Journal of Gaelic Studies from Temraig Study Group.

Presentation

Some considerations about this project, its aims and objects of study, in addition to the types of sources used and how these sources will be treated, must be exposed and clarified in order to a better understand of the issue and how it will be discussed and interpreted.

First, it is necessary to say that this project top priority is the historical study of Celtic culture and religion. And this will be consistent with the archaeological discoveries, but without leaving aside the Greeks and Romans reports and the vernacular literature, especially in Ireland. We can’t forget, however, that the reliability of such sources is limited to a historical context and to the political and institutional, in the case of monastic accounts, interests of their authors. To this end, we clarify that any text related to the so called Arthurian cycle will be summarily dismissed, for they are not acceptable as trustful works from the historical standpoint of Celtic studies, since they were much later texts, already in the tradition of medieval chivalry romances. Studies dating from the nineteenth century will be, a priori, ignored, as any study or source that fits in what Hobsbawm calls “invented tradition,” noting that in this period, there was a governmental need to assert “cultural/nationalist”, due to which there were many inaccuracies and even intentional falsifications in order to justify political positions.

That said it is needed to elucidate the purpose of this project. It is a fact that trustful knowledge is difficult to access and understand, for many, especially regarding to the people called the Celts. It is not only for the academic language itself, but also due to language barriers, since except for publications translated into Portuguese as A Civilização Celta and A Sociedade Celta, written by Françoise Le Roux and Christian-J Guyonvarc’h, all academic knowledge about the Celts requires proficiency in a foreign language, especially English and French, to be understood. The intent of this endeavor is to produce and share scholar content material in order to demystify certain concepts and correct many others.

It is important to say straight away that this project being closely linked to our repertoire of knowledge and new discoveries and archaeological studies and history; all presented here is subject to corrections, adjustments, additions, and in extreme cases, we reserve the right, to tax them of erroneous or outdated.

Content delimitation’s Lines  

These lines intend to delimitate and organize the subjects by content and argumentation, not only for the necessity of the articles’ adjustment to the several kinds of Research Lines, but also as a method to organize the themes in an easier way to be found for those who search for specific matters.

Considering that we purpose ourselves to produce an interdisciplinary content, between History, Archaeology, Anthropology and Mythology, our classification about the subjects will also be ruled by this interdisciplinary to be able to accomplish and provide the research lines we will comprise. Thereby, a priori, there will be three research lines, although others can be added with time, especially in concern with a line attached with the particular field of Archaeology, more descriptive and based in material evidence and specific artifacts.

The Content’s delimitations will be:

Culture and Power
Space and Sociability
Ritual and Symbolism

Once we aim the fairness of evidence from the Historical and Archaeological parameter, a fourth content’s delimitation reserved to Celtic Reconstructionism will be needed. This will also be north for all the rigor of scientific research, using artifices from Anthropologic concepts and methods to try to re-construct a cultural interpretation of the Irish Celtic Society applicable to our times.

Temraig: meaning and symbolism attached to the project’s nomenclature

For matters of symbolic meanings, we believe that it might be necessary an explanation about the name chosen to represent this project, knowing that this term has its own particular signification which is several times mistaken with the meaning of Temair.

Temair is the Brega Kingdom’s capital in Ancient Ireland, one of the great centers of power of that time and, supposedly, where the Irish Ard-Rí or ‘great king’ maintained his throne[1]. But, in agreement with what the poem Mór in gním[2] inspire us to believe Temair is a word used to designate the political entity of Tara while Temraig is the designation to its material place.

Why Temraig and not Temair, then? The answer is not easy. Although our concern is to create a collective of articles and discussions about the political, social and cultural structures of ‘Celtic’ people from Antiquity and Late Antiquity, and the term Temair seems to be ‘closest’ from this goal, all that we have about these structures are late comments, recreations, myths and folklore.

Temraig, au contraire, is the source of our knowledge, the brute matter to which we have access through the Archaeology to be able to build a viable and reliable interdisciplinary portrait of the Celtic Irish Antiquity. Without the material evidence, both Greek and Roman relates based in their own perspective and political and warlike interests, and the compiled myths by the Christian monks, that also had their interests hidden, would never be analyzed in so much deep as they are through the comparative study with the legacy buried under the earth.

Unfortunately Temair does not exist anymore as a symbol of power, for the society that idealize it is not alive, however, Temarig will always be there no matter the name it will be called by future generations and this is the reason why Temraig lend its name to our project, because it is still alive and will be eternal while a material mark of knowledge and reference to the Celtic Irish Society.


[1] Nowadays, the Ard-Rí figure is the target of many debates. Although several late sources inform us about the supposed figure that centralized the power of Ireland having the other kingdom’s loyalty and with a ‘superior’ sovereignty, researchers as D.A. Binchy is trying to deconstruct this myth. In the light of other sources than the 12th and 13th centuries relates and in face of deep historical analyses, it is possible to verify that, probably, the figure of  the Ard-Rí was a political construction from the Uí Néill Dynasty to affirm their superiority among the others, especially after the beginning of Irish Christianization. BINCHY, D. A. The Fair of Tialtiu and the Feast of Tara. Ériu, Vol. 18 pp. 113-138. Royal Irish Academy, 1958.

[2] GOVERTS, Desirée. Mór in Gním: An edition of some poems from the Bórama, with translation and textual notes. Tese de Mestrado apresentada ao Celtic Languages and Culture dep., Utrech University.