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The controversy about the language of Linear B tablets

In 1864 The Home and Foreign Review would summarize a view held by some historians about the prehistoric population of Europe (Volume 4, pp. 155-156): The Pelasgians form one of the mysteries of ethnologies; the ancient writers, as we have seen, associated them, however, with the Carians, Caunians, Lycians, and other races of Asia Minor, the Greek Islands, and Greece itself. Strabo66 reckons the Caucones among the earliest inhabitants of Greece, and associates them with Pelasgi, Leleges, and Dryopes. The Leleges were certainly more nesirly related to the Pelasgi than the Carians; but there can be no doubt, from other passages in the same author,67 that the Carians, Pelasgians, and Leleges were of the same race. Philist may perhaps be connected with Philistus, son of Pasicles, mentioned by Herodotus68 as going from Attica to Asia with Neleus, or Keileus, son of Codrus, when he founded Miletus. This Codrus was son of Melanthus, and is described by Herodotus69 as of the race of the Caucones, to which we have referred to above. Hiphite may perhaps be connected with the Hittites, or Khatti, who formed a confederacy of petty chieftaincies between Damascus and the Euphrates. They were the Cheta of the Egyptians, and are represented on the monuments of the latter as defeated enemies. Sir G. Wilkinson and Mr. Stuart Poole"0 imagine the Khitta or Hittites to have been a tribe of Scythians who had advanced to, and settled on, the Euphrates. All the races we have mentioned may be divided, therefore, into three categories: 1. Pelasgians, Leccians or Leleges, Carians, Caucones; 2. Hittites; 3. Silcat, Liburnians, and Mercill or Marucini. The geographical position and supposed origin of the Hittites, as well as some apparently non-Semitic characteristics, tempt us to connect them with the Carians, Lycians, and other kindred races of Western Asia; so that in reality we have but two categories Pelasgian and Illyrian races. Are these races distinct? We think not. We believe that the Siculi, the Libumii, the Marici or Marucini, belong to the race which occupied Middle and South Italy, the Illyrian coast, Macedonia, Greece, and the Asiatic shores of the Levant. Further, we conceive that the same race had colonized the whole northern coast of Africa, and had formed the basis of the Egyptian population, as well as of that of Cyrenaica, and of the ancient colonies of Utica, H ippo, Carthage, and other Phoenician settlements along that coast. The Indo-European Hellenes and Latins, and the highly Semitic races of the ancient world, were subsequent elements added, out of which grew the civilization of the Mediterranean nations, first commencing with the Egyptians The author maintains that a similar population inhabited the geographic spread. As for the initial origin and formations of this people, not much is known. But historians and archeologists have written of various population movements. Specifically in the Balkans, the neighboring populations who had originated in Asian steppes were involved in sever waves of invasions during the third millennium B.C. Some others think that the indo-European or paleo-Indo-European element had existed in Balkans much earlier, during the Neolithic era. While this explanation is accepted in general, archeologists and historians point out that the invasion that took place at the beginning of the Bronze Age had a strong effect in accelerating the process of indo-Europeanization of the Balkans.

