NORA’S STELE WAS IN SARDINIAN, THE REAL TRANSLATION
BY SALVATORE DEDOLA – SARDINIAN GLOTTOLOGO
“Sardinia is a mysterious island”. This sentence has become commonplace for centuries, and as such is repeated with petulant conviction by simple people, who poorly bears the discipline of reason. The sentence is so popular that it’s now self-generating, has become self-propelled, because in the world only this concept is hammered, and the flocked bells relaunch the toll.
In order to stand, mysteries require two legs: the second leg of the mystery is ignorance.
Apparently, great expectation has arisen on the mystery-ignorance combination, packaged as a tourist attraction, hoping some tourists will visit the whole island. But in Sardinia they continue to land only for the marine beauties. To the “mysteries” of internal areas, this mere slogan is sufficient to dissuade from visits. In short, the slogan works in reverse, as it performs the soporific role of sedating the tourist, causing him to stay on beaches and, after swimming, to go home.
In Sardinia there is no tourist flow organized from beaches inland. Of people fascinated by mystery, not even the shadow. Evidently, our tourist-cultural operators are not really able to ignite the fantasies. And if they truly believe island is full of “mystery”, they are not capable of “caging” the various mysteries with a robust network of narratives, evocations, sensations, such as to bring the tourist at least to the threshold of scientific rationality.
An example for tour operators can be Loch Ness Monster. Although it does not exist, it has attracted tourists for decades for the sole reason that – scientifically – it still remains an irrefutable possibility. That evanescent and elusive “Monster” has been “caged” and sold precisely in its mere scientific possibility. And the tourist package has been accepted, despite the gloomy monotony of Loch Ness banks. In Sardinia, however, the “mystery” is left naked as the King of “Thousand and One Nights”. Everyone laughs at him, nobody intends to meddle with the insane obscenity of his nudities.
On closer inspection, a belief it’s useful to “exhibit the mysteries of nothing” (or vice versa “to cover the mystery with nothing”) does not only infect tourism, indeed it has many travel companions.
The Sardinians know how to represent their own island only with smoke screens, comparable to rudimentary Redskin’s smoke messages. Perhaps it’s a destiny that unites every branch of knowledge. We discover Sardinia transformed into a souq, full of smoke sellers also in the field of science and culture. Science-culture are two other legs capable of walking together, and it’s easy to credit them with greater possibilities than mystery-ignorance binomial, being made to cross horizons and reach distant, safe, fruitful goals. But, unfortunately, in our immense souq even the binomial science-culture is passed off, senselessly, with the same formulas of mystery-ignorance.
I am a humanist, and I’m better able to fathom only my field of study (Antiquities branch), in which I’m more versed and for whom is easier for me to intuit and pursue the combination of science and culture. But I’m amazing in this branch seeing smoke everywhere, in the midst of which anyone risks undergoing a de-humanizing metamorphosis, and without understanding any more, he finds himself vegetating like Kafka’s cockroach. The less learned and more learned among people, afraid and with brain lobes resected by insane surgeons, wander without reference points, they hug each other like a blind man and a cripple, stumble, fall without understanding anything in that dark forest, full of rock spikes, of many pits, many pitfalls. It seems to have fallen into a hellish circle, where the dense darkness makes every motion risky, and the traveler, drawn into the quagmire of mystery-ignorance, wrapped in Luciferian silence, drowns in the dirty mud of the Styx, swallowed up in the Kingdom of the Dead.
Culture in Sardinia is a dead realm: nothing moves, while the background, the perspective, is occupied by surreal fetishes which have names never explained. It’s the “Puppet Theater”, inside the shadows of Platonic cave are projected. Those shadows, if were given life they yearn for, would give sap, light, nourishment to Sardinia. And they would attract so much cultural tourism. But they have been reduced to a mere expressionless silhouette. Needless to say, I’m talking about the greatest cultural works of the island, I’m talking about Nuraghes, Domus de janas, Giants’ Tombs, Nora’s Stele, columnar base of Saint Nicolò Gerréi, Villagrande’s pitcher, Monti-Prama’s Warriors.
Since the “scientific” season began, for 150 years, only smoke has been produced on these monuments, and the passing of the decades has brought to the fore always new actors, new teachers, new archaeologists, up to those living today, each cloned from the previous one, whose behaviors, instead of making they decide to leave the circle of darkness, rather than becoming clearer, have become more and more involved, generating more smoke, so much smoke, so as to muffle or forcibly water down a field of investigations and certainties for which instead Sardinia should have been famous, a lighthouse over the world.
Initially I could have reproach these people as “inattentive”, or as “slaves of bureaucracy”, or pity them for the complaints they issue about the “little money that inhibits great actions”. But after almost 50 years from my degree in Classical Letters, I must admit Sardinia is not afflicted by those ailments but only by a luciferian desire for clouding, concealment, absolute Not-will.
We, after our collective and repeated attempts to stimulate, attempts mortified and bounced back by that rubber wall, are no longer able to describe that phenomenon with the normal vocabulary epithets; we can no longer throw abused epithets against the academy such as “ignorance”, “mental laziness”, “scarcity of ideas”, “haughty seclusion in a turris eburnea“. Perhaps the definition of “port of the mists” still remains available.
A) Starting from today and going back to the last century, the closest and most recent blow to culture has been the fraudulent question of Monti Prama’s Statues, for which silence and concealment lasted thirty years. These statues were subjected to restoration only by people’s furor, after a strong stench revealed the hidden intentions of so much “oblivion” of Superintendency. But it was not oblivion. Those statues were simply kept in the “Port of Mists” and there they had to remain hidden forever, because they were too bulky, as they dripped “mystery” together with Nora’s Stele, together with the columnar base of Saint Nicolò Gerrei (exiled in “catacombs” of Turin); they dripped with “mystery” along with the function of Nuraghes which has been denied for 150 years; dripping “mystery” along with the Villagrande pitcher shamelessly passed off as a “Philistine” manufactured good, in order to make public opinion stupid and seal the written pitcher within the burial recess of the “non-living”.
It all comes back, it all tally. Absolutely nothing was ever said of these monuments because otherwise the status of the narrative on Sardinian culture was altered, as well as was altered the successfull career of archaeologists. Incredible case for its enormous scope. They succeeded in hiding the too bulky Monti Prama’s statues for the sole purpose of not talking about them for omnia saecula saeculorum. To date, after more ten years from the forced restoration demanded by an enraged public opinion, even a book in several tomes has been written on those statues, in order to silence the many cultural expectations. But who among us had the misfortune of reading those books, would know that nothing is written there: these books simply refer to a forthcoming clarifying publication. Indeed, the Monti Prama’s Warriors, the oldest statues in the Mediterranean, have returned to the “Port of Mists”, and no one cares of them, satisfied with their silent exhibition in two museums (Càgliari and Cabras). A silent exhibition, such as Nora’s Stele.
B) Nora’s Stele, the oldest written document in the West, has been waiting for justice for too long. It’s fitting, is dutiful to tare for the past centuries, when the ignorance of the Phoenician graphemes, then the lack of perspicuity of a lexicon which is supposed to be “Phoenician”, and finally the uncomfortable distinction of lexical elements, had clipped any attempt at interpretation.
Then, finally, from 1948 the attempts of translation began, which so far amount to 28 (to 30, according to my accounts), almost all tried by foreign scholars, while some Italian scholars have undertaken only from 1970.
The archaeologists of Sardinian Superintendencies paid her a minimum of attention only 42 years later, from 2012, exactly 9 years after my translation. But they too, like their predecessors, have failed. A foreseeable failure, due to a grotesque but truthful situation, i.e. to a Prussian discipline (seasoned with sepulchral silence) imposed in order not to alter the status quo, that created since the pre-War period, when studies of Mediterranean ancient languages were an exclusive prerogative of English, French, Spanish, American, German scholars, while Italians was allowed to devote themselves exclusively to the languages managed by Roman Empire, Latin and Greek. A status quo wanted by Mussolini and applauded by Hitler, from whom Italy has so far refused to emancipate itself. This status quo even denies us hope, it can never be subverted. It annihilates every cultural perspective, favors a mythography that for 75 years should have disappeared d’amblée, be repudiated with shame, because it hinges on a colossal “black hole” held firmly by German academy in relation to a so-called “indogermanic” languages, which distort approaches to Mediterranean linguistics.
In this way, operating with an eye to the past, Italian and Sardinian scholars preclude the free contemplation of linguistic diachronies in the Mediterranean: they disdain the analysis of grammar and of oldest lexicon, the Sumerian one, deny due attention to grammar and to Akkadian-Assyrian-Babylonian dictionary; they neglect the importance of Western Semitic languages such as Ugaritic and Hebrew. A mute but iron and categorical order, imparted to the entire Italian Academy (and echoed by the Sardinian Academy), prevents scholars from detaching themselves from the ideological and fallacious German approach and from freely observing the whole question in a spatial, airy, scientific way.
C) The approach to another literary monument of Sardinian antiquity also suffered from this obscurantist situation. I’m citing the base of a bronze column found in 1861 within a square temple in the territory of Saint Nicolò Gerrei (Santu Jacci locality). Considering the times, that precious base was promptly given to the Turin Science Museum by professor Giovanni Spano, who in this way earned his grateful appointment as senator of the Kingdom.
Other times, other morality was exhibited in that historical climate. Today we are unable to condemn prof. Spano, to whom we owe the establishment of the first interpretative and structural foundations of the entire Sardinian culture. Also because Spano, albeit based on poor and inadequate tools, was rightly convinced archaic genesis of Sardinian civilization rested on Semitic speeches, which had once unified the Mediterranean. He attempted numerous translations, especially in the toponymy field, always failing, given the weak instrumental supports.
The fact remains: that servile donation from Spano dispensed the Sardinian academic body from investigating a document considered almost buried, in any case subject to an alienated sovereignty, therefore foreign; so that today those who would responsibly scrutinize de visu that famous inscription would enter a painfully empty museum (the archaeological one in Turin), devoid of onlookers and visitors.
Yet, if Sardinian intellectuals, at least today, after 160 years of shame, wanted to claim a cultural conscience and link it to the utmost importance of that inscription belonging to Sardinia, it would not need another push to make barricades, to launch themselves to the assault demanding a restitution, since that very precious document, together with Nora’s Stele, Monti Prama’s Warriors, the true meaning of Nuraghe, is one of the four founding columns of Sardinian culture: two archaeological columns + two linguistic columns.
As we will see in the body of this book, when we interpret the tri-lingual column, in the past its translation seems to have been carried out – rather than by beginners – by people beset by the ferocious desire to deny Sardinian culture any flash of dignity.
D) As for meaning of Nuraghe, at University they taught us those 10,000 monuments were “martial towers”.
But my reason has always conflicted, for many reasons. By sharing those monuments by the island surface, each “war tower” had an average territorial jurisdiction over 2.4 square kilometers, equivalent to the surface occupied by a village like Sìnnai, or by Mamoiada. Areas such as Nùoro would probably have had two nuraghes; in Sàssari four; in Cagliari five. We know that some other areas are densely occupied by nuraghes: so villages like Bòrore even have three towers per square kilometer, one visible from the other. Too much to be “martial towers” or “castles”.
We have evidence that many nuraghes were the focus around which villages formed (see the example of Sédilo and Armùngia). But, after the tare of 377 Sardinian villages, the other 9623 nuraghes are far from the inhabited area, often in forest areas, in rocky areas, hidden in wild deserts.
To see nuraghes in such stony and desert areas, their war role raises too many doubts. For example, in Orgòsolo’s Supramonte there are two nuraghes (Meréu and Gorropu) built on rough rocks, on desolate gorges, within a vast territory so hard that even surviving, even movement would have been a gamble.
Returning to Bòrore and surroundings, it’s assumed that population had to build such defense barriers (the martial nuraghes…) in fear shepherds stationed further away, near a nuraghe visible at 300 meters, could wage war. Someone, perhaps subject to hashish, or made jovial by a nice disco night, has even speculated that nuraghes, being too many, were attack weapons, self-propelled like a tank…
Well, Academy’s immovable bonzes did not even move to whip this dance hall jokes. Academy is hopelessly immobile; although it’s made up of men and women in flesh and blood, it shows no sign of breathing or blinking.
Still, if Academy had not rejected the cultural value of etymological research, with good scientific procedures it would have been able to reveal – precisely through a linguistic way – what nuraghes really were for. Academy has been refusing the value of words and language for a century and fifty, evaluating it as not very suitable to help historical research and archaeological excavations. Today a real divorce has been decreed between etymological science and Academy, except for a right-duty, always operating between sumptuously dressed professors, to accept, without daring breathe, the ridiculous etymologies inside turris eburnea mutually spread without prejudice.
If Academy had finally wanted, if it had finally decided on reasoning, it would not have been difficult to learn illuminating Mediterranean concepts, through which it’s easy to understand Sardinia, in pre-Christian millennia, had no shortage of words to indicate a “tower”. He simply disdained the use of tūrris for it and preferred two more terms. The first indicated a ‘defensive tower’, and called it dimtu (like Accadians), hence the surname Denti (not by chance defensive tower has a vague shape of a molar). The second concept aimed to define the “sacred tower”, and they called it nurágu, nurághe, nuraki. This was called nuḫar by Babylonians, and was the small temple on top of ziggurats, which – according to descriptions of archaeologists – had the shape of our nuraghes. In any case, I will illuminate the true etymology of this excellent monument during the discussion of Chapter One, reserved for Nora’s Stele.
E) About the Jug of Villagrande, found shattered by Maria Ausilia Fadda during her excavations on the heights of Gennargentu (in an area considered “hidden and wild”), I never wanted to put a nose on it.
I do not believe that a worthy study will ever be made in this regard, since the “mystery” of that vase is the same that uniformly covers every novelty exhumed in Sardinia. In this regard, we know how useless it’s trying to obtain news or judgments from the person concerned or from those who assisted her, since the sense of “jealous personal property” of the artefacts excavated by each archaeologist cannot be scratched. The archaeologists directly involved oppose a fierce resistance that annihilates the assault of those who want to alleviate their cultural efforts from outside.
F) Dueno vase. Also on this vase I would have gladly kept silent, having been sufficient to have known something through the glottology books I read or studied for the university formation of my youth.
Unfortunately, I have to commit myself because in 2019 a book came out on which I would be worth keeping silent, it not being written by an “insider”, a glottologist or the like, but only by one of many “scholars” who love to print paper in order to leave an epitaph.
Despite an epitaph qualifying author’s culture, I cannot remain silent. In doing so, I certainly notice and declare the book to which I refer, entitled “The Vase of Dueno”, is one of the three “apocryphal” works for which, in writing this work, I accepted the agone. I should not have come down to measure myself with it, since in the many works I’ve written so far I have measured myself only with the thought of Academy, i.e. with the university professors (the official holders of culture), and this was not the case I, having reached old age, adapted myself to charge three unprepared people, who buzz around culture without knowing how to use it.
And yet I cannot remain silent, because I feel the moral imperative to put the whole question back on its feet (which others, not me, have left ignominiously crippled). I remember the ancient saying: ad astra per aspera. Men who study day by day, feel the exhaustion of effort at all times. Unfortunately, however, three books are now drawing me to agone and are turning me upside down: to my regret, are plunging me from the stars to the stables.
Friends who, confident and affectionate, stimulate me and yearn for me to light a torch, know that my “crossing the Styx” is only an act of love towards them. At the same time, however, it’s a painful act of penance. Like Dante, I find myself having to cross Hell for the sole purpose of redeeming my dignity and my good name as a scholar. I want to permanently get rid of Academy’s lead cloak and also get rid of mortuary cloak layed by those three “improvisers”.
That third book – sorry to say – was written by a man convinced of the opposite Academies have so far sanctioned and promulgated: namely, the Sardinian language derives from Latin. Academics have been looking for it! I had warned them for 17 years to review their certainties! “Rope when too tight, breaks itself and the bow”. Sooner or later an earthquake was to occur, although no one could have smelled a catastrophe that leaves nothing standing.
Bértulu Porkeddu fell into battle by a tank, claiming the opposite of the Academy: i.e., it was Latin language that derived from Sardinian one. So here we are at war! Who sows winds gather storms, but Porkeddu did not realize to have only raised a storm of cackles.
Chapter I – NORA’S STELE
By abusing dialectical tools, too many people are using the oxymoron “thunderous silence” as well as its opposite “silent noise”. Forgive me, please, if I continue in abusing of the commonplace, but on this Stele there has always been a “mute crash”, in the sense they have strummed so much on it, to induce only deafness among the various intellectuals still willing to understand: inevitable was the consequent silence.
To be clear, in Sardinia we are in the same feastal noise evoked by an old Neapolitan song, which tells of “Pignataro’s band who played Parsifal… In the midst of a very huge crowd, in the overwhelming finale, people “smoked” Zazà (a very beautiful woman)… Where is Zazà…, O my Madonna…, where is Zazà without Isaiah…”.
It is precisely in a very riotous time the atmosphere of crime arises and improves itself. The perfect murder is made during the noisy crowded carnival masquerades, such as the Cagliari’s Ratantìra. In the indistinct twilight, among the dirty trails left by the uproaring brigade, there is by chance a dead man… No, a dead thing…
It’s the Stele of Nora!
From the “mute crash” following that crime, nothing will arise as proof. The investigators’ authority is outclassed by fake news, and “anyone comes to make wood on the dead tree”, free of charge, without paying duty. Needless to say, when authority leaves a “strategic vacuum”, any Sherlock Holmes can feel himself indispensable to the investigation, without guaranteeing any moderation, without the care that every experienced detective should have so the perfect case does not melt into perfect chaos.
This is the stage where two books are relating to us about the “suicide Stele”. No book comes from University, each one has no “imprimatur”. And it’s on those books, for lack of anything better, that now I, me, am called to investigate. We will soon find out if it’s a dustbin or a Sachertorte, as it should hopefully be clear from the discussion of the texts.
SANTU DOXI. Gigi Sanna1 remembers this Campidanian expression, unique in the world, directly naming God. Therefore in Campidanian speech God has the epithet Déu, and Santu Doxi too = It. ‘Santo Dodici’ (the –x– is read as Fr. –j-, from ancient –k-).
Such an epithet would suggest a Nuragic origin. On which I imagine Sanna’s agreement. In fact, if I understood his thoughts correctly, in interpreting the formula Santu Doxi he suggests that already in the highest antiquity that phono-semantic chain was identical not only for the voice s-a-n-t-u but also for the voice d-o-x-i. Both until today were always identical: Santo Dòdici (Engl. saint Twelve). Being a Nuragic formula, that is a pre-Latin formula, we must think Sardinia transmitted it to Rome a thousand years later, in 238 BC. (even if in Rome, in the following time, ie. in classic period, there was no trace, and not even in Italy).
But are we sure that Sardinia consolidated this phono-semantheme “dòdici, dóixi, twelve” since the beginning of time, and the same happened to santu? According to Sanna, it would seem so, since he interprets that “Dóixi, Twelve” as sanctifying formula of God’s name, and it’s known that religious formulas do not change due to passing fashion but remain virtually stable for millennia.
So from the highest antiquity God was cryptically evoked with Dòixi-Twelve, just with d-ò-d-i-c-i (Camp. Dóixi). Now, it’s known to all people the nuragic numbering was sexagesimal, in base 12; but no one until now, except Sanna, knew that Dóixi-Twelve was so sacred that it was deified. So sacred that the symbol of “Twelve” – according to his certainties – had not consolidated into a single symbol but this symbol had become several symbols, each expressed in the most varied, most original, most allusive, most cryptic forms; and precisely as cryptic were to be interpreted from time to time. In this sense, the Sardinians of 3000 years ago had to be all interpreters. Sanna himself still has today, in the midst of rampant secular modernity, the gift of divination, and he knows how to magically translate the Semitic texts without a dictionary, so that in his book he manages to identify with his mere intuition the Dóixi-Twelve number almost in every letter of the Nora’s Stele.
In any case, I consider it a pity that Sanna, in addition to the enviable gift of the divine, does not have the gift of applying himself to ancient dictionaries; of course, he would be capable of it, but he considers them useless. He does not need to investigate the etymologies, this is a superfluous affair which he makes up for in a singular way, preferring to leaf through the wisdom books of Numerology.
This perennial escape from the etymologies divides him from me, so that the question of Santu Doxi presents a big crack. He ignores not only etymologies but the same paronomàsias, which in the dictionary of today’s Sardinian look here and there like myriads of singing frogs in the pond. Seeing the pond but not perceiving the presence of the singing frogs means having a completely angelic vision of the Sardinian language.
Since there is an abyss between me and him which not even alive speech can fill, nobody is able to warn Sanna on my behalf, telling him that Santu Dóxi has already an etymology that makes it easily understandable. Certainly the expression Santu Doxi refers to God, but Dòxi is based on Sumerian du ‘build, erect’ + ki ‘the Earth’ and by extension ‘Creation’. So duki anciently referred to as ‘He who built the Universe, the Earth’.
As for Santu, the current lemma seems to have the basis in Sumerian sa ‘intelligence’ + tu ‘leader, sir’, with the meaning of ‘Lord of Intelligence’. It goes without saying that the phrase he understood as Santu Dóxi was once pronounced satu duki and meant ‘Lord of the Intelligence builder of the Universe’. There was no epithet larger than this in Sardinian culture.
My etymology tells us, unfortunately, that no sign referring to Santu Doxi appears in Nora’s Stele. Therefore I must politely move away from Sanna, since he sees Santu Doxi in every part of the Stele, which according to him is dedicated to God (while for me the stele is completely secular). At the same time he would like to read in this Stele the dedication to Tharros (Taršiš), rather than to Nora as other scholars think, including me.
Like a refined magician who rotates an immense kaleidoscope, Sanna managed to present to the enchanted reader not only one but numerous “authentic” readings of the Stele itself, one made as valid as the other, one that validates and fortifies the other. There is the right-handed reading, the left-handed reading, the reading “a rebus” (sic!, invented on the spot!); and there is the “circular” reading where each character on the outer edge can be read in an hourly and even anticlockwise sequence. Finally, there is the perpendicular-median reading where the sequence of all the intermediate characters of the Stele finds logical sense. In short, for each chosen sequence you always get an illuminating translation where everything flows in the exaltation of the Most High.
Of course, however great my will, I would never be able to comment on the amazing book of Sanna, since it gets rid of any logical scheme and is guided exclusively by the magic of the Cabbalah.
Indeed, Henri Serouya (Kabbalah 97) warns us «Jewish thought, carrying forward its abstraction force, frees the sign from the thing meant, the word or the name from the named object; then it gives the name, the word and even the letter or number a value in itself, as an essential principle. Thus a meaning applies to every proper name of God, used by Scripture».
Sanna acts with this style, his intellectual efforts have pushed him to the heights of the science of Numerology, which, according to his learned dissertations, already existed at the time of Nora’s Stele, i.e. at the time of King Solomon, while to us, ignorant people, kabbalistic literature begins to appear in the writings of Corpus Hermeticum, that is, in the imperial era.
The beautiful Sanna’s prose erupts a numerological volcano intrinsic to the Stele with an advance of 1000 years, which penetrates the soul of the reader thanks to the superfine use of the Chokhmat ha-tzeruf (the science of letters combination). And so the writing of the Stele appears to us organic and clear thanks to the highest skill of Sanna in Temurà (the movement of letters according to precise rules). In fact, Sanna moves several letters and several meanings between one and the other letter, while we had been popularly taught, since Elementary school, that every grapheme is scientifically and universally accepted with only one meaning, capable of opposing as such to the meanings of the other graphemes. But Sanna is capable of religiously obliterating the cornerstones of science. From the profound kabbalistic doctrine, attributed 1000 years in advance to the Stele, Ghematrià (or Notarikon) also erupts with titanic power, that is, the interpretation of the letters as an abbreviation of entire sentences: in this Sanna manifests supreme artistic talent. So every grapheme of this Stele – according to his examples – can have 49 interpretations, exactly like every word of Sacred Scripture. I thank Sanna for having brought forward the Cabbalah for a thousand years, and for having also involved our enthusiasm in that operation. In Sardinia we needed that fresh air.
The Sodot, or the numerological mysteries of Ghematrià, illuminate his portentous book with an esoteric charm of which Sardinia had been rendered, for too many centuries, ignobly orphaned. Thanks to the revolutionary numerological translation of the Stele, everything now appears clear, since we no longer have alibis to be able to understand the Ten Sefirot. So we doze off, blessed, because this transfusion of wisdom makes us enjoy the magic of the 10 fundamental manifestations of the divine.
THE POWER OF PATRONAGE
Each book renews a scuffle list. From Gigi Sanna (La Stele di Nora, 2009) we knew so far translations of Nora’s Stele written text had been made by (I quote the surnames) De Rossi, Arri, Gesenius, Benary, Ricardi, Quatremere, Movers, Iudas, Bourgade, Dupont-Sommer, Fevrier, Semerano, Moore-Cross, Dedola, Sauren, as well as by Sanna himself: a total of 16 attempts, some of which were repeated at various times.
Instead from Roberto Casti’s book (La Stele di Nora, 2019) we learn the attempts were 28 (some of which were replicated in various periods). Curiously, in this second book only translations of “talented” scholars with proven academic pedigree are chosen and presented. Among those of “talent” Casti does not include, so to speak, Ferruccio Barreca, who, however, was praised in life at every corner. With this procedure, only three names coincide with those reported by Sanna (Dupont-Sommer, Février, Moore-Cross). At least 13 scholars are therefore excluded, including Gigi Sanna, myself, and also prof. Giovanni Semerano. I wonder who decided the choice of Casti, given that, in any case, Casti doesn’t consider any of the translations he accepted in his book to be right.
Indeed, the degree of official studies achieved by the authors is not known by the two books with same title just mentioned. Sanna declares only an insufficient “Classical Maturity” (and it would seem a monkish lie thrown to the people to self-humiliate); while Casti hesitates from presenting his pedigree, but pulls his steel balls from within the Archaeological Superintendency of Cagliari, in which he holds a position that doesn’t fall among those of archaeologists and not even that of glottologists. Who is he?
