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REH and His Views Concerning the Irish (and Celts in General)


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#81 Taranaich

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 01:45 AM

Brilliant insights there deuce! It reminds me of the "No True Scotsman" logical fallacy: given the mindset of the Scots I know, it really isn't a logical fallacy in their mind. :D

I can definitely vouch for the Gaelic ambivalence mentioned, too, that love/hate relationship with their own background and people sharing it. Indeed, it goes a long way in explaining how the Irish and Scots clans fought among each other so fiercely for so long. I'd say the one thing a Celt hates more than their enemy is the brother they disagree with! (That's certainly the case with my folks!)

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#82 deuce

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:40 AM

But Byrne can't give the native Irish justice. He has to drag in the Scotch or the Normans, or the Phoenicians or God knows what else. In Crusade, who did he glorify? Why, the O'Neills -- God knows they're as true and fine an Irish family that ever lived but he made the hero half Norman and why did he pick the O'Neills? Because they're Ulster stock; maybe why a just God hasn't blasted Ulster long ago.


I've always thought it was interesting that, roughly a year after this comment, he wrote a story in which the lead character, Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, is "Son of a woman of the O'Briens and a renegade Norman knight...."


Hey Rusty! I thought that was interesting myself. My theory (and I could VERY easily be wrong) is that Howard was looking for a good reason why a Gael would be fighting alongside Normans in Outremer. Making Cormac half-Norman (BUT the son of an O'Brien woman from "the South", unlike Byrne's Ulster character) resolved that conundrum nicely, IMO. When REH called CFG a "true son of the most indomitable and savage race that ever trod the blood-stained fields of battle," I personally don't feel that he was referring to Cormac's father's folk (with whom CFG had little contact in his youth).

For me, of all the writers I discovered through researching the REH Bookshelf, Donn Byrne is easily my favorite. I now have nearly all of his books (some of which really took some tracking down), but it will be a while before I have the leisure to go to the Library of Congress and make copies of all his uncollected stories -- unfortunately, many of the mags they appeared in are too expensive for my blood, even if they were obtainable.
Rusty


I'm always on the look-out for more cool writers to read. :) Which story/novel, out of all Byrne's ouevre, would you recommend?

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#83 deuce

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:07 AM

An essay from Steve Tompkins (RIP) pertaining to this thread:

http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=595

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#84 Elegast

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 05:13 PM

An essay from Steve Tompkins (RIP) pertaining to this thread:

http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=595




Hi everyone :)

As I may have written before on this thread, DNA testing shows that the Pre-Roman Britons were Iberians rather than Celts. They had borrowed a lot of their culture from their neighbors the Gauls. By the time of the collapse of the Western half of the Roman Empire the Gauls had become heavily Romanized. They would also have mixed a lot with the South-East Romano-Britons and their other " Roman neighbors ". The Gauls supplied the largest number of Cavalry for the Roman Empire from the late Republic onwards.


In an other order of things. Do you think REH would have liked this girl? We don't seem to know musc about his taste in music but he did like Irishness. Also, didn't he once right a story called " For the Love of Barbara Allen "? He must have had at least some Liking for old ballads.

The girl in the video is called Cara Dillon . She is from County Derry in Northern Ireland.







#85 Rusty Burke

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 06:38 PM

We don't seem to know musc about his taste in music but he did like Irishness. Also, didn't he once right a story called " For the Love of Barbara Allen "? He must have had at least some Liking for old ballads.


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#86 deuce

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 08:27 PM

An essay from Steve Tompkins (RIP) pertaining to this thread:

http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=595




Hi everyone :)

As I may have written before on this thread, DNA testing shows that the Pre-Roman Britons were Iberians rather than Celts.


WOW. That is an over-simplification of the genetic evidence. I have read the books by Oppenheimer and Sykes (in fact, Mr. Tompkins and I discussed the possibility of my writing a follow-up to his essay). Have you read their books? :)

They had borrowed a lot of their culture from their neighbors the Gauls.


I'd like you to point out to me a culture known to anthropology/history that "borrowed" the language, weapons, burial practices and religion (and phenotype) of another, without that "other culture" having imposed their military/linguistic/economic/religious complex upon the "borrowing culture" (with the consequent genetic mixing). The Britons described by Julius Caesar were virtually identical to the Gaulish Celts he had encountered on the Continent. In fact, the specific casus belli that Caesar gave for his invasion of Britain was that the Britons were giving aid and comfort to their "brethren" on the mainland. It was only when the Romans reached the mountains of Wales (exactly where one WOULD expect hold-outs from the pre-Celtic population) that one reads about Britons (the Silures, specifically) whom the Roman commentators felt resembled "Iberians". Still, those "Iberians" spoke a Celtic language. Other "Welsh" tribes (such as the Ordovices) were NOT likened to "Iberians". REH specifically linked the Silurians to his "Picts" (and the Basques), BTW.

