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RE: [Indo-Eurasia] Equisetum harappanum

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  • Lars Martin Fosse
    ... And a happy ARF! to you too, Steve! Are you trying to tell us that you re so small you can ride a dog? Don t be afraid to admit it, we ll still accept you!
    Message 1 of 23 , Nov 1, 2006
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      > http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/indushorse.jpg

      And a happy ARF! to you too, Steve!

      Are you trying to tell us that you're so small you can ride a dog?

      Don't be afraid to admit it, we'll still accept you!

      Lars Martin

      PS: The French have decided to drop Halloween for "value" reasons. Someone
      should get those Frenchies.


      From:
      Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse
      Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
      0674 Oslo - Norway
      Phone: +47 22 32 12 19 Fax: +47 850 21 250
      Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
      E-mail: lmfosse@...
      http://www.linguistfinder.com/translators.asp?id=2164





      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      > Steve Farmer
      > Sent: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 9:33 PM
      > To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
      > Cc: Steve Farmer
      > Subject: [Indo-Eurasia] Equisetum harappanum
      >
      > Dear List,
      >
      > What? No Indo-Eurasian Halloween pictures?
      >
      > It's a good thing, since the Moderators would have to delete them.
      >
      > But for List equid lovers like Trudy, we'll let one through,
      > and an important one it is at that! The Indus horse finally
      > discovered, Equisetum harappanum
      >
      > http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/indushorse.jpg
      >
      > On other matters, I'm sorry we've fallen behind on the
      > **Stratification thread. The thread has NOT been forgotten,
      > and I hope to get back to it myself eventually if no one else
      > restarts it first.
      > (I have a post I want to finish sometime on methods of
      > identifying strata, including some that lend themselves to
      > being automated.)
      >
      > Until then, as usual, the floor is open on this and new threads.
      >
      > Best,
      > Steve
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Steve Farmer
      Lars Martin writes re the recently discovered Harappan horse: http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/indushorse.jpg ... With your typical Norwegian cynicism you
      Message 2 of 23 , Nov 1, 2006
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        Lars Martin writes re the recently discovered Harappan horse:

        http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/indushorse.jpg

        > Are you trying to tell us that you're so small you can ride a dog?

        With your typical Norwegian cynicism you underestimate the
        significance of this find, Lars Martin. This says nothing about me but
        does provide preliminary evidence that the Harappan wisemen were
        midgets. This is confirmed by measurements of a variety of Indus
        artifacts.

        With this new evidence, is too speculative -- and in this field
        apparently nothing is too speculative -- to suggest that the
        Harappan wisemen were directly related to Homo floresiensis and
        migrated from ancient Flores island to India? (We even know a bit
        about how they traveled on land, now that we have the Harappan
        horse.)

        Alternately, but its not a pretty thought, perhaps the Indus
        wisemen suffered from microcephaly:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis

        Steve
      • Lars Martin Fosse
        Dear Steve, ... Once again, your devastating sense of logic has knee-capped my intellect! Why didn t I think of this? As usual, I end up in the dust, left
        Message 3 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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          Dear Steve,

          > With your typical Norwegian cynicism you underestimate the
          > significance of this find, Lars Martin. This says nothing
          > about me but does provide preliminary evidence that the
          > Harappan wisemen were midgets. This is confirmed by
          > measurements of a variety of Indus artifacts.

          Once again, your devastating sense of logic has knee-capped my intellect!
          Why didn't I think of this? As usual, I end up in the dust, left behind by
          the high-flyers.

          But you have opened up a can of worms here: if the Indus people were homines
          floresienses, how do we explain that there is no Sanskrit and no Veda on the
          island of Flores? May I remind you of the venerable age of those two divine
          phenomena! If the Floresienses and the Indus wisemen were of the same stock,
          both must have been Vedic adepts since time immemorial.

          Is there trace of a single Vedi - that's a sacrificial hole in the ground to
          you, Sir! - on Flores? I don't think so. Show me one! I am beginning to
          suspect that once again, you are trying to subvert the noble struggle of our
          Hindutva friends to prove that the Indus culture was an Aryan,
          Sanskrit-speaking community.

          You never give up, do you?

          Lars Martin



          From:
          Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse
          Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
          0674 Oslo - Norway
          Phone: +47 22 32 12 19 Fax: +47 850 21 250
          Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
          E-mail: lmfosse@...
          http://www.linguistfinder.com/translators.asp?id=2164





          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
          > [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
          > Steve Farmer
          > Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 10:21 PM
          > To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [Indo-Eurasia] Further on the Harappan horse
          >
          > Lars Martin writes re the recently discovered Harappan horse:
          >
          > http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/indushorse.jpg
          >
          > > Are you trying to tell us that you're so small you can ride a dog?
          >
          > With your typical Norwegian cynicism you underestimate the
          > significance of this find, Lars Martin. This says nothing
          > about me but does provide preliminary evidence that the
          > Harappan wisemen were midgets. This is confirmed by
          > measurements of a variety of Indus artifacts.
          >
          > With this new evidence, is too speculative -- and in this
          > field apparently nothing is too speculative -- to suggest
          > that the Harappan wisemen were directly related to Homo
          > floresiensis and migrated from ancient Flores island to
          > India? (We even know a bit about how they traveled on land,
          > now that we have the Harappan
          > horse.)
          >
          > Alternately, but its not a pretty thought, perhaps the Indus
          > wisemen suffered from microcephaly:
          >
          > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_floresiensis
          >
          > Steve
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Francesco Brighenti
          ... ...they must have looked like Mr. Anggalus Jalur, a resident of village Rampasasa on the island of Flores who stands just 130 cm tall -- see pic on the
          Message 4 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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            --- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com, "Lars Martin Fosse"
            <lmfosse@...> wrote:

            > if the Indus people were homines floresienses, ...

            ...they must have looked like Mr. Anggalus Jalur, a resident of
            village Rampasasa on the island of Flores who stands just 130 cm
            tall -- see pic on the online issue of Time Asia at

            http://tinyurl.com/zshqq

            Mr. Anggalus Jalur belongs to the community of "Rampasasa pygmies
            now living near Liang Bua Cave" on Flores who, according to Dr.Teuku
            Jacob of Gadjah Mada University (one of Indonesia's senior
            paleontologists), "share features (receding chins and rotated
            premolars)" with Homo floresiensis based on the examination of a
            skull attributed to that hominid species -- see John Noble Wilford's
            NY Times article posted by Steve at

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/4736

            On the same topic (Homo floresiensis anatomical remains vis-à-vis
            present-day Rampasasa pygmies) see the following webpages:

            http://tinyurl.com/mrvhz

            http://tinyurl.com/njx54

            Cheers,
            Francesco
          • Victor Mair
            Dear List, Since it seems as though I’ve exhausted your patience on the matter of the Vinca Script (or Sign / Symbol System) I won’t prolong that thread
            Message 5 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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              Dear List,

              Since it seems as though I’ve exhausted your patience on the matter of
              the Vinca Script (or Sign / Symbol System) I won’t prolong that thread
              further. However, implicit in my last post in that thread were a number
              of very large issues of the sort that this List has been dancing around
              for more than a year, but has never confronted directly. Among these
              fundamental, large issues concerning the history of writing are the
              following:

              1. Did true writing arise in a vacuum? If so, what were the mechanisms
              that enabled its invention ex nihilo? If not, what were the prior steps
              leading to its creation?

              2. Is there such a thing as pre-writing or proto-writing? If so, what
              are some examples of these stages in the history of writing? If not,
              what do we call such things as rebuses and tokens? In the latter case,
              I’m thinking particularly of the situation in Mesopotamia toward the
              latter part of the fourth millennium BC.

              3. Was true writing invented only once in human history? If so, how did
              it diffuse from its unitary center? If not, how do we decide where to
              draw the line on the number of other centers for the invention of
              writing? If full writing were invented in three, four, five (?)
              different places, what was to prevent it from being invented in other
              centers of civilization? And how do we explain the comparable stages
              through which writing has developed at various places where it is
              universally recognized as having arisen? Here I’m thinking of I. J. Gelb.

              4. How can we explain the uncanny similarities between the Tartaria
              tablets and the pre-cuneiform tablets of Sumeria?

              5. If the Vinca sign / symbol system and the Indus sign / symbol system
              are not scripts, what are they? (That, by the way, is meant to be a
              simple question, not a tendentious one.)

              6. Is “speech-encoding” the only criterion for full writing? If not,
              what are some other aspects of full writing that need to be taken into
              consideration? If so, how do we explain the existence of such scripts
              as that used for Literary Sinitic (Classical Chinese), which
              demonstrably does not encode speech?

              7. Is there an unbridgeable gulf between full writing and all other
              types of sign and symbol systems? If not, is there instead a continuum
              of types of writing that is both synchronic and diachronic? If so, how
              should we classify the different types of writing and explain the
              relationships among them?

              Well, that is plenty enough for now (I don’t want to further exhaust
              your indulgence), but I have countless more unanswered questions of this
              sort that I’ll hold for later. In the meantime, I hope that you’ve all
              more or less recovered from your post-Halloween candy binges.

              Ciao,

              Victor
            • Steve Farmer
              ... You haven t exhausted my patience, Victor: It is an interesting and important topic, but most of the issues you are raising have been discussed many times
              Message 6 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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                Victor writes:

                > Since it seems as though I’ve exhausted your patience on the matter of
                > the Vinca Script (or Sign / Symbol System) I won’t prolong that thread
                > further.

                You haven't exhausted my patience, Victor: It is an interesting and
                important topic, but most of the issues you are raising have been
                discussed many times before, including in List discussions. Put at its
                simplest, as noted many times, it is a category error to confuse
                ancient nonlinguistic symbol systems, of which there are *many* known
                types, from true writing or speech-encoding systems. Every time
                archaeologists stumble over sets of unknown symbls, as in the recent
                Umm el-Marra case:

                http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/syriansigns.htm

                their knee-jerk reaction is to call in the reporters and announce the
                discovery of a new "writing system", or the oldest instance of a known
                writing system, etc. You know this from your own experience with the
                now-infamous Anau seal, and from the recent Jiroft fiascos, how quickly
                the press will jump at such stories. But this confuses a very complex
                issue. The fact is, we know of many premodern societies, even urban
                ones, which did not embrace and in fact resisted literacy.

                And when you speak (as you did the other day) of supposed overlaps in
                signs between a system that reportedly flourished in the 6th-mid 4th
                millennium BCE (the Vinca system) and Linear A signs (from some
                2000-4500 years earlier), it is difficult to know what to say. Same
                with your suggestion today about "uncanny similarities" between the
                so-called Tartaria tablets and proto-cuneiform. Where are those
                "uncanny similarities", and why haven't specialists on proto-cuneiform
                picked up on this. Can you show this evidence rather than just
                allude to it? Claims of these resemblances usually evaporate on close
                inspection.

