Lascaux 11 – Basque and cave art  /  © 2016 Franz Gnaedinger



  (Basque adar 'horn')


Theo Vennemann considers Basque adar 'horn' a genuine Vasconic word and not a loan from Celtic adarcos (Old Irish adarc)


     Pre-Proto-Basque *dar *da-dar

     Proto-Basque *a-daR

     Basque adar


PPB *dar evokes Magdalenian TYR for the one who overcomes in the double sense of rule and give, present in the double formula naming the supreme sky and weather god from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age whose guise had (originally) been a bull





Among the derivatives are ShA PAD TYR Jupitter Jupiter Jovis Giove, the ruler ShA goes ahead PAD and overcomes in the double sense of rule and give TYR (up above AS in the sky CA), DhAG PAD TYR Dis pater, byname of Jupiter, the able one DhAG goes ahead PAD and overcomes in the double sense of rule and give TYR (up above AS in the sky CA); TYR emphatic Middle Helladic Sseyr (Phaistos Disc, Derk Ohlenroth) Doric Sseus (Wilhelm Larfeld) Homeric Zeus; TYR emphatic Serri of the Hurrites (adopted for a lower rank by the Hittites); and ShA CA  DhAG CA Jahwe, the ruler ShA in the sky CA, the able one DhAG in the sky CA, storm god and fertility god and rider of clouds from Mount Seir (remember Sseyr and Serri) in the Negev. Serri was a bull, Jupiter and Zeus had once been bulls, and Jahwe is represented by a bronze figurine of a bull found on a hill near Samaria.


Pre-Proto-Basqua *dar 'horn' could have been a pars pro toto for the overcomer TYR in the guise of a bull or bullman (supreme leader, e.g. of the Lower Rhone Valley), TYR *dar emphatic doubling (?) *da-dar, also TYR Old High German tior Middle English der modern English deer for an animal wearing proud antlers, while CER meaning stag or hind accounts for the Celtic god of animals Cernunnos wearing stag antlers, Latin cervus French cerf German Hirsch 'stag' (maybe also Finnish hirvis 'moose' and sarvi 'horn'), also Greek keras English horn German Horn.


Furthermore, TYR accounts for Proto-Indo-European *(s)teuros 'domestic (large) animal' wherefrom English steer German Stier 'bull', Greek thaer German Tier 'animal' and maybe also German teuer 'expensive' – Latin pecunia 'money' from pecus 'cattle' (pecunia a heavy Roman bronze ingot worth a cow and decorated with a cow). A large domestic animal would then have been an overcomer TYR that was overcome itself.




  (etorri zezen Basque esatari)


Magdalenian TOR means bull in motion, accounting for Spanish toro Latin taurus and many more cognates in very many languages (compiled by Saul Levin).


Bulls were a central topic in Eurasia, as we can glean from a Magdalenian formula naming the human condition: AD TOR OC CO Mycenaean atoroqo Greek anthropos 'human being' - toward AD bull in motion TOR right eye OC attentive mind CO, toward the running bull with open eyes and focused mind, facing the bull, taking the bull by the horns, coping with fate.


Confronting a bull was a high risk. A drawing in the cave Le Gabillou shows a Magdalenian hunter with a lance before an immense bull (danger and fear enlarging the animal in what I call attention perspective). Whereas a Minoan bull leaper symbolized an astronomer coping with the moon bull = calculating the lunar cycle. Basque etorri covering the meanings of think and teach might be placed in this context.


What about Pre-Proto-Basque *zen *ze-zen Proto-Basque *zezen Basque zezen 'bull' (Theo Vennemann) ? The origin of *zen might have been GEN for the three days of the young moon bull, a word present in origin, from ORI GEN, the young moon bull GEN on the horizon ORI. (G could become Z also in Slavic, while ideograms accompanying the white moon bulls in the rotunda of Lascaux indicate these numbers: 3 days of the young moon, 6 days of the waxing moon, 9 days of the full moon, 6 days of the waning moon, 3 days of the old moon; add alternatingly 3 and 2 days for the empty moon German Leermond and you obtain lunations of 30 29 30 29 30 29 30 ... days in a Stone Age way of counting synodic months.)