In this process, the autochthonous eneolithic culture blended with contemporary Balkan cultures. In this cultural and ethnic assimilation and de-assimilation, and also of other contacts and population movements, took shape the indo-Europeanization of the area, with its beginnings at least in the eneolithic era. It is interesting to examine the available date relating to territory of today s Albania which in ancient times it was part of area identified as being inhabited by a barbarian populations. The data available is limited, but based on this evidence it can be said that the effect and extent of areas of the steppe population was less pronounced in Albania than in the eastern Balkans. Written sources attest to the survival of a population that appears to have been less effected by the later invasions and to have survived well into the 1st millennium B.C. The ancient authors identified this population as being different from the Greek tribes, and identified it by the name Pelasgian . Homer in Iliad refers to this population as originally settled in Epirus: centre of the most ancient oracle and cult of Zeus and Rhea (or Gaia): [Pelasgians Dodonan Zeus supreme] While Herodotus (The Histories, Clio, LVII ) gave us this information : judging by those that still remain of the Pelasgians who dwelt in the city of Creston above the Tyrsenians, and who were once neighbours of the race now called Dorian, dwelling then in the land which is now called Thessaliotis, and also by those that remain of the Pelasgians who settled at Plakia and Skylake in the region of the Hellespont, who before that had been settlers with the Athenians, and of the natives of the various other towns which are really Pelasgian, though they have lost the name . If therefore all the Pelasgian race was such as these, then the Attic race, being Pelasgian, at the same time when it changed and became Hellenic, unlearnt also its language. For the people of Creston do not speak the same language with any of those who dwell about them, nor yet do the people of Plakia, but they speak the same language one as the other: and by this it is proved that they still keep unchanged the form of language which they brought with them when they migrated to these places. Strabo (Book 7.7.1) gives us additional information: Now Hecataeus of Miletus says of the Peloponnesus that before the time of the Greeks it was inhabited by barbarians. Yet one might say that in the ancient times the whole of Greece was a settlement of barbarians, if one reasons from the traditions themselves: Pelops {395} brought over peoples {396} from Phrygia to the Peloponnesus that received its name from him; and Danas {397} from Egypt; whereas the Dryopes, the Caucones, the Pelasgi, the Leleges, and other such peoples, apportioned among themselves the parts that are inside the isthmus--and also the parts outside, for Attica was once held by the Thracians who came with Eumolpus, {398} Daulis in Phocis by Tereus, {399} Cadmeia {400} by the Phoenicians who came with Cadmus, and Boeotia itself by the Aones and Temmices and Hyantes. According to Pindar, there was a time when the Boeotian tribe was called Syes. {401} {402} Moreover, the barbarian origin of some is indicated by their names--Cecrops, Godrus, Aclus, Cothus, Drymas, and Crinacus. And even to the present day the Thracians, Illyrians, and Epeirotes live on the flanks of the

Greeks (though this was still more the case formerly than now); indeed most of the country that at the present time is indisputably Greece is held by the barbarians--Macedonia and certain parts of Thessaly by the Thracians, and the parts above Acarnania and Aetolia by the Thesproti, the Cassopaei, the Amphilochi, the Molossi, and the Athamanes--Epeirotic tribes. Most of the references about the Pelasgians are scattered and just oblique, sound more like hints and unconfirmed reports that tend to be more slightly descriptive quite contradictorily, though and often just in order to provide justifications of root/myths derived from this pre-Hellenic civilization rather than seeking for their roots and social/demographic development/collapse, whose findings and results still remain inconclusive. That is how much their base of knowledge allowed them. As to their origin, they are said to be of Illyrian or Aetolian* origins; or according to Ephorus and also Hesiod they seem to have Arcadian* roots as he maintains Lycaon being the son of Pelasgus and Meliboea (or the nymph Cyllene), and the mythical first king of Arcadia. (Aetolians and Arcadians were also considered barbarian by Greeks) Pelasgians, according to a more extensive interpretation they apparently also colonized the northern Adriatic sea... More audacious versions even want them to derive from northern Indian populations. However according to the various, and unfortunately only rarely coincidental, traditions they seem to have spread all over the insular and peninsular Greece, and almost certainly also on the coasts of the Hellespont and according to Homer even in Crete (Stoa Poikile, Atheneion s researches and studies on the ancient world /website) Stoa Poikile reference of equating Pelasgians and Illyrians, is a contemporary remainder by a historian of a possible Illyrian connection with the pre-Hellenic Greece. Although this extended view of Illyrians has not been proven to be wrong, John Wilkes (The Illyrians, 1995, p. 39) points out that modern historians have stayed away from these Pan-Illyrian theories, but, the question that prompted their formulation still remain: there are traces of Illyrian names, and some historical tradition, for the presence of Illyrian peoples in parts of Europe beyond the limits of their historical homelands, and also in Asia Minor. What one is to make of these references remains a challenge? In general the linguistic evidence for Illyrians in Greece, Asia Minor and Italy is yet to be interpreted Illyrian related evidence has not been adequately studied or evaluated. And at the same time, as Wilkes infers, history is not being done justice by ignoring the role of Illyrians in the Balkans. It has been easier for modern historians to uphold the theory that Greeks (meaning the modern Greeks) have a continuity that goes back to the earliest time. The example of Crete is telling. According to Homer, Crete was inhabited by at least five peoples: the Achaeans, Dorians, Eteo-Cretens, Kydonians and Pelasges. Dr. Zacharie Mayani* wrote that the presence there of an Illyrian element is attested by the river Messapios and a mountain, Messaion. Jokl connects the name of another locality of ancient Crete, Dordhannai, with the name of Illyrian Dardania. (Illyrer, Ebert Reallexikon, VI, p. 38) Hrozny enumerates several toponymical terms which are common in Crete, and shows that the same terms are found among various peoples of Illyrian stock elsewhere.

