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Metron Publications Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Notes on the printed version of this book:
Copyright 1992 by Hugh Crosthwaite
All rights reserved
Printed in the U.S.A. by Princeton University Printing Services. Composed at Metron Publications. Published by METRON PUBLICATIONS,
P.O.BOX 1213, PRINCETON, N.]. 08542, U.S.A.
".....the sweetest flower of all the field,"
and for Susan
Q-CD vol 12: KA, Introduction 4 INTRODUCTION
SOME years ago, at my suggestion, Hugh Crosthwaite commenced this major work. Its first pages appeared in the mails as parts of personal letters. He called them notes. They were notes, yes, but like the "toying at the piano keys" of a maestro, they possessed authenticity, reflected a great repertoire, and hit upon original meanings in every direction a tone was struck. The notes began to modulate into cultures and tongues other than the classic Greek as the research continued.
I should be remembered, perhaps, for not having said to him, "Please cease to send me your notes and compose instead a proper monograph: thesis, proof, basta." Rather, as the messages kept coming, I redefined for myself, and I hope for hundreds of readers to come, the relation of form to value. The author carries, among other traits characteristic of English scholarship at its best, the famed stubborn empiricism that has so often been the despair of theorists and philosophers such as myself. The work is bound to factuality.
He loosens the reins in only two regards, both at my behest: the grouping of his facts in respect to electrical phenomena, and the testing of words and behavior according to whether they relate to divine behavior in the sky. In the end, this work by Crosthwaite, which we may call a Handbook, took on its own form. It is a dismemberment and reconstruction of Greek and associated myth such as has not occurred hitherto. Its hundreds of sketches and etymologies are grouped to follow a theme: the electric fire and destructive behavior of the sky gods, as these exhibit themselves in the language, rituals, myths, and behavior of the ancient Mediterranean peoples.
A surprising form of "Handbook" emerges, which renders too limited the very designation. For it appears that a major portion of the Greek language (and probably all others) derives from
Q-CD vol 12: KA, Introduction 5
human readings of divine sky behavior, and transfers itself into the necessary language that guides mundane social life and thought. From far away China, the I Ching echoes this idea: "Heaven produced the mysterious things, and the sages modelled themselves on them...Heaven hangs out its symbols, from which are seen good fortune and misfortune, and the sages made symbols of them." (Sec.1, Ch.11)
Furthermore, this same "divinely inspired" language, along with the rites and practices associated with it, does not consist of independent etymologically-unique, tribally evolved vocabularies and perspectives. Rather, there appears to have been, among many ancient peoples, an ecumenical language of sacred, electrical, pyrotechnical ritual behavior.
Apparently, what had been happening, not long before the time our evidence comes into being, was similar to the development of modern language of the age of electronics and space-age technology, whereby Latinized English becomes a world-wide language among practitioners of the associated arts and sciences. Moreover, it was a language everywhere of fire, god's fire, electric fire or the closest simulations thereof.
The reader may express surprise and disbelief at the multiplicity of words concentrated in these areas: I would advise him of two considerations. First, a language can be composed of and reduced finally to a handful of syllables (with varying accents, intonations, and syntax), a score of them providing thousands (conceivably ~ 2 raised to the 20th power) of different words. Second, if the primal experiences of speechifying humans occur in conjunction with preoccupying celestial visions and effects tied to them, the corresponding preoccupation of a language, no matter how banal life will ultimately become and filled with ordinary trivial objects, can well be with these original syllables from which the language subsequently descends.
I have been continuously astonished at Crosthwaite's indefatigable and creative energy, not to mention the boldness with which he has attacked an immense set of challenges. The
Q-CD vol 12: KA, Introduction 6
results make an important contribution to the study of linguistic origins and diffusion. The linguistic connections evidenced, as well as the sacral outlook and practices tied to them, are so close as to bring into question several dearly held beliefs regarding ancient chronology and the relative antiquity of the Mediterranean civilizations.
It begins to appear as if all that was contained in the minds, speech and practice of the ancients took place in the same skies and in everyone's sight at the same time. Greece, Italy, Illyria, Anatolia, Palestine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Danube Basin: indeed all are implicated.
Many pages of the present work suggest such a theory. A reading of the chapter on "Ka" will let one understand what is meant here. It will explain, too, why the short title of "Ka" is given the book: this favorite Egyptian monosyllable penetrates Greek and other languages as well; it testifies, not so much on behalf of Egyptian chronological precedence, as for an ecumenical, possibly even hologenetic development of religious and thence all language of the ancient world.
Alfred de Grazia Princeton, New Jersey
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Q-CD vol 12: KA, Preface 8
THIS book, written for readers who are enthusiastic students of linguistics, of the classics, and of ancient history, results from an effort to detect and collect instances of a certain common factor in the history of the ancient Mediterranean world.
Casting my net as far and as wide as I could, I have assembled a body of myth and behaviour in Greece, Italy, Palestine and elsewhere, that reveals a universal concern over electricity, communicated among all the ancient peoples, and distinguishable in their language, myths, and behaviour.
Because of the wide-ranging nature of the inquiry, which demands an interdisciplinary approach, I have perhaps made more than the usual number of errors. I have also found it difficult to be consistent in the matter of transliteration.
Translations and paraphrases are mostly my own; where not, I have tried consistently to make acknowledgments to the author.
My chief sources are the ancient authors themselves, many of them available in the Oxford Classical Texts, and Loeb Classical Library. For the non-specialist reader, the Penguin Classics translations cover most of the ground.
I am greatly indebted to Prof. Alfred de Grazia. As a result of reading his 'God's Fire', I decided to expand an article I had written into this larger work which owes much to his and Mrs. de Grazia's help and hospitality.
I could not have written this book without the constant support, interest, and inspiration of my wife Shirley. She made valuable suggestions and helped in many ways, in company with our daughter Susan, who performed the arduous task of deciphering and typing my manuscript.
Q-CD vol 12: KA, Preface 9
My thanks also go to Mr. David Brailsford for his help in making copies, and to the staff of Metron Publications and Mr. Fred Plank of Princeton University Printing Services.