Umbrian meditations (259)
Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@VM.EPAS.UTORONTO.CA)
Thu, 23 Feb 89 20:53:30 EST
Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 639. Thursday, 23 Feb 1989.
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 89 10:38:35 -0800
Subject: Paper dealing with Umbrian
I am submitting the following paper as a favor to the
author. I presume it will be of interest primarily to
classicists, linguists and historians of the ancient
world. As I am none of these, I have little appreciation
for the paper's contents. All I know is that the submission
does not appear to be inappropriate for this forum.
Please direct any comments to the author, whose name,
address and telephone number are given near the end of the paper.
Paper for the Humanities Network
PLAUTUS' Fellum Elogium VS. THE LEGACY OF THE GOOD FATHER KIRCHER
(For free photographic slides of both faces of Umbrian stele to
first five qualified respondents, see end of paper.)
Dear Recipient: Kindly print and please pass on to your resident
linguist(s), historian(s), archeologist(s), and most especially,
the rare Latin-fluent scholar with strong cryptanalytic background,
who is "into" UMBRIAN, the language of Plautus which became the
a large portion of Harpers, Latin, not Umbrian, Dictionary. The
simple reason that Umbrian cannot be read by the truly doctus
Latin scholar with no tool other than Harpers with its Plautinian
Umbrian vocabulary, are the Kircheritic-type assigned phonetic
values. Ref. to Cleator's Lost Languages, Kircher entry, for the
continuing hoax, if you will. For probability calculations of
text give to your resident expert in Math Dept., who will,
hopefully, refer to Chaos, op. cit.
Being restricted in length and unable to quote extensively herein,
please, at the same time refer to Gleick's Chaos, Viking, 1987, p.
256 for the methodology used in 2 years of patient cryptanalysis
in transcribing Plautus' Fellum Elogium to Plautine. Fellum
Elogium, the bitter refrain repeated 10 times, is my apt title for
it also as it reflects the labor involved in sifting to
discover/uncover phonetic values as opposed to 'reading' Umbrian
(sic) with arbritary, whimful values assigned to some the the
Umbrian script's letters, 'readable' only by Kircherites, with
special 'glossaries,' endless notes and 'explanations.'
The Fellum Elogium requires none and is simply explained (Gleick
on Shannon) and may be simply checked using the elementary
statistics on E.H. McKnight's 1923 model, repeated by C. Murphy in
The Atlantic, 1988. The importance of statistics (letter frequency
etc.) in analysis of the compressed data-script of steles
(acronyms, apocopes, etc.) with hapax and resuras, cannot be
Assuming the foregoing known and/or re-reviewed, I give the
climactic last line, first:
STATE! COGITATE OPTIMIS OMNIS, OPTIMATES UNAE, AUT(-EM)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
TOTIUS: EIUS CAECE(-UM) USUS, AT ILLIUS ILLUSUSE, ET SUUS,
All of the numbered -US- monosyllables are transcribed from the
syllabogram written using the koph sign, familiar to any
peruser. And, N.B. , how educated reader is expected to supply
endings. Therefore my request for Chadwick-like help, this
being, overall, just a decoding.
Following are the first two paragraphs, as they have emerged, with
consistently applied crypyanalysis in a literatim with rigid use
of discovered phonetic values throughout. But remember that
Plautus bragged his lingua non manu, i.e. that his puns and double
entendres were "non-manageable," as you read. And, N.B., the
commas, parentheses and quotation marks have been added.
Exclamation points, along with hyphens, are in the text.
The Transcription, not a translation:
(Note numbered, i.e. easily
compared/checked/rechecked/statistically and mathematically
important Fellum Elogium, among others. Kircher's, et al,
hoax is exposed with this simple, rigorous, consistent,
unvarying transcription of phonetic values.)
