Papers and Summary of the Discussion held at the Summer 2023 MASt Seminar (Friday, June 30)

New thoughts on old matters: Insights from Iconography and Linguistics. Papers and Summary of the Discussion held at the Summer 2023 MASt Seminar (Friday, June 30)

§1. The Summer 2023 session of the MASt seminar was opened with the very happy news that the MASt co-founder Tom Palaima has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (

§2. In the words of the Academy, Palaima joins “a distinguished group of individuals elected to the Academy … including Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791) in the eighteenth century; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), and Charles Darwin (1874) in the nineteenth; Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966), Stephen Hawking (1984), and Condoleezza Rice (1997) in the twentieth; and, more recently, Bryan Stevenson (2014), M. Temple Grandin (2016), John Legend (2017), Viet Thanh Nguyen (2018), James Fallows (2019), Joan Baez (2020), Sanjay Gupta (2021), and Heather Cox Richardson (2022).” Nelson Mandela was also a member. As are Tim O’Brien and Tobias Wolff and Bob Dylan (see here

§3. Congratulations dear Tom!

§4. The Summer 2023 MASt seminar “New thoughts on old matters: Insights from Iconography and Linguistics” focused on the contents of an upcoming monograph on Aegean seals and new arguments for an etymological proposal on a Mycenaean personal name.

§5. The first speaker was Janice Crowley, who gave the presentation “ICON. Art and Meaning in Aegean Seal Images”. In her talk, Crowley presented a selection of excerpts from her upcoming book on Aegean seals, artefacts that belong to a 1500-year artistic tradition and provide the most extensive imaging of subject matter in the Bronze Age.

§6. Daniel Kölligan offered the paper “Thoughts on Myc. Amutawo and PIE *h2meu̯– and *h2meu̯dh– ‘to surpass’.” In the initial part, he critically reviewed the scholarship as well as the hypotheses on the subject and their implications. Subsequently, Kölligan proposed a new etymology for the Mycenaean personal name amutawo by connecting it with the alphabetic Greek verb ἀμεύσασθαι “to surpass”, to which ἀμύμων may be related.

§7. Roughly 50 attendees took part in the Spring 2023 MASt seminar, among whom Maria Anastasioadou, Stephanie Aulsebrook, Michele Bianconi, Fritz Blakolmer, Janice Crowley, Paola Dardano, Eric Dieu, Elena Džukeska, Georgia Flouda, José Luis García Ramón, Giorgios Giannakis, Riccardo Ginevra, Benjamin Huber, Petr Kocharov, Daniel Kölligan, Hedvig Landenius Enegren, Jan-Niklas Linnemeier, Matteo Macciò, Joseph Maran, Lyvia Morgan, Leonard Muellner, Giulia Muti, Greg Nagy, Tom Palaima, Diamantis Panagiotopoulos, Vassilis Petrakis, Rachele Pierini, Linda Rocchi, Gudrun Samberger, Shari Stocker, Agata Ulanowska, Carlos Varias, Thiago Venturott, Judith Weingarten, Andreas Willi, Katarzyna Żebrowska.

§8. Substantial discussions followed each presentation. Specifically, contributions to the seminar were made by Maria Anastasioadou (see below at §§30—32; 36), Janice Crowley (§§25—27; 29;33—35;37—39; 42—44; 47—49; 52—54; 56—58; 60—61), Elena Džukeska (§100), José Luis García Ramón (§§85—86; 88;90—92), Giorgios Giannakis (§§106—107; 109), Riccardo Ginevra (§§93; 95), Daniel Kölligan (§§81; 83—84; 87; 89; 94; 97; 99; 101; 105; 107—108), Matteo Macciò (§96), Lyvia Morgan (§§40—41), Tom Palaima (§§19; 20—24; 28; 45—46; 102—104), Diamantis Panagiotopoulos (§59), Vassilis Petrakis (§§50—51; 55), Rachele Pierini (§§19; 80; 82), Carlos Varias (§98).

ICON: Art and Meaning in Aegean Seal Images

Janice Crowley, Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens


§9.1. Greetings everyone and thank you to Rachele, Tom and Greg for the kind invitation to speak at MASt.

I also wish to thank Professor Diamantis Panagiotopoulos, the current Director of the CMS, and Professor Ingo Pini, the previous Director of the CMS, for their kind permission to display the seal images in the live presentation. The seal images are reproduced here in the printed version of the presentation in black and white with significant seal examples replacing the color photographs. I trust that Seminar participants will remember the kaleidoscope of seal color that was placed before them on 30 June.

§9.2. ICON: Art and Meaning in Aegean Seal Images is the title of my forthcoming book on the seals and on how to interpret their images. The book is the result of some fifty years research — some might say it is the expression of my continuing love affair with Bronze Age glyptic. Aegean seals are, for the most part, small pieces of beautifully colored stone, great gold signet rings and the original sealings in clay. They can reveal much about the Aegean civilizations —insight into palace administrative practices, trade and communication between the main centers, overseas contacts through the importation of precious materials. Yet the image on the seal is the most revealing evidence of Aegean life as a glimpse of the illustrations 1.1 to 1.6 indicates.

§9.3. Each seal carries an image which is part of an amazingly conceived and interlocking iconography. These images and the information they impart are the subject matter of the ICON book and I will now outline to you how I came to write it and what challenges the seals presented to me on the way.

§10.1. The first challenge is to encompass the extent of the material.

§10.2. In the center you see the seal timeline displayed, inclusive of pottery style divisions and with all dates BCE. The seal tradition spans some 1,500 years, from the beginning of glyptic art in Minoan Crete in EM II c.2700 to the end of sealing usage with the destruction of the Mycenaean citadels on the mainland at the end of LB IIIB c.1200. The date of the Minoan LM IB destructions is noted as c.1440 and after that the Mycenaean Ascendancy holds sway.

§10.3. Above the timeline, the dates for the iconographic divisions are displayed. These divisions apply specifically to the seal iconography which changes more slowly than the pottery styles. There are five Periods which encompass the major shifts in iconography across the 1,500 floruit of the seals. The Early Seal Period of 1,000 years finishes at the end of MM II in c.1700 just as the Phaistos Sealings herald the innovations of the Experimentation Period which lasts for 100 years. This Period transitions to the artistic peak seen in the 150 years of Minoan High Art down to c.1440. Mycenaean influence is seen in the 250 years of the Legacy and Late Periods down to the end of LH IIIB at c.1200.

§10.4. The research institute tasked with the publishing the seals is the Corpus der minoischen und mykenischen Siegel (CMS) which has worked for over 50 years at Marburg and now at Heidelberg to record the seal evidence. The seals are published in the CMS series of books from 1964 to the present (the red books), and, since 2010, online through Arachne, the website of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). Various conferences have been held across these years and their proceedings are published in the CMS Beihefts (the blue books). A list of the CMS and the CMS Beiheftpublications is provided in the Abbreviations below. In the CMS books and in the online Arachne publication each seal is numbered, illustrated, described and a stylistic date assigned. The CMS nomenclature is followed in this presentation and readers will thus be able to refer to any seal that has particular relevance for them.

§10.5. The extant seals total some 12,000 pieces giving us some 13,500 images since some seals have two or more design faces. This may seem a large amount of material, but it is only about 3%, maybe only about 1%, of all the seals created across the many centuries of seal manufacture. Not all seals are as fine as the examples I am presenting here, but even the humble ones show that love of the seal is very deep in the Minoan psyche.

§11.1. The second challenge is to register, and appreciate, the detail in the images.

§11.2. There are some well-known portrayals of human and deities wearing seals on their wrists. In the famous fresco from Knossos a male cup bearer wears a seal of variegated stone and in the fresco from the Cult Centre at Mycenae a female deity holds her arms up to display sheaves and she wears a seal. The red jasper seal in Slide 10.2 shows a grand male figure with a griffin and he wears a seal, the photographer’s lighting catching the glint of the upraised seal on his wrist. It is clear that the seal is a prized possession. When the owner commissions a seal they make a number of significant choices as to shape, color, material and image, so that the seal encapsulates their identity.

§11.3. Seal evidence comprises the seals, signets and sealings as set out in Slide 3. Seals are usually made from a soft or hard stone, signets are usually of gold and sealings are the original sealings pressed in clay in the second millennium and baked hard when the villas and palaces burned. For the seal and the signet, the original is shown in the top row, then below its impression and then below again the line drawing of the image in the impression. For the sealing, the original seal or signet is lost but the original clay impression made some thirty-five centuries earlier is preserved and a drawing of its image can be made.

§11.4. For each seal, the image is carved or chased on the seal face. Here we have an agrimi with wonderful, curved horns and two cultscapes, one with a group of women gesturing and one showing a grand male figure atop a city. Now, while we usually discuss the image from the drawing of the impression as you can see in the bottom row here, we should always remember that the seal images are actually tiny reliefs, and they create a relief in mirror reverse to the original seal when they are impressed in the soft, moist clay. This means that, for minute details, reference should always be made to the seal itself and/or the impression so that the modeling detail can be fully appreciated.

§11.5. The detail of the images is indeed impressive. It is a substantial challenge to find an appropriate descriptive vocabulary which does justice to this amazingly fine detail.


§12.1.So, where do we find this appropriate descriptive vocabulary?

§12.2. The usual place to look for an art vocabulary is within the language of the culture itself. Some brief references to examples from the ancient world, and later, can refresh our mind on this matter. In Mesopotamian art, gods and rulers are all named by the cuneiform texts lodged round the figures.

Egyptian wall paintings regularly provide, beside the images, commentary in hieroglyphic text and Egyptian literature describes the deities protecting Pharaoh as well as the detail of his many crowns. The art of Archaic and Classical Greece names humans and gods on its pottery and, when human figures are carved later, people know their names and significance from the literature. Later Christian art has additional sources to provide identification as the example of a Renaissance painting of the Baptism of Christ can reveal. Biblical literature names the figures and the occasion while a continuing faith tradition can explain the symbols inserted round the figures.

§12.3. However, the Aegean has no such ready-made vocabulary. None of the Minoan texts, including the main two of hieroglyphic and Linear A, illustrated here in Slides 4.2 and 4.3, have been deciphered. When we do come to the deciphered texts of Linear B it is very, very, late in the artistic record. The absence of translations has regularly been adduced as a problem for Aegean iconographers. Yet it is not the only barrier to securing an Aegean iconographic vocabulary and may not be the most significant. Look at the cultscape in Slide 4.1 where the figures have space all around them and no texts to provide commentary. This “surrounding space” phenomenon of Aegean art is clearly seen in the many frescoes and wall paintings of Minoan High Art and the Late Period of the Mycenaean ascendancy. It has been commented upon in art discussions at various times over the years, but I do not think that sufficient weight has been given to its importance. This “surrounding space” feature is in direct contrast to the methods of portrayals in the great Mesopotamian and Egyptian traditions to the east and it is a considerable part of what we have come to recognize as Aegean art. As explanatory texts beside the figures are not incorporated in the Aegean art forms, we do not have the identification of people, gods, and places that we enjoy in the other arts and cultures that we have been comparing. Even if the hieroglyphic and Linear A texts are eventually deciphered, we will still have the same problem as we currently have with the Linear B and the Mycenaean images. There is no direct identification of subject matter by associated textual comment.

