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INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES


naive imaginations could be represented by cows: the clouds of heaven were cows whose milk nourished the earth, the stars were a herd with the sun as the bull amongst them, the earth was a cow yielding her increase. Before the original community, which extended over a wide area with Bactria for its centre, had broken up, agriculture had begun, and barley, if not other cereals, and various leguminous plants were cultivated. Oxen drew the plough and the wagon. Industry also had developed with the introduction of agriculture; the carpenter with a variety of tools appears to construct farm implements, buildings and furniture, and the smith is no less busy. Implements had begun with stone, but by this time were made of bronze if not of iron, for the metals gold, silver, copper, tin were certainly known. Spinning and weaving had also begun; pottery was well developed. The flocks and herds and agriculture supplied food with plenty of variety; fermented liquors, mead, probably wine and perhaps beer, were used, not always in moderation. A great variety of military weapons had been invented, but geographical reasons prevented navigation from developing in Bactria. Towns existed and fortified places. The people were organized in clans, the clans in tribes. At the head of all, though not in the most primitive epoch, was the king, who reigned not by hereditary right, but by election. Though money had not yet been invented, exchange and barter flourished; there were borrowers and lenders, and property passed from father to son. Though we have no definite information as to their laws, justice was administered; murder, theft and fraud were punished with death, imprisonment or fine (Résumé général at end of vol. ii.).

Further investigation, however, did not confirm this ideally happy form of primitive civilization. Many of Pictet’s etymologies were erroneous, many of his deductions based on very uncertain evidence. No recent writer adopts Pictet’s views of the Indo-European family. But his list of domesticated animals is approximately correct, if domestication is used loosely simply of animals that might be kept by the Indo-European man about his homestead. Even at the present day domestication means different things in the case of different animals. A pig is not domesticated as a dog is; in areas like the Hebrides or western Ireland, where cattle and human beings share the two ends of the same building, domestication means something very different from the treatment of large herds on a farm extending to many hundreds of acres. In other respects the height of the civilization was vastly exaggerated. That the Indo-European people were agricultural as well as pastoral seems highly probable. But as Heraclides says of the Athamanes (Fragmenta hist. Graec. ii. 219), the women were the agriculturists, while the men were shepherds. Agriculture begins on a very small scale with the dibbling by means of a pointed stick of a few seeds of some plant which the women recognize as useful either for food or medicine, and is possible only when the people have ceased to be absolutely nomad and have fixed settlements for continuous periods of some length. The pastoral habit is broken down in men only by starvation, if the pasture-lands become too cramped through an excessive increase of population or are seized by a conqueror. As has been well said, “of all the ordinary means of gaining a livelihood—with the exception perhaps of mining—agriculture is the most laborious, and is never voluntarily adopted by men who have not been accustomed to it from their childhood” (Mackenzie Wallace, Russia, new ed. i. p. 266, in relating the conversion of the Bashkir Tatars to agriculture). Even the plough, in the primitive form of a tree stump with two branches, one forming the handle, the other the pole, was developed, and to this period may belong the representations in rock carvings in Sweden and the Alps of a pair of oxen in the plough (S. Müller, Nordische Altertumskunde, i. 205; Dechelette, Manuel d’archéologie, ii. pp. 492 ff.). The Indo-European civilization in its beginnings apparently belongs to the chalcolithic period (sometimes described by the barbarous term of Italian origin eneolithic) when copper, if not bronze had come in, but the use of stone for many purposes had not yet gone out. While primitive Indo-European man apparently knew, as has been said, the horse, ox, sheep, goat, pig and dog, it is to be observed that in their wild state at least these animals do not all affect the same kind of area. The horse is an animal of the open plain; the foal always accompanies the mother, for at first its neck is too short to allow it to graze, and the mare, unlike the cow, has no large udder in which to carry a great supply of milk. The cow, on the other hand, hides her calf in a brake when she goes to graze, and is more a woodland animal. The pig’s natural habitat is the forest where beech mast, acorns, or chestnuts are plentiful. The goat is a climber and affects the heights, while the sheep also prefers short grass to the richer pastures suited to kine. To collect and tame all those animals implies control of an extensive and varied area.

