Ancient Macedonian Language Part III

 

3) NAMES. In addition to the Macedonian ethnic name, we today know the ethnic names of some of the Macedonian tribes, scores of place names in Macedonia and dozens of names of gods and heroes, the names of six festivals and twelve months and hundred of personal names covering thousand men and women.

The ethnic names of ELIMIOTAI, LYNKESTAI and ORESTAI derive from place names. The first has an undoubtedly Greek termination. Some scholars believe the -st of the second and third are an affix that is found in Illyrian names. In the name of Orestai at least the s’ belongs to the root (Ores-) and the t to the termination (-tai) which is Greek. Furthermore, both the Orestai and the Lynkestai were undoubtedly Greeks (see page 59).

Alexander I, other Macedonian kings , Philip II Alexander the Great and his successors all gave Greek names to the cities they founded; Alexander the great and some of his officers went further and translated some of the local names into Greek. Those opposed to the view that the Macedonians were Greek are not prepared to take this evidence into consideration, justifying their stance with the argument that it all post dates the introduction of attic into the court and the state administration. There is NO PROOF for this argument, however other than the claim that the Macedonians did not speak Greek and it is this claim that the argument is designed to support. The introduction of this argument into the chain of reasoning designed to demonstrate the above view thus leads to a vicious circle. In order to avoid the accusation that we are using these same toponyms as proof that the Macedonians were Greek, while the evidence for and against this view is still being discussed, we shall restrict ourselves to toponyms in areas where the expansion of the Macedonians ante-dates Philip and to those names attested before his reign. Some of these name are Greek some are non-Greek. The latter do not prove that the Macedonians were not Greeks, for the areas in question were inhabited for many millenia (from the beginning of human habitation to 2300/2200BC, and from 1900 till the eighth seventh and sixth and even the fifth centuries BC) by non-Greek peoples. We also know that place names, survieVx4z|(i\@[email protected] ethnic groups from which they derive. Further if the non Greek toponyms of western and central Macedonia are attributed to the Macedonians this has two consequences. Firstly, we have to concede that the Pelasgians, the Paiones, the Bottiaioi, the Eordoi, the Almopes, The Phrygians, the Thracians and other races left no mark on the toponyms of Macedonia, which is improbable. Secondly the following problem arises if we exclude the possibility that the Macedonians were responsible for the Greek toponyms in western and central MAcedonia before Philip, to which GREEKS are they to be attributed? It is possible that only the names HALIAKMON and PIERIA are earlier than the Macedonian expansion. There are many more toponyms that are connected by our sources with the Macedonian expansion or that cannot be dated to the period when the proto-Greeks occupied Macedonia, for in this case they would exhibit a more archaic form which would have been fossilized or corrupted through the intervention of non-Greek language.

Of seventy-two names and epithets of gods and heroes fifty-six are panhellenic or Greek from a linguistic point of view, at least one is Greek with non-Greek phonetics, eleven are foreign (nine of these came from areas where non-Macedonian populations survived)a and two derive from foreign toponyms, with a Greek terminational the rest are doubtful (see page 60). The proportion of non-Greek names of gods is very small especially in view of the fact that they are attested at very late periods when the entire Greek world was feeling the influence of foreign religions.

All the names of festivals are Greek. All the names of the months have Greek terminations and only two of them have roots that are possibly non-Greek. No comprehensive collection of the personal names has yet been made. The few collections that have been made for prosopographical purposes have not inspired any exhaustive linguistic studies or statistical evaluations. A review of the names borne by members of the royal family of the Temenids, of the dynasties of upper Macedonia, and other Macedonians before the rule of philip, reveals only very small percentages of each of the three groups. The recent discovery of large number of grave stelai at Vergina has increased
our knowledge of Macedonian personal names by adding dozens of examples. With one or two exceptions, these are Greek and a number of them date from before the accession of philip. They are all names of members of the middle classes.

Those who deny that the Macedonians were Greeks assert that they took the Greek names fro gods, heroes, festivals , months and people from the Greeks. in the first place, however there is no other example of a people neighbouring on the Greeks whose names are 95% Greek before the middle of the 4th century; many centuries later than this, a large percentage of Paionians Thracians, Mysians, Lydians, Karians, and Lycians had local names even though they had begun to feel Greek cultural influences much earlier. Furthermore, a member of the Greek-sounding names given by the MAcedonians to gods, heroes , festivals months and persons DO NOT OCCUR outside Macedonia or areas in which Macedonians had settled.

