Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is Romanides accurate?

Series straddling three blogs: 
Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ...on linguistic evolution
...on Tower of Babel or language evolution
Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Milk and Gollum, and Nostratic M-L-Q
Is Boromir a mimsy borogove?
"If God spoke a language" - to correct Grimm
On the "Reformed Egyptian" of the "Nephites"
side issue on previous, Theology: A Gerald Smith on the theme of "Great Apostasy" and "Restored Gospel" - answered
Is Romanides accurate?
Was Romanides accurate? Bis! Not very much at all!
Linguistics for Romanides: Greek, Latin, Patois
Coniectura linguistica, pro casu unitatis vetustissimae indo-europaeae linguae.
Creation vs. Evolution : 32 language families for 72 nations ...
To this essay: 

Mettius* Fufetius, the Latin King of Alba Longa, claims that the Romans of Tullus Hostilius (672-640 BC), the Latin King of Rome, are no longer pure Greeks, whereas his Albanians (Alvanoi) are still pure Greeks.[ 3 ]

Is that exactly what he said? Not quite:

[ 3 ] Dionysius of Halicarnassus*, Roman Antiquities, III, x, 1-6. Mettius Fufetius argued that " cannot point to any race of mankind, except the Greeks and Latins, to whom we (Albanians) have granted citizenship; whereas you (Romans) have corrupted the purity of your body politic by admitting Tyrrhenians, Sabines, and some others..." Evidently the Sabines, who were Lacedaemonians, as we shall see, had intermarried with non-Greeks.

His "evidently" is balderdash.

Mettius Fufetius is not arguing that Rome is no longer "Greek only", but that it is no longer "Greek and Latin" only.

Tyrrhenians are Etruscans. Unlike Greeks and Latins not even Indo-European in language.

Sabines are related to Latins, but more rustic.

But let us first see what Dionysius of Halicarnassus actually says** about origin of Aborigines:

10 There are some who affirm that the Aborigines, from whom the Romans are originally descended, were natives of Italy, a stock which came into being spontaneously24 (I call Italy all that peninsula which is bounded by the Ionian Gulf25 and the Tyrrhenian Sea and, thirdly, by the Alps on the landward side); and these authors say that they were first called Aborigines because they were the founders of the p33families of their descendants, or, as we should call them, genearchai or prôtogonoi.26 2 Others claim that certain vagabonds without house or home, coming together out of many places, met one another there by chance and took up their abode in the fastnesses, living by robbery and grazing their herds. And these writers change their name, also, to one more suitable to their condition, calling them Aberrigenes,27 to show that they were wanderers; indeed, according to these, the race of the Aborigines would seem to be no different from those the ancients called Leleges; for this is the name they generally gave to the homeless and mixed peoples who had no fixed abode which they could call their country.28 3 Still others have a story to the effect that they were colonists sent out by those Ligurians who are neighbours of the Umbrians. For the Ligurians inhabit not only many parts of Italy but some parts of Gaul as well, but which of these lands is their native country is not known, since nothing certain is said of them further.

11 But the most learned of the Roman historians, among whom is Porcius Cato, who compiled with the greatest care the "origins"29 of the Italian cities, p35Gaius Sempronius30 and a great many others, say that they were Greeks, part of those who once dwelt in Achaia, and that they migrated many generations before the Trojan war. But they do not go on to indicate either the Greek tribe to which they belonged or the city from which they removed, or the date or the leader of the colony, or as the result of what turns of fortune they left their mother country; and although they are following a Greek legend, they have cited no Greek historian as their authority. It is uncertain, therefore, what the truth of the matter is. ...

OK, Denys of Halicarnass is not quite on Romanides' side, to say the least. He goes on to give an account of what might just possibly be true about Cato's guess. Or claim. And his reasoning** is that those Greeks are the first to leave Greece for Italy, thus most likely to have lost track of, most likely to have changed langued into what is known as Latin:

... But if what they say is true, the Aborigines can be a colony of no other people but of those who are now called Arcadians; 2 for these were the first of all the Greeks to cross the Ionian Gulf, under the leadership of Oenotrus, the son of Lycaon, and to settle in Italy. This Oenotrus was the fifth from Aezeius and Phoroneus, who were the first kings in the Peloponnesus. For Niobê was the daughter of Phoroneus, and Pelasgus was the son of Niobê and Zeus, it is said; Lycaon was the son of Aezeius and Deïanira was the daughter of Lycaon; Deïanira and Pelasgus were the parents of another Lycaon, whose son Oenotrus was born seventeen generations before the Trojan expedition. This, then, was the time when the Greeks sent the colony into Italy. 3 Oenotrus left Greece because he was dissatisfied with his portion of his father's land; for, as Lycaon had twenty-two sons, it was necessary to divide Arcadia into as many shares. For this reason Oenotrus left the Peloponnesus, p37prepared a fleet, and crossed the Ionian Gulf with Peucetius, one of his brothers. They were accompanied by many of their own people — for this nation is said to have been very populous in early times — and by as many other Greeks as had less land than was sufficient for them. 4 Peucetius landed his people above the Iapygian Promontory, which was the first part of Italy they made, and settled there; and from him the inhabitants of this region were called Peucetians. But Oenotrus with the greater part of the expedition came into the other sea that washes the western regions along the coast of Italy; it was then called the Ausonian Sea, from the Ausonians who dwelt beside it, but after the Tyrrhenians became masters at sea its name was changed to that which it now bears.

