6 Sep 2010

Pondering on the phrase 'capite velato'

In Latin, there's a phrase capite velato meaning literally 'with covered head'. The term is used in Roman religious contexts to refer to the act of covering the head with a veil when performing sacrifices. It's said that the Etruscans by contrast did things 'Greek-style' (ie. capite aperto 'with bare head').

Meanwhile, Fay Glinister has made a great article that seeks to smash apart what she identifies as a dogmatic belief by modern historians in Veiled and unveiled: Uncovering Roman influence in Hellenistic Italy (2009). Reading through it, I'm impressed by her daring push beyond facile analyses here. To paraphrase, she says that the act of capite velato can't be viewed as a strict ethnic marker and that it extends beyond just Roman culture. Further, the practice may be appropriate to some rites but not necessarily others. She explains that Etruscans too must have done rites in capite velato and that this shouldn't be assumed a priori to be from Roman dominance.

My interest was piqued by this phrase lately, however, due to something specifically linguistic. I've already been suspecting that despite some unconvincing attempts by Indoeuropeanists to make these words native terms, it seems to me that both Latin caput 'head' and Latin velo 'to veil' are both Etruscan borrowings.

We should reject Julius Pokorny's Indo-European root *kaput which is poorly justified both phonetically and distributionally. The only plausible cognates for 'head' are found in Italic and Germanic branches (ie. only in Western IE dialects and with difficulties in sound correspondence) while the Indo-Iranian words propped up as relevant comparisons are a desperate ploy to legitimize a terrible reconstruction. I've already theorized Etruscan *caupaθ 'head' motivated in part by Latin caput and Germanic *haubidaz (see Paleoglot: Edward Sapir and the Philistine headdress) and also motivated by a Minoan cognate *kaupada (see A hidden story behind Cybele the Earth Mother?). There is also enough evidence I think to reconstruct Etruscan *vel 'to hide' considering the comparison of Etruscan *Velχan 'Volcanus', lit. 'Hidden One', with similar epithets in Greek Ἅιδης 'Hades' (< *Awidēs 'Unseen') and Egyptian Amon, also literally 'The Hidden One'.

Most strange of all is that this Latin phrase can in theory be provided an almost identical Etruscan counterpart, despite differences in grammar: *caupaθe velaθ. Here, the first word ends in the Etruscan locative -e and the second word is an intransitive participle in -aθ modifying the preceding noun.

So I wonder: Is it possible that this phrase was originally an Etruscan saying, cleverly borrowed into Latin with parallel terms and grammatical endings?

29 comments:

  1. How would an Etruscan word get into Germanic? Or do you assume that the Germanics got it from Latin? Then why reconstruct it as proto-Germanic-looking *haubidaz?

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  2. Since Germanic shows /x-/ in *haubida-, the loan must logically happen before Grimm's Law took effect. If Proto-Germanic is dated to 500 BCE, this makes sense if the loan happened between 1000 and 500 BCE by the time the Etrusco-Rhaetic had first established themselves through the Po Valley, when they were already trading with the early Celts to the west and north.

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  3. Before 500 BC the Germanics are thought to have been confined to Denmark, the south of the Scandinavian peninsula, and maybe the North Sea and Baltic coasts on either side of Denmark. That's pretty distant from the Rhaetic area.

    By the time the Germanics first appeared in the Alps, wouldn't proto-Germanic have already broken up? And wouldn't Etruscan and Rhaetic have already been largely replaced by Latin and Celtic respectively?

    If anybody besides the Italics was going to borrow anything from the Etruscan or Rhaetic languages, I'm thinking it would have been the Celts, not the Germanics.