(Histoire de l Asie Ant., pp. 281-301). We have already mentioned the identity of the Cretan word piva and Albanian piva=drank. There is another Cretan word: ibena, wine , according to Hesychius (Corsen, loc. Cit., p. 735) perhaps we should also mention Rhadamanthus, a king of Crete who became one of the three judges in the Underworld. Rhada, the meaning of which was discovered by Hammarstrom, has survived in the Albanian verb radhis, to inquire, to arrange, to dispose (Mann, Stuart E., A Hisorical Albanian-English Dictionary, 1948, p. 422) As for the language of the Pelasgians, not much is known. If this extended people spoke the same, similar or different languages, it is not known. One thing is known, in the Herodotus passage above it is indicated that the Pelasgian language was not similar to the Greek language of his time. At the same time, it should be pointed out that the ancient authors do not dwell on the question of the origin of Greek language, the extent of differences between the two languages, if Greek evolved from Pelasgian language. On the other hand, twentieth century linguists such as M. Budimir, V. Georgiev, Fr. LochnerHuttenbach, G. Bonfante, etc. have pointed out that there are connections between the Pelasgian language and the languages that were later identified as Thracian and Illyrian. In line with the latter observation some have used Albanian language in their effort to decipher writings from the distant past, believing that Albanian language provides a more direct connection than the modern Greek. There were earlier philological and ethnical studies by John Georg Hahn, Franz Bopp, Demetro Camarda, Iakovo Thomopulo and others that dealt with the question of the antiquity of the Albanian language and provided evidence of similarity with the language of earliest inhabitants of the area. More recently, attempts to find a genetic relationship between Albanian language and Pelasgian were made by Z. Mayani (1970) and S. Konda (1964). But Albanian linguists under the authoritarian regime ruled that Konda s and Mayani s work did not adequately follow scientific methodology. This conclusion, due more to their limited knowledge and hesitancy to deal with such a challenging question, and ignored by non-Albanian linguists, has had the effect of relegating the subject as speculative and most of historians have stuck to the view that these ancient writings are in Greek, which is as speculative, if not more. Their fascinating work is easy to follow, similarities in vocabularies and etymological explanations are convincing. Their observations followed on this line: Pelagon is mentioned by Homer and is said to mean plak =old man in Albanian; to explain the loss of e , Konda referred to Strabo who indicated that according to the Malossian and Thesprotian language, that an old woman is called peliai and old and an old man is called pelioi ; thus, p+e+l=pel pelak=pelag. Stuart Mann would explain the meaning of Zeus: the Albanian word Zot derives from the same root as the Indo-European term for God (*di): "IE *di > Alb. z (> s finally), zot 'lord', zojz 'god of lightning' ("The Indo-European Consonants in Albanian"). Currently, fascinating work is being presented on the Albanian word etymology which confirms a strong connection between Albanian language and ancient Greek ( Etimologji e fjaleve ).

