Re: History of constructed languages
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Friday, April 8, 2005, 19:17|
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ray Brown" <ray.brown@...>
>>> Inferno -
>>> Canto VII, line 1: Papè Satàn, papè Satàn aleppe!
>>> Canto XXXI, line 67: Raphèl may améch zabì almì!
>>> (Note: à = a-grave; è = e-grave; ì = i-grave)
>> And few can decipher these utterances.
> Yes - but they do not agree with one another :)
>> Some say that pape and aleppe are
>> distorted Greek--papai, "ye gods"; I'm less certain about aleppe;
> _papaî_ is an exclamation in Classical Greek, showing either pain (whether
> mental or physical), surprise or scorn. It is found in the works of
> Aiskhylos (Aeschylus), Aristophanes, Herodotos and Plato. In Dante's time
> it would have been pronounced /pa'pe/ but I doubt very much that the word
> had survived in spoken Greek. Whether Dante knew the word or not depends
> upon how likely he was to know about the Greek Classics.
I wonder if it can be read ambiguously as a distortion of _papa_, "Pope,"
thus introducing blasphemy: Pope Satan! Pope Satan! Or Father Satan! Even
if not, the suggestion is there.
My only dual language edition merely says that it is "apparently a threat
against the travellers and a warning to Satan below." Must get new edition.
But if Satan is a kind of anti-Pope, as he is the anti-Christ, this make
some sense as a possible meaning--the word distorted to express the
degeneration of language and theology in hell, and Dante's own reluctance to
use such a revered word.
> As for _aleppe_, those who adopt a Greek decipherment take the word as
> _alhpte_ (where h = 'eta') = 'not to laid hold off, incomprehensible, not
> to be chosen' [masc. sing. vocative]. There are a few problems with this:
> 1. the word is pretty rare in Greek;
> 2. in Dante's time it would have been pronounced /'alipte/, which is at
> odds with the medial -e- in Dante's word (Dante would not know about later
> reconstructions of pronunciations of different ancient Greek dialects);
> 3. there is no obvious reason to change -pt- to -pp-.
> And at least one commentator has seen these words as distorted French:
> "Paix, paix! Satan! Paix, paix! Satan! allez!"
Ha! I've seen that, too. But I can't remember what source I was looking
at. Do you have it at hand? Or are you operating from memory?
No disrespect to the Pope, today, on his funeral. Pax.