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Stephen D. Sharp





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: Gaelic language or Historic confusion?         Reply with quote

Albion does a great job with their research. But, I am somewhat suspect when it comes to Wikpedia.

Referencing the quotes from Wikpedia under the Gallowglas sword, make note that there are two somewhat distinctly different types of Gaelic. If I remember correctly the Irish Gaelic is referred to as Q-Gaelic and the Scottish Gaelic is referred to as P-Gaelic by linguists. Plus, Gaelic was outlawed at one point in history, therefore somewhat a modern confusion. And, note that the Irish were originally referred to as the Scotia by the Romans (Magnusson’s book explains the Alba, Scotia, etc better than I can). Always keep this in mind because it can become confusing at times when researching. I will research my Gaelic dictionaries on the two terms and post it later on.

The Albion page says, “They were the mainstay of Scottish (sic) and Irish warfare before the advent of gunpowder, and depended upon seasonal service with Irish lords. A military chieftain would often select a gallowglass to serve as his personal aide and bodyguard, because as a foreigner, the galloglas would not be as subject to local feuds and influences.”

To add to confusion, or, hopefully, clarification, it might be of value to note the following reference to Scottish Mercenaries on page 211 of “Scotland – The Story of a Nation” by Magnus Magnusson, a very notable and very reputable historian on this topic, even though there tends to be some subtle ‘gray areas’ between the two nations.

He writes, “Alexander Stewart has been portrayed as the stereotype of dissatisfied younger royal sons. He was the third surviving son of the first Stewart king, Robert II, by his mistress (later wife) Elizabeth Mure. In 1371, when his father” [Robert Stewart called King Robert II] “came to the throne, Alexander was showered with lands and titles in Badenoch and the north-east, which he enhanced by marriage to Euphemia, the widowed Countess of Ross: he was Lord of Badenoch, titular Earl of Moray and Earl of Buchan, and was appointed the King’s Lieutenant north of the Moray Firth. By the 1380’s he had become much the most powerful magnate in the northern and western Highlands.”
“His task as the king’s lieutenant was to enforce justice in an area riven by feuds and fighting. Great Highland chieftains kept large private armies of professional soldiers or mercenaries (ceatharn, ‘caterans’) which they used to enforce their will upon their neighbors. There were indignant complaints to the king’s council when Alexander Stewart, too, started to employ a force of caterans himself, and the word ‘cateran’ became synonymous in the Lowlands with ‘Highland bandit’ or ‘malefactor’.

Does there need to be more clarification? Blush Or, maybe the Chieftain should have the name ‘Cateran’ or "Ceatharn? What are your thoughts on this?? Question

Either way, I think that Albion does a great job! Happy

Stephen
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Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. Are you questioning the application of Gallowglas or Chieftain or both? The choice of Galloglas is appropriate as this refers specifically to Hebridean clans whose hired (and sometimes settled) members formed the heavy infantry often considered decisive in Irish armies of the 14th-16th. centuries. As to Chieftain, I don't believe their is any relation between the word and ceatham. Its Highland function would probably be Laird but that has already been used by Albion for another sword. As far as the division of Celtic is concerned I think you are confused by the division of Celtic languages in general between "P" and "Q" languages in which all three varieties of Gaelic are "Q"Celtic while Welsh is "P"Celtic.
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The british celtic languages,now called welsh, and cornish, are known as p-celtic, and the q-celtic variety is what moderns refer to as gaelic, the irish idiom and its' scottish offspring when the irish colonized what we now know as scotland. The language of the original picts is as yet unknown. The continental celtic language in Brittany ( now a part of France) is p-celtic as it is in main part an offshoot from the welsh and cornish languages though there are traces of the original gaulish celt within the Breton tongue. I believe that Manx ( the Isle of Man) was once also more british celtic than gaelic irish, but am unsure on this point. The easiest trick to remember is to check the expression for saying '' son of.. '', the Irish and Scots use Mac (hard c. hard q sound) whereas the british (welsh , cornish, and their Breton descendants use Map or Ap (p sound). Allen refers to three gaelic or q-celtic tongues, maybe he is referring to the Isle of Man ?
It would make sense as Man is between Britain (Wales) and Ireland, and the 5th century onwards were years of Irish expansion (Scotland, some footholds in Wales and the western shores of England).

The gaelic grouping of languages will sometimes be called Goidelic, the welsh-cornish-breton are known as Brittonic ( sometimes spelled Brythonic).
I don't know how this impacts on the choice of 'gallowglas' or 'chieftain' as I'm really not up on my scots-irish, but I for one never saw any problem with the choice of names made by Albion. As with most modern constructs ( remember the great Rapier vs cut & thrust sword debate) the best they can do is use a word which evokes an image having to do with the time frame and culture of the model they are reproducing. I suppose one could go back to the original gaelic for a word which means ''chieftain'', or ''headsman'' or simply ''head'', but that would probably be lost on most of us who go on with our lives in either English, or French, or Spanish,or German, and my apologies to all the other modern languages out there. So I would stick to the choices already made, they are reasonable and easy to grasp, and that is the basic test for communication.

