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Ancient Technology and Culture - ADF Technopagans
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Ancient Technology and Culture
We tend to romanticize that the Ancient Indo-Europeans lived a simple life. I know in my own imagination that the kings and heroes I have read about live in large dwelling places with no one else around and separated by wilderness from their nearest neighbors. I imagine the producers eking out a living, battling the elements and ever encroaching forest. I have the same mental image of Appalachian settlers in the US. We do know that this image is untrue. Most Celts, for instance, lived in farming villages. This is where the population gathered together for protection and comfort with agricultural land surrounding the village proper. Smaller settlements were often linked together with larger towns which would have been the center of culture and entertainment. In fact the lone farmer who lived far away from his neighbors on his lonely farm would probably have been a rarity in Ancient society. And living in the wild unheard of. Which might explain why tales of those who reportedly did, like the Fianna warriors, would have captured the imagination of the people. Well traveled roadways throughout the continent attest to the mobility of the ancients, and fortified cities and temples along these roadways suggest a culture much more advanced than the primitive, barbaric hordes we all were taught existed before the machine that was Rome entered into the picture. A culture that was complex with distinct styles and modes of dress and adornment for varying tribes and castes within each society. Gaulish men, for instance, were known to spike their hair and bleach it to almost white in color. Other peoples had elaborate tattoos. Their technology was some of the best in the world, especially in regards to metal work and art. It was their superior Iron weapons, in fact, that made many IE societies a force to be reckoned with.

What does all of this have to do with Technopaganism? When we allow our romantic notions of how the ancients lived to prevail over archaeological evidence we often end up with a honorable, but primitive, picture. Living as one with nature and eschewing the evils of society and technology. Too often we raise this false image up as part of what it means to recapture the pagan soul. Technopaganism, in our tradition, should take a different approach. One that says that culture, technology, society, and yes my friends even fashion was exceedingly important to the ancients. And as such honoring those same concepts in our own lives, deliberately, thoughtfully, and spiritually, is in line with ancient thought and an authentic concept of what it means to be pagan.

~ Dubhlainn
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druidkirk From: druidkirk Date: November 3rd, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
By the time of the conquest, the Oppida were finally looking organized, and temple complexes were appearing just within Oppida gates and on roads at the borders of tribal lands (in Gaul, particularly among the Belgae), but the vast majority of the plebs were living in isolation on farms scattered around the countryside. If Rome had not conquered them when she did, the Gauls may have truly developed the urban culture you describe within a century or two, but in the centuries leading up to the conquest there was much consolidating going on, and the vast majority of the folks were living a quite primitive life.

And in no way did they 'live with nature' as we tend to think of this today. They cleared forests and generally despoiled the land (at least as much as they could, which wasn't much, really, not like us today). Yes, they loved technology and adopted what they could. It was their social structure and idealization of the individual warrior's prowess that let them down.

But none of this changes your conclusions. Technology is important today and certainly has its place in modern Paganism. We should try to live in balance with nature, and technology, while often a villain, can also be our salvation.
dubhlainn From: dubhlainn Date: November 3rd, 2008 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the comment! I guess I kind of gave the wrong impression.

I recently saw a documentary about an archelogical dig on a Norse farming village. I was actually quite shocked to learn that even in this tiny village that there up to 6 or 8 families living together sharing in the farming of the land. It just was not at all what I expected.
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