Archiver > LONDON-COMPANYS > 2000-08 > 0967058299

From: Peter Wilson <>
Subject: [London-Companys] Re: Celtic castes vs Roman guilds
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 19:18:19 +0000
In-Reply-To: <>


Could you write a brief commentary about studies you and others have
made into English surnames for the website? Some readers, including myself,
do not know much about the introduction of surnames after about 1250.

In Celtic some society social functions were heriditary, and divided
into 3 or more castes. Druids (Brahmans) kept the universe going magically.
Flatha warriors kept social order, and defended against encroaching tribes.
Bo-airigh freeman were the artisans and farmers. Ironworkers, in
particular, may have been itinerant and stood outside this order. Caesar
commented upon this above threefold division of Celtic society about 40 BC,
before the Roman occupation of London.

Roman society was more urbanized, and recruited apprentices or slaves
for their organized guilds. The system was partly preserved in southern
France during the dark ages and this may have provided the English model,
once towns were re-settled about 850 AD, just in time for Viking raids.

Saxons had specialized tool and weapon makers, naturally, but I suspect
it was several centuries after their invasion of England that the functions
became organized beyond what a father could teach his son, untill a FEW
towns grew to more than 1000 inhabitants. During the period 500-800 I doubt
that London had over 2000 inhabitants, and Winchester and the rest probably
had fewer. Many demographers have written how they arrived at population
estimates in ancient times, and there may be some info on the web, if not in
the Cayman libraries. Population can grow much faster today, with plentiful
food, safe housing and easy travel.

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