Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Celts and Vikings - Little Known Facts

It was the Early Christian Celts who converted the Vikings to Christianity. In Mannin, the present Isle of Man, Celts and Vikings settled down together and formed their small independent nation with the Tynwald as their parliament. On many occasions the Celts of Wales, Cornwall and Strathclyde united with the Vikings from Scandinavia to battle against the Angles and Saxons who were taking over the eastern seaboard and midlands of Britain. They were halted at the rivers Severn and Tamar where the Celts were able to form their own independent kingdoms and princedoms and to stem the Saxon tide.

Later the Normans, who were the descendants of Viking settlers in France, and Bretons, who accompanied William the Conqueror in his invasion of Britain took over the Marcher lands on the borders between the Severn and the Dee and acted as a buffer between the sworn foes of Britons and Saxons. In south and west Wales there was considerable intermarriage between Celts and Normans and many of these Cambro-Normans established settlements in Ireland in and around Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Kinsale, Cork and Limerick. Many Welsh and Norman links were established between Wales and Ireland and both place-names and family names in Ireland testify to the fact that there were strong Welsh influences in Ireland, as well as the common name "Walsh", very prevalent in eastern Ireland today which denotes a Welsh descent.

It is therefore evident that the Welsh and Irish Celts and the Vikings and Normans (north-men) eventually formed accommodations and alliances which were intended to resist and thrust back the attempts of Anglo-Saxon armies sent out to subject the Celtic peoples of western Britain to their will and increasing domination of Britain, the land of the Brythones. Northern Brittany (Llydaw) was settled by immigrants from Cornwall who found their land was not easy to defend because of the nature of the terrain. Thus Brittany became a "little Britain" populated by Britons who spoke the Brythonic language of Wales and Cornwall. Southern Brittany, which contained the Gaelic population speaking the Goidelic language of Ireland and Scotland (Gaelic), continued to co-exist with their northern British neighbours. This population comprised remnants of the Gauls which Julius Caesar had attempted to exterminate during the Gallic Wars.

(Alan in Dyfed)

Comment published, below:

Bernard (Byn) Walters has left a new comment on your post "Celts and Vikings - Little Known Facts":

In fact I had to come back to you on this because I don't know where you got that from. The Southern Bretons never spoke Gaelic, I mean you can't be Breton and speak Gaelic, that is The language of the Irish and the Scots.The Gauls spoke 'p' Celtic, a variation on Welsh; i.e. what you touched on the other day, Glasgow down to Nantes was Welsh(Brythonic) speaking.The Gaels speak what we refer to as 'q' celtic. Although the whole of France spoke basically the same language, Gaulish, Breton was never spoken in Rennes nor Nantes but Gaulish was and Welsh or Breton was a form of Gaulish that came back over the 'Channel'from Great Britain with a more limited frontier: which brings me to another point, just because someone is called 'Walsh' does not mean that he is a Brythonic Celt or Welsh,it's German to mean that he is different to the person whom he encounters, face to face. Neither the Gaelic speakers from Ireland nor the Normans with their spêcific dialect would have used this term. Admittedly William Wallace was William the Welshman because Strathclyde was a Welsh kingdom,but the name could only be used in the Germanic tongue. Walsh could just as well have been an Irishman for a German speaking Englishman.

Place-names in southern Brittany indicate that the language spoken there was Goidelic (or Gaelic), similar to the language spoken in Ireland today. HOWEVER, this assumption may be faulty, so please read comments. Alan

5 comments:

Bernard (Byn) Walters said...

I think that I'll forget about the Gaels in Southern Brittany but could you put this on to your site please,; it's to defend the Breton language. arredadeg.free.fr/?lng=fr

Bernard (Byn) Walters said...

In fact I had to come back to you on this because I don't know where you got that from. The Southern Bretons never spoke Gaelic, I mean you can't be Breton and speak Gaelic, that is The language of the Irish and the Scots.The Gauls spoke 'p' Celtic, a variation on Welsh; i.e. what you touched on the other day, Glasgow down to Nantes was Welsh(Brythonic) speaking.The Gaels speak what we refer to as 'q' celtic. Although the whole of France spoke basically the same language, Gaulish, Breton was never spoken in Rennes nor Nantes but Gaulish was and Welsh or Breton was a form of Gaulish that came back over the 'Channel'from Great Britain with a more limited frontier: which brings me to another point, just because someone is called 'Walsh' does not mean that he is a Brythonic Celt or Welsh,it's German to mean that he is different to the person whom he encounters, face to face. Neither the Gaelic speakers from Ireland nor the Normans with their spêcific dialect would have used this term. Admittedly William Wallace was William the Welshman because Strathclyde was a Welsh kingdom,but the name could only be used in the Germanic tongue. Walsh could just as well have been an Irishman for a German speaking Englishman.

Bernard (Byn) Walters said...

Alan, I didn't really think of getting into this but there is no, and I emphasise no Irish linguistic influence in Brittany. There are three dialects within the Breton Language; K.L.T.; Bro Gerné, Bro Leon and Bro Gwened. When you are referring to Southern Brittany you mean the dialect of Bro Gwened which some Bretons will tell you is yet again closer to Welsh.Alan Stivell is the godfather of my niece,My daughter's godmother is a daughter of one of the Gouedec sisters.

Bernard (Byn) Walters said...

I meant Gouadec not Gouedec and the reason that I wrote that was to put across to you that I live in the middle of the Breton culture. My barmaid's first language is Breton.

Bernard (Byn) Walters said...

Wednesday, 27th February,
http://crwtynrhifnaw.blogspot.com