This article appeared originally at the May 10, 2009 of the American Chronicle: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/101883
Balkan Illusion - phantasia archaica:
"...it is very interesting to note that many of the authentic ancient Macedonian words, according to their etymology and pronunciation, have a striking resemblance to the appropriate words used in the modern Macedonian language (and other so called "Slav" languages)."
"Ata(s). The root of this name contains the noun "at", which in the so called "Old Slavic language" meant "a horse". We note that the ancient Macedonians were great horsemen and horses were very importaint for them. Such names allready(sic) exsists(sic) in onomasticons(sic) of other peoples (for example Bulgarians have their popular name Asparuh, which means "speed horse" in Old Bulgarian language). The same name "Ata" is present in todays' Macedonian onomasticon."
From: "Similarities between ancient Macedonian and today's' Macedonian Culture (Linguistics and Onomastics)", by: Aleksandar Donski, celebrity folk "historian" from FYROM.
Attas / Αττας
All the Slavic languages belong to the Satem branch of the Indo-European tree of languages, along with the Iranian and Indic languages, which include old Persian and Sanskrit. One of the modern Slavic tongues is the Slavic dialect spoken in FYROM, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, by the Slav speakers of that country. It belongs to the same sub-branch of south Slavic languages that include Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian, being a transitional dialect between the two. It is closely related to Bulgarian, but with many similarities and lexical and phonetic affinities to Serbian.
The word for horse in Serbian, Croatian and Makedonski Slavic is: коњ / Konj , while in Bulgarian it is: кон / kоnj or коне / konje. In Russian there are two words for horse: лошадь / loshad, but also конь / konj. In Slovak the horse is called: kôň and in Slovenian: konj, while in Polish it is : Koń.
If all modern Slavs from Beograd to Vladivostok and from Sofia to St. Petersburg call horse by a name that sounds like kon or konj, it would be a linguistic paradox indeed for a word as widely spread among all modern Slavic languages and dialects to have had a totally unrelated root. Of course, not all people of Slavic language and culture consider themselves Slavs. Let us look into this issue and let the horse wait for now.
Some writers from FYROM prefer to use quotation marks before and after the word Slav. They seem to consciously prefer to write: "Slav". According to their school of Balkan historical revisionism "Slavs" are not Slavs, but descendants of the ancient Macedonians. In other words, the Slavomacedonians, the Bulgarians, the Poles, the Russians, the Belorussians, the Ukrainians, Serbs, Czechs etc, they are all descendants of the ancient Macedonians: they just do not know it yet. It is high time for them to learn the truth of their glorious ancient legacy, it seems. Here steps to the plate one of the apologists of these "theories" and with a book called : "Ancient Macedonian Heritage in Todays' Macedonian Nation", he tries to fill that abysmal void:
"There are a certain number of arguments and strong indications in support of the existence of (at least partial) ethno-cultural links between the ancient Macedonians and Veneti.", tells us Aleksandfar Donski of FYROM. And then he continues:
"Before presenting some of these arguments, it is required to affirm that the Veneti were among the oldest nations in Europe. Narratively the Veneti were initially mentioned as people from Asia Minor, and later on as Balkan people as well. Furthermore, there are number of testimonials and evidences that the ancient people Veneti were the ancestors of the so called "Slavs". This practically means that the ancient Macedonians and the so called "Slavs" should have (at least partial) common ethno-cultural background."
The writer has made a few claims above, so let us enumerate them and let us examine them one by one:
a. There were supposedly cultural and ethnic links between the Macedonians and the Veneti of ancient times.
b. The Veneti were mentioned as a people of the Asia Minor but also of the Balkans.
c. We are told that there are a number of testimonials and evidences that the ancient Veneti were the ancestors of the so called "Slavs". (the reader should take note here of the expression: "so called "Slavs" ").
d.The ancient Macedonians and the "so called "Slavs"" should practically have (at least partial) common ethno-cultural background.
