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[tied] Re: IE, AA, Nostratic and Ringo

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Monday, July 31, 2000, 5:53
Hey, this is something posted on Cybalist (an Indo-European-oriented
e-mail list also hosted by  It's about origins of
civilizations (and old and modern myths about the same), and possible
Egyptian and Semitic loans into Greek.

I'm posting it here on conlang, but it's just as appropriate for
conculture; I'm not crossposting though...


--- Dennis Poulter <dpoulter@...> wrote:
> To: <cybalist@...> > From: "Dennis Poulter" <dpoulter@...> > Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 12:01:21 +0800 > Reply-to: > Subject: Re: [tied] Re: IE, AA, Nostratic and Ringo > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: Håkan Lindgren > To: Cybalist > Sent: Thursday, 27 July, 2000 2:35 PM > Subject: [tied] Re: IE, AA, Nostratic and Ringo > > > We are usually told that "everything began with the Greeks" - they > invented science, philosophy, architecture, mathematics, art, etc. > I've even heard this at university. During my university studies (I > studied the history of ideas) the influence on Greek philosophy and > science from Egypt or other countries was hardly mentioned. But if > most of the Greek words for these activities are borrowed, then the > picture changes considerably. The Greeks must have been much more > dependent on other cultures than what is widely known. Does anyone > here know more about this - from whom did the Greeks borrow this? > Could you give any specific examples of words and concepts being > borrowed? > > Thank you Haakan for the interest. You're quite right that, if > correct, this changes everything - in particular European perception > of the non-European world and our relationship with it. > The subject is vast, and this forum is no place to discuss the > whole gamut. I've tried to limit myself to the linguistic > consequences for an important IE language, Greek, and only small > ventures into the culture as I'm no expert on either Egypt or Greece > and have only limited resources available here. John, my main > antagonist here generally argues from a historical/archaeological > point of view, which I have done my best to research via the net and > to counter, since if the history and archaeology stand up, then the > general scheme in which this massive cultural and linguistic > borrowing could take place also stands. > I admit I've used this forum somewhat as a sounding board to test > the data, since, of all people, Indo-Europeanists would be most > likely to disagree. Besides, my fundamental interest in the whole > question is linguistic. > So, to found out more, I suggest you start with Martin Bernal's - > Black Athena, The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilisation. Amazon > have it. There are two volumes, with massive annotation and > bibliographies. The work has also produced a furore in American > academic circles, an idea of which you can glean from > gopher:// which is > a review by Martin Bernal of a book "Not Out of Africa" by Mary > Levkowitz, itself a savage critique of Bernal's Black Athena. > Another place to get an idea of the storm this has created is "The > Afrocentric Debate" at > However this site doesn't seem to be working yet, the original > address was : > > The idea that "everything began with the Greeks", as you will find > very well elucidated in Vol.1 of BA, is very recent, having its > origin in the early 1800's. Up to then, from Herodotos to the French > Revolution, the accepted wisdom was the Greeks were the (imperfect) > transmitters of the ancient wisdom of Egypt. > > The only new piece of data that had become available was that Greek > was an Indo-European language. Even so, K.O. Mueller, whose book > Introduction to a Scientific System of Mythology (1825) was most > influential in demolishing the idea of an outside source for Greek > mythology, didn't draw on this new science. But it coincided with > several new trends in European thinking, which I would summarise very > briefly as : > 1. Romanticism and Racism - the notions that races were distinct > and had eternal essences, that racial purity was the ideal, and that > the white (misnamed in this period as Caucasian) race were superior > and had the right, even duty, to conquer and subjugate the lesser > races to bring them the benefits of civilisation (Manifest Destiny, > La Mission Civilisatrice) - Prometheus being seen as the archetypical > European; > 2. a wave of "Philohellenism" across Europe, particularly during > the Greek War of Independence, which was pictured as