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Languages spoke in this period?

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24 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Even Mallory was guilty of it to some extent, with Arthur fighting the Saracens.

He probably confused them with Saxons. Weirdly, in many arthurian sources I read, the word sarracen is used as a synonym for pagan.

As a matter a fact, even the Saracens of the Chansons de geste are not muslims, but polytheists.

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4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

And what is your opinion on the Langue, d’doc, Langue d’oil question. Did they exist at this time and where?

That's a tricky question to answer.

First because there were not just one "Langue d'Oil" and one "Langue d'Oc", even in the middle ages. And you can see it in english : the word "cat" comes from a dialect from Normandy. The french word "chat" it is still spelled "ka" nowadays there, whereas in Paris and the rest of France it is spelled "sha". And both Normandy and Paris are in the "Langue d'Oil" area.

Second because there is no written trace of the languages that were spoken in the 6th century. The first time a "french" text is written is in 842, in the oaths of Strasbourg, which consists in 3 texts, one in Latin, one in "proto-french", and one in "proto-german". And the "french" language used in this treaty is very different from any medieval french language, and closer to vulgar Latin.

Edited by Mugen

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38 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

He probably confused them with Saxons.

Probably deliberately. One of the things about the British in Mallory's time was that they had a good deal of Anglo-Saxon stock. So they were, essentially, the bad guys in the King Arthur story. But by Mallory's time they were the target audience. So he needed to use another group to be the "heavies".

38 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

Weirdly, in many arthurian sources I read, the word sarracen is used as a synonym for pagan.

It's not so weird. To medieval people any non-Chrisitan is a pagan. Pagainism isn't an actual faith, just a term used to denote those who faith different from the predominant one.

38 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

As a matter a fact, even the Saracens of the Chansons de geste are not muslims, but polytheists.

Which means that they are not followers of the one true faith, etc. To most medieval people it doesn't matter. 

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1 hour ago, Tizun Thane said:

 

He probably confused them with Saxons. Weirdly, in many arthurian sources I read, the word sarracen is used as a synonym for pagan.

As a matter a fact, even the Saracens of the Chansons de geste are not muslims, but polytheists.

The 'Saracens' are indeed 'Sessoines' (Old Fr. Sessoigne, Saxony) in Malory's sources, but there are indeed descriptions of 'sarrasin' as a synonym for payen, pagan, and in the Carolingian cycle the Saxons are depicted as essentially being Moors (and worshipping the same polytheistic gods as the 'Moors' do in those romances). People knew better, but it was part of the genre conventions that the Saracens and Moors were pagans, not Muslims in a recognizable sense.

Since Malory correctly translated Sessoine in the Merlin Continuation (the first part of the Morte) he knew what the word meant.

Ironically, in the Prose Tristan, the Saracen characters are mostly positive, so when Malory makes Cornwall be attacked by them he is altering the source in a somewhat negative way (in general the PT actively attempted to subvert bigotry, though Palamedes, the various Saxon/Danish heroes, etc.). Barbary pirates did sometimes range the North Atlantic so perhaps Malory thought it was a reasonable change. Despite Palamedes not being a baptized Christian (this occurs just prior to the Grail Quest so he can participate) he seems to be a godly person who worships 'the One God'. The same romance has a Danish/Saxon knight at the Grail feast after Galahad achieves it, so it rejects the idea that either Saxons or Saracens are inherently bad.

Malory presumably thought of Arthur as 'English' and the connection between the English and the Saxons is not really obvious to 15th century writers. The French writers of the romances would have identified Sessoines with their enemies of the House of Welf. Note that in medieval romances, 'Briton' or 'Bret' always means a Welsh or Breton person, not an Englishman. The romances' slant is mainly _against_ the Britons, following the narrative of Geoffrey of Monmouth, where they are condemned for their sins, and thus lost England. The most hostile language of rebuke in the romances blames the Britons and in the Post-Vulgate, Arthur himself, for falling into sin. Malory does much to edit this out. But the P-V is explicitly a tragedy, and the tragic heroes are the Britons. This sets up a tension between the material and KAP, as in a sense, the players' characters are themselves guilty of seeking Glory instead of righteousness. Glory destroys the Round Table.

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5 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

People knew better, but it was part of the genre conventions that the Saracens and Moors were pagans, not Muslims in a recognizable sense.

Prior to the 7th century there were no Muslims.  Not that I assume European authors were insisting on period accuracy.  More an example of a broken watch being right twice a day.

!i!

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2 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

does arthur know there are no saracens yet? muhammad didn't preach till 610, and the initial expansion of the Umayyads over the Visigoths in Hispania started in 711 and the Battle of the Highway/Battle of Tours was in 732

To be fair, the Arthurian legends are wildly anachronistic and mistreat history pretty much across the board.

!i!

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19 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Prior to the 7th century there were no Muslims.  Not that I assume European authors were insisting on period accuracy.  More an example of a broken watch being right twice a day.

!i!

It's a case of their needing some sort of bad guys for the story and, as Saxons were not acceptable bad guys anymore, they opted for someone who would have been acceptable to readers at the time, anachronistic or not.

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4 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

...they opted for someone who would have been acceptable to readers at the time, anachronistic or not.

They're parables of the time in which they were written.  Shakespeare did the same thing, updating older stories for new audiences.  The Japanese did it with kabuki theater, too.  Think about that the next time you're watching a new version of Macbeth set in gangland Chicago, or laugh up your sleeve when  WWII-era Richard III pleads "My kingdom for a horse!" as jeeps and APCs swirl around him.

