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THOSE who are aware how vigorously, and with what extensive erudition, the prevalent opinion, that Latin has been infected by a barbaric element, is impugned by Prichard, in his Physical History of Man," will not think it superfluous to reinvestigate the whole subject. To this end the present paper will be devoted, in the hope of attaining some more definite results, which will be fixed points of knowledge for farther progress.
Before entering on the details which concern the Latin language, it will not be away from the mark to consider the 3 priori state of the case. Assuming that the early migrations of the human race by land outstripped the colonies which could arrive by sea, a peninsula like Italy must have been first peopled from the north, and we shall find its oldest inhabitants (either in difficult mountain regions, or) on its farthest soil. So judging, we should count the Sicanians to be the oldest nation of Italy, because they are the oldest of Sicily, its natural extremity. The Sicanians, we are positively informed by Thucydides, were Iberians, which agrees with the old opinion, that the Iberian” race was the first occupant of Spain also: but on this no stress will be here laid. Next in antiquity to the Sicanians may seem to have been the OEnotrians, or Italians. Concerning these, a conjectural interpretation of a passage which professes to explain the name Italia,” would suggest that they spoke a Celtic language, namely, if they called bulls Italus or Vitalus. For in Welsh also Bittolws means a bull, not a calf; so that, as we cannot volunteer to suppose that the OEnotrians and the Welsh, after alike receiving the word from the Latins, fell into the very same blunder, the presumption is, that the Latins adopted from an OEnotrian people the Celtic word Bittolws or Witolus, and altered its meaning to a calf. Now, if the OEnotrians were Celts, it will agree with the opinion of the ancients, that the Celts were the second people that entered Spain, and overpowered the Iberians; and, in the flux of nations, the Iberians make the first wave, the Celts the second. Nevertheless, on this also, it would be absurd to build any conclusion. Because different writers seem to confuse Siculians with OEnotrians, it has been inferred that the two were the same people. They may have been so; but no deductions ought to be drawn from so uncertain an opinion. Others tell us that Siculians were Pelasgians, but this is uninstructive to a historian of Italy. Of more importance would it be to a historian of Greece to be able to prove that Pelasgians were Siculians,” for of the Siculians we do know some trustworthy facts. We know that mutuum, lepus, patina, carcer, cubitus, gelu, catinus, campus, mepotes, were all Siculian words, and that Valentos was with them the genitive case of Wales—(Valens.) We also learn from what appears positive testimony, that the Siculians entered Italy from the north, and spread southward, a branch of them having at one time occupied Latium, where they were conquered, but not expelled. It cannot, therefore, surprise us to find such identities between the Siculian and the Latin tongues. Whether the Oscan race entered Italy before or after the Siculians, cannot be known. They may have possessed the Highlands, and the Siculians simultaneously the eastern coast, and Latium on the west. At any rate, they at length overwhelmed the Siculians in Italy, drove part of the race into Sicily, and suppressed their name everywhere. That the Aborigines (so called) who conquered the Siculians in Latium, were Oscans, has been probably conjectured, though it cannot be proved. The north and northeast of Italy was overspread time out of mind by Umbrians, a people whom a late and uncertain tradition pronounced to be Celts, whether from the similarity of their name to Ambrones, or from a dim feeling that whatever was most ancient in Italy ought to be Celtic. If, however, the sole” authority of Zenodotus of Troezen sufficed to prove what Lepsius holds as a certain truth, that the Sabines were a branch of the Umbrians, in the course of this paper reasons might appear for thinking that they were really Celts. The Eugubine Tables are assumed to be written in the Umbrian language; and the words which have been probably interpreted appear to be generally both Latin and Celtic. Such are piquier (= picus,) duva (= duo,) triia (= tres), buw (=boves,) witluv (= vitulos,) purca (= porca.) The grammatical forms, however, suggest a far closer resemblance to the Oscans, to whom the Umbrians are probably a kindred nation. Whatever theory we form concerning the relation of Sabines
* As I am about to differ from Dr. Prichard's results, it is more particularly incumbent upon me to state how highly I am indebted to his luminous and comprehensive work, wrought out as it is from original sources, and combined with a full consideration of the views of modern scholars. English students, I fear, need to be informed (for they cannot guess by the title of the work,) how vast a mass of erudition is contained concerning the ancient as
well as modern nations of Europe in his third volume, which peculiarly concerns our present inquiries.
* That the Iberians were the oldest inhabitants, is doubted by great authorities, Humboldt and Niebuhr. Prichard adheres to the ancient view. What prepossesses me in its favour is, the literature and considerable cultivation of the Turdetanians, and other Iberian tribes, which implies long and fixed possession of the soil.
*The passage of Varro is often quoted: “Graecia enim antiqua, (ut scribit Timaeus,) tauros vocabant iraxois, a quorum multitudine et pulchritudine et foetu vitulorum Italiam dixerunt.” The connection of Timaeus with Sicily, and of iraxes with Italy, makes me think that his fact was simply this, The old Greeks of Italy said iraxis for aravees, and his inference was, that it was an old word of Greece Proper.
* The arguments are two-fold: 1. The Italiots called their serfs Pelasgians. These serfs must have been CEnotrians, which means Siculians. Therefore Siculians were Pelasgians. 2. Pausanias was told at Athens that the Tyrsene Pelasgians who had dwelt in Attica were Siculians. A hill near Athens, called
Siculia, confirms the fact. Therefore,
certain Pelasgians were Siculians. The first argument is less cogent than it seems. Slaves are not of the race of the Slavi, nor were the natives of America Indians, nor are the gipsies Egyptians, (nor yet Bohemians.) There is no end of the possible illustration of this topic. As for the second argument, any one who wishes to reject it has only to insist that the hill Siculiar-by accounting for the origin of the idea, that those Pelasgians were Siculians,—nullifies the testimony. None of the characteristic words of the Pelasgians, as Larissa, Argos, are known to us as Siculian, or as Latin; yet the Pelasgians may have been the same people as the Siculians. Only, if they were, then it is utterly impossible for the unconquered Attic or Arcadian people ever to have been Pelasgians. A Siculian, like a Roman, was with Umbrians by the neighbour people, incurably barbarous to a Greek. How while they dwelt on Umbrian soil, is so can Siculians have “ripened” into much a thing of course that this stateIonians? a thing which no Dorian race ment (which I believe is confirmed by ever did. no one,) will not stand against a single * Dionysius tells us, that he said the real fact. That the Eugubine Tables are Sabines ič 'Oaggins, gained the new pure Umbrian, what is our guarantee? name of Sabines after their migration. One race has overlain another there as That they should have been confounded elsewhere in the south.
to Umbrians, and the course of Sabine migration, it is certain that Latium was many times conquered. Pliny names its occupants in the following order: (iii. 9,) Aborigines, Pelasgians, Arcadians, Siculians, Auruncans, Rutulians. Though nothing can be made of the details, we cannot be wrong in believing that it was a very mixed population, having, in all probability, at least four elements, viz., 1. Some primitive race—say CEnotrians; 2. Colonists from the Grecian seas; 3. Siculians; 4. Oscans. To all these, in Rome itself, the Sabines were superadded. Under such circumstances, it would seem to be a miracle if the ultimate Roman language was not extremely composite. No doubt, we may be told that Siculian, Oscan, Greek —yes, and Celtic—all belong to the Indo-European stock, and have many words and principles in common; that words may really be native, which at first sight seem to be imported; that Latin has a sensible fraction of its primitive vocabulary in common with Sanscrit; indeed, words which do not exist in Greek, as ignem, ensem, regem—Sansk.agnim, asim, rājam; and that we do not imagine an Indian migration into Italy, in order to impart these terms to the Romans. All this we admit. But, to put a parallel case, supposing that European literature, earlier than the fifteenth century, had utterly perished, but that tradition preserved the fact of the Saxon and of the Norman conquests of Britain, we surely should be justified in the 3 priori inference that the English tongue contains at least three distinct elements, British, Saxon, and Norman. Which of these would predominate, nothing could be said & priori; and, in the actual business of separating them, we should be liable to various errors of detail. We might easily suppose that Night is of Norman origin, or that Air is of Welsh-awyr, while, in fact, night is independent of nuit; and the Welsh awyr was first expelled by the Saxon lyst; and this in turn by the Norman air. Knowing how complicated a problem we have in hand, we must learn extreme caution, and much diffidence, as to special points. But a combined etymological argument is of such a kind, (however logicians may explain it,) that the whole is stronger than any of the parts; and it is often reasonable to speak more confidently of the conclusion than of the premises separately. In endeavouring to analyze the Latin tongue, and mark off its several constituents, we must expect to fall upon words which were common to them all, and are not rightly to be referred to any special one; yet, through the fragmentary state of our know