Perhaps an "Austria/Germanics" thread is needed, so we can discuss the extensive borrowings by Classical/pre-Classical Germanics of Celtic/Gaulish terms relating to war, governance and technology? The term for "iron" in ALL Germanic languages is derived from a "P-Celtic" original, BTW. Since Celts once ruled most of the lands (south of Scandinavia) that Germanic-speakers now control, then following your (flawed) reasoning above, all the inhabitants of Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Osterreich (and Denmark, most likely) are actually "Celts". Is that about right?

Ever since you started posting on this thread, your main theme seems to be, "Hey, the inhabitants of the British Isles "borrowed" (virtually) everything from someone else." You've pushed this agenda with very little evidence to back it up. On top of that, virtually all of your posts on this thread have had little to do with "REH and His Views Concerning the Irish (and Celts in General)". In other words, you keep dragging this thread off-topic. :)

By the time of the collapse of the Western half of the Roman Empire the Gauls had become heavily Romanized. They would also have mixed a lot with the South-East Romano-Britons and their other " Roman neighbors ". The Gauls supplied the largest number of Cavalry for the Roman Empire from the late Republic onwards.


I'm not very clear as to what you mean by "other 'Roman neighbors' ", but that's neither here nor there. That statement has very little to do with the topic of this thread. You want to quote something from Robert E. Howard concerning the Gauls or their cavalry and then comment on it, do so. :)

If you simply want to discuss "Celts", here's the thread for that:
http://www.conan.com...?showtopic=2721

BTW, the "SEARCH" function works GREAT on this fine forum and there is NO policy against "thread necromancy" (but there IS one against straying off-topic).


In an other order of things. Do you think REH would have liked this girl? We don't seem to know musc about his taste in music but he did like Irishness. Also, didn't he once right a story called " For the Love of Barbara Allen "? He must have had at least some Liking for old ballads.

The girl in the video is called Cara Dillon . She is from County Derry in Northern Ireland.


This is getting ridiculous. We DO "seem to know about" Robert E. Howard's tastes in music. Rusty Burke has pointed out one easily accessible source already. I've already quoted things about REH's abiding interest in the music of the British Isles (and his correspondence with RW Gordon, the famed musicologist) on this very thread. However, once again, this isn't particularly on-topic. Please, feel free to start an "REH's Tastes in Music" thread (or utilize one of the existing "Music" threads).

Ms. Dillon is very talented. I'm sure she sounds quite "Scandinavian" to you. :)

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#87 finmaccool

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 09:59 PM

Great idea for a thread!
I have been wondering this very same thing for a few years now.
Based on my Conan readings, I don't get the impression that he had much access to traditional Celtic lit., esp. Old Irish tales of the Ulster and/or Mythological Cycles.

I personally get his bitterness over not having an overtly "Celtic" surname. I relate to that since my surname is misleading too. ;)



Actually thats an error that DeCamp made and various members of the Howard fandom "Orthodoxy" refused to correct because the first person to point out that it WAS an error was somebody they considered a gadfly.

Years ago I (Big Jim Charles) pointed out that -
"The name Howard in Ireland is derived from the native Gaelic O'hIomhair Sept that was located in County Clare in the West of the country. It was also brought into Ulster by settlers from England, especially during the seventeenth century. O'Hure is a variant of this name. "



Howard knew a phenomenal lot about Celtic mythology too, which is nothing less than astoundign when you consider the few resources he had available to him at the time. Depression era Texas was not like today where you can go to Amazon.com or Borders and come out with a stack of books on Celtic myths, legends and history.

In one of the letters ,REH points out that in the older Myths CuChullain is a small, dark man, which is completely different from portrayals of the Hound of Ulster in the books coming out in the 20s and 30s that show a blond, burly man.
You can also see some of the Ulster cycle heroes in Conan. To wit, Conal Cernach and Gol Mac Morna.
I always thought some publisher had really missed out on a license to print money by not putting together a collection of REH's varioius Celt themed stories including Peopel of the Dark, Children of the Night, The Grey God Passes and various other tales and calling it "Robert E. Howards' Celtic Twilight."
At that time in the early 90s, the word "Celtic" was guaranteed to sell books. Still is.
They could have done a companion volume of his Viking yarns called "Robert E. Howards Norse Twilight" or some such.
Instead we get compendiums of the same old stories that don't have any real common themes that are available in the old Zebra books on our shelves.

