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Thread: Hecetaeus of Miletos

  1. #1

    Default Hecetaeus of Miletos

    So, from what I understand some of Hecetaeus's work survives in 'fragments'. I'm exploring the origins of the term Keltoi and there are claims made on Wikipedia that Hecetaeus mentions them in relation to Massilia, but also (in another reference) that he places them in a place called Rhanena, which is supposedly in Southern Germany. Does anybody know of any reliable references to Hecetaeus' work (I find the second claim - especially the placing of Rhanena in Southern Germany - as particularly suspect).

    Thanks in advance.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    I don't know anything about Rhanena. But the tribe of the Celtici lived near Turdetania. Which had contacts with the Ionian communitites. I wouldn't be surprised if Hekataios took their name and applied to people speaking a similar languange and having common customs (consider what defined being an Hellen in classical times).

    As for the text itself I know of Italian editions of the fragments (but I cannot find for the life of me a preview of it). This has a secondary (if not more!) source.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hecataeus Fragmenta, Jacobyʹ-F 3a,264,F, fragment 7
    τῶν γὰρ τὰς παλαιὰς μυθολογίας ἀναγεγραφότων Ἑκαταῖος καί τινες ἕτεροί φασιν ἐν τοῖς ἀντιπέρας τῆς Κελτικῆς τόποις κατὰ τὸν ὠκεανὸν εἶναι νῆσον οὐκ ἐλάττω τῆς Σικελίας. ταύτην ὑπάρχειν μὲν κατὰ τὰς ἄρκτους, κατοικεῖσθαι δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν ὀνομαζομένων Ὑπερβορέων ἀπὸ τοῦ πορρωτέρω κεῖσθαι τῆς βορείου πνοῆς: οὖσαν [p. 245] δ᾽ αὐτὴν εὔγειόν τε καὶ πάμφορον, ἔτι δ᾽ εὐκρασίᾳ διαφέρουσαν, διττοὺς κατ᾽ ἔτος ἐκφέρειν καρπούς. [2] μυθολογοῦσι δ᾽ ἐν αὐτῇ τὴν Λητὼ γεγονέναι: διὸ καὶ τὸν Ἀπόλλω μάλιστα τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς τιμᾶσθαι: εἶναι δ᾽ αὐτοὺς ὥσπερ ἱερεῖς τινας Ἀπόλλωνος διὰ τὸ τὸν θεὸν τοῦτον καθ᾽ ἡμέραν ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν ὑμνεῖσθαι μετ᾽ ᾠδῆς συνεχῶς καὶ τιμᾶσθαι διαφερόντως. ὑπάρχειν δὲ καὶ κατὰ τὴν νῆσον τέμενός τε Ἀπόλλωνος μεγαλοπρεπὲς καὶ ναὸν ἀξιόλογον ἀναθήμασι πολλοῖς κεκοσμημένον, σφαιροειδῆ τῷ σχήματι. [3] καὶ πόλιν μὲν ὑπάρχειν ἱερὰν τοῦ θεοῦ τούτου, τῶν δὲ κατοικούντων αὐτὴν τοὺς πλείστους εἶναι κιθαριστάς, καὶ συνεχῶς ἐν τῷ ναῷ κιθαρίζοντας ὕμνους λέγειν τῷ θεῷ μετ᾽ ᾠδῆς, ἀποσεμνύνοντας αὐτοῦ τὰς πράξεις. [4] ἔχειν δὲ τοὺς Ὑπερβορέους ἰδίαν τινὰ διάλεκτον, καὶ πρὸς τοὺς Ἕλληνας οἰκειότατα διακεῖσθαι, καὶ μάλιστα πρὸς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους καὶ Δηλίους, ἐκ παλαιῶν χρόνων παρειληφότας τὴν εὔνοιαν ταύτην.
    In the above text (all I could find on the net sorry), the fragment speaks of Keltikes. (See the concept of Celtici being extended to similar groups) Maybe you can find at a library an edition of Hecataeus Fragmenta (those Italian editions I mentioned, use the same title), good luck!
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-25-2013 at 08:50.

