Re: [tied] Fjall, pilis, polis...

From: Tomas Baranauskas
Message: 7525
Date: 2001-06-10

>>The prototype of Gk. polis, Lith, pilis, Skt. pu:r is usually reconstructed as *p(o)lh1-(i-) 'hill-fort, citadel'. The quality of the laryngeal is not quite certain, and there are subtle internal difficulties (Greek and Lithuanian have an i-stem as opposed to the Indic root noun, Greek has a mysterious dialectal variant with initial <pt->). It is hard to decide if this word can be related to *pelh1- and *polh1-u- (as "a place for many people"?).
I'd rather say: "as a place, surronded by ramparts" (rampart - Lith. pylimas, Amer. Eng. fill). Rampart is made of ground, filled up with ground. It is well known expression in Lithuanian folklore "su-pilti pili:". The hill-forts (piliakalniai) are traditionally regarded as artificial hills (though only ramparts are artificial in reality). The territorial community with a centre in such pilis, polis - "a place, surronded by ramparts" - is defined naturraly by the same name - Greek polis may testify this. And thus pilis/polis may easily acquire meaning of wide, open territory, occupied by a certain community (Slavic *polje). Thus I think there is no difference between the origin of these roots:
>>*pelh1- 'fill'. The best-known derivatives, apart from various verb stems, are *plh1-no- 'full' and *polh1-u- 'much, many'. There are also numerous more complex formations based on this root.
>>*pelh2- 'flat, open'. Lots of derivatives, several subsenses, *pélh2-tu- 'open field' (Eng. field, German feld), *plh2-no- 'flat' (Lat. pla:nus), *polh2-jo- (Slavic *polje), *plh2-m-ah2- 'palm (of one's hand)'.
"A place, surronded by ramparts" also may explain relation between hill and the mentioned root, as the castles, fortifications used to be aranged on hills.
Tomas Baranauskas
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