Monthly Archives: April 2015

Ri – to cut with something toothed

In this post I would like to talk about the development of the toothed (serrated) cutting implements and the words used to describe these implements and the actions performed with them. I started my investigation as a pure linguistic one. But this investigation lead me to discovery of how humans invented toothed (serrated) blades by literally making artificial jaws. What is amazing is that the word cluster from Serbian (Slavic languages) which describes these toothed tools and their use actually describes the way these tools were developed in Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, through people imitating nature.

Here it goes.

In Slavic languages we have these words meaning to cut: Sek – ti and Riz, Rez – ti. The first word,  Sek – ti, comes from the root “sk” and means to cut with a smooth blade. There are large word clusters built on this root in both Irish and Serbian and I already wrote about this in detail in my post about the “People of the blade“. This word cluster is based on an onomatopoeic root “sk” which makes it very old. The sound which a smooth blade makes when pulled across something in order to cut it is “sssssssk”, “sek”.  Here you can hear sounds of flesh being cut with a blade. When you cut something off with a sudden hit of blade sound shortens to “tsk” or “tsak”. Here you can hear sounds of chopping with a blade.

In this post I would like to talk about the other word for cutting, Riz (Rez) – ti, which comes from the root “r, ri, re, ro” and which means to cut with something toothed. 

r – sound made when you cut, rip, puncture with something toothed, like sharp stone or point or a blade which is not smooth, like a saw or a primitive stone blade like this one:

“rrrrrrrrrrrrr” is onomatopoeic sound of cutting with a toothed blade like a saw. This is the sound of a wood saw and this is the sound of a hack sow. “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” is also a sound which is produced when we scratch or scrape over a rough, toothed surface.

“rrrrrrrrrr” is also the sound of growling. Growling means making a “rrrrr” sound while showing you teeth before you bite:

The word for growling in Serbina is “režati”. What is interesting about the sound of režanje (growling) is that it is the sound “rrrrr” made in the throat (“grlo” in Slavic languages). You can hear this sound here. What is interesting is that the sound of resembles the sound of “režanje”, growling, resembles the sound of “rizanje, rezanje”, cutting with a toothed blade, saw. 

The official etymology of the word growl says that it comes from Middle English growlen, related to Middle Dutch grollen (“to make a noise, rumble, murmur, grunt, croak, be angry”; Dutch grollen (“to grumble”)), German grollen (“to rumble, be angry, bear ill will”), Old English grillan, griellan (“to provoke, offend; gnash the teeth”). But there is no further etymology provided. 

In Serbian we have word “grlen” meaning guttural, produced in the throat. The root of this word is word “grlo” meaning throat. In “grlo” meaning throat we find “grkljan” meaning larynx. When something gets stuck in your “grlo” throat is blocked or cut, you start to “krkljati” meaning to choke, wheeze. You can “grgoljiti” gurgle water in your “grlo” throat.  Grlo is actually a word built from all the base sounds which can be made by using your tong while it is rolling outward from the root to the tip: g – r – l. This is onomatopoeic description of human throat. Is “grlo” meaning the throat and rumbling “grlen” meaning guttural sound “rrrr” the root of all the above words? Is this where growl and gargle come from as well?

The growling dog is sounding a warning that it will bite. In Serbian the word for biting is “grizti, gristi”.

gristi, grizti – to bite (after you growl as a warning). gristi = ga + ris + ti = it, him + cut + you
griz – sawdust, bits that fall off when wood is sawed. This gives us direct link between biting and sawing. This is extremely important for finding the origin of the word “rez” meaning to cut. 

Serbian word “režati” which means to growl, to show your teeth, to warn that you will bite (griz) is pointing to the fact that the original sharp toothed cutting implement used for “rezanje, rizanje” were jaws and teeth. In Slavic languages word for tooth is “zub”. “Z” is the sound made using your teeth. And when you make sound “z” you bare your teeth. This is why zub is called zub. It is z + u + b = that makes z sound + in + gums (the b being the sound of toothles gums). 

You can see clear similarity between carnivore jaws and particularly canine, human and shark jaws and their ability to cleanly cut they pray in half and later human toothed cutting implements like saws.

Canine jaws with teeth

Shark jaws with teeth

Human jaws with teeth

The jaws are natural “sharp toothed” cutting implements. Here are some early human imitations:

People even used teeth (shark teeth) embedded into wood to create a cutting implement, which was literally an artificial jaw full of real teeth. For those of you who are wondering how you weaponise shark teeth, which are already regenerating, serrated meat knives at the business end of a streamlined, electric-sensing torpedo, here’s how. You drill a tiny hole in them, and then bind them in long rows to a piece of wood to make a sword. Or a trident. Or a four-metre-long lance. And then, presumably, you hit people really hard with them.