He too, like Sanna, loves mystery. But while Sanna leans out broad-chested on the mysteries of the Kabbalah, Casti loves to stay in thick shadow, from where, however, he reaches out a hand to which a body and even a brain would be attached.
Power of patronage. In that prestigious site, which should be respected for the high level of research and for the dignity of the judgments, a perfectly sealed anonymous hand lurks, a “person” of Greek theater (perhaps a pseudonym?) who gives judgments like the Cuman Sibyl, and like her “governed and manipulated” by priests of the sanctuary, who by definition remain the official guarantors of the sacredness of the place. Power of patronage.
First the mystery of Kabbalah, now the mystery of Sibyl. Inexorably the two mysteries remain associated as a binary, and each continues to hiss in complete autonomy, amid popular credulity. Who is Roberto Casti? The Superintendency does not reveal the arcane. Those eggheads need to protect him as a gun concealed in the forest, and from the darkness to fire into enemy walls to arouse terror, bewilderment, escape. Power of patronage.
It seems to understand at this stage some priests of the Superintendency find it useful to maneuver the Sibyl as an instrument of disturbance and discredit towards those who dare to meddle with the Stele. And it’s likely they will abandon the Sibyl ranting upon the tripod, when this staging stops being propitious for priests. By launching the pseudonym Casti in the circus, they showed the need to “make a fuss” (here’s “Pignataro’s band”), to see what effect it has to confabulate with the curious people through a book, tearing for the moment, ad usum populi, the veil of a long silence that no longer testified in favor of the Sardinian Superintendency and Academy, from which many are now demanding clear words, an authentic interpretation not only of the Stele but also of other highly relevant documents.
In this respect, Casti’s book is useful for the Nomenklatura, although his publication proves to be a cheesy meteor without a tail, which, like the others, is installed on the throne of unexpressed, where the scepter is used only to stir the broth, to keep it warm, while Culture can scrutinize the horizon, in case the coveted news arose.
It’s Casti himself, speaking of the writing contained in the Stele (p. 248, passim), to declare «that message, for us today enigmatic». So, why did he write a …revealer book, when he can’t explain the riddles?
Indeed, the Stele to Casti does not seem enigmatic, if he with extreme security is telling us «the epigraph is … entirely centered on Nogar», a name that «will be transformed into Nωραξ» (p.249). That Nogar, repeated twice in the Stele, «is the only protagonist of the stele …, the hero author of numerous construction works of which there is a written record in the stele …, the ecista remembered with Greek and Latin name from the sources». «The stele does not speak of Milkyaton son of Shubon and was certainly not made in honor of Pumay». «The stele speaks of Nogar the builder of the Nuraghi, and speaks of Sherden».
I don’t know how much it did cost him the mental effort with which he’s bringing his truths to our table; in any case the self-styled Casti on p. 251 transcribes the eight lines of the Stele, providing posterity, with supreme modesty, his definitive translation:
“Il primo / la prima / il principale BT di Nogar che Lui ha realizzato a Sherden. Lui ha realizzato (inoltre)
numerose opere di costruzione (di architettura). (Questo è ciò) che ha costruito Nogar originario di Lpn”.
“The first main BT of Nogar that He made in Sherden. He made (also)
numerous construction works (of architecture). (This is what) Nogar from Lpn built.”
From this translation, however, a second contradiction flashes in our eyes, as big as a mountain. Which explodes from convoluted prose, indeed mutilates, jammed on itself, absurdly focused on a single concept of “construction” or “realization”, devoid of any syntactic articulation that, through the twenty words, manages to start a narrative process to hold out to reader.
A stele that wastes twenty words to express a single concept would depict the devotee as a lunatic crippled in the ability to articulate language. The immense contradiction of this denied prose (symbol of Casti’s ability as a translator) is fully revealed, if we think the Stele was written a few years after King Solomon, in times when not only the high Ugaritic literature had left its perfumes all over the Mediterranean Sea, but the subsequent Jewish prose had reached – with the famous Psalms – the dizzying peaks of human communication, where poetry and narrative logic interpenetrate in monumental works of thought that no one has so far overcome.
It goes without saying that the Stele devotee, notoriously coming from Upper Canaan, was not the village idiot. And besides, no fool in those days knew how to read and write; no fool was ever elected to lead a ship, an expedition, a swarm of builders. These observations would be enough to ask where Casti’s book wants to target.
At this point another question also arises: if Casti sentenced the Stele’s message «enigmatic for us today», who then forced him to draw us into that tormented translation, which he claims not to understand? The suspicion that Casti is a pseudonym managed by the Academy is strengthened. And maybe the time has come to throw the mask and play in the open.
After pag. 251 the Academy wastes another 50 pages to have fun playing with the Stele (and readers) in order to squeeze everything it can from its knowledge. That is, nothing. In fact, Academy extrapolates from the Stele only three proper names (the nature of which remains to be verified), and for another 17 words it tries to survive with smoky inferences which – in the mystery of a buried Stele – anyone could have given, even if people wished to exclude himself from meditation and study, even if people preferred to sentence from the sozzled benches of a tavern.
And, at the bottom of the book, it seems a tavern sentence Academy puts in Casti’s mouth: he says, with the impunished arrogance of those who led the dog into the threshing floor for 305 pages, that «the stele of Nogar … is a legible fragment of a History of Sardinia still shrouded in the thickest fog … To read that History it will be necessary to collect other tesserae of a mosaic shattered by time and then recompose it as it was originally so that tomorrow we can finally read in Nora’s stele what is really written on it and not what you want written on it». At this point, there is no page in that book that does not raise strong suspicions of stunt and provocation.
The last 50 pages of the self-styled Casti are declared “appendices”. In the first Appendix, the Academy rattles off the usual list of Greek and Latin historians, including the usual phrases, the usual judgments known to all, whose analysis has led all researchers in ever lower seas to the point of making them run aground. In these pages, Dedalo is cited, whom Casti presents as a «reflected image of Nogar», builder of Δαιδάλεια or nuraghes. He cites Nωραξ who came from Iberia to found Nora. He jokes about Jolao, nephew of Heracles, who «masks himself as a Sardinian, thus becoming the father and progenitor of the Sardinians in the Greek version». «Greek propaganda comes into play, making these mythical figures and their paths vague within the context of their respective colonization processes in the West». Finally, Herakles-Melqart syncretism comes into play. From this broad picture we learn that Greeks’ propaganda aimed: 1. to oppose Heracles to Melqart, 2. to oppose Iolao Father to Sardinian Father, 3. to oppose Daedalus builder to Nogar builder.
After these parallels in need of more scholarly thinking, set in a whorish framework from which they can charm, the Academy moves on to the second Appendix again identifying the imaginary Nogar as eponymous of nuraghes. To demonstrate this free “intuition”, the Academy empties a lot of deja vu at the feet of the reader, from which all the etymologies proposed in 150 years by various scholars on the name and meaning of nuraghe emerge one after the other. The result is a plebeian shred of unprecedented arrogance passed through “culture”.
In the third Appendix, Academy reviews an equal amount of disqualified etymologies on Cadossene, Ichnussa, Sandaliotis: “dishwashing” proposed as a clear culture.
Finally, in the fourth Appendix, Casti (or whoever for him) tries the desperate operation of presenting the last phrase of the Stele (i.e. LPNY) as the name of the city of origin of Nogar. And so we have the incredible certainty that Nogar came from Kalpe (p. 295-6), located at the base of one of Hercules’ Columns. LPNY-Kalpe in that book is a toponym matched with Alpes, and even with Carteia, since Pomponius Mela already confused these names. And so in those pages we observe the most unseemly poses taken by Casti in a desperate (or boyish?) attempt to credit the identity between LPNY and Kalpe (or Carteia, or Tartessus).
Obviously LPNY is not a toponym (I will scientifically prove this later in my translation of Nora’s Stele). So the claim to locate the homeland of Nogar collapses loudly … in an adverb!
As for Nogar, this is not even the personal name boasted by Casti, but it’s a banal toponym. Therefore the strange claim of deriving the nuraghe name from a “Nogar ecista” is crushed on the ground. And even if we wanted to help Casti, by agreeing that nuraghes take their name as Nogar “navigator-ecista”, on Casti then would fall the burden of explaining how “the ecista Nogar”, arrived in Sardinia in 750 BCE, gives his name to a monuments erected 750 years before (unless the Sardinians had deliberately left the nuraghes without name for 750 years!).
So that there are no misunderstandings, it is precisely Casti who wrote across the board that it was Nogar who built the nuraghes after landing in Sardinia (see page 283 and passim). Hence, following Casti’s thought, it seems it should be argued that nuraghes began to see the light only from 750 BCE.
Since modesty restrains me from believing Academy’s thought has fallen from stars to the stables, I can only imagine that in the thought of throwing stones at the pond, she neglected to check the pen of her “figurehead”.
LET’S ETYMOLOGIZE THE ACADEMY
In Casti’s book it’s rare to find something right. It seems to be witnessing the pandemonium of “Pignataro’s band”. But I won’t tidy up that chamber, since my mission is not that of pedagogue.
However, it hurts to note Casti not felt the ducal pride, no incentive to “do it himself”, the minimum that a subject expects from a leader who wants to flash his durlindana in favour of etymologies. Unfortunately, another hero dies in our arms while facing the Muslim at the Roncesvalles pass. He, like everyone else, expired precisely on the etymologies (written by others, such as Sybil’s sentences), accepted without a critical spirit; and no longer managing the inanity of a book without prospects, he dug his sepulchre by others’ etymologies before we even set up the funeral pump.
Later I will show, among the sighs of relief of anxious people, the awaited authentic translation of Nora’s Stele. But first I must do justice to the many “authentic interpretations” made by too many scholars on the many etymologies today smear the candid culture palaces with bad street-art.
MELQART. I wish to clear the field from this Syro-Phoenician-Carthaginian god, venerated primarily in Tire and consequently in Carthage, always described as a sort of Ἠρακλῆς. All too obvious. Perhaps its etymology is the only one that does not arouse conflict, since Melqart appears to most people, rightly, as an epithet composed of two juxtaposed terms in sandhi, two Western Semitic voices meaning melek ‘king’ + qart ‘city’. So we can translate him as the ‘Protector of the city’ (of Tire, and then of Carthage).
CARTAGINE. Although Casti did not bring it up, it’s appropriate to make this etymology known as it seems to share half of the compound name Mel-qart.
We know the port of Cart-àgine was the most beautiful and safest in Mediterranean: it was round, spacious, protected from any wind. It had the shape of Porto Rotondo in Gallura. Unfortunately for Sardinians, Tìrii at beginning of the first millennium BCE, while knowing every colonizable shore, quartered themselves in that Berber port, since Sardinia was disadvantaged by the routes; all the more so was Gallura, which did not offer Porto Rotondo a largely productive hinterland like the Carthaginian one. In fact, the mountainous Gallura, devoid of communicative and strategic potential, poorly endowed with cultivable sods, has always drowsed over the millennia with punctiform pastoral economy, without ever a village and not even a clan, only rare chimneys scattered at very low density, each family in its own hermitage with minimal self-sufficiency and promiscuity of thalamus. Gallura was unsuitable for trade and innovations, and even the coronym denounces the economic fixity and desperate solitude of those shepherds, having roots in Sumerian bal ‘stone’ + uru ‘territory’: the bal-luru agglutination meant since Paleolithic ‘stone land’. Unless the first member is Sum. ḫal ‘to divide, shut away’; in this case Gallùra (ḫal-luru) meant ‘separate territory, without communications’.
As they were accustomed in ancient Mediterranean, the cities and territories received a name from individual peoples which, according to any different regional context, seemed the most suitable (for example, still today in Italy we generally call Vipiteno what for residents is Sterzing). So the Romans named that enemy city in their own way, while another way had been imposed in Africa. The Romans gave the exotic settlement the name Carthago, Carthaginis; but the Punic ones shared only the first member of the compound with the Romans, while for the rest they, for centuries, had called their city Qrt ḫdšt, a name that existed before Rome’s birth.
Fortunately for the etymologist, the Sumerian-Semitic Koiné has always dominated the Mediterranean, so the phono-semantic choices of individual peoples fell and still fall within a basket of radicals shared throughout the Mare Nostrum and mutually understandable. Therefore it’s easy to compare both the toponym learned by Romans and the Punic particular one.
Taking into account what has already been explained for the surname Carta = ‘Port of Spells’ (sum. kār ‘port’ + tu ‘spell’), this is the same meaning as Quartu, near Cagliari (who also transmitted his beautiful name to the surname of origin Carta). Quartu was a settlement shared by fishermen and farmers, who in pre-Roman antiquity had the harbor nearby the inhabited area, on the edge of Molentàrgius lagoon, which in turn was linked to sea through a channel cutting the Poetto beach.
Well, just add the Sum. a’igi ‘weir, dam; barrier’ to Quartu or Carta, and we have Sumerian Qart-a’igi, with a synthetic meaning of ‘Enchanted harbor protected by barrier’. This barrier was natural for Carthage, but also for Quartu, which was far from a marine dune less than Phoenician port of Santa Gilla. It goes without saying that the passage of centuries has led the Quartesi to retrofit the toponym, shortening it from Qart-a’igi to Quartu, also to distinguish it from the adjacent Quartùcciu, which does not mean at all ‘Small Quartu’.
As for the concept of spell, one obviously imagines a largest and most navigable Quartese lagoon, with the edges frequented by myriads of flamingos. With these beauties, even ancient men cultivated poetry, an art form held in high regard throughout the Mediterranean. See for example the toponym Tirana, from Sum. tir ‘arch, bow’ + an ‘sky’ = Fr. arc-en-ciel, Sum. ‘rainbow’. Or see the fishermen settlement known by us as Òlbia, which three thousand years ago must have had the Sumerian name of ul ‘bright, shining’ + bu ‘perfect’: ul-bu ‘Perfect splendor’, an appellation that honored the Sun God rising exactly east of that immense storm-free fjord; and it is no coincidence that Greeks, in their ancient aims on that coveted port, had changed its connotations by calling it Ὄλβια ‘the Blessed’. To be clearer about the poetic sense of the ancients, we also see the settlement of fishermen-navigators at the mouth of the so-called “Phoenician port”, today called Càgliari. Originally it was called Karallu, Babylonian meaning of ‘Jewel’, as well as ‘Coral’; with Ptolemy the toponym became less perspicuous, Kαράλλi, translated by Romans in an even more opaque way: Kāralis. Evidently that port from the highest antiquity was known as a place of boarding for the red corals caught in abundance around the island.
According to the places, the poetry dismissed the predominant secular forms by dressing toponyms by religious inspiration, without however weakening the power of the statement. We have already noted this for Ὄλβια, but is also the case of Aristànis, whom Giorgio Ciprio called ’Αριστιάνης λίμνη, attracting a swarm of modern interpreters ensnared by a catchy name as a genitive form belonging to a Roman landowner. Eh!, the pertinacious call of Latin siren… Yet it’s very easy to get out of the usual patterns and see in Aristànis nothing but a normal Campidanian metathesis of archaic Ištarāniš, from Bab. ‘to the Goddess, dedicated to the Goddess’ (of course, to Ištar). So we obtain two contiguous macro-toponyms (or coronyms): Sinis and Aristanis, one dedicated specifically to the ‘Moon Goddess’ (Bab. Sîn), the other dedicated to the same Goddess but now with the nickname ‘Lady of the firmament’ (Ištar). I remember that from Sardinans the star was also called, from its origins, astru ‘star’: see Lat. aster, Gr. ἀστήρ ‘star’. However, its origin was ignored. Etymological basis is Aramaic Aštar, Phoenician Aštart, Bab. Ištar ‘Astarte, paredra of sun-god Anu’. Astralism of Babylonian religion symbolized this great Goddess also with the star Venus, with which she was identified since prehistoric times (OCE II 40); see Akkadian aštaru ‘goddes’ (par excellence), who therefore indicated the ‘Firmament Goddess’.
Well, with a same poetic vein, but in a secular form, the name of Cartàgine was also taken care of. We said Punics called their settlement Qrt ḫdšt. And we know West Semites for Qrt meant not only an ‘enchanted port’ but also a ‘city’ (we saw it in the etymology of Mel-qart). The second member of Qrt ḫdšt is from Sum. ḫad ‘bright, to shine’ + ašte ‘throne, dwelling, city’. So Qrt ḫdšt had the poetic meaning of ‘Port of the Shining Kingdom’. Given the rare beauty of its port, no wonder the name of that city highlighted the port before the town.
Evidently the port was the primary and absolute concern of a maritime people; only his presence allowed the birth of a city. The reverse was not allowed. That’s because we find the same poetic sequences in Porto Torres, which from the highest antiquity coexists with Turris Libysonis, two toponyms for only one site (like Sàssari-and-Thàthari), all with Sumerian bases: pû ‘mouth, estuary’ + tur ‘refuge, protection’, so the agglutination pû-tur metathized in Sardinian *pûr-tu > portu (‘protective mouth’), a term that thousands of years after Sardinia gave to Romans who used it to name the salvific estuary of Tiber, later called Òstia, i.e. ‘(protective) mouth’.
At the beginning of navigation a portu par excellence was simply an estuary: for northern Sardinia it was that of riu Mannu of Porto Torres, and in the latter toponym we note the clear tautology pû-tur-tur > Sassari’s Połtu Torra > Portotorres = ‘port of refuge’. Woe to falling into the trap of those who interpret it as Latin word, i.e. ‘Porto della Torre’ or ‘Porto delle Torri’, also because no tower was ever found on this site.
On the same shore, the Cesarians then built Turris Libysonis, which in its compound maintained the original tur ‘estuary’, ‘protection’, ‘refuge’, already present in the sound structure pû-tur > pûr-tu. (Even It. torre ‘tower’, Lat. turris, originally indicated the ‘refuge’, a tur, then the concept expanded to ‘protective construction’). Therefore Turris (Libysonis) contains the same concept of (Porto) Torres, where terms but not substance are reversed, which moreover is evoked with other phonetics in the second member too.
In fact, Libyson-is (suff. Lat. –is) in turn contains the same concept as Turris. Analyzing it we have the Egyptian Lebu, Rebu (Lat. Libya or ‘North Africa’, from Hebrew Lybi לוּבִׅי) + Sum. sun ‘entrance, estuary’, Akkadian sūnu ‘breast, womb’, Ugaritic sn, Lat. sinus. Thus tautological Turris Liby-sonis originally meant ‘Port (estuary) of the Libyan Refuge’ (it was in fact a Carthaginian landing).
It goes without saying that Romans, taking possession of the strip of land called Połtu Torra – Turris Libysonis, preserved and handed down a double toponym incomprehensible to them.
Let’s go into the Styx. From now on I have to intervene on all etymologies Casti handled without asbestos gloves, exposing them in his book carelessly, unlimitedly confident of the wisdom of those who formulated them ex cathedra, enslaved to the commanders of the fleet like a figurehead breasty woman exposing herself naked and fervent to the slaps of Ποσειδῶν, deceiving herself to tame waves and storms.
In every etymology he shows sublime unconsciousness but, as a plow-fly, he boasts of the ox labors. And here he’s plowing with vainglory the dangerous field of etymologies of which, smiling and even cakleing, reaffirms the “ex cathedra veracity”.
He cannot perceive having entered a powder magazine with all fuses lit, the explosion of which will be so destructive that nothing will remain standing in Sardinian culture.
Stupid etymologies of his masters have thrown sparks of the immense roar to the stars, and now it’s up to me to pluck every fragment from those stratospheric minds, not to recompose the pieces and reconstruct the same living-room spaceships but to allow more scientific vectors of plow the sidereal spaces and transmit to Earth a correct vision of Universe.
Sardinian culture is scattered with numerous powder kegs, but the main one to which the others are linked in a double line is constituted by the meaning of Nuraghe. There are still swarms of archaeologists who attribute martial functions to nuraghe, without however explaining why Sardinian people erected 10,000 defense towers. With the intent to wage war? Of course not! Defend yourself, then, from whom? Perhaps by ten shepherds stationed at the other nuraghe near 300-500 meters. The mother of idiots is always pregnant.
But is the Academy itself, pushing out of the trenches the figurehead “Casti”, to show he has not yet freed himself from the placenta. And on page 275 makes the main powder magazine deflagrates, identifying «without preconceptions» a never clarified Nogar with the name nuraghe. I will come back to Nogar later. But like all the unpunished, the “figurehead” begins to rattle off once again the long boring and unnerving sequence of etymologies relating to nuraghe. He starts from Madao (1792: nuraghe = Norace), then goes to Arri (1834: nur hag ‘fiery fire’), a nice vision because it suggests nuraghe was dedicated to Sun God. The “figurehead” could stop on that certainty; but to be fair, he goes to price it with an identical position of Alberto Della Marmora. Very well! And we discover that Antonio Bresciani also confirmed Arri and Lamarmora in 1850. My God, we have three certainties! It would be enough for us!
But here the dream of acquiring three solutions in my favor shatters against human stupidity. In fact Giovanni Spano (1862) is mentioned who, although seeing the ‘fire’, although deeply convinced of the pan-Semitic culture, he interprets nuraghe as “big fire” in the sense of “big house”. After Madao, Spano therefore ran into the second delirium, in which Maltzan himself (1869) fell, reiterating Spano’s sentence.
Glottologist Giovanni Flechia (1872) gave the cleaver blow, definitively breaking with the “semito-mania” and declaring ex cathedra that nuraghe is a simple appellation of It. muro, muraglia, muraccia ‘wall’. Evidently Flechia, stabilized in Piedmont, was so full of languages and linguistics that he could also navigate the immense knowledge of Sardinia. A bit like Dante Alighieri in De Vulgari Eloquentia. His goodness. But I would add Flechia lived in times when the Germanic Academy snarled like an Orca “Or with me or against me”, spreading the world the ominous Nazi ideology, the supremacy of Homo Arianus, the colossal setting of a non-existent “Indogermanic language”.
Ettore Pais (1910) had no choice but to adapt himself; as a bipedal, he shut himself up in the chicken coop of self-reference of modern Sardinian language; therefore he refused the comparison with ancient Mediterranean languages and identified nuraghes with Sd. nurras, i.e. with the limestone caves. The Pais’ authority, piloted by the terrible Flechia, dazzled posterity, who were put in line like many yesmen.
Even Raffaele Petazzoni (1912), reported [I don’t know for what reason] as an expert on religions (?), declared expired the time of those who insisted on believing in the identity nuraghe = nur ‘fire’; instead he identifies Norax with nuraghe (dusting off the primitive Madao’s intuition). The same goes for Bacchisio Raimondo Motzo (1926); while the archaeologist Antonio Taramelli (1934) recedes to nuraghes-nurras relationship, reconnecting to Pais’ paternal navel.
In 1944 Metz, one of Nora’s Stele translators, associates Nora with nuraghe. Vittorio Bertoldi (1947) opts for the more complex association Nora-Iberia-Norax-nuraghe, and decrees Punics settled in the center of Nora already inhabited by indigenous people, respecting its name. In 1962 it was the archaeologist Giovanni Lilliu to reiterate the Flechian intuition of Pais. But here is Delcor, another translator of Stele, to inflame the soul of our Casti and associate the “anthroponym” Nogar with nuraghe (this novelty, indeed, convinced Casti, for a “winning” proposal). Unfortunately in 1974 Dupont-Sommer, another translator of Stele, preferred Nogar-Nora-nuraghe identity, identifying in Nogar, not the anthroponym imagined by Casti but the ancient name of Nora: a step backwards to detriment of the nubes purpurea, the purple cloud on which Casti was firmly seated. Massimo Pittau in 1977 further moved away from the convinced Casti, recoiling respectfully on Flechia and attributing to nuraghe a meaning of ‘building wall’.
Giovanni Chiera in 1978 finally brings nuraghe back to “pre-Indo-European” (a hopelessly mysterious concept that only dazzles butterfly seekers), inventing the word *nor ‘rise, circular cavity, pile’. Note the prophetic beard of this new Moses, who tramples on the Franciscan humility of those who take care of the self-reference (“Sardinian-with-Sardinian”), who manage only a confrontation within the vocabulary of Sardinia, and instead claims to descend from Mount Sìnai, open wide the chicken coop and order a “free everyone!” in order to amaze with its striking name invented at the table, non-existent in any dictionary. There is no limit to the arrogance of those who, trusting in the ignorance of others, bring into Earth the words packed with stardust.
Lastly, we are presented with the Sardinian archaeologist Giovanni Ugas (2005), who with a journalistic procedure examines the previous hypotheses in a bird’s eye, citing them all but without projecting them on scales of values, letting us understand there is no need to take sides. He remembers only – by the highest academic concession – that in the entry nuraki, nuraghe, the radical is nur-, while –ki is the suffix (a clarification so wise to dissuade anyone from reviewing the Primary School grammar rules). Always seated on pillows, with solomonic impartiality, he informs this radical is Mediterranean-pre-Indo-European (a concession made to Chiera), but «Norax, the guide of the Iberians who founded Nora, suggests the forms in nor– are born from adaptations to Indo-European vowels of an original Mediterranean root nur-, or that, on the contrary, it was the radical nor– (proto-Iberian-Indo-European?) that transformed into nur– to adapt to Mediterranean timbres». Wonderful salomonism! After this messianic sermon rolled to us from the heights of wisdom, He manifests Himself from the Burning Bush and affects the stone the inviolable law that nuraghe is linked to nurras, to cavities. We tearfully moved to see the Ugas-Revealed Who sanctifies the “Flechia-Pais-Pittau-Thought”.
Obviously I recommend reading Ugas’ books, sacredly kept on Olympus, since by learning His statements we can reach the Seventh Heaven of culture: I want to understand the sky created by Sardinian Academy, which is just opposite of a bleak and muddy quagmire where the discipline of studies is drowned in mud.