By the way, CHIEFTAIN in british celtic is PENNAETH, from PEN which means head, now you wouldn't want to call a sword a pen, because we would no longer know which one is the mightier, the Pen or the ... ok, enough..I'll stop now

Cheers, and remember to get your donations in on time
Jean-Carle

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it would simplify this issue, we could just log on to Wikipedia and change the entry. Razz
Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Allen W





Joined: 02 Mar 2004

Posts: 285

PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean-Carle is right about my counting Manx amonge the Gaelic languages as that's how I've always seen it listed in dictionaries. For what its worth Ken is Scottish Gaelic (and I believe Irish as well) for head hence the name Kennedy means ugly head and if Pennaeth means Chieftain in Welsh then the name Kenneth is probably derived from the Gaelic word for the same (remember that Kenneth MacAlpine was the first king of Scotland). Personally I find Kenneth a rather uninspiring name for a sword.
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Stephen D. Sharp





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 9:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that leaving the names is fine and it is more marketing than historical accuracy. It is just worth the discussion. Mostly, there is a difference between the two groups of mercenaries, one Irish and the other Scottish in their reason for being. Though there was movement between England and Scotland over the years, 'I think' for what it is worth, being a Stewart/Stuart, that we ought to leave the 'bleepin' English out of the Scotish anyway. Charles Stewart I (Scottish King of England) made a big enough faux pas to last a few more years at least. Even though I have a lot of English in me too. Blush So, yea, keep the 'pen' out of Scotland. Big Grin The 'pen' is mightier than the sword? Eek! Must not be a Scottish sword! Blush again
Bottom line, great discussion. And, maybe another name for an upcoming Scottish sword 'caetharn' or 'cateran'. Eek!
Stephen (Stiubhart)
P.S. It is MacAlpin according to Magnusson at least. Wink
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks as if the Wikipedia site takes its information from the Royal Galloglas website history page http://home.earthlink.net/~rggsibiba/html/gal...ohist.html.

It appears that Kern may be the catharn/caetharn you speak of.
From the aforementioned Royal Galloglas website under the section entitled Irish Warriors: "Prior to the arrival of Norman mercenaries in 1167 AD, Irish Kings retained the equivalent of knights appointed from amongst their kin and nobles. This was supplemented in time of war by conscription of Kern (catharnach, meaning friendship or mutual benevolence), who served as basic infantry in any conflict."
Per the American Heritage Dictionary, the term Kern comes from the middle English kerne, from middle Irish ceithern, ceithernn, band of soldiers, from old Irish.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has the etymology of Kern as middle English kerne, from middle Irish cethern band of soldiers.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Kenneth Armstrong




Location: Alexandria, VA (for the moment)
Joined: 24 Aug 2006

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Allen W wrote:
Jean-Carle is right about my counting Manx amonge the Gaelic languages as that's how I've always seen it listed in dictionaries. For what its worth Ken is Scottish Gaelic (and I believe Irish as well) for head hence the name Kennedy means ugly head and if Pennaeth means Chieftain in Welsh then the name Kenneth is probably derived from the Gaelic word for the same (remember that Kenneth MacAlpine was the first king of Scotland). Personally I find Kenneth a rather uninspiring name for a sword.


Wow, that hurts my feelings. Happy

Just kidding, I love topics like this. Discussing languages and etymology is just as important as discussing the tools for warfare to me.
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Stephen D. Sharp





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Ken, I am not out to offend anyone but, I think the discussion is good.
The application to Irish in the 12th century sounds right but, the reference to Kern is inaccurate in regards to Scotland. Note in the quote we are talking about Scotland in the mid-14th century. (ceatharn or ‘caterans’ not catharnach -- there is a big difference). Wink
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Stephen D. Sharp





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Further,
For what it is worth from my Gaelic dictionaries:

ceathairne
nf.ind. peasantry, yeomanry, portion of population fit for warfare
ceatharnach
nm. g.v. -aich; pl. -aich, kerne, stout, trusty peasant
ceatharnas
nm. g.v. -ais, heroism

[ceathairne] nf.ind. peasantry, yeomanry, portion of population fit for warfare
[ceatharnach] nm. g.v. -aich; pl. -aich, kerne, stout, trusty peasant
[ceatharnas] nm. g.v. -ais, heroism

Ceathairne, f. a party of men, stout men.
Ceathairne-choille, f freebooters, outlaws.
Ceatharnach, -aich, m. a stout man, a soldier.
Ceatharnachd, f. valour, heroism; ceatharnas.

AND:

gallda
a. foreign, belonging to a strange land, belonging to Lowland Scotland
Galldachd
nf.ind. the country occupied by the non-Gaelic speakers of Scotland, usually termed the Lowlands of Scotland : air a' Ghalldachd, in the Lowlands
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David Fictum





Joined: 12 Aug 2006

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Sun 24 Sep, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While Wikipedia is great any everything, I would never rely on it for hard cold facts. At most I would use Wikipedia as my sort of "what questions are there to answer?" point for any topic. The concept of Wikipedia is good, but the reliability is not. If you want solid, reliable data, I suggest search for it yourself in other places that list their resources more often.
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Stephen D. Sharp





Joined: 03 Sep 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun 24 Sep, 2006 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is pretty much my opinion on Wik' too. Perhaps a good source to point one in the right direction. Sometimes one has to take information on the Web with a bit of discretion; then again, sometimes it is 'right' on. I think 'good judgement' is the word, like anything else I guess. This forum is great, I think, we can learn a lot from a lot of different people and perspectives. Cool

Set me straight, if Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic are the same, why are they so different?? Confused
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