Let us take these arguments one at a time:
While we are told that are "a certain number of arguments and strong indications in support of " links between the Macedonians and the Venetic speaking Veneti of Northwestern Illyria, no such argument or even indication is mentioned, obviously as we are told : "the space on this occasion is limited". We simply have to wait for a next edition, it seems. In reality, there was never any direct or indirect contact between the Macedonians and the Veneti: none is mentioned in the historical record. Outlandish claims are cheap to make and in the unstable ground of the Balkans, they come by the dozen. The ancient Mediterranean world, thanks in part to the extensive written record left behind primarily by the Greeks and later on by the Latins is a fairly well documented world. The Macedonians had extensive relations with the the southern Illyrians, the Dardani and the Taulantii, of today's northern Albania Kossovo and Serbia, even the Autariatae of today's Serbia. The Macedonians fought with them many times and they exchanged brides with them on occasion, to secure the unstable peace among them. They also had many relations with the Thracians and Paionians to the east and northeast of them. But the Veneti were located where is now Slovenia and northeastern Italy. Venice / Venezzia and Veneto of Italy take their name from the ancient Veneti. The Macedonians were never in those lands, no matter how much closer to Macedonia they seem to be when compared to distant India and Afghanistan.
There are myths which connect the Henetoi / Ενετοι of Paphlagonia / Παφλαγωνια to the Veneti of Italy and Illyria. Strabo the Geographer, quoting from Antinoridae / Αντινοριδαι, a long lost tragedy by Sophocles mentions:
"Σοφοκλη̂ς γου̂ν ἐν τῃ̂ ἁλώσει του̂ Ιλίου παρδαλέαν φησὶ πρὸ τη̂ς θύρας του̂ Αντήνορος προτεθη̂ναι σύμβολον του̂ ἀπόρθητον ἐαθη̂ναι τὴν οἰκίαν. τὸν μὲν οὐ̂ν Αντήνορα καὶ τοὺς παι̂δας μετὰ τω̂ν περιγενομένων Ενετω̂ν εἰς τὴν Θρᾴκην περισωθη̂ναι κἀκει̂θεν διαπεσει̂ν εἰς τὴν λεγομένην κατὰ τὸν Αδρίαν Ενετικήν
Στραβων, Γεωγραφικα, 13.1.53
"At any rate, Sophocles says that at the capture of Troy a Leopard's skin was put before the doors of Antenor as a sign that his house was to be left un-pillaged; and Antenor and his children safely escaped to Thrace with the survivors of the Heneti, and from there got across to the Adriatic Henetice"
Strabo, Geography 13.1.53
Τhen Virgil comes to repeat this old Greek myth, which helps him with the founding myth of Rome as descending from Αινειας / Aeneas' Trojans, and speaks of Αντηνωρ / Antenor, who was saved by the Greeks during the sack of Troy for having been sympathetic to their cause, I.e. The return of Helen to Menelaos, and having been a good host to Menelaos himself. Let us hear the myth as poetically sung by Virgil:
Antenor potuit, mediis elapsus Achivis, 242
Illyricos penetrare sinus, atque intima tutus
regna Liburnorum, et fontem superare Timavi,
unde per ora novem vasto cum murmure montis 245
it mare proruptum et pelago premit arva sonanti.
Hic tamen ille urbem Patavi sedesque locavit
Teucrorum, et genti nomen dedit, armaque fixit
Troia; nunc placida compostus pace quiescit:
nos, tua progenies, caeli quibus adnuis arcem, 250
navibus (infandum!) amissis, unius ob iram
prodimur atque Italis longe disiungimur oris.
Hic pietatis honos? Sic nos in sceptra reponis?'
Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber Primus
Antenor, though th' Achaeans pressed him sore, 242
found his way forth, and entered unassailed
Illyria's haven, and the guarded land
of the Liburni. Straight up stream he sailed 245
where like a swollen sea Timavus pours
a nine-fold flood from roaring mountain gorge,
and whelms with voiceful wave the fields below.
He built Patavium there, and fixed abodes
for Troy's far-exiled sons; he gave a name 250
to a new land and race; the Trojan arms
were hung on temple walls; and, to this day,
lying in perfect peace, the hero sleeps.