This hesitancy to identify with a theory that has not been considered proven by Albanian scholars, was never evident with philhellenes on questions relating to Greek history and language. For the last two hundred years, they have built a myth around the claims that present Greeks and their language descend from the earliest times. Any trace of similarity between Modern Greek and ancient languages for them would be sufficient proof for Greek language to have been in use even during Pelasgian times. One of them was their claim that Linear B tablets were in Greek language. As Professor Saul Leven would indicate, Having indeed found some Greek in the Linear B tablets, he (Linear B decipherer, Ventris) chose to regard them as virtually pure Greek (Levin, Saul, The Linear B Decipherment , 1964, p. 188) Certainly Greek language, and I maintain the Albanian language, evolved from ancient past. But the philhellene attitude to patronize any seeming connection with the earliest inhabitants of The Balkans goes beyond any rational bound. These scholars work on the methodology of whatever we recognize as Greek is nevertheless Greek . In reality, it is risky to describe the language of the tablets as being Greek, especially in circumstances that identifies it with Modern Greek. We don t know the scope of infusion from the Pelasgian (which is described as different from Greek). We also don t know how different in this Greek language was the indo-european language component in relation to other neighboring languages, such as Thrucian or Illyrian. Or, if both Greek and Albanian languages had a similar indoEuropean base, when did the differences between Greek and Albanian languages develop. Let s take a look how philhellenes took claim of Tablet B. Linear B tablets pertain to the pre 1100 BC period, spanning a period from 15th to 12th century. (Chronology of Linear B Documents, Jan Driessen, A Companion to Linear B, 2008, p. 76). Most tablets were found in Knosos (Crete), Pylos (Peloponesos) although traces of its usage have been found on approaches to Egean coast and as far north as Aiani. During the first half of the 20th century, the opinion of Sir Arthur Evens dominated the opinion that Linear B was not a form of written Greek. Michael Ventris as early as 1930 s commenced his effort to decipher the tablets and eventually would indicate progress. Ventris was joined later by John Chadwick who unlike Ventris knew Greek. In 1953 they laid out their thinking with a paper entitled Evidence for Greek dialect in the Mycenaen Archives . The common belief today is that the two had proven the existence of written Greek during the Mycenaean era. But this conclusion is controversial. Professor Saul Levin would write (The Linear B Decipherment, Contraversy Re-examined, State University of New York, 1964): We can properly say it is not demonstrably Greek but looks as if it might be Greek, but again it might be something else (p. 197) The Greek words have been taken to prove the decipherment, and the decipherment has in turn been taken to guarantee the words. The caution proper to an experiment is forgotten; abd the Greek words thus deciphered become not a hypothetical but an illusionary context for interpreting other words in the same tablets (p. 198) The language of the Aegean world in the classical period, written in the Greek alphabet of Phoenician origin, is predominantly Indo-European in structure and in basic vocabulary, but includes many words and even some structural features that do not correspond to anything in the other Indo-European

language. A small part of this apparently non-Indo-European component of the Greek has recognizable Semitic source, but much more is taken from no known language, and its existence in Greek is presumably to be attributed to the contacts of the Indi-European speakers with some other language or languages of the Aegean area (p. 198) Professor Levin gave a warning which philhellenes never paid much attention. He would write: a dangerous error of the method lurks in the working assumption of most scholars that whatever we recognize as Greek is nevertheless Greek, but Greek from the Mycenaean age (p. 176) Professor Levin is not ready to accept Greek as being the language of the tablets. With our meager knowledge of Linear B, it is safe to affirm that part of it resembles classical Greek and part of it differs; but most of it we cannot make out one way or other I must add that the undeniably Greek features, particularly those of Indo-European origin, amount to less than the undeniably non-Greek features (p.188) Ventris and Chadwick in Evidence would acknowledge that a relatively small portion of tablets were interpreted, and conceived as being surrounded, possibly closely intermingled, with barbarian languages spoken by peoples of equal or superior culture. (p. 188) The latter could not be used as an explanation of why the tablets varied so much from classical Greek because it raises more questions than it answers. What is the bases of the assumption that the Greek speakers lived next to peoples who spoke barbarian language in 1400 BC? If the source of Greek language was Pelasgian why one can t assume that the distinct features developed later in time (because the so called Greek features were in reality part of Pelasgian language)? What would be wrong if one were to assume that the language of tablets was not the language of the Cretan population at that time, but the language of a small elite. If classical Greek component of the language of the tablets was less than that of non-Greek at about 400 BC, it would be logical to assume that earlier in time the language was less Greek (or with features more in common with the older language, whatever that might have been). If Lavin was right about the non-Greek component of the tablets, one wanders what the ratio would have been in 1200 BC. One has to conclude that the writing of the tablets was in a language that was substantially different from classical Greek dialects. For Herodotus there was no question as to the origin of the Greek language : The Hellenic race has never, since its first origin, changed its speech. This at least seems evident to me. It was a branch of the Pelasgic, which separated from the main body, and at first was scanty in numbers and of little power; but it gradually spread and increased to a multitude of nations, chiefly by the voluntary entrance into its ranks of numerous tribes of barbarians. (The Histories, Clio, LVIII) It was a branch of the Pelasgic. It should be clear that when Herodotus says since its first origin he has in mind the original Hellenes. Herodotus is indicating that many other people assimilated into the Hellenic race . Not much can be said about the identity of the numerous tribes . If the assimilated tribes were Pelasgic why would that assimilation lead to a multitude of nations ? Hellenes came only in

