VENETI IN THE LIGHT OF THE PALAEOLITHIC CONTINUITY PARADIGM
Slovenians have inhabited this territory since the Stone Age
(autochthonistic theory of origin – written by foreign scholars)
»The Slavs were never such bandits as the Germans,
instead living in peace, cultivating the land and rearing
much livestock. Due to their peace-loving nature they
were subjugated by other nations, but no other nation
wronged them as much as the Germans. It was their
misfortune that these peace-loving people had to have
Germans and Tatars for neighbours.«
(Johann Gottfried von Herder, 1744-1803, German philosopher)
In the second half of the 1990s, international attention was stirred by the Palaeolithic Continuity Paradigm (PCP), which by taking into account the latest archaeological, historical, genetic, linguistic, ethnological and other findings, gives proof for the continued settlement of the European territory ever since the Neolithic and in a certain sense even from the Palaeolithic onwards. In connection with this it is necessary to bear in mind the migrations which followed the last ice age and which went from south to north and not the other way round!
The main proponent of the continuity theory is Mario Alinei, long-time professor and emeritus of Utrecht University, president of the European editorial committee of “Atlas Linguarum Europae”, which is under the patronage of UNESCO, and director and editor of the journal “Quaderni di Semantica” etc. In two books, which number a total of almost two thousand pages and which were published in 1996 and 2000, he comprehensively presents and argues in favour of a new approach to history, and formally states his disagreement with conventional and untenable theories regarding the great migrations for which there is neither any archaeological nor any other evidence. On the other hand there is much evidence to support the PCP with which it is possible to do away with a whole series of inconsistencies and obvious “ideological constructs” (especially coming from German historians).
The theory has already been presented at international conferences and due to its unconventionality and the fact that it dismantles existing paradigms it has provoked diverse reactions; rejection from some and approval from others.
The PCP has been defended by some experts for a very long time. It is just that particularly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was largely overshadowed by the predominant, mainly German schools (although there were also some supporters of the PCP to be found among them).
The most modern PCP is a systematic continuation of the latest research into the origin of Indo-Europeans which was conceived in the 1960s by Marija Gimbutas with a Kurgan theory in support of the Black Sea variant. In the 1980s, Lord Colin Renfrew developed the ideas into the Anatolian theory of Indo-European origin, based on new archaeological and linguistic discoveries (above all the archives of clay cuneiform writing in the Middle East).
For the wider Slovenian territory, the most interesting finding is that already in the distant past our ancestors lived far towards the west in the Alps and that even after millennia it is possible to trace the influence of Slavonic languages on Latin, and this is also the case for the ancient Veneti. An example of an interesting word for linguists is “veverica” (meaning squirrel in Slovenian), which was used by Pliny, and the analysis of which leads to exceptional conclusions.
The contemporary PCP is a new paradigm of the Palaeolithic and Neolithic settlement of Europe which we will have to pay particular attention to in various specialised fields of research in order to give it our critical and creative contribution.
Of great importance for the PCP is the work of F. C. Guisasola (GUI) “The enigma of the Basque language preceding the Indo-European languages”.
1. ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF THE INDOEUROPEANS
At present there are three dominant but quite different theories concerning the origin of the Indo-Europeans (IE).
The invasion theory, which we can call simply the “traditional” theory, is based on the premise that IE, before settling elsewhere, were belligerent herding nomads who in the Chalcolithic (the Copper Age), i.e. the 4th century BC, invaded Europe, acculturated the existing population and completely replaced the previous language(s) with the Indo-European language. A prominent representative of the modern version of this theory, the late Marija Gimbutas, a Lithuanian who worked in the USA, developed in the 1960s her “Kurgan theory”, according to which the “cradle” of the IE is on the north side of the Black Sea, i.e. in southern Ukraine or south Russia, from where they took over Europe with military force. Two of her important followers are the American-born Northern Irish archaeologist James Mallory and the American linguist Wilfred Lehman.
The economic theory, which claims that IE came from the East bringing a revolutionary form of economy – a new form of agriculture: this was supposed to have been in the 7th century BC, i.e. three centuries (!) earlier than the time put forward by the traditionalist theory, and represents the beginning of the Neolithisation of Europe.
The most prominent representative of this school is its founder, the English Lord Colin Renfrew (REN), who first put forward the theory in its entirety in 1987, but it is also supported by a series of geneticists, including Cavalli Sforza from Stanford University in California. According to this theory, IE are said to originate from the Middle East, more precisely from Anatolia, and from there they spread diffusely and peacefully over Europe, above all with their innovative farming technique.
The indigenous or continuity theory, claims that the IE came to Europe and Asia neither in the Chalcolithic nor in the Neolithic but were simply the heirs of the first groups of homo sapiens, who came from Africa and settled in Europe and Asia in the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic (depending on the model of homo sapiens development which we choose to accept). This theory was developed in the second half of the 1990s by the Italian historical linguist Mario Alinei, working at Utrecht University, and who is supported, among others, also by the Belgian archaeologist Marcel Otte. In short, according to the PCP, the present-day population of Europe lived on more or less the same territory as today already in the Paleo-Mesolithic; more specifically, the Slavs already lived in the region of south-eastern Europe in that time and moved north from there; the Slovenes too lived in this region but they once stretched farther into Italy and as far as Switzerland. (At this point it is interesting to mention Conte (CON), who states that some Slovenes(!) moved north to the shores of Lake Ilmen, where they founded the city of Novgorod and were for a long time distinct from the Russians.)
Up until the 1970s, not only was such a theory never discussed, but archaeology never even doubted the "great migrations" (!) on our continent which were said to have been caused by belligerent IE peoples. In those years, European archaeology experienced two great revolutions: (a) chronologically, through new techniques of radiocarbon, dendrochronological and other types of dating which increased by several millennia the prehistory of Europe, thereby confirming Europe’s cultural development, independent of great events in the East; (b) the other revolution was of an interpretative and methodological nature, considering the developmental forms of European prehistory; while archaeology previously referred to great and extensive "migrations" as priority explanations for all manner of great changes including changes in languages, nowadays, the whole development of European prehistory is considered to be internal evolution, with social and economic contradictions, the spreading of advanced manufacturing processes and new ideas. What is more, on the basis of increasingly precise interpretations of archaeological sources and their implications, present-day archaeology completely rejects any continental invasions in either the Chalcolithic or the Neolithic!
On the linguistic level, these latest changes to the time frames and methodological approaches followed archaeology with a delay, but with huge consequences for studies of one of the European peoples we refer to as Uralic. Previously, the traditional theory assumed that these peoples too came to Europe from elsewhere in relatively recent times and that they replaced the existing population, similarly to the way in which the IE were thought to have replaced the Pre-Indo-Europeans in the rest of Europe. Nowadays, the new theory speaks to us about "Uralic continuity" in north-eastern Europe, and it is welcomed with open arms by archaeologists and linguists alike, and has already become a part of general cultural awareness. It does, however, claim that all Uralic peoples are descendants of the homo sapiens groups which found themselves in eastern Europe, south of the polar region, prior to deglacialisation and after the warming of the climate. With the onset of the current climate (Holocene), they settled vast territories of north-eastern Europe.
The importance of the publication of Colin Renfrew’s theory in 1987 and the lively debate it sparked is in its first fundamental and substantiated critique of the traditionalist theory, which he replaced with the revolutionary idea that the IE were not belligerent invaders but simply the first farmers who came from western Asia, acculturated the European Mesolithic hunter gatherers who as a result of the more developed culture replaced their language(s) with the Indo-European language. So not by arms or military force or racial superiority as traditional theories, which are completely unacceptable in the wake of Renfrew, put forward, but progress due to more advanced land cultivation which gave better economic results than hunting and gathering. This raised their reputation, gave them economic solidity and enabled them to have a higher birth-rate, which in turn meant that they became dominant and spread their language to other peoples. Neolithisation or the Neolithic Revolution also draws from new discoveries in metallurgy (copper, bronze), the treatment and use of clay etc.
