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.

greco roman knight said...

Greetings fellow historians, and enthusiasts.

May I lend a thought. Romanides is absolutely right, if you go by the myths and legends that permeated all through ancient, and I mean real ancient, like archaic, Roman, and by extension archaic Italian and Greek history. The Archaic Greeks, Myceneans, the Pelasgians (possibly 'Sea People"), Trojans (possibly an "archaic" Greek people allied to the Luwian "Hittie" people, or archaic Hellenized Luwian peoples, etc etc etc) get my drift. These are all just myths and legends, but based on history. To be Greek, Hellenic, or Hellenized implies culture, and not nationhood. The nations were the kingdoms and the city states. Evander is a Roman cult hero from Arcadia, the Peloponnese, from where the Palatine hill was founded as a Greek colony, Pallation, BEFORE the arrival of Trojans, which means Greeks had already established colonies in Italy. What these myths and legends do is give origins to the blurred facts that the ancient people knew to be true about themselves. Hellenization in Italy happened constant and continuous over millennia since before the Trojan war, because civilization came from the east.. The Romans didn't become Greek "lovers" after the conquest of Greece proper, for why would Roman historians writing history of Rome centuries before the Greek "conquest" be writing in Greek and NOT Latin. Plain and simple, the ancient Romans were a collection of many peoples. Namely Latins, Greeks, Trojans, Etruscans etc etc etc. Emperor Claudius refers to Greek AND Latin as "our 2 languages", and he was fluent in Etruscan! And Greeks are VERY much a part of their origins. The special thing about Greek is that it remained thus even after the full Latinization of Rome and the eradication of the other cultures like Etruscan and Punic, many centuries later. The mob were latin speaking, the plebs were latin speaking, but the patricians and ruling class almost ALL spoke Greek, handed down in their homes, parentally, educationally, or learned later out of necessity and station. Plain and simple. And eventually, after Rome's fall, Constantinope New Rome would continue to be ROMAN, in the almost exclusively Greek east. Greek has always been part of Rome. And Greek, Hellenic culture WAS the dominant force of culture and education throughout the kingdom, republic, and empire till 1453, where the Roman Empire finally ceased to exist as a state. Romaness is what Romanides is talking about, and Romans was born out of the Greek world, forming the Greco Roman civilization that we are talking about. Latin is the name of one tribe, and also the name we give the language that evolved out of that region and spoken by the masses of that region. The relation between the Archaic Latin and Archaic Greek languages are much closer than later periods. There is Mother-daughter, sisterhood, and distant cousin all in one, depending on the word and the period.

Leonidas Romanos
Society of Panhellenic Romans

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Leonida Romane!
Very belated greetings, I am sorry for the delay, except it allows me to answer on Pentecost.

My answer was even initially too long, so I copypasted and extended it into a blog post:

In Response to a Long Comment, a Longer Post

greco roman knight said...

Hi there,

I was referring to Rome's earliest known annalists and historiographers, like the 1st ones, obviously. All Roman histories were in Greek by earlier Greek historians first. Latin written histories came WAY later. Before, Rome's earliest known annalists Quintus Fabius Pictor and Lucius Cincius Alimentus wrote their histories of Rome in Greek as well, and using those earlier Greek sources. During the Punic Wars. WAY BEFORE the "conquest" of Greece. Roman histories were not written in Classical Latin until the 2nd century BC with the Origines by Cato the Elder. Cato the Elder, who was a staunch anti-hellene, who had the ability to speak and write in perfect Greek mind you because he had to, also said that the Romans were descendants of the Greeks. Imagine that? What other language could these Greek ancestors have spoken? Archaic Greek (Mycenean) is found all over Italy as far north as Rome.

Latis is also believed to be an Aeolism, and this was believed to be a fact by the people who lived 2000 years ago. I think they knew more about their own history and culture than today's so called language experts and linguists. Any racist, commie, atheist can become an expert today.

The 12 Tables are written in Latin for the plebs. The Patricians knew their laws by heart, since childhood, and spoke perfect Greek since childhood, in their homes, etc. Julius Caesar spoke mostly Greek, says Seutonius! But the 12 Tables are based on earlier, much older, Greek laws, written in Greek, in Athens and other city states, the Eraoi Deltoi, as Romanides quotes this from Dionysius and Livy both confirming this. Its how the Romans were able to put them down for the latin-only speaking pleb populace.

By Rome's fall, I refer to the city of Rome in 470s to the German barbarians, obviously. New Rome Constantinople was still the capitol of the Roman state/empire/Romania for 1000 years after, where Greek continued to be the language of the Romans, Roman citizens that is. 1453 was end of the line. No 1918! After that, the conquered Romans (Greek Eastern Romans) are just slaves to the Muslim Turks aka NON Romans. For the Latin Western Romans had already been slaves to the Germans aka NON Romans already for nearly 1000 years.

