Glen & Joseph's Tyrrhenian

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 8971
Date: 2001-09-03

Rex, do I properly understand then that you think of Etruscan,
Lemnian and Rhaetic as "Pelasgian" languages, rather than

I don't know whether I've gotten more confused or not but I've been
thinking some more about Herodotus' nebulous labelling and I've come
to an idea, which may be quite old and boring, or it may be new
and exciting. I hope I can explain this because it's really, really

I always note that people to this very day confuse culture with
language. That is, some people consider language as a part of
culture and some consider the two to be seperate things. Certainly,
in comparative linguistics, we all know that language (whether
considered part of the cultural kit and kaboodle or not) can
spread in ways seperate from other cultural traits over a period
of time. Likewise, a particular culture or cultural trait, however
we may define it, might expand across linguistic boundaries. Thus,
culture and language can go very seperate ways.

So, if we apply this mundane revelation to the diverse input of
Classical Greek authors on non-Greek peoples, we might be tempted
to conclude, as I am now, that the Pelasgian/Tyrrhenian contrast
implied different things to different people in different eras of
Greek civilisation. How might we unravel this mess?

First, let's focus on Herodotus. Then, let's quickly take a trip
to China... What?? Why China? Well, I know some handy things about
Chinese and cultural nomenclature because, for one thing, there is
a difference in terms given to Chinese mainlanders as opposed to
those who have travelled overseas. The "overseas Chinese" are
refered to as /Hua-ren/. How does this relate to our T/P dilemma?

Let's imagine that there are two peoples called the Pelasgians and
the Tyrrhenians. Let's pretend they spoke the same language but
had somewhat different cultures. Now, let's imagine further that
the Pelasgians initially lived on the coastal mainland and that the
related Tyrrhenians had moved to the islands and maybe even in
Anatolia at some early date. Got it so far?

Now, let's say I'm the famous classical Greek author Glenesios of
Lesbos. What am I to do? If I were to speak purely linguistically,
I might validly refer to the Ts and Ps interchangeably as if they
were the same people. If I were speaking culturally, it would
then depend on my attitudes on language as a significant part
of culture or not. Perhaps I might think that culture and language
are seperate, in which case, I would refer to the Ts and Ps as
seperate people since they have differing cultural traits other
than language. Or perhaps, I may think that the cultural traits are
not so different to call them by different names and I may again
use Tyrrhenian and Pelasgian interchangeably.

Even more confusing: Consider that there may have been different directions
of movement concerning non-Greek culture(s) versus
non-Greek language(s) in the era before Herodotus'. Perhaps
Herodotus was trying to capture a vary complicated picture but was
unequipped with the proper labels to fully explain definitively.

If we begin by assuming that there is a large element of truth to
Herodotus' accounts of Greek history, could we conclude that
Herodotus was speaking of the Ts and Ps BOTH culturally and
linguistically at the same time? Is it possible that the idea of
Pelasgians coming after the Tyrrhenians refers to mainland
Tyrrhenians taking control of already Tyrrhenian-speaking islands?
Is it possible that on linguistic lines, Lemnian and Etruscan
are both Pelasgian (according to Herodotus) AND Tyrrhenian (by
the word of Thucydides) at the same time, while along
cultural lines, Lemnian and Etruscan are simply Tyrrhenian (perhaps
with Pelasgian influence)?

Have I said something stupid or is there wisdom underneath my
madness? So many questions so little time.


"Pelasgian" = 1a. non-Greek autochthonous people originally
inhabiting Greece but later driven to the
Aegean islands, traditionally speaking a
language derived from Proto-Tyrrhenian.

1b. non-Greek people in general

2. the ProtoTyrrhenian-derived language of the

So basically, meaning 1a shifts towards 1b over time because of
confusion based on what I just said above. Thus, Etruscan, Lemnian
and Rhaetic are related languages belonging to the Tyrrhenian
family of languages whose people are a cultural mix of Pelasgian
and Tyrrhenian... Anybody have a bottle of Advil?

gLeNny gEe
...wEbDeVEr gOne bEsErK!

email: glengordon01@...

>O-:We know the Lemnos people from
>O-:the period of the Lemnos Stele were called Pelasgian; as a general
>O-:term. Thus the Language of the Lemnos Stele is Pelasgian. Again,
>O-:because Lemnian is so similar to Etruscan it is also a Pelasgian
>I agree..many do not..even on the period or the direction of flow of
>influence...but that still hasn't got a rats derriere to do with an
>Indo-Tyrrhenian language group. There were no Aegean Tyrrhenians left
>able to colonize anything by the Ninth BC, Villanovan HAS been separated
>from Etruscan; even at same sites..It was...had to be..a ninth BC import
>to a place already called Tyrrhenia; with a foreign language. (I say
>nautical FROM the Aegean). It therefore was not Tyrrhenian..even if
>Italy was the (much older) Tyrrhenian center, unless you want to put a
>Tyrrhenian center to the North that sent ground waves SE and SW over a
>coupla K years; and ignore the nautical aspects (hard to do with
>O-: Pelasgian
>O-: |__________________________________________
>O-: Tyyrhenian | Pelo-Pelasgian? Attic-Pelasgian?
>O-: _____ |______ |
>O-: Lemnian Etruscan Raetic
>Why follow P with T when all references to Greece are the reverse? Back
>Tyrrhenian up to before Pelasgian..vary some substrate...and spread the
>Pelasgian. Why Not (?) :
> Oscan
> |
> Tyrrhenian
> |
> |_______________________________________________
> Westward->Pelasgian (dominates/mixes w/) Tyrrhenian (Dies
> |____________________________________|
> |
> Displaced by Greek
> Peripheral
>Neo-Pelasgian(w/Tyrrhenian substrate)
> _______ spread from Aegean center
>NAUTICALLY and survived only as_
> |Lemnian |
>Etruscan | Raetic*
> (*earlier Aegean import {me- before
>9th}or corrupted Etruscan {Livy-after 9th})

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