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Slovanik, Enamyn, and Slavic slaves

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Thursday, August 1, 2002, 16:23
On Thursday 01 August 2002 05:00, Jan van Steenbergen wrote:
> --- Peter Clark wrote: > > Anywho, the Crimea is somewhat out of the question as an urheimat > > for your Slavs. [...] Anyways, all that to say that the Slavs weren't > > really in Crimea en masse until 1783, when the Russians occupied the > > Crimean Tartar state. Sorry. > > I never even thought of the very possibility of locating my > Slavs-to-be-romanized on the Crimea. I didn't know all the interesting > details you gave, but they prove once more that the Crimea - no matter if > there were Slavs or not - is not the right place for such a language.
Well, I misunderstood Tom Wier as vaguely hinting that you might want to consider the Crimea. So I jumped in to point out that if you were considering the Crimea, you would be in for some major tinkering with history. Not that there's anything wrong with that; see Brithenig. In fact, I really can't think of any time or place *here* in which a population of Slavs could have ever come under Roman domination. While, as you later pointed out, the Slavs were not unknown to the Imperials, they never came under Roman cultural influence to any significant degree. So, in my mind, you have two choices; either make a *there* in which Rome managed to extend Dacia north and east up around the Black Sea, or (this would be the way I would do it) have your Slovaniks migrate west and south into Dacia (modern-day Romania). Maybe they were fleeing the Huns or something. Anyways, there's a map of the Roman Empire at its peak in 120 AD at that can get you started. Just out of curiousity, does anyone know much about the substratum of Romanian? IIRC, Spanish, French, and their ilk have a substratum of Gaulic and Iberian Celtic; what about Romanian?
> Your Enamyn BTW seems to fit in perfectly. I would be interested to learn > more about the language and its conhistory.
Part of the fun of Enamyn has been integrating it into *here*. My only problem so far has been that since I have never visited the Crimea, I don't have a good feel of the land. Which means that I have hesitated to nail down where the Enamyn people lived. Ok, the Crimea is pretty small (about the size of Maryland or Belgium), but geographically diverse, and while the Enamyn were tenacious people, they were never numerous, so I need to eventually be more specific about the locations of their towns. Currently, I am thinking locating them in the mountains, along the north slope (since the south slope would have had too much Byzantine influence), but I don't know. If anyone has been to Crimea and can recommend an especially remote and (preferably) pleasant spot, I'm all ears. There are some karsts in the mountains (a karst is an irregular limestone region with sinks, underground streams, and caverns) which would be perfect for storing documents for long periods of time... ...Alexandr Ressovsky, a linguist from St. Petersburg, was vacationing in the Crimea in the summer of 1912 when he heard a report that some ancient parchments, written in an unknown script, had been discovered in a cave nearby. Interested, he managed to get a hold of several manuscripts, one of which included some Greek text. He immediately recognized the Greek text as an extended trade agreement and hypothesized that the other half of the text, written in the unknown script, was a translation. Working on this assumption, he was soon able to produce a rough translation and a small grammar of the unknown language. Upon returning to St. Petersburg, he successfully acquired support for an archaeological expedition to the area in which the manuscripts were found, and spent the next five years working to discover more about the language and its speakers. Unfortunately, the 1917 Revolution, Ukraine's secession, and the civil war interupted his work for several years. It was not until 1926 that he was able to return to his work in the Crimea. In the meantime, however, he had managed to produce a more complete grammar of the language, which he had learned was called Enamyn. In 1932, he had the opportunity to travel to London, where he met up with Robert Atkins, a fellow linguist and amateur archaeologist. Atkins was excited by Ressovsky's work and begged him for as much information as possible. Ressovsky agreed, and thus began a period of intense correspondance between them that lasted two years, before Ressovsky mysteriously broke off communication. Atkins would try several times to resume correspondance, but never heard from Ressovsky again. It was not until 1992 that Ressovsky's fate was discovered by Atkins' son, James; he had been executed on Oct. 28th, 1936, for "treason to the Motherland" under Article 58/1A. Robert Atkins himself died in 1976 in a car accident near his home in Cardiff, Wales. Thanks to James Atkins, however, the work done by Ressovsky and compiled and translated by Robert Atkins was not lost. In the past several years, interest in Enamyn has re-emerged as several key documents, including fragments of the Bible and folklore, have been rediscovered in the archives of the former KGB, which presumably confiscated the documents when Ressovsky was arrested. Unfortunately, some of these documents are in poor condition and quickly deteriorating. Some of the key points of interest to the Enamyn people include their relationship both with the Byzantine Empire and the Khazars, a Turkic people who converted to Judaism in the ninth century. Ressovsky mentioned in his correspondance with Atkins that he had discovered a chronicle that dated from the mid-tenth century that recorded many historical events in the Crimea from the fourth century on. This work has been lost, but it is hoped that it will be discovered in a KGB archive or warehouse someday. In the meantime, several scholars are compiling the Enamyn Language Manual (ELM) with the intent to produce both a grammar and language instruction book for linguists and archaeologists alike... ...and when it will appear is anyone's guess.
> > Incidentally, our word "slave" comes from medieval Latin for > > "slavic," "sclavus," (which, alas, does not prove an Imperial > > connection). It comes from the fact that there was a booming slave trade > > that passed through Crimea from the 11th century until the Mongol > > invasion in the 13th. > > That is not entirely true.
<snip interesting discussion of Slavic history> What part isn't true? Merriam-Webster gave the etymology of "slave" and for two centuries the Crimea had the busiest slave ports in all of the Western world. (Can't speak for other parts at the time.) I am not saying that the Slavs were unknown prior to that time, but rather, the word "slave" is directly related to the word "Slav." Ok, I've rambled on too long. Time to work on other things... :Peter


Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>
Wesley Parish <wes.parish@...>