What about Basque as word or name? It may derive from PAS CA given on the long wall of the Brunel chamber in the Chauvet cave as a large red ocher domino five reading PAS (everywhere in a plain, here, south and north of me, east and west of me, in all five places, Greek pas pan 'all, every' pente penta- 'five') plus one more dot (palm impression) in elevated position for CA (sky) - may the bullman (supreme leader of the Lower Rhone Valley) be born again in the sky by the goddess of the Summer Triangle Deneb Vega Atair (woman of the large pubic triangle on a stalactite in the rear hall, by her side a bull, his head before her womb), and may he roam the sky in his next life as he roamed the land in this life, may he get everywhere PAS in the sky CA ...


Chauvet could have been the stage for a play, perhaps a shadow dance by a fire: adventure of ARC TYR in the sky, among the stars and constellations, overcomer TYR of the cave bear ARC. Fast moving Arcturus was by then the head of Bootes, together ARC TYR, overcomer TYR of the cave bear ARC (a fearsome beast bigger than a grizzly) seen in the Big Dipper as bear facing Bootes. King Arthur of Britain fought the dragon of Lannion that appeared in the form of a full grown bull for three days and three nights without a break, and finally overcame him. Bones and skulls of cave bears had been seen as remains of dragons. The many dragons in tales, fairy tales, legends and myths combine then two archetypical animals, the bull in motion TOR and the cave bear ARC, both overcome by the hero, the overcomer TYR. Hunting plots and metaphors may have accounted for Basque esatari 'myth, legend' Finnish tarina 'narrative, legend' (TYR *dar tar) and English story Latin historia (TOR tor stor – you might also remember the Minoan lunisolar calendar of Knossos encoded in the myth of Minotaur).


Who were the Vascons? Maybe descendants of the Chauvet people surviving in the Pyrénées? joined by a tribe that came from Anatolia?




  (Basque, a fable)


The region of the Göbekli Tepe between southeastern Anatolia and northern Syria was the land of the fire archers PYR RIT and their 'fingers of light and luck' DIG LIC shot into the night sky on New Year's Eve along the rivers they named


     PYR RIT  Firat  Euphrates


     DIG LIC  Dicle  Tigris


Later fall and early winter were the rain season. New Year followed the winter solstice and honored the fire giver PIR GID. Her husband was AAR RAA NOS, he of air AAR and light RAA with a mind NOS, visualized by the big limestone ring on the Göbekli Tepe that shows the head of the god ex negativo, framed by the minimally sculpted inside of the ring (arcs of the forehead, ears, cheeks and chin), otherwise consisting of nothing else than air and light.


Some 9,000 years ago a mountain tribe left the land of the fire archers, wandered westward, and finally reached the mountain range between southwestern France and northeastern Spain. They called the mountains PIR NAI, the fire PIR (archers) found a good place for a camp, NAI, a new home. The locals were descendants of the Chauvet people who called themselves PAS CA Basques or Vascons, keeping alive the ancient myth of the bullman (supreme leader of the Lower Rhone Valley) who was born again by the goddess of the Summer Triangle and roams the heavens in his new life as he had roamed the land in his former life - getting everywhere PAS in the sky CA ...


AAR RAA NOS had been implored for rain on the Göbekli Tepe. Now his name accounted for Basque aran 'valley' – a valley being a hollow between hills or mountains filled with air and light - while he was still implored for rain that fills river beds and water holes, ponds and lakes.


The Anatolian tribe settled in the region of many swamps and lakes and rivers they called AD DA AAR RAA Andorra, highland of rivers that flow toward AD plains and seas while coming from DA here, this region, where they are filled with rain by the one of air AAR and light RAA. One river was called DAL AAR RAA Valira, river of the valley DAL (proper Magdalenian word for a valley or dale) filled with rain by him of air AAR and light RAA); another AAR RAA SAL, he of air AAR and light RAA fills the watery ground SAL of the valley with rain; still another AAR RAA AC Aričge, he of air AAR and light RAA is the lord over an expanse of land with water AC, the region called Aričge (Ličge/Lüttich another case of -ac -ach -ičge -ich), irrigated by the river of the same name, Aričge.




  (Magdalenian cosmology, Divine Stag)


CER KOS named the Divine Stag of Magdalenian cosmology, CER meanings stag or hind, also shaman or shamaness, present in Latin cervus French cerf German Hirsch 'stag', in the name of the Celtic god of animals Cernunnos wearing stag antlers (on the silver cauldron from Gundestrup, Denmark, probably made by Galataean Celts in Anatolia), in Greek keras English horn German Horn, and KOS meaning heavenly vault, present in cosmos.