That’s what the people of the Gilbert Islands have been doing for centuries. Sharks are an ingrained part of their culture and their teeth have been an ingrained part of their weapons. Tiger sharks feature heavily – they have thick, cleaver-like teeth that can slice through turtle shells so they make a good cutting edge. But the weapons also include the teeth from spottail, dusky and bignose sharks (you can identify species from their teeth), and none of these actually live around the Gilbert Islands today.

 This is a modern version of the same tool, a saw:

Basically people noticed that jaws with teeth are good for cutting through hard things. They recognised a link between jaws teeth and cutting and then tried to create artificial jaws with teeth. This is why I believe that the oldest words for cutting with toothed implements have to be linked with words for biting. And this is exactly the case in Serbian where the word for growling (showing teeth) is “režati”, the word for biting is “grizti” and the word for cutting with toothed implement is “rezati, rizati”.

The Serbian word “rezati, rizati” has these cognates in other Slavic languages:

Old Church Slavonic рѣзати (rězati), Russian резать, Ukrainian різати (rizaty), Bulgarian режа (reža), Serbo-Croatian резати, Slovenian rezati, Czech řezat, Slovak rezať, Polish rzezać, Upper Sorbian rězać, Lower Sorbian rězaś.

On top of this in Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian we also have these words, which form a large cluster of words all related to the meaning “to cut the surface, to make groves, cuts, trenches… with something pointy (like a tooth) or toothed (like a jaw), or are directly linked to teeth” :

ri, re, ro – the root meaning cut, gauge, dig with something toothed, pointy. This is an onomatopoeic word derived from the sound “rrrrrr”.
režati – to growl, to show teeth while making “rrrrr” sound
grizti – to bite
rez, riz – sharp blade
rezi, rizi – has a sharp taste
riz, ris, rez – a cut
rizati, risati, rezati, rozati, rosati, roškati – cut, engrave, gouge, draw. urizati, urezati – chisel. from u + rizati, rezati = in + cut
razrezati, razrizati – divide. from ras, raz + rezati = spread + cutrežanj – slicezarez, zariz, recka, ricka – cut mark, notch
riza, risa, reza – a cut line, a gouge
krezav – gappy (of teeth)
hrid – sharp rocks, cliffs 

rinati – work with a shovel or with pitch fork, with something pointy and sharp used for stabbing, poking
rinuti – to push, to gush, to stab, to stick a sharp object into something. “rinuti nož” stick a knife into someone. 
zarinuti – plunge, stick something sharp into something. 
porinuti – plunge, push into something, launch a missile, push a boat into water
rintati – hard work, probably digging soil or harvesting, agricultural work
porez, poriz – tax, the cut the state gets. 

grizlica – peptic ulcer, something that it eating at the lining of the stomach.
grinja – mites, ticks, moths. biting, gouging, hole making insects. grinja = ga + ri + na = it + cut + on
gagrica – moth = ga + grica = it + nibbles
grizina, grizlica, griznica – moth. from griz – bite, biting insect

The following two words are very interesting because they show that the full etymology of the English words “gristle”, and “grits” come from Slavic “griz-ti” meaning to bite, to chew. 

griz – groats, grits. Wheat either whole or crushed, which needs to be chewed, milled. 
grizka, griska – cartilage, the chewy bits. 

gristle – From Middle English gristel, grystyl, from Old English gristel, gristle (“gristle, cartilage”), formed from a diminutive of Old English grist (“a grinding”), from Proto-Germanic *gredaną (“to crunch”), equivalent to grist +‎ -le. Cognate with Old Frisian gristel, gerstel (“gristle, cartilage”), Middle Low German gristel (“gristle”).

grist – From Middle English grist, gryst, from Old English grist, gyrst (“the action of grinding, corn for grinding, gnashing”), from a derivative of Proto-Germanic *gredaną (“to crunch”), from Proto-Indo-European *ghrēu- (“to rub, grind”). Cognate with Old Saxon gristgrimmo (“gnashing of the teeth”), German Griesgram (“a grumbler, a grouch, peevishness, misery”), Old English gristel (“gristle”). 

It all points to the fact that the original grinding was done in our mouths using our teeth to griz (bite, chew). 

There is also the English word “grisly”. The official etymology says that it comes from Old English grislic (in compounds) “horrible, dreadful,” from root of grisan “to shudder, fear,” a general Germanic word (cognates: Old Frisian grislik “horrible,” Middle Dutch grisen “to shudder,” Dutch griezelen, German grausen “to shudder, fear,” Old High German grisenlik “horrible;” of unknown origin; 

I believe that the word comes from “griz” meaning bite. An attack by a predator with bared teeth, biting and tearing people in bits will cause horror, fear, dread and will leave the site which is “grizli” basically half eaten carcass, horrible, dreadful looking site.