Big Jim predicted years ago that if we ever got pure Howard on the shelves without the taint of DeCamp it would not rival the sales of the sixties and seventies books. Looks like I was right about that too. Don't get me wrong. Pure REH is better than altered or abridged.....BUT the REH legacy really needs somebody who knows something about marketing, a thing that is sorely lacking today in the aftermath of the last Howard publishing boom.

Iberians ARE Celts. The Milsians (Irish) came to Ireland FROM CELT IBERIA.
Don't take my word for it. See what Tacitus said about them in Agricola. He points out that the people in Spain appear to be identical to the dark haired britons.
This is why some phrases in Gaelic are identical to thesame phrases in Spanish by the way.

Edited by finmaccool, 29 April 2009 - 10:05 PM.


#88 finmaccool

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 10:09 PM

I can definitely vouch for the Gaelic ambivalence mentioned, too, that love/hate relationship with their own background and people sharing it. Indeed, it goes a long way in explaining how the Irish and Scots clans fought among each other so fiercely for so long. I'd say the one thing a Celt hates more than their enemy is the brother they disagree with! (That's certainly the case with my folks!)


No better example exists than the old Irish religion.

The Celts felt their ancestors had to fight with their own gods over who would own Ireland.

The Milsians (Celts from Spain) fought the Tuatha Da Dannans and drove them underground.

I have studied many mythologies and right off the top of my head, I can't think of any other group of ancient peoples who were at war with their own gods!
Most people feared their gods.

#89 Leoghan

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 11:21 PM

how very true finn, u beat me to it your last two post were things i was coming to comment on :D
i always did find it odd that the irish myths were the only one i could find as well were people had to fight the gods

#90 deuce

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 01:48 AM

I can definitely vouch for the Gaelic ambivalence mentioned, too, that love/hate relationship with their own background and people sharing it. Indeed, it goes a long way in explaining how the Irish and Scots clans fought among each other so fiercely for so long. I'd say the one thing a Celt hates more than their enemy is the brother they disagree with! (That's certainly the case with my folks!)


No better example exists than the old Irish religion.

The Celts felt their ancestors had to fight with their own gods over who would own Ireland.

The Milsians (Celts from Spain) fought the Tuatha Da Dannans and drove them underground.

I have studied many mythologies and right off the top of my head, I can't think of any other group of ancient peoples who were at war with their own gods!
Most people feared their gods.


As Robert E. Howard said in Hawks of Outremer, Cormac FitzGeoffrey (an Irishman raised by an Irishman in Ireland) was,
"A true son of the most indomitable and savage race that ever trod the blood-stained fields of battle."

REH had his Gaels fight foreign gods in The Grey God Passes and The Cairn on the Headland.

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#91 deuce

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 02:14 AM

how very true finn, u beat me to it your last two post were things i was coming to comment on :D
i always did find it odd that the irish myths were the only one i could find as well were people had to fight the gods


Hey Leoghan! In reference to your post on the "Cimmeria and the Cimmerians" thread, here's another quote from Hawks of Outremer:

"At twelve," grunted FitzGeoffrey, "I was running wild with shock-head kerns on the naked fens -- I wore wolfskins, weighed near fourteen stone, and had killed three men."

That quote is dated about 1200AD, story-wise. REH's take on the medieval Irish, especially after the Norse (and Norman) invasions, was one of a primitive, savage people.

This kind of thing (ie, quoting from Howard's fiction), is what I mentioned early in this thread. My main goal is to examine what REH said in his letters (in a chronological order). It's been pointed out by Sermon Bath that not everyone has access to those letters (though I'm a working class guy, $50 every 6+ months doesn't seem excessive for such treasures; that's about $9 a month). Anyone and everyone is welcome to quote from Howard's yarns (or letters, for that matter). :)

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#92 Leoghan

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 02:33 AM

very cool deuce , thank you

#93 deuce

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 04:00 AM

very cool deuce , thank you


You're welcome, Leoghan. :D

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#94 finmaccool

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 05:15 PM

The Normans actually got along rather well with the native Gaels. Remember, they were invited their by an Irish King fueding with his fellow kings.

In fact, the Normans "went native" and as historians will tell you became "more irish than the Irish themselves."

I have no doubt some of the animosity the "English" felt towards "the Irish" was actually animosity that Britons felt against Normans.

Notice that relations BEFORE the Norman invasion between England and Ireland wasn't as bad as it was after the Norman invasion of 1066.

The "English' or Britons felt the Normans were invaders trampling over them.

The Irish felt the English were getting what they had coming to them.

The Normans seem to have been a lot more respective towards the Irish than they were the English, a fact that came to me when I was in the Irish town where Strongbow married Aeffa.

