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RusViking
Saturday, May 15th, 2004, 07:44 PM
I am curious as to why both the Norse and Celts both apparently used the runic alphabet. If so, does this suggest some closer relationship we as yet have not defined here?

And what of their body art, very similiar yes? Not to mention their art, especially jewelry, in general.

Just a question.

Phill
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 03:00 AM
I am unsure about the origin of a Runic Alphabet (FUTHARK, i'm assuming we're talking about) when it comes to the Celtic people.

But the ever-so-popular "Celtic Knotwork", i recall reading, is supposedly Saxon in origin. Some monk went over, and the Celts quickly popularlized it. I also learned one way to distinguise Nordic Knotwork from Celtic (since both did some) is that Nordic ones have animals in with them. They're not always, but it just seems to be uncommon among 'celtic' works.

That's all i can remember off the bat.

Mac Seafraidh
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 03:08 AM
I believe Germanic tribes were creators of the runic alphabet. I have looked at the differences between Germanic tribal and the new Runes from the Germanic that settled in Scandanavia and the German tribes seem to have a more painted or hand drawn seqence. The Norse ones I believe were carved into stone usually. As far as Celtic goes. I believe their runic system was quite a bit different. They all came from the Germanic tribes which would answer the question if I am not mistaken.

Awar
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 03:45 AM
Turkic and Mongol runes are also very similar. Some say it's due to using similar materials when creating them.

http://www.omniglot.com/images/writing/orkhon.gif

Milesian
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 11:58 AM
I haven't seen an instance of Celts using Norse or Germanic Runes (at least not without the presence of Norse there already)

A system of writing did evolve in Ireland called Ogham Script (it also was also taken to Britain by the Irish). It consists of a series of straight and slanting perpendicular lines of various lengths.

In medieval times, Irish and British monks created some pretty amazing Illuminated Manuscripts which were intricately decorated using Celtic, Norse and Anglo-Saxon designs. Most of what I have seen of the Book of Kells in fact seems Anglo-Saxon in origin. It's possible that the Anglo-Saxons attempted to reproduce Celtic art style or possibly they have a common origin in the mists of time. Although the Celts did depict animals, I agree that they tended to depict plants and abstract geometrical patterns instead. Both styles look similar but I tend to think the Anglo-Saxon designs look somewhat cruder (perhaps I'm just biased though ;) )

Milesian
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 12:01 PM
Actually AWAR, one or two of those Turkic runes look not too disimilar to Ogham symbols :-O

Awar
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 02:49 PM
Actually AWAR, one or two of those Turkic runes look not too disimilar to Ogham symbols :-O

It's probably because the Celts, Germans, Turkic peoples and Slavs all used similar materials for writing the runes. Other explanation could be that the runes are much older and originated from some place between Celts ( west ) and Turks ( east ).

Yes, Slavs had their own Runes which didn't survive the christianization.

Graeme
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 03:29 PM
What about the writings of the Picts? Or are they included under Kelts. The Kelts or rather their culture and language were all over Europe and Turkey. Would not the runes be Keltic and the other groups borrowed it?

Milesian
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 03:56 PM
What about the writings of the Picts? Or are they included under Kelts. The Kelts or rather their culture and language were all over Europe and Turkey. Would not the runes be Keltic and the other groups borrowed it?

Pictish inscriptions share many similarities with Celtic ones, but they are pretty much unique. Some experts count the Picts as Celts, some do not.
The reason for the latter group is that they say that their writings on these inscriptions are not only in a language which is non-Celtic, but also non Indo-European. Actually, I would go even further and say that it doesn't even look as though it's from this planet, which makes me suspicious that they haven't been properly decoded.

According to the Gaelic legends, the Cruthin (Picts) came from Iberia sometime after the Gaels arrived in Ireland (also from Iberia). In the tales, we have interaction between Gaels and Picts (the Gaels send them to modern-day Scotland). Some Picts remained in Ireland too, primarily along the north-east coast. As they had contact with the Gaels in the surrounding lands, I assume communication was possible. However in the first centuries AD, when the Kingdom of Dal Riada began colonising Scotland, it is said that the Gaelic monks couldn't communicate with the Picts in Scotland.