                As stated many times, we know from hard-won experience that there are
                many overlaps in visual forms between just about any pictographic
                linguistic or nonlinguistic sign systems. In the 30s and 40s
                accidental overlaps were what allowed a long line of researchers to
                claim that Indus signs and Easter Island rongogongo were related!
                (Forget here 3500 year + differences again....) And Fairservis
                infamously made similar claims about proto-Elamite signs and Indus
                signs by pointing to physical similarities in the signs, using overly
                standardized sign Lists. I can "prove" that Indus symbols are
                genetically connected to Arizona or Australian rock art using precisely
                the same methods.

                I think a lot of your numbered points are interesting. Just brief notes
                on two of them:

                > How can we explain the uncanny similarities between the Tartaria
                > tablets and the pre-cuneiform tablets of Sumeria?

                Again, I don't believe that there are any, Victor. If you think you can
                point to uncanny similarities, it is up to you to show that. You can't
                just go to some overly standardized sign catalog -- this kind of
                overstandardization is a serious problem -- and find casual
                resemblances (e.g., a circle or X or a stick-man character in two
                symbol systems) and then claim this as evidence that they are
                genetically connected. People fall into this same trap repeatedly.

                > If the Vinca sign / symbol system and the Indus sign / symbol system
                > are not scripts, what are they? (That, by the way, is meant to be a
                > simple question, not a tendentious one.)

                We've gone over this issue *many* times. Different types of nonlinguistic
                signs have different types of functions. Often they are "multivocal"
                (picking up on Victor Turner's term for such symbols in African
                culture), as argued further in Farmer, Sproat, and Witzel, at some
                length, in fact (second half of the paper):

                http://www.safarmer.com/fsw2.pdf

                We know of dozens of nonlinguistic sign systems, which come in many
                types. On Vinca signs, Winn of course thinks they were mainly ritual
                symbols with possibly secondary economic uses.

                Here are a few pages from my Kyoto lecture that give some examples of
                other nonlinguistic symbols -- this is hardly terra incognita:

                http://www.safarmer.com/Indo-Eurasian/nonlinguisticsigns.pdf

                The abstract for the talk that went with that covers some other aspects
                of the problem, including the special *uses* of studies of
                nonlinguistic signs:

                http://www.safarmer.com/indus/Kyoto.pdf

                A number of us studying different parts of this -- Steven Sage (the
                Sinologist, whom you know), Jacob Dahl, others -- would like to develop
                a full typology of non-linguistic signs and discuss the conditions in
                which they do, and do not, turn into full speech-encoding systems. But
                even without a typology, we can identify some dozens of types and some of their
                functions.

                > Is “speech-encoding” the only criterion for full writing? If not,
                > what are some other aspects of full writing that need to be taken into
                > consideration? If so, how do we explain the existence of such scripts
                > as that used for Literary Sinitic (Classical Chinese), which
                > demonstrably does not encode speech?

                Classical Chinese doesn't encode speech! :^) I know what you are
                saying, but ouch, Victor! I'll toss you in a room with Boltz and Qiu
                Xigui and see what happens. :^)

                We should take up the nonlinguistic symbol typology problem sometime,
                Victor. Right now I'm worse than overloaded....

                Cheers,
                Steve
              • Steve Farmer
                In the latter I obviously meant 2000-4500 years later , not earlier ! :^) ... Steve
                Message 7 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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                  In the latter I obviously meant "2000-4500 years later", not "earlier"! :^)

                  > ...supposed overlaps in signs between a system that reportedly
                  > flourished in the 6th-mid 4th millennium BCE (the Vinca system) and
                  > Linear A signs (from some 2000-4500 years earlier)....

                  Steve
                • Victor Mair
                  [Mod. note. Your message and Joanna s appear to have crossed in cyber-space, Victor. See also the BBC story Joanna posted on this a bit ago:
                  Message 8 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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                    [Mod. note. Your message and Joanna's appear to have crossed in cyber-space, Victor. See also the BBC story Joanna posted on this a bit ago:
                    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6106098.stm - Chrs, Steve]

                    Dear List,

                    If you type the following into your favorite search engine, you will
                    come up with a number of very interesting hits:

                    "muazzez ilmiye cig" headscarves

                    Item from my local newspaper this morning:

                    ===

                    TURKEY A court acquitted a 92-year-old archaeologist yesterday for
                    claiming in a book that Islamic-style head scarves were first worn more
                    than 5,000 years ago by priestesses initiating young men into sex. In a
                    trial that lasted less than an hour, a court acquitted Muazzez Ilmiye
                    Cig, an expert on the Sumerian civilization.

                    ===

                    She seems to be a truly distinguished scholar, and so perhaps that is
                    why the courts acted so quickly to acquit her. Apparently (and
                    fortunately) the courts in Turkey are much more sensible than the
                    government prosecuters, judging from the row that took place over the
                    2006 Nobel Prize laureate for Literature, Orhan Pamuk, who also was
                    acquitted recently in a celebrated court case over his alleged slander
                    of Islam.

