Even from very remote prehistoric times, the barbarian language of the Pelasgians was divided in two main dialects, one Latin, or “prisc” (TN – ancient) Latin, and the other Arimic, meaning “prisc” Roman, as the Pelasgian people was also divided in two large and extended families, one of the “Latinii betrani” (TN – ancient Latinii), the other of the Arimii.
These two Pelasgian peoples, issued from the same national trunk, had lived in prehistoric times in entirely different geographical and social conditions.
Both these peoples were distinguished one from the other by their physical temperament and their moral character. Even the forms of their language varied in many respects.
In ancient geographical sources, the ancient Latinii, or barbarian, figure under the name Abarimon(es), Abii, Leucoarimani, and white Barbarians, and they appear generally as a population from the northern parts of the ancient world.
In their migrations from Asia towards Europe, a first part of these barbarian Latinii, after spending more time in the northern regions of the Ural mountains, advanced westwards along the shores of the Baltic Sea. To this current belonged the Litvanii, Samogitii (the ancient inhabitants of eastern Prussia), then the great masses of Leti, scattered through various regions of Germania and Gallia (Du Cange, see Laeti sive Leti; Bocking, Notitia Dign. II. p. 1050, 1059, 1060), Litavii from Armorica, and Albionii from the Britannic islands (Pliny, IV. 30. 1; Diefenbach, Orig. europ. p. 147). Suetonius (Claudius, c. 1) and Dlugossus (Hist. Pol. Ed. 1711. I. I. 10. 113 seqq, 118; Cromer, De orig. et reb. gest. Polon. I. III. p. 42) also wrote about the barbarian Latin language spoken in the northern parts of Europe.
A second group from the family of the ancient Latinii passed over the southern parts of Scythia, occupied for some time the plains and mountains of Galitia, Silezia, Moravia and Bohemia, then continued to advance towards the western parts. From these barbarian Latinii derives the name of the Lechii (Polonii), as well as various topical names of ethnic origin, which we find scattered through those lands, under the forms Latten, Leiten, Lety, Liten, Ladzin, Letow, Litow, etc.
Finally, a third branch of the great migration current of the barbarian Latinii passed over the eastern parts of Dacia towards the Balkan peninsula, and occupied for some time the regions from the lower Danube, especially the northern parts of lower and upper Mesia.
Their last national king in those times was, as Greek traditions tell us, Telephus, also called Latinus (Jornandes, c. 9; Suidas, see Latinoi).
These Latinii from the north of Thrace have with Homer the name Abii; in the traditions of the Romanian people they figure as “Latini de cei betrani” (Corcea, Balade, h.81 / TN – Latini of the old ones), or as simply Latini in the traditions of the Serbs and the Bulgarians (Kanitz, Reise in Sud-Serbien und Nord-Bulgarien, p. 33).
After a certain time, a part of these barbarian Latinii from the lower Danube continued their migration towards west. The causes are not known. Some tribes crossed the Alps (to this current of migration belong the Latinii from Switzerland) into the Italic peninsula, where after prolonged battles with various Arimic nations, which had occupied the upper parts of Italy, settled definitively in Latium (Prisci Latini, Latini veteres, Albenses populi).
These ancient Latinii figure in Romanian epic poems as a northern people, from the “edges of the seas”. They are shown with gigantic bodily shapes, with a big head, wide forehead and chest, big eyes, long, thick arms and legs (Hasdeu, Col. lui Traian, 1882, p. 620), and in the traditions of the populations from the Balkan peninsula they appear as a generation of giants.
Virgil presents in a similar way the Latinii from ancient Latium. They had a larger stature than the other people, “immani corpore”, and their youths were characterized by wearing a blond beard (Aen. X. 312, 324; VIII, 330).
The dialect of these barbarian Latinii had stayed closer to its origin, in regard to the system of its consonants, as well as the form of its terminations. The idiom of the ancient Latinii was sweeter, more harmonious, but did not have the same quick movement in its circulation, and the same precision in the expressing of thoughts which the Arimic dialect had.
