to the restrictive relative clause they introduce. Only six Celtic nations are indicated, therefore six is the upper limit of reference, "all Celtic nations" is not an allowable reference or inference within the phrase. What is inferred is that there is the possibility of an external set, "all Celtic nations", of which the six are a subset. If a comma was introduced before 'which' the case would be different - this would imply that 6 was the number of "all Celtic nations" and that "all of them retained ..." I have seen US grammatical or style guides restricting which to use after a comma. This whole miasma was what I wanted to escape by rewording the phrase to avoid the use of either 'which' or 'that', but this was not appreciated by User:Garik. Personally, I cannot see any problem with "the six Celtic nations retaining significant numbers of Celtic speakers into the Early Modern period" Urselius (talk) 15:31, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Urselius, I would agree with you that removing "that"/ "which" would be the logical solution. I mean, if I in good faith straighten a painting that to me appears slightly out of alignment, fine, end of story. If it then attracts a crowd and a committee is formed to decide if the paining is straight or not, then, really it is not worth the point. After all, there is a whole article to work with, like finding references for the Origins section. And after that, millions of other articles. I've just reverted it now for the simple reason that the justification of the previous editor who reverted my edit is that this is a "Varieties of English" issue. It is not. At any rate, cheers, I enjoyed the article and I am moving on. By the way, I landed here trying to figure out why there are a number of pages that/which mention the Celtic "plastic style", always in inverted commas, with no explation as to the use of the inverted commas (which we don't do when refering to other styles) and the only defintion of the style is these few words. Thanks, Guys, good work, regards. Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 20:25, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
I think I somewhat misunderstood Urselius's edit summary, for which I apologise. I still think that "the six Celtic nations retaining significant numbers of Celtic speakers into the Early Modern period" is less good than "the six Celtic nations that retained significant numbers of Celtic speakers into the Early Modern period". The latter (with "that") seems to me to convey what we want to convey unambiguously: That there may be more than six Celtic nations, but that these six retained significant numbers of Celtic speakers into the Early Modern period. The other sentence ("the six Celtic nations retaining significant numbers...") is ok, but in principle ambiguous. It could be interpreted as meaning "These are only six Celtic nations, and this map shows them retaining speakers into the Early Modern period." Sure, that might be an unlikely interpretation in this case, but given the unambiguousness of the sentence with "that retained" I don't see why we wouldn't want to phrase it that way. As for "which" instead of "that": Certainly "which" is not exclusively used for non-restrictive relative clauses, so could be substituted for "that" here, and if we don't put a comma in before it, it'll probably be interpreted as restrictive (which is an acceptable use for "which"). But I just don't see what's wrong with "that retained". It's idiomatic and unambiguous. Or am I misunderstanding what this discussion is about. Do we want the relative clause to be non-restrictive? Garik (talk) 22:38, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
But sure, this is a very minor issue, and I don't mean to be perpetuating it unnecessarily! Garik (talk) 22:42, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Either 'that' or 'which' could be used in this case - the meaning is unambiguous given the context. Perhaps what is more troubling is the mixing of the material culture of Hallstatt, 'Celtic Peoples' and Celtic Languages. Isn't 'diachronic' usually associated with the development of language with time? Here it is used to describe a spread of materials, people and language. There is very little evidence that Celtic Languages spread out from the Hallstatt region in the Iron Age193.105.48.20 (talk) 13:09, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
More serious than this grammatical quibble is the wrong use of the term 'ethnolinguistic' in the first sentence of the article. Ethnolinguistics is a field of study. Whoever wrote this sentence presumably is saying that the Celts were an ethnic group. It should be said that the reference at the end of this phrase (John Koch's introduction to 'Celtic Culture') does not support that assertion. If you read the introduction, John Koch does not provide a definition of 'The Celts'. He doesn't describe them as an ethnic group or an ethnolinguistic group. He doesn't say they had a similar culture. He uses his introduction to define the scope of the encylopedia. The defining criterion of what is Celtic culture, according to Koch, is that it pertained to people who spoke a language belonging to the Celtic language family. I think it would be sensible therefore to remove the reference at the end of this phrase, rewrite the sentence and find a reference that really does provide a definition of 'The Celts'. 193.105.48.20 (talk) 11:04, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
The current start has been pretty stable. We used to have this, but I think we need to somehow address at the start the mix of linguistic, ethnic and cultural aspects in the concept of Celts that most people have. Is "tribal" in fact certain for all ancient "Celtic" contexts? It doesn't seem right for medieval periods. The next sentence "... in particular, whether the Iron Age inhabitants of Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts has become a subject of controversy.[1][2][3][4]" is relatively recent and is surely not correct when a mainly linguistic definition is being used. That was introduced in these changes. I don't see that Koch for one should be used as a reference for that. Johnbod (talk) 13:41, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Now changed to "in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts has become a subject of controversy." Johnbod (talk) 13:59, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
John Koch says in his introduction: 'The validity of applying the term 'Celtic' to any group of people or culture of any period has been questioned - especially in connection with the cultural history of Ireland and Britain'. Also many of these societies described in this were not 'tribal' by the time of the Romans let alone the medieval periods. It is also known that at any period of history there were great differences in material culture and the organisation of societies in the 'Celtic' area. Nai1maker (talk) 15:34, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Meaning that the usefulness of the term in non-linguistic contexts has been questioned, and especially in relation to the British Isles, where it is used over far longer periods (though he might have added Spain perhaps). In say Germany it does not get misused in the same way. That does not mean that, if the term is to be used at all (which it obviously is, to the regret of many), that anyone much thinks that the Iron Age inhabitants of the British Isles should not be called Celtic, while those of say France and Germany are. Johnbod (talk) 15:50, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
For a full discussion of this issue by John Koch, see his article "Celts, Britons, and Gaels—Names, Peoples, and Identities", in: Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion 2002, NS 9 (2003) 41–56. Available to view/download at academia.edu Cagwinn (talk) 21:15, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
I think the introduction should reflect that 'Celt' is a fairly modern label applied to a wide variety of ancient peoples. By the later Iron Age there is no way that these peoples could be called an ethnic group with a similar culture. To some degree, belonging to a language group tends to be used now as a defining criterion for who was a Celt, more so than material culture, ethnic origin or how their societies functioned. The use of the expression has changed over time. Its use in academic circles has been questioned on a number of grounds, for example: it tends to bring a lot of cultural baggage with it, some of which may obscure rather than reveal the history of Europe in the Iron Age.Nai1maker (talk) 10:39, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
I'd be happy to see improvements, but I think for major changes drafts should be suggested here, to avoid edit-warring. Of course "Celt" is not just a modern term, though the ways it has been used are. Johnbod (talk) 13:01, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
I'll continue under a new heading as we've moved away from the original topic (which vs that)Nai1maker (talk) 13:59, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Video clip on the origins of Celts.[edit]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEL7nCM5itg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFQiuGvxMd0 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.73.133.236 (talk) 15:32, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

