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CHAT Celtic alphabet? (was: An incongruent orthography: Maggel)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, April 8, 2002, 5:10
At 5:53 pm +0200 7/4/02, Christophe Grandsire wrote:
> >I use here the Roman transcription of the Maggel alphabet (which happens to >look very much like the Celtic alphabet).
The _Celtic_ alphabet? AFAIK the ancient Brits and there descendants, i.e. the Welsh, have always used the Roman alphabet in various different forms in its evolution from the Roman Empire till the present day. The same is true of the other descendants of the ancient Brits, i.e. the Cornish & Bretons. Do you mean the ogham script dating from the 4th cent. AD and used till about the middle of the 7th cent. AD? Although oghamic inscription are found in Wales as well as the Isle of Man, Scotland & Ireland, the language is always Old Irish (the Irish ruled north Wales for some time before the Welsh manage to free themselves). It is purely Irish invention, not Celtic. The theories about the origin of this script are almost on a par in their number and fancifulness as those relating Basque to practically every language on this planet, and IMHO just as worthless. The saner theorists cannot ignore the resemblance between oghams and certain varieties of Norse runes, particularly 'tree runes'; and there is little doubt in my mind that they were devised in imitation of such runes left in graffiti of Norse invaders of Scotland & Ireland. Or do you mean the 'New Irish Script' whose 18 letters are, of course, derived from the Roman alphabet? But this is hardly Celtic! My own _English_ (i.e. Germanic) ancestors were using a very similar alphabet (the so-called 'Anglo-Saxon hand'), with a few extra letters, until your lot came over in 1066 and supplanted it with the continental minuscules used by your Norman scribes. One should speak more properly of the'Insular script' used on the islands of Britain & Ireland for writing both Old English and Old Irish. True, it was developed in Ireland and spread to Britain as the Old English accepted Christianity; but the Irish had developed it from the so-called half-uncial of west and southern Gaul. But the script is also found in some Egyptian papyri and probably developed from the Roman uncial script somewhere in north Africa. Of course, part of the problem is that neither the Welsh, Bretons, Cornish nor the Irish and Gaels of Scotland & the Isle of Man had any idea they were 'Celtic' until the 18th century when the Welsh scholar Edward Lluyd told them so. There is certainly no reference to Celts in any ancient Irish literature or in the Roman accounts of Britain. Unfortunately, Lluyd's theories co-incided with Romantic movement in the arts and imaginations have run riot ever since. AFAIK the peoples actually defined as 'Keltai' by the ancients in the 6th & 5th cents BC were illiterate. I'm not aware of any (clear) evidence as to what language these people spoke. Does anyone on this list know of any evidence? Ray. ====================== XRICTOC ANESTH ======================


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>CHAT Celtic alphabet? (was: An incongruent orthography