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Names of Dacian Kings

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Names of Dacian kings

Postby Andrew Dalby » Fri Nov 25, 2005 9:35 am

Those names of Dacian kings have a syllable structure reminiscent of some of the other Dacian words that are recorded in ancient sources. OK, not surprising, but it helps to show they are genuine Dacian.

Most of the others are names for edible and medicinal plants. They are recorded by the Greek pharmaceutical author
Dioskourides and in the Latin <i>Herbarius</i> attributed to Apuleius, and they survive in medieval copies of ancient manuscripts that must have been intended for the use of army physicians and pharmacists in the provinces of the Roman Empire. Since Dacian makes only rare appearances on the Web, I've extracted the fifty-four recorded Dacian plant names from my multilingual database of plants, animals and foods, and posted them at

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/dalby/extra/DacianPlants.html

Many of them are four-syllable words, and some of them (as you'll see) are strangely reminiscent of 'Burebista' ... This seems to me to show that Burebista is truly a Dacian name, not Latin or Celtic or anything else.

Two of the translations on this page are into German, not into English (Feldbeifuss and Engelsüss). Can anyone help me translate those two German plant names into English?

Andrew
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Postby M. Henri Day » Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:48 pm

Feldbeifuß or Artemisia campestris, a common weed in much of Europe, is known as Twiggy mugwort in English. Check it out in this [url=http://www.weberseeds.de/[/url]!

Engelfuß or Gewöhnlicher Tüpfelfarn, Latin Polypodium vulgare, one of a large genus of widespread ferns, doesn't seem to possess an English common name, but is known instead under it's Latin genus name, Polypodium. [url=http://www.farndatenbank.de/engine.php?was=ergebnis&farn=16]Here[/url]'s a photo and further information.

A pleasure to be at your service !...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Names of Dacian plants

Postby Andrew Dalby » Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:00 am

When I posted those Dacian plant names (at

http://perso.wanadoo.fr/dalby/extra/DacianPlants.html

with a message here, as a long term reply to Brian Costello's post about Dacian kings) I had already got English equivalents for all but two of the plants. The remaining two had been identified by a German scholar but he had supplied only the German names, and my German dictionary gave me no help with these.

Like Brian, I posted on alphadictionary and on yourdictionary. The result is interesting. On both sites, someone kindly answered my question and gave me both the botanical Latin names and the English names. Thanks to M. Henri Day and to Spiff for their answers!

There was no disagreement about the botanical Latin. The two German names, (1) Engelsüss and (2) Feldbeifuss, belong to (1) Polypodium vulgare, (2) Artemisia campestris.

From this point, I myself could have gone ahead and found equivalent English names. My two informants did the work for me, however. Henri, replying to me on alphadictionary, told me that (1) 'doesn't seem to possess an English common name' and (2) is twiggy mugwort. Spiff, writing on yourdictionary, gave me (1) polypody, (2) field sagewort. I had meanwhile looked in Oleg Polunin's /Flowers of Greece and the Balkans/ and found (2) was called field southernwood; then I looked in W. Keble Martin's /Concise British flora in colour/ and found (2) was called Breckland wormwood. Polypody is a fern, and is therefore not in scope in these books; otherwise no doubt I would have found additional names for it as well.

Anyway, for item (2), that's four English common names, all quite different from one another and all perfectly credible. Common names, in other words, are all too common. Which just shows how much we need boring but unambiguous botanical names.
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Postby badandy » Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:25 pm

theres nothing boring about Latin names! Its funny that to the English speaking world (of which Im part), Latin and Greek seem lofty and scientific, almost mathematical and free from human contamination, when they are just languages, spoken by scholars and children (in the past) similar to say, Tagalog or Dutch or anything else.
Habentne Gallinae Talones Acerbos?
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Postby M. Henri Day » Wed Dec 07, 2005 12:37 pm

The point here is not the ethereal nature of Latin or Greek, but the attempt to provide each species of plant or animal with one and only accepted name. This can be done - although it is by no means easy - for the scientific names, but it would never work for common names in living languages like Tagalog or Dutch or, for that matter Modern Greek, as people, just go on talking, irrespective of what international nomenclature societies or governmental agencies have to say....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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