Possible confusion of ancient and modern?[edit]

A recent edit by Krakkos would seem to have the effect of confusing modern and ancient Celts. At the start of the article it states: "This article is about the ancient and medieval peoples of Europe". I think the medieval period ended some time ago. In the main, modern Celts do not speak a Celtic language as a mother tongue. Some learn it as they would a foreign language. It is true that the majority do share a similar culture (ie. British/Irish culture with strong American influences amongst others) - however, they share that culture with English people as well but not with Bretons. I propose that this article be kept in the past Nai1maker (talk) 11:38, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Reverted, thanks (a diff link to the edit would have been useful). Johnbod (talk) 12:48, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Definition of Celts at start of article[edit]

The article starts: 'The Celts (/ˈkɛlts/, occasionally /ˈsɛlts/, see pronunciation of Celtic) were an ethnolinguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Medieval Europe who spoke Celtic languages and had a similar culture,[1]...'

There are a number of problems with this phrase.

First is the wrong use of the word 'ethnolinguistics'. Ethnolinguistics is the study of how culture affects language. It's a branch of linguistics. In this article its use is a little ambiguous but I assume that what is meant is 'ethnic group which spoke closely related languages'. However, it is later stated that those languages are (naturally) Celtic. Therefore we could just put 'ethnic group' instead of 'ethnolinguistic group' without changing the meaning of the phrase. However, if we use 'Celt' to mean people who lived in most of Western Europe and a considerable part of Central and Eastern Europe and a little part of Eurasia, during the time span from the Iron Age to to the Middle Ages, then it is clear that we are not talking about a single ethnic group. Nor did all these peoples have a similar culture. Some groups lived in towns, some didn't. Some societies were literate to some degree, some were not. Some used artifacts of one design (eg La Tène) , others did not. Some stayed more or less in one place, others migrated. Some built hillforts, others did not. Some minted coins, others did not. etc. etc. Nor were they all tribal during this period. Finally, John Koch's introduction to the enyclopedia (reference 1) does not support the phrase it is attached to. He doesn't mention ethnic groups or ethnolinguistics groups or say anything about tribal societies having a similar culture.Nai1maker (talk) 13:59, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Moving from criticism for the present article to some suggestions, I'd like to suggest the following.:

'Celts' is the name used commonly, in modern times, for people who lived in much of Western and Central Europe in the Iron Age and Roman times. They are usually portrayed as tribal peoples and as the ancestors of today's modern Celts (ie the Irish, Scots, Welsh etc.), who live in nations or regions where today a proportion of people speak Celtic languages. Thus, now the most important defining criterion of who the ancient Celts were is that they spoke a 'Celtic language'. In the 19th century they were seen as a distinct cultural or ethnic group who emerged from Southern Germany and conquered large regions of Europe and even travelled as far as modern day Turkey. This viewpoint has largely been abandoned, however, and the whole concept of the usefulness of the term 'Celt' has been questioned in some circles. Nevertheless, the term is in common use and, indeed, still used in some academic works where it refers to a range of ancient peoples (sometimes poorly differentiated) eg. 'Celtae', Galli, Galatae, Boii, Celtiberi, etc. who were linked by speaking related languages and who sometimes displayed a similarity in their material or social culture. Nai1maker (talk) 10:54, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Although the the term 'Celt' is still used in scholarly works, advances in historical knowledge in the last few decades have led to a great difference between its use in academic and popular works. In the latter, 'Celts' are seen as an ethnic group or 'race' with a well defined societal structure (chieftains, warriors, druids, bards etc). Typically, in popular works, the 'warrior' nature of the ancient Celts is emphasized. In scholarly works, on the other hand, the term 'Celt' is not used to describe an ethnic group nor is maintained that 'Celts' had a common origin. However, there is no agreement between academics as to what defines a 'Celt', with some seeing similarities in culture across the 'Celtic World' whilst others (sometimes called Celtosceptics) believe the peoples had considerably less in common, or even very little at all.Nai1maker (talk) 10:55, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that's much use as a lead frankly, but most would be useful lower down. Perhaps the 2nd section should be expanded to cover "Concept, etymology and terminology". References would be? Johnbod (talk) 15:52, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
