Re: [tied] Fw: Sorok i devianosto

From: george knysh
Message: 18290
Date: 2003-01-29

--- Sergejus Tarasovas <S.Tarasovas@...> wrote:
> > GK: "up to this day": that is to say up to
> the
> > 2nd half of the 19th century.
> Indeed.
> > Which is a thousand
> > years after the initiation of trade relations
> between
> > Rus' and Byzantium (the earliest treaty is of 866.
> It
> > is not extant but we have probable segments from
> it
> > repeated in those which are). So the first thing
> we
> > have to deal with is the evolution of a word over
> that
> > length of time. The reason (originally) for using
> the
> > "40 kunitsja skins" as a unit is that this was the
> > exact equivalent (both in value and in weight acc.
> to
> > Nazarenko) of 1 Byzantine LITRA.
> I've understood the reasoning already, but what's
> his _evidence_, BTW?

*****GK: I don't have the article at hand. But I've
given you the reference. There's lots of additional
material there about systems of monetary exchange in
Central and Eastern Europe in the 8th-11th centuries.

> It sounds plausible that this litra-equation could
> make
> _sorokU_/_soroc^IkU_ acquire a new specific meaning
> (i. e., trigger a
> semantic shift 'sack; pack' --> 'a pack of 40 skins
> as a commodity
> (later money) unit'), but it's not easy to prove the
> word itself was
> borrowed from Greek and later contaminated with
> (suspiciously
> homonymic!) native reflexes of *sork-.

*****GK: I think the problem here is that there is no
attestation of an original meaning "sack" (just plain
"sack") for -sorokU-/-soroc^IkU- in linguistic
material prior to the 19th century. Which suggests
that the borrowing from Germanic was the term as
meaning "shirt" only. That being the case there is no
difficulty in seeing the Dahl material as reflecting
much later developments where the fact that "sorok"
martin skins were handled in a bag resulted in the
shift of meaning. The localities about which I asked
would indicate where this shift of meaning
> > Was that enough to
> > make a coat in the 9th c.? I'm not sure.
> > But we can't
> > rule out that (1) the Dahl bag was a different
> > category from that of the Byzantine bound
> merchants;
> > and (2) that the explanation also indicates a
> > different trade situation. The Dahl "sorochka"
> sounds
> > like a latter day utilization of an earlier term,
> i.e.
> > what meant "the equivalent in marten skins (40) of
> one
> > litra" was later applied to the bag itself for a
> > different kind of transaction.
> Of course it can't be ruled out (but note _soroc^ka_
> '1. shirt 2. sack,
> cover' is a different word, not just a "utilization"
> of _sorok(U)_ '1.
> 40 2. pack of 40 skins'). But you asked for the
> examples of a reflex of
> *sork- meaning 'sack', and I provided such an
> example scrupulously ;-).

*****GK: I don't deny the link but I don't think you
have proved its existence at the time when the term
"sorok" (40), which is after all what the discussion
is all about, existed. -sorok%%%- as "bag" didn't yet
make it into the Muscovite Law Code of 1649.****

> Actually, one could reject any example on such
> grounds (i.e., positing
> the semantic development 'money-commodity unit' ->
> 'sack').

*****GK: We're not talking about "ANY" example though,
are we, but about something pretty important, which
triggered an abandonment of the traditional term for
"40" among the East Slavs. I'm satisfied that the
Greek explanation will do.*****
> > > Vasmer (being one of the most eminent
> specialists in
> > > (East) Slavic
> > > Grecisms) thinks that "...the explanation from
> > > Middle Greek
> > > _sarikonta_ '40' is problematic in view of early
> > > (9th c.) deletion
> > > of -ko- (cf. Modern Greek _sarinta_ '40')."
> >
> > GK: But he doesn't say impossible. Does he
> have
> > evidence of a universal deletion of -ko- in "trade
> > talk" by 866?
> Of course Nazarenko is more competent as to those
> -ko-.

*****GK: Actually you've avoided my question, and the
irony is misplaced. But here is something which should
alleviate your concern. We don't actually have to
posit that "sorok" emerged as a result of the direct
contacts between Constantinople and Kyiv. The
"Varangian Route" existed long before the arrival of
the "Varangians" after which it was later named. We
have Arab documents (and archaeological confirmation)
of strong trade relations between Crimean Chersones
and the north (serviced along the Dnipro and its
links). And certainly thriving at the time of the
Khazar suzerainty over Far Eastern Europe: ca.660-860.
Slavic merchants were active here before the Norse.
That should deal with the Vasmer point even if we
assume that it extended to any and every Greek lingo
of the 9th c. This means going back an additional 100
years or so. Again, much more economical than
searching for evidence 1000 years after the fact, with
nothing at all in between.******
> Sergei

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