The Divine Stag and his helpers guarded the exits from and entrances to the Underworld KAL that were passed periodically by the sun horse and moon bull. A small group of stags wearing large antlers can be seen in the midsummer hall (rotunda) of Lascaux: before the bull of the full moon (marked as such by the ideogram along his front) and the red mare of midsummer morning rising above the horizon of the ledge  menhir6e.JPG


The stags are astronomer shamans watching the full moon followed by the sun rise on a midsummer morning, June 21, a rare occasion (ideal start of an eight-year period in the lunisolar calendar of Lascaux). One antler of the stag on the left side touches the mouth of the bull in a significant manner. Can this perhaps indicate a sound, a horn blown when the full moon rose, especially on a midsummer morning?


CER KOS read as stag CER on the heavenly vault KOS refers to the summer constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpio seen as antlers of the Divine Stag.


Derivatives of CER KOS are Latin quercus 'oak' and Gaulish érkos 'oak-forest'. How come? Antlers of the stag Cervus elaphus and oaks branch at the same wide angle followed by a curve which gives them a similar look. The sacred tree of the Divine Stag and his astronomer shamans would then have been the oak.


CER and CER KOS may have a parallel in Basque adar 'horn' and Celtic adarcos 'horn' (Old Irish rump form adarc). If so, adarcos in the wake of CER KOS testifies to the longevity of Magdalenian cosmology, and so does the (Irish?) legend of a stag whose antlers are decorated with burning candles – replacing the stars of the above summer constellations by flames, tiny lights blinking in the night ...




  (Magdalenian cosmology, Divine Hind or Hind Woman)


CER -: I -: or CER LIL was the Divine Hind or Hind Woman. She called life into existence, also moon bulls, thus creating time, lunations of alternatingly 30 and 29 days. The main sanctuary of the Divine Hind was the cave of Altamira, Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, northern Spain (adjacent to Euskadi, land of the Basques of Vascons). Altamira is famous for the compact and energetic bulls covering walls and ceilings. By far the largest animal, however, is a beautiful hind licking the horns of a small bison under her, thus calling him into life and existence  hind1.JPG


Pronounce the lip lick -: by touching both lips with the tip of the tongue. CER -: I -: accounts for cow-eyed Hera of Greek mythology, and North-West Proto-Indo-European *kerdeh- 'herd, series', -: I -: for a call of Celtic herdsmen surviving in the locally famous lyoba call of herdsmen in the Swiss Canton of Fribourg, also for German Leben English life, German Liebe English love, Latin libido 'desire', English lip (licking the lips a signal of appetite, once maybe of love and desire that finds a first fulfillment in a kiss, lips on lips), Ugaritic dd 'loved one' Phoenician Dido 'Beloved One', female given names Libby and Lily, flower lily, German Laub 'foliage' and Laube 'arbor' suggesting arbors in honor of the goddess who made also plants grow (some Altamira bulls have regular tails in form of a paintbrush, others have tails in form of a fur twiglet). One more class of derivatives are articles like English the French le la les that call the subsequent noun into existence, one might say. Finally, the Divine Hind could grant a second life in a heavenly beyond when implored by red ocher dots on cave walls that have the meaning of SAI for life, existence, while the cave wall represents the sky CA, together SAI CA psychae, asking for a next life in a heavenly beyond for a worthy soul. Bulls and hind of Altamira are a little younger than Lascaux while the earliest painted element in the Altamira cave is a red ocher dot, over 41,000 years old.


The heavenly abode of the Hind Woman was ORE EON, she on the beautiful ORE bank or shore EON of the celestial CA river or lake LAK together CA LAK overformed in Galaxy 'Milky Way' - she on the beautiful bank of the Milky Way, appearing in the winter constellation of Orion, across the sky from the summer constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpio that were seen as antlers of the Divine Stag CER KOS.


Marie E.P. König identified the bull of Lascaux as moon bull, the horse as sun horse, the line of descending horses in the niche at the rear end of the axial gallery as winter sun giving way to the pair of antithetic ibices (or ibexes), midwinter emblem (also antithetic mountain goats for example in the Middle East.) Now if the niche symbolizes midwinter, the glorious rotunda midsummer, the axial gallery connecting them a year, the lovely pair of 'Chinese' horses heading (in clockwise direction) from niche to rotunda spring, and the roaring megaceros 'giant stag' near them a chief astronomer (geometrical figures being calendar ideograms). While the arcs of horns and heads of the opposing ibices  ) (  evoke the hourglass figure of Orion; the Hind Woman being present as a mere hunch, Lascaux celebrating midsummer when winter is far away.


