Monday 17 March 2014

The people of the blade

Sword, knife was the weapon that defined bronze and iron age. Before Bronze and Iron were invented, there was no way to make long, thin, flexible blades, which could be used as weapons. The invention of Bronze and later Iron changed all this and we suddenly see emergence of warrior caste, military elite, which will eventually rule the world from Atlantic to Pacific. 

Like every other object, weapons are also part of the culture. But some cultures could have even been defined and maybe even named after their favourite weapon. Have a look at the Saxons for instance:

Sasanach, the Irish language word for an Englishman, has the same derivation, as do the words used in Welsh to describe the English people (Saeson, sing. Sais) and the language and things English in general: Saesneg and Seisnig. These words are normally, however, used only in the Irish and Welsh languages themselves.
Cornish also terms English Sawsnek from the same derivation. In the 16th century, the phrase 'Meea navidna cowza sawzneck!' to feign ignorance of the English language was used in Cornish.[5]
England, in Gàidhlig, is Sasainn (Saxony). Other examples are the Welsh Saesneg (the English language), Irish Sasana (England), Breton saoz(on) (English, saozneg "the English language", Bro-saoz "England"), and Cornish Sowson (English people) and Sowsnek (English language), Pow Sows for 'Land [Pays] of Saxons'.
It is interesting that Serbian and Romanian name for Saxons is Sasi, which has the same root as the Gaelic sasanach. 
No one really knows where the name Saxons comes from, but one theory is that Saxons may have derived their name from seax, a kind of a long knife for which they were known.  

Scramasax or Seax:
Seax (also sax, sæx, sex, latinized sachsum) is an Old English word for "knife". In modern archaeology, the term seax is used specifically for a type of sword or dagger typical of the Germanic peoples - especially the Saxons, whose tribal name derives from the weapon[2] - during the Migration period and the Early Middle Ages.
In heraldry, the seax is a charge consisting of a curved sword with a notched blade, appearing, for example, in the coats of arms of Essex and the former Middlesex.
Wikipedia says that seax is “a type of sword or dagger typical of the Germanic peoples - especially the Saxons”. Wikipedia obviously means ethnicity when it says “Germanic”. But long knife was also used by the Irish and by the Slavs.

Now if we look at Irish long knives, Anglo-Saxon long knives, Scandinavian (Norse) long knives, Lombard long knives and Slavic long knives from the same period, we find something very interesting. Irish, Lombard and Slavic long knives have the same design, distinctly different from the Anglo-Saxon and Norse long knives.

Here is a replica of an Irish long knife Scian: 

The man who made this replica drew his inspiration for this knife from his research on Irish fighting knives in the National Museum of Ireland and from his research on the Viking scramasax.

Here are two replicas of Slavic long knifes. Look at the shape of the blade and how much it looks like the Slavic ones:

This is an example of Slavic long knife sheath from 8 - 10 century. Have a look at the "Celtic" triple knot:

Here is a replica of a Longbard long knife. Longobards have recently been linked to Obodrites, Western Slavs. Based on the archaeological data found in Bardovik in Germany, which shows unbroken continuum between Longobards and Obodrites, it has been proposed that they were one and the same people. This wouldn't be the first time that we see former "Germanic" tribes reappearing as "Western Slavic" tribes.

This is Real Longbard long knife:

Here are  (Viking) Norse and Anglo Saxon long knife:

Viking seax

Anglo Saxon seax

The difference is striking. Anglo Saxon and Norse long knives belong to one type and Slavic, Longobard and Irish to another. Could we talk about two distinct cultures based on the weapon design?

Despite the slight design differences, which can point to two cultural subgroups, all these people were using Saex as one of their main weapons, and clearly belonged to the same cultural group from that point of view. So they could all be called Saxons, the people, the sons of the saex. And if you remember, the book "Origin of the Anglo Saxon race" tells us that Angles and Saxons were mixed tribal confederations consisting of tribes of Germanic, Norse and Slavic origin. So it is possible to apply the name Saxon, Saex people, to all of these people. 

Another theory about the origin of the name Saxons says that it comes from Saka-Suna or the Sons of Sakai which was abbreviated into Saksun. Saka in Saka-Suna means Indo Scythians. There were many different variants of the name Scythian. Transliterated Variants of their name are: Saka, Shaka, Sakai, Sacae, Scyth, Scythi, Scythia, Scythae, Scythiae, Scythes, Sythia, Skityai, Skuthai, Skythai, Skythia, Scythia, Scynthia, Scynthius, Sclaveni, Scoloti, Skodiai, Scotti, Skoloti, Skoth-ai, Skuth-a, Skoth, Skuthes, Askuza, Asguzai, Askuasa, Iskuzai...

I find it interesting that among these names for Scythians we find both Sclaveni and Scotti.... 

Some people say that name Sclaveni comes from Latin Sclavus meaning slave, but the latest opinion is that it is actually the opposite. Basically the term was coined during the early Slavic invasions of Latin lands, when most of the war prisoners and Slaves were Sclavini, Sclavi, Slavs. 
Medieval Latin, from Late Latin Sclavus, from Byzantine Greek σκλάβος or Σκλάβος (Sklábos), probably from earlier Σλαβῆνος (Slabênos), from plural Σλαβῆνοι (Slabênoi), from Proto-Slavic *slověne (plural; the singular form Proto-Slavic *slověninŭ is derived from it).

The origin of σκλάβος has been disputed historically. Modern etymologists accept that it refers to Slavs (Old Slavonic словѣнинъ, словѣне), often enslaved during the early Middle Ages, and that the originally ethnic term came to have a more general social meaning, possibly around the 9th or 10th century when it appeared in German texts. An alternative hypothesis, now obsolete because it requires unexplained and unattested phonetic irregularities, is that it's from the Greek verb σκυλάω (skuláō), a variant of σκυλεύω (skuleúō, “to get the spoils of war”).
Anyway back to Scythians. 

