The “mediterranean” Language
” Notes on Mediterranean vocabulary. I need to lay at least a handful of etymologies Sardinian and Mediterranean lato sensu (among the thousands I investigated) belonged to the Second Great Linguistic Koiné. This koiné also had bases in Sumerian and Semitic languages, but in this section it would be misleading to make reference at the Fertile Crescent, being more methodical to speak outright of Big Mediterranean Koiné: in fact, its words are found scattered for all the lands bathed by Mediterranean Sea, including Sardinia and Italy. So as I wished to understand by presenting examples of the First Koiné, even for the Second Koiné the words by me adducts tend to make people aware of an important fact for the purposes of scientific research, which is this: the Koiné was common to all banks of Mare Nostrum, without you will be able to identify an original focus.
The way to tell if a Mediterranean word does not belong possibly to the First Great Koiné is the following: it must show a certain articulatory complexity (bi-trisyllable) compared to Sumerian monosyllables, in the sense that those must appear in the new word as agglutination already established for centuries. Mainly, a word may be Mediterranean (hence of the Second Koiné) if it belongs to processes of civilization matured in this sea in the Neolithic Age or in the beginning of the metals.
I know that academics of Sardinia believe as “Mediterranean” all the words that are (deliberately) unvoiced to their erudition: words tagged as “Perimediterranei”, “Prelatini”, “Protosardi”, “Protoindoeuropei”, and with other adjectives for admission of academics must remain unknown, not investigated, incomprehensible, sealed. Nulla quaestiō: everyone goes their own way.
A SHORT ETYMOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF MEDITERRANEAN KOINÉ
ABBIR is variant of the well-known appellation of Sardus Pater Babay (Addir) worshiped in Punic temple of Antas. It drifts from Hebr. ʼabbīr ‘powerful, strong’ (אַבּׅיר), from which even the Greek ʽύβρις ‘arrogance, oppressor disposition, senseless powerful’, Akk. ubāru ‘force, violence’. See the personal Phoenician name ʼbbirbaʽal = ‘Baʽal is strong’. See the variant Addir.
AMANITA (It.) is a fungus in the genus of which we number the most digestible (Amanita Caesarea) and also the mortal (Amanita phalloides). It is considered scholarly voice, used in scientific Latin (amanita, from late Lat. aman[a]ētae, Lat. mediev. amanītēs, from Gr. ʼΑμανίτης). All of these forms are referred, as the source, to the Mount ‘Άμανος in Cappadocia. But this origin is unlikely. Indeed the etymological basis is Bab. amānītu (a vegetable).
ANATÒLIA is a saint venerated in a rural sanctuary in Cániga at Sassari. This is the only Sardinian church dedicated to this saint. The second church, called Santa Catolica, stood at Sèdilo in Puntanedda, but it is a heap of ruins. In Telti Anatolia is the patron saint, but she’s celebrated in another church together Santa Vittoria, whom the legend unite to Anatolia and Audace, all three killed by the sword under Decius (249-251): 286 SSCS.
I don’t wish to discuss about the Christian martyrology. Is the name to be of interest, which, needless to say, is translated as ‘Eastern’, because Anatòlia (modern Turkey) for the ancient Greeks was the land where the sun rose (anatolé ‘the rising of the sun’, ana-téllō I’m rising, I’m getting up, I’m sitting up’). Anatòlius in Rome was the name of the eastern craftsmen, and later it spread among Christians, especially among women.
It’s no coincidence Anatòlia has the same name of the goddess Anatu (Ištar of the Syro-Phoenician), who is the consort of Anu (the Sun god, the supreme God of the Sky). But also the Greek verb ana-téllō has the root in the East, exactly in Sumerian language: til ‘post, phallos’ + lu ‘flare up’, meaning ‘Phallos blazing, effulgent’, said of Goddess Anatu rising from the East (who was represented, in fact, by a pole, a phallos drove into the floor).
Finally, Anatòlia is the hypostasis of the resurgent goddess, the consort of the Sun, Aurora who rises, the goddess of love, of nature, of birth and rebirth of the Kosmos. It is no coincidence that Anu, his husband, just the Sun God, is still remembered, even in name, between the populations of the Campidano. In fact, under the guise of Saint John, celebrated June 24 at the height of the splendor of the Sun, lurks the god Anu (the supreme god of the Sky), called Santu Ani. The proof is that John, called in isolation, is said Giuanni. Such corruption is the result of a deliberate admixture made by Byzantine priests, who worked with John replacing Anu.
ARÁJ DIMÓNIU. This malignant being, called Aráj in so many fairy tales in Sardinia, is allied with Sardinian ráju ‘lightning, destructive element’, whose origin seems to first approach Lat. radius. Indeed he derives from Akk. arāḫu ‘to devour, destroy, consume (by fire)’. See Aragòne and Aráxi. Now it’s clear whence came to Sardinia the medieval concept of demons devourers and destroyers, owners of hell-fire.