My thoughts were simple. The myths and legends, which are all based on history, say the same thing. The Ancient Greeks colonized southern Italy and Rome/Latium. With them they brought civilization. Writing, the Greek language, their culture, grapes, olives, all of it! Greek is as much a part of Rome as Latin, since day 1. And possibly MORE on day 1. Latin evolved and became what it became, centuries, and millennia later, right on into the Ecclesiastical Latin periods, because of the Franks and the Catholic Church.

And yes, Punic and Etruscan languages WERE eradicated! Greek was NOT! Why? Because to the Romans, Etruscan and Punic were foreign languages of enemies, even if Etruscan was native or indigenous to Italy. Greek was the language of their ancestors, at least the patricians, at least some. And it was the language of the rest of the civilized Greco Roman world.

The true spirit of Rome and all of its legacy is bilingualism in Greek AND Latin (modern forms of course). Our 2 languages! Even the Pope declared "Christos Anesti" on Easter Sunday this year. Because there is no denying the Greek origins of Rome! The Greek origins of Christianity and the church. To be Roman IS to be Greek, and to be Greek IS to be Roman. Its all a matter of perspective... But to be a German, or a Turk, is def NOT Roman!

You should actually read what Romanides says. It may ALL not be true to the letter, but there is quite a bit of historical accuracy and references given that support his claims. What matters most is that the Ancient Romans believed it to be true. Who are we to say otherwise!


Leonidas Dimitris Romanos
Society of Panhellenic Romans

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Thank you!

Hope this is read in Roman cities like Athens and Thessalonica! Not forgetting Veria close by the latter!

Second Long Comment, Second Longer Post

greco roman knight said...

Nice comments! It seems that many centuries and millennia later, after much propaganda, political and religious and other intrigues, and plots, and machinations, the one thing, the most important thing, still, is that we are united in Christ as Christians, and in God the Creator. To be this, one must be a Roman! And one must be Orthodox, and thus Catholic! But petty squabbles and divisions prevent this communion from happening, and prevent this reality from being so. We are all Romans, and by extension Greeks, or vise versa... us Europeans. No matter how you slice it and dice it. Because of culture and law. And because of Christianity. This is true for the Orthodox who are aware of their "Romaness" but who still have their patriarch, the bishop of Constantinople New Rome, still in limbo, in captivity, a refugee, on borrowed time in the Muslim world, as are the rest of the 5 in the east. Not so much Jerusalem, but still there are issues. Istanbul (Greek Istinpoli literally "The City") but unfortunately not in communion with Rome any longer.
And for Catholics who have their Pope, the bishop of Rome, and still have The Eternal City Rome itself. Thats a HUGE difference. Rome is the capitol city for ALL Romans, east and west, today! I for one am a true Greek Roman, and a true Orthodox Catholic. That is to say an Orthodox Christian in liturgy and practice and worship, I prefer the Greek texts, as they were written and not translated and poorly at times, but in beautiful Koine Greek, beautiful and enlightening, in all their mystery and inspiration and poetry. But am Catholic, I am in communion with Rome and recognize Rome the Eternal City for what it is, and the Pope for who he is, in all his fallibility. Well at least his office, or seat. And I recognize Constantinople for what it is, and more so what it once was. But thats over now. There is no Constantinople New Rome, only Elder Rome, the Eternal City! Citta Eterna!
I attend Latin or Roman masses as well. It was the hegemony of Rome, and Roman law and Roman might that allowed Greek culture and education to "civilize" the Roman world. The Greco-Roman world was destiny, just as Christ Jesus was destiny. And the union and or combination of that is who we are. Latin and Greek were once "our 2 languages". This needs to be so still. East and West need to be united once more as it was during the height of the Roman State. Instead of Christians killing other Christians. It doesn't get much lower than that. Orthodox need to become Catholic again. Need to come back home to Rome! And instead of one Christian's propaganda over another Christian's. Thats what we might be dealing with in regards to any anti-Romanides opinions, and Romanides' own anti-FrancoLatin opinions. Maybe then the Greek origins of Rome wouldn't be such a mystery or controversy or issue. Just the truth. I think that Rome's "obsession" with Greek after the "conquest" was more like an upgrade, or an update in all things Greek! After centuries of periodic hellenization since pre Trojan war times, Bronze Age, etc. Now they got the chance to get the latest and greatest stuff. Thats all. As did the Latins when they sacked the Roman capitol city of Constantinople in 1204's 4th Crusade.

I am still a Roman! a Greek (and Latin) speaking Orthodox Roman! A Greek Catholic = a Roman!

Egó Roméos eími! Romiós geníthika, kai Romiós tha petháno.

Leonidas Dimitris Romanos
Society of Panhellenic Romans


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Leonida Dimitrie Romane, ου παντα ομολογεω αλλα ευχαριστω

greco roman knight said...

parakaló sas. milás elliniká polý oréa... kai katharévousa! Bravo.

thank you for the posts and your thoughts.

Leonidas Dimitris Romanos
Society of Panhellenic Romans


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

katharevousa is not surprising - anyone familiar with Classic but not modern Greek will find katharevousa easier or give the impression of katharevousa

as C. S. Lewis noted