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Author Topic: The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts  (Read 1187 times)

Gilbride

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The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts
« on: October 04, 2013, 01:57:34 pm »
One of two new pagan-interest books I'm releasing today!

Announcing “The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts” by Christopher Scott Thompson

http://www.lulu.com/shop/christopher-scott-thompson/the-music-of-his-sword-martial-arts-of-the-pagan-celts/paperback/product-21214151.html

$20
201 pages

Historical swordsmanship instructor and president of the Cateran Society Christopher Scott Thompson examines the available evidence for the martial arts of the pagan Celts. Includes the weapons of the ancient Gauls, Irish, Picts and others, as well as an exploration of martial culture, warrior spirituality and the Celtic battle goddesses.

From Chapter I: Celtic? Pagan? Martial Arts?- “Paleohoplology” is the study of ancient martial culture and fighting techniques. All  attempts at paleohoplology are speculative by nature, and the result won't be anything like the meticulous reconstruction of German longsword fencing by modern historical fencing practitioners. At this point, enough people have been working on reconstructing German longsword fencing and coming to largely the same conclusions as each other for a long enough time, that we can say with some degree of confidence “this is what it was like.” My ambitions for this work are more modest than that. I plan to take you into a close analysis of the available sources of evidence for ancient Celtic martial arts, including the Insular sagas about the pagan period (written in the Middle Ages, most likely by monks), the few images on coins and carvings from Gaul and Britain that can give us clues about technique, and the weapons themselves. Finally, I aim to present a method of martial training with replica Celtic weapons and a series of lessons for practicing the techniques described or hinted at in the evidence we have.

From Chapter II: “Woe to the Vanquished!”- The Celtic Warrior Class- Because of the fact that the Celtic cultures of Western Europe have been struggling for survival against much more powerful neighbors for many centuries now, we tend to think of the Celts as underdogs. Our image of Celtic warriors involves a painted Hollywood actor yelling “Freedom!” before being unjustly executed. If you imagine the Celtic chieftain Brennus throwing his sword in the scales to extort an even larger tribute from the defeated Romans and dismissing their protests with the words “Woe to the vanquished!” you'll be much closer to the mark.

From Chapter III: Celtic Weapons- Celtic warriors of all regions and eras generally carried five types of weapon- a sling, a javelin or throwing-spear, a fighting spear, a sword and a shield. The slings and spears were mostly the same all over the Celtic world, but the swords and the shields varied by region, time period and type of warrior.

From Chapter IV: Sword and Shield- Again we can see the propagandistic nature of Classical descriptions of Celtic combat. British and Caledonian swords might have been bigger than the Roman gladius but hardly “huge,” and the small buckler was used effectively on the battlefield for many centuries after this battle. If the Tungrian and Batavian cohorts managed to push the fight into such close-distance that the Caledonian warriors had no room to use their swords effectively, the fight might have gone something like this- but that is no indication of an overall inferiority of weaponry on the part of the Caledonians, because the swords they were using were nowhere near long enough to be “unwieldy” as Tacitus claims.

From Chapter V: Spear and Shield- The Picts are known to have relied heavily on massed spearmen, which is the probable origin of the “schiltron” or defensive spear formation of the medieval Scots. A Pictish carved stone from Aberlemno shows not only something about spear and shield technique, but the Pictish battle line. The front figure (presumably representing the front rank) is a man with sword and buckler. The second figure (or second rank of warriors) holds a long spear with both hands so that the the tip extends out past the swordsman and provides him with a deterrent against an enemy charge. He wears a buckler on a sling so that it protects his left arm as he holds the spear. The third figure (or third rank) stands in a “ready” position as if he is a reserve fighter.

From Chapter VI: Other Celtic Weapons- The sling was probably associated with Lugh for two reasons. One was that it struck from the sky, like a lightning bolt, and Lugh's theonym probably means “flash of lightning” according to the late Alexei Kondratiev. The other is that it is a weapon of pure skill and competence with no element of brute force, and is thus a perfect symbol for the omnicompetent god Lugh.

