Linguists have believed for some time now that a language exists today which can be traced back to the Stone Age. Just how far back is uncertain, but at least as far back as the Neolithic Age (Renan, 1873; Ripley, 1899). Whether or not it can be traced further back into the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) remains to be seen. The huge areas once covered by this language and its close relatives are the very same areas which were occupied by Cro-Magnon Man of the Paleolithic Age: a strong indicator that this language was that of Cro-Magnon Man. Since we are looking at a Stone Age language which survived to the present-day, in making our analysis of this remarkable phenomenon it will be helpful to know where the Cro-Magnon people still live today. So, who were the survivors of Atlantis?
THE SURVIVORS OF ATLANTIS
Generally, modern Cro-Magnon people can be found in certain parts of Western Europe, North Africa and some of the Atlantic Islands today. Physical anthropologists agree that Cro-Magnon is represented in modern times by the Berber and Tuareg peoples of North Africa, the recently extinct Guanches of the Canary Isles, the Basques of northern Spain, the Aquitanians living in the Dordogne Valley and Brittany in France; and until lately, those living on the Isle d’Oleron. (Howells, 1967; Lundman, 1967; Hiernaux, 1975, et al.)—this indicated by obviously Cro-Magnoid skulls.
Except for some shrinkage of areas, this is the same distribution pattern for Cro-Magnon as existed in Upper Paleolithic times. Many of these same peoples are distinguished in calling themselves by names using the suffix "tani," from the Mauritani of North Africa to the Bretani (thus also Brittany) of the British Isles (Martins, 1930). (For the latest theory of the origin of the Bretons click Here.)
Among the modern Berbers in northwest Africa, the lightest skin pigmentation recorded is that of the Rifians, the most European-looking Berbers. Ten percent have light brown or blond hair. The blonds tend to be golden, or reddish; only rarely ash blond. (Coon, 1965) Concerning "blondism" among the Tuaregs and Berbers, Dr. Jean Hiernaux, Director of Research at the National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris, writes:
"The relatively high incidence of blondism in North Africa has raised much speculation. Has it evolved locally, or does it represent an admixture of European elements from an area where blondism has a high incidence? Both views are tenable." (Hiernaux, 1975)
Although Hiernaux seems to favor possible genetic influence from northern Europe, I believe the long-term evidence clearly demonstrates an innate reluctance among Cro-Magnons to enteract linguistically, culturally, or sexually with their neighbors, as reiterated by numerous ethnologists, linguists, and anthropologists.
The important thing in regard to their particular pattern of distribution is that when the languages of these people are analyzed, it is apparent that they speak languages that are related to each other, but not related to the other languages spoken throughout Europe and the Near East. I have named this family of languages the Berber-Ibero-Basque Complex. The languages involved are very old, going back at least to the Neolithic Age, and possibly dating back to the Paleolithic cultures of the Ice Age.
AQUITANIAN AND LUSITANIAN
Not much is known of these two languages—Aquitanian and Lusitantian inions are nonexistent in the original . The Aquitanian and Basque languages are presently believed to be remnants of an Ice Age Paleolithic language spoken in Western Europe. Other than a few place and tribe names transmitted by Greek and Latin writers, the main data come from Latin inions found mainly along the high basin of the Garonne in Aquitania. (Gorrochategui, 2003)
With regard to the relations between it and the Iberian and Basque languages, the Aquitanian language is a kind of missing link, but a very special one. Aquitanian names resemble the Iberian personal names. Many, especially the god names, are compounded in the same manner as the Iberian ones. The Roman geographer Strabo (Geography, IV,1,1) states that their language and physical appearance demonstrate their kinship to Iberians.
Archaeological, toponymical and historical evidence strongly suggest that Aquitanian was a dialect of the Basque language. The evidence appears as votive and funerary inions found along the Rhine River (at Hagenbach), inscribed in Latin characters, which contain some four hundred personal names as well as numerous names of deities. Aquitanian has even been suggested as the forerunner of Basque. (Trask, 1997)
As a matter of fact, the Aquitanian language is considered by many to be Old Basque: this because of the coincidence between Aquitanian personal names bases and the Basque lexicon (i.e., meanings of the names can be determined using a Basque lexicon). According to Gorrochategui (1993), most Aquitanian names have admissible interpretations by the Basque lexicon, especially the names of Aquitanian deities.
Even less is known of another Iberian language spoken by the Lusitani of western Iberia. The Lusitanians were the most numerous people in the western area of the Iberian peninsula, and even though there are those who point to the Alps as a possible origin, others believe they were an indigeneous Iberian tribe. I concur with the latter as far as it goes, but their ultimate origin, I believe, is Atlantis.
With the passage of time the Lusitanian language succumbed to the pressure and prestige of Latin, and as a result has totally disappeared from usage. Due to the brevity of ancient Lusitanian texts, and the fact that only a very small number of Portuguese words seem to be derived from the Lusitanian language (Zdravko Batzarov), the affiliation of Lusitanian remains in debate. Portuguese is, of course, an Indo-European language.
