The Etruscan Language.
Professor Calori showed scant sympathy with the Turanian or Mongolian theory, which has been patronised by Pruner Bey and G. Lagneau, and which was not wholly rejected by the learned Nicolucci. In England the Altaic, or ‑‑ as the author calls it, Ugric ‑‑ tribe of Turanian has lately been advocated, [Jeff Hill's footnote: In England the Altaic, or ‑‑ as the author calls it, Ugric ‑‑ tribe of Turanian has lately been advocated in England PRO In England the Altaic, or ‑‑ as the author calls it, Ugric ‑‑ tribe of Turanian has lately been advocated] on linguistic and mythological grounds, by one of those marvellous popular scientific books, like The One Primaeval Language, and India In Greece, by which the abuse of private judgment, and, perhaps, a compound ignorance of the subject, periodically causes the reading world of Europe to laugh, and the British Orientalist to blush.
Etruscan Researches, by the Reverend Isaac Taylor (London, Macmillan And Company, 1874), sets out with a thoroughly erroneous and obsolete assertion which succeeds in vitiating almost every research.
We are told at the first opportunity (page 2) that the ultimate and surest test of race is language. As the multitude of general readers still allows itself to be misled upon this point, whose proper determination is essential to all correct anthropology, I will consider it in a few words.
Long ago my friend Professor Carl Vogt asserted and proved that un peuple peut toujours avoir adopté une langue qui n' était pas la sienne. We have familiar instances of the Longobardi in Italy, the Franks in France, and the Visigoths in Spain, changing their own tongues for various forms of neo Latin. The Aryan speaking Baloch merge their rugged variant of Persian into the Arabic of Maskat, and into the African Kisawahili or lingua‑franca of Zanzibar. Well worth repeating are the words of Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte (Anthrop. Inst., February 9, 1875): It is a bold theory to advance that language is a test of race, and a no less bold opinion that language should be rejected as an evidence in the question. Finally (page 356), we have the obsolete Grimm's Law about the drei Kennzeichen der Urverwandtschaft; the three signs of primordial affinity of languages, being the numerals, the personal pronouns, and certain forms
of the substantive verb. The importance of numerals is especially laid down (page 158), when all know that they are exceedingly liable to phonetic decay, especially those most used; for instance, eka (Sanskrit), ΕΙΣ, VNVS, and jedian (Slovene). Mr. Robert Ellis has fallen into the same trap when advocating primaeval unity.
Bearing in mind Prince Bonaparte's sensible limitation, we proceed to the process by which the Etruscan Researcher, who speaks (page 182) of the discovery of Sanskrit, has invented for the Etruscans a dialect of his own. Before him others have adopted the facile plan of compulsing a host of dictionaries, vocabularies, and strings of words, Hebrew, Chaldaic, Arabic, and Syriac, Himyaritic, Ethiopic, and Coptic, and of compelling one of them to afford the explanation required. This is a process which, by the by, I am sorry, in the interests of glottology, to see spreading: without exact historic knowledge and extensive linguistic practice it can only do harm. Similarly our author, by turning over the eleven volumes of Nordische Reisen and the rest, and Alexander Castrén (Finn, Myth, and the rest), and by borrowing from the dialects of some 48 detached Turanian tribes, ranging between the
Ainos and the Magyars, the Finns and the Seljuks (Osmanlis), has created a conglomerate never yet spoken, nor ever possible to be spoken, by mortal man. He rarely attempts an explanation of the phonetic laws which govern his cognate languages; he relies, not upon grammar and formative system, but on detached words; and he treats the digraphic and other inscriptions, not as a decipherer or an archaeologist, but as a comparative philologist. And ‑‑ will it be believed? ‑‑ this pseudospeech is made, with dogmatic self confidence, to explain the origin of, not only Lycians, Carians and Phyrygians, Cilicians and Pisidians, Ligures and Leleges, but of the debated Euskaric and even the ancient Egyptian (Coptic, page 39), whilst on page 68 we are told that Egypt is a Semitic region; and, finally, the mysterious Albanian is simply the vulgar Finnic ‑‑ Tosk being converted, not honestly, into Toscans (page 20).
Another unsupported and erroneous assertion is, that mythology, like language, is an absolutely conclusive test of (racial) affinity (page 85). It often represents certain phases of social development through which all civilised peoples have passed,
and the same basis of religion ‑‑ which we may, in the absence of a better word, call Fetishism ‑‑ has served for the Aryan and the Semite as well as for the Turanian.
The worship of the dead is held by some reviewers to be the strongest argument of Turanian affinities. They will find it throughout half civilized Africa: Dahome, for instance. The Ugric practice of sorcery (page 14) is simply universal; every reader of Blackland travels is familiar with that stage of society; and magic need not be derived from Magi (page 79) when we have the Persian equivalent mugh () a MAGVS. Animism is represented to be the peculiar creed of the Turanians (page 35), when it is the dawn of faith, the belief in things unseen; therefore it was universal, and it lingers in the most advanced creeds ‑‑ for instance, in Christianity, to whose spirit the material ghost is opposed. We have (page 84) the vague assertion that Semitic races tend to a theocracy, while the tendency of the Aryans is to a democratic government: this view is formed by reading only Jewish, Greek, and Roman history; but the Bedawin, the type of the so called Semitic race, have never shown a symptom of theocracy, and, indeed, may be said to be of no
religion at all. The Turanian tombs are family tombs (page 36); but what are the so called Tombs of the Kings and of the Prophets near Jerusalem? What are those of Dahome, Ashanti, and Benin? ‑‑ perhaps these also are Turanian! Of the contradiction about the temple and the tomb (pages 41 and 49) I have already spoken. Even Stonehenge (page 43) is a primaeval sepulchre of the Turanian type, when Mr. James Fergusson has proved it to be comparatively modern. I presume that Pococke's two black demons who dwell in the sepulchre with the (Moslem) dead (page 117, from Dennis I, 310) are our old friends the Angels Munkir and Nakir, known to Lord Byron; they simply visit the corpse for the purpose of questioning it. And most people know that the Arab Jinn was a human shape made of fire, not an unsubstantial body of the nature of smoke (page 127).
The geographer and anthropologist stand aghast before the seven Ethnographic Notes which contain such assertions as these. This is an absolute note: No Aryan or Semitic people is found separated by any great interval from other nations of a kindred race (page 69). Some have traced the
Aryan tongue to South America, and what are the
Gipsies scattered about the Old and New Worlds? Are the Jews Semites or Turanians? And the Arab, who, in prehistoric times, spread northeast to Samarkand, southeast to Malabar, southwest to Zanzibar and Kafirland, and west to Morocco and to Spain? Is this an unbroken continuous block without detached outliers? How can it be said that the conquests of the Goths, Vandals, and other Teutonic (add, Scandinavian), and Slavonic (Slav) [footnote 1: I am sorry to see Mr. Freeman using the debased form Slave] races were the conquests of armies rather than the migrations of nations (page 81)? It sounds passing strange to an Englishman in Istria, surrounded by vestiges of Kelts and Romans, and preserved by a Scythian population. We read, again, (page 81) the Turks have developed a remarkable genius for the government and organisation of subject races, when the experience of the eastern man is embodied in the proverb that where the Osmanli plants his foot the grass will not grow. Nor did the Turks instinctively take to the sea (page 81); they engaged Greek, Dalmatian, and other Aryans to man their ships. How are the Nairs of the Malabar coast hill tribes (page 57)? are they confounded with the Todas of the Nilgiri? We
are told (page 66) that geographically, ancient Etruria is modern Tuscany, without the qualification that there were two other sets of DVODECIM POPVLI ‑‑ one to the south, the other to the northeast, [footnote 1: Doctor Paul Broca (Ethogénie Italienne: Les Ombres et les Etrusques, pages 289‑297, volume III, Revue d' Anthropologie), remarks that Etruria Media is a purely geographical term, which, anthropologically speaking, should be Antiqua, opposed to Nova (CIRCVMPADANA), and to NOVISSIMA or Opicia: the latter is disconnected by Latium, which was never occupied by the Etruscans] so as to embrace nearly the whole peninsula; and in 1874 the author had apparently no knowledge of the immense finds which since 1856 have enriched Bologna. Converging doorjambs (page 353) are, doubtless, Egyptian and Etruscan, but also they belong to all primitive architecture, the object being simply to facilitate the construction of the lintel; we find them in Palmyra, and we find them in the far west of America. I read (page 66) that ceramic art is the one permanent legacy which the Etruscans have bequeathed to the world, when all their highest works were either imitations of the Greeks or were imported from Greece; nor have we a word about the merchant prince Demaratus of Corinth, who is said to have brought the alphabet to Etruria (Tacitus, ANN., XI, 14, and others) with the FICTORES Eucheir and Eugrammos (titles, not names). The passion for vivid and harmonious
