Roman DNA

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Roman DNA

Postby Simon21 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:12 am

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/201 ... y-britain/

Like most DNA based research it starts by promising much but ending up with very little.

The Belgae conenction is interesting. It being pointed out that Frisian is one of the closest languages to English. If the Belgae in South England spoke frisian (coming from the area) then early English may have been in existence before the Anglo Saxons - so the problem of what happened to the Brittonic language doesn't in a sense arise - large numbers of Southern British didn't speak it.
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Minimalist » Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:34 pm

Generally speaking Roman soldiers were not permitted to marry during the term of their enlistment... kept the need to support widows and orphans down. After they retired they usually remained in the area and married local women and became farmers or shopkeepers. Later on, after Constantine, the army was divided into the limitanei and the comitatenses who were sort of the successors to the traditional legionaries. The limitanei were in effect local border guards. The limitanei were encouraged to settle in the region and were called out, militia-like, with the idea that they could contain an enemy until the real troops arrived. But after a couple of hundred years of Roman occupation there would have been a pretty good genetic mixture across the empire.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Simon21 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:23 am

Minimalist wrote:Generally speaking Roman soldiers were not permitted to marry during the term of their enlistment... kept the need to support widows and orphans down. After they retired they usually remained in the area and married local women and became farmers or shopkeepers. Later on, after Constantine, the army was divided into the limitanei and the comitatenses who were sort of the successors to the traditional legionaries. The limitanei were in effect local border guards. The limitanei were encouraged to settle in the region and were called out, militia-like, with the idea that they could contain an enemy until the real troops arrived. But after a couple of hundred years of Roman occupation there would have been a pretty good genetic mixture across the empire.


All true and it is presumed that atr least some of the origin of the Kingsdom of Northumbria maybe due to statelets which grew around the forsts as teh garrisons turned into small armies under the old commanders.

Of course allthis presumes that there was a serious threat from the North and there is the idea that this has been exagerated in later A/S accounts such as Bede who seems to have hated (with exceptions) anyone who was not Northumbrian (even if they were christian). The fact the Romans built a wall seems to indicate a threat did exist, but the fact it lacked a wall-walk and apparently had a strong defensive ditch dug behind it complicates the picture.

It has been suggested that one of its purposes may have been to emasculate the Brigantes whose territory this was and who seem to have rebelled on several occasions.
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Minimalist » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:02 pm

I suspect that Hadrian's Wall was an acknowledgement of the fact that the Romans considered Britain pacified and regarded Scotland as a shithole that wasn't worth the effort. True there was no idea of making the wall thick enough to station soldiers along the top of it. Instead they went for watchtowers and fortified gatehouses. It seems as if they correctly judged that there was no force in Scotland capable of launching a major assault on the wall but were more concerned with stopping raiding parties. The fortified gates would have also given them the ability to control commerce with the north.

As elsewhere in the Empire the legions were kept on the border to guard against external threats.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Simon21 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:19 pm

Minimalist wrote:I suspect that Hadrian's Wall was an acknowledgement of the fact that the Romans considered Britain pacified and regarded Scotland as a shithole that wasn't worth the effort. True there was no idea of making the wall thick enough to station soldiers along the top of it. Instead they went for watchtowers and fortified gatehouses. It seems as if they correctly judged that there was no force in Scotland capable of launching a major assault on the wall but were more concerned with stopping raiding parties. The fortified gates would have also given them the ability to control commerce with the north.

As elsewhere in the Empire the legions were kept on the border to guard against external threats.



Not quite, there was a hell of defensive ditch to the south of the Wall and it seems to have had a defensive purpose. Of course there is the Great Conspiracy of 368 which saw the wall breached by the Picts etc. If you beleive in the Great Consiracy and some claim it was talked up to make Theodosius' victory look more impressive.

Of course the fact the Franks are said to have taken part is very significant given that Frankish items turn up in Kent.

Fascinatingly Gildas Sapiens, who seems to have thought the wall ran lengthways down Britain, thus proving he lived nowhere near it, gives a very goulish account of attacks on it telling of hooked weapons which dragged the defenders down into the enemy. Some wonder if this is a reference to what happened in the Greatr Conspiracy. If so it begs the question - what sources was he using?

Against this of course is the fact that there is no archaeological evidence at all for any great breach of the Wall.
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Minimalist » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:19 pm

what sources was he using?


And how many proof were they.

When did the Scots invent Scotch, anyway?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Minimalist » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:26 pm

The one problem with a wall, when dealing with any sea-faring people, is that they can sail around behind it. By the late 4th century the whole Western Empire was going to shit and it would not be too long before the Romans withdrew from Britain and left them to their fate.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Simon21 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:30 am

Minimalist wrote:The one problem with a wall, when dealing with any sea-faring people, is that they can sail around behind it. By the late 4th century the whole Western Empire was going to shit and it would not be too long before the Romans withdrew from Britain and left them to their fate.


Actually no Peter Brown's magisterial studies show that in the late fourth century things were going quite well.

He sees the Rhine crossing of 407 as nothing more than a barbarian raid, possibly assisted by Roman pretenders.

