I have read about Pelasgians inhabiting the Aegean area before waves of Greek-speakers migrated there, from the "north." From what I've read about recent theories of language and population genetics, it seems that the idea that Greeks migrating from the north is erroneous, and that the above theory is dated.
Is the Pelasgian language related to Indo-European or any of it's early formative languages? I have read that it's a non-Indo-European language or languages. Is it a Paleolithic language?
Post by Artemidoros on Jan 15, 2005 16:48:52 GMT -5
The Pelasgians were non-Greek speakers. That is the only thing we can say with a degree of certainty. It appears that the name was often used as a blanket term by the ancient Greeks, to cover a number of ethne in the Helladic peninsula and the Aegean. They were considered to have been there before the Greeks. We do not know if they spoke a language that was related to IE languages, an ergatic Paleolithic language or something else. We can only speculate.
Where is Artemisia? This is her subject. Must have gone digging again
Post by Deinokratos on Jan 16, 2005 20:02:51 GMT -5
Am i mistaken in my understanding that there was a tablet found in Lesvos that contains a language that appears to be related to Etruscan, or is just in Etruscan-style Greek letters?
I found this on Wikipedia, kind of informative, it is tolerant enough (of nationalist based scholarship) not only to include Albanian-Pelasgian theories, but also the far more absurd Turkish-Pelasgian theories.
From a tribal name, both Classical historians and archeologists have come to use the name "Pelasgian" to describe the inhabitants in the lands around the Aegean Sea and their descendants before the arrival of the waves of Greek-speaking invaders during the 2nd millennium BC. The results of archaeological excavations at Çatalhöyük by James Mellaart (1955) and F. Schachermeyr (1979) led them to conclude that the Pelasgians had migrated from Asia Minor to the Aegean basin in the 4th millennium BC. Further, scholars have attributed a number of non-Indo-European linguistic and cultural features to the Pelasgians:
Groups of non-Indo-European loan words in the Greek language, borrowed in its prehistoric development Non-Greek place names in the region containing the consonantal strings "-nth-" (e.g. Corinth) or "-tt-" in the peninsula of Attica, or with "-ss-" (e.g. Larissa) Certain mythological stories or deities (usually goddesses) that have no parallel to the mythologies of other Indo-European peoples like the Germans, Celts or Indians. A small number of non-Greek inscriptions, the best-known found on Lemnos. These inscriptions use a version of the western Greek alphabet similar to that used in the Old Italic alphabet employed for Etruscan inscriptions. Not all of these features belong to the same people. For example, some evidence suggests that the "-ss-" placenames may have come from a language related to Hittite (for example: Parnassus may be related to the Hittite word parna- or "house"). Because of insufficient evidence from the 2nd millennium BC, no consensus exists on the relationship of these "Pelasgian" elements to their neighbors -- although much speculation has taken place, sometimes fueled by a desire for association with some of the earliest known inhabitants of Europe.
The poet and mythologist Robert Graves, in his works on Greek mythology, asserts that certain elements of that mythology originate with the native Pelasgian people — namely the parts related to his concept of the White Goddess, an archetypical Earth Goddess — drawing additional support for his conclusion from his interpretations of other ancient literature: Irish, Welsh, Greek, Biblical, Gnostic, and medieval writings. Mainstream scholarship considers Graves' thesis at best controversial, although certain literary circles and many neo-pagan groups have accepted it.
The French author Zacharia Mayani (1899 - ) put forth a thesis that the Etruscan language had links to the Albanian language. The Albanian régime of Enver Hoxha embraced this theory for propaganda reasons, and extended it to include the Pelasgians in this association. Mainstream scholars have paid Mayani's arguments little serious attention.
A Turkish scholar, Polat Kaya, has recently offered a translation of one of the inscriptions on Lemnos, based on his theory that it reflects a language related to Turkish. However, in the period of the putative date of the inscription the Turkish people lived several thousand miles away in southeastern Siberia. They began to migrate westward only about AD 300, a fact that has hindered acceptance of Kaya's translation.
Perhaps the least unlikely theory connects at least some of the Pelasgians with the Iberian-Caucasian cultures of the prehistoric Caucasus, known to the Greeks as Colchis. Numerous Georgian scholars -- including M.G. Tseretheli, R.V. Gordeziani, M. Abdushelishvili, and Dr. Zviad Gamsakhurdia -- claim both linguistic and anthropological similarities between the Pelasgians and the early inhabitants of the Caucasus -- as well as with almost every known non-Indo-European language in Europe.
The question awaits a definitive resolution, however. As Donald A. Mackenzie, writes (in Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe, 1917, page 75):
"Before these [Hellenic] invaders entered into possession of the country [of Greece] it had been divided between various "barbarous tribes", including the Pelasgi and their congeners the Caucones and Leleges. Thirlwall, among others, expressed the view "that the name Pelasgians was a general one, like that of Saxons, Franks, or Alemanni, and that each of the Pelasgian tribes had also one peculiar to itself". The Hellenes did not exterminate the aborigines, but constituted a military aristocracy. Aristotle was quoted to show that their original seat was near Dodona, in Epirus, and that they first appeared in Thessaly about 1384 B.C. It was believed that the Hellenic conquerors laid the foundation of Greek civilization." We moderns, less well grounded in the Classics, may also show less confidence in such authoritative and exact dates for the entry of the Indo-European speakers into peninsular Greece. Mackenzie continues, quoting George Grote:
"By what circumstances, or out of what pre-existing elements, the aggregate was brought together and modified, we find no evidence entitled to credit. There are, indeed, various names affirmed to designate the ante-Hellenic inhabitants of many parts of Greece--the Pelasgi, the Leleges, the Kuretes, the Kaukones, the Aones, the Temmikes, the Hyantes, the Telchines, the Bœotian Thracians, the Teleboæ, the Ephyri, the Phlegyæ, &c. These are names belonging to legendary, not to historical Greece — extracted out of a variety of conflicting legends by the logographers and subsequent historians, who strung together out of them a supposed history of the past, at a time when the conditions of historical evidence were very little understood. That these names designated real nations may be true but here our knowledge ends."
And now, what's going to happen to us without barbarians? They were, those people, a kind of solution.
Indeed, the Pelasgians were non-Greek speakers. Also, it is true that the name was often used as a blanket term by the ancient Greeks, to cover a number of ethne in the Helladic peninsula and the Aegean.
However, we do know e.g. that the Cretans were not Pelasgians. Homer knows that at his time (or at the time of the Trojan war) the inhabitans of Crete were Achaeans and "Etewokrites". Etewos (or Eteos)=genuine, real.
We might also have some indications of the language they spoke: Names of places like "Lycabettus" is often attributed to them. In that name, I see the root "Lux" i.e. light (others say that the name is Greek and it seems "the passage of the wolves").
Some say that their name comes from two IE roots: *bhel (=bloom) and *osgho (=branch) Moreover, there is reason to believe that this was indeed the name they used themselves, not a name given to them by the Greeks. For one thing, the root *bhel has given words starting from "f" in Greek, not from "p" (for instance "fyllo" or "phyllo"=leef).
So, in my view there is the possibility that the Pelasgians spoke a non-Greek IE language, or at least a language close to IE. If we combine that with the existance of the Anatolian languages close by, which are also very archaic and are IE or related to IE, we might conclude that the whole Aegean - Anatolian region was the birthplace of the IE languages, rather than Central Europe.
I know this sounds like Greek propaganda, so have to clarify the following: - I know that I am not giving any conclusive argument. I am just proposing a possibility. Somebody else might be in a better position to comment on that. - I do not consider it as any particular privilige for a region to be the birthplace of any language fanily.
The Pelasgians were non-Greek speakers. That is the only thing we can say with a degree of certainty. It appears that the name was often used as a blanket term by the ancient Greeks, to cover a number of ethne in the Helladic peninsula and the Aegean. TEXT. We do not know if they spoke a language that was related to IE languages, an ergatic Paleolithic language or something else. We can only speculate.
Where is Artemisia? This is her subject. Must have gone digging again
When I think about the way some Greeks look, I can't help feeling that they are descendants of people who have lived in the Greek peninsula since time immemorial and are descendants of the pre-Greek-speaking population. My second-grade Greek school teacher comes to mind--an older lady who said she was from a mountain village. This lady had a penchant for pulling ears and slapping faces to administer discipline.
Pelasgians=Old ?aboriginal ?balkan people=old mediterranean people.That's better,because it seems that entire mediterana was a warm,good place for many either in glacial and wormer periods.At one past time all regions were inhabited.And good conditions for wandering and mixing.The problem is :density,number,how old/age,civilised.The population pressure centers were:Africa,South-Iberia,Balcan,Near-East....and India.My point of wiew is as folowing:To a point,Iberian-African and Balcan parts had the initial advantage in Europe.Some-how they were mixed,used same territories for gathering-fishing.They were located mainly in the south-eastern part of Europe.They were Balcano-Iberian.The "Old Europe" was theirs.As one can observe,the mezolitic cultures in "Vinca" area was inhabited by:tardonesian-centro-European &azilian&gravettian(of romanello-azilian aspect) cultures.As you can see the preponderent element was the proto-Iberian one,maybe they took advantage of an earlier starting.In this case I am naming the Old-Europeans,proto-B-Iberians.North of Black-Sea & Caucasus &near-East,proto-arians.the problem is as folows ;it seems that entire above regions were populated by:RA-ARA-ARI-HURI-ARIMI-ARIMANI-ARUMANI-RAMANI-ROMANI.There are only 3 regions for their origins:1.Africa/Sahara 2.Danubian/arimi 3.Armenian/proto-Arian=Iranians+Tu-ranians.What about do not question from where and who were first? As hunter-gatheres they were allready so mixed,they were shortage of animals,they were multiplying and expanding as agriculturalists.Is like the same people are making arches and circles on Euro-Asian map.The people "out of Africa" returning in great numbers to more hospitable climates than Saraswaty,Siberia,Central Asia,Sahara ,Near-East and Anatolia wich every of them are encountering tidal wawes (Sumer) and almost all, desication.Mediterranean-european area:mild,temperate climate;not ocean coast/tidal waves,reugulatory Mediterana "lake",regulatory Golf-Stream,plenty of rivers.So I am for a paleolithic-neolithic pelasgian proto-Iberian-euskara-type,non IE,and in Ner-East in the same time a proto-arian.After neolithic,and begining with,in Europe pelasgians were using an more +arian and more +indian language,wich at a point was something like PIE.But!!!!The PIE momentum was 1 second.After this second the languages derived,very early (4500BC).I am not for PIE in Anatolia or Thracia or other place ,I am for .....why not,an bifocal PIE area,and.....why not,on moove.I am interested about your coments and opinions.Remember:The austric (south-eastern asiatic),Uralic,arian and Indian languages,a v.v. old.They are not necessary mooving in areas in time as are wanting the scientists and chanhing their minds and theories.Remember :RA.....ROMANI.By short I am for an proto-Iberian origin of all those arian-like languages.