Lascaux 15 – still more miscellanea, including a brief history of language  /  © 2017 by Franz Gnaedinger



words for dog (fairly certain and rather speculative etymologies) / Luwi (fortified settlements on either side of the Aegean) / Phaistos Disc (a window on the Argolis in the Bronze Age) / multiple metaphor (on the wing of genius) / a brief history of language (embedding Magdalenian) / Creator Mundi  (a lesson in visual language)




  words for dog  (fairly certain and rather speculative etymologies)


DhAG meaning able, good in the sense of able, may account for English dog, able companion of humans already in the Upper Paleolithic, guardian, helper in hunting expeditions, even a pack animal used for pulling loads on a travis. Marija Gimbutas considers the dog the principal animal of the Neolithic goddess, especially of the moon goddess. Dogs guard the tree of life on ceramics of Old Europe. An Italian trainer of rescue dogs that saved hundreds of people from drowning said (in English) that a dog should rather be called a god for its amazing abilities.


GYN for woman accounts for Greek kyon genitive kynos Latin canis Old English hund Middle and New English hound German Hund Sanskrit svan genitive suns Old Irish cu genitive con Welsh cwn Tocharian A ku Lithuanian suo (shuo) French chien – indicating that women adopted wolf pups, more than 30,000 years ago in Denmark, even more than 60,000 years ago in (if memory serves) the Altai. Also women hunted during the Stone Age, small animals such as hares, and could have used dogs for stirring up the pray and driving it toward a net or another trap. Old English hund 'dog' and hunta 'hunter' are certainly akin.


(The Australian languages have many words for woman, among them gin 'aboriginal woman' gunee 'mother', and for dog, among them kunda. If GYN gin gunee is more than a coincidence, there should be similar words for women in the language of the San in Southern Africa, and in the language of the Ainu on Hokkaido.)


Spanish perro 'dog' reminds me of Barri, a popular Swiss name for a dog, variants being Baeri and Baerli 'small bear', from BIR meaning fur. Barri is then a furry one, a hairy chum. Spanish perro 'dog' and pellajo 'fur, pelt' are compatible via rhotacism.


Czech pes ‘dog’ evokes PAD for the activity of feet in the comparative form of PAS meaning everywhere (in a plain), Czech pesky (peshky) 'by feet'. A pes would then originally have been a stray, and this nickname was turned into the official word.


Russian sobaka ‘dog’ with an alternative form in Turkish köpak might combine the very ancient *KAPA that has derivatives in English capture and in Turkish kapan 'trap (noun)' with PAC for horse, a word surviving in packhorse, referring to the dog once used as pack animal. (The horse of the first Indo-European homeland on the banks of the Amu Darya would have been called AS PAC, upward AS horse PAC, surviving in Avestan aspa and Sanskrit asva for horse, originally small pony-like horses used for transporting loads up a hill or mountain slope.)


Hebrew 'kelev 'dog' reminds of German Kläffer for a dog that barks all the time, of onomatopoeic origin. However, the female form 'kalba with a cognate in Arabic kalb 'dog' might involve KAL meaning cave, Underworld. Consider the dog as guard of the Underworld in mythology. Years ago I derived words for wolf in nine languages from the emphatic doubling KAL KAL.


Persian sag 'dog' may be a further derivative of DhAG meaning able (D-words have comparative forms in S-words). Believers in Zarathustra use dogs for deciding whether the soul of a dying person has left the body or lingers on – one more ability of dogs, and a further connection to the Underworld.


Dogs were named many times, and the strongest bond is to women, women having tamed wolf pups and turned them into man's proverbial best friend.




  Luwi  (fortified settlements on either side of the Aegean)


Heinrich Schliemann began his archaeological adventures by visiting Korfu and Ithaca, where he looked out for the palace of Odysseus; in vain. Ithaca, home of Odysseus and his father, Lord Laertes the gardener, still poses a problem. In my opinion, ITA CA Ithaca named originally the Peloponnese, especially the Argolis (Laertes being Eponymous Tiryns on the Phaistos Disc as deciphered by Derk Ohlenroth), and survived in the name of the relatively small island off the Peloponnese; young bull ITA sky CA, under the sky of the young Zeus bull (ATI CA Attica, under the sky of the mature Zeus bull).


