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Re: [cybalist] River names - Quietly Flows the Don to the Sea

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  • Dennis Poulter
    Given the uncertainties over the etymology and semantics of Don/Dan, and inspired by John s kite concerning connections with the Dardanelles and Danaid river
    Message 1 of 5 , May 1, 2000
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      Given the uncertainties over the etymology and semantics of Don/Dan, and inspired by John's kite concerning connections with the Dardanelles and Danaid river people (which I don’t agree with, BTW), I offer the following kite.

      There is an inscription dated to mid-3rd millennium from Abu Salabikh in Mesopotamia which includes the word /dane-ki/. Its position in the list corresponds to a word /'amni-ki/ found in an otherwise identical list from Ebla, and has been construed by Prof.Pettinato, the translator of Eblaite, as referring to Amnissos, the port of Knossos. Another possibility is to link this to the Semitic (and Egyptian) root /ymn/ which means "right" (direction)" or "west".

      It seems probable then that /dane-ki/ refers to an ill-defined geographical "far west", either the Levantine coast or more likely the Aegean.

      There is also a Semitic root, still extant in modern Arabic, /dny/ meaning "low, inferior" and the form "dunya" is used in Islamic terms to denote this lower world, as opposed to the higher next world.

      It is entirely possible then that /dny/, nominal forms of which would include /da:niyu, da:nu/, refers to the extreme west as the entrance to the underworld, into which the sun sets and the souls of the dead go. This seems a more plausible explanation of Phaeton crashing the chariot of the sun into Eri-danos. "Eri-" could also come from a Semitic root /Hrr/, meaning "burn, scorch", as an image of "dny - the extreme west and entrance to the underworld" turning to fire as the sun sets into it.

      Serpents are also heavily involved in Egyptian myths (Apep) concerning the sun's nightly journey through the underworld.

      As a hydronym this now connects Dan/Don etc. with the River of Ocean at the edge of the world. The Danube was seen by the Egyptians as a northern extension of the River of Ocean.

      So the common theme is of wide rivers, rather than violent or swift ones, with associations with the west and/or access to the underworld. Even dew could be associated, as a product of the borderland between night and day.

      How these Semitic terms and images may have been transmitted to Celts and Indo-Iranians is another matter for another day.

       

      Cheers

      Dennis

    • John Croft
      Dennis An interesting kite, except for one thing ... Ocean at the edge of the world. The Danube was seen by the Egyptians as a northern extension of the River
      Message 2 of 5 , May 3, 2000
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        Dennis

        An interesting kite, except for one thing

        > As a hydronym this now connects Dan/Don etc. with the River of
        Ocean
        at the edge of the world. The Danube was seen by the Egyptians as a
        northern extension of the River of Ocean.

        Unfortunately that is not my understanding of Egypt. They thought
        the
        Mediterranean was the edge of the World (The "Great Green"), and they
        thought that Greece, Italy and Crete were islands set in this ocean.
        They had only the haziest idea about Urope and didn't know that the
        Mediterranean was landlocked. On this ground they would not have
        known about the Denube.

        The best explanation of Egyptian conceptions of Geography is in
        Pierre
        Montet's "Ancient Egypt". It makes interesting reading.

        Regards

        John
      • Dennis Poulter
        ... From: John Croft To: Sent: Thursday, 04 May, 2000 1:24 AM Subject: Re: [cybalist] River names - Quietly Flows
        Message 3 of 5 , May 3, 2000
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: John Croft <jdcroft@...>
          To: <cybalist@egroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, 04 May, 2000 1:24 AM
          Subject: Re: [cybalist] River names - Quietly Flows the Don to the Sea


          > Dennis
          >
          > An interesting kite, except for one thing
          >
          > > As a hydronym this now connects Dan/Don etc. with the River of
          > Ocean
          > at the edge of the world. The Danube was seen by the Egyptians as a
          > northern extension of the River of Ocean.
          >
          > Unfortunately that is not my understanding of Egypt. They thought
          > the
          > Mediterranean was the edge of the World (The "Great Green"), and they
          > thought that Greece, Italy and Crete were islands set in this ocean.
          > They had only the haziest idea about Urope and didn't know that the
          > Mediterranean was landlocked. On this ground they would not have
          > known about the Denube.
          >
          > The best explanation of Egyptian conceptions of Geography is in
          > Pierre
          > Montet's "Ancient Egypt". It makes interesting reading.
          >
          > Regards
          >
          > John
          >
          >

          John,
          I'm not familiar with M.Montet's work, but I'm sceptical of any pre-WWII
          European's generalisations about Egyptians' thought processes and concepts.
          They tend to provide a better insight into their own prejudices than an
          objective evaluation of the evidence.
          It is known from modern archaeology, analysis of lead isotopes etc. that
          Egypt, even in late pre-Dynastic times, was part of a wide-ranging trading
          network that extended from Spain in the west, to Afghanistan in the east,
          and from the Danube area (Transylvania, Hungary) in the north to tropical
          Africa in the south.
          Even if Egyptians were not directly involved, although there is no reason to
          doubt that they were not, there is every reason to assume that their
          knowledge of Europe was not that hazy, and that they were aware of a great
          river in the north, i.e. the Danube.
          And of course, they were right about Crete being an island.

          Cheers
          Dennis
        • John Croft
          Dennis wrote ... pre-WWII ... concepts. ... than an ... Pierre Montet s work is definitely post war Montet, Pierre: Eternal Egypt. ; 1964, Middle east , An
          Message 4 of 5 , May 4, 2000
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            Dennis wrote
            > John,
            > I'm not familiar with M.Montet's work, but I'm sceptical of any
            pre-WWII
            > European's generalisations about Egyptians' thought processes and
            concepts.
            > They tend to provide a better insight into their own prejudices
            than
            an
            > objective evaluation of the evidence.

