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Anglo-Saxon replacing Romano-Celts (was: Indo-European family tree)

From:tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>
Date:Monday, October 3, 2005, 22:26
--- In, Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@W...>
> Hallo! > Andreas Johansson wrote: > > Quoting Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@W...>: > >> [snip] > >> What allowed the Anglo-Saxons to replace Celtic and Latin in > >> Britain? > > Being the language of the new rulers, I suppose. That Latin was > > the language of > > the elite, but Celtic (presumably) that of most of the population > > may have > > helped by leaving the former without a demographic basis after > > the old elite > > was replaced and the later without prestige. > Yes. This may have been part of it.
Is it not now accepted as a possible alternative that plague and/or famine accompanying the years without summers (summers without heat, springs without mildness, winters without storms, sun shining like the moon for not more than four hours a day, grapes not ripening producing sour wine, etc.) may have so decimated the Celto-Roman population of Britain that the Anglo-Saxons were able to move into and populate the previously Celto-Roman areas without resistance, having nobody to replace?
> > [snip] > > But this happening *consistently* over most of Europe seems to be > > a tad much to > > explain by the IEans simply being more aggressive.
As an explanation for the I.E. expansion, of course, or for more than one historical period, the climatological/epidemiological explanation proposed above is not "consistent". However, as an explanation for just those few years, it is consistent over the entire Old World -- Europe, Asia, and Africa -- not just Great Britain. I don't think it is accepted as THE explanation in most cases; but, I believe, in the majority of cases, it as accepted as a "leading contender" competing explanation; and, in the majority of the remainder, as a hard-to-ignore controversial minority opinion. (Wikipedia says "These ideas are not widely accepted at this point.", so perhaps I'm wrong about the climate-change thing; but I really think disease and famine on the negative side, and better food production on the positive side, are greater forces in population replacement than warfare.)
> > [snip] > >> You don't need an empire to conquer your neighbours (unless those > >> neighbours are highly organized); bands of warriors can do so. > >> And the examples of Anglo-Saxon England and Indo-Aryan India show > >> that such conquests *can* lead to language replacement.
I think the Anglo-Saxons in England probably show that all you need are superior luck followed by superior numbers. I think the superior-reproductive-capacity of "turning land into people" was the historical engine behind most Neolithic (i.e. farming) cultures replacing most Paleolithic (i.e. hunting-gathering) cultures. I think the inferior epidemic-resistance of concentrated populations and the inferior famine resistance of monoculture (most agricultural societies derive at least 60% of their nutrition from a single crop) is the main engine of the "superior luck" that barbarians (especially nomads) occasionally had over civilized folk (or all settled folk). Population-replacement was mostly a case of farmers outbreeding hunter-gatherers, punctuated occasionally by hunter-gatherers moving into "ghost-towns" depopulated by plague and/or famine.
> > What I feel needs some special explanation is that the IEans > > succeeded in > > inflicting language replacement over almost all of Europe;
I would bet 3 to 1 it was one of the following; 1) The I.E.ans could farm better first. 2) The others had a plague or a famine first.
> > the Anglo-Saxons, > > after all, was close enough to the *only* Migrations Age Germanic > > people who > > succeeded in replacing the previous languages in the area they > > occupied. > > True. The Goths, Franks and Lombards failed to displace Romance, > while the Anglo-Saxons displaced Celtic and whatever kind of Romance > (or Vulgar Latin) may have existed in Roman Britain. But you > offered > an explanation by yourself above. Thomas Wier says that it was > "more or less now accepted that the Anglo-Saxons exterminated most > of the Romano-Celtic population in Britain".
1) People die for other reasons than that other people kill them. 2) People lose or change their cultural identity for other reasons than that they die. (e.g. they migrate or they adopt a new way of life or they marry into or are adopted into a new family.) (E.g. most of the "Huns" by Attila's time had no original "Huns" as ancestors.)
> I am doubtful of that; > at any rate, the Anglo-Saxons managed to impose their language onto > southern Britain, even if the language began to undergo changes that > are possibly due to a Celtic substratum (which is controversial, > though).
Well, I've stuck my $0.02 worth in now, that I've been holding back for several days. I hope it doesn't sound too off-the-wall. ----- Tom H.C. in MI