Friday, 27 September 2013

Frome hoard -- a working hypothesis 5. Peirce's cable

Peirce in 1859

 Philosophy ought to imitate the successful sciences in its methods, so far as to proceed only from tangible premisses which can be subjected to careful scrutiny, and to trust rather to the multitude and variety of its arguments than to the conclusiveness of any one. Its reasoning should not form a chain which is no stronger than its weakest link, but a cable whose fibers may be ever so slender, provided they are sufficiently numerous and intimately connected. 
Charles Sanders Peirce, 1868

Peirce's cable was expanded by Richard J Bernstein, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis in 1983, to include even hunches, and both were applied to archaeological theory in Thinking from Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology by Alison Wylie in 2002.

Throughout this series, I have traced a number of fibers and could have included even more. For example, the gold boat in the Broighter hoard is believed to have been an offering to Manannán mac Lir who is cognate with the Welsh, Manawydan. We have seen a connection between Manannán mac Lir and the Menapii in Ireland, but the former also connects to Cormac, the great Irish king perhaps contemporaneous with Carausius -- certainly being of the 3rd or 4th century AD and along with the boat and the torc in the Broighter hoard, was a gold cup and this connects to an Irish story by Lady Gregory in 1904 in:  Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland (Forgotten Books) :

"And there was a gold cup put in the hand of the master of the house, and Cormac was wondering at it, for the number of the shapes on it, and for the strangeness of the work. "There is a stranger thing yet about it," the man said; "let three lying words be spoken under it, and it will break into three, and then let three true words be spoken under it, and it will be as good as before." So he said three lying words under it, and it broke in three pieces. "It is best to speak truth now under it," he said, "and to mend it." ...
"And I myself," he said, "am Manannan, son of Lir, King of the Land of Promise, and I brought you here by enchantments that you might be with me to-night in friendship." ...
"And on the morning of the morrow, when Cormac rose up, he found himself on the green of Teamhair, and his wife, and his son, and his daughter, along with him, and he having his branch and his cup. And it was given the name of Cormac's Cup, and it used to judge between truth and falsehood among the Gael. But it was not left in Ireland after the night of Cormac's death, as Manannan had foretold him." 
Could the offering of the boat to  Manannán mac Lir, which included the gold cup, be also connected to this tale -- albeit changed by the passage of time? It has been said that the Irish stories are a window on the Iron Age. If that is true, then the mirror is badly cracked. They are more likely a mirror on Ireland in the time of Carausius, at least, those of the Fenian cycle, where stories of Cormac reside. He, in turn, is given greater weight by being included in the Annals of the Four Masters

But the Fenian cycle also includes Diarmait, and I have traced his origins back to Ovid and earlier to Homer. Perhaps it goes even further, as far back as the Neolithic.

Then we have seen a connection between the Frome hoard and the early Irish laws, and these are connected by the Dobunni where members of that tribe went to Lambay Island by Dublin in about 75 AD

The Irish chariot of the early Medieval period as described by Raimund Karl in the same journal as my article reflects that while we find chariots in the stories of the Fenian cycle and elsewhere, they are almost absent from the Irish La Tène, yet a piece of wood found at Corlea bog and of fine workmanship and likely a chariot board had studs of maple -- a tree not native to Ireland, but maple studs were present in a chariot fragment from the Rhineland.

And of course, the Irish gold with its platinum inclusions undoubtedly came from the Rhine, the river that figured so much in the history of Carausius' ancestors -- and he finds allies among the descendants of the Dobunni, who, following Irish legal tradition had to bury the money he gave them to secure loans of cattle. Although he is in charge of  a Roman fleet, he cannot boast of his abilities in that sphere -- there are even suggestions that he helped the Saxon pirates that he was supposed to eliminate Yet he illustrates a galley and speaks of happiness -- perhaps he and other Celts had ideas about Ireland, we know so little of that time. His ancestors, too, had been there in their boats.

There are many fibers in this Peircean cable, more than I have mentioned here, and there is much that might be researched and tested, by anyone interested in taking it further. But the notion that the Frome hoard was an offering to the gods, and with no substance to back it up, is like chain reasoning. But it is broken at its first link and cannot, thus, be called a working hypothesis.

Next week, a trifle or two, then I think it is time to tackle transdisciplinarity with expert systems, Wolfgang Pauli and evolutionary cladistics.

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