1100-1200 BC and would have taken time for them to assimilate other tribes. Let s not forget that Heroditus indicated the Hellenes were originally Pelasgic themselves. Can one talk of a separate Greek language at the time of Linear B tablets? I don t think so! If at least some of the Greeks had Pelasgic roots they would have retained some features from the original language. What Levin identifies as Greek language features in the tablets, was much that was retained from Pelasgic. Putting the latter in a different prospective, if the non- Greek features were substantial in classical Greek, they must have been even greater during the time of the tablets. Greek features that Lavin refers to and consist less than the non-Greek features in the tablets are elements that eventually were inherited, as this would be normal, for the Hellenic race was a branch of the Pelasgic . One might add that the entrance into its ranks of numerous tribes of barbarians and time had worked against preserving much of the Pelasgic in ancient Greek. Professor Levin said about the language of the tablets We can properly say it is not demonstrably Greek but looks as if it might be Greek, but again it might be something else It is too early to identify this language as being Greek. This language relates to a period before the coming of the Dorians. That is way before the Greeks identified themselves as Hellenes, which is much later. Referring to their background Thucydides indicated the Hellenes had not as yet been designated by a common distinctive name opposed to that of the barbarians . How can one talk of a distinct Greek language in 1500 bc? Another logical assumption to be made is that the language of the tablets might have been somewhat different from the spoken language of the people. As Strabo indicated above, wide barbarian populations still inhabited wide areas north. We know that the ancient authors have identified them as Pelasgian. We don t know if the language had varied in the wide area that Pelasgians inhabited. Did successive IE intrusions impact equally on all areas, that is the areas we came to know as Greece and also the areas to the west and north of Greece? Answers to this question would correct much of the weak assumptions and unrealistic false interpretations of history. The fact that Strabo (Book 7.7.8) would point to similarity of language between the Macedonians and Epiriots, and Polibius (The Histories, Book XXVII, 8) would infer that Macedonians and Illyrians spoke dialects of the same language would be indicative that the area to the north of Greece still preserved a common language. Most likely earlier in time, Pelasgian population to the south of them also spoke the same language. As it was mentioned above, some linguists have considered the Albanian language a relatively conservative language that has preserved many features and vocabulary from its ancient origin. But the language remains badly understudied and enigmatic. Periodically works come out that confirm its ancient connection, but many still remain unconvinced. The latest is the work of philologist Guiseppe Katapano, Thot/Thoth spoke in Albanian, and indicates that Albanian language (or the original language from which Albanian would have evolved) was spoken very early in time. It is true that the modern Albanian contains a large number of words borrowed from the languages which the Albanians were exposed to in the course of their history: Greek, Latin, Gothic, Slavonic, Turkish, etc. But language s ancient nucleus constitutes an independent linguistic treasure Albanian language has been inadequately studied and today s views on it have been determined by

unsubstantiated opinions, some due to the inadequate understanding of the subject and the rest wanting to ignore evidence. For example, G. Meyer tended to narrow down the size of the ancient nucleus alleging in many case to be borrowings from Greek, Latin, Slavonic or elsewhere. On the other hand, N. Jokl, Walde-Pokorny, S. E. Mann proved that G. Meyer in fact was dealing unawares with a single, common, primitive source . Although the Albanian archeologists have traced the presence of pre-I.E. people with their unearthing throughout Albania, linguists have not contributed much to the question of ethnic-linguistic knowledge of the Illyrian or pre-Illyrian population. Due to the availability of only scanty material on Illyrian language, some linguists have relied on the Albanian language to explore non-I.E. linguistic elements. N. Jokl pointed to one (see Cabej, 1970, 45) in the Albanian numerical system, where besides the I.E. enumeration (dhjete=ten, tridhjete=thirty, pesedhjete=fifty, etc), there are remnants of the vigestimal system, as nje-zet=twenty, dy-zet=forty; by the Arvanites in Greece, and Arbersh in Italy are also found tre-zet=sixty and kater-zet=eighty. The vigesimal system is widespread in the non-I.E. language of Basques who have escaped assimilation. In regard to the vocabulary, Albanian word lepjete=orach, is of Mediterranean origin; of such an origin are also the words vene=wine and shege=pomegranate (Cabej, 1976/a, I, 320 and II, 131, 280). Baric (1955, 57) includes words such as (h)ardhi=vine, bisht=tail, mal=mountain, shege=pomegranate, shkurre=bush, etc. as being of pre-I.E. origin. But the fact is that the Albanian language has not received adequate study. This is due to various reasons, first, it was too challenging a task and then there were too many mistaken theories being promoted, some for the purpose of diverting attention, one of them being that the Albanians are not autochthonous in the territories they inhabit today. Working from such a reality is never easy, it is even harder correcting these opinions. Like the established belief of explaining Greek words in Albanian as a borrowings from Greek . But, N. Jokl, Walde-Pokorny, S. E. Mann proved that was not the case, in reality the words were coming from a single, common, primitive source . More serious work is necessary to understand the scope of pre-I.E. influence on the Albanian language. Let s quote Saul Levin as to the situation during classical times: In classical times the Eurpean side of the Aegean was solidly Hellenic the whole Peloponnese and the region beyond it from the Isthmus north to Thessaly. However, barbarian peoples still lived in the region north of the Gulf of Corinth and nearer to the Ionian Sea than the Aegean (p.77) Evidently Epirus and Macedonia had a dissimilar development from the areas to the south. Strabo talks about a past when Greece was inhabited by barbarians. But says nothing about the origin of Greeks, where did they come from. The Greeks of historical times had no tradition of a break and therefore no concept of a different civilization in the millennium before their own, although they knew in a vague and inaccurate way that other languages had once been spoken in Greece. While Strabo talks about this barbarian past, he says nothing about the origin of Greeks, as to where did they come from.