So, what does this have to do with historically accurate languages spoken at the time of Arthur?  Well, which "time of Arthur" are we talking about?  And thus we arrive at Greg's decision to handwave the matter in later editions of the game.

!i!

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1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

They're parables of the time in which they were written.  Shakespeare did the same thing, updating older stories for new audiences.  The Japanese did it with kabuki theater, too.  Think about that the next time you're watching a new version of Macbeth set in gangland Chicago, or laugh up your sleeve when  WWII-era Richard III pleads "My kingdom for a horse!" as jeeps and APCs swirl around him.

Yup and modern writers continue that to this day. 

1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

So, what does this have to do with historically accurate languages spoken at the time of Arthur? 

I'm not sure if historical accracy enters intot he picture. The OP just wanted to know what languages were likely to be spoken in the game and how much trouble a Briton would have understanding a Saxon, or vice versa.

1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

Well, which "time of Arthur" are we talking about?  And thus we arrive at Greg's decision to handwave the matter in later editions of the game.

!i!

I think we arrive there because it would have been boring if all the various cultures and peoples couldn't understand each other, not because of any sort of desire for any sort of accuracy. The Saxon hero steps out from the enemy ranks, points his axe at Sir So & So and shouts something that none of the players understand because no one had Speak Saxon. That kills the drama, and limits the relationships with characters from other cultures.

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On 1/8/2020 at 10:33 PM, Qizilbashwoman said:

The Basques are still present.

My apologies, I wasn't clear and suggested it had been extinguished. My meaning was to say that, as opposed to now, the Basque culture was more widespread in the Roman and post-Roman world reaching well into the lands we would consider Aquitaine at the time. And while it could be a contender for the Aquitainian culture language, it doesn't fit the cultural description from the various KAP books.

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13 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

As a matter a fact, even the Saracens of the Chansons de geste are not muslims, but polytheists.

Medieval Europe didn't know anything about Muslims and thought they worshipped a trinity of gods: Baphomet, Termagant, and Apollyon. Baphomet is Muhammad with the m muddled to a b and f replacing h. This was a representation of Muslims. Europeans were just extremely ignorant.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman

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19 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

uhhhh no

there's Goidelic and Brittonic languages attested long, long before that. Irish is written in Ogham as early as the 1st century and Brittonic is attested in Roman-era inscriptions and in Ptolemy's Geography and in Tacitus' Agricola. The archaeological evidence not only corroborates an unbroken cultural residence but shows it reaching into earlier eras.

The period of the arrival of the Insular Celtic languages to the British Isles is not clear, but it wasn't after the seventh century CE. For heaven's sake! The Britons were Romanised but never replaced Common Brittonic with Latin, just took a boatload of loanwords.

I am talking about genetics here, not language.

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21 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I am talking about genetics here, not language.

Genes of current populations, or genomes from ancient inhabitants of the region?

  

On 1/9/2020 at 8:49 AM, Darius West said:

In fact the Cymric/Pictish people of Great Britain have no Celtic blood. 

How do you define Celtic, and how do you define Celtic blood?

Irish?

Hallstatt?

Gallic?

Ibero-Celtic?

Apparently not Cymric or Aremorican.

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3 hours ago, Darius West said:

I am talking about genetics here, not language.

the genes of Britain essentially remained stable since the agricultural revolution, dominated by a Y gene associated with Doggerland (now the area underwater north of the Channel) as a subgroup of the Linearbandkeramik agricultural grouping that entered Europe from Turkey. The greatest premodern diversity was in Scotland, where people from all over the Western world, including Africa, apparently travelled and settled. The least diversity is Ireland, the most inbred part of Europe. Both regions have Gaeltachd/ts. And the closest cultural and linguistic match for Celtic is Tocharian, which was spoken in ... what is now Eastern China.

There's no Celtic gene.

And before modernity, there was no Celtic culture. Britons and the Goidels did not understand or see any similarities between themselves.

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On 1/8/2020 at 10:33 PM, Qizilbashwoman said:

Not sure when the Visigoths gave up their language.

I don't think anyone's put forth a solid hypothesis on when it left secular use, but for ecclesiastical use, somewhere around 800CE, based on the most recent known Gothic Bibles from the Iberian peninsula. It started to decline after the conversion of Visigothic Spain from Arianism to Catholicism in the late 500s.

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22 hours ago, Username said:

My apologies, I wasn't clear and suggested it had been extinguished. My meaning was to say that, as opposed to now, the Basque culture was more widespread in the Roman and post-Roman world reaching well into the lands we would consider Aquitaine at the time. And while it could be a contender for the Aquitainian culture language, it doesn't fit the cultural description from the various KAP books.

The language of the nobility of Aquitaine would be Gothic, really, though most of them would be able to mumble their way through Low Latin. Lancelot and his family are descended from Nascien, who was actually a Christian Saracen, but I doubt if they still speak Arabic at home.

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Part of the reason why "Saracens" were popular as an villain was because the time when the Arthur legend became popular in Europe was also during when Crusaders were invading the Muslim Moors and Ottoman Empire, who were considered as EVIL as dragons and goblins were in old fairy tales, and they were believed to be worshiping an "evil" pantheon including deities like "Mahound" (I imagine you can easily figure it who's name they warped for that one...) and Abaddon, despite the fact that Zoroastrianism was FAR more popular in West Africa and the Middle East at the time King Arthur and the like were said to be alive. Zoroastrianism is very interesting, btw. And possibly inspired Judaism and it's successors in turn, ironically. An Medieval Zoroastrian would be an interesting concept for a player to be, actually.

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