PIE legend of a crane devouring an enemy people
- In Benjamin Fortson's Indo-European Language and Culture, there's a mention about a possible `PIE legend about a mythical crane that devours an enemy people. Do you know anything related to this? I can just remember Herodotus' war between Pygmies and Cranes.JS Lopes
- John Greppin has two articles on cranes:
“Skt. Garuḍa, Gk. γέρανος: The battle of the cranes,” Journal of Indo-European Studies 4 (1976): 233-244.
“Crane,” in James P. Mallory—Douglas Q. Adams (eds.), Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, London—Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn (1997), 140-141.
In the latter, he writes "The crane is also the subject of an IE narrative complex involving a battle between cranes and a (non-Aryan"?) people. The tale is reflected in the traditions of five stocks (Latin, Greek, Armenian, Iranian, Indic) although it has been clearly borrowed among some of them." E.g., "Under Greek influence we also have a fifth-century Armenian account of how pygmies fight with cranes who are competing for the produce of their fields. The Middle Persian Greater Bundahisn relates how a large bird, the camrus, devastates
the fields of the non-Aryans." He then goes on to elaborate on some of the things he discussed in the first article.
More on the linguistic side of things, Gąsiorowski's "Gruit Grus: The Indo-European Names of the Crane" is forthcoming in Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia 18. In a pre-print available online, he comments that "Greppin’s suggestion of root-cognacy between Skt. Garuḍa- and Gk. γέρανος is formally implausible, but the symbolic and behavioural parallels he points out (including Garuḍa’s reputation as a snake-eater) are intriguing."
Hope some of this helps.
University of Memphis