Boreades wrote:So - we've set up a megalithic supermarket (a.k.a. Carnac). Every year, loads of punters turn up looking for the latest fashion in henge-ware and signposts. Haggling is done and deals are agreed. Phoenician goodies swapped for megalithic/Celtic manufacturing. Lovely jubbly, as some traders would say.
Boreades wrote:So - megalithic stone movers would need seriously big strong boats. What we need is some evidence that people in the Quiberon area were producing big cargo vessels that could handle large volumes. The blessed TA's will object at this point, saying there is no record from these megalithic people of how they could have done this. I'm glad to say Oh yes there is. For that, we need to turn to none other than Julius Caesar. See his account in his Gallic Wars, Volume Three, in which he describes the Veneti defending their homeland from the invading Roman Navy.
See here on a gaming forum for a reconstruction of what the Veneti ships may have looked like.
It seems fairly clear that Veneti were inventive and pragmatic maritime traders, operating via a network of related Celtic clans all up & down the West coast of Europe. Somewhere on the trading route they must have met and traded with the Phoenicians trader. I imagine that any canny Celtic trader meeting his Phoenician counterpart might get asked "Where's the tin from?" - in their shoes I would protect my sources and say something vague like "Oh, further north". So only a vague story gets carried back to the likes of Ptolemy in Alexandra.
Each of those maps easily to a coastal island or port.
John MacCormack strongly favours the Channel Islands as 'Ictis', the place where the natives sold tin to merchants who carried it across to Gaul. He believes that the much lower sea-level around the English Channel in Roman times would have given these islands the appearance described by Diodorus Siculus writing in circa 30 BC. MacCormack, a renowned expert on Channel Islands' history, agrees that 'Grand Havre' at Vale, would have provided an ideal harbour on Guernsey, though less so in a westerly gale when St Peter Port would have been better sheltered. MacCormack also believes that the Cistercians may have been responsible for the navigational light on Les Écrehous which was re-founded by Val Richer in 1203. Finally, MacCormack reports historian Richard Hocart of the Historic Buildings Section of La Société Guernesiaise as suggesting that since both the Lihou and Vale Priories were effectively cut off from most of Guernsey at high tide, the chapel of St. George might have served Mont-Saint-Michel and its officers as a place from which to oversee their possessions which were mostly in the Castel parish where the land around St. George forms a separate sub-fief.
Mysterious Mount Itier: Press article by David Nicolas-Méry for La Manche Libre (April 2009) translated by CAL "In the south of the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel rises Mount Itier which continues to puzzle many historians. Once the property of the monks of Mont-Saint-Michel, this hill takes us back to the origins of our region. Now in the commune of Huisnes-sur-Mer, it was first mentioned in the famous Revelatio which tells of the foundation of Mont-Saint-Michel by Saint Aubert, saying that the Itier lands were given by the Bishop of Avranches to the newly founded monastery dedicated to the Archangel. It is also recounts that a certain Bain, living on Mount Itier with his twelve sons, helped Aubert to build his first primitive church. Bain, this 'father' living on Mount Itier with his twelve 'sons' might in fact refer to the abbot of a monastery consiting of twelve brother monks. And close to Huisnes there was indeed the Merovingian monastery of Asteriac which possessed a hermitage on 'Mont Tombe' as Mont-Saint-Michel was then known.
While Asteriac is usually associated with the village of Beauvoir, we should really regard Beauvoir as incorporating the entire coastal area of the Bay from the river Sélune to the Couesnon. And it was on this area that the huge estate of Mont-Saint-Michel's vastly profitable Priory of Ardevon was superimposed in the Middle Ages. Even the name 'Itier' (Itius in Latin) is reminiscent of the Island of Ictis described by the Greek geographer Diodorus of Sicily, a contemporary of Julius Caesar. Diodorus says that numerous foreign merchants went to the Island of Ictis to buy tin which they then transported to Gaul. Several historians identify the English St Michael's Mount in Cornwall as the Island of Ictis. Establishing a link between our Mount Itier and this English island of Ictis, which later became a priory of Mont-Saint-Michel, would be interesting. Indeed, Mount Itier might have gained its name from its being the terminus of a maritime trade route between Cornwall, famed for its tin mines, and the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. In 1961 a mass military cemetery, containing the remains of 11,956 German servicemen killed on French soil, was established on Mount Itier. A 47 metre wide crater was dug into the centre of the hill, thus denying archaeologists access to evidence that would surely shed light on the obscure origins of this height."
Given the size of the Veneti ships, I'm sure they would have preferred more sheltered and deeper water ports like Falmouth, Fowey, the Tamar, Dartmouth etc. Anyway we know for sure that smaller boats were involved in moving trade goods all along the coast. e.g. the Salcombe shipwreck. That's one that got caught out , perhaps by bad weather when they were trying to catch a tide to meet a Veneti ship along the coast.
Boreades wrote:I've understood that the very earliest of "proto-Celtic" folks came from an area in the Middle East, around the Caspian Sea. They were pressurised to move by other folks crowding in from further north. (Why? Willing to discuss reasons for that separately)
What we call Celts seem to have split in two streams, one went east into northern India and beyond (see Tocharians). The other stream turned west and became "us", via Zoroastrians, Phoenicians, etc.
Iona wrote:Celts (like Saxons) may be a generic term for salt-trader or salt-miner rather than a racial group as such which could explain their apparent geographical spread?
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