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Open letter to science editors

 

KRONOS Vol IV, No. 3

Addenda et Corrigenda ...

Saturn As King

Dwardu Cardona

*The author wishes to thank Malcolm Lowery, editor of the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies Review, for having so kindly offered the objective criticism upon which the main bulk of this corrigenda is based.

It has come to my attention that, insofar as the linguistic evidence contained in "Let there be Light"(1) is concerned, I have inadvertently allowed a few minor discrepencies to creep into my work. The following corrigenda are hereby offered for the benefit of those who, perhaps because of their linguistic deficiency, might have been trapped by my words.

In a recent letter to the author, Malcolm Lowery stated:

"In any dead language, there remain obscurities which provide material for learned controversy, and the languages of the ancient Near East more so than most."(2)

Lowery's main objection seems to rest on my blind reliance on Budge's work. The collective works of Budge are a veritable mine of information but, meanwhile, the study of the Egyptian language has progressed immensely since his time. Concerning certain matters, I should therefore have consulted more recent sources.

For instance, in my article I stated that "the more popular word 'pharaoh' is a Hebraized title of the king of Egypt. In Egyptian the word is 'Per'o'."(3)

This is only correct to a certain extent. Lowery tells me that "the Egyptian actually reads Pr-'3, which, the Hebrew would suggest, actually represented Par-'a30, giving Hebrew Para-o, where the first 'h' [in 'Pharaoh'] is a function of the pronounciation rather than the spelling, and the final 'h' a mere orthographical convention."

I also stated that "in ancient Egypt, the common word for 'king' was 'suten'. "(4)

Once again, this is only partly correct. "Suten" seems to be a conventional vocalization of the earlier reading "swtn." "But," Lowery assures me, "no one supposes the Egyptians said 'suten,' because it has long been agreed that Egyptian had no 'e'." So that "suten" could just as easily have been pronounced "sawtin," " 'switna," or even "sutani" The reading "swtn" of the hieroglyphs [*!* image hieroglyphics], which actually depict the phonetic sounds sw, t, and n, has, however, "long been abandoned in favor of 'nsw,' conventionally vocalized 'nesu '"

I continued by saying that "a more ancient form, however, was 'erpat'" Lowery informs me that neither Gardiner nor Faulkner back Budge up on the translation of "erpat" as "king." Gardiner gives "erpat" as "prince" and/or "hereditary prince," while Faulkner gives "hereditary noble" and "heir".

Here, of course, I am entirely to blame since the ambiguity of the words I used - "a more ancient form" could be misconstrued into meaning "a more ancient form [for 'king']," thus giving the impression that Budge translated "erpat" as "king". He did not. His actual words are:

"The word er-pat is composed of er 'chief' and pat a 'clan,' 'tribe,' or 'family' ... Erpat is a very ancient word, and was probably in use in Egypt before suten [now read nesu], the common word for 'king'."(5)

But even to this, Lowery objects:

"P't ... does not (according to today's experts) mean 'clan, tribe,' but denotes one particular section of the populace transcending geographical or administrative boundaries: the nobility."(6)

But are we not, perhaps, splitting the hair too finely here? According to Webster, among other related designations, both "clan" and "tribe" mean "family." Meanwhile, a "hereditary prince" can also be rendered as "chief" or "head" of a family. In fact, in another work of his, Budge does translate erpat as a "hereditary, tribal chief".(7) Granted that "tribal" might not be the right adjective to use, a "hereditary prince" is almost, if not quite, synonymous with "hereditary chief". In my article, I stated no more than that, the implication only being that "chief" could have also been synonymous with "king".

Finally, I pointed out that "the very name of the god Ra contains the very same hieroglyph [ [hieroglyph] read er] ." Lowery is probably right in calling this the purest red herring "since the hieroglyph in question is no more than the letter 'r'." So that if the hieroglyph [hieroglyph] or, as Budge also has it, [hieroglyph], is not acceptable as "chief," the equation of "ra" as "king" falls flat on its face. In my article, however, I prefaced the entire passage in question with these words:

"In our endeavor to trace the original meaning of the word "ra" ... we cannot help but suspect that it is philologically related to a near-universal prefix denoting kingship." (Emphasis this time.)

Now if I may be allowed - a suspicion is a far cry from a statement and "relation" does not mean "equivalence". These words, at least, were chosen with care.

To continue, I also stated that "as a prefix used in the designation of royalty, 'ra' is found in common usage in the countries of the East."

Lowery calls this a case of hysteron proteron where he qualifies his imputation by the following words:

"The inverted logic lies in seeing the common element as a prefix, when the shorter forms we have are merely remnants of longer ones ... So to discover that all these languages have startlingly similar words for 'king' is merely to confirm what comparative linguists have been saying for a long time."

Moreover, all the royal Eastern designations mentioned in my article are of Indo-European origin. Despite the pioneering work of such comparative linguists as Delitzsch, Moller, and Blake, an actual link with Egyptian and/or Semitic, although by no means disqualified, is yet to be proven.

If my logic was inverted, and if my attempt to link the Sanskrit "raj" to the Egyptian "ra " was something of an inadvertent contrivance, I now find that I am not alone. Merlin Stone seems to have preceded me. From her 1976 work, I quote the following:

"Around the time of the Second Dynasty the town of Heliopolis, some ten miles north of Memphis (known to the Egyptians as Annu), became the home of a school of scribal priests who also worshipped a sun god who rode in a boat. In this town they used the name Ra. In Sanskrit, Ra means royal or exalted on high. This prefix is found for the Sanskrit word for king, raja and queen, rani. It survives in the German word ragen, to reach up, in Franch as roi, meaning king, as well as in the English words royal, reign and regal."(8)

To which, Lowery himself adds the Gaulish rix, Old Irish rig, the German Reich, the Scandinavian rike, and the Dutch rijk.

Now when I stated that, in Maltese, the word for "king" was "re", I was again guilty of an ambiguity. Having prefixed my statement with the qualification that the inhabitants of Malta speak a language of Semitic extraction, Lowery points out that I have given the false impression that the Maltese "re" is also of the same derivation. In fact, the Maltese "re" is pure Italian and, therefore, also of Indo-European origin.

My identifications of Ra as Saturn and of Saturn as the first king of the world were not, however, based on my assumed relation of "ra" with "king". In the article in question, both these identifications are backed by other evidence and, elsewhere, we intend to cement them further.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to correct one of the notes appended to "Let there be Light". Note #16 should have read "Die Griechischen Zauberpapyri" and not, whimsically enough, "Die Griechischen Sauber Papyri". This mistake was due to the author's carelessness in typing and in no way is KRONOS, or its editors, to blame.

NOTES

1. D. Cardona, "Let there be Light," in KRONOS, Vol. III, No. 3 (Spring 1978), pp. 34-55.
2. R.M. Lowery to D. Cardona, private communique, May 21, 1978. (NOTE: Unless otherwise stated, all other quotes from Lowery are taken from the same missive.)
3. D. Cardona, op. cit., p. 53, note #81.
4. Ibid., p. 44. (NOTE: All other quotes from the same article are taken from pp. 44-45.)
5. E.A. Wallis Budge, The Egyptian Book of the Dead (New York, 1895-1967), p. 243, note # 1.
6. R.M. Lowery to D. Cardona, private communique, June 27, 1978.
7. E.A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians (New York, 1904-69), Vol. II, p. 95.
8. M. Stone, The Paradise Papers (published in the U.S.A. as When God was a Woman ), (London, 1976-7), p. 106.

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