They were horse-riding nomadic tribes who dominated the Central-Asian or Eurasian Steppe during a broad time-frame known as Classical Antiquity. They, and many of their descendant peoples, were skilled in horse archery and are now regarded as Horse archer civilizations. Much of what is known of them we gain from the Histories (Book IV), a 5th century BC work by the Greek historian Herodotus. He focused primarily on their western branch, not surprisingly noting their proximity to Greece. He called them Scythian. He generally called the more eastern branch the Sacae. Their origin is generally dated to the 8th century BCE, near the time of the forced settlement of the same region by Assyria with Israelites. The Assyrians called them “Ashkuz”, “Khumri”, and “Gimirri” which means that Scythian and Cimmerians were one and the same people . Classical Greek called them Σκύθης (Skýthis). In Latin they are called Scythes (plural Scythae). In Old Armenian they  are known as սկիւթ (skiwtʿ). The Persians called them “Saka”. Later in their history, the Chinese called them “Sai”. 

Official etymology says that all these names descend from *skeud-, an ancient Indo-European root meaning "propel, shoot" or from the Iranian verbal root, sak-, "go, roam". 

We have an English word skittish, from late middle English, perhaps from the rare verb skit "move lightly and rapidly". Another related word is the Old Norse werb skjota "to shoot, launch, move quickly". Also there is a Scottish Gaelic word sgiot (scatter, disperse) which could be related.

In Serbian skit means wanderer, skita means wanders, skitati means to wander, skitnja, skitanje means wandering, roaming. Skiti - nomads. This is not a Slavic wide word. It is only found in Serbo Croatian.

There is however another Slavic wide word, "skit" meaning hermitage. Official etymology of the Slavic word Skit  which means hermitage, says that it is a common Slavic word of Greek origin "Σκήτη" which is a Greek word that means a place where a hermit lives, a hermitage. The official etymology then goes to say that the word for a place where a hermit lives comes from the name of desert where hermits first appeared, which was called Skitian desert...Why was Skitian desert called Skitian desert? Skitati in Serbian language means to wander. So Skitian desert is the desert of nomads, wanderers. The original hermits were wandering preachers. So the desert could have been named the desert of wanderers because of the wandering nomadic tribes which lived in the desert or because of the wandering hermits who lived in the desert. But the word "Σκήτη" has no meaning in Greek which is connected to wandering, moving, dispersing. This all suggests that the Skitian desert was not named so by Greeks. And if so that Slavic word "skit" meaning hermitage is not of Greek origin, but that actually it could be the other way round.

The big question is, who named Scythian nomads Skitians if the only language where we find word skitati meaning to wander is Serbo Croatian? But maybe Serbo Croatian verb skitati actually comes from the name Scythians, which could have had a completely different root and meaning?

If we look at what we know about Scythian religion we see something very interesting indeed, which makes the claim that the name Saxons comes from "saex" very plausible. It also opens a posibility that the name which Scythians used for themselves comes from the ancient word for sword, knife "sek" which comes from the ancient verb "sek" meaning to cut. 

The two most important deities in the Scythian pantheon, were Tabiti and Agin. Herodotus identifies Tabiti as Hestia and Agin as Ares. The worship accorded to the deity Herodotus refers to as "Agin" was unique. He notes that "it is not Scythian custom [...] to make images, altars or temples to any except Agin (Ares), but to him it is their custom to make them". He describes the construction of the altar and the subsequent sacrifice as follows:
In each district of the several governments they have a temple of Agin set up in this way: bundles of brushwood are heaped up for about three furlongs in length and in breadth, but less in height; and on the top of this there is a level square made, and three of the sides rise sheer but by the remaining one side the pile may be ascended. Every year they pile on a hundred and fifty wagon-loads of brushwood, for it is constantly settling down by reason of the weather. Upon this pile of which I speak each people has an ancient iron sword set up, and this is the sacred symbol of Agin. To this sword they bring yearly offerings of cattle and of horses; and they have the following sacrifice in addition, beyond what they make to the other gods, that is to say, of all the enemies whom they take captive in war they sacrifice one man in every hundred, not in the same manner as they sacrifice cattle, but in a different manner: for they first pour wine over their heads, and after that they cut the throats of the men, so that the blood runs into a bowl; and then they carry this up to the top of the pile of brushwood and pour the blood over the sword. This, I say, they carry up; and meanwhile below by the side of the temple they are doing thus: they cut off all the right arms of the slaughtered men with the hands and throw them up into the air, and then when they have finished offering the other victims, they go away; and the arm lies wheresoever it has chanced to fall, and the corpse apart from it.
Hestia was the goddess of the hearth, home, family, state. Hestia received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum functioned as her official sanctuary. With the establishment of a new colony, flame from Hestia's public hearth in the mother city would be carried to the new settlement.
Hestia's name means "home and hearth". "An early form of the temple is the house hearth; the early temples at Dreros and Prinias on Crete are of this type. The temple of Apollo at Delphi always had its inner hestia. The Mycenaean great hall which had a central hearth. The hall of Odysseus at Ithaca as well. Likewise, the hearth of the later Greek prytaneum was the community and government's ritual and secular focus.

Hestia's name and functions show the hearth's importance in the social, religious, and political life of ancient Greece.

Hestia is a goddess of the first Olympian generation, along with Demeter and Hera. She was a daughter of the Titans Rhea and Cronus, which means that she is not of Greek origin.

If Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, fire is the mother of Scythians and Ares, the god of war, the swordsman is the father of Scythians, is the religion of Scythians centred around the metal work and particularly iron work, smithing, sword making, war? Svetovid, whose totem looks exactly like Scythian male ancestor totem, was Slavic war god. But then pretty much all Slavic gods were war gods...

Slavs also consider hearth and fire burning inside of it to be the center of the house and comunity. This is actually cultural characteristic of all Arian people, who worship fire as god Agni and hearth as god Varuna. If the main goddess of the Scythians was goddess of the hearth, was the main god of Scythians, Agni which was misheard as Agin? Agni was also a Trimurti, Triglav. And Triglav, Dabog, Hromi Daba, Crom Dubh was the main god of the Irish and the Serbs.

According to Tadeusz Sulimirski, this form of sword worship continued among the descendants of the Scythians, the Alans, through to the 4th century CE. Some historians argue that the arrival of the Huns on the European steppe forced a portion of Alans previously living there to move northwest into the land of Venedes, possibly merging with Western Balts there to become the precursors of historic Slav nations. But Alans did not just contribute to the ethnogenesis of the Slavs. This picture shows the migrations of the Alans during the 4th–5th centuries CE, from their homeland in the North Caucasus. Major settlement areas are shown in yellow; Alan civilian emigration in red, and; military campaigns in orange.

Alans were not the first Scythian warrior people to influence Europe. The Sarmatians lived from the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD on the territory which corresponded to the western part of greater Scythia (mostly modern Ukraine and Southern Russia, also to a smaller extent north eastern Balkans around Moldova). At their greatest reported extent, around 100 BC, these tribes ranged from the Vistula River in the Baltic to the mouth of the Danube in the Balkans, and eastward to the Volga, bordering the shores of the Black and Caspian seas as well as the Caucasus to the south. 

In Strabo, the Sarmatians extend from above the Danube eastward to the Volga, and from north of the Dnepr into the Caucasus. Within Sarmatian teritory, Strabo points to a Celtic admixture in the region of the Basternae, who, he says, are of Germanic origin. The Celtic Boii, Scordisci and Taurisci are there. A fourth ethnic element being melted in are the Thracians. Moreover, the peoples toward the north are Keltoskythai, "Celtic Scythians".

According to Pliny, Scythian rule once extended as far as Germany. Jordanes supports this hypothesis by telling us on the one hand that he was familiar with the Geography of Ptolemy, which includes the entire Balto-Slavic territory in Sarmatia, and on the other that this same region was Scythia, pointing that Sarmatians were, therefore, a sub-group of the broader Scythian peoples.

This linking of Central European Celts, Slavs and East Germanics with Scythians is very important as it could explain a lot of common cultural and linguistic traits found in these people. One of these common cultural traits is the sword worship.

We have seen that Scythians worshiped the sword. On Scythian ancestor totem statues, known as baba, two elements are always present: a horn of plenty and a sword. 
A collection of drawings of Scythian stelae, ranging from ca. 600 BC to AD 300. Many of them depict warriors, apparently representing the deceased buried in the kurgan, holding a drinking horn in their right hand.

If we look at Slavic deity Svetovid, we find exactly the same iconography: the horn of plenty and the sword. 

The Zbruch Idol (Polish: Światowid ze Zbrucza; Ukrainian: Збручанський ідол, Russian: Збручский идол) is a 9th-century sculpture, and one of the few monuments of pre-Christian Slavic beliefs. The pillar is commonly associated with the Slavic deity Svetovid. 

Who was this Father of the Scythians? Herodotus says that according to the Pontic Greeks the father of the Scythians was Heracles. We saw that the sword deity, the father was Agin - Ares. Herodotus also says that according to Scythians themselves:
A certain Targitaus was the first man who ever lived in their country, which before his time was a desert without inhabitants. He was a child- I do not believe the tale, but it is told nevertheless- of Jove and a daughter of the Borysthenes. Targitaus, thus descended, begat three sons, Leipoxais, Arpoxais, and Colaxais, who was the youngest born of the three. While they still ruled the land, there fell from the sky four implements, all of gold- a plough, a yoke, a battle-axe, and a drinking-cup. The eldest of the brothers perceived them first, and approached to pick them up; when lo! as he came near, the gold took fire, and blazed. He therefore went his way, and the second coming forward made the attempt, but the same thing happened again. The gold rejected both the eldest and the second brother. Last of all the youngest brother approached, and immediately the flames were extinguished; so he picked up the gold, and carried it to his home. Then the two elder agreed together, and made the whole kingdom over to the youngest born. From Leipoxais sprang the Scythians of the race called Auchatae; from Arpoxais, the middle brother, those known as the Catiari and Traspians; from Colaxais, the youngest, the Royal Scythians, or Paralatae. All together they are named Scoloti, after one of their kings: the Greeks, however, call them Scythians.
Either way, the father of the Scythians seem to have come to Central Asia from Europe. The worshipped sword was said to have been made from iron. Is it significant that the Scythians worshipped "an Iron" sword? At the time of Herodotus we were already deep in the Iron Age. But I believe that the fact that the metal from which the sword was made was specifically stated is significant. Did the father of the Scythians bring the iron sword and the knowledge how to make iron swords with him? The earliest iron objects date from 5000 bc.  There are some samples of smelted iron from Asmar, Mesopotamia and Tall Chagar Bazaar in northern Syria from between between 2700 and 3000 BC, but the age of Iron did not start until about 1400 bc. The earliest iron metallurgical centre in the world, dated to 14th–13th century bc, was found in south eastern Serbia in the hill fort settlement on the hill called Hisar. This site belongs to the earliest proto Illyrian, Celtic period. It was the first industrial scale facility for iron production which allowed mass production of weapons including swords and knives. Did the father of the Scythians come from the Balkans?