§12.4. Thus, in Aegean art, and in the seals in particular, the combination of the lack of deciphered texts and the “surrounding space” compositional feature throws down an extra challenge to the iconographer searching for an accurate descriptive vocabulary. It is indeed a formidable challenge. I refer to it as the challenge of the Aegean Silence.

§13.1. Now, what have we been doing about an iconographic vocabulary for the last 100 to 150 years since the Aegean world first burst into our consciousness? Well, we have borrowed from other times and other places and other cultures. In examples Slides 5.1 to 5.3 we see some of the borrowings — baetyl, sacral knot, horns of consecration — but there are many others — priest-king, kouros, La Parisienne etc…

§13.2. Such terms are anachronistic and misleading because the term brings with it a whole array of meanings which are not appropriate to Crete in the second millennium BCE. Some of them leap into interpretation even as they name the figures. Moreover, these borrowed terms pay no respect to Minoan art for how early and how creative it really is.

§13.3. Without doubt, there are problems here, but Aegeanists are a resourceful lot and have mostly avoided a confrontation with the Aegean Silence. They have used borrowed terms, expecting that all viewers will know which of the original meanings are intended to be carried back in time and across to Aegean culture. When the names have seemed deeply problematic they have put them in “inverted commas”. All the while Aegeanists have been helped by the fact that art and iconography discussions have focused on the two art forms of pottery and fresco which do not require an all-encompassing vocabulary because of significant lacunae. Most pottery does not feature animal life or human figures and fresco only begins after a thousand years of sustained artistic production have already passed.

§13.4. However, borrowed vocabularies will not do for the seals with a 1,500-year tradition and some 13,500 images to encompass. Look at the twelve commanding male figures in Slides 5.4 to 5.15 to gain some appreciation of the magnitude of the problem. The first four show figures in long garments. Are we to continue to call them priests in Syrian robes? And is it the same priest if he holds a mace, or some sort of an axe, or if he has a dolphin leaping down behind, or if he holds a magnificent griffin on a fine tasseled leash? Then look at the figures below clothed in the usual male garb of belt and kilt. Who is this carrying a bow with lion at heel or bearing arms beside a hunting hound? What if he is accompanied by an agrimi, or leads a bull, or presents a staff, or holds a young griffin in his arms? And are any of these figures linked to the last two figures which are early images of strong male personas?

§13.5. We need to meet the challenge of the Aegean Silence by creating a dedicated Aegean vocabulary which will do justice to the fine detail of the images, and which will reflect the early date of this creative iconography.

§14.1. I have composed just such a Vocabulary and have created two searchable Databases to make it accessible. Developments of the IconAegean Vocabulary and IconAegean Databases have been reported at successive CMSConferences and in trials on the CMS Website and in my 2013 Aegaeum book, The Iconography of Aegean Seals.

§14.2. The IconADict Database (Dict for Dictionary) defines the iconographic terms of the IconAegean Vocabulary. There are 590 Terms divided across five fields: Category 10, Theme 25, Icon 125, Element 340, Syntax 90. The entry illustrated here is an icon term, VIP with familiar.

§14.3. The IconAegean Database contains all the 10,972 seal images published by CMS. Each is given a one-page iconographic description using the IconAegean Vocabulary and CMS information. The entry illustrated here is the seal CMS I 223.

§14.4. Both Databases are searchable on key words. The IconAegean Database may be sorted on the IconA Code to place the seal images in iconographic order, a first for Aegean studies.

§15.1. Having faced the major seal challenges of the extent of the material, the detail in the images and the Aegean Silence, I came to write the ICON book. It comprises some 450 pages and 1,800 illustrations. Leaving aside the front matter and the Appendices, Index and Bibliography, the core is the text in 5 PARTS comprising 15 Chapters set out here in Slide 7.

§15.2. Chapter 1 introduces the contents stressing the importance of the seals. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the icontheory of Aegean art and Minoan innovations in artistic design.

§15.3. Chapters 4 through 12 are the iconography discussions proper with subject matter treated thematically. The Chapters begin in the physical world we all inhabit with landforms, plants, animals, and sea creatures. They continue with a view of the life of humans, their creations and constructions and their activities. The Chapters then move into the realm of the fantastic and the supernatural with treatment of various hybrid and fantasy creatures and, eventually, the anthropomorphic gods. Each of these Chapters begins with the Iconographic Description of the images set out chronologically in the art Periods mentioned in Slide 2. Following this Iconographic Description, the step is taken into Iconographic Interpretation with the Minoan-inspired images discussed in full and their meanings explored.

§15.4. Chapter 13 gives an overview of Minoan creativity and the role of the seal artist. Chapter 14 addresses the Mycenaean legacy and the changes that the Mycenaean ascendancy wrought in original Minoan iconography.

§15.5. Chapter 15 declares the Primacy of the Seals not simply because they are chronologically first with such detailed images but because they are the Prized Possessions which give us Original Iconography and Seminal Art.

§15.6. The next two slides will take you into some of the detail of those Chapters – one slide on art and one slide on iconography.

§16.1. In Chapter 2 the icon theory of Aegean art is fully explained. The constraints of the size and shape of the seal face are overcome by the icon presenting the information with clarity. To create the icon, the artist takes their initial eidetic input, extracts the essence of the subject, and elaborates the fusion so that a bold image results. The icon is the memorable image, compounded out of content and shape. The three images Slides 8.1 to 8.3 eloquently testify to the impact of the icon composition.

§16.2. Chapter 3 sees the icon at work shaping design concepts, constructional devices, and layering meaning. The icon fosters innovation in portraying floral shapes, animal and human bodies, perspective, emotion, and dramatic impact. The agrimia in the flying leap in Slide 8.4 are examples of the distinctive Aegean animal poses. The Bow Lady in Slide 8.5 shows the interest in the modelling of the female body. The complex scene of the cultscape in Slide 8.6 uses the antithetical group, various symbols, and gesturing to layer meaning.

§17.1. In Chapter 4 the iconography of land, river, sea, and sky is addressed with particular interest given to the various earth forms which are carefully modeled in the seals. The glen motif, as evidenced in Slides 9.1 to 9.4, is a neat shorthand for presenting the original eidetic image of the main subject against a rocky hillside background but removing the rocks closest in the interests of clarity. The glen motif begins early with geometric-shaped rocks emerging from the seal perimeter, continues with rounded rocks variously placed about the main subject and finally shows looping rocks hanging down or pushing up from the seal perimeter. In all cases the glen motif presents the main subject outdoors in the natural landscape.

§17.2. Chapter 12 addresses the difficult question of how to differentiate mortals from deities when they are all dressed the same. Five criteria are proposed, illustrated here in the five images in Slides 9.5 to 9.9. They are the Fantastic and/or the Supra-Normal, Size Differential, Pose and Position, Centre of Attention and Sole Subject. Once the deities are recognized, they can be gathered as a VIP group, VIP for Very Important Person, and can be given individual descriptive names like Dragon Lady in the first example and Axe Lord in the last.

§18.1. So, friends and colleagues, I conclude this brief overview of my long journey towards writing the book and providing my answers to the challenges of the seals, in particular the major challenges of the extent of the material, the detail in the images and the Aegean Silence.

§18.2. With the aid of a detailed and nuanced vocabulary for the iconography, discussion of art and meaning can break the Aegean Silence and proceed from description into interpretation of the Aegean world.

§18.3. The ICON book presents and interprets the seal images through a dedicated vocabulary which recognizes their artistic innovations and reveals their polyvalent and nuanced iconography. ICON is a revelation of the life of the Aegean peoples drawn from the hands of their own artists.

§18.4. I am interested to hear how you would approach the challenges of the seals and what you make of my move from Iconographic Description to Iconographic Interpretation. Thank you for your attention.

Discussion following Janice Crowley’s Presentation

§19. The MASt organizers, Rachele Pierini and Tom Palaima, thanked Janice Crowley for taking the audience through a journey into the world of Aegean seals and remarked that her book, which everybody is very much looking forward to reading, will provide us with a fresh and updated overview of the topic as well as extra equipment to pursue probing questions.

§20. Tom Palaima asked Crowley’s opinion of how the motifs carved on the seals relate to the “real” world and how the essence behind the image was possibly conveyed and its meaning kept active during literally centuries of use.

§21. Many scholars, for example, who study the work of Nobel-Prize laureate Bob Dylan, but chiefly Richard Thomas (Thomas 2020) — Palaima added — have been considering the ideas expressed in his song Mother of Muses (2020) as used by Bob Dylan in his song of the same name. For Palaima, Dylan’s request that “mother of Muses sing for me” can be also referred to Hesiod, who wrote that Muses can be enlisted to express realities about life and help oral songsters do what they cannot do on their own: to instantiate or bring presently into existence what is the past.

§22. But that “past” in Hesiod is conveyed in some ways as timelessly existing — Hesiod refers to it not as τὰ πρὸ γενόμενα (literally “the things having come into being beforehand or having taken place beforehand”) but as τὰ πρὸ ἐόντα (“the things that are in before-time”), Palaima remarked.

§23. Palaima reflected on how Mycenaean Greek civilization, which shows no indications of compiling annals of royal actions or compiling king’s lists, would express something that was bygone in the past or how it would it probe phenomena in the real world, natural and man-made.

§24. Fundamentally, how do scenes on seals, whether of nature or of human or metaphysical actions, convey an inherent and timeless meaning? Palaima continued. He then remarked how Crowley’s expression of this idea was conceptualized as “taking in the essence”, which has great implications. And, he questioned, how did she come to her realizations of the essence of particular motifs and composite scenes, after having looked at more than 13,500 images. Few scholars in Aegean studies have taken in all these images as Janice has. What is known to her now, intellectually and even spiritually? Palaima concluded.

§25. Janice Crowley’s answer to the first question was that the designs of the seal images are reproduced in astonishing detail. It is beautiful, she added, being able to hold a ring on your finger and look at it life-size. Yet the design still works when you enlarge it for the screen, and you throw it up to a wall size. Still, she specified, these motifs are of the size of a thumbnail, highlighting the immense admiration she has for the seal artist.

§26. Additionally, Crowley stressed that the relief is very important, even though researchers often look only at drawings when approaching seals. The drawing, she added, may not be accurate and there is always uncertainty if the actual relief of the seal and or impression is not consulted. Furthermore, drawings are black and white in the Corpus of Minoan Seals (CMS) and the seals themselves are colored — Crowley added. For fine points of argument, researchers must always consult the detail on the original seal and/or impression, she remarked.

