Black Athena: The Linguistic Evidence
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Could Greek philosophy be rooted in Egyptian thought? Is it possible that the Pythagorean theory was conceived on the shores of the Nile and the Euphrates rather than in ancient Greece? Could it be that much of Western civilization was formed on the “Dark Continent”? For almost two centuries, Western scholars have given little credence to the possibility of such scenarios. In Black Athena, an audacious three-volume series that strikes at the heart of today's most heated culture wars, Martin Bernal challenges Eurocentric attitudes by calling into question two of the longest-established explanations for the origins of classical civilization. To use his terms, the Aryan Model, which is current today, claims that Greek culture arose as the result of the conquest from the north by Indo-European speakers, or “Aryans,” of the native “pre-Hellenes.” The Ancient Model, which was maintained in Classical Greece, held that the native population of Greece had initially been civilized by Egyptian and Phoenician colonists and that additional Near Eastern culture had been introduced to Greece by Greeks studying in Egypt and Southwest Asia. Moving beyond these prevailing models, Bernal proposes a Revised Ancient Model, which suggests that classical civilization in fact had deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures. This long-awaited third and final volume of the series is concerned with the linguistic evidence that contradicts the Aryan Model of ancient Greece. Bernal shows how nearly 40 percent of the Greek vocabulary has been plausibly derived from two Afroasiatic languages—Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. He also reveals how these derivations are not limited to matters of trade, but extended to the sophisticated language of politics, religion, and philosophy. This evidence, according to Bernal, greatly strengthens the hypothesis that in Greece an Indo-European–speaking population was culturally dominated by Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic speakers Provocative, passionate, and colossal in scope, this volume caps a thoughtful rewriting of history that has been stirring academic and political controversy since the publication of the first volume.
Introduction 405 Society 405 Politics 413 Law and order 416 Abstraction 420 Chapter 18 RELIGIOUS TERMINOLOGY 425 Structures 425 Personnel 430 Cult objects 433 Rituals 434 Sacrifices 437 Incense, flowers, scents 439 Aura 439 Mysteries 441 Conclusion 451 Chapter 19 DIVINE NAMES: GODS, MYTHICAL CREATURES, HEROES 453 Introduction: Gods 453 Ôpr, “become” Ôprr, Apollo, Askle\pios, Python and Delphi 454 Apollo the “Aryan” 454 Was Apollo a sun god before the fifth
Indo-European competitor, I discuss the latter in the text but not in this introduction. The title of Chapter 12 is “Minor Roots. . . . ” These roots are only “minor” in comparison to those discussed in the previous two chapters. They include some roots that provide central terminology for Greek INTRODUCTION 21 society and politics and, hence, those of modern Europe: ˆsw “ fair reward” the origin of the Greek prefix iso- “equal”; ˙tr “bind together, yoke,” which leads to both hetairos
southern Africa was the earliest region to develop these. They appear not to have reached Europe until around 9000 BP.53 In China, however, microliths could possibly go back to 24,000 BP and they were certainly widespread by 22,000.54 Although much later than the early southern African microliths, the Chinese artifacts are earlier than those of the Nile cultures. More than likely the Chinese invention was independent. It is interesting to speculate that the lack of the “Nostratic advantage” is
his Nostratic hypothesis and then asked others sympathetic and hostile to it to comment. He has continued to bring out books on American languages and “Time Depth in Historical Linguistics.”70 L ANGUAGE AND G ENETICS Before ending this chapter it would seem useful to consider something that I believe to be a red herring, at least on the questions with which we are concerned. During the past few years, a number of scholars have tried to link language to genetics. They have shown, for instance,
Greek, were intimately tied to each other. CHAPTER 4 THE ORIGINS OF INDO-HITTITE AND INDO-EUROPEAN AND THEIR CONTACTS WITH OTHER LANGUAGES T his chapter is concerned with the origins and development of the Indo-Hittite language family and those of its subset IndoEuropean, which today is the most widely spoken in the world. The chapter also deals with the linguistic contexts in which the two families were formed and the exchanges among these and other languages. As a whole this book is about