Indo-European advanced programme
This programme consists of the following courses: Balto-Slavic accentuation, Indo-European poetry, religion and society: priesthood, royal and social ideology in ancient IE texts, myths and rituals, Indo-European phonology, The Language of Homer.
- Time slot 1: Balto-Slavic accentuation (9.30 - 11.00)
- Time slot 2: Indo-European poetry, religion and society: priesthood, royal and social ideology in ancient IE texts, myths and rituals (11.30 - 13.00)
- Time slot 3: Indo-European phonology (14.00 - 15.30)
- Slot 4: The Language of Homer (16.00 - 17.30)
Tijmen Pronk (Leiden)
The course aims to provide a thorough introduction to the field of Balto-Slavic accentology. Balto-Slavic accentology describes the prosodic systems of the Baltic and Slavic languages and tries to explain them from a Proto-Indo-European perspective. The first week of the course will be dedicated to the synchronic description of the accentual systems of the Baltic and Slavic languages, while the second week will be dedicated to the reconstruction of earlier stages of these systems and the use of Balto-Slavic accentology in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. Basic knowledge of Proto-Indo-European is required and basic knowledge of either Baltic or Slavic is recommended.
Time slot 2: Indo-European poetry, religion and society: priesthood, royal and social ideology in ancient IE texts, myths and rituals (11.30 - 13.00)
Velizar Sadovski (Vienna)
In this year, starting a new decade in the development of the Leiden Summer School, we shall concentrate our attention on a strongly enlarged thematic complex of the traditional class on Indo-European poetics, mythology and religious practices: We shall discuss the relations between archaic Indo-European sacral texts and their impact for the reconstruction of those surrounding realities to which our texts constantly refer – objective realities, but also realities of spiritual and social life.
We shall comment upon the relevant data of a number of parallels of well-known (pre-)classical Greek and Latin texts with (well or very-much-less-known) representatives of ritual and hymnal poetry of other ancient Indo-European traditions such as the Old Norse and Old Icelandic of the Eddas and sagas, Gāthic and Young Avestan, Old Indian of the Rig-, Atharva- and Yajur-Veda, the Cattle Raid cycle of Old Irish epics, or ancient languages of Asia Minor (Anatolian or Phrygian), which have often escaped the attention of the high-specialized (Classical) philologists of present day.
The cross-cultural analysis of the individual pieces of ritual, hymnal, military or legal contents shows us common features of interest for drawing a picture of various socio-cultural institutions within the period of texts in question but also in comparative and diachronic perspective. Kings and Priests, representatives of social establishment and ‘statics’ in peace-time, on the one hand – like the eldest of the tribe, the patres familias, the counsels of clans and tribes, the matronae etc. –, will be as well displayed in their functions for domestic and solemn ritual as, on the other hand, the dynamic social components, catalysts of the community’s expansion: such as warriors and heroes, adolescents subject to various rites of passage, exiles sent away from the community to guarantee its expansion, as hosts of conquest and colonization.
In comparison with these anthropological structures, we shall analyze the ritual and mytho-religious perspective: the relations between the corresponding gods of Right-and-Order, responsible for the establishment and the gods of Attack and Defence, protecting the expansive forces, commenting upon the ritual ways of appeasing them and maintaining the Right/Rite Order in the sphere of the Sacred and in everyday’s life of the community. In this context, old dichotomies such as the ones of Asuras and Devas, of Titans and Olympic Uranids, of Vanir and Æsir, will be re-assessed also in terms of this dialectics between sedentary establishment and semi-nomadic, moving expansion. Beside these aspects of peace and war as social reality, a special chapter will be dedicated not only to para-social but explicitly to a-social and anti-social elements: such as militant age-groups and myths of ‘centaurs and amazons’; vagabond medicine men as transmitters of sacred or hidden knowledge between the communities, in myth and in practice; or wandering magicians and witches serving to chthonic, destructive powers, and their forms of contact with the establishment: especially as enzymes of illegal competition by black magic on the forum, in the court, in love or in all forms of competitive races from trade up to sport, race and war.
Ancient Indo-European texts surprise us over and over again with contents that concern virtually all spheres of religious ontology: theology, cosmology, ‘anthropology’ and display whole ranges of systematic correspondences between lexemes (appellatives, esp. epithets of gods and humans, or proper names such as theonyms and anthroponyms), on the one hand, and elements of free syntax, on the other: phraseological entities and especially formulae of the language of (ritual) poetry, as reflection of common Indo-Iranian and Indo-European heritage of archaic “Dichter- and Ritualsprache”. A special discipline of Indo-European studies seeks to display this unity of phraseology, word-formation, poetical stylistics and onomastics and to take the knowledge won by this research as a solid basis for studies of ancient realia, as well as for better understanding of the history of mythology, ritual, and religion of the peoples and communities concerned.
