Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Iceni hypothesis — part eighteen

The jackalope
The pre-Roman British kings are starting to look like some sort of cryptozoological creations in a sideshow or garage sale: whenever we have a classical author who says that one of them is a son of another one, we find no mention of such on their coin legends, and whenever we see such a title on a coin such as the abbreviation for filius, the king in question is not spoken of as being the son of  the other king by any classical author. Then we have a bunch of kings with names that seem more like titles or advertising slogans and these names are often duplicated. At about the same time, we have an Antethirig (=Fit to rule) among the Iceni and among their trading partners, the Dobunni. Are they the same person? Did the Iceni king take over the Dobunni? Did the Dobunni king take over the Iceni? On the continent we have two different kings with the same name: Diuiuiacus, which means "avenger" or "punisher" and that would seem to be a perfect name for a judge, but one of them is identified as a Druid by one author and a prince by another, but both authors knew that person and the other king with the same name was said to have ruled Britain too. On top of everything else, some of the king's names in coin legends might turn out to be deities or place names, instead, and names exist on coins that are not recorded elsewhere.

Imported into this scenario is a model of kingship that seems more at home in the later Medieval period where when the old king dies, the eldest son takes over the position. Caesar, on the other hand, talks about the methods of succession for the Druid class and not the Knights and this adds weight to Sean B. Dunham's view that the ruling class were the Druids. whenever Caesar mentions succession, he speaks of the mutual appointment of someone worthy, deciding on succession through election, or fighting it all out with weapons. There is no word about succession by the son of the king at all, and we see from when the brothers Dumnorix and Diuiuciacus assume power over their tribe, it cannot be a joint rule with family members and one becomes in charge of the town, while the other becomes in charge of the countryside. We also see that the Gauls' sons are raised by foster fathers and do not even enter the presence of their natural fathers until they become adult. Perhaps there was no natural father/son bonding at all. There seems to be something very wrong with the crown prince model. It seems to have happened from time to time, but was not considered a very proper way to go.

With evidence being so sparse, it is tempting to fill in the gaps with what seems natural to us: What seems to be an unknown name on a coin is most often assumed to be that of a son of a known ruler, and not of an elected replacement as we might surmise from Dunham's take on Caesar's perceptions. Lacking any obvious model from the British evidence, we make up for the shortfall with a few memes that we have not identified as such. Perhaps we could expand my Iceni hypothesis (which can only have a limited application at best) with other methods perhaps not as certain (whenever workable), but less likely to attract memes. We will make a start on outlining those methods tomorrow.

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