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  4. You dismiss the Indic cognates, but I honestly think kapucchala- ‘a tuft of hair on the hind part of the head (hanging down like a tail)’needs to be justified somehow.
    This is without any doubt a compound. And we actually find a variant kaputsala-.
    From that it seems like the underlying form is *kaput- + sala-/śala-. The alternation of the s and ś in the second element of the word is very strange and un-Indo-European.
    What could sala-/śala- mean?
    Well, we find the word śala- ‘staff; dart, spear’.
    For sala- we find the meaning ‘a dog; water’
    We shouldn’t forget to look up variants with r, since there is plenty of alternation between r and l in Sanskrit.
    śara- has a lot of meanings, none of which are particularly useful. The main meaning seems to be ‘a sort of reed or grass’. We find the meaning ‘an arrow, shaft’ as well.
    sará seems to be an alternative form of sala- as we find the meaning ‘fluid, liquid’.
    In several compounds though, it seems to take on the meaning ‘cord’ or ‘string’.
    Namely: prati-sará- ‘a cord or ribbon used as an amulet worn round the neck or wrist at nuptials’ maṇi-sara- `a string or ornament of pearls’, muktā-maṇi-sara- `a string of pearls’ (muktā-maṇi- = pearl) and mauktika-sara- `a string of pearls’ (mauktika- = pearl).
    So taking the meaning of kaput-sala- in mind, it stands to reason that ‘a tuft of hair’ might be referred to with the word -sara- `cord, string’. What kind of cord is it then? Well, probably a ‘head-cord’. If you take that meaning kaput- can have no other meaning than ‘head’.
    I realize that just about every part of this word is problematic. But the most logical interpretation does imply that kaput means ‘head’. Just because a word is found in an undesired place (in this case in Sanskrit) and is very sparsely attested doesn’t make it irrelevant.
    Nevertheless, I think we can all agree that *kaput- can nevertheless hardly be a proper PIE word. First there’s the problematic *k which might be depalatalised form a *ḱ due to the follwong *a, but that’s hardly a solution as *a is a very odd sound to find in a PIE word to begin with. Then there’s the polysyllabicity with no proper place to devide a root from an extension *-ut is found in some words, but to my knowledge its only found in very suspect words, and words generally found in Sanskrit.
    But both Sanskrit and Latin do point to one common non-PIE original word *kaput. It’s strange that Germanic clearly points to *kauput- as there is no clear reason why Sanskrit or Latin would leave no indication of a diphthong.
    So many questions, so little answers, at least you gave me an excuse to dig up my newly acquired Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English dictionary, which I’ve bought in India for the fantastic price of 900 rupees (about 15 euros).

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  5. Glossy: "Before 500 BC the Germanics are thought to have been confined to Denmark, the south of the Scandinavian peninsula, and maybe the North Sea and Baltic coasts on either side of Denmark."

    Please prove that the Proto-Germanic language was strictly 'confined' to only those areas and nowhere else. Keep in mind that material remains say little about a culture's language.

    By contrast, it's a fact that Germani were trading with Celts before Grimm's Law took effect between 1000 and 500 BCE considering the Celtic loan *rīkaz 'chief, ruler'. So it looks to me like the Germani were *not only* in the core region you describe but further south too.

    "If anybody besides the Italics was going to borrow anything from the Etruscan or Rhaetic languages, I'm thinking it would have been the Celts, not the Germanics."

    There are other possibilities. The word for 'head' in Venetic is, as far as I know, unknown. Germanic and Venetic share some interestingly close ties suggesting early interaction (cf. Venetic mego vs. Germanic *mek 'me (acc.)').

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  6. PhoeniX: "You dismiss the Indic cognates"

    Damn straight I do! ;o) The primary priority of "(*)*kaput preachers" is to cough up VALID COGNATES justifying this root before asserting it as fact. If no valid evidence is supplied, it can't be dignified as a PIE root without indulging in unmethodological garbage.

    Lat caput and Ger *haubidaz are the only alleged cognates directly reflecting *kaput but since they brazenly contradict known sound correspondances (Lat a ⇔ Ger *au !?), there is no PIE root to even discuss nor is it my onus to supply origins to all words ever associated with this awfully reconstructed root!

    As for kapucchala-, no matter how much one wishes it to be so, there is no *kaput or *śala- in Sanskrit. Furthermore, the word refers specifically to hair on the **back** of the head and considering puccha- 'tail', evidently there are other options to consider before connecting it to a fundamentally unjustified protoword.