The sacred tree of the Divine Hind and Hind Woman was the fir. Arbors in her honor were made of fir branches, while the custom of decorating a fir tree with candles, outdoor then also indoor, might originally have symbolized the union of Divine Stag and Hind – promise of new life, another spring and summer ...




  (Euskara, an old memory? part 1)


Ideograms marking the moon bulls of Lascaux indicate 3 6 9 6 3 days for the young - waxing - full - waning - old moon; add alternatingly 3 and 2 days for the empty moon German Leermond and you have lunations of alternatingly 30 and 29 days (Stone Age way and still Celtic way of counting lunations or synodic months). GEN was the young moon bull: a pretty animal in the midsummer hall of Lascaux, and the small bison under the beautiful hind of Altamira  hind1.JPG


The Hind Woman in Orion called moon bulls forth from the constellation of Taurus above her, Taurus from TOR for bull in motion, while the Divine Hind of Altamira called them out of niches and crevices in the rock of cave walls – animals emerging from and disappearing into niches and crevices of rock are seen in both European cave art and in the rock art of Southern Africa.


On a second level of meaning, the small bison of Altamira might be the bull(man) given a second life. Remember the bull(man) of Chauvet, supreme leader of the Lower Rhone Valley, given a second life by the goddess of the Summer Triangle Deneb Vega Atair (possibly one of the emanations of the triple goddess of the fire giver PIR GID and fur giver BIR GID and fertility giver BRI GID who became the Celtic triple goddess Brigit).


A pharaoh was born again by Nut, sky goddess residing in a fig tree (Egyptian sycamore) but also arching herself over the land, whereupon the reborn king led a double existence, dwelling in his pyramid, 'house of a million years', and following Ra in a sun bark along the swaying kha-channel (identified as band of the ecliptic by Rolf Krauss).


If the bull(man) born again by the goddess (one of her many emanations) led a similar double existence, traveling across the sky but also dwelling in his cave, we may assume that caves were forbidden zones protected by taboos, accessible only for shamans and shamanesses and whom they invited, for example aspiring shamans and shamanesses in the case of Lascaux, and generally wandering arch shamans and shamanesses who held together and stabilized a Magdalenian society. Wide wandering shamans hold together Amazonia still in our time.




  (Euskara, an old memory? part 2)


Wandering arch shamans and shamanesses were given as megaceroi, giant stag and hind. The roaring megaceros in the axial gallery of Lascaux was a chief astronomer. Others may have been healers. Again others were judges, for example the stately pair of a male followed by a female in the cave le Cougnac, Payrignac, Lot. In the same cave is a drawing of a falling man pierced by lances, considered by experts on cave art the capital punishment for a crime - inflicted by wandering judges?


Magdalenian AIS means fate, while GAR named a crevice in rock where animals emerged from or disappeared into. Now imagine a couple of wandering judges wearing emblems of megaceroi, visiting a cave, entering the crevice GAR, consulting the spirit of a former bull(man) inside the cave, then leaving the dark halls and chambers, emerging from the crevice GAR, announcing their decision or verdict, and thus deciding on the fate AIS of a single person or a goup or the entire tribe


     AIS GAR  Euskara  ?


This etymology of the alternative term for the Basque language, Euskara, is motivated by a local superstition. Remember that GEN for the young moon bull might have become Pre-Proto-Basque *zen *ze-zen Proto-Basque *zezen Basque zezen 'bull' (Theo Vennemann; by the way, zezen might have a cognate in Manchurian sisen 'herd'). Now there is a Basque belief that a zezen dwells in a cave, a genie in form of a terrible bull haunting people who approach the cave by night. Can this fear be rooted in a darkly remembered remote past? If so, *eusk- 'Basque' ara 'manner' Euskara '(to speak in the) Basque manner' is an overforming.


Also Basque or Euskara itself is keeping old memories, for example of AAR RAA NOS, the sky god of the Göbekli Tepe region, he of air AAR and light RAA with a mind NOS, a god of several emanations, human (big limestone ring on the Göbekli Tepe showing the head of the god ex negativo), bull (bucrania, one in the gathering house 1A at Hullan Cemi pronounced Chemi, another on the neck of the male central pillar of temple D on the Göbekli Tepe), and bird (various depictions), accounting for Basque arano 'eagle, vulture' and German Aar, König der Lüfte, poetic for eagle, king of the airs (plural)


     AAR RAA NOS   arano   Aar


while Basque ara 'manner' might be a shortened AAR RAA of the original meaning: in the manner of those who follow the sky god of air AAR and light RAA whether he assumes the guise of a man or bull or bird.


By the way, AAR RAA NOS might already have been worshipped 14,000 years ago on the hill west of the river of Altay in the northwestern tip of China. He would have mirrored himself in lakes, naming a lake NOS AAR RAA nuur (?). As young moon bull GEN he would have become the father of herds, emphatic doubling GEN GEN Manchurian sisen 'herd'.




  (lessons for aspiring shamans and tribal leaders – Lascaux)


The cave of Lascaux was never inhabited but served for teaching aspiring shamans and tribal leaders (my hypothesis). From the midsummer hall (rotunda) one can go to the midwinter niche, or to the cabinet of the felines, or to the pit


     midsummer hall --- midwinter niche

     connected by the axial gallery

     lessons in astronomy and calendars


     midsummer hall --- cabinet of the felines

     connected by passageway and nave

     polarity of life and death?

     lessons in healing?


     midsummer hall --- pit

     connected by passageway and apse

     lessons in ethics and moral


The original entrance in shape of the left eye socket (photograph taken from tv, sorry for the poor quality) revealed a composite animal that follows the morning horses rising above the horizon of the ledge  menhjr88.JPG / menhir6f.JPG


The composite animal shows the head of a bearded man, a pairof horns growing as lances from his forehead; the mottled hide of a feline; the hind body of a bull; and the swollen belly of a pregnant mare




Make a wise use of your weapons; wait patiently and then act in a decided manner as a lion; be strong as a bull; and care for your own like a mare for her foal …


The Magdalenian rebus conveys a message to aspiring tribal leaders. Upon following the passageway and apse they reached the pit where they were given another message by three enigmatic figures: a falling birdman, a wounded bull, and a bird on a pole sinking down, while a woolly rhinoceros passes under them, running from the right to the left side, according to Marie E.P. König the goddess of giving life and taking life  menhir6d.JPG


The birdman might have been the supreme leader of the Guyenne, the bull the supreme leader of the Lower Rhone Valley, and the bird on a pole the supreme leader of the Pyrénées. Now they are dying. What will happen to their souls?


Michael Rappenglück identified the birdman with the constellation of Cygnus, the bull with the one of Lyra, and the bird on a pole with the one of Aquila. I’d say the eye of the birdman is Deneb in Cygnus, the eye of the bull Vega in Lyra, and the eye of the bird on a pole Atair in Aquila, all together the Summer Triangle, meaning that worthy tribal leaders will be born again by the goddess of the Summer Triangle and spend a second life in a heavenly beyond …


Have a closer look at the rhinoceros. There are three and three dots behind her, three behind her vagina, indicating a second life for worthy souls, and three behind her anus, meaning that she will drop unworthy souls. A drastic message, contrasting with the almost humoristic message seen from the ancient entrance, a lesson in ethics and moral for aspiring tribal leaders.


However, the center of Lascaux is the midsummer hall, symbol of life and happiness. Maybe there was a midsummer festival in the region of Lascaux?


By the way, the above geographical identification is facilitated by the birdman seen as river map of the Guyenne  menhir6i.JPG




  (midsummer festival at Yverdon-Clendymenhir site)


An impressive menhir site comprising more than forty large and middle-sized and small stones, among them groups or families (very charming) can be found at Yverdon-Clendy in western Switzerland, at the southwestern end of Lake Neuchâtel. The oldest menhirs are about 6,400 years old. In my opinion seven menhirs belonged to the first site representing a large raven spreading his wings upon landing on the shore of the lake  menhir1b.GIF


Five of the seven stones would have been or simply were a calendar of the solstices and equinoxes  menhir1d.GIF


Four of the seven stones define the corridor of the midsummer festival, leading to the northeastern end of the lake, where the midsummer sun rises from the lake, between two low hills (no longer visible, the shore being filled up and overgrown)  menhir1f.GIF


A relief on the spring menhir shows a pair of courting ravens (they perform love-crazy acrobatic dances in the air in spring)  menhir3d.jpg / menhir3h.jpg


And here the large menhir of the autumn solstice, a fascinating shape-shifter of a stone, among the appearances are a big round bird eye, a tree, a hand, a bird’s beak, and the profile of the birdman as supreme leader of the region of the three lakes, pointing in the direction in which the bird flew or landed  menhjr61.JPG


Later on the site was slightly modified, and the number of stones much increased. There is again the calendar of the solstices and the midsummer corridor. New are cycles of plant and animal and human life – too much to explain here, but you can find a thorough interpretation in three pages beginning here  menhir0a.htm  (text in German, plenty photographs)