The most famous Lusitanian inions are those from Cabeço de Fraguas and Lamas de Moledo in Portugal and Arroyo de la Luz in Spain (shown on the right). All known Lusitanian inions are written in the Latin alphabet.
Ulrich Schmoll (1959) proposed a language branch which he called "Galician-Lusitanian". And there are fundamental suspicions that the area of the Gallaecian tribes (North of Portugal and Galicia), that is, all the northwestern area of the Iberian peninsula, spoke languages related to Lusitanian, rather than the Keltic as once believed. All these issues are still being hotly debated by professional Linguists and Philologists.
THE BERBER-IBERO-BASQUE LANGUAGE COMPLEX
What I will endeavor to show here is that the various dialects of what I believe was the original language of the Atlanteans accompanied the Cro-Magnon people as they swept into the western portions of Europe and Africa from Atlantis. The remains of this phenomenon exist to this day in what I call the Berber-Ibero-Basque Language Complex. This complex stretched from Morocco in North Africa, across Gibraltar into the Iberian peninsula, on up into the Dordogne Valley of France and Brittany, continuing northward to the British Isles. (Click for Map) If such an Atlantic language did exist, we will have identified the Atlantean language, at least provisionally. At the very least, we can ask if such a unified, widespread language did not come from Atlantis, from where did it come?
Professional anthropologists have already postulated, in a classic work on European ethnology, that the modern day Basque people of the Pyrenees Mountains (northern Spain/southern France) speak a language inherited directly from Cro-Magnon Man (Ripley, 1899). To give a couple of illustrative examples of the reasons for the above postulation, the Basque (Euskara) word for knife means literally "stone that cuts," and their word for ceiling means "top of the cavern" (Blanc, 1854).
Ethnologist Michael A. Etcheverry states his opinion that the Basques, having fought off assimilation by the Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Franks, were themselves the direct descendants of the Ice Age Cro-Magnon people who had, more than any others, avoided both the modification of their genetic makeup and their language during the following era of Neolithic expansion. (Ryan & Pittman, 1998)
Prof. Henry Fairfield Osborn (1915-1923) had long ago declared that the Cro-Magnon people of the Stone Age left two cultural "relics" that survived into modern times: (1) the Berber-speaking Guanches of the Canary Islands, and (2) the unique Basque language of western Europe. In regard to the extreme age of the Basque language, the distinguished British scholar Michael Harrison once wrote: "In support of the theory that Basque, if not an autochthonous language, is at least one of the most primitive languages of Europe, in the sense of its being here before any of the existing others, is the fact that Basque . . . is still a language with no proven congeners." (Harrison, 1974)
If Basque was indeed the language of Cro-Magnon Man, it must have once been spoken over a much larger area of Europe than it is now. Today it stands isolated into two tiny linguistic "islands," surrounded by languages totally alien in vocabulary, syntax, and grammatical structure (Saltarelli, 1988). According to Harrison, who has done his homework, Basque did indeed cover a far greater area than it does today, reminding us that this fact was recorded by the ancient Carthaginians and Romans (Harrison, 1974).
But what about the little-known Iberian language (generally believed to be related to the Berber language of North Africa)? The defunct Iberian language is known to us only through inions (the Iberian is mainly syllabic, but also partly alphabetic). It was once spoken throughout the entire Iberian peninsula, and through Iberian language specialist William J. Entwhistle (1936) we learn that this language is also related to the modern Basque language.
The famous German philologist Wilhelm von Humboldt was convinced of the existence of a single great Iberian people in ancient times, speaking a distinct non-European language of their own. He proposed that these ancient Iberian people once extended through southern France into Brittany, and on into the British Isles—he even included the Mediterranean islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Humboldt also contended that the Basques of modern times are remnants of that "once wide-spread Atlantic seaboard population" (von Humboldt, 1821).
F. N. Finch, another German authority on comparative philology, asserted that modern Basque is simply "an indubitable continuation" of the older Iberian language—although this has been contested recently (Hualde, 1991; Trask, 1997). But even though recent investigators are reluctant to admit to vocabulary equivalence (attributing such to "borrowings" from the Basque), they also know that similarities in language structure (an extremely conservative trait, highly resistant to outside influences) is the most telling trait, and historically it is the structure of these languages which has so intrigued linguists.
Finch also points out that Basque (or Euskara) is not only connected with the Basques of southern France, but equally with the Ausci, an ancient Aquitanian tribe of central France, to whom they were most likely related. (Muck, 1976) And does this imply kinship between the latter and that oldest Italic aboriginal tribe known as the Osci?
Harrison expresses the opinion that both Iberian and Basque originated in Berber country. Why? Because of the affinities which exist between those two languages and the modern Berber tongue.