These next to words, found in Croatian and western dialects of Serbian are particularly important:

ris, risa – harvest, land given in dowry, cut
rista, risar – harvester, cutter. 
rištati, ristati – cut wheat, harvest (from ri(že) + šta + ti = cut + what + you)
risno – the time of harvest

The tool we all know is being used for cutting wheat is sickle.

We can see that the blade is smooth. So you would expect the words for the harvester and harvest to be derived from the root “sk”, to cut with smooth blade. Instead we find that the Serbian words for the harvester and harvest are derived from the root “r” which means to cut with a toothed, serrated blade. Why?

A sickle is a curved, hand-held agricultural tool typically used for harvesting cereal crops or cutting grass for hay. The inside of the curve is the cutting edge, and is serrated. The farm-hand swings the blade against the base of the crop, cutting through the stems with a sawing action. The sickle was superseded in the nineteenth century by the scythe which was more comfortable and by mechanised combine-harvesters and tractor machinery. The reason why the wheat sickle blade was originally made serrated is that the serrated blades are more suitable for cutting dry and tough stems and are self sharpening by nature. Smooth sickles require constant sharpening and are only good for cutting wet and soft things like grass. This is an old iron wheat sickle from England. You can see that the blade is serrated.

The sickles my grandparents used in Serbia were also toothed, serrated. So the reason why “ris” and “risa” are the words for harvest and “rista” and “risar” are the words for harvester is because wheat sickles are toothed, serrated tools which produce “rrrr” sound when used to cut wheat stalks. This can help us to determine the true etymologies for the following words:

reap – to cut with a sickle, scythe, or reaping machine, as grain; to gather, as a harvest, by cutting. The official etymology says that the word reap comes from Middle English repen, from Old English ripan, reopan, from Proto-Germanic *rīpaną (compare West Frisian repe, German reifsen ‘to snatch’, Norwegian ripa ‘to score, scratch’), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁rep- ‘to snatch’ (compare Latin rapere ‘to seize, plunder’, Lithuanian aprépti ‘to seize, embrace’, Albanian rrjep ‘to peel, tear off’, Ancient Greek ἐρέπτομαι (eréptomai, “I feed on”)).

I actually believe that this word has the same etymology as the Serbian word “srp”, meaning sickle. I believe that it comes from ri + po = cut + on, over, across. 

Serbian word “srp” meaning sickle is said to have this etymology: form Proto-Slavic *sьrpъ, from Proto-Indo-European *sr̥p-. Cognate with Old Church Slavonic срьпъ (srĭpŭ, “sickle”), Bulgarian сърп, Czech srp, Polish sierp; and with Latvian sirpis, Greek ἅρπη (ἅrpi). 

I believe that this word comes from s + ri + po =  with + cut + on, over = the thing you use to cut across. This is exactly what you do with the sickle, you use it to cut across the wheat stalks….

korist – gain. Could this word come from ko + ri + sto = like + cut + something = something we cut for ourselves or what is cut for us, our cut

Were sickles always toothed, serrated? They were. This is what we can read about the history of sickle
The development of the sickle in Mesopotamia can be traced back to times that pre-date the Neolithic Era. Large quantities of sickle blades have been excavated in sites surrounding Israel that have been dated to the Epipaleolithic era (18000-8000 BC). Formal digs in Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan have unearthed various forms of early sickle blades. The artifacts recovered ranged from 1 to 2 cm in length and possessed a jagged edge. This intricate ‘tooth-like’ design showed a greater degree of design and manufacturing credence than most of the other artifacts that were discovered. Sickle blades found during this time were made of flint, straight and used in more of a sawing motion than with the more modern curved design. Flints from these sickles have been discovered near Mt. Carmel, which suggest the harvesting of grains from the area about 10,000 years ago. 

Unfortunately I can’t find any examples of these early sickles. I would be grateful to anyone who can provide me with the link to pictures showing these Mesolithic sickles. But we have examples of early neolithic sickles:

I remember seeing these pictures for the first time years ago and thinking “these sickles remind me of something”. It only occurred to me what they reminded me of recently, while I was translating data about the early agricultural site Blagoting, from Serbia. You can read the full article about Blagoting here.

