Friday, September 30, 2011

Sumer: Land of Light and Red vs. Black: Sumerologists Erred in Calling Sumerians "the Black-Headed People"

The entire issue of colors is significant to our appreciation of the age and origin of any ancient culture.

Take a look at these terms from the ePSD Sumerian Glossary: 

kalam [LAND] N (623x) . wr. kalam; ka-na-aŋ2; ka-naŋ; kakalam; kalam-ma "the Land (of Sumer)" Akk. mātu
kalgug [CLAY] N . wr. imkal-gug; imkal-ku8-ku7 "a reddish clay" Akk. kalgukku
The idea that "land of Sumer" means "red" fits well with the origin of the term Canaan, which, according to the Mercer Dictionary of the Bible is said to derive from the Akkadian word kinahhu meaning "red dye" or "red purple", hence "the land of purple". Yôḥānān Aharônî writes in The Land of the Bible: a historical geography :
"From the Hurrianizied Nuzi inscriptions (fifteenth century B.C.) it has been shown that a word kinahhu had the meaning, "purple". Between the spelling of this word and the Akkadian spelling of Canaan in the Amarna letters (Kinahna, Kinahhr) there is no significant difference. The consonant h in these documents serves as the reflex for ayin which does not exist in Akkadian script. Since the extraction of purpose from sea shells (Murex) was one of the established vocations on the Phoenician coast and fine garments coloured with this valuable dye were in great demand throughout the ancient east, there must be some connection between the name Canaan and this special term. Therefore, it was suggested that the Phoenician coast was called "the land of the purple" by the Hurrians and that this name became accepted along with the term Hurru, at first only a name for the Phoenician coast, though in time its significance was broadened. We see a similar development in the name Phoenicia, which is derived from the Greek word phoinix "purple"."
In fact as we can see from the variants ka-na-aŋ2 and ka-naŋ as names for Sumer red is the more likely originally color. 

The very fact that the Akkadians wrote the name of the Sumerians as šumerû and not as the erroneously transliterated ùĝ saĝ gíg-ga -- which is the phrase that allegedly means "the black-headed people" --  should have given the  linguists in Sumerology cause for deeper analytical thinking and not just parroting what someone wrote previously.

The Wikipedia writes at Sumer, repeating the erroneous results of mainstream Sumerology as follows:
"The term "Sumerian" is the common name given to the ancient non-Semitic inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia, Sumer, by the Semitic Akkadians. The Sumerians referred to themselves as ùĝ saĝ gíg-ga, phonetically uŋ saŋ giga, literally meaning "the black-headed people".[3] The Akkadian word Shumer may represent the geographical name in dialect, but the phonological development leading to the Akkadian term šumerû is uncertain.[2][4] Biblical Shinar, Egyptian Sngr and Hittite Šanhar(a) could be western variants of Shumer.[4]"
Why would the Akkadians call the Sumerians šumerû if the linguists had correctly deciphered the Sumerian signs as uŋ saŋ giga?

in Sumerian means "red", not black, and
merû means "land".

Uh-oh. Sumerology has a problem.

The answer is that the linguists screwed up the sign reading totally. The often-cited source cited for the nonsensical notion that the Sumerians were black-haired viz. "black-headed" can be traced primarily to William H. Hallo  and William Kelly Simpson  in their totally  forgettable book, The Ancient Near East, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1971, p. 28, in which, for example, it is written, and as we know today to be totally false from places like the Orkneys, Malta and Göbekli Tepe:

""Thus we can trace almost 3,000 years of history in the Near East before we can speak of any real history in the rest of Asia, Africa, and Europe, let alone in the rest of the world."".
Frankly, the authors of that book erred greatly in what they were talking about and hordes of uncritical commentators have simply copied their errors.

Because of more recent archaeological findings at places like Göbekli Tepe,
Ian Hodder, director of Stanford's archeology program, is quoted as saying:

"Many people think that it changes everything…It overturns the whole apple cart. All our theories were wrong."
Among those wrong theories are theories about the origins of the allegedly black-headed Sumerians. 

