important battle of hoth analysis

(<< needless to say.)

hoth-atat

“Inside the Battle of Hoth: The Empire Strikes Out” @danger room.

also Defence nerds strike back: A symposium on the Battle of Hoth.

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3 Comments

  1. Have you done much research on the Irish gelfine, derbfine, iarfine, and indfine system? I’ve heard of derbfine being four generations (in reference to tanistry) but I see that there is another version that involves 17 men in four groups each with four members (except gelfine which has five). If a man dies without children his wealth goes to the other 16 members, most going to the group that he is in. When a man joins the gelfine (comes of age) someone gets pushed up a slot unless there is a vacancy, someone joining at the bottom can push people up so that the oldest person falls out of the indfine. So some sort of conveyor belt of kinship. I’m trying to wrap my head around it.

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  2. @t – “Have you done much research on the Irish gelfine, derbfine, iarfine, and indfine system?”

    no, i haven’t. i’ve got a book on the shelf here (just taken it down) which really does cover everything anyone would ever want to know about kinship and clans in early ireland, but, like so many other books, i haven’t read it … yet. the book is: Cattle Lords and Clansmen: The Social Structure of Early Ireland by nerys patterson. it isn’t previewed on google books, unfortunately.

    patterson’s looked through all the early medieval irish law tracts to find out about the gelfines and the derbfines and all that stuff. here are his definitions (from his glossary):

    fine: a classification of kin, usually of agnatic (father’s side) kin.

    gelfhine: in an agnatic personal kindred, ego’s first-cousins and their fathers. Also used to indicate as single line of descent for several generations. Also used to refer to the prominent descent group, especially that of a chief (later termed flaith gelfhine).

    derbfhine: in a person’s kindred, ego’s second-cousins and their ascendents; also used loosely for kin, as compared with other associates.

    iarfhine: in an agnatic personal kindred, ego’s third cousins and their ascendents.

    indfhine: in an agnatic personal kindred, ego’s fourth cousins and their ascendents.

    @t – “When a man joins the gelfine (comes of age) someone gets pushed up a slot unless there is a vacancy, someone joining at the bottom can push people up so that the oldest person falls out of the indfine. So some sort of conveyor belt of kinship.”

    from patterson’s definitions, i don’t think it’s a conveyor belt system of kinship (although i could be wrong ’cause i haven’t read the book). instead, all these classifications sound like they’re focused on ego (e.g. you) and then the reckoning was just worked outwards from that point. so your gelfhine would just be you and all your first-cousins and their fathers (your uncles). your derbfhine would be you and all your second-cousins and their fathers (and their fathers), etc. it’s similar to the germanic kindreds in being ego-centric, only in early ireland they took into account JUST the paternal kin.

    i don’t think anyone’s getting pushed out of the gelfhines or derbfhines or whatever. and i think those numbers (like “17 men”) should just be viewed as representative figures — a way for the jurists to illustrate, more-or-less, the scale of the kindreds they were talking about. iow, i don’t think those numbers should be taken literally.

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  3. while i’ve got the book out, also from the glossary:

    cenĂ©l: a descending kindred, in-marrying, and so ‘bilateral’ in many aspects of kinship, though patrilineal in descent; usually had a chiefly agnatic group at the core. Parallel to Welsh cenedl, a bilateral descending kindred.

    and, from page 26:

    “In profound contrast [to some african groups], Irish and other early European descent structures were not egalitarian but *normatively* ranked, intensely competitive with the fraternal circle, and were structured no only on the principles of genealogical closeness but also on the basis of patron-client relations between kinsmen of unequal wealth and influence. Such structures are often described as ‘conical clans’ (Kirchoff 1959: 375; Goody 1983: 237). There were no rules of clan-exogamy, and thus no regular exchange of brides, but rather a tendency to in-marriage in order to curtail the outflow of property through bridal dowry. Thus … Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Dietmarschen clans recruited heirs patrilineally….”

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