NURAGHE. It goes without saying that, drowned by the immense wisdom exhibited by many emblazoned authors, the name of this monument no longer escape death. And it’s impossible to convince the current coryphaeans of Sardinian culture, such as Ugas and Casti, that we don’t need the overdosage of dreams flickering, glimmering from their noble assonances, never critically investigated, if we don’t first convince ourselves etymologies are allowed to approach only with dictionaries, always with dictionaries, exclusively with dictionaries (and with their respective grammars), therefore chastising the use of Cabbalah but also chastising the pernicious siren of assonances, by virtue of which nothing would prevent equating Sd. casu as ‘cheese’ to It. caso, Engl. case as ‘probability’. And it’s not enough to shrink in the Franciscan comparison between Sardinian words, just as it’s not enough to compare Sardinian language only with Latin (allowing excursions on Greek). Instead, it’s necessary to set all dictionaries and all grammars facing the Mediterranean since the first stammering of culture, because, by God, an etymology is such if it’s investigated with an archaeological technique, going down level after level up to the first appearance of the homophonic radical (and homo-semantic word), which could prove to have been used by the Nuragics at least 800 years before the first huts were built on Palatine.
Who imagines nuraghe is a modern or medieval word (from nurra ‘black hollow’), exempt himself from investigating changes of Sardinian culture, and instead try to prop himself up desperately on any “ipse dixit”, which however does not transpire from the thought of the “black centuries”, when Byzantine priests in Sardinia took on the task of overturning ancient culture and every key word, reworking it, afflicting it with counterpoints and satanizations, playing ad libitum precisely with assonances. So it was with nurra proposed by Flechia, Pais, Lilliu, Pittau, Ugas.
Obviously the Sassarian land named Nurra took its name by territorial expansion, from Nure, Nurae: at that time it were the only city existing in the north-west. And no problem (if others allow me) that city would take the antonomastic name of Sun God (as similarly happened to Aristanis in relation to goddess Ištar). Nurra < Nure < Nora < Akkadian nūru ‘light’, seems obvious. In turn, that Semitic concept comes from Sumerian syllables nu ‘creator’ + ra ‘God’, agglutinated (by law of sandhi) in nur-ra ‘Creator God’, ‘God Begetter of Universe’. Since everywhere in the Mediterranean the Creator was identified materially in the Sun (cf. eg. Ra ‘Sun’, ‘Light’, ‘God’), from there was born the interface of God-Sun-Light, and this latter (nur-ra) in Semitic comes still called nur today, see Akkadian nūru ‘light’. Nothing new in the Mediterranean for 5000 years now.
Casti and Ugas, certainly irritated by my discordant speech, will cry out to scandal and ponder the final solution to destroy me. But until I see the flamethrower I have to finish this explanation. In fact, I have not yet clarified what this Sumerian-Semitic agglutination meaning ‘light’ has to do with nurra understood as ‘chasm, deep rift, dark cavity’. This concept derives from the nuraghe’s tabernacle, from the thólos, the priestly chamber, the impenetrable and dark sancta sanctorum, the empty part of nurághe containing the spirit of God.
Mind you tholos in Sardinia was not originally called nurra! But the priests found nur-ra, that epithet of ‘God of Universe’, unbearable. Apparently the nuraghe (I confirm it despite the gasping Halt Casti and Ugas could impose on me) still in the 6th century CE. It was worshiped as a symbol of Sacred Fire, as an ‘altar of Light’, as a monument to the Sun God.
For those priests there was an urgent need to insert the worm of dissolution, starting right from the vaginal void of the thólos (fused carnally with the hard virga of nurághe, empty-for-full, the unitary symbol of Light God. So they demonized all that related to the sanctity of nuraghe. And the terrible and inscrutable chasms of Supramonte were pointed out as the entrance to Hell. The name nurra was imposed on the sacred tholos and it was held up as a container of satanic darkness where Devil celebrated the rites for propitiate the theft of souls. And conversely, here is the proof of why Romans, respectful of the religion of peoples, never scratched a nuraghe. Ten thousand altars were transmitted intact by the Romans until the advent of Byzantine priests, when everything fell into ignominy.
It goes without saying that medieval nurra as a ‘pile of stones’ is not contradictory. It was a consequence of the derogatory way imposed by clergy in considering nurághe: it had to be considered a ‘pile of stones’. Here is one of many examples of how in the “dark ages” Sardinian culture was torn to pieces. Lacking in this regard the “ipse dixit” of a medieval writer, today it’s up to scholar (provided Casti and Ugas allow it), to penetrate into the cultural darkness created by priests and illuminate it with intuition and interpretation, as well as with the help of grammars and dictionaries of Mediterranean, with which we are able to scientifically “pierce” the Latin layer.
With all due respect to Flechia, Pais, Pittau, Ugas and Casti, the truth about nuraghes must be told. Beware of dodging clichés and clumsy juxtapositions, people wonders ultimately, rationally, what nuraghes really were. From the Mediterranean concepts I investigated in my “Etymological Dictionary of the Sardinian Language” and in my “Etymological Dictionary of Sassarian”, we learn Sardinia, in pre-Christian millennia, had no shortage of words to indicate otherwise a “tower”. He simply disdained using tūrre ‘refuge’ for it because this term had already served to name estuary ports (see Porto Torres). Sardinian preferred two more terms. The first indicated a ‘defensive tower’, and called it dimtu (like Akkadians), hence surname Denti (not surprisingly a defensive tower has the vague shape of a molar).
The second concept aimed to define the “sacred tower”, and they called it nurágu, nurághe, nuraki. This was called nuḫar by Babylonians, and was the small temple on top of ziggurats, which – according to the descriptions of archaeologists – had the shape of our nuraghes. But it’s the Sumerian language to leave the deep meaning of this venerating name. It’s tri-compound, nu-ra-gu (see the name of the village Nuragus, evidently built in honor of Sun-God), from nu ‘creator’ + ra ‘bright’ (see Egyptian Ra, the Sun-God) + gu ‘strength, complex, wholeness’ (of building). Nuragu meant ‘church of the shining creator’. It was the temple of the Sun-God. In Campidanian it’s called nuraxi (lenition effect of the ancient –k-); therefore the most archaic name is certainly that of central Sardinia, namely nurake, nuraki. In this case it’s appropriate to interpret the third component from Sum. ki = ‘place, site’. and indicate on nuraki as the ‘place of the Sun God, place of the Shining Creator’.
CADOSSENE. The history of Mediterranean culture is a chain of misunderstandings, many of which artfully created in the past. Scholars should strive to unravel them and put things right. Perhaps for other territories, for other cultures, this has already happened. For Sardinian culture not. Conventio ad excludendum? Mental laziness? Don Abbondio’s mentality? Salary certainty never denied to professors and Superintendencies?
Cadossène is a misunderstanding. Reputation of “island of miracles” certainly ranged in Semitic basin, and it was no coincidence Phoenicians of the Nóstoi clung to this island. It was these, together with Jews (with whom they sailed as old mate), to gave the island a name more appropriate to the vision of their world and their religion. They called her Kadoššène, (Kadoš-Šēne = Heb.-Phoen. ‘Holy Mother’). Precisely kadoš Hebr., qdš Phoen. = ‘Holy, sacred’; šn ’Phoen. ‘Master’ but also a certain type of (sacred) office.
Phoen. šn ’would seem what for Jews was the Holy Land, the Promised Land. But it was too much love to dictate the equivalence, nothing else.
This choronym in Sardinia remained in use until the end of 1700s, i.e. three centuries ago: pronunciated Cadossène (see Juan Pedro Quessa Cappay). And we find this name (one of many related to Sardinia) has two sources: one seems from Greek world, the other from Phoenician-Jews. On the Greek “source” it’s easy to argue Hellenes, admirable counterfeiters of names and toponyms, had already believed in the tall-story of Ἰχνοῦσα, Σανδαλιοτίς = ‘that of footprint’, ‘that of sandal’, and they reinforced this illusion by the fact Phoenician sailors used to say Kadoššène, knowing in Semitic –šēn also meant ‘sandal’ (so is Akk. šēnu ‘sandal’); and they knew Akk. šiknum (Lat. signum) ‘figure, image’, ‘positioning’ of the foot. This is one of many examples of how Greeks, in good faith or almost, in the Mediterranean had the right to play, as if to say, “on two sides”. The same double game we have already noticed for Byzantine priests in Sardinia.
IQNÛSA. Greeks, still they, had the fate of passing down many written works to posterity, and through them they imposed their reason on the scholars of modern universities, who remain fideistically attached to those texts as the only truth. And so it seems to everyone the oldest names in Sardinia were, in competition with each other, the following four of Greek tradition: Ἰχνοῦσα, Σανδαλιοτίς or Σανδαλώτη, Ἀργυρόφλεψ, Σαρδώ (Sardīnia among Romans). But in the meantime no one has noticed that Sardinia, in this way, received an immense consideration in the Greek-Latin world, since being called in so many ways (are ultimately six) was not an indication of scarce frequentation of this island – as it’s a general complaint – but the opposite: it was a sign that all Mediterranean fleets knew these landings well, and each fleet identified this Island with a precise name. At that time international geographic conventions were lacking, and each people of Greek basin called this Island the way individual navies handed down. The Greek tradition reports these versions, which however are (consciously) limited to those circulating in the catchment area. Semitic versions were omitted, since Greece, in colonizating Mediterranean Sea, always found itself in competition with Phoenicians, whose interests also had to be hidden and opposed on this level.
Let’s see in full the versions of Greek part (and consequently of Roman part). Pseudo Aristotle writes: «This island, as it seems, was once called Ιχνοῦσσα because its perimeter reproduces a figure very similar to the imprint of a human foot». It’s the first news ever, handed down in the fourth century. a.e.v. Pliny, N.H. III, writes: «Sardiniam ipsam Timaeus Sandaliotim appellavit ab effigie soleae, Myrsilus Ichnusam a similitudine vestigii» (those two scholars mentioned by Pliny are from the fourth century B.C.E.). Sallustius, II, writes in the first century B.C.E.: «Sardinia, located in the African sea, has the shape of a human foot».
From writer to writer, ̉Ιχνοῦσσα (or ̉Ιχνοῦσα) and Sandaliotis were the two most passed down choronyms, and all writers referred them to the ‘footprint of a human foot’ (Ἰχνοῦσα) or to a ‘sandal’ (Sandaliotis): see Silio Italico, Manilio, Pausania, Aulo Gellio, Solino, Esichio (Σανδαλώτη), Claudiano, Isidoro, Paolo Diacono. Platonis scolius at Timaeus departs from: «He (Tyrrhenus), sailed according to a prophecy from Lydia, arrived in those places (= in Tyrrhenian sea) and from Sardo his wife (took his name) city of Sardis in Lidia, both island that was previously called Ἀργυρόφλεψ) and now Σαρδώ».
It would not matter to point out Gr. ἴχνος ‘footprint, trace’, originally ‘sign, figure’, corresponds to Akk. šiknum (Lat. signum) ‘figure, image’, ‘positioning’ of the foot. This term is therefore Mediterranean, not only Greek. Anyway, Gr. Ἰχνοῦσα, as ‘Sardinia’, has no basis in ἴχνος (I’m sorry to disappoint those who believed it): it’s instead a paretimology. This does not mean the choronym, established with the well-known semantic and for the aforementioned reasons, was believed to be a prototype that encloses and demonstrates the whole truth (as indeed Cadossène herself). An indisputable truth for everyone, starting with the absurdity that Greeks (or who, if not them?) had accurately measured the island shape a few millennia before Vulgar era, i.e. since the coronym already existed on its behalf, and when they, as a people, still stayed in God’s mind. On the other hand, we must grant ourselves, for once, the license to observe the issue from the point of view of Proto-nuragic and nuragic Sardinians, to whom we can agree that they lived in Ἰχνοῦσα when Greek people did not exist yet, in an era where, in addition to erecting the superb nuraghes, the artists knew how to sculpt the Monti Prama’s Warriors. Well, let’s ask ourselves: did the Sardinians or Sardians (or Shardana: name stubbornly rejected by those who do not want understand) really had to wait for the birth of the Greek genius to call their island Ἰχνοῦσα? Or did they have to wait for the Phoenicians’ visits first?
Ἰχνοῦσα is really a paretimology. This would be enough to prove it: when this choronym came in writing, the mathematical talent of Claudius Ptolemy (about 150 CE), the first geographer to have described Europe and Sardinia with procedures and approximations that would be made better only by our geographers, was four centuries away. Previous Greek (and Latin) geographers described this island with circumnavigation system and with very discordant measures between geographer and geographer, however imprecise, unmanageable. None of them ever managed to demonstrate in fact what choronym Ἰχνοῦσα claimed to describe: the imprint of a human foot, or a sandal (Sandaliotis). On the other hand, if you really have to talk about “footprint”, one wonders why this name was not given to Còrsica island, which is much more similar to a footprint. This did not happen, and the universities of this omission have not yet noticed.
Ἰχνοῦσα, Ἰχνοῦσσα is a perfect paretymology, and has a basis in Akk. iqnû ‘lapis lazuli, turquoise’, ‘blue enamel’ + –šu, šū ‘the X-man’, ša ‘she who’, in compound iqnû-šū, iqnû-ša > Iqnusa ‘that (the island) of the Great Blue, of the Great Green’.
Needless to hide this evidence: Sardinia 3000-6000 years ago was known as the island of miracles for its extraordinary feracity, for its productive woodiness, for its numerous salt marshes, because surrounded by banks of red coral, for the enormous quantities of murexes for purple; it was mainly known for mines: not by chance it was also called Ἀργυρόφλεψ, which in Greek meant ‘with silver veins’. Thus went the question in the sea basins also frequented by Greeks and, pregnant with this misunderstanding, the authority of Greeks also took hold in the Roman world and still lasts today.
It remains unclear why Akk. Iqnusa means ‘Island of the Great Green’ (or ‘that of Turquoise, of Lapis Lazuli’). Simply because in archaic times, when all the knowledge of ancient civilizations made sense, so Sardinia was known. Island of Great Green, of Great Lapis Lazuli’ was an antonomastic synonym, since the island was nestled in the center of Mediterranean (called Great Green, Great Lapis Lazuli‘), far from any coast, distant but attractive for its wealth.
The Big Green: that’s how Egyptians too called it. And when they described Sea Peoples, always claimed those came from Great Green, which they called Uatch-ur, ‘Great Green water’, Mediterranean Sea. Knowing how to interpret it phonetically, Eg. Uatch-ur is the etymological basis from which even Germ. Wasser derives, Engl. water < Uatch-ur, Mediterranean and pan-European word, however, not replicating, except in semantics, the way in which Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian people called Mediterranean on their own: Iqnû. For the rest, Egyptians were able to distinguish when they indicated the various parts of Mediterranean. So they also wrote Uatch ura āa Meḥu, the ‘Very Great Green Water of the North Land’ i.e., the Mediterranean Sea; but otherwise they wrote Uatch ur Ḥau nebtiu ‘the Ionian Sea’.
SANDALIÓTIS. Greek choronym Σανδαλιῶτις, given to Sardinia “for the sandal shape”, is another sensational mistake of Greeks, and current linguists – I do not say Casti, nor Ugas – have never known nor wanted to amend it. It was born at least in 1500 BCE, at the golden age of nuraghes. Unfortunately, this Greek voice is one of the many “footprints” Greeks have left over the names (toponyms, choronyms) of this island, anxious to understand them … appropriating them without criteria. The coronym derives from Akkadian phrase ša, šu ‘that of’ + antalî ‘West’, antallû, attalû ‘eclipse’ + utû(m) as a virile name: ‘gatekeeper’ (in the sense of guardian of city gates) < Sumerian. In compound is š-antalî-utû ‘the Guardian of the West’.
Certainly patres patriae, or yesmen, will never accept my translation. By boldly screaming belonging to the flock, they will donate blood for it, swearing allegiance to this consolidated Greek concept, despite the fact, for high antiquity to which I refer (we already noticed it for Iqnûša), it could not be formulated because Greek people were still in God’s mind, and after Greek consciousness ripened among individual city-states, that nation had to wait for the genius of Ptolemy (150 ev.) to measure this island; but nevertheless the design of Sardinia in the maps of the early Middle Ages appears similar to Crete. Patience. We will make a reason for the sentencies of many scholars.
In any case, in my opinion this portentous epithet dates back to the time of Shardanas, when Sardinian civilization shone, and was known as such to every Mediterranean people.
SARDIGNA. The name Sardigna appears for the first time on third row of Nora’s Stele. To date, that name has always remained the same and has turned almost 3000 years old, at least in writing; we don’t know how many tens of millennia it was pronounced like this. I seem to have already clarified this is the real name of this island. Let’s consider the evidence, since Iqnusa, Sandaliotis, Caddossene are only his appellations, of which I have already discussed.
Unfortunately in Appendix III of his book Casti opts, out of mere sympathy, to see in ŠRDN the name of Nora’s territory only. So much so. I will return to the choronym (and on Casti) when I’m dealing with Stele’s translation.
Here I’d like to reiterate the absolute primacy of this choronym, which is also confirmed by Herodotus 1, 170: Σαρδώ (this is the second proof of archaic existence of choronym Sardigna). Sardū in Sumerian means ‘a whole garden’. Since the Sumerians existed for millennia before 3300 BCE, it seems obvious certain terms had been in use since the dawn of time, and we have no obligation to imagine original focus of Sardigna was Lydia (Pittau), or Libya (Pausanias). It’s obvious that even the Anatolian princesses took the same Sumerian names, given the renown of Sumerian language in Fertile Crescent, in Anatolia, in Persia, in Balkan peninsula, in Mediterranean, in Sardigna. It should therefore come as no surprise Lidian Tyrrhenus’ wife was called Σαρδώ ‘A whole garden’.
Confused by so much available matter, living academics and Pittau cite the erodotea Σάρδεις in Anatolia (Lidia) as a linguistic proof of a relationship between Lidos (colonizers) and Sardinians (colonized). And they don’t notice Herodotus, writing Σάρδεις, was following a “liberal” ear adaptation that had already happened to Greeks of Anatolian coasts, who could not otherwise write the original Sfard (Persian Saparda, Heb. Sephārad) (Semerano). Scholars who link the origin of Sardinians to Herodotus’ Sárdeis, at least try to obtain evidences that scientifically justifies this enormous phonetic difference.
Third proof of archaic nature of chononym Sardigna comes from Latin tradition (Sardinia), in whose alphabet a handwriting suitable for –gna did not exist, preferring to express it with –nia. Instead the Iberians somewhat simplified the spelling, supplanting –gna with –ña.
The fourth proof that Sardigna is aboriginal comes from the same Nora’s Stele, where ŠRDN is Semitic consonant spelling, without vowels that – if inserted – would have produced the trisyllable ŠaR-Di-gNa. My insertion of neutral –a– in the first syllable is consistent with the pronunciation has always been known on the island; therefore it’s an obvious, legitimate, logical, simple, painless, truthful operation, because otherwise the consonantal sequence ŠR would be unpronounceable for us. If, on the other hand, someone wishes to accept the ibero-centric vogue of our universities and replace –a– with –e– (Cerdeña), at least try to demonstrate why it’s better to follow the blatant tendency towards colonial ideologies rather than actual reality. Likewise, try to demonstrate for what necessity of history Sardinian –gna– would have been accepted by the Spanish –ña– (and not vice versa).
The second syllable –Di– should be read as it is, unless a maniac of colonialism forces for the second time to believe Sardinian language coming from Iberian peninsula.
Unfortunately, the only one to really fault would be (but is not) the third Semitic syllable (-N). Mediterranean men at the beginning of first millennium BCE, still afraid of introducing an excess of revolutionary graphemes and only capable of getting by with the Spartan apparatus from Phoenician land, it goes without saying that only –N is written on the Stele. But the Sumerian language helps to unravel the issue. It also offers the syllable ĝa ‘house’ (read nga, nasal pronunciation as in Eng. –ing; but read it also – for Sardinia and Italy – gna). This genus of archaic phonemes has transformed over the millennia into Sd. –gna, which was then copied out from Iberians (-ña).
Hence Sard-ì-gna is the oldest name of this island, with the binder –ī– that we have learned to know in the construct state (see § 3.1.14 of my Historic Grammar of Sardinian Language). Sardì-gna (< Šard-ī-ĝa) originally meant ‘House of Sardinians’,
At this point we recover the pure Herodotus’ choronym Σαρδώ, recognizing in it the primitive Mediterranean base on which Sardinians made the junction in a constructed state, i.e. combining Σαρδώ (Sardū, which is still today the eponymous surname of Sardinia) with gna ‘home, homeland ‘. And here is Sardī-gna, ‘Homeland of Sardinians’.
That Sardigna is aboriginal, the fifth test comes from the Egyptians, since Šardana warriors were registered as Šarṭana, Šarṭenu, Šarṭina (EHD 727b). Here the suffixes of belonging to (-ana, –enu, –ina) reappear, based once again in Sum. ĝa ‘home, country, place of origin’. However, just the outcome of Hebrew afformant in –ān indicating belonging, we can affirm Phoenician –n’ of Fuentes Estanol has a basis in Sum. ane ‘he’, but which was also contaminated by Sum. ĝa ‘home, homeland’.
I said Sardinian radical Σαρδώ is pan-Mediterranean. Even Jews knew this root: Jew Sèred סֶרֶד (Gn 46.14 and other biblical passages) was one of the many Canaanites who moved from Israel to Egypt; while in Sardinia the radical sard– is also connected to surname Sardu, Sardo, Sardà, Sardànu, Sardòne, Sardella, as well as to the village Sàrdara.
LPNY. In Appendix IV of his book, Casti finally face up to the last line of Nora’s Stele. And he does not hesitate in saying that «LPNY can really indicate the ethnic origin of Nogar from an unknown Iberian city or region».
I invite the reader to read from p. 295 onwards because I was unable to understand how LPNY is “sardization” of toponym Calpe: in fact they only have –P– in common. Continuing on that road, it would be easy to identify a camel with the jam because the community of –m-. But Casti does not give up because, “perhaps”, LPNY could have been read a little aspirated (‘Alpen), even Halpen, Kalpen. For the last three toponyms he brings up Jose Alemany (1932), who yearns, for the origin of Kalpe, Lat. Alpes as a tribute to the mountainous nature of Gibraltar Rock.
Here prompt action is needed to prevent the elephant from smashing the glassware. First of all, the fortress of Gibraltar does not exceed 426 meters above sea level: a nice difference compared to the scarce 5000 meters of Alps. In addition, Gibraltar is located at 40 ° as Oristano, it’s laying on the sea as Oristano and has a mild climate like Oristano. The name Alps, indeed, is to be compared with Sd. alb-ésk-ida, It. alba (the coldest moment), Germ. Alb ‘night spirit’, Alp ‘alpine pasture’, from Akkadian ḫalpû ‘frost, ice’. All to compare with Sumerian ḫalba ‘frost, ice’. Here are the Alps!
Indeed Kάλπη (cited by Strabo III, 1,7) named the cliff of Gibraltar; but, my God, we can find more congruous indenteds, for example Sum. ḫal ‘to divide, open’ + pû ‘mouth’. And we would have learned pre-Greeks, with a language much more consanguineous to Sumerian than we can imagine, with Kάλπη (ḫal-pû) only wanted to indicate the ‘mouth that opens’, referring to this strait.
Today things haven’t changed after so many millennia. In fact, the same pre-Greek concepts (which are then pan-Mediterranean concepts) still remain the same, despite the use of different terms. We know the wide use, in the past and in the present, of heteronymy, i.e. the evocation of the same concept with different names. And it’s thanks to heteronymy that in Middle Ages we find in our hands the Sp. Gibraltar, which is claimed by Arab Jabal Tāriq ‘Mount of Tariq’ (a forced dedication to the Muslim conqueror: ‘Mount of Tariq’). And nobody realizes these two terms (one of 8 graphemes, the other of 10) have only J-b-t-r in common, that is, four graphemes. Too few, but sufficient to quell many scholars and induce brain laziness.
In reality the analysis to be done is very different, since Gibraltar derives from Sumerian agglutination gi ‘to change status’ + bar ‘to split ‘+ al ‘fencing’ + tar ‘to cut’: gi-bar-al-tar = ‘split barrier that changes fate’. This leads to reflection on the same Greek literature that dyed those places of magical horror: are we or are we not by “Hercules’ Columns”? And what significance does this myth related to Hercules has for us?; who placed his Columns as a limit between the known and the unknown, as elements whose passage changed the fate of navigators?
TRANSLATION OF NORA’S STELE
STANDARDIZED TEXT OF PHOENICIAN GRAPHEMS (below graphemes, the phonetic value: by Salvatore Dedola):
STANDARDIZED TEXT OF PHOENICIAN GRAPHEMS (broken down by single word, by Salvatore Dedola):
Vocalized text of separate words (by Salvatore Dedola):
BITU RAŠU SU NUGURA SU CA BE-SARDIGNA ŠALOM.
CA ŠALOM SABA MELK-ATENE-BEN, SU BANU NUGURA LU-PM-Y.
Translation of the vocalized text (by Salvatore Dedola):
AL TEMPIO PRINCIPALE DI NORA, QUELLO CHE STA IN SARDEGNA, AUGURO PROSPERITÀ.
CHI AUGURA PROSPERITÀ È SABA FIGLIO DI MELK-ATENE, CHE HA COSTRUITO NORA DI PROPRIA INIZIATIVA.
TO MAIN TEMPLE OF NORA, THE ONE THAT IS IN SARDINIA, I WISH PROSPERITY.
WHO WISHES PROSPERITY IS SABA SON OF MELK-ATEN, WHO HAS BUILT NORA OF HIS OWN INITIATIVE (ENTERPRISE).
