Re: [tied] Who named the rivers of Europe?

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 15878
Date: 2002-10-02

----- Original Message -----
From: x99lynx@...
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 9:30 AM
Subject: [tied] Who named the rivers of Europe?

> The obvious flaws in this example are:
> 1. How do we know what the Slavs called the Elbe if they were
Because the name Laba exists. If see fresh snow in the morning, I assume that it snowed during the night. Some philosophers might rebuke me for that, but I somehow get along with this kind of deductive reasoning. The form Laba was produced by liquid metathesis -- an early process in word-initial position. It can't have taken place in "literate" times (which begun in the tenth century at best for the western Slavs) but predated them by about three centuries.
> 2. When the Slavs did become literate enough to leave us their name for the Elbe, they must have gotten that literacy from folks who would have also informed them of the "proper name" of the Elbe.
No, they got their literacy from Christian clerks a long time later. When settling in depopulated Central Europe they surely found some remnants of the local Germanic population, but I doubt if there were any readers of Pliny among them.
> 3. Well before the Slavic name for the Elbe was first recorded, Slavs living on the Elbe were in contact with Franks and their clerics who were aware of everything from Theodoric to the Latin name for the Elbe.  In Charlemagne's court, western Slavic princes were already called "ancient allies" of the Franks.
That was political courtesy. Beside, Frankish/Slavic contacts did not mean that the Slavs invited Frankish clerics to lecture them about their own toponymy. Classical learning came to the Slavs centuries later, with Christianity.
> 4. German clerics were well established among the Western Slavs well before
the first recording of the Slavic name for the Elbe.
That's not enough. You'd need some German clerics teaching Slavs hydronymy before the metathesis of liquids.