In the ancient world, a city or society had as an essential aim a knowledge of the divine will and intentions, and an understanding and some degree of control of the divine fire which, in the form of the thunderbolt, closely associated with earthquakes, was the chief weapon of the gods.
The Greek aither is the upper air, home of the divine fire, pyr. The following words all mean fire of some kind, usually divine, i. e. electrical, originating from the sky in the form of lightning, or from the earth, e. g. piezoelectric effects from earthquakes, sometimes referred to by the general Semitic term ka. I put forward suggestions for the meanings and derivations of these words, based on the principle that in any philological inquiry the discovery of a link between a word and physical reality should be the starting point.
Five of the most important words are: Pyr, or pur, [Greek], ar [Etruscan], ka [Egyptian], zichne [Etruscan], ignis [Latin]. A Greek u may be transliterated as u or as y.
Flamma, flame, was used in Latin, like phlox in Greek, for ordinary chemical fire. The burning of wood on altars was a trigger to encourage the divine fire to descend. The prophet Job, XX: 26, speaks of "a fire not blown", i. e. not phlox.
Latin materia is wood for building; lignum [El ignis?] is wood for burning. Pyr
The Latin princeps, prince, is a compound of pyr, in-, and capio. The prince can capture the force of the fire.
Pyramid is from pyr, fire, and amis, amid-, vessel, chamber pot. Greek amao means 'I collect, I harvest. A pyramid was a fire collector. The Hebrew arah is to collect; aron is an ark. Arabic haram, plural ahram, is a pyramid. Russian hram is a temple. Hebrew har means 'mountain'.
Plato, in his Laws, refers to the survivors of the Flood as "zopura of the human race". The word suggests to us the phrase 'spark of life'.
Greek prasso, I achieve, act, is pyr aisso, I brandish fire. Greek pragma is a deed. The Akkadian Akitu, New Year festival, resembles the Latin ago, actum, set in motion, act. Etruscan praco is a step, and may be from the same root as the Greek pragma. Albanian prag is step.
Greek prinos, holm oak, may be pyr + in-, presence of fire. It was widely believed that oak trees were more often struck by lightning than other trees.
The Greek prytanis was the official who waved the brand, imitating the god who brandished the thunderbolt. Tanuo means 'I stretch out'. Tinasso means 'I brandish', literally 'I set Tin in motion'. Tin, the Etruscan god of the thunderbolt, occurs also in the form Tinia, and, since initial s is sometimes omitted, there is a possibility that he may have been Set + in-, presence, or force, of Set. Set, the Egyptian god of evil, is also known as Typhon; Plutarch called him Seth. Ar
Latin ara is an altar, essentially a place to which the electrical god was persuaded to descend to mark the victim. Ordinary fire would be lit to encourage the electrical fire to appear.
Water or blood would be poured over the victim to assist conductivity and earthing. The ancients knew that water conducts electrical current. This may be a clue to the references in the Book of the Dead to the "fire that is in the water".
An altar had horns. This creates a link with the horned object in the sky which was compared to a horned creature such as a bull.
The Latin religio, sacred procedure, may be ar elicio, I entice the fire.
Mitra, headdress, tiara, may be a reversal of ar, and time, honour. The Greek mitos is a thread. An electrical explanation of mitra becomes more likely when one thinks of the Greek for a crown, stephanos, Set visible.
Thread may have some electrical significance. Images of ancestors were linked by thread in the atrium of a Roman house.
Etruscan ve, put, appears in the Latin servio, I serve, I put fire. Zhar is one of the Slavonic words for fire; ogonj [Latin ignis] is another.
Etruscan thesan means to kindle. Probably the word is from the Indo-European word detj, to put, and refers to the task of stoking, putting fuel on the sacred fire. This is a possible interpretation of the Greek word theos, god.
