Can I throw in my five penny worth with a question?
I am still working on my theory that writing was far more prevalent in the
years 56AD to 556AD than is commonly accepted in Britain.
To this end I have been researching the History of the Written Language.
There is it seems little argument that both spoken and written language
spread across the Eastern , Middle Eastern and some African Countries
through trade, the exploits of merchants and their need to converse with
those with whom they traded and met.
Through Egyptian hieroglyphics to the Phoenician alphabet and on to the
Greek and Latin/Roman Alphabet were descendants of each other and
developed through the necessity of trade and and commerce.
This being the case and the fact that the Isle of Britannia was a trading
Nation even before the Romans arrived.
Why is it so fantastic to believe that a number of Brits were not only able
to speak and converse with the Romans but also be able to read and write
When I first asked this question on answer was:
"The issue of literacy in the Roman period is complex. Those letters you
refer to are, if I'm not mistaken, found in military context. Given the
Roman tendency to confound (and confuse) military with the administration,
it is not surprising that writing was commonly used among them all. The
point is that these letters are little proof of writing being common among
the 'common' (non military, non administrative) population. Inscriptions are
abundant in the Roman period, but nobody pretends that the epigraphic habit
was common to all social strata. And there comes another point: the
epigraphic habit was generally lost in the 3rd Century. Some theories point
to the substitution of stone for perishable materials (e.g. cloth, wood) in
the Later Roman period, but this is a completely unproven hypothesis."
(This is the first part of the reply only).
I have no intention in naming the author of this reply but, having done more
research I think I am now better able to respond.
I must start with a question: Why would the Roman army need to put these
messages in code in an attempt to confound as you put it if no could read
the original anyway?
You are by the very nature of your reply inferring that the ability to read
Latin or understand the Roman alphabet was in Britain before the Romans
As for them all being all Military most historians I have asked seem to
accept that both were family chit chat, An invitation to a birthday party
and the other a letter from home to a soldier, stationed on Hadrian's Wall.
My original question was; Given that many soldiers and administrators
retired and decided to live out their lives in Britain, would it not be
probable that they would have taught their children read and write too?
Thus by the start of the 5th century reading and writing by if nothing more
than osmosis, would be greater than we seem to believe?
Research has shown me that throughout the Mediterranean both spoken and
written language spread and developed as trade and conquest spread so why
should Britain be any different?
From: "Kate Lancelott Beddoes" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, April 04, 2010 11:52 AM
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [BRITARCH] Ethnicity, Language and Culture - ArchŠological
>> On 25 March 2010 12:50, John Briggs <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> That language=culture is worth exploring.
>>> John Briggs
> Cultural and language differences may exist within an ethnic group, whilst
> distinct ethnic groups might not appear materially different in that they
> share some cultural symbols and a common intelligible language which
> ethnic division (Baker, 2007:2)
> Baker, J. T., 2007, Cultural Transition in the Chilterns and Essex Region,
> 350 AD to 650 AD: Volume 4, University of Hertfordshire Press.
> I think that we could examine the historiography of inter-displinary
> scholarship on Ogham-inscribed stones for a case study.