Lemnos stele

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 5612
Date: 2001-01-18

Miguel, off to his old exercise in insanity again:
>>Funny. Yet, Etruscan lacks "o". It doesn't clue you in that the lack >>of
>>"o" in Etruscan equals the supposed "lack of 'u'" in Lemnian and >>that
>>Lemnian "o" and Etruscan "u" might be the same damn vowel?
>Yes, that's what I meant.

That's better.

>>There is no logical arguement against /f/ replacing /ph/ in
>>the transliteration, so your words are wasted.
>Etruscan has <f> and <ph>. Lemnian, as far as the text of the stele
>goes, has <ph>, but it doesn't have <f> (it also doesn't use <z> in
>the stele, when there was a perfectly good Greek letter to use). >Even if
>Lemnian had /f/, there's no reason it should have used <ph> >to render it.
>The letter <v> would be a more likely alternative.

As I said: There is no logical arguement against /f/ replacing /ph/ in the
Lemnos Stele transliteration. As for the letter /v/, we might in fact call
it a letter /w/ as it probably was in Etruscan and Latin, in which case, I
should think that /ph/ would be the best approximation of a bilabial

Second, I told you clearly that my /z/ is simply to render the text readable
when posting because your "$" is down-right ugly to look at. Read carefully.
This is a change of transliteration, not a change of phonology. (Note
however that Lemnian /z/ generally equals Etruscan /z/ and /s/, the latter
being sometimes palatalized as /s'/ due to internal dialectal variation)

>I doubt it's a "sh", as it's much more common than sigma. More than
>likely, in this text sigma <s> is /S/, and the sign transcribed as
><s'> (or <$> or <z>) is the plain /s/.

Whatever you fancy. In re of Lemnian translation, the issue of
transliteration and phonological reconstruction are minor problems and not
the heart of the disagreement we find ourselves in.

>>However, while the pronunciation of the /z/ (your /$/) is such,
>>the relationship of Lemnian /zivai/ to Etruscan /ziva/ is completely
>> >>valid, given that we have the same confusion in Etruscan itself! >>Like
>>/zal/ = /esl/ "two".
>Any other examples? Like before a vowel?

Miguel, I shouldn't have to get into a tussle with you on this. It's
explicitly mentioned in materials on Etruscan that /z/, /s'/, /s/ can and
are confused in Etruscan writing, although it is true that they are for the
most part kept distinct. Just use your head: If /z/ is given the value of
[ts], /s/ the value of [s], and /s'/ the value of [S], there is going to be
some confusion between different dialects of Etruscan and some mergers.
There is a known confusion between /s/ and /s'/ caused by dialectal
palatalization as in the North Etruscan genitive.

The Etruscan /z/ appears to represent instances where an IndoTyrrhenian
dental stop was palatalized, and therefore must have been originally
distinct from /s/ and /s'/. Judging by the unrefutable example I gave where
/zal/ equals /esl/, it appears that they not only could but in fact DID
merge in from time to time at least in writing. There is no reason why the
same couldn't have happened in Lemnian ([ts] > [s]... no big whoop, happens
all the time). It is very much possible when the only difference between the
too sibilants lies in the presence of a dental component, and it becomes
even more possible when Lemnian only distinguishes _two_ sibilants at a

>>>To begin with, the Etr. genitive is -s or -$, not -z.
>>Since this /z/ letter is a "sh"-sound as we are both aware, it >>matches
>>the Etruscan genitive perfectly (Etruscan -sa/-s'a).
>But then there goes your interpretation of <S'ivai>.

Hardly. We have only two sibilants represented on the stele. If /z/ and /s/
merged in Lemnian as they have occasionally in Etruscan, then /zivai/ (your
unreadable /$ivai/) can very much be related to Etruscan /ziva/. Besides,
I'm not even the only one who equates the two (check out McCallister's site
under /ziva/). It's terribly clear that Lemnian is very closely related to
Etruscan and shouldn't have diverged too much from it. However, we can't
expect that the Lemnian words are going to leap out at us unchanged from
their Etruscan counterparts.

So the minutial differences between Lemnian /zivai/, perhaps pronounced
[Siwai] (or your [siwai]), and /ziva/, pronounced [tsiwa], are entirely
expected given the equally ungrandiose divergeance between Lemnian /aviz/
and Etruscan /avils/, the latter being a widely accepted equation. In fact,
all the equations that I mention show small differences and yet regular
correspondances. You offer nothing regular and your equations are extreme.

