21.519 historical virtualities

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 11:08:52 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 21, No. 519.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2008 11:00:16 +0000
         From: "Israel Cohen" <cohen.izzy_at_gmail.com>
         Subject: historical virtualities? ==> anthropomorphic maps -
an ancient GIS

Willard McCarty, hello --

You wrote:
> I would also be grateful for anything ... in historiography,
> i.e. concerned with the reconstruction (i.e., modelling) of
> what presumably was or modelling of what might have been.

I learned about anthropomorphic maps from the linguist Dan Moonhawk
Alford (deceased) and the anthropologist Stan Knowlton. They
described the maps of Napi, the creator of the Blackfoot Indians (aka
The Old Man) and his wife (The Old Woman) in Alberta, Canada. I
"found" similar maps of a male body (Hermes ?) in the Middle East and
a female body (Aphrodite) in north Africa.

Anthropomorphic Maps

Anthropomorphic maps were generated by configuring the body of a god
or goddess over the area to be mapped. The name of each part of that
body became the name of the area or feature under that part. This
produced a scale 1:1 map-without-paper on which each placename
automatically indicated its approximate location and direction with
respect to every other place on the same map whose name was produced
in this way.

You are cordially invited to join the BPMaps discussion group on this
topic, a very quiet list that averages about 2 messages per month.
The URL is:

The Challenge: To produce computer software that will find additional
body-part maps elsewhere in the world. Available inputs:
(1) geographic databases with ancient place names (e.g., the Perseus project).
(2) body-part names on Swadesh lists. Unfortunately, the navel is not included.

Attributes of Anthropomorphic Maps

(1) The navel is the center of the body, the center of the map, and
usually the center of the map's language community.

(2) Place names (toponyms) may be reversed, metathesized, misspelled
or euphemized for various reasons:

(a) The same part in the same language exists on another map of a
different body. Cranium > Mo[n]rocco because Ukraine existed?
Aphrodite is looking backwards over her right shoulder. She is bent
at her waist (Misr/Mitzraim = MoSNaiM).

(b) The left (sinister) part is altered in names for left-right pairs
(arms, legs, eyes, ears). DoFeN = side reversed to Nafud in north
Arabia. SHvK = thigh with a T-sound for the letter shin = TvK
reversed to Kuwait. BeReKH = knee metathesized to Bahrain.

(c) Names that represent taboo body parts or funcitons are reversed
or euphemized:
       Semitic PoS (female pudenda) reverses to yam SooF = sea of
reeds (Red Sea).
       Mare Rubrum (Latin for Red Sea) represents Aphrodite's menstruation.
       NeGeV is a reversal of vagina.
       CaNa3an (3 = aiyin with a G-sound as in 3aZa = Gaza) is a
reversal of Greek gyneco-.
       Sinai = "snatch" is spelled SiNi in Hebrew. The aleph=CHS is
intentionally missing.
       ZaYiN = weapon (a euphemism for his male member) is in Sinai as
the desert of Zin.

(3) Names may be loan-translated due to conquest or language-change.

(a) Roxolania (Semitic Ro[chs]SH = head) => Rus *( Ro_at_SH) => Ukraine
(Greek kranion)
       * Caused by a change in the sound of the aleph from CHS to a
glottal stop.

(b) Libya (Semitic LeB = heart) => Cyrenaica (Latin cor = heart,
compare coronary) => Libya

(4) Rivers and bodies of water may be named after bodily excretions:

(a) Milk River in Alberta.
(b) Red Sea (Latin Mare Rubrum) is Aphrodite's menstruation.
(c) Gulf of Aqaba (Semitic QaVaH = digestion/defecation)

(5) Internal body parts may represent subdivisions of external parts.

(a) Arabic Misr / Hebrew Mitzraim (< TSaR = narrow) = waist (Hebrew
MoSNaim). Egypt (< Greek hepato- = liver). Goshen (with a T-sound
shin < Semitic QiTN = bean) = bean-shaped kidney. Goshen exported
Arabic QuTN = cotton => Latin Gossypium (English gossamer = cotton-like)

(b) Atlas mountains < atlas = first cervical vertebra that supports
the cranium.

(6) Islands near a body's hands may be named for weapons.

(a) Trinacria = trident (< Gk tri = three + Semitic NaKaR = to
pierce) => Sicily (< VL *sicila < Latin secula = sickle to harvest
wheat; compare Semitic SaKiN = knife). The trident was in
Neptune/Poseidon's right hand (Italy, like Anatolia < N'TiLas yad =
arm being washed by the seas).

(b) Greece = reversal of Semitic S'RoG = (weighted) net, held in his left hand.

(c) Crete = reversal of targe = small shield (compare English target)
also in his left hand.