As results from the traces which have been preserved to this day in the national language of the Litvanii, the barbarian Latinii had masculine terminations in as and us, and often used s instead of r. As examples we shall quote here the following words from the Litvan language: alejus, oleum; angelos, angelus; ausis, auris; ausza, aurora; devas, deus; drasus, trux; grazus, pulcher; jaunas, juvenis; laukas, campus, locus; macnus, potens, fortis; medus, mel; midus, medus; muras, murus; pirmas, primus; senas, senex; vynas, vinum; vyras, vir (Schleicher, Litauische Grammatik, 1856).
The second dialect of the Pelasgian language was the Arimic, which we call prisc Roman.
To the family of the Arimii belonged the inhabitants of the north of the lower Istru, ‘Arimoi, as Homer and Hesiodus called them; the Scythii, previously called Aramaei; the ancient inhabitants of barbarian Germania, the Herminonii and Alamannii; the Aremoricii from Aremorica or Aquitania and the north-western corner of Galitia; the Volcae Arecomicii from between the Pyrenees and the Rhodan; the older populations of Italy, and finally the Turditanii, Tarraconii and Lusitanii from Hispania.
The Arimii differed from the Latins by their physical type and by their livelier temperament. The Arimii had a darker hair and skin color, and were not as tall of stature as the Latinii. They were more energetic in their actions, more used with weapons, and with more advanced political ideas.
The separation of the Pelasgian nation in two large ethnic families had been also known to the ancients. According to Hesiodus (Theog. v. 1011 seqq), the genealogy of the Latinii and Arimii was the following: Circe, the sister of king Aietes of Colchis, had two sons with Ulysses, Agrius (Rusticus, Teranul, TN – the peasant), called Romanus by Plutarc, and Latinus. These two names represented two large families and two main dialects of the same nation.
The characteristic particularities of the Arimic dialect were especially the following:
1. An A was added to the beginning of a number of words, especially those which began with R.
2. The endings of words were shortened, leaving out the final consonants m and s, sometime also the preceding vowel u.
3. The final syllable re was eliminated from the infinitive of verbs.
4. Finally, the Arimii used the letter R a lot in their words.
We give the following examples about the adding of A at the beginning of words:
– Ethnic names: Arimi with Homer and Hesiodus; Aramaei (Scythi); Alamani or Aramani, part of the ancient inhabitants of barbarian Germany, called also Arimani and Aremani in the upper parts of Italy, Aremori or Aremorici in Gallia; Archemorium and Archemonium, the name of a suburb of Rome; Ariminium, an ancient city of Umbria, today Rimini; Orchomenos (= Archomenos), two ancient cities, one in Beotia, the other in Arcadia; Ariman (Ahriman), Typhon’s co-name; Arimanius, an epithet of Mithra (Prometheus) and of Mars; Aremulus, an ancient king from Alba.
– Geographical names: Anigrus, river in the Peloponnesus; Asilba, castle in Thrace; Amurgos and Murgos, an island near the Hellespont; Asarath, river in Africa; Arius, the regions of India.
– We find the same addition of A in the language of the Aromanians of today, descendants of the ancient inhabitants of Thessaly, of the Epirus and of Macedonia.
We give the following examples: afiresc, Romanian firesc; agonesc, gonesc; alichesc, lipesc; alatrat, latrat; alaudat, laudat; areu, reutate, nenorocire; aricori, frig, recore; aris, ris; ariu, riu; Aroman, Roman; aros, rosu; arug, rug; aspart, spart; aumbra, umbra; avenat, venat. To which we also add the Thracian word ababa, baba, from the times of Maximinus.
– The same A has been also preserved in some Romanian words from the Carpathians and the lower Danube: abiruire, invingere; aboare, boare; abuba, buba, achindie, chindie; acioie, cioie; acufund, cufund; alatrat, latrat; alauta, lauta, Armanca, Romanca.
– In the Romagnol dialect from Italy: aglion, Italian leon; alor, lauro; amsure, misurare; aramse, ramassare; arcade, ricadere; arfat, rifatlo; arpos, riposo; arvena, ruina (Mattioli, Vocab. Romagnolo-italiano, Imola, 1879; Torquati, Origine della l. ital. p. 34, 45, 48).
Another particularity of the barbarian Arimic dialect was the shortening of the endings, especially the omitting of final consonants m and s.
