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Re: Etruscan numerals (was: Interesting pre-Greek article)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Friday, September 23, 2005, 20:27

R A Brown wrote:

> Jörg Rhiemeier wrote: > [snip] > >>>He seems to have built it around a single "cognate set", namely > >>>PIE *kWetWor- `4': Etr. _huth_ - but the latter probably meant > >>>`6', not `4', > >> > >>IMO it did mean 6. The argument for _huth_ = 4 is very weak. > > > > > > Yes. It hinges on a place name, _Yttaria_ for a town that is named > > _Tetrapolis_ in Greek. There are three unproven assumptions in this: > > > > Yes - my sources give the place name as _Hyttenia_ (YTTHNIA in Greek); > but maybe there are textual differences.
Your form is right; I simply misremembered it.
> > 1. Both names mean the same. (There are plenty of cases of names of > > the same place in different languages meaning entirely different > > things.) > > Indeed there. For 22 years I lived in south Wales in a place called > 'Newport'; its Welsh name is 'Casnewydd' = "new castle".
Yes. There are numerous other examples.
> > 2. _Yttaria_ is from a language related to Etruscan. (How do we know?) > > We don't! The town/city was in Lycia in Asia Minor - not exactly close > to Etruria in Italy. Could the name have been, er, Lycian? AFAIK there > is no obvious relationship or connexion between Lycian & Etruscan.
There is certainly no "obvious" relationship between Lycian and Etruscan! Lycian is an Indo-European language of the Anatolian branch, thus closely related to Hittite.
> > 3. _Yttaria_ contains a morpheme *yt(t)- that is cognate to _huth_. > > (Again, how do we know?) > > We don't. > > > On the other hand, we have that pair of dice, which together with > > some other facts almost necessitate the conclusion that _huth_ > > means `6'. > > Yep - the Etruscans, like the Romans, normally put dots (as we still do) > on the sides of dice to show the value of the side. But a pair of ivory > dice have been found with the numbers actually written in the Etruscan > script. We know the Romans & Etruscans used the convention of having > opposite sides add up to 7 (a custom we have retained till the present > day), so we can be certain that: > mach + zal = 7 > thu + huth = 7 > ci + sa = 7 > > (It is traditional to Romanize Etruscan in the Roman manner, i.e. |c| = /k/) > > We know from other clear evidence that _ci_ means 3. We know that a > suffix -alch was used to mean x10. The Etruscans have left us a wealth > of grave inscriptions (but sadly, not enough other material), and by > weighing up evidence from these and other sources, the list accepted by > most scholars is, from 1 through to 6: > thu, zal, ci, sa, mach, huth.
> Indeed, if it wasn't for Hyttenia, I am sure the order would not be > questioned. Also AFAIK the "huth=4" guys merely swap around 'sa' and > 'huth', giving: thu, zal, ci, huth, mach, sa. > > This means that two sets of opposite sides do not add up to 7, which is > unusual, tho not of course impossible. I would think one needs slightly > stronger evidence than the dubious (to put it mildly) connexion between > 'huth' and 'hytt-'.
Not just slightly stronger, I'd say *much* stronger. That Hyttenia thing IMHO is no evidence at all!
> [...] > > Even two cognates is not enough. There is a language which expresses > 'this/these' with h- plus affix giving number & gender agreement, and > 'that/those' by an agreement prefix plus -le. Um ... h- = 'this/these', > -le = 'that/those' ... that's like Latin 'hic', 'haec' etc and 'ille', > isn't it? Wow - Swahili is closely related with Latin! :-D
Of course ;-)
> > Exactly. It's trivially easy to construct "sound laws" that connect > > Greek _theos_ with Latin _deus_. Of course, thousands of other words > > then just won't play ball. And if /ni/ can go to /A/ ... > > Quite so! I don't know why Glen Gordon felt the need to equate 'huth' > with 4. Anyone worth their salt could easily show "sound laws" that link > 'huth' and *sweks!
Yes. Actually, Glen Gordon gives a handful of further "cognate sets", but those don't look much better and many of them are based on controversial interpretations of Etruscan words.
> Whatever order Mr Gordon thinks the numbers take, he must IMO at least > show plausible connexions for all six of them if his ideas are to be > taken seriously.
Seconded. Greetings, Jörg.


R A Brown <ray@...>Etruscan numerals