Theos has been traced either to tithemi, to put, set, or establish, as a basic function of a deity, or to the verb theo, to run. The latter would be more appropriate to celestial bodies such as the planets, the wandering stars, if they really did appear to run fast. They wander, but slowly. Perhaps the various ideas present in the roots co-existed in the ancient mind.
A Roman priest might be a flamen, one who blew the flame [Latin flare is to blow]. The Vestal Virgins, who tended the holy fire in the temple of Vesta in Rome, tended the life and soul of the city and of the body politic on the hearth of the temple of Vesta, the Greek Hestia.
Erythrae is a Greek place name. There is an Erythrae near Cithaeron, in Boeotia, central Greece. The name is a reversal of ar and of thura, door.
Egyptian, Greek and Roman pylons, gateways and arches symbolise an entry into the world of the electrical god. They can symbolise planets; in this they resemble the seven pillars near the place called the Horse's Grave, mentioned by Pausanias as being on his way from Sparta to Arcadia.
The Etruscan thur means much the same as the Latin gens, family. Thura, Greek for door, may be a reversal of ar uth. Uth is Etruscan for the Greek hodos, road.
The name of the god Janus was in general use in Rome to mean an archway.
Shar kibrat arbaim is Akkadian for 'Lord of the four regions'. The Russian vorota is a plural word meaning 'gate'. Lord of the four gates?
Arches, Latin arcus, symbolised an entrance to the world of the spirit, of divine fire, the way to the stars. The Etruscan ar is present in arcus, as it is in the Latin arca, chest.
Aristotle, in his De Anima, On the Soul, writes that the soul enters the human body thurathen, from outside. Probably thurathen should be understood as meaning 'from the fire door' i. e. from the stars, which, as Plato writes in the myth of Er at the end of his Republic, are the places from which souls come and to which they return.
The Hebrew timara is a pillar. There may be a link with the kion, column, of Plato's Republic, by which souls returned to the stars.
Hebrew pathar means to explain. It may be 'reveal the fire'. Latin patera is a flat dish used in libations for reflecting the radiation from a source in the sky onto the earth, perhaps to feed the dead, help them to the stars, or resurrect them for advice. The Latin patere means to be open, to be exposed.
There may even be a connection between the Hebrew pathar, explain, and the Greek pathos, suffering. The Athenian dramatist Aeschylus associates mathos, finding out, with pathos, suffering. In a Greek tragedy, there is a recognition scene, when a truth, previously hidden from some or all of the characters, is revealed. It leads to a reversal of fortune frequently involving a principal character in difficulty and disaster.
Hebrew qe'arah is a bowl or dish, and may conceal the Egyptian ka, which appears in Hebrew qadhosh, divine.
The Latin lanx, lanc-, is a dish. It may be a compound of El, the god above, and ankh, life. The Hittite spanza, libation, suggests 'down from the five', the five being the five planets easily visible to the naked eye. The libation bowl was used to reflect and focus the divine radiation from sky to earth, as shown on a relief from Malatya.
The Latin armum, weapon, especially a defensive weapon, may be connected with electrical fire. The aegis was used by Athene as a shield, and inspired fear. Setting up the apparatus at a shrine involved adjustment of telescopic rods, Hebrew chashuqim. Greek ararisko, fit, adjust, may be 'please the fire', ar and aresko. Aresko means 'I please', artao means 'I fasten'.
It seems likely that the Latin ars, art-, skill or art, was originally the fitting together of apparatus. In this context the Hebrew chashuqim, junction rods, may be relevant. Greek arthron, joint, could be ar and thronos, seat.
The Greek stratos, army, may be the fire of Set, a body of men that was meant to strike like a thunderbolt.
El and ar may be present in the name of Lars Porsenna of Clusium.
The Latin lustro, review, purify, may be 'release the fire of Set', i. e. burn. The censor conducted a review of the people. He may be ka ensis, the sword of ka. Ka suggests the Greek kaio, I burn.
