Cities and Towns in Ireland

Archaeology, material distribution, everyday life, habitation, the people....

Cities and Towns in Ireland

Postby Colin McGarry on October 15th, 2016, 6:53 am

I was wondering what everyone though of the cities and towns the Ptolemy describes in his Geography, given that archaeological evidence hasn't really given any evidence for urbanism in Ireland? What sort of settlements could they represent? Also, would anyone happen to know the words he uses that are translated as "cities" and "towns"-- I haven't been able to find any of the Greek or Latin versions of the text, only modern translations.
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Re: Cities and Towns in Ireland

Postby Angus M on October 16th, 2016, 8:42 am

Colin McGarry wrote:I was wondering what everyone though of the cities and towns the Ptolemy describes in his Geography, given that archaeological evidence hasn't really given any evidence for urbanism in Ireland? What sort of settlements could they represent? Also, would anyone happen to know the words he uses that are translated as "cities" and "towns"-- I haven't been able to find any of the Greek or Latin versions of the text, only modern translations.


The iron-age Irish are bound to have had urban centres, thousands of years prior to this the Stone Age inhabitants of Orkney had such at Skara Brae and the Broch of Birsay where houses were built up against each other, or with narrow alleys between them. The Orkney examples are still with us as they were made of stone and buried under sand or peat (by accident). Irish buildings may have been made from peat or wood, and thus will not have survived, or if built of stone then the stones get robbed out over the years to make newer buildings. And newer buildings probably stand over the sites of ancient buildings. Perhaps we do not have the correct translation for Roman writers' terms for a collection of buildings. After all, in modern day America, a "city" is often just a small town.

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Re: Cities and Towns in Ireland

Postby Marc Novicki on October 16th, 2016, 8:49 am

https://books.google.kg/books?id=4ksBAA ... &q&f=false

I think going by "towns" Ptolemy's sources meant, just like in another parts of the Celtic world, politically significant centers, major fortified settlements and royal residences, sort of Dun Ailinne, Tara or Rathnagree. In favor of this interpretation- one of the Ptolemy's towns in Ireland named "Dunum", what means "fort" in Celtic.
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