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Stéphane Thibault >_

iCade

ThinkGeek's iCade iPad Arcade Cabinet

OK, I admit it, even though I’ve been a Mac evangelist since before some young adults were born (ouch !), I’ve been quite disapointed lately in the business model of the new Apple Inc. I’m gonna hold back my comments about the iPad until the end of the trimester, at which point I might finally have some time for a proper — and hopefully constructive — rant, but let’s just say for now that I recognized myself when I read on ThinkGeek that “ After the glow of the initial announcement wore off, many of us came to the conclusion that the iPad was actually pretty useless ”. Well, it looks like some people decided to simply run with it…

Stéphane Thibault >_

The Celtic population, while adopting many aspects of Roman material culture, maintained also many of its Celtic attributes. We have already seen that Jerome testifies to the continued use of the Celtic language among Treveri in the fourth century. Celtic religion too continued to flourish, alongside such imports as the imperial cult and the eastern cults, including Christianity, that soldiers and others introduced. Naturally the forms of the religion changed. Druids disappeared, but how important they had been, except in in aristocratic circles, is in any event disputed. Certainly their power and prestige did not long survive the end of Celtic independence, and Claudius actually proscribed them, Augustus having already forbidden Roman citizens to participate. Human sacrifice and head-hunting, which had been features of Celtic society in pre-Roman times, clearly did not survive the conquest either. But the popular religious beliefs and practices that can be shown still to flourish after the conquest, often in a strongly syncretistic form, must have had very deep roots. Celtic religion attached great importance to natural features considered to be sacred, such as mountains, springs and rivers, and there are many references to sacred groves.

Wells, Colin (1996 [1995]). « Celts and Germans in the Rhineland », dans Miranda J. Green (dir.), The Celtic World, ch. 31, Routledge, Londres et New York, p. 612.

Stéphane Thibault >_

Caesar, a political propagandist, not a trained ethnographer, uses three terms to refer to tribal groupings, namely “ Celts ”, also called “ Gauls ” in Latin, “ Germans ”, and “ Belgae ”, and any discussion of ethnicity involves us in trying to understand these terms. Caesar in the very first chapter of his work defines the German specifically as those “ who dwell across the Rhine ”, that is, east of the river, and seems to be trying to suggest as a result that the Rhine is a natural boundary. He also emphasizes the difference between the Celts and Germans, and insists upon the terror which the Germans inspire, “ by the huge size of their bodies, by their incredible courage and skill in arms ”. He argues, as it suits his political purpose, that if the Germans who had already invaded Gaul before he himself got there had not been checked and driven back across the Rhine where he claims they belonged, they might have overrun all Gaul and threatened Italy, “ as previously the Cimbri and Teutoni had done ”. The Cimbri and Teutoni had been turned back by Marius less than half a century before, so that there were Romans who could still remember the terror that they had inspired. It was a potential parallel.

[…]

Now if the cultural differences between Celts and Germans were as great as Caesar suggests, and if the Rhine indeed formed the ethnic frontier, we are entitled to expect corresponding differences in material culture to show up in the archaeological record, thus making the Rhine the archaeological frontier also. The fact is that they do not […]

[…]

The Belgae are either the key to the situation, or a confusing anomaly. […]

Wells, Colin (1996 [1995]). « Celts and Germans in the Rhineland », dans Miranda J. Green (dir.), The Celtic World, ch. 31, Routledge, Londres et New York, p. 606-607.

Stéphane Thibault >_

La Gaule, dans son ensemble, est divisée en trois parties, dont l’une est habitée par les Belges, l’autre par les Aquitains, la troisième par ceux qui dans leur propre langue se nomment Celtes, et, dans la nôtre, Gaulois. Tous ces peuples diffèrent entre eux par la langue, les coutumes, les lois. Les Gaulois sont séparés des Aquitains par le cours de la Garonne, des Belges par la Marne et la Seine. Les plus braves de tous ces peuples sont les Belges, parce qu’ils sont les plus éloignés de la civilisation et des moeurs raffinées de la Province, parce que les marchands vont très rarement chez eux et n’y importent pas ce qui est propre à amollir les coeurs, parce qu’ils sont les voisins des Germains qui habitent au-delà du Rhin et avec qui ils sont continuellement en guerre. Il en est de même des Helvètes, qui surpassent aussi en valeur le reste des Gaulois, parce qu’ils sont presque chaque jour aux prises avec les Germains, soit pour les empêcher de pénétrer sur leurs territoires, soit pour porter eux-mêmes la guerre dans leur pays (César, Guerre des Gaules, I, 1).

[…]

César demanda à ces députés quels étaient les peuples en armes, leur nombre et leurs forces ; il apprit « que la plupart des Belges étaient d’origine germaine ; qu’ils avaient jadis passé le Rhin, s’étaient fixés dans ces lieux à cause de la fertilité du sol, et en avaient chassé les habitants gaulois ; que seuls, du temps de nos pères, tandis que les Teutons et les Cimbres ravageaient toute la Gaule, ils les avaient empêchés d’entrer sur leurs territoires ; et que, par suite, ce souvenir leur inspirait une haute idée de leur importance et aussi de hautes prétentions militaires » (César, Guerre des Gaules, II, IV).

César (1964). La Guerre des Gaules, trad., préface, chronologie et notes par Maurice Rat, Paris, Garnier-Frères, coll. « GF Flammarion », n° 12, p. 13 ; 46.

Stéphane Thibault >_

Bogs also served as foci for metalwork deposits. This practice was not restricted to Celtic people, and features for example in Germanic cult […]. The Gundestrup Cauldron, widely seen as the quintessential “ Celtic ” cult artefact, was in fact found in a bog in Himmerland, Denmark […]. Human remains are mainly known from Germanic contexts, but sometimes occur in Britain and Ireland. The Lindow bog body (Lindow Moss, Cheshire) is a recent example. Dating of the body is problematic […], but radiocarbon dates from the most recent analysis cluster around the first century AD […]. Lindow man suffered a threefold death (by axe blows, garrotting and cutting of the throat). Whether or not he was a victim of human sacrifice […], this triplication suggests a death with ritual links. Where datable, however, British bog bodies are mainly of bronze age or Roman date […], and their ritual associations unclear. The extent to which such deposits represent an iron age ritual phenomenon is thus uncertain.

Webster, Jane (1996 [1995]). « Sanctuaries and sacred places », dans Miranda J. Green (dir.), The Celtic World, ch. 24, Routledge, Londres et New York, p. 450.

Stéphane Thibault >_

At the beginning of history, around the middle of the first millennium AD [notre emphase], the country was wholly Celtic in its language and its institutions. For linguists, this can only have come about by means of a significant immigration of Celtic-speaking people at some time in later prehistory. Such an intrusion is not, however, reflected in the archaeological evidence. There is thus seeming conflict between the two disciplines.

[…]

There is little to suggest that the earliest phase of the Irish Iron Age may be regarded as “ Celtic ”, however that term is applied. The Hallstatt culture is represented in Ireland by little more than a scatter of insular variants of the continental Gündlingen-type sword, a handful of winged chapes and a few other items […]. None of these objects is iron with the rather doubtful exception of a corroded and fragmentary sword blade from the river Shannon at Athlone for which a Hallstatt date has been claimed […].

Raftery, Barry (1996 [1995]). « Ireland. A world without the Romans », dans Miranda J. Green (dir.), The Celtic World, ch. 33, Routledge, Londres et New York, p. 637.

Stéphane Thibault >_