Interlinear translation (by Salvatore Dedola):
bt (bitu ‘al tempio, to temple’) rš (rašu ‘principale, main’) š (šu = Sd. su ‘di, of’) ngr (Nùgura ‘Nora’) š (šu ‘che; which, whom’) h’ (ca, ki ‘egli, io; he, I’) b-šrdn (be, bi ‘in’; šrdn, Sardigna ‘Sardinia’) šlm (šalom ‘ho onorato in segno di pace, I have honored in peace’).
h’ (ca ‘io che, chi; I who’) šlm (šalom ‘auguro pace, wish peace’) ṣb’ ( Ṣaba ‘sono Saba, am Saba’) mlk-tn-bn (melek-Aten-benu ‘di Melk-Atene figlio; son of Melk-Aten’) š (šu ‘che, chi; who’) bn (banu ‘ho edificato, built up’) ngr (Nugura ‘Nora’) l-pmy (lu, li pûm-y ‘di mia propria iniziativa; on my own enterprise’).
ETYMOLOGICAL COMMENT OF THE TRANSLATION (by Salvatore Dedola)
Premise. A very important note must be made to this comment: the language written on the Stele is Sardinian, authentically Sardinian. Obviously I’m talking about the language spoken by Sardinians 3000 years ago. That it is Sardinian language, it’s easy to demonstrate it thanks to the comparison between Mediterranean dictionaries as well as thanks to the etymologies, since comparison between all pre-Roman and current Sardinian dictionaries shows the words written on the Stele were already present in many Semitic dictionaries (and then in Latin dictionary), and still remain vividly operating in today’s Sardinian vocabulary.
This clarification was necessary, since up to now the opposite has always been stated, namely that the Stele was written by Phoenicians who arrived on the island.
My clarification puts the bludgeon on two non-scientific positions, based on purely ideological assumptions, i.e. on very rigid beliefs drawn from an academic thought imposed militarily by cloning for 150 years, which until now have never been tested with a scientific investigation or with analysis of evident facts.
The first academic position is that nothing of the Sardinian pre-Roman language would be known and there would be no tool capable of making it known. Some linguist, some glottologist, some Romance philologist affirms it and writes it apertis verbis. Most of them instead share it in tomb silence, preventing Sardinian pre-Roman language from being investigated with the tools that science has long made available.
The second academic position, closely linked to the first, is that for Sardinia – only for Sardinia – it must be postulated that every verbal expression (from the beginning of navigation to the Catalan conquest in 1323) has always come from outside, so that the Sardinians have always learned (or better, re-learned), with each colonization, a new vocabulary, the winner’s one.
As a consequence of that ideology, Nora’s Stele would be Phoenician and nothing else (and, as such, unknowable!). According to them, the real Sardinian language began to “make cartilage” only through Latin language, therefore it’s imagined to be reborn in its entirety with Latin skeleton and pulp. Then, they imagine Latin skeleton disappeared into air, while the Sardinians, thin and silent, began to swallow words again thanks to the intervention of Pisans; finally, returned to famine and chewing only a few Italian words, they came to 1321, resuming fattening thanks to Catalan vocabulary.
Obviously, among these thinkers someone is willing to mitigate this macabre assumption: he does so with various “though”, “but”, “except that”. In any case, no one will be able to tell us, clearly and courageously, that the Academy has so far ranted and its thinking must be radically questioned.
So once again I find myself alone to fight my battle, to tear the veils, to scientifically demonstrate the falsity of those ideological positions. Mind you that these falsities involve everyone, really everyone. These include Academy and also non-academic scholars; among those is Gigi Sanna already presented above (it’s not by chance he tries to translate the archaic Stele only through metalinguistic ways, assisted by Cabbalah, believing to be revolutionary!…). These ideological positions obviously also involve Roberto Casti, who has already been heavily criticized so far. Lastly, the ideology involve Giovanni Ugas, who not surprisingly wanted to tame us with his pilatesque “cloning” of other people’s sentences, i.e. “blurting out” every position before him – all indistinctly stained by that original sin – without any wing blow that made him fly out of snake pit.
All these people are the same who accepted the consequences of the absurd ideology according to which Nora’s Stele is Phoenician (and therefore untranslatable!…). They never realized they were boiling in a tragic well, dug by Italian Academy (underlined in turn by the Germanic one), according to which “the Phoenician alphabet touched all sides, and while Greeks, Etruscans, Romans wrote themselves their documents with an alien alphabet, in Sardinia instead no Sardinian was capable of much, and waited for the Phoenicians to have written epigraphs”.
In this regard, I have amply explained my thoughts and denounced that of others in the Methodological Introduction to “Etymological Dictionary of the Sardinian Language” as well as in the Introduction to “Etymological Dictionary of Sassarian”. In referring to both, I can only affirm for the umpteenth time that a translation cannot be done by Kabbalah, nor by “Ipse dixit”, nor by blurting out the numerous quixotic enterprises of the “famous men” (magnifici viri), who would demonstrate the inanity of any translation attempt. Needless to say: the issue is dominated by an iron and diabolical “conventiō ad excludendum”. They claim to impose culture in Sardinia must remain in the morgue, in the pit, and Sardinian intellectuals must assist it exclusively as gravediggers.
There is no worse deaf person than one who doesn’t want to hear, nor worse than one who doesn’t want to see. The tragedy is not only represented by this rubber wall, but also by the dark, unconfessable interests to which each of these people is enslaved. Therefore, once again, I am going alone to shed light on this Stele, whose unfortunate discovery is cursed by those who, out of selfishness, do not want to open the windows to culture.
I launch an invocation to academies all over the world to listen to me and help me to quell the fuss artfully raised with a luciferian will to drown everything and everyone in the Styx. In Italy, in Sardinia, from the upper floors the light has been turned off, so that in the dark each goat can be mistaken for bison, so that anyone, groping, palpating and speculating by nose, can make his Golem or, if desired, can reach an improbable nirvana, d’amblée, without paying overdue.
Academies all over the world help me, please, to make the Italian academy understand, particularly the Sardinian one, that subdivision and explanation of the single words of Stele can only be the one I practiced, since I did not produce this subdivision in the dark, on a whim, not even “by ear”, let alone by Kabbalah, but using only the Phoenician and Ugaritic dictionaries, as well as the Sardinian one, and for greater safety I looked for the equivalences and responses of each word in the other Semitic dictionaries, of course with help of respective grammars.
Capriciously looking for other types of subdivision, without an aid of all these dictionaries, would make us take our feet off the ground, taking us to a “middle world” where no option would be more practicable with scientific certainty, and any “intuition” would only lead to clouds, without the comfort of method but only at the mercy of ideologies, of the eccentricities, of madnesses of the “learned” on duty.
BT: it’s an ancient Sardinian word, which was named *bitu and which we find in bidda ‘village, town, residential area’. Its pan-Sardinian expansion can be seen in Baunéi toponym Bidunìe (Bidu-nìe, where it’s presumed there was a house, and has the meaning of ‘source of the house’). It also persists in the name of village Bidonì (Bido-nì, almost Bidunìe repeated). We also find it in Alpine voice bàita ‘home’ and, returning to Sardinian, in bide ‘vine’. Etymological basis is Akk. bītu ‘dwelling, settlement’, and persists in Hebr. bait ‘home, dwelling, tent, temple’. Sardinian voice bide shows the archaic nature of this concept, born from observation of Vitis vinifera in the forests, which paroxysmically covers the trees, creating a sort of “tent” that veils the sun and ultimately steals vitality from the tree. From here was born the same Jewish concept of ‘tent’, which then moved to house, which for Jews for centuries was only a tent. The very “home” of the Most Holy God was a tent during the long forty years of Exodus.
RŠ: to be read rašu, which in Akkadian meant ‘sheikh, chief’. In Sardinia we find it in surname Rais, also in rais as a ‘crew chief in tuna fishing’, and it reveals itself as an adjectival crystallized in Mount Rasu (the highest in Goceano chain), as well as in the phrase pani e casu e binu a rasu, which means exactly ‘bread, cheese and full wine’. If desired, we can translate rašu as ‘first, preeminent’, and we remain in the same semantic field.
Š: (read šū); compare su, sa definite Sardinian article, equal to Gr. ‘o, ‘η. In Akk. the article is missing and there is instead the ancient demonstrative šū, šut ‘this’, ša ‘what’, from which Greek and Sardinian articles will then derive. In Sardinia there is also the Akkadian and Semitic use of indicating and delimiting a territory with the article (or, for Akkadian, with the pronominal form): su e látthori ‘the field of euphorbia’, sa e Mussinu ‘the valley of Mussino’, sa e Porcu ‘the land of Porcu’. Therefore I translate šū as Sardinian: ‘that of’.
NGR: read Nugura(toponym equal to Nùgoro, i.e. Nùoro). This is the ancient toponym known today as Nora; cfr. Gr. Nῶρα, Lat. Nōra. There was also a castle in Cappadocia, called Nῶρα from Plutarch, Strabo, Diodorus. See also the Sardinian toponyms Nurae, Nurri, and the choronym Nurra. Various Sardinian toponyms have this form, as many times it enters into composition (Nar-bolìa, Nor-bello, Nora-gugúme, Nurá-minis, Nura-llào, etc.).
Nora in the Stele is expressed in archaic Sardinian: Ngr. It’s easy to trace it in Phoenician Nr (read nuru) which indicates the act of offering to God. Then we agree Akk. nūru too already in his time (3-4000 years ago) was a crystallized voice, whose archaic bases lie in Sum. nu ‘creator’, ‘semen (divine)’ + ra ‘pure’, ‘shining’ (see Egyptian Ra ‘Sun shining’), with the meaning of ‘Glow of God the Creator’; and cf. anc. Heb. me-norāh ( מְנוֹרָה ) ‘candelabrum’, with pre-formative me– explaining the object supporting torches. To this term, already in Sumerian, a third lemma, gu, was also agglutinated, and the compound nu-ra-gu (‘nuraghe’) meant ‘building complex of God the shining Creator’, ‘Church of the shining creator’. In short, nuraghe was the sacred building erected to magnify the Supreme Creator God of the Universe. And Nora, written with agglutination of gu (Nu-Gu-Ra) had the same name as nuragu or nuraki or nuraghe, albeit with –gu– attracted to median position, as happens in many other languages: e.g. It. il miele profumatooppureil profumato miele ‘perfumed honey’. So Nora from its foundation was a settlement dedicated to Sun God.
Š: Sd. su‘who’. See more on the etymology already discussed.
H’: Phoenician ‘he, that’ (read ha, aspired or affricated). The international convention induces to register in this way this Phoenician graphic, except however to take note each nation distinguished its own pronunciation and its own handwriting. In Sardinia, this Phoenician voice corresponds to personal pron. ca (ca sei? ‘who are you?’), and also ki, kie ‘chi, he who’, cf. Heb. ha ‘he, that’ (e.g. roš-ha-šanâ ‘new year’, properly ‘head, that of the year’). Oldest base is Akk. –ka. –k ‘you’, which we find in Heb. ḥīʼ (הִיא), ḥuʼ (הוּא) ‘he, she’, Ug. hw ‘he’, hy ‘she’, Lat. qui, quae.
B–SRDN: (read be-Sardigna). Sd. bi, beisan adverb of place. Cfr. Ug. b ‘in’, Hebr. be– ‘in’; this Canaanite adverb of place is always agglutinated with the straight word, as in B-ŠRDN ‘in Sardinia’. Adverb of Ugaritic-Phoenician-Hebrew place b (be) is, as we see, also Sardinian. It’s found in many indications of place in the forms be, bei, bi; always indicates a place, not always precise, far from the speaker: ‘there’, ‘in that place’, ‘at that place’: siéntzia bei keret, no bestire!; a contos male fatos si bi torrada; ite b’ada?; in s’isterzu de s’ozu non be podiat aer ke murca; de listincu be nḍ’aìat prus de una molinàda; a campu bi anḍo déo; bazibbéi a domo sua; a bi sezis, si benzo a domo bostra?; in su putu bi at abba; no bi creo! (see NOFELSA).
The etymology of SRDN–Sardigna has been discussed above.
ŠLM: (read = Hebr. šalom). This pan-Mediterranean phono-semanthem also distinguishes pronunciation and handwriting everywhere. What matters is the root sal– (see Ar. salam), which is found in Lat. sal-us ‘health, salvation’; Sd. sal-ùdu ‘greeting, wish for well-being’. The oldest base is Akk. šâlu ‘rejoice, enjoy something’, ‘stay healthy’; see also Akk. šalû ‘submerged, immersed’ in connection with diving (baptisms), which pre-Christian peoples have practiced since time immemorial for a double purpose: mystical and healthy.
In Italy, in Sardinia, almost everywhere, we find this radical in an archaic wish always addressed to those who sneeze: ‘health!’, A wish that is still identical near Sumerians. The forms šalom, salam, which seem Jewish and Arabic, are found in Sàssari, always in relation to the sneeze: sallùmmia! (instead of sarùddu!). Today, having lost historical memory, sallùmmia is believed to be a playful corruption of s’allummia ‘fire, incinerate o.s.’, but it’s not true: it’s precisely the archaic Semitic wish šalom, salam. The counter-proof is Bruncu Salàmu (Dolianova countryside). No relationship to ‘salami’ nor ‘brackish’. It names the crest of a watershed from which various springs flow, believed miraculous since time immemorial and still frequented believing one is good for stomach, another for liver, another for kidneys. Supernordinated to this toponym is Šalimu, the Canaanite god of peace and health, attested in documents of Ugarit (14th century B.C.E.). Of ancient Mesopotamian origin (ant. Akk. šalāmu ‘to be, to become healthy, intact’), its cult spread throughout the western Semitic world, first in Ugarit then in Giahy (southern Canaan) where it will enter as a constituent element of Jerusalem name (yrwšlm) as well as in some Israelite personal names.
The same name of Jerusalem (yrwšlm) is repeated in Sàssari for Rosello source, a contraction of medieval Guru-séle (> Ro-sello), whose etymological analysis refers precisely to Jerusalem, a city born at a copious sacred source in honor of god Šalimu, as happened for Sàssari -Thàthari.
H’: read ca‘who’. An etymology already discussed.
ŠLM: An etymology already discussed.
ṢB’: (read Ṣaba). The presence of this surname (an ancient personal name) also in Trullas and Bonarcado condaghes, attests to its pre-Roman archaicity. Registered in “Phoenician Dictionary” as Ṣb’, it’s a Carthaginian-Berber personal name but the origin is certainly Phoenician-Canaanite, and in fact has always been pan-Mediterranean. Name (sometimes choronym) well known also in the Hebrew world, with the primary meaning of ‘grandfather’ (אבּסַ), cited in 1Re 10,1-10.13; 2Cr 9: 9-12; Gb 1.15; Is 43.3; 45.14; Gn 10.7. The Queen of Sheba is the most famous character linked to this name-choronym. In Israel there was the name Šeba (Gn X 7; 1Cr 9 etc.; Vulgata Saba); it’s widespread among Mediterranean Jews (Eliezer Ben David).
As an etymological basis we have, beyond Heb. Šeba ‘grandfather’, also Akk. sābû ‘host, beer fermenter’, from sabû(m) ‘to produce, ferment beer’, in turn from Sum. sab ‘jar for beer fermentation’. This etymology is however less congruous than this following: Heb. Ṣbʽ ‘Saba’ = ‘fighter, warrior’ (plur. Ṣĕbāʼôt ‘armies’). Finally we have Sum. šab ‘clay sealing, sealed bulla’. The cretules are the first seals of humanity, those from which the beginning of Mesopotamian writing derived. It seems obvious in Mediterranean Saba there was a very expanded name (then surname), considering the very high cultural value of proto-writing.
MLK-TN: (read Melke–Atene). This double pan-Mediterranean name, usual among the ancients and the moderns, is found among the Sardinian surnames Melca, Merche, Merchis, with confirmation in Hebr. Melkis, diminutive of Melchizedek: base in Heb. melek ‘re’.
The second Sardinian surname is Attena, D’Attena, Attene, Atene, Atzeni, Atzèi; it seems the same name of medieval village Aczena, Assena in diocese of Usellus. The real progenitor is Egyptian Aten (Aton) ‘Solar disk’ in the sense of ‘One God’. The mixture with Bab. Attana is not a simple effect of phonetic attraction, since even in Babylon the name of 7th month (our July) evidently indicated the moment when the Unique God (the Sun) warmed the earth most. Needless to say, the name of Athens city, Ἀθῆνα, which has the name of the historical protector, is nothing more than the archaic name of the Sun God once in force throughout the Mediterranean.
BN: (read benu), from Sem.ben ‘son’, Akk. bīnu, Ar.bin. That name is Mediterranean, even Sardinian (It. surname Bene, Sd. surname Bena-ssái). The analysis of Bena-ssái demonstrates Akk. sawûm ‘desert’, with which we translate Benassai ‘son of the desert’, a clear sign in the high antiquity in Sardinia even Arabs passed (and married), perhaps sailing together with Phoenicians and Carthaginians, in defiance of those – denying the science of etymology – also deny the opportunity to take a critical look at the varied Mediterranean world before Rome, taking away history.
Š: Sd. su‘who’. See more on the etymology already discussed.
BN: (read banu) ‘built’. The most obvious etymological basis is Akk. banû ‘to build’ (cf. Sd. bi-de) < Sum. unu ‘settlement’; Sum. binitum ‘tree trunk for houses’ (tum ‘cross-beam’); especially observe Akk. bīnu ‘son’. On closer inspection, even a son is nothing more than a ‘construction’, so in ancient times he could only belong to the same semantic field.
It. vano in the sense of ‘chamber’ has a semantic reversal relative to the ‘void’ (connected to Sum. an ‘heaven, cosmic void’). Instead for the primitive sardiness of the voice it’s necessary to stick to Sassarian-Logudorian prédda báina “slate, blackboard”; Còrsican baína, abaínu, paínu; cfr. Genoese abbaén (known in blackboard industry as abbadíno). The etymological basis is still Akk. banûm ‘to build’. The Tyrrhenian adjectival prevailed because this type of schist is the most suitable for erecting lasting constructions, given their flat nature that makes each piece fit together without the use of mortars.
NGR: (read Nugura). See more on the etymology already discussed.
L: read lu-, but it can also be read li-; it’s an Akkadian optative: ‘should I’, ‘let it be’, ‘as far as …’, ‘is allowed that’. In Sardinia the correspondent is là ‘look’ < Sum. la ‘show’, Heb. la ‘at, towards’.
PM: (read pûm) < Akk.pûm‘statement, command’. Cf. Sum. pû ‘mouth’ + mu ‘good’ (the ‘good mouth’ compound still falls within the identified semantic field, although it retains a clear primitive imprint). Even the Sassarian-Logudorian pumu ‘fruit’ has this etymological basis, without wanting to disturb It. pomo ‘apple’, which was formed distinctly.
But frankly, the meaning retained by Engl. statement, command in Sardinia does not exist: perhaps once it existed, but it certainly disappeared.
Y: ‘me, mine’ (see in Seùi phrases of the type domu y Porcu ‘casa di Porcu’); cfr. also Ug. –y (suffixed pronominal morpheme) in genitive relation ‘me, mine’, in accusative relation ‘me’, etc.; and cf. Akk. –ya ‘me’ (1st sg. pron. suffix).
The compound L-PM-Y must be interpreted as a single adverb; the most relevant overall meaning is ‘on my order’.
Appendix to etymological comment.
Only in architrave of Áidu Entos nuraghe (Mulàrgia-Bortigali) does Sardinia begin to have the first Romanizing document. Before the words were written in Phoenician letters; after the Phoenician vogue, they were written in Punic.
The highest linguistic memory of antiquity in Sardinia is Nora’s Stele, the oldest document in the West.
Since the nineteenth century, several scholars have attempted its translation, and each has given a different version.
Plurality of versions has got excuse, because of the uninterrupted sequence of graphemes from which each interpreter had to discuss the division of words. Moreover, only half of the letters let us understand at first glance and clearly the furrow traced by the stonecutter, while other letters can be perceived only after careful observation of tearing and grinding produced over the long period of time on the sandy base.
Today the text is aesily readable because of the paint that highlights letters, which we must be faithfully adhered to, if only to standardize the starting point of translation. And yet the team of scholars who bravely decided to mark and highlight the letters with red and violet paint must have had some problems, and even took a few corners. For example, the first letter of the second line was remarked as if it were a W (to be pronounced u) while, wanting to observe better, the Phoenician trace indicates an N [here and later I express myself with the Latin alphabet, and I remember the list of graphemes is indicated by me according to Phoenician system, from right to left].
To complicate the facts, “faithful” transposers of Phoenician graphemes have also failed: in some books the graphemes are clearly altered compared to the stone ones. For example, direct observation of the sixth row of the stone makes it clear that there are 6 letters and not 7. So the seventh letter, inserted in GES 614, is to be expunged because in the stone it’s missing.
As for the translators of the individual letters from Phoenician to Latin, they have perhaps had moderate difficulties since some Phoenician letters lend themselves to changing meaning according to the inclination. And so I don’t blame them for proposing an R as D (row seven, letter 6). Perhaps the inclination of the letter led to doubt, but I believe they should not proceed blindly, with a hint of common sense, and despite the (rare) uncertainties of the stonecutter, they had to first of all help themselves with Phoenician dictionary to fully understand the intentions of stonemason himself and the lexical correctness of the statement.
The lesson drawn from letter M of row 4 lends itself to some perplexity. For M of row 8 I do not intend to add mine to others’ perplexities.
In any case, and all in all, the entire Phoenician text is not the gym of difficulty that someone wanted to credit, and with the help of Phoenician dictionary (supported by Ugaritic one) the text can be translated safely and without smudging. Nonetheless, not all of them got it right.
Although difficulties were easily overcoming, it seems translation was undertaken more out of duty than passion. Other scholars, in the presumption of giving a precise dating of the text (and of alphabet that underlies it), have even forgotten to insert some letters in the alphabet derived from the Stele (see for example Giovanni Garbini apud Moscati F 110).
The indecisions and errors of the translators must be assigned a “before” and “after”, the dividing line of which is 1980, the year of the publication of Phoenician Dictionary of Fuentes Estanol. Any previous fault must be forgiven because of the absence of an essential tool. If we want, we can also forgive the mistakes made up to 1996, when the publication of the Diccionario de la Lengua Ugaritica (Del Olmo Lete-Sanmartin) allowed to replenish the lean lexical apparatus of Fuentes Estanol.
So from the total of thirty-two attempts I can exclude the greatest part of the willing ones, including my master Giovanni Semerano, who tempted in 1984, making a very mistake.
I forgive the interpretation of Moore-Cross in 1984, too, which took place four years after the publication of Phoenician Dictionary. His translation – which Ferruccio Barrecca (CFPS) also draws from – is as follows:
btršš (… to Tarsis) wgrš h’ (and he led them out) bšrdn š (among the Sardinians) lm h’ šl (he is now at peace) m sb’ (and his army is at peace) mlktn bn (Milkaton, son of) šbn ngd (Subna, general) lpmy (of King Pumay: that is Pygmalion).
I omit to record the fourteen post-Moore versions, from which, however, I do not avoid being scandalized by the superficiality of the researchers, who have even candidly forgotten the technique of dedicatory epigraphs learned on the university desks. It would not have been difficult for them to find a right translation, if they had gone over that technique and then leafed through the Phoenician and Ugaritic dictionaries, from which a linear, clean, flawless text is easily extracted.
Chapter II –DEDICATION TO SANTU JACCI
(base of St. Nicolò Gerrei column)
In the thematic book “La Toponomastica in Sardegna” I had investigated the etymology of this choronym in two respects: geological and landscape.
From a geological point of view, I highlighted the combination proposed by other scholars with giara (name of basaltic plateaux in Marmilla). Similarly to these plateaux, Gerréi also has plateaux – though not volcanic – to which Giarréi might have referred, which in this case would be translated as ‘locus petrosus’. In order not to overflow, I would exclude the highlands pertaining to the same municipalities of Gerréi but located in the region beyond Flumendosa (they are of Eocene sandstone: S’Omu e is Abis, Pran’e Lettus, Sa Mola). Sticking to an organic vision, we are only interested in the plateaux incorporated in Gerréi properly understood, composed of layered Devonian limestone (M.Taccu-Scandarìu: S.Nicolò-Villasalto), including those of late Cambrian-early Silurian (Malamorri-Arriola- Pranu Mrágini-Samunadróxu: Villasalto; Bruncu Marrada: S.Nicolò). However, it would not make sense or it would be extremely trivial to define them as ‘loca petrosa’, since in all Sardinia, for each of 377 municipalities, it was always possible, especially in the ancient Palaeolithic age, in absence of land improvement practices, to give the same adjectives to countless sites and to many sub-regions.
The volcanic giara is a tabular and strongly stony plateau. Pittau (LSP 131) also mentions the variants jara, zara, zarra and the meaning of ‘gravel, pebbles, stones’. He envisions its Etruscan origin (Tuscan ghiara, iara, lat. glarea ‘gravel’). Subliminally, he induces to see the Latin resultant as the founding one, while the etymology of giara founds itself in Akk. yarḫu ‘pond, pool’, crossed with ḫārû ‘a large container (of liquids)’, and with ḫarrum ‘water channel’ (see Heb. yorĕh ‘first rains: those until December’). In fact, the ability of large giare to form ponds is known due to their perfect tabularity.
I am now coming to Gerréi from a landscape point of view. Pittau (UNS 154) proposes the anthroponym lat. Gerraeus, whence (praedium) Gerraei to indicate a Roman latifundium persistent in this area dominated by Patulcenses and even before by Galillas. However, Pittau’s proposal is risky, since the whole sub-region is marked by a very long strategic valley (therefore passable), climbing from S.Andria Frius, crossing Pranu Sànguni and ending in Ballao via S.Nicolò Gerréi. We must consider it as the direct way connecting the ancient Karalis-Karallu to the ancient Saeprum (Flumendosa river). The term Gerréi can therefore be compared with Akk. gerru ‘way, track, caravan, military expedition’
The double-valued analysis now concluded for the choronym Gerréi may seem exhaustive. Yet the two etymological options on which we have discussed are not entirely congruent, especially if we compare them with the previous toponym of Saint Nicolò Gerrei, which I’m now going to analyze.