The Celts should not be treated differently than any other Indo-Europeans peoples. Whatever technical terminology is being used for the Greeks, Slavs, Germans, Balts, Indo-Iranians, Tocharians, Anatolians, Illyrians, Armenians, et al., should be equally applied to the Celts. Cagwinn (talk) 22:28, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
That's a definite improvement Johnbod, the meaning is much clearer. Nai1maker (talk) 12:13, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
...[1] ouch, that's going to sting some nationalist pride...! And as we're dealing with a primitive historical people, modern terminology of today's extant ethnic groups is wholly irrelevant. --Shannon Dal (talk) 11:25, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure it would or should. Most nationalists I know couldn't care less about the genetic relationship between the Welsh and the Cornish or the Scots and Cumbrians. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 19:02, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Ireland is also covered. Johnbod (talk) 19:27, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
These genetic studies are worthless - every six months a new one comes out that totally contradicts the last one. If you look at the study closely, you will see that they employed some very sketchy methodology. It's all pseudo-science at this point (breathlessly reported on by the know-nothing media as if it were all the word of God) and future scientists will look back in horror at all the quackery of this era of historical genetics. Cagwinn (talk) 21:07, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Um, it looks pretty solid to me. What exactly is your issue with it? Catfish Jim and the soapdish 21:28, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Small sample size; not enough ancient DNA to compare against; the control against modern immigration only stems as far back as the late 19th century, even though there was large movement of people around Britain earlier, starting in the 18th century, due to the Industrial Revolution; they seem to have only a superficial knowledge of British history. Cagwinn (talk) 23:54, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Barry Cunliffe is a co-author so presumably had some input to the historical aspects. 2039 individuals would give ample power for studies of this kind and the comparison is with 6209 individuals from continental Europe. The authors are looking for clustering of genotypes rather than fine genetic mapping. They were not looking specifically to study the Celts, rather looking for genetic structure in the UK. The PCA plots in the supplementary material are what we I believe we ought to focus on with regards to relationships between insular celtic groups. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 13:18, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
How is this genetic study of modern British DNA even remotely relevant to this article? Cagwinn (talk) 17:25, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Because it reveals relatedness between groups that are claimed to be descended from Celtic people. It confirms that the English show similarity to groups within Northern Europe (France, Germany, Denmark, into Sweden), whereas the Welsh, Irish and Western Scots show greater similarity to unrelated groups (Spain, France, Belgium, into Germany, largely covering the region historically occupied by the Celts). It's fairly safe to say that one represents Saxon/Norman lineages whereas the others are Celtic. Catfish Jim and the soapdish 18:06, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Without a much larger database of ancient and early medieval DNA than we currently possess, studies like these have little merit. At some point in the Iron Age a number of Gaulish tribes settled in Britain (Parisi, Atrebates, Belgae, et al) and mixed in with the local tribes. Later, Britain was part of the Roman empire for four centuries, during which time people from all over the empire (but especially Gaul, Roman Germania, and Pannonia) were brought to the isles and people from the isles were sent to the Continent; which surely skews the genetic evidence in Britain and on the Continent. Forget about the middle ages, during which time we not only have the Vikings (which the study does seem to take into account), but also the re-introduction of a significant number of Bretons by the Normans (these Bretons who should be genetically a mix of Gallo-Romans, southwest Britons, plus a Frankish element); then, we also have the medieval planting of the Flemish in Wales, who surely must have left a genetic imprint there. In didn't see much of this addressed in the published study. Cagwinn (talk) 19:30, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

