|From:||Edward Heil <edheil@...>|
|Date:||Monday, March 8, 1999, 15:31|
Plautus' play "Poenulus," or "The Little Carthaginian," contains several
lines of gobbledygook which is supposed to be Carthaginian speech, or
I played Antamoenides, the Miles Gloriosus or Vainglorious Soldier, in a
goofy production of this comedy at UNC-Chapel Hill a few years ago.
While researching the Poenulus, our director ran across a fascinating
[read: crackpot] article by a 19th century linguist who claimed that
Punic was actually an ancient Celtic dialect. He broke the gobbledygook
apart into words (there were no spaces in the original, of course),
interpreted them very imaginatively as old Celtic roots, making
sentences whose meanings made sense in the context of the play.
He therefore concluded that the Carthaginians were actually
proto-Welshmen *rather than* Semites.
But our present conversation makes me wonder: "Why not both?"
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