(A preliminary report)
(Part 2 of 3)
POLAT KAYA, M. Sc. E. E.
Copyright © 1996
5. NOTES ABOUT THE LEMNOS ISLAND INSCRIPTION
1. This study which is a first attempt by the author, does not provide a complete translation of the inscription from Lemnos. The meaning of few words still need to be determined. I am hoping that this will be filled in by linguists. Although, not all of the words in the text of the inscription are recognizable at this time, however, those which are recognizable are definitely Altaic words and are unquestionably Turkic.
2. The words No. 1 and No. 23 represent the name of the deceased man talked about in the inscription. It is read as 'HaTaPASE' in word No. 1 and as 'HaTaPASaQIS' in word No. 23. It seems that the word No. 23 is an Hellenized version of the No. 1. The name becomes clearer when we remove the word ending '-qis' in the second word which becomes 'Hatapasa' indicating that it is the same as 'Hatapase' in word No. 1. The Hellenic suffix '-QIS' or '-KIS' in the word 'HaTaPASaQIS' is an indication that the assumed values of ' Q', ' I ' and ' S' for the corresponding letters in the inscription are correct.
3. Text No. 1, 2 and 3 have similar meanings, repeated in three or at least in two different dialects of the same language. Apparently same words, when written in different dialects, show some minor differences both in writing and their arrangements in sentences. In Text Three, Hellenic influence is highly visible by the presence of the Hellenic suffix -kis and suffix s.
4. Words numbered 6, 7 and 8 of Text No. 1 and 13, 15 and 16a of Text No. 2 and 38b, 38a and 37a in Text No. 3 are the same words respectively used in the inscription. They are read as 'kam apam ançasap'. The words 38b, 38a and 37a in Text No. 3 are written in an order which is different than the previous two cases. The first two words read as 'kam apam' mean 'my shaman father' or in this case 'my shaman grandfather'. The Turkic word 'kam' (also gam or qam) means 'male shaman', [8, p. 4] and 'apam' means my father. The word 'kam' is written in the form of "QAM" in words Nos. 6 and 13, it is written with a downward arrow and M. The downward arrow symbol has the value of "K" in Turkic Orhun inscriptions. The word 'ançasap' may also be read as 'ança sap' in which case 'ança' is also a known Turkish word meaning 'thus, this way' [4, p. 760]. The word 'sap' needs to be determined, possibly means "laid or died".
Here I would also like to note the following observation: In the inscription, word 7 is written as "APA" while the words 15 and 38a are written as "ARAM". I believe that the letter "R" in both of these words is a mistake and should have been "P". The error could have been made by the scriber while chiselling the inscription, or could have been made by the transcriber who copied the inscription into paper. Therefore, I have read these two words as "APAM" rather than "ARAM" in my reading of the inscription.
5. In Text 2, word Nos. 12 to 15 inclusive, the scriber writes: "O God SAIS, here is my shaman father". Here we should note that the Pelasgian Sais must be what Greeks called as Zeus, Etruscans called Ais or Ac Ais or Tin, the Central Asiatic Turkic shamans called and still call Ak Ayas. They all have the Turkic word "Ai", the Turkic word for Moon, as the root word. However, they all represent the "Sky God".
6. I read word No. 31 as 'epeteiste' which seems to correspond to the ancient town name 'Hephaistia' which is a town in the northern coast of Lemnos Island [12, p.57]. 'Epeteiste', being probably same as the ancient name of 'Hephaistia', could be the birth place of 'Hatapasa' or "Hatapasha".
7. Word Nos. 22, 30 and 35 are the same word and read in Turkish as "i (=iy) Saka". When it is read together with the word No. 36, it addresses the deceased man as "i Saka agasi (Beyi)" meaning "O Saka lord".