colour is not only Turanian (page 65); even we English have received it in Fair Isle from Spain, which received it from Morocco. Tracing descent by the mother's side (page 14) is common to an immense number of barbarous races; the Congoese Africans, for instance, can hardly be Turanian, and even the old Icelanders, who have nothing in common with the Skrćlingjar, under certain circumstances took the surer matronymic. [Footnote 1: The case stands thus: The Lycians (Herodotos, I, 173) always traced their descent, unlike the Greeks and Romans, through the maternal line, and this has been verified by Fellows (Lycia, 276). The Etruscans (Dennis, I, 133) being less purely oriental, made use of both methods. But this careful author is hardly justified in deriving the custom from the east: it would arise naturally from the high position of women in a people of diviners, augurs, and, perhaps, of mesmerists; but we cannot say that such dignity is an Asiatic custom.] Exogamy, again (page 58), belongs to a certain stage of society where all the members of the tribe are held to be of one blood, and where marriage would be within the prohibited degree. We find it amongst the East African Somal, who will be Turanians only when the Copts are.
It would be fastidious work again to slay the slain after the critique upon the vocabulary of Etruscan Researches, printed in the Athenaeum of March 28th [Jeff Hill's footnote: May 28th PRO March 28th], 1874, by Mr. William Wright. But
the absolute ignorance of all eastern languages, and the unscrupulous ingenuity with which names of persons and places are distorted, require some notice. The authority of Mr. Lenormant, Mr. Sayce, Mr. Edkins, and Sir Henry Rawlinson is invoked (Athenaeum, May 2nd, 1874) to defend as Turanian or Turkish such familiar Arabic words as Nasl, Jinn, and Ghoul; but what of li‑umm (LEMVRES!) meaning simply in Arabic to the mother? The learned interpreter of Cuneiform must be charmed with the role here assigned to him. The name of Attila, we are told, is of an Etruscan type, and can be explained from Etruscan sources (page 75), when we find it even in the Scandinavoaryan Atli. The name of the Budii, a Median tribe, is seen in the town name of Buda in Hungary (page 78); the latter (buta), signifying literally a boy, was the proper name of Atil or Attila's brother, put to death by him. The disputed word Ogre is derived from the Tartar word ugry, a thief (page 376), which also named the Ugrian, I should rather find its equivalent in the Hindú aghor, as aghorpanthi, the religious mendicant, part of whose Dharma (duty) was cannibalism. The very name of Darius, the Mede, can be
explained from Finnic sources, which seem able, like a certain statesman, to explain away everything (page 79); but we trace its cognate in the modern Persian Dárá. Tarquin (ΤΑΡΧΙ) is Tark‑Khan, the prudent prince (page 79); LVCVMO (page 322) means great Khan, from lu and kan (for khan); and here we may note that the great Cham of Tartary, which the unlettered Englishman is tempted to pronounce as in chamber, came to us through the Italians. Perfunctory enough are the connection (pages 266‑228) of the praenomen VELE (an axe handle, or ful in Yeniseian) with CAIVS (a cudgel, Latin, CAIA), which was GAIVS; and such resemblances as Soracte with Ser‑ak‑Tagh, snow‑white mountain (page 346) ‑‑ worse than Nibly's Pelasgic ΣΩΡΟΣ‑ΑΚΤΗ ‑‑ as ASCANIVS with Szön Khan, and as IVLVS with Eszen Ili (page 374), ancestors of the Turkomans. Father TIBER (page 330) hails from Teppeh‑ur (peh Teppeh, hill, Persian ur, water, Turanian?); but what of Varro's THEBRIS or DEHEBRIS, and of THEPRI, THEPHRI, the forms given by Dennis (II, 481)? Who has attributed the invention of dice to the Etruscans (page 332)? The derivation of Kiemzathrm (page 188), explained, as 2 + 1 + 4 + 10 + 1, to mean twice forty or eighty, from the Yeniseio‑Ariner kina‑man‑tschau‑thjung,
is a masterly waste of time to the reader as well as to the writer. If IVNO (page 133) come from Jomu, God, we will take the liberty of associating with her our old friend Mumbojumbo, not worshipped in the Mountains of the Moon.