It is, however, surprising that while almost everyone agrees about "Uralic continuity", Renfrew’s theory came up against stiff opposition not only from indoeuropeists who are strongly attached to the traditional "great migrations" of warring nomadic herders in the copper age, but it was also criticised by archaeologists who could prove without great difficulty that farming spread amongst the autochthonous population even in places where no significant migration from the east could be detected and farming even spread later and does not coincide with the IE settlement. On the basis of such critiques of Renfrew’s otherwise progressive theory, Alinei and others developed the latest PCP, which has much in common with Renfrew’s theory: (a) both of them shift the date several millennia further into the past in comparison with the traditionalists; (b) both of them ascribe continuity of ethnic composition to the European region since the Neolithic up until the present day; (c) both of them radically change the framework of traditional ideas about the development of languages on the European continent. However, the latest PCP is much more consistent and has taken a further step forward; Alinei – the main proponent of the PCP – claims, among other things, that the idea that ancient Rome played a decisive role in the development of all Romance languages must be abandoned completely. This is of exceptional significance when it comes to studying the Veneti!
2. VENETI IN THE LIGHT OF THE CONTINUITY THEORY
2.1. The beginning is not in Rome
According to Renfrew, the first European Neolithic cultures present in different regions of the continent were at the same time also the cultural manifestation of different language groups. This means that the first appearance of an ethnolinguistic group, which is traditionally (!) called italic, i.e. the one which among other languages also includes Latin, Osco-Umbrian, Venetic [?!] and other minor languages, which coincides with the culture of Cardial Pottery (which got its name from the characteristic decoration of ceramics – often done with the edge of a seashell known as Cardium), which from the beginning of the 7th century BC onwards spread across all of the central and western upper Mediterranean, from Dalmatia to the Portuguese Atlantic coast, also coincided with the spreading of agro-herding which happened in a similar period.
For the PCP this presumption is entirely valid and even gains additional corroboration, as even before the spreading of the mentioned ceramics, the entire northern Mediterranean is typified by a homogeneity of cultures not only during the Mesolithic (cultures named Sauveterrian and Castelnovien), but already at the end of the Palaeolithic (with a culture known as Epigravettian). According to the PCP the age of the italid/italoid group (!!), – some kind of pre-Italic language group or language group related to Italic – increases. However, in both theories the main consequence of attributing the characteristic ceramics to the italic/italoid group is shown in the fact that we are then obliged to accept not only the existence of Latin and other italic/italid languages, which we know from the Neolithic onwards, but also other related languages in Dalmatia, southern France and the Iberian Peninsula which are undocumented. This is a surprising conclusion for historical linguistics, which will have to accept not only the idea that Latin had a millennia-long pre-Roman prehistory, but also that Rome was not the originator of the history of Romance languages, but was only an important chapter in their development, which began 6,000 years earlier. In the light of these arguments Alinei introduced a new concept for languages that are related to Latin – italid or italoid languages, with which he wished to stress that according to this historical scenario, which is common also to Renfrew and the PCP, Italy represents only part of a whole which includes also southern France, the Iberian Peninsula and Dalmatia.
Alinei believes that the history of the Germanic, Celtic, Greek, Slavonic and other groups is similar to that of the italoid group. All these language groups are thought to have been present on their historical and (for the main part) present-day territories at least in the Neolithic, partly even in the Palaeolithic, and developed for several millennia longer than was thought by traditional history, both according to Renfrew’s theory and the PCP. But the PCP ascribes an even older history to these language groups.
The Veneti must be studied in the context of the origin of the Indo-Europeans which continues to be one of the most important questions tackled by contemporary historians and linguists.
Among the large number of theories which have been dealing with these questions for centuries and have been placing the origin of the Indo-Europeans in different parts of the extensive Eurasian continent, three theories from the last three decades stand out (in order of appearance):
(1) the theory of the late archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, who was of Lithuanian origin but worked in the USA – the “Kurgan theory” (from the 1960s), which is also strongly supported by another renowned archaeologist J. P. Mallory, who assert that in the 4th century BC, herding nomadic peoples – the Indo-Europeans – barbarously subjugated, if not exterminated the previous settlers – peace-loving farmers – and imposed upon them their culture (the Kurgan culture) and their language. This theory of invasion or catastrophist theory has been popular with historians ever since the 19th century. Following this theory, linguists conclude that the individual Indo-European languages differentiated and came into existence from the original single Indo-European language relatively late.
(2) According to the studies of the third renowned archaeologist Colin Renfrew, who spread his theories intensively in the 1980s, a linguistic question must also be addressed (somewhat unusually for an archaeologist), as he finds that archaeology offers no evidence for violence and conflict in the 4th century BC which could bring about cultural and linguistic changes. Renfrew believes that Indo-Europeans are only the first farmers on the European continent and that Indo-Europeisation is only an aspect of the Neolithic revolution when the farming and animal-rearing economy fast replaced the economy based on hunting and gathering. This Neolithisation spread from Anatolia towards Western Europe from the beginning of the 7th century BC onwards, i.e. three millennia before Gimbutas’ Kurgans, and, what is particularly significant, it was a case of diffusion and not violent or even genocidal spreading of a new culture.
(3) In the 1990s, Mario Alinei, who was undoubtedly impressed by Renfrew’s work, took his conclusions and combining them with the studies of the world famous archaeologist G. Child from the 1950s, developed them further into a new archaeology with much older dates than those that have hitherto been put forward. Alinei rejects invasionist theories and believes that the Indo-European diaspora is several millennia older than the one put forward by Renfrew, which is confirmed also by the latest radiocarbon measurements and which can agree with linguistic findings, which also confirm that the first Indo-European community existed in the Stone Age. Alinei warns that already in the beginning of the 2nd century BC in Anatolia three peoples – the Hittites, Luwian and Palaic – spoke three different Indo-European languages (these discoveries are the fruit of the latest discoveries of clay tablets and the study of the languages inscribed on them). They estimate their arrival in this area to have occurred in the 3rd or even 4th century BC. In light of this fact it is difficult to imagine that even in the 3rd millennium BC there may have existed a common Indo-European language which would so quickly have differentiated into completely different languages in so small a space. In the same way the unravelled Linear B script (Ventris and Chadwick, 1956) shows us that Mycenaean was not only a form of archaic Greek in the 2nd century BC, but it was already the koiné of a country which knew many different dialects. This again obliges us to ask if it was possible that the Indo-European diaspora came about only a few centuries earlier, if the four so different – although admittedly – Indo-European languages (in Anatolia and in Greece) came about only in the 2nd century BC.
Of course, Alinei came up against a series of opponents from the ranks of the traditionalist historians, although his theory of continuity (which claims that Europe’s present-day territories have been populated by the same peoples ever since the Palaeolithic-Mesolithic, and in which he expressly mentions the Slovenes) is not fundamentally very different from Renfrew’s views. He is just much more consistent also in the linguistic aspect.
Among those who welcome his ideas is Xaverio Ballester from the University of Valencia, who wrote (Rivista italiana di dialettologia, 23/1999): “Alinei will take the credit for being the first person in most recent times (Alinei warns that we must not forget his distant predecessor Herbert Kühn and his work “Herkunft und Heimat der Indogermanen”, 1932), to develop a precious and courageous theory of Palaeolithic origin also for the Indo-European languages. It is true that some of these new ideas may seem revolutionary (and subversive) considering some foundations of doctrines that have been valid for centuries, so we must not expect that they will rapidly be welcomed in some circles; maybe they will not be accepted at all. In any case we hope that in academic circles it won’t be the spirit of censure that predominates, so that other people and especially the young will have the opportunity to become acquainted with and study new ideas, and will be able either to reject or accept them; in short, that they will have the opportunity to evaluate the reasons, which led Alinei and others, although we are still a minority, to begin to assert that the European predecessors were ordinary people, nothing special and that they were even better than was originally assumed. Better than us but not superior to other people.” In this quote it is possible to sense a critique of the racist Arian theory, which can still be traced in fundamental presumptions of classic theories of the origin of the Indo-Europeans...
These radical, updated and well-founded theories that are backed up with strong evidence and which contradict the supposed migration at the end of the old and the beginning of the new age, are of interest for us Slovenes as well as Croats, Serbs and others, not forgetting the Etruscans, Greeks, Italic peoples etc., and obviously have an important bearing on the question of the Veneti. That is why it is very important that the second part of the book entitled “Origins of the Languages of Europe – the Theory of Continuity” has at last been published (first part was published in 1996). It was written by the already mentioned long-time professor and emeritus at Utrecht University, Mario Alinei (of Italian origin), who founded and is the director of the journal “Quaderni di semantica”, president of “Atlas Linguarum Europae” at UNESCO, president of the “Societé Internationale de Geolinguistique et de Dialectologie” and author of numerous academic works. These two books number over 1,800 pages of detailed analysis and academic foundations for the PCP, which in fact proceeds from the supposition that hypotheses about European migrations are untenable and that many open historical questions and obscurities can only be explained by recognising that there never were any of the famous migrations and that Europe has been home to Indo-Europeans since the Stone Age – more or less on the territories they inhabit today.
Professor Mario Alinei is particularly interested in the Slavs who he claims have lived in southeast Europe since antiquity and what is more, that they spread from southeast Europe towards the north and northeast.
Francis Conte, albeit still in the framework of the traditional migration theories, provides us with further arguments for the contemporary continuity theory. He was educated at St. Antony's College in Oxford, then at the universities of Harvard and Leningrad. He is now professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, and was director of the Institute for Slavonic studies in Bordeaux; in 1986 he published a book in Paris entitled “Les Slaves. Aux origines des civilisations d'Europe,” which was also translated into other languages. Someone who has studied history only from Slovenian textbooks will find that it contains much material which in Slovenia would not be taken seriously and would be mocked. He writes (pg. XXII): “But history, and in a special way Slav history, provides us with hidden testimonies: that is why we must resort to archaeological excavations and linguistic research.” Here is just one example which is in typical connection with what we will read later. Conte who, thanks to his thorough education and specialisation is well aware of the differences between Slovenes, Slovaks and Slavonians, writes that Slovenes separated into two groups, one of which now lives on the current territory while the other group (Conte says: maybe in the 4th century AD) headed north and lived in Novgorod, around Lake Ilmen, and was for a long time distinct from the Russians.
Leading experts have for a long time been crossing swords over the origin of the Indo-Europeans who some believe originated in Asia, others in Scandinavia, a third group even in Egypt. In recent decades the late Marija Gimbutas had many supporters for her theory that Indo-Europeans originate from the "Kurgan culture" on the north side of the Black Sea, i.e. from southern Ukraine and Russia. She was opposed in the 1980s by Colin Renfrew and his adherents. He earned his lordship with his historical works, with his newest theory concerning the Anatolian origin of the Indo-Europeans which he backs up not only with archaeological but also with linguistic and the most modern genetic evidence. The lively debate includes the question about the origin of the Slovenes and other (southern) Slavs, who are of course Indo-Europeans, so they are said to have come from the northern coast of the Black Sea (Gimbutas) or from Anatolia (Renfrew). In Slovenia we are well aware of the polemics surrounding the Veneti and the Etruscans, labelled “Venetology” by conventional historiography and which according to some people is “our cultural complex” (and complexes as we all know belong to the field of psychiatry). Let us just recall our autochtonist Davorin Trstenjak from the 19th century who suffered many injustices, as was admitted by the late France Bezlaj, although there have always been many reputed foreign historians who had ideas similar to those of Trstenjak. Among them we find the well-known Italian historian, anthropologist and linguist Giuseppe Sergi (died in 1936), who in his extensive opus develops the theory that Latin was formed by the merging of ancient Slavic and the language of the non-Indo-European native inhabitants (of Mediterranean race) on Italian territory so Italian was not brought from the original homeland of the Indo-Europeans.
Professor Alinei often set out his views before the international academic public and despite facing some understandable opposition he nevertheless gained a considerable number of supporters as historiography has come to the point when it will be necessary to begin writing history anew. Linguistic and historical research is of particular importance and is enabled by the reading and deciphering of tens of thousands of clay tablets with cuneiform script, discovered in the Middle East especially in the last decades of the 20th century. One of the important arguments in favour of the Middle Eastern origin of the Indo-Europeans is linguistic connections between Semitic languages (which predominated in Mesopotamia) and Indo-European languages (which is also taken into account by Renfrew). They were studied thoroughly by the etymologist Semerano. He researched a surprisingly large number of words in Greek and Latin which were labelled ‘etymology unknown,’ but he managed to find appropriate explanations for them in Akkadian, a language which was for millennia a "lingua franca" – language of communication and diplomacy in a broad region of the eastern Mediterranean. This was said to prove that Indo-Europeans and Semites long lived in direct and neighbourly contact with each other.
Prof. Alinei is quoted to have said: “I must begin by doing away with one of the most absurd results of traditional chronology: ''the arrival'', supposedly even in the historical period, of the Slavs on the immense territory which they now inhabit... the only logical conclusion is that the southern branch of the Slavs is the oldest and that from it developed in different ways and maybe in different times, the western and the eastern branches of the Slavs (comment by L. V.: how similar this is to Nestor’s theory from 800 years ago in his Primary Chronicle) ...Nowadays, only a small number of experts support the theory about the late migrations of the Slavs... for none of the versions of late migration answers the question: what enabled the Slavs with their Bronze Age hearths to become the dominant population in Europe... the south-western Slavs always bordered on the Italics in Dalmatia, in the eastern Alps and the Po Valley... the supposed ''Slav migration'' is full of contradictions... There is no such thing as a “north Slav language,” instead this is just a variant of south Slav... the first metallurgic cultures in the Balkans are Slav... in connection with Anatolia... The presence of the Slavs in an area which is very close to the present area has existed since the Neolithic (and therefore even from before)... Slavs were the first peoples (together with the Greeks and other Balkan peoples) to develop land cultivation... a mixed agricultural economy, typically European, which later enables the beginning of Greek, Etruscan and Latin urbanism... The Germanic tribes took over land cultivation from the Slavs... the Balkan region is one of the rare regions for which it has been proven that they truly were settled by groups of people who had come from Anatolia...” These short quotations are eloquent enough for us to understand how revolutionary the continuity theory is. But it has many and some famous predecessors since the oldest of times and is gaining new impetus in the international academic world.
The already mentioned etymologist Giovanni Semerano has quoted a whole series of Slovenian words which have an appropriate equivalent in Semitic Akkadian. Even in the (unfinished) etymological dictionary of the Slovenian language compiled by the late academician France Bezlaj (who wrote that Slovene is one of the most archaic languages) we find here and there mention of Akkadian traces, but this has not been studied by Slovenian linguistics in sufficiently comprehensive or systematic manner. Several months ago my book entitled “Jantarska pot” (The Amber Road) was published which deals more comprehensively with this matter in light of the latest discoveries and research carried out by the most renowned international experts. In it I list a series of questions which from the point of view of traditional historiography are still open and which could in the light of the PCP be elegantly solved, taking into account many of the latest discoveries by modern archaeology, historiography and linguistics, which speak in favour of an ancient close link between the people that spoke the language from which Slovene developed and the peoples who five or more millennia ago spoke Semitic languages in the Middle East. G. Semerano himself draws attention to this fact.