                    Ciao,

                    Victor
                  • Bjarte Kaldhol
                    [Mod. note. Hi, Bjarte. I ll leave the battles between Damerow and Michalowski alone here. Thanks for pointing to Michalowski s piece, which I ll read. Jacob
                    Message 9 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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                      [Mod. note. Hi, Bjarte. I'll leave the battles between Damerow and Michalowski alone here. Thanks for pointing to Michalowski's piece, which I'll read. Jacob Dahl is of course on the List, and working with Damerow now in Berlin, in fact, so I'll let him speak for himself. - Cheers, Steve.]

                      Just a few short comments, Steve!

                      You still cling to the idea (in your Kyoto lecture) that proto-cuneiform was
                      not associated with one language. But it was, as I have stated to you
                      repeatedly in previous discussions. Pace Damerow 1999, it is now fairly
                      clear that proto-cuneiform "encoded" the Sumerian language. See, for
                      example, Michalowski's article on Sumerian in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of
                      the World's Ancient Languages, Chapter 2, 1.2 (Textual Evidence): "Some have
                      argued that the system was not linked to any language or was meant to
                      represent an unknown, pre-Sumerian tongue. The existence of phonetic glosses
                      within certain signs, however, strongly suggest that the administrative
                      language was indeed Sumerian. Thus the sign AMA, which is used later for
                      Sumerian ama, "mother", contains within it the phonetic indicator, or gloss,
                      am6, to help distinguish it from similar signs and to prompt the proper
                      identification."

                      The use of such phonetic indicators are quite common in cuneiform
                      literature, because most signs could be read in many different ways,
                      according to the context. This is the reason why cuneiform writing takes
                      such a long time to learn. It is largely a mnemonic system, and only partly
                      "speech-encoding". I have given you many examples of this earlier, but you
                      seem to have forgotten them!

                      By the way: How do you read the signs AN.AN.AN.AN if the language is
                      Akkadian?

                      As for the Vinca signs, we simply do not know whether they "encoded" speech,
                      that is, if they could be read aloud as words.

                      Regarding proto-Elamite, I think Jacob Dahl has shown that the signs
                      "encoded" speech in so far as they could be read as names of animals and
                      commodities and numbers. See, for example, his article in SMEA 47, p. 113:
                      "It is therefore my hypothesis that the two first signs in our production
                      account are to be interpreted as butter-oil and dry cheese..." On p. 119
                      Jacob speaks about "the hypothesized syllabary [sic!]used to write what has
                      been postulated to represent names." Although he states (p. 120) that
                      "nothing is known of the links between the proto-Elamite writing-system and
                      speech", he goes on to speculate that: "While it cannot be proven at
                      present, the possibility remains open that some of these longer sequences
                      [of non-numerical signs] may have encoded some type of phonetic data,
                      possibly involving the ad hoc use of rebuses or puns to write personal
                      names..."

                      Best wishes,
                      Bjarte Kaldhol
                    • Jacob Lebovitch Dahl
                      [Mod. note. Thanks, Jacob, and Amen. - Steve.] Dear Bjarte, I will reply very briefly to this note. There exists no conclusive evidence linking the
                      Message 10 of 23 , Nov 2, 2006
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                        [Mod. note. Thanks, Jacob, and Amen. - Steve.]

                        Dear Bjarte,

                        I will reply very briefly to this note. There exists no conclusive
                        evidence linking the proto-cuneiform texts to the Sumerian language. The
                        evidence you cite, AMA, must be discarded for a vararity of reasons;
                        firstly since there is no idication that DINGIR (or the DINGIR-like sign
                        inscribed in the box-like sign that it is supposed to modify) had the
                        phonetic realization am6 in proto-cuneiform (how would one prove that by
                        the way? DINGIR is used with the value am6 for example as a grammatical
                        suffix in pre-sargonic texts from Largash four hundred years after the
                        proto-cuneiform texts); and secondly since that 'complex' sign (box +
                        DINGIR-like sign) never occurs in a position which would favor a reading
                        AMA (Sumerian: mother), etc.
                        Damerow does not believe that proto-cuneiform encoded Sumerian or any
                        other language for that sake (clearly the sense of Damerow 1999,
                        republished as CDLJ 2006:001
                        <http://www.cdli.ucla.edu/pubs/cdlj/2006/cdlj2006_001.html>. Decoding the
                        proto-cuneiform texts is something we are working intensely on right now
                        in Berlin, and it is increasingly clear that the link between
                        proto-cuneiform and spoken language was very weak if at all existing. The
                        possibility that some pseudo syllabic spelling of PN's is even doubtful,
                        at least in the early texts.
                        Let me pose the question like this, then: how come that we have known
                        these texts for almost 100 years now and yet we can't read ONE of the
                        so-called pesonal name in Sumerian? There is not one simple Sumerian name
                        in the texts (i.e. lu2-kal-la, lugal-a2-zi-da, lugal-e2-mah,
                        ur-{d}dumu-zi-da, pesz2-am3, etc.)
                        Proto-Elamite may have used a sort of simple rebus system for encoding
                        personal names, in the latter phase of the writing-system, only.

                        Best wishes,
                        Jacob
                      • Mujeebulla Chemnad
                        Dear Victor, You ignored an important part of the news, which explains why the trial lasted for just half an hour: Although predominantly Muslim, Turkey is a
                        Message 11 of 23 , Nov 3, 2006
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                          Dear Victor,

                          You ignored an important part of the news, which explains why the trial lasted for just half an hour:

                          "Although predominantly Muslim, Turkey is a secular state and headscarves are banned in government offices and universities. "

                          Thank you

                          Mujeebulla

                          *********

                          Dear List,

                          If you type the following into your favorite search engine, you will
                          come up with a number of very interesting hits:

                          "muazzez ilmiye cig" headscarves

                          Item from my local newspaper this morning:

                          ===

                          TURKEY A court acquitted a 92-year-old archaeologist yesterday for
                          claiming in a book that Islamic-style head scarves were first worn more
                          than 5,000 years ago by priestesses initiating young men into sex. In a
                          trial that lasted less than an hour, a court acquitted Muazzez Ilmiye
                          Cig, an expert on the Sumerian civilization.

