Archives for the tag “ 1996 ”

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 >_

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 >_

Plus récemment, un certain nombre de savants ont pensé avoir trouvé l’origine du récit de Platon dans la Crète minoenne. Tout comme l’Atlantide, la Crète minoenne était une île, base d’une importante puissance navale, dont la civilisation avait atteint un haut niveau technique et qui connut une disparition brutale, au XVe siècle av. J.-C., alors même qu’elle était à son apogée.

Les résultats des fouilles entreprises notamment par sir Arthur Evans à Cnossos ont permis d’établir des parallèles entre quelques détails donnés par Platon sur l’Atlantide et certaines découvertes archéologiques concernant la Crète minoenne : une architecture brillante, un art très sophistiqué, un réseau de canalisations bien agencées, etc. L’association traditionnelle de la Crète avec le taureau se trouve notamment illustrée par les fresques représentant des acrobates exécutant des sauts périlleux en prenant appui sur les cornes de taureaux ; qui plus est, les coupes de Vapheio semblent représenter des scènes s’apparentant à celles qu’évoque le sacrifice d’un taureau par les rois Atlantes à la fin du Critias. Tout comme l’Atlantide, enfin, la Crète est une île montagneuse où on trouve au moins une grande plaine.

Mais, pour les savants qui favorisent l’hypothèse minoenne, le parallèle le plus important et le plus intéressant entre l’Atlantide et la Crète réside dans la nature et la cause de leur disparition.

Platon (1996 [1992]). Timée / Critias, trad., intro. et notes par Luc Brisson, collaboration de Michel Patillon pour la trad., Paris, Flammarion, coll. « GF-Flammarion », n° 618, p. 315-316.

Stéphane Thibault >_

Le projet de Platon qui veut décrire l’origine de l’univers, de l’homme et de la société, s’insère donc dans une tradition assez bien représentée en Grèce ancienne, tradition qui, par-delà ses « prédécesseurs », remonte aux poètes ; mais par un autre biais, il est incroyablement novateur.

Le « philosophe » qui veut décrire l’origine de l’univers, de l’homme et de la société se trouve aussi démuni que le poète, Hésiode par exemple, qui, dans sa Théogonie, commence par s’en remettre aux Muses pour savoir à quoi s’en tenir sur l’origine des dieux. À l’instar du poète, le philosophe tient alors un discours qui ne peut être déclaré ni vrai ni faux, dans la mesure où la référence de ce discours échappe à celui qui le tient ; tout naturellement il ne peut avoir été témoin de l’origine de l’humanité et encore moins celle de l’univers : or, ce type de discours, c’est le mythe.

Le mythe est avant tout un récit, c’est-à-dire un discours qui se déploie dans le temps et qui décrit ce que font non point des entités abstraites, mais des personnages qui présentent une identité individuelle plus ou moins marquée.

Platon (1996 [1992]). Timée / Critias, trad., intro. et notes par Luc Brisson, collaboration de Michel Patillon pour la trad., Paris, Flammarion, coll. « GF-Flammarion », n° 618, p. 10-11.