Friday, August 29, 2014

Imagine Someone Said: Apollonius Rhodus Wrote Iliad and Odyssey

OK. Here is the theory and if someone feels there is a spoof going on, be assured, there is.

Apollonius Rhodus with a Pagan Greek condescension to Jews got worried they had brilliant literature like Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings. Since Greeks obviously had nothing like it, he pondered on how to fix this. He single-handledly invented the Hexameter (by taking the first line of a distich and repeating it instead of changing between it and the second part). He invented a language in which the augment in e- (usually) for past tenses was optional, where baino could just as well have bê as ébe for past tense aorist, where masculine and neuter genitives of second declinsion end in -oio, where to fit the Hexameter you have a third declinsion genitive basilêos instead of basileôs, where either Ionic or Æolic forms trump the Attic ones.

He then invented a story or more probably assembled diverging and contradictory half memories of long forgotten wars, wrongly localised in Troy (where there had never been any city ever, and no war either), and set out to tell this story in the language he invented, in the Hexameter verse he invented (a bit like Tolkien writing Quenya verse, but more as if he had instead invented an extra dialect of Anglo-Saxon - or even between Anglo-Saxon and Frisian - and written the Beren and Luthien ballad from beginning to end in it, ensuring only just enough identity of words to safeguard understanding of English readers, by making non-English* words either very common or very rare). When he felt he had something going, it sorted itself out ino two long poems, one showing Ulysses beside Agamemnon and Achilles - fabled heroes of a fabled war - and the other showing Ulysses beside Nausikaa and Penelope, beside Telemachos and Nestor, beside Circe and Calypso, beside Polyphemos and Antinoos, fabled characters of fabled voyages and searches and and of a fabled homecoming. The religious outlook which takes the Olympian gods with some playfulness is obviously far too advanced for Homer, if there had been such a person, since this fabled poet was supposed to live centuries before Æschylus, whose outlook was more primitive and awe-stricken before the gods. This question of the development of religious outlook is of course the best proof ever that this theory is ... as right as it is.

Apollonius Rhodus manages to pull off that Homer really lived and wrote the Iliad and Odyssey, he even somehow (!) manages, though Homer was not heard of till his time by anyone, and though Alexandria was knowledgeable about Greece, that all Greece had honoured Homer and cited his poems all along. And that nearly everyone (excepting poets) had been referring to Homer all along. To this end he also manages to forge all manuscripts surviving past him of very many writings, inserting passages referring to Homer which are of course totally spurious. The Tragedians start geting Genitives in -oio. The Historians start discussing the Wooden Horse. Plato's discussion about poets suddenly in Apollonius' Alexandria starts including a reference to Homer as the obvious King of the Poets. Nobody catches him at this play. Everyone who had never heard of Homer before one inconspicuous geek of a scholar engaged in collecting and correcting manuscripts handed them a manuscript of Homer, everyone suddenly agrees he had enjoyed Homer all of his life, and his father and grandfather had done so before him. There is just ONE little ironic man who vents a suspicion very indirectly (aren't we modern critics subtle to detect the suspicion anyway!) by saying that epics like those could only be written back in Homer's days. Apollonius Rhodus falls into the well set trap and agrees to write an Epic. His third Epic, Argonautica (agree he had good practise writing Iliad and Odyssey before it!) is then penned under Apollonius' own name. Easy as pie.

This is what everyone believes about the Homeric question, right? Not. No, not quite so. Not about Homer. But someone has suggested something similar about the Books of Moses and giving Ezra the credit for literary achievement and the discredit for a similar dishonesty. And especially the question of how Ezra (or some less known character in his time) could convince not just his fellow Jews, but also Samarians the Pentateuch had been written by Moses if noone had heard of it before. This is approached with as much "of course this happened" and as much vagueness about how exactly that was pulled off.

And - excepting the conservative, that is Christian, presumable minority - Biblical Scholars are buying this kind of stuff!