young, dynamic, > progressive Europe throwing off the shackles of the old, degenerate > and despotic Orient. This Philohellenism was particularly strong in > Germany (as was Romanticism), where the Germans were seen as the > spiritual successors of the Greeks (while the French were seen as the > heirs of Rome, and England as the successor of the Phoenicia), > particularly in language and the political disunity of the period; > 3. the educational reforms instituted in Prussia, which were > entrusted to these Philhellenes, who established Classics, and > particularly study of the Greeks, as the central pillar of the new > "Bildung". This reform has enormous success and was soon emulated in > other countries, particularly England and US, and laid the > foundations of the modern university system. > > With the hardening of the attitude of European racial superiority > it became more and more unthinkable that the cradle of European > civilisation and the epitome of all the virtues of the white race > could owe anything whatsoever to Africans or Semites, and of course > any actual mixing of the blood was utterly out of the question. Thus > was born the image of dynamic, patriarchal, sky-worshipping white > Greeks warriors invading and dominating the passive, matriarchal, > Earth Mother-worshipping albeit more advanced civilisations of the > Aegean basin. > This is the real myth - not Kadmos and Danaos. > > Although modern scholarship is no longer (one would hope) overtly > racist in the way much of pre-war scholarship in this area was (If > you don't believe, check out people like Rhys Carpenter, Salomon > Reinach et al.), the paradigm has been set, and academic careers, > reputations and millions of word of print have been expended > adumbrating and promoting this paradigm. So, if you're really > interested, you have to approach it from a rather oblique angle, > since, other than Bernal's work and "Afrocentrist" writers such as > CGG James or Cheik Anta Diop, there are no works of reference. > > So, to briefly answer your question "from whom?" - the Egyptians > and the Semitic-speaking Levantine cities. > Some specific examples : > 1. Toponyms > Athens Eg. Ht Nt the temple/house of > Neit > Thebes Eg. d_b3t temple, shrine; d_b3 > wicker float; Sem. te:bah ark, chest > Sparta/Sardis Eg. sp(3)(t) distrinct (nome) and its > capital > Mycenae Sem. makHaneh camp, resting place > Salamis Sem. root slm peace, security > Larissa Eg. r-3Ht Entry to Fertile > Land > Kopais (lake) Eg. KbH lake with wild fowl > Kephissos (rivers) Eg. kbH fresh (of water) > Megara (Meara) Sem. mGrt cave > Mothone Eg. mtwn arena for bull fighting > > 2. Divine, Semi-Divine and Legendary Figures > Rhadamanthys Eg. rd' mant_u Mantu gives - Mantu > patron deity of 11th dyn. (Mantuhotpe/Menthotpe) > Hera(kles) Sem. Hrr 1. noble, free 2. > scorch, burn (cf. Sem. Erra the Scorcher) > Okeanos Sem. 3wg draw a circle > Titanoi Sem. t_yt_ mud > Semele Eg. smlyt royal consort > I(a)on Eg. 'iwn(t)(y) bowman, barbarian, > cf. Ionians, Pan/Paion p3 'iwn the barbarian > Io Eg. 'iH (Copt. ioh) > Moon; 'iht/'ihw wild cow > Europa Sem. 3rb west, setting sun > Anchinoe Eg. 3nkH nwy life-giving waters, > cf. Anchirrhoe 3nkH + IE sreu > Kekrops Eg. kHpr k3 ra' by-name of Senwosre I > (12th dyn) - legendary founder of Athens > > 3. Weaponry and Trade Goods > harma chariot and tackle Sem. Hrm net > phasganon sword Sem. root psg > cleave > xiphos sword Eg. sft > knife > chrysos gold Sem. kHarus > gold > elephas ivory Eg. 3bw > elephant > sitos wheat (as cereal) Eg. s(w)t > wheat > chiton/kiton garment Sem. ktn/ Heb.ketonet > tunic > lita linen Sem. lt_ > covering (Heb. lo:t_, Ass. lit_u) > > 4. Miscellaneous words/concepts > schema - form and sema - mark, sign Sem. Sem name > xenos foreigner, enemy Eg. Snt and Sem. s_n' > hate, enemy > makar- blessed Eg. m3' kHrw true > of voice, i.e. the Blessed Dead > tima- honour Eg. d' m3' render > true, justify > chera widow Eg. kH3rt widow > martyr witness Eg. matrw witness > bomos altar Sem. bamah high > place, altar > haima blood, spirit, courage Sem. Hayyim life > kudos divine glory Sem. qds holy > kosm- cosmos, etc. Sem. qsm divide, > arrange, decide > > While members of this list may not agree with some or all of these, > there are no accepted IE etymologies for any of these words (AFAIK), > so I think there is a case here to be investigated more fully. > Futhermore, this can be investigated as it is citing languages that > are well known, rather than having recourse to unknown > Asianic/Mediterranean languages. > > Regards > Dennis > > > > > > > > > > > >
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