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  • Douglas Neslund
    In the chapter entitled Interesting Things About Wales on the website Eupedia, author writes the following: Welsh people descend from the Celto-Romans that
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 25, 2009
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      In the chapter entitled "Interesting Things About Wales" on the website Eupedia, author writes the following:
       
      Welsh people descend from the Celto-Romans that lived in what is now England and Wales in Roman times. <snip> The English name for Wales originates from the Germanic word Walha, meaning "stranger" or "foreigner", which is related to the word "Gaul". The French and Italian word for "Wales" is "Galles" ("Gales" in Spanish), and the original Britions spoke a Celtic language (the ancestor of Welsh) whose closest surviving relative is Breton, spoken in Little Brittany, France, and which was spoken throughout Gaul in ancient times. The Welsh could therefore be called "British Gallo-Romans". Indeed, the Roman genetic heritage is still obvious from the predominance of dark eyes in Wales and Cornwall, as opposed to the Celtic and Germanic fair eyes (note that fair eyes are strongly dominant in Ireland and Scotland, which were never part of the Roman Empire).
       
      As one with dark eyes and once-dark hair, and being a bit short to boot, I have always welcomed the idea that I might be Welsh, at least in part. Add to that musical talent, and voila! - Welsh for sure, I hope.
       
      I have to wonder, however, if we haven't fallen into a trap of sorts in assuming that Roman legionnaires were uniformly short with black-brown eyes. Perhaps a majority were, but not all.

      Why do we assume that Roman soldiers were predominantly short and dark? One would have to assume that all soldiers serving the Caeser were Roman, but the sheer number of military necessary to conquer and hold as many foreign lands as the Romans held in the days of Empire would suggest rather strongly, I think, that the Roman legions were comprised of men from their conquered lands as well as from sunny south Italy. Therefore, the iconic features of Romans would be admixed with those of other peoples, other tribes, other homelands it seems to me.

      Nature determined that dark eyes are necessary in lands where the sun shines long hours, and blue eyes in  lands where too much pigmentation dims the vision in a land with less sunlight.

      There is no doubt that Roman legionnaires contributed their genes all around the former Roman Empire - in all colors, sizes and shapes. The dark eyes of Wales probably stem in large part from Roman "influence." I am suggesting that we check our assumptions occasionally.

      Cofion cynnes,
      Douglas

    • Al Iguana
      ... The Romano-Britons, yeah. The English name for Wales ... Nope. Breton is a direct descendent of South-Western Brythonic, not Gaulish. (ie The Breton
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 25, 2009
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        --- In walesdna@yahoogroups.com, Douglas Neslund <justusla@...> wrote:
        >
        > In the chapter entitled "Interesting Things About Wales" on the
        > website Eupedia, author writes the following:
        >
        > Welsh people descend from the Celto-Romans that lived in what is now
        > England and Wales in Roman times.

        The Romano-Britons, yeah.

        <snip> The English name for Wales
        > originates from the Germanic word Walha, meaning "stranger" or
        > "foreigner", which is related to the word "Gaul". The French and
        > Italian word for "Wales" is "Galles" ("Gales" in Spanish), and the
        > original Britions spoke a Celtic language (the ancestor of Welsh)
        > whose closest surviving relative is Breton, spoken in Little Brittany,
        > France, and which was spoken throughout Gaul in ancient times.

        Nope. Breton is a direct descendent of South-Western Brythonic, not Gaulish. (ie The Breton language didn't exist until migrants from Britain took it there)

        The
        > Welsh could therefore be called "British Gallo-Romans". Indeed, the
        > Roman genetic heritage is still obvious from the predominance of dark
        > eyes in Wales and Cornwall, as opposed to the Celtic and Germanic fair
        > eyes (note that fair eyes are strongly dominant in Ireland and
        > Scotland, which were never part of the Roman Empire).
        >
        > As one with dark eyes and once-dark hair, and being a bit short to
        > boot, I have always welcomed the idea that I might be Welsh, at least
        > in part. Add to that musical talent, and voila! - Welsh for sure, I
        > hope.
        >
        > I have to wonder, however, if we haven't fallen into a trap of sorts
        > in assuming that Roman legionnaires were uniformly short with black-
        > brown eyes. Perhaps a majority were, but not all.
        >
        > Why do we assume that Roman soldiers were predominantly short and
        > dark? One would have to assume that all soldiers serving the Caeser
        > were Roman, but the sheer number of military necessary to conquer and
        > hold as many foreign lands as the Romans held in the days of Empire
        > would suggest rather strongly, I think, that the Roman legions were
        > comprised of men from their conquered lands as well as from sunny
        > south Italy. Therefore, the iconic features of Romans would be admixed
        > with those of other peoples, other tribes, other homelands it seems to
        > me.
        >
        > Nature determined that dark eyes are necessary in lands where the sun
        > shines long hours, and blue eyes in lands where too much pigmentation
        > dims the vision in a land with less sunlight.
        >
        > There is no doubt that Roman legionnaires contributed their genes all
        > around the former Roman Empire - in all colors, sizes and shapes. The
        > dark eyes of Wales probably stem in large part from Roman "influence."
        > I am suggesting that we check our assumptions occasionally.
        >
        > Cofion cynnes,
        > Douglas
        >

