Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization: The Linguistic Evidence, Vol. 3 Review
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A considerable audience of non specialists were curious about the state of a two decades controversy, concerning Bernal logically defended thesis. He enlists what Greek philosophers and Historians were always rather open about, their reliance on ancient Egyptian civilization in many domains. One could find many parallels and borrowings in mythology which is presented as 'Before Philosophy' by Frankfort, et al. Hellen is represented as having learned medical arts in Egypt, in the Odyssey, is a Classic example. Not only has Bernal's provocative book inflamed passions of right wing Academia, with its rediscovery that Greek culture of speculative arguments, and consequently, the Mediaeval renaissance of Western humanism, was dependant on Ancient Egyptian (dark Afro-Asiatic culture), a glorious human civilization of thirty five centuries, that prompted his critics to publish 'Not Out Of Africa' & 'Black Athena Revisited' (both in 1996), attempting to abort his trial to respond. Most contributors to Not Out of Africa claimed that Bernal's thesis were over emphacized, in many cases unjustified.
Classical Civilization Roots:
Martin Bernal challenged the basis of an informed reply to Voltaire's question, arguing that a classical civilization, deeply rooted in Near Orient's Afro-Asiatic influence has been ignored, suppressed, and many times even denied, to promote a racial superiority myth, described by the American German philosopher Marcuse as 'the concept of a one-dimensional society,' with critical race theory in order to achieve a more robust support of 'Capitalist whiteness'. Cornell's Orientalist Martin Bernal in his audacious scholarly work 'Black Athena' winner of the American Book Award, 1990, and socialist Review book Award, 1987, reinterpreted the roots of classical civilization, contending that ancient Greek culture derived from Egypt, and through Phoenicia, a fact that was confessed by the Greeks themselves, while some nineteenth century European colonial writers promoted Greek civilization as the roots of Western civilization.
The earliest writing ever, according to scholarly report on the BBC in 1998, could have been discovered in southern Egypt, as confirmed four years later, in Chacago Oriental Institute. The find, hieroglyphics record linen and oil deliveries made over 5,000 years ago, challenges the widely-held belief that the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, were the first to write sometime before 3000 BC. The exact date of Sumerian writing remains in doubt but the new discoveries in upper Egypt have been confidently dated,using carbon isotopes by a reputable German archaeologist to date between 3300 BC and 3200 BC. Ancient Egyptians are thought to have developed writing to develop trade,"It was thought that Sumerians were earlier in writing than Egypt," reported Dr. Gunter Dreyer, director of the German Archaeological Institute in Egypt,"With our findings, we now see it's on the same level and this is an open question: was writing invented here or there? It was possible that Sumerians who traded with Egypt copied their inscriptions," said Dr Dreyer, "But we have to wait for further evidence," he warned that publication of his results would be available later.
Discovery supports Bernal:
Archaeological experts has described the find as, "one of the greatest discoveries in the history of writing and ancient Egyptian civilization," as reported by Professor Kent Weeks, Egyptology professor, the American University, Cairo. Dr. Dreyer and his team have unearthed, at the time, about 300 pieces of clay tablets barely bigger than postage stamps, with written material on, similar to the Sumerian cuniforms. Clay jars and vases also displayed the documentary records of linen and oil delivered to King Scorpion I, as taxes. Most of the hieroglyphics have been deciphered, including short notes, numbers, lists of kings' names and names of ancient institutions. The writings reflect a society that was then far more developed than previously thought, said AUC professor. Thenceforth, Bernal makes the case as he demonstrates the massive association between Egyptian and Greek linguistically; a link that his critics have been far less willing to attack him on. Whatever one concludes, the dominant impression is that the Greeks borrowed many divinities from Egypt, just as Rome borrowed the Greek gods. The particular strength of Bernal's analysis is not simply that he notes how, for instance, Ht Nt may be plausibly linked to Athena, it is that this linking is justified by the associations the words retain in both language.
What do you conclude?
Now, what can one conclude from the fact that the non-Indo-European elements of Greek are phonetically and semantically illuminated by looking for Egyptian roots. Is this proof of physical Egyptian influence? Imagining a parallel cases, could Latin have become so integrated into many other languages if Rome hadn't been there at one time to impose it? Or, can one say that the non-Indo-European element comprises indigenous Greeks. There is plenty of evidence that people living in the Aegean for thousands of years prior to the Greece known as the cradle of civilization, somehow in contact with or influenced by Egypt, or the Pheonicians? No one is yet that sure!
"By crossing the boundaries of established disciplines and mixing evidence that is not usually discussed in the same breath, Bernal has adopted a procedure that is virtually guaranteed to annoy those technicians who resent incursions into their domains by outsiders or the uninitiated" T. Patterson
British born Martin Bernal, Professor Emeritus of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Cornell University. Martin, son of Dr. John Bernal, a dazzling thinker and talker, who laid the foundation of molecular biology, and grandson of Sir Alan Gardiner, the eminent Oxford University Egyptologist, and World top Hieroglyphic expert. He is the author of Black Athena: the Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization (1987), which occasioned Black Athena: Ten Years After, ed. Wim M.J. van Binsbergen (Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society, 1997) and Black Athena Writes Back: Martin Bernal Responds to his Critics, ed. David Chioni Moore (Duke University Press, 2001).
Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization: The Linguistic Evidence, Vol. 3 OverviewCould Greek philosophy be rooted in Egyptian thought? Is it possible that the Pythagorean theory was conceived on the shores of the Nile and the Euphrates rather than in ancient Greece? Could it be that much of Western civilization was formed on the "Dark Continent"? For almost two centuries, Western scholars have given little credence to the possibility of such scenarios.In Black Athena, an audacious three-volume series that strikes at the heart of today's most heated culture wars, Martin Bernal challenges Eurocentric attitudes by calling into question two of the longest-established explanations for the origins of classical civilization. To use his terms, the Aryan Model, which is current today, claims that Greek culture arose as the result of the conquest from the north by Indo-European speakers, or "Aryans," of the native "pre-Hellenes." The Ancient Model, which was maintained in Classical Greece, held that the native population of Greece had initially been civilized by Egyptian and Phoenician colonists and that additional Near Eastern culture had been introduced to Greece by Greeks studying in Egypt and Southwest Asia. Moving beyond these prevailing models, Bernal proposes a Revised Ancient Model, which suggests that classical civilization in fact had deep roots in Afroasiatic cultures.This long-awaited third and final volume of the series is concerned with the linguistic evidence that contradicts the Aryan Model of ancient Greece. Bernal shows how nearly 40 percent of the Greek vocabulary has been plausibly derived from two Afroasiatic languages-Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic. He also reveals how these derivations are not limited to matters of trade, but extended to the sophisticated language of politics, religion, and philosophy. This evidence, according to Bernal, greatly strengthens the hypothesis that in Greece an Indo-European-speaking population was culturally dominated by Ancient Egyptian and West Semitic speakers.Provocative, passionate, and colossal in scope, this volume caps a thoughtful rewriting of history that has been stirring academic and political controversy since the publication of the first volume.Martin Bernal, formerly a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and professor of Government and Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University, is now retired.
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