This seems strange. What happened during that time?
Had the language of the Scottish Picts changed so much as to be incomprehensible to those who could communicate with their Irish brethren and their ancestors centuries before? Had they aquired a completely new language?

The modern decoding of Pictish inscriptions in Scotland reveal a language utterly alien which I can't imagine how anyone would pronounce. It doesn't seem related to either a Celtic tongue or a Basque tongue (considering the Iberian connection)

As in most things, the Picts remain a mystery

Triglav
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 04:11 PM
Yes, Slavs had their own Runes which didn't survive the christianization.

Indeed they had them, whatever their origin might have been.

http://www.voyagenow.com/travel-references/en/wikipedia/h/hi/history_of_slovakia.html

Addition (20030915): Latest research reveals that ancient Slavs had their own alphabet - Slavic runes which were called "Runice" (Runica/Runitsa), Znaky, "Certy y Rezy" ("Cherty y Rezy" - "Strokes and Cuts") and later, "Vlasovice" (Vlesovitsa). The Cyrillic system ("Cyrillitsa") was created in the 9th century by Sts. Cyril and Methodius based on a combination of the Greek alphabet and the Slavic Runes. Vlesovitsa continued to be used by the Pagans, while Cyrillitsa was used by the Christians. During the "war" against Paganism, the Christians destroyed each document that contained Runic instead of the Cyrillic writing, usually along with its owner. This was done so effectively that according to most sources, the ancient Slavic peoples had no written language at all. Therefore the nearly all records of the rituals, temples and idols/gods of the ancient Slavs come from the very people sent to destroy them.

Awar
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 06:26 PM
What about the writings of the Picts? Or are they included under Kelts. The Kelts or rather their culture and language were all over Europe and Turkey. Would not the runes be Keltic and the other groups borrowed it?

During the time Turkic peoples used runes, they haven't been anywhere near the today's teritory of Turkey. They were using runes in their Central Asian settlements. The Turkic runes I posted were found in Mongolia for example.

Awar
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 06:32 PM
Pictish inscriptions share many similarities with Celtic ones, but they are pretty much unique. Some experts count the Picts as Celts, some do not.
The reason for the latter group is that they say that their writings on these inscriptions are not only in a language which is non-Celtic, but also non Indo-European. Actually, I would go even further and say that it doesn't even look as though it's from this planet, which makes me suspicious that they haven't been properly decoded.

According to the Gaelic legends, the Cruthin (Picts) came from Iberia sometime after the Gaels arrived in Ireland (also from Iberia). In the tales, we have interaction between Gaels and Picts (the Gaels send them to modern-day Scotland). Some Picts remained in Ireland too, primarily along the north-east coast. As they had contact with the Gaels in the surrounding lands, I assume communication was possible. However in the first centuries AD, when the Kingdom of Dal Riada began colonising Scotland, it is said that the Gaelic monks couldn't communicate with the Picts in Scotland.

This seems strange. What happened during that time?
Had the language of the Scottish Picts changed so much as to be incomprehensible to those who could communicate with their Irish brethren and their ancestors centuries before? Had they aquired a completely new language?

The modern decoding of Pictish inscriptions in Scotland reveal a language utterly alien which I can't imagine how anyone would pronounce. It doesn't seem related to either a Celtic tongue or a Basque tongue (considering the Iberian connection)

As in most things, the Picts remain a mystery

Maybe the Picts themselves were IE, but adopted a language from earlier inhabitants, the 'little folk' ( Homo Erectus?)

Milesian
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 07:33 PM
Maybe the Picts themselves were IE, but adopted a language from earlier inhabitants, the 'little folk' ( Homo Erectus?)

That's an interesting possibilty.
I'm not sure what you mean by "little folk". Do you mean those referred to in Irish tales? They are actually a folk memory of the Tuatha De Danaan the Celts who were in Ireland before the Gaels arrived. They were initially taken as Gods but over time and after Christianity, it is said they lost their De Danaan form and retreated under the hills and lakes, a shadow of their former selves and became the "little people" (actually, the Irish always referred to them as "the Good People")

Anway, I digress :)
If the Picts adopted a language they found in Scotland as their own, then it would be interesting which people originally spoke it.
I'm reminded of the Roman writer Tacitus writing about the inhabitants of Britain. He describes the far north as being inhabited by the Caledonii. He describes them as large and having red-hair (interestingly he attributes this as pointing to a Germanic origin). These Caledonii don't sound like Picts, who are usually described as being short and dark-haired and eyed.
I always thought the Caledonii were perhaps Britons (Brythonic Celts) like their neighbours to the south. But perhaps they were the remanants of an indigenous UP people. Maybe the Picts adopted the Paleolithic language of these Caledonii. It's an interesting theory :)

Turificator
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 08:50 PM
I think it is possible for the original Germanic alphabet (VI cent.) to have derived from the Etruscan through some intermediary (perhaps Alpine tribes, Latins or Veneti). It's all speculation, though...


http://www.proel.org/alfabetos/venetic4.gif

Awar
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 09:00 PM
Veneti?! Could you provide some more info on these people.
( Sounds awfully close to Wendi and Wenedi, the name of the westernmost Slavs ).

Turificator
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 09:35 PM
The Veneti (of which I am a proud descendant ;) ) were a branch of the Indo-European people, which settled in the north-eastern corner of the Italian peninsula and surrounding areas (Slovenia, Istria, Dolomites...). Others I believe settled in Brittany (N-W France). The language was extinct with Romanization (the Veneti allied themselves with the Romans in the III century).

Anyway, here's a link that explains a little history:

http://www.veneto.org/history/venetic.htm

There was a pretty big debate going on after the publication of a book (http://www.geocities.com/ausslokon/prevodrazstavanaptuju.htm) by some Slovenian scholars who claimed that modern Slovenes are the direct discendants of the ancient Veneti and that the Slovenian language is related to the extinct Venet (not to be confused with Venetian, which is the local Gallo-Romance language spoken today in the Veneto).

It is rather surprising that so few people know about the ancient Veneti, who, along with Germans, Illyrians, Celts, Italics, etc. are one of the original Indo-European family groups.

Awar
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 09:42 PM
So, Veneti are closely related, or same with Reti ( aka Reto-Romans, Furlans, Friuls )?
Right?

Turificator
Wednesday, May 19th, 2004, 10:13 PM
To be honest with you, AWAR, I'm not to sure about the origins of the Reti (perhaps they were pre-I.E.? Celtic?). The Friulans, as far as I'm aware, are a modern ethnic group, neighbouring with the Venetians (Veneti). They share a lot of common ancestors.

Anyway, the ancient Veneti are not the same as the Reti. I really don't know much about the latter, but the pre-Roman Venetic civilization was culturally one of the most advanced in Europe.

Moody
Saturday, July 8th, 2006, 06:06 PM
I am curious as to why both the Norse and Celts both apparently used the runic alphabet. If so, does this suggest some closer relationship we as yet have not defined here?
And what of their body art, very similiar yes? Not to mention their art, especially jewelry, in general.
Just a question.

An interesting one; it seems that the Celtic and Germanic tribes were close kin and therefore share similarities.
The impact of the Roman Empire was more pervasive upon the Celts than upon the Germans, and this may go towards explaining some of the differences.

As I understand it, the Runic Futhark is associated with the Germans;

http://moorstation.org/typoasis/tbp/topic/runen/img/elder_futhark.gif
Elder Futhark Rune-Staves

while the Ogham is associate with the Celts;

http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/english/micsun/IrishResources/ogham.GIF
Celtic Ogham

In a way, these two systems go towards summing up the differences between Celt and German do they not?

Oswiu
Saturday, July 8th, 2006, 06:20 PM
I'd never heard before now of the Celts having used runes. Do we have any examples of this? The Gauls knew the Greek script, and may have acted as intermediaries in passing on the Etruscan alphabet to the Germans, but I've not seen any references to a surviving Celtic runic inscription.

Moody
Saturday, July 8th, 2006, 06:48 PM
I'd never heard before now of the Celts having used runes. Do we have any examples of this? The Gauls knew the Greek script, and may have acted as intermediaries in passing on the Etruscan alphabet to the Germans, but I've not seen any references to a surviving Celtic runic inscription.