Here one should note that the people to whom the deceased man and the scriber belonged, were known to Hellenic people as Pelasgians. In the inscription, the scriber identifies themselves as being from "Saka" people. This is understandable because of the fact that about 600 B.C. when Pelasgians were living in the Lemnos and Imbros islands and also in Thrace, the Turkic Saka people had an empire extending all the way from Altay mountaines in Central Asia to Balkans in Europe. Greeks called them as Scytians. In view of the Lemnos Island inscription, we get the view that Pelasgians must have been among the earlier waves of Central Asiatic peoples and members of the Turkic Saka peoples. So this document written in stone identifies the language of both the Pelasgians and the Sakas as being a Turkic language.
8. Word Nos. 39 and 40 finish the dedication by saying "aga atama" meaning "to my Lord father".
9. In this Turkic inscription, we see that Pelasgians who called themselves SAKA, used both words 'apa' and ata' for father and interchangeably for 'grandfather' as well. We also see a word "tata" whish is derived from the word 'ata'. "tata' would be equivalent to Turkish 'dede'. They also used the word 'ana' for mother. Hence, we again observe that these three words and their derivatives are the oldest living words of the Turkish language.
10. I read the word No. 33 as TaS 50? The symbol which is an upright arrow head and with a right slanting tail at the bottom is not present in Hellenic alphabets. However, it is most interesting to find this symbol in an inscription written on a silver bowl found in a Saka (Scythian) Kurgan (Issik Lake Kurgan) near Almati in Kazakistan. Ïlhami Durmuß [9, p. 81-83] gives a transliteration of this inscription [9, p. 146-147] and attributes its description to Kemal Alißar Akißev . This symbol appears twice in this Saka inscription. Olcas Süleymanov has read this inscription and has given the value of T1 in the alphabet that he described .
On the other hand, G. and L. Bonfante give a numeral value of 50 to an upright arrow symbol (without a tail) in Etruscan writings, [1, p. 64]. The symbol in the Issik Kurgan inscription is also a vertical arrow but with a right-slanting tail at the bottom as it is in the Lemnos island inscription. However, whether the Etruscan symbol and the Pelasgian symbol, i.e., Lemnos Island inscription, have the same meaning is not clear.
If we use a value of 'T' as done by Süleymanov for the Issik Kurgan inscription, then the reading of the word No. 33 would be as 'TaSaT' which needs to be identified yet. On the other hand, if we use a numeral value of 50 as indicated by Bonfantes, then we would get a reading of 'TaS 50'. The word 'TAS' suggests us the Turkic word 'yas > yaß' meaning 'age'. Actually, in different dialects of Turkish, there is the replacement of "y" with "d or t". With this in mind, I believe it is safe to read this word as "yas = age". The inscription from Lemnos island being an inscription on a tomb stone, it is quite likely that this word may be referring to the age at which the man died. With this reasoning, I have temporarily assumed it to be 'TAS 50', indicative of 50 years of age at which he died.
11. The inscription on the stele from Lemnos seems to have been written by someone very close to the deceased man. The scriber sounds to be a grand child of the deceased person.
12. In the culture of Turkic world, it seems that it is a tradition to describe a newly deceased person in a way similar to the way that this scriber of the stele from Lemnos island has described his deceased grandfather by using descriptive words like: 'kam apa' [shaman grandfather], 'kam apam' [my shaman grandfather], 'er atam' [my brave father], 'er' [man, brave], 'aker' [flawless man], "i apam" [O my father], "i aga" [O Lord], "i Saka agasi" [O Saka Lord] and "agasi atama" [to my Lord father].
13. We should note that in this kind of description of a dead person, not only a sense of lamentation is being expressed but also a highly respected and esteemed grandfather is being honored. It is quite in line with the culture of Turkic peoples to do this.
14. The lamentation and 'honoring' expressed in this inscription points distinctively the presence of a cultural affinity between the people of Lemnos island and the Central Asiatic peoples like Turks. The meaning of the Lemnos inscription is very similar to the Turkic tomb-stone inscriptions found in Central Asia [4, p. 481-483]. Even some of the words used in the inscription of the Lemnos island tomb-stone and the inscriptions found on Central Asiatic tomb-stones are the same.