"Indeed that Basque should have many words in common with the member of all the North African group of languages is not surprising, since modern opinion ever more inclines to credit the Basque with a North African origin . . ." (Harrison, 1974)
But even though these languages are apparently related, why imagine they all originated in North Africa? A quick look at any map will show the geographical proximity of these areas to Plato’s Atlantis. It may be that none of these needed to "cross" the Straits of Gibraltar. If Cro-Magnon simultaneously appeared on the western shores of both continents, as most physical anthropologists insist, then so did his language. No evidence has been found to indicate that Cro-Magnon’s origin was in North Africa (see my Anthropology page), so why would his language originate there? In other words, to bring it down to our terms, if Cro-Magnon originated in Atlantis, so did his language.
Linguists have been stunned by the lack of change in these languages over extremely long periods of time. It seems that, language-wise, Cro-Magnon was very conservative! Prof. Johannes Friedrich (1957), a leading linguist of the Free University of Berlin, says that the Berber language has not changed at all in the last two thousand years. From this, one might conclude that the ancient Atlantean language is well enough intact, even after 12,000 years, that even today it can be identified to a reasonable extent.
Linguists call Basque "primitive" in the sense of its being the "first" (i.e., the earliest) of the present-day European languages, and in no way implies that it is simple or undeveloped. Basque language authorities, such as S.H. Blanc (1854) and J. Morris-Jones (1940), describe Basque syntax as both "complex and orderly". Now to complete the picture. I haven’t said anything about the British languages Welch, Erse and Gaelic. Let’s take a look.
WELCH, ERSE AND GAELIC
It appears that the peculiar Basque syntax (word order) is preserved in the modern Welch language. This much is certain. Someone, speaking some language (language X) was already in Great Britain when the first wave of Kelts arrived in about 1800 B.C. The questions are, who were they, and what was the language they spoke? Prof. Morris-Jones has answered the above questions by means of an intensive study of the Welch language. He explains the peculiarity of the Welch language by making the observation that it is composed mainly of a Keltic vocabulary, but having a non-Keltic syntax. After studying the language for most of his life, he has concluded that modern Welch is derived from a principally Keltic vocabulary which has been superimposed upon a much older syntax resembling Basque. He believes this happened as a result of conquest. His theory goes like this:
When one people is conquered by another, the conquering warriors usually make wives or mistresses out of the conquered people’s women folk. The latter are more or less forced to learn the vocabulary of the conqueror; but syntax is a harder thing to learn, especially when the warrior-husband is gone a lot fighting other battles. The children of these unions are raised by their mothers, and therefore learn the "incorrect" version of the conquerors language from their mothers. Within a few generations the language as spoken by the women and children at home is considered "correct". This happened when the Lowland Scots had the English language superimposed on the older Gaelic, which gives the Scottish dialect of English its particular flavor.
Morris-Jones concluded that the syntax most closely resembling that of Welch is the Berber and Tamachek languages of North Africa (both closely related to Basque). In other words, language X is identified as belonging to our Berber-Ibero-Basque complex, i.e., the Atlantean language. It appears that the earliest language of Britain is found—almost hidden at the root of the Welsh, Erse and Gaelic languages—to be the Atlantean language. Some scholars tend to include certain pre-Indo-European Keltic languages of Northwestern Europe in this category (Renan, 1873).
The Basque language in the Pyrenees seems to be the last relic of a language which preceded the Indo-European in the western portions of Europe and the British Isles. In addition to this, a number of physical characteristics (skin, hair, and eye colouring) of certain natives of western Britain and Ireland, are likely relics of what Huxley believed to be "an Iberian population" (Huxley, 1870).
The late Prof. Barry Fell of Harvard University reminds us that one of the ancient names for Ireland is Ibheriu (derived from Iberiu; Fell, 1976), further asserting that Gaelic histories point to Iberia as an earlier homeland of the Gaels. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time in history that the name of an older homeland had been transferred to the younger. Many authorities, including some linguists, think this might indeed be the case.
Recent genetic findings suggest that the people now inhabiting the British Isles (including Irish, Welsh, Scots, Basques and Bretons) are a remnant of a group of people who also left Spain between 18,000 and 12,000 years ago and spent 6,000 years isolated from Europe before returning, bringing the Megalithic culture to coastal Europe. (Recent NOVA interview with Dr. Dennis Stanford and Dr. Bruce Bradley of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History)
Other studies show that Mayans, Incas and Auracanians are all virtually 100% group O, with 5-20% of the population being rhesus negative. This was the blood of the original Europeans and stems from Cro-Magnon man. The races that possess this blood are races of the Americas, the Canary Islands, the Berbers, the Basques, and Gaelic Kelts.
So it is almost certain that from Morocco to the British Isles (seeming to "hug" the Atlantic coast), we are dealing with basically a single language and a single people. If Cro-Magnon Man was as primitive as most people think, he would not have spoken only one language. Look at the uncountable languages of the American Indian, and the thousands of languages existing in sub-Saharan Africa. Each tribe spoke its own language, and sign language had to be resorted to for communication between them.
The unity expressed in all Cro-Magnon culture—in their art impulse, their tools and weapons, social organization, and in the language they spoke—is eloquent testimony of the high state of civilization attained in their original homeland before becoming refugees fighting for survival. And the evidence seems to indicate that this homeland was none other than the lost Atlantis.
R. Cedric Leonard
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