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2d
comment Where did the Gaels originate?
@Noldorin (end :-) To sum it up, IMO, the Celtic superstrata in Ireland came from the South through metal trade (tin ore in Cornwall), not from the continent through the French rivers and the English Channel and way before La Tene. I'm sure you've read some of Barry Cunliffe's book. I'm more on this side than on the Historic Halstatt Academic theories. In my view Celts from Spain were there much before what is attested and were the Atlantic arms of the Mediterranean Phoenician traders.
2d
comment Where did the Gaels originate?
@Noldorin, (cont'd) Look at all the mentions of Tarshish/Tartessos in the Bible. Also consider recent claims that Tartessian bear some Celtic languages characteristics and Celtoiberian is a Q-Celtic, as Goidelic is. Consider that Spain was very rich in all sorts of metals readily available from many rivers (Rio Tinto - RIO (NYSE)). We are talking here time periods way before Halstatt here.
2d
comment Where did the Gaels originate?
@Noldorin, "Seeing no reason to doubt this" is probably a little bit provocative and you are right to oppose the linguistic and genetic evidence (J2 and R1 HG) which is overwhelming. However there are a lot of dots to connect here. In my view the Proto-Celts or Proto Italo-Celts were masters of metallurgy which I surmise they "learned" in the Balkans as early as 2.5 KYBC. Because this was the Bronze Age, trade was necessary to procure tin and copper from different regions. In the late Bronze Age at least, this was the speciality of Phoenicians in the Mediterranean.
Mar
19
awarded  Nice Answer
Nov
16
awarded  Yearling
Jan
22
comment African Clicking Language
Also, you might mention that clicking languages are a tactical advantage in stalking based hunting techniques because they are not easily noticed by potential preys. Typically, groups of hunters would coordinate their actions (selecting a prey, encircling it, etc) through clicks inaudible among the background savanna noises.
Jun
17
comment What right/legitimacy did Normans have to a kingdom in Southern Italy?
+1 for JJ Norwich. Also see "Byzantium", "Venice" and Venetian Music. My contemporary Gibbons Also. in Italy, the Hauteville are called Altavilla.
Mar
20
comment To what can we trace the idea of “civic responsibility”?
@jwenting. Absolutely!!! "Civic responsibility" (respect of the common wealth) and "nationalism" (defense of the group) are two facets of a far more global set of instincts: social instincts. They occur in various species, especially "superior" mammals. The evolutionary advantage is obvious: these instincts benefit the society which protects the individuals. For this very same reason they are also well regarded among fellow group members which explains why these feelings are genetically dominant as they can confer leadership and therefore procreational advantages to their bearers.
Jan
22
comment First time the sail ship technology took off
@MarkC.Wallace, Hermann. Regarding the Nile, there is a particularity worth noting: the Nile stream carries ships downstream. Conversely, the dominating winds blow from North to South and thus carry the ships upstream. This is shown on many antic reliefs on site and in museums (in Mastabas for instance). So, on their way to lower Egypt, sailors would simply use the stream and would instead use the force of the wind on their way back to upper Egypt. This can be interpreted as an indication that sail ships were probably used pretty early in ancient Egypt. Later models have been found as well.
Jan
22
comment Did the Romans “copy” their political system from the Greeks?
A possibly more interesting question IMO would be to compare the place of sacredness in Early Rome to that of Greek oligarchies: I find it striking how the stability of Early Rome was guaranteed by a host of sacred rules and laws effectively preventing a comeback of tyranny: the Pomerium, the Rubicon etc. These rules managed to keep the political regime close to a democracy for a considerable amount o time. When they were broken (Sulla's entering the Pomerium or Caesar crossing the Rubicon) Rome's democratic regime was in jeopardy.
Jan
22
comment Did the Romans “copy” their political system from the Greeks?
1/ the "Greeks" had many different systems, arguably one for each city state, Sparta always stayed an oligarchy; whereas Athens, Thebes and Argos enjoyed various "democratic" periods. 2/ even for a given city such as Athens, there were many different systems: the successive regimes of Draco, Peisistratos and Pericles have little in common. There are however recurring patterns: royalty => revolt => oligarchy => revolution => democracy => empire/hegemony. But this is not limited to the Greek or Roman worlds. It's just a consequence of the spread of education; and it is still at work today.
Jan
17
revised When did the term “Nationality” first come into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?
One less typo.
Jan
17
awarded  Editor
Jan
17
revised When did the term “Nationality” first come into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?
deleted 28 characters in body
Jan
17
answered When did the term “Nationality” first come into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?
Jan
11
awarded  Enthusiast
Dec
24
comment What's the story behind Christmas?
You might be interrested by a theory linking Christmas as the 25th of December and the cult of sol invictus, Constantine's god, but even before him, Elagabalus' god. From sol invictus, you can go back to Harpocrates (Horus the younger). See especially how the date of the 25th of December was selected. More generally, you can have a look at the book "Christ in Egypt, the Horus-Jesus connection"; controversial but interresting.
Dec
15
comment How does Göbekli Tepe fit into the current picture of society development?
I can't agree more. I can't remember the source but I've read that a genetic mutation of a particular species of wheat (in which the grains stay longer on the ear once ripe) has been traced back a few kilometers away from Göbekli Tepe only. here is a wikipedia source actually. I personally believe that the spread of the megalithic civilization typical of the European Atlantic facade, from the South northwards, also maps to the spread of agriculture.
Nov
13
comment How did France worsen its relationship with Turkey?
@DVK, It's always been like this. Summary: 1/ Groups exist to compete against each other 2/ subgroups/entities/individuals compete against each other for the dominance of the parent group. 3/ apply recursively. Yet in a low-threat-collaboration-friendly environment "Nice guys finish first" ;-) and this is what our world is quickly becoming. On the other hand "preventive strike" is the best example of self fulfilling prophecy. Hence the need for Game Theory... But I do see your point - at my age one's angel wings are somewhat worn out ;-)
Nov
13
comment How did France worsen its relationship with Turkey?
@DVK Sociobiology shows that tribalism plays out as an evolutionary advantages to both groups and individuals. With the advent of the Global Village more and more people feel their ultimate tribe is no less than humankind (which explains why warmongering is perceived as unhelpful). Weimar Republic crowds can be excused for having no real sense of the Global Village. We can't. Morality: Working in telecoms or the media, blogging, communicating with your kind is an efficient way of making mankind efficient and more in control of its own destiny and of that of its tiny cosmic raft: planet Earth.