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Thanks Arjos. It seems that the claims made about Rhanena (for example) are, as I suspected, bogus. As you say, keltici seems to be the clearest starting point (that and the Celto-iberian name element Celt/Kelt. Interestingly (or at least I think it interesting) the one set of people we know to have had a deity named Kel are the Etruscans. A little out of the scope of what I am currently investigating, but something I'll be returning to I think.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    It is also possible that there might've been a root like Kel- having a broad cultural meaning for those people and foreigners interpreted it as a social complex.
    On the same note, I think the "eastern Keltoi/Uolkai/Danubian Keltoi" were referred to exclusively as Galatai. (I've read -ata as being an addition by greek phonetics) That might indicate another root in Gal- or Gala-, afterall the Romani (way before of Caesar) described the various tribes as Galli, not Celti...

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    It's an interesting question, certainly, as to the origins of the terms; where the roots kel(t) and Gal(a) come from may be lost to us. What is clear (as you point out here) is that the terms were not originally synonymous. I think we forget that our classical sources span many hundreds of years and terms of use alter over those time-spans. Within a pretty short period of time, for instance, we have Caesar tell us that the lower part of Gaul is occupied by those who in their own language call themselves Keltoi, in ours Galli; while Diodorus then tells us that it is a little know fact the Keltoi and the Galli are distinct peoples. It hardly helps that later Greek writers refer to those we (and the Romans) called Germani, and even Scythians, as Keltoi. Interestingly (and often overlooked in our renaissance lead focus on the classics) Byzantine Greeks continued to use the term Keltoi with regards to such as the Franks, the Goths etc., continuing a theme of keltoi having become simply a term meaning 'Northern barbarian'.

    Another little addressed issue are the two 'native' terms that Poseidonius gives in his description of the Keltoi, allegedly from first hand experience. Neither term (ἀµβίκος and κόρµα) seem to have any cognate (that I know of) in any Celtic language as we have defined them.
    Last edited by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus; 07-26-2013 at 12:55.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    At least 'ambi-' can be identified in ethnonyms as Ambiani for example. (-kos being the greek form for the adjective?) Which iirc described 'living on both sides of', in their case the River Somme.
    Korma my scanty knowledge has troubles linking it to anything else. Maybe Kor- as in Korionos, Korios meaning 'leader', 'band'...

    BTW I knew of the time span and of Caesar remark, but what I had in mind, was whether there might've been something of a east-west division perhaps marked by the Rhone, for the 'Kel world' and the 'Gal world'...
    Otherwise there has to be an explaination for the 5th-4th century BCE Romani hearing the word Keltoi and rendering it Galli...

    Unless that was simply their rendering of Galatai (shifting the "Gal influence" farther east around Norikon; which might point for something of a La Tene-Hallstatt clear boundary, as far as greater identity is concerned), with the earlier Romani simply speaking of Insubres, Senones etc...
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-26-2013 at 13:19.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Ahhh, I see what you are getting at now with the Kel/Gal thing....an interesting thought. As for the two words that I cannot find cognates for; the first is what they call their jugs/pitchers which they use to pour their ale. The second is the name they give that ale. Neither seems to have left any trace, seems to have any cognate in what we now term 'Celtic'.

    At heart my argument is beginning to shape up like this (in broad terms); the linguistic groups that we use (all the way to Indo-European/Uralic etc.) are a false concept. The models on which they are based have been shown to be flawed (fundamentally). Languages don't work as the model demands, they don't change in the way they are modelled - as can be seen from more recent phenomena, and yet we cling to these ideas and they are giving us a false perspective on a period we are trying to unravel. I've even come across supposedly Gaulish inscriptions, which 'show' how close Latin was to Gaulish....when you look at them from another perspective they appear to be..Latin with spelling 'errors'.

    We don't give enough thought to how orthographic representation might be complicated by phonetic dissimilitude. Why,for example do we have the same 'tribal' name given as Catti and Chatti? Is it sound change or orthographic change, or perhaps a combination of the two that resolved that to modern Hesse? We seem to have an alternative Seaucones to Caesar's Suessiones; what sound was Caesar trying to represent with 'ss'? Too much emphasis is given to language groups, which narrows the more probable language distribution across Europe, and also disposes us toward a generalisation of the 'peoples' speaking those languages. And, what do we mean by 'peoples'? Ethnicity is a very loaded term. No matter how one might think one is using it, there are people who understand it in a very different way.

    There are no 'Celtic' peoples, or 'Germanic' peoples, or 'Iranian' peoples; there are a number of disparate, discreet groups with varying social structures that have been in a constant state of flux, dis-aligning, re-aligning with other groups. We recognise 'tribal' identities without questioning what that identity meant. Ask someone from my home town how they identify themselves and they might say 'British' or 'English' or 'Yorkshire' or 'Leeds', they may give their name, or perhaps their profession; 'soldier', 'policeman', 'nurse' etc.. It depends on how the question is asked.

