A similar overland leap from the Rhone via the Saone led to the Loire and the Atlantic. On a different tack one could reach the Seine, again via the Saone, and sail to the English Channel. Another route from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic was from the Aude to the Gironne and Bordeaux.
If, as seems probable, the Lusatian culture, which fronted a wide expanse of seashore along the Baltic and whose western border was the Elbe, had been assailed by the Scythians, the Oder, the Vistula, as well as the Elbe offered an escape route to the North Sea. From there, if one hugged the coastline, a passage through the English Channel to Armorica would not have been an impossible undertaking.
Scholars are not in full agreement as to the exact date of the Veneti's advent in Armorica. Some advance arguments for as early as the eighth century, B.C.; others for as late as mid-fifth century, B.C. In any event, we find them fully entrenched by the mid-first century B.C. According to Julius Caesar's " Gallic Wars," they have a large fleet, control the harbors on the Armorican coast, collect tolls, and traffic even with Britain.
The toponyms they leave behind speak of their keen love and knowledge of the earth, the sky, the trees, the waters. Above all, they know no master, nor will submit to one. When Rome threatens this serenity, they take up the gauntlet.
Caesar commissions Crassus to build a navy on the Loire and sends Decimus Brutus to scour the Mediterranean in order to assemble a contingent fleet to supplement Crassus'. The two Roman armadas meet at the mouth of the Loire to face the Veneti.
As to the progress and final outcome of the battle, we are not to trust the account of the vainglorious Caesar but rather that of Dio Cassius, who reports that Roman victory was due to the Venetic fleet being becalmed rather than the Roman battle plan and courage that Caesar ascribes it to. Rather than be taken prisoner, many commit suicide; some throw themselves into the sea, either to scale the enemy vessels or to perish in the water; still others burn to death on their ships set ablaze by Roman incendiary darts.
Caesar boasts that he committed the chieftains to the sword and sold all others into slavery. Did the defeat spell the end of the Veneti? Not at all. It may have ended their hegemony in Armorica. It may have forced some to move into the forested interior. It may have forced still others to take to the sea and flee to the British Isles or other parts of unoccupied Gaul. But the people and their language lived on in Armorica and elsewhere for centuries to come.
This can be seen in the division, alphabetization, transcription, and translation of the passages in PARTS ONE and TWO, and the translation of the toponyms in PART THREE of this book.
The catalyst in this endeavor is the Slovene language. As I state in my book, In The Shadow of the Horsemen, the glacial speed of linguistic change reminds one
Comparing Slovene to Venetic surely puts the Slovene into a time warp.
As a result, the language survives with all the grammatical inflections, declensions, tenses, genders of languages long dead And to top it all, it retains a dual tense fully reflected in all noun, verb, adjective, and gender forms, over and above the singular and plural.
Except for faint traces in Homer, the dual appears nowhere else in Europe for the last three thousand years.
Is it a coincidence that the hostile Scythian incursions - especially in the western part - of the Lusatian culture around the year five hundred B.C. take place just as the Veneti are starting to move into Armorica?
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