The Ossetic word zarand means gold. The letter z can be 'st' as well as 'ts' or 'ds'. Zarand could sound like 'Set's fire'.
Marshy places attracted ar. Romulus met his mysterious death on the Goat's Fen, and Dionysus was known as Limnaios, Dionysus of the marshes. He was said to have been born in Nysa, in a well watered plain. Vide Ghirshman, Iran, p. 236, Penguin 1954.
The Latin ardea is a heron. It may have been a bird which, like the ibis, was thought to be expert at catching snakes. Hebrew dea means knowledge; the heron's name may mean 'having knowledge about fire'. [The snake is one of the commonest symbols of divine fire]. Ka
Ar was often equated with ka. Whereas ar was thought of as the god descending from the sky, the ka was associated with the individual human being, as a kind of halo surrounding the head, and giving the impression of a double. However, it was recognised that the two were essentially manifestations of the same force; the terms ar and ka could be used indifferently. The name Ardoro was given to a Cretan priestess who may even have been the same as Ariadne. The name Ardoro means'gift of fire', doron being Greek for a gift.
The Greek ananke, necessity, is spelt anagke. The word ka, pronounced well back in the throat, could have been spelt ga, Doric dialect for the Ionic and Attic word ge, the earth goddess. Ana means 'above'; ananke would thus be the ka above. Electrical forces in the sky were harder to control than those on earth.
Ar and ka both appear in the Latin arca, chest. Ariadne is ar yad, hand of fire. She is represented in a statuette holding snakes or a bow in her hands. We have already mentioned that Greek bios, like Sumerian ti, til, means either bow or life. The arrow shot by a deity was electrical, as was the brazen serpent of Numbers XXI.
When the priest had caught the divine fire in the ark, the deity was referred to as ka. The word appears in Greek kaio, burn, Latin incendo [in-ka-do, I give the presence of ka].
Osiris, the Egyptian god who resembled Dionysus, was the holy ka who rose from the chest or ark.
The Greek verb airo, raise, may possibly contain the word ar. The application of ar was a method of resurrecting Osiris/ Dionysus. In Hebrew qadhosh [divine, holy], the dhosh element means to sprout or produce, and an ark would be made to sprout ka, to radiate sound and light. The prophet Amos, IX: 1, writes: "... I saw the Lord standing upon the altar..."
The aura seen was often described, especially in Egypt, as a lotus. The Sanskrit padma is a lotus. Pa, fa, are Sanskrit for light; demas is Greek for body. Padma may be the body produced by the light. There is support for this from Greek: kreas, flesh, is a flow of ka, and the same thing occurs in the Latin verb creo, create. The old spelling of creo was cereo.
In Genesis IV: 22, Tubal Cain is described as the first smith. His name can be explained on electrical lines, but first we need to know two things: that there was a deity of springs and water called Lavis, and that confusion could occur over the different directions of writing,, Semitic right to left, others left to right. Many examples of this are given later in this work.
The reverse of Tubal gives Lav ut. Ut suggests authority or source. Lavis we have already met. Cain looks like ka in, presence of ka.
In the smith's craft two essential processes are heating the metal, then plunging it into water to temper it, a process known as annealing. The name of Tubal Cain, whether by accident or by design, is a shorthand description of the technique of the blacksmith.
The smiths of Rhodes, the Telchines, had supernatural powers, and made statues of the gods.
The god whom the priest aspires to capture or persuade to descend is the one above; Hebrew El means over. Elektron, amber, is Greek for the god who emerges out of the seat, ek thronou. The Greek thronos, seat, is the chest or capacitor, the Leyden jar, on which the earthly monarch may sit imitating the deity. Etruscan drouna, truna, means 'fear', especially fear of the king sitting on his throne. "Before Jehovah's awful throne...."
Readers are referred to God's Fire, by Alfred de Grazia, for a full account of the working of an ark.