        The trap people fall into is assuming "Romans" were.. from Rome! The Legions, in Britain anyway, had Gauls, Iberians, Germans, Sarmations, probably others from all over the Empire. I don't think there was a "typical Roman".

        cheers

        Al
      • basenji_luvr
        The Silures, a tribe living in what is now present day Wales (Monmouth, Brecon and Glamorgan), were described as having dark complexions and curly hair. These
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 6, 2009
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          The Silures, a tribe living in what is now present day Wales (Monmouth, Brecon and Glamorgan), were described as having dark complexions and curly hair. These people were already in "Wales" when the Romans arrived.

          --- In walesdna@yahoogroups.com, "Al Iguana" <al_iguana_23@...> wrote:
          >
          > --- In walesdna@yahoogroups.com, Douglas Neslund <justusla@> wrote:
          > >
          > > In the chapter entitled "Interesting Things About Wales" on the
          > > website Eupedia, author writes the following:
          > >
          > > Welsh people descend from the Celto-Romans that lived in what is now
          > > England and Wales in Roman times.
          >
          > The Romano-Britons, yeah.
          >
          > <snip> The English name for Wales
          > > originates from the Germanic word Walha, meaning "stranger" or
          > > "foreigner", which is related to the word "Gaul". The French and
          > > Italian word for "Wales" is "Galles" ("Gales" in Spanish), and the
          > > original Britions spoke a Celtic language (the ancestor of Welsh)
          > > whose closest surviving relative is Breton, spoken in Little Brittany,
          > > France, and which was spoken throughout Gaul in ancient times.
          >
          > Nope. Breton is a direct descendent of South-Western Brythonic, not Gaulish. (ie The Breton language didn't exist until migrants from Britain took it there)
          >
          > The
          > > Welsh could therefore be called "British Gallo-Romans". Indeed, the
          > > Roman genetic heritage is still obvious from the predominance of dark
          > > eyes in Wales and Cornwall, as opposed to the Celtic and Germanic fair
          > > eyes (note that fair eyes are strongly dominant in Ireland and
          > > Scotland, which were never part of the Roman Empire).
          > >
          > > As one with dark eyes and once-dark hair, and being a bit short to
          > > boot, I have always welcomed the idea that I might be Welsh, at least
          > > in part. Add to that musical talent, and voila! - Welsh for sure, I
          > > hope.
          > >
          > > I have to wonder, however, if we haven't fallen into a trap of sorts
          > > in assuming that Roman legionnaires were uniformly short with black-
          > > brown eyes. Perhaps a majority were, but not all.
          > >
          > > Why do we assume that Roman soldiers were predominantly short and
          > > dark? One would have to assume that all soldiers serving the Caeser
          > > were Roman, but the sheer number of military necessary to conquer and
          > > hold as many foreign lands as the Romans held in the days of Empire
          > > would suggest rather strongly, I think, that the Roman legions were
          > > comprised of men from their conquered lands as well as from sunny
          > > south Italy. Therefore, the iconic features of Romans would be admixed
          > > with those of other peoples, other tribes, other homelands it seems to
          > > me.
          > >
          > > Nature determined that dark eyes are necessary in lands where the sun
          > > shines long hours, and blue eyes in lands where too much pigmentation
          > > dims the vision in a land with less sunlight.
          > >
          > > There is no doubt that Roman legionnaires contributed their genes all
          > > around the former Roman Empire - in all colors, sizes and shapes. The
          > > dark eyes of Wales probably stem in large part from Roman "influence."
          > > I am suggesting that we check our assumptions occasionally.
          > >
          > > Cofion cynnes,
          > > Douglas
          > >
          >
          > The trap people fall into is assuming "Romans" were.. from Rome! The Legions, in Britain anyway, had Gauls, Iberians, Germans, Sarmations, probably others from all over the Empire. I don't think there was a "typical Roman".
          >
          > cheers
          >
          > Al
          >
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