On page 315 the Etruscan ANTAI, the winds, are identified with VENTVS, ΑΝΕΜΟΣ, and the Teuton wind, when the Sanskrit váta shows the nasal not to be radical. Why go to the Ugric ker, or aker in Lapp, for AGER, when even in Scandinavian we have Akkr (page 333). As Doctor Birch remarks (Athenaeum, June 20, 1874), Mr. Taylor has made a PETITIO PRINCIPII in assuming that ThAPIRNAL = NIGER; KAHATIAL = VIOLENS, KIARThALISA = FVSCVS, and VANIAL = SCAE CALIS, whatever that may mean. It by no means appears that the Roman words in the bilingual epitaphs were translations of the Etruscan; they might have been aliases. In fact, KAHATIAL is translated in the bilingual inscriptions CAFATIA NATVS and VARNALISA by VARIA NATVS, not RVFVS, which, added afterwards, was something besides which he was called, as an agnomen in Latin, but not Etruscan. On page 319 we are informed that there is no tenable Aryan etymology for PŌPVLVS, the poplar tree, whence PŌPVLONIA. Colonel Yule
(Some Unscientific Notes On The History Of Plants, page 49, Geog. Mag., February, 1875) has shown the contrary to be the case; like bhurja, the birch, the word accompanied the earliest emigration from the east. POPVLVS, pioppo (fioppa, in Bolognese), peuplier, and poplar are the Sanskrit pippala, the modern Hindú pipal (FICVS RELIGIOSA), whose superficial likeness causes the French to name the Indian fig peuplier d' Inde and the Palermo gardener to baptise it pioppo delle Indie. Major Madden also found the POPVLVS CILIATA of Kumaon called by the people Gar‑pípal. Lord Crawford explains the Etruscan Bacchus by this process: Pampin = FΑΜΠΕΛ = Phuphl + ans, uns, or ana = PhUPhLUNS, PUPLIANA, that is, God of the Vine. The existence of the Huns in Etruscan days is proved (pages 76 and 367) by the word HUINS (mirror engraved by Gerhard, Tafel CCXXXV), the terminal sibilant being probably the Etruscan definite article. I suggested (Athenaeum, May 28, 1874 [Jeff Hill's footnote: March 28, 1874 PRO May 28, 1874]) that the word might also be read HLINS, (Hellenes?) part of an inscription over what has generally been supposed to be the Trojan Horse. Doctor Birch, however, says (Athenaeum, June 20, 1874) that it may, with equal, if not greater, probability
be referred to the capture of Pegasus (PECSE) by Vulcan (SEThLANS), and to the Fountain Hippokrene, or FONS CABALLINVS, in Etruscan HUINS, analogous to the Latin FONS. He suggests ETULE PECSE SEThLANS, as equivalent to the Greek Edoulene Pegason Hephaistos; but under any circumstances the Huns take to flight. Again, it is evident that the inscription NUSThIEEI or NUSThIEH (pages 112‑113) should be read the other way, HEIThZUN, or, probably, HEIASUN ‑‑ IASON or Jason, according to Doctor Birch. The difficulty is that the E faces from left to right and the S from right to left.
