am 6. Juli 2012
Um es vorweg zu sagen, das Thema ist interessant und die Herangehensweise erst recht.
Die Aufarbeitung mit vielen Schaubildern überzeugend, aber nun kommt das aber
ich habe keine Aussage über die verwendete Datenbasis gefunden, und dies gehört für mich zumindest in den Anhang eines Buches, das von Statistik lebt. Denn nur aus abstrahierten Prozentzahlen kann der Leser nicht auf die Relevanz des Ergebnisses schliessen. Hier wäre es interessant zu wissen wieviel Datensätze in welcher räumlichen Verteilung ausgewertet wurden!
Er wisst an mehreren Stellen immer auf die Vorsicht hin, die bei der Interpretation seiner gewonnenen Verteilungszahlen zu walten hat. Leider hält er sich dann selbst nicht daran. so macht er sich eine Minderheitenposition in der Linguistik zu eigen, weil sie ihm gut passt.
Wie wäre es gewesen seine Erkenntnise mit der Mehrheitsmeinung abzugleichen?
am 10. April 2008
While we in North America have a distressing tendency to lump most of the inhabitants of the British Isles together, those living there are aware of their diversity. That awareness has been carried rather to extremes by some scholars and politicians. "What is a Celt?" has been a key question, as has been its follow-up "What really happened to the Celts?" Tied in with these queries is the problem of finding an origin for the Celts and just what language they spoke. Stephen Oppenheimer addresses these and related issues in a comprehensive "detective story" incorporating history, analytical genetics and linguistic studies. His conclusions, well depicted in this provocative study, will prove surprising to some, and perhaps distressing to a few.
The British Isles, he begins, have the advantage of being invaders of a "terra nullius" [uninhabited land] some fifteen thousand years ago. As the Last Glacial Maximum retreated before the rise of a revived warm period, humans were able to enter a land they'd been driven from thousands of years previously. While this situation offers nothing to the historian, archaeologists and geneticists have a clear starting point for placing and dating the migration. Not an island then, Britain was a peninsula jutting out from the European land mass. That provided an easy route from the Mediterranean shoreline, around what is now Iberia to the southern and western coasts of Britain. Since "western" here now means Eire, it's clear the first adjustment of opinion must accommodate Ireland and Britain. Clearly, there were later population movements, but where did they originate, how long did they last and what numbers of people were involved? Most significantly, what languages did they speak?
From his introductory survey, Oppenheimer proceeds to tease out the answers to these questions. The origins are traced back in time using genetic markers. Mitochondrial DNA, carried down the generations only through female inheritance factors provides one scenario. The Y chromosome, the genetic marker for men is analysed separately, then compared. In most, although not all cases, the matches are mutually supportive. Archaeological finds are used as further indicators which have the advantage of solid dating techniques to support them, unlike the DNA tests which rest on a calculation based on presumed mutation rates. The language question remains contentious. Oppenheimer links it with the spread of farming entering Europe from Anatolia introducing early forms of Celtic into Western Europe. The author's genetic analysis also overturns the idea that farmers "displaced" earlier hunter-gatherer societies in Europe and Britain. Instead, farming was adapted by the resident population and farmers' larger families added some population pressure, but hardly "displacement". The same holds true for the Roman occupation, which was more interested in social stability and tax collecting than genocide.
The post-Roman era has also led to the establishment of displacement myths and their more recent overturning. History, partly thanks to reliance on "Saint" Gildas, has stoked the fires of national sentiments by depicting the Angles and Saxons as a barbarian horde bent on ethnic cleansing of the indigenous "Celtic" peoples. Oppenheimer rejects this tradition, arguing instead that a "warrior elite" may have entered Britain, but this was a small population and a continuation of British-Continental ties in any case. Just who those "barbarians" were is problematic in any case, since the author sees ongoing contact with the Frisian and near shore of Europe rather than a conquering horde emerging from northern Germany. It is now generally accepted that the Norman "Conquest" was only slightly more intrusive than the Roman one, with an elite doing the ruling and the long-lasting indigenous population doing everything else like farming, herding and trading.
A major issue here is language. Linguists, Oppenheimer argues have been keen to avoid dating of language branching, mostly because early attempts came to grief. He goes so far as to separate "Celtic" populations from "celtic" languages. Part of the reason for this is the lack of a written base of celtic to use as a foundation. The Classical Period commentators in Greece and Rome wrote of "Celts" in a vague sort of way, and even a man on the ground, Julius Caesar was unable to make definitive comments about either the people or their languages. More precise cultural details were omitted entirely. Oppenheimer's path through the language issues is inevitably a tortured one, but he makes a serious effort at simplification. Whatever his success is due to a paucity of real data. For him, the genes speak louder than words. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
am 24. Juni 2007
This is being sold for a high price as a genuine hardcover edition, but is, in fact, just the paperback edition (cheap paper, glued, not sewn in signatures, etc.) with cardboard replacing the paper covers.
My apologies to the author, as my rating in no sense reflects on the actual content of the book.
Buy the paperback for half the price!