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  7. I don't doubt that the Germanics had contacts with the Celts early on. Contacts with Rhaetic and Etruscan speakers, especially in the proto-Germanic period, are more difficult to imagine.

    I don't think it's a coincidence that Germanic runic inscriptions only start in the 2nd century BC at the very earliest. That's when the Germanics first came in contact with the literate Mediterranean/Alpine world. And there's no mention of them in Roman histories before 113 BC. This must be because before that date they were never present in the Roman sphere of influence.

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  8. What you leave out of consideration are the differences between the Germanic reflexes of *haubiða. OIcel. hofuð, OE hafud point to a monophtong. For Gmc we need an explanation which takes this into account. Therefore I agree with Kluge (and indirectly De Vaan) who say that we should build on the form *kap-ut/*kap-uet (obviously non-PIE), with a form of u-infection providing the diphtong in some Germanic forms. Gmc (OE and OFris)and possibly Pgmc loved u-infection (areal feature common with Old Irish? I know its not the same, but the process is similar. anyway, think about *kwe>*hwe>*wh>Goth -uh, and the Gothic toponym auha instead of ahwa) Possibly the ablaut difference between the strong and oblique cases yielded the generalization of two different paradigm-forms. Once we take *kaput as our reconstruction, a link with a theorized Etruscan caupath should be interpreted as a loan the otherway around?

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  9. Germanic *ha(u)buda- is, when compared to Latin caput, not only subject to Grimm’s law, but also Verner’s law, which took effect before Germanic got the initial ictus. This gives us Pre-Germanic *ka(u)putá-, i.e. with stress on the ending. That doesn’t fit too well with an Etruscan word, if I got it right. Of course, we can hypothesize interference from Gmc *hūbōn- ‘head cover’ on an original *ha(u)fuda- from PreGmc *ká(u)puta-, but that’s pretty ad hoc. Starting from Aegean *káupada doesn’t help either, as we would still get the f, not b. A more sound correspondence would be achieved if we could have an intermediary IE language voicing non-aspirated stops: Aegean *káupaða > intermed.*kʰáuBeDa > PreGmc *kʰáuBeDa > Gmc *háubida (and variations). It will require some effort to justify the existence of such a language, just let me point to the Venedi of the Baltic coast as opposed to the Veneti of the Adriatic coast, two locations connected by the amber road, by the way.

    As for the context of an Aegean loan into Germanic and Latin, a fitting time and place would be before ca. 1600 BC at the Upper Danube. Not only is this a likely vicinity for Proto-Italic, but hence also spread an impetus to the Nordic Bronze Age in the century to come (as well as to the Lusatian culture area of the Venedi). As for the facilitating connection to the Aegean, we do have the general Bronze Age trade connections, but also the hill-fort at Monkodonja on Istria 1800 BC (and other castellieri), displaying similarity with Mycenaean buildings and possibly being a colony from this area. This must remain a guess, but shows a clear possibility.

    In this case, the loan is not from Etruscan itself, but from early contacts along the trade route which the Etruscans later followed to establish themselves in Northern Italy.

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  10. Glossy: "Contacts with Rhaetic and Etruscan speakers, especially in the proto-Germanic period, are more difficult to imagine."

    Fair enough, but for all we know the language may have spread out beyond the archaeological culture. In a pre-writing society, how can we honestly tell?

    Keep in mind that other suspicious examples like Etruscan ais versus Germanic *ansuz 'god' suggest that some interaction was happening nonetheless, prompting for example Altheim to remark on it in A history of Roman religion (1938), p.168.

    In the latter case, there's an attested potential intermediary in Venetic ahsu (sometimes transliterated aisu because of the similarity between "h" and "i" in Venetic script) in inscriptions Gt 1 and Gt 2.

    So a compromise could be that the Veneti migrated northward into Germanic territory, occasionally transferring some words that happen to be common to Etruscan and Rhaetic. This theory would then presuppose something like Venetic *kaubitos 'head'.

