Black Athena Revisited

By Mary R. Lefkowitz; Guy MacLean Rogers | Go to book overview

Scots Gaelic, and Welsh with a confused potpourri of Semitic and Egyptian. 23 Another work pervaded by an ill-informed Celtomania is The White Goddess ( 1948), subtitled "a historical grammar of poetic myth," by the well- known English poet Robert Graves. Unlike Bernal, Graves is only marginally interested in attacking the received view of the Greeks, but in his talent for generating unsound etymologies in support of bizarre hypotheses he is nearly Bernal's equal. It is among authors like these that we believe Bernal has earned his place in the history of scholarship. As far as "the linguistic evidence" goes, Black Athena is nothing more than a White Goddess with a different axe to grind.


NOTES

We would like to thank Anna Morpurgo Davies, Gérard Diffloth, Ives Goddard, Sheila Jasanoff, and James Weinstein for valuable help in the preparation of this article. All errors, unless specifically credited to others, are our own.

We follow the standard practice of using square brackets to represent phonetic transcriptions. The asterisk denotes a reconstructed form.

1.
Rendsburg 1989, by a Semitist and avowed "dear friend" of Bernal, is at best a very partial exception to this statement.
2.
Scholars who believe that the Anatolian languages split off from the rest of the family before Italic, Germanic, Greek, etc., began to diverge from each other often prefer the term "Indo-Hittite" to "Indo-European." Bernal follows this usage; we will retain the traditional "Indo-European" here.
3.
The symbol *h1 represents a PIE consonant -- one of the so-called "laryngeals" -- whose phonetic value is uncertain. There is reason to believe that it may have been [h].
4.
Readers interested in verifying this for themselves may wish to compare Emout-Meiller 1985 for Latin and Puhvel 1984- for Hittite. The standard Greek etymological dictionaries are Chantraine 1968-75 and Frisk 1955-72. Bernal seems not to know the latter work.
5.
athē + ́r, like patē + ́r "father," but unlike most other nouns in -ēr, shows inner- paradigmatic stem variation ("ablaut"), with short -ĕ- in case forms like the acc. sg. (athĕ + ́ra). pélōr, like hùdōr "water," belongs to the restricted class of nouns in -ōr that are neuter rather than masculine. dipsā + ́ is one of the very few contract verbs in which the 3 sg. ends in -ē + ̂i rather than -ā + ̂i, -eî , or -oî -- showing that the -a- of the precontracted forms was originally long.
6.
C. H. Gordon's decipherments of Eteocretan and Linear A as Semitic ( 1962b, 1966) have found almost no acceptance outside his immediate circle; the same applies to his efforts to find Semitic inscriptions at various locations in the New World (see, e.g., C. H. Gordon 1982). Note that place names in -(s)sos (e.g., Halikarnassós, Telmēssós) are also found in Anatolia.
7
Where possible, Semitic forms are cited from the closely related Northwest

-203-

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Black Athena Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vi
  • Maps viii
  • Preface ix
  • Ancient Egyptian Chronology xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 22
  • Egypt 25
  • On the Aims and Methods of Black Athena 27
  • Conclusion 46
  • Egypt and Greece the Bronze Age Evidence 49
  • Black Athena an Egyptological Review 62
  • Notes 98
  • Race 101
  • Ancient Egyptians and the Issue of Race 103
  • Note 111
  • Bernal's "Black" and the Afrocentrists 112
  • Notes 128
  • Clines and Clusters Versus " Race" a Test in Ancient Egypt and the Case of a Death on the Nile 129
  • Notes 162
  • The Near East 165
  • The Legacy of Black Athena 167
  • Linguistics 175
  • Notes 203
  • Science 207
  • Black Athena, Afrocentism, and the History of Science 255
  • Notes 256
  • Greece 267
  • The World Turned Upside Down 269
  • Note 279
  • Did Egypt Shape the Glory That Was Greece? 280
  • Black Athena Vision or Dreams of Greek Origin 303
  • Historiography 331
  • When is a Myth? Not a Myth? Bernal's "Ancient Model" 333
  • Notes 348
  • Eighteenth- Century Historiography in Black Athena 349
  • Appendix 2: Two Notes on Bernal's Methodology 388
  • Appendix 2: Two Notes on Bernal's Methodology 392
  • Appendix 2: Two Notes on Bernal's Methodology 394
  • The Tyranny of Germany Over Greece? 403
  • Bernal and the Nineteenth Century 411
  • The Bathwater and the Baby 421
  • Multiculturalism and the Foundations of Western Civilization 428
  • Conclusion 445
  • Quovadis? 447
  • Bibliocraphy 455
  • Contributors 505
  • Indexes 507
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