Partly because my mother is Welsh, I have always been curious as to the origins of the ‘Celts’.
I have long known of the similarities between the local languages of Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, but for years I thought that this indicated that this was the original language of the ‘British’, who had been pushed westwards by the influx of Romans, Saxons, Vikings, etc.. These days there is more evidence that actually they always were the people of the western coast, having migrated along the coast from the Iberian peninsula. Is that where they started though?
I had been reading “The Origins of the British” but never got further than the first chapter where the author shows that they did not, as previously thought, start out in the Pyrenees, rather they came from somewhere further west, but I have yet to find out where he thinks they did originate. Afaicr, he used only Roman texts in that first chapter.
A few days ago my interest was rekindled by a repeat of a program on the Oseberg burial, where they mentioned that either the lady or her forbears probably came from Iran! Could this have anything to do with the occasional but striking similarities between Persian and British languages? How many generations ago had her forebears moved to the west, two or three? or dozens? I tried to find out just what the original research indicated, but to no avail. So I gave up, and settled for being happy that such an intriguing mystery had even been discovered.
Just this morning though, I was looking at my Amazon wish-list, and got distracted by the free and very cheap recommendations for Kindle, one of which was “History of the Anglo-Saxons: from earliest times to the Norman Conquest.” One of those really old books made digital. I started reading the introduction, and was happily surprised to see that the author was starting not with the origins of the Saxons, but with the original occupants of the British Isles. Interestingly he cites even earlier references than Mr. Oppenheimer: The Phoenicians. Also he mentions not only the Celts, but the Cimmerii, or Cymri, the ancient Welsh . . . How the heck have I never heard this before?
Googling quickly reveals the Cimmerii as the descendants of Gomer, son of Japheth, and so a Google wormhole opens up, and I find that it is well known that the sons of Japheth settled in Europe, the whole of Europe. Also that the Irish have a legend that they are descended from Magog, another of Japheth’s sons, and that they were settled for a while in ‘Galata’ in Anatolia, and hence the origin of the word ‘celt’.
So finally after nearly fifty years of wondering, I finally know who the original people of the British isles were, and roughly where they came from (after the last glaciation – Paviland was well before that and when the Celts and Cimmerii arrived the area was unpopulated, presumably since the ice retreated).
Coincidentally there was a ‘Secrets of the Bible’ program on just now that dealt with Noah’s flood, but they didn’t even mention the Dogger flood, even though they gave the same cause. (Sudden rise in sea level after the last glaciation.)
In essence though, it seems pretty clear that after the ice retreated for the last time, people gradually spread into the new land, perhaps most relevantly around the Black Sea. Then comes a flood, displacing or drowning people from a very large area. Noah and his family survive by riding it out in a boat, but even when the water recedes, a lot of land is still submerged, including their homeland, so they need to find somewhere to settle. Clearly it took at least another generation before they found uninhabited land they could call their own, and that was the islands to the far west, that we now call the British Isles.
I do wonder if Dogger was flooded at the same time or later, though, as there were people living in the area when it was flooded. Did Japheth’s descendants move across Europe after the flood, or were they already there and it was Doggerland that they had to move from?
With all the genetic research that has been done recently, I’m sure someone has already worked out who came from where, and when, and I clearly need to read more recent books than the bible and Phoenician records to get those answers!
So back to ‘The Origins of the British’ and perhaps ‘The British: A Genetic Journey’ might be more informative.


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