§27. Crowley then reflected on essence being at the core of the way the Minoans presented their culture back to their own people. It is, she highlighted, a sort of summarizing or trying to extract the essential quality. For example, she continues, when we look at animal predation scenes, it is not just about a lion catching a stag, but it is about violence or the essence of the destruction of that animal. This icon theory, she remarks, saves space and, for artists working in the small compass of the seal face shape, there is a need to concentrate the meaning—that is why the meaning is the essence. The two things, Crowley stressed, work symbiotically together to provide the viewer with a message, not simply providing a picture but extracting the essence of the subject matter.

§28. Palaima asked whether the image of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus, shown by Crowley in her presentation, is timeless. By this, he explained, that it seemed to him that a viewer, especially in a period when history was not a widely understood concept, would not try to situate it at some point in history, but take it as if Jesus is being baptized at every moment. Historians and theologians, he then observed, obviously try to provide this kind of background but it is also important to look at the essence that this image conveys in a timeless manner.

§29. Crowley agreed that some seal images appear to exist outside of time and space and addresses this “timelessness” in the book.

§30. Maria Anastasioadou praised Crowley’s presentation and work and remarked that her forthcoming book sounds like a reference point for years to come. She then asked the reasons why, after having seen thousands of images and knowing how they change from time or how they develop, Crowley selected examples concerning the landscape depiction in seals delineated with nodes.

§31. Anastasiadou inquired if Crowley suggests a development from the hatched triangle, a dominant shape used in the construction of iconography in early seals, and the dotted ones of later seals. Anastasiadou reflected that maybe the line is constructed in that specific way, to show the landscape. Or, she asked, if, to Crowley, these examples may refer to the image itself and are comparable.

§32. Anastasiadou also highlighted that some motifs that may appear secondary are actually fundamental. In the shown cases, she observed, if no landscape is represented or if the construction of the image is a symbolic way of rendering the landscape in the first two cases, the use of these motifs tends to represent the landscape in the third one.

§33. Crowley replied that the examples are in a connected sequential development of the glen motif and that she thinks that whole landscape depictions start with the early seals, although the rocky ground is represented in different ways.

§34. Crowley then stressed the advantage of providing, in addition, the IconAegean Database containing the main images of the book, which can be dialed up and each seal looked at in detail.

§35. Returning to the question of the representation of the landscape, Crowley argued that from the very earliest times the landscape is delineated as a rocky ground and develops later in a more naturalistic way. Crowley noted that, in the book, she underlines the importance of the rocky ground motif and how much care the seal artists take in rendering it.

§36. Anastasioadou replied by reflecting on the motif preparation and highlighted the deliberate choice of using abstract, geometric motifs in a systematic model that resembles decoration. It remains a question why, she added, artists do not use naturalistic motifs if the goal was to depict a landscape.

§37. Crowley answered that Middle Minoan, and later, seals also show naturalistic rocks, when looked at in detail. She reflected that, when studying new seals, researchers should consider variation in the way the different artists approach landscape depiction. She added that scholars should not look to a standard like the royal standard in the Egyptian tradition as there are many seal artists at different centers and there is variation.

§38. Crowley then referred to the work of Michael Wedde (Wedde 1995:271–284) who pointed out that researchers must decide the paradigm case and how far each one moves away from the paradigm.

§39. In general, Crowley concluded, the sum total of images considered in her study indicated that sometimes the rocky ground in the glen motif is a triangle, sometimes it is a round rock, while other times it is looping rocks that come out of the perimeter.

§40. Lyvia Morgan observed that, in paintings, the hunt scene is developed as animals hunting animals, or men hunting animals within an elaborate, multicolored, rocky landscape. Morgan agreed with Crowley that there are many aspects of choice in making an image, shape, color, material size, and the image itself, and asked Crowley whether it is possible to look at the correlation between colors and the choice of image/icon, particularly in banded seals or stones.

§41. Morgan also asked Crowley to comment on who could see the image before it was actually reproduced and if there is a reason why some of the seals are banded.

§42. Crowley observed that there is no doubt that gems, even the simplest ones in soft stone, were chosen for their color or beauty and wondered whether the sourcing of pretty stones originated with people walking on the Cretan seashore where the wet pebbles reveal their colors and striations.

§43. Concerning seals, Crowley remarked, about twelve color ranges can be established and these are described in the IconADict Database. Crowley specified that if a survey of colors was made and correlated with icon subject matter this could bring important results though all insights would be constrained by the small number of seals that actually remain to us.

§44. First, Crowley observed, the color is important and was very much appreciated. Second, she continued, it can be extremely interesting because some of the most beautiful seals are banded. Minoans, Crowley concluded, had an absolute delight in moving and alternating hidden visible elements.

§45. Palaima pointed out that maybe the image on banded seals is not seen until it is impressed because the banding obscures it, like a modern credit card or university badge. There is always, he added, an utterly safeguarding element in these cases and vital information is obscured.

§46. Palaima then observed that there are some seals that are poorly executed but most seem to show an unambiguously accurate or “correct” image. Only in some cases, he noted, small mistakes can be observed, and asked if these were considered by the makers and users of these seals as good outcomes anyway.

§47. Janice Crowley replied that it is not possible to answer this question though the production chain operated in a way that the products were repeatedly seen and checked by different agents. Overall, mistakes are uncommon and a high level of perfection by craftspeople is discernible as is the deep appreciation of excellence in the finished product on the part of the Minoan hierarchy.

§48. Crowley then added that the depiction of a walking man with a dolphin visible behind him should not be argued away because it is a “one only” example. It is on an excavated sealing and is thus a legitimate piece of iconography.

§49. Regarding the question about the figures on seals being all lefthanded or righthanded, Crowley contended that the transformation of an image depicting a righthanded figure into an impression of a lefthanded figure did not necessarily pose an issue. Seals were intended to be regarded and worn as jewelry as well as identifying impressions, Crowley continued, thus both perspectives held importance.

§50. Vassilis Petrakis pondered the scarcity of depictions of indoor scenes on seals (for some probable exceptions see Blakolmer 2012; 2018), despite the significance attached to indoor spaces, as indicated by the adornment of the interiors of certain important rooms with wall paintings (and occasionally, painted stucco floors), a medium which appears to have a strong iconographic connection to the seals. He suggested that the emphasis on outdoor spaces in the iconography of the seals could be due to their importance as settings of actual ritual practice.

§51. Additionally, Petrakis inquired about the existence of an outdoor/indoor distinction in Aegean art, considering also the seal is a portable carrier of (outdoor) imagery, potentially accompanying its owner in both indoor and outdoor settings.

§52. Crowley acknowledged the existence of a discrepancy between the scene settings depicted on seals and especially in Minoan High Art during the era of flourishing palaces when the indoors held significant importance. She further mentioned that she has addressed this issue in a section of her upcoming book.

§53. Crowley highlighted the fact that buildings were never portrayed as the main subject on seals, even during the early stages when the palaces were gaining power in Middle Minoan II. Instead, she highlighted, the Minoans opted to depict small elements of architecture such as partial buildings placed in the left or right curves of a signet bezel or as reference to a shrine serving as the base for the tree growing out of it. She then emphasized that the magnificent structures were never the primary subjects depicted on seals.

§54. In her upcoming book, Crowley specified that she has proposed that the image of pristine Crete, its natural and untamed environment, was especially preserved, as it was the sacred space for ceremonies and rituals, which invariably took place outdoors.

§55. Petrakis raised a further question regarding the potential of some deliberate ambiguity, specifically observed in the imagery of seals, a topic explored also in an interesting book by Erin McGowan (McGowan 2011; 2018). Considering the so-called “Master Impression” from Khania as an example, Petrakis wondered whether we could argue that its dominant element — a male figure dominant over a cityscape, whose status as an oversized mortal ruler or a deity can be debated by modern scholars — did not deliberately aim at representing a transcendence of the conceptual boundary between humans and (anthropomorphic) deities. Petrakis noted that these two alternative interpretations could be seen as mutually exclusive (with scholarly arguments able to support one or the other) or as intentionally multivalent.

§56. Crowley conceded that comprehending the exact intentions of seal creators is an unattainable task. However, she underscored that seal artists crafted images that were readily comprehensible to their own general audience. In this manner, Crowley explained, even a small detail incorporated along the edge of a prominent signet ring could be easily understood thanks to the shared iconography.

§57. Crowley stressed the importance of paying attention to all the details, as it is these details that form a scene. This way, outdoor religious scenes, which she terms cultscapes, can be identified as such due to the presence of shared iconographic element, Crowley continued. She then added that scholars should strive not to seek ambiguity but rather clarity, as she believes that the seal artists themselves aimed to achieve clarity in all their creations.

§58. Crowley notes that, in her book, she does not use the word “ambiguity” which, is a confusing term since it can mean open to more than one meaning or it can mean unclear, indefinite, or equivocal. Accepting that some images have more than one meaning, she coins the term “duality” to describe how these images function in the iconography. Implicit in the “duality” term is the seal artist’s effort to achieve clarity by declaring that both (or more) meanings are intended.

§59. Diamantis Panagiotopoulos noted that, during her presentation, Crowley examined the material aspects of the seals, such as the chosen material, execution style, and motif, emphasizing that these were intentional choices made by the seal commissioners. He further highlighted that seals offer a rare opportunity to delve into the individual level within the predominantly anonymous Minoan and Mycenaean societies and raised the question of whether it would be feasible to establish a connection between the seal motif and the social identity of the seal user or commissioner.

§60. Crowley replied that she has not yet encountered such a specific case but has noted that precious materials such as lapis lazuli or gold, as well as the level of skills in execution, are typically associated with the elite while the little soft stone pieces with a scratchy motif surely belong to a humbler clientele.

§61. The quantity of discovered seals, Crowley added, amounts to perhaps only 1% of all the Bronze Age material, which is very little and so it is difficult to read patterns of ownership. She emphasized, though, that the entire sealing production and the process of impressing should be considered here as it can be interpreted as a manifestation of power and prestige. It is likely, Crowley concluded, that an elite member deliberately selected a motif or was granted permission to use a specific image due to their status.

§62. Crowley’s Abbreviations

CMS = Corpus der minoischen und mykenischen Siegel.

CMS I = Sakellariou, A., ed. 1964. Die minosischen und mykenischen Siegel des Nationalmuseums in Athen.

CMS IS = Sakellarakis, J. A., ed. 1982. CMS I Supplementum. Athen, Nationalmuseum.

CMS II.1 = Platon, N., ed. 1969. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Die Siegel der Vorpalastzeit.

CMS II.2 = Platon, N., I. Pini and G. Salies, eds. 1977. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Die Siegel der Altpalastzeit.

CMS II.3 = Platon, N. and I. Pini, eds. 1984. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Die Siegel der Neupalastzeit.

CMS II.4 = Platon, N. and I. Pini, eds. 1985. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. A: Die Siegel der Nachpalastzeit. B: Undatierbare spätminoische Siegel.

CMS II.5 = Pini, I. ed. 1970. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Die Siegelabdrücke von Phästos.