If we return to Giuseppe Sergi, historian, anthropologist and linguist who concluded (albeit from the knowledge available at the time) that Latin sprung from Old Slavonic and the language of the aboriginal peoples i.e. the people of Mediterranean race who were mainly of Semitic origin, Sergi was one of those predecessors of the PCP who took into account archaeological as well as anthropological, ethnological and linguistic arguments in his analyses. Let us take an example:
Alinei (ALI, 2000) notes that only Pliny (1st century AD) wrote the word 'viverica', and then he analyses it in light of his PCP.
What do we find out about this in other works?
(CAM): ital. scoiattolo – lat. sciurus; it is interesting that in the same dictionary we do not find the word translated from Latin into Italian (?!), neither do we find scuriolu(m), which is mentioned by Zingarelli. There is also no mention of viverica.
(ZIN): scoiatto, rarely scoiattolo [dal lat. scuriolu(m) – dim. dissimilato di sciurus].
(BRA): sciurus – 'veverica'.
(CAL): sciurus – 'scoiattolo' (Plin. E Mart.)
(BAT): viverra f. (1831, Audouin), zool.; 'zibetto', species viverridi (carnivori, carnivores); lat. sc. viverra (Linneo, 1758), -idae (Gray, 1821); ant. (XVII century, Oudin), 'furetto'; Latin erudite term vivera 'furetto', 'white weasel, vretica' (Plinij), 'donnola', 'weasel' (Glasse); we also find similar expressions in other Indo-European languages; preserved in the Monferraro vinvera, Valsoanesque bera 'scoiattolo'. From Old Slavonic veverica, passed over into modern-day Greek berberitsa 'scoiattolo', 'veverica'. English viverra (1706).
(ERN): viverra, -ae f.: 'furet' (Plinij), 'belette' (mustella', 'weasel'). M. L. 9412; viverrarium n.: place where white weasels are bred and which are then used to hunt rabbits (compare with M.L. *viverrica 'belette', and 9414 *viverrula 'ecureuil', 'veverica', some believe the word has an old meaning which brings to mind the Celtic word gwywer (borrowed from viverra believes J. Loth); Prussian weware, Lithuanian veveris, vovere; Serbian veverica; Persian varvarah. Generally it is a form of duplicating a different type, whose root is *wer-: in English we find the compound noun ac-veorna (the German Eichhorn stems from some popular etymology). The root could also be found in Greek ά(F)είρω 'j'eleve', 'to breed' and αιώρα 'balançoire', 'swing'.
(FOR): viverra (vivarra) – Animal exiguum domesticum, paullo majus mustela, colore etiam candidiore, furetto, γαλη κατοικιδιος (Mustella furo Linn.) – Plin. 11. Hist. Nat. 49.109 (261).*1
Ossea genitalia sunt lupis, vulpibus, mustellis, viveris*1a. Id. 30 ibid. 6.16 (47) – Plin. Valer. 2.2.1; Plin. 8 Hist. Nat. 55.81 (218)
(COR): viverra – mamifero asiatico dei carnivori a corpo snello, con ghiandole anali che sacernono una sostanza odorosa (l. 1598): furetto, voce dotta (con qualche esito pop.), lat. viverra(m), da una radice espressiva *wer-, qui raddoppiata, come in altre lingue indoeuropee, dove indica lo scoiattolo. Ma i nomi di questi piccoli carnivori si scambiano facilmente: nelle glosse, p. es. viverra(m) e dota come sin. di muscella(m), cioe mustella(m) 'donnola', e 'donnola' e il sign. che ha vinvera a Cuneo, mentre nel Monferrato e lo 'scoiattolo'. *2
(ALI/2) Alinei (pg.732) stresses: “...the Latin word vivera/*viverrica and derivatives [FEW s.v.]. This is a Latin lexeme, confirmed only in Pliny’s writings and having a reliable affinity with Slavonic and Baltic languages...” As this is an example of particularly ancient testimony it is worthy of special attention, bearing in mind the continuity theory, which places the Veneti in this contact area between the Italids and the Slavs, although Alinei’s opinion about the Veneti is: “Evidently, when talking about the continuity theory we can no longer use the term Romance, if we want to denote a group of linguemes, which were spoken at the time in the region of the northern Mediterranean, not even italic, if we wanted to define their Indo-European predecessor... it would be better to say that a new version of Latin was introduced to provinces where a different language had always been spoken or a more or less related language such as Faliscan, Italic, Venetic and many other unknown linguemes, which were never recorded in written form but which can be presumed on the basis of the present-day languages and dialects... When considering Latin in light of the continuity theory, it must be classified more strictly, not as is done nowadays by traditional linguistics, between "classic Latin" in the sense of the written elite language and "spoken Latin", which existed in almost innumerable forms... and which were geographically and chronologically different from a pre-Roman version of Latin (the Latin which existed before Rome was founded and before the formation of an elitist class of Latin speakers). However, they existed at the same time as different versions and development levels coinciding with Italic, Venetic and other Indo-European languages of ancient Italy which we know only in the form of written koiné. According to the scenario of the continuity theory Latin, Italic, Venetic, Faliscan and related languages not only precede Romanisation, but also the foundation of Rome by millennia.”
The PCP has particular significance for us because among other things it directly refutes the concept of the Rhaeto-Romance languages and makes it historically and linguistically unacceptable or artificial. Instead it puts forward and reasons in favour of Ladin, the language which is spoken even nowadays on the territory stretching from Friuli across the Carnic Alps as far as Switzerland where it even has the status of one of the national languages, as a language which came about from the preceding substratum and Slovene. This can be corroborated not only linguistically but also with ethnological, sociological and historical evidence.
The already mentioned Xaverio Ballester (n. d. pgs. 1 and 2) expresses his conviction: “...Alinei’s work represents by far the most revolutionary idea to be formed about the origin of (Indo) European languages in recent years, in a period characterised by widespread new discoveries – many of which were also revolutionary – in archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, ethnology, genetics as well as ecology and climatology in relation to prehistory.”
Michel Contini writes in his dissertation “Vers une nouvelle linguistique historique: L'ouvrage de Mario Alinei, Origini delle lingue Europee” (Dialectologia et Geolinguistica – Journal of the International Society for Dialectology and Geolinguistics, 8/2000): “Au cours de ces dernières années l'intérêt pour le passé le plus lointain de l'humanité n'a cessé de grandir... L'ouvrage de Mario Alinei, linguiste 'généraliste', comme il aime bien se définir lui-même, de renommée internationale, se situe parfaitement dans le cadre de ce débat d'idées. Son but principal est de démontrer que la linguistique possède un système de périodisation autonome par rapport a celui des autres disciplines scientifiques et que sa démarche de datation permet aujourd'hui de reculer dans le temps l'origine et le développement de l'ensemble des parlers actuels d'Europe...”. Then he concludes: “...l'ouvrage de Mario Alinei s'avère d'ores et déjà incontournable pour les futures recherches en linguistique historique.” *3
Alinei (ALI/2, pg. 192) concludes: “...For the PCP the Illyrians are not only an ethnolinguistic group close to the Slavs but also an elite group which commanded some Slav territories...” And (pg. 218): “... the ancient presence of Illyrians in southern Italy, such as the Messapians, is one of the historical discoveries of recent decades. From these discoveries stems also the need to revise the problem of relations between Slavs and Illyrians ... (pg. 220), "Pan-Illyrianism" saw Illyrians everywhere. But soon it was time for an objective study of the extent of Illyrian settlement... in the Bronze and Iron Ages... there were territories which were dominated by single elite groups... and they have no connection with their actual original territory... it cannot be ruled out that the name Illyrian comes from a dominant group which created a confederation of mixed ethnic and linguistic composition and included also Slavs and/or Italids. We can therefore accept the nowadays widespread opinion – chronologically and sociologically modified as already mentioned – that “Illyrians were never an ethnically compact population but were made up of heterogeneous peoples and that instead of some Illyrian culture we must talk about a community of civilisations”. This deduction by Alinei is in fact in agreement with Sergi’s opinions. He claimed that the ancient proto-Illyrians in Italy, the true ancient Slavs, were those who co-created Latin.
Amongst many other arguments, Alinei mentions the situlae, which are supposed to be typical of Slovene territory where it is possible to search for their origin at the ancient region of interaction between Slovenes and Italids. In the light of the PCP, the Veneti therefore represent an important component for understanding what went on during the Paleo-Mesolithic, eliminating the supposed and now predominant theory of migrations in late antiquity or even in the early Middle Ages, which is untenable and hinders further academic development, as affirmed by the creators of the modern PCP.
2.2. The Slovene contribution to the formation of the Ladins
Why are we here particularly interested in the Ladins?
– Because they were present on the territory of the Slovenes-Veneti;
– Because they were present on the territory which saw the development of the most ancient cultures La Tene, Este, Villanova ...;
– Because we must clarify the concept of the Rhaeto-Romans (Romansh) and with it the relationship between the Raeti, the Romans and the Etruscans.
In his PCP Alinei studies in even greater detail the role of the Slovene ancestors in the eastern Alps and the Po Valley, so he asks himself the rhetorical question: where did they come from and what language spoke the metallurgists who revived the culture of the mid-alpine Bronze Age with those characteristics which separated the Ladins from other surrounding and related peoples. The question is as follows: Did the people who brought with them bronze technology come from the eastern or south-eastern Alps and why from there? Alinei believes the answer is provided by archaeology with its revolutionary discoveries (see BOA) in recent years which show that the Balkans was not only the area of the development of the most ancient European Neolithic in the VII millennium BC, but also the oldest European metallurgical centre, which can also be seen in the Vincha culture (covers the territories of Serbia, Macedonia, Banat and Hungary) and Marice (Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey) in the V and IV millennia BC and that Slavs were those who spread it also amongst the Germanic peoples and in our more local region also in the eastern Alps and north-east Italy.
In the linguistic sense the answer provided by the PCP says that the metallurgists who created the new central Alpine bronze culture were those who caused the Ladins to separate from other Alpine and subalpine dwellers. The answer to the first question, which Jürg Rageth had already posed in 1989 (“I Grigioni nella preistoria”), is: “...we believe that the people who brought the skills of handling and treating metals most probably came from the eastern Alps and generally from the southeast”. But why from this very area and not from elsewhere? Because the most recent and very important archaeological discoveries provide evidence for this; in the Balkans there have been discoveries of the oldest European copper mines in Rudna glava in Serbia and in Ai Bunar in Bulgaria which can be connected to the oldest metallurgy in Mesopotamia and in Anatolia, which are relatively close. The Bronze Age began in the Balkans much earlier than in other parts of Europe.
According to Alinei, who refers to the findings of archaeologists, one of the very first Copper Age centres was found on the Ljubljansko Barje marshlands which he finds very significant because it is not far from northeast Italy, so Copper Age Veneto and Slovenia are a boundary to the rest of still Neolithic Europe. This then means that the formation of the Ladin language is directly connected to the great bronze culture from the Slovene Alpine east from where Alinei believes it spread quite far westwards, due also to the enthusiasm of copper seekers. Together with bronze culture spread the characteristic earthenware and sheep farming on mountain pastures.
Alinei asks how we can claim that the metallurgists spoke a Slavonic language. And he answers: by ignoring what traditional historiography says about settlement in the Middle Ages and following one of the alternative theories! Whether we consider Colin Renfrew’s theory or the PCP, it is the Greek language which linguistically fits the great archaeological Neolithic Balkan complex in the south. In between there is Illyrian while everything else towards the north is Slav. The metallurgists who in those ancient times made their way from Slovenia to the Alpine valleys and to Switzerland to Grigione and elsewhere, could only have been Slavs amongst whom could be found the odd Illyrian, Greek or member of some other Middle Eastern population with which they had been in direct contact for millennia and from where also hailed the Neolithic agricultural and metallurgical revolution. Alinei writes: “These southern Slavs – probably Slovenes – dominated over the peoples from the Po Valley and Dalmatia in the territory up to the southern and central Alps which is why the language changed... In this way the topmost Slav linguistic layer was built up on the prior Celtic layer, on the even more ancient italid foundation... The significance of the Slav contribution again appears in the cultures Laugen/Luco and Melaun/Meluno, when in the VII and VI centuries BC the central Alpine region became part of the upper Adriatic koiné, within which the tightest links with the eastern Alpine region appear to be those in Sveta Lucija in Slovenia as an intermediary towards the east. Let us consider the renowned art of the situlae, which occurred in three epicentres: Slovenia, the central Alpine region and Bologna. The similar or even identical style of decoration in Slovenia and the central Alpine region is not only evidence of close contact between the two regions but also of an exchange of craftsmen. Many historians emphasise the long-lasting contact between Slovenia and Alto Adige ever since the most ancient of times.
Other important common features are the forts in this region, the anthropology of the population, the culture and customs. And it is precisely regarding the latter that Alinei cannot help expressing criticism of our researchers; this is what he writes (pg. 39): “Sul piano degli usi religiosi... la cosidetta 'dopia sepoltura'... studiata dallo slavista Evel Gasparini... E' pero interessante notare che di fronte a questa affinita Milko Matichetov scrive: 'siccome [...] nelle Dolomiti non sono mai arrivati gli Slavi, bisognera cercare altri modi per spiegare la presenza del fenomeno”. And Alinei is surprised: “Ecco dunque cosa succede restando nell'ambito della teoria tradizionale, secondo la quale gli Slavi sarebbero arrivati nelle loro sedi storiche meridionali soltanto nel VII secolo della nostra era: l'evidenza della loro presenza nelle valli alpine c'e, ma non vale! Una teoria, quella della 'tarda migrazione degli Slavi, che fra l'altro fa a pugni con lo stesso assunto tradizionale dell'invasione IE nel Calcolitico, dato che nessuno ha mai potuto accertare dove si sarebbero nascosti gli Slavi per tre o quattro millenni, prima di rovesciarsi in massa in Europa e occuparne quasi la meta!” *4 I believe it is important to leave this quote in the original Italian so that no-one could try to reproach me by saying that I had in any way altered the meaning of Alinei’s thoughts.
On the other hand, Alinei praises our late etymologist and academician France Bezlaj, father of the modern (but unfortunately not yet completed) “Etymological dictionary of the Slovenian language,” as an example of an insightful researcher who was aware of and stressed the remarkable age of the Slovene language.
Alongside linguistic, ethnological, cultural, religious and other fields, Alinei also analyses in greater the detail the question of the kozolec, the upright construction used for drying hay which in his opinion is prime proof of the prehistoric presence of Slavs in the central and eastern Alps. The name kozolec, which comes from the word koza, made its way to Tirol (according to Schuchardt and Shtreklj) – kesn, kösn, köss, kos'n, to Carinthia – köse, to Sapado and Sauri – keis'n, to Friuli and from there to the Alpine valleys in the form – casuz, certainly from the Slovene kozuc (Huber, Pirona and others), and also to Hungary – kazal (Schuchardt and others). Alinei believes that as the name kozolec is of Slovene origin it follows that the culture of its use is also Slovene.
Alinei finds the onomastics within the framework of the PCP in this region also particularly interesting as it explains certain things which traditional history cannot explain or only with great complications. In this context he mentions Prosdocimi; it is the very name Veneti which is being discussed!
That is what they were called by their Germanic neighbours: Wenden = Slavs, with whom they were direct neighbours since the oldest of times: the old Icelandic Vindr (pl. Vindr, Vindr)(>Finnish Venääj, Venät is Russia, the Estonian vene-mess means Russian, the old Prussian vena means the Russian language), from *wenidiz or *wenediz (a form which explains the German name for Venice: Venedig), the old English Vinedas, Veonedas, the old high German Vinida, the Latin Venedi, Veneade (Plinij), Venethi (Tacit), Ouenedai (Ptolomej), Venethi, Vinidae (Jordanes) (compare ANEW).
According to Alinei it is possible to read local anthroponyms and toponyms according to the Slav key; an example is Pusteria/Pustertal/Val Pusteria, where it is even nowadays possible to find many words in the current German dialect that have been borrowed from Slovene (Pusta dolina – pusta means barren).
That is how Odolghes, the name of a mythological king in Contrin, is of Slovene origin – from the root dolg>dolgezh (meaning long), Langgestreckter Mensch, spilungone in Italian.
The same is true of the name Val Gardena, the oldest known form being 'ad Gradine forestum' (994-1005 AD). The history of the document in which it was first mentioned has been thoroughly researched so it is particularly interesting that Alinei concludes that “dass das Wort einst sicher mit Gr- (Gred- oder Grad-) begann”, which had already been pointed out by some German writers, but originates from Slovene: grad, gradishche etc (castle).
All other toponyms which have the root grad- : Grad, Gradina, Gradishche, Gradiskuta, Gradiscata, Gradec, Gradaz, Hradishche, Zagrad etc., of which there are many all over Friuli and elsewhere in the Alps, are of Slovenian origin and this was thoroughly researched by Desinan (DES) and before him, among others, Marchesetti (in 1903); we must not forget to include also 'acque Gradate'. Around Aquilea and Grado, in their direct vicinity, both toponyms are recorded at a very early date.
What about the Rhaeto-Romans?
Alinei is decidedly against the use of the term Rhaeto-Roman, in (ALI/2, pg. 739 and later): “Ladinia – slavicised Italid territory. Like the other Alpine regions, the Swiss Grigioni/Graubinden, Dolomites and Friuli, which together form a linguistic domain, are wrongly called 'Rhaeto-Roman', or 'Ladinian', which was discovered and substantiated by Ascoli. They are a significant base for testing the PCP, as the model presumes that the prehistory of these peoples has some common particularities which sets them apart from others and that these particularities are at the same time extremely important for their ethnogenesis... The term Rhaeto-Roman, which is nowadays prevalent in literature, has often been criticised by experts; on the one hand Resia is not part of the Ladinian territory, the language of the old Reti is very sparsely documented and, as shown by the latest research, it was related to Etruscan (underlined by L.V.) (RIX). However, as Ladin dialects – in contrast with Tuscan dialects for example – show nothing at all which could in some way hint at Etruscan influences (with the exception of possible toponyms [Pellegrini 1991, 28-29]), the sole fact that the Raeti dominated one part (underlined by Alinei) of the present-day Ladin territory, can in no way justify the choice of the name Rhaeto-Roman, no more than it could be justifiable to choose for example the name "Etrusco-Italids" to designate the dialects from western Emilia, on the basis of an otherwise significant Etruscan presence in Felsinia. The term "Ladins" is of course also questionable, but it at least has the advantage of being in voluntary use and is popular with at least one segment of the population which is designated by this term. Out of well-founded reasons I believe the most appropriate name for this autonomous group with a Romance language to be: Slavo-Italids (traditionally called Slavo-Itals) ...”
Interesting parallels with the names Raeti and Romans?
It is interesting that the Slovenian population of the Resia Valley (the name of which manifestly comes from the root Raeti), ‘romonijo’ (speak)! In Graubündn, where the Ladins or the Raeto-Romans as some people call them live, they speak Romansh!
Here are some Resian sentences taken from "Novi Matajur", Chedad, 26. 7. 2000:
"Po rozajanskin se rumuni, pishë anu laja tej po lashkin." – "Resian is spoken but writing and reading is in Italian."
"Matej Shekli litos moja an pa se lawreel ano njaa lawrea romoi od noshaa azika." – "Matej Shekli graduated this year and his final project speaks about our language."
"Pravijo da mamo romonyt po nes, so ti stari, ki ni nin dijo da na stuta zübet noshaa romoninja." – "They say we must speak our language, there are old people who warn us that we must not forget our language."
"To ni den noshi mo an se nauchil italikol löpo romonyt po nes." – "He’s not one of us but the Italian has learnt to speak our language very nicely."
romon (m) – “speech, muttering”, the Resian language, rozeanski romon, “the Resian dialect”, also romoneti, with other suffixes also romuliti, “to mutter”, romotati, “to make a noise” (Styrian), romatiti “to make a noise” (south-eastern Styrian), romavsh “noise”. This can be compared with the Serbo-Croat romon and romor “voice, noise, sound, bubbling, the dripping of rain”, but it can also be found in the old Kajkavian dialect, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Russian, Polish, Pomeranian, Czech, and Slovak languages, with the same meaning in all of them. The Orthodox *romon “murmur, bubbling, noise, speech” is undoubtedly from the zero grade of the Indo-European language *re(i)- “to shout, roar, make a noise”. Bezlaj also draws attention to the words rarashek, rarog, ramush, remec.
Even Old Norse has the word romr “voice, pronunciation”; and Italian has rumore, and romore (antiquated), from Latin rumore(m) “noise, any possible sound, as a rule irregular, coincidental, disorderly, unmusical, unpleasant, tiring, tiresome”, of Indo-European origin; but romio from romire “noise”, romire – of unknown etymology!
Evidently in Latin the meaning of rumore(m) is far from the order and meaningfulness of speech as they used it to emphasise disorder and the incomprehensibility of noise, while in Slovene and even nowadays in Resian romoniti means articulated human expression.
Also of great importance for studying the Veneti is the work of the Spanish linguist Guisasola (GUI), who draws attention to ancient Slavonic words in the Basque language which can only be the result of some ancient proximity. This must be dealt with in light of the Veneti in Armorica on the French Atlantic coast in the Bay of Biscay where they were neighbours with the Basques. These are the words in question: the Basque goritu and the Slovene goreti (to burn); zil = zhila, kita (vein, sinew); negu = zima, mraz (winter, cold); erreka = reka (river); txuku, xuku = suho (dry); silbar = sviskati, zhvizhgati, svirati (to whistle); kopatu = kopati (to dig); s-ugor = ugor, jegulja (eel); erria = jerina, zemlja (earth); kali = chelo, lobanja (forehead, skull) etc. They are so elementary and so much connected with the most early life of our ancestors that it is not possible that it could be a coincidence and these words could certainly not be more recent (no matter in how relative a sense we use this term) words borrowed from Slavonic. This simply proves an ancient proximity and close connection between the Basques and the Veneti from Armorica.