No one knows actually what the name Scythians, Saka, Sakson means. Lets see if we can decipher it. 

Scythians, Saka were sword worshippers. They considered themselves the sons of sword or at least the sons of the swordsman ancestral deity. They built Baba idols to celebrate this deity. Slavs considered themselves also the sons of the swordsman ancestral deity. Slavs built idols to celebrate this deity. Proto Slavs, Celts, Germanic lived mixed with Scythians. Saxons were allegedly descendants of Saka or Saka, Scythians themselves. The name Saxon is said to possibly mean the sons of Saka. But the name Saxon is also said to possibly come from the name of the long knife called Saex (sek). But Sek was also a Slavic, Norse, Longobardic and Irish weapon. Saxons were a tribal confederation of Slavic, Germanic and Norse tribes. Messy but very interesting.

If we look at the etymology of the word saex, sax:
Old English seax,sax and Old Frisian sax are identical with Old Saxon and Old High German saks,all from a Common Germanic*sahsom froma root*sah,*sag-"tocut" (also insaw,from aPIE root*sek-).The term scramaseax,scramsaxlit."wounding-knife" is sometimes used for disambiguation, even though it is not attested in Old English, but taken from an occurrence of scramasax in Gregory of Tours'History of the Franks.
So the wiki says it is an old German root *sah,*sag-"to cut which comes from the PIE root sek.
From Proto-Indo-European *sek- (“to cut”). Cognates include Old Church Slavonic сѣщи (sěšti, “to cut, hack, chop off”) and Old English saga (English saw), Latin seco. In Tukish sek means sharp.
Interestingly enough wiki completely misses to mention Gaelic as a language that has anything to do with Seax or verb sek.
I will now try to fix this and try to expand this etymology with a very interesting word cluster which I found in south Slavic languages and in Irish.

I will start with this citation from a medieval French manuscript:
The Gaelic skills of hand-to-hand and their style of fighting was not lost, as a French observer Boullaye le Gouz comments in 1644: "The Irish carry a scquine (scian - knife) or Turkish dagger, which they dart (throw) very adroitly at 15 paces distance; and have this advantage, that if they remain masters of the field of battle there remains no enemy, and if they are routed, they fly in such a manner that it is impossible to catch them. [A common complaint by English Tudor soldiers] I have seen an Irishman with ease accomplish 25 miles a day. They march to battle with the bagpipes instead of fifes, butt hey have few drums and they use the musket and cannon as we do. They are better soldiers abroad than at home."
The Irish long knife is called Scean or Scian. What is interesting about this word is that it is just one of a cluster of Irish words with the root sc which all somehow relate to blades, making blades, using blades and consequences of using blades. I will here just list few representative ones; you can consult the dictionary for more:

Scaineamh– shingly
Sclata– slate
Scaineadh-crack, split
Sceallog– chip, thin slice
Scealla– shale, flake
Scablail– chisel work
Scaid– husks
Scaineach– thin, cracked
Scean,scian (pronounced shkian) – knife
Scean– crack, split, sever

Scailp - chasm or a cleft

All these words are built usind "sc" root which is the same root we find in "sec".

I believe that these words have potentially root in a stone age. When you look at them they basically describe making of a stone blade from a stone. You get a shingly stone, slate, you chip it, split it until you get a sharp blade. Husks and chips fall off in the process. Then you can use it to cut, split and sever…

Here is the corresponding south Slavic word cluster. You will notice that it is a lot bigger and wider than the Irish one, but it covers the same word range needed to describe making of a stone blade from as tone as well as all the metal blades and their usage. The fact that in the south Slavic languages we find all the words connected with the stone blades as well as the metal blades with the same root shouldn't surprise us. It was the Balkans, more precisely within the territory of today’s Serbia that metal blades were produced for the first time in copper, bronze and iron. It is fitting to presume that whoever made these metal blades used the same word s(e)k as the root word for both stone and metal blades. If this is so, what does this tell us about the age of these words?

Školjka– shell. Shells are sharp and could have been what gave people idea to create first blades
Skriljac– slate. This stone can be easily chipped and was used for weapon blades.
Skresati– from kresati. Kresati means to hit one thing with another, so that the hitting thing slides of the side of the thing being hit. The word is used to describe hitting a stone with a stone to chip them or to make fire and for cutting branches of a log, basically to chip or to trim. Skresati means to actually chip a bit of or to cut a brunch off, to separate bits.
Skalja– small thin chips of stone or wood
Sek(sometimes pronounced as sik or sk)– root word meaning to cut but also a blade. Word seći(to cut) comes from sekti.
Sečivo(pronounced sechivo) – blade
Sekira(sikira, skira) – axe
Sekare(škare pronounces shkare) – scissors
Sekia(sekian) – knife. This word is now preserved in Bosnian slang word for knife “ćakija” (sekia). This word can also be deduced from a word škia (pronounced shkia) which is a dinaric dialect word which means a thin hand sliced tobacco.
Sekač.– a one sided blade
škiljiti– to squint, to make your eyes look like as if they were two cuts.
Skija– a blade on a sled, and later a ski.
Sekutić – front tooth
Usek,zasek – a cut, groove
Sek– a log house where logs, which are also called sek, are connected by interlocking cuts made at their ends.
Seknuti– to strike or hit suddenly
Skratiti– to cut down to cut short
Skrvaviti– to make bloody
Skloca– foldup knife
Škljocati- to make a noise by closing something sharp like teeth or scissors.
Škrgutati– to grind teeth
Škopiti– to castrate, to cut balls off.
Skulj– a castrated ram
Škrip– a cut, a narrow space

This word cluster is based on an onomatopoeic root “sk” which makes it very old. The sound which a blade makes when pulled across something in order to cut it is “sssssssk”, "sek".  Here you can hear sounds of flesh being cut with a blade. 
When you cut something off with a sudden hit of blade sound shortens to "tsk" or "tsak". Here you can hear sounds of chopping with a blade.

