Romaunt days (was: A funny linguistic subway experience &c)
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, November 30, 2000, 20:42|
At 10:47 pm +0100 29/11/00, Christophe Grandsire wrote:
>En réponse à Dan Jones <feuchard@...>:[....]
>> SAMEDI (XIIe s.), du lat vulg. *sambati dies, comp. de dies <jour> et
>> sambati, gén. de *sambatum, empr. au grec sabmaton, var. de sabbaton
>Yeah, that was what Ray (I think it was Ray) said.
Oui, c'était moi.
>I was thinking of doing that too in "Roumant". In fact, I'm thinking of
>the official forms from CL, while the popular forms will be derived from VL.
>Then I would do the same with month-names. But then I have the problem of the
>influence of the Christian Church. I don't know if it would be very likely to
>keep for official names pagan deities names. I would have thought that the
>official forms would be more influenced by the church, while the popular forms
>would stay more "pagan". Any thoughts?
Yes, just a few :)
Let's put get one thing straight, however. It is _NOT_ the case that
Classical Latin had _dies Saturni_ and _dies Solis_ while Vulgar Latin had
_sabbato_/_sambato_ and _die(m) Dominica(m)/Dominco_.
The Romans did not use the seven-day week - there are no strictly Classical
The Brithenig names just like the modern Welsh 'dydd Sadwrn' and 'dydd Sul'
are derived from the _spoken_, i.e. _Vulgar Latin_ of Roman Britain.
('Sul' BTW is not the Welsh word for "sun", which is 'haul' /ha1l/, but the
name of a pagan deity and of the last/first day of the week).
Britain was lost to the Roman Empire before Gaul, the Iberian peninsular &
Italy. In the latter provinces, Church influence had led to _dies Saturni_
and _dies Solis_ being replaced by _sabbatum_ and either _(dies) Dominicus_
in the Iberian peninsular or _(dies) Dominica_ in Gaul & Italy.
In Portuguese we see the Church influence carried through so that the other
days of the week do not retain the names of pagan deities at all, but are
This is what happened in the Greek speaking East.
The seven-day week did not come in with Christianity; it had been used by
the Jewish communities in the Empire for centuries and had come into use
among some sections of the population through astrology and "mystery
religions" of eastern origin which become popular under the Empire. Both
in the Latin west & Greek east, the days were named after the deities of
each of the seven 'planets' that were supposed to rule each day. Thus
there were Greek names with pagan Greek deities - but these simply did not
survive; the influence of the Church was greater there where the Empire
held together for centuries after the collapse of the western provinces.
For interest the Greek names are:
KYPIAKH /kiria'ki/ Dominical (day), i.e. the Lord's day
EYTEPA /Def'tera/ second (day)
TPITH /'triti/ third (day)
TETAPTH /te'tarti/ fourth (day)
½EM½TH /'pempti/ fifth (day)
KEYH /paraske'vi/ Preparation
ABBATON /'savato(n)/ Sabbath
[Hope the Greek letters don't get hopelessly mangled!]
All, except the last, are feminine and, with the exception of Friday, were
originally feminine adjectives, agreeing with HMEPA (modern Greek MERA
/'mera/) = 'day'.
The name for Friday is interesting; this is the Jewish day of _preparation_
for the Sabbath and the term ½APA
KEYH (= preparatio) is used in the New
Testament. The Vulgate does not translate the name into Latin
'Praeparatio', but simply Romanizes the Greek form, i.e. Parasce:ve: (both
Es being long, and keeping the Greek accusative -e:n); Tertullian also uses
the same word for Friday.
Now, to return to what Christophe said: "But then I have the problem of the
influence of the Christian Church. I don't know if it would be very likely
to keep for official names pagan deities names. I would have thought that
the official forms would be more influenced by the church, while the
popular forms would stay more 'pagan'".
And I'm sure Christophe is absolutely right. If we have the two-name
scenario, then what would seem most likely to me is that the popular forms
retain the early VL forms from which the modern Welsh (and Brithenig) forms
are derived ('dydd' is usually omitted if the context is clear), and the
official "Church forms" not only have forms derived from _Sabbatum_ and
_Dominica/Dominicus_ but also number the other days as in Portuguese or
Greek. Indeed, Roumant might be the only Romance-lang that retained a form
derived from Christian Latin Parascé:ve: for Friday :)
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]