This is the ancient name of a village today called San Nicolò Gerréi. We have noticed the entire sub-region where this village is located is called Gerréi, and it’s not easy to understand if the ancient village received the epithet Gerréi from the territory, or vice versa.
I begin to dismember the double epithet to analyze Paùli first. The people’s voice has handed down the village once weighed on swampy soil (from which Sd. Paùli < paludi < Lat. palus, paludis); and as long as the quagmire was reclaimed, the residents changed that name, «for the desire to stand out, as other villages have capriciously done without the need» (Giovanni Spano).
But it’s unlikely natives, to erect their village, had chosen a quagmire. However, nothing hints at the formation of marshes in that very animated, rocky, mountainous area. Furthermore, I note right next to the village there is an amba (plateau) where the town could have been born more easily, without efforts or adaptations of any kind. But even that pastoral amba, also without marshes, was exemplary discarded for settlement purposes (the opposite of what was decided for the foundation of Sédilo, in the Middle Valley of Tirso, which in fact stands on a basaltic jar).
Evidently for the indigenous people of Paùli Gerréi it was more congenial to clump between animated rocks next to Riu Tolu, a stream from which they could collect the vital water and for drought, thanks to elementary barriers, to have the aqueduct of rescue waiting for the rains. The composite and healthy hillside of the current settlement suggests anything but an ancient quagmire, much less a swamp.
In Sardinia there are four villages with allusive name of “swamp”: the others are Paùli Arbaréi, Paùli Làtino, as well as Paùli (today called Monserrato). Considering the vast mirrors of archaic floods that once surrounded the seven hills of Càgliari, it’s certain at least Paùli (Monserrato) was born on the edge of a pond, which was finally reclaimed, then built. But for the other villages the appellation of paùli “swamp” is suspicious.
The surname Paùlis also comes into play in this speech. Since the current surnames are nothing but ancient personal names, one wonders why a mother found congenial to name her son as “Swamp”. We know, on the contrary, all surnames (excluding ex-nicknames, as well as appellations of origin such as Tìana) were personal names chosen from the most poetic (for women) or most virile (for males) ranges. Another range of priority choice for personal names concerned the epithets relating to “holiness” and to divine manifestations (for example, the surname Atene, Atzeni and, as we will see later, the surname Giagu).
It goes without saying that the surname Paùlis (unless it is an appellative of origin from one of the villages mentioned) still has the same etymology as the toponyms discussed here, whose origin therefore must be investigated with the same method.
As we have already seen for the second name Gerréi, the geological structure of the territory has nothing to do with it. Instead, the landscape calls for further attention, since the ancient populations, as far as possible, preferred to found their villages along the routes or valleys of communication. This aspect is very important for Gerréi, a mountainous area intersected by only two mandatory routes: 1. the mountainous area connecting to Sìnnai via the ridge Monte Genas-Monte Tronu-Monte Cirrònis; 2. that hilly connecting Kàralis with Parti Olla, Sant’Andrìa, San Nicolò Gerréi, Ballao. In this regard, we have found a good validity of the etymology gerru ‘way, trace’, which however seems almost obvious, and for this reason it attracts a suspicion of banality.
We can correct the previous obviousness with the consideration a major transit postulated the convenience of erecting cantonal sanctuaries, usually built far from villages and declared frank in order to encourage the peaceful confluence of faithfuls from all parts of Sardinia. Also in these valleys one sanctuary was erected, with a square base, dedicated to Santu Jacci.
I will discuss the etymology of this improbable “saint”, linked to one of the epiphanies of the Almighty One God. We first need to reveal the arcane base Paùli, which at this point has the only chance of being considered one of the epithets of that cantonal God. To understand this, it must first be remembered all high gods of antiquity, whatever the region where they were venerated (Sardinia, Italy, Cànaan …), received the name of Powerful, Avenger, Destroyer, God of Armies. Only in this way can we enter the ancient epithet (Padùli) referred to Jacci (or Jaccu, Iahw; Iahvé).
For Paùli it seems impossible not to privilege Sumerian base pad ‘to break into bits’ + ul ‘bright, shining’ (Pad-ul, with the meaning of ‘Lightning Destroyer’); or we may prefer Akk. pādû ‘relentless, merciless’ + ullu ‘bull’ (pādû-llu, with the meaning of ‘relentless bull’). In both cases we remain within the nomenclatures normally reserved for the High God in ancient eras. But I would add the epithets relating to martial power of God remained in vogue until the recent Nazi-fascist era (God of Armies); and I remember the ferocious and abusive Nazi phrase hammered and written everywhere: Gott-mit-uns ‘God is with us’.
Archaic name Padùli-Gerréi begins to take on another physiognomy, revealing its real name, the one really managed and understood by the ancient inhabitants. At this point there’s no reason why the entire double epithet is not invested with the same ideological essence. In fact, Gerréi also lends itself to being analyzed in a different way than before: with Sumerian ge ‘shape’, ‘blow, wound, stroke of the stylus’; gi ‘essence’, gir ‘anger’, ‘gift’, + re, ri ‘that’, ri ‘pour’. By choosing from these bases we can compose gir-ri, which we can understand as ‘that of anger’.
All of this may be fine, but I reserve another option, which saves the possibility the double epithet pertains to healing faculties we will later discover in approaching Santu Jacci, which are curiously the same that were always attributed to the curative sources of Saint George (Dolianova) and to the source of Bonària (Armùngia).
IÁCCU, JACCI, GIAGU.
In Sardinia, such names are repeated here and there, both as personal, as toponyms, and as surnames. All of them have same origin. To identify it, people must first clear and clean up the field of investigation from a macroscopic misunderstanding introduced in the Middle Ages by Vatican and in general by priests of the West, of the East too, when it was orchestrated, wherever Christianity took hold, a powerful mystification operation aimed at destructuring and annihilating the framework of pre-Christian religions and, in individual cases, the peculiar forms that regional religions had assumed.
The account of that undertaking is narrated – under the aspect of the etymologies – in my volumes “Pre-Christian Monotheism in Sardinia” and “Encyclopedia of Shardana Civilization, Volume II”.
Needless to say, the Church operation had no reporters, having been orchestrated specifically to have no witnesses, let alone narrative voices. From that cultural point of view, it was simply necessary to “make scorched earth”. So you will never know how many human victims we have to count, how many were the opponents in the long war (managed materially also with reinforcements of the armed arm) that aimed at the success of that huge operation. A war having, between various objectives, that of surgical operation on words (reducing them, or dilating them, or replacing phonemes), or combining, merging and confusing two similar words so that in a short time – thanks to a prevailing illiteracy – the pulpit tamed that a popular word was equivalent to another suggested by clergy.
Currently in Sardinia Iaccu, Giagu, Jacci means ‘Giacomo’, ‘James’. Sp. Yago has the same meaning. In this way, the first problem arises: who conceived and decided, at a certain moment in history, that apostle James, Jacobo, Jacopo, Jacob should – at least for the Sardinian-Spanish West – reduce the name to Iaccu, Giagu, Yago? The latter is an archaic Spanish form, and we find it in Santo Yago, which becomes Santiago in a constructed state. But one must not fuss about certain graphic forms, since the new spellings, according to times and places, are still comparable despite the slight differences due to the different scriptural and cultural sensitivity of each regional writer. Anyone can still perceive the essential fact that priests imposed the shortening of two syllables of an evangelical name consisting of three syllables. In practice, the name of this apostle was reduced to the primitive base from which it was first elaborated. Why? What does that primitive base contain? Observing the etymology, it concerns the moon-god Yaḥ. We can therefore argue that priests, by reducing the trisyllable, wanted to equate the name of the Apostle with the Moon God. They were the early days of Christianity, and every operation was good for obtaining the conversion of peoples. Obviously this was the only trick to convince the Sardinian and Spanish people to slowly homologate the Moon God to the Apostle’s name. The rest happened “by fall”.
To be better understood, the question must involve ecclesiastical history in order to extrapolate certain data and clean them with a critical spirit. The same life of apostle James, Jacobo, Jacopo, Jacob is included in this investigation. Meanwhile, on the various forms of this unique name we work the etymology, which we have seen dating back to the moon-god Yaḥ, I‛ḥ, who was known by the same name from Egypt to Babylon, throughout the Fertile Crescent. The lunar name I‛ḥ, Yaḥ had already served to compose the name of the patriarch Jacob first, increasing the two original syllables (Yaḥ’cobb), which therefore meant ‘Protected by the Moon God’. This trisyllable name was repeated identical for this Christian apostle, and so we discover over the millennia it has never changed since the ancient Sumerian era (I remember that Jacob, as well as his parent Isaac and even before Abraham, came originally from Sumer). This archaic name shows Sumerians from their essentially monosyllabic vocabulary already extracted thousands of roots to compose complex names. Since then, that tri-compound name has always remained distinct, placed on another track but still alive and productive today, compared to the equally original I‛ḥ, Yaḥ.
Now, while it was easy to discuss the etymology, everything else is not easy. For example, we know almost nothing about life of Giacomo-Giacobbe, and it would seem to me to be superabundant if in this book I wanted to retrace the various interpretations or inferences advanced by many authors. It’s known for certain people the tomb of apostle James-Jacob is located in the homonymous church of Armenians in Jerusalem.
As for the Santiago de Compostela burial, you will never know which body it contains. Only the mantra, repeated throughout the West, is known that St. James would walk to Spain to seek martyrdom. They want people forget the most accredited sources testifying to the martyrdom of James in Jerusalem. In this way, East and West claim to confirm the uniqueness of two burials, one more unique than the other. But the evidence points in favor of tomb in Jerusalem. And this, despite the scenery has been artfully complicated and watered down, introducing other characters with a same name, such as James the Greater and James the Lesser, of whom, likewise (and with the usual fortune that smiles on those who manage the history books) nothing is known. Unfortunately, the history of the Church is interwoven with similar and other troubles. Fortunes of the Church grow with the number of troubles she manages to invent, so that the mystery, which has become unsolvable, reinforces the same “doctrine of the mystery”, which is notoriously one of the plinths governing the Church.
But nothing prevents you from unmasking the smoke-shops lit here and there by learned Christians, at least for the cases in which the skein lends itself to being unraveled. In this case it was all too easy to unravel it since bisyllable Iaccu, Giagu, Yago is the original base from which the trisyllable Giacomo, Jacobo, Jacopo, Giacobbe was born. The lunar name Yaḥ is found not only in Canaan, not only in Egypt, not only in Babylon, but all over the Mediterranean. This is the archaic phonetics with which Moon-God has always been evoked throughout this basin.
In fact, in the Mediterranean we have, in addition to the Egyptian, Assyrian, Syrian and Babylonian forms, the Sardinian Iáccu, Spanish Yago, Greek Ἴακχος (solemn epithet of Bacchus-Diónisos in Eleusinian Mysteries). And we also include Hebrew YHWH.
Jews consider this tetragrammaton as the true (secret) name of their God; but they too have always created supreme cultural confusion, claiming to impose YHWH as unique and unrepeatable, an exclusively Jewish monument, since that tetragrammaton names their Almighty God, who is claimed as the true God of the Universe, set ab origine on the terrestrial orbe, to be evoked as it’s written, i.e. Yaḥuh. But now we know in Sardinia this sacred name is repeated too many times, in personal names, in surnames, in several toponyms; and it would be absurd to suppose a full-bodied Jewish colonization, which also took place, but in very reduced forms, which could never upset the foundations of Sardinian culture.
YHWH appears in the Bible 5410 times beginning with Gn 2, 4. According to the various rabbis who published the Hebrew Bible (including, for Italy, Rav Dario Disegni), vocalization and pronunciation of YHWH, יהוה, are not notes “because by very ancient tradition it’s never pronounced but replaced by Adonai, ‘the Lord’. In Greek text of Seventy is written Kýrios, an adjectival meaning ‘having power, strength, authority’: it’s normally translated as ‘Lord’ but it’s better to translate it ‘Powerful’. In the most ancient Greek fragments of Bible (1st-2nd century BCE), instead of that adjectival mentioned, there is only the Hebrew tetragrammaton. Instead in other Greek bibles (such as L’Aquila’s one) the tetragrammaton is written in Greek letters. Evidently it is, after these fragments, among the most ancient Greek bibles handed down.
Etymological interpretation of tetragrammaton by Hebrew is based on Ex 3, 13-14-15, when God sends Moses to Pharaoh to ask for exit from Egypt. «Then Moses said to the Lord: “When I will introduce myself to the children of Israel, and I will announce them: The Lord of your fathers sends me to you, if they ask me what is the name of Him, what shall I answer?”. And Lord replied: “I am what I am” and added: “I Am, he sends me to you”. Furthermore, Lord said to Moses: “Announce to the children of Israel that He is the Lord of your fathers, God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob who sends Me to you. This is my name in perpetuity, this is my way of designating Myself through the generations”».
That God ordered Moses to call Him by an exhortation referring to His infinite power, it’s not surprising, since in the Bible (even in the Gospels) God never sought abstrusities and subterfections, let alone the symbols: indeed He always wanted a clear and directed relationship with Man. It was the Jews who forced in the direction of a total detachment between the divine Being and the Word. And this Judeo-Christian tradition is unfortunately still stainless today.
This story of a real personal name of God, who still remains non-referable, indeed even unknown (because it has always been unknown, let’s not forget it!), is ill-posed. All researchers are groping in total blindness (real, objective, but at the same time hilarious), and regret not being able to go deep in this research. Hilarious and absurd. They did not take into account the fact God, to the precise question of Moses, could not answer otherwise than how He replied, saying in summary that He had NO NAME and He could only be invoked as ‘the Powerful’. It’s hilarious to see our thrilled researchers! Yet it does not take much to understand that GOD CANNOT HAVE NAME. Why would He have it? He is God, he is YHWH, nothing else! Why should we pretend to qualify Him with a personal name? And what name could we give Him: Giancarlo, Tirèsia, Domenico? What else? Absurd!
We must admit that we have often projected biblical studies on a metastoric screen, also because we have been forced to do so by the misleading rabbinic exegesis, while on the contrary every passage of the Bible needs to be rigorously contextualized in a specific phase of history. As for the events of Moses and Exodus, we cannot understand them except by framing them in the cultural climate of times when Jews lived in Egypt. And then it should be clarified among Egyptians the personal name was subjected to a very strict taboo, it could never be pronounced.
Man has always spoken little, and in the past – until recent centuries – the spoken word was considered sacred. Each word weighed like a stone. Every word is a commitment. Word was always sacred. Nobody could pronounce it in vain, nobody could betray it. Sacred origin of language prevented for millennia from making a clear distinction between words and things. The man of Sumer, of Babylon, of Nile, of pre-Christian Sardinia, however cultured, never freed himself from concrete thinking. The first abstract ideas were a prerogative of ancient Greeks, and their appearance, whatever you think of it, was no less revolutionary than the invention of the wheel.
We can say history was always made, at least until the New Era, by Homo concretus, who always thought between personal name and the physical body there was a substantial and binding bond, on which it was possible to act magically. In Egypt, the myth of Isis was remembered, who became the Mother Goddess of the Universe only after having known, through her magical arts, the real name of Ra (the Sun), displacing him. Man saw in his own name a vital part of himself, and consequently took care of it, to prevent it from taking his life. This vital link was felt by all peoples. Up until the time of Frazer (100 years ago) all these peoples carefully kept every personal name hidden.
Among ancient Egyptians, each person had «two names, the real name and the good name, or the big and small names; and while the good or small name was in public domain, the real or large name seems to have been carefully hidden» (Frazer). In fact, for the Egyptians «the name was a second creation of the individual, first of all at the moment of birth, when mother imposed on his infant a name that expresses both the nature and the fate she wishes him, but the name also renewed fate every time it’s pronounced.
This faith in the creative virtue of Word determines all the behavior of Egyptians with respect to death: in fact, naming a person or thing is equivalent to making it exist beyond physical disappearance, and therefore it becomes necessary to multiply the signs of recognition. This is the reason why the funeral chapel, and in general the place where the cult of deceased was practiced, contain a sum of indications as precise as possible, so that ka can enjoy without problems what is due to him» (Grimal , SAE 139).
This cultural temper of Egyptians had infected Jews; therefore, Moses’ claim to know the true name of God appears absurd. Except that, as I have already said, God has no name and cannot have it. And why would he have it? What would it be for? Man, without realizing it, continues to treat God as a person or a thing, forgetting God is not man, nor thing, and cannot even be pure thought, as instead we insist on babbling in the immeasurable insufficiency of our language. He is. Nothing else. Any other statement is a blasphemy.
So man has enough opportunity to invoke God as YHWH or (which is the same) as Kýrios, ‘Powerful’. If then Jews are so embalmed by fear of calling God directly, someone should help them understand the epithets they invented to bypass their taboo have exactly the same semantics as the taboo-word, they are in fact a tautology of YHWH.
That Sardinians have never suffered from Jews’ taboo, speaks clearly about the fact universal name of YHWH by Sardinians has been treated with greater freedom, because in Sardinia that sacred name exists everywhere. Of course, it does not exist in the way as someone would like, also because in Sardinia there is no written tradition, and it’s paranoid to hope for comparisons with Bible. It’s up to us today to “shell” and “straighten” philologically certain names, certain epithets, certain toponyms, in order to understand the situation of those times and at the same time understand the artifices Byzantine priests invented, in the heat of obfuscating and suppressing every form of doctrine Sardinians had matured on the religion of fathers.
To recover ancient history of Sardinia, it’s enough to start from the fact Byzantine priests made a clean slate of the previous Sardinian religion, but they did so with constants that, once revealed, clarify the ways in which they proceeded in suffocating the words-emblems-symbols of people religiosity. The trial was so specious that nobody ever sensed the deception. It was mostly a question of taking advantage of the fact they spoke Greek and therefore had a language different from that of Sardinian people, who still spoke the Semitic “hard core”. The difference in tones, accents, phonetic, sometimes conceptualizations by those priests who still tried to speak Sardinian language, aroused an unstoppable movement of sympathy and availability for dialogue among the people. So the illiterate people easily accepted the learned sermons with which priests explained YHWH was the same Santo Jacopo or Giacomo, whom they took care to call (woe to be wrong!) with Sardinian phonetics: Yaḫu, Yaku, Yaccu, Jagu.
Such was the conviction of people, that today in Sardinia we have, in addition to the surname Giagu (now understood as Giacomo), a series of places called Santu Jacci, Santu Jaccu. For example, this is the name of the site where the beautiful Romanesque church of Bosa is located: once evidently it was the name of Unique God Jaccu, then obliterated with the imposition of a new monument to St. Peter; but even this name, coincidentally, betrays the pre-existence of Sumerian epithet padr, pad ‘destroyer’, which provided a Latin apophony pĭter, as we will see below in the compound Jūpiter). Originally in Bosa, the primitive sacred monument was certainly dedicated to Jaḥu-pĭter > Jū-piter, who was one of the most powerful epithets addressed to Supreme Divinity of Mediterranean.
Obviously Iaccu, Giágu has nothing to do with St. James Apostle. Iaccu, Giágu is Mediterranean name. It’s not the endorsement of Jacomo, as De Felice and Pittau think, but it compares linearly with Heb. YHWH or YḤWH. So also Sardinian toponyms known as Jacci or Santu Jacci refer to Jewish-Sardinian-Mediterranean tetragrammaton.
Etymology of Y‛ḥ
The long speech made so far cannot end without first explaining the last important aspect. When studying etymologies nothing can be left to chance, and as long as possible the researcher must penetrate rigorously into the most archaic recesses of time, keeping the awareness the name of Moon God was born in Paleolithic era, together with the formation of the first forms of language. Since the only archaic language registered and available in the Mediterranean is the Sumerian one, we obtain the essential radicals to recompose the primitive name of Moon God, who was originally considered more powerful than Sun and therefore the true Creator of Universe. We can assume between spellings I‛ḥ and Y‛ḥ the second is more faithful to original pronunciation. Since the grapheme Y in ancient times was mostly used to express u (I’m taking u from Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary), then we can dismember the name Y‛ḥ into u + ak: where u means ‘universe’ while ak means ‘act, create’. It goes without saying the compound we read Y‛ḥ must be translated as ‘Creator of the Universe’.
This primitive compound is one of two elementary forms used by Homo Sapiens in the Mediterranean. The second is Deu ‘God’, which must be dismembered in Sum. de ‘create’ + u ‘universe’: the meaning is the same as previous one, and means ‘Creator of Universe’.
The primitive worship of Moon God was obviously also typical of Jews, who primarily honored Y‛ḥ, Yḥwh on Mount Sìnai. He became the national God after the Exodus from Egypt; but those were the same times when Jews underwent a season of confusion-openness towards all the other gods (better: towards the other gods’ names) revered in Canaan and surroundings.
Great fear of Jews to pronounce their God’s name is – all in all – as well as paradoxical, relatively recent: dating from 539 BCE, almost 2500 years, and it’s possible to “historicize” it, starting from times of Babylonian Return and the rigor that followed. At the time of First Temple Jews practiced a more airy and less taboo religion; this is demonstrated by a series of personal names (and current surnames, such as Netan-iahu) that are clearly theophoric, i.e. they bear the name of God, be it El or Yaḥwh. Let’s see some of them, obviously starting from famous Jewish exhortation Allelùja, ebr. Hallelûyāh (הַלְּלוּ-יָהּ), which means ‘pray, praise God’. Another Hebrew term is Ahellil, designating Psalms beginning with the invocation Hallelûyāh.
Then I quote a theophoric of a Jewish prophet, Gioèle (יואל), which contains the oldest Canaanite name of God, namely El, combined with Yḥwh; meant ‘Yaḥ[wh] is El’ or ‘Iaccu is God, He is God himself’. It’is an archaic name born at the time when the name of Canaanite-Syro-Mesopotamian God (El) was beginning to be identified with the name of the God of desert (Yḥwh < Eg. I‛ḥ ‘Moon’).
The theophoric Giovanni (John) is Hebrew, composed of Yeḥo + Chānān meaning ‘God of Canaan’. See Engl. John, a contraction carried to excess but in which we note the two radicals Jo (from three apophonies Yah, Yeh, Yoh: see contraction יו in Gio-ele) + Hn (Chānān). In turn Canaan < Heb. כְּנַעַן has etymological basis in anc. Akk. qanānu ‘nesting, settling’, qannu ‘the built’, qanu, qanā’u ‘keeping possession of’, ‘acquiring’; but also kânu ‘becoming permanent, stable’ (of home, territory). So Giovanni-John is one of the most important Hebrew names, its first formulation determined the culminating historical moment in which Jews had definitively established Yḥwh from a precise moment would be God of the whole Canaan.
The sacred mountain of desert frequented by Habiru (the future Jews), called Sināi, received his name in honor of lunar God Sîn, another concurrent name of Yaḥ, evidently earlier than name brought by Jews from Egypt (Y‛ḥ). After the expulsion of Hyksos from Egypt, the cult of Y‛ḥ (in the form Yaw) continued in Ugarit city in form of a sea demon Yamm, but fell into Syria, replaced by the cult of rain god Ba‛al Hadad. While among nomads Šasu Edomites of Sinai it continued in its original form Yḥw: which for them was storms god.
Another theophoric name I propose is Elìa, so well known from Latin (Elias) and Greek (Eleias, Elias) tradition, from Heb. Eliyyaḥu or Eliyyah: being the same compound as Gioèle, it obviously has the same meaning: ‘El is Yahwh’, ‘El is really God’.
Another theophoric name is Zaccarìa, from Heb. Zekharyah (from zachar ‘remember’ and Yaḥ ‘God’ = ‘God remembered’).
Theophoric Joachim, Heb. Yoḥaqim is from Yaḥ + qum ‘raise’ = ‘raised up by God’.
Theophoric Micah, Heb. Miḥan abbreviation from Mi-kha-yâḥ means ‘who is like God’.
Heb. Matthew, Mattìa, Mattityaḥu מַתִּתְיָהוּ is composed of matath ‘gift’ + Yaḥw ‘God’, meaning ‘Gift of God’
Etymology of Jupiter
We have finally and definitively acquired famous IAHW tetragrammaton is not at all of national origin (i.e. properly and exclusively Jewish) but is pan-Mediterranean. Its vast presence does not authorize the hypothesis of a primitive Jewish focus; it can be considered widely participated and aboriginal, inherent for tens of millennia to the entire Mediterranean culture. Given the high antiquity of Egyptian writing and vocabulary, we can only affirm among Egyptians tetragrammaton appears primarily to history as a trigram (Y‛ḥ): but it’s a merely graphic aspect, since the pronunciation was certainly similar to the Hebrew one.
The demonstration that IAHW is traceable to the Mediterranean in various forms (including monosyllabic and apophonic forms) lies precisely in the great Jews’ freedom to use that name individually or in compounds, so that it appears written in various forms, sometimes expressed in full (example, Netan-Iahu), more often contracted as in Gio-èl. In its derivatives scattered around the world, the tetragrammaton appears in hundreds of foreign names, mostly Anglo-Saxons, starting with the apophonic monosyllable Jo– in Jo-hn, where the second syllable is the same as Germanic Jo-hann or Jo-hannes (it. Giov-anni) meaning ‘Jupiter, Jehovah of Canaan’.
One of the most striking examples of the primitive Mediterranean subsistence of tri-tetragrammaton is the name of Roman national god, Jūpiter. This nominative relative to Jovis-Jehovah is analyzed by Latinists as a distinct form compared to the other cases of nominal declination. But that (non-existent) distinction reveals carelessness, scarce analysis. Nominative of this strange Jū-piter – needless to say – is only Jū (see Jo-hn!) and has the same apophonic radical (ū / ō / ou) of the other cases (Jou-is, Jou-i, Jou-em, Jou-e). In this nominative compound, the lengthening of the only velar vowel has the function of compensating the loose pronunciation (-ou-) of the other declined forms.
