THE BARBARIAN NAMES ON THE OSTRACA FROM THE EASTERN DESERT (3RD CENTURY CE)
‘Inside and Out: Interactions between Rome and the Peoples on the Arabian and Egyptian Frontiers in Late Antiquity (200-‐800 CE)’, Ottawa, 10-‐13 October 2012 University of Ottawa THE BARBARIAN NAMES ON THE OSTRACA FROM THE EASTERN DESERT (3RD CENTURY CE) Helmut Satzinger University of Vienna
When excavating Roman garrisons in theEastern Desert of Egypt, the archaeologicalteam headed by Hélène Cuvigny found inter alianumerous ostraca of economic content thatmention persons with Barbarian names. They were written in the middle of the 3rdcentury CE, or shortly after. An obviousquestion is that of the ethnicity and language ofthese persons. Given the period mentioned andthe area in question, the people that ﬁrst come tomind are the Blemmyes.
There is Blemmyan onomastic material extant from mainly two sources: • Epigraphic material from Lower Nubia, ca. 5th century. When the Blemmyes occupied the north of Lower Nubia, with Talmis (el-‐Kalâbsha) as an urban and cultic centre, they left a number of inscriptions there. The script is the Greek alphabet. The Greek papyrus letter which the Blemmyan king Phōnēn addressed to the Nobatian king Abourni may be of slightly later date. Dijkstra, Philae, pp. 45–46. SB XIV 11957.23 = FHN III 319. Dijkstra, Philae, p. 52. For the zirst edition see T.C. Skeat, ‘A Letter from the King of the Blemmyes to the King of the Noubades’, JEA 63 (1977) pp. 159-‐70, revised by J. Rea, ‘The Letter of Phonen to Aburni’, ZPE 34 (1979) pp. 147-‐62.
Jean Maspero « Notes épigraphiques » BIFAO 6, 1908, 43-45 εγω ϊϲεμνε βα-‐ ταμαλ(αϲ) βαϲιλ(ευϲ) ϲιλευϲ εχαρι-‐ εδεθ(...) τα(?) ορ(εα?) ϲα τοπον τη ϲενταηϲεω-‐ πλουλαν κα-‐ ϲ αρχιιερ(εωϲ) θωϲ μαρουκ εχα-‐ ... ριϲεν τω δηγου βα-‐ ... j’ai fixé les limites (?), ... S. étant grand-prêtre ...
• Papyrological material from El-‐Gebelein (Pathyris or Aphroditopolis), Upper Egypt, ca. 6th cent. El-‐Gebelein (Pathyris), south of Thebes, seems to have been part of the area which the Blemmyes controlled, over which they exerted curatoria, and from whose population the synetheia was to be extracted, if need be, with the aid of the phylarchos or the hypotyrannos. Evidence for this is from leather documents. All of them arelegal documents: nine debts, three of them with pledging; two are releases of slaves; and two are royal documents bestowing curatoria over the “island called Tanare,” or “island Temsir called Tanare,” inhabited by Rhômeis. At Duke University Library there is also a leather document of like appearance, it is a business text.http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/papyrus/records/283.html.
Berlin P. 8978H. Satzinger „Urkunden der Blemmyer“ Chr. d‘Égypte 43, 1968, 129-130
H. Satzinger „Urkunden der Blemmyer“ Chr. d‘Égypte 43, 1968, 129-130 τω ευγενειω ωϲε — — — — — εχω . ϲοι εν τη χειρι μου κρματων νουβαρ[ιτων] χρυϲου νομιϲματια οκτω γι/ χρ/ ν̊ η μονα και ταυτα παρεξω ϲοι οποταν βουληθεθηϲ και ϲτοιχει μοι . . . To noble Ose ... I have (from) you in my hand of Nubian coins gold solidi eight, making gold solidi 8, netto. And these I will put at your disposition as soon as you wish, and I agree . . . Berlin P. 8978
BKU III 350 (Berlin P. 22041)H. Satzinger BKU III, 350 . anok xarawtik pé N. aen eisàai ntamer ma………. èe eis takayo(n) NtaINts ài ptooy mpatibi sàime apeàshT aItaas nh àN pemoy àM pevnä nSévpe nh Nkayon anok de maàanaT eisàaI NsentekàaInis
The number of the personal names gained from these sources is about ninety. It had long been surmised that the majority of them, namely those that are not obviously Egyptian, or Greek, or Latin, are based on a language that is closely related to modern Bedauye, or the Beja language. Gerald M. Browne, Textus Blemmyicus Aetatis Christianae (Champaign Illinois 2003)
In the following list, Greek and Coptic phi, theta, khi are rendered by ph, th, kh, respectively. F, h and š render the respective Coptic signs. Y is the [j] sound, whereas Ypsilon is consequently rendered by u. Yet w is put where omicron + ypsilon are obviously consonantal. Dots under letters signal that the reading is uncertain. Hypothetical elements of compositions are separated by hyphens, surmised grammatical elements (feminine endings ·t, ·s (rendering [θ]?); genitival endings ·i, ·e) are separated by a raised dot.