EU, NISI TIBI ITA TANTUM ANNIS AN NI AB LAPIE EXITUS, JUVO ANNIS
ECFAUSTIS PLAUTINE, PLAUDO TIBI N'ELOHIM AN (FELLUM ELOGIUM) ME
EMI TIBI ILLA AFFUAM UNAM STELEM OB OSSUM, OB, CARUM CAPUT, UTI TE
ISTI AN AFFUSUMIT BRIAREIS IT (unkn.hapax) SIQUIDEM QUI MIHI, TE,
EI, IMMO DAMNET MI MIGRARE ANNIS AD HINC CEREN HENNAM PER XII DIES
LUMINUM (EPIPHANIAM), PER XII TABULAE LEGUM, ET (FELLUM ELOGIUM)
OB OPTIMAS OURANIAM ARAM, PERAMICE CENIUNT UT NIL EST CULTIS UTI
ILLJUS, ILLIUS SI - EN! - NESCIUNT EPULAS TIBI UTI LARUM (AGUSTI)
AUTEM AULAE MEI! ET (FELLUM ELOGIUM) AM-MARTII-NATALIS, STEMMATIS
MEI! OB OLIM! OB OLLIS! OB ILIUM CUNABULUM!! OB OILEUM CUNABULUM!
CENAEUM CENANDUM!EPULATICIS AFFELICIS TIS LAR AGO OB OPTIMAS ALMAM
MAAM AFFUIT UNEM, ENIM. (end paragraph one)
CLAM, CLAMO, OB OMNUS, OB UNUS, UT VOLO EFFATAMIUSSIME NI EFFULTUM
TE 'ELOHIM (FELLUM ELOGIUM) AB HINC NI (VE) INNO AD SAGE NI (VE)
UNIS IS LETIFER TIBI (name in hapax here) NIVE AST SU SURSUM, NAE,
AGE! AGER(APER) ROMANUS MAGISTRATUS PATRICIUS AN? SIS IT TOLLERE
EFFATUMI TIBI! ET (FELLUM ELOGIUM) AD HUC UTINAM CERENT GENTES
BONOS ILLOS ILIORUM? NISI AB SUIS ASININIS NAE! STELLAE!
STELLIONATUS! AFFU 'UNA' ELOHIMA A NIL ERAT ILLA ILINIA! INTRA TE
ES, NISI AB, NIVE ERIT CAMENALIS SEMEMALIS!
(FELLUM ELOGIUM) ILLA IAM MAIA TENEVIT ESSE SI NAE! ECCA EADEM!
(FELLUM ELOGIUM) OB OPTIMAN OURANIAM, OB OMNES OPTIMATES, OB
OPTIMATE AURAM HELVINIAE (OB OPTIMATE AURAE HELVETI!) UT TIBI, TE
ES SINE DAMNESES TI, TE ES SIN MIHI TE IMMO DAMNES MUSI NISI OB
OPTIMATES MUSAGETES ET GELOS OMNIS OPTIMUS! UT TIBI ITA TAM IAM
CUM CUNA AB AFFU 'UNA' NAM NISI AENEAS HENNENSIS - HEM! - NAE
GENERE SIC! SIS CAMENALIS SEMENALIS HAEREAT UT TUI, MEI! (end
I trust a few John Chadwick types in 200 B.C. Latin will be
interested in cleaning up most of the remaining pieces of CACA in
the transcription, N.B., of the text. I have taken it to the
Ventris stage. It now requires, and I welcome, the assistance of
the relatively few who are able to read pre Ciceronian Latin,
without the infamous "Ciceronian editing" (Amer. Ency. 1956 ed.,
6-37), like any literate natives who listened to Plautus'
'Pseudolus" (op.cit. 22-241) in 191, for the Magna Mater, i.e. the
Maam of the text.
The reason for the now relatively simple encoding, especially for
those perfectly familiar with Harpers', letters entries and
history, was equally simple: To avoid the rockhammers of "unius
deus" priests who had, as is seen, gotten to his father, and who,
as is common knowledge, would, when they achieved complete and
absolute power much later, leave only a tiny part of 200 B.C.
literature. Here is what Plautus says in the 3rd paragraph,
explaining his CAECE(-UM) in final line quoted:
SI (supply EGO or UNI) IRE AD MAGES ELEATES NAE COGITUNT:
EFFLUNT 'UNIUS DEUS' FAMIS GELOIS!