#95 Axerules

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 10:41 PM

Time to revive this glorious thread! :)

Among the numerous rarities published in France by NéO during the eighties/early nineties, the book La Tombe du Dragon (1990) included a REH story, titled The Spirit of Brian Boru, which was otherwise only published once in English, nine years later, in The New Howard Reader. I thought I would summarize it here since it is hard to find and very telling vis-à-vis REH's feelings toward the Irish.


Spoilers ahead:
Spoiler


This fine short boxing tale with a nicely done pinch of "racial memory" was a very cool little yarn, where -unsurprisingly- REH sides once more with the Irishmen.
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#96 deuce

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 05:57 PM

Time to revive this glorious thread! Posted Image

Among the numerous rarities published in France by NéO during the eighties/early nineties, the book La Tombe du Dragon (1990) included a REH story, titled The Spirit of Brian Boru, which was otherwise only published once in English, nine years later, in The New Howard Reader. I thought I would summarize it here since it is hard to find and very telling vis-à-vis REH's feelings toward the Irish.

Spoilers ahead:

Spoiler


This fine short boxing tale with a nicely done pinch of "racial memory" was a very cool little yarn, where -unsurprisingly- REH sides once more with the Irishmen.


Thanks very much for that, Axe! B) Though I've tried, I've never been able to get hold of The Spirit of Brian Boru. Hopefully, it will be reprinted soon. It definitely shows which side of the Irish/Viking divide REH stood on.

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#97 deuce

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 06:25 PM

I have a faculty of memorizing any song or poem as I hear it, many, especially the old Scotch and Irish ballads, I heard my grandmother sing when I was but a child.

--Robert E. Howard to Robert W. Gordon, dated February 15, 1926--

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#98 Libaax

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 06:56 PM

I read just now that REH letter qoute in page 3 about a boxing fight of his. Hehe so interesting The hole this how i show i'm Irish.

#99 deuce

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Posted 08 February 2010 - 05:40 PM

Barbara Barrett has a write-up on an Irish Gaelic term that REH used here:

http://www.thecimmerian.com/?p=10982

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#100 Teutates

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 06:50 PM

damn the black Milesian blood in my veins


The very term Gael, is spelled Goidhel, though pronounced Gael. As you know, it comes from the great chief Goidhel who led his wanderers out of Scythia and into Egypt where he married pharaoh's daughter Mileta, whence comes the name Milesian, not as some erroneously attribute it to the Grecian Miletus. The De Danaan came from Greece -- not the Gaels. The path of the Gael first crossed that of the children of Israel in Goidhel's time for as he came into Egypt he met Moses coming out with the Israelites. And it's a pity old Goidhel couldn't have foreseen the future then and there. Goidhel's Celts remained in Egypt some time fighting as mercenaries and it might have been his son who married Mileta and not himself. I don't remember. From Egypt they went to Spain where they fought the Celtiberians and from Spain they went to Ireland and for a long time it was customary for Irish historians to deny the Celtic origin of the Gael. I think that was the last drift of the Celt from the great central plains which were, theoretically the cradle of the Indo-European, or Aryan race. The Cymri and the Gauls had come earlier.


We all know that the "Cymri" were said in REH's time to be decendants of the fabled Cimmerians from the greek literature, but when Howard says "my black Milesian blood" it sounds like a contradiction.... I thought he considered himself a descendant of the Cimmerians mostly..perhaps he was joking or pehaps his views just changed with time, switching between theories.
Also, it seems that when he compares the Milesian myth (myth which is plain ridiculous and completely made up by monks) with the traditional Cymri origins of the Gaels, he clearly favors the latter myth instead . Well that's how I see it in his letter.

I read this Milesian myth over and over years ago and it really is some pile of cr... anything to justify scythian , greco-roman , egyptian and especially old hebrew ancestry. It doesn't correspond at all with Howard's world, seems to me, just can't fit : Ireland was supposed to be an empty inhabited island until Milesius came along on his puny boat according to this medieval myth.... which contradicts completely Howard's cimmerian, pictish and aesir theories.

Well unless you have other letters that show explicitely a detailed critic of both views side by side.

That Milesian myth is in it's essence very similar to the Franks' myths elaborated in Clovis' time : they too claimed to have scythian ancestry, descend from a lost israeli tribe, blended in some of their own pagan elements, etc etc...and if I remember correctly, the Saxons did too . eevryone wanted to be a chosen one ahaha

On the other hand everything that Howard stated in the excerpts you showed wsn't all pseudo-history, since some points (I only said "some" ) have now been more or less proven: the celts were some of the people that intermarried the most with other people, his views on same origin of scots and irish, the Acheaens encountered autochtones -probably celtic- in Greece when settling (even if he didn't say it that way and said that the first achaeans were celts) etc etc

Edited by krommtaar, 20 October 2010 - 07:07 PM.