Greek wanax and basileus: A final solution finally? :P

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 7467
Date: 2001-06-04

Piotr explores a possible IE etymology for Greek wanax:
>A correction: actually, Mark mentioned Tocharian A na:t�k, pl.
>na:cki 'lord', na:s'i 'lady', not the "god" word cited above (and
>also worth considering). The EIEC reconstructs a tentative PIE *w(n)natk- >
>Greek wanak(t)-.

How is *w- attested in Tocharian? I see no *w- there. Plus, what
is this IE **wnatk- supposed to literally mean? I think it's
99.9% probable that if such a word existed in the IE vocabulary,
it could never have been a very old term because of its complex
(if not convoluted) form. So either it is a recent compound, or
it is a foreign word. If it is truely a compound of native
elements, what does it mean? Personally, I see no meaning in it
just like I see no way of segmenting *septm into native elements
(but then this is an obvious Semitoid loan). And yet again, we
come back to the only conclusion.

Whether /wanax/ comes from IE or not is a lesser issue and only
changes the immediate source of the Hellenic term. It does not
change the likeliest ultimate source of the word - a non-IE

Ned joins the debate (Hey Ned):
>To continue with my speculations- IMHO a word formed from "ruler of the
>realm" implies a more complex level of socio-political organization than is
>necessarily implied by one >formed from "ruler of the people"

The definition of the name /Wurun-Katti/ as "ruler of the realm"
is what one site mentioned and so this is what I have on my page.
However, "realm" can mean lots of things, as I have mentioned
to Ned. It might mean a vague area, it might mean a specific
boundary, it might also mean worlds beyond our physical reality
believed by these people. English definitions of foreign words can
sometimes be deceptive and its best to keep an open mind of all
the possibilities before stressing that they must have had a
complex level of socio-political organization due to _one_
interpretation of "realm".

For instance, a hypothetical ProtoHattic *wunun-kWati could have
meant more along the lines of "chief of the (otherworldly) realm"
for all we know. If the Hattic war god is anything like the war
gods of other Middle-Eastern religions (and it probably is due to
influence), then Wurunkatti, like Baal, was doing battles with malevolent,
otherworldly creatures. In this sense, Wurunkatti
could very validly be conceived of as ruler or master of the
realm (the _otherworldly_ realm).

I think these possibilities undermine the certainty of societal
complexity based on this single word.

- gLeN

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