And it is difficult to gues what "romans" meant inb Britain at this stage. All the people who lived south of the Wall were Romans.

The sea raids are interesting. There is a "Count of the Saxon Shore" in Britain, but does this refer to opposinhg the Saxons, or managing a coastal settlement of them? There is no Count of the Irish Shore yet there seems to be no doubt that the irish were also launching raids in the late fourth century and beyond, St Patrick being captured in one.

The huge coastal forts in the South of Britain are now thought to have been built by Carauasius and his regime - ie they were aimed at inhibiting Roman attack, not barbarian.

Again there is very little archaeological evidence which points to serious batrbarian damage anywhere.
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby E.P. Grondine » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:55 am

After a quick and very superficial internet check,
It is interesting to see how the studies on this period have progressed over the last decades.

As we now have a focus of rescue archaeology,
I'd like to throw in a few notes on the apparat for directed research here.

While they have their own difficulties , contemporary written documents are one of the densest stores of data,
and can provide many excavations worth of data.
And since data is distributed by writing, they are particularly useful.

You find contemporary written documents at governmental structures, religious structures,
high status residences, high status burials, and at major public works.

Secondary writings have to be very carefully analyzed to be of much use.
(min, this applies to the Bible, the Bronze Age Aegean oral cycles, and the medieval Arthurian materials.)
The best that can be hoped for is simply to indicate a location of interest for excavation.

( A very thorough understanding of ancient technologies can lead to sites located at resources or along trade paths.)

My view is that a large problem here was destruction of writings in the British Museum Library fire.
Most of the recent work for this are area and period appears to be the result of analysis of later Welsh materials:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coel_Hen
Which is why the excavation at that ring fort is so important.

For this area and era, from my very thoroughly limited view,
there are two important writings which need to be thoroughly deconstructed:
Admonan's LIfe of Columba, and that terrible translation of the Prophatio Merlini.

Now to work with any writing, you have to know the language,
and in particular place names and titles.
You have the Pict constructions, which have their own uses.
Not much work has been done with anglo saxon title "Aed" variants,
such as Aedan mac Gabran or Aedan Artur.

And then there is the problem of the title "draign" and "dragons"
such as:
"This small enamelled bronze Roman trulla (ladle), dating to the 2nd century AD, is inscribed with a series of names of Roman forts along the western sector of the wall, together with a personal name and phrase: MAIS COGGABATA VXELODVNVM CAMBOGLANNA RIGORE VALI AELI DRACONIS."
where DRACONIS is being read as a variant of a personal name instead of as a title.

In sum, without a detailed understanding of the local situation as regards foederati and mercenaries,
you can nor analyze it in an imperial context.
You can try to use such a global analysis to throw light on the local situation,
or to limit possibilities,
but it is way down my list of methods of directed research.

Thu my opinion is that the excavators of that ring fort need to focus their excavations on the recovery of contemporary writings from the site.
I hope they have done their metal detector sweeps and their ground penetrating radar and resistivity surveys and their Lidar map.

Once again, my research focus is on impacts, in his context particularly the one at Bazas,
which should be showing up in the Irish records as well.
All of the data has to fit together, and smaller recent impacts are very useful for chronological work.
Usually people believe what they want to believe until reality intrudes.
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Minimalist » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:10 pm

Simon21 wrote:
Minimalist wrote:The one problem with a wall, when dealing with any sea-faring people, is that they can sail around behind it. By the late 4th century the whole Western Empire was going to shit and it would not be too long before the Romans withdrew from Britain and left them to their fate.


Actually no Peter Brown's magisterial studies show that in the late fourth century things were going quite well.

He sees the Rhine crossing of 407 as nothing more than a barbarian raid, possibly assisted by Roman pretenders.



Everything is easy for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. The Romans did not withdraw from Britain because of events in Britain. They withdrew because Emperor Honorius found himself up to his eyebrows in Visigoths, Goths, ( Alaric sacked Rome in 410 ) and various rebels. The problem was in Italy. The message of Honorius' rescript to Britain was "get lost."
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Simon21 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:03 pm

While they have their own difficulties , contemporary written documents are one of the densest stores of data,
and can provide many excavations worth of data.
And since data is distributed by writing, they are particularly useful.

You find contemporary written documents at governmental structures, religious structures,
high status residences, high status burials, and at major public works.


There are very few contemporary docs from this time largely due to the deprivations of the Vikings.

It has been said only 1000 documents survive in Britain from 410 t0 1000 - quite a hecatomb.

But the situation is not hopeless.over the last few decades original sermons and letters from St Augstine have been found in Germany https://www.ewtn.com/library/CHISTORY/augustexts.htm

Now Byzantine items have b een discovered in Britain (it is thought the gold of the glorious Staffordshire hoard comes from melted Byzantine coins) so it seems to me at least possible that there they may have been records there in the libraries and archives of Byzantium. If so is it possible that they were taken to Italy after the terrible 4th Crusade?

Bit Da Vinci Code but one lives in hope.