What of the trees known to primitive Indo-European man? On this the greater part of the arguments regarding the original home have turned. The name for the beech extends through a considerable number of Indo-European languages, and it has generally been assumed that the beech must have been known from the first and therefore must have been a tree which flourished in the original home. Now the habitat of the beech is to the west of a line drawn from Königsberg to the Crimea. The argument assumes that its distribution was always the same. But nothing is more certain than that in different ages different trees succeed one another on the same soil. In the peat mosses of north-east Scotland are found the trunks of vast oaks which have no parallel among the trees which grow in the same district now, where the oak has a hard struggle to live at all, and where experience teaches the planter that coniferous trees will be more successful. On the coast of Denmark in the same way the conifer has replaced the beech since the days of the “kitchen middens,” from which so much information as to the primitive inhabitants of that area has been obtained. But with regard to the names of trees there are two serious pitfalls which it is difficult to avoid. (a) It is common to give a tree the name of another which in habit it resembles. In England the oriental plane does not grow freely north of the Trent; accordingly, farther north the sycamore, which has a leaf that a casual observer might think similar, has usurped the name of the plane. (b) In the case of the beech (Lat. fagus), the corresponding Greek word φηγός does not mean beech but oak, or possibly, if one may judge from the magnificent trees of north-west Greece, the chestnut. It has been suggested that the word is connected with the verb φαγεῖν to eat, so that it was originally the tree with edible fruit and could thus be specialized in different senses in different areas. If, however, Bartholomae’s connexion of the Kurd būz, “elm” (Idg. Forschungen, ix. 271) be correct, there can be no relation between φαγεῖν and φηγός, but the latter comes from a root *bhāuĝ, in which the g would become z among the satem languages. The birch is a more widely spread tree than the beech, growing as luxuriantly in the Himalayas as in western Europe, but notwithstanding, the Latin fraxinus, which is almost certainly of the same origin, means not birch but ash, while the word akin to ash (Gr. ὀξύη) appears in Latin without the k suffix as os- in Latin ornus, “mountain ash,” for an earlier *osinos, cp. Old Bulgarian jasenŭ (the j has no etymological value), Welsh and Cornish onnen, from an original Celtic *onna from *os-nā. One of the most widely spread tree names is the word tree itself, which appears in a variety of forms, Gr. δρῦς, Goth triu; Skt. dāru, δόρυ, &c., which is sometimes as in Greek specially limited to the oak, while the Indian deodar (deva-dāru) is a conifer. O. Schrader, who in his remarkable book, Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte (1883, 3rd ed., 1906-1907), locates the original home in southern Russia, would allow the original community (ii. p. 178) to be partly within, partly without the beech line. The only other tree the name of which is widely spread is the willow: the English with, withy, Lat. vitex, Gr. ἰτέα for ϝιτέα, Lithuanian wýtis, Zend vaêti. Otherwise the words for trees are limited to a small number of languages, and the meaning in different languages is widely different, as Gr. ἐλάτη, “pine,” Old High German linta, “linden,” with which go the Latin linter, “boat,” and Lithuanian lentà, “board.” The lime tree and the birch do not exist in Greece, and the Latin betula is a borrowing from Gaulish (Irish bethe), the native word fraxinus, as we have seen, being used for the ash. The equation of the Latin taxus, “yew,” with Gr. τόξον, “bow,” is no doubt correct; Schrader’s equation of Skt. dhanvan, “bow,” with the German tanne, “fir,” must, if correct, show at least a change of material, for no wood is less well adapted for a bow than fir. The only conclusion that can be drawn with apparent certainty from the names of trees is that the original settlements were not in the southern peninsulas of Europe.

Some of the names for cultivated plants are widely spread, but like the names of trees do not always indicate the same thing. This is not surprising if we consider that the word corn, within the Teutonic languages alone, means wheat in England, oats in Scotland, rye in Germany, barley in Sweden, maize in the United States of America. Thus the Skt. yáva means corn or barley, in Zend corn (modern Persian jav, barley, but in the language of the Ossetes yeu, yau is millet), the Gk. ζεά is spelt, the Lithuanian jawaĩ corn, the Irish éorna barley (Schrader, Sprachvergleichung3 ii. p. 188). The word bere or barley itself is widely spread in Europe—Latin far, spelt, Goth, barizeins, “of barley,” Old Norse barr, Old Slav, bŭrŭ, a kind of millet (ibid.). But the original habitat of the cultivated grain plants has not yet been clearly established, and circumstances of many kinds may occasion a change in the kind of grain cultivated, provided another can be found suitable to the climate. In early England it is clear that the prevalent crop was barley, for barn is the bere-ern or barley-house.

The earliest tree-fruits found in Europe are apparently those discovered by Edouard Piette as Mas d’Azil in a stratum which he places between palaeolithic and neolithic. They included nuts, plums, birdcherry, sloe, &c., and along with them was a little heap of grains of wheat. If Piette’s observations are correct, this find must go back to a date long preceding the fruits found by Heer in the pile-dwellings of Switzerland. Here also cherry-stones were found, though the modern cherry is said to have been imported first by Lucullus in the first century B.C. from Cerasus in Pontus, whence its name. In the pile-dwellings a considerable number of apples were found. They were generally cut up into two or three pieces, apparently to be dried for winter use. In all probability they were wild apples of the variety Pirus silvatica, which is found across the whole of Central Europe from north to south (Buschan, Vorgeschichtliche Botanik, p. 166). The original habitat of the apple is uncertain, but it is supposed to be indigenous at any rate south of the Black Sea (Schrader, Reallexikon, s.v. Apfelbaum). The history of the name is obscure; it is often connected with the Campanian town Abella, which Virgil (Aeneid, vii. 740) calls malifera,