The consonant m at the end of the words, as Quintilianus tells us, was a letter which in the Latin language too “was very little pronounced” (Inst. Ix. 4; XII. 10), meaning a silent sound.
As for the final s, Cicero writes: “In ancient times, omitting the s of the final syllable was considered an elegant mode of speech, today though such a speech is for us rustic, ordinary (Orat. c. 48). And the whole final syllable of the words is often omitted. To this mode of speech refer the words of Quintilianus: curabit magister ne extremae syllabae inercidant (Inst. XI. 3; Cicero, Orat. c. 12).
– In the Romagnol dialect from Italy, in which have been preserved to this day many particularities of the ancient Arimic dialect, neither final o, nor u exists.
As example: an, Italian anno; anzel, angelo; bon, buono; braz, braccio; camp, campo; car, caro; corv, corvo; fer, ferro; fiol, figlio; fom, fumo; fus, fuso; mort, morto; om, uomo; ont, unto; orb, orbo; oss, osso; ors, orso; prez, prezzo (Mattioli, Voc. Romagnolo-italiano, 1879).
– The same shortening of the endings is also present in the Romanian language, in the Armerine dialect as well as in various words which had once belonged to the local “Roman” language of Gallia: Rom. an, Mrom. an, Arm. an, Prov. an, Fr. an; Rom. brat, Mrom. b’rat, Istr. brat, Arm. brazz; Rom. camp, Picard and Prov. camp.
We arrive now to the elimination of the final syllable re from the infinitives of verbs.
In the Romanian language, the infinitives have two forms, one with re and the other without:
“a cantare” and “a canta”, “a vedere” and “a vede”, etc.(TN – today there is only the second form).
On the territory of Italy of today, the form of the short infinitive (without re) is found in the Piemontes, Driulan, Romagnol and Armerine dialects.
– Piemontes, with three conjugations: ame, Ital. amare; vede, vedere; cusi, cucire.
– Friulan; ama, Ital. amare; teme, temere; sinti, sentire.
– Romagnol: ame, Ital. amare; vde, vedere, cusi, cucire.
– Armerine: are, Romanian ara.
In fact, a general use of eliminating re from the infinitives of verbs has existed until late on the territory of Italy, an important linguistic phenomenon, observed by the distinguished literati G. Torquati on the base of the Italian folk poetry (Origine d. lingua italiana, p. 25).
This shortened form of the infinitives must have doubtless existed also in the popular or Arimic language of ancient Italy.
Quintilianus writes: The teacher must take care that the students he instructs also pronounce the last syllables of the words “Curabit magister ne extemae syllabae intercidant” (Inst. XI. 3).
This mode of speaking was of barbarian origin. “The barbarians” writes Isidorus (Orig. I. 31) “do not pronounce the Latin words in their entirety”.
Another particularity, characteristic of the ancient Arimic dialect, was the frequent use made of the resounding letter r. This letter was often used instead of the consonants d, l, n and s.
In the present study though, we shall speak only about the rotacism of n, which had played once a very significant role, not only in the spoken language, but also in the literary church language of the Romanian people.
About the replacing of n with r in the Arimic dialect of the Pelasgians we have some examples even from the Homeric times.
Gargaros is called in the Iliad the highest peak of Ida mountain, but its original form was Gargan-us. The word Tartaros in the times of the theogony had the meaning of “pater” (Titan), Romanian tatan, in church books tatanru and tataru. From the same form derives Teutarus, the name of a Scythian, contemporary with Hercules.
The Getae from the lower Danube especially, used the letter r a lot in their speech.
The poet Ovid called the language of the Getae: vox fera, vox ferina, Geticus murmur, Barbara verba, rotacised words with which he characterized in an indirect way the rough and resounding dialect of the Getae.
– The changing of n into r in the national language of the Getae is especially present in names of localities on the Danube, as well as from the eastern and northern parts of Dacia, like: Laedenata and Laederata, near Viminatium in lower Mesia (Not.); Ratiaria and Ratiarna (Ptol); Durostonum and Durostorum (Ptol.), Durostona with Jornandes; Dinigothia and Dirigothia near the mouths of Siret (Not., Tab.); Noviodunum and Noviodurum (Itin.); Carodunum and Carodurum (Ptol.), Ermerium and Urgum, two localities on the northern parts of Dacia, names which correspond to the forms Armerium and Armenium, and Ung, today a city and county near Maramures.