Magdalenian POL means fortified settlement, Greek polis, while inverse LOP names the enveloping hedge or fence or palisade or wall. PAS means 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'. LAD means hill and the comparative form LAS mountain, but LAS often means hill, especially the hill of an awe inspiring stronghold. POL LOP Peloponnese, land of the fortified settlements POL enveloped in palisades and/or walls LOP. PAS LOP Penelope, everywhere PAS enveloping palisades and walls LOP, Argolis personified.


POL LAD Palatium, the hill on which Rome was founded as capital of the LAD EN, those living in EN the hills LAD of Latium. POL LAS Pallas, byname of Athene, patroness of towns POL on hills called mountains LAS. Athena was a patroness also of early Troy. POL LAD/LAS has further derivatives in Italian villa 'mansion' and French ville 'town', also in English palace, and probably in Palestine. POL LAS may also account for Wilusa, the Luwian name of Troy, which is believed to have become (W)Ilios Ilion, Homeric name of Troy. We have then POL LAS Wilusa Ilios Ilion, a fortified settlement POL on a hill dubbed mountain LAS. The one-eyed giant Polyphem 'Much Famous' – in my opinion the Homeric symbol of Troy – resembled more a wooded mountain top than a man who eats bread.


     LAS POL Luwi ??

     land of hills dubbed mountains LAS with fortified settlements POL on top?


     POL LAS Wilusa


     LAS POL Luwi


     LAS -lusa Lu-   POL Wil- -wi


If so, Luwi is a strongly polished compound naming west Anatolia in the Bronze Age as land of strongholds on hills, counterpart of the Peloponnese and the Argolis, personified in Penelope. The Indo-European language called Luwidian branched into Luwian and Palaic, Pal- in Palaic a further possible derivative of POL. Fortified settlements dominated the Bronze Age on either side of the Aegean.




  Phaistos Disc  (a window on the Argolis in the Bronze Age)


The past is getting more and more fragmented the farther back we go in time. A genuine decipherment of an early document embedded in the proper archaeological and historical and literary context weaves links among isolated fragments, connecting them, and working as a window on the past. Let us have a look on the Argolis around 1650 BC, Middle Helladic period of time.


Derk Ohlenroth deciphered the Phaistos Disc in 1980 published 1996. He made connections to Pausanias and the Heraclids, whereupon I added Old Europe, various archaeological findings, and Homer's Odyssey. Here a sketch of the story in my version, based on Ohlenroth's alphabetic decipherment of the Phaistos Disc as a document in dialectal early Greek. (By the way, he told me in one of his long letters that we still know little about the Helladic period of time, and attested me an eros of understanding.)


A young man from Lycosoura learned from the priestesses of Demeter-Elaia at Phigalia (heirs of Old Europe in the sense of Marija Gimbutas) how to plant cereals (Demeter was the Greek goddess of agriculture, with an equivalent in the Roman Ceres, goddess of cereals) and edible olives (elaia 'olive') and how to care for bees (their importance already known to Chalcolithic farmers in the Ukraine). Later on he averted a famine in the Argolis and was appointed king of Tiryns.


He had good friends in the fertile Mesara plain in Southern Crete, among them a scribe and goldsmith at Phaistos whom he asked for a pair of gold discs he might wear on his shoulders.


Well, the scribe invented a peculiar alphabet of 46 tiny images for letters, among them six alphas, allowing him to render a text also as picture. Then he made a pair of discs, one of them showing Elaia's grove at Phigalia, the other Tiryns in the Argolis, each disc with a spiral and a ring.


The rosette in the center of the Tiryns disc marked the beginning of the spiral text, a formula glorifying Eponymous Tiryns, while the second rosette on the same disc marked the beginning of the ring text along the margin, a banning formula of archaic power, enforcing the palisade of Tiryns, warning potential intruders.


The Tiryns disc was a perfect illustration of the CO OC LOP Cyclops principle: attentive mind CO right eye OC enveloping palisade or wall LOP – the ruler as male profile in the center field, he of the focused mind CO, surrounded by guards of the open eyes OC who watch the gate and gaze over the enveloping palisade LOP ... (for comparison consider Polyphem, another Cyclops or one-eyed giant, Homeric symbol of Troy, his 'eye' the acropolis overlooking the wide river plain, his 'body' downtown Troy VIIa).