Particularly interesting is the toponym Grgar behind Sveta Gora above Nova Gorica which belongs to the Veneti territory of Banjshice (see Bezlaj’s ESSJ), for which Bezlaj says that the name is pre-Slavonic. In GUI (pg. 274) we find: “The Basque word gargar, the Spanish 'hervidero', seething, bubbling, welling up (which must be compared with galgara and galgal 'borbollon', gargling, rumbling) and the Basque gori 'hirviente', vroch, vrel (hot, boiling) on the one hand, and on the other hand bero 'calor, caliente' toplota, vrochina (heat); gorech (burning), zharech (glowing), ognjevit (fiery), pekoch (burning), show that in view of the functioning of the permutation of b and g and the similarity of the root *bher- 'hervir' vreti, kipeti (to boil), the expression must have been contaminated with the root *gwher- 'quemar, calentar', goreti, zhgati (to burn), which in Sanskrit produced harar 'ardor', vrochina (heat), zhar (glow), vnema (zeal); susha (drought); gorechnost (ardour) and gharmah 'calor', toplota (heat), vrochina (heat); gretje (heating), and Greek Θέρος and Θερμός 'caliente, in Latin formus 'caliente', in Lithuanian gariu, gareti 'quemar', in Slavonic goreti 'quemar' and goritu 'el quema', in Basque gar 'llama', plamen, garmu 'carbunco', ogor(ek), ter goritu 'calentar'.«
On the other hand Alinei mentions (ALI/1, pp. 266, 613 and 658): “... the Sumerian word for a cart is gigir, the Semitic word is *galgal and in Kartvelian (from the Caucasus) *grgar ... the Indo-European word for wheel in fact shows an even more ancient motivation which is just as widespread among Indo-European languages: the root *kuel “to turn around oneself, to encircle, to besiege ...” Bearing in mind that there are proven ancient links between the Basques and the Caucasus it should come as no surprise to find a link between both concepts either due to the particularity of the location of Grgar, a place on the ancient road from the Vipava Valley and Friuli to the mountainous Alpine hinterland where travellers took a rest or changed their horses or even just went as far as Grgar by cart and continued on foot, or a semantic relation, which comes from the burning technology for bending wood for wheels ...
Thoughts on this are beyond the scope of this discussion but they allow us to reach some conclusions.
As was already said at the beginning, of particular importance for the continuity theory is the work of F. C. Guisasola (GUI) “The enigma of the Basque language preceding the Indo-European languages”, in which he draws particular attention (pg. 279) to the following unusual congruities: The word goritu 'kuriti, zhgati, zhariti' (to burn) is common to both the Basque and Slovene languages; the Basque zil means almost the same as what zhila means in Slovene: 'sinew'; the Slovene word sneg (snow) is equivalent to the Basque negu 'time of snow, winter'; the Basque erreka (Spanish 'arroyo' = stream) is almost identical to the Slovene word reka (river), and for the Basque txuku or xuku there is the Slovene 'suho' (dry); the Spanish 'silbar' is in Slovene 'svistati' (e.g. in Russian svistet) (author’s note: see Bezlaj ESSJ, sviskati! – zhvizhgati, shvisteti etc.!) and silbido or silbato in Basque txistu, xistu or uistu [Guisasola’s note: the same roots *swe-, *swi- or *si- with different expansions correspond to the Basque txirol or txirul, the Spanish 'silbo, flauta' (whistle, pipe, flute) and txulula 'silbo' in Greek σει-φλόω, σ-γ-ός 'silbido' and σίςω 'silbar', in Latin suiflum 'silbido' (CGL, V, 484, 53), si-filo 'silbo', si-bilus 'silbido' and si-bilare 'silbar'.
This last expression also contains the derivative sibilatus, which with the help of consonant metathesis becomes silbato in Castillian and txibilitu or txulubita 'silbato' in Basque]; we also know the Slavonic 'kopati' and the Basque kopatu [Guisasola discusses both separately in tch. 103]; the Russian ugor, (eel) and the Basque s-ugor [discussed separately in Guisasola, tch. 244].
All the words mentioned here and others which are common to the Basque and Slovene languages (alongside these there are of course also other similarities with Indo-European languages), show that already in ancient times there was direct contact between the two groups as these are all very elementary concepts: to burn, sinew, snow, river, to whistle, dry, eel etc. As it is not possible to have identical expressions for these most basic natural concepts in both (nowadays so geographically distant) languages, the most convincing and reasonable explanation is that already in ancient times we were in direct contact if it is true that the Basques are the oldest nation in Europe.
We must also bear in mind, and this is of great importance, that Armorica by the Bay of Biscay borders on the Basques, who are present to this day in the Pyrenees, so they borrowed from the Veneti who lived there these ancient words which are evidently of Slovene origin.
In light of these contemporary views on ancient history, traditional historians (and all their followers) should cease ignoring us if we talk of the Veneti as the ancestors of the Slovenians who admittedly underwent their own historical development to reach the present-day ethnos, just as the Italians did (who are not Romans, as they are often simplistically described and manipulated with, something which Mario Alinei, the father of the PCP often warns about). The French also experienced their own development as did other nations; in this process a considerable number of nations disappeared altogether. A particularly obvious example are the once so highly developed and dominating Etruscans, whose language we nowadays do not understand. That is how thoroughly the Romans erased them from history and appropriated their culture. Slovenes – Veneti evolved through the millennia on an extensive territory stretching from Paphlagonia by way of the upper Adriatic as far as the Baltic and Armorica.
There is old evidence of their presence in the Caucasus and in India. But there are other unsolved enigmas even closer to home; let us just consider Hadrian’s Wall in the UK from the time of the Roman Empire; in connection with it we can find the following toponyms (in brackets are the present-day names):
Deva (Roman Chester);
'Chester' is etymologically derived from the Latin caster, but this must be studied in the context of historical linguistics which then opens up to us entirely new parallels; but this topic is beyond the scope of this discussion.
Jarov (Yarrow) – the beginning of the wall on the eastern coast of the English Channel;
Arbeja (South Shields);
Aballava – on the coast and the western end of the border;
Maia – at the other end of the border.
Hadrian’s Wall – limes was a 118 km long construction consisting of ditches, walls, trenches and intermediate fortifications – castra; it was built by Emperor Hadrian between 122 and 158 BC; it was abandoned in 383 BC. Further north the Romans temporarily reached the line where Antonius built a wall but they were prevented from going any further by the local population, despite the great Roman power, and the Romans first retreated from this northern border. What particularly surprises us here are the frequent toponyms containing the etnonym 'Vind'. On the other side of the English Channel there were the aforementioned Armorican Veneti, Vendi, Vindi! The Romans were in contact with the Adriatic Veneti also on the southern side of the Alps and with whom they had a sort of alliance. It also appears that they occupied territories in England where Veneti were present in dominant or significant numbers.
When will the etnonym Vind appear in toponyms? If we compare this with some examples we know well: Shpeter Slovenov, Nemshka Vas, Hrvatini etc., we can see that an ethnic definition appears when there is a will to emphasise who it belongs to. That is why we should not be surprised that there often appear in the British Isles toponyms, which show that the population consisted of Vindi, Vendi, Veneti.
The creators of the PCP also criticise Slovenian historians for being too strongly attached to the traditional theory, for being too reserved (Milko Matichetov was expressly mentioned), as they would expect a greater contribution from them, and if on the basis of what has been said we summarise the latest PCP, it appears entirely realistic. It is true that it must yet be further developed, but for as wide-reaching an alteration of the paradigm as is brought by PCP, we cannot expect anything else. Above all it demands of us much creative, courageous and painstaking work!
The PCP is for now above all the work of foreign academics; for Slovenian academia it represents a particular challenge to build on the efforts hitherto invested by persevering individuals with more wide-reaching projects which would give Slovenians a real place in history.
If we bring together the main conclusions of the application of the PCP to Slovenes–Veneti, we can summarise them with the following points:
– the ethnogenesis of Indo-Europeans following the short continuity theory (Renfrew) or the long PCP (Alinei) points to ancient and strong connections with Anatolia (Paphlagonian Veneti);
– Slovenes-Veneti lived on territory which they inhabit nowadays and which they settled even more widely already in the Paleo-Mesolithic; it seems that some of the Slovenes-Veneti (in a wave of Slav expansions towards the north) moved also to Lake Ilmen, Novgorod, which represents a connection with the Baltic Veneti;
– According to the PCP, Slovenes-Veneti were the carriers of the Neolithic farming revolution and innovative Bronze Age metallurgy;
– they settled north-eastern Italy (the Adriatic Veneti) and in one or more waves reached (together with the Illyrians?!) as far as the south of Italy; this is evidenced also by linguistic traces in Latin;
– in the north-east of the Apennine peninsula the Slovenes-Veneti occupied the eastern Alps and towards the west the central Alps as far as Switzerland; this is shown by historical, ethnological, linguistic and other evidence, including the Ladin language;
– it is not possible to rule out that it was along the Alps, where Slovenes-Veneti and Celts came into contact that circumstances came about which resulted in some of the Slovenes-Veneti coming as far as the Atlantic coast of France (Armorican Veneti), where they were neighbours with the Basques and across the English Channel to the south of England.
(Only the most important and most complete works which apply to this discussion are listed.)
l. (ALE) ATLAS LINGUARUM EUROPAE/ (Perspectives nouvelles en geolinguistique), Mario Alinei, president et coll... – Sous les auspices de l'UNESCO; sur la recommandation du Comite International Permanent des Linguistes (CIPL) et sous le auspices du Conseil International de la Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines (CISPSH) – Istituto poligrafico e zecca dello stato, Libreria dello stato, Roma, 1997. Vol. 1.1 Van Gorcum, Assen, 1983; vol 1.2 Van Gorcum, Assen/Maastricht 1986; vol.1.3 Van Gorcum Assen/Maastricht 1990.
2. (CAL) – DIZIONARIO LATINO–ITALIANO, Ferruccio Calonghi; Rosenberg & Sellier Ed., Torino, 1965.
3. (BAT) – DIZIONARIO ETIMOLOGICO ITALIANO, Carlo Battisti-Giovanni Alessio; G. Barbera Ed., Firenze 1957.
4. (ERN) – DICTIONNAIRE ETYMOLOGIQUE DE LA LANGUE LATINE, A. Ernaut et A. Meillet; Librairie C. Klincksieck, Paris, 1951.
5. (CAM) – VOCABOLARIO LATINO–ITALIANO e ITALIANO–LATINO, G. Campanini / G. Carboni; G.B. Paravia & Co. Ed., Torino, 1930.
6. (BRA) – LATINSKO–SLOVENSKI SLOVAR, Franc Bradach; Jugoslovanska knjigarna, Ljubljana, 1937.
7. (ZIN) – VOCABOLARIO DELLA LINGUA ITALIANA, Nicola Zingarelli; Zanichelli Ed.Bologna, 1988.
8. (ALI/1) – ORIGINI delle LINGUE d'EUROPA, vol.1, Mario Alinei; Il Mulino Ed., 1996;
(ALI/2) – ORIGINI delle LINGUE d'EUROPA, vol.2; 2000.
(ALI/3) – L'etnogenesi Ladina alla luce delle nuove teorie sulle origini dei popoli indeuropei, Mario Alinei, Universita di Utrecht; by Institut Ladin “Micura de Rü”, San Martin de Tor, 2000.
9. (COR) – DIZIONARIO ETIMOLOGICO DELLA LINGUA ITALIANA, Manlio Cortelazzo e Paolo Zolli; Zanichelli, Bologna, 1991.
10. (AliR) – ATLAS LINGUISTIQUE ROMAN, Comité de parrainage: Alinei Mario etc. (14 membr) – Comité de direction: pres. Tuaillon Gaston, dir. Contini Michel etc. (112 membr.); Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Libreria dello Stato, Roma, 1993.
11. (FOR) – LEXICON TOTIUS LATINITATIS, Aegidio Forcellini, Iosepho Furlanetto, Francisco Corradini et Iosepho Perin; Arnaldus Forni Excudebat Bononia Gregoriana Edente Patavii, 1965.
12. (SER) – LE PRIME E LE PIU ANTICHE CIVILTA, Giuseppe Sergi; Fratelli Bocca Ed., Torino, 1926.
13. (SEM/1) – LE ORIGINI DELLA CULTURA EUROPEA / Rivelazioni della linguistica storica, Giovanni Semerano; Leo S. Olschki Ed., Firenze, 1984;
(SEM/2) – LE ORIGINI DELLA CULTURA EUROPEA / Dizionari etimologici, 1994.
14. (VUG) – JANTARSKA POT, Lucijan Vuga; Zalozhba Humar, Bilje, 2000.
15. (GUI) – EL ENIGMA DEL VASCUENCE ANTE LAS LENGUAS INDEUROPEAS, Florentino Castro Guisasola, Consejo superior de investigaciones cientificas, Madrid, 1944.
16. (ANEW) – Altnordisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, Jan de Vries, Ed. E.J.Brill, Leiden, 1977)
17. (DES) – Toponomastica e archeologia del Friuli prelatino, Cornelio Cesare Desinan, Ed. Biblioteca dell'Immagine, Pordenone, 1990.
18. (ESSJ) – Etimoloshki slovar slovenskega jezika, France Bezlaj, SAZU/MK, Ljubljana, 1995.
19. (RIX) – Rätisch und Etruskisch (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft. Vorträge und Kleinere Schriften, 68), Helmut Rix , Innsbruck, 1998.
20. (CON) – Les Slaves, Francis Conte, Ed. Albin Michel s.a., Paris, 1986.
21. (REN) – Before Civilization, Colin Renfrew, Cambridge University Press, 1979.
22. (BOA) – The Cambridge Ancient History, viol.III, part.I, The Prehistory of the Balkans; the Middle East and the Aegean World, J. Boardman, I.E.S. Edwards, N.G.L. Hammond and E. Sollberger; Cambidge University Press, Cambridge, 1982.
This treatise has been specially adapted for Revija SRP (Lives) using contributions which the author made to conferences at the Svetovni slovenski kongres in September 2001 in Ljubljana and Ptuj. (Author’s comment)
*1 (FOR): veverica – small domesticated animal, a little larger than a weasel, also white in colour, skunk.
*1a – Bones of wolves, foxes, weasels, squirrels.
*2 (COR): viverra – Asian carnivorous mammal with a flexible body and anal glands which secrete a scented substance (1598): skunk, sometimes (according to popular origin), lat. viverra(m), with an expressive root *wer, which is repeated as in other Indo-European languages where it means squirrel. But the names of these small carnivores can easily be exchanged: in explanations, e.g. viverra(m) and like muscella(m), that is weasel, Cuneo has vinvera, while Monferrat has "veverica".
*3 "To new historical linguistics: the work of Mario Alinei The Origins of European Languages (...)" states: "In the course of these last years, interest in the most distant human past has not ceased to grow ... The work of Mario Alinei, linguist 'generalist', as he likes to call himself, of international reputation, fits perfectly into the framework of this treatise. His main intention is to prove that linguistics has a system of periodization, which is autonomous with regard to other disciplines and which with its attempt at dating nowadays permits a return to the time when all the languages of Europe came into being and developed ..." Then he concludes: "...the work of Mario Alinei is already now proving to be indispensible for future research into historical linguistics."
*4 "In the context of religious use... the so-called 'double grave'... researched by the Slavicist Evel Gasparini... That is why it is interesting to mention that this is what Milko Matichetov writes against this relationship: [...] ... the Slavs never came to the Dolomites; there will have to be a search for other forms of the expanding presence of this phenomenon." And Alinei is surprised: "So the following is what is surprising in the scope of the traditional theory according to which the Slavs came to their southern historical territory only in the 6th century AD (in the 7th century according to the Italian system): the evidence of their presence in the Alpine valleys has no value! The theory about the late migration of the Slavs among other things contradicts the traditional claim about the invasion of the Indo-Europeans in the Copper Age, about which no-one can say where the Slavs were supposed to have been hiding for three or four millennia before they poured into Europe en masse, occupying almost half of it!"
Translated from Slovenian by Marko Petrovich