                          ===

                          She seems to be a truly distinguished scholar, and so perhaps that is
                          why the courts acted so quickly to acquit her. Apparently (and
                          fortunately) the courts in Turkey are much more sensible than the
                          government prosecuters, judging from the row that took place over the
                          2006 Nobel Prize laureate for Literature, Orhan Pamuk, who also was
                          acquitted recently in a celebrated court case over his alleged slander
                          of Islam.

                          Ciao,

                          Victor
                        • Victor Mair
                          Thanks for your note, Mujeebulla. As a matter of fact, I gave the entire item as it appeared in my local newspaper. As for the ban on headscarves in Turkey,
                          Message 12 of 23 , Nov 3, 2006
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                            Thanks for your note, Mujeebulla. As a matter of fact, I gave the
                            entire item as it appeared in my local newspaper. As for the ban on
                            headscarves in Turkey, yesterday a friend of mine who knows Muazzez
                            Ilmiye Cig personally told me the following:

                            ====
                            She was, of course, a child when Ataturk became president of Turkey in
                            the 1920's, creating a secular republic and banning the use of
                            headscarves, but this ban has persisted through the past several
                            decades, so it would have imbued her political thought. The banning of
                            headscarves was an important metaphor for the secularization of the
                            country. Because of Ataturk Turkey is still a relatively democratic,
                            and secular, country, although in the middle of the country,
                            particularly in Konya, which is now fundamentalist, most of the women do
                            wear headscarves.

                            ====

                            All best,

                            Victor

                            Mujeebulla Chemnad wrote:

                            > Dear Victor,
                            >
                            > You ignored an important part of the news, which explains why the trial lasted for just half an hour:
                            >
                            > "Although predominantly Muslim, Turkey is a secular state and headscarves are banned in government offices and universities. "
                            >
                            > Thank you
                            >
                            > Mujeebulla
                            >
                          • Judith Lerner
                            Though I haven t read her work, according to the account in yesterday s New York Times, as a staunch secularist, Muazzez Ilmiye Cig had her tongue firmly in
                            Message 13 of 23 , Nov 3, 2006
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                              Though I haven't read her work, according to the account in yesterday's New
                              York Times, as a staunch secularist, Muazzez Ilmiye Cig had her tongue
                              firmly in her cheek to make a point:

                              "In one of her published letters, Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, an expert on Sumerian
                              civilization, asserted that 5,000 years ago, the head scarf was a symbol to
                              distinguish the temple priestess who had ritual sex with young men to
                              celebrate fertility. As such, her satirical letter argued, the wearing of a
                              head scarf should not indicate a woman's morality or religious devotion in
                              today's world.

                              "This comparison and other satires appeared in her book "My Reactions as a
                              Citizen" and prompted Yusuf Akin, an Islamic-oriented lawyer based in Izmir,
                              to file a complaint against Ms. Cig and her publisher, Ismet Ogutcu....."

                              Full story at
                              http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/02/world/europe/02turkey.html

                              Judith

                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
                              [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Victor Mair
                              Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006 9:38 AM
                              To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [Indo-Eurasia] The prehistory of Islamic headscarves


                              Thanks for your note, Mujeebulla. As a matter of fact, I gave the
                              entire item as it appeared in my local newspaper. As for the ban on
                              headscarves in Turkey, yesterday a friend of mine who knows Muazzez
                              Ilmiye Cig personally told me the following:

                              ====
                              She was, of course, a child when Ataturk became president of Turkey in
                              the 1920's, creating a secular republic and banning the use of
                              headscarves, but this ban has persisted through the past several
                              decades, so it would have imbued her political thought. The banning of
                              headscarves was an important metaphor for the secularization of the
                              country. Because of Ataturk Turkey is still a relatively democratic,
                              and secular, country, although in the middle of the country,
                              particularly in Konya, which is now fundamentalist, most of the women do
                              wear headscarves.

                              ====

                              All best,

                              Victor
                            • Victor Mair
                              Dear Colleagues, Here follows the announcement of an upcoming lecture to be delivered at Penn. I call it to your attention not because I expect many (any?) of
                              Message 14 of 23 , Nov 3, 2006
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                                Dear Colleagues,

                                Here follows the announcement of an upcoming lecture to be delivered at
                                Penn. I call it to your attention not because I expect many (any?) of
                                you to be able to attend, but because the contents of the lecture and
                                the listing of the author's work are relevant to various topics that we
                                have discussed from time to time.

                                Best,

                                Victor

                                ===================================

                                Wednesday, November 8, 2006
                                12:00–1:00 pm

                                Dr. Eleanor Robson
                                Department of History and Philosophy of Science
                                University of Cambridge (or is she at Oxford or Chicago; I've heard
                                all of these places)

                                **Mathematics, Numeracy and Society in Ancient Iraq**

                                (illustrated presentation)

                                Room 222
                                Bennett-Fischer Hall


                                Dr. Robson is the author of:

                                __Mesopotamian Mathematics 2100-1600 BC: Technical Constants in
                                Bureaucracy and Education__ (Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts, 14),
                                Oxford: Clarendon Press 1999.

