Hasiera · Home
Ezaugarriak · Features
Oharrak · Notes
Sarrera · Introduction
Kirolak · Sports
Musika · Music
Janedanak · Gastronomy
Tokiak · Places
Historia · History
Politika · Politics
Albisteak · News
Nahas Mahas · Misc

buber.net > Basque > Astro > On Basque Astronymy: Foot Notes

On Basque Astronymy: Foot Notes

by M. G. Ramos

Tr: Blas Pedro Uberuaga

Much has been written about the names of the celestial bodies, but, as we know, this is the first time that the term Astronomastica has been employed, hoping that it is accepted without difficulty. Formed a semejanze de Toponomastica, it is composed of astro-, from the Greek astrón, and onomástica, which also comes from the Greek ónoma `name'. In Greek, onomastikón was the title of a work whose object was to fix the meaning and the use of nouns. Por consiguiente, we can define Astronomastica as ``doctrina about the names of the stars''

En rigor, before Arana-Goiri the possible relation between the name of the sun and the Basques was known. We copy from a book about this published in 1873: ``And with effect: no deja de apoyar this opinion the same basquefile prince L. L. Bonaparte when se hace cargo of the Basque language in the towns that habitan the mentioned estribaciones of the Ural mountains, thus decomposing the word euskaldunac, appearing in the eusk the race of eguski, of the sun; an etymology that seems to indicate that proceeded from the place from which appears the luminous star, and a conjecture that comprueba even more the name of the river that abarca such grand words in our patria, conserving the record of this Iberian race'' (Rodríguez-Ferrer).

This Cantabras was mentioned by Plinio (Humboldt). In reality, the Sanskrit name was Chandrabhaga, and its Greek form Sandrophagos could be interpretted as ``Devourer of Alexander'' since that Prince decided to change its name. It returned to being called, as in Vedic, Asikni, bajo the Greek form Acesines. The modern name is Chenab (Rapson).

Profesor Whitney said: ``The words for `sun' have nearly the same history, generally designating it as the `brilliant or shining one', or as `the enlivener, quickener, generator'. There are hardly two other objects within the ordinary range of human observation more essentially unique than the sun and the moon, and their titles were, as nearly as is possible in language, proper names''.

The following words are from Pictet: ``Il résulte de ce qui précède que les anciens Aryas on rattaché leurs principaux noms du soleil à deux racines dont l'une signifie briller et l'autre produire. Le groupe qui se relie à cette dernière est de beaucoup le plus étendu, et comprend des termes dont les suffixes de dérivation variaient sans doute déjà au temps de l'unité. Il y avait cependant d'autres noms pour désigner l'astre du jour, dont la synonimie a pris chez les Indiens un si riche développement.''

Max Müller calculated the number of names for the sun that figure in the Sanskrit dictionaries as thirty seven and he added: ``The sun might be called the bright, the warm, the golden, the preserver, the destroyer, the wolf, the lion, the heavenly eye, the father of light and life''. For his part, Sayce said: ``So the sun was compared to a charioteer or a one-eyed monster''.

The cifra senalada by Max Müller is fairly modest. A complete study of the names of the sun in Sanskrit would be very curious. Not being able to extend ourselves on this point, we limit ourselves to enumerating some of the epiteths and metaphors a que ha dado lugar the star of the day, all of which we have taken from the dictionary of Monier-Williams: ``Bird, Bull, Eagle, Bright one, Sight ruler, Bright eye, Day-jewel, Day-king, Day-leader, Day-lord, Day-maker, Day-nourished, Lord of heaven, Sky-banner, Sky-illuminator, Sky-jewel, Sky-meteor, Sky-ornament, Star-jewel, Sun planet, Having divine rays, destroyer of Râhn, etc.''

Estando por hacer the linguistic atlas of the Basque Country, we have desisted in senalar the dialects and sub-dialetcts to which each of these forms pertain. We have done the same in various other parts of the book, evitando when possible initials and abreviations. For the same reasons of clarity and since the bibliography is at the end, we have limited ourselves to citing the authors.

