Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

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almound
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Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by almound » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:52 pm

Looking in "Greek : a history of the language and its speakers," Geoffrey Horrocks, 2010, p. 148:
  • "The emerging dominance of Attic as a written medium is all the more remarkable when one reflects that at the beginning of the 5th century this was still the local dialect of a rather backward and isolated region, archaic and conservative in its grammatical structure, with its literary potential undeveloped. In the sharpest contrast, eastern Ionic, as the dialect of a large and burgeoning frontier region with a mixed population, had long been dynamically innovative, and had already been used in a stylized form not only for poetry of different kinds but increasingly as a sophisticated instrument of scientific and historical exegesis (cf. chapter 2). In the course of its development as a spoken medium Ionic had lost many grammatical archaisms and irregularities that Attic retained, and these sometimes quite radical simplifications had automatically found their way into Ionic literary productions. We may note, for example, the following:
  • (2) (a) The dual number had disappeared.
    (b) Certain morphological irregularities were levelled out, . . .
    (c) The commonest athematic verbs in -mi [-mi] had begun
    to be transferred to the thematic paradigm, so ἴστημι [ístε:mi]
    ‘I stand’ > ἰστῶ [istô:], τίθημι [títhε:mi] ‘I put’, > τιθῶ [tithô].
  • Given this background, it should not be surprising that the earliest literary manifestations of Attic, such as tragedy and Thucydides’ history, not only rejected the most characteristically ‘local’ (and unliterary) phonological features like [tt] and [rr] in words like γλῶττα [glô :tta] ‘tongue’ and θάρρος [thárros] ‘boldness’, in favour of the more ‘international’ and prestigious Ionic forms with -σσ- [ss] and -ρσ- [rs], but also began to adopt Ionic grammatical characteristics, e.g. by restricting the use of the dual number and incorporating 3pl aorist forms . . . ."
Horrocks seems quite confident in his take on this. But what is commonly called the Ionian Migration is actually quite complex. (Take a look at Hadley's essay in his "Essays, philological and critical" over at archive.org.) Of course, Hadley wrote in the 19th century. Yet since then has there been any genuine breakthrough in the last 150 years that has, in fact, cleared up the difficulties surrounding this theory?
Last edited by almound on Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by almound » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:54 pm

The reason that I wonder is that this theory of Ionian Migration makes possible the following (somewhat ridiculous) explanation of -μι forms:
  • BABY says, "me want some". He does so because he has reached a definite stage in the development of his growing consciousness. First of all, when he was quite helpless, he was interested in action only in terms of its effect on 'me'. Gradually, however, he becomes aware of his own identity and individuality; passivity passes into activity, and in this second stage 'me' (the only personal pronoun he has) actively wants something. This, however, is only a transitory stage. It is not long before imitation and possibly parental correction lead him to make the proper distinction between the pronoun as subject and the pronoun as object. But the persons have to be sorted out in Baby's mind first.
  • The same is roughly true of the infancy of the Greek language. In the prehistoric stage of the language's development there was probably only one voice and one tense. This consisted of the stem, indicating generally the nature of the verb's action, and endings, consisting of personal pronouns affected by external causes. Most probably the earliest endings ran thus:-
    -μαι, me.
    -σαι, you (cf. ου).
    -ται, that one (cf. το).
  • But when baby Greek got to the second stage, distinguishing active from passive (the ' me-wantsome' stage), it used the endings it knew, only slightly modified. In fact, the -μαι, -σαι, -ται endings became -μι, -σι, -τι, the former being kept for the passive or middle. Later the 1st person pronoun, ἐγὼ, came into use, and verbs in consequence acquired a new ending in -ω. This became by far the commonest ending, ousting in most verbs the old -μι ending. Yet even in Homer it can be seen that some verbs are wobbling uneasily between a -μι and an -ω termination, and by the time of the New Testament some of the most diehard μι's of the classical tradition have forsaken their old form. Even so does a language develop from age to age.
  • But some baby habits stick. And there stuck in the Greek language a number of verbs of the old -μι type, still lingering on from that second stage we have mentioned. They are all, as you would expect, transitive, with the exception of the two εἰμὶ(s), meaning ' I am ' and ' I go ', verbs so elemental in their meaning that it is hardly surprising that their endings are of great antiquity. It is generally true of all languages that the more simple in meaning the verb is, the more irregular are its forms, since they have had a longer passage of time to get knocked about in. Of course, the lapse of years had some effect, too, on the old -μι, -σι, -τι system, although it is still partly recognisable.
  • There are not many of these verbs, but, being of great antiquity, they are all the more important as their meanings are primary - e.g. I put, set, give, let go, show, say, etc. One can hardly open a page of Greek without coming across some part of either τίθημι or ἵστημι, especially in the aorist forms.
  • 4. Even τίθημι was beginning to lose its old -μι forms in classical times, and Greeks began to think of it as if it were τιθέω. The result is that the forms ἐτίθεις and ἐτίθει are quite common for the imperf.
(Ancient Greek - Teach Yourself, Smith, and Melluish, 3rd. ed., 1968 (chap. 16 : The -μι Verbs) pp. 148-151.)
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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:31 pm

almound wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:54 pm
  • BABY says, "... But some baby habits stick...
A poetic reflection.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by smitterle » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:48 am

I find the link between frequency and "archaic" mi forms interesting. In my German dialect tenses have reduced dramatically to two in daily talk (Perfekt, Präsens in Hessisch). However, frequent words like go, come and modal verbs are still being used in additional simple tenses like Präteritum.