    Were the Scordici a 'Celtic' tribe or 'Illyrian' or 'Thracian'? Does it mean anything to ask that? Does it matter?

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Well they do argue for an Italo-Celtic Group :P

    Still it is very difficult (if not impossible given the time distance) to identify changes and shifts as a language 'evolves' or is simply influenced by another.
    Consider how differently the same word, with the same letters (for example nuclear) is read by what in origin were the same people :D
    So indeed changes might appear (or are) erratic...

    Ethnicity, at least imo, it's entirely man-made: no one is born X or Y, but grows in affiliation to one. Then individuals will also develop personal relations to it, which can differ a lot...
    But at the same time that a language was used or later adopted, imo bears a political/cultural/commercial dimension. Especially in ancient times.

    While I perfectly agree that homogeneity for peoples is a misnomer, there is ground to speak of a demographic majority (this can even be acquired and not necessarily related to 'origins') or ruling class in correlation to language. Which might indicate a dominant (read: greater influence) culture in given society. At the same time, new cultures arise as synthesis of such groupings ^^
    Who knows perhaps it is possible to quantify the demographic disparity needed for such occurrence :P

    So to the question does it matter, in itself it says nothing, but it could offer a start in identifying social practices...
    But for the very example you made, it seems quite clear that all those cultures formed a new polity. The most accurate answer might be that they were Scordiscan or three 'confederates', respecting whatever leadership developed...
    Does this imply that all social groups are in themselves unique? Probably, but it doesn't exclude traditions being carried...
    Plus there has to be something of a time-dimension to this process, because at one point stuff is forgotten...
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-27-2013 at 16:12.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    ...and a Celto-Germanic group, an Italo-Germanic group, a Hispano-Celtic group etc. :p

    I think Koch hints at something very important when he says that what we describe as Celtic may be a much deeper root within 'Indo-European'. What he is really saying, it seems to me, is that what we define as Celtic is a much older rooting within European languages; that explains why we can make all those connections. If there were anything like proto languages we should expect to find them as isolated; ie without areal interjection. The only time this is likely is within the ice age refuges. That leaves about 15,000 years of language development before our first written languages. The idea that one language group was born of another, and so on in a linear fashion is nothing short of ludicrous. Further, these language groups are indelibly linked (within the model they derive from) with groups/peoples. There is an inherent genealogical aspect built into the model itself. In these terms ethnicity becomes genealogical.

    I have no problem with your conception of ethnicity, I see that you are intelligent and don't have any (particularly nationalist) axe to grind. Unfortunately that is not the only version of ethnicity, and the model upon which we hang our ideas of ethnicity is inescapably genealogical - and that is how the term is used, and how related terms (Celtic/Germanic etc.) come to be abused.

    I think what you raise with regards to shared concepts etc. is interesting, but such questions need to be structured; what is it we are looking for? If we look for a wide demographic similarity that is probably what we will find. If we look for differences, likely we will find them. What we need to do, though, is avoid over-simplifying for the sake of narratives.

    You say things are forgotten, I think some things are outright forgotten and some things become mythologised, and these often have implications for how people describe their own ethnicity. I'm rambling a bit at the moment so I'll return to this a little later. Thanks for the discussion though, as it helps to refine the argument.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    I don't see the problem with a "linear fashion", when the mixing of people is taken into consideration: the existing social stratum affecting the IE newcomer. And relative geographical/political isolation also would permit a differentiation. Not to mention subsequent contacts and new cultures emerging from other IE groups, down in the millenia, carrying their own differentiation as well.

    It isn't a language changing for the sake of it, or because it's bound by a model, but new social groups emerge and different phonetics/syntax played a part in what once was a common language...
    You can see that in Italy, wherever you go the same language has a different pronunciation and form. Some archaism have been identified (Southern Italy using remote past tense in a 'greek' way).
    If it wasn't for the alphabetism and unification of the 19th century, I wouldn't even be able to understand my grandparents. And that's like 600ish years of regionalism? Or 2000ish from vulgar latin?

    What I see as being called 'model' is just the identification of such differences that emerged within groups. Of course the sporadicity of the evidences, if not considered, creates a falty image of a wide spatial complex, which stands on the sole ground that both started as X, therefore must follow the same 'model'. That I agree it is wrong and an over-simplification. Like our example before, even assuming a 'keltic' dominant culture, Skordiskoi would've a intellectual/cultural world very different from that say the Bituriges. With obvious common footing and shared ideas, but then again a man from Ephesos and a man from Kyrene were very different. However both men, when they took it into consideration, recognized a "greek thing" they shared.