yaha-‐tek (cf. Bedauye tak ʻmanʼ) yasa-‐tek (cf. Bedauye yaas ‘dog,’ tak ʻmanʼ) NAMES FROMyawi-‐ze INSCRIPTIONSyeni AND DOCUMENTS Egyptian Names atre (i.e., hatré) (= Egn. ḥtrj ʻtwinʼ) 4hapi (= Egn. ḥʕpj, name of the Nile) p·ades (= Egn. p3-‐ʾ·dj-‐sw ʻHe who has given himʼ?) pasapip (= Egn. p3-‐s3-‐ ʾpjp ʻthe son of Apipʼ??) p·ate-‐bor( ) (= Egn. p3-‐ ʾ·dj-‐… ʻHe whom … has givenʼ?)) p·hant (= Egn. p3-‐ḥmntr [phánt] ʻthe priest”) pi-‐say (i.e., pi-‐šay) (= Egn. p3-‐š3j ʻthe fateʼ, also a deity) (NB Greek sigma may also render š) pi·son (= Egn. p3-‐sn [pisón, sán] ʻthe brotherʼ) p·rēt (= Egn. p3-‐rwḏw ʻthe controllerʼ) psentha-‐ēse, psentha-‐ēsi[s] (lege pšenta-‐?) (= Egn. p3-‐šrj-‐n-‐t3-‐(n.t)-‐3s.t, ʻthe son of her who belongs to Isisʼ; a name) t·rəm-‐p·yōh (fem.) (= Egn. t3-‐rmṯ·t-‐p3-‐ ʾʕḥ [trəmp(y)óʕḥ] ʻthe woman [=adorer] of the moonʼ)
The names that could be read on the ostraca from the Roman garrison (3rd cent.) are cited in the following, in a Latin transcription of the Greek original as I received it from Hélène Cuvigny. Note that a dot under a letter signals that the reading is uncertain. Letters g and t can hardly be distinguished, as can be noticed. These are the conventions of the transcription: ph, th, kh, ks, ps; ypsilon is rendered by u in all cases.
A phonetic analysis of the “Barbarian” material is badlyhampered. One reason is that the reading is uncertain in manycases. Another one is the presumable discrepancy of theGreek and “Barbarian” phonetics and phonemics. The fewtexts in Coptic script from el-Gebelein prove the existence ofsounds h and š in their language. Greek script, however, isunable to distinguish these sounds from zero and s,respectively. Both the Cushitic and the Eastern Sudaniclanguages display still more sounds and phonemes that arealien to Greek (such as retroﬂex and palatal occlusives). Still,one can gain the impression that the two corpora of“Barbarian” names, of the 3rd and the 5th and 6th centuriesrespectively, are by and large congruent in respect of theirphoneme or sound inventories. Also, there is a certainresemblance in the syllable structure.
In order to achieve concrete results, however, a statisticanalysis was undertaken, considering the discernableconsonantal phonemes in respect to their employmentin initial, medial, and ﬁnal position.
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
The most conspicuous result is in the auslaut restrictions which are virtually identical; in fact, an important feature: otherwise, the evidence is not really convincing. As was shortly mentioned above, the language of the Blemmyan names of the 5th and 6th centuries may be regarded as some kind of Old Beja, as an ancester language of modern Bedauye, or at least as one closely related to it. Although already described by Almkvist and by Reinisch as early as the 1890ies, the language of these nomads, roaming in large areas of Egypt, the Sudan, and Eritrea, is yet imperfectly documented. Anyway, a scrupulous analysis of the onomastic material, on the basis of knowledge of Beja rules and elements, has yielded some results.