This primordial nominative, like any other primordial word, is expressed in status rectus (i.e. without any flexio suffix). The Latinists separate and distinguish Jūpiter from the other flectional cases only because it appears mysteriously composed with –pĭter (which, of course, is not a name but a quality adjective, as we have already noticed and as we will now see).
Unfortunately, grammarians have not yet wanted to analyze and compare all Mediterranean grammatical forms with each other, therefore they have not well understood the value of this cumbersome presence – in all ancient grammars, Latin and Greek, but it’s the same for Hebrew and Akkadian – of status rectus. These are words written without any suffix, as was typical in Mediterranean Ursprache, that Sumerian-based one. The so-called functional suffixes are evidently a following complication (apparently introduced by the invasion of Homo Sapiens).
Grammarians have accustomed us to take note of many forms they hurriedly and with little perspicuity place among the “rules” or among the “exceptions”, imposing a huge mnemonic burden that only produces in students (but also among scholars themselves) the tendency to catalog uncritically. In the best of cases, the cataloging appears to us exclusively analogical (except for the introduction of “exceptions of exceptions” traceable between the same analogous combinations).
Intent of grammarians is understood: they aim to simplify the grammatical framework in order not to discourage the learning of neophyte, of student. They do not want to give the student an impression that human language in ancient Mediterranean remains complex (at least in our eyes), and it lends little to be cataloged within simplified schemes, even less within schemes invented so far.
Curiously, nobody will want to admit first the “complexity” of those many apophonies, of too many “righteous states” and “oblique states” perceptible as such, has been “tamed” by grammarians and forced to “frame” themselves into comprehensible catalogs, regardless of the real tide of apophonies, of righteous states, of oblique states which can be perceived at every in-depth reading of an ancient text. Among many examples, the phenomenon of Sardinian and Mediterranean construct state (genitive chain) would suffice, still vegetative and productive, but expelled from the grammars as up to now it has not been understood by glottologists.
Undoubtedly, given the current stage of grammar studies, it’s quite easy for a student of Italian nationality to memorize the plethora of apophonies and exceptions of Latin grammar, since we often rediscover them in Italian language. But the situation becomes more complicated when an Italian studies Greek grammar, which is full of apophonies and “righteous” or “oblique” states that are not comparable with Latin and Italian (see the numerous nominal paradigms of ancient Greek). This complexity is identical in grammars of ancient Hebrew and Akkadian, and obviously an Italian student, the more he is dragged out of the usual patterns of Latin, the more he must memorize (only by heart) the plethora of exceptions he discovers already different in Greek grammar. The memory (only it) will serve him all the more for oriental grammars, since the attempt to manoeuvre and rationalize the plethora of apophonies and pure words (those with status rectus) would tire him without result.
Only later, with open and fruitful reflection, will the recent graduate understand – without help that will never reach ex cathedra – that in the Mediterranean every people, without prejudice to the primitive semantic field of the individual shared radicals, recognized in the apophonies and in the opposition between states right and oblique states his immense freedom to communicate and produce very airy, personalized spoken (and written) chains, harbingers of developments that will lead to the slow evolution of languages.
Now we can finally focus our attention on the second member of Jū-piter. Latinists consider –pĭter as an apophonic form of păter ‘father’ and give the compound the meaning of ‘Jupiter Father’. But they are wrong, since that member must instead be compared with the second member of acci-piter ‘sparrow hawk’, which is an apophonic form from Sum. padr ‘destroyer’. The declined forms of Jū-pĭter (Iovis, Iovi, Iovem …) always have the base Iou-, Iov– (like It. Giov-anni), and we return to Heb. IAHW. So the compound Jū-pĭter means exactly ‘Jovis Destroyer’, ‘Jehovah Destroyer’. With this we remain within the range of appellations addressed to the High God by Mediterranean peoples.
Etymology of Sardus Pater Babay
In Sardinia this character is well-known, also because a series of Roman coins, minted on the island, was dedicated to him. We must consider him the eponymous hero of Sardinians, a Founding God of the lineage. The rebuilding of the Punic temple of Antas (rebuilt in the time of Caracalla but originally dedicated to Sid) was headed precisely to Sardus Pater, whose attribute was Babay (templum Dei Sardi Patris Bab…). The concatenation of three appellations makes it clear a complex paronomàsia lies at the bottom of the statement. A quick lexical analysis is enough to prove it: 1) Sardus Pater ‘Sardinian Father’ sequence is declined according to Latin grammar, while Babay ‘father, dad’ has not declined, and was interpreted according to Sardinian grammar of the time. 2) Setting ourselves on a different analytical level, we see the contradiction between Pater and Babay, both indicating ‘father’: it’s a senseless redundancy.
These two inconsistencies show that paronomasia, i.e. the translation ad sensum of a templar dedication architect was unable to (or had been forced not to) understand in the Sardinian meaning, had already crept into Caracalla’s times. We can only argue Romans with Sardus Pater Babay granted the celebration (or con-celebration) of an eponymous god-hero of Sardinians, with the obvious intent (after 450 years of occupation) to finally sanction a certain pacification between Rome and this island.
Reconstructing the exact meaning of this phrase, today is possible, obviously starting from Sardinian Babay, which is still pronounced in current Sardinian babbáy, babbu ‘father, Godfather’, with all the consequences of this case. It should be noted that Babay or Baba was a great Sumerian female divinity, from babaya ‘old man’ (the word was originally masculine, and remained so in Sardinia; only later, and only in Mesopotamia, it was proposed to female, transposing Baba’s cult).
And so in Sardinian soil we once again reveal the archaic roots of Sumerian language. In Sardinia originally the words of the Antoninian dedication had to be correctly understood in the phonic sequence Šar Dū Padr Babay, with the meaning of ‘Terrible Lord Creator of the Universe’ (Šar ‘totality, world’ + dū ‘Creator’ + Padr ‘destroyer’ + Babay ‘Sir, Kýrios’). The same epithet, evidently corrupt today by intervention of Christian clergy, we find in Monte Santu Padre, a mountain visible from half the island, whose name arouses immediate suspicion because in Sardinia it should be called Monte Babbu Santu (padre voice does not exist). It’s therefore a paronomasia: originally it was Monti Sardu Padr, or Monti Šar Dū Padr.
In short, the corrupt dedication of Antas temple, the corrupt name of highest mountain in Marghine, and finally the etymology specified here, are three concurrent evidence to show Sardu (hypothetically analyzed also as Šar Dū) is the archaic eponymous God of Sardinians. As if to say, this sacred figure was the Sardinian Jūpĭter.
DEDICATION written in the columnar base of Santu Jacci (St. Nicolò Gerréi)
Archaeologic Museum of Turin: see CORPUS INSCRIPTIONUM LATINARUM, I 143; as well as X, pars posterior, n° 7856
Latin text: CLEON.SALARI.SOC.S.AESCOLAPIO.MERRE.DONVM.DEDIT.LUBENS.MERITO.MERENTE.
Interlinear translation by Salvatore Dedola
CLEON Cleon SALARI SOC. S. of saltworks Company contractor (Lat. socius) AESCOLAPIO to Aesculapius MERRE Merre DONVM DEDIT brought a gift LVBENS well disposed, MERITO justly (rightly) MERENTE (for merenti) to Him Who deserves it.
Translation by others (I traslate only the part having a different interpretation)
SALARI(us) SOC(iorum) S(ervus) “salt worker, slave to the dealers”
SALARI(orum) SOC(iorum) S(ervus) “slave to the salt dealers” [or “employee…”]
This interpretation of university professors (scholars and archaeologists), in turn optionally bipartite, if were accepted, would go on a collision course with the impeccable translation of the Greek part and with translation of Punic one too. Also, in that case someone would have to explain where a slave would get the money to erect a very expensive hundred-pound bronze column.
It can be seen difference between my translation and this one relates exclusively to the third S. Which is, visibly, the initial of a longer word, isolated with a dot. It’s interpreted uncritically by others as servus, without even taking into account that in the tradition of Latin inscriptions it can also be used as the initial of S.ocius. By accepting my proposal, each word finds the right place and the entire Latin phrase finds harmony with the Greek and Punic ones.
ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙῼ ΜΗΡΡΗ ΑΝΑΘΕΜΑ ΒΩΜΟΝ ΕΣΤΗΣΕ ΚΛΕΩΝ Ο ΕΠΙ ΤΩΝ ΑΛΩΝ ΚΑΤΑ ΠΡΟΣΤΑΓΜΑ
Greek text (interlinear translation by S. Dedola)
ΑΣΚΛΗΠΙῼ ΜΗΡΡΗ (To Aesculapius Merre) ΑΝΑΘΕΜΑ ΒΩΜΟΝ (a votive gift, i.e. a statue base, an altar) ΕΣΤΗΣΕ (raised) ΚΛΕΩΝ (Cleon) Ο ΕΠΙ (the incharged) ΤΩΝ ΑΛΩΝ (of saltworks). ΚΑΤΑ (By) ΠΡΟΣΤΑΓΜΑ (his order, command).
MERRE, Gr. ΜΗΡΡΗ from Sumerian me ‘Being, divine properties enabling cosmic activity’ + re ‘that’: ‘That of First Being, the Begetter of Universe’. Cfr. Camp. mere, meri ‘master’, ‘lord’.
Note. Just as a curiosity, I report the thoughts (without signature) of teachers of Comprehensive Institute “E. De Magistris” by San Nicolò Gerrei, who in 2003 published the book “S. Nicolò Gerrei, a community between past and present”, Grafica del Parteolla.
They give first of all the translation of prof. Fabrizio A. Pennacchietti, professor of Semitic Philology and director of Orientalism Department of University of Turin. According to Pennacchietti, MERRE should mean ‘stop’ or ‘hospitable’. This is the only word translated by this professor. However wrong translation.
Noteworthy is also the sequel to the aforementioned book, where the teachers of S.N. Gerrei write «The three texts of the inscription do not fully correspond to each other. Probably each of them was destined to a different social group, characterized by its own culture and a distinct language, and Cleone, using one of the languages, would seem not to mean what he was ready to admit in the others regarding his social condition. In the Latin text Cleone says he’s a slave to the salt contractors’ partners … In Semitic text Cleone carefully avoids qualifying as a slave, presenting himself only as an employee of the saltworks dealers. In Greek text, addressed above all to the servile environment to which Cleone himself belonged, he claims his effective role as “superintendent of the salt pans”».
From what was said by these teachers, all the slaves of the salt marshes knew …only the Greek language, a learned language, foreign above all to Sardinians, and evidently they disdained Latin, which was nothing more than the language of their masters.
These deductions of S.N. Gerrei teachers does not deserve comment, as does the singular game of hide-and-seek made (according to them) by Cleone, who must have been a real joke, if he had elegantly written on the stele he was the “superintendent” of the salt pans, that’s the owner. He evidently wrote it to stir up laughter among miserable people like him. Maybe he did it during Carnival (during the Saturnalia), when everything was allowed, even making fun of the masters.
It did not deserve me to mention these overwhelming pages. If I did, it’s to denounce the drifts can occur when specialists like Pennacchietti and like many others throw in the towel and effectively give up translating such a precious document, leaving the teaching staff of a village at the mercy of ravings.
L’DN L’ŠMN M’RḤ M-ZBḤ NḤŠT MŠQL LṬRM M’T Y. ’Š NDR ’KLYN Š’SGM ’Š B MMLHT. ŠM[῾] [Q]L’ RPY’. BŠT ŠPṬM ḤMLKT W῾BD’ŠMN BN ḤMLN.
Interlinear from Punic text
(The red ones are writings and interpretations not belonging to Dedola)
L’DN ToLord, L’ŠMN M’RḤ To Ešmun Merre, M-ZBḤ an altar (i.e. ‘where slaughtering’) NḤŠT (of) bronze MŠQL weighing LṬRM pounds M’T(100 = Sd. meda) Y about. ’Š Who NDR dedicate ’KLYN is Cleon ŠḤSGM = slave of partners (translation of Estanol too), Really it’s wrote Š’SGM (< Akk. ša ‘who’, sagû ‘to cause distress’ = ‘who was troubled’).
’Š ‘who, that’ B ‘near’ MMLHT ‘saltworks’ (MMLHT = Akk. mummu laḫtu ‘pools of scrapers’: mummu ‘a scraper’, laḫtu ‘pit’, lakku ‘water butt’); also mum (emblem of Ea); mummu ‘life-giving force (of gods)’. Cf. Camp. Mammarranca < Akk. mamû ‘waters’ + ramku ‘bathed’ < ramāku ‘to bathe’]. Mammarranca is the ancient name of Càgliari saltworks.
ŠM[῾] (Merre) listened to [Q]L’ his voice (cfr. Gr. kaléō), RPY’ has healed (him).
BŠT ‘in the year’ [? Surely this word is lacking] (instead see Akk. būštu ‘pride, dignity’) (of deity), in PNs of protective force
ŠPṬM ‘of suffects’ ḤMLKT Ḥimilkot W῾BD’ŠMN and Abdešmun BN ḤMLN son of ḤMLN (Sum. ḫum ‘to honor’ + lunu ‘Moon God’) or ḤMLK Ḥamelke (‘the King’).
Translation of Punic text (made by others):To Lord Ešmun Merre bronze altar weighing 100 hundred pounds which Cleone dedicated … who (…) in the salt pans. He listened to his, he healed him. In the year of the suffetes Ḥimilkot and ῾Abdešmun son(s) of ḤMLN.
Full translation from Punic text (by S. Dedola): To Lord, to Ešmun Merre, (I’ve dedicated) a bronze altar weighing about 100 ponds. Who is dedicating is Cleon, that of saltworks, who was troubled. (Merre) listened to his voice, healed him: [column was dedicated] during the dignity of suffects Himilkot and Abdešmun son of Hmln.
Chapter III –THE JUG OF STRISÁILI
Lacking preliminary informations on the excavations relating to this vase, I can only say its discovery is not even twenty years old, and we know something about only from a short phrase written on Internet, placed next to the photo of sherds, where it reads: “DURING THE RECONSTRUCTION: the text in Phylistine and Phoenician characters engraved on the shoulder of the Canaanite amphora (IX-VIII sec. B.C.) found in S’Arcu ‘e is Forros in hut 2 (insula 2). It’s the oldest document left by East people in the innermost areas of Sardinia. Unfortunately, this is a type of writing that is still undeciphered».
A newspaper article a few years ago did not evolve the discussion. From it we know the “reading” of graphemes of that jug has been devolved to many scholars of the Continent (Italy), the last of whom ruled jug is Philistine, it contains, in addition to the Phoenician alphabet, the Philistine alphabet. Ph-i-l-i-s-t-i-n-e …!!? Is this «a type of writing that is still undeciphered»?!!
Judging by these few facts, the whole operation seems to have run aground in a shoal.
Professionalism. Everyone boasts about. I, with the shyness that consumes me, I think I have climbed at least the first steps of glottological science, and I allow myself to exercise glottology, not so much because I have a degree in Ancient Letters but because I am perfecting it on the field with dozens of investigation books, with two Etymological Dictionaries, with ongoing reflections on the origin of Sardinian language, of Sassarian language, on Italian language, on Latin language, on Greek language, on Mediterranean Koiné. The reader will forgive me if I show the audacity of the shy, but I only raise my hand to complain about the “rocky banks, the shallows” ones.
I believe I said enough, further on, about the story relating to Nora’s Stele and Saint Nicolò Gerréi column. I will say much more about Dueno’s Vase, below. And I take the liberty of raising some considerations on this matter as well.
The Jug of Villagrande (or rather of Villanova Strisáili, its suburb, which I simplify in Strisáili), as can be seen from photograph of reconstituted shards, taken from an orthogonal perspective, bears an inscription all around the neck. But looking at the other (few) fragments, perhaps belonging to the “belly” of the vase, they also appear to be engraved with alphabetical letters. In short, it would able to say a large part of that vase was affected by a series of graphemes or words, or by an accomplished speech, which the dedicator perhaps wanted to transmit to posterity.
If this is so, we can say only Maria Ausilia Fadda, the director of the excavations, could answer some preliminary question that urges me before attempting a translation, before I can say something about the few scrutable words of this vase. But I’m not under the illusion there can be comforting clarifications.
However, if Fadda herself has established the date of the jug, then we can surely deduce, with approximation, the finding is the same age as Nora’s Stele, a stele that many, and I too, classify as the first document written in the West.
If this is the case, then we can frame Strisáili’s jug in the same temporal and cultural frame of Nora’s Stele, attributing this jug to some scribe belonging to the flow of Nóstoi, i.e. to “Returns”. Those who wished the “way back” out of nostalgy were grandchildren of the Sea Peoples (including of course Shardanas), who after the Trojan War, after the invasions of the Near East, after the wars against Pharaoh, began slepping away, returning to the countries of origin: they returned to Motherland. It’s all too easy – thanks to Fadda’s dating – to imagine “Phoenicians” who arrived in Sardinia were none other than grandchildren of Šardanas who had invaded High Canaan (i.e. the Land of Cedars).
Obviously, among the Sea Peoples, together with Šardanas, there were also Philistines to lead those wars. But is equally obvious to imagine the nóstoi, the nostalgic ebb towards the homeland of origin, took place in perfect symmetry (except for understandable exceptions related to mixed marriages that took place in the land from which those sailors left). So it would seem absurd to imagine an ex-Sardinian would flow back to Greece, an ex-Greek would flow back to Sardinia. Until proven otherwise, ex-Philistines flowed back to the homeland had given birth to their grandparents.
This elementary observation would be enough to give rise to a question: what do they want to affirm or allude in classifying Strisáili’s writing as “Philistine”? I give the answer myself: failing to say anything, a spurious element having only one meaning is thrown into the pond: I don’t know what to say. At that point it would have been better to keep silent.
In Strisáili’s jug seems to read a rather evolved writing, much less unsteady and messy than the “Latin” writing of Dueno’s jug appears (despite the fact the Quirinal artifact had been deposited almost 300 years later). This would suffice to show man who made Strisáili’s jug was a skilled and certainly erudite scribe.
It would not count now to consider the many judgments made so far on “Phoenician penetration into the most hidden parts of Sardinia”. In short, the conviction of some archaeologists about the influx “from the outside” and about penetration of “Phoenicians” in the hidden parts of Sardinia does not even deserve a bit of attention, since they were not “Phoenicians” but simply Sardinians of Nóstoi, people who flowed back to Motherland, perhaps only for business, bringing with them the innovations that took place in those few centuries in the Land of Cedars.
So – in my opinion – the general framework where to insert the Strisáili vase is clear. And I don’t see why a “Phoenician” (or … “Philistine”) scribe was ever forbidden to enter Barbagia or Ogliastra, given that, all in all, the offerer was an authentic Sardinian and the scribe derived by Sardinian seed.
The wonders for that vase, observed with a short-sighted eye, an eye clouded by narratives on “Phoenician penetration” in Sardinia, we leave them in the mouth and in the books of those who don’t want reflect or take on responsibilities to which they are called.
If, on the other hand, we want to focus our attention on the linguistic field and try to translate the writing of this vase, it certainly poses insurmountable obstacles. In fact, if it’s true the whole vase contained writing, it’s useless to want to translate only the little left. What is the purpose of trying translation? Further on, however, I will try to give my contribution on the legible share of that vase, even if the enterprise will be of little use.
In preview, however, I think it’s more productive to try to refresh cultural environment related to “Phoenician question” in Sardinia. I repeat what I have long said, Phoenicians, as a people so named, never existed, and their re-flows perceived by the Academy as “Phoenician”, structurally concern the Nóstoi of which Odyssey had informed us.
As a corollary to the gangrenous “Phoenician Question” we have the “Carthaginian Question”, another monstrum created by an awkward Academy that loves to deny itself to the clarity of thought.
Nóstoi from the Land of Cedars, or the ‘returns due to nostalgy’, began as soon as the Trojan War ended (see Odyssey); they began immediately after wars brought to the Near East by Sea Peoples. They began well before the end of the second millennium BCE. Those are precisely the times when – after the season of Proto-Sinaitic alphabet and after the season of glorious Ugaritic alphabet – in the Land of Cedars new alphabets were already being experimented, such as for example the Gublite handwriting. We can say the so-called “Phoenician” alphabet already appeared (suspiciously) mature in a long description on Ahiram’s tomb. And parallel to this alphabet a city had suddenly appeared, Tire, which seemed so mature, prosperous and expansive, that it could immediately dictate the coordinates of the future history of Mediterranean coasts.
Carthage is said to have been built at the start of first millennium BCE. On closer inspection, it appeared to history in the same period in which Nora appeared, or a little later, in a period in which Nora’s Stele was written, or perhaps a little later. According to a Roman legend, Carthage was founded in 814 BCE by Elisa-Dido. We believe the conflict that caused Dido to escape from Tire was so serious as to determine a much larger human flow, so that some of the “exiles” landed next to Tunis, the other landed in Nora.
The “Carthaginian Question” is ill-posed for many reasons. Meanwhile, the vision of umbilical cord that always tied Carthage to the motherland Tire is missing; there is also no information on how Carthage was a friend of Sardinia since its first establishment in Africa. There was always a little talk on those navigator-warriors, a talk mainly evil, and this talk floats on the poisons secreted by Roman enmity.
This is not a place to discuss these things. Here, on the other hand, is important to underline a fact of enormous importance, namely the language spoken by Sardinians since their origins is – albeit distinguishing autonomous and mutual changes due to territorial distances – the same they spoke in Tire and subsequently in Carthage. We have already noticed this in translating Nora’s Stele as well as the columnar base of Santu Jacci. We will notice it later in translating Dueno’s Vase. On my behalf, I have already pointed this out in excess with the etymologies produced in these previous pages. Similarly, it can be seen in thousands of etymologies on Latin language and on Italian language produced by me and Giovanni Semerano, as well as by the etymologies I illustrate below.
Mediterranean coasts, Italy and Sardinia are chock full of Semitic words and roots (I speak of tens of thousands of radicals, names, suffixes). Whether these bases are Sardinian, Phoenician or Ugaritic or Jewish or Aramaic, or Akkadian, it does not matter, since they lend themselves to mutual comparison. And of course all these dictionaries converge and lie on the basic dictionary of Mediterranean, which was always known as “Sumerian”.
So it cannot be a coincidence even Sardinia is still chock full of radicals or names that are reflected in Mediterranean history, in Tìr-ia history (i.e. in the history of Tirr-enians …, which concerned the Tire-Sardinia-Carthage triangle , together). It cannot be a coincidence the most revered terms in Carthage are found encysted in Sardinian Dictionary as well as in Sardinian surnames themselves, since these are nothing more than ancient personal Mediterranean names, pre-existing at the same foundation of Carthage.
Before continuing, perhaps it’s appropriate to explain the reason why the Carthaginian queen appeared now with one name now with another. Nothing could be simpler. The first (Elisa) was the original name. The second was acquired after he founded Carthage.
ELISA. This archaic Mediterranean name is also found in some Sardinian surnames, such as Lisa, Lisai, Lisau, Lixi, Lìssia, Lisi, Lisu. In Sardinia the form without initial E– is noted. And I observe, if really the original base had been Lisa, then should be assumed its origin from Akk. līšu ‘dough’, ‘fruit paste (jam)’. And as an archaic female name it would be fine because it still regards the beauty of a woman (see Engl. honey as ‘dear’).
But in the meantime we note in Italy and in Europe the original name Elisa exists, evidently very expanded from remote times (let’s remember the famous Beehoven’s “moonlight” dedicated für Elisa). Evidently this princely name had a strong echo everywhere. And since a princess – as a matter of principle – could not take a name by “jam” (in those days the names, especially those of rulers, were of extraordinary importance: see my book “I Cognomi della Sardegna”), it goes without saying for the future queen the parents wanted dedicate her name to the High God El. That sacred name, combined with the modal suffix –iš ‘as, like, similar’, meant ‘Like God’ (El-iš). Sardinian surnames here mentioned are devoid of E– as this was confused, after so many centuries, with e conjunctive and derivative.
DIDO (Didone). A second name of this queen, the one known to Romans and to Virgil, derives from Sum. di ‘to shine’ + du ‘to build, make, erect’ + nin ‘lady, mistress, owner’; di-du-nin ‘splendid builder queen’. Clearly it’s an epithet forged after the Queen had performed the “miracle” of erecting the city around the famous port, which we have already dealt with.
Rare case in Sardinia, the origin of surname Dedòni, referable to Didone (Dido), can be dated precisely by virtue of the great friendship that always existed between the group of Tìrii founders of Carthage and Nora’s founders. So this Sardinian surname can refer to the same foundation date as Nora; this city evidently had continuous contacts with the African shore.
In Sardinia we note the surname Dedóni is none other than archaic Didunin, known in Italian as Didone, but pronounced by Romans under the nominative Didō, genitive Didōnis. It goes without saying the Sardinian surname Didu is nothing more than the Latin name, and here too we can to date it to the beginning of Roman Empire. But this surname, initially a female name, was so loved, that for several centuries it has also been rediscovered in several Hebrew surnames: cf. the names of French, English, Moroccan, Algerian Jews (Dedon, Deudon, Deudone, Dieudone; Dadoun, Dadoune, Dadone, Dadon), presented by Eliezer Ben David (RMI 341).
Needless to say, the Sardinian surnames faithfully make recognize all types of traders who somehow appeared in Sardinia, perhaps creating real warehouses (as happened for Turris Libysonis, which evokes a Carthaginian warehouse).
So it’s precisely from surnames of origin we discover the true origin of the so-called “Phoenicians” who arrived in Sardinia. They came not only from Tire but also from Sidon. It’s shown by Sidòni, a Sardinian surname of origin.
SIDON (Gr. Σιδών) was the most important Phoenician city at the time of Trojan war. This toponym has etymological basis in Akk. Sî ‘Moon, Moon Goddess’ + dunnu ‘strength, power’, with the meaning of ‘Power of the Moon Goddess’, that is of Ištar’. Clearly, that city was dedicated to the Moon Goddess.
