Celtic Studies and Celto-Slavica: present state and future prospects
Let me begin by welcoming you all to the Second International Conference of Societas Celto-Slavica. I hope we will have an enjoyable and pleasant stay here in Moscow. I wish to thank in particular Professor Tatyana Mikhailova and her colleagues for organizing the conference. I also thank the University authorities, and both the Philological and the Historical Faculties, for permission to hold our lectures and events in this prestigious seat of learning. We will also have some lectures in the Institute of Linguistics at the Russian Academy of Sciences, and we are therefore most grateful to the Institute and the Academy too for generously providing their facilities.
The First Conference, which was held last year in Coleraine, was a landmark event, and the proceedings, Parallels between Celtic and Slavic (The Stationery Office, Coleraine, 2006), have already been published and will be officially launched a little later this morning. They are a testament not only to the breadth and depth of the work being carried out by those involved in Celto-Slavic matters but also to the general excellence of the scholarship.
Like the present conference, the Coleraine one was also organized by Societas Celto-Slavica, which provides a forum for scholars from the Slavic countries and the West who are engaged in the study of connections and exchanges between Celtic and Slavic, and seeks to make accessible to a wider public the work on Celtic matters carried out by Slavic scholars. The Society developed naturally as a result of the dedication and efforts of a number of scholars over many years and was particularly facilitated by recent developments which have eased communication between East and West.
Societas Celto-Slavica follows on from the work begun in Leningrad and St. Petersburg by V. N. Yartseva, which has been ably carried on by Alexander Falileyev, and by some of other scholars, including S. V. Shkunayev and Tatyana Mikhailova here in Moscow. Of course, the Society also owes its origin to the great tradition of Celtic scholarship in Poland, the Czech Republic and other Slavic countries.
The Permanence of Place. Places and Their Names in Celtic Poetry
In this paper I intend to discuss .
Instructions of Righteous Kings: The Irish, Russian and Indian Data
The paper shall consider typological similarities and differences occurring between different texts that were compiled as the instructions of the righteous rulers to the would-be kings.
We shall address the following texts. On the Irish side, Tecosca Cormaic, 'Instructions of Cormac', allegedly composed by Cormac mac Airt, a legendary king of pre-Christian Ireland, but the text itself can be safely dated to around 800 AD. On the Russian side, Pouchenie Vladimira Monomakha, 'Instruction of Vladimir Monomakh', who lived between 1053-1125, and was elected as the great prince of Kiev since 1113, will be in the focus of our attention. And lastly, on the Indian side, we shall turn to the edicts of the Indian king Asoka (fl. 248 BC) on Dharma (understood as the principles of righteous behaviour) inscribed on slabs and pillars and survived in Magadha province of India. Different typological similarities arise from the comparison. These include not only general moralistic statements, but obtain a more specific character, such as one's behaviour in respect to the senior, the wise, and the young, one's attitude towards the poor, and the wretched, one's behaviour in the times of peace or at war, when hunting in the woods or holding a feast. We shall aim at deciphering the meaning of instructions, their structure and the key issues that the texts of this kind involve.
On Application of Glottochronology for Celtic languages
The present talk continues in the series of studies published elsewhere, demonstrating the application of lexicostatistics and glottochronology for various Indo-European branches, namely Germanic (Blazek and Pirochta 2004), Slavic (Novotna and Blazek 2005). Especially in the latter study the various modifications of glottochronology are explained in detail.
For Celtic languages, two main alternative models of their internal classification were proposed. The traditional, p/q-model, is based especially on phonology, the Insular/ Continental dichotomy has been argumented by morphology.
The lexicostatistic approach for a study of genetic relations of the Celtic languages was introduced by Robert Elsie (1979; 1986; 1990). Applying lexicostatistic method with 100-word-list and excluding synonyms, he has got the following results for the Brittanic languages: Breton-Comish 84.8%, Comish-Welsh 78.8%, Breton-Welsh 73.7% (Elsie 1979, 48). In the case of the Goidelic languages, Elsie studied in detail 58 various Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic dialects and varieties on the basis of 184-word-list. He concluded that Manx is closer to any of the dialect group of Irish than to any of the dialect group of Scottish Gaelic (Eslie 1986, 244).
The second attempt to apply the lexicostatistic approach for classification of the Celtic languages was realized, unfortunately not published, by Sergei Starostin, who used his own modification of glottochronology. The tree-diagram presented here was kindly offered by Starostin to the authors in June 2005.
In the present study, the re-calibration of glottochronology developed by Sergei Starostin (1989, 1999) is applied. The independent calculations of Sergei Starostin and the present authors correlate in dating of the beginning of divergence of Goidelic and Brittonic to 11OOBC. Practically the same result was reached for chronology of the disintegration of Gaulish vs. Goidelic and Gaulish vs. Brittonic.
The most natural conclusion, which postulates three coordinate branches, neutralizes the long controversy between p - q and Insular - Continental models of the classification of the Celtic languages.
It is a pity the lexical corpus of Celtiberian does
not allow a similar test. It is necessary to stress, this dating gives no information about the place of the Celtic dispersion. For the Goidelic languages Starostin supposes a common separation around AD 900. It could be understood as an average of two separations, between Gaelic and Irish-Manx (AD 700), and between Irish and Manx (AD 1025). A closer relationship between Manx Irish than Manx and Gaelic was proposed by Elsie too (1986, 244). The relative late dating could be explained by the influence of literary Irish for Manx and Gaelic. The analogous explanation is necessary to apply for Brittonic languages, where our dating of their disintegration (AD 810) coincides with the beginning of the literary era of Welsh and Breton. But
first fragments are for both idioms so homogenous that frequently it is
possible to differentiate them only on the basis of palaeography. The dating of the separation of Breton and Cornish can be assigned to the 12th. cent. (Starostin: 11th cent.) and indicates their permanent contact at the time.
The Three Sails, The Twelve Winds and the Question of the Early Irish Colour Theory
This paper takes as its point of departure the early Irish text Immacaldam Choluim Chille ocus ind Oclaig ('The Conversation of Colum Cille and the Youth'), in which birth, dying and conception are symbolised by sails coloured respectively yellow, green/ blue/ grey (glas) and red. This contrasts with the symbolism familiar from the stories of Theseus and Tristan, in which a white sail represents life and a black sail death: in one case, the colours designate two opposed states; in the other, three complementary processes.
These three colours, conceived as a fundamental constellation representing
the cycle of human existence, are (if glas is translated 'blue') identical with the 'subtractive primary colours' of modern colour theory.
If valid, this equation would represent a dramatic anticipation of developments elsewhere: the subtractive triad was not defined until the eighteenth century. Are there any other indications that ideas about the nature of colour lie behind the Immacaldam's symbolism?
It is recognised that Early Irish and British manuscripts employ a so-called 'insular palette' of yellow, red and green; in some cases, blue substitutes for green. This looks like an early version of the subtractive triad, in which (as is the case lexically) blue and green are treated as two 'shades' of a single colour. This interpretation appears to be confirmed by the Lindisfarne Gospels. Here, for the first time in Insular illumination, green is produced by combining blue and yellow pigments, thus empirically demonstrating that green is not a primary colour; and there is a tendency for blue to replace green as one of the three elements in the 'Insular palette', perhaps reflecting a new perception of blue rather than green as being primary.
Further evidence is afforded by the correlation of winds with colours in the Middle Irish poem-cycle Saltair na Rann; in this case, the assigning of colours to the points of the compass amounts to the creation of a "colour wheel' centuries
wheel" centuries before such a model is attested elsewhere. The Saltair's schema is, as Tatyana Mikhailova has shown, governed by a division of the wheel into 'day' and night' spectra, centred respectively around white and black. The 'day' spectrum includes red, yellow and blue, and the two basic mixed colours green and purple; furthermore, a natural reading of the poem implies a placement of green between yellow and blue, and of purple between blue and red. Again, the relationships of the colours as these came to be understood in early modem Europe seem already to have heen recognised in early medieval Ireland.
Women of Power Compared in the Slavic and Celtic Traditions
This paper will examine series of 'powerful' women in the two cultural linguistic contexts, and using various refractions of "power," beginning with a brief consideration of particular cases: regal and magical figures in Ireland (Medb or "the Medbs ), Rhiannon in the Welsh mythic corpus (and other manifestations of a Sovereignty Goddess), war goddesses, fertility figures, and Irish manifestations of the 'Mélusine' type. In the Slavic tradition the focus will be on the various Slavic pagan pantheons (with some extension into the Christian era), other aspects of the Sovereignty Goddess, benign or malignant, and 'Mélusine' figures found in the East. Certain historical figures will be looked at (beginning with Olga / Helga in 10th century Kiev). One question to be tentatively answered is if the eminence of certain female figures in the Celtic and Slavic traditions moderated or amended the so-called patriarchal bias of the Inda-European political and social ideology. Another point to be considered is how the feminine zone or aspect is balanced in these two traditions, that is, its potencies seen as positive or negative. Some brief attention will be paid to Emily Lyle's theory of the 'overarching' feminine power as superimposed on, for example, the canonical trifunctional system suggested for Indo-European societies by G. Dumézil.