The French Maréchal, a groom or farrier (page 267), is not fairly explained. Our popular derivation is from the Scandinavian mara, a mare -- hence nott‑mara, a nightmare ‑‑ and skjald, a servant. The latter has passed through sundry vicissitudes before he became a mar‑shal. I would, however, observe that the Illyrian and other Slavs have mara or marra, meaning a witch. It is unpardonable to make (page 113) historic ezhdiha Turkish; everyone knows the origin of this Persian word, the old Bactrian and intensely Aryan az‑i‑daháka, the biting snake; the ahi, the midgardsom, zohak of Firdausi ‑‑ slain, according to Zendavestan
tradition, by Thraetavna (India). Curiously enough, the Illyrian Slavs still retain adaja (pronounced azhdaya) for a dragon. The CAMEL, [footnote 1: I regret that no one has answered my questions in the Athenaeum (March, 1874) concerning the Etruscan camel, whether it be the northern (two humped) or the southern. And it is even more to be regretted that in the Lost Tombs Of Tarquinii (Dennis, I, 348) no notice was taken of the elephant being African or Asiatic] with capitals (page 151), as if alluding to Henri Heine's Great Camel Question, is, we are assured, Turanian; when the Semitic jamal ‑‑ pronounced, probably, by the Jews and Phoenicians, and certainly by the modern Bedawin, gamal ‑‑ became the kamel‑os of the Greeks. It may explain CAMILLVS, but if so, the word is, like CADMVS, Semitic. Of the four testwords, on which the whole case as to the Ugric affinities of Etruscan might safely be rested (pages 93‑113) ‑‑ KULMU (which Corssen reads CULSU, page 380), VANTh, HINThIAL, and NAHUM ‑‑ the second and third are interpreted by the wildest processes. VANTh (thanatos?) relies solely upon the Turkish fáni (page 102) and vani, ready to perish (page 103); the former being pure Arabic, and the latter a corruption of the active form fáni. HINThIAL loses half its superficial resemblance to the Finnic haltin (or haldia, page 107), which is, letter for letter, the same
as the Etruscan word, when we compare its other form PhINThIAL; nor can we identify it (page 109), with the Turkish ghyulghe (gyulgeh), a shadow, or break it into HIN‑ThI‑AL, the image of the child of the Grave (page 111). Manitou (page 136) is certainly not the North American Heaven God: it is simply the haltia of the Finns; the phantasm which resides in every material object. To such information (page 102), as the suffix d or t (!) in Turkish commonly denotes abstract nouns we can only reply Pro‑di‑gious! The four Arabic words melekyut (malakiyyat, from malik), munidat (corrupted), nejdet, and nedámet, quoted in support of this doctrine, end with what grammarians call the Há el‑masdar (h of abstraction). A man must be Turan‑smitten, must have caught a Tartar, to find (page 124) that the title of the Russian Emperor, the Tzar, is doubtless of Tartaric origin; and perhaps he would say the same of Caesar and Kaiser. But, seriously, is all history thus to be thrown overboard? And why, in the name of common sense, should we compare the Indian Menu with MANTUS, Minos, and MANES? (page 122). Why, again, should not KhARUN be Charon, instead of Kara (black), and UN, an abraded form of AINA, a spirit, or of jum, God?
(page 118). The derivation (page 160) of the Etruscan MACh (one), [footnote 1: curious to say, the only dialect in which MACh means one, is the Sim of the Gipsies (see ANTHROPOLOGIA, page 498, volume 1), probably derived from the Greek ΜΙΑ, whilst Machun is two. Judged by its numerals, and by Professor von W. Corssen's undoubted failure, Etruscan has no affinity with any known tongue, and though Mr. Ellis suspected a double system, this has not yet been proved] though safe ground to tread on (page 174), is another marvel. It proceeds from the Turkic bar‑mach, a finger (read parmak or pármak), and the Turkish (!) mikh lab, the clawed foot of a bird or animal, that is, the noun of instrument in Arabic from the triliteral root khalaba, he rent. So in our vernacular the fish‑fin perhaps comes from fin‑ger. And yet this conglomerate of errors is made to take a crucial part in the Turanian scheme; it is the basis of interpreting the invaluable (Campanari) dice of Toscanella, now in the Cabinet des Médailles, Paris, where words, taking the place of pips, form, according to some scholars, an adjuration or prayer, to others a name and a gift. Lord Crawford explains this (bogus) Rosetta Stone of Mr. Taylor by an adjuration which also contains an echo of the current names of numerals in Japhetan, if not Teutonic, speech.