The fire, ar, could be felt internally by individual human beings. Artistic inspiration was attributed to the thunderbolt by the Greek poet Archilochus. The Roman poet Ovid, Fasti I: 423, writes".. simul aetherios animo conceperat ignes.." Inspiration is described as catching the ethereal fire in one's soul.
The reason for attributing a feeling in the bones, or, as the Romans said, in the marrow, medullis, to a sky god rather than to an earth deity, may have been the thunderstorm. A good example of the effect of a thunderstorm is found in the fourth book of the Aeneid, when Dido and Aeneas take refuge in a cave from the storm.
The Greek lagneia, lust, may be the fire of el. Agni is the Sanskrit name of the god of fire.
Zichne, ignis The Latin ignis, fire, is basically the same as the Etruscan zichne, engraving or writing. Zichne is Set ichne, tracks of Set. Marks made by lightning strokes on rock were taken to be writing by a deity. The German zeichnen is to mark or draw. Latin signum is a mark.
Ka may just possibly be an element in the name Pergama, the fortress of Troy. It is a curious coincidence that, if reversed, Pergama resembles magrepha, the gong that was sounded in the temple at Jerusalem at dawn to mark the beginning of the day's burnt sacrifices.
The Garamantes lived in the Fezzan, SW Libya. Silius Italicus has "Gar amanticus vates", a prophet of the Garamantes. Greek mantis is a seer; Gara-may be ka and ar.
Greek gaio means 'I rejoice'. Latin gaudio, rejoice, is of inward joy, as opposed to laetor, outward rejoicing. Ga = Ka.
Greek gauros means proud, haughty. It may mean 'great ka'; Egyptian ur = great. Alternatively, it might be compounded of ka and oura, tail.
Cassum lumine, empty of light, means dead, Aeneid II: 85. It is possible that the light is that of the ka. Greek ken- means empty; reversed, it becomes nek-. The Greek nekuia were rites for raising the dead, those who are empty of ka, for consultation. Nekuia is the title of the eleventh book of the Odyssey.
Greek chrusos is gold. Gold may have been regarded as symbolising a flow of ka. Rheo, rhoos, = flow.
The name of the Etruscan city of Clusium may be ka + luo [Greek, I release], the place which was a centre for releasing the ka from its prison in the ark or chest. The other name of the city was Camers. The Etruscan mar, or mer, means 'take'. The city was a place where the priest, or the princeps, caught the god. Princeps is a Latin word. He was originally an Etruscan magistrate-priest, and his title looks like pur, in-, and capio, fire, force, capture.
The Latin genius, a divine spirit accompanying and protecting a person, is probably related to the Egyptian ka.
The Etruscan concept of deity was of something vague and omnipresent. In this it differed from the anthropomorphism of the Greeks, which may reflect Egyptian ideas and the identity of the ar and the ka as manifestations of electrical divinity. Heraclitus may have had this in mind when he wrote that the way up and the way down are the same. The Greek kamara and the Latin camera are generally thought to be derived from the Greek kampto, bend. Kamara can mean the roof of a vault, a covered waggon, and a boat with an arched cover. Since the Etruscan mar, mer, means to take, it seems more likely that we are dealing with places and vehicles for the capturing and transporting of ka, as with Egyptian ark boats.
The Latin poet Catullus wrote a poem about his yacht. Phaselus is the word he uses for his yacht. It means 'bean'. Another word for bean is faba, Greek kuamos. A boat used for transporting an ark or similar electrical apparatus not only resembled a bean in appearance. Its name was composed of syllables suggestive of Greek and Egyptian electrical terms, namely fa, light, and ba, spirit. Beans had magical significance; Ovid, Fasti V: 388, tells how beans are used in exorcism.
The Hebrew qadhosh, holy, sprouting ka, is the same word as Arabic quds, which appears in the Arabic name for Jerusalem, El Quds, the holy city.
The Etruscan caveth, liver, is probably the Hebrew kavedh, liver.