    Plus hasn't it been roughly reconstructed and identified with the "Ukrainan" refugium? Is the issue that it is too far away from the Atlantic and thus becomes a 'wrong' Ice Age refuge? :P
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-27-2013 at 18:15.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    We don't give enough thought to how orthographic representation might be complicated by phonetic dissimilitude. Why,for example do we have the same 'tribal' name given as Catti and Chatti?
    Differences in pronunciation in the same time, maybe? In present-day Gaelic ortography the letter C always means an aspirated velar plosive.

    As for the Kel-Gal thing, I think it's a cognate of 'Gael'.

    See the pronunciation of Gąidhealtachd. It is a sort of 'Kel' at the beginning.

    But then I'm unfortunately an amateur who tends to make good guesses. :(
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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    You sort of hit the nail on the head when you wrote about the unification of the language in the 19th Century. National languages are 'compromise' languages - though more often than not a particular dialect (usually for social/power reasons) will have 'preference'. The languages of Italy haven't devolved away from Italian, but are moving toward a more unified Italian. What is a Vulgar Latin? In the way you seem to talk about it here it would appear that the Italian peninsula took on some formal 'Latin' - in other words it is treated as if everybody became Latin speakers and then devolved from that. That isn't the case. What we consider Latin (Classical Latin) was itself a particular dialect (or socialect) within even Rome itself. Because of the economic and political importance of Latin then, depending upon an individual's/group's social standing, different levels of Latinisation will have affected the already divergent dialects/languages of the Italian peninsula. It's not 400 years of regionalism,. not even 2000 years but 18,000 years of shifting regionalism and shifting contacts.

    It is precisely the 'Linear' approach of the language tree that is a problem. You talk of mixing and consequent change but....the model upon which language change is formulated to have occurred categorically deny the opportunity for 'mixed' languages. they have to be classified as one or another. French is argued as being a 'Romance' language, but it can be argued as a 'Germanic' language also. Within the tree model such cannot be argued; it has to fit into the structure upon one branch or another.

    It is a model, and it is utterly incoherent with how we see languages actually mutate. It is also misleading in terms (as you argue it here) of the idea of 'peoples', and their migrations. There is a distinct hole in the archaeological record of the kinds of mass movements that the Indo-European 'expansion' is based upon. When Koch says that what we call 'Celtic' might be a much deeper root within European languages I think he is suggesting deeper (older) than current ideas of an Indo-European/Neolithic language migration. There is a 15,000 year gap between the ice age refuges (and consequent language isolations) and the first written languages. There is no Indo-European refuge; whatever language might have existed within a Ukrainian or any other refuge will have been mixed up with the others by 15,000 years of contact.

    There is needless talk of language branches, with the concurrent idea that each language is derived from only one other language; and along with that goes the idea of genetic groups or 'peoples' - so that we see blue eyes, red hair, tallness etc. being linked with these 'peoples' - whereas there are blond haired, red-haired, blue-eyed, tall Romans and Greeks - equally there will have been dark-haired, dark-eyed, short Celts and Germans. There are clines within both genetic and language structures in Europe, but there are not clear demarcations; there is a great mix up within the structure of both.

    Of the two language (when addressed outside of the constraints of linear genealogy) might offer an insight into the contacts and interactions made with other societies. In my opinion we have for too long pre-judged those relationships on false notions invented in the 18th Century; we are still looking for migrational 'take-overs', for long-lost (and falsely conflated) shared languages and genealogically self-sufficient 'peoples'. The first of those notions does not show up in the archaeological data, and the other two are narratives super-imposed upon that basic idea, with no evidential (or scientifically causal or common-sense) basis.

