Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Story Telling Gene

Just as the artist can choose which colors to place on the palate and mix, or the photographer can pick the angles and time of day to contrast his shadows, or the sculptor can choose the medium in which to carve, so can the historian pick the words and attitudes in which to write. This has been true since Cesar wrote his own account of The Conquest of Gaul recounting his personal triumphs and describing the Celtic society which he encountered. On the other side, the Celts had a real problem since they did not choose to write anything down! In their culture its was taboo to write anything down. This seemed to be due to the social structure which placed a priest, bard, and poet in charge of the history and tradition of the society. Of course the priest dealt with the supernatural phenomena and the life and death issues which the Celts faced everyday. The poet was responsible for formalizing the heroic acts of the leaders, warriors, and successful battles. It was the bard who was responsible for verbalizing these events with story telling around the hearth on cold winter nights. Of course this was all done by memory. The culture of the bards thus depended upon the fact that no one wrote anything down. Memorize, memorize, memorize was the motto. The oral tradition and social stories were transmitted from one generation to the next by these story tellers. A bard would spend his lifetime memorizing and telling the heroic stories of the tribe. Thus there are no written records of the Celts until the Irish began to write down their own history after those Latin writers arrived.

The JONES surname carries this Celtic gene...the story telling gene. I suspect that the bard spoke with their hands much like my own story telling family. [see] What colors they could paint.

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