Virgil, Aeniad Book One
So, Virgil tells us that Antenor sailed through the sea of the Illyrians past the Liburnians and finally established his new colony at Patavium, today's Padova / Padua in Italy. Taking the relay baton from the poets,Livy, the Roman Historian, begins his History of Rome by repeating the same old myth of Antenor, as first related by Sophocles:
Antenorem cum multitudine Enetum, qui seditione ex Paphlagonia pulsi et sedes et ducem rege Pylaemene ad Troiam amisso quaerebant, venisse in intimum maris Hadriatici sinum, Euganeisque qui inter mare Alpesque incolebant pulsis Enetos Troianosque eas tenuisse terras. Et in quem primo egressi sunt locum Troia vocatur pagoque inde Troiano nomen est: gens universa Veneti appellati.
Titus Livius, Gestorum Romanorum I.1
Antenor sailed into the furthest part of the Adriatic, accompanied by a number of Enetians who had been driven from Paphlagonia by a revolution and after losing their king Pylaemenes before Troy were looking for a settlement and a leader. The combined force of Enetians and Trojans defeated the Euganei, who dwelt between the sea and the Alps and occupied their land. The place where they disembarked was called Troy, and the name was extended to the surrounding district; the whole nation were called Veneti.
Livy, History of Rome, Book I.1
So, the myths tell us the basic founding story: Troy falls, Aeneas ends up in central Italy and establishes Roma/Rome and Antenor goes to the end of the Adriatic and establishes Patavium/Padova/Padua.
In his third point the Balkan revisionist "historian" casually informs us that "we are told that there are a number of testimonials and evidences that the ancient Veneti were the ancestors of the so called "Slavs". (it is obvious that by using quotes when he mentions the so called "Slavs", he insinuates that the so called "Slavs" are not really...Slavs). In a vague, imprecise and unscientific way he continues his utterly unsubstantiated ramblings: "we are told...that"...and the obvious question screams back : we are told by whom? Yet he continues unabashedly: "there are a number of testimonials and evidences". Someone testified and forgot to tell us about it? Someone gave evidence that has since been hidden away in a double-locked drawer? Who testified? What testimonies? Where is the evidence? Are we supposed to digest what we are told, just because someone wants us to believe that: "the ancient Veneti were the ancestors of the so called "Slavs"? Are we supposed to accept the old dictum of the medieval Catholic church : "Believe and do not search!" ?
We would much rather go searching. Since there are four different instances of the word Veneti being used to describe ancient peoples, one in prehistory (Henetoi of Paphlagonia) and three in Historical times: a. the Veneti in Northern Italy, b. the Veneti of France and c. the Venedi of the Baltic Sea. Greek and Latin myths connect the Henetoi of Asia Minor and the Venetoi at the frontier of Italy and Illyria. We should never equate myth with history but we cannot discount it either without looking into the evidence if that is available. But we will come back to this issue. Let us look at the Veneti of Gaul, today's France. In his book on the Gauls, B. Cunliffe informs us that the Veneti of Gaul were a "Maritime tribe living in the southwest of the Amorican peninsula. They were traders and acted as middlemen in shipping goods from Britain to the south. In 56 B.C.E. they rebelled against Caesar but were soundly beaten in a sea battle at Quiberon, and as a result all the leading men were executed and the rest sold as slaves."
B. Cunliffe , The Celtic World, 1979.
The Gaelic Veneti were according to the sources a Celtic tribe. Their language was a Celtic dialect. Caesar effectively eliminated and exterminated them, through massacre and slavery, and they became extinct as a nation. No connection has ever been attested between them and the Italo-Illyrian Veneti. Trying to relate them to the Slavs, or for that matter to the Aztecs or the Patagonian Indians is not going to help anyone's case, since they became extinct anyway.
If the Italo-Illyrian Veneti were not related to the Gaelic Veneti, then what were they?
The noted University of Chicago Indo-Europeanist linguist Eric P. Hamp in one of his early works (The Relationship of Venetic within Italic, published in The American Journal of Philology, Vol.75, No.2, pp.183-186) and also in his more recent Diagram of the Indo-European languages as shown in the Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European world, Oxford university Press 2006) groups the Venetic language along with Latin in the Italic branch of Languages.