As written at the Wikipedia, "Dr. Vicki Leone contrasts this in her book Uppity Women of Ancient Times, noting that the Sumerians paintings and mosaics depict a people possessing dark blue eyes.[4] "  The scholars just ignore this, which is foolish. 

The world in ancient times was very color conscious, and still is, even though it is not politically correct in our modern day to say so.

Patrick C. Ryan in discussing Sumerian archaic sign #770 says that according to Jaritz that sign allegedly shows the dome of the sky and "falling rain", but it could of course also be the sections of stars of a night sky underneath the firmament of heaven and their rays of light. In any case, "firmament" it is.


Sometimes the sign is read GIG2, or GI6 viz. GE6 ) according to Ryan and Jaritz. That allegedly is then to be read as giggi [BLACK] V/i (191x) . wr. giggi; gi6-gi6; gig2-ge; gig2-ga; gi-gi "(to be) black"
(see the ePSD Sumerian Glossary)

which in turn is allegedly comparable to Akkadian ṣalmu "black".

But salmi here does not necessarily mean "black".

There are alternative readings in Akkadian, so that
sāmu is read as "red" and šamu as read as "sky".

Hence, a reading of the sign as GIG "black" is not required.

Here is the answer to this Sumerology reading problem.

The Sumerian archaic signs 501 (458+648) and 770 in combination are currently read gissu in Sumerian, allegedly meaning "black".

Archaic sign 770, as suggested above and as seen below, shows the firmament of heaven and is a determinative for "sky" and not for "black", so that we must take the meaning from sign 501.

501 is made up of signs 458+648:

Archaic Sign 458 is  read alternatively by Sumerologists as
eSda, lidda, Sita, udug2 (458+561)
luga (560+458)
rihamun (721+458)

Archaic Sign 648 is read alternatively by Sumerologists as
enna (453+832+648)
isimu/a (101+648)
sura (212+648)
Samag (648)
zur2 (213+648)
zur3 (212+648)

Archaic Sign 770 is read alternatively by Sumerologists as
adama (112+770)
ega (949+770+949)
gissu (501+770)
kukku2 (770+770)
luhummu (571+770)
ubilla2 (561+770)

One alternative reading of Sumerian archaic signs 501 (458+648) and 770 in combination is thus ga2 ("gai" ?) for Jaritz #458 and samag5 for archaic sign #648 which gives the word gai-sma i.e. gaisma, which in ancient proto-European e.g. Latvian means "light", which is why it is combined with the "firmament" sign #770 as the determinative for "sky" to give this meaning.

Patrick Ryan in ProtoLanguage Monosyllables says that Jaritz #648 is the seeing "eyeball with optic nerve" in the reading sa7" ("sweet" ?), whereas of course this is correctly "ACS" (eye") so that the reading in such a case would be gai-š which in ancient proto-European e.g. Latvian gaišs means "bright".

Sumerian gissu (Latvian gaiss "air", i.e the outdoors in that sense) therefore should be read as gaisma viz. gaišs ("light, "bright") and thus instead of "black" should rather be read "light". 

That now confirms a corrected reading of  Sumerian uŋ saŋ gigaas comparable to later Hebrew and Aramaic saggi ne hora
which means "rich of light" to describe the obviously lighter hair color of the Sumerians so that the mer- in the Akkadian term for Sumer is like Hebrew NER or NIR "light" as THE ABSENCE OF DARKNESS.

See  for the Hebrew and Aramaic.

We read at Yahoo! Answers by Yabash:
"Hebrew, the word "ohr" (אור) means "light" as in the absence of darkness. This is the Light created by G-d on the First Day: vayomer elohim yehi ohr vayehi ohr (and G-d said "let there be light", and there was light).

The Hebrew word "ner" (נר) means "light" as in a lamp (emitter of light). The phrase "ner tamid" means "eternal light", and the root of the word "menorah" is "ner". Another form is "nir" (ניר), which can be found in 1 Samuel 3:3.

Related to "ner" are the Aramaic "noor" (נור) and "nahoor" (נהור). There is also the Aramaic "nahir" (נהיר), but its meaning leans towards "clear/bright".
How could the Sumerologists make such a serious blunder!?

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