How about them taking a cue or two from the real Homer Scholars (not the fake one I impersonated right up to two paragraphs ago)? They no longer doubt there was one Homer, or possibly two ones, one for each Epic. They have taken some help from archaeology and from Schliemann and Dörpfelt to see that the Trojan War actually took place and the localities of Ithaca actually exist. With a little less prejudice from Enlightenment "philosophers" who without any scholarship** tried to launch Homer studies on as stupid and sceptic lines as Liberal Biblical Scholars still use, we might even be discussing if Polyphemus was of a type seen also in Goliath of Gad and Og of Bashan. This way Academic Biblical Scholarship would be gaining some respect from me. As it is, the Biblical Scholars that do have my respect are often reduced to a "fringe" socially.

Alas this reform of Biblical scholarship seems humanly speaking far away. Finkelstein and Silberman are doing archaeology and calling David and Solomon fabled characters. What if they took a cue from Dr. Mark Woolmer? He could for instance tell them Saul was in Tell Amarna letters called Labaya. Oh, sorry, forgot, they are Jews, they do not argue with Goyim, least of all Christians! But I really did see one of them cited in a discussion as "Filkenstein." Considering the liberties this history denier takes with history, well, he nearly deserves it.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Rosa of St Mary,
called St Rosa of Lima

* Non-Modern English he would of course say, since he was using the terminology in which Old English meant Anglo-Saxon, much of his life.

** Philosophers think about what must be true. Philologists consider what, according to textual evidence, including textually recorded text reception, was. There is a place for either, but Wolf was doing what the Philological Method is good for and using the Philosophical Method instead. And even he was not as radical against Homer as my spoof on Liberal Biblical Scholarship.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Myths about Getting Published (links)


Monday, August 4, 2014

Rus' matters.

I sometimes feel that if Portuguese does not make the difference between Rus' and Rossia, Our Lady at Fatima by consecration of "Russia" might have meant Rus' rather than Rossia. Of course, she might have meant both.

Now, there are different accounts on how Moscow came to be some kind of centre for The Russias, but there is basically one account on what happened at the ocnversion of Kiev. And that its immediate result was Sviataja Rus' or Sv'ataja Rus' depending on your preference for spelling the palatal element of a previous consonant before the a*.

There seems to be a disagreement on how originally Russian the Muscovites are. The story I had been told in academia in Sweden was basically this: Novgorod was a Hinterland of Kiev, later Suzdal and Moscow was a Hinterland of Novgorod. Even later than that it led the liberation from the Golden Horde.

If you do not know what Hinterland means, imagine the Highlands in comparison with the Lowlands in 1500, or Kentucky as compared with Virginia in 1800.

Note that this neither refutes that Muscovites have one part of the heritage, nor confirms that they should have the major part of it.

You see, while Kievan Rus' was free, Novgorod was at first like a minor colony to it. Then it seem Novgorod got conquered by the Golden Horde and Kiev (with so many other towns in Rus') by Lithuania, when it was in a very expansive mood. Gedimynas is unparalleled as a conqueror in Lithuanian history. One or two generations after him, the thitherto Pagan gradduke of Lithuania married, after baptism, the Queen of Poland. So, the capital of Kiev was as much Krakow, ultimately, as the capital of Novgorod was something like Ulan Bator, or whatever.

Then Czars of Moscow start to make war with Poland. Kiev is torn from Poland, nevertheless Ukraine for some time resists the domination of Muscovy. By then Muscovy had been for some time, at least seemingly in practise, independent of the Golden Horde.

Which is more purer Russian? Certainly Ukraine. Ukraine is Russia, original version, Novgorod perhaps and Rostov - Suzdal - Moscow certrainly, you get Russians coming there and you get Finns living there before becoming Russians. This was, however, already happening in the time of St Vladimir the Great.

So what are the other criteria?

Political independence?

After they had separated Kievan Rus' retained political independence a bit longer, Alexander Nevski had abaondoned it to the Golden Horde before 1300, but Kievan Rus' to "Vyeliki Knyaz Kgidimin", in other words Gedimynas, after 1300.

Who regained political independence from either Pagans or anyone first after that?

From Pagans - Kievan Rus'. The inheritors of Gedimynas became Christian very soon, but the Golden Horde was a yoke thrown off later.

These internal struggles allowed the northern vassal state of Muscovy to rid itself of the "Tatar Yoke" at the Great stand on the Ugra river in 1480.