    I have seen arguments made defending historical linguistics as being a serious science. I beg to differ. Serious science generally publishes material openly; getting hold of linguistic papers is near impossible unless you operate within the tight confines of historical linguistics. More pressingly, when sciences find that their models are insufficient for purpose they drop the model; they don't carry on with obsolete formalisms. As an example; one would not find any serious chemist referring to Carbon Dioxide as a form of phlogiston.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    It's not 400 years of regionalism,. not even 2000 years but 18,000 years of shifting regionalism and shifting contacts.
    Well that is sorta what I'm saying, narrowing it down to the contacts and regionalism, from the last 'econo-political' supra-structure that was latin. (was just putting into the relevant context, for that specific case. The regional qualites obviously predate any of that. Constantly reshaping, influenced by any new societies and local phonetics) I'm not saying that vulgar was identical from the Alps to Sicily, but orally they moved towards some kind of intelligibility. Much like what is Italian today, with political disunity the rural population wouldn't have been neither in contact nor in need of a 'common' language for the whole peninsula. The quotidian use and the regional inflections/forms become more and more 'dominant', diverging to almost unintelligibility (which would occur at some point imo).

    As far as I'm concerned it is obvious that French was the product of the mixing between a Gallo-Roman speaking community and several 'Germanic/Iranian' speaking newcomers. If the technicalisms of linguists deny this, then I suppose what I consider to be evolution of languages isn't that far away from what you are arguing for ^^ I'm just terribly equipped to properly describe it :P
    The linearity of it is temporal and attributable to a 'branch' of it, but this in turn received the input from others, resulting in changes...
    So yes, I can see how by calling it linear I was stretching it a lot XD

    As for the archaeological record, it is outdated to think of 'conquest/expansion': such destruction did not occur, the newcomers brought new technologies/practices and joined to form new societies. There's even ground for them to have literally saved the agricultural locals, who had been exploiting the land beyond recovery, simply abandoning settlements and build new ones when there wasn't any yield. Survival makes for a pretty good incentive to develop a form of communication...

    To get back to the 'known/recorded' migrations of later periods, they show how huge numbers and utter 'take overs' weren't necessary for the linguistic/cultural world to change. Human priorities aren't about ideological preferences...
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-29-2013 at 08:09.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    Well that is sorta what I'm saying, narrowing it down to the contacts and regionalism, from the last 'econo-political' supra-structure that was latin. (was just putting into the relevant context, for that specific case. The regional qualites obviously predate any of that. Constantly reshaping, influenced by any new societies and local phonetics) I'm not saying that vulgar was identical from the Alps to Sicily, but orally they moved towards some kind of intelligibility. Much like what is Italian today, with political disunity the rural population wouldn't have been neither in contact nor in need of a 'common' language for the whole peninsula. The quotidian use and the regional inflections/forms become more and more 'dominant', diverging to almost unintelligibility (which would occur at some point imo).

    As far as I'm concerned it is obvious that French was the product of the mixing between a Gallo-Roman speaking community and several 'Germanic/Iranian' speaking newcomers. If the technicalisms of linguists deny this, then I suppose what I consider to be evolution of languages isn't that far away from what you are arguing for ^^ I'm just terribly equipped to properly describe it :P
    The linearity of it is temporal and attributable to a 'branch' of it, but this in turn received the input from others, resulting in changes...
    So yes, I can see how by calling it linear I was stretching it a lot XD
    I'm not accusing you of stretching things alot, I was trying to point out that what you seemed to understand (what you were describing as language change) is not linear, but the model within which language change is discussed is linear, in a very fundamental way.

    The thing is, linguists understand this as well and argue that; proto Indo-European/proto Celtic/proto Germanic etc. did not actually exist in any spatial sense (and also, therefore, any temporal sense); that 'borrowing' /'loan' words are adequate to interpreting mixed languages. This is what I mean by describing the model as being flawed. In order to have some structure (no matter how irrelevant to reality) they have held onto the same structure as it was formulated in the eighteenth Century. That's like chemists still talking about phlogiston, air, heat etc. as 'elements' for the sake of a structure.

    In short, it is not you that is terribly equipped to properly describe it, it is the model itself which does not adequately describe the complexity of language change. I don't think it is simply a minor irritation, I think it has a fundamental impact on how information is understood. If we continue to use invasion-ist models then an invasion-ist story still keeps getting told. You only have to search through Wikipedia to see how these outdated ideas still have such a hold on the wider public.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    As for the archaeological record, it is outdated to think of 'conquest/expansion': such destruction did not occur, the newcomers brought new technologies/practices and joined to form new societies. There's even ground for them to have literally saved the agricultural locals, who had been exploiting the land beyond recovery, simply abandoning settlements and build new ones when there wasn't any yield. Survival makes for a pretty good incentive to develop a form of communication...

