Monday, December 20, 2010

Cattle Rustling

When the writers of history first arrived to our island, they described a multitude of family groups scattered about the island. Each family group (tribe) had settled a particular part of the island, laying claim to its own territory. These family groups all shared a cultural background from a central European origin which is now called "Celtic". Speaking a variety of Celtic languages, they lived in rural settlements, often warring with one another. The Romans would describe these tribal areas as kingdoms.

Prior to the Romans, money was of little use among these Celtic folks. Wealth was reckoned in cows, and trade carried on by barter of livestock. Cattle rustling was a major form of military training, and was an expected part of life among the settlements. Cattle were grazed among the uplands in summer months, and brought to winter quarters in the lowlands. This form of living called "transhumance" remained a form of society extending to our Welsh culture. [The Welsh have words for "summer home" and "winter home".]

Kinship was all important. A "pedigree", often fanciful by modern standards, established a family's descent from the ancient kings and heroes of the past. It was the family that gave a man his essential identity, enabled him to inherit land, and protect and avenge him in case of murder. More to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment