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Thread: Ancient place names in Iberia

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    The fact that Basque was in prehistory centred more around the western and central Pyrenees (today Navarra and Aragon) than what is today the Basque Country may explain the huge amounts of R1b (yes, this is the Linguistics forum, but to hell, humanity is holistic!) in the Basque Country, given that Basque is non-Indo-European and R1b is associated with the Indo-European migrations. Aragon (I give this example and not Navarre or Aquitaine because it's available in Eupedia), on the other hand, with its high amount of I2, may better explain the origin of Basque?
    Indeed. If I have to think of all the threads in genetics that already resulted in discussions about languages... Maciamo has suggested a number of scenarios how R1b could have ended up as Basque. But yes, in my opinion I2a1 is the best candidate for the original "Basque" (or more broadly, 'native' Western European) Y-Haplogroup. I mean, we know from Treilles that it was present in the Neolithic already, and Haplogroup G, *the* main Neolithic Haplogroup, obviously originated in either Anatolia or the Caucasus. This is a strong argument that it's indeed native (ie, Mesolithic or older).

    In any case, regarding the Basque language, one unanswered question is the relationship between Basque-Aquitanian and the Iberian languages. There is definitely evidence for Basque loans into Iberian, or possibly vice versa, but it's not 100% known if they were really related. What speaks in favour of Basque and Iberian actually being related are what appear to be Iberian numerals which seem to be close to Basque-Aquitanian numerals. Numeral systems are very unlikely to get borrowed in their completeness (for comparison, the Indo-European languages are extremely conservative in their numerals), so this is a strong argument. What speaks against it is that thus far, Basque has been of no real help in the decipherment of Iberian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Indeed. If I have to think of all the threads in genetics that already resulted in discussions about languages... Maciamo has suggested a number of scenarios how R1b could have ended up as Basque. But yes, in my opinion I2a1 is the best candidate for the original "Basque" (or more broadly, 'native' Western European) Y-Haplogroup. I mean, we know from Treilles that it was present in the Neolithic already, and Haplogroup G, *the* main Neolithic Haplogroup, obviously originated in either Anatolia or the Caucasus. This is a strong argument that it's indeed native (ie, Mesolithic or older).

    In any case, regarding the Basque language, one unanswered question is the relationship between Basque-Aquitanian and the Iberian languages. There is definitely evidence for Basque loans into Iberian, or possibly vice versa, but it's not 100% known if they were really related. What speaks in favour of Basque and Iberian actually being related are what appear to be Iberian numerals which seem to be close to Basque-Aquitanian numerals. Numeral systems are very unlikely to get borrowed in their completeness (for comparison, the Indo-European languages are extremely conservative in their numerals), so this is a strong argument. What speaks against it is that thus far, Basque has been of no real help in the decipherment of Iberian.
    And even if they were loanwords and the morphological similarities were due to a Sprachbund (which to me seems unlikely), then the languages must have been in contact for a very long time... At least since the Neolithic, perhaps. And in Valencia (the centre of the Iberian culture), there is little evidence for such migrations that would bring with them a language, except the large amount of E1b1b, and if we take into account Maciamo's recent theory, then the perhaps two languages have been in contact since the Palaeolithic! (although still, E1b1b is not that high in Valencia compared to other parts of Iberia)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    And even if they were loanwords and the morphological similarities were due to a Sprachbund (which to me seems unlikely), then the languages must have been in contact for a very long time... At least since the Neolithic, perhaps. And in Valencia (the centre of the Iberian culture), there is little evidence for such migrations that would bring with them a language, except the large amount of E1b1b, and if we take into account Maciamo's recent theory, then the perhaps two languages have been in contact since the Palaeolithic! (although still, E1b1b is not that high in Valencia compared to other parts of Iberia)
    I agree that if there is a relationship, it must be old, which explains the differences and the difficulties.

    One interesting, and very critical point, which in my opinion is kind of a huge blow for the Beaker-Bell hypothesis regarding the spread of the (western) branches of IE is the fact that Basque has for the greater degree it's own metal words that are clearly not borrowed from IE. Take a look:

    gold = urre (sound superficially like related with the Latin/Celtic word for gold, but it's actually non-comformous with sound laws)
    silver = zilar (same with the Germanic/Baltic/Slavic word, but no conformity with sound laws exists, either)
    iron = burdina (this actually is the most paradox of them all because by the iron age, the Basques were nearly surrounded by Celts).

    How is this possible?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    I agree that if there is a relationship, it must be old, which explains the differences and the difficulties.

    One interesting, and very critical point, which in my opinion is kind of a huge blow for the Beaker-Bell hypothesis regarding the spread of the (western) branches of IE is the fact that Basque has for the greater degree it's own metal words that are clearly not borrowed from IE. Take a look:

    gold = urre (sound superficially like related with the Latin/Celtic word for gold, but it's actually non-comformous with sound laws)
    silver = zilar (same with the Germanic/Baltic/Slavic word, but no conformity with sound laws exists, either)
    iron = burdina (this actually is the most paradox of them all because by the iron age, the Basques were nearly surrounded by Celts).

    How is this possible?
    It's not. Also, the oldest Bell-Beaker sites are from Iberia. However, I wouldn't rule out that given the inmensity of the Bell Beaker horizon, it may be (especially in its latter phases, when megalithism begins to die out) associated in some places, namely Central Europe and Germany, with Indo-Europeans nonetheless. This I say because there really is no great cultural discontinuity between, for example, the Beaker and Unetice cultures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    It's not. Also, the oldest Bell-Beaker sites are from Iberia. However, I wouldn't rule out that given the inmensity of the Bell Beaker horizon, it may be (especially in its latter phases, when megalithism begins to die out) associated in some places, namely Central Europe and Germany, with Indo-Europeans nonetheless. This I say because there really is no great cultural discontinuity between, for example, the Beaker and Unetice cultures.
    This is true, and you especially have a valid point in respect for the Unetice Culture. The point with Unetice, of course, is that it is located at the eastern fringe of the Beaker-Bell area, and also in an area which has an overlap with the former Corded Ware Culture area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    This is true, and you especially have a valid point in respect for the Unetice Culture. The point with Unetice, of course, is that it is located at the eastern fringe of the Beaker-Bell area, and also in an area which has an overlap with the former Corded Ware Culture area.
    Not to mention that the Beaker culture there was quite ephemeral, it got there around 2500 BC and by 2300 Unetice had largely replaced it. However, I don't think the Corded Ware culture is responsible for Unetice (by which I mean (pre-)proto-Italo-Celtic). I think it comes from the east... Maybe the Cotofeni Culture (3300-2500 BC) is a good candidate (I put a map of it)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    Not to mention that the Beaker culture there was quite ephemeral, it got there around 2500 BC and by 2300 Unetice had largely replaced it. However, I don't think the Corded Ware culture is responsible for Unetice (by which I mean (pre-)proto-Italo-Celtic). I think it comes from the east... Maybe the Cotofeni Culture (3300-2500 BC) is a good candidate (I put a map of it)?
    From the perspective of the relationship with the Italic languages this works. What I really wonder on is what happened then? How did things spread into the Atlantic region? What did really happen in Western Europe at the same time as the Bronze Age Collapse occured in the eastern Mediterranean?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    From the perspective of the relationship with the Italic languages this works. What I really wonder on is what happened then? How did things spread into the Atlantic region? What did really happen in Western Europe at the same time as the Bronze Age Collapse occured in the eastern Mediterranean?
    Well, first of all, I believe that sometime around 1550 BC, during the early Tumulus Culture, the Italic branch of Italo-Celtic broke off to found the Terramare Culture of the Po valley. Then, sometime around 1300 BC or a bit earlier, the Q-Celtic branch of Celtic broke off to found the Atlantic Bronze Age--This was probably aided by the population upheavals that were happening in the Atlantic zone at that time, possibly linked with the Bronze Age Collapse and the Sea Peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean. Or it may have happened simultaneously, I don't have the answer to that.

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    bz.............................................
    Last edited by callaeca; 22-09-11 at 00:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by callaeca View Post
    Well...I think that basques are not europeans natives.
    It is very strange that we can not see some western and north hispanic typical genetic caracteristcs in the basque population, like E- M81. This marker is the neolithical colonization in the pre-megalithic times, introducing the domestic goats and grains (wheat), like the deposit of O Rieiro (Coruña, Galicia), 7000 bP old.

    The Galician population most common phenotype, in contrast with the Basques, is the european GM*3 23 5* haplotype that represents 73% and the most common KM phenotype is KM (-1) (79.6%) and its corresponding KM*3 allele reached at frequency of 89.2%, which is within the range of European values. Galician population belongs to cluster C3 (like Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and half Western Iberia). The basques to the cluster C and have not correspondences in Europe.

    Not presence of G2a in basques (0,2%-0,5%) nor Helgason indo-european mt-DNA (0,3%). Also we can found in basques the marker 22, with irrelevant percentages in Western Iberia and Central Europe. The mutation in the marker 47a have 3500 years old and coincides with de arguments of Klyosov (2010):

    "It is very unlikely that their ancestors had encountered Neanderthals in Europe or had been associated with the Aurignacian culture (34,000-23,000 ybp), nor did they make sophisticated cave paintings in South of France, Spain, and Portugal. Arguably, the Basque ancient and unique language was brought to Iberia around 3600 ybp by the M269 bearers from their place of preceding location(s) and/or their origin, presumably in Asia".

    It coincides too with the archaeological entry of the urnenfelders in the NE Peninsula, that means the end of the indo-europeisation in this area.
    I don't agree. If it were so, then Basque would be spoken in all of Western Europe, as not only is M269 predominant in Euskadi. Also, if Basques had come to Iberia as early as 3600 BP, why is Basque a language isolate? And why has it not left a mark in place names anywhere?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    I don't agree. If it were so, then Basque would be spoken in all of Western Europe, as not only is M269 predominant in Euskadi. Also, if Basques had come to Iberia as early as 3600 BP, why is Basque a language isolate? And why has it not left a mark in place names anywhere?
    First off, I agree that Basque is likely to have been longer than Urnfield times. There's also the fact that Iberian, which after all may have been related with Basque, did in fact extend towards the south (all the way into central-western Andalusia).

    However, regardless of this, it is a very interesting theoretical question: how long does it take for two languages to be no longer recognizable as being related with each other? It's very hard to say, but we have a few good examples for that:

    Proto-Indo-European was probably spoken some time in the early Chalcolithic, and even though the oldest IE languages only date from the Bronze Age (Hittite, Mycenean Greek, etc.) it's still possible today to link the various branches of IE to a common ancestral language. So we are talking about some 5000-6000 years here.

    The Afro-Asiatic language family is even older (the oldest attested languages are Old Egyptian and Akkadian) and Proto-Afro-Asiatic was probably spoken at the start of the Neolithic. So we may be talking about more like 9000 years here.

    The Uralic languages are also certainly Neolithic in age, though their vocabulary is compatible with the Mesolithic. This may be a bit of a confusion because the 'Neolithic' Comb Ceramic Culture (the likely speakers of Proto-Uralic) were not farmers, but pottery-making hunter-gatherers.

    So, for a language which is (apparently) non-related with other languages, we can speculate if the time frame must be even greater. There is of course the additional problem that we have isolated languages. In two of the above described cases (Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic) we have a large corpus of languages, including a few rather old ones. Another problem that it's impossible to reconstruct what ancient Basque (say, in the Neolithic) would have looked liked. Even with internal reconstruction, we can only imagine what Basque looked like approximately 2000-2300 years ago. If you take many modern IE languages (the Celtic languages are a prime example, actually) you get only a poor idea of what the ancient languages really were like, and reconstruction as a result would be erroneous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    First off, I agree that Basque is likely to have been longer than Urnfield times. There's also the fact that Iberian, which after all may have been related with Basque, did in fact extend towards the south (all the way into central-western Andalusia).

    However, regardless of this, it is a very interesting theoretical question: how long does it take for two languages to be no longer recognizable as being related with each other? It's very hard to say, but we have a few good examples for that:

    Proto-Indo-European was probably spoken some time in the early Chalcolithic, and even though the oldest IE languages only date from the Bronze Age (Hittite, Mycenean Greek, etc.) it's still possible today to link the various branches of IE to a common ancestral language. So we are talking about some 5000-6000 years here.

    The Afro-Asiatic language family is even older (the oldest attested languages are Old Egyptian and Akkadian) and Proto-Afro-Asiatic was probably spoken at the start of the Neolithic. So we may be talking about more like 9000 years here.

    The Uralic languages are also certainly Neolithic in age, though their vocabulary is compatible with the Mesolithic. This may be a bit of a confusion because the 'Neolithic' Comb Ceramic Culture (the likely speakers of Proto-Uralic) were not farmers, but pottery-making hunter-gatherers.

    So, for a language which is (apparently) non-related with other languages, we can speculate if the time frame must be even greater. There is of course the additional problem that we have isolated languages. In two of the above described cases (Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic) we have a large corpus of languages, including a few rather old ones. Another problem that it's impossible to reconstruct what ancient Basque (say, in the Neolithic) would have looked liked. Even with internal reconstruction, we can only imagine what Basque looked like approximately 2000-2300 years ago. If you take many modern IE languages (the Celtic languages are a prime example, actually) you get only a poor idea of what the ancient languages really were like, and reconstruction as a result would be erroneous.
    Of course. And in the case of Uralic, there's also Altaic, which of course is controversial. But, for example, the Na Dene languages of the Americas have been genetically linked (not with glottochronology or other dubious means, but with mainstream comparative linguistics, archaeology and folklore) with the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia.

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    bz .....................
    Last edited by callaeca; 22-09-11 at 00:21.

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    Quote Originally Posted by callaeca View Post
    Avus (Mela III, 10; Ptol. II, 6, 1), ie. and celt. *aw-, *awo-, *awe- 'to move': cf. NR gaul. AVA.
    This one could come from Proto-Celtic *abon (water,see Welsh "afon" and Old Irish "ab")

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    Of course. And in the case of Uralic, there's also Altaic, which of course is controversial. But, for example, the Na Dene languages of the Americas have been genetically linked (not with glottochronology or other dubious means, but with mainstream comparative linguistics, archaeology and folklore) with the Yeniseian languages of central Siberia.
    You bring up a good point with Na-Dene-Yeniseian. But you have also to consider the long time of research and the effort that was needed to verify this connection. But again, with the Na-Dene languages you have a fairly large number of modern languages which greatly helps the reconstruction via the comparative method.

    In any case, Basque as we see it today is effectively a language of the iron age, and it's basically impossible to tell if the many later terms (agricultural terms, word for 'horse', words for metals) are foreign terms or common terms of whatever language family Basque belonged to. But in any case I think the case is very compelling that the Basque language was at it's location since at least the Neolithic, and also that I2a1 is probably the 'original' Y-Haplogroup of the Basques.

    What is interesting is that for a comparison, the Finnic languages adopted a lot of terms from Proto-Indo-European (or IE close to it), including metal words. Most peculiar, the Finnic word for 'iron' is a cognate with the Balto-Slavic word for 'ore', which is in turn a cognate with the word for 'red' in most other branches of Indo-European.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    In any case, Basque as we see it today is effectively a language of the iron age, and it's basically impossible to tell if the many later terms (agricultural terms, word for 'horse', words for metals) are foreign terms or common terms of whatever language family Basque belonged to. But in any case I think the case is very compelling that the Basque language was at it's location since at least the Neolithic, and also that I2a1 is probably the 'original' Y-Haplogroup of the Basques.

    What is interesting is that for a comparison, the Finnic languages adopted a lot of terms from Proto-Indo-European (or IE close to it), including metal words. Most peculiar, the Finnic word for 'iron' is a cognate with the Balto-Slavic word for 'ore', which is in turn a cognate with the word for 'red' in most other branches of Indo-European.
    Well, metallurgy did arrive to the Finns with Indo-Europeans...
    I remember reading once that the Basque words for knife and axe may come from the same root as the word stone, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    Well, metallurgy did arrive to the Finns with Indo-Europeans...
    I remember reading once that the Basque words for knife and axe may come from the same root as the word stone, though.
    'Aizkora' and 'Labana' from 'Harria'? That would seem unlikely. What I do know however is that the river name 'Garonne' is probably derived from Basque. Specifically, the Proto-Basque word for 'rock' is usually reconstructed as 'Karr-' (note that a sound shift of initial *k > *h occured there in Basque). So, from that perspective the Garonne would be the 'stony river'.

    My point with the Finns really was, Basque may have expirienced the same from other pre-IE languages, but it's impossible to verify this nowadays anymore, of course.

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    bz ......................
    Last edited by callaeca; 22-09-11 at 00:22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by callaeca View Post
    Well Taranis. This is the list of callaecian topomastic names between I-VI a.C.
    I don't see preceltics names in Callaecia, but celtic: 85-90% or more. The words with *p (Acripia, Lapatia) are perfectly integrated in this celtic system.
    Your list is decisively larger and more inclusive than the list I had (I should add, as I initially stated, my list only included town names), I give you that. I also give you that you found etymologies for some places which I overlooked, and I was going to revise/expand my own list in regard for this, anyways. Other than that, I must really disagree. There are many of the names in your list which are compatible with Celtic but not necessarily Celtic. In a number of cases, which I found rather bizarre, there is also no consistentency in sound laws there. For example you have *-t- > *-d- in 'Tuda' (from Proto-Celtic *Teuta), but Nemetobriga and Letiobriga. Why should Gallaecian as a Q-Celtic language share a sound law with Welsh/Brythonic in some words and then again not in others? It should not make sense. As for words with *p being 'perfectly integrated': only in your dreams. We've ben there before: you cannot have *p and *p > Ø in free variation. At least to the general opinion in mainstream is impossible for sound laws to be in free variation. Sound laws have no exception

    EDIT: Something else I just noticed upon re-checking the dat, your set of data is definitely scewed because it includes towns outside of Gallaecia (for example Toletum in the inland, Arcobriga in the southwest). From that perspective, I am having my doubts if your list is valid.

    Edit, anyways, this is the list below which I had (for Gallaecia):

    Aqua Calida
    Aqua Flavia
    Aquae Quacernori
    Araducca
    Argenteola
    Asturica Augusta
    Bedunia
    Bracaraugusta
    Brigantium
    Burum
    Caladunum
    Caronium
    Cambetum
    Celiobriga
    Claudiomerum
    Complutica
    Dactonium
    Flavia Lambris
    Forum Bibilori
    Forum Gigurrum
    Forum Nabasori
    Forum Limicori
    Glandomirum
    Gigia
    Interamnium
    Intercatia
    Iria Flavia
    Labernis
    Lanciati
    Libunca
    Lucus Augusti
    Lucus Asturum
    Maliaca
    Merua
    Nardinium
    Nemetobriga
    Novium
    Olina
    Paelontium
    Petavonium
    Pinetus
    Pintia
    Tuda
    Talamina
    Tuntobriga
    Turriga
    Turuptiana
    Vica
    Volobriga
    Last edited by Taranis; 21-09-11 at 21:50.

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    bz...............................
    Last edited by callaeca; 22-09-11 at 00:22.

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    I'm not going to reply to you anymore because without a doubt you are a lost cause, especially due to your intransigence to understand the concept of sound laws and to believe that they could be in free variation. I am also fed with your permanent insults. But there is this that I want to point out:

    Quote Originally Posted by callaeca View Post
    4.- You belong to traditional and dogmatic trend born in the ends of the XIX century, whose principles are dead.
    This. These principles better be not dead, or comparative linguistics will go to hell in a handbasket. If you believe we ditch the concept of sound laws, well, maybe we should ditch the concept of Indo-European languages altogether. The next thing is that you can claim the Quechua is a Semitic language, that Etruscan is an early dialect of Albanian or that, who knew English is a dialect of Chinese?!

    Remember this words:

    "Ich fürchte, eines Tages werden die Keltisten lernen müssen, mit dem p zu leben" (Untermann, 1987:74)
    Or, maybe Untermann has to learn he was wrong. Well, the really funny and amusing thing is that to this day you have not shown me any single evidence for common sound laws between the Celtic languages and Gallaecian/Lusitanian.
    Last edited by Taranis; 21-09-11 at 23:13.

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    And what about deity names?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asturrulumbo View Post
    And what about deity names?
    What about them?

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    How many are there attested? What can they tell us about their language and their religion? For example, there is a place in Asturias called Táranu.

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