Obviously in Sardinia Tìrii prevailed over Sidònii, if is true surnames help to make – at least with approximate measures – a certain statistic. Then I register the Sardinian (also Italics) surnames Tirelli, Tirino, Tirone, Tirotto, Tiru, Turi, Turis, Turiu, Turoni, Turu, Turra, Turri, Zori, Zurru, as well as numerous surnames such as Tore, Torelli, Tòria, Torìggia, Torralba, Torrazza, Torricelli, Torrico, Torrisi, Torru. Many of these surnames (former names of origin) are compounds, with the first member having the phonetic basis of Tyros. I don’t analyze them here (see my book “The Surnames of Sardinia”). For the Tyros base, however, here is the etymology.
TYROS. The original Tyros was a citadel on the rocky back of the ancient island along the Phoenician coast. This nominal basis can correspond to Ug. ṣrry ‘high ground, back’, and to Heb. Ṣûr, tzur ‘rock’: ancient divine name of Yahweh’ (Deut 32,4), also akin to Akk. ṣeru ‘backbone, high territory’ < Akk. ṣūrrum ‘exalt’, Aram. tur ‘mount’, to be connected however, as regards semantics, to Bab. ṭīru ‘august, excellent, of primary rank’ and to name of Philistine rulers seranîm. It’s not conflicting to see also the root of this toponym in Sum. tur ‘refuge, protection’ (referring to God).
Tyros survives in Greek and Latin authors in the form Sarra, Zώρ(oς); usually, however, it’s Tyrus, Tύρος who instead of paleo-Canaanite-Phoenician ṣ shows at the beginning a t. The closest origin of Tyros is Phoen. Ṣr, Heb. Ṣôr (see in Sardinia Villa-Sor, Bidda-ssôrri pronunciation), then Akk. Ṣurrum (Ṣ– to be read Tz-); Egyptian Dr (also transcribed Daru). From the oldest Ṣurru came the Phoenician pronunciation Çurru or Tzur.
It does not matter to note on the so-called “Phoenician” ships in Sardinia several merchants from other lands landed, such as some Assyrians, whose name-surname of origin remains crystallized in Soro, Soru, Assoru, from Ass. aššurû ‘Assyrian’. Several properly Egyptian merchants also landed here, whence there are several surnames, such as Pintàuro, Achena etc.
Finally, it would be long to illustrate the plethora of properly Jewish surnames, starting with Tola. But these – at least in some respects – must be seen with another method of investigation, on which I am not delayed, having deployed it in my book of Surnames.
In short, I would like to urge you to observe the “Phoenician Question” with an open mind, so that you perceive travelers of Nóstoi not only settled on Sardinian coasts but they also traveled inland, if only to trade with the ancient village of their grandfather, maybe just to bring gifts to Strisáili’s old grandmother.
Needless to tease: Tìrii-Punics-Sardinians recognized each other as ex-Sea Peoples and as members of Nóstoi in an era that runs from the end of the second millennium to the beginning of first millennium BCE. Just as Homer himself ascertains in Odyssey, these sailor-traders never disdained from operating as pirates. They infested the Aegean and the whole Mediterranean, and at least until the famous battle of Aléria they were also masters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. They, only they were the Tyrrhenians. The Tyrrhenian Sea took its name from them.
In any case, it’s time for me to start illuminating an ethnic group that only Homer managed with such mastery.
PHOENICIANS. If we want to speak of Fenìci as ‘purple merchants’, from Gr. φοίνιος ‘dark red’, we say inhabitants of territory already known to Homer as Phoenicia did not recognize each other in the name forged by Greeks but with an adjective of origin of their city (e.g. Tìrii, Sidònii). It can be assumed in Aegean Sea they were called Phoenicians to be monopolists of purple, but also of dates, given that by φοῖνιξ Greeks indicated the ‘purple’ and also the ‘palm’, by virtue of the bunches of dates that reached a color intensely red.
But we note Romans used a shortened term, Poeni, which is not a retroformation compared to Gr. Φοῖνιξ, in fact the term seems original, pre-Greek, although the presence of diphthong suggests a serious influence of Greeks. But the influence, if any, remains isolated to diphthong, and does not involve the aspiration of P-. It’s precisely the Latin term to indicate an older base in Akk. penû > pānu, which indicates the ‘face’ of red sun rising; with pānû it indicates the ‘first messenger’ (which is always the Sun).
The second member of Greek ethnic name has a basis in Akk.-Sum. ikû ‘field, cultivated field’ + šū ’that of’. So Gr. Φοῖνιξ ‘Phoenician’ can be seen as Akk. pen-ikû-šū, to be translated as ‘that of the fields to the east’. Which would be fine, given the relative geographic location of Greece and Phenicia. Apart from the fact in Greek mythology it’s almost impossible to identify founding myths that did not originate from Phenicia, starting with that of Cadmus and that of Europe (moreover, Phoenix was the father of Europe). Such has always been the link between Greece and Phenicia, as Homer reminds every pushed.
Egyptians, in turn, called peoples living in the Land of Cedars Fenkhu. And it all comes back.
PELESET – PHILIŠTIM. Considering Philistines have been troubled for Strisáili’s vase, it’s also necessary for them to outline a somewhat precise connotation. This people was a component of Sea Peoples (see his representation in Medinet Habu). Apparently they were of Cretan origin (see Bible, Amos), and it’s known they attacked Egypt during the reign of Ramses III (who died in 1154 BCE). Certainly they were holders of iron technology. They were finally tamed by Jews, and century after century they also lost their language, although they found refuge in an enclave, in Gaza Strip, within which they were later dominated by Arabs.
As often happens, Peleset (Egyptian word, Hebr. Philištim) is also an appellation which briefly describes an evident characteristic, which may be that of value in battle, but also their precise competence.
Although the etymological technique, if used with a firm interpretative criterion, manages to solve most of the etymologies, providing solid foundations, there is a minority of ancient words which for the purpose of their translation arouse doubts, paradoxically due to abundance of options. This is almost always due to a universal aspect in force in every language, that of polysemy, by virtue of which several ideas are expressed with equal phonemes: see It. foro, which indicates a ‘hole’ and also the ‘square where Roman magistrates exercised justice’. Examples from Sumerian: am expresses the idea of ’bird’ and also that of ‘wild bull’; ama means ‘bedroom’ and ‘mother’; gu means ‘bench’, also ‘neck’, ‘bean’, ‘rope’, ‘wholeness’, ‘strength’, ‘to eat’, ‘voice’.
If the oldest language identified to search for the bases of a primary language was, putacaso, the Italian one, people wonders how an etymologist would decide in 5000 years, finding himself pondering words with minimal phonic oppositions such as It. papa-papà, rene-Irene-arena; or fato-fatto; or topo-dopo; or pasto-pesto-peste; or pasta-pista-posta; or dotto-detto; or reo-rio; or faro-baro; or pappa-pipa-poppa; or pupa-upupa.
The ancient-modern identity between words becomes more problematic if languages from which to draw a basic word are more than one: example, if in 5000 years I had to choose between It. word reo (‘guilty’) and Gr. reō ‘scorro’ (‘I flow’), I would have hesitation, and I could fail.
From all this it’s clear many etymological options remain doubtful both when you have graphic identities and for the sole variation of a single vowel, as Sum. pel ‘defile’ and pil ‘warrior’. Since after 5000 years it’s often difficult to establish a priori which original voice can be attached to a term that appeared millennia later, it’s obvious establishing with certainty the real etymological basis of Philistine is not easy, also because each nation gave that ethnic a particular name: Jews called them Philištim; Egyptians called them Peleset (and doubt already arises, since the –e– of Egyptian words, which do not express the vowels, is nothing but a convention of modern Orientalists); and so on.
In this situation, is possible to give the Egyptian word Peleset two different etymological solutions. The first from Sum. pil ‘warrior’ + eš ‘water’ + ed ‘destroyer, wrecker’, where the compound pil-eš-ed meant ‘destructive warriors who come from the water, from the sea’. The second solution from Sum. pēl-i-šita ‘defiled people who produce weapons’. This name could derive from the fact producers of weapons were obviously blacksmiths, perpetually bent over the fire to mallet the metal, therefore they had a “burnished” face. Gypsies were called with this name in many parts of Europe: e.g. Khorakhané in Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia. This term is clear, based on Sum. kur ‘to burn’ + kana ‘to be dark’: kur-kana ‘burned and dark’. In Bosnia as well as Khorakhané are also called Kaloperi, from Sum. ka ‘mouth’ + lu ‘man, person, who’ + pel ‘to defile’: ka-lu-pel = ‘people with disfigured lips’ (always because of the intense heat).
SHARDÀNA, ŠARDÀNA. Considering we have troubled these marines-fighters here and there, something will have to be said. This ethnic was one of the most famous of pre-Roman antiquity. I try escaping the list of many misleading hypotheses made on this ethnic word. Therefore I don’t mention the hypotheses made on the first member (šar-), which has several bases for translation.
Also for this trisyllable, the etymological problem lies in the way we want to divide it. Example, if in its place we admit a bisyllable of the type šar-dan, we would accept the etymology of Semerano, from Akk. šar-dannu (šarru ‘rex, great king’ + dannu ‘powerful’ = ‘mighty lord’). But this term is trisyllable (see more on the discussion of SRDN spelling on Nora’s Stele), and I explained in Egyptian texts Šardanas are recorded as Šarṭana, Šarṭenu, Šarṭina (EHD 727b).
In the bisyllabic hypothesis, another etymology analyzes the second member separately “discovering” the mysterious Jewish tribe of Dan, which is seen dispersed in half of Europe. Even Dan-ubio hydronym would have its name; likewise the Dan-ese people, or the ancient Dán-ai, Homeric ethnic indicating Achaeans and Argives as an alternative to Greeks as a whole. But I distance myself from so much imagination.
In fact, it was not the Dan tribe that moved to Europe and Mediterranean. Instead, this name is a patrimony of different peoples in different eras, starting from Paleolithic times.
Dán-aos in Greek mythology was the son of Belo, twin brother of Egypt. Dánao had the western coasts of Africa as its kingdom, starting with Libya; Egypt had lots of Nilotic territory and Arabia. Thus we understand this personal name, like many others that fill Greek mythology, has near-eastern and north-African origins. In fact, it appears continuously in the Bible, where Dan is first of all a locality (Gn 14,14), then he’s Jacob’s son, Gn 30,6; 35,25; 46,23; 49,16.17; Ex 1.4; Nm 1.12; Dan’s children are mentioned in Nm 1.38; 7.66; 26.42; 34,22; as region it’s indicated in Dt 34.1; as a tribe is present in Ex 31,6; 35,34; 38,23; Lv 24.11; Nm 1.39; 13,12; Deut 27.13; 33,22; Haft. by Be-sciallach, Giud. 5:17; Haft. of Nasò, Giud. 13.2; as camp of the tribe of Dan is indicated in Nm 2,25.31; 10.25. Dan as a son of Jacob, as a tribe and as a city of the same name is also mentioned in 1Chronicles and 2Chronicles. As a tribe is indicated then in Js 19:40; as assigned territory is indicated in Gs 19,40 ff.; Danites fought with Lescem then called Dan, Js 19.47; there is a Danita family in Gd 13,2; Danites seek territory in Gd 18.1; they call Dan the city first called Laish, Gd 18.12; Dan is the locality that marks the northern border of Israel, Gd 20.1; 1Sam 3.20; 2Sam 3:10; 17,11; 24,2.15; 1Kings 5.5; 12,29.30; 15,20; 2Kings 10.29. Dan as the northern border of Israel is also indicated in Jer 4:15; 8.16; Am 8.14; as a tribe is indicated in Ezek 22.214.171.124. Finally Dan is also a locality in Arabia: Eze 27.19.
Leafing through the dictionaries of all Eurasian dead languages, we are able to highlight several roots in dan-. And so we have Sum. dan, tan ‘strong lord (human)’, ‘Lord of all, Bēl’; Egyptian dana ‘a venerable man’; dani, title of sun-god Ra; Tann, the great god, a very ancient Earth-god; dan-dan, title of Āpap, the serpent of evil; Tannit, goddess consort of Tann; Sanskrit dāni ‘valiant, victor, courageous’; Dānava, a class of demons, sons of Danu and enemies of the gods; Greek dyn-astēs ‘lord, master’; Danu-oi, title of Greeks; Lat. dan ‘master’; don ‘master, lord’; Gothic and ancient Breton dan ‘lord’; Hālf-Dan ‘lord of the half of the world’, a title of Thor; Cornic and Celtic den, dyn ‘a man’; Cornic din “worthy”; Old English thein, thane, dan ‘master’; Engl. dan, a title of master or sir. This term then passed into the use of modern languages, such as don, a Spanish title of nobility; Danann, a famous horse race in Ireland; din-astico, It. adjective relative to the royal families; din-amico, ‘who has a lot of energy’; etc.
In short, to untangle the etymology of Šardana it’s necessary to go first to etymology of Sardu (see discussion of SRDN, Sardigna in Nora’s Stele), while the suffix –na has been Sumerian-Mediterranean for tens of millennia.
TANIT. Sumerian dan basis, which we rejected for Šardana, is instead valid for the goddess Tanit. She’s the goddess who held the most important place in Carthage and significantly, for a purely commercial city, its effigy appeared in most of coins of the Punic city. Tanit was one of Ba‛al’s consorts and was revered as the patron goddess of that city; She enjoyed special favors and reverence from Carthage citizens and its empire. In Sardinia its effigy appears several times. She was the goddess of fertility, love and pleasure. Tanit’s symbol was the truncated pyramid bearing a rectangular bar on the top. The sun and the growing moon appear on this bar. This symbol can be observed in most of the stems of Punic necropolises.
As for the etymological basis of the sacred name, it remains certain that by browsing the dictionaries of all Eurasian dead languages we are able to highlight several roots (we have just noticed it). And so we have Sumerian dan, tan ‘strong lord (human)’, ‘Lord of all’; Egyptian dana ‘a venerable man’; dani ‘title of sun-god Ra’; Tann ‘the great god’, ‘a very ancient Earth-god’; dan-dan, title of Āpap, the serpent of evil; Tannit, goddess consort of Tann. Note that Tan-it’s suffix –it is usual form in the Land of Canaan has always distinguished the feminine from its masculine base.
Reader will have understood in this book I wanted to display some etymologies, because I am convinced they help a lot to understand still open questions, on which archaeologists – despite profusions of goodwill – have not been able to say definitive words. It’s up to them to convince themselves of usefulness of etymologies, of course when those have scientific bases. So I paternally distrust them from getting down on their knees in front of etymologies like the ones I condemned in this book as fake news.
In any case, I argue it was necessary to observe closely an apparatus of valid etymologies, in order to better highlight the Strisáili jug, which has few residual concepts to transmit to us, unfortunately, due to the incompleteness of the fragments. But we understood it was not “Philistine”, and we mainly understand that it was intended to contain “holy oil”, a healing oil, which was used under the protection of the God of Health. In that jug there is implicitly contained – among direct and indirect information – a warning that in practicing the anointings with olive oil people had to invoke the God of Health, to avoid losing the magical influence obtained by pronouncing the text itself, which, perhaps, was a ritual formula that was to accompany the cure.
Now let’s proceed with the analysis of few shards of that vase.
The previous photograph (n. 07) shows my manual rewriting of the consonantal graphemes identified in the fragments composing the area under and around the neck. As already stated, the translation cannot be considered definitive, not only for the reasons already explained but because some graphemes seem different from those canonically “Phoenician” known from the many Sardinian and Mediterranean documents.
The lesser congruity with the purely “Phoenician” spellings could be interpreted as a gesture of freedom of the scribe, in a period of great graphic and cultural upheavals, when everywhere we witnessed writing experiments, a more authoritative graphic apparatus than the other, both in the Land of Cedars, both in the Aegean and in Anatolia.
If, as I think, that vase was written by a Sardinian of the Nóstoi to underline the preciousness of the oil (possibly medicated with officinal plants) whose jug belonged to the local king or prince (the ruler of Strisáili tribe), then we must imagine the scribe had been above all a trader, as such used to travel from Sardinia to the Aegean and to the East. Thanks to that cultural climate, evidently the scribe felt free to combine the graphemes of the already known Phoenician alphabet with other characters from Cretan and Anatolian scriptures.
As usual, I tried to read from right to left, starting with the grapheme which perhaps marks the beginning of the “presentation” or of “magic prescription”. On the vase we read:
“Jug of good oil for (indicated for) the rituals of worship. Owned by the king”
The original writing, from right to left, contains (translation into Latin letters):
ŠMN QP BN SK ZA ŠR SA (o MI)
In interlinear translayion we have:
ŠMN ‘oil’ QP ‘jug’ BN ‘good’ SK ‘cult rites’ ZA ‘belonging to’ ŠR ‘prince, king’ SA (o MI) ‘?’.
SMN it is properly Phoenician writing; cfr. Sardinian surname Sanna, from neo-Assyrian šamnu(m), accus. šamnam “fine oil, virgin olive oil”, from which it also derives It. sansa ‘residue from olives pressing’ (cf. Lat. sănsa, by latinists believed to be of unknown origin), which is a construct state šamn-ša < neo-Ass. šamnu(m) + ša ‘that of, what’, meaning ‘that (i.e. the residue) of virgin olive oil’.
QP ‘jug’ is properly Phoenician writing. It has a confirmation in Sd. cuppu ‘cup, glass, water cup’. See Engl. cup; and see Akk. quppu ‘box, chest’ for food.
BN = It. buono ‘good’, Sd. bonu. See Akk. banû ‘good, beautiful’. Note only B corresponds to Phoenician spelling, while the grapheme that I indicate as N (resembling the Phoenician M) can be found identical only in Lydian AN.
SK ‘cult rituals’, from Akk. sakkûm ‘cult rituals’. See Sd. surname Saccu, having the same etymological basis: evidently it was originally a beautiful female name, Also in this spelling S can be interpreted as Phoenician, while the one I interpret as K is found only in Lydian spelling.
ZA See sum. za ‘property’. The handwriting is Phoenician.
ŠR ‘of the prince, of the king’. The handwriting is Phoenician. See Akk. šarru ‘prince, king’. And Sd surname Sarríu, an ancient adjectival from Akk. šarru ‘prince, king’. Also known is Hebrew name Sarah שָׂרָה ‘lady, noblewoman’ par excellence (Sarah being the progenitor of Jewish people). It could be assumed the owner of this inscribed pitcher was the king or prince of the tribe that occupied the Strisáili plateau as well as the territorial appurtenances up to Villagrande, up to the summit of Gennargentu and to Correboi pass.
SA (or MI) ‘?’ This spelling corresponds to Cypriot SA, also to Cretan MI. But it’s useless to insist on its recognition and its acceptable translation. Also because, from this point on, the residual fragments of the jug are few, scattered, not juxtaposable, and any attempt to acquire a residual written chain to our advantage is impossible.
Chapter IV – THE VASE OF DUENO
An artistic vase in bucchero, believed to be owned by a certain Dueno, was found on Quirinale in 1880 in a votive deposit. Previously two temples had been erected in succession on this site. This beautiful 6th century B.C. vase (composed of three unified little vases) is precisely a κέρνος. That is, a clay pot divided into three or more compartments, κοτυλίσκοι, each of which intended to contain different products by earth or by sheep-farming, offered as first fruits to Eleusis, and also for the cult of Cybele (the Goddess Mater imported from Phrygia.
In Greece even the kernoforìa (kérnoi processions) were in vogue. The kernòforos or kernòfora was the priest / priestess who carried the kérnoi. In Greece even the κέρνου-ὄρχημα was celebrated, the orgiastic dance of kernophores. Such historical informations, converging on the mystery processions (including Cybele’s Mysteries), would seem to give direction to our research.
It must be considered the vase was deposited in Rome when Greek civilization already involved Italy in various ways, at least if we have to attribute the splendid paintings of the Etruscan tombs of Cerveteri to a Greek artistic influences. Given that cultural climate, we do not feel saying on Roman hills outside city walls the mystery cults of mainland Greece and Magna Graecia were not known.
A strange writing manner.
About this vase we notice one mystery after another. Considering its precious workmanship and original form, it lends itself to be considered as an essential component of rite, a sort of tripartite goblet deputed to make a good show of itself on the altar of sacrifices, obviously with the mediation of a priest or a priestess. Thanks to this vase, some respectable offerers could perform their rites guaranteeing maximum solemnity and maximum visibility.
Affixed to this tri-compound vase are three sentences, scratched after bucchero was coocked, without any interruption between the words. Writing is in archaic Latin characters with a left-handed sequence, i.e. from right to left. One of the aspects that contribute to making this vase mysterious is the “specularity” of writing. In fact, it’s easily readable only if we turn the jar upside down. In practice, it can only be read by observing the vessel from a zenithal position, from top to bottom. This reversal of writing seems to have a magical function.
As is the case with Nora’s Stele, the greatest difficulties of interpretation are mainly due to uninterrupted handwriting, which doesn’t facilitate lexical distinction. However attempts are facilitated by a patient recognition of several Latin and Greek radicals.
But it’s the overall interpretation that pays for it, by virtue of possible alternative options that don’t facilitate a unidirectional translation, tetragonal by intrinsic logical rigor.
Doubts increase due to the graphic procedure, which shows some messy letters, hasty and differently calibrated features, an imperfect alignment. All this would suggest an extemporaneous use of the vase, which, however, would contrast with its rare beauty and with the recurring annual solemnities for which it’s supposed to have been created.
A hypothesis, which can be managed amid many perplexities, perhaps such as to be able to direct the translation, is the three sentences, sufficiently distinguishable as such, are each intended for one of the three goblets, where it’s possible that only one product distincted from others was introduced. But, if the archaeological data of the excavation confirm the period of deposition of this vase, a hypothesis giving excessive importance to number “three” would leave us perplexed. I don’t think symbolism of those times opens up a flat reading for modern people, not accustomed to contextualizing the phenomena within the correct temporal and local patterns. Someone, in relation to “three”, uses kabbalistic tools, going back even 1000 years; with this backing down, the two overlapping triangles of “David’s Star” would also be an indication or proof, according to some people, of the first display of Jewish symbolism. Indeed, much caution is needed. A propensity to suppose openly symbolic intentions cannot even apply to the fact Pythagoreans already in the middle of first millennium BCE saw in delta (Δ) the symbol of cosmic birth; nor can it apply to Zoroastrian Manicheans, who in the same centuries considered the triangle as an Euro-Asian image of Trinity.
In short, it doesn’t seem this vase exhibits real symbols. Likewise, I find it in bad taste someone sees in the shape of this vase the “Kepler’s trigonos” anticipated by 2000 years.
As for translations attempted so far, there are several tens. It seems appropriate to stop on the authoritative one of Professor Vittore Pisani (Testi latini arcaici e volgari, Rosenberg & Sellier, Turin, 1962).). He was a great Indo-Europeanist and formed generations of students. It’s thanks to his texts that I completed the glottological training at the university. He translates the entire text into Italian, presenting it as a speech expressed in first person by the vase itself, which states the seller of the vase guarantees to the buyer of the vase he will be able to physically possess a girl. In third sentence the vase declares to have been created by a skilled spellcaster to be put into the hands of a skilled lover to succeed in Venus’ venture.
This translation – moreover declared bristling with obstacles by Pisani himself – could be accepted if the whole text was perspicuous, devoid of numerous smudges exposing it to lacerating contrasts. Among dubious ways, Pisani chose the less practicable one, as the primary function of this vase itself went unnoticed, its rare value jealously guarded, its controlled reusing, confirmed by the same (rare) integrity of κέρνος emerged from excavations, which was evidently created to be carefully conserved and reused only in collective public rites, which could be properly Mysteries, if the conclusions of my studies are correct (see volume II of my Encyclopedia della Civiltà Shardana).
At this point, modesty should lead us to declare all guilty of the rare and absent-minded attention paid so far to religious aspects of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Arrival point that illustrates the composite picture of Roman polytheism seems satisfactory to all, without ever having explained its most distant roots, without the same “polytheism” having ever been critically confronted with the religion of Mysteries. Hence the hasty certainties that guide any researcher to deny the Mysteries among archaic Roman rites, have never been doubted. Lacking a mentions from historians of that time, this is enough for scholars.
So I ask a few questions: why does this vase denounce ante-litteram Greekness? Why was it found right on the Collis Quirinalis? What did exactly mean that boundary hill rosing within the great bend north of Tiber island, that extra-urban site to which Roman people flocked to celebrate rites that were typical of a distant Eleusis? Have we ever wondered, seriously, what Quirinalis meant? And why Quirinus gave his name? Why later he became the “patron” of Populus Romanus?. Who was he really? Why did that name progressively enter the Servian walls from an uninhabited and wild hill and dominate the city right into the bowels, becoming its undisputed lord until the fall of Empire?
Various etymologies have attempted of this character, each of which has left everyone dissatisfied, also because the “etimologies” have often been investigated as self-references, “fished” within the asphyxiated fence of Latin language alone, where Quirinus justifies Quirites, and Quirites justify Quirinus as well as, broadly speaking, Quirinalis, without ever having sought the archaic basis of that sacred name.
For Quirinus, indeed, we must critically go down much before Rome, to retreat well before 753 BCE, when the Roman agglomeration was still in mind of God but everything suggests that territory was not uninhabited at all and was crossed and dominated by people of Etruscan language, accustomed to archaic linguistic Mediterranean Koiné. At that time, a hill on the Tiber was worth as much as the others, and each of them lent itself easily to temporary or definitive residence of small groups, of a few pastoral clans who preferred elevated areas, leaving daredevil farmers challenging Tiberine floods along the huge floodplain.
On every Mediterranean shore, the name of Supreme God had various epithets, as it’s easy to understand if we look at the astonishing Lauretan litanies, where every praise was good for ingratiating ourselves with Our Lady. In high antiquity the religious picture did not change at all, and the Supreme God, his Paredra, were always invoked with numerous epithets, so that only in Sardinia, and only in relation to Supreme God, his names “authenticated” were at least nine, but they could have been twelve, according to the count. All the others were divine epithets.