CMS II.6 = Müller, W. and I. Pini, eds. 1999. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Die Siegelabdrücke von Aj. Triada und anderen zentral- und ostkretischen Fundorten unter Einbeziehung von Funden aus anderen Museen.

CMS II.7 = Müller, W. and I. Pini, eds. 1998. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Die Siegelabdrücke von Kato Zakros unter Einbeziehung von Funden aus Anderen Museen.

CMS II.8 = Gill, M. A. V., W. Müller and I. Pini, eds. 2002. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Die Siegelabdrücke von Knossos unter Einbeziehung von Funden aus anderen Museen.

CMS III = Müller, W. and I. Pini, eds. 2007. Iraklion Archäologisches Museum. Sammlung Giamalakis.

CMS IV = Sakellarakis, J. A. and V.E.G. Kenna, eds. 1969. Iraklion, Sammlung Metaxas.

CMS V = Pini, I. et al., eds. 1975-1976. Kleinere griechische Sammlungen. Ägina–DelphiDelphi–Volos.

CMS VS 1A = Pini, I. et. al., eds. 1992. Kleinere griechische Sammlungen. Ägina–Korinth.

CMS VS 1B = Pini, I. et. al., eds. 1993. Kleinere griechische Sammlungen. Lamia–Zakynthos and weitere Länder des Ostmittelmeerraums.

CMS VS  2 = Dakoronia, P., S. Deger-Jalkotzy and A. Sakellariou, eds. 1996. Die Siegel aus der Nekropole von Elatia-Alonaki.

CMS VS 3 = Pini, I. et. al., eds. 2004. Neufunde aus Griechenland und der Westlichen Türkei.

CMS VI = Hughes-Brock, H. and J. Boardman, eds. 2009. Die englischen Museen I. Oxford,  The Ashmolean Museum.

CMS VII = Kenna, V. E. G., ed. 1967. Die englischen Museen II. London, British Museum– Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum–Manchester, University Museum–Liverpool, City Museum–Birmingham, City Museum.

CMS VIII = Kenna, V. E. G., ed. 1966. Die englischen Privatsammlungen.

CMS IX = H. van Effenterre and M. van Effenterre, eds. 1972. Cabinet des Médailles de la Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

CMS X = Betts, J. H., ed. 1980. Die Schweizer Sammlungen.

CMS XI = Pini, I. et al., eds. 1988. Kleinere Europäische Sammlungen.

CMS XII = Kenna, V. E. G., ed. 1972. Nordamerika I. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

CMS XIII = Kenna, V. E. G. and E. Thomas, eds. 1974. Nordamerika II. Kleinere Sammlungen.

CMS B0 = Matz, F., ed. 1974. Die kretisch-mykenische Glyptik und ihre gegenwärtigen Probleme.

CMS B1 = Niemeier, W.-D., ed. 1981. Studien zur minoischen und helladischen Glyptik. Beiträge zum 2. Marburger Siegel-Symposium, 26.–30. September 1978.

CMS B2 = Onassoglou, A. 1985. Die  >talismanischen< Siegel.

CMS B3 = Müller, W., ed. 1989. Fragen und Probleme der bronzezeitlichen ägäischen Glyptik. Beiträge zum 3. Internationalen Marburger Siegel-Symposium, 5.–7. September 1985.

CMS B4 = Younger, J. G. 1991. A Bibliography for Aegean Glyptic in the Bronze Age.

CMS B5 = Müller, W., ed. 1995. Sceaux Minoens et Mycéniens. IVe symposium international, 10-12 septembre 1992, Clermont-Ferrand.

CMS B6 = Müller, W., ed. 2000. Minoisch-Mykenische Glyptik. Stil, Ikonographie, Funktion. V Internationales Siegel-Symposium, Marburg, 23.-25. September 1999.

CMS B7 = Aruz, J. 2008. Marks of Distinction. Seals and Cultural Exchange between the Aegean and the Orient.

CMS B8 = Müller, W. ed. 2010. Die Bedeutung der minoischen und mykenischen Glyptik. VI. Internationales Siegel-Symposium aus Anlass des 50 jährigen Bestehens des CMS, Marburg, 9.–12. October 2008.

CMS B9 = Anastasiadou, M. 2011. The Middle Minoan Three-Sided Soft Stone Prism. A Study of Style and Iconography.

CMS B10 = Karnava, A. 2018. Seals, Sealings and Seal Impressions from Akrotiri in Thera.

§63. Crowley’s Bibliography

Blakolmer, F. 2012. “Image and Architecture: Reflections of Mural Iconography in Seal Images and Other Art Forms of Minoan Crete.” In Minoan Realities: Approaches to Images, Architecture, and Society in the Aegean Bronze Age,ed. D. Panagiotopoulos and U. Günkel-Maschek, 83–144. Aegis 5. Louvain-la-Neuve.

Blakolmer, F. 2018. “A ‘Special Procession’ in Minoan Seal Images: Observations on Ritual Dress in Minoan Crete.” In Ευδαίμων: Studies in Honour of Jan Bouzek, ed. P. Pavúk, V. Klontza-Jaklová and A. Harding, 29–50. Prague and Brno.

Crowley, J. L. 1989. “Subject Matter in Aegean Art: the Crucial Changes.” In Transition. Le monde égéen du Bronze moyen au Bronze recent. Actes de la deuxième Rencontre égéenne internationale de l’Université de Liège (18-20 avril 1988), ed. R. Laffineur, 203–214. Aegaeum 3. Leuven and Liège.

Crowley, J. L. 1991. “Patterns in the Sea: Insight into the Artistic Vision of the Aegeans.” In Thalassa. L’Egée préhistorique et la mer. Actes de la troisième Rencontre égéenne internationale de l’Université de Liège, Station de recherches sous-marines et océanographiques (StaReSO), Calvi, Corse (23-25 avril 1990), ed. R. Laffineur and L. Basch, 219–230. Aegaeum 7. Liège.

Crowley, J. L. 1992. “The Icon Imperative: Rules of Composition in Aegean Art.” In Eikon. Aegean Bronze Age Iconography: Shaping a Methodology. Proceedings of the 4th International Aegean Conference/4e Rencontre egénne internationale, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia (6-9 April 1992), ed. R. Laffineur and J. L. Crowley, 23–37. Aegaeum 8. Liège.

Crowley, J. L. 2000. “IconAegean. Classification and Database of Aegean Glyptic.” In CMS B6, 15–26.

Crowley, J. L. 2003. “IconA: Classification and Database for Aegean Glyptic.” In Metron. Measuring in the Aegean Bronze Age. Proceedings of the 9th International Aegean Conference/9e Rencontre égéenne internationale, New Haven, Yale University (18-21 April 2002), ed. R. Laffineur and K. Polinger Foster, 421–423. Aegaeum 24. Liège and Austin.

Crowley, J. L. 2010. “The Composition of Complex Scenes in Aegean Glyptic.” In CMS B8, 131–147.

Crowley, J. L. 2013. The Iconography of Aegean Seals. Aegaeum 34. Leuven and Liège.

Crowley, J. L. 2020. “Reading the Phaistos Sealings: Taking the Textbook Approach of Iconographic Analysis.” In Current Approaches and New Perspectives in Aegean Iconography, ed. F. Blakolmer, 19–46. Aegis 18. Leuven.

McGowan, E. 2011. Ambiguity and Minoan Neopalatial Seal Imagery. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology and Literature: Pocketbook 176. Uppsala.

McGowan, E. 2018. “Cryptic Glyptic: Multivalency in Minoan Glyptic Imagery.” In Seals and Sealing in the Ancient World: Case Studies from the Near East, Egypt, the Aegean, and South Asia, ed. M. Ameri, S. K. Costello, G. Jamison and S. J. Scott, 368—386. Cambridge.

Thomas, R. 2020. “‘And I Crossed the Rubicon’: Another Classical Dylan.” The Dylan Review 2. Available at:

Wedde, M. 1995. “Canonical, Variant, Marginal. A ‘Framework for Analysing Imagery.” In CMS B5, 271–284.

Thoughts on Myc. A-mu-ta-wo and PIE *h2meu̯- and *h2meu̯dh- ‘to surpass’

Daniel Köllingan, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

§64. Attestations in Mycenaean and Alphabetic Greek: The personal name (PN) A-mu-ta-wo occurs on PY Nn 831, TH Ug 9+ A-mu-ta-wo, on KN V 756 as A-mu-ta-wo-qe[, and in the gen. sg. on PY Jn 341 gen. A-mu-ta-wo-no; the interpretation of KN Vf 9715 ]mu-ta-[ as belonging to this name is uncertain. It is usually, and rightly, to my mind, identified with the name found in the Homeric poems designating the son of Cretheus and Tyro in Iolcus, cf.

τοὺς δ᾿ ἑτέρους Κρηθῆι τέκεν βασίλεια γυναικῶν,
Αἴσονά τ᾿ ἠδὲ Φέρητ᾿ Ἀμυθάονά θ᾿ ἱππιοχάρμην.

“But her other children, she, the queenly among women, bore to Cretheus: Aeson, and Pheres, and Amythaon, full of the joy of chariot battle.” (Murray/Wyatt [Loeb]) or ‘…who enters battle on a chariot’ (cf. §5).

Od. 11. 258f.

Amythaon is the father of Melampus, one of the Argonauts, as reported by Pindar

ἐκ δὲ Μεσσάνας Ἀμυθάν

“Amythaon came from Messene” (sc. to join Jason’s party; Race [Loeb]).

Pi. Pythian 4.126

A part of Elis is called Amythaonia after him (cf. Graf in New Pauly) and the LGPN currently (July 2023) gives six attestations from Athens, Euonymon, Melite, Gyrton, and Abydos dating to the fifth and fourth century BCE in the forms Ἀμυθάουν, Ἀμυθέων, and Ἀμυθίων.

§65. It belongs to a rather large group of PN in -āwōn and related forms in Alphabetic Greek, cf. the examples in the following table (cf. also Ruijgh 1968):

Table 1: Mycenaean personal names in -āwōn

Beside names we also find appellatives and adjectives in first millennium Greek such as epic διδυμάων ‘twin’ beside δίδυμος and προπράων ‘benevolent’ in Pi. N. 7.86 based on πρό and πραΰς.