After the first great discoveries (by Adalbert Kuhn, Jacob Grimm, Ferdinand de Saussure) and a long period of self-affirmation of the new research field before the war in works by Jacob Wackernagel, Antoine Meillet, Hermann Oldenberg, Émile Benveniste, Heinrich Güntert, Isidor Scheftelowitz, the interest in this problematics has been resumed in the mid-20th c. in studies by Karl Hoffmann, Paul Thieme and Rüdiger Schmitt for the PIE, Louis Renou, Jan Gonda and F. B. J. Kuiper for the Indo-Iranian, and Gotfried Schramm for the Proto-Germanic, and is being elaborated from the 1970es up to present day in several dozens of monographs and articles especially by Calvert Watkins, Vladimir Toporov, Martin L. West, Wolfgang Meid, Oswald Panagl, José Luis García Ramón, Stephanie W. Jamison, Georges-Jean Pinault, Joshua Katz, and Michael Janda, on the material of a vast linguistic territory, from Celtic, Italic and Germanic up to Anatolian, Tocharian and Indo-Iranian. A new comprehensive presentation of the topics of this debate after 1967 in a special volume of the "Indogermanische Grammatik" (Heidelberg) on Indo-European Stylistics and Language of Poetry is coming to existence.
The present class aims at presenting a part of the material to be included in this compendium, in form of a conspectus of themes and questions illustrated by some "praeclara rara" that intend to focus the attention of participants – especially the ones completely new in the class (and in Indo-European poetics) but also the ones who have been visiting the various Dichtersprache courses through the years – on the current development of studies and methods as well as on brand-new themes that arose only in the last few decades. We shall discuss Vedic mantras and Avestan hymns, chapters of Homer and Hesiod, Greek incantations in metrical inscriptions and their literary pendants like Attic tragedy, Old Latin ritual carmina, calendar-related formulae and 'uerba concepta' for legal purposes, Hittite prayers, oaths and purification hymns, inherited topoi of Balto-Slavic "Heldendichtung", Germanic spells for cursing and blessing, healing charms in Celtic.
Objectives of the course will include:
1. Linguistic and stylistic forms and genres of ancient Indo-European poetry: hymn, mantra, prayer, ritual complaint, ritual conjuration, oath, cursing and blessing etc., and their contribution for reconstruction of spiritual and intellectual heritage, ritual practice and social reality.
2. ‘God struck apart the earth and spread it beneath the sun – as the priest performing the slaughter spreads out the victim’s skin’: Theogony, creation myths and their reproduction in daily ritual acts (such as setting of the sacrificial fire, fixing the pillar of a nomadic tent, sacrificing first bites of food and drops of drinks, pouring libations to make the sun shine etc.), and the corresponding hymnal poetry of Establishment.
3. Cosmology and house-construction as projections of one and the same demiurgic force in the sphere of Sacred and of profane. Aspects of the themes of the primordial Rightness (and its antagonist, the Wrongness) as regulator of the world, and of the Priesthood as guarantee of divine order. ‘Old Order – New Order?’: changing cultic paradigms.
4. Anthropogony and anthropology: Rites, incantations, and inherited (and modified) poetical phraseology concerning everyday’s life in all its "prosaic" and poetic aspects, as depicted in the most ancient texts of domestic ritual.
5. Poetry of Peace and War: common IE collocations, epithets, phraseology characterizing the person and deeds of a hero. The King of the Establishment vs. the Leader of the Host. Epic discourse and gesture in the Assembly of Freemen.
6. ‘The Poet as a King, the King as a poietḗs’: the force of the Spoken Word as a regulator of a society with no written laws. Culture of memory between Old Irish filid and bards and Old Indo-Iranian kavi-s as Kings-Poets of divine and social Order-and-Truth.
7. ‘Arching up, let the Earth stay well, let (a) thousand beams prop it up: I prop up the earth around apart from you’: Poetics of funeral rituals and hope of resurrection.
8. ‘The Force awakens’: Teratological motifs concerning abstract forces, numina and non-personified powers with their nomenclature and characteristics. Poetics of Said and Unsaid: Oaths, prayers and other uerba concepta in their significance for the comparative study of ritual speech acts as predecessors of a religious and social law system.
9. Formal-stylistic figures on various language levels, especially techniques of formulation, syntax and stylistics of complex sentence structures. Methods of composition and their linguistic representation in specific forms: cyclic compositions, catalogues and lists, dialogic hymns etc.
10. Names and phraseology in the mirror of religion, ritual, culture, society. Hymnal poetry and ritual pragmatics in comparison, from Tocharian to Old Norse.