Blagotin is the early Starčevo  culture site, dated to late 7th millennium bc. The earliest feature of the site is a 2,5 meter deep sacrificial pit, around which the temple was later built. At the bottom of the pit archaeologists have found a ritually broken deer scull with separated mandibles positioned at a certain angle. I remember thinking that this seems to connect the Starčevo culture to the much older Paleolithic deer cultures of Europe from the time before the last Ice Age. Deer is also a very important symbol found in in many agrarian cultures which come after Starčevo cultures. This makes Starčevo culture a link between the Paleolithic Mesolithic Hunter gatherer cultures and Neolithic agrarian cultures. This could also be an indicator of the mixing between the local European hunter gatherers and the incoming Levantine farmers. It is possible that the Blagotin culture is a product of this mix. But then I went to look at the pictures of deer mandibles and I was shocked. Have a look for yourself:

Now have a look again at the early Neolithic sickles:

And now have a look at this deer bone sickle from USA:

Bone sickles for cutting grass, made from the lower jaw of deer, are found most commonly in central and western Oklahoma. Only one side of the jaw was used and this was lashed onto a wooden handle for service as a grass cutting tool. Actual examples of mounted specimens have been recovered intact from dry caves or rock shelters in the Ozarks area of Arkansas.

Were the deer mandibles, deposited as the first offerings in the temple in Blagotin actually deer mandible sickles? I believe so. I believe that this shows us that the “ri” meaning to cut with something toothed originally literally meant to cut with teeth, “griz” – ga + ri + z = it + cut + teeth = bite. Originally people didn’t cut, they literally bit the wheat using real deer jaws. The first improvement was to replace the real teeth with sharpened stones and then to replace the jaw bone with wood handle…Through this proces “griz” – biting became “riz” – cutting with toothed implement.

Apart from cutting with something toothed we can also gouge, dig, scrape with something toothed. In Serbian we find that the words related to these actions are also based on the same root “ri”.

riti – to cut the surface, to make groves, cuts, trenches, to gouge, make tunels… with something pointy, sharp, like a spade (which again looks like a tooth): 

This word has these cognates in other Slavic languages: Old Church Slavonic рити (riti), Russian рыть (ryt’), Belarusian рыць (ryc’), Old East Slavic рыти (ryti), Polish ryć, Upper Sorbian ryć, Czech rýt, Slovak ryť, Lower Sorbian ryś, Polabian råjě, Bulgarian рия (ríja), Macedonian рие (rie), Serbo-Croatian ри̏ти (rie), Slovene ríti, Old Church Slavonic рыти (ryti).

rilo – sharp pointy tool for making holes or gouges, snout, plow
ralo, ral, ralica, oral – plow, sharp pointy stick for making furrows, gouges in the ground. This is extremely important example of the mutation of middle “i” rilo into “a” in ralo (both meaning plow, tool for making gouges, furrows, paths), which is also found in Irish. 

Ranik, raonik, ralnik, ralo = plowshare

Here is a fresco from medieval Serbian monastery Dečani (14th century) depicting plowing using ralo (plow):

Here is a picture from Serbia (20th century) depicting plowing using ralo (plow):

These two pictures show the how tools and tool names survive for centuries and millenniums until they get replaced by better more cost effective tools. 

Rilica is protruding organ on heads of insects which bite, burrow, gouge skin, like in ticks called hypostome

Or a protruding organ on heads of insects which suck juices like bees, butterflies called proboscis

From Latin proboscis, from Ancient Greek προβοσκίς “elephant’s trunk,”??? In Serbian “probosti” means to puncture, to bore through, which is is exactly what these organs are for.

Rilica is a diminutive of rilo, rila, meaning something small pointy, sharp used for gouging, cutting, sticking into, poking, making holes…Something pointy used to cut a surface…

riljati – dig with a spade, cut the soil
riljač – spade
rana – wound. Probably from ri, ra + na = cut + on
rita – rag, ripped cut clothes. rita = ri + ta = cut, scraped, ripped + that, something

rnj, rnje – snout, what pigs use to gouge. From ri + nj = cut, gouge + with it = the thing with which you gouge. In Serbian the pig rije, ruje meaning it gouges the ground…

A very interesting word is word Krist meaning Karst, cut stony landscape.

The English word karst was borrowed from German Karst in the late 19th century. The German word came into use before the 19th century. According to the prevalent interpretation, the term is derived from the German name for the Kras region (Italian: Carso), a limestone plateau surrounding the city of Trieste in the northern Adriatic (nowadays, located on the border between Slovenia and Italy, in the 19th century part of the Austrian Littoral). Scholars however disagree on whether the German word (which shows no metathesis) was borrowed from Slovene. The Slovene common noun kras was first attested in the 18th century, and the adjective form kraški in the 16th century. As a proper noun, the Slovene form Grast was first attested in 1177, referring to the Karst Plateau—a region in Slovenia partially extending into Italy, where the first research on karst topography was carried out. The Slovene words arose through metathesis from the reconstructed form *korsъ, borrowed from Dalmatian Romance carsus. Ultimately, the word is of Mediterranean origin, believed to derive from some Romanized Illyrian base. It has been suggested that the word may derive from the Proto-Indo-European root karra- ‘rock’. The name may also be connected to the oronym Kar(u)sádios oros cited by Ptolemy, and perhaps also to Latin Carusardius.