From Chapter VII: Training With Celtic Weapons- The emotional tone you want to create in serious Fáebor Chless should be an awesome display of aggression and intimidation. Edge Feat should incorporate all of the lessons you've practiced up till now, including ritualistic gestures, fierce war cries, explosive forward pounces, wild charges, defenses with your shield in multiple directions, counterattacks made while whirling from one opponent to another and long, flowing sequences of powerful cuts.  No two performances of the edge feat should look completely identical.

From Chapter VIII: The Cult of the War Goddess- The Celtic warrior has been associated since ancient times with battle madness and berserker rage, partly because of the cultural prejudices of the Classical commentators (for whom all barbarians had to be portrayed as sufficiently barbaric!) and partly due to references in the Irish sagas, which describe the famous “warp spasm” of the hero Cuchulain  in very vivid terms. As we've already discussed, there's no way to draw a straight line between the behaviors of Gauls and Galatians as reported or distorted by their Greek and Roman neighbors, and the behaviors described in Irish sagas written down several centuries later. Galatians and Gauls are not ancient Irishmen, and medieval Irishmen writing about their dimly-remembered  ancestors are even further removed. However, a detailed examination of the references to battle madness in the Irish sagas reveals some patterns that are just too clear not to be meaningful. They shed some light on the real nature of the practice and its importance within the context of ancient religious concepts common to many of the pre-Christian Celtic cultures. These concepts have to do with the goddess known as the Badb Catha (pronounced “bive kaa” or “baav kaa”) in Ireland and Cathubodua in Gaul- the “Raven of Battles.”

http://cateransociety.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/the-music-of-his-sword-martial-arts-of-the-pagan-celts/

Also Announcing “A God Who Makes Fire: Bardic Mysticism of Amergin” by Christopher Scott Thompson

http://www.lulu.com/shop/christopher-scott-thompson/a-god-who-makes-fire-the-bardic-mysticism-of-amergin/paperback/product-21214750.html

$20
203 pages

An in-depth examination of the famous "Cauldron of Poesy" text describing the mystical practices of the poet-seers of medieval Ireland and the legendary bard Amergin. Includes a new translation of the text, a line-by-line analysis of the original Old Irish, a new interpretation of the Cauldron system unlike any in current use and exercises for practicing the Cauldron system as a method of spiritual cultivation.

http://noctiviganti.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/a-god-who-makes-fire-bardic-mysticism-of-amergin/

Materialist

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Re: The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 08:44:20 pm »
Quote from: Gilbride;124197

Announcing “The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts” by Christopher Scott Thompson


Totally uninteresting. Anyone book that uses the adjective "celtic" to describe a people or culture winds up being toilet paper in my house.

Jack

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Re: The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 08:49:05 pm »
Quote from: Gilbride;124197
One of two new pagan-interest books I'm releasing today!

 
Mind if I ask why you release them in paperback format but not in ebook?
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
"The only way to cope with something deadly serious is to try to treat it a little lightly." -Madeleine L'Engle

stephyjh

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Re: The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 09:13:23 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;124740
Totally uninteresting. Anyone book that uses the adjective "celtic" to describe a people or culture winds up being toilet paper in my house.

 
Wow, that's useful, isn't it? And not insulting or snotty or childish at all.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

Gilbride

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Re: The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 09:22:42 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;124740
Totally uninteresting. Anyone book that uses the adjective "celtic" to describe a people or culture winds up being toilet paper in my house.

 
Wow. Thanks for showing me who you are, I'll remember that.

Gilbride

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Re: The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 09:24:42 pm »
Quote from: Jack;124747
Mind if I ask why you release them in paperback format but not in ebook?

 
Because by the time I was done formatting it and uploading it I was really tired and stressed out? I can have Lulu create an e-book version, and I'll post it here when I've done that.

RandallS

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Re: The Music of His Sword: Martial Arts of the Pagan Celts
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2013, 08:18:07 am »
Quote from: Materialist;124740
Totally uninteresting. Anyone book that uses the adjective "celtic" to describe a people or culture winds up being toilet paper in my house.

Again, Materialist. No one cares that you aren't interested. There are probably millions of books I am not interested in, but I generally don't find it necessary to say that just because someone else posts about it -- especially if I have not even read the book in question.
Randall
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