The Albanian ka is an ox. The word may well go back to Etruscan.
The Romans may have detected a link between the ka and the anima, soul. The poet Horace, Satires I: V: 41, refers to friends of his [including Vergil], as "animae quales neque candidiores terra tulit", souls than whom earth has not produced any more shining.
The Latin vacuus, empty, suggests that the light of khu comes from an empty box [fa, pa, =light; khu is Egyptian for spirit, or radiance]. The Hebrew hebhel means vanity, idol, breeze, nothingness. The word is a reversal of Latin levis, light [in weight]. Wana is Lydian for fanu, Etruscan for Latin fanum, shrine. Compare Latin vanus, empty, and cavus, hollow.
Shetai was a hidden god of Egypt. Compare Hebrew Shaddai, Almighty.
The Greek megal-, great, may mean full of the ka of El. Egyptian meh = full; ga = ka. El's ka would be the ka of the comet or body in the sky. The head and radiance of a planet or comet were compared with the head and ka of a human being.
Ankh, ka and ku may appear in other Greek words for containers, e. g. aggeion, pail, the human body; aggos, pail, cinerary urn. Kupellon is a big-bellied metal cup for drinking, e. g. chruseia kupella, golden cups, Iliad III: 248.
Kulichne is a drinking cup, also a dish. The Greek word tekton, carpenter and builder, may contain ka, and it may be the Latin tego, cover, protect. A carpenter would be one who constructed a house, or ark, to protect something or somebody. But cf. Greek techne, craft, and Egyptian techen, obelisk.
Vacuna was an old Sabine goddess. Vide Ovid, Fasti VI: 269. Amen was a powerful and invisible Egyptian deity who was associated with the resurrection of the spirit.
Meh, power inherent in nature or in human institutions [Roux, Ancient Iraq p. 542], may be related to the Greek mechane, device, and Egyptian meh, fill. The Greek megal-, great, is probably related. The Sibyl seemed to grow larger as she raved, and senators were auctores, enlargers. The Greek kanoun, basket, was a thing containing ka, as happened in the Dionysiac procession. Dionysus shared with Osiris the fate of being dismembered. Another Greek word for basket is kalathos. Lathein is to lie hidden.
Imperium, state authority, may be in-, force, and per, [Egyptian for house or palace]. A house could be a shrine where a god spoke or the human monarch aspired to divine authority. In the case of Latin dominus, lord, we may have dom-, house, and is, divine presence. It is significant that the Albanian thom, say, is probably Etruscan in origin.
Hebrew pasil is an idol, image, and resembles the Greek basileus, king. Offerings were put before idols of gods for them to eat and drink. The king was a banqueter, who at the banquet, Etruscan vacl, or sacred feast, devoured the fragments of the monster slain in the battle in the sky.
It is likely that the bringing of offerings was originally sympathetic magic aimed at helping the god to live and to save the world from a monster that threatened it.
The Etruscan fleres is an idol. The Greek pleroo means I fill. Perhaps the statue contained a god. But pa, fa, means light, and leer is a Germanic word meaning empty. Whatever the explanation, chests or containers that appeared to be empty were the chosen vessels for containing the god or goddess whose manifestation the priests studied to achieve.
A summary of the vocabulary may be useful at this point. Agni, Sanskrit, ogonj, Russian, esh, Hebrew, all mean fire. Nephesh, Hebrew, = soul.
Egyptian chet, hair; cf. Greek chaite, hair, mane. Etruscan zar, fire; Slavonic zhar. Etruscan sarve = put fire, Albanian zjarrve, Latin servo, servio. Egyptian tcha = fire stick; tehen = pillar; cf. Greek techne, skill, art.
Greek grapho and Latin scribo, write, both indicate that writing was a sacred act. The Latin scrobis is a trench.
The Egyptian tcham is a sceptre in the form of a scotch [for catching snakes], with an eagle perched on top.
Greek kaio, Latin incendo, burn and Latin calere, to be hot, all contain the word ka. Hebrew har = mountain. Harel is an altar [El, god above, appears on mountain tops].
The Arabic haram is a pyramid; Greek amao means harvest, collect.
The Greek pelekus, axe, may sometime have had an initial s in Lydia; cf. labrys, tlabrys, axe. We have the words spel, spelaion, cave, Latin spelunca. Lydian pel is a cave. Caves were often associated with split rocks and chasms caused by earthquakes or lightning, resulting in a difference of electrical potential, as at Delphi, where the presence of the god was first detected by goats and the goatherd Koretas. The 'Sibyl's Rock' has a split in it.
The Calabri, mountain dwellers in southern Italy, an area where earthquakes were frequent, may have been 'axe people', like the Pelasgi, the people who were wise, sagi, about caves. Their name includes the syllable ka, and perhaps labrys, the double axe that represents the thunderbolt.
Hebrew seghor, axe, corresponds to the Latin securis, axe. Another Hebrew word for an axe is maghzerah. The word ar may form part of it, giving some such meaning as 'great fire of Set', and it is the probable origin of the Etruscan and Latin magister. The Samnites of central Italy wore feathers on their helmets, like the Philistines. Philistines have been described as Minoans who fled to the Palestine coast in the twelfth century B. C. [conventional dating; a revised chronology prefers a later date.]
What may be an Etruscan link emerges: "Minos... cristata casside pennis..", Minos with his feathered helmet.
Hebrew chets is an arrow, spear point, lightning. Qayin, spear, is electricity as a weapon, the qa eye [Hebrew ayin is an eye]. Zayin, Greek zeta, is a weapon. Egyptian set is an arrow; cf. Welsh [i. e. Gallic] saethau, arrows.
The Timaeus of Plato is a good source of information about fire. The stars and planets are manifestations of the divine fire. In humans and animals, the fire is found in the muelos, marrow, which is concentrated in the head, but is also found in the spine and tail. The Latin cauda, tail, is ka uthi, where ka dwells, or goes.
The Latin caput, head, reveals a close link with Egypt and the east: it is composed of ka and put. The Latin puteus is a spring or well; it is the same word as Pytho, the old name of Delphi, which was a famous source of divine energy. Put-occurs in the context of sexual activity, and survives today in Italian and Greek.
The snake was seen as a source of electrical fire. It resembled a monster in the sky; it resembled the curved shape of the spine; with the speed of its strike it resembled lightning. A cobra could cause sudden death. In this it resembled Apollo with his arrows, but it also saved, as in the case of Nechushtan, the brazen serpent in the wilderness. Furthermore, the reactions of victims on altars, like the frogs of Galvani, suggested that the god could give movement and therefore life. Hermes and Dionysus exemplified the physiological effects on the human being, and indeed on animals, and the snake was thus a feature of Bacchic revels and the behaviour of Maenads. Snakes, and dogs, were kept in temples of Asklepios to lick diseased bodies.
The Arabic sikina, and Hebrew sakin, knife, explain the Latin scintilla, spark. Reversed, they resemble the Hebrew nachush, bronze.
Chabes [Egyptian] is a beard. Bes is a flame, so it may be a flame of ka. Aeschylus, in the Agamemnon, has the watchman see a pogon puros, a beard of flame, when describing the signal fires announcing the fall of Troy.
Shuti [Egyptian], plumes, are the 'soul of Geb'. Geb resembles the Greek Ge, the earth goddess. Etruscan suth, suthina, and Hebrew tsuth, mean 'kindle'.
Ar appears in the Latin jubar, radiance of a heavenly body. Juba is the hair or mane of an animal, the crest of a helmet, the crest of a serpent, and the tail of a comet.
Jubar stella is Phosphorus, and also Hesperus, the morning star and evening star, i. e. the planet Venus.