Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From the Google Doc 5

WJD MON 19 DEC 2011
The main difference is linguistic, Brythonic speaking vs. Goidelic speaking or P-Celtic vs Q-Celtic, the Goidelic speaking Celts represent an earlier migration from their central European homeland, the material culture is similar and their beliefs are largely the same, there is some differentiation in their burial practices.

The Gauls and Britons are Brythonic or P-Celtic speakers, in the modern world the surviving languages in this family are Welsh and Breton. The Celt-Iberians and Irish are Goidelic or Q-Celtic speakers, surviving branches of this language family are Gaelige (Irish), Scots Gaelic and Manx (resurrected). None of them are what I’d call healthy languages, Welsh is probably doing the best.

Related to these people are the Ligurians, sometimes called the Celto-Ligurians, from south eastern France/north western Italy, their language and culture were similar to the Celts, and the Romans and Greeks considered them, at least sometimes, to be Celts, at other times to be their cousins. Also, the Picts, not much to go on, just a few personal names and place names viewed through the lens of other languages, some scholars believe they, along with the Ligurians, may have represented a third, even earlier migration from the Celtic heartland. The Picts, for their part, after centuries of maintaining their own identity separate from the Britons, lost all trace of a separate identity within a couple of generations of being absorbed into the Gaelic Kingdom of Alba, which later became known to us as Scotland.

Most of the Stone circles are along the Atlantic seaboard or in the British Isles, there exist similar phenomena all over the world though, including China and North America, just not on as grand a scale. There are also extant wood henges, or at least the archaeological remains of them, so perhaps they were designed as temporary gates?.


  1. I've enjoyed what you guys have written so far and look forward to watching your ideas unfold. I love the idea of Celts escaping the Romans through gates to a new world. Wish I'd thought of that.

    However I wonder how important it is to you both to be historically accurate? Celtic history, particularly relating to the British Isles, has been thrown on its head by recent DNA evidence. It turns out the British/Irish Celts weren't actually Celts, while the Picts were genetically the same as the British/Irish.

    Two geneticists in particular have done much to shed light on the holes in traditional Celtic history, such as the huge leap of logic of shared language/culture equals shared genetic origin. It also explains why archaeology sometimes fails to back up the historian's theories about the Celts and Picts of the British Isles.

    Turns out that ice age hunter-gatherers sheltered in various enclaves, one such being the Basque enclave. When the ice retreated some folks stayed put (the Basques), while others followed the Atlantic seaboard up along the west coast of the British Isles. Much later Celtic culture and language was adopted by much of the British (but not the bunch that we call Picts), but not as a result of any large-scale migration of peoples or invasion. Thus the Gaels/British/Picts aren't actually genetically descended from the Celts of central Europe.

    You can read a summary of the findings in this Wikipedia article about geneticist Bryan Sykes, and in this article by fellow geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer - Myths of British Ancestry, which is summarised here.

    It makes me look at my large collection of Celtic history books with some disappointment, but tempered by my excitement at living in a time of witnessing accepted history being rewritten. More books to buy I guess.

  2. I was familiar with the recent DNA studies, I wasn't really concerned with genetics as much as I was with culture, social, material and linguistic. I do love the Celts, but I understand that the migrations/invasions of the Celts and the later Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans left little genetic imprint on Britain, but their cultural impact has been enormous. Besides, the Book of Invasions always claimed the Gaels came from Iberia :)

  3. Besides, the Book of Invasions always claimed the Gaels came from Iberia :)

    I love how the DNA evidence brings the Book of Invasions alive, transforming it from dodgy mythology to, at its core, what is probably an oral history handed down over thousands of years.

    So what are the goals of this project William? What is the reason you two have come together on this? DAC mentioned writing trilogy, so I guess that answers half the question, but what about you? Are you considering publishing the campaign setting at some stage?

  4. My plan was to "reboot" my home campaign world and then present it to the rest of the world as a fully formed published setting, eventually. I have actually written short fiction in the past set in the world, so has my wife. I consider it to be a pretty rich environment to explore with a lot of different stories to tell. Darryl wants to concentrate on developing the world for writing purposes, that's cool, I don't see that as counter to my primary gaming purpose, the Forgotten Realms was Ed Greenwood's fantasy literary playground before he started DMing and I think the original FR setting was a pretty good world for gaming in. I can't say I am thrilled with what TSR and WotC did to his world, but I bet EGG was none too thrilled with how Greyhawk turned out after it wasn't his anymore either, or Dave Arneson with Blackmoor; at least with Garnia once the setting is done, it's done. Run your home campaigns out of it the way you want, ignore any published fiction, there won't be any official updates from my personal campaign telling you about how various diplomatic events affected the world or which major NPCs died or whatever. I will probably publish some site based adventures to go with it, again, eventually, but I am not going to keep updating the timeline.