            Pierre Montet's work is definitely post war


            Montet, Pierre: Eternal Egypt. ; 1964, "Middle east", An Nal-World
            Book Published by the new Aerican Library, 338 p.,

            Montet, Pierre: Isis--Or The Search For Egypt's Buried Past ; Friends
            ofHistory edition, Editions Ferni, English version, Geneva, 1977,

            MONTET, PIERRE.: History Of Civilisation. Eternal Egypt. ; 8vo; pp.
            xxi, 338; 4 maps, 64 pages b/w plates, 58 figures within text, notes,
            bibliography, index,

            Montet, Pierre: Everyday Life in Egypt in the Days of Ramesses the
            Great; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1981. PB, VG, Faded
            spine. index. rear., Illus,

            Montet, Pierre: Egypt and the Bible: People, Places and Customs.
            ;Philadelphia:: Fortress Press,, (1968).


            > It is known from modern archaeology, analysis of lead isotopes etc.
            that
            > Egypt, even in late pre-Dynastic times, was part of a wide-ranging
            trading
            > network that extended from Spain in the west, to Afghanistan in the
            east,
            > and from the Danube area (Transylvania, Hungary) in the north to
            tropical
            > Africa in the south.

            Recent finds have confirmed that Egypt used tobacco in preparing the
            Mummies, and evidence of silk fibres has been found in Mummy
            wrappings. A search is on at the moment to see if there is a now
            extinct form of tobacco known to the Egyptians.... if not the trade
            network would have extended from the Americas to China. There is a
            very good documentary on the subject that has just been released
            (about the conspiracy of silence suffered by the woman whose analysis
            showed these results. The trading network may have been even bigger
            than imagined.

            > Even if Egyptians were not directly involved, although there is no
            reason to
            > doubt that they were not, there is every reason to assume that their
            > knowledge of Europe was not that hazy, and that they were aware of
            a
            great
            > river in the north, i.e. the Danube.

            Evidence Dennis? Trade Routes joined Australia to Papua New
            Guinea and Indonesia and thence to Europe from Roman times. This
            does
            not mean that Romans knew of Australia, or that Romans traded baler
            shells and beche la mer from the Australian northern coasts....

            > And of course, they were right about Crete being an island.

            Yes there is evidence that Keftiu - the name given to Crete
            originally
            meant "Pillar". As a Pillar of Smoke would have been seen from Thera
            from a long way away, this could be an explanation. It also explains
            the confusion with Plato's confused explanation about Atlantis being
            beyond the Pillars (of Hercules - i.e. Gibraltar).

            Regards

            John Croft
          • Dennis Poulter
            ... From: John Croft To: Sent: Friday, 05 May, 2000 2:40 PM Subject: Re: [cybalist] River names - Quietly Flows the
            Message 5 of 5 , May 7, 2000
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: John Croft <jdcroft@...>
              To: <cybalist@egroups.com>
              Sent: Friday, 05 May, 2000 2:40 PM
              Subject: Re: [cybalist] River names - Quietly Flows the Don to the Sea

              The only references I had was to a P.Montet who wrote
              "Byblos et l'Egypte, quatre campagnes de fouilles a Gebeil" dated 1928/9,
              and to a Pierre Montet who asserted that Hellenes had inhabited the Nile
              valley in pre-Dynastic times. Is this the same person?

              >
              > Evidence Dennis? Trade Routes joined Australia to Papua New
              > Guinea and Indonesia and thence to Europe from Roman times. This
              > does
              > not mean that Romans knew of Australia, or that Romans traded baler
              > shells and beche la mer from the Australian northern coasts....
              >

              Of course, I have no "smoking gun" evidence. But I'm not claiming the
              Egyptians knew about
              Australia (although there is an Australian website that makes such claims),
              just the other side of the Mediterranean. There is evidence that they were
              in contact with Troy as early as 5th dynasty, and from there to the Black
              Sea and mouth of the Danube is not so far. I'm also not claiming they were
              intimately acquainted with the whole course of the Danube, just enough to
              know there was a major river there.

              > > And of course, they were right about Crete being an island.
              >
              > Yes there is evidence that Keftiu - the name given to Crete
              > originally
              > meant "Pillar". As a Pillar of Smoke would have been seen from Thera
              > from a long way away, this could be an explanation. It also explains
              > the confusion with Plato's confused explanation about Atlantis being
              > beyond the Pillars (of Hercules - i.e. Gibraltar).
              >

              I think this explanation unlikely, because :
              1. the earliest attestation of the term /keftiu/ comes from the First
              Intermediate Period, i.e. well before the Thera eruption;
              2. it's unlikely that the column of ash/smoke could have been seen from
              Egypt, due to the curvature of the earth. It's more than 500 miles from the
              Delta to Thera.
              3. the term ceased to be used after 1350BCE, which would mark the definitive
              Greek (Achaean) conquest of Crete. It was revived in Ptolemaic times, but
              referring to Phoenicia. So perhaps /keftiw/ referred to the pre-Greek
              peoples of Crete rather than the island itself.

              Cheers
              Dennis






              I don't think a pillar of smoke from Thera would have been visible from
              Egypt - it's more than 500 miles distant. From what I've read on the Thera
              eruption, it would seem that the main ash fall went to the north-east,
              towards Rhodes and the Anatolian coast.
              The name Keftiu also seems to have applied rather to Semitic (Phoenician)
              people of Crete. As I posted some time ago, after the Greek take-over of the
              island, the reference of Keftiu was transferred to Phoenicia.

              Cheers
              Dennis
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