What I find is very very interesting is word for scissors. Scissors are a complicated implement and who ever made them first gave them the name that stuck among the people who used them first, which probably related people who were living close together.

In Russian and all central and east Slavic languages (including Bulgarian and Macedonian) it is a form of word nožnice. In Serbian we also find it as no
žice word coming from nož meaning knife.
In Scandinavian languages it is some form of saks.
In French English and Irish it is ciseaux, scissors, siosúr.
In Greek and Latin it is ψαλίδιand axicia
In Italian it is forbici.

But in Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian, Dutch, German and Latvian it is škare,schaar, schere, šķēres…

We know that the root word is sekare which comes from the sek root. When we have a look at the word for cut and blade in all these languages we get this:

To cut

German - geschnitten (is this actually ga sekni ten?)
Dutch– snijden (this is probably from the above root sekniten)

Icelandic - skera
Latvian -
dalīt, griezt
Latin - seco
Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian – Seći(Sekti)

To Slice

Danish - skive

Finnish - sektorin
Latvian - šķēle
Swedish - skiva 
Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian – Iseći(Isekti) 


German– Schneide (Sekniede?), Klinge
Dutch– mes
Latvian– asmens

Latin - asmens 
Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian – sek

You can notice that only Western Slavic languages have the root words, and languages of the people around South Baltic have some but not all derived words. So what is the connection between these people? Angles and Saxons were a mixed tribal Group. And so were the Vikings. They both included western Slavic tribes. Did western Slavic people bring the word "sek" with them? And if Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian have the root "sek" and the full word cluster related to blades, where did the root "sec" (sek) come from then? If we look at Latin we see that it doesn't have the full cluster of sek words, which we find in Serbian,Croatian, Bosnian, Slovenian. This could mean that Latin "sec" is borrowed from another language. Which one? I will not answer this question but will give you a clue: word segment comes from Latin segmentum (“a piece cut off, a strip, segment of the earth, a strip of tinsel”), from secare (“to cut”). In Serbian segmentum can be divided into sek + men + to (tu) = cut + to me + that (there), which is the exact meaning of the word segmentum. You can't get this meaning from Latin.

And how come we find the same "sc" clusters in Irish and South Slavic languages? How old must the connection be between these two languages to produce this kind of similarity?

After all this, I will ask this question: is it possible that names Saka, Scythians, Scotii, Saxons, Sclaveni come from s(e)c - to cut and s(e)c - blade, knife, sword? Are Saka, Scythians, Scotii, Saxons, Sclaveni people of the sword? And if so how come neither Sanskrit nor Avestan, nor Turkic languages have root "sec" (sek) and related clusters for blades? Does this confirm that the iron sword wielding male ancestors of Scythians came from Europe?

As part of this analysis I have to mention one more word: to slaughter,to kill a living thing using a sharp blade. We need to investigate this word because after all, blades are made for slaughter more than anything else.

In south Slavic languages a word for to slaughter or related to slaughter are:

Klati– to slaughter
Klanje– slaughter
Klan– being slaughtered
Koljač– the one that slaughters
Saklan(zaklan) – slaughtered
Kljakav– someone who is missing a limb due to its being cut off.
Kljuse– a horse which is too old to be useful and which needs to be slaughtered, killed (kolje se)
Kljusav– ready to be slaughtered, killed
Koljivo– a ceremonial meal made from cooked wheat eaten at Serbian “Slava”celebration. Slava is today a family patron saint day celebration,but originally it was a clan ancestral cult celebration. Each family had its own deity as a clan progenitor, and that deity was celebrated as the father of the clan. Originally human sacrifices were made even down to medieval times and maybe even later. In case of Dabog or Hromi Daba, the main deity of all Serbian clans, even first born children were sacrificed. Animals such as lambs, goats and bulls were also sacrificed and are still to this day. Animal sacrifices and particularly human sacrifices sharply distinguished Serbs and other western Slavs from eastern Slavs. During slavisation of the Serbs,blood sacrifices were replaced with cooked wheat but the name remained: koljivo (what was slaughtered as a sacrifice).

Word klati is an onomatopoeic word based on the root “kl” which potentially makes it very old as well.

“kl”or “gl” is, I believe, one of the oldest word roots which is related to things coming out of a throat. It is particularly a sound of choking of gasping for air while something liquid is filling your throat and lungs, like blood when an animal or a person is being slaughtered. If you have ever slaughtered anything you will not easily forget that sound. The sound is kljkljklj….

In south Slavic languages we have this word

Krkljati– gargle
Kuljati– to gush, as in puking or bleeding when a throat is slit, or bleeding when a body is sliced open with a blade, or a head crushed with an axe blow.
kljukati - continuously stuff something down someones throat.

It is interesting how much this klati sound like kill. In wiktionary we find this as etymology of kill:

From Middle English killen,kyllen,cüllen(“to strike, beat, cut”),possibly a variant of Old English cwellan(“tokill, murder, execute”)(seequell),or from Old Norse kolla(“tohit on the head, harm”)(compare Norwegian kylla(“topoll”),Middle Dutch kollen(“toknock down”),Icelandic kollur(“top,head”),see coll,cole).Compare also Middle Dutch killen,kellen(“tokill”),Middle Low German killen(“toache strongly, to cause one great pain”),Middle High German kellen. Cognate with Albanian qëlloj(“tohit, strike”).
I think these words are related, but I will leave this to others to investigate further.