Even as of today there is no agreement as to which elements contributed to the creation of Greek ethnogenesis, but archeologists note dates such as 2100-1600 BC, some mention even 1100-1200 BC, as events in the settlement of Greece, but there is no agreement if the settlers had came from north or east. It is estimated that most of the found tablets were written during LHIIIA-LHIIIB. This would mean that by 1500-1400 BC the new comers were culturally ready to replace the existing, developed Pelasgian civilization. This is very hard to believe. More recent times indicate that it would take the Albanian settlements in Greece 1000 years to be assimilated. Now, if as indicated Pelasgians were different from classical Greeks, Hellenes as Thucydides infers were barbarian (M. Niebuhr, Lectures on the ancient history, 1852, p.202) maintained Pelasgians and Hellenes (original) were a kindred people; identity of religion and similarity of language connected them with each other; M. I. Finley, Early Greece, 1969, talking about the language of the Dorians indicates that some of the peculiar word-formations and phonetics cannot be explained on strictly linguistic grounds presumably it was a dialect which emerged separately in the more isolated northwestern region of the Greek peninsula, outside the Mycenean sphere, before it was brought into southern Greece and Crete p. 72). In reality, this is an attempt to identify the original Hellenes as Greek in the face of the remark by Thucydides that originally they were a barbarian people. Herodotus identifies the Ionians as being Pelasgian, which most likely infers differences in language. it would be more proper to assume that the Greek language developed its distinctive features late. Even if Dorians had spoken a Pelasgian variant, Peloponnesus would have still been Pelasgian speaking. At the time of the tablets Greek had not as yet taken the characteristics of a distinct language. If Doric word formation and phonetics was so different in classical times, it must have been significantly different prior to 1100-1200 BC. An important question would be how different was it from Pelasgian of the time, or could it have been the same language or maybe similar to the language of their northern neighbors? Modern historians have found it convenient to follow Herodotus comments on Hellenes. But it is a fact that what Herodotus presented was an attempt to arrange and reconcile various legends and tradition. At the same time it should be kept in mind that In this case he was reflecting on a reality well before his time, many centuries before. Herodotus clearly pointed out that based on the information available during his time, that is almost a thousand years later, that Pelasgians language was different from Greek. Now a question arises, how could the language of the tablets be Greek, when the predominant culture of the period was Pelasgian . The fact that similar words are found in ancient Greek would not be an adequate reason to assume that there were two different languages in clash for dominance, as Levine seems to indicate when he talks about the presence of two languages in the tablets. It would be expected that Greek language had assumed words from Pelagian language. Most likely other languages as well have inherited vocabulary from Pelasgians . One event that basically finds consensus is the evidence relating to widespread destruction at about 1200 BC. This event, referred to as the Dorian invasion, not only brought a new population to Greece, but it also dislodged the existing population. An important question relating to this event is, how much did dislocation of the people contribute to the development of the main dialects of the Greek language?

