Mudcat Café message #131745 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #14974   Message #131745
Posted By: T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird)
04-Nov-99 - 01:43 PM
Thread Name: BS: St Patrick an Englishman ?
Subject: RE: BS: St Patrick an Englishman ?
The bagpipe is a pan-European instrument, possibly extending even farther. The posession of the bagpipe by the Galicians doesn't make them so-called "Celts" any more than it makes the slavic Macedonians celtic -- or the Roman emperor Nero, who played the bagpipe [as well as the fiddle :-) ]

The name, "Galicia", suggests that the land was once ruled by people whose self-designation began with Gal- or Gael-, and this suggest Celtic-speaking conquerers (compare Galatia in Asia Minor). But this doesn't by itself make the people "Celts". Andalusia, also in Spain, is named after the Vandals, but the Vandals haven't ruled it for centuries, and one doesn't ordinarily think of the people of Andalusia as "Vandals".

If "Celtic" is a linguistic designation, then most of the inhabitants of Ireland and Scotland are not "Celts". If it is a geographical designation, then the Turks who now inhabit Galatia are Celts. If it is a genetic designation, depending on certain "celtic-marker" blood proteins, then the some Galicians might be Celts, though whether they were descended from medieval Irish pilgrims going to Santiago, or directly from Iron-age Celtic language speakers, would remain to be determined. This blood-group analysis, of course, might very well exclude as many Irishmen, Scots, and so forth from "celtic" status as it included, even if the marker proteins would be identified. (Who would decide what they were ?) If "Celt" represents a historical experience, then the Galicians must be considered a sort of fringe or bridge group. Irish (among other) pilgrims passing throught Galicia have left a cultural mark, but Spanish culture has been influential in Galicia, and Galician was once the poetic language of the court in Castile.

If the test of a "Celt" is to be one of "the heart knows what it is", then I think that many Galicians may be Celtic in this sense, identifying themselves with a pan-celtic feeling. I consider Pan-celticism to be one of the legacies of romanticism. Hence by my analysis, neither the Galicians nor the Irish nor anyone else was a "Celt" in this romantic sense before the 19th century.