Now we also have word klanac which means a gorge, a deep narrow valley out of which a river flows. These valleys are deep cuts in hills and mountains which look as if they were made by a gods using giant blade. Out of these earth wounds, water, the blood of the earth gushes out.
This is incredible descriptive naming of geological formations, as klanac does also resemble a deep cut made by a blade in a flesh, especially in a neck while slaughtering out of which blood starts gushing out.If you have ever slaughtered anything or anyone you will know what I am talking about.
So klanac is a place where mother earth has been slaughtered. How old could this word possible be?

Now in Gaelic we have this word: Glen. The word is Goidelic : gleann in Scottish and Irish Gaelic, glion in Manx.In Manx,glan is also to be found meaning glen. It is cognate with Welsh glynl.

Wiktionary says that it means: A secluded and narrow valley;a dale;a depression between hills.

It is interesting that Serbian word for "wedge" is "klin". Wedge is used for splitting, cleaving. You can see that klin (wedge) has the same shape as glen (gorge). Gorge looks as if it was created by splitting the mountain with a klin (wedge) or by cleaving it.

We also have word claon: inclining, squint, oblique, Irish claon,Old Irish clóin:* kloino-; Latin cli@-no, accli@-nis, leaning, English incline;Greek@ Gklínw(@Gilong), incline; English lean; Lithuanian szlë/ti, incline; Sanskrit çrayati(do.).

To quint means to look with the eyes partly closed, as in bright sunlight, or as a threatening expression. Squinting makes eyes look like two slits. Remember squint is škiljiti in Serbian. Both the English and Serbian word have root "sk" to cut which is exactly what squinting eyes look like, like two cuts....

Here are few more Irish words that show the use of this old root kla (make a deep cut, slaughter) which has been preserved in Serbian:

claíomh - sword (what you use to perform "clanje" slaughter with)
claimhte - swords
muirchlaimhte - cutlasses
clasaigh - channel, trench, gash, groove (something deep which is cut)
clasan - small channel, gully
clais - water channel
clai - dike
cladh - ditch but in scots gaelic graveyard, churchyard, cemetery, burial ground.

In old welsh cladiff also means semetary. 

How come we have Cladh and Cladifh, both starting with C both meaning ditch, graveyard, one in "p celtic" and another in "q celtic"???

So here we have a link between to slaughter, to cut a slit, to squint, klanac (glen, gorge), clai (dike), clais (channel, trench)…
In English we have word "kill". The official etymology states:
From Middle English killen, kyllen, cüllen (“to strike, beat, cut”), possibly a variant of Old English cwellan (“to kill, murder, execute”) (see quell), or from Old Norse kolla (“to hit on the head, harm”) (compare Norwegian kylla (“to poll”), Middle Dutch kollen (“to knock down”), Icelandic kollur (“top, head”), see coll, cole). Compare also Middle Dutch killen, kellen (“to kill”), Middle Low German killen (“to ache strongly, to cause one great pain”), Middle High German kellen.
I believe that klati and kill could be related.

But the word which is directly related to "klati" is the English verb "cleave", meaning to slice, split, separate by cutting. The official etymology states:
From Middle English cleven, from the Old English strong verb clēofan, from Proto-Germanic *kleubaną, from Proto-Indo-European *glewbʰ- (“to cut, to slice”). Cognate with Dutch klieven, dialectal German klieben, Swedish klyva, and Greek γλύφω (glýfo, “carve”).
If we look at the  "Proto-Indo-European" *glewbʰ we find that Slavic "klati" and Irish "glen, claon" are not listed:
Germanic: *kleubaną; *klebô
Ancient Greek: γλύφω (glúphō)
Latin: glubo

What is very interesting is that at in Latin word for sword, gladius, has this etymology:
Of Celtic origin, probably from Gaulish *kladyos (“sword”), from Proto-Celtic *kladiwos (“sword”), from Proto-Indo-European *kola-, *klā- (“to beat, break, kill”). Cognate with Old Irish claideb (“sword”), Irish claíomh, Manx cliwe, Scots Gaelic claidheamh, Welsh cleddyf (“sword”), Breton klezeñv (“sword”).
So here we are seeing that Latin word for sword, a weapon used for killing, slicing, slaughtering, cleaving is supposed to have come from Celtic word for sword. The root for all these words have been preserved in Serbian where we have this etymology: klati = klao + ti = slaughter + you. Perfect etymology for short sword used for slaughtering. 

In Serbia there is a gorge called Iron gate gorge. It was carved through the Carpathian mountains by Danube.

At the place where Danube exits the Iron Gate gorge, there is a town called Kladovo. Ranka Kujic, professor of Celtic studies from Belgrade university and member of Welsh academy postulated that the name of the town was derived from Celtic word "kladiff" meaning "cemetery" in English. Early Bronze Age pottery of the Kostolac-Kocofeni culture was found in Donje Butorke, Kladovo, as well as several miniature duck-shaped vases of 14th century BC in Mala Vrbica and Korbovo. Bronze Age necropolis with rituals, pottery (decorated with meander) and other significant archaeological items were found in nearby Korbovo.

I would like to propose alternative etymology for Kladovo and Korbovo:

Irish word "corb" means cart, chariot, wagon.
Old Irish word claideb, Scots Gaelic claidheamh and Welsh cleddyf all mean sword. 

Is Korbovo a pleace where corbs, chariots, carts, wagons were made? And if so, was Kladovo place where swords were made?

All these words show us again that there is a deep link between the Irish, Welsh and Serbs and other Slavs, particularly Central European Western Slavs. 