Obviously the same happened on Lazio coast and in Italian hinterland. And it’s not surprising in one place we discover certain epithets forgotten elsewhere, since the cultural bases in Mediterranean have been the same and interchangeable for tens of millennia. And almost always epithets valid in Sardinia were also valid in Lazio (as I demonstrated in my book “Pre-Christian Monotheism in Sardinia”).
The name Quirinus is known by an initial Q-, but no one should believe the pre-eminence of this guttural spelling, since elsewhere in Mediterranean the K– was preferred. And this grapheme prevailed elsewhere, although generalized Italianization led to write it Ch-, as well as Qu-. So in Sardinia we certainly have the name Quirinus, however documented in a Campidanian surname like Cirina, an archaic personal name that Byzantine priests in Sardinia forced to identify in the ‘hutch of sows’ (sa kirina in the central areas, sa cirina in Campidano).
No dismay – unless the reader is fasting in the history of religions – since it was congenial for those priests to distort and demonize everything pertained to previous religions. Even the same relentlessness of Byzantines is a key that critically leads, by way of counterpoint, to the divinity of Mediterranean Quirinus, whose etymology is based in Sum. Ku(i)-ri-nu ‘Powerful Creator Leader’ (from KU ‘to strengthen’ + ri ‘lead away’ + nu ‘creator’). A different interpretation can be drawn from other Sumerian roots: KU ‘strengthen’ + ri ‘drive’ + nam ‘lord’, ‘thought, intelligence’. In this case the same Sardinian Cirina (ancient Kirina) can be translated as ‘Powerful Lord of Intelligence’, or ‘Powerful Lord-Dux (of the people)’. We still remain among the epithets used in the rites of holy Mysteries, as well as in similar rites venerating every God of antiquity.
Similar to Quirinus is another Sardinian name, Kìrigu, Italianized to Quìrico, where only the suffix (-cus, –nus) would change. For Kìrigu the Gr. κύριος ‘mighty lord’ (and we are always at the highest divinity).
But in Kìrigu we must see the Sumerian radical kur ‘to burn, light up’. And we are at the Burning Bush of the Jews; but, changing perspective, we are in Hell, since Sum. kur also means ‘Hellish world’. As it happens, with this interpretation we return to philosophy of archaic Mysteries, where everything started with Hellfire, with the recovery of the Greek Kore-Perséfone from Underworld, with the rise of the counterfeit santu Antóni e su Fogu, the Sardinian Prometheus who gives fire to the humanity and beats the beginning of Carnival (from Sum. a ‘semen, progeny’ + tun ‘stomach, container’ + e ‘to go out, escaping’: In compound it’s a-tun-e ‘primordial seed that flows from deep’, the same name as Etna volcan).
All these considerations relating to Supreme and Unique God worshiped during Mysteries would be sufficient argument to begin to suspect Pisani’s interpretation and other interpretations that followed him.
But the dissent from that Pisani’s interpretation does not arise only for the observations made so far. There is also the awareness that no Casanova would ever have such a precious jar made to waste it extemporaneously with three ointments or three herbs intended to favor the surrender of one or many young girls. Ars amatoria (see Ovid) offered well other tools than three ointments (or similar) to heat or burn or to spread on the body. Moreover, the symbol of Venus was always the snake, which had to be captured, cut into pieces and boiled among numerous herbs and spices. Suffumigations, combustion and much more were needed. What role could a portable three-pocket container add to the witch’s fervent cauldron? Or should we assume this tri-vase had the same function as “Aladdin’s Lamp”?
Moreover, if we are to talk about the concoctions for the spell, we should necessarily complement the numerous verbal formulas (useless to make their story on this page) that amateurs pronounced by heart, without text, during their elaborate witchcraft rites.
In this regard, we can certainly say no enchanting formula is written on this vase; a formula, moreover, had to remain exclusively verbal, momentary, mysterious, because only its secrecy guaranteed a magical power. If sentences proposed by Pisani were correct, they would be of an unusual squalor, never found among formulas come to us: which, moreover, are always substantiated by the unavoidable invocation to gods, especially to Moon Goddess, as performer of a meticulously prepared spell. In Dueno’s vase instead the gods are sensationally neglected, with the almost certain risk of attracting the divine curse to the actor of the spell because of his blasphemous irreligiousness (see, among the many scholars, Paolo Scarpi: The religions of the mysteries, two volumes, Mondadori, 2002).
The language of the text.
Pisani, a distinguished professor, undoubtedly opens (perhaps unwittingly) a path of which any traveler recognizes the practicability, glimpsing the points of orientation in proceeding, without however being able to glimpse the certainty of the goal.
Pisani nearly suggests to reader this 6th century B.C. text was written when Hellenic civilization, although almost at the acme both in homeland and in Magna Grecia, had not yet managed to shine on the rest of Italy. A properly “Italic” peninsula seems to have been inherent (at least to read Pisani’s version) a linguistic ferinity not in keeping with the respectable Roman power, which now expanded in Lazio despite the ups and downs of perennial wars against Etruscans, Sabini, Edui, Equi, Ernici, Marsi, Latini, Volsci, Aurunci, Prenestini, etc.
I realize Rome, waging perennially against neighboring peoples who recognized themselves radically different and fiercely opposed, was preparing ipso facto, without even wanting to, a great historical phase of melting pot, where each nationality would slowly come to the merger with Quirites, transcoloring in secular breath into a unifying language.
But this process was long, and ferus populus romanus at that time was not yet accustomed to managing the schools of dialectics we imagine early and fruitful in Greece, if only for the benefit of optimates.
If my intuitions regarding Roman Mysteries hit the mark, in sixth century in Rome the inhabitants, including senatorial class, were almost all illiterate, in any case they were far from wanting to found philosophy schools that instead in Greek archipelago and in Athens already coagulated around certain thinkers, aiming to forge the ruling apparatus.
If still in the times of Augustus the first census shows an Italy divided between 32 peoples (with 32 languages), apart from those of Sicily and Sardinia, this indicates six centuries earlier Italic peoples were even more numerous, and then mutual linguistic communication in Italy remained hanging only from the common linguistic plancher established in Mediterranean since the appearance of Homo Sapiens.
Dueno’s vase is not perspicuous, and it’s not because at that time conditions were still lacking for a melting-pot be formed in the womb of Rome, which allowed six centuries later to Caesar, Cicero, Catullus, Martial, Virgil of writing exemplary works using a shared lexical tool and a complex grammar proudly assimilated by the management team.
Moreover, if it’s true our vase was dedicated to ceremonies of Mysteries, nobody is able to say whether the writer, or dedicant, came from the center of Rome and not, instead, from Trastevere (from Trans-Tiberim). To be honest, the dedicator could have been an Etruscan who was settled beyond the shore of precise Roman relevance. But likewise he could be a Rutile, a Volsco, a Cumano, even a Sardinian. In this regard, we must always admit the sacred ceremonies of a people radiated inevitable sacredness all around, so that normally the great feasts coagulated the arrival, from otherwise enemy territories, of so many people who undressed their individual nationality thanks to a frank sanctuary. For its relevance, the emblematic episode of the “Rape of Sabine Women” can also be remembered in this regard.
In order not to complicate the problem, I do not add the Etruscan language here, whose perspicuity still remains very precarious since – despite Massimo Pittau’s Dictionary of the Etruscan Language, made up almost entirely of personal names – we lack a lot of elements to be able to clarify the size and value of Etruscan and even of each language spoken by Italic peoples in 6th century BCE.
In any case, nothing prevents us from believing in the permeability of Mediterranean peoples and above all in the permeability of Italic peoples. If we want to understand it fully, then we must postulate Dueno Vase, given its voluntary affixing a communication that had to assume an exclusive sacral value, perhaps was brought to Quirinale just by a “stranger”, that is, from a non-Roman. We know not only indigenous people come to various sanctuaries: Sardinians had gone several times bringing gifts to Delphi’s sanctuary.
Here is clarified the little perspicuity certain translators notice in the communiqué written on this Vase, which, at this point, allows to be revealed not so much and not only with the help of an insufficient Latin dictionary but with the help of all the dictionaries currently printed, those which were managed by Mediterranean peoples and which today, fortunately, are available to us.
And it’s thanks to them today we are able to fully penetrate the narrative fabric of that vase, which remained difficult for others’ attempts and even cut off Professor Pisani’s wings, since he had locked himself up, with self-referencing procedure, in the vain attempt to saturate every possible meaning with the only spotted tool, i.e. by Latin vocabulary only.
A) TRANSLATION BY VITTORE PISANI (made in 1962)
Below I present the essential elements provided by prof. Pisani:
a) Splitting of graphemic sequence
1. IOUESAT DEIUOS QOI MED MITAT NEI TED ENDO COSMIS UIRCO SIED
2. AST EDNOIS IOPETOI TESIAI PAKARI UOIS
3. DUENOS MED FEKED EN MANOMEINOM DUENOI NE MED MALOSTATOD
b) Translation by Pisani formulated into ancient Latin:
1. iūrat (iouesat) deos qui me uendit – nisi (nei = nī) in te (ted endo) cōmis (cosmis) uirgo sit;
2. ast cibis futuitioni (i.e. futuitionis ergo) ei pācārī uīs.
3. bonus (duenos) me fecit in (en) felicem exitus (mano- = mānum = bonum; -meinom = Mānēs): bono ne e me malum stato.
c) Translation into Italian (according to Pisani, the vase is speaking personally):
1. “Giura sugli déi chi mi vende – se la vergine non sarà (i.e.: che la vergine sarà) disponibile nei tuoi confronti”.
“The seller swears on Gods girl will be well-disposed towards you”.
2. “Pertanto voglia tu pagarla con la mercede (cibis) della montata (futuitionis, iopetoi)”.
“Therefore shall you recompense her with reward of fucking”.
3. “(Me, vaso) mi fece un abile [di incantesimi] per un abile [amatore] per un buon esito, per uno scopo buono; e non si faccia di me (ne med) un cattivo uso.
“(Me vase) made a skilled [in spells] for a skilled [lover] to be successfull, for a good purpose, and don’t (you) make wicked usage of me”.
B) TRANSLATION BY BÉRTULU PORKEDDU (2019)
This is the sensational but ephemeral commitment of a gentleman who published a book claiming the Vase inscription is written in ancient Sardinian. He believes it only because, observing the written chain, he has twice isolated three consecutive letters (ITE) which recall the Sardinian pronoun ite ‘what’.
I omit to commit myself to illustrating (and refuting) Porkeddu’s “theories” since his two books relating to “dictatorship” of Sardinian language in Tyrrhenian Sea, while capable of making many people dream, from the point of view of method and science do not even contain any idea to investigate with dignity and seriousness.
a) Splitting of graphemic sequence and (below) translation in Italian, Sardinian, English
1. IOVESAT DEIVOS QOI MED MITAT.NE ITE DENDO COS[a] MI[a] S[i] VIRCO SIED.
Giove-Saturno divi ai quali io stessa sto promettendo, donando questa mia cosa affinché (ella) sia vestale.
Zove/Sat[urru] divos ki me mitat[nde] ite dende cosa mia si (issa) virgo siet.
Jupiter Sat[urn] gods to which I promise myself, giving this thing of mine so that (she) is vestal.
2. ASTED NOIS IO[ve] – PETO ITE – SI AI PACARI VOIS.
Ascoltate noi Gio[ve] – chiedo qualcosa – (ripagheremo) saremo grati a voi.
Ascultade [a] nois Zo[ve] – peto ite – si ai pacari vois.
Listen to us Gio[ve] – I ask for something – we’ll be grateful to you.
3. DUE, NOS MED FECED EN MANO MEI NOM[…] – DUE, NO[M] IN E[…] MED MALO STATOD.
Li, ci fa lo stesso in mano mia (secondo la mia volontà) Nom[…]. Lì, No[M] in E[…] lo stesso [fa] con mallo (spatola), (con buona soddisfazione).
Ddue, nos me faket in manu mei Nom[…] – Ddue, No[M] in E[…] me mallu istadu [faket].
There, it does the same in my hand (according to my will) Nom[…] – There, No[m…]in E[…] the same [fa] with mallo (spatula), (with good satisfaction).
C) TRANSLATION BY SALVATORE DEDOLA (2020)
Below I present and illustrate the analysis of whole issue, whose investigation leads exclusively to discovering an aspect of high religiosity.
a) Splitting of graphemic sequence
1. IOUEI SAT DEIUOS QOI MED MITA T NEI TED ENDO COS MIS UIRCO SIED.
2. ASTED NOIS IO PETOI TESIAI PAKAR IUOIS.
3. DU EN OSMED FEKED EN MANO MEINOM DUENOI NE MED MALO STATOD.
b) Translation and etimologies
First phrase: IOUEI SAT DEIUOS QOI MED MITA T NEI TED ENDO COS MIS UIRCO SIED.
IOUEI. The name of Jupiter in dative form (Jovei, Jovī) suggests from the first word on the vase there is an invocative dedication to the supreme God. What is evident from the writing is the usual dedicatory style of Latin and Mediterranean steles lato sensu. The vase is donated and dedicated to Jupiter (Jovi).
I have already made an extensive examination of this name in the chapter relating to columnar base of St. Nicolò Gerrei. I only remember it corresponds to Jewish Jehovah, since it has the same Mediterranean base as IAHW or IHWH, read Yaḥuh. Obviously in Lazio the central -ḥ- fell, according to a Tyrrhenian phonetic law that embraces Italy and Sardinia among other lands: whence Ja(ḥ)uh > Jawéh or Giavé or Gèova, from which Lat. Jove(m), Giove(m).
But I remember, likewise, the Yaḥuh base in Sardinia has remained unchanged, with –ḥ– becoming –g-. So we have Giagu, a personal name that can never be identified with St. James. Instead, it’s the primitive name of Moon God, who was originally considered more powerful than Sun and therefore the true Creator, Begetter of Universe. We have two spellings of his name, I‛ḥ and Y‛ḥ, the second most faithful to an original pronunciation. In turn, we can dismember the name Y‛ḥ into Sum. u + ak: where u means ‘universe’ while ak means ‘act, create’. It goes without saying the compound we read Y‛ḥ must be translate as ‘Creator of Universe’.
For completeness we can observe the second member of the nominative of Supreme Roman God, Jū-piter. Latinists consider –pĭter as apophonic form of păter ‘father’ and give the compound a meaning of ‘Jupiter Father’. But they are wrong, since that member must instead be compared with the second member of acci-piter ‘sparrow hawk’, which is an apophonic form from Sum. padr ‘destroyer’. The declined forms of Jū-pĭter (Iovis, Iovi, Iovem …) always have the base Iou-, Iov– (as it. Giov-anni), and we return to Heb. IAHW. So the compound Jū-pĭter means exactly ‘Jupiter Destroyer’, ‘Jehovah Destroyer’. With this we remain within the range of appellations addressed to High God by Mediterranean peoples.
SAT (see Akk. šat ‘who’); means ‘who is’. This term has remained in Sardinian article and personal pronoun su, sa ‘the’, ‘that’, with identical uses to Akkadian ones. Sat is coordinated with Iouei, therefore is a dative form.
DEIUOS. For this form could be osserved Akk. di’um ‘(deity’s) throne-platform in temple’. But it’s more appropriate linking it to Sum. de ‘create’ + u ‘totality, universe’: de-u, with a meaning of ‘Creator of Universe’. See Sd. Déu, Gr. Ζεῦς. This entry is coordinated with Iouei and sat and both are dative forms. Note the suffix –s or –os, not corresponding to classical Latin one.
QOI. I doubt whether this form is pertinent to classical Latin pronoun qui, and therefore it’s also a dative form, or is a desire conjunction. In the first case quoi (nominative forms qui, quae) must be compared with Log. and Camp. ki, kìe, relative pronoun ‘who, which’. Etymological basis can be found in Heb. ḥīʼ (הִיא), ḥuʼ (הוּא) ‘he, she’, Ug. hw ‘he’, hy ‘she’. See Sic. qu ‘who’.
But this interpretation appears to be influenced by the analogous Latin pronominal form. Alternatively, we can interpret quoi as a Mediterranean form corresponding to ke, see Camp. and Abruzzese ki (same semantics of Latin utinam). In this sense ki is a conditional, optative, desirable adverb; see Camp.: ki ti firmis unu pagu, deu … ” If you stop for a moment, I … ‘.
These optative cases seem to correspond to Akkadian forms akī, akkī ‘as’, ‘like, in accordance with’, kī ‘like; how?’, ‘according to’, also ‘when’, ‘if’; ‘because’; ‘that’; ‘just as’. But the most appropriate basis is Akk. kī condiz. used for example in the introduction of an oath: if I abandon …
The form quoi can also be seen as a conjugation-adverb, desirative, precative, exclamative: semantic value of Sd. ancu. Examples: Log. ki m’idan tzegu, gai este! ‘That they see me blind, it is so!’; Sass. ki ti fària un ràiu! (or ancu ti fària un ràiu) ‘that lightning falls on you!; ki ti végghiani ippałtizziáḍḍu! ‘that they see you annihilated, pulverized!’. Desire sense: ki andes in bon’ora! ‘may good luck accompany you!’.
Note Sardinian voice, given here as a Mediterranean example, has a parallel in It. che (it’s found in southern Italy). Like It. che even Sd. form has etymological basis in Akk. kī, kē adverbial form which, among other meanings, also introduces an oath to the negative, e.g. Akk. kī undeššer ‘if I abandon’ = ‘I don’t want to abandon’; it also has the meaning of ‘just like’. In any case, for these forms it’s much more perspicuous the Sum etymological basis ḫe– ‘utinam’ (verbal pre-formative with precative value).
MED cf. Lat. medeor ‘I provide, remedy’, I take care as a doctor’. It corresponds to Akk. medû ‘look after, take care of’.
MITA cf. Lat. mītis ‘mild’, or ‘with mildness’; or ‘of milds’.
T = Gr. τε (enclitic conjunction, with precisely accostative, combinative value). See Sum. te ‘pull over’. Same semantics as Lat. et.
NEI See Akk. ne’u ‘satisfy’; ‘turn back’; –ni ‘me’, ‘our’. It means ‘help, resurrect’.
TED < Akk. ṭīdum ‘hearth, mud’ for making man.
ENDO Lat. ‘inside’ (cfr. inde) = ‘from’ (assembled with TED it means ‘from, by mud’).
COS See Sum. kuš ‘skin, body, person’ = ‘the bodies’.
MIS (Akk. misu ‘washing, purification’) = ‘the purificated’.
UIRCO See Lat. virgō ‘girl’ < Sum. ir ‘mighty’ + gu ‘pulse, vital mighty) = ‘the vital mighty’.
SIED See Lat. sĕdēre. Etymological base Sum. šed ‘to lie down; to rest’: = ‘descend over them’.
Second phrase: AS T ED NO IS IO PETOI TESIAI PAKARI U OIS.
AS It corresponds to Sum. aš ‘one’ = ‘the One’. This voice is Mediterranean and is found in It. and Sd. asso, assu ‘figure in the playing cards, or point on the face of a dice corresponding to the value one’. DELI believes it from Lat. ăsse(m) ‘person who excels’, but the real basis is that indicated; cfr. Hittite aš ‘one’.
T etymological base in Sum. te conjiunction (go to T at Firts phrase).
ED < Sum. ed ‘to come forth’ = ‘rise again’. As happened with the Mysteries of antiquity (and still happens today: see the Mysteries of Castelsardo), they were celebrated by night, evidently before dawn. It seems clear in that case that ‘rise’ refers to Rising Sun. The Sum. radical ed is found in It. es-co, incoative form whose radical is adaptation from the archaic base ed.
NO < Sum. nu ‘Creator’. Cf. Gr. Νοῦς ‘First Intellect’.
IS < Sum. iši ‘radiant’. In Sardinia we still keep this divine epithet in the surname Isu, which was originally a muliebre name meaning ‘the Radiant’ (i.e. the Aurora).
IO Lat. Jovis, Geova. For a complete etymological discussion go to IOUEI in First phrase.
PETOI < Akk. petû ‘open up’, Gr. πετάννυμι ‘open up’, optative, precative. This Latin form contains a typically Greek optative suffix: pétoi = ‘open’.
TESIAI < Sum. teš ‘voice’, cry, imploration’, This dative must be translated ‘to beseeches’.
PACARI Cfr. Akk. pakāru ‘offer a lamb’ in sacrifice; but it seems more appropriate the Akk. paḫārum ‘to gather, assemble’. We can consider it as Tyrrhenian adjectival, and we translate thus: ‘of the assembly’.
U Cfr. Sum. u ‘and’, Carthaginian w ‘ditto’. We must accept it as an archaic Mediterranean conjunction.
OIS It seems this form derives from Sum. BU’I ‘to face’, ‘receive’, with a following fall of b-, a typical event of Tyrrhenian languages. We can translate it this way: ‘look at him’.
Third phrase: DU EN OS MED FEKED EN MANO MEINOM DU EN OINE MED MALO STATOD.
DU See Sum. du = ra ‘light’, ‘God’.
EN See Sum. en ‘Lord’, Akk. enu(m) ‘Lord’.
OS See Sum. uš ‘vessel’.
MED ‘look after, take care of’. For etymology go to MED below.
FEKED Cf. Akk. peḫu ‘seal’ (a pact) > Lat. pax, pactum = ‘consecrate’. Pacts in high antiquity were always accompanied by consecration, by sacralization.
EN This is Tyrrhenian voice meaning ‘in’, but also ‘with’. So we could translate it as an instrumental particle: ‘with’.
MANO Cfr. Akk. mēnum ‘love’. See below.
MEINOM See Akk. mēnum ‘love’. In mano-meinom sequence there is an exalting doubling translatable as follows: ‘with a lot of love’.
DU See Sum. du = ra ‘light’, ‘God’.
EN Cfr. Akk. enu(m) ‘lord’ = ‘The Lord God’. DU-EN compound is the same DU-EN as the first phrase signifying ‘Lord God’. The doubling is typical of Ugaritic poetry, and is also present in Jewish literature in order to give solemnity to the invocation addressed to the Most High.
OINE ‘wine’. Cf. Gr. οἶνος ‘wine’, Sd. inu, binu. Cfr. Bab. īnu ‘wine’ too, Hebr. iāin. In turn, those various terms have an etymological basis in Sum. u-in ‘tree of abuse, of words’ (from u ‘plant, tree’ + in ‘abuse; word’).
MED Cfr. Gr. μέδω ‘I take care of’, Lat. mĕdĕor ‘medicate, treat, cure’, from Akk. medû ‘look after, take care of’ (see It. mèd-ico ‘doctor’). This entry therefore means ‘take care of’. See the same word in First phrase.
MALO See Akk. malû(m) ‘to become full’, or Lat. malō ‘I prefer’ = (to bother about) ‘filling’ i.e. ‘fulfil, satisfy’.
STATOD Cf. Akk. šitûm ‘drinking’ (verbal adjective). In practice, who “drinks” that ceremonial wine during the rite is the offerer, as well as the priest; but as usual it was the altar itself that was involved, since the third part was poured over it. See also Akk. šitû ‘drinking’, of which STATOD appears to be a contracted form.
Since the fervent tribute to divinity and solemnity of this moment required the utmost composure and respect, the use of three distinct chalices is explained. In this case, if – as it seems – the rituality of drinking wine turns out to be a culminating part of the “Day of Mysteries”, each of the three parts had to have its own chalice. In this case, the union-separation of three chalices certainly had a trinitarian value (“one-and-three”), which was to be emphasized in the same rituality.
Obviously, nothing suggests that every participant in the procession carried a tri-chalice with him. Probably everyone in the sack carried three glasses (in addition to the flask of wine) for the culminating moment (remember that in Mysteries’ ceremonies they got drunk).
That the so-called “Dueno vase” was instead “one-and-three” would seem to demonstrate it was the most important chalice of the long and complex ceremony of honors at the Most High. So this chalice must have belonged either to the Temple as the culminating receptor of the procession; or it belonged to the most powerful of the participants in the procession.
The fact this vase was found buried in Templar area can only give value to its unique importance and sacredness.
FINAL TRANSLATION OF THE TEXT (by S. Dedola)
1. A GIOVE CHE E’ IL CREATORE DELL’UNIVERSO, CHE (= ‘affinché’: invocativo, precativo) SI PRENDA CURA DEI MITI (di noi miti) E FACCIA RISORGERE DAL FANGO I CORPI PURIFICATI, LA FORZA VITALE SCENDA SU DI LORO (ossia ‘rigeneri i loro corpi’, cioè ‘che i corpi si rigenerino nella verginità, nella palingenesi’).
TO JUPITER WHO IS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, WHICH (= ‘so that’: invocative, precative) TAKES CARE OF THE MILD PEOPLE (of us mild people) AND MAKES PURIFYED BODIES RISING FROM THE MUD, THE LIFE FORCE GOES DOWN ON THEM (i.e. ‘regenerate their bodies’, that is ‘the bodies regenerate in virginity, in palingenesis’).
2. L’UNO CREATORE, GIOVE RADIANTE, RISORGA E SI APRA AGLI IMPLORANTI DELL’ASSEMBLEA E GLI RIVOLGA LO SGUARDO.
THE ONE CREATOR, RADIANT JEHOVAH, RESOURCE AND OPEN UP TO BESEECHERS OF ASSEMBLY AND LOOKS AT THEM.
3. IL SIGNORE IDDIO ABBIA CURA DI CONSACRARE IL VASO CON TANTO AMORE, IL SIGNORE IDDIO CURI (apprezzi) IL VINO CHE SODDISFA (ricolma, sazia) I (tre) CHE BEVONO.
LORD GOD TAKE CARE TO CONSECRATE THE VASE WITH SO MUCH LOVE, LORD GOD APPRECIATE THE WINE THAT SATISFIES (replenishes, sates) THE (three) DRINKERS.
1 La Stele di Nora 65