Anyways, do you imply there was a link between morphological changes (mi to o) and psychology of the speakers? And why is mi more original than o if so?

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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by almound » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:36 pm

smitterle wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:48 am
I find the link between frequency and "archaic" mi forms interesting. In my German dialect tenses have reduced dramatically to two in daily talk (Perfekt, Präsens in Hessisch). However, frequent words like go, come and modal verbs are still being used in additional simple tenses like Präteritum.

Anyways, do you imply there was a link between morphological changes (mi to o) and psychology of the speakers? And why is mi more original than o if so?
Rather than a question of psychology, the passages above imply that morphological changes are a response to changes in the foundation upon which any psychology can exist. "BABY Greek" seems a crude allusion to a time when the modern notion of subject-object didn't apply, when the personal pronoun was not regarded as signifying the origin of consciousness. This time period might be the import of what the first quote means by "... local dialect of a rather backward and isolated region, archaic and conservative in its grammatical structure, with its literary potential undeveloped."

By "backward" I suppose is meant a time and place where the basic assumptions of analytic philosophy did not hold sway, that the notion of subject-object was not to be had. Forget for the moment that such a preternatural state is that which is hypothecated by continental philosophy of the modern period; just by taking together the two quotes above, the implication is that at least in Attic Greece prior to an "Ionian migration" ability to establish subject-object dyads readily did not exist.

As to tenses, remove the idea of point of view and suddenly verbs having to do with existence, and also with motion, must find another foil upon which to express changes in circumstance other than Kant's a priori of time and space. Without the familiar orientation of subject looking out to object, then Zeno's as well as other paradoxes become non-trivial. The mind-body distinction recedes in importance and past-present-future tenses lose palpable immediacy. This is more than merely a change of mind-set, and so the need for "additional tenses" is not an issue of psychology per se.

How would you explain the difficulties you raise?
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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by seneca2008 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:56 am

Horrocks seems quite confident in his take on this. But what is commonly called the Ionian Migration is actually quite complex. (Take a look at Hadley's essay in his "Essays, philological and critical" over at archive.org.) Of course, Hadley wrote in the 19th century. Yet since then has there been any genuine breakthrough in the last 150 years that has, in fact, cleared up the difficulties surrounding this theory?
In general its unlikely that something written in the 19th century would not have been challenged by now.

Stephen Colvin in ch. 14 "Greek Dialects in the Archaic and Classical Ages" p 205 (in "A companion to the ancient Greek language" edited by Egbert J. Bakker Oxford 2010) says:

"In 1909 Kretschmer had proposed that the dialectal situation in Greece could be explained by supposing that the Greeks had entered Greece in three separate waves: early in the second millennium BCE the Ionians entered in the first wave, followed a couple of centuries later by the Achaeans (whom he did not distinguish from the Aeolians); finally the Dorians arrived after 1200 BCE. Kretschmer’s theory was influential for three decades, but was finally abandoned in favor of more sophisticated attempts to account for the development of the Greek dialects as far as possible on Greek soil. As Cowgill (1966: 78) put it, “. . . the realization that innovations can spread across existing dialect boundaries has led to soberer views of prehistoric migrations.”"

You may also find "Separating Fact from Fiction in the Ionian Migration" Naoíse MacSweeney Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens Vol. 86, No. 3 (July-September 2017), pp. 379-421 helpful. MacSweeney says(p 382)

" Versions of this story, or references to it, appear in many literary sources from the Classical period onward. The Ionian Migration is also the standard narrative of Ionian origins in modern scholarship, and its historicity was accepted for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. The modern popularity of the story must be understood in the context of broader trends in archaeology; migration was long the standard explanation offered for cultural change, and it remained so until major shifts in interpretive approaches during the late 20th century.6 Although doubt was cast on the veracity of the Ionian Migration story as early as 1906,7 it was not until the late 20th century that the principle of the migration was more widely challenged. This was due to new theoretical movements in archaeology, new approaches to the later phenomenon of Greek colonization, and, most importantly of all, new archaeological evidence from Ionia.8 Opinions still diverge over the historicity of the Ionian Migration, with some scholars maintaining the essential accuracy of the story, and others rejecting it completely.9