                                With M. Campbell-Kelly, M. Croarken, and R.G. Flood (eds.), __The
                                History of Mathematical Tables from Sumer to Spreadsheets__, Oxford:
                                Oxford University Press 2003.

                                With J.A. Black, G.G. Cunningham, and G.G. Zólyomi, __The Literature of
                                Ancient Sumer__, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2004.

                                With W.L. Treadwell and C. Gosden (eds.), __Who Owns Objects? The
                                Ethics and Politics of Collecting Cultural Objects__, Oxford: Oxbow
                                Books 2006.

                                For information contact: Professor Grant Frame, gframe@...

                                Sponsored by the Center for Ancient Studies and the Department of Near
                                Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania.
                              • Victor Mair
                                [Mod. note. My view isn t really different from Damerow s here, Victor. Same for Jacob, I think. See Jacob s last message and also Damerow s paper, which deals
                                Message 15 of 23 , Nov 3, 2006
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                                  [Mod. note. My view isn't really different from Damerow's here, Victor. Same for Jacob, I think. See Jacob's last message and also Damerow's paper, which deals with these issues:
                                  http://cdli.ucla.edu/pubs/cdlj/2006/cdlj2006_001.pdf
                                  Cheers, Steve.]

                                  Colleagues,

                                  Below I quote statements from Jacob and Steve that concur in the
                                  assumption that proto-cuneiform most probably did not encode speech.
                                  According to the usual ground rules for this List, proto-cuneiform
                                  therefore is not writing. However, since both Jacob and Steve call this
                                  stage of development "proto-cuneiform," this must mean that they accept
                                  it -- as do many others -- as a precursor of cuneiform proper. I have
                                  two immediate sets of questions that follow from these suppositions:

                                  1. Is it fitting to call proto-cuneiform "pre-writing" or
                                  "proto-writing"? If not, how should we categorize it?

                                  2. Since proto-cuneiform apparently did not encode speech, what was its
                                  purpose or function? Did it convey meaning? If so, how did it do so?

                                  I ask these questions because I believe that they are essential, not
                                  only in getting at the heart of what happens in the lead-up to full
                                  writing, but also in coming to grips with the nature of symbol systems
                                  that convey meaning without encoding speech.

                                  Ciao,

                                  Victor

                                  ======

                                  Jacob Lebovitch Dahl wrote:

                                  Decoding the
                                  > proto-cuneiform texts is something we are working intensely on right now
                                  > in Berlin, and it is increasingly clear that the link between
                                  > proto-cuneiform and spoken language was very weak if at all existing.


                                  Steve Farmer wrote:

                                  > Michalowski writes of early script use at Uruk (late 4th millennium):
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >>This does not necessarily mean, however, that the whole Uruk system
                                  >>was created to represent Sumerian utterances. The first script was not
                                  >>linguistic in nature; it was an independent communication system that
                                  >>was parallel to language, was closely allied with it, but was
                                  >>essentially independent. Only essential, formalized bureaucratic
                                  >>notations were registered, and part of the message was expressed by
                                  >>means other than writing itself. Thus the type of commodity, or the
                                  >>textual genre could be noted by the format of the text or even by the
                                  >>shape of a tablet.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > That really isn't in conflict with Damerow's claim that proto-cuneiform
                                  > -- remember, we're speaking here only of very early materials -- was
                                  > not closely tied to speech.
                                • John Colarusso
                                  [Mod. note. I think that s a nice way to put it, John. - Best, Steve.] Just a brief thought: I see no reason why a system that eventually evolves into a true
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Nov 3, 2006
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                                    [Mod. note. I think that's a nice way to put it, John. - Best, Steve.]

                                    Just a brief thought: I see no reason why a system that eventually
                                    evolves into a true writing system should not have multiple origins,
                                    and the mixed systems that we see (cuneiform, etc.) reflect mixed
                                    earlier functions. One may draw pictograms for both expressive
                                    (connotational) and denotational purposes. Ou modern species is marked
                                    by the advent of drawing, and semantic theories still claim that
                                    language carries both aspects. One may stylize depictions to function
                                    chiefly as denotata (labels on goods) or mnemonics. Finally, in ritual
                                    to insure proper delivery of prayers, invocations, etc., one may
                                    attempt to render speech in a phonetic approximation. I do not see
                                    that this latter function necessitates the other two, but in fact would
                                    be rarer merely because ritual use is rarer. I think we can see all
                                    of these at work even at fairly early stages in the evolution of a
                                    writing system.

                                    Also, I would call oldest cuneiform "proto-writing" if only because it
                                    did lead to a writing system. Alternate efforts, if nipped in the bud,
                                    would then be pre-writing.