§66. Previous explanations of these names tried to connect them with the ethnonyms in -ānes, e.g., von Kamptz in his PhD thesis from 1956, published in 1982, pp. 46–47, 161–162. These names are concentrated in north-west Greece, cf. Ἀγριᾶνες, Ἀγρινιᾶνες (Ἀγρίνιον), Ἀζᾶνες, Ἀθαμᾶνες, Αἰνιᾶνες, Ἀκαρνᾶνες, Ἀρκτᾶνες, Ἀτιντᾶνες, Δυμᾶνες,Ἐγχελᾶνες, Ἕλλᾱνες, Εὐρυτᾶνες, Κεφαλλᾶνες, Ταλαιᾶνες, Φοιτιᾶνες, and they may be connected to similar names in Mycenaean such as I-na-ne, Pa-ki-ja-ne, Re-ka-ta-ne, Te-ta-ra-ne, etc., cf. Sainer 1976 and recently Palaima 2022:187–188. While von Kamptz thought that the alphabetic Greek ethnonyms in -ānes and the PN in -āwōn derived from a pre-Greek Balkan substrate, the Mycenaean data showed that they must be kept separate (cf. e.g. Ruijgh 1968:118). For the former, Schaffner (2014) has proposed a comparison with Slavic ethnonyms in -ānes based on place names + a complex suffix *-(e)h1-n(o)-, seen also, e.g., in Lat. alius : aliēnus. In this sense, the Poljáne, a name of a Westslavic tribe, would designate the ‘inhabitants of the field’, the polje, and the Pomorjane would be ‘those living by the sea’, i.e., po morje, *(u)po + mori + -eh1-n-es (cf. the Germ. regional name [Vor-]Pommern, and the similar Celtic ethnonym Aremorici). In Greek, the Epirotan Ἀρκτᾶνες would be ‘those belonging to the area of the bears’ with the complex suffix *-ah2-(a)h1-n-es derived from the collective *árktā- ‘area inhabited by bears’ in turn based on ἄρκτος‘bear’. As rightly pointed out by Palaima (2022), many of these names are likely to be pre-Greek, but this need not exclude the possibility that names explainable in terms of Indo-European are among them.

§67. This also applies to A-mu-ta-wo, for which various such explanations have been proposed. Heubeck and Neumann (1985) suggested /Hamuthāu̯ōn/ ‘co-fighter, comrade’ based on PIE *sem- ‘together with, one’ and *i̯eu̯dh ‘to fight’, cf. Ved. yudh ‘to fight; fighter’, also attested with sam-, Gr. ὑσμίνη ‘battle’; Mühlestein (1986) added Myc. u-ta-jo(KN Da-e, Dv passim) read as /Huthāi̯os/ based on *huthā ‘battle’, as further evidence for the existence of the underlying noun. Against this, de Lamberterie (2012) argued that a compound with PIE *sm̥- ‘together’ and *huthā ‘battle’ should result in *ha-hu- spelt <a2-u-> or <a-u->, not *ham-u-. One cannot exclude the possibility, of course, that the name was remodelled with the productive prevocalic form of the prefix, *ham-, i.e., *hahuthāu̯ōn → *hamhuthāu̯ōn. A similar replacement might be suspected in ἀνετός instead of *anahetos from ἀνίημι (for *ἀνα-hίημι) probably also found in Myc. PY Ma 393 a-pu-do-sia-ne-ta-de if /anheta°/. Alternatively, however, the expected form *Hih1to- > *īto-, might show regular elision of the vowel of the prefix before another vowel, *an(a)-īto- and analogical replacement of the root vowel, yielding *an-eto-. (On other interpretations of a-ne-ta such as /arneta°/ from ἀρνέομαι ‘to refuse’ cf. DMic 1:66). To avoid this difficulty, de Lamberterie suggested to interpret the second member as *udhā from PIE *u̯edh- ‘to beat’ (cf. ὠθέω), i.e., *sm̥-udheh2. In addition, for this explanation at least, an occasional spelling with <a2> for /ha-/, would be welcome – which, so far, is stubbornly absent. In Knossos, this could be due to early psilosis (cf. de Lamberterie 2012:359-360; Nosch 2022:157), which might yield a form *(h)am-(h)u°, if the development of the syllabic nasal postdates the loss of /h/. However, as de Lamberterie (2012:360) points out “à Pylos … l’emploi du syllabogramme a2 est quasiment de règle”. It might seem circular to assume that the name only occurs in its Cretan form all over the Mycenaean world, but, as pointed out by C. Varias and T. Palaima (p.c.), A-mu-ta-wo has been interpreted as a “collector”, i.e., a high-ranking official of the palace administration, and therefore it could be conceivable that a specific variant of such an aristocratic name spread across Greece; however, this need not have been the Knossian form. As remarked by C. Varias (p.c.), Pylian hand 1 writes a-mu-ta-wo (PY Nn 831.7), but (also a PN) a2ku-ni-jo (PY An 656.12); similarly, hand 2 writes a-mu-ta-wo-no (PY Jn 431.26), but (PN) a2-nu-me-no (PY Jn 389.12), hence one might expect these two scribes to spell **a2-mu-ta-wo to represent /ha-/ (if their spelling is consistent and no complicating factors intervene, e.g., a psilotic speaker from Crete dictating the name in Pylos). While it is true that <a> is the “hypergraph” for <a2> /ha/ and <a3> /ai/, the lack of evidence (so far) for any reading other than /a/ in the case of A-mu-wa-wo seems to tip the balance in favor of reading just that. The case of A-mu-ta-wo is thus probably different from those where spelling variation is attested, e.g., in the place name a2-ne-u-te (PY) beside a-ne-u-te (PY) and in intervocalic position in qe-te-a (KN) / qe-te-a2 (PY, TH) next to qe-te-o (KN, TH) and qe-te-jo (PY), and also from a-mo with consistent spelling with <a>, but aspiration in alphabetic Greek ἅρμα and in a-ni-ja ‘reins’ : alphabetic Greek ἡνία (– on the use of <a2> in general, cf. Pierini 2014 and Nosch 2022). Other hypothetical explanations with *sem- face the same problem, e.g., with μῦθος‘word, speech’, *ha-mūthāwōn ‘counsellor’ like the later σύμβουλος, συμβουλευτής, συμφράδμων, συμμήστωρ, while *n̥-m° ‘unspeakable’ as in later ἄμυθος ‘without mythic tales’, and ἀμύθητος ‘unspeakable, unspeakably great, untold’ does not seem compelling semantically.

§68. Another option might be to connect the name with the family of Gr. ἀμεύσασθαι ‘to surpass’, found in Pindar, cf.

    Pythian 1.45
    μακρὰ δὲ ῥίψαις ἀμεύσασθ᾿ ἀντίους

            “to cast [the javelin] far and surpass my competitors.” (Race [Loeb])

    Pythian 11.13–14
    εἰ δέ τις ὄλβον ἔχων μορφᾷ παραμεύσεται ἄλλους,
    ἔν τ᾿ ἀέθλοισιν ἀριστεύων ἐπέδειξεν βίαν

           “but if a man possessing riches surpasses others in beauty of form, and in contests displays his strength by winning” (Race [Loeb])

The root also occurs in the PNs Ἀμευσίχαρμος (Gortyn, third/second century BCE) ‘surpassing in battle (χάρμη)’, Ἀμευσίας, Ἀμευσίων, and Ἀμεύσιππος ‘having an incomparable chariot?’, cf. the epithet of A. in Il. 11.259 Ἀμυθάονά θ’ἱππιοχάρμην which might continue what in Myc. is i-qi-ja ‘chariot’, cf. de Lamberterie 2013:343, and, for the meaning, the Ved. epithet tveṣáratha– ‘whose chariot advances fiercely’. A-mu-ta-wo might thus be based on a stem *ἀμευθ-, quasi PIE *h2meu̯dh-/h2mudh-. The alphabetic Greek forms in -s- like ἀμευσι° and ἀμεύσασθαι may cover both *ameu̯th-s- and *ameu̯-s-.

§69. Beside labelling this final –th- as a “root enlargement”, which would not explain much, one may consider –th- to be a present stem suffix of the type βρῑ́θω ‘be heavy’ based on βρῑ- (aor. ἔβρῑσα, perf. βέβρῑθα), and πῡ́θεται ‘rots’ (πύος, πύον ‘pus, matter’). While these two roots do not show ablaut in Greek, the formation is usually reconstructed with a full grade of the root, cf. πλήθω ‘to be(come) full’ (: πίμπλημι) beside Av. frāda– ‘to strive; (act.) to foster’. This pattern may have been reinterpreted as long vowel + -θ-, which then also included βρῑ́θω and πῡ́θεται (cf. on the type in general Schwyzer 1939:703, Magni 2010). An interesting case in this context is the root *leh2- ‘to be hidden; to forget’ (LIV2 401f.), seen in OCS lajǫ, lajati ‘to ambush, prey’, Lat. latēre, -eō ‘be hidden’ (based on the verbal adjective *2to-), Hesychius λῇτο· ἐπελάθετο, λήιτο· ἐπε<λά>θετο. It forms a present stem in -θ-, 3sg. λή-θ-ει ‘is hidden’ (Il. 24.13 λήθεσκον, 563 λήθεις) with a secondary aorist ἔλαθον, on which in turn a nasal present is built, λανθάνω; from the stem allomorph ληθ- the noun λήθη ‘oblivion’ (Hes.+) derives. For *ameu̯th- this seems to imply a noun *ἀμεύθη rather than *ἀμύθη, the basis expected for our PN. However, in the case of μαθ- ‘to learn’, corresponding nouns derive from the aorist stem ἔμαθον, viz. μάθος, μάθη vs present μανθάνω. (The prehistory of this form is quite different, however, going back to a collocation with *dheh1‘to put’, PIE *mn̥(s)-dheh1‘to put one’s mind onto’, Av. mazdā-, Ved. medhā– ‘wisdom’, cf. e.g. Schutzeichel 2013, Kölligan 2018. It is an unlikely source for ἀμ(ε)υθ-, as there is no evidence for a collocation of ἀμευ- and forms of the root of τίθημι.) A paradigm of *h2meu̯– parallel to λήθω, ἔλαθον might thus have been *ἀμεύθω, ἄμυθον, beside which, based on the aorist stem, a noun *ἀμύθη could be formed. In contrast to this, the assumption of a primary nominal stem seems less promising, as the type is quite rare; it has been proposed at least since Specht (1944:254, 280) for κέλευθος (f.) ‘road, path’ (Il.+) as deriving from κελεύω ‘to urge’ (the fem. gender may be taken from ὁδός, and κέλευθος may have been an adjective like ἡ ἀμαξιτὸς (ὁδός) ‘road (for carriages)’ originally; its meaning may have developed as in Lat. via from *u̯ei̯h1- ‘to pursue, strive after’, Ved. véti, Gr. ἵεμαι); cf. also ἔσ-θος ‘garment’ beside ἕννυμι < *u̯es-nu-. On the models of ληθ-/λαθ- and μαθ- as discussed above one might set up the following derivational chain:

Table 2: derivational chain for *leh2- and *h2meu̯

§70. Greek ἀμευ- has usually been explained as going back to PIE *m(i̯)eu̯H- ‘to move’ (Lat. movēre, etc.), e.g., Pokorny (1959:743) writes: “gr. ἀμεύσασθαι ‘vorankommen, übertreffen’ (wohl aus ‘sich vorschieben’), gortyn. ἀμεϝύσασθαι ‘Handel treiben’”. Heubeck (1987) brought ἀμύμων [-y:-] into the discussion suggesting that it means ‘surpassing others, excellent’ – the long ypsilon would be due to metrical lengthening in the sequence of three short syllables, a proposal approved by Beekes (2010:93) who states s.v. ἀμύμων: “This seems to be an improvement.” In fact, Heubeck also supposed ἀμύνω ‘to defend’ and Lat. movēre to belong here, but this implies a very general meaning ‘to bend the motion, (re-)move’ which is not easy to reconcile with ἀμύμων and ἀμευ-. Also the PN Ἀμύντας, based on ἀμύνω, i.e., ‘the defender’, has been suspected in A-mu-ta-wo [G. Giannakis, p.c.], if one reads */Amunt-/, but apart from the question of word-formation (abstract noun *amuntā ‘defense’ beside ἄμυνα [Theopomp.+]?) the equation between Myc. A-mu-ta-wo and alphabetic Greek Ἀμυθάων seems preferable. The μάντις, ἰητήρ, ἱερεύς etc. ἀμύμων would thus be the expert of his profession surpassing others. In contrast to the traditional connection with μῶμος ‘blame, reproach’ already made in antiquity, understanding ἀμύμων as ‘blameless’, this interpretation may also help to explain the use of ἀμύμων with reference to the negative character of Aigisthos in Od. 1.29 ἀμύμονος Αἰγίσθοιο, who therefore might simply be depicted as strong, powerful, surpassing his enemies, etc. An original formal connection between μῶμος and ἀμευ-/υ- seems difficult (*– vs *h2meu̯/u-), and the reinterpretation of ἀμύμων as ‘blameless’ is likely to be a folk-etymology, which seems to have led to the creation of forms such as, in Hesychius, μῦμαρ· αἶσχος. φόβος. ψόγος, based on μῶμαρ, a poetic variant of μῶμος (Lyc. 1134, Hesych. μῶμαρ· μέμψις. ὄνειδος, αἶσχος):

μῶμ-ος ‘blame’           :           (ἀ-)μύμ-ων ‘blameless/with blame’

μῶμ-αρ ‘blame’          :           x=μῦμ-αρ

Semantically, Heubeck’s connection of ἀμύμων with ἀμεύσασθαι seems reasonable, since the former often comes close to a comparative or superlative meaning ‘better’ or ‘best’, ‘surpassing all others’, ‘incomparable’, as Murray/Wyatt usually translate the term in Homer, e.g.,

ἥδε δέ οἱ κατὰ θυμὸν ἀρίστη φαίνετο βουλή,

Νέστορ᾿ ἔπι πρῶτον Νηλήιον ἐλθέμεν ἀνδρῶν,

εἴ τινά οἱ σὺν μῆτιν ἀμύμονα τεκτήναιτο…

“And this plan seemed to his mind the best, to go first of all to Nestor, son of Neleus, in the hope that he might contrive with him some incomparable device …” (Murray/Wyatt [Loeb]).

Il. 10.17–19

§71. This also applies to derivatives of ἀμεύομαι: from the meaning ‘to surpass, overcome’ the meaning ‘cross’ may derive, found in a fragment of Euphorion reported by Stephanus of Byzantium, and which also occurs in the adjective ἀμεύσιμος in A.R.:

Ὕδατα δινήεντος ἀμευσάμενος Ἀθύραο

“crossing the waters of the eddying Athyras” (Lightfoot [Loeb])

Euph. 119

… ἐπιπρὸ γὰρ ὁλκὸς ἐτύχθη οὐρανίης ἀκτῖνος, ὅπῃ καὶ ἀμεύσιμον ἦεν.

“For in front of them appeared the trail of a heavenly ray, showing where they could find pas-sage.” (Race [Loeb])

A.R. 4.297

The ἀμευσίπορος τρίοδος in Pindar is probably the ‘crossroads’, the place where one can cross from one way to the other (cf. Heubeck 1987:42):

ἦρ᾿, ὦ φίλοι, κατ᾿ ἀμευσίπορον τρίοδον ἐδινάθην,

ὀρθὰν κέλευθον ἰὼν / τὸ πρίν

“Can it be, O my friends, that I got confused where the way forked, when before I was going on the straight road?” (Race [Loeb])

Pythian 11.38–40

Less clear is the ἀμευσιεπῆ φροντίδα in Pi. frg. 24 [Maehler]; here ἀμευ-, as the base verb, too, has been interpreted in antiquity as a variant of ἀμείβω as one can see, e.g., in Hesychius:

ἀμευσιεπής· διαλλάσσουσα καὶ ἀμειβομένη τοῖς λόγοις

ἀμεύσασθαι· ἀμείβεσθαι. διελθεῖν. Περαιώσασθαι

Modern lexicography is divided on the matter, cf. in LSJ ‘surpassing words’, Slater ‘surpassing words, faster than words’, Montanari ‘that overcomes words, prob. quicker than words’, Pape ‘der Wort übertreffende Gedanke’, as opposed to the DGE ‘que responde con palabras’ (the word does not appear in Diggle et al.).

§72. A further problem is the apparent meaning ‘to sell’ which seems to occur in inscriptions on Crete (Lyttos and Gortyn), cf.

IC I xviii 1 (Lyttos)

 – – ]ν̣ ἀμεύσονται | ἀμποτερο[– – –

“they will sell? both”

IC IV 4 (Gortyn)

[— —]οπερ οἰ ἄλοι | μὴ πρίασ[θα]ι | μὴ ἀμεϝύσασθαι | ὀζο[— —]

“the others neither to buy nor to sell”

Probably, we are dealing with a semantic shift from ‘to surpass, overcome’ > ‘to gain’, viz. gain victory and gain profit, similar to German gewinnen which can refer both to ‘win in battle, in a game’ and ‘make a profit’ (in trading) or Italian guadagnare ‘to win, to earn, to make a profit’. The folk-etymological connection with ἀμείβω ‘to exchange’, ἀμοιβή‘exchange’ may have played a role, too. A different explanation for ἀμειβ-ε/ο- and its derivatives has been given by Wachter (2001:119–22; accepted in Chantraine 2009:1270: he assumes that Corinthian ἀμοιϝάν, attested in the construction with a jussive form of δίδωμι + χαρίεσσαν ἀμοιϝάν, which corresponds to the epic formula e.g., in Od.3.58 (αὐτὰρ ἔπειτ’ ἄλλοισι) δίδου χαρίεσσαν ἀμοιβὴν, is the older form and presupposes a stem *amei̯u̯-, which was borrowed into Ionian (p. 122 “perhaps first … in the sphere of prayer and epic poetry”), where a “metrically equivalent pseudo-digamma version with [b]” was created. But it seems unlikely that the Attic forms are borrowings from the epic language.[1]

§73. Further possible cognates of the root *h2meu̯(dh)– may be found in Germanic, Anatolian, Italic and Balto-Slavic. In Germanic, the Dutch adjective mooi ‘nice, beautiful, haughty’ and its derivative MDutch moyaert ‘braggart, show-off’ presuppose a Gmc. form *mau̯i̯a– (cf. EWN s.v.) which could go back to an earlier *h2mou̯-i̯o- ‘surpassing, eminent’. The –i̯o-stem may be explained as either a secondary adjective built to a noun *h2mou̯-o- ‘eminence’ (cf. Hitt. mūwa– below), a derivation as in Lat. noxa : noxius, Gr. ἵππος : ἵππιος, etc., or to an i-stem *h2mou̯-i- similar to OHG lug(Germ. Lug) ‘lie’ (*luǵhi-) : OHG luggi ‘lying’ (*luǵhi̯o-). In Anatolian one might connect the Luwian verb mūwa– ‘to overpower’ and the Hittite noun mūwa– ‘awe-inspiring quality’ (as glossed by the CHD), and the many PNs with this element like Hitt. mMuwatalli-, Lyc. Mutli-, etc. In a preform *h2mou̯o-, initial /H/ would be lost by the “Saussure-effect” (cf. Nussbaum 1997), and yield Luw. mūwa-. Since, as Kloekhorst (2008:589f.) states “within Hittite, all derived forms show Luwian suffixes, […] it [is] likely that the term originally was Luwian.” The Luwian verb may a root verb, as discussed by Sasseville (2020:352–354), i.e., 3sg. *h2mou̯-ei̯ > *muwai, vs 3pl. *h2muu̯énti > *ḫmuwanti, with generalization of the simple onset /m-/, *muwa-/ḫmuwa– → *muwa– due to the influence of the corresponding noun mūwa-. Mūwa– is something secured by the king in battle, cf. CHD p. 314 s. v., cf. the following examples:

KUB 5.1 iii 54–7

naḫšarattan=mu=kan tii̯aši ḫarkanumi=an arḫa=za A.A-an udaḫḫi SIG5-ru

“(If on this campaign, wherever I turn, you will assist me,) and step on my fear, so that I will destroy it, (and if) I will bring home for myself muwa, let (the oracle) be favorable.” (KUB 5.1 iii 54–7 (oracle question, NH) (tr. CHD)

KUB XVI 47 9–10

INA KUR URUHatti arha mu-u-u̯a-an ZAG-natar [… dusg]arattanna udai

 “Will he bring home to Hatti m., good luck/success, […], and joy?“ (tr. CHD)

This is reminiscent of the Homeric formulae meaning ‘getting fame (for another/oneself)/giving fame (to a mortal)’, κῦδος ἄρνυμαι, κ. ὀρέξαι, e.g.,

οἷ τ᾿ αὐτῷ κῦδος ἄροιτο

“who might win glory for himself”

Il. 10.307

[Kronion] οὕνεκ’ ἄρα Τρώεσσιν ἐβούλετο κῦδος ὀρέξαι

 “because he willed to give glory to the Trojans”

Il. 11.79

Benveniste (1969:2.57–69) interpreted κῦδος, -εος [n.] ‘fame, honor, glory, renown’ as designating originally such a ‘miraculous power’, “force rayonnante des dieux ou celle qu’ils confèrent”, also because of the comparison with OCS čudo ‘wonder, miracle’, čudesьnъ ‘miraculous’, ORuss. kudesъ [m.] ‘magic, sorcery’; Ru. (dial.) kudesa [] ‘miracles performed through an evil force’. For this word one may suggest an origin in PIE *(s)keu̯d– ‘to push forward’ (cf. LIV2 560), seen in Skt. codāmi ‘I push on, impel’, ON skjóta ‘to shove, shoot’. It is noteworthy that the Sanskrit root cud also refers to encouragement in battle, e.g.

codáyāmi ta ā́yudhā vácobhiḥ sáṁ te śiśāmi bráhmaṇā váyāṁsi

“I rouse your weapons with my words; I hone your vital powers with my sacred formulation.” (Jamison/Brereton)

RV 10.120.5

tváṁ tā́n vr̥trahátye codayo nr̥̄́n kārpāṇé śūra vajrivaḥ

“You incited these excellent men at the obstacle-smiting for the Karpan(?), you mace-wielding champion.” (Jamison/Brereton)

RV 10.22.10

*(s)keu̯dos could thus be the ‘state of being excited, encouraged, invigorated’ (mentally and physically), whence ‘invigoration, power (granted by the gods)’. A similar sense has been suspected in κυδοιμός ‘din of battle, uproar’, interpreted by Petit (2009) as a dvandva-compound *kud-h1oi̯s(h2)mo-, cf. for the second element οἶμα ‘spring, rush’ and Av. aēšma– ‘fury’ (cf. the Biblical Asmodeus < Iranian *ai̯šma-dai̯u̯a- ‘demon of wrath’) and by Janda (2014:258–261) as a governing compound ‘exciting the fury’ (‘die Raserei anspornend’). Noteworthy is the absence of κῦδος from Mycenaean PNN in contrast to κλέος (as in e-te-wo-ke-re-we-i-jo; and indirectly in a-qi-ti-ta; cf. Melena 1976). Heubeck (1957:273) suggested to interpret the patronymic ku-sa-me-ni-jo (PY An 519, Aq 218) as /Kus(s)amenios/ based on a name /Kus(s)amenos/ from an aorist *ἐκυδσάμην. But there is no further evidence for such a form as opposed to ἔκυρσα‘to hit upon, clash’ which allows an interpretation as *Κυρσάμενος, cf. alphabetic Greek Κύρσιλος (Bechtel HPNG 274, LGPN 5x), possibly a short form of *Κυρσίλαος.

§74. It has been argued recently that the Anatolian forms discussed above are based on *m(i̯)eu̯H– ‘to move’ with semantic shifts via ‘to push, shove’ to ‘impetus, power, force’ and (verb) ‘to overcome’, maybe also ‘drive (away)’ and (in one passage) ‘to strengthen’ (cf. Melchert 2023, Valério forthcom.). ‘To overcome’ is probably no worse translation than ‘to move, drive’ or with āppan ‘to push back’ in an example like the following:

SULTANHAN §§31–33 (Hawkins 2000:466)

|“LUNA”-ma-sá-pa-wa/i-na |ha+ra/i-na-wa/i-ni-sá || |á-pa-sá |(“CORNU”)ki-pu-tì-´ |a-ta |tuwa/i-i-´|kwi/a-i-pa-wa/i-na |ka+ra/i-mi-si-za-sa |(DEUS)ku-AVIS-pa-pa-sa |á-pa-na |muwa/i-i |á-ta-ha-si-zi-pa-wa/i-na |DEUS-ni-i-zi |ARHA |á-tà-tu-u ||

Hawkins: “and the Moon God of Harran shall put him on his horn, and Kubaba of Kar(ka)mis shall attack him behind. May the gods of the ATAHA- eat him up.”

Melchert (2023): “… Kubaba of Karkamiš shall push him back, and may the A. deities devour him!” – or ‘shall overcome him’?

Similarly, for Hittite mummuwāi– Melchert loc. cit. suggests a reduplicated form of *mūwa– ‘drive, move’ meaning ‘to propel’:

KUB 33.68 ii 3–4

nu=tta kī mugāuwas uddār mummuwa[n] ēstu (cf. CHD L-N: 329)

“May these words of inducement be propelled to you.”

Maybe one might also translate ‘May these words of incitement be powerful / more powerful (sc. than others) upon you.”, i.e., ‘may they convince you’. The text continues “Turn your ear and listen to what the king and queen are saying to you.”

§74.1. In any case, it seems reasonable to assume that *m(i̯)eu̯h1- ‘to move’ is in fact continued in some of the forms of this dossier, probably, e.g., in Hitt.(?) GIŠmuwil(a)- ‘agricultural implement, spade?’. Finally, various scholars have favored the idea that mūwa– and derivatives mean ‘bodily fluid, semen, seed’ originally, because of related words apparently meaning ‘offspring’, e.g., Puhvel HED vol. 6:196–200. s.v., and earlier Güterbock (1950:227–238), cf. also Tischler HEG L-M 238–243 (e.g., Lycian muwẽte– in TL 109.3 interpreted as ‘offspring’). However, such meanings may derive from ‘power’ via ‘virility’ as, e.g., in German Potenz is, apart from the use in mathematics, “the power of 2” etc., used in the meaning ‘virility, sexual power’.

§75. Another crux is Hitt. mūtai-zi which may be a polysemous word or be interpreted as two or three homonyms, meaning, as it does, 1. (without -za) ‘to root, dig in (the ground)’, 2. (without -za) ‘to remove (evils)’, 3. (with -za) ‘to neglect’. The verb is denominal from a noun *mūta– (cf. Kloekhorst 2008:58), for which Oettinger (1979:377) proposed a derivation from *muh1to from *m(i̯)euh1 ‘to move’. The CHD argues that while meaning 1 may be a homonym (which might stem indeed from *m(i̯)euh1 ‘to move’), the meaning ‘to neglect (something)’ might derive from ‘to remove’ via “to remove oneself from a task.” ‘To remove’ occurs, e.g., in the healing ritual of Tunnawija (cf. Goetze and Sturtevant 1938), in which various negative factors are to be taken away from the patient (i.e., the king or the royal couple):

KUB 9.34 iv 7–9

maninkuwandan MU-an mu-ta-id-du DINGIR.MEŠ-aš karpin pangauwaš EME-an KI.MIN <ŠA> DUMU É.GAL EME mu-ta-id-du ŠA LÚGUDÚ EME-an KI.MIN

“‘Let him remove the short year (short life?), remove the anger of the gods (and) the slander of the multitude; remove the slander of the palace servant; remove the slander of the anointed priest’ (formula continues with a list of other professions).” (tr. CHD)

KUB 9.4 iii 29–36

šer arha=at=kan mu-ú-da-id-du 12 UZUÚR.HI.A-ŠU

“Let it (the piglet?) remove them (the bad things) from upon his (i.e. the patient’s) 12 body parts…” (tr.CHD; the formula continues through a list of various ills and evils).

This meaning may derive from ‘to overcome (an evil)’ (sc. by removing it from the patient) and hence in turn from ‘to be more powerful than, to surpass (an evil)’. The meaning ‘to neglect’ might then derive, as the CHD has it, from ‘to remove oneself from a task’ or from ‘to deem oneself superior to, be haughty > to disregard, neglect’ (cf. again MDutch moyaart).

§75.1. An additional problem is the historical phonology of the diphthongs PIE *eu̯, ou̯ in Hittite (cf. Kimball 1999:220–24). Kloekhorst (2008:101) assumes that they result in /au/ before dentals as in *h2óu̯th2ei̯ > Hitt. /?auti/ <a-ut-ti> ‘you (sg.) see’, *h2óu̯sten > Hitt. /?austen/ <a-uš-te-en> ‘you (pl.) must see’, *h2óu̯ri– > Hitt. /?auri-/ <a-ú-ri-> ‘look-out’, and Melchert (1994:148) argues that Proto-Anatolian */ow/ and */aw/ are maintained as /aw/ before coronal (dental) continuants, e.g., *mows– ‘fall’ > maušš-, *awlo– ‘windpipe, throat’ > auli-, *aw-s- ‘see’ > auš-, *awri-‘watchtower’ > auri-, adding that “the diphthongs may also be preserved before dental stop: note prob. karaitt– ‘flood’ < *ǵroit- (Schindler, 1972: 35), but a secondary lengthened grade cannot be entirely excluded.” If monophthongisation applies, one could assume a preform *h2mou̯dho– ‘superiority’ > *mūta– whence denominal mūtai-zi.

§76. Lat. mustus ‘fresh, young; new/unfermented wine, must’ is usually connected with PIE *meu̯d/mud– ‘wet’, Gr. μυδάω ‘be damp, dripping’ (S.+), μύδος m. ‘moisture’ (Nic. Al.), but a meaning ‘wet’ is not certain and apparently assumed based only on an unclear passage quoted by Nonius, pp. 136.4–7 M. = 197–98 L.:

mustum non solum vinum, verum novellum quidquid est, recte dicitur. Naevius Gymnastico:

(A) . . . utrum est melius, uirginemne an viduam uxorem ducere?

(B) virginem, si musta est.

“mustum [“young”] is said correctly not only of wine, but of whatever is new. Naevius in The Athlete:

(A) . . . Which is better, to take a virgin or a widow for your wife?

(B) A virgin, if she is fresh.” (Maltby/Slater [Loeb])

If we operate with *h2meu̯(dh)-, one could either assume an s-stem *h2meu̯os → adj. *h2mus-to- like venus : venustus, honos : honestus, etc. or an s-stem *h2meu̯dhos → *mudhsto– > mustus (for the phonology cf. ēsca ‘food’ < *edscā, oscus‘Oscan’ < Opscus [Enn. Ann. 296]). For the latter option, the question is how likely a double zero-grade is – cf. in contrast to this honestus and venustus vs Ved. r̥ṣva– ‘high’, Av. ǝrǝšuua– < *h3r̥-s-u̯o(: *h3or-os ‘mountain’), Gr. ἴσος ‘equal’ < *u̯id-s-u̯o- (cf. Stüber 2002:31). The meaning ‘surpassing, overcoming, excellent’ may have developed into ‘powerful, strong’ whence ‘young, strong, fresh’.

§77. Old Church Slavic muditi, which translates χρονίζειν, μέλλειν, and (ἀνα-)μένειν, and Sln. mudíti ‘to delay, linger, dwell’ (cf. Derksen 2008:330) could continue a denominal present based on *h2mou̯dho– (the form also assumed above for Hitte mūta-) or an “iterative” present, i.e., *h2mou̯dh(-)e(-)i̯e/o-. There is a nasal present mǫditi, which may continue *h2mu-n(e)-dh> Slav. *mǫnd-. The original meaning ‘to surpass, overcome’ may have developed into ‘to wait out, be steadfast’ and into ‘to wait, linger’, cf. a similar use of Greek μένω in Il. 11.317 μενέω καὶ τλήσομαι “I will of course remain and endure.” (in battle, Diomedes speaking).

§78. Further root cognates in Baltic and Slavic may be Latv. maũrs ‘grass, lawn’; Lith. mauraĩ ‘duckweed, silt, mud’, Russ. mur ‘mould’, murók ‘meadow grass’, which Derksen (2008:331) assembles under a proto-form *mou̯ʔro- which could continue an earlier form *h2mou̯ro-. The meaning ‘green, fresh (grass)’ and ‘duckweed’ would derive from the meaning ‘excellent, strong > young, fresh’, the meaning ‘silt, mud’ by metonymy from ‘duckweed’ found in stagnant waters.