You can see that wiki says that “Ultimately, the word is of Mediterranean origin, believed to derive from some Romanized Illyrian base.” However the word has full etymology in SerboCroatian: Krist, Karst = ka + r(i)s + t(o) = like + cut, chiseled, gouged + it 

What is interesting is that the only other language that has a large word cluster which is based on the “ri” root, meaning to cut with something pointy, toothed, is Irish. Have a look at these Irish words. You will see that most of the words are archaic words some of them not used any more. The words can be found in these dictionaries:

Foclóir gaedhilge agus béarla – compiled and edited by the Rev. Patrick S. Dineen.

Foclóir Gaeilge–Béarla (Ó Dónaill)

Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language, MacBain, Alexander

The etymologies given using root “ri” are mine.

críadaire – peasantry.  “cré” means soil. “daire” is ending meaning man, person. Peasants dig, cut ground. críadaire = cré + ria + daire = soil + digging, cutting + person

riadaire, in phr. sean-riadaire, a cunning old fellow; also applied to beasts (Con.). From ria + daire = cut + person = cutting, crafty person.

riaghaim – I tear, rend, lacerate; gibbet, hang, crucify. ria + ga = cut + it, him

aimh- (amh-), neg. pref., un-, in-, dis-, not. 
aimríata ( 1 ríata) – unbroken (usu. of oxen, horses) 

This means that ríata means broken, cut, chipped, toothed. Comes from ri = to cut. ríata = ri + je + to = broken + is + that

riodán, -áin, pl. id., m., a woodworm. See readán. The worm which digs, tunnels, rije through the wood. Comes from ri = to cut.

riastáil, -ála, f., the act of turning sods in the marking off and preparation of grass-land for 
tillage; taking the surface off the furrows in the lazy-bed system of tillage; a severe cutting, a lacerating. Comes from ri = to cut.

riach – cut the surface, graze. Greek @Ge@’reíkw, tear, Lithuanian raiky/ti, draw a furrow, German reihe, row, English row…. Comes from ri = to cut.

riasail – tear asunder, riasladh, mangling, tearing asunder: *reik-so-, root reik, notch, break; Greek @Ge@’reíkw, tear. Comes from ri = to cut. Cognate with Serbian risa + ti, reza+ ti = cut into, cut off

All these words stem from the root “ri” meaning to cut, gauge, dig with something toothed, pointy, sharp. But that root does not exist in Irish. We do however have this word in Irish:

rinn, g. -e and reanna, pl. id., f. a point; sharpness; climax, intensity; the top of anything; line (of battle: acies); a promontory, a foreland, a headland; common in topography. From ri + on(o) = toothed, sharp and pointy + it. 

rinneach, -nighe, a., sharp, pointed, barbed. From ri + on(o) + je + ko = toothed, sharp and pointy + it + is + like.

rian – mark, path, power of movement. Comes from ri + na = cut, gouge + on
rianaigh – to mark, gouge, make path. Comes from ri + na = cutting, gouging + on

Ogham stones are an example of rian marks, marks gouged on the surface of the stone. 

rianta, p. a., marked out, arranged (of a place). Probably from cutting , gouging… Comes from ri + na + to, ta = cut, gouged + on + that 

rianughadh, -uighthe, m., act of marking. Probably by cutting, gouging… Comes from ri = to cut.

Here is the picture of the Offa’s dyke. large linear earthwork that roughly follows the current border between England and Wales. The structure is named after Offa, the 8th century king of Mercia, who is traditionally believed to have ordered its construction. Although its precise original purpose is debated, it delineated the border between Anglian Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys. In Ireland the example of such gouged in border is Black Pig’s dyke. Both were made by gouging the land: rianta = ri + na + to, ta = cut, gouged + on + that 

risteal – a surface plough, used in the Hebrides, drawn by one horse and having a sickle-like coulter, Scottish ristle; from the Norse ristill, ploughshare, from rísta, cut. Comes from ri + tlo , tle = cut + land, soil.

These last four words are very interesting. Word rian has a variant “raon” meaning path, range, track, line. Word rianaigh has a variant raonach meaning having paths, routes…You can see how this forest path looks as if it was cut, gouged into the soil and vegetation:

Just like a furrow is cut into the soil with a plow:

Now remember Serbian Ranik, raonik, ralnik = plowshare. The tool that makes paths, lines, tracks, furrows….

In the end let’s have a look at the Irish word “ri”. 

rí (rígh), g. ríogh and rígh, d. rígh pl. ríghthe (in sp. l. ríghte), pl. ríogha (Kea.), gpl. ríogh; (Kea.), m., a king, a sovereign, a prince; as prefix, excellent, princely, as rí-fhear or rígh-fhear, an excellent man; tá sé go ríogh-mhaith, it s excellent.  