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  11. Peter: "Therefore I agree with Kluge (and indirectly De Vaan) who say that we should build on the form *kap-ut/*kap-uet (obviously non-PIE), with a form of u-infection providing the diphtong in some Germanic forms."

    If you see that it's 'obviously non-PIE' then it's absurd to persist with a PIE reconstruction. The assumption that this word must exist from PIE times and must be part of the IE lexicon despite all its absurd problems, its unanalysable form, and the absurd and random fixes proposed is positively cultish. I can't be bothered because it assumes too much. And yes, this PIE root assumes far more than my Aegean root *kaupada, I dare wager.

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  12. Grahatt: "Starting from Aegean *káupada doesn’t help either, as we would still get the f, not b."

    No, I'm proposing that the loan occured before Grimm's Law. Thus PGmc *xaubidaz (c.500 BCE) < PreGmc *káubidaz (c.1000 BCE). The Etrusco-Rhaetic *p in *kaupaθ is unaspirated and can sound very much like a /b/ so that isn't a problem.

    However, see my comment just above to Glossy on a possible Venetic intermediary.

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  13. I am not giving a PIE-reconstruction, (Heck, I am even reconstructing *a)I am giving the late-PIE/post-PIE interpretation of a substrate-word by the pre-Germanic speakers who welcomed the word into their language (just as it made its way into the latin language). I agree that it is absurd to assume that the word existed from PIE-times onwards, so that's not what I am doing. I am just stating that the diphtong-reconstruction for Germanic is not unproblematic and some forms just need an *a and not an *au. The reconstruction *kaput with an explanation how the *u got into the Germanic rootforms is not only welcome, it is also necessary, for an etymology must explain all the variants. How would you explain the diphtong-less forms in Germanic?

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  14. Glen: The Etrusco-Rhaetic *p in *kaupaθ is unaspirated and can sound very much like a /b/ so that isn't a problem.

    Well, Germanic turned two out of three stops into unvoiced (except through Verner’s law), and the third, voiced stop is regarded aspirated in PIE reconstruction, thus the Germanic b (ƀ) and d (ð) versus Latin p and t presents a problem to be solved.

    Of course, hypothezing variation in the phonemic interpretation of long-distance loan words is a legitimate solution, but not very robust. A systemic solution is preferable, if possible.

    In this case, I think the Venetic/Venedic intermediary presents a facilitating missing link, but this could also demand an earlier date for the loan.

    Compare the loan PGmc *krēkaz ‘Greek’ which would have taken place in Etruscan time (after the foundation of Cumae). Whether the loan took place before or after the effect of Grimm’s law, it is PIE *g > PGmc k which seems to be the natural fit for unaspirated stops. The ē(²) here, as opposed to ǣ or ai, points to Etruscan creice (or Rhaetian?) as the source of borrowing, not Old Latin Graikos.

    This again would dismiss a more or less direct borrowing of *kaupaθ into PreGmc *kaubed.

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  15. Peter: "How would you explain the diphtong-less forms in Germanic?"

    Who reconstructs **habidaz as a valid variant, and based on what attested reflexes?

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  16. Gråhatt: "A systemic solution is preferable, if possible."

    I very much agree but in this case I doubt it can be helped.

    "The ē(²) here, as opposed to ǣ or ai, points to Etruscan creice (or Rhaetian?) as the source of borrowing, not Old Latin Graikos."

    If so, the loan would be sufficiently late because Old Etruscan ai becomes ei and the Old Etruscan word for 'Greek' must have been *Craice, directly from Greek Γραικός.

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  17. Peter, disregard my previous question on diphthongless forms. I've managed to find the following link to Historische Sprachforschung. Interesting. The plot thickens.

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  18. Maybe Indo-Aryan kapucchala- isn't linked at all. In his work on "Substrate Languages in Old Indo-Aryan" (http://www.ejvs.laurasianacademy.com/ejvs0501/ejvs0501article.pdf)M. Witzel lists /ka-/ as a typical prefix in Para-Munda loans. He doesn't list kapucchala-, probably because he accepts the conventional IE etymology, but a relative to the Munda words meaning "sprout, swell" quoted on p. 37 could as well be behind kapucchala-. I wouldn't be surprised if kapr.th(a)- "penis" would be a candidate for a Para-Munda loan as well.

