LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.5

Help for OLD-IRISH-L Archives


OLD-IRISH-L Archives

OLD-IRISH-L Archives


OLD-IRISH-L@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

OLD-IRISH-L Home

OLD-IRISH-L Home

OLD-IRISH-L  March 2016

OLD-IRISH-L March 2016

Subject:

Re: arrow

From:

Helen McKay <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholars and students of Old Irish <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 10 Mar 2016 06:24:40 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (43 lines)

Thanks for that info Thurston.  Let me start by saying that I'm not proposing anything in particular here, my question arises because I have seen that there is a false paradigm going the rounds at the moment about archery in the bronze age.  And then because I noticed an odd coincidence about the name Hercules and the old root of 'arc' as a bow.   

Archery definitely took a backward step around 1000 BC or a bit earlier, and people are buried with the new bling of swords and such, rather than arrows as previously seen.  Its interesting that the wristguards in many earlier high status burials suddenly disappear, but these weren't apparently 'real' wristguards, they were stone amulets worn on the outside of the arm as some religious artefact.  So the disappearance of the arrows and wristguards signifies a religious shift, not a shift out of archery, which we have other evidence for as continuing to exist in military terms (although a lesser status, but to assume no battles were ever fought, no duns ever needed defending, except by a heroic one-on-one fight, is romantic overkill, not full reality).   
At the same time, we have literally oodles of instances of archery and famous archers in all the cultures of the west that I've looked at, and these stories are often at key points in stories, as though they are a primary element in the tale, not as something just tacked on as an afterthought.   Meaning, that archery was never abandoned, in warfare or in mythology.

So my question then is this, that if the paradigm that archery disappeared is wildly incorrect, then we need to look again at the words for bow/arrow/archer, and reassess them and their history.   And in the middle of that search, the greatest archer of mythology turns up with a name that looks surprising like the old root for 'herk-' bow.  Now that may just be a strange coincidence, or maybe not, this is point where I reach the limit of my competence and need to ask an expert  linguist who has a chance of answering the question linguistically speaking.  

Before I get on to Hercules, its interesting the placenames that are mentioned in the piece you sent through, that some of them are in Arkaddia, which is said to be named after Arcas, the archer who is turned into Ursa Minor.  And the coincidences begin to pile up ... 

In general I have no problem with all the folk etymology of trying to figure out how and why Herakles is so named.  Nor should we expect anything less than localisation to his stories, because that is a common experience of myths, especially one that take on such significance to the Greeks as this one did.    The thing that raises a flag is that all these people, from ancient Greece up to now, all have to struggle to try to explain the name.   But if Herakles was originally a hero from the north western EU areas, then of course we should expect the Greeks to normalise it to something they can 'understand'.  

Another big problem with the Labours of Hercules that people have struggled with now for millennia, is that there are many indications that his labours have to do with the zodiacal constellations.  But the problem is that it is a struggle to fit them into the then current Greek/Western/Babylonian astrology.  Some fit, some just don't.  And as I'll talk about in a minute, Hercules himself isn't portrayed in a constellation until many centuries after the story exists. But what if these labours fit a slightly alternative zodiacal scheme?  ie. the Celtic one, or some other?  And if we start thinking about stags and boars and such, we are right into key Celtic themes.  

I haven't made a big study of this history of Hercules.  But this is a brief outline.  Pindar c. 522 – c. 443 BC knows some story about Herakles, but he already has trouble with the name, and claims that the story belongs to a hero when he had another name.   So already the name is problematic.  Over the next centuries especially from around 300bc to 0ad the myth of Herakles takes off in a big way in the intellectual circle of Greece, but, his name remains a subject of angst.  But note here, that we are well over half a millennium into the period when modern people are claiming there is virtually no archery, and yet here we have the greatest archer of them all being fated as the world's greatest champion.   We just cant have this both ways!!

Interestingly though, we perhaps can see the Greek myth evolving over time, as Herakles according to WP wasn't "accepted into the Olympian Pantheon [until] Classical times".   And of course today we tend to hear the story through Roman mouths, so we tend to think of him as always being superhero and son of Zeus.  But perhaps the most telling fact here to show that Herakles was being adopted and developed in Greece, is that he doesn't show up in Greek/Babylonian astronomy.    And for such a significant hero, this is a major lack.   In Babylonian starmaps, the constellation that we today know as Hercules, is a 'standing man'.   The Greek poet Aratus 315 BC/310 BC – 240 BC  (note here we are well into the period when the story of Hercules is prevalent in Greek culture) says that the constellation is known as The Kneeler: Right there in its [Draco's] orbit wheels a Phantom form, like to a man that strives at a task. That sign no man knows how to read clearly, nor what task he is bent, but men simply call him On His Knees [Ἐγγόνασιν "the Kneeler"].  So at this late point, the constellation still isn't called for Heracles.  What's really fascinating about this statement though is that archers in early art are commonly depicted on their knees as they draw back the bow.  

Ptolemy  c. AD 100 – c. 170 finally lists the constellation as Heracles.  And Dionysius c. 60 BC – after 7 BC is busy trying to explain why the great champion is now on his knees.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysius_of_Halicarnassus.  So we can see how late this elevation into the stars was.  ( BTW, this constellation of Hercules has the shape of a swastika, a symbol which we find going back millennia in rock art. ) 

And one last thing of interest is this story that I'll mention, is that this constellation picture of kneeling Hercules with his club and bow, the super strong champion, is the same one that is related by a Gaul to be the same as Ogma.   Ogma, the god who is the 'champion' of the TDD, but who we also know has a strong connection to fine speech.   I haven't been able to find anything that connects Ogma to a famous bow, but if anyone comes across anything please let me know?   So I'm not sure how this fits, or whether its a false friend, or what.  

So, here's the question again.  Is it linguistically possible, long before the story reached Greece,  that the name Hercules has arisen from the ancient word herk/arc for bow?  
Helen

On Tue, 8 Mar 2016 14:26:03 +0000, Thurston Shaylor <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>On Tue, 8 Mar 2016 01:57:25 +0000, Helen McKay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>>Thanks Martin.  What you say about 'cles' is fine.  And its also said that the Hera- part is from Hera (who basically hated him, so why would he be >her champion?)  
>
>What about the morrigan and Cú Chulainn - maybe a hero needs to be provoked onto greatness? With respect to the name though there's a good summary in Emma Stafford's Herakles:
>
>"One line of enquiry which was popular in antiquity was etymology, the attempt to discover the truth about a thing by analyzing its name. Most ancient writers interpreted Herakles’ name as meaning ‘glory (kleos) of Hera’, some attempting to explain the apparent paradox this involves, given Herakles’ notoriously bad relationship with the goddess. According to Pindar (fr. 291 SM), the hero was originally called Alkeides, ‘descendant of Alkaios’, but was renamed Herakles by Hera herself in grudging recognition that his kleos had been won as result of her harassment; Apollodoros attributes this name change to the Delphic oracle. According to Diodoros (4.10.1) and others the original name was simply Alkaios (‘Strong’), which would reflect what we know of historical naming practices, since this is the name of his paternal grandfather. The change to Herakles was made by the people of Argos, impressed by the infant hero’s feat in strangling the snakes sent by Hera, or else it came about much later, when Herakles had assisted Hera by overcoming the giant Porphyrion. Such explanations have not entirely satisfied modern scholars. The name appears to be formed on a principle common to many others familiar from ancient Greece, i.e. by adding a suffix to the name of a deity – Herodotus and Apollodoros are ‘gifts’ of Hera and Apollo respectively, while Herakles is exactly paralleled by Diokles and Themistokles, ‘glory of’ Zeus (‘Dios’ is the genitive case) and Themis, goddess of Order. This kind of name might well reflect the parents’ relationship with a particular deity, expressing thanks for answered prayers or dedicating the child to the god’s future protection. As goddess of marriage, as well as principle deity of the city of Argos, Hera would be an entirely appropriate choice for real Argolid parents to honour in the naming of their son. Farnell (1921, 99–101) indeed took the very normal formulation of Herakles’ name as support for the supposition that he began his career as a mortal (whether fictional or real) and was only later deified. Pötscher (1971) dispensed with the apparent inappropriateness of ‘glory of Hera’ by supposing an original version of the story in which Herakles’ deeds were performed on Hera’s orders, to which the motifs of Hera’s hostility and jealousy of Alkmene were only added subsequently. More recently, West (1997, 471) has revived the theory that the first part of Herakles’ name is related to the word hêrôs, ‘hero’, as well as to Hera, both of which may be derived from the Indo-European root *yêr- meaning ‘year’."
>
>>The problem I think is that this name is probably really ancient, so that each culture may have over the many centuries adapted his name to >something that makes sense to them in their language.   That's a common adaption of famous names and places.   So we know that Hercules >wasn't a native Greek hero, he had to come from somewhere else, so my question is whether the story was a SW European one first? not the >other way round ...? 
>>Helen
>
>Can you expand on your idea that he isn't a native Greek hero and had come from somewhere else? The name seems Greek and his story has a very specific geographic focus:
>
>"It is certainly true that Herakles has a strong mythological attachment to the Argolid, as we have seen in the story of his ancestry. Six of his labours are set in various parts of the Peloponnese, and their traditional sequence follows a geographical expansion which adherents of the historicist approach would see as representing the historical spread of Argive power: Nemea (the lion) and Lerna (the hydra) are in the Argolid itself; Mount Erymanthos (the boar), Keryneia (the hind) and Lake Stymphalos (the birds) in Arkadia; and the stables of Augeias at Olympia"
>
>Which aspects are you suggesting come from somewhere else? I know one Latin story of Hercules was thought to have been borrowed across to him from a native figure named Recaranus or Garanus for example?

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.HEANET.IE

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager