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Re: [Slovak-World] Another History of Slavs - was: Question to Martin

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  • Martin Votruba
    ... You probably mean the Celts, Dave. The Celts in ancient Europe are one of those numerous historical mysteries. And any explanation may change what is
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2005
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      > The people who eventually migrated to Ireland, lived
      > in the Bratislava area supposedly from the first to
      > fifth century. Who were they and where did they come from?

      You probably mean the Celts, Dave. The Celts in ancient Europe are
      one of those numerous historical mysteries. And any explanation may
      change what is generally believed about the history of the Slavs, too
      (skip to the bottom if what follows is too OT).

      Some records suggest that the Celtic tribe of Cotini lived in
      north-western Slovakia 2,000+ years ago. Others say that other Celts
      lived around Nitra and the Hron. Excavated villages and forts in
      central and eastern Slovakia, and near Bratislava are ascribed to the
      Celts.

      Besides, the Celts are mentioned as the local ancients everywhere you
      turn in Europe.

      But then, by about the year 500, you have all kinds of peoples all
      over Europe -- from the Old Slavs in Eastern and Central Europe to
      the Old Germanic peoples in the north, to the Old Romance tribes in
      the west. And the Celts are 'suddenly' just on the westernmost
      fringes -- in Brittany (France), Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

      How could the Celts have evaporated across the whole continent?
      Could they all have upped and marched to the Atlantic coast? How did
      the multitudes of the other Europeans hatch all over? Are we just
      imagining that there were (only/mainly) Celts everywhere? There is
      no generally accepted explanation.

      Part of the problem may be conjectures. Once we get to before about
      800 in Central Europe, things begin to be less and less certain as to
      who was who and where. On the one hand there are mentions of tribal
      names in Latin (Roman, Byzantine) documents with little reliable
      geographic and even less ethnographic reference. On the other hand
      there are excavations with no indication of what languages those
      bones may have spoken.

      We also tend to imagine that once we accept that the Celts lived in,
      say, Slovakia, that that is the end of the story. Yet, Europe, and
      especially the mountains, was populated extremely sparsely by today's
      standards, and all kinds of tribes/peoples lived all over at the same
      time, but were never recorded anywhere.

      That applies to the history of the Slavs, too. With a fresh look at
      what evidence there is, the conclusions can be strikingly different
      from the common assumptions, and yet grounded in the same -- scanty
      -- evidence.

      An exceptionally detailed analysis of a multitude of sources (a
      1,600-page! dissertation, Western Michigan U.) argues that there
      isn't a single record or archeological evidence of any migration of
      the Slavs that would have spread them to where they are now; and that
      it is practically impossible that no evidence would have been
      preserved if there had been such a supposed prolonged, continual,
      massive transfer of people.

      Using lots of data, its author argues that the Slavs had lived in
      Central Europe at least hundreds of years earlier than what the
      general consensus is.

      That could tie in with one of the about five theories of where
      the common linguistic ancestors of the modern Europeans came from
      (all except the Basques, Hungarians, Estonians and Finns).

      4,000 to 6,000 years ago, those people ("Indo-Europeans") are
      believed to have lived either in one of the areas north of the Black
      Sea, or south of the Black Sea, or -- accodring to one not
      particularly popular theory -- across Central Europe, from about
      northern Germany to about Hungary.

      If the latter theory were correct, it would mean that the Slavs'
      (and the Germanic peoples') ancestors were those who simply stayed
      put, and that the ancestors of the other Europeans were those who
      migrated away from Central Europe.

      However, I wouldn't hold my breath for specialists to look into it.


      Martin

      votruba "at" pitt "dot" edu
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