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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on Galicia?

    Unfortunately lacking a language...but still.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/prosp...celticheritage
    "We are all connected...to each other, biologically; to the earth, chemically; to the universe, atomically...and that makes me smile." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  2. #2
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    The history of a Celtic heritage in Galicia as I understand has at least three parts: early identification of the peoples, trade, and immigration. As with everything, it is most likely far more complicated. Even the term Celtic has a more complicated history then just culture or language.

    I think this list of Celtic tribes shows how the people were identified early in history in parts of Europe. A lot of these identifications of tribes in groups is due to how the Romans described and categorized the peoples.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Celtic_tribes

    That region of Spain does have a history trade with Ireland (at least before the Renaissance time), yet as England took over more of Ireland the Irish had less trade with Spain. I'm not sure how the trade is between Galicia and Ireland is today. The early trade between Ireland and Spain is thought to be partially from the Celtiberians in Spain and some of the Irish tribes being related at some point in history, yet this is unknown.

    As for immigration, there are stories of people from Ireland, Scotland, and Britannia (Roman Britain) going to Northern Spain throughout history. And people from Spain going to the British Isles. When the Angles and Saxons invaded Britannia after Rome pulled out of Britain both France and Spain had large numbers of immigrants from Britannia, especially in Galicia, Spain and Brittany, France.

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  4. #3
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    Very old art found in Galicia seems to depict folk wearing tartan. Not possible to prove it was. Many old stories of folk setting out from Galicia to settle somewhere and winding up in what is today called Ireland, but way before it was referred to thus. Celts lived all over the continent,
    it would be improbable to assume none there. How prominent the percentage, who knows.

    What we know is that while there is a strong tradition of connection, palpable proof is hard to come by, and DNA has not clarified this issue
    (please pardon that usage ). Enough folk feel strongly enough about this to wish to join with other Celtic nations; that's enough for me to
    say yes. Proof may appear later, much has.

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  6. #4
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    I agree. My position, as an American outwith the motherland, is to encourage the positive representation of the culture. The lack of language seems to be an academic technicality the region will have to deal with, barring any rule changes. It seems to be within the path of migration of what we call 'Celtic culture' from antiquity into medieval times, and FWIW, our own Scandinavian DNA has a hit in a Viking settlement in northern Spain.
    "We are all connected...to each other, biologically; to the earth, chemically; to the universe, atomically...and that makes me smile." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    Very old art found in Galicia seems to depict folk wearing tartan. Not possible to prove it was.
    About proving that it was tartan, it just depends on how one defines "tartan". If tartan is defined as a Highland Scottish system of specific patterns signifying specific families or surnames, "tartan" cannot exist anywhere outwith Highland Scotland. And, I might point out that "tartan" so defined didn't exist in the Highlands of Scotland until the 19th century.

    So putting that issue aside, and speaking of woven cloth that has patterns created by stripes in the warp and weft, such cloth exists the world over and is part of many folk traditions.

    Traditional folk art the world over tends to love pattern. Ceramic bowls will have decoration, cloth will be woven in patterns, cloth will be embroidered, leatherwork will be tooled, metalwork will be engraved or cast with patterns, woodwork will be carved.

    The theory is that, at least in ancient times, the patterning of surfaces was due to the concept of horror vacui, the fear of empty spaces.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horror_vacui

    Anyhow here are some traditional Bulgarian folk costumes:



    A traditional Igbo wedding



    Dancers in Thailand



    So it seems to me that there isn't anything inherently Celtic about horizontal and vertical patterns in woven cloth.

    About Galicia, I don't think Galicia is any more or less "Celtic" than any other part of Europe which had spoken Celtic languages until the coming of the Romans.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 12th May 17 at 05:17 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

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  9. #6
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    Two things relevant: 1), checking several sources on the etymology, the word appears to predate the kilt; 2), the oldest examples
    found come from eastern Asia in an area where the people were physically very like what we think of as Celts, and the cloth is found
    everywhere they migrated to, and to this point I have never seen any reference to the fabric being found anywhere in Europe prior
    to the arrival of Celts. So, as of this writing, I would have to conclude that Scotland has no claim to the word or the pattern. That
    could certainly change, as I do my best to learn continually; new info and findings surface, and most importantly, as improbable as it
    might sound, there is research I haven't run across.

    The tendency of the British Crown to send kilted troops around the world as ambassadors of British culture spread the pattern and the
    kilt widely. The presence of the kilt and the heritage of that presence virtually worldwide predate the legislation proclaiming a national
    dress. Not that we ignore the Highland traditions and thinking about how it is worn there, just that we also consider the thinking where
    it was planted, often well before the 1820s revival.
    Last edited by tripleblessed; 12th May 17 at 07:43 AM.

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    checking several sources on the etymology, the word appears to predate the kilt
    What word are you referring to?

    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    eastern Asia in an area where the people were physically very like what we think of as Celts
    I'm assuming you mean the Tarim mummies. The Tarim Basin is in western China. DNA testing has shown that the mummies have mixed DNA from both east, west, and south.