We can see from the age of the words for slit, slaughter and cut how old this connection is. We can see that the connection goes back at least to the time of Celts and Scythians, men armed with Bronze and Iron swords, who conquered Eurasia by slaughtering (klati) and cutting (sekti) their opponents with "clati(v)" (swords) and "sec" (blades, knives)...But we could also see, from the related Serbian and Irish "s(e)c" word clusters, that the connection could have been even older, possibly stretching back to neolithic. The word roots "sk" and "kl" could be truly ancient.


  1. I'm bookmarking this article thank you.
    And for your further information: A clan of Celts known as the Norii lived in the Eastern Alpine highlands (Austria). There, they found a one-of-a-kind iron ore which is unusually pure. For centuries they mined this ore and sold it to merchants all over the Balkan countries who were able to produce the finest swords in the Roman Empire. There is some indication that Excalibur may have existed, and was one of these high-quality swords orignating from Eastern Europe.

    1. Chris waymeyer27 July 2016 at 16:59

      Do you all know that the Saxons one can be proved related to scythian Saka? The researches of Thor heyerdahl traced Saxon and Norse ancestor odin/women back to southern Russia. A place called Above... The prose Edda said Odin came from turk land.

  2. The Serbs throughout history have been described as the Illyrians, Thracians and Dacians. The sica small sword/dagger was especially something attributed to this umbrella group of which the Serbs have been described through history. The link is there with the Scythians/Sarmatians to which the Serbs have been ascribed to. Could this link then be linked to the Jewish Zealots, who tried to expel the Romans from Judea. They were called the Sicarri (assassins), as they carried the small sica (dagger) to carry out their acts. Is there a link then that the Sicarri are the Scythians/Sarmatian/Cimmerians, who are the Illyrian/Thracians/Dacians, who are the Serbs?

    1. There is definitely a link between all these balkan people. Sica dagger is a very interesting one. The name literally means cutter, which is what it was used for. The blade is inside the curved side and is therefore ideal for cutting branches and stalks, like wheat stalks and oak branches during harvesting. Or throats...:) Did you know that gurkha people, some of the best special forces in the world, and some of the best knife fighters in the world use sica as their knife of choice, except in Nepal it is called Kukri. How did sica arrive to Nepal? With Alexandar? As for Sicarri, a lot of Arian and Slavic symbols were found in Levant mixed with Jewish ones. These symbols have no meaning in Jewish tradition. How did they end up there? Did scythians reach Levant and what was their influence there? How big was the influence of the Galatians? Were Galieleans in any way related to Galatians? How much of the pre Hebrew population of Levant was still arround at the time of Sicarri....So many questions. Fun...:)

  3. There are theories that the word Sclaveni which is used to denote the Slavs - means slave. Slavs are a proud nation. There have been many corruptions of the word Sclaveni. The Slavs have always fought oppression by more mighty nations. They have always fought wars and rebelled in the name of freedom. The word Slav, from the word Sclaveni has a different meaning. It basically means glory and celebration. As you say, the word Slava comes from the same meaning. Slavimo Slavno Slaveni, means roughly Slavs Let Us Praise The Glorious Slavs. These words relate to a piece of music by Franz Liszt, based on the work of Dubrovnik poet Medo Pucic, to celebrate the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia. In all these situations the word is used to describe glory/celebration, not the word slave.

    1. Slav is a relatively new term...And Slavs are not a monolithic population. We are a mix of many people, Scythians, Celts, Thracian, but also Cumans, Avars, Greeks....

  4. There is definitely a Levant link. These are the missing links in history, that greater attention should be paid to. Yes, how did the Sica reach Nepal? Could you possibly elaborate what some of these Arian and Slavic symbols were and what they possibly looked like. The one possible meaning how they got there is that the Slavs could have been one or two of the tribes of Israel. The Serbs and the Irish have been associated with the tribe of Dan. The rivers Don, Dnieper and many, may place names have been associated with the tribe of Dan. The Byzantine double-headed eagle flag is the flag of the Serbian nation. It has its meaning and roots to Mesopotamia (which is regarded as the cradle of civilization). The Nemanjic Dynasty claimed descent from both the ancient Cimmerians and from the House of David. All these links lead to the Levant.

    1. I really couldn't comment on this tribes of Israel thing. I can sat that there is a definite cultural and linguistic link which is associated with the I - J haplogroups. I have already written about common ancient cultural traits which seem to be linked to the I2a haplogroup. We are also finding common cultural traits between Armenians and the Balkan I2a people which suggest links between I and J people. There are also a lot of strange cultural traits only found in ancient Levant and in the Balkans. But I am reluctant to talk about the tribes of Israel. Nemanjic Dynasty did claim descent from Cimmerians and I actually believe that they were telling the truth on this account. But as for kind David, pretty much everyone at that time claimed to be a descendant from king David, so..

    2. Thy symbol of Svetovid - Perun is found on several stones associated with synagogues, either built into the walls or being in the grounds of synagogues. They have no meaning in Judaism...I can't post pictures in the comments so you will have to come to my facebook page "Serbian Irish" where I have posted some of these pictures....I am planning to write about this in detail, but am currently distracted by other things...

  5. In reply to the first reader's comment by Coral Anders about the one-of-a-kind pure iron ore made to produce the best and strongest swords, which were sold all over the Balkans. She could be right then that Excalibur could have existed. There is a link to King Arthur and the Balkans. The name Arthur around the time was not associated with locally. It is thought to have been bought over with the Romans. The name could have possible links to a real-life person called Lucius Artorius Castus. A sarcophagus inscription bearing this name is on a wall in the Church of St. Martin in Podstran, Croatia. He was a Centurion in the Legio III Gallica.