Now to work with any writing, you have to know the language,
and in particular place names and titles.
You have the Pict constructions, which have their own uses.
Not much work has been done with anglo saxon title "Aed" variants,
such as Aedan mac Gabran or Aedan Artur.


Not sure of this but the general point is true. Birling points out the British place names underwent a big change in the AS period where names (often Brittonic) referring to geographical features were replaced by personal names with "ingas" (people of). She sees this emphasis of the "leader" as proto feudalism.

What is especially fascinating is where a name seems to select a group of people as beijng unusual - Pensax means hill of the Saxons. The only point of this name must be that Saxons were so unusual that this name actually meant something. Dumbarton is supposed to mean "fort of the British" - but who gave it this name, presumably non British.

It also helps if you translate properely - Leatherhead is now beleived to mean the "Gray Ford" and be dereived from Brittonic. Clearly there weree Britons here to pass on the name.
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Simon21 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:12 pm

Everything is easy for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. The Romans did not withdraw from Britain because of events in Britain. They withdrew because Emperor Honorius found himself up to his eyebrows in Visigoths, Goths, ( Alaric sacked Rome in 410 ) and various rebels. The problem was in Italy. The message of Honorius' rescript to Britain was "get lost."



One needs to b e careful here. What does one mean by "withdrawn"? Certainly not the population of the whole place south of the Wall.

In any case the British usurper Constantine III had raised rebellion and was not executed until 411 - did he replace all the former officials in Britain with his own creatures? He had no intention as far as can be told of abandoning the place.

Interestingly when things were up the proverbial creek and he was surrounded in Gaul he tried to raise mercenaries from the Franks? Is this how Frankish artifacts got to Kent - land granted in lieu?

David Dumville was very down on the recript of Honorious. He said Bruttium was meant not Britain
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby E.P. Grondine » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:55 pm

From a long time ago, when I had more of my brain -

https://cosmictusk.com/reprint-grondine ... an-empire/

There have been many histories written about events in Britain between the
first and sixth centuries; as the materials are so incredibly difficult to
work with, I think it is safe to say that no two of these histories agree,
at least in all of their details. The following short summary is my take on
the events of this period, with reference to some of the archaeological
finds recovered to date.

The fatal weakness of the Roman Empire was that it was ruled by means of a
poorly formed monarchy. Aside from this system’s propensity to grant
executive powers to incompetents or to the insane, the lack of a clear means
of passing executive power led to much of the Empire’s military power being
squandered in struggles for control of the state. A consequence of these
struggles for power was a constant ongoing reduction in the authority and
the respect with which the people of the Empire held their military forces.
By as early as 185 CE so much of Rome’s military might had been squandered
in these political struggles that its commanders in Europe began to use the
germanic Francs as mercenaries against both the local Celtic populations as
well as against sea-borne raiders.

Around the year 220 CE, the survivors of the Romans’ conquest of Brittannia
who lived in the far north of that island found themselves a new ally. The
Cruit/Chuid (Picts) of Brittannia’s far north, a pre-Indo-European people
who had also survived the earlier Celtic migrations into the isles, allied
with the Scotti people. While it is not clear as of yet whether the Scotti
were of germanic or nordic descent, it is clear that whoever they were they
possessed the technology to construct large boats out of wood, as the new
allies used watercraft of this type in their first raids.

While in earlier times such attacks would have led to rather massive
retaliations by the Romans, by this date, instead of retaliating, the Romans
abandoned the area south of the Antonine Wall and north of Hadrian’s Wall to
the control of their former subjects, the indigenous local tribes. This
Roman withdrawal may have been due to the fact that they had lost much of
their military strength in the battles between the different claimants for
control of the Empire; it may have been due to the fact that the eastern
areas of the Empire, with their routes to China, may have appeared to them
as a more lucrative use of their troops; or it may simply have been due to
the fact that only the grain growing areas of Brittannia which were south of
Hadrian’s Wall were of any value to them; whatever the cause, withdraw they
did.
Usually people believe what they want to believe until reality intrudes.
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Minimalist » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:53 pm

did he replace all the former officials in Britain with his own creatures?



As you noted, he ended up dead so his intentions were irrelevant. Honorius, though, clearly considered Britain a lost cause and the troops that were withdrawn were needed elsewhere. Not that it did him all that much good. The Western Empire was little more than a name on a map.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin
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Re: Roman DNA

Postby Simon21 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:24 am

Unfortunately we do not know who the Picts were, but opinion now is shifting to the fact that they were a Britonic people. Bede is the one who wroite of them as unique but it is unclear if he knew them at all.

One must be careful of going on about Roman military weakness. The Roman empire in the fourthy and some of the fifith centry was vastly superior to the barbarain tribes on its frontiers. We have the campaign of Theodosius the Great which if it did all it is suposed to in Britainseems to have not faced any tough opposition.

And again thehre is no archaeological evidence that points to severe destruction.

Yes there is Adrianople and the sack of Rome but Brown points out that in the latter case this was largely caused by Roman infighting not barbarian power. The Visigoths (who were supposed to be Roman allies) were let into Rome by one of the aristocractic familes, they did not storm the city.
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