Max Müller said: ``So many suns are so many days and even in English yestersun was used instead of yesterday as late as the time of Dryden

The following words are from Professor Max Müller: ``Because it was felt to be important to distinguish between the bright one, i.e. the sun, and the bright one, i.e. the day, and the bright one, i.e. wealth, therefore the root VAS to be bright, was modified by inflection and broken up into Vi-vas-vat, the sun, vas-ara, day, vas-u, wealth. In a radical and in many an agglutinative language, the mre root VAS would have been considered sufficient to express pro re natâ, any one of these meanings.''

In the Bizkain of Lekeitio, gaba is the night and gaua the cerrazon. In Castillian, we have próximo and prójimo (Azkue).

Bréal says: ``Le temps c'était à l'origine `la temperature, la chaleur'. Le mot est de même origine que lepor. Puis on a désigné de cette façon le temps (bon ou mauvais) en général. Enfin on est arrivé à l'idée abstraite de la durée. Il est resté quelque chose de l'idée de la temperature dans la verbe temperare''.

For Charencey the initial e of egur is euphonic, like that of egosi, which he attempts to make derive from the Spanish cocer.

`... lunam, irarguía', said Lucius Marineus Siculur (Vinson).

Something very similar has occured in the Indo-European languages - As Sayce said: ``All the words which have a spiritual or moral meaning go back to a purely sensuous origin: Divus, Deus, Dieu, was once ``the bright sky''.''

Max Müller said: ``The moon, for instance, the golden hand on the dark dial of heaven, was called by them the Measurer -- the measurer of time --, for time was measured by nights, and moons and winters, long before it was reckoned by days, and suns and years''.

It is worth noting the admiration with which the English authors speak of the daisy, especially Chaucer from whom these beautiful verses are taken:

``The daisie, or els the eye of the daie,
The emprise, and the floure of flouris alle.''

and later:

``To seen this floure agenst the sunne sprede
Whan it riseth early by the morrow
That blissful sight softeneth all my sorrow.''

The following words of Trench are so admirable that we could not resist the temptation of copying them in their original language:

``... but take `daisy'; surely this charming little English flower which has stirred the peculiar affection of English poets from Chaucer to Wordsworth, and received the tribute of their song, becomes more charming yet, when we know, as Chaucer long ago has told us, that `daisy' is day's eye, or in its early spelling `daieseighe' the eye of the day; these are his words:

That well by reson men hit calle mey
The ``dayesye'' or elles the ``ye of day''.

Chaucer, Legend of Good Women, Prol. 184.

For only consider how much is implied here. To the sun in the heavens this name, eye of day, was natrually first given, and those who transferred the title to our little field flower meant no doubt to liken its inner yellow disk or shield to the great golden orb of the sun, and the white florets which encircle this disk to the rays which the sun spreads on all sides around him. What imagination was there, to suggest a comparison such as this, with the power which is the privilege of that eye, from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth, and of linking both together.''

In India, for example, the clan of the Sisodias, clan of the reigning family of Odeypur, pertenece to the solar race and are supposed to descend from Rama, encarnation of Vishnu, the sun-god (Le Bon).

In Egypt each Pharoah carried the title of son of the sun, preceding his phonetic name, and the first element from which his prenames were composed were asimismo the sun. In the majority of cases, the phonetic name began with Ra, as in Ramses (Encicl. Espasa).

Ekusi is not only a hypothetical form, but also real. In the Bizaian of Orozco, in Gipuzkoan and in Roncales it is still used as a variant of ikusi, and it has the derivatives ekusgarri, ekuskete, ekuslari, ekusmen, etc.

Ikuski is one of the names of the devanadera in Basque. It must be a contraction of ikuruski. Other variants are ikurizki, ikoroski, and ikolaski.