So, it was 1480 for Muscovy, but as to no longer depending on Pagans, it was a Century earlier for Ukraine:

Jogaila, later Władysław II Jagiełło (c. 1351/1362 – 1 June 1434) was Grand Duke of Lithuania (1377–1434), King of Poland (1386–1399) alongside his wife Jadwiga, and then sole King of Poland. He ruled in Lithuania from 1377. In 1386 in Kraków he was baptized as Władysław, married the young Queen Jadwiga, and was crowned King of Poland as Władysław II Jagiełło. In 1387 he converted Lithuania to Christianity.

On the other hand, while Ukraine ceased to depend on a Pagan in 1387, it remained a dependent on someone, first Poland, then Russia, up to the Russian Revolution, excepting brief spells of unsuccessful independence under Mazepa, the ally of Charles XII and the enemy of Peter the Great.

Now, what about religion?

When St Vladimir the Great converted and was baptised, he got his bishops from Constantinople, but from a Constantinople in Communion with Rome. Ukraine is divided if the Communions with Rome or Constantinople matter most. Muscovy was, as soon as showing any independence of Kiev, probably already very Anti-Roman.

What about language?

Is Ukrainean older or younger than Great Russian? BOTH are actually as written languages centuries younger than the earliest language written there. Slavonic - both Church Liturgic and Secular usages - had been encoded as to spelling, words, morphology, syntax, when a Missionary from Thessaloniki studied a nearby Bulgarian dialect in order to make his Mission in Moravia, which later was anyway Christianised the Latin way. That was the language officially written in Kiev as well as Suzdal when Suzdal was still a province of Kiev. Or a province of Novogorod which was a province of Kiev.

Probably the Russian language from back then was the same in both Kiev and Suzdal, or roughly so. But since it was hidden by Slavonic, I am not sure we know when it starts to diversify. For my part, I do not know when earliest traces of either start showing up in Slavonic texts. Of course, when a Slavonic text spells Gedimynas like Kgidimin, this might indicate that G was pronounced like in Ukrainean the H. A real and hard G was hard to come by. Was this an innovation which did not reach to Suzdal? Or an older state, and had Suzdal already a real G? I do not know, and I do not know if anyone does.**

In cities like Kiev and Lvov, you have names which have diversified. Ukraine keeps the soft V at the end, Moscow has for centuries kept it in spelling, but pronounced V as F at the end of words. On the other hand the vowels are better preserved in Moscow, since ie has become yi in Ukraine (Kyiv) and o has become i (Lviv). This latter point brings us to how come they say Ivan in Moscow? In Serbia they say Yovan, logically Moscow would say Yovan as well. It is in Ukraine that Yovan becomes Yivan = Ivan. So, Great Russian, for that one name, has the Ukrainean form.

So, linguistically the jungle is more or less inextricable which of the two shall count as "older" or "younger" brother. Religiously, it depends on which side you take in the 1054 conflict. Political independence as well as origins of Ruthenity, Ukraine takes a pretty clear precedence at first, but a disputed one later, depending on whether you consider the Polish Sovereignty as comparable to the Russian one or to that of the Golden Horde - which again depends on your religion.

To an Orthodox claiming Alexander Nevski did right to resist the Teutonic Order, I would suggest that: so did the Poles and Lithuanians, in 1410.

Any real Pope° should, as soon as possible, in union with all bishops in the world, consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And, I might suggest, leave it to Her, which of the two major Russias she means to have whatever kind of precedence over the other and perhaps over the third, the Bielorussians. Or if they could all come together as equals. Or whether, by now, it would mean Ukraine rather than Moscow and Minsk.***

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou/Paris
St Dominic of Guzmán
4 - VIII - 2014

* You could theoretically also spell it Svyataya Rusy - but Rus'/Rusy is one syllable whichever way you spell it. It is yod as a slight glide, not as a full even unaccented vowel. But the spelling I gave is much more Slavonic, at least to judge by the use of Polish/Latin alphabet.

** As in: I have not yet checked whether this question is resolved or debated. A professional Slavonic Linguist would obviously know.

*** Minsk is Capital of Bielorussia. "Ukraine rather than" = Ukraine alone. The consecration asked for in Fatima has been very long protracted.

° The problem is, I do not think the one most widely recognised is the true one. Check with Pope Michael.