The Venetic language is documented in some 200 to 300 inscriptions dating from the 6th to the 1st century BC, when it was completely absorbed by Latin.
Let us look at some inscriptions, that have been used by the proponents of the Italic linguistic connection. The first inscription is from Este (Es 45):
Venetic : mego donasto sainatei reitiiai porai egeotora aimoi ke louderobos
Latin : me donavit sanatrici reitiae bonae egetora [pro]aemo liberis-que
Translation: Egetora gave me to Good Reitia the Healer on behalf of Aemus and the children
(Prosdocimi in Pellegrini 1967: 149-150)
The second inscription was found written on a situla urn at Cadore (Ca 4 Valle):
Venetic : eik goltanos doto louderai kanei
Latin : hic goltanus dedit liberae cani
Translation: Goltanus sacrificed this for the virgin Kanis
(Prosdocimi in Pellegrini 1967: 464-468)
We are not linguists here, nor do we pretend to be such, but some things are eye-popping obvious! I would definitely say that these inscriptions do not look too good for the "Slavic connection theory" folks. If nothing else, the linguistic evidence corroborates the ancient Greek myths of the Paphlagonian Henetoi/ Ενετοι and Trojan Allies who, under Antenor, followed Aeneias' Trojans to the west and settled on different areas of Italy: one group going west and another Northeast, next to Illyria. The Myth, as we have come to expect of Greek myths by now, is not hollow poetry, it has historic substance behind it.
|The "Kaminia inscription" from Kaminia, Lemnos|
The scholarly community went to work and the consensus is that it is a language closely related to Etruscan. The Etruscans are not the Eneti, but it is proven that commercial, linguistic and ethnic links existed between Troy and the area around it, Lemnos in the Aegean on the one hand and central and northern Italy on the other. This of course did not dissuade certain Turkish "scholars" from claiming that the Lemnian was a Proto-Altao-Turano-Turkic inscription, "evidence" that the Mongolian related Turks were in the Aegean circa at least the 6th c BC (almost 1800 years before they stepped their foot on Anatolia, modern Turkey, in other words).
In his well documented book "The Illyrians" , 1992, John Wilkes tells us (on page 76) that: "Enough of the language and vocabulary survives to indicate that Venetic was a northwest Indo-european dialect with several points of correspondence with Latin." Further down, on the same page, John Wilkes gives us examples of typical Venetic names which include: Axius, Cantius, Carminius, Appuleius, Avitus, Tutor, Barbius, Boniatus, Cervius, Cusonius, Dasimius, Firmius, Laetus, Lucanus, Lucillus, Muttius, Mulvius, Oaetus, Oppius, Plaetorius, Veitor, Titius, Turus, Voltiomnos and Volumnius. Again, the Slavic connection seems to have hit the wall. It is obvious that by using a good Latin dictionary, someone could go much further in helping us decipher the original meaning of each of these names, names of the extinct language of the Veneti than using any dictionary of the Old Slavonic language. So, then how can we explain all the fuss about trying to make a connection between the south Slavs of the Balkans and the Italian Veneti?
|Slovenia's "Donskis": Slovenian pseudo-Venetism|
A Balkan circus of the traveling kind, with Thracian horsemen and Macedonian phalanghists, Hittites on chariots and proto-Slavic Veneti! A lunatic asylum, completely out of touch with reality... and why should it be? Most of the instigators of this lunacy are not even living at the scene...they are not experiencing the living hell of dire poverty and unemployment that ravages the Balkans: the ball masque' is being held in distant Canada or Australia!
Professor Zlatko Skrbis explains that the myth of the Slovene Slavs-turned-ancient Venetoi provides the nationalistic fringe of the Slovenian nation a sense of "historical drama".