Presentations and discussion
We shall read a series of smaller or bigger portions of various Indo-European texts accompanied by relevant translations and thus available to students still not acquainted with the languages concerned. Beside the classical lecture form, we shall aim at reaching a certain level of interactivity in class, including place for questions of special interests of participants concerning theses or papers in preparation, as well as excursive surveys of special problems in form of short papers: a few of the students (this year: max. three or four) will be encouraged to give short presentations (ca. 20 min.) on topics of their special interest and/or on more general themes relevant for the class. The main time will be dedicated to both lectures on selected text groups and discussions on how to interpret these data on the quest for the “big picture” of reconstruction:
Starting from correspondences between compounded words (epithets) with phraseological collocations and formulae that show not a mere semantic similarity but a rigorous formal-and-semantic match of the essential elements, we shall go ahead to discover together textual units on higher syntactic and poetic level and to see how such textual comparanda can inform us about institutions and practices of importance for the social and military activities of the community, between establishment (sedentary) and expansion. As we always underline, the Leiden summers are intended to provide the possibilities of highly intense but largely horizontal contact between students and teachers on the same eye-level, in the open and relaxed atmosphere of South Holland, of the cafés, pancake houses and beer gardens at the Rhine! Our discussions often continue long after the daily classes and the evening lectures, thus stimulating future professionals and present colleagues from different countries to become acquainted with each other's work and personalities.
Closely looking at the rich text material at our disposal from comparative and historical perspective, we shall try to demonstrate a number of exemplary cases of such common structures and even word-by-word (and rite-by-rite) correspondences between various elements of Language of Poetry and Ritual which have good chance to go back to common Indo-European heritage not only of mytho-poetic imagination but also of relevance for the reconstruction of common denominators of “Realienkunde”, human and social relationships – creating, as a very nice side effect, a reality of human and social relationships within our little community able to render the two weeks of joint research also a period of joint personal experiences with a strong impact for (a linguist’s) life.
Guus Kroonen (Copenhagen) and Alexander Lubotsky (Leiden)
During this advanced course, we study key issues in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European phonology. We evaluate different approaches at establishing the phoneme inventory: the complexity of the vowel system (the problem of the vowel *a, the lengthened grade), the articulation of the stops (two or three velar series, the Glottalic Theory), and rules concerning Proto-Indo-European phonotactics (consonant clusters, neutralization processes, root constraints). At the background of this, we explore the most important principles of the comparative method: the difference between phonetics and phonology, problems of reconstructing allophony (vocalization processes, ruki's rule), and strategies to distinguish between inherited and parallel developments (Sievers's & Lindeman's laws). The aim of the course is to face the most important challenges concerning the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European and to strengthen our methodological tools to tackle them.
Lucien van Beek (Leiden)
This course aims to provide an overview of linguistic phenomena in Homer that can be categorized as “artificial”, i.e. as having originated within the meter-based (and meter-influenced) language of early Greek epic, rather than in some vernacular dialect of Greek. Given the extent of artificial phenomena in Homer (cf. the overview by Hackstein 2010) and the role of Homeric Greek in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European, the importance of this subject can hardly be overestimated. Attention will be given to all linguistic levels: phonology, morphology, syntax, and the lexicon.
At the beginning of the course, the essentials of Homeric metrics will be treated in a summary way on the basis of West (1997), an article which students are asked to prepare in advance. Then, we will discuss the works of early scholars like Witte, Meister and of course Milman Parry on artificial word formation and formulae. With this as our basis, we will move on to examine more recent work on versification techniques, e.g. Visser (1987) and articles by Bakker (2005). This will allow us, so to speak, to have a look inside the epic poet’s linguistic mind.
Whereas the first week will essentially be devoted to synchronic aspects, in the second week we will shift our focus towards diachronic aspects. Starting out from an attempt at synchronic description of metrical licenses like metrical lengthening and resonant lengthening, we will ask whether the origin of such licenses can or should be explained by the traditional methods of historical linguistics. Another subject to be treated will be the issue of Homer’s Aeolic forms: should their presence be explained by assuming an Aeolic phase (e.g. Ruijgh, West), by language contact between Aeolic and Ionic dialects (Miller, Horrocks), or are other scenarios conceivable? We will also touch upon issues like the (disputed) presence of Mycenaean remnants in Homer, and theories on the prehistory of Homeric verse (and their problems).
Good knowledge of Classical Greek; preferably, some experience in reading Homeric Greek.
To be read in advance
Martin L. West, “Homer’s Metre.” In: I. Morris and B. Powell (eds.), A New Companion to Homer, 218-237. Leiden: Brill, 1997.
The basics of the Homeric hexameter (discussed in this article) will serve as a starting point for the first class; a thorough knowledge of these basics will be essential during the remainder of the course.
Egbert Bakker, Pointing to the Past. From Formula to Performance in Homeric Poetics. Washington DC: Center for Hellenic Studies, 2005
Olav Hackstein, “The Greek of Epic.” In: E. Bakker (ed.), A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language, 401-423. Chichester/Malden (MA): Wiley, 2010.
Geoffrey Horrocks, “Homer’s Language.” In: I. Morris and B. Powell (eds.), A New Companion to Homer, 193-217. Leiden, 1997.
Karl Meister, Die homerische Kunstsprache. Leipzig, 1921.
Milman Parry, The Making of Homeric Verse (collected papers, ed. Adam Parry). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971.
Edzard Visser, Homerische Versifikationstechnik: Versuch einer Rekonstruktion. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1987.
Kurt Witte, Zur homerischen Sprache. Darmstadt: WBG, 1972.
Martin L. West, “The Rise of the Greek Epic.” Journal of Hellenic Studies 108 (1988), 151-172.