Eponymous Tiryns became Lord Laertes the gardener in Homer's Odyssey, lineage Zeus – Arkeisios – Laertes – Odysseus – Telemachos. Ithaca was originally the Argolis and Peloponnese, ITA CA Ithaca, young bull ITA sky CA, under the sky of the young Zeus bull (ATI CA Attica, under the sky of the mature Zeus bull).


A gold signet ring found in a cache at Tiryns shows Eponymous Tiryns alias Lord Laertes the gardener and his Middle Helladic successors worshipping Demeter-Elaia under a rain of grains, between them stylized olive twigs (the same sign appears on the PhD). The kings parade as lion-wolf-dog-bee men, the lion indicating royalty, the wolf commemorating Lycosoura, lykos 'wolf', the dog a watchful guard, and the bee a most industrious insect, indispensable for agriculture (a sign on the PhD shows a portable beehive). The kings wear spirals on the shoulders that may indicate the gold discs (the extremely well crafted magnified spiral has an actual diameter of two millimeters on the ring)  ring.gif / ring2.JPG  The pair of hypothetical gold discs might be hidden in another cache in a not yet excavated part of the acropolis of Tiryns. While the pair of clay discs used as models for the gold discs were baked together so they form one single disc. It was stored in a cult depot of the Old Palace at Phaistos, where Luigi Pernier discovered it in 1908.




  multiple metaphor  (on the wing of genius)


Recently I witnessed how a little girl came running, was cornered, her way blocked, she stumbled but didn't fall, instead she managed to turn her momentum into kind of a beautiful spontaneous dance ...


Reading Shakespeare I sometimes have the impression that he stumbles into a sentence but then turns it into a dance with the English language. When I begin like he often does I would fall out of my sentence. Looking for an example in my complete Shakespeare, opening the book, my first glance fell on these lines


     Thus with imagined wing our swift scene flies,

     In motion of no less celerity

     Than that of thought.


     King Henry the Fifth, Act 3, beginning of Prologue


The chorus speaks of a swift scene that flies on imaginary wings. What can this mean? Apparently a stage that changes from one to another scene, proceeding from one place to another, swift as a bird on wings, even with the speed of thought. We have here a multiple metaphor combining a stage and a bird on wings and the mind of the author and the collective mind of the audience.


The chorus reminds of an old Greek drama, while Athena, muse of Homer in the Odyssey, swiftly moves from one place to another in her guises of owl and sea eagle. Young Edward de Vere (who later used the pseudonym of William Shakespeare) read Homer in the library of his uncle. We may assume that he observed sea eagles take off from cliffs and imagined how that feels. Later on this experience returned in the rhythms of a prologue


(taking off on the 'a' in imagined)


     Thus with imagined wing


(airborne, wings flapping)


     our swift scene flies,

     In motion of no less celerity

     Than that of thought.


Here the poet not just stumbles into a sentence but jumps of a cliff into the void, carried by the air, on the wing of genius.




  a brief history of language  (embedding Magdalenian)


Language is the means of getting help, support and understanding from those we depend upon in one way or another – and every means of getting help, support and understanding may be called language, on whatever level of life it occurs (my definition from 1974/75). Language in the most general sense may be considered a basic feature of life, even the intelligence of life: working together coordinated by language we achieve more than if we were all on our own, or the same with less energy. Human language emerged from animal language, sounds and vocalizations, body language, mimics, glances and gestures, and is still embedded in gestures, among Norwegians as well as among Italians. Word language evolved and developed with all the many things we fabricate, use and possess – information technology alone created twenty thousand words and terms –, and with life in artificial environments where our actions and decisions can fall back on us in wide circles after long periods of time, which requires high abilities of imagination, intellectual powers and descriptive skills. Glancing or pointing toward a bush and hissing can warn of a snake hiding there; warning of an Internet scam requires actual words, long strings of them, and an elaborate grammar replacing body language and gestures. We may assume that shamans and shamanesses gathered and invented early words. I propose KA for what is beyond, in the sky, inside rock, in a well, or deep inside ourselves, accessible to shamans and shamanesses in a trance induced by a special breathing technique. Hypothetical KA would have been a word in the shamanic language of South Africa, 125,000 years ago (Pinnacle Point) and 75,000 years ago (Blombos cave). Later on KA would have become a Magdalenian word, CA for sky, present in Old Latin caelum, and inverse AC for an expanse of land with water, ending village names like Rouffignac and Cognac in the Guyenne. Inverses were given related meanings; permutations yielded words around the same meme; D-words got comparative forms in S-words; and important words could have lateral associations. Those would have been the four principles or laws of Magdalenian yielding a good four hundred words that allowed very many compounds, which are the beauty, pride and power of Magdalenian, lingua franca of shamans and shamanesses in Eurasia of the Upper Paleolithic. How those words and compounds are still present in recent and modern languages is the main concern of my Magdalenian chapters.