Brythonic 'Second lenition' Revisited
One of the questions of Celtic historical phonology that still need a clear and uncontroversial account is the problem of the Brythonic unvoiced spirants. Did they arise from Proto-Celtic (and Latin) geminate consonants directly, as suggested by the classic account of Jackson (1953), or did the doubled consonants undergo degemination for spirantization of singletons to apply later (as in, for instance, Thomas 1990 and McCone 1996)?
This question bears not so much on the (relatively uncontroversial) word-internal evolution of plosives as on the development of the mutation system in Welsh, Cornish and Breton, since sound-changes in sandhi leading to the modern mutation are obviously at least partly parallel to the word-internal shifts. Isaac (2004) tries to uphold the former view, seeking to expose the weaknesses of the latter and claiming that the only way to overcome them is returning to the "geminate" version.
My principal points can be summarized as follows.
1. Spirantization of geminates is in itself a highly unnatural typological process. In an effort-based analysis of lenition processes worldwide, Kirchner ( 1998a, 1998b) shows that geminates are the segments which require much articulatory effort, while non-strident fricatives occupy the lower end of the effort spectrum. Kirchner demonstrates that geminates must undergo reduction to singletons before they can be spirantized (or voiced). The fact that non-strident fricatives are lenes in the closely related Irish is also difficult to reconcile with the notion of geminate-induced spirantization;
2. Gemination after liquids (which is required under Jackson's proposals) is also a verv rare (but, admittedlv. not an impossible) process;
3. The evidence for aspiration as a truly contrastive feature in Common Brythonic needs more examination: Modern Welsh is close to the area covering much of Northern Europe where voicing contrasts have given way to aspiration (Helgason 2002; Steblin-Kamenskij 1974); in this connection the evidence from Germanic languages such as Danish may be instructive;
4. All accounts dealing with the rise of the mutations crucially rely on the assumption that the rules responsible for allophonic variation which was subsequently grammaticalized had operated "between words" just like "inside words". I show that it is this imprecise formulation that has led to many problems being overlooked. It can be demonstrated that once every rule is assigned a scope of operation, there emerges a clear and explicit account of prosodic constituency and its change over time that can greatly enhance our understanding of sandhi processes in Common Brythonic and of the differences between the daughter languages. It is worth noting that prosodic constituency still plays a role in conditioning the mutations in the modem Brythonic languages (Pyatt 2004).
Modern Welsh Word List for Glottochronology
The issue of compiling a reliable 100 word list for glottochronological use from Modern Welsh was addressed by many scholars, among them recently Vaclav Blazek.
In our paper we will report on our field work on gathering such a list from Welsh speakers. Our respondents are speakers of both South and North Welsh dialects, they are of different age and social backgroWld. Their answers vary considerably among each other and also from the lists represented in previous studies. We are going to classify the problems that lead to such a variation and present our version of a 110 word list, which we assume to be most suitable for further glottochronological languages of Celtic languages.
Introduction to Celtic Philology, Second Edition: Book Launch
The book launch was carried out by the late Victor P. Kalygin's student, Anna Muradova, who shared her experience of the project which involved the publication of the second edition of the Introduction to Celtic Philology - primarily she dealt with the questions of additions and corrections made in the second edition in comparison to the original version of the book.
The Function of OI com-, ad-, ro- and Similar Elements in Slavic
It is well known that com- and ad- are used with the OIr verb with the same function as ro-. This function, which has sometimes been called "perfective" was analyzed by McCone in "The Old Irish Verb". The semantic (and actional) function of Latin con-, ad- and other prefixes such as pro- was discussed by Haverling (2000). The function of the Hittite clitic -kan, which is related to com- and con-, was treated by Josephson and Boley in several publications.
The likewise related Gothic ga- which has similar functions has been brought into the discussion. The directive and telic function of Hittite -san is also relevant to the question. In the discussion of all these elements the nature and relation of telicity and perfectivity and the dimension tense/ aspect have been debated.
Telicity as expressed by different preverbs explains the rise of Slavic perfectiviIY and a comparison with the Old Irish verb is appropriate. As one of the preverbs that is used for perfectivation in Slavic is pro-, there is reason to compare its use with that of OIr ro- (and Latin pro-).
