Capricorn 14: An ancient bas -relief carved in granite

T h e w o r d a n ci e nt de s c e n d s f r o m t h e I n d o - E u r op e a n ( IE ) r o o t a nt - w h i c h m e a n s “ f r o n t , f o r e h e a d . ” I t s p a r on y m s i n c l u d e

a n t e, a n te - , a n te ri or , a nt i c, a n t iq u e , e l op e , e n d, u n ti l , a n d t he
p r e f i x u n -. 1 T h e k e y w o r d b a s -re li e f i s a c o m p o u n d a ss o c i a t e d w i t h t w o r o o t s — b as s u s a n d l e gwh - . T h e f o r me r d e s c e n d s f r o m t he L a t i n r o o t

b a s s u s a n d g i v e s r i s e t o t h e w o r d s b as e ( ha v i n g o r s h o wi n g a
c o n t e mp t i b l e , m e a n - s p i ri t e d, o r s e l fi s h l a c k o f h u m a n de c e n c y) , b a ss ( a l o w - p i t c h e d so u n d o r t o n e ) , b as s o ( a b a s s si n g e r) , a ba s e , ba s - re l ie f ,

b a s se t h o rn , ba s se t h o u n d , a n d de b as e . 2 T h e s e c o n d r o o t m e a n s “ l i g h t ,
h a v i n g l i t t l e w e i g ht ” a n d f r o m i t d e s ce n d t h e w o r d s l i ght ( n o t h e a v y ) ,

l e a ve n , l e ve r , le vi ty , a l l e via te , rel i e f, c a rn i va l , e le va t e , re l e va nt , a n d lung.3
A s e c o n d m e a n i n g o f b a s e i s “ t h e lo w e s t o r b o t t o m p a r t ” a n d t h i s m e a n i n g d e s c e n d s f r o m t h e I E r o ot g w a- w h i c h me a n s “ t o g o , c o me . ” 4 It s p a r o n y m s i n c l u d e c o m e , we l co m e , bec o m e , ven i r, ve n ue , a dve nt ,

a dve n t u re , a ven u e , c i rc u m ve n t , c o nt ra ve n e , c on ve n e , c on ve n ie n t , c o ve n a nt , e ve nt , e ve n t u a l , i n te rve n e , in ve n t o ry , i n ve n t o r, p re ve n t , p ro ve n an c e , re venu e , s o u ven i r, s u pe rve n e , b as i s, a c rob at , a di a ba t i c , a n a ba s is , dia be t e s , a n d j u gge rna u t .

1 2 3 4

Watkins, Watkins, Watkins, Watkins,

C. C. C. C.

(2000), (2000), (2000), (2000),

The The The The

American American American American

Heritage Heritage Heritage Heritage

Dictionary Dictionary Dictio nary Dictionary

of of of of

Indo Indo Indo Indo

European European European European 1

Roots, Roots, Roots, Roots,

p. p. p. p.

4 6 47 33

Starling Hunter © 2011

T h e w o r d c a r ve d e s c e n d s f r o m t he I E r o o t g e r bh - w h i c h m e a n s “ t o s c r a t c h ” a n d f r o m w h i c h a l s o d e s ce n d t h e w o r d s c ra wl , cra b , gl a m o u r,

gra f t , gra m ( a m e t r i c u n i t o f m a ss ) , gra m m a r , grap h , a n d p ro gra m . 5
T h e w o r d g r a ni t e de s c e n d s f r o m t h e IE r o o t g re -no - w hi c h m e a n s “ g r a i n ” a n d f r o m w h i c h a l s o d e s c e n d t h e w o r d s gra i n , kern e l , e i n ko rn ,

ga rn e r , ga rne t , c o rn , gra m ( a se e d - b e a r i n g p la n t us e d f or f o o d ) , gra na ry , gra n ge , gra ni t e , gra n u l e , gre n a de , a n d p o m e gra n at e .
TH EMES : T he f i r s t a n d m o s t ob v i o u s t h e m e i s GRAM . A mo n g t h e p a r o n y m s o f c arv e i s t h e w o r d gra m w h i c h h e r e r e fe r s t o “ a m e t r i c u n i t o f m a s s . ” 6 A m o n g t he p a r on y m s o f g r ani t e we a l so f i n d t he w o r d gra m . B u t i n t h e l a t t e r c a s e i t r e f e r s t o a se e d - b e a r i n g p l a n t u se d f o r f o o d . 7 A s e c o n d t he m e c on c e r n s D I RECT IO N . R e c a l l t h a t t h e r oo t o f b a s i s gw a- w h i c h m e a n s “ t o g o, c o m e . ” T h i s s u g g e s t s b a c k w a r d a n d f o r w a r d m o t i o n . A p a r o n y m w i t h d i r e c t i o n a l e m p h a s i s i s a n ab a sis w h i c h m e a n s “ a g o i n g u p . ” T he n t he r e i s e l e vat e, a p a r o n y m o f r e l i e f t h a t c l e a r l y h a s a n u p w a r d d i r e c t i on . F i n a l l y , t he p r e f i x a n t e - i s a p a r o n y m o f a nci e nt t h a t means “in front of, before.” 8

5 6 7 8

Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 27 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/e ntry/gram http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/gram_2 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/ante Starling Hunter © 2011 2

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