>>>Can you find Etruscan funerary inscriptions that don't start with >>>the
>>>name of the deceased? Very few, I bet.
>>... But where the hell is the "start" to this thing, anyways??
>Not at "Phoke", which is at the end of a sentence, in any case.

The same arguement can be given for your interpretation of /zivai/ as a name
since it too lies at the end of the central text running in the
boustrophedon pattern.

>It simple cannot by any leap of the imagination be interpreted as >"45" or
>It can very easily.

Yes, but we've all seen that your leaps of imagination are like no one
else's... aside from those of a certain "metathetic" character whose posts
have long since dwindled, thank god. As I say, your /mara-/="five" theory
abounds with obvious stupidity and the following criticisms show this
logical impairment:

- opposite of expected Etruscan number order
(We find Etruscan /ci zathrum/ "23" not */zathrum ci/)

- impossible sound correspondances
([kH] => [r]??? mach == mara-????)

- impossible semantics when translated in context
(/aviz/ repeated twice in same phrase!!?)

You avoid these common-sense questions with psychotic ease and so I will
equally ignore your flawed interpretations until you surrender to reason.
They have no place in serious discussion.

>>These phrases that you listed follow my own pattern: /zivai aviz
>> >>sialchveiz/ "He lived 40 years".
>They mention the name first. Very deceptive on your part.

Nowhere near as deceptive as using blatantly un-Etruscan and nonsensical
phrasal patterns. At least I generally have kept to Etruscan grammar.
However, my weakness may indeed lie in my translation of /Fuke/ as the
subject of the sentence, since it then follows an OVS word order. Etruscan
is generally SOV. Yet again, however, SOV become OVS by one position change

>Everything else, yes. Furthermore, only by reading down to up, we >get a
>phrase with the same structure as on the side inscription >(sivai avis
>sialchvis marasm avis aomai // sivai evistho seronaith >sialchveis avis
>marasm av[is ais]). That's an important observation.

Your thinking is chaotic. Observe this: your second phrase is most evidently
backwards: "sialchveiz aviz" is the incorrect pattern, opposite to the order
of your first phrase and inconsistent with Etruscan where /avils/ is
presented BEFORE the number. You must be blind. (And don't think I haven't
noticed that you've blurred the sibilant distinctions as presented on the
stele. Very naughty.)

>The only way to interpret <avis sialchveis marasm avis> is as a
>compound numeral.

Hold my hand while we walk through this step by step. What is the
translation here? Is it "year forty five year"??? Have you been drinking?
This is a pattern that doesn't conform to Etruscan in at least two important
ways, and then doesn't even make a grain of sense anyway. Clearly the
repetition of /aviz/ suggests two seperate sentences (at the very least, an
intervening comma). Admit to your error.

On a side topic, on discovering Lemnian /zerunai/ on McCallister's Etruscan
site (coincidentally written as /zeronai/), I couldn't help but notice that
it has been equated to Etruscan /zeri/ defined loosely as a legal or sacred
act, rite or object.

The connection suggests to me a new idea. Perhaps /zerunai/ should be
translated as "stele" which, afterall, is a "sacred object". If so,
/evisthu/ must be redefined to compensate since giving it the meaning of
"magistrate" doesn't sit well beside "stele" in the text. This isn't a major
problem since /evisthu/ currently has no connections with Etruscan. If
/zerunai/ means "stele" and /zerunai-th/ means "on the stele", /evisthu/
might equal "it is written", equivalent to the unrelated Etruscan word

If so, we may redefine the following phrase on the Lemnos Stele put
side-by-side with the theoretical Etruscan version (Note that I've been
waivering on whether it's 40 or 60 but I've gone back to being my rebellious
self and translating "60" instead despite the infamous dice... which might
be interpreted another way):

Maraz-m aviz sialchveiz, aviz evisthu zerunai-th zivai.
*[Mare-m avils sialchis, avils zicuche *zeruna-thi ziva.]

And an official of 60 years; years it is written on the stele
he lived.

There are further advantages to this interpretation since the phrase
/zerunai Murinai-le/ might better be translated as "the stele of the city of
Murina" and we thus solve what /zerunai/ is. Perhaps we might be tempted to
rename the Lemnos Stele as "Zerunai Murinaile".

- gLeN

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