Strabo mentions the similarity in language that still prevailed with the people bordering with the Greeks to the north : In earlier times these peoples were ruled separately, each by its own dynasty But some go so far as to call the whole of the country Macedonia, as far as Corcyra, at the same time stating as their reason that in tonsure, language, short cloak, and other things of the kind, the usages of the inhabitants are similar.(Book 7.7.8) Evidently Strabo relates to a reality in which there existed the Greek language and another language. We have to assume that Hellenes (the original ones) had assimilated with the majority population, while in general Epiriots and Macedonians had been more conservative and their culture, including their language, by Strabo s time, was seen as being different from that of the Greeks. That is the logical understanding of Thucydides fragment that the Hellenes had not as yet been designated by a common distinctive name opposed to that of the barbarians . In other words, Thucydides indicates that Hellenes before assimilating with the rest of the Greeks, had been barbarian. A clear distinction is being made of a divergence of Greeks from the Pelasgians . If Dorian invasion occurred at the earliest at about 1200 BC, which most likely they had spoken a different variant/dialect of Pelagian language, it must have taken Hellenes at least a few hundred years to complete the process of assimilation. It is not known what exactly prompted the development of these various Greek language dialects. But, from the process of formation of Greek dialects, it would be logical to assume that these dialects inherited elements from what was to be considered the language of the barbarian past of Greece. Interestingly, as the Greek language consolidated, populations to the north and northeast continued to be described as barbarian . How much of Pelasgian language northern people preserved is not known, but it had to be at a much higher degree than what Greek dialects inherited. On this point it is interesting to note an observation made by Aristides P. Kollias in his work, Arvanites and the Origin of Greeks in Homeric Greek. He observed in Homer s work, that is in Ionic/Aeolic Greek , the presence of quite a few words that are a part of Albanian vocabulary today, but not of Modern Greek: Albanian
Anda Ar Bashk Deti Dhe,dheu Dru Edhe,dhe Errt Ethe Flas Fryma iki,ika kale kall korr krua kri, krye leh, lind

Homeric Greek
andha arura vask theta dhor, dha dris idhe ere-vos ethir flio frimao iko kelis-tos kileo kir krunos krithen leh efkaristis horafi porevume thalasa ji ksilo qe skotos piretos milao fisima fevgo

Modern Greek

alogo qeo thiro vrisi qefalo jenieme

lepur lesh lig loz lutem marr, mar marre me duket mend, mendoj meri, meni mi, miu mjeshter mjet ndaj, naj ne nm nisem para per ty per-hapa, perhapesh pune, puno qas, kias qen, qeni re, rete rrah rri rronje ruaj, rojtar shkel shkop sy tata, ati, i ati ter thrras, thrres torre udhe, udha vane vend, ved vere vesa, versa vesh, vishem zie

leporis lesios ligos lizo litome mar-pto margos dhokei mi mendohem minis mis mistor mitos dheo, deo noi nm nisome paros par ti apsh, aps ponos qio, kio qion rea rahso, raso eridhome rronio, rronimi rrio, rritor skelos akipon, skiptro ose tata, ata, jetas terso threo, throos tornoo udhos van vedos, vedhos vear versi vesthis, visnimi zei

lagaes mala adhinatos pezo parakalo perno trelaes nomizo sqeftome, nus thimos pondaqi tehnitis nima hondrae horizon emis katara nifi mbrosta ja sena piso dhulia simono sqilos sinefo dhermo, htipae kathame zo, akmazo filsao patio, patae ravdhi mati pateras stegnaeno fonazo jiro dhromos pigan edhafos, topos katoqeri dhrosos forae, forao vrazi

The list is not exhaustive and does not include the words with the same meaning in both languages, or words that were preserved in Greek and not in Albanian. Nor does it include root words (that are preserved in Albanian) that seem to be the base words in use today. By all accounts, this is not an exhaustive study of the language attributable to the ancient Greek . More comprehensive work is needed to fully evaluate the scope of ancient features in the Albanian language. Kollias, concluded that the Pelasgian race might be the progenitor race of Greeks and Latins, but Albanians are the only ones that preserved the old Greek language. One cannot discount the effect of the barbarian language on the Greek dialects; based on the above analysis, it can also be concluded that Albanian language preserves a considerable amount of words from ancient Greek /Pelasgic language. This observation raises the question as to how does Albanian language relate to the ancient Greek dialects? Another question would be which language was distinctly more conservative, thus more faithful in preserving elements of the old language/Pelasgian?