                                    John Colarusso, Ph.D.,
                                    Professor
                                    Departments of
                                    Anthropology, and of
                                    Linguistics and Languages

                                    This e-mail and any attachments may contain confidential and/or
                                    privileged information. If the reader of this message is not the
                                    intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination,
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                                    you.
                                    On Nov 3, 2006, at 6:55 PM, Victor Mair wrote:

                                    > [Mod. note. My view isn't really different from Damerow's here,
                                    > Victor. Same for Jacob, I think. See Jacob's last message and also
                                    > Damerow's paper, which deals with these issues:
                                    > http://cdli.ucla.edu/pubs/cdlj/2006/cdlj2006_001.pdf
                                    > Cheers, Steve.]
                                    >
                                    > Colleagues,
                                    >
                                    > Below I quote statements from Jacob and Steve that concur in the
                                    > assumption that proto-cuneiform most probably did not encode speech.
                                    > According to the usual ground rules for this List, proto-cuneiform
                                    > therefore is not writing. However, since both Jacob and Steve call
                                    > this
                                    > stage of development "proto-cuneiform," this must mean that they
                                    > accept
                                    > it -- as do many others -- as a precursor of cuneiform proper. I have
                                    > two immediate sets of questions that follow from these suppositions:
                                    >
                                    > 1. Is it fitting to call proto-cuneiform "pre-writing" or
                                    > "proto-writing"? If not, how should we categorize it?
                                    >
                                    > 2. Since proto-cuneiform apparently did not encode speech, what was
                                    > its
                                    > purpose or function? Did it convey meaning? If so, how did it do so?
                                    >
                                    > I ask these questions because I believe that they are essential, not
                                    > only in getting at the heart of what happens in the lead-up to full
                                    > writing, but also in coming to grips with the nature of symbol systems
                                    > that convey meaning without encoding speech.
                                    >
                                    > Ciao,
                                    >
                                    > Victor
                                    >
                                    > ======
                                    >
                                    > Jacob Lebovitch Dahl wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Decoding the
                                    > > proto-cuneiform texts is something we are working intensely on
                                    > right now
                                    > > in Berlin, and it is increasingly clear that the link between
                                    > > proto-cuneiform and spoken language was very weak if at all
                                    > existing.
                                    >
                                    > Steve Farmer wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > Michalowski writes of early script use at Uruk (late 4th
                                    > millennium):
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >>This does not necessarily mean, however, that the whole Uruk system
                                    > >>was created to represent Sumerian utterances. The first script was
                                    > not
                                    > >>linguistic in nature; it was an independent communication system
                                    > that
                                    > >>was parallel to language, was closely allied with it, but was
                                    > >>essentially independent. Only essential, formalized bureaucratic
                                    > >>notations were registered, and part of the message was expressed by
                                    > >>means other than writing itself. Thus the type of commodity, or the
                                    > >>textual genre could be noted by the format of the text or even by
                                    > the
                                    > >>shape of a tablet.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > That really isn't in conflict with Damerow's claim that
                                    > proto-cuneiform
                                    > > -- remember, we're speaking here only of very early materials -- was
                                    > > not closely tied to speech.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >

                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Victor H. Mair
                                    [Mod. note. Victor: you are talking about overlap of functionality in conveying words, ideas, notions etc. between proto-Elamite and the Tartaria tablets?!
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                      [Mod. note. Victor: you are talking about overlap "of functionality in conveying words, ideas, notions" etc. between proto-Elamite and the Tartaria tablets?! The status of proto-Elamite as linguistic is iffy, as Jacob Dahl has pointed out often, and even if it had linguistic elements we don't have any idea what language(s) the people who made these many thousands of accounting tablets spoke. We similarly know nothing of the language(s) of whoever made the Tartaria tablets (all three of them). So how are their similarities in functionality established? Are these really Finkelstein's arguments? It's only a 4-page article. Can you send us a scan so all of us can evaluate those arguments together? - Cheers, Steve.]

                                      Steve Farmer wrote:

                                      > Where are those "uncanny similarities", and why haven't specialists
                                      > on proto-cuneiform picked up on this.

                                      They have. See, for example, Adam Finkelstein, "Zu den Tontafeln aus
                                      Tartaria," __Germania__, 43 (1965), 269-273. I mentioned this in my
                                      long post that started this thread.

                                      When I was talking about "overlap," I was thinking primarily of
                                      functionality in conveying words, ideas, notions, concepts, numeracy
                                      (full writing, partial writing, mnemonic devices, symbols, signs, etc.),
                                      not structural or graphic similarity.

                                      > Classical Chinese doesn't encode speech! :^) I know what you are
                                      > saying, but ouch, Victor! I'll toss you in a room with Boltz and Qiu
                                      > Xigui and see what happens. :^)

                                      I know both of these gentlemen well, and would be happy to sit down with
                                      them and discuss the distinction between "unsayable" (Y. R. Chao's term)
                                      or "unspeakable" (my variant) Literary Sinitic and vernacular, demotic,
                                      colloquial, sayable, speakable forms of Sinitic.

                                      Ciao,

                                      Victor
                                    • Victor H. Mair
                                      No, no, Steve. You re confusing things. I made the argument about overlap of functionality days before I mentioned proto-Elamite, and, as a matter of fact,
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                        No, no, Steve. You're confusing things. I made the argument about
                                        overlap of functionality days before I mentioned proto-Elamite, and, as
                                        a matter of fact, wasn't even thinking about proto-Elamite at that
                                        time. I was considering different types of symbols for communication in
                                        general.

                                        Ditto for the Tartaria tablets: I wasn't thinking of proto-Elamite at
                                        all when I mentioned them. Rather, I was thinking of Sumerologists and
                                        proto-cuneiform specialists who take the Tartaria tablets seriously as
                                        deserving careful comparison with the clay tablets they work on.
                                        Finkelstein is just one example of such a scholar. I read his article
                                        about 20 years ago, and, though it is probably somewhere in my house,
                                        would take days, maybe even weeks or months to excavate. I'm pretty
                                        sure that the Sumerologists and cuneiform specialists on the List must
                                        be familiar with it.

