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View Diary: Origins of English: Pagan and Heathen (53 comments)

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  •  Precisely. I've read Tacitus in the original (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, WB Reeves, NonnyO, duhban

    along with Julius Caesar, some Pliny, and Cicero's orations. And the Argonautica and the Aeneid. We had to take 2 years of Latin at my high school--I took three  followed by a class in the epic in college. Most important thing I learned is that one must take ROman commentary on other cultures with a ten pound bag of salt.

    Nut, yes, they cut down the groves in Britain, and slew the druids on the Isle of Man. The other major lesson I learned was that Romans  were ass annoying and bigoted as hell--and a race of engineers. I got to tired of them making camp then breaking camp and going on a forced march, I rooted loudly for the Germans and the Helvetians ( Swiss). And as a proud Irish-AMerican, I was glad they barely got a toehold there. We fought 'em to a standstill--plus it didn't hurt that the barbarians were invading and they had to pull chocks yto defend ROme.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 05:51:28 PM PDT

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    •  OT Note (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WB Reeves, NonnyO, irishwitch, LinSea

      I'm currently work on a piece about the Irish Druids for my Ancient Ireland series. The Roman sources tend to be more fantasy than reality.

      •  Looking forward to your diary (2+ / 0-)
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        Ojibwa, irishwitch

        I wouldn't trust the Romans in general as far as their take on the customs of "barbarian" peoples. Their bigoted commentaries are clearly in the interest of justifying the onward march of empire.

        OTOH, when they do make the rare positive expression, I tend to give it credence as a statement against their own interests.  

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 06:19:04 PM PDT

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      •  Yet it's amazing how very few people ever (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ojibwa, WB Reeves

        question them.  I mean, they're ROMANS and the Celts were BARBARIANS. I almost got thrown out of my third Latin class at my Catholic high school for pointing out that in Pliny's letter to Trajan, as governor of Judea or whatever (it's been 45 years)he didn't g=hate or want to persecute Christians; he just wanted them to throw incense and and leave.  But they wouldn't cooperate. That kinda ruined my perception of all Romans as evil horrible people who hated Christians.  The nun didn't care for my sking questions.

        I wish to this day that I hadn't gotten two useless degrees (M.L.S., and a master's in TV/Radio) but had pursued my original goal of getting a Ph.D. in Lit, with a concentration on writers of the Celtic Twilight: Yeats, Lady Gregory, Synge, O'Casey. But I didn't. Instead I wrote Irish fairytales (having a great-grandmother under the same roof with a Galway brogue contributed) for fantasy magazines and anthologies. Which, all things considered, may have been the smarter choice.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 06:31:09 PM PDT

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    •  That's an impressive resume (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irishwitch, Ojibwa

      One I can't match. My smidgeon of Latin is second hand by way of my elder sister who was the true scholar in that field. By the time I reached HS, Latin was no longer required or even offered, mores the pity. All my reading of the classical sources came subsequent to school.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 06:26:26 PM PDT

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      •  I HAD to take two years of Latin (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ojibwa, WB Reeves

        Turned out I was good at it. I won a national award from Auxilium Latinum.And I liked reading the material--taught me a lot more about the Roman Empire than a normal history class would have.  At the same time I was researching Irish history out of my own interest--and realized that the Romans were very, very biased, and that much we know of ancient Britain and Ireland comes from them.

        The epic course was actually a great deal of fun. I had a great teacher with a sardonic sense of humor.  We read the Iliad and the Odyssey in translation. ANd I learned that Aeneas was the MOST boring hero in epic poetry, and Dido was so hysterically  annoying that I finally cheered when she killed herself (if she'd gone on much longer, I was fantasizing about poisoning her myself).   My favorite epic hero is Odysseus because he has a brain and used it , unliuke Achilles.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 06:37:29 PM PDT

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        •  Ah, wily Odysseus (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ojibwa, irishwitch

          That man was never at a loss!

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 06:51:37 PM PDT

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          •  I always preferred warriors with brains. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WB Reeves, Ojibwa, Bronx59

            My first h8sband who died in 84, had 3 black belts and two brown and was a competition fencer in high school, preferred to talk his way out of fights or pulling  something that scared the shit out of the toehr guys BEFORE the fight started. WHen you put out a lit cigar in the palm of your hand, they tend to think twice about taking you on (he was 5'11' and a 145 pounds, so he didn't look scary although, as one friend said, "Be nice to this guy; he knows a hundred different ways to kill you.").  My second husband was career Navy with a tendency to be a berserker at heart--but only if he had to. He won many an argument with higher ranking  NCOs because before he opened his mouth, he knew he had right on his side--and military law.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 10:03:50 PM PDT

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    •  Isle of Mona.... (1+ / 0-)
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      Ojibwa

      ... currently the Isle of Anglesey, was the stronghold of the druids where Paulinus Suetonius' Roman armies destroyed the druids.  It's off the coast of Wales.

      Isle of Man is further north in the middle of the Irish Sea.

      :-)

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 06:32:10 PM PDT

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    •  Too bad for our Irish ancestors. (1+ / 0-)
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      Ojibwa

      the reinvasion wiped out the ancient religion and brought the Roman state religion. Legend has it that it was St Patrick of coarse.

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