– On the territory of the Scythians: Achani and Acharni, name of people (Steph. Byz.); Arima, in the language of the Scythians meant “one”, a word in which r represented the original sound n.
– In Pannonia, the same oscillation between the sounds n and r is found in the names of a number of localities: Vindomana and Vindomara (Itin., Not.); Bononia and Bonoria; Carnunto and Carunto (Itin.); Acimincum and Acimircum (Not.); Tauruno and Taururo (Not., Ptol.).
– In Dalmatia: “u t pureremu” instead of “puneremus” (Isidorus, Orig. I. 31)
– In Germania: Varduli instead of Vanduli, Veredi instead of Venedi (Arch.-ep. Mitlh. IX. 8).
– In Gallia: Verodunum and Veroduro, Augustodunum and Augustodurum (Itin., Tab.); Cenomani and Ceromani (Not.); Menapii and Merapes, Ursanienses and Ursarienses (Not.); Aremorica and Aremonica, Gaura mors instead of mons (Itin. Hier.).
– In Britannia: Cohors quarta Lergorum instead of Lingonum (Not.); Celunno and Cilurno (Rav., Not.); Brittonum and Brittorum; Vindogladia and Virdocladia (Itin.).
– In Hispania: Urgi and Unci (Itin.).
– In the province Argos from the Peloponnesus, Lyncea and Lyrcea, the name of a village (Paus.).
– In Asia Minor, in the regions inhabited by Pelasgians: Comagena and Comagera, Dardaxina and Dardaxira, Marandana and Marandara (Itin.).
– In the Phrygian language chlouros, Greek chlounos, a type of gold (Hesych.).
Everywhere the letter r was a sound characteristic for the Pelasgian Arimic language (Henr. Steph. see Barbarophonos).
– In the Italic peninsula, exactly as in the other provinces inhabited by Pelasgians, the Arimic dialect was the most widely spread .
[1. Quintilianus, Inst. I. 5: Pollio deprehendet in Livio Patavinitatem, licet omnia Italica pro Romanis habeam. In the times of Ennius, the idiom spoken and written was called “Romana”, not “Latina”, Romane loqui (Charisius, Inst. Gramm. II; Keil, Gramm. Lat. I. 200)].
This dialect, beginning from the Alps and ending in Sicily, formed the national usual idiom, which the Roman literati called: lingua quotidiana or usualis, romana lingua, vox romani generis (Cicero, De orat. III. 12. 44), rustica romana lingua, rustica vox et agrestis (Ibid. III. 12), rustica asperitas (Suetonius, Gramm. c. 24), rusticus sermo, plebeius sermo, sermo vulgaris, usualis sermo, quotidianus sermo (quo cum amicis, conjugibus, liberis, servis loquamur), vetus lingua, sermo antiquus (Cicero, De orat. III. 11. 42), barbarus sermo, Latina pessima.
As for the purely Latin dialect in Italy, this has always been limited to the province of Latium.
The changing of n into r in the popular language of Italy can be followed back to the most ancient times of the Roman state. The following examples will clearly demonstrate this statement.
– Remoria, the name of the place on the Aventine where Remus wanted to build the citadel of Rome, according to Festus; Remonia with Plutarc, Remona with Ennius.
– Remores, the name of the people who had the same qualities as Remus, according to Aur. Victor. It is a rotacised form of Remones.
– Remuria, in Roman cult was the feast when offerings to the ancestors were made. The word is formed from “Remores”.
– Remurina, an ancient Roman divinity, probably the personification of the feast day “Remuria”.
– Archemorium and Archemonium, an ancient suburb of Rome.
– Crustumerium and Crustumini, Sabine city and people.
– Perpenna and Perpena, n. pr.
– In classical Latin language, carmen derives from canimen = car(i)men, from the verb cano, a canta (TN – to sing).
– According to Varro, the word moerus, mur (TN – wall), derived from moenus.
Assir in ancient Latin language meant “sanguen”, blood (Festus). The word is not Latin, but Arimic, with a pre-posed a, and n changed into r, like sangre in the Spanish language from sanguinem = sanguirem.
