Re: [tied] obscure languages - Kaskian, Hattic,

From: geoffpowers@...
Message: 14088
Date: 2002-07-20


> How can we possibly assume that this -ps(y)- is of Kaskian origin
> when you admit that it was never written?

I don't think I implied that it was of specifically Kaskian origin; it is
of /common/ NWC/Kaskian/Hattic (?) origin, hence the 'linguistic
continuum' thesis.

[Kartvelian has 'tsqal-' = water, stream, e.g. Tskhenis-Tsqali (lit. 'horse-
water'), a river in W Georgia.]

> There's Starostin's NWC *bz& however.

bz(y-)/ ps(y)- are merely voiced/unvoiced variants of the same linguistic
element, cf. R. Bzyp in Abkhazia.

You mentioned in an earlier posting that the Kaski were nomadic; I don't
go along with this. They certainly were not nomadic in the same sense
that the steppe peoples were nomadic. The area where they dwelt in
ancient times was surely thick broad-leaved forest (as it still is in many
areas) so, unlike the peoples dwelling in the Caucasus range itself, they
probably did not even have flocks to move to and fro to seasonal pastu-

I imagine their life-style was akin to that of the (European) Albanian Ghegs,
who made a living largely out of brigandage and 'raping and pillaging' of more
advanced settlements ( the Hittite Empire), and also inter-tribal war-
fare at the very local level. I accept your definition of 'nomadic' only in the
very restricted sense of 'not having a sedentary mode of living'. (Remember
too, the horse had been domesticated relatively recently in the period in
question. They would have been very valuable livestock and hard to come by,
so the Kaski might have gone in for a bit of 'rustling' as well!) I don't know
whether the, admittedly much later, evidence in Assyrian sources has any-
thing specific to say about Kaskian 'society'. If my assumptions are
correct, it is doubtful whether there was ever any formal political structure
among the Kaski beyond the notion of 'clan' or 'tribe'.

The only evidence that we have in the Eastern Black Sea region for a 'king-
dom' in ancient times is Colchis, rather later in time than the period we are
considering. Here we have to rely in part on Greek myths (the Jason and
the Argonauts legend). In the late 1980's and early 1990's some very
interesting archaeological work was carried out in western Georgia by
David Braund of the University of Exeter ['Georgia in Antiquity', publ.
Clarendon Press, Oxford (1993)]. Ch. 1 of this work gives a quite useful
overview of the whole historico-geographical area, though the work deals
principally with the period 550 BC - CE 562. I have no information on
comparable archaeological work in NE Turkey.