THE GLOZEL WRITING
by Hans-Rudolph Hitz
The Sacred Site of Glozel
An important purpose of the visit was to acquaint oneself with the writing and to learn how to reproduce it. Glozel seems to have been a kind of writing school. This presumes contacts between different peoples, but all of them must have spoken a Celtic language in order to understand each other.
At the 'sacred site of Glozel,' in Glozelique nemu Chlausei (comparable to the Gallic term nemeton -sacred place -and Chlausei, suggesting the place-name Glozel) they found a sanctuary with tombs, surrounded by bushes, oaks and other trees. People brought votive offerings, which were buried in the earth, to the sanctuary.
Relationship of the Inscriptions of Glozel to
Other Iron Age Inscriptions
In comparing the Glozel inscriptions with these written languages, one finds close relationships with the Celtic texts from Transalpine Gaul (Gallo-Greek and Gallo-Latin), with the Celtic inscriptions (Lepontic and Cisalpine Gaulish) in use in Cisalpine Gaul (the north of Italy and southern Switzerland), as well as with the Greek, Etruscan, and Latin alphabets.
Analysis of the Glozel Writing
A Historic Relationship between Cisalpine Gaul
and Transalpine Gaul
It was the Celts of the Golasecca culture in northern Italy, in Piedmont and Lombardy, who had first adapted a northern Etruscan alphabet to record a Celtic language during the Hallstatt period, in the seventh century BC.
From the fifth century BC (the La Tène period,) the Lepontians wrote their texts in a related alphabet, the alphabet of Lugano, sometimes improperly called Lepontic. The Gallic immigrants from the center of Gaul borrowed the Lepontic alphabet and created a Gaulish-Cisalpine alphabet for their Gaulish language.
The Primary Alphabet of Glozel
The Glozelic Alphabet
This extended alphabet probably contained about 25 signs and the writing was augmented by about 60 variations of signs, which represented ligatures and twinned consonants. The Glozel writing thus consisted of a minimumof 85 signs, a number not far from the 111 signs mentioned in the syllabus of Morlet.
Gaulish in the Glozelic Texts
There are many resemblances between the two in terms of the grammatical relationship of noun formation, . A difference exists in Glozelic in the endings in -1, formed for Glozelic in -e (Nike, Vo”e, Tote, Cuve, etc.) which represents an opening of the sound from -i to -e. In Gaulish, the same formation probably appears in Eluveitie and in Bibracte.
A grammatical relationship in verb formation can also be observed. The Gaulish expression oberte/ioberte 'has offered' is comparable to the Glozelic operte. The Gaulish legasit 'has placed' appears in Glozelic as legusit and the Gaulish logeoe(?)/ logitoi 'has erected' appears in its Glozelic form as lokeoe. As well, the Gaulish avot for 'has made' appears the same, avot/avut at Glozel.
As for place names, I have discovered on a big tablet the expression nemu chlausei, 'in the sacred place of Glozel.' This word nemu is comparable to the term nemeton which means 'sacred place' in Gaulish, and in Old Irish there is nem 'sky.' A later derivation exists in the Gaulish form Nemessos for 'Clermont-Ferrand' (Gallo-Roman Augusto-nemetum) which is found in Italy in Etruscan letters Mezu-nemusus (Gaulish Medio-nemeton) 'middle sanctuary.'
As for Chlausei, the term suggests the place name 'Glozel.' The grammatical form with the -i ending is perhaps Latinized. For the place name Glozel, one encounters also Closau. A relationship must exist between the word clauz 'enclosure'from the Auvergne, and the word clausèèl 'small enclosure' from Languedoc.
Moreover, there are the expressions tulysiec for the word 'Toulousian' and toulusiau for the Gaulish place name 'Tolosa,' (today Toulouse).
A Celtic dialectal difference appears in the treatment of the labio-velar voiceless Indo-European sound /kw/ or /qu/; some speakers have conserved it (Celtiberic and Godelic at the time when Ogam was used) but others have evolved towards the labial /p/ (Gaulish, Lepontic, and Britannic).
The idea of different Gaulish dialects is not unreasonable, but at the present time it is not supported by solid proofs. The most important variation is the the conservation of the Indo-European /kw/ or /qu/ in some words like Sequana or in the names of the months Equos and Quimon in the Coligny Calendar, representing a Gaulish dialect, 'Sequanien.'
It could be the same for the Glozel writing, where one also finds /q/ more for /k/ than for /kw/, in the names Qakhi, Zoqacl, and Littaq, as well as in Qamuli, P(e)lq, and k(a)qt. Is it a question of a Glozel language or of a Gaulish dialect, the Glozelic?
Besides, there may have been differences in speaking due to dialectal forms at Glozel, where people spoke Gaulish with tonal variations, perhaps in the Glozel name Eitutag in comparison with the Gaulish Itotag(os).
The table above makes a distinction between the primary alphabet of Glozel and Glozelic. It indicates the beginning of inscriptions on different materials, although we are not sure about the duration. The following criteria are employed: the Iron Age alphabets, some grammatical forms, the different types of proper names, and the appearance of ligatures and other characteristic forms.
To the period of the third to second century BC are dated the texts in the primary alphabet of Glozel on small stones and on urns and vases which:
To the period of the second to first century BC are dated the texts in the Glozelic alphabet on schist rings, bone, big stones and on the first group of tablets which:
To the period of the first century BC to the first and second century AD are dated the inscriptions in the Glozelic alphabet on large tablets and on the second group of tablets which contain unique proper names, several unusual ligatures, and rare letters like the demi-h.
Content of the Texts
In the texts, one encounters proper names formed using first names that highlight the heroic qualities of those who bear them. Although we know nothing about the social structure of Glozel, at first sight these are characteristic of a warrior aristocracy. These names are obviously formed according to Indo-European processes, for example in the Glozel name Cun-iudu 'fighting dog' and Commu-ualo 'poweful ruler.'
One also finds proper names combined with family names. These texts are formed with the verbs dete or tede, opert and eu, which can be compared with the Gaulish dede ' has given,' oberte 'has offered,' and eu 'has offered.'
Moreover, in the expression avot, which can be compared to the Gaulish word avot 'has made,' one encounters the name of the author, the maker, the sponsor, or the dedicator of the inscription.
These inscriptions seem to consist of dedications, of some funerary texts and of some accounts of important events. There are no magical formulas or curses, such as those found on a number of Gallo-Roman lead plaques.
The Atypical Glozel Inscriptions
The fact that some Glozel inscriptions are written with very atypical signs and with extrememly unusual ligatures and symbols helps to explain why many specialists talk about falsification and believe that the Glozel inscriptions are inauthentic.
|Copyrightę 2005. Alice Gerard.||