Creator Mundi  (a lesson in visual language)


Magdalenian relies on cave art and rock art and mobile art – on reading visual language. This I trained by interpreting modern art and Renaissance art. Let me give you an actual example, Creator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci.


Creator Mundi – Let there be light …  /  © 2017 Franz Gnaedinger


Many old master paintings are lost, but luckily some of them survive in copies by pupils, and then it can happen that an alleged copy, carefully restored and freed from overpaintings, turns out to be the original. This miracle happened with a Leonardo copy ascribed to Giovanni Beltraffio. Dianne Dwyer Modestini restored it, removed the old overpainting, and recognized a masterpiece from Leonardo’s hand, well preserved in several parts, less well in others.


The panel shows God in the appearance of Christ, looking at us frontally, surrounded by blackness, eyes veiled, forehead shining, his beautiful mouth giving the impression as if he had just spoken, holding a crystal ball in his left hand (on the right side), raising his right hand (on the left side), and pointing with his shining middle finger to the base of his parting (Scheitelansatz).


Most experts follow Modestini while some deplore the “dull composition.” It is much improved when you add the missing parts of the panel on the sides and below. The radius of the orb measures 1 unit, the diameter 2 units. Add one unit on the right side of the orb, and 5 units on the left side; 1 unit below the orb and 7 units above. Thus you obtain the original format 10 by 8 units, or 5:4. Now Leonardo’s “diuine proporzione” unfold, play their visual music, and serve the meaning of the picture  creator.jpg


The center of a painting is important in Leonardo. Here the center of the original format is the throat (Halsgrübchen) indicating the Word by which God created the world according to the gospel of John 1:1


     In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


Genesis 1:3


     And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.


We see light on his forehead, chest, raised hand, and a first weak gleam in the transparent world sphere, making the holding palm, shining through, appear as the Earth with a range of hills or mountains, the dark blue cloth as night sky, and a brighter fold as Milky Way  creator2.jpg  Two lines from a Dylan song


     Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand

     And rivers that ran through ev’ry day


We see the transition from darkness to light in the contrast of the dark cloth and bright chest, while the seam mirrors the original format by the numbers: its height measures 4 units (very slightly more in order to counterbalance the optical effect that makes an arc appear slightly flatter than it is), height of throat (Halsgrübchen) in the center 5 units, height of head above the seam 5 units, height of figure 4 + 5 = 9 units, half the sum of original width and height. We perceive these relations at once, like a harmonious chord rich in overtones  creator.jpg


Lines and diagonals of the grid 10 x 8 explain several features of the composition, especially the fingers of the raised hand, but while the base of the parting (Scheitelansatz) is well defined in several Leonardo paintings, here it can’t be fixed (at least not rationally), and this, I believe, holds meaning. We admire and study the world, feel the presence of a divine hand in the marvels of nature, but we can’t really explore God’s mind.


(Comparisons. The Mona Lisa painting is an allegory of seeing. The lateral pillars, which flanked the window of the balcony, symbol of the eye lens – the room a symbol of the eye chamber – were trimmed from the panel. The original format was 4:3. In the center of the original rectangle appears the bright reflex on the woman’s bosom – like a sun above the dark green-brown ‘horizon’ of the seam. Also the original format of John the Baptist, last painting by Leonardo, would have been 4:3, only that the panel was deliberately made smaller. John, alter ego of the painter, soon to be swallowed by the dark shadow in the background, announces a greater one than himself, God, whose Creation surpasses every human work in completeness and brilliance. Compare the hands, and consider that Leonardo was a left-hander.)