The majority of Macedonian names in all categories, are either nouns as such or adjectives or their derivatives, or a variety of compounds; they also include a number of verb-stems, prepositions and affixes. As a result, the names help us to form a picture of the vocabulary, phonetics, and rules of derivation and synthesis of the Macedonian tongue which is quantitavily richer and qualitatively superior to that derived from the hundred or so roots of words that have been handed down directly. Consequently, in attempting to trace the features of Macedonian in attempting to trace the features of Macedonian, it is necessary to go beyond the words and make use of all the date to be gleaned from the Macedonian names.

Synthesis
a) The nature of the Macedonian tongue

>From the above evidence- testimonia, words and names- it is clear that

Macedonian was not a separate language but a Greek dialect.

b) The relationship of MAcedonian to other Greek dialects.

The fact that there are no texts written in Macedonian prevents us from forming as good an idea of this dialect and its relationship to other
Greek dialects as we can for those in which even a few written documents survive. Nonetheless, the material at our disposal enables us to make a number of observations that demonstrate a relationship between Macedonian and the West Greek dialect (to which Doric and north-west Greek belong) and the Aiolic and Thessalian dialects.

1) Macedonian and West Greek a) -dd- in place of -zz
b) nominative singular of certain compounds in -as instead of -os
c) a number of words (to those already recorded should be added the word k~alon, the existence of which in Macedonian was recently demonstrated by the name Drykalos, read on one of the stelai from Vergina; the name will have meant ‘ he who is of the wood of the oak” cf the Macedonian name
Peykestas: “he who is of the wood of the pine”.

2) Macedonian and Aeolic
a) a -nn- from -sn- (consequently also -ll- from -sl- etc); this phonetic rule is attested in Macedonian by the toponym Kranna
(Doric: Krana, Ionic-Attic :Krhnnh)
b) nominative plural of the second person of the personal pronoun ymmes
(Ionic-Attic: ymeis , Doric: ymes)

3) Macedonian and Thessalian
v (omega) instead of ou attested in both Macedonian and thessalian

4)Macedonian and Arcadian conversion of en to in

5) Macedonian, Thessalian and Arcadian:
Conversion of a into e under certain conditions; Macedonia se- (in Seleykos) from die- which is attested in thessalian (dia- in the other Greek dialects) Macedonian zereuron = arcadian zereuron, thessalian bereuron for barauron.

c) Non-Greek features of Macedonian

A number of features may be observed in the surviving linguistic material that are not Greek. All those who have asserted that Macedonian was a distinct language and not a dialect of Greek have represented these features as having universal application. In fact, they have relied on
selected evidence, which they have put forward as being the only genuine examples of Macedonian.
This evidence consists of:
a) Those of the Macedonian words in the ancient lexica which cannot be assigned
a Greek derivation;
b) the very few Macedonian names fro gods, heroes, festivals, months, places and people that are non-Greek at least phonetically;
c) words known from ancient lexica or other sources which are not stated to be Macedonian but which have features either identical with or similar to those of the first two groups. The evidence is selected on the bases of the following arguments: all the examples that are stated to be Macedonian but have Greek characteristics are not genuinely Macedonian but will have passed into the Macedonian language as loan-words; all the examples that are not stated to be Macedonian but display the same characteristics as Macedonian are concealed examples of the Macedonian language. these arguments however fall into the logical trap of taking as assumed that which has to be proven, namely, that
Macedonian was a separate language which was gradually influenced to a considerable degree by Greek; and that the examples in the third group are Macedonian.

The following features have been suggested as features distinguishing Macedonian from Greek, though most of them in fact suggest an affinity with Thracian and Illyrian:
1) The retention of the Indo-European s before an initial vowel (in Greek the s became h, the DASEIA)
[Note: In the following discussion the aspirates bh,dh,gh should be read as they are written and not translated into their Greek equivalents]
2) The conversion of the indo-european voiced aspirates bh , dh , gh into voiced stops b( beta) d( delta) g (gamma) (in Greek these became f (phi) u (theta) x (chi)),
3)the disimilation of the first aspirate in cases where two of these sounds occur in successive syllables
4)the conversion of b,g,d, into p,k,t,
5) the conversion of the vowel group ai into a
6) the conversion of the vowel group ay( alpha upsilon) into a
7) the dropping of the final r (rho)
8) the formation of feminines in -issa
9) the formation of ethnic names by the affix -st

Let us examine matter more closely:

1) Only three Macedonian words have s- before a vowel in their first syllable: sarissa , Sayadoi/Saydoi , Sigynh/Sibynh.
However: a) none of these has been convincingly derived from an Indo-European root
b) the third is also attested in the Greek dialect of Cyprus from as early as the third century and the second corresponds to the god’s name Sabazios which spread through southern Greece at an early date;
c) Greek has many examples of the retention of Indo-European -s- before a vowel in the first syllable, occurring in words borrowed by Greek from languages spoken by populations subjected to Greek tribes. Thus: either the Macedonian examples do not prove the existence of the phenomenon in question or if they prove it they do not constitute criteria for distinguishing the Macedonian tongue from Greek; in the lattereventuality they will have derived from Pelasgians or thracians who were subjugated by the Macedonians.
The fact that Macedonian has examples in which initial s- is converted into an aspiration cannot be ignored however. This phenomenon cannot be interpreted in terms of Greek influence, for it occurs in the names Yperberetas and Yperberetaios amongst others; these are not only unknown outside Macedonia but exhibit b in the place of f. IT IS ILLOGICAL to cite these names amongst the examples in which b appears in place of the Greek f and simultaneously to ignore the fact that they represent examples of the change of the initial s to h (daseia) in accordance with a GREEK phonetic law.

2) The second phenomenos is attested in Plutarch, Eustathios of Thessalonike, and a number of lemmata in Byzantine Lexica. One of the passages in Plutarch gives the impression that the phenomenon was widespread in Macedonia. Examples are the names Bilippos, Berenikh, Balakros, Beroia etc (for Filippos, Ferenikh, Falakros, Feroia etc). On the other hand,it is to be noted that the name Filippos and Macedoniannames in general in which the first component is fil- are written more frequently with f from the beginning of the written tradition; also that f and not b occurs in : amfoter’os, arf’ys, Boykefalas, falagj, Fobos etc x (chi) and not g in : agxarmos, dimaxai, loxos, Polyperxvn Xariklhs, Xarvn; u (theta) and not d in zereuron, Uaylos, Uoyrides, Peiuvn. Those who oppose the view that elements of Macedonian were Greek argue, of course, that the version with f,u,x, represent Macedonian names transmitted in Greek texts and also name and words borrowed by the Macedonians from the Greeks. If the evidence of the Greek texts is excluded on the grounds that is untrustworthy, then exception cannot be made for those passages which attest to b,d,g, in place of f,u,x. If these latter are not excluded, and it is thus conceded that the Greek authors rendered the Macedonian pronunciation correctly by writing Bilippos etc then it is illegitimate to assert that the version with f,u,x are errors. Furthermore, the spelling Filippos is not solely attested in non-Macedonian texts; it also occurs on coins of philip II and on Macedonian arrows (photo included) and tiles of the same period. It would be curious if the coins issued by the Macedonian state did not accurately reflect the national pronunciation. Let us concede, however, that Philip insisted that his name be written with F since he hasestablished the attic dialect as the official language of the state: this explanation might account for the phonetic form of the royal name on the coinage but not also on arrows and tiles. The hypothesis that Macedonian names and words having f ,y,x in place of b,d,g are borrowed from Greek has properly been countered with the hypothesis that this is unacceptable in the case of words like arfys, which is otherwise unknown; agxarmon which has fallen in disuse in the rest of Greece, zereuron which was used in the isolated region of Arcadia; xarvn which in Macedonia was not used to mean “Charon” but “lion”.

Two conclusions emerge:
1) the pronunciation of the ancient bh,gh,dh, as b,g,d, was not universal throughout the Macedonia, but occurred alongside the pronunciation f,x,u.
2) the pronunciation f,x,u appears in some words which could not have been borrowed by the Macedonians from a Greek people. In the light of these conclusions we must look for some other explanation of the appearance of b,g,d in Macedonia This demand can be satisfied by the following observations:
1) the same phenomenon also occurs sporadically in words and names transmitted in indisputably Greek sources
2) these words and names are thought to be loan words borrowed by the Greeks from other iNdo-European peoples that they first conquered and absorbed
3) the Macedonians too conquered the pelasgians and after them the thracians and illyrians who , like the Pelasgians had converted the bh,gh,dh, into b,g,d. Since on the one hand, the appearance in Macedonian of f,u,x deriving from indo-european bh,gh,dh, cannot be attributed to external influences and since, on the other, the conversion of the same sounds to b,g,d, occurred in Macedonian under conditions similar to those that account for it an indisputably Greek linguistic area, we are obliged to give the same interpretation to the Macedonian data 3 and
4) These two phenomena also occur in words and names found in the Greek world in general where they are regarded as vestiges of pelasgian or of pre-Greek languages generally, that have been preserved in Greek. Their occurrence in Macedonian can therefore also be attributed to pre-Macedonian substrata (both Pelasgian and Thracian).

Want more of this? See these Posts:

  1. Ancient Macedonian Language Part II
  2. Ancient Macedonian Language Part IV
  3. Ancient Macedonian Language Part V
  4. Modern linguists about Ancient Macedonian language
  5. Ancient Macedonian language – Hoffmann
Comments
the macedonian says:

this is a bunch of lies.Why how can one country belong to 4 countries because of their lies.A greek cannot be from a another country because he is not macedonian