The ancients also said femur and femen, groma instead of gnoma, aeneus and aereus, siris and sirit instead of sinas, sinat (Livy, lib. I. 32), also sera = sinas in the song of the Arvali Brothers.
Populonia and Populoria was a maritime city of Etruria (Itin. Ant.). Egina and Egira were the names of an island between Italy and Sicily (Itin. Hier.; Livy, lib. I. 32).
The letter r, Plato writes, indicates movement and asperity. Because of this, the Greek authors called the use of this letter in speech schlerotes, asperitas (Cratylus, c. 41).
Certainly Cicero characterized the popular dialect of Italy as rustica asperitas for the same reasons.
In the poems of Virgil we find a number of examples in which he imitates the folk idiom, by repeating the letter r:
Agricola, incurvo terram molitus aratro…
Ergo aegre rastris terram rimantur (Georg. I. 494; III. 534)).
Aurunei, Rutuliuqe serunt et vomere duros
Exercent collis atque horum asperrima pascunt (Aen. XI. 318).
Seneca writes (Epist. ad Lucill. 114): “The words of men were such as their lives were”.
This rotacised dialect had been preserved for a long time in the homes of Roman nobility.
The poet Persius tells us that at the doors of ancient Roman families still resounded in his times the doggish letter r (Sat. I. 109).
The Roman literati, pupils of a severe Latin-Greek school, had always a particular aversion of the sound r, because of which this consonant had been eliminated from a number of Latin words.
Examples: pejero = perjuro; crebesco = crebresco. Varro says “R exclusum propter levitatem (L. L. V, 133), meaning that the letter r had been excluded in order to ease pronunciation.
“Reor”, says Quintilianus, is a horrible word (Inst. VIII. 30); and in another place he writes: instead of the letter r, with which Demosthenes had to struggle so much, the Greeks adopted the letter l, which are strong letters also in our language (Inst. I. 11).
We shall reproduce here a few examples from the Voronet Codex, written around the beginning of the 16th century: adura, aduna; arira, arina; betrarii, batranii; cunteri, conteni; curura, cununa; dumereca, dumineca; gerure, genune; giure, giune; irema, inima; iremire, inemile; lumira, lumina (in mierurata lui lumira); Luri, Luni; menciuri, minciuni; netirut, netinut; omeri, omeni; rugira, rugina; rusul = nusul, insul; spureti, spuneti; supureti, supuneti; striirii, strainii; turerecu, intunerec; urul, unul, etc.
This literary church language was called in the 18th century “pe Rumania”, meaning the Rumanian rustic or Arimic.
From this mode of speech, with n changed into r, have been preserved to this day in the Romanian language some ancient traces like: arin, anin; irima, irma, inima; marunt, Lat. minutum; musuroiu, musunoiu, rata and nata; rerunchi and renunchi, rencheza, necheza, Lat. hinnire; rendurea, rendunea; serin, senin; verin, venin.
This phonetic phenomenon appears especially as a characteristic particularity of the Romanian dialect of Istria, evident proof that at the time when the Romanian groups from Istria had migrated from the lower Danube (see Ch. XXVI.6), the rotacised dialect was almost generally spoken by the Romanian people from the lower Danube.
The origin of this idiom on the territory of Dacia predates Roman conquest. As we saw above, the changing of n into r existed in the barbarian language of the Pelasgians even in Homeric times, while in the Italic peninsula it existed even in the legendary times of the Roman state.
The substitution of the intervocalic n with r is therefore not a specific Romanian rotacism, or of the Romanian language from the Middle Age, as the literate Hasdeu believed, but is a phonetic particularity inherited from the ancient dialect of the Arimii.
Little by little though, the rotacism of n had disappeared almost completely not only in the western parts of Europe, but on the territory of Dacia too.
We ask now: how can be explained this linguistic phenomenon from a historical point of view?
Because in the life of mankind, nothing happens without some predetermined cause.
Our answer is that the Arimic dialect, or rotacised, must have been at some time strongly mixed with the not rotacised dialect, or the barbarian Latin.
This reestablishing of the original sound n was due not to a spontaneous revival of n, as Hasdeu believed, but to the influence of the great invasion of the Leuco – Arimanii or Abii, who had descended on Europe following the footsteps of the Arimic current.