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Greeks & Phoenicians (was: Fw: Kassi Script)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Monday, June 14, 2004, 5:03
On Sunday, June 13, 2004, at 06:57 , Steg Belsky wrote:

> On Jun 13, 2004, at 7:44 AM, Ray Brown wrote: >> On Saturday, June 12, 2004, at 12:14 , Barbara Barrett wrote: >>> Soory bout this; it got shuffled and I didn't notice till now. BB >> [snip] >>>> IIRC the Greeks had it both ways - attributing letters both to the >>>> god >>>> Hermes/Thoth and to an historical personage who's name escapes me >>>> for the >>>> moment ;-). >> >> Kadmos, king of Thebes (i.e. the Thebes in Boiotia, Grrece, not the >> Thebes >> in Egypt) - he was credited with introducing Phoenician letters to >> Greece. >> >> Ray > > Hmm... coincidence that the Semitic root /qdm/ can mean "ancient, east, > forward"?
Quite possibly not a coincidence. Kadmos (Latinized as 'Cadmus') was supposed to be a Phoenician, one of the sons of Agenor, King of Tyre, and brother of Europe (final -e pronounced!) who Zeus, disguised as a bull abducted and carried off to Crete where he raped her. According to legend, Kadmos went in search of his sister but, being unable to find her, consulted the Deplhic oracle and was told to give up the search and establish a new city in Boiotia. ================================================ On Sunday, June 13, 2004, at 08:30 , Andreas Johansson wrote: [snip]
> Was Kadmos an actual historical figure?
AFAIK there is no evidence that he was. As king of Thebes, he married a young lady called Harmonia - this looks a tad like a bit of allegory. The Greeks, however, were well aware that their alphabets (each city orginally had its own version) were derived from the Phoenician alphabet. This alphabet appears to have been first used for writing Greek in the 8th cent. BCE and this almost certainly occurred in a bilingual trading community. Indeed, I have argued on this list and elsewhere that it was probably Phoenician scribes who first wrote Greek in Phoenician letters. The most probable places for such trading communities are on Cyprus and Crete. For various reasons, I think Crete is the more likely. The legendary Kadmos was possibly 'invented' to explain why the citadel at Thebes was called the Kadmeia. It may well be that there were early trading contacts between Boiotian Thebes and Phoenicia with some Phoenicians ('ancient ones', 'easterners') settling there. We just don't know. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760