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  19. It seems your link is bad. Let's try this: ejvs0501article.pdf.

    Whether a loanword or a native derivation, it looks pretty secure that kappuchala- was unlikely to derive from genuine PIE roots because its semantics highly favour a link to attested puccha- 'tail'. A Munda prefix in *ka- is interesting though, although I'm sadly not familiar with that language group.

    Now, if Sanskrit kapr̥t 'penis' isn't PIE either, this dooms the traditional IEist etymology from a root (*)*kapr̥- which I've already questioned. In Pokorny's work, perhaps we see the beginning of the telephone game where (*)*kapro- is used to explain both 'penis' and 'goat'. I presume the two sememes were subsequently split into two roots as a minimum-effort attempt to adapt to criticism while ignoring the greater methodological concern against reconstructing roots based purely on regionally restricted evidence.

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  20. I was wondering about the reason for veiling one's head during a religious ceremony and I found an answer in a book by the Italian writer (and professional archaeologist) Valerio Massimo Manfredi ("Mare greco", page 154).

    Quoting Virgil's Aeneid: III, 403-407, he says:

    "When, in Epirus, the Trojan soothsayer prophesies to Aeneas, that his final landing point would be on the beaches of Latium *, he instructs him, on arrival, to turn his (veiled) head during the ceremony of thanks to the Gods, so that his gaze does not cross "some face of foe", thus desecrating the ritual."

    * Near the World War II Anzio landing beachheads.

    Perseus website Latin text:
    "Quin, ubi transmissae steterint trans aequora classes,
    et positis aris iam vota in litore solves,
    405purpureo velare comas adopertus amictu,
    ne qua inter sanctos ignis in honore deorum
    hostilis facies occurrat et omina turbet.


    1910 English translation:
    "Yea, even when thy fleet has crossed the main,
    and from new altars built along the shore
    thy vows to Heaven are paid, throw o'er thy head
    a purple mantle, veiling well thy brows,
    lest, while the sacrificial fire ascends
    in offering to the gods, thine eye behold
    some face of foe, and every omen fail.
    "

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  21. Francesco,

    Great find. However, based on Fay Glinister's article mentioned above where she illustrates that some rites prescribed veiling while others not, this then couldn't be the complete answer. Surely if this were so, veiling could be applicable to any rites susceptible to the evil eye. In other words, all of them.

    Instead, assuming this practice was rooted in Etruscan cosmology as is the majority of Roman religious practices, I have a different idea. Perhaps the 'veiling' was intended initially for rites involving the earth and the dead. Afterall the earth can be thought of as a kind of veil placed over the underworld.

    Thus, to veil oneself is to become like the deceased. One might have wanted to "don death" in order to "enter the underworld" and communicate with Bacchus and the dead through ritual. Just a thought, anyway. I have no proof at hand. I'm merely putting myself in Etruscan shoes for the sake of debate.

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  22. Your view is probably more comprehensive. On another point:

    Glossy said: By the time the Germanics first appeared in the Alps, wouldn't proto-Germanic have already broken up? And wouldn't Etruscan and Rhaetic have already been largely replaced by Latin and Celtic respectively?

    I agree entirely and, if I remember rightly, you too Glen were convinced that the Rhaetians went through Celtic before adopting any other language, Latin or Germanic. The most likely scenario, also keeping in mind the northern limits of the Roman Empire ("the limes") and the Danube frontier, is that the Rhaetians passed through Celtic and "late Latin" (proto Rhaeto-Romance) before adopting Germanic (Rhaeto-Romance was spoken in Chur, Grisons-Graubuenden, until the city was destroyed by fire in 1464 and is still spoken north of the Alps in the central parts of the Canton, from the Rhine Valley to the Inn Valley-Engadina).

    The text of the Wikipedia article on Tyrsenian languages includes a useful map for the distribution of Rhaetian, but (see the section entitled "Extinction"), I think the text should be amended in the sense that, as mentioned above, it is almost impossible that speakers of Rhaetian, in the northern part of their territory, passed directly from Rhaetian to Germanic as late as the 3rd century AD.

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  23. And, on another point, Gråhatt said:

    As for the context of an Aegean loan into Germanic and Latin, a fitting time and place would be before ca. 1600 BC at the Upper Danube. Not only is this a likely vicinity for Proto-Italic, but hence also spread an impetus to the Nordic Bronze Age in the century to come (as well as to the Lusatian culture area of the Venedi). As for the facilitating connection to the Aegean, we do have the general Bronze Age trade connections, but also the hill-fort at Monkodonja on Istria 1800 BC (and other castellieri), displaying similarity with Mycenaean buildings and possibly being a colony from this area. This must remain a guess, but shows a clear possibility.

    In this case, the loan is not from Etruscan itself, but from early contacts along the trade route which the Etruscans later followed to establish themselves in Northern Italy.


    This would solve many problems. The idea of a connection along the "Amber route" between the "Adriatic Veneti" and the "Baltic Veneti" (see the Wikipedia articles for references), has been raised recently by some Slovenian scholars.

    Gråhatt's reference to Mycenaean influence in Istria is also important in relation to the northern "entry point" for the Tyrsenian languages into Italy that we have been discussing in another "thread".

    As we saw there, the sea migration of Tyrsenian-speaking Anatolians (proto-Etruscans) as argued by Beekes is compatible with technological possibilities and seafaring realities and is reflected in the legend of the founding of Padua by Antenor, the "Trojan" (i.e., a north-west Anatolian) (cf. Livy).

    This is further supported by Gråhatt's "Mycenaean" evidence for Istria, because once you have passed Istria, the Po river is easy sailing through the coastal system of lagoons (just think of Venice: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=venice,+italy&ll=45.367584,12.300568&spn=0.384961,1.315063&t=k&hl=en), which is less dangerous than open sea sailing.

    In the case of the Adriatic, I can now add to what I already wrote that the only real danger is represented by a strong north-east wind called the "bora", but it is unusual in summer, which was the preferred season for ancient seafarers.

    The other risk that we discussed was piracy and the ancient Adriatic was later notorious for its "Liburnian pirates", but I am assuming - on the basis of what I have read - that, at the time of the Tyrsenian sea migrations (ca 1200 BCE), the local seafaring technology was still very primitive and in no way comparable to that of the Aegeans.

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  24. Francesco,

    1600 BCE?! This is now starting to sound like sci-fi fantasy. Much too early, I'm afraid. I really don't see the necessity of this when later loans suffice.

    I notice that your emphasis is much too weighted on archaeological data instead of linguistic data and I always become leery of lines of reasoning that casually treat genetics, culture and language spread as interchangeable notions. No, I'm afraid we won't be finding much language in the archaeological data of pre-writing societies and we're just going to have to accept this. We need to found linguistic theory squarely on linguistic data first and on any other arguments second.

    I also dislike having to theorize an extra "Etruscan-like language" if we don't have to. I urge Occam's Razor.

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  25. Francesco: "I think the text should be amended in the sense that, as mentioned above, it is almost impossible that speakers of Rhaetian, in the northern part of their territory, passed directly from Rhaetian to Germanic as late as the 3rd century AD."

    Yes, I suppose so. I haven't noticed much overt Celtic influence in the Rhaetic language personally. But then, I haven't made an ample search. Then yet again, there's little to search through until more inscriptions are found. Sigh. I think all we have to go on here to make any assertions on bilingualism and language replacement is the assumption that strong Celtic cultural influence on the Rhaetic likely also shaped the language. I'd expect special trade-related loanwords, for example.

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  26. Re the longer-range Central European part of the question (1600 BCE), I think Gråhatt would be more qualified to comment on his initial idea.