On the development of the 'after' perfect in Irish and Scottish Gaelic
The special status the verbal noun enjoys in all Celtic languages was discussed on numerous occasions. However, the historical development of various constructions which involve the verbal noun and the possible interaction between them are still to be unfolded. In Old Irish, the verbal noun could be used with various prepositions. In fact, in the words of Professor V. N. Yartseva, "in principal, any preposition existing in Old Irish can be used with the verbal noun and express a certain relation" [Yartseva 1940, 242]. In this paper, some information is presented which could add to our understanding of the development of one such construction that involves prepositions meaning 'after' and that is usually referred to as the 'after' perfect.
The construction usually follows the pattern [SUBST.VERB 'to be' + SUBJ. + 'after' + VN]. The way the object is expressed in this construction is dependent on the general syntax of the VN. The pattern that was the only option in the earlier language was [VN + OBJ.GEN]. If a pronominal object was involved, the appropriate pattern would be [POSS.PRON. + VN]. In the later language (from the Middle Irish period on), however, a new pattern gradually took ground [OBJ.+ a ( do 'to')+ VN] which in Irish came to be used with both nominal and pronominal objects. Scottish Gaelic has retained the old pattern in the case of pronominal objects.
Cú Roí and Svyatogor: A Study in Chthonic
Both Early Irish and Old Russian literary traditions demonstrate a particular example of an extraordinary character showing supernatural and chtonic features; it is Cu Roi mac Daire on the Irish side, and Svyatogor on the Russian side.
We have to be careful before arguing that these two mythological characters reflect one particular Indo-European or pre-lndo-European archetype of a monstrous chtonic creature (cf. views expressed by Henderson, Putilov), on the other hand we take our heroes as complex and independent entities in two mythologies such different as Early Irish and Russian. Especially when one discusses the Russian oral tradition of Bylinas which have been preserved orally until the first published editions of the nineteenth century.
On the one hand, both the Irish and Russian mythological traditions (notwithstanding the differences of their background) bare clear traces of a Christian world-view which makes it even more difficult to establish certain pre-Christian religious or ritualistic patterns allegedly connected with the characters discussed. On the other hand, any scholar of comparative mythology has to be aware of archetypal typological similarities between these two creatures which make them inverted and distorted reflections of a remote chtone X, well known in other traditions as well. The aim of this paper is to trace these similarities, which sometimes will lead us to different characters and plots both in Early Irish and in Russian material.
Digging up Dirt on Gods, Saints and Heroes: Scéla Mucce Meic Da Thó, Lokasenna and the Russian Povest' o brazhnike (The Tale of a Reveller)
In the Lokasenna and SMDD the hero
Remarks on the Russian translation of the novel 'Amach' by Alan Titley
The talk will take the form of a dialogue: various passages from Alan Titley's recent novel 'Amach' will be read in their Russian translation by the speaker, while accompanied by their Irish original counterparts, read out by the author himself.
The Breton Devil, Its Surnames and the Red Colour
The devil is largely represented in Breton folklore. Not called by its name, the euphemisms had been used.
In this connection, the breton ru(z) "red colour" as the Welsh rhudd and Old Irish ruad comes from the Indo-European *reudh- 'red'. In Breton the word ru(z) has another meaning 'bad, dangerous'
Being at first one of the epithets of gods, this word had in the
Celtic languages another meaning 'strong, powerful". In Irish we find "red" colour as applied to both male and femal, while in Breton the epithet 'red' had masculine overtones. This epithet had a connotation "bad, harmful, dangerous" because the dectruction of enemies was one of the prerogatives of a king. So, the red color came to be associated with death. In Christian Brittany this meaning of the word prevailed, as it was used while speaking about the destructive force of the devil.
Russian Influences on Irish Literature
Russian literature has had an unexpected influence on writing in Irish in the twentieth century. This has been more an example of individual Irish writers embracing Russian models, or of being lead down the Russian road, than of any programme. Some of the major works, and major writers in Irish, owe their debt to some kind of Russian influence. The early modernist, Padraic Ó Conaire, invoked Dostoievski as a person who looked into the soul of people and said: 'Look, this is what people are really like!' and he did this against the tide of the novel of manners. His novel Deoraíocht (1910) is replete with Dostoievskian characters, as are many of his short stories.
It is unlikely that Tomas Ó Criomhthain would ever have written his classic An tOileanach if he had not been inspired by foreign models. He had no written tradition on which to draw from, and his Blasket Island home was far from the centre of any literary tradition. Yet, he drew inspiration from the example of Maxim Gorki, who showed that ordinary people could write about ordinary things in an extraordinary way. The Irish 'peasant' saw in the Russian 'peasant' a common world and a common purpose.