Coming out of a miserably failed Stalinist-Titoist interpretation of Socialism, and the collapse of the Yugoslav multi-ethnic union in a bloodbath of war, genocide and foreign intervention, the Venetological re-interpretation of Slovene history is a "form of interrogation of the present and the search for a suitable past that would correspond to Slovene nationalist imaginings." I must add that whatever is said of the Venetologists, applies like a glove to the pseudo-makedonists further south, in FYROM. Even the diaspora connection as a major force in revisionist theories of nation-creation and propagation (theories concerning the fabled identity of their people), which professor Zlatko Skrbis so vividly explains, fits the case of the Slavs-turned-Makedonski diaspora of Canada and Australia as if it was written specifically for them.
Finally we come to the Vistula Venedi.
Professor P.M. Barford' is a British speaker of Polish and Russian among other Slavic languages, and a lecturer of Slavic Archeology in the University of Warsaw. In his recently published book (2001), "The Early Slavs" which took him over 20 years of research to write, he talks about the Vistula Venedi:
"Alongside "Sclavi" and related terms, western sources also use another name for their eastern neighbors. Some medieval western scholars applied (variants of) the name "Wends" (German Wenden) mainly for the Polabian Slavs. The concept had appeared by the time of Fredegar, who uses it (IV.68) in 660, and is also used by Boniface (in a letter of 746/7). It also appears in the Annales Bertiniani of the 860's and several other ninth-century sources. This generic term derived from bookish traditions when written in Latin. Antique sources (including Tacitus in his Germania) referred to the people living to the east of the Germans as the Venedi, and this term was obviously reused by monkish chroniclers to describe the peoples beyond the expanding frontiers of the Frankish kingdom."
In other words, we cannot base connections of a similarity of a name because this does not in any way constitute a proof, and the historical record especially of the middle ages needs to be taken with a critical and analytical approach and not as the word of the bible.
The local proponents of the theory that "since the Veneti are "Slavs" and the ancient Macedonians were of a "common ethno-cultural background" (historically they had never even met, and there is not a single proof that they even knew of each others existence), therefore, they exclaim in poppy-eyed delirious revelation:
"the so called "Slavs" should practically have common ethno-cultural background with the Macedonians!"
Aleksandar Donski, as above.
Perfect! A total and utter collapse of any semblance of logic, and a brutal assassination of History, in other words: Since the Macedonians were somehow and in an imaginary way supposedly and possibly related to the Veneti and since the Veneti of Asia Minor who went to Italy and Illyria were possibly and maybe according to who knows whose testimonials "Slavs", therefore the ancient Macedonians were OF COURSE "Slavs"!
Reductio ad absurdum in perfectio!
Since black is red and red is yellow, therefore purple is green! Whom are they trying to convince?!
Having gone through the cycle of the Slavs that prefer to be called "so called "Slavs"", let us now remember where we originally started from: Attas, we were told is supposed to be a name that contains the noun "at" which in the "Old Slavic language" (their quotes) meant a horse. And they go on to tell us that the ancient Macedonians were great horsemen and horses were important to them. I suppose we do know about the horsemanship of the ancient Macedonians already: both Philip and Alexander always gave the coup de grace through their cavalry, using it as a hammer to give the blow, while the Macedonian phalanx was always being used as the anvil.
A favorite name among Macedonians was Philippos/Φιλιππος, a Greek name (like ALL the Macedonian names) for "the one who loves horses". It is a name that is derived from Philos/φιλος meaning a friend, one who loves, and Hippos/ιππος a horse, in Greek.
Words like philosopher, philology, philatelic, Philadelphia, philander, philanthropist, philarmonic, etc all have philos as their first part. Words like hippodrome, hippopotamus, hippocampus and Hippocratic (oath), all have the word hippos as a contributing part. Other Greek names ending in -ippos include Alkippos/Ἄ̣λ̣κι̣π̣πος, Ippostratos/Ἱππόστρατος, Kallippos/Κάλλιππος, Lexippos/Ἀλέξιππος, Xanthippos/Ξάνθιππος (the father of Pericles), Hippostratos/Ἱππόστρατος, Euippos/Εὔιππος, Poseidippos/Ποσείδιππος, Phaenippos/Φαίνιπ̣π̣ος and many others.
Now lets us again look at the words which mean horse in various Slavic languages and they all seem to have variables of конь / коњ / konj / koń / kôň, etc.