Only a titulo de curiosidad we say that the name that the gypsies give to the eye is aquí. As dui aquías ya chichí = `the two eyes of the face'. This is not strange if one takes into account that the casta of the gypsies is oriunda of Indostan and that the romanó o caló conserve certain affinities with the Aryan languages of that peninsula. The gypsy aquí se asemeja bastante to the Lithuanian akis, Latin oculus, diminutive of *ocus, and Sanskrit ákshi, which mean the same.

In Castillian literature, among the metaphors refering to the sun, we find this, from Quevedo:

Bermejazo platero de las cumbres,
A cuya luz se espulga la canalla.

One of the seuaces of Góngora called the sun el gran duque de las bujías, believing to realize its splendor with such disparate (Campillo).

Macdonell says: ``The highest step of Vishnu is seen by the liberal like an eye fixed in heaven. The opinion that Vishnu's three steps refer to the course of the sun is almost unanimous.''

In Egypt, the sky is also compared to an immense faz, whose right eye was the sun and left eye was the moon (Encicl. Brit.)

Macdonell says: ``The eye of Mitra and Varuna is the sun. The fact that this is always mentioned inthe first verse of a hymn, suggests that it is one of the first ideas that occur when Mitra and Varuna are thought of. The eye with which Varuna is said in a hymn to Sûrya to observe mankind, is undoubtedly the sun. Together with the Aryaman, Mitra and Varuna are called sun-eyed, a term applied to other gods also''.

With reason, Aranzadi said: ``... the ausencia of certain other original elements of culture, as for example de mithology and epopeya, which disgusted Vinson, do not have the transcendental significance that he attributed to it, if we take into account the exigua extension of the territory and the milenary influence of Latin and Castillian in the clases directoras of the country''.

Estrabón says: ``According to some authors, the Gallegos carecen of all religion; but the celtiberos and the limitrofes towns por el lado of the Septentrion, recognize one diety without a name, to which they tribute homenaje, each family forming at the full mooons, in front of the door of its house and during the night, coros de danza, which they last until the morning'' (Costa).

This same author says: ``Now if the moon was originally called by the farmer the measurer, the ruler of days and weeks and seasons, the regulator of the tides, the lord of their festivals and the herald of their public assemblies, it is but natural that he should have been conceived as a man and not as the love-sick maiden which our modern sentimental poetry has put in his place''.

The night, that is, the darkness, has always been the object of superstitious terror, the same among the primitive cultures as among the uncivilized. In the opinion of some authors, this would explain the worship of the moon, which with respect to that of the sun le aventaja in antiquity and universality. (Encicl. Espasa). On the other hand, for other authors the moon-god is, by excellence, the god of the nomadic cultures, their guide and protector in the correrias that they populate at night during a good part of the year; while the sun-god it the principal god of an agricultural country. (Encicl. Brit.).

The case of Japan is very similar. We copy from the Encicl. Espasa: ``The most notable analogy was that which was found among the solar goddess and the aspect of the personality of Bhudda, concebido in the solar myth. The anomaly of gender preocuppied very few of the sincretistas, not only because Japanese carece of genders, but also because the noumenos and its manifectations are able to take on any gender''.

In the popular legends of India, the manchas or obscure parts of the moon were compared to the siluette of a cabra and also with that of an old woman that is hilando lana with her torno. The popular imagination has seen the lana in the brilliant parts of the lunar disc. (Shovona Devi). It would be very interesting averiguar if in Basque folklore there exists something similar. Is the abuela luna the ancient hiladora of the Indostanic legend?

In Japan, it is said that the art of tejer was practiced by the solar goddess, Amaterasu. (Encicl. Brit.).

Sin, name of the moon-god in Babylon and Asyria, was represented as an old man of luenga barba. Among the Greeks, Selene, young and beautiful, was the personification of the moon. (Encicl. Brit.)

Moulton said: ``Classical writers protray for us the religion of the ancient Germans and Gauls and Persians, and the portraits agree in the prominence assigned to the sun and moon, and to the associated worship of heaven and earth, which latter were regarded as father and mother of all''.

This page is part of Buber's Basque Page and is maintained by Blas Uberuaga.
Please report any problems or suggestions to Blas.
Eskerrik asko!