Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by iolo

  1. iolo

    Pronouncing Latin

    When we learn Latin in the UK nowadays we often find that some older people's pronunciation is what we might perhaps call 'traditional public school' and very unlike what we are taught now. It is also very unlike RC Church Latin, suggesting that the 'English' pronunciation changed a lot from what must have been pretty much standard during the days of Papal control. Does anyone know when this difference developed? At the Reformation? In the Tudor grammar schools? When?
  2. The fact you were so useless at it meant you had to be forced to do constant practice, yes.
  3. The English seem to have been too gangly and skinny to be much use with the longbow, and most bowmen were 'Welsh'. I don't suppose they'd care much which lot of foreigners they hit.
  4. iolo

    Today, 03:11 PM

    Older than most hills, married, four children, lecturer. Belongs to last people in western Europe preserving Romanitas, first to break away from imperial control. Learned Latin and Greek at school, trying to get them back. Favourite Latin writers Catullus and Ovid. Find Roman militarism boring. Home district - Siluria - remained sort-of-Roman till the Normans a...

  5. iolo

    The Fall of the Republic

    Well, the control of the legions by Pompey and Caesar doesn't seem to have been done by proxy. The system was breaking down, surely?
  6. iolo

    The Fall of the Republic

    1)whether you feel that the Roman oligarchy/republic was worth saving The Roman oligarchy was still there in the Empire but under new management. If however do you mean was it worth putting back in charge, the answer is probably no, because they were no less self-serving than the Caesars who ordered them around, and in any case, since Julius Caesar had proven that autocratic power was possible, that there would always be ambitious members among them waiting to grab sole power in some way. 2)whether it was possible, anyway, to save it As a ruling concern? It very nearly resumed control on a number of occaisions and some changes of Caesar were inspired by senatorial instigation. In fact, I would say that the julio-claudian era was a period of transition between oligarchial and autocratic power. Augustus was a sly dictator who wrested power out of their hands. Until Nero was declared 'Enemy of the State' and committed suicide, the Senate was working toward running the empire again right under the noses of the Caesars, though in fairness, some Caesars were quite happy for the assistance. 3)had you been there, at the time, what actions you would have taken to save it Create a constitution which established succession and the legal limits for control of the empire. The idea that a man could be Dictator For Life (as the Caesars were) would be made illegal and fixed term offices re-introduced. It seems to me that a single Emperor cost the provincials considerably less than a whole lot of Roman politicians who had to make back their election expenses and see their families right, which would ultimately have destroyed the Empire: the Republic of the ultra-rich was anachronistic. As to constitutions, they are like the Rubicon: a barrier only to the conventional mind at a time when what mattered was the control of professional armies.
  7. What's the title of the Finnish book, please?? The Celtic roots of English. Ed. by Markku Filppula, Juhani Klemola, and Heli Pitk
  8. It is true that a language is classified into a language family based on the grammatical structure, particularly the morphology and syntax, and not on the lexicon. I'd love to see this book you mention, just to see these differences being linked to Britannic Celtic. I say that because not as much is known about the language as it was spoken at that time, and unless there has been a sudden influx of data, I don't know that one can officially link any specific change in English to Britannic Celtic. We have the most data from Old Welsh (800-1200 CE), but Old Breton would be the closest to the Britannic Celtic languages of England spoken at the time of Rome and of the time of Germanic invaders. The problem is that we have just a few toponyms of Old Breton, which is not enough data to make such claims. What is more, the Romans were not interested in documenting the languages of the peoples that they conquered, so without that contemporary data I don't know that one could say that the language of the Celtics influenced the languages of the Germanic peoples who conquered and settled in England. There is another reason why I am hesitant to say that the Britannic Celtic languages influenced the Germanic languages, thus creating Old English: are we talking phonological changes, or morphological and syntactic changes? It's not particularly common for a substratum language to influence the superstratum language, even in the Indo-European languages. There are some thoughts of phonological influence--think the Latin [f] > Iberian and Gascon [h] phenomenon--but very little on morphology or syntax. The one possible exception is the Balkan sprachbund, where there seem to be quite a few common traits among the languages of the Balkans that are not shared with the other languages of those families. However, many have refrained from saying outright that there is a substratum influence, simply because the history of these languages during Medieval times is somewhat unknown, especially for Rumanian. In addition to having a West Germanic grammatical structure, there has been influence on Old English by Old Norse--both in lexical items and object pronouns. But the greatest changes came at the time of the Norman Conquest--although it seems that the changes were already underway before 1066 CE. All one has to do is compare the Old English in Beowulf to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and note the grammatical changes, and not all of this is due to influence of the Norman French spoken in the courts of the day. Similar changes can be seen in the history of Dutch, English's closest sibling, which (as I recall) has not had much influence from French or other Romance languages. There are several books, and many that have been published or updated in the last few years, that chronicle the history of the English language. Charles Barber's The English Language is one handbook that just got updated this year, and one that I would recommend. (There are others, but I'm not as familiar with them...perhaps there are others on here that are.) Clearly Irish grammatical structures have influenced modern Irish English, just as African languages have influenced 'black' dialects in the Americas. I'm not a linguist, but I wonder rather about woods for trees. I have lived in areas subject to quite recent language change (West Shropshire, for instance) and I think there is very clear influence from 'substratum' languages. I doubt that Germanic 'peoples' conquered eastern Britain - I see it more as a mercenary revolt. Incidentally, for what it's worth, there is a long - and to my mind adequate, article on 'Brittonicisms in English' in Wikepedia - though I can't say that is a place I usually look to for confirmation!
  9. What's the title of the Finnish book, please?? As I recollect, it was called 'The Celtic Roots of English', and the bit about the grammatical differences was in one of the articles. Sorry - it is some time since I read it, but it was published by a Finnish university press. I'll see if I can find the details, but somebody is soon going to take this computer away to transfer everything, so I make no promises. It was a rather uneven book, with no very marked intellectual cohesion, but that article was interesting.
  10. iolo