The most significant example of this influence, however, is that of Máirtin Ó Cadhain, who describes how he read in a French translation a story of Gorki's about a harvest day on the Don, and he suddenly realised that they were his people also. He describes it as his Road to Damascus, and there is no doubt that his stories changed character in form and in depth after this encounter. His earlier stories were folklorish, and showy, and he later disowned them. But after Gorki he could coldly describe and lovingly account for the life of his own people.
On the evolution of Indo-European perfect forms in Celtic
I have been working on the subject of the evolution of Indo-European perfect forms in Celtic for two years now within the frame of a resear scholarship funded by Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, and I intend the present paper to be a final presentation of the project. I plan to present the results of my research and to address the following issues:
1) The heterogeneity of Celtic preterit; the distribution of original perfect and aorist forms;
2) The patterns of unification of paradigms and other morphonological peculiarities in original perfect forms;
3) The history of hybrid forms in Continental and Insular Celtic.
Cú Chulainn and Ilya Muromets
The combat of father and son (or of close relatives) is a theme well own in many literatures. Within the Indo-European world it is encountered, for example, in the Persian legend of Sohrab and Rustem found in the Shah-Nama, in the Germanic tale of Hildebrand and Haudubrand from the Hildebrandslied; from Russian in the legend of Ilya Muromets and bis son Sokol'nik ('Falcon'), while in Irish it occurs in the tale of Cú Chulainn and Connla(och).
There is not widespread agreement on the exact nature of the connection between these and other similar tales found in Indo-European traditions. Some scholars maintain that the theme is of Indo-European antiquity, while others ould hold that it developed in one branch and spread thence at a later period to other traditions. Apart from its occurrence in the literature of the Indo-European world we should also note that the basic theme is attested in other traditions.
In this paper we will look at possible functions it may have had. We will examine its role within different traditions, and look at a number of case studies
Miraculous magic in medieval Ireland: epaid, 'spell'. Part II
The paper entitled 'Miraculous Magic in Medieval Ireland: the Epaid, 'Spell', Part I' was presented at the Twenty-Eighth Annual University of California Celtic Studies Conference, which was held in conjunction with the meeting of the Celtic Studies Association of North America, at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA, 16-19 March 2006. Because this paper precedes one to be read in Moscow, a summary of its results will be given.
'Miraculous Magic in Medieval Ireland: the Epaid, 'Spell', Part I' started with a plea for a neutral study of religious phenomena, including so-called 'magic'. The negative image of 'magic' is partly ideology, stemming from religious views that have influenced the semantic history of the term 'magi' and etic views on the concept 'magic'. (By emic views we understand the perspective of the believers. The perspective of scholars studying this belief referred to as etic.) The traditional dichotomy between magic and religion is an apriori assumption that is no longer tenable. We owe this insight not only to intellectual developments in Religious Studies but also to medieval sources themselves.
The paper continued with a survey of 26 instances of epaid in medieval texts. In most cases something harmful is associated with forms of epaid, such as sins, vices, murder, secret seduction, and poisoning. Some of these examples fit neatly within the traditional negative image of so-called 'magic'. The supernatural art designated epaid is linked with destructive, anti-social sinners and criminals. Both male and female professionals are mentioned as skilled in this supernatural art. The laws connect love charms with men, literary texts with women. A demon uses an epaid against Saint Moling; Saint Brigit makes one with a blessing; in another source this blessing is described as an invocation of Jesus Christ. Three loricae or protection formulae invoke the Trinity, the girdle of Finnian, the girdle of John and the cloak of God against aipthi (nom pl. of epaid).
An epaid may signify verbal power but often it is not clear what precisely is meant by the term. It is part of supernatural arts; it can sometimes be given, carried, eaten or drunk. If it signifies a herb, root, mushroom, potion or something else, this does not preclude the use of words. The tangibility of charms is compatible with an idea of objects with secret and/ or powerful words inscribed on them or spoken out loud to empower them. In 'The Hisperica Famina II: Related Poems', Michael Herren has suggested the possibility "that loricae were meant not only to be recited, but also to be carried on the person, or even worn (perhaps like a scapular with a long inscription)". A similar custom may perhaps be posited for objects empowered by aipthi, either through verbal recitation or inscription or a combination of both.
What exactly is an epaicl? An epaid is comparable to Greek фapµaKov,signifying both poison and medicine; it is a supernatural instrument that can destroy, create and heal and that may be accompanied by or consist of words of power. The traditional image of a spell (epaid) as something destructive and contrary to Christianity is both sustained and denied in medieval Irish