And the Sprachforscher, Professor Corssen proposes (pages 28, 806): --
Mr. Ellis (Numerals As Signs Of Primaeval Unity, and PERVVIA SCYTHICA, page 158) makes MAKH (1), ThU (2, DVO?), ZAL (3), HUTh (4), KI (5), and SA (6); Mr. Taylor, inverting the sequence, MACh (1), KI (2), ZAL (3), SA (4), ThU (5), and HUTh (6). The relics were found in 1848, and probably Mr. Taylor is not answerable for the dodge which, in announcing his book, omitted the date and left the public to believe that, when the find was described in 1848 by Doctor Emilio Braun (page 60, Bull. Archaeol. Inst. Of Rome), and afterwards of Orioli, Steub, Lorenz, Morenz, Bunsen, Pott, and others, a new key to Etruscan had lately been discovered. But he is answerable for the tone of his reply (Athenaeum, May 2, 1874) to the Gentle Lindsay (Athenaeum, April 11, 1874) ‑‑ a painful contrast with the courtesy of the earl's blood.
Such are the process of exhaustion or elimination; the far fetched affinities; the broadest conclusions on the narrowest of bases; the curious, or rather, supposed, coincidences, the guesswork of an unwary philologer; the plausible agnation; the perverted ingenuity ‑‑ such as holding ancient numerals to be fragments of ancient words denoting members of the body ‑‑ and explaining the stone circles around tumuli as the survivals of tent weights, which affiliate Etruscan with Altaic. These picklocks or skeleton keys do not open the lock of the dark chamber, and the secret is locked with more than adamantine power. The whole volume is a simple confusion of all scientific etymology, and its abrasion doctrine might be applied as profitably to deriving roast beef from plum pudding. The cumulative arguments which make the RASENNA Ugrians are mere SORITES of errors called analogies, and exactly the same defects have been noted in the author's Words And Places. Professor Corssen, perhaps the profoundest Etruscologue of his age, even asserted that of twenty two numerals which Mr. Taylor has claimed as proofs of the connection between Etruscan and the Altaic branch of the Turanian family of tongues, as many as eighteen are not
even Etruscan, and, of the four remaining, three are pronouns, and one is a proper name. [Footnote 1: Professor Corssen's numerals are Italian: ‑‑ UNI (1), TEIS (2), TRINAChE (3), ChVARThU (4), CUINTE (5), SESThS (6), SETUME (7), UNTAVE (8), NUNAS (9), TESNE (10), TESNE EKA (11), and TISNTEIS (20). Perhaps these may be the Italiot, used synchronously with the Lydoetruscan numbers.]
Finally, in his preface (page VII), the Livingstone of linguists, as a certain reviewer entitles him, was conscious of the shortcomings of his book; in the Reviews he fought his free fight more obstinately for its errors, its hallucinations, and its ignorance than most men have fought for their truths. I was not a little amused after noticing his contradictions about the existence of Etruscan temples to read the diatribe (Athenaeum, June 6, 1874) about my utter recklessness in making groundless accusations. Let me ask, with the distinguished Arabist Professor Wright, QVID PLVRA? [Jeff Hill's footnote: What is the need for more words?]
The Family Pen has never been employed worse than in writing Etruscan Researches. Yet by substituting a scatter of colonists from Asia Minor, either Lydian or Lydophoenician, for the pure Turanian, we may find in Mr. Taylor a useful picture of Etruscan life.
The conclusions which we draw from our actual
state of knowledge concerning the Etruscan tongue are ‑‑ 1. That it may possibly be proved Italiot; 2. That its origin and its affiliation are at present mysterious as the Basque; 3. That, whereas almost all previous authorities had advocated some form of the great Indoeuropean speech, Mr. Taylor has made himself a remarkable Turanian exception; and 4. That certain Finnish affinities deserve scientific investigation.
Etruscan Bologna, A Study