    Concerning the Rhaetic language more specifically and of course viewing everything as "work in progress", which may require a change of opinion on the basis of new data:

    1) The linguistic data indicate a relationship with Etruscan (cf. Helmut Rix):
    2) The ancient sources also indicate a relationship with the Etruscan language (cf. Pliny, who was from Como and therefore a close neighbour of the Rhaetians).
    3) The archaeological data indicate the existence of a recognizable Rhaetian cutural area starting from the "Bronze Age collapse" around 1200 BCE to Roman times, and with later contacts with Celtic-speaking populations during the Iron Age;
    4) According to Beekes (2003), the ancient sources, which claimed that the Etruscans came from Lydia in Anatolia, WERE RIGHT, but the Lydia in question was not CLASSICAL Lydia, but OLD Lydia (or Meonia) further to the north in western Anatolia (east of Troy) and the Meonians spoke a language that, to avoid confusion, we can call "Tyrsenian".

    My assumption is that small groups of Meonians entered Italy in two points:
    a) Those who entered in the north-east from the Adriatic contributed to the formation of both the Rhaetian and the Venetic cultures, but were able to transmit their Tyrsenian language, which became Rhaetic, through an élite dominance model as described by Renfrew, only in the Rhaetian zone, while in the Venetic zone a recently arrived (?) Indo-European language. Venetic - close to but independent from Italic - prevailed, possibly due to force of numbers.
    b) Those who entered Italy from the west (from Rome upwards, as they were attracted by the metals of Tuscany) contributed to the formation of the Etruscan civilization and transmitted their Tyrsenian language, which became Etruscan, again through an élite dominance model, to a formerly Indo-European (Umbrian) speaking population (as indicated in the ancient sources).
    Both Anatolian migrations are reflected (and deformed) in Ancient legends: "Antenor" and "Aeneas".

    The Etruscans later expanded into the Po Valley and came into contact with their linguistic relatives, the Rhaetians, who adopted an Etruscan alphabet for their language, probably facilitated in this by the similarities of the two languages. This part is supported by archaeological data and ancient sources, as well as by modern scholarship.

    6) Although, as you rightly say, language is not transmitted together with the genes, the genetic data does confirm the unique Anatolian connections of a part of the modern populations of both Tuscany and Rhaetia, not shared by their neighbours.
    Even more significantly, 4 Tuscan and 1 Alpine cattle breed also have unique Anatolian connections, which would indicate that they were brought there by some immigrant Anatolian groups.

    The genetic data indicate a minority Anatolian component, so my assumption is that the élite group that brought the language inter-married with the local population (as did the Turks later in Anatolia itself, where I believe the Central Asian component is around 30%). This also reminds me of Iceland, where there is a strong "Celtic" genetic component due to the Norwegian's wives, who came from Scotland and Ireland.

    This is how I currently see the question in relation to the Rhaetians.

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  27. Slight correction:

    I mentioned Pliny in support of the linguistic relationship between Rhaetian and Etruscan. I really meant Livy (see the "entry point" thread for the exact link), who was also a close neighbour of the Rhaetians, but from Padua, to the east.

    Pliny, from Como, to the west, was more concerned with DNA:

    "It is supposed that the Rhæti are the descendants of the Tuscans, ..."

    Natural History, Book III, chapters 20-24.

    When I say neighbours, I mean that both Livy and Pliny could see the mountains where the Rhaetians lived simply by looking out of their window in the right direction.

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  28. Something's been bothering me about this topic: how does the PIE root *ghebhel (Tocharian A śpal "head", Greek kephalē "head", Old Irish gabul "forked twig", Old English gafol/geafel "fork", MHG gabel "pitchfork", Old Norse gafl and Modern English gable) relate to this, or does is it relevant at all?

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  29. It's pure fantasy and the lack of regular correspondences proves it:

    1. TochA śpal and Gk κεφαλή show inconsistent accent.
    2. A correspondence of Germanic *g- and Greek k- may be rejected outright.
    3. The Germanic cognates offered don't refer to 'head', but 'gable'. If we're going to play loose with semantics, we better get our sound correspondences ironed out first.

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