No, I do not find that the oldest Romans necessarily talked Greek only, as he claimed. Aeneas may have brought along Greek, unless the language both he and Latinus spoke was Canaanean. But Latinus did hardly have Greek as his mother tongue, or if he did, it was because it was a luxury.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BpI, Paris
St Gabriel's Day, 24-III-2012

© John S. Romanides

**Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Roman Antiquities
p29 (Book I, continued)*.html


James said...

I am glad you are checking Fr. John's references so assiduously. Perhaps we gain even more insight from Dionysius's Roman Antiquities Book One, part 9, where Dionysius explicitly agrees with Pherecydes of Athens that the original Italians were Greeks from Arcadia. Maybe these Greeks did not speak only Greek, but in this case, would you not agree with Fr. John that they are best described as Greeks and not Latin-speaking Latins? Fr. John is making the point that the West has distorted the sources by opposing Latin-speaking Latins in Rome to Greek-speaking Greeks in the East. Thus, the simple fact that Dion., Livy, Cato and others insist on their Greekness should give us pause. Besides, as Fr. John says in the same article: “Now some scholars may search for sources which may prove otherwise, i.e. for some reason the primitive Latins and Romans, who were not really Greeks, came to believe that they are Greeks. So what? That would be like proving that black Americans are not real Americans because they are black.” In other words, many, many prominent Romans affirmed that Romans are Greeks and speak Greek (as well as Latin, obviously, since they wrote in Latin to affirm this Greekness). Fr. John is interested in Romeosyne (Roman-ness), which is cultural, especially since, as Dion. says in the same passage, the Romans allowed foreigners and manumitted slaves to become citizens, regardless of bloodline. He wants to show that Romans thought of themselves as coming from the Greeks. Obviously not all Romans thought any one thing, but Fr. John has pieced together a veritable Roman Mt. Rushmore of towering Latin writers who believe they come from Greeks. Mission accomplished! I think we owe it to Fr. John to plainly state our purpose in our critiques; checking details is a fruitful endeavor, but I believe it to be equally important that we exhibit the proper respect and sympathy for such an illustrious theologian as Fr. John by engaging with the actual points/theses presented in his works. Otherwise, we are losing an opportunity to get to the real point of Fr. John's writings. For example, why did Fr. John bother to write about Greco-Roman history? That would be an interesting post! Thanks for the posts, and I hope you will forgive me if I seem too direct, God bless...

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

Sorry, I accidentally double-posted my comment, thus the erasure...

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

An ancient belief that Latin comes from Greek and that Romans came from Arcadia, does it prove that earliest Romans spoke Greek rather than Latin?

I have seen a 14th or 15th C. theory saying Lithuanian is pieced together from Greek and Latin languages.

That does NOT prove ancestors of Gedimynas spoke Latin and Greek right there on spot rather than something like the Lithuanian we know.

Romanides confused the issue "Greek vs Non-Greek" with the issue "Greek vs Latin".

He also confused the issues:

* generally Greek or not
* Greek according to our standards of Greek or not (these standards excluding Latin)

and probably

* specific Greek dialect or not (Romanides may have thought Eneas spoke Koiné or Homeric Greek with Latinus).

Since I first wrote this, I came across material about Hittites.

I think the "Greek" that Eneas spoke with Latinus may well be the forgotten superpower language of the region, Nesili ("Hittite", not to be confused with Hattili or "Hattic").

You see, when Troy was destroyed, the Trojans were still either really or at least nominally vassals of Hattusha.

And of the languages we call Greek and Latin today, both are related and neither is very much more related than the other, to Nesili.

But Hittite nobility would very certainly, if my theory of deliberate self oblivion is correct, have sought aliases for their Hittite ancestry.

Some people whose ancestors fought at Kadesh would be eager to ensure a memory of having an ancestry that fought before Troy. Because that war did not directly imply, at least not in the version we have, the Hittite central power.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

If Black Americans one day ashamed of slave hunting native society of Kunta Kinte make a point of descending from Ethiopia (oh, wait, Rastafarians do that already), would that mean Afro-Americans had closer ties to Meroé and Aksum than to West Africa? No.