6. For an overview of archaeological approaches to the concept of migration, see Lightfoot 2008; van Dommelen 2014.
7. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1906. There was also some disagreement at this time among scholars who did believe in the historicity of the Ionian Migration. While most placed it in the Early Iron Age (e.g., Beloch 1913,
p. 399; Caspari 1915, p. 179), others claimed it occurred during the Late Bronze Age (e.g., Meyer 1901, p. 392).
8. For new theoretical movements, see Jones 1997; Johnson 2010, pp. 102– 215; Hodder 2012. For new approaches to Greek colonization, see Osborne 1998; Antonaccio 2009; Tsetskhladze and Hargrave 2011. For new archaeo- logical evidence, see sections on the archeology of Ionia, pp. 387–397, below.
9. For general acceptance of the story, see Cook 1962, p. 24; Herda 2013, p. 426. For wholesale rejection
of the story, see Cobet 2007; Greaves 2010, pp. 222–224. For the historiogra- phy of modern scholarship surrounding the Ionian Migration, see Vaessen 2014, pp. 43–78."


I don't know this area which is why I went looking for some papers. I hope you find them useful.

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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by almound » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:21 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:56 am
I don't know this area which is why I went looking for some papers. I hope you find them useful.
Your input is useful. I'll have to look up these sources; I just have time to jot a quick response. One thing I should mention, please understand that when I put forth ideas or theories that are out of the norm I bring them up in the spirit of inquiry. There are so few venues that provide reasonable explanation and robust evidence. Typically, the level of debate is just a game of "he said/she said." But I always welcome constructive criticism.

In general, what I find of late agrees with Cowgill ... “. . . the realization that innovations can spread across existing dialect boundaries has led to soberer views of prehistoric migrations.” We are living in a period of upheaval in the forensic sciences. Just go over to YouTube and watch a few Time Team episodes that feature Francis Pryor, who is famous for insisting that migration/invasion should never be a default explanation for cultural change. What is different about Francis, however, is that he has taken the trouble to support organized forensic research into the questions raised.

I look forward to the "new archaeological evidence from Ionia."
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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by almound » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:49 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:56 am
As Cowgill (1966: 78) put it, “. . . the realization that innovations can spread across existing dialect boundaries has led to soberer views of prehistoric migrations.”"

You may also find "Separating Fact from Fiction in the Ionian Migration" Naoíse MacSweeney Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens Vol. 86, No. 3 (July-September 2017), pp. 379-421 helpful. MacSweeney says(p 382)
Thanks very much for these references. In general, current consensus falls along lines similar to the following taken from the Naoíse Mac Sweeney article:

"The rise to prominence of the Ionian Migration myth should therefore
be seen in this 6th-century context—that is, in the context of emerging
Ionian identity—rather than as due to the veracity of its claims concerning
the Early Iron Age. Similarly, the continued popularity of the myth
cannot be explained with reference to its historical accuracy or otherwise.
As already mentioned, the myth would have been politically expedient
at several points during antiquity, not just with the coalescing of Ionian
identity in the 6th century b.c. Notably, it would have spoken to Athenian
imperial ambitions in the eastern Aegean during the 5th century
b.c., and to Athens’ attempts to recover some position of ideological and
symbolic prominence during the 4th century. The story would once again have gained traction during what is known as the “Second Sophistic” period around the 2nd century a.d., when Roman imperial patronage saw a rise in Athens’ fortunes as a center of learning and culture."

Regardless the cause, there does seem to have been an effort in ancient times to draw distinction between Greek experience prior to the 6th century b.c. and that to be had thereafter. (It is modern scholars that typify this discontinuity as "Ionian," and what-not.) My suspicion, though, is that whatever the origin of this myth it is not merely linguistic. Or rather, the changing linguistics was a symptom of a radical change in consciousness similar to that which occurred in the last 500 years with the advent of the industrial and then the information age. In this age of scientific rationalism the mystic religionism of the middle ages seems inconceivable, and yet historically verifiable. However, exactly what changed in human consciousness is very difficult to pin down. It is not merely that people learned to fabricate machines.
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Re: Anything concrete to back up the Ionian Migration?

Post by jeidsath » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:13 am

Francis Pryor, who is famous for insisting that migration/invasion should never be a default explanation for cultural change
It's hard to imagine anything that 21st century genetic sequencing technology has proven more wrong. The people who seem to have been unable to make predictions that stand up to any sort of new tests were the archeologists of the 20th century. The philologists of the 19th century tended to do better. It's migrations/invasions all the way down.

As far as the Ionian Migration, which may or may not be a figment, I have no information. But I imagine that we'll know soon enough. See "Supplementary Information" starting on page 3 of this Nature article for a hint of what we are going to find out as we extract DNA from more remains over the next few years. Read the article itself for what we've found out in the last two years.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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