Douglas G Kilday acnasvers at
Mon Apr 9 02:55:08 UTC 2001

philjennings at (30 Mar 2001) wrote:

>We can only speculate regarding the work that the Hursanassans, the
>Surudans, and the Attarimmans were made to do in captivity, but all these
>200,000 people must have been aware that some fraction of their number
>were still free on an Aegean island or islands.  Whether the vaunted
>freedom of this remnant galled the Hittites or not, there was nothing they
>could do about it.  Even when they forged occasional alliances with the
>Achaeans over the next 150 years (before the fall of Troy), the Achaeans
>lost nothing by maintaining their island relationship.  This is probably
>more true as they had not discommoded themselves in the first place by
>giving King Uhhazitis one of their own islands, but rather settled the
>Arzawan refugees on a Pelasgian island, such as Lemnos.  (The Pelasgians
>were too weak to protest at being forced to share.)

One of the problems with this picture is that classical sources don't place
Pelasgians on Lemnos at such an early date. In Homer, the inhabitants of
Lemnos are Sinties, and the epithet <agriopho:nous> (acc. pl.) tells us only
that their phonology was non-Greek, not necessarily non-IE. Strabo asserts
that the Sinties were Thracians. Pausanias says that the Pelasgians took
Lemnos from the Minyae, who were aristocratic refugees from revolution in
Boeotia. Neither group likely held the island more than a few decades, and
the Tyrrhenians had presumably already fled from Lemnos to Chalcidice
(perhaps driven out by the Minyae).

>A mixed group of refugees; Hursanassans, Surudans, Attarimmans, Arzawan
>royals, et cetera, living on part of an island like Lemnos, would not
>necessarily have imposed a group-name on themselves; but the Pelasgians,
>their neighbors, would have done so, ignoring precise distinctions.
>Pelasgians spoke an "Anatolian" language.  They would have recognized
>"-assos" as a geopolitical suffix, and dropped its inappropriate use,
>therefore the Hursanassans would have become Hursana(pl) or 'Rsana(pl).

What does your <'> signify? A glottal stop? A pharyngeal fricative? What
business do you have citing phonological and morphological changes in
Pelasgian? Can you give other examples of Pelasgian dropping initial
syllables and back-forming ethnonyms by removing suffixes?

Pelasgian loanwords are found from Persian to Sabine, and toponyms reached
up the Danube. The language (or family) was not restricted to Anatolia. It
was certainly not "Anatolian IE", so no particular affinity to Hittite et
al. should be assumed. Whether Pelasgian should be considered a branch of IE
at all is debatable. IMHO Pelasgian is non-IE, but probably related at the
super-family level. A possible cognate pair is Psg. *wrod- 'rose' ~ PIE
*H1reudh- 'red'.

>If the dominant language among the refugees was distinctive and
>incomprehensible, as it surely was, those who spoke as the Hursana did
>might have been called the "ta-'rsana(pl)."  The Greeks also needed a
>group name for these people, and might have turned "ta-'rsana(pl)" into
>"Tyrsennoi."  With time, the refugees themselves would have acceded to the
>need for a single name, minus the Pelasgian prefix: and pronounced their
>own way: eventually Ras'na.

What examples do you have of Greek turning /a-'/ (whatever that means) into
/u/? Why wouldn't it become the long vowel /a:/ or perhaps a long diphthong?

>Against this whole "Etruscan origins" story and all its props and
>gimmicks, lies the fact that no proto-Etruscan-like language has been
>preserved in the extensive Hittite archives, which generously cite
>diplomatic and liturgical passages in Hattic, Palaic, Luwian, Akkadian,
>and Hurrian.  However, as far as I know, the Hittites also ignored Achaean
>Greek, Minoan, and the Northwest Semite language of Canaan, and even

Lack of attested Proto-Etruscan isn't the trouble with your story. The
trouble is the bizarre maze of contortions which your ethnonyms must
navigate. Given sufficient ingenuity, a linguistic fabulist could snake the
sequence T-R-S or R-S-N from any part of the world into Etruria. That isn't
the point of doing historical linguistics.


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