Women’s names often end in -‐t or -‐s: apehseµ·t, mahana·t; amna·s, senta·s-‐ao, sentek-‐hai ‚ni·s, toµdete·s. N.B. A feminine ending –t is a feature also found in Egyptian, Semitic, and Berber. The genitival noun (which precedes its referent) ends in -‐i or -‐e (after a consonant) or y (after a vowel). N.B. An ending –i of the genitival noun is also found in Semitic.
Names of Cent. V to VI — Grammatical StructuresNo examples in the names of the ostraca of cent. III.
Can the names from the ostraca be interpreted as Beja language (Bedauye)?Beja expert Klaus Wedekind passed the names though his parser: 10. Mai 2011 23:32:38 MESZ Lieber Herr Satzinger, Heute nachmittag haben Sie die Namensliste geschickt, und ich habe sie durch meinen Beja-Parser geschickt - mit den Wörtern und den Umschreibungen ..., die mir gerade so einfielen. Das Ergebnis - grob wie es ist - hänge ich in zwei Dateien hier an: (1) Die Liste Ihrer Namen, alle Zeilen numeriert (2) Die interlinearisierte Liste der Übersetzungen, mit der gleichen Zeilen- Numerierung Manche Ergebnisse kann man wirklich nicht ernst nehmen - aber ich schicke Ihnen mal das Ergebnis ohne weitere Revision. Viel Spass bei Aussortieren. ... Ihr Klaus Wedekind
NO REASONABLE RESULTS: ab-‐ait, ab-‐er . . ḷi, aḅ-‐ṃạạ, abou: cf. ab ‘kid‘, fem. abat; ab-‐ou: ab-‐uu ‘his kid’ ab-‐ait: aba-‐yt river/khor/brook-‐CasGen = ‘of a river’ Αti . .: aat-‐i milk-‐CasGen ‘of milk’; milk-‐PossSg1 ‘my milk’ atiοu : aat-‐i-‐yooh milk-‐CasGen-‐PossSg3 = ‘of his milk’ akasa: aa-‐kass-‐aah ArtPlMSubj-‐all/total-‐PossSg3 = ‘all his (men)’ agiοu: aa-‐gaw-‐u ArtPlMSubj-‐house/tent/sheath-‐PossSg1 = ‘my houses’ auṭēs: awt-‐ees honey-‐PossSg3 = ‘his honey’; awt-‐ee-‐s honey-‐CasGen-‐ AdvGen+from = ‘from honey’. bekrạbie: barguug-‐iit old+man-‐Adv+like = ‘like an old man’ betet: 0-‐bit-‐i-‐t hawk/eagle-‐CasGen ‘of a hawk (or eagle)’ garap: garab ‘split’ akοria: aa-‐khoor ArtPlMSubj-‐river+bed: but khoor is Arabic! Etc. ... Hardly anyone of these meanings is a likely personal name.
Also, possible reminiscences of the elements found in the Blemmyan names from Talmis and el-‐Gebelein are very scarce. Amokourta: compare Blemmyan kouta? Baratit: compare Blemmyan Barakhia ? Κοuei (if Coptic, meaning ‘little’): may be identical with Blemmyan Kōy. Kestek: compare the Blemmyan names with a second element ‑tek or ‑tak. Theplōkh: compare Blemmyan Ploukh-‐karour? Mounkha: compare Blemmyan Mounkōk-‐hǝnhiou? S/Gerekhēm: compare the extension –khēm of several Blemmyan names.
This result is astonishing. Although the names from the ostraca have a similar phoneme inventory as the Blemmyan names, have almost identical restrictions in respect of the zinal consonant, and have a comparable syllable structure, the material substance does not show agreement in a noteworth measure. On account of all this, an identity of the languages of the names in the ostraca of the 3rd century and those in the texts of the 5th and 6th centuries cannot be claimed for sure – unless further elucidation yields more positive results. As it seems now, the names from the ostraca may originate in a language related to that of the Blemmyes, similar in structure, but seemingly not identical.
WE MAY HOPE FOR FURTHER ELUCIDATIONON THE BARBARIAN NAMES ...................
WE MAY HOPE FOR FURTHER ELUCIDATIONON THE BARBARIAN NAMES ................... Hadendowa, ca. 1960