Indeed, sometimes the Futhark is called 'the Celtic Runes';
http://mhsymp.com/?p=106

But it is surely erroneous to call the Futhark Celtic as it provides an exact match to Proto-Germanic;
This is a brilliant article by Pollington on this thesis:
http://www.kami.demon.co.uk/gesithas/runes/origins.html

The main point is that the order of the first rune-staves i.e., -F-u-th-a-r-k - is unique.
The Runes were never in the A-B-C format of all the other alphabets, and this implies it had a pre-existing formula, even if it was later influenced by Etruscan etc.

Combine this with the runic carvings in Bronze Age Sweden called the Hallristningar, which while not Futharks, use many of the rune shapes and other glyphs associated with Germanic culture.

However, I see it said here;

ogam consaine: Consonantal ogam, not employing vowels. Used in Swedish Bronze Age inscriptions in conjunction with Bronze Age Runes in the Basque provinces at least as early as the 2nd Century BC ...

And;

Hjulatorp: The locality in Sweden where Nordic words for wheel and globe occur in ogam and Bronze Age runes ... beside engravings of wheels and globes, dated to the Scandinavian Bronze Age ...

Source;
http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/bronze/celtglos.htm
See what the same link says about 'Celts'.

I can't vouch for this site [as I've only just come across it], but I believe there is lots of new research which is starting to draw different lines between the old Celtic/Germanic distinctions.

Ealhswiğ
Saturday, July 8th, 2006, 07:14 PM
Indeed, sometimes the Futhark is called 'the Celtic Runes';
http://mhsymp.com/?p=106Whoever wrote that article is incredibly confused. He is wrongly referring to early Germanics as Celts and I bet that he, like a lot of ignorant people out there (particularly fluffy "new age" types), wouldn't even know what "Germanic" meant if you asked him. In other words, it's unscholarly nonsense.

http://www.celtic-runes.org.uk/

Moody
Sunday, July 9th, 2006, 01:31 PM
Whoever wrote that article is incredibly confused. He is wrongly referring to early Germanics as Celts and I bet that he, like a lot of ignorant people out there (particularly fluffy "new age" types), wouldn't even know what "Germanic" meant if you asked him. In other words, it's unscholarly nonsense.

True, I gave that as an example of the extreme 'Celtic Runes' stance often seen today.
But the other link I gave was far more scholarly;
http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/bronze/celts.htm

However, many of the distinctions between ancient 'Celts' & 'Germans' are based on the writings of the ancient Romans who weren't scholars by our standards either, and they often didn't fully understand the 'alien' cultures they tried to conquer.
And yet much of their work has been accepted uncritically.

Going back to the Runes, the knowledgeable Rune writer Jan Fries says;

"There is a lot of dispute on the question which [ancient European] tribes ought to be called 'Celtic' & 'Germans'.
The Teutons once considered as typical Germans are seen as Celts by most modern scholars, & the Cimmerians or Cimbri have become equally suspect ...
Then there are the Belgae, which have been considered as Celts, Celto-Germans, Germans, & are nowadays Celtic again ...
Dogma states that the runes are a 'Germanic' system of writing ...
Why are some of the oldest known rune inscription finds from 'Celtic' parts of middle Europe?
Who could have popularised the alpine alphabets but the people living north & south of the Alps, most of which are 'Celtic' in the light of archaeological evidence?
And if the Cimbri-survivors passed the secret of writing to the people of northern Germany, after having been massacred by the Roman legions, then what happens if the Cimbri should turn out to be a Celtic-speaking culture?
When we consider such issues in terms of 'Celts' & 'Germans' we may be misleading ourselves ..."
[Helrunar, Fries, from Supplement to 2002 edition]

And this is the point; when new evidence arrives, it pays to look at it and approach it in a scholarly fashion, rather than bury our heads in the sands with obstinate rejections which have no substantiation in themselves.

The branch runes [coded runes] used by Norsemen certainly remind one of the ogham.

The rune Peord has never satisfactorily been explained under the Germanic system, and may well be of Celtic derivation;

"a scholar ... Marstrander ... related the rune name Peord to the Irish name for apple tree ..."
http://members.aol.com/Taransae/Perthro.html