Wiktionary says that the Irish “rí” comes from Proto-Indo-European *h₃rḗǵs (“ruler, king”) which is said to come from h₃reǵ- which means “to straighten, to right oneself, right, just”. I know this is what kings would like us to think they are, but I think that the root of these words is different. 

Is it possible that the word for king “ri, righ” comes from “ri” to cut, meaning the person who had right to cut, divide? If so is it possible that this word dates to the time of hunter gatherers, when the tribal leader was the one who cut the carcass of hunted animal, deciding who gets which piece of meat. Later on the tribal chief was the one deciding who gets which cut of the battle spoils and and in the end the who gets which cut of land. The role of the king, was always to divide, to give out cuts, to “ri” or “righ” = ri + ga = cut, divide + it. 

That this is the etymology of the word “Ri” can be seen from these Irish words:

riar – administer, manage, distribute. Comes from ri = to cut. ri + ar = the one that cuts, distributes.

riar, g. réir and -rtha, m., act of serving, attending, dividing, partitioning; division, allotment; tá riar a cháis aige, he has as much as he needs (Con.). Comes from ri = to cut. ri + ar = to cut, distribute.

frithríar, ríar – subsidy given by the chief to the tenant in return for the tenant`s riara, rents and services. Comes from ri = to cut. My cut, my percentage…

riar – will, division of property from brehon law. Comes from ri = to cut. We cut, divide everything…

riara – rent in brehon law. Comes from ri = to cut. In the old times person renting the land would work it and would keep all the produce from the land except for the agreed percentage, cut which he would give to the landlord as a rent…

riaraiste, g. id., m., arrears; r. cíosa, arrears of rent. Comes from ri = to cut. In the old times person renting the land would work it and would keep all the produce from the land except for the agreed percentage, cut which he would give to the landlord as a rent…

And from the etymology of the English word rich meaning wealthy. The official etymology says this:

The word rich comes from old English rice “strong, powerful; great, mighty; of high rank,” in later Old English “wealthy,” from Proto-Germanic *rikijaz (cognates: Old Norse rikr, Swedish rik, Danish rig, Old Frisian rike “wealthy, mighty,” Dutch rijk, Old High German rihhi “ruler, powerful, rich,” German reich “rich,” Gothic reiks “ruler, powerful, rich”), borrowed from a Celtic source akin to Gaulish *rix, Old Irish ri (genitive rig) “king,”

The form of the word was influenced in Middle English by Old French riche “wealthy, magnificent, sumptuous,” which is, with Spanish rico, Italian ricco, from Frankish *riki “powerful,” or some other cognate Germanic source.

Old English also had a noun, rice “rule, reign, power, might; authority; empire.” The evolution of the word reflects a connection between wealth and power in the ancient world.

This connection between the power and wealth lies in the fact that the power is the power to cut, distribute the wealth, to ri + ga = cut + it…

The English language has a lot more words based on the root “ri”. And interestingly they all have full etymology in Slavic languages:

ridge – a long, narrow elevation of land; a chain of hills or mountains. the long and narrow upper edge, angle, or crest of something, as a hill, wave, or vault. the horizontal line in which the tops of the rafters of a roof meet. The official etymology says that this word comes from the Old English hrycg “back of a man or beast,” probably reinforced by Old Norse hryggr “back, ridge,” from Proto-Germanic *khrugjaz (cognates: Old Frisian hregg, Old Saxon hruggi, Dutch rug, Old High German hrukki, German Rücken “the back”), of uncertain origin. Also in Old English, “the top or crest of anything,” especially when long and narrow. The connecting notion is of the “ridge” of the backbone. Spelling with -dg- is from late 15c.

Probably from the toothed appearance of the back bone vertibrae and the mountain ridges. Also possible cognate with Serbian hrbat – back, ridge and grba – hump, bump. 


rill – small brook, rivulet, furrow. The official etymology says that this word comes from or is related to Dutch and Frisian ril, Low German rille “groove, furrow, running stream,” probably from Proto-Germanic *ril- (cognates: Old English rið, riþe “brook, stream,” which survives only in dialects), a diminutive form from PIE root *reie- “to run, flow”. I believe that the word is derived from “ri” to cut, gouge, make mark, furrow, ditch using a pointy tooth like instrument. Serbian riti, riljati – gouge land, rilo – what is used for gouging, making furrows.