  6. Serbian Irish, thank your replies/comments. The one comment that you made on the symbol of Svetovid - Perun was new to me and of particular interest. I did not know that these symbols were found built in the walls or grounds of synagogues. How very interesting. You are absolutely right that they have no meaning in Judaism. So the question is how did they get there, who put them there and what their association is with synagogues. If anybody in the Jewish community has knowledge of ancient synagogues could shed any light on this subject, it would be greatly appreciated. Also thank you to you for replying to my comments and - "Sretan Bozic I Nova Godina" for the 7 January 2015 and the New Year.

    1. Thank you very much for your good wishes. I wish you all the best in the new year too. Keep smiling. :)

  7. A small supplement from modern Dutch, about Glen and Klati.
    A "kloof" is a gorge in mountaineous terrain, mostly double-sided. A "klif" is the same but one-sided, can be at seaborders too. A bit funny to have two different words for this in Dutch: a country completely free of cliffs and gorges.
    In modern Dutch you can "kloven" ánd "klieven". "Kloven" is used for splitting wood, as for use in hearths. "Klieven" asks more force, like splicing someones cranium with an axe in one hew; though splicing wood or such - provided in the same more forcefull way - is possible too.
    In Dutch you still have "kelen" = slicing someone's throat off. "Keel"= throat.
    And a little correction on your paragraph To cut. If you use German - geschnitten, then the same word in Dutch has to be “gesneden”. If you use Dutch– snijden, then the German equal has to be “schneiden”. Both are irregular verbs, mostly a sign of being old words.
    I hope this is usefull to you? Kind regards,

  8. The weapons, specially the sword worship still continue today among the Nihang Sikhs and the Rajputs.

  9. Thank you, this post was very interresting for me. In Ukrainian and Russian there are also a number of words, deriving from this ancient rut. Among them сечь (slaughter), сеча (batle in Russian), сікти, січа (the same in Ukrainian).

    In Ukrainian national identyty is very important the image of kosak козак a kind of knight who fighted for Christ against muslim neighbours (more about kosaks here and about Russian ones here

    No wonder that many reserchers were trying to find out what does the name "kosak" mean. All of them find analogies in turkish languages of the neighbours - turks and tatars, and also polovcians. But I never heard about "skythian" version. Despite the fact that some historians belive the kosak style of life to exist much earlier than 1492, when it was first mentioned. Some historians speak about medieval times of Kiev Rus, other pay atention to the fact the icons on skythian babas look same to kosaks, meaning depicted swords are the same - one-sharp sabers, and some other detales. Philologists were more cautious and looked for origins of the word not earlier than polovcians. But I really believe, we can find the ansient root sek-sak-sk also in Ukrainian "kosak" and Russian "kasak".

  10. Do you think this word could be used in meaning "foreigner" also on slavic territories? In Ukrainian Carpathiens there are a nummber of toponimic with this root: Sasivka, Sasove, Sasiv, Beregsas. The last one is very interesting. Now it is called Beregovo. Acording to the legend its name derived from Germans, who were aloud to liv there by an hungarian king. (Bereg - from german "berg" and sas from german "sakson"). But suspisios is that germans arrived there when the town already existed. Also the word "bereg" is used all over Carpathians in meaning "mountain, hill, high" (unlike the central Ukraine)and its hardly can be the influence of the little german diaspora. The third argument against this theory is that ukrainians never call the germans "saksons", the name for germans and sometimes for other foreigners is "nimets, nimtsi"(literaly people with no speach). And again the number of other village and town names around Carpathians as well as local surnames include the root "sas".

    1. Breg is not a German word. It predates Germans. Slavs and Celts share the word breg, bereg and Germans probably got it from one of these two people. Slavs also have word vrh (peak, top, surface) which is the soft version of brg (breg) but which is not found in Celtic and Germanic languages...

  11. The single edge knives and swords found in Jutland ,Scandinavia and north Germany dating from about the 3rd century BC to about the 3rd century AD belonged to two types: The hidden tang knives-daggers and the full tang machete-like sword . Then came the Hun and Alan sabres all these "seaxes" are the precursors of the invasions and viking era seax.
    The irish schean and early Scottish dirk are practically identical to the 5th and 6th century narrow seax and lighter broad seax.

  12. i suspect the words and roots that have to do with 'klati' and 'kill' are about making a hole or gouge or slice in something. (or someone...) the relation of the "cleave" words to "kill" simply has to do with the fact that making a hole in a living being lets out the lifeblood, often being fatal.

    the "sek" root i believe is, as you observe, onomatopoeic. if you have ever knapped flints or stones to make stone tools, the sound you get when a section flakes off is pretty exactly "sek". the linking of this flint-knapping sound to the concept of the sharp edged tool it produces is very sensible.

  13. According to Polish chronicles of Prokosz, Scyts are in Polish language in plural Szczytowie and single Scyt is a Szczyt. As we all know that Latin alphabet does not have letters ‘sz’ and ‘cz’ which were in ancient time written in runic alphabet and later on Latin alphabet was introduced to western Slavs, so then Romans have written Scyt instead of Szczyt. Nowadays szczyt means mountain peak but in ancient time szczyt was an armour shield. I think still in Russian szczyt means shield. In Poland there is a Pomeranian town named Szczytno which was known by szczyt producing and szczyt maker was called szczytnik. There are many more towns and villages in Poland with similar name Szczyt, Szczytowo, Szczytów, Szczyrk. Also we have a town Szczecin which has a legend that town was founded by knight who’s name was Szczyt or Szczot. Also Prokosz mentioned about two kind of Scyts European (Sarmatians) and Asian (Tatars).