Why then are we told that "At" means horse in the "old slavic language"? Why are we even given the example of the old Bulgarian name Asparuch, which we are told means "speedy horse" in Slavic?
|P.M-ex King of Bulgaria Simeon looking at a Museum wax image of Asparuch|
The Bulgars were a Turkic nation that moved into Byzantine Thrace, crossing the Danube when Constantinople was under siege by the Arabs, in the 7th century AD. They allied themselves with the early Slavs of the area and moved together into the lands of the Eastern Roman empire. The Turkic speaking Bulgars were later completely assimilated culturally and linguistically by the numerically superior surrounding Slavs, producing the nation of the Bulgarians. The Greek speaking populations continued living in cities along the Black sea and in the Thracian plain around Philipoupolis, the area that was later to be called Eastern Romylia), until the beginning of the 20th century, and the Latin speaking populations moved north of the Danube and joined the ones who later formed the modern nation of Romania.
Coming now back to Asparuch, searching for its etymology we discover that the first part of his name is "aspa", meaning horse in Iranian and it is followed by "rauk", meaning shine, also in Iranian, from which the Turks had borrowed extensively to enrich their poor nomadic vocabulary. Asparuch is a hundred percent Iranian name, borrowed by the Turkic speaking Bulgarians from the Persians. It has nothing in common with any Slavic language.
|Turkish NG special video issue on Horses (Atlar)|
We have established that the ancient name Attas has no relation with neither horses nor "Slavs", at least not in the way it was presented to us above. Let us then search further for its true etymology. Our Indo-European lexicons tells us that the Indo-European root word is *átta and it means: father. It is a synonym of the *ph₂tḗr from which the English word Father is derrived but also the Latin Pater and the Greek Pater/Πατηρ. Attas/Αττας as father appears in most Indo-European languages. From Hittite attas and Lydian Ata, to Celtic *attyo, Gothic atta and Old Irish aite. Attas as father also appears in Albanian as at, in Ossetian as æда (æda, for "grandfather"), In Slavonic as *otьcь / otjs, in Old Church Slavonic as отьць / otjtsj, modern Serbian and Croatian as otac, in Czech as otec and in Polish as ojciec. In Bulgarian, Russian and Slavo-makedonian attas the father appears as отец / otets, but we also find it in Latin as attas and in Greek as attas / ἄττας.
Attas or Atta appears as a name in several Indo-European languages. Attas according to L. Zgusta (Kleinasiatische Personennamen. Prague 1964 105-108) is a typical Anatolian name, attested in the Hittite language as Atta, in Lydian as Atas and in the Phrygian language also as Atas. In Both Greek and Latin Attas / Αττας means father.
In the first century AD there is mention of a Latin dramatic Poet whose poetic work has only survived in small fragments: Titus Quinctius Atta. His name proves that Atta was also used by the Latins as a personal name.
The Militian colony of Olbe/Ολβη was built on the northern shores of the Black Sea, by the river Hypanis/Υπανις /Southern Bug, between Borysthenes / Βορυσθενης / Dnieper to the east and Tyras /Τυρας/ Dniester, just west of the Taurike/Ταυρικη /Crimean peninsula, where today is the town of Parutino, in southern Ukraine.
It is from Olbia that the following inscription comes to us:
Regions : North Shore of the Black Sea
I.Olbia 87, N. Black Sea — Olbia: Berezan Isl.
οἱ π]ερὶ Δαδακον Ἱ[ε]ρο-
σῶντος τὸ [βʹ στρατηγοί]·
Μο[υγισαγος Ασανου Α]-
μω[σπαδος Ἀχιλλέος, Θυσ]-
κῆς Δ[άδου, Αττας Σωμά]-
χου, Μ[ητρόδωρος Πραξι]-
ἐπὶ ἀ[ρχόντων τῶν περὶ]
Alongside such typical Greek names as Achileus, Dadakos, Metrodoros, Hieroson, Epikrates and Praxianax, in the seventh line from the top, we also read the name :
Attas Somachou/Αττας Σωμάχου/ Attas son of Somachos.
Attas, as clearly proven from this inscription, was also used as a proper first name among Greeks.