Hi again, everybody! ‘Hall Of Shame’ continues!
27 YAHUDA, RHOME, WILKENS ETC ON GREEK
Because of its long history and respected status, Greek – from Mycenaean through Homeric, Classical, Koine, Hellenistic, New Testament and Byzantine/Medieval to Modern (both Katharevousa and Demotic) – is a major focus for non-mainstream claims.
Some non-mainstream theories involve claims to the effect that Greek was the Ursprache. Joseph Yahuda, supported by Konstantinos Georganas, Kostas Katis and others (see also ‘Around The World In ‘Mysterious’ Scripts & Texts’, this blog, 22 May 2012), is one writer who advances this view. Yahuda commences from the claim that Hebrew specifically is disguised Greek, almost all of its words being composed of one or more distorted Greek roots, and goes on to identify Greek as an overall Ursprache and thus to deny the existence of Proto-Indo-European as an ancestor for Greek and other languages. However, even where Yahuda’s claims are not mutually contradictory or are not actually refuted by other evidence, the ‘evidence’ in their favour is of the usual inadequate kind.
Another author of much the same kind is Harrell Rhome. Citing Yahuda and various dated sources, Rhome identifies Greek as the ancestor of Hebrew, Semitic languages generally, Egyptian, Indian languages, etc. Rhome’s main intention here is to lower the status of Hebrew, which he perceives as having been tendentiously exaggerated by Jewish writers. But in fact it is not clear how seriously he himself takes his own account of Greek.
Some other non-mainstream theories involve the Greek legends regarding the Siege of Troy (in modern Turkey) and its aftermath, as recounted in the Homeric poems. Several authors have sought to re-assign the location of the Trojan War and associated legendary events to distant areas, in the Atlantic and elsewhere. On less than persuasive grounds, Iman Wilkens (previously alluded to in ‘Linguistics Hall of Shame 2’, this blog, 23 March 2013) holds that the main actions of the Trojan Cycle really occurred in Britain, France and his native Netherlands. (Compare Daunt and others, who relocate the events reported in the Old Testament). Wilkens identifies Homeric place-names etc. with later British (Celtic), English, Dutch and other local place-names using the usual amateur methods. For instance, he equates Cambridgeshire river-names with the superficially and unsystematically similar Homeric Greek names of rivers in the Trojan Plain.
Felice Vinci instead re-interprets the actions of the Trojan Cycle as occurring in the area surrounding the Baltic Sea. Linguistic details are not at all salient in Vinci’s argument, but he does make a vague comment about ‘Achaean-like place-names’ in the Baltic and naïvely interprets the presence in the Baltic region of Lithuanian (a conservative Indo-European language but not one especially closely related to Greek) as supporting his case.
Of course, the precise location of Troy was not known until relatively recently, and the ‘facts’ of any genuine ‘Trojan War’ and the locations of many associated places remain disputed and indeed often conjectural; but it is very generally accepted that these events, or the genuine events upon which they were based, did indeed occur in the Eastern Mediterranean Greek world, where they appear to be set.
References to any of these writers on request!
More next time!
For my book Strange Linguistics, see:
Copies are available through me at the author’s 50% discount, for EU 26.40 including postage to anywhere outside Germany. Please let me know if you’d like one, suggest means of payment (Paypal is possible) and provide your preferred postal address.