§79. Summary

§79.1. The Mycenaean and alphabetic Greek name A-mu-ta-wo / Ἀμυθάων may be connected with a root/stem *h2meu̯dh- probably also seen in Slavic muditi and Hitt. mūtai-. Greek forms in –s– like ἀμεύσασθαι and ἀμυσι- may conceal *ameu̯th- or *ameu̯s-. The simple root *h2meu̯– is seen in Gr. ἀμύμων, maybe in Luw. mūwa– ‘power’, Gmc. *mau̯i̯a– (Dutch mooi), Balt.-Sl. *mou̯ro– ‘fresh, green’ etc. Lat. mustus may be connected if from *h2mu(dh)sto-. A PN based on the meaning ‘to excel, surpass’ seems to be unproblematic, if one compares the many other names with similar meanings such as e-ka-no /Hekhānōr/ ‘overcoming men’ (PY Jn 725), cf. alphabetic Greek Νικάνωρ, Ἀνδρόνικος, and the (at least) Homeric ideal of (Il. 6.208, 11.784) αἰὲν ἀριστεύειν καὶ ὑπείροχον ἔμμεναι ἄλλων “always to be bravest and preeminent above all”.

— I would like to thank all the participants of the MASt seminar for the lively and fruitful discussion.

Discussion following Daniel Kölligan’s presentation

§80. Rachele Pierini initiated the discussion by asking Kölligan whether he has already explored the here analyzed PN from a prosopographical perspective, especially considering its occurrences in both Knossos and Pylos tablets.

§81. Daniel Kölligan acknowledged that while he has not thoroughly investigated this matter yet, the name that subsequently emerges in alphabetic Greek appears to have roots in Mycenaean and is commonly associated with the Bronze Age.

§82. Pierini clarified that the foundation of her question stemmed from the disparities that occasionally arise between the Knossian and Pylos prosopography as well as the hypothesis that such recurring names belong to elites.

§83. Kölligan agreed that this could indeed be relevant. He raised the question of whether, for example, the spelling with a2 is to be expected. He suggested that if the name only appeared, for instance, in Knossos, it could be argued that the sign for a2 was possibly consistently noted or used on the earliest tablets but then its use stopped for some reason. However, he observed that in mainland Greece, the sign for a2 continued to be used for a longer period.

§84. Kölligan then specified that if the name only appeared in Knossos sources, the question would be more challenging to answer. However, since the name is found in various places, he explained, it is not necessary for the name to have started with ha.

§85. José Luis García Ramón commended the paper by stating that he found Kölligan’s interpretation highly persuasive. He then proceeded to share his remarks with the author and referenced a paper by Valério (Valério forthcoming).

§86. García Ramón remarked that, to him, it was unnecessary to disqualify the argument suggesting amutawo as a compound of harm and youth. He noted that the arguments against *hamūthāwōn put forth by Heubeck or Mühlestein, among others, due to the presence of a2 are not particularly compelling. Ideally, García Ramón continued, it would be desirable to have a2 as evidence, but unfortunately, it is not consistently present and apart from some fluctuations there is also a toponym a2neute/aneute in Pylos, which does not exhibit any issues with psilosis and may not necessarily be Greek. The group am or an may by the pre-verb before a term beginning with aspiration, he continued. He added that there is no need to dismiss the interpretation of Ἀμυθάων OR “*hamūthāwōn”, which is acceptable to some extent.

§87. Kölligan responded that he has not ruled out the possibility that at a later point in time the spelling with a2 may appear somewhere for that name, further weakening the argument.

§88. García Ramón encouraged Kölligan to explain the semantic shift from “surpass” to the seemingly more mundane meaning of ἀμεύσασθαι in Cretan.

§89. Kölligan explained that, in his opinion, if there could be a semantic shift from “to surpass” and “overcome” to “to gain”, as in gain profit or gain victory, contexts could exist in which “you get the better of your opponent”, which could be an opponent in war, or “you get the better of the one you are doing trade with”. In that sense, he further stressed, there could be a semantic development.

§90. García Ramón observed that the object and agent of the various verbs in this semantic progression are not precisely the same. He recommended that Kölligan explores further this issue and support his assumptions with more specific arguments. García Ramón also pointed out that ἀμεύσασθαι is the opposite of πρίασθαι, adding that there is a personal name in Gortyna.

§91. García Ramón circled back to the Greek ἀμευσι- and remarked that the personal name Ἀμευσίχαρμος, attested in Gortyn in the 3rd and 2nd century BCE, perfectly supports Kölligan’s overall point. He also observed approvingly that Kölligan avoided any attempt to reduce *ameus– and the Greek verb ἀμείβω to one and the same root, as had previously been done.

§92. García Ramón praised the fact that Kölligan invoked the case of the Anatolian mūwa-, on which a forthcoming paper has been produced by Valério and commented that Kölligan’s proposal is superior to Valério’s. Finally, he wondered whether the Old English mōd, also used in compounds such as the personal name Heremod “courage of the army”, could also be relevant to Kölligan’s point.

§93. Riccardo Ginevra thanked Kölligan for his presentation and followed up on García Ramón’s latter point by saying that the example of the personal name Heremod might be problematic because in Old English mōd the vowel is a long ō and therefore the connection to the root might require further investigation, as it might be worth looking for other Germanic cognates. Ginevra then moved on to examine the name Amythaon, which appears in the Homeric poems as the name of one of the sons of Tyro, and asked whether Kölligan has perhaps examined other names in Tyro’s family that might be used to support Kölligan’s reconstruction of the etymology of Amythaon.

§94. Kölligan agreed that this aspect is worth looking into, especially because it would require adopting a more all-encompassing perspective. Kölligan also remarked that it is impossible to know to what extent the name itself was still consciously connected, by speakers, to the forms related to ἀμεύσασθαι, but it might be something inherited from an older layer where the connection was still transparent.

§95. Ginevra suggested also looking into Indo-Iranian parallels for the Greek suffix –won, which could also be relevant to Kölligan’s case, namely the Indic and Iranian reflexes of the Indo-Iranian suffix *-an-, discussed, e.g., by Eva Tichy (Tichy 1986).

§96. Matteo Macciò wondered whether it could be productive to reconstruct the root as *h2meudh- and to exclude the suffix, and asked whether Kölligan is planning to investigate, alongside the instances where the root has full grade, also derivatives with the root at grade zero, especially since the root proposed by Heubeck was without –dh-. Additionally, Macciò pointed out that the Greek verb ἀμύνω was indeed among the evidence used by Heubeck to posit *h2mew.

§97. Daniel Kölligan saw the merit of the suggestion, but remarked that, if it were correct, this would require us to leave the Greek ἀμύμων out of the picture, as an isolated form, and it might be more advisable to look at the phenomenon from a more unified perspective. However, Kölligan pointed out, it is certainly worthwhile to look closer at the Ablaut of the root.

§98. After thanking Kölligan for the lecture, Carlos Varias touched upon prosopography by saying that some people interpret amutawo as being one of the so-called “collectors”, and this would fit with Kölligan’s interpretation of the material. Moreover, regarding the use of a2 and a, Varias suggested that it might be important to note the scribal hands of the tablets in question, at least at Pylos. For example, Hand 1 writes amutawo on PY Nn 831.7, and a2kunijo, a personal name, on PY An 656.12, and Hand 2 writes amutawono on PY Jn 431.26, and a2numeno, another personal name, on PY Jn 389.12, Varias continued. He also added that this could favor Kölligan’s proposal, in the sense that both scribes would have written **a2mutawo if there were an initial aspiration in this word. On the other hand, in the line of Pierini’s remark, the fact that amutawo was a member of the elite also attested at Knossos could explain the same and ‘conservative’ spelling at Pylos, Varias added. Finally, Varias mentioned the stem in –th- and asked whether Kölligan has found any other personal names in Mycenaean with this stem.

§99. Daniel Kölligan agreed that it might be useful to look into that and remarked that he only included in the presentation those names in awo that are usually accepted. Within this framework, amutawo is indeed the only name with that type of stem, Kölligan remarked. Of course, he continued, it might be interesting to know whether, at the time the name was formed, the stem was still recognizable (i.e., visible as a suffix), or there were in fact two separate roots.

§100. Elena Džukeska observed that the presentation was very convincing and focused on the enlargement in th that was mentioned by Kölligan, wondering whether the enlargement itself could have any meaning as to the semantics of the verbal root, and if the stem is nominal, whether it would be possible for it to be a trace from o, an ending of one of the “lost cases” still preserved in Greek, such as -θεν, -θα, -θι.

§101. Kölligan noted that the handbook answer as to the function of an extra th in a verbal stem is that of signaling some kind of stative, e.g. in the case of βρίθω, “be heavy”, and πύθομαι “to rot”, “to be rotting away”. There have been some suggestions, Kölligan continued, also for nominal forms built with that, regardless of the original nature of that enlargement. He concluded by saying that perhaps we need not assume that every single instance is originally a compound with *dheh1, “to put”. The evidence, he highlighted, is not overwhelming, but there are some options, either deverbal or denominal, that would yield a form that ends in this dental.

§102. Tom Palaima returned to Varias’ remark on the mention of scribal hands and of “the collectors” and added that these names are common in Pylos and Knossos. This element is intriguing, he suggested, because the fact that some of these names are found in both places might indicate that they were high-status, aristocratic names that would be shared by those who controlled the palaces in different places.

§103. Palaima continued by saying that, especially in the Pylos Ta series, scholars sometimes encounter places in which the scribe corrected himself, i.e., wrote first one sign and then the other, and referred to John Chadwick’s article on aural and oral mistakes (Chadwick 1983). This, in Palaima’s opinion, might complicate matters further: for example, we could postulate that a highly placed collector-status Knossian who had already lost the h sound and moved to Pylos might make that kind of mistake.

§104. Tom Palaima further mentioned Pierini’s collective volume Thronos (Pierini et al. 2021), where the Ta series is explored in several papers, and his own talk on the subject in Madrid in 1999 (Palaima 1999). He then concluded by saying that this aspect could be included in, and enrich, Kölligan’s comprehensive paper.

§105. Kölligan welcomed the suggestion and brought the example of similar mistakes being made in Armenian translation of Latin texts.

§106. Giorgos Giannakis asked Kölligan whether he had also considered another group of words associated to the Greek verb ἀμύνω, “to defend”, from which we have personal names such as Ἀμύντας, Ἀμυντήρ, Ἀμύντωρ, etc. If the root has something to do with the notion of ‘defense’, he remarked, amutawo might perhaps be “the defender”.

§107. Giannakis and Kölligan agreed that the Linear B spelling of the name might obscure a nin the root.

§108. Kölligan remarked the ambiguity of the Mycenean writing system makes this possibility worth examining, because, especially with Mycenean personal names, the same spelling might conceal different names.

§109. Giannakis concluded by saying that he found Kölligan’s suggestion more concrete.

§110. Kölligan’s Bibliography

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Final remarks

§111. Rachele Pierini thanked the speakers for their excellent papers and the audience for the lively debate and the insightful observations. Pierini wished the MASt group a pleasant summer and invited everyone to join the Fall 2023 MASt Seminar, to be held on Friday, October 20 and with Eric H. Cline and Joseph Maran as speakers.

[1] Cf. also García Ramón (2006): the spelling with digamma may be an early attempt to note a fricative pronounciation of β.

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