There are a number of constraints limiting the authors. The cost of genotyping has dropped enormously in recent years, but the work involved in this paper will have cost several hundreds of thousands of pounds. Another constraint is manuscript size. Nature has a word limit for articles of 3000 words, so the authors have to be sparing with their conclusions. They may not have covered it in the text, but looking at figure 2, the South Pembrokeshire haplotype shows greater similarity to the Belgian haplotype than is seen in the North Pembrokeshire and North Wales clusters... that would be consistent with the Flemish plantation. Have you looked at the extended and supplementary figures? Catfish Jim and the soapdish 11:15, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Note that the original data behind the article was published in 2012. I don't see that it has much relevance to this article except that it illustrates the continuing influence of outdated scholarship on the way that the past is interpreted. It would indeed be remarkable if the people of the 'Celtic fringe' of Britain and Ireland were a genetically homogenous population not linked to the people of Central and Southern Britain. The study doesn't give any indication of when or how Celtic languages and cultures came into Britain and Ireland.Nai1maker (talk) 10:20, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

See Talk:Genetic history of the British Isles#Leslie, S. et al. Nature. It has been suggested that any changes to articles that this paper affects starts with Genetic history of the British Isles and that those changes if any are then reflected in other less specific articles. -- PBS (talk) 18:31, 20 March 2015 (UTC)