ÀREA It. ‘delimited space of land, part of a more extensive place’; see Lat. ārea. It has etymological basis in Aram. ʼārʽāʼ ‘land, earth’.
CARRESEGÁRE Sd. ‘Carnival’. Wagner DES begins recording the Centr. word karrasekáre, Log. karresegáre ‘carnival’; Greek Paper 31: καρησεκ(άρη); Stat. Sass. I, 113 (39r): innanti de carrasecare; I, 114 (39r): sas festas de natale de carrasecare. Wagner translates from Latin carnem + secare, to say ‘cutting’, ‘stopping the feeding of meat’: a word as It. carnelasciare; Sp. carnestolendas or Gr. απόκρεως. Even DELI interprets It. Carnevale (appeared in sec. XIII) or Carnasciale (appeared with Cavalcanti in 1297) as, respectively, < Lat. carnem levare or carnem laxare, ie ‘to remove the meat’ or ‘to let the meat’, with reference to the period of fasting and penitence of next Lent. But it’s strange that a period of madness, license, tipping customs, which appears as an alternative of the everyday life, should receive the name from the rigors of a later period. The carelessness of the etymologists lags behind uncritically to Lat. carnem levare because it looks like Carnival! In fact, the tradition of Carnival in the Mediterranean – no matter how it’s exactly called and organized: Saturnalia or other – is as old as our civilization, dating back to Neolithic times, has always been a period of reversal, of breaking customs and traditional morality. The Log. and Centr. Carrasecáre, Carresegáre nothing divides with a ‘cut of meat’ but has the basis in Akk. qarnu(m) ‘power’ of humans + seḫu ‘to revolt, destroy, desecrate’ = ‘desecrating the Power, the powerful’. It’s therefore a non-violent revolt against powerful men have made to the people during the year. With regard to It. Carnevale, the etymology is from Akk. qarnu(m) ‘power’ of humans + (w)âru(m) ‘to go against, to clash with’ = ‘to go against the Power’. It. Carnasciale (Sardinian Carrasciale) < Akk. qarnu(m) ‘power’ of humans + šalû(m) ‘to submerge, immerge o.s.’ = ‘drowning the Power’.
CASU ‘cheese’, a word presented as a derived from Lat. căsĕus ‘cheese’ (an adjectival with root cas-). By the commonality of Sardinian and Latin words, it follows that Sardinians had their flocks and their cheeses before Romans. It is no coincidence Cicero called the Sardi mastrucati, because they covered themselves in the wool of their sheeps. The common basis of Sardinian casu and Lat. adjectival căsĕus is Mediterranean < Akk. kasû ‘bound’. Same basis of Gr. Chaos, a concept and word already known to the Akkadians.
CORDA a pan-Sardinian surname which Pittau, besides considering it as Italian (corda ‘rope’), at the same time presents Corda as Sardinian corda ‘ roasted braided intestines of sheep’ < Lat. chorda. This surname appears in condaghes of Silki and Bonarcado, in the code of Sorres and CDS II 44. But its origin is Mediterranean, based in Sum. kur ‘to burn, roast’ + udu ‘sheep’, composed kur-udu > kur(u)du > corda.
GURUSÈLE in Sardinia this place-name belongs to two different entities. The first is Monte Gurusèle in Supramonte of Baunéi, limestone peak over 1000 meters, the highest in the vast plateau. The second entity is entirely the opposite: it’s located at the base of a valley of erosion, in the town of Sassari; it indicates the most famous fountain (now called Rosello), from which, when there was no water service, caravans of water carriers departed with donkeys laden with casks, to supply drinking water to homes in the town. The two entities mentioned are alike for limestone; as Jerusalem, which stands on a limestone mountain. And so we have three entities in the Mediterranean, also of common etymology.
In the etymological survey I clear the field from the monte Gurusèle, from whose slopes descend the trickle that becomes a river and dominates the long throat of Ilune. Let’s go back to the source Guru-sèle in Sàssari, a compound name such as Jeru-salem-me. In analyzing it I leave from the second lemma -sèle and put it in relation with Šalimu (Semitic god of health). Šalimu as -sèle, has a base in Akk. šâlu ‘to rejoice, enjoy something’ then ‘feel good’ (hence the concept of salute ‘health’). But we in Akkadian have, with šalû (word a little different), also the concept of ‘submerged’ (hence the concept of diving, the “baptisms” made by ancient peoples in the sacred sources, which were made by submerging).
Returning to šâlu ‘rejoice, enjoy something’ then ‘feel good’, in Akkadian we have, connected to it, even salāmu ‘to be in peace’ (from which Heb. form šālom ‘peace, hello, are you okay!’, Arabic salām ‘peace’). We observe in the same period the Semites often used /s/ and /š/ interchangeably. Since the ancient Sardinian had the same language basics, even for (Guru)-Sele we admit both variants. Similarly we can express for the changing of /a/ in /e/ among the same Semitic languages and Sardinian too. Even this phonetic aspect has no problem, and it’s even more justified by the fact the word Yerûšālaym has the final long and, given the Latin-Mediterranean phonetic laws, Sardinia can not wonder if Heb. -ay- is concretionated as -ē-.
About the Canaanite god Šalimu, I remember in Sardinia we also have a third site named by this Semitic root: it’s Bruncu Salámu, a peak at Dolianova meaning, always in Akkadian, ‘health peak’. It’s no coincidence that the three sources that come from those heights were always the subject of real “pilgrimage” of people who feel as miraculous and healthy those waters, one of which healing biliary diseases, the second kidney diseases, the third gastritis disease (I’ve registered this anthropologic case, interviewing people going to “pilgrimage”).
In addition to meanings so far brought out, there’s more. To form salāmu ‘to be at peace, be well, be healthy’ matches (it’s supposed by the Akk. form šalû ‘to submerge’) a similar but different form, which is Akk. salāʼu ‘to sprinkle’ water (in purification rituals). Every people has its Lourdes: the Canaanites had their own: it was Jerusalem. The famous name is known in various forms, according to the people who wrote it: Heb. יְרוּשָׁלַיׅם, Gr. Ιερουσαλημ, ʿΙεροσόλυμα, Lat. Jerusalem, Ass. Urišläm, Akk. Urusalim, Urusalimmu. For the etymology we have Heb. יְרוּ* (*Iěru) ‘foundation, settlement of the city’, by Sum. iri ‘city’ + Šalam ( שׁלם ) ‘god of health’ = ‘Šalam City’. At least this is the etymology of the most approved; on which, however, I add something.
We all know that Sassari in Sardinia was the only site that literally “exploded” with a myriad of springs (unfortunately now the asphalt has waterproofed the whole territory, and the remaining sources are almost dry). In the immense limestone bank, rich of springs, had rise orchards and gardens of all kinds, thousands of small and large plots perennially irrigated, even in summer. The valley of Gurusèle alone feeded – as a vegetables – the entire city and the vast countryside. It is no coincidence that Sassari originally meant ‘vast network of gardens’ (from Sumerian sar ‘garden, vegetable garden, network of gardens’, reduplicated and simplified by phonetic law, indicating the totality: sa-sar- + Lat.-is > Sas-sar-is).
We have already noticed how the Semitists put Heb. *יְרוּ (*iěru) as ‘foundation, settlement of the city’ < Sum. iri ‘city’, so the whole lemma would say ‘Salam City’. But I must first of all recognize the famous name is known in various forms, according to the people who wrote it (see above). Well, in Sardinia the first member of this lemma has Guru- (not Ieru-), with the guttural evanescent Gu-, insomuch that the hydronym of Sassari passed from Guru… to (Gu)ru… > (Gu)Ru-sèle > Ru-séllu, finally Ru-séḍḍu in force of alveolare dominant in presence of double liquid (/ll/). Indeed, we can observe the existence of Akkadian form Uru-Salim, Uru-salimmu also authorizes in Sardinia the presence of (G)Uru… that in the modern era became (Gu)Ru… That said, I highlight the original identity Guru-sèle = Uru-salim = Ieru-salem.
This evidence and combination Sardinian-Akkadian doesn’t allow to recline upon the etymology initially highlighted (Ierušālaym = ‘Salam City’). The historic site Gurusèle-Ruséḍḍu remained for thousands of years removed from the city. The same was in Jerusalem: and we cannot call ‘city’ an extra-mural site. It would be a contraddictio in terminis. Also the source that gave the name to Jerusalem originally stood outside the village. The spring created a lake which was later excavated and expanded to create the city’s water reservoir. Obvious to think that originally the people went to the resurgence not only to draw water but also to soak o.s. and cure certain diseases, hence the dedication to Šalimu. The same was to happen in Funtana Guruséle, which originally was almost certainly a sacred spring, which then during the Renaissance was covered by a superb monument.
Having made this observation, we have to investigate deeper into the etymology of both place names, Sardinian and Jewish. We can do this only by appealing to the most ancient linguistic foundations which the Mediterranean people has, ie the Sumerian vocabulary, of which the whole Sardinia, and Sassari too, are pervaded. Here the scenery changes. Guru-Sele and Ieru-šālaym are reflected in a large array of Sumerian words.
For Guru- and Ieru- we have not only Sum. uru ‘city’, but also words that give good alternatives, with specific reference to the original “pool” that gave its name to the respective sites: example uru ‘flood’, uri ‘vase, bowl of water’ (referring to the pool), urim ‘pure’ (in relation to therapeutic value of water: ancient people didn’t distinguish the concept of pure from holy, miraculous), urim ‘protector’ (epithet referred to the god Šalimu), ur ‘protection’ (ditto), urim ‘illness’ (as a final epithet: ‘Šalimu of the diseases’), ur ‘limbs’, ur ‘rub’ (reported to therapeutic activity practiced at source; as a final epithet ‘Šalimu of limbs’, implied: healer.
Even the name of the god Šalimu can be analyzed by Sumerian into the following components: šala ‘mercy, mildness, pity’ (hence: Šalimu as ‘God of mercy’); or sal ‘post, phallos’ (as Šalimu’s epithet, and in this we see one of the epiphanies of the supreme God, as the supreme inseminator of Nature: the water was always considered the sperm of God). Lastly is the same name Salam or Šalimu to be able to dismember again in two: sa ‘tidying up’ + lam ‘to put in good shape’: sa-lam, meaning ‘(one who) heals and restores health’.
The abundance of possible etymologies offered by Sumerian language (which is the oldest, but also the guarantor, because of its antiquity), it makes us more cautive in choosing a final etymology. Whichever option we have on the name Šalimu, the initial lemma Ieru- or Guru- is certainly his epithet. So we can translate Ieru-Šalimu and Guru-sele as ‘Salam patron of the sick’. This program-name is not new in the toponymyc history of Eurasia and Sardinia. This island is literally full of sacred epithets referring to the various epiphanies of the Supreme God of Universe: see the place names Bunnànnaru, Bonuighìnu, Bonacattu, etc.
MADÁLLIA (aqua) or aqua licòrnia is the holy water used against the evil eye. The (Oristano) aqua madallia is no longer understood in the basic semantics, which is ancient, coming from none other than millennia of the Neolithic period, ten thousand years ago, when metallurgy was still in mind of God. The proof is Akk. madallu(m), matallu(m) (a precious stone). This Akkadian word (originally pan-European and Mediterranean) was then used to denote only the precious stones, but with the discovery of metallurgy it indicated the highest value of the new “miracle”, metals. In Oristano is still alive the concept of aqua madallia, a water with divine, supernatural power. In the Christian era it came to denote the holy water.
MAMMA, mama It. ‘madre’ (mother). It is placed by Dante in De vulgari eloquentia between vocabula puerilia, and is brought back from DELI to child language meaning ‘breast’, which in turn is adapted from Lat. mamĭlla ‘small breast’. Error. For Sardinian mama ‘mother’ Wagner also flounders in search of the etymology, having sufficient the phonetic equivalence between Sardinian and Italian lemmas: mama ↔ mamma. Indeed Sardinian mama (like It. mamma) has Sumerian bases, from ama ‘mother’. So also Latin, which has mater with base ma- + action suff. -ter. Mama (It. mamma) is affective doubling; or perhaps the initial m- is nothing more than the nominal Sumerian element mi, used in compound to indicate the ‘loving care’: m-ama.
NARCÍSO is the name of a famous flower: cf. Gr. νάρκισσος. He began Plutarch (Mor. 647 b) to hypothesize a relationship with νάρκη ‘numbness’. The modern etymologists reiterate verbatim, but don’t know how to give the etymomogy. To find it, it’s necessary to resume the ancient myths that tell of this flower. Ovid: the god of Cephisus river had wrapped in the coils of the water nymph Liriope, violating it. He was born Narcissus who, came to the youth, fell madly in love with himself consuming himself, or, according to the myths, committing suicide, or drowning in the water where he mirrored. However, he was reborn as a flower. Convinced that the basis of the name is νάρκη ‘numbness’, scholars today are convinced of what Pliny (N.H. XXI 128) stated, that the scent of the famous flower can cause a kind of torpor. The false statement is the proof ancients often (followed by modern) made paretymologies on the basis of paronomàsias. No account has been taken of the fact that the narcissus is a water flower water, is born at the edges of ponds, or in very wet soils. It’s no coincidence that various Greek myths, despite the variety of the story, join the character Νάρκισσος to water, rivers, ponds. The etymology is based precisely on these concepts: Semitic naḫar ‘river’, Akk. nārum ‘river’ + kissu ‘stem’ (construct state nār-kissu), meaning ‘stem of the waters’.
ROSA is the name of one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, so named in Sardinia since ancient times, despite those who mark an origin from Lat. rŏsa ‘rose’, which in turn is instead, simply, a Mediterranean name and of Near East, like the Sardinian. All people recall as basis Gr. ρόδον but there is too much phonetics distance. Indeed rosa is based in Akk. rusû(m) (a kind of spell). Name that says it all. (…)”
Source: Historical Grammar of Sardinian Language, Salvatore Dedola
[2.3 The Second Great Linguistic Koiné. The “mediterranean” Language]