(Note infinitve w/o pron. Then note my Eng. syncopes and apocopes
which you just automatically supplied.)
The foregoing, including more than 2/3rds of text, is my precis,
evidence and macro-analysis. The micro-cryptanalysis, in a line-
by-line literatim, is two voluminous ring binders, generally
unnecessary, of course, for those familiar with exact word
meanings, customs, vocabulary and so forth, especially Plautus'
signature words, i.e. Plautinisms.
For those who referred to Chaos, p. 256, an excellent illustration
Thxs, wx cax drxp oxt exerx thxrd xetxer xnd xou
xtixl mxnaxe pxetxy wxll. Thng ar a litl toghr i we ls
leve ut he pac. Anevnwrisfecnnctheors. (Translation at end of
(Lindsay & Norman, Human Info. Processing, Academic Press, NY,
1972, pp 488-9) The last sentence is a fair approximation of the
usual stele sentence with apocope, syncope, acronyms, synaloephas
etc., all run together in a money-saving stream of encoded
material; of the initial struggle required to separate words;
great, but easier with each sense-making word, confirming and/or
reconfirming discovered phonetic values.Letter
frequency/percentages in still-to-be-done computer studies of the
pitiable documents of 2nd Cent. B.C. Latin left, should coincide
very closely with fleshed-out inscription text of the Fellum
Elogium. (Refer to Kemp, K.W., & editors, p.610, Bits, Bytes &
Bibl. Studies, by J.J. Hughes, Academic Books, Grand Rapids, 1987,
ISBN 0-310-28581-X pbk.)
While a friend has converted the transcribed text into "Republican
Latin" by substituting more common, high-frequency terms
(Examples: amarum for fellum, annos for annis, both circa and de
for am-, as he saw fit, etc.) this is, as Plautus says:
IIT EADEM, IT IUS(JUS) SIC EST NESCIUM! (Correcting
The transcribed text, as is, requires Chadwick-like attention
before it is converted to a Latin which any mediocre Latin scholar
may scan-read, and, words such as 'Elohim dropped consequently, to
conform to "Ciceronian editing." (Theologians in Berkeley advise
that 'Elohim must be changed to Deus in all Catholic documents,
Inasmuch as the few of a relative handful of scholars who should
be able to handle such lingua non manu and who live around the
San Francisco Bay area that I have able to contact either have no
interest or no time, (For the reaction of a few refer to Chaos, P.
304ff, for Ford of GIT, and the reaction which "he did not
understand," a reaction completely understandable from
theologians, obviously, but not from linguistic scientists, who
can, if they will, use the old simple, tried-and-tested,
replication.) I am going farther afield, expecting to find 2-3
Ronald Fox types (See Ford's colleague in Chaos) with Apples for
replication rather than fruitless discussion on how certain
assigned phonetic values became sacred. If jus, in context, in
quote above, means common sense and common law, and caecum =
caput coli (Ency. Amer., index, 1956 ed.) and Kircherites, now
simply exposed, then both quotes could be repeated at this point.
Certainly, my friend's "Republican Latin" paraphrase: Qui caeco
usus est, se et suos illusit, did not better the Old Master. But
a few real 'Chadwicks' could further improve my transcription, as
is obvious, before publication. Scholars who can read the decoded
text, as is, please contact:
Ben F. Blankenship
2675 Meadow Glen Dr.
San Ramon, CA 94583 (415) 820-7595
For your copy of Apple Mac program to replicate, along with
coordinated alphabet values chart/vocabulary and photographic
slides to study interpunctio.
Lindsay & Norman used the same technique as Plautus: The key was
in the first line. For those who did not take the time to work it
out the message on spaces and word separation follows: "Things
are a little tougher if we also leave out the space. And even
worse if we connect the words."
Humanist Network Paper 21 February 1989