These questions took the attention of many scholars in the last few hundred 250 years. As the Balkans became an object of attention in 18th and 19th centuries, many scholars focused on the then held common opinion that Albanians are descendents of the original Balkan population. Pioneering work was done by Johan George von Malte-Brun, Hahn, Franz Bopp, Depetro Camarda, Giuseppe Krispi, and others. Giuseppe Krispi would write: in analyzing the origin of Greek language, it is realized that a major part of it reverts to Albanian due to latters older origin; and in essence, the language that was spoken in centuries before Homer, even if it were to be half-Greek, it served as the source for most of the Hellenic language, and which basically does not differ from the original language Pelasgian (Albanian, Mother of all Languages, 1831.) Johan Georg von Hahn in 1854 published Albanian studies, in which he concluded that the illyrians, Epiriotes and Macedonians were not Greek, but antedated them, descending from ancient Pelasgians. He used Albanian language to dwell into the meaning of words from Greco-roman mythology: Uranus, Rhea, Kronos, Kyklopea, Venus, Anna, Perenna, Anaitis, Zeus, Ge, Dhemeter, Deukalion, Thetis, Oceanus, Dif, Diel, Kybelle, Atlas, Vulkanus, Tinias, Tina, Ceres, Kore, Hermakes, Turms, Merkuris, Nemesis, Ruana, Pales. Camarda documented the antiquity of the Albanian language in his book A Comparative Grammar Essay on the Albanian Language (1864). He made an important philological comparison of Sanskrit, Persian, Latin, classical Greek and Albanian roots. From his critical analysis of more than a score of scholarly sources he concluded that the Albanian language was the most ancient of European languages. The subject of the antiquity of the Albanian language never took hold, as the philehellenes refocused the attention on convincing the world that the modern Greeks were the descendents of the classical Greeks, of even the Myceneans. Everything else of outside of this line of thought was seen as irrelevant. Albanian history fell a victim of philohellenic vision, and work on its history basically came to a standstill. The situation was not helped by the fact that Albanians did not produce good historical linguists. The writings of the latter constituted in summarizing the work of non-Albanian linguists, and they were careful to present opposing viewpoints; at the end coming out of in favor of Albanian autochthony, but in reality not cot contributing much. In reality, the linguist Eqerem Cabej, has done serious work in the advancement Albanian linguistic history. He highlighted many problems of both the Albanian Language and Albanian culture by demonstrating its ancientness and its Illyrian origin. He demonstrated that the ancient names of places, rivers and mountains differ from the present Albanian names only in relation to the phonetic changes that have occurred over time. I should point out that in contrast, the Albanian archeologists have made significant contribution in the field of archeology and in filling the gaps in the history. They proved that material culture in Albanian territories had continued uninterrupted from the earliest times.

Neolithic traces were found throughout Albania, but particularly the discoveries at Maliq attest to its role as an important Balkan center. Its pottery indicates to have inherited traditional forms, but at the same a more refined pottery surfaces are evidenced. The effects of the this culture have been observed Dardania (Hisar I, Glladnice, Bubanj Hum Ia), in Pelagonia (Servia, Armenohori). More general connections lead to Thesaly (Dikili-Tash), Rumania (Salkuca), Bulgaria (Krividol) and also Troy. With the coming of steppe people at about 2100 BC, the pottery is indicated to have turned coarse. Another element that the new comers introduce was tumulus burial. But unlike in the adjoining areas, no interruption is indicated in cultural layers, material life continued same as in eneolithic centers. Thus, the steppe migrations were not as onerous on the local population which it would appear that not only survived, but it also assimilated the new comers. These migrations and the fusion that followed was to change the eneolithic ethno-cultural make-up of the area. Unlike Greece where the Iron Age was accompanied by the destruction of the Mycenaean-Cretan civilization, the introduction of the new metal appears to have been peaceful in Albania. Albanian archeologists have observed no evidence to support the introduction of the Aegean factor in the development of Illyrian ethnogenesis. Thus escaping the thrust of invasions and in turn securing a cultural continuity that eventually differentiates them from their neighbors to the south. This would logically explain why the ancient Greek writers continued to refer to the inhabitants of Epirus, Illyria, Macedonia as barbarian . All this speaks in support of the opinion that Albanian language has been a conservative language that has preserved ancient features. It is the only language that has a natural development, developed on its own, unlike the neighboring languages that owe their formation to church or government. In my opinion, only through this language can one attempt to decipher the so called Pelasgian language.