    Was Caligula really a monster?

    Isn't what we get almost invariably senatorial opinion plus colourful gossip, history as the propaganda of the rich and literate? I'm sure huge wrong is generally done, but what's our answer? We can go back as far as Shakespeare and say, for instance, that he is falsifying and that MacBeth was, on all the other accounts we have, a pretty good king, but when it's as far back as Caligula, what are we to do? Makes you grind your teeth, doesn't it!
  11. PM me in early May, Iolo (when I'm 'back at the ranch'). You can then send me your intended avatar, and I'll shrink it for you. Someone else may offer in the meantime, though. (Over to you others. . . . ) Thank you. Will do if others don't!
  12. It is interesting, not least because none of the discovered dead show any signs of wounds.
  13. Your time will come, Iolo. I'm hoping that Viggen or one of the other knowlegable types will jump in and tell us how many posts you need under your belt before you can create one. Iolo you should be able to upload an avatar, we reduced the trial period to 3 posts, and you have passed that... http://www.unrv.com/...ndpost&p=108608 Thank, Viggen. My intended avatar is, alas, too large, and I am not technically given. I shall have a Platonic avatar!
  14. Well, I come from the Province of Britannia Prima, and would tell you about my avatar if I could discover any way to get one!
  15. iolo

    Ancient Celts Did Not Exist...

    Isn't 'England' anachronistic, and didn't Roman titles continue mostly in Britannia Prima?
  16. iolo

    When were the "dark ages"?

    Try the editorial in British Archaeology 111, March-April 2010. It mentions some useful texts, weighing them up somewhat.
  17. A reasonable explanation, but it leave another question in it's path, why was the area never very romanized? Fair enough it was under Roman influence for a shorter period of time (I've never really read anything on the Romanization of Britain) than some other areas but it should still be enough? Read Kenneth Dark. The point is that Latin, for most of the British, was a 'Sunday best' language even under the Empire. The various British provinces hired German mercenaries, and a combination of climate change and plague helped them to take over in the Sixth Century, except in Britannia Prima (west of the Southampton-Liverpool line), and the soldiers' language had prestige. I believe, however, that there a great number of differences between English and other Germanic languages, and every one of them is paralled with 'Welsh'/British usage, which suggests a lot of learning, fast. The Papal pretence that there were no longer any Christians (the British were conservative in doctrine etcetera) helps people believe in an unlikely historical break - Oppenheimer puts the proportion of British with an 'Anglo-Saxon' genetic heritage at 5% even now. British was a low-status language, and Latin survived very well in the West.
  18. iolo

    Ancient Celts Did Not Exist...

    Since the people of Britain didn't call themselves Celts and nobody else did either, mightn't it be sensible to call them what they were - British?