    To get back to the 'known/recorded' migrations of later periods, they show how huge numbers and utter 'take overs' weren't necessary for the linguistic/cultural world to change. Human priorities aren't about ideological preferences...
    Exactly. The archaeological record does not support migration-ist/invasion-ist ideas yet....we're still talking about Indo-European as if there was a language that swept away pre-existing languages...? Within the context of a smaller 'trickle' of incomers, why would the native population drop its whole prior lexicon? I can understand why new terms would be introduced, given new technologies, but ... what do we see with small immigrant communities within a larger 'native speaking' population? Unless the newcomers are militarily over-whelming then we generally see continuation in language with small adjustments. What we see with militarily strong incomers is a nuanced (socially stratified) taking up of the incomers' language.

    As for ideological preferences; I understand what you are saying but equally; Rome's expansion was based upon an ideological conception of what Rome was (or, perhaps many of which one particular concept won over the rest). The idea of a shared Italian (as well as English. German, French) languages are ideological concepts. Ideology has an impact linguistically, culturally and economically. In fact it was on the basis of the ideological (and consequent economic and cultural) impact of Rome that I argued its legacy as not being particularly positive in another thread.


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    Last edited by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus; 07-29-2013 at 10:36.

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    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Sempronius Gracchus View Post
    Unless the newcomers are militarily over-whelming then we generally see continuation in language with small adjustments. What we see with militarily strong incomers is a nuanced (socially stratified) taking up of the incomers' language.
    Chariots and the addomestication of horses definitely helped on that...
    Just think of the importance of chariot burials, which were probably adopted or brought by a very tiny number of people that far into central Europe...

    As for ideological preferences; I understand what you are saying but equally; Rome's expansion was based upon an ideological conception of what Rome was (or, perhaps many of which one particular concept won over the rest). The idea of a shared Italian (as well as English. German, French) languages are ideological concepts. Ideology has an impact linguistically, culturally and economically. In fact it was on the basis of the ideological (and consequent economic and cultural) impact of Rome that I argued its legacy as not being particularly positive in another thread.
    Absolutely, I was merely saying that the ideology came after. Not that the locals said to themselves 'Hey, being X instead of Y is way cooler!' :P
    But language is indeed the vehicle of ideas ^^
    My point was that what is most important is sustenance, that's why new ideologies can be adopted by 'foreigners'...
    Last edited by Arjos; 07-29-2013 at 12:07.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Hecetaeus of Miletos

    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    Chariots and the addomestication of horses definitely helped on that...
    Just think of the importance of chariot burials, which were probably adopted or brought by a very tiny number of people that far into central Europe...
    Now we're talking. Chariot burials do, indeed, appear to concur with some sort of militarily dominant minority. Within that structure we might expect to find shared language with other such small groups but, such a hierarchical establishment seems to point to a limited up-take of the intrusive language among the (mostly rural) native population. Especially given that such hierarchies seem to have been relatively transient. An intrusive minority language does not equate to wholesale language replacement - which is what the Indo-European model is based upon.

    In the same way that Norman French did not wholesale replace English, or Latin did not wholesale replace native languages. We have to bear in mind that our modern notions of national languages are built upon mass-urbanisation, mass literacy and state funded and promoted spreading of national languages. Even with all that, and mass media over the last fifty or so years, still dialects (and accents - the remnants of dialects) remain. Prior to those changes the majority of people would likely have had very, very limited interaction with over-arching hierarchical foreign-speaking elites. Most of the 'bureaucracy' (tribute etc.) would likely have devolved to an emergent local nobility who would become semi-bilingual (creating the equivalent to vulgar Latins). It takes a lot of effort to actually kill off languages.



    Quote Originally Posted by Arjos View Post
    Absolutely, I was merely saying that the ideology came after. Not that the locals said to themselves 'Hey, being X instead of Y is way cooler!' :P
    But language is indeed the vehicle of ideas ^^
    My point was that what is most important is sustenance, that's why new ideologies can be adopted by 'foreigners'...
    Sustenance is important in basic terms, absolutely. I think this is what Cunliffe was referring to as a 'sufficer' mentality. One might call that a non-ideological mentality. Once you introduce hierarchies, stratification, then other values overtake sustenance. In order to feed the stratification then one requires a surplus - tribute, taxation. That leads to the concept of 'profit', and hence we see at various points in Rome's history laws trying to limit the amount of vine production. Land use has become a matter of profit rather than sustenance (and this, I think, is one of the major impacts of the shift of land ownership in the middle Republic, and why Rome had increasing problems with grain supplies to its heartlands).

    But you are right that ideology plays little part in why people take up languages (though social positioning has an obvious affect).

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