15. The ending in '-p' in words No. 8, 11, 16a and 37a is indicative of past tense in archaic Turkic languages like in words such as 'ölüp', 'gelip', 'gidip', etc.. It seems this is what we are observing in words No. 8, 11, 16a and 37a, particularly in the expression 'kam apam ançasap'.
16. In word Nos. 15 and 26a 'apam', No. 28 'eratam', the ending '-m' is like the Turkic genitive ending (suffix -m) for first person singular which means 'my'. Thus the word means 'my father' or in this case 'my grandfather'. The word 'qam' or 'kam' is used to designate 'male shaman'. What we get from this bit of information is that the dead man was a 'shaman' and/or a 'learned man', and he was a respected person.
17. The word 'aker' in word No. 4 consists of two parts: for example in Turkish, the first part 'ak' means 'white' or figuratively 'clean, honest, flawless'; the second part 'er' means 'man', 'hero', 'brave', 'trustworthy' or 'dependable'. The word 'er' also appears as part of 'erata' and 'eratam' in word Nos. 9, 11, 21a, 25a and 28. Hence, ' aker < ak+er ' in No. 4 means 'honest man' or 'flawless man'.
18. The word 'anapatata' in No. 3, is most likely "mother's father", not "mother's father's father". Similarly, the words 'anasamata', in No. 10, meaning "my mother's father" and 'anasata' No. 21b, meaning "mother's father" are combinations of Turkic words 'ana', apa' and 'ata' to expres the grandfather from mother's side. The word 'atamas' No. 40 is the final dedication word meaning 'to my father'.
19. The word 'eqisençata" in words No. 20 and No. 26 may be looked at as "eqe sen[ç] ata >> iki sen ata? = ikiz ata?", probably meaning that the dead man was one of a twins. Thus a grandfather that was probably one of a twin brothers or brother sister set. We should note that the first part of this word, namely "eqi" or even "eqe" suggests the Turkish numeral "iki" meaning "two".
20. The words 'apa' in No. 7, means 'father'; 'apam' in Nos. 15 and 26a means 'my father'; 'eratam' in No. 28 means my hero father. We should note that the ending -m in the words 'apam' and 'atam' is the Turkic genitive suffix for the first person singular.
21. We see similar words in word Nos. 10 and 21b as 'anasam ata' and as 'anas ata' respectively. In these last two words, the infix -s- and suffix -s respectively are clearly due to Hellenic influence. In the first one, the root word is 'ana' meaning mother, with the probable Hellenic suffix -s, word becomes 'anas'. The suffix -am has two parts. -a is the connecting vowel used between s of 'anas' and the Turkic genitive suffix -m. Thus, the word 'anasam' means 'my mother'. Additionally, we should note that the statement "iy Saka akasi" fits the Turkish grammar rules perfectly.
22. We should also note that the Runic symbol for Z which appears frequently in the Lemnos island inscription, also appears in the Issik Kurgan inscription as well as in Turkic Orhun and Yenisei inscriptions . This is another 'symbolic' connection between the Lemnos island inscription and the Issik Kurgan's Saka inscription. Of course, one must not forget the fact that the words in this inscription, are also separated with two dots as is the case with other Turkic inscriptions. It is also read from right to left direction as is the case in Turkic inscriptions.
23. H. H. Scullard in his book, like in many of Western books about the Etruscans, labels the man in the picture as a 'warrior' [ 2 , p. 39], probably considering the fact that he is holding a spear in his hand. The Lemnos inscription does not suggest that the person depicted on the stele was a warrior. It is most likely that in the deceased man's time, he would normally carry with him either a stick or a spear for personal protection irrespective of him being a warrior or not. Therefore, as the text of the inscription states clearly, the person in the picture was not a warrior but was a 'learned shaman'. In word No. 29, we also have the words 'Harapas ata'. I believe the word 'Harapas' is the same as 'Haraspex' in Etruscan meaning a diviner.
END OF PART 2 of 3
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Lemnos Island Inscription graphics: