21 Oct 2007

Liber Linteus and religious formulae, part 3

(Cont'd from Liber Linteus and religious formulae, part 2)

The last thing that I want to talk about here is what might be behind the seemingly random interchange between the aforementioned patterns A, B and C of this particular religious formula.

In itself, there is no rational reason why the same three words of this list should be declined for grammatical case in three very different ways, even if they happen to convey the same overall meaning. Of course, there is always the possibility that it's just artistic whim on the part of the scribe, but I try to avoid vague ideas like this when I can find a stronger pattern. What I notice is that this religious formula is probably not to be understood in isolation, but rather is part of whatever phrase that precedes it. On its own, this religious formula seems to lack a finite verb form (which I believe is any form that is marked for tense). Here we only have enaś at the end of these phrases which I interpret to be a deverbal adjective meaning "everlasting", from the verb en "to last, endure".

To make a long story short, certain verbs go with certain patterns. Again, looking at the patterns and taking note of the words that precede it, it appears we have another interesting and larger pattern at work:

preceding phrase (verb shown in blue, formula shown in red)verb used with patternnominal inflection used in formula

Cis-um pute tul θansur haθr-θi repin-θi-c śacni-cle-ri cilθl, śpure-ri, meθlume-ri-c enaś.

putelocative -e + -ri
BIn ze-c fler θezince śacni-cś-treś cilθś, spureś-treś meθlume-ri-c enaś.θezincedirective -iś + -treś
CCis-um θesane uslane-c mlaχe luri zeri-c ze-c aθeliś śacni-cla cilθl, śpural meθlumeś-c enaś.mlaχeattributive /-l

It seems to me that the religious formula here, by showing the same indirect objects with different case markings for these different verbs that precede them, may be a key to an intelligent translation of these passages. Some verbs may not allow certain case endings simply because the semantics of the verb disallow it. And that, my friends, is all I have to say on that for now.


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