                                        Ciao,

                                        Victor



                                        Victor H. Mair wrote:
                                        > [Mod. note. Victor: you are talking about overlap "of functionality in conveying words, ideas, notions" etc. between proto-Elamite and the Tartaria tablets?! The status of proto-Elamite as linguistic is iffy, as Jacob Dahl has pointed out often, and even if it had linguistic elements we don't have any idea what language(s) the people who made these many thousands of accounting tablets spoke. We similarly know nothing of the language(s) of whoever made the Tartaria tablets (all three of them). So how are their similarities in functionality established? Are these really Finkelstein's arguments? It's only a 4-page article. Can you send us a scan so all of us can evaluate those arguments together? - Cheers, Steve.]
                                        >
                                        > Steve Farmer wrote:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >> Where are those "uncanny similarities", and why haven't specialists
                                        >> on proto-cuneiform picked up on this.
                                        >>
                                        >
                                        > They have. See, for example, Adam Finkelstein, "Zu den Tontafeln aus
                                        > Tartaria," __Germania__, 43 (1965), 269-273. I mentioned this in my
                                        > long post that started this thread.
                                        >
                                        > When I was talking about "overlap," I was thinking primarily of
                                        > functionality in conveying words, ideas, notions, concepts, numeracy
                                        > (full writing, partial writing, mnemonic devices, symbols, signs, etc.),
                                        > not structural or graphic similarity.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >> Classical Chinese doesn't encode speech! :^) I know what you are
                                        >> saying, but ouch, Victor! I'll toss you in a room with Boltz and Qiu
                                        >> Xigui and see what happens. :^)
                                        >>
                                        >
                                        > I know both of these gentlemen well, and would be happy to sit down with
                                        > them and discuss the distinction between "unsayable" (Y. R. Chao's term)
                                        > or "unspeakable" (my variant) Literary Sinitic and vernacular, demotic,
                                        > colloquial, sayable, speakable forms of Sinitic.
                                        >
                                        > Ciao,
                                        >
                                        > Victor
                                        >
                                        >
                                      • Steve Farmer
                                        Dear Victor, Michele Thompson has forwarded an email (from Michael Coe via Ulla Kasten) on what we earlier discovered was the Tlatilco roller seal:
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                          Dear Victor,

                                          Michele Thompson has forwarded an email (from Michael Coe via Ulla
                                          Kasten) on what we earlier discovered was the Tlatilco roller seal:

                                          http://tinyurl.com/ydvl3b (image of the seal)

                                          I know that you've seen Coe's note, which with one big difference just
                                          repeats what we heard earlier from other Mesoamericanists about the
                                          piece. But the one difference is worth recording, since Coe doesn't
                                          seem to doubt a bit Kelley's view (apparently standard) that
                                          the piece was Olmec era.

                                          Coe writes:

                                          > This piece was published by David H. Kelley in 1996 [read: 1966]:
                                          > American Antiquity, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 744-746. According to him, it
                                          > was found in 1948 by the archaeologist Frederick Peterson, who rescued
                                          > it when brickyard workers were digging up the site of Tlatilco (now
                                          > totally destroyed) in Mexico City.
                                          >
                                          > When Kelley studied it, it was in the Milwaukee Public Museum. He
                                          > identified it as an unknown kind of writing, dating to the Olmec >
                                          > epoch.
                                          >
                                          > Actually, almost all of the burials and artifacts from Tlatilco belong
                                          > to the Early PreClassic or Formative period, about 1200-900 BC.
                                          >
                                          > No other object with writing like that (if it is writing) has ever
                                          > turned up.

                                          Links to other images of the seal, Olmec seals, and articles on the
                                          artifact were given in this post:
                                          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/5432

                                          Best,
                                          Steve
                                        • Steve Farmer
                                          Victor, I botched my intended meaning in my last post by not proofing. It s probably obvious from context, but for the record, what I meant was that Coe seems
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                            Victor,

                                            I botched my intended meaning in my last post by not proofing. It's
                                            probably obvious from context, but for the record, what I meant was
                                            that Coe seems to doubt the standard attribution of the piece (after
                                            Kelley) to the Olmec era -- not the reverse:

                                            Relevant part corrected below:

                                            > But the one difference is worth recording, since Coe seems to doubt a
                                            > bit Kelley's view (apparently standard) that the piece was Olmec era.
                                            >
                                            > Coe writes:

                                            >> This piece was published by David H. Kelley in 1996 [read: 1966]:
                                            >> American Antiquity, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 744-746. According to him, it
                                            >> was found in 1948 by the archaeologist Frederick Peterson, who
                                            >> rescued it when brickyard workers were digging up the site of
                                            >> Tlatilco (now totally destroyed) in Mexico City.
                                            >>
                                            >> When Kelley studied it, it was in the Milwaukee Public Museum. He
                                            >> identified it as an unknown kind of writing, dating to the Olmec >
                                            >> epoch.
                                            >>
                                            >> Actually, almost all of the burials and artifacts from Tlatilco
                                            >> belong to the Early PreClassic or Formative period, about 1200-900 >> BC.
                                            >>
                                            >> No other object with writing like that (if it is writing) has ever
                                            >> turned up.

                                            > Links to other images of the seal, Olmec seals, and articles on the
                                            > artifact were given in this post:
                                            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Indo-Eurasian_research/message/5432
                                            >
                                            > Best,
                                            > Steve
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