    I know that many people think of red hair etc as being "Celtic" however I have read that the red hair seen in Ireland and Scotland is a legacy of Viking occupation.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    the cloth is found everywhere they migrated to
    Do you mean everywhere the Tarim Basin people migrated to? I'd not heard that there was evidence of them migrating.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    I have never seen any reference to the fabric being found anywhere in Europe prior to the arrival of Celts.
    As I was demonstrating, patterned fabric has long existed all over the world, including pre-Columbian America. Weaving cloth seems to be one of those things, like language, that modern humans have always been doing, and took with them as they spread all over the globe.

    We can find out about ancient clothing from written accounts, iconography, and surviving examples. Woven cloth usually doesn't preserve very well, and many early peoples had no written language. So I wouldn't expect to see much clear evidence, except for things like the mummies you referenced.

    About "the arrival of the Celts" this way of thinking of ancient peoples mainly in terms of migrations has been questioned in recent times. Some writers have questioned the notion that the Celts arrived from anywhere... well of course ultimately ancient peoples came from Africa, but they might not have had anything "Celtic" about them on arrival.

    Proto-Indo-European had to be spoken by a speech community somewhere (just where is a topic of debate) but the Indo-European speaking world includes many peoples we wouldn't think of as being "Celtic". It would be quite a stretch to equate Indo-European migrations with the spread of Celtic-ness.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    I would have to conclude that Scotland has no claim to the word
    What word are you referring to?
    Last edited by OC Richard; 14th May 17 at 06:01 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    About proving that it was tartan, it just depends on how one defines "tartan". If tartan is defined as a Highland Scottish system of specific patterns signifying specific families or surnames, "tartan" cannot exist anywhere outwith Highland Scotland. And, I might point out that "tartan" so defined didn't exist in the Highlands of Scotland until the 19th century.
    I beg your pardon. I clearly failed to be clear. The definition in the discussion being "tartan", I took off having failed to file a flight plan.

    There have been several references made here on the forum and elsewhere about the DNA studies prompted by the distribution of red hair.
    The Tarim Basin mummies having demonstrated the presence of it in that area surprised some folk, and they looked for connections in other
    populations with that trait. The closest relatives of the Tarim Basin mummies appear to be the Sami along the Arctic Circle. Their next
    closest relatives appear to be the red haired folk in Ireland. Each of the northern populations is closer kin to the Tarim Basin folk than they
    are to each other. I know for a fact this is true, as I read it on the web. As has been noted before, tartan patterned textiles were
    found in the Basin as well. Most likely not so labeled, but nevertheless the pattern. People from that area of the world migrated and/or
    traveled far and wide, or were visited from afar, as demonstrated by the red hair connections. No one can say where red hair or tartan
    first appeared, only that Tarim Basin is the earliest dated instance of red hair, and they had textiles of this pattern.

    Thus my statement that Scotland can certainly claim the tartan kilt as national dress, but its association with tartan came after long use
    in various places elsewhere.

  12. #9
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    It's a slippery slope. They're not really Celtic, the whole region being fully Romanised 2000 odd years ago. It'd be like England claiming it was Celtic because of scraps of culture that survived into the modern age.
    For a couple of centuries there was a Briton community in the north of Spain. When the Saxons invaded southern Britain creating places like Wessex, Britons who could, fled. The largest group went to Gaul where they established Brittany. A smaller group went to Spain where they established Britonia. This was around the 6th century ad. It was too small to survive and was soon absorbed into the local population.

    Galicians probably have pipes for the same reason the Scots have them. The tradition didn't die out because of the remoteness of these places. Bagpipes were once common across Europe. The highland ones come from Ireland where they'd been developed as war pipes but Ireland was likely introduced to the pipes some time during the middle ages through contact with Europe or even the English Pale settlements.

    If they want to consider themselves Celts then that's up to them, but given they speak a Romance language they should at least try to resurrect a Celtic cant there.
    Tartan like cloth is something that appears to be common to the ancient Celts and scraps of it have been found in ancient salt mines, suggesting that even low class workers wore it. More intact examples exist amongst the Tarim mummies and there are bog bodies from Ireland wearing tartan clothing. Not to mention the Romans record the Gauls as wearing striped clothing and clothes covered in squares and there are statues showing clothing that appears to be checked.
    Tartan like cloth also appears in various places in Europe during the middle ages worn by both males and females as patterned cloth but otherwise in normal fashion for the time.

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    So putting that issue aside, and speaking of woven cloth that has patterns created by stripes in the warp and weft, such cloth exists the world over and is part of many folk traditions.
    Not so much. The Igbo patterns here are obviously modern in design and not traditional because they had no such tradition before contact with Europeans. There are 19th century photos of Nigerian warriors wearing European made tartan and striped blankets around their waists.

    The same with the Thais, traditional Thai cloth is far more complicated than tartan, I suspect the shawls here also have a European origin. It would be like taking a standard kilt suit today and determining that the old Highlanders loved black jackets and white socks.

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