The map of Aphrodite is in north Africa. Her face [PaNim] was lost
during the 3rd Punic war. The rest of her is still there. She is
looking backwards over her right shoulder, so her CRaniuM is reversed
at Morocco. It still has a Fez. Her chin [SaNTir] is reversed at
Tunisia. The Atlas (anatomy: first cervical vertebra) mountains
support her head. Her hair [Sa3aRa] is the Sahara desert. Her
backbone [amood SHiDRa] is the Gulf of Sidra. Her heart [LeB] is
Libya. Her breast [SHaD] is Chad. Her narrow [TZaR] waist is Misr /
Mitzraim. Her liver (Greek hepato-) is Egypt. Cotton (Arabic QuTN,
Latin Gossypium) was exported from Goshen, her [QiTNit = bean]-shaped
kidney. Her side [TZaD] is Sudan. Her other side [DoFeN] is Dafur.
Her left [SMoL] leg is Somalia.

[NeGeV] is a reversal of vagina and may be related to [NeKeV] =
aperture. [CaNa3aN] was her Latin cunnus (and a reversal of Greek
gyneco-). Its name changed to [YiSRa_at_eL] at the time when [Ya3aKoV] /
Jacob "fought with god and men" [Gen 32:29]. This represented a
change in sovereignty from Africa to Asia minor. [ YiSRa_at_eL] is that
body part that gives [@oSHeR] = delight
to [@eL] = god when it is [YaSHaR] = straight, upright. Changing
Jacob's name from [Ya3aKoV] = "ankle; curved, bent" to [YiSRa_at_eL] =
"straight, upright + god" is a well-known Hebrew pun.


The body-part map of Hermes is in Asia minor. kHermes [kHoR = hole +
MoSnaim = waist] lived at Mt. kHermon before he moved Mt. Olympus
(Greek omphalos = navel). Later his name was reversed to become Latin
Mercury. Compare Amerigo Vespucci and America.

His head [Ro_at_SH] was at Roxolania/Rus, south of Belarus. Its name
changed to the Ukraine (Gk kranion = cranium, *not *Slavic u kraina =
to/at the border). His throat [GaRGeret] is Georgia. His left
shoulder [KaSaF] is the Caspian sea. His right shoulder [@aTZiL] was
Euxinus, now the Black Sea. His right arm/hand is being washed
[NaTiLat] at Anatolia. His upper arm (Sanskrit irma) at Armenia,
biceps (Greek pontiki = muscle) at Pontus, elbow [KiFooF yaD] at
Cappadocia, wrist [m'FaReK] at Phrygia, and thumb [BoHeN] at Bithynia
were in Anatolia. His heart (Greek cardia) became Kurdistan. His
narrow [TZaR] waist is Syria and his navel (Sanskrit nabhila)
reverses to LeBaNon.

South of Lebanon is the male member (Greek phallus) named Philistina.
See [CaNa3aN / YiSRa_at_eL] above. His buttocks [YeReKH] is Iraq. His
thigh [shin-vav-kuf] sounded like TvK and reversed to Kuwait. His
knee [BeReKH] is partially reversed in Bahrain. His right [Y'MiN]
foot is at Yemen.

These two bodies are connected, literally, at Sinai (with an aleph
that is not written in Hebrew, compare "snatch", a reversal of
[K'NiSah] = entrance), a part of her body that contains the desert of
Zin, his "zaiyin". Needless to say, I am not personally responsible
for this connection that occurred over 3000 years ago.

Aphrodite as an Anthropomorphic Map

The goddess we call Aphrodite
Is not just an old Grecian deity.
     The Phoenicians did make
     Her a map. It's not fake.
Her body is cartograffiti.

The Punic war destroyed her face,
The Romans left nary a trace.
     But her hair is still there,
     In Sahara, that's where.
And her chin's a Tunisian place.

Mt. Atlas is her first verTebra.
Her backbone is now Gulf of Sidra.
     Her heart is in Libya,
     Her left leg, Somalia.
Her breast is in Chad wearing no bra.

The Greeks called her liver Egypt, an'
Her kidney was Biblical Goshen.
     She's bent at her waist,
     Now Misr-ably placed.
The Red Sea was her menstruation.

As a kid I did think the Red Sea
Was an English map typo: lost E,
     From Reed Sea in Hebrew.
     But that could not be true,
Mare Rubrum 'twas Latin, B.C.

Aphrodite with Hermes did sin,
We know this is true 'cause within
     Her "snatch" we call Sinai
     His "zaiyin" does still lie.
It's known as the desert of Zin.

dosh kham,
Israel "izzy" Cohen, BPMaps moderator
Received on Sat Feb 02 2008 - 06:28:45 EST

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