Fallow Deer

David L. White dlwhite at texas.net
Mon Apr 30 21:34:14 UTC 2001

> Likewise, PIE lacks a word for the fallow deer, common throughout southern
> Europe, but has terms for 'elk' and 'red deer'.

        Another kind of fallow deer, not terribly distinct, occurs along the
border between Iraq and Iran, or did until the war there.  (There were
reports of them being machinegunned and eaten by solidiers, notwithstanding
that they were considered endangered at the time.)  More to the point, my
encylopedia of mammals, though not distinguishing between the types, lists
fallow deer as occurring in "Asia Minor".
        It is not clear to me whether the gazelles known to the Hittites
were native to Anatolia or were encountered further south.  From what I know
of the goitered gazelle (sorry about the name, I didn't make it up), it
seems probable that it would have occured in ancient Anatolia, though I
cannot be certain.  (Ranges of Asian gazelles have in general shrunk.)  It
occurs near there today, and tolerates cold fairly well.
        Thus we at least one and possibly two cases where, if the PIEs began
in Anatolia and went directly from there to Greece and Iran, they
inexplicably lost a word for animals of a rather harmless sort that would
not ordinarily be expected to provoke tabu deformation.

Dr. David L. White

More information about the Indo-european mailing list