river – early 13c. The official etymology says that this word comes from Anglo-French rivere, Old French riviere “river, riverside, river bank” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *riparia “riverbank, seashore, river” (source also of Spanish ribera, Italian riviera), noun use of fem. of Latin riparius “of a riverbank”. Gener lized sense of “a copious flow” of anything is from late 14c. The Old English word was ea “river,” cognate with Gothic ahwa, Latin aqua (see aqua-). Romanic cognate words tend to retain the sense “river bank” as the main one, or else the secondary Latin sense “coast of the sea” (compare Riviera). Another direct cognate from Latin is rivus ‎(“stream”). Cognates  from other languages are Middle Irish rian ‎(“river, way”), Sanskrit ऋति ‎(ṛti, “course, way”), रीणाति ‎(rīṇāti, “causes to flow”) and Gaulish *Renos ‎(“that which flows”). The rivers cut, gouge their sides into the land like Sanskrit rti (riti, to gouge), Irish rian (ri unj = gouge in), Sanskrit rinati, Gaulish renos (push through, cut through), so I believe that this word also comes from the root “ri” to cut with something toothed, to gouge. In the case of river it is ri + v = cut, gouged + in. This is exactly what rivers do.

Interestingly in Serbian the words for river are “rika”, “rijeka”, “reka”. The are all also based on the root “ri”, “re” meaning to cut with something toothed, to gouge. rika = ri + ka =  ri + ga = cuts, scrapes + it. rijeka = rije + ka = rije + ga = gouges + it. reka = re + ka = re + ga = cuts + it….

rim – the upper or outer edge of an object. The official etymology says that this word comes from Old English rima “edge, border, verge, coast,” as in særima “seashore,” literally “rim of the sea,” and dægrima “dawn,” literally “rim of the day.” Related to Old Norse rime, rimi “a raised strip of land, ridge,” Old Frisian rim “edge,” but with no other known cognates. I believe that this also comes from the toothed appearance of the coast when viewed from the sea. Probably from ri + mar = toothed, chiseled, gouged + sea.

rime – hoarfrost. The official etymology says that this word comes Old English hrim, from Proto-Germanic *khrima- (cognates: Old Norse hrim, Dutch rijm, German Reif). Old French rime is of Germanic origin. Rare in Middle English, surviving mainly in Scottish and northern English, revived in literary use late 18c. This is obvious if you have a look at the picture of the hoarfrost ans see how much it is “toothed”….

riot – 12th century. Originally meant debauchery, extravagance, wanton living.The official etymology says that this word comes from Old French riote (12c.) “dispute, quarrel, (tedious) talk, chattering, argument, domestic strife,” also a euphemism for “sexual intercourse,” of uncertain origin. Compare Medieval Latin riota “quarrel, dispute, uproar, riot.” Perhaps from Latin rugire “to roar.” Meaning “public disturbance” is first recorded late 14c. The meaning in English is I believe more linked to the word Ri meaning king and reffering to the way kings lived. The meaning dispute, quarrel, (tedious) talk, chattering, argument, domestic strife could be linked to the bearing of teeth and sharp noise which characterizes these situations.

rip – tear apart c. 1400. rough water,  1775, perhaps a special use of rip. Originally of seas. The official etymology says that this word is probably of North Sea Germanic origin (compare Flemish rippen “strip off roughly,” Frisian rippe “to tear, rip”) or else from a Scandinavian source (compare Swedish reppa, Danish rippe “to tear, rip”). In either case, from Proto-Germanic *rupjan-, from PIE root *reup-, *reub- “to snatch.” Meaning “to slash open” is from 1570s. Related: Ripped; ripping. Ripping is done with a sharp pointy object, like a hand, nails, sharp rock, a knife or teeth. I believe that the root for these words is not *reup-, *reub- to snatch but “ri” to cut with toothed object. The actual etymology is ri + po = cut + on, over, across.

ripple – early 15c, to crease; 1660s, to present a ruffled surface. very small wave, from earlier meaning “stretch of shallow, rippling water”, from verb to ripple. The official etymology says that this word is of unknown origin, perhaps a frequentative of rip (v.). Rippled surface is “toothed”. We can see this clearly if we look at the picture of the rippled water or material. So I believe that the root of this word is also “ri” meaning toothed, choppy, serrated…The actual etymology is ri + po + le = cut, gouge + on, over + surface, particularly the horizontal and even more particularly water surface. 


rive – tear in pieces, strike asunder – c. 1200. 
riven – split, cloven, rent – c. 1300, past participle adjective from rive “to tear, rend.” 
The official etymology says that this word comes from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse rifa “to tear apart” (compare Swedish rifva, Danish rive “scratch, tear”), from PIE root *rei- “to scratch, tear, cut” (see riparian). These words come from the same root “ri” meaning to cut, split with something pointy, toothed like a sharp stone, nail or a wedge. The actual etymology is ri + v = cut + into or ri + v + nj = cut + into + it.


rift – early 14c, a split, act of splitting. The official etymology says that this word comes from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish and Norwegian rift “a cleft,” Old Icelandic ript (pronounced “rift”) “breach;” related to Old Norse ripa “to break a contract” (see riven). If you look at the split material or a rift in the land you will see how much they resemble something that was gouged with something sharp tooth like like a plow or split with something toothed like a wedge. The actual etymology is ri + v + to = cut + into + that.

rivet – c. 1400. The official etymology says that this word comes from Old French rivet “nail, rivet,” from Old French river “to clench, fix, fasten,” possibly from Middle Dutch wriven “turn, grind,” related to rive (v.). The English word may be directly from Middle Dutch. Again this comes from the shape of the old rivets, nails which were sharp toothed objects. The actual etymology is ri + v + to = cut, gouge, stick something like a tooth  + into + that (which is stuck into)

reef – rock ridge underwater. 1580s. The official etymology says that this word comes from riffe, probably via Dutch riffe, from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse rif “ridge in the sea; reef in a sail”. The most important characteristics of riffs is that they are sharp toothed rocks which can rip you and your boat to bits. So I believe that this word also comes from the root “ri” meaning to cut with a toothed point. The actual etymology is ri +  v = the toothed thing + in. Sharp rocks in water. 

Interestingly most of these words are said to have Scandinavian origin. 

So to conclude:

Serbian seems to have preserved the ancient root “ri” meaning to cut with something toothed, to gauge, chisel with something sharp and pointy like a tooth. Serbian has also preserved a large set of related derived words. 

How old are these Serbian words? I believe that they could be some of the oldest words preserved in European languages. The way the word cluster is built around the natural sounds related to showing teeth, biting, using teeth, suggests that this is the case. I believe that this word cluster is at least as old as Blagotin archaeological site, (7th millennium bc) and probably even older.

Irish has preserved the word “rinn”, meaning a point; sharpness; climax, intensity; the top, tip of anything. Irish has also preserved a large set of words derived from the root “ri” meaning to cut with something toothed, to gauge, chisel with something sharp and pointy like a tooth. 

English also has many words based on the root “ri” which all seem to come from Scandinavian roots. 

The distribution of this word cluster suggest that this word cluster came to us from the ancient tribal languages of the I2a or maybe even older I haplogroup people..

How old are these words? I think that they could date to  Mesolithic or early Neolithic times.  I think that here we have a true linguistic fossil. What do you think?

How old is Crom Dubh

The worship of Crom Dubh or Crom Cruiach, the old Irish god of agriculture, is most closely associated with Tigernmas, sometimes called Tiernmas, the Irish high king who is said to have perished while worshiping this god. But where and when did the worship of Crom Cruach, Crom Dubh originate? 

The old Irish annals tell us that the first race that lived in Ireland were Fomorians. Then, after the flood, came the people of Partholón who are credited with introducing cattle husbandry, ploughing, cooking, dwellings, trade, and dividing the island in four. But then Partholon and all his people later died of plague leaving Fomorians as the single inhabitants of Ireland. Then The people of Nemed came, the descendants of the brother of Partholon, and they found Fomorians living in Ireland. They fought the Fomorians under Nemed and won. But after Nemed’s death, Fomorians enslaved Nemed’s people and demanded a heavy tribute: two thirds of their children, grain and cattle. The tribute that Nemedians had to give to Fomorians was exactly the same as the tribute Tigernmas had to give to Crom Dubh. Nemed’s son gathered an army of sixty thousand, rose up against them. After a great slaughter on both sides, only thirty of Nemed’s people escaped in a single ship, scattering to the other parts of the world, leaving again only Fomorians in Ireland. Well actually the Lebor Gabála Érenn says that when the next invaders, the Fir bolg, came then found Ireland empty. But Lebor Gabála Érenn also seems to suggest that Fir bolg and Fomorians were one and the same people. At least Macalister, the translator and editor of the Lebor Gabála Érenn thought that this could be so when he says that:

The line between the Fir Bolg and the Fomorians is not clearly drawn…

What is also very interesting is that Fir Bolg are also said to have been the descendants of Nemed who was the descendant of Partholon’s brother. This makes Fomorians and the people of Partholon one and the same people. 

We have to ask ourselves why are the Fomori most directly linked to Fir Bolg. The Lebor Gabála Érenn states:

Partholon took Ireland: he dwelt there five hundred and fifty years, till the  Cynocephali (dog headed, wolf headed) drave him out, and there escaped [survived] not one of his children alive.

Who were these wolf people?  Macalister suggests that “the Cynocephali introduced into the subsequent Partholon story have no place in the orthodox narrative, unless we are to equate them to the Fomoraig. What is the old Irish word for wolf? It is “faolchú”. In Slavic it is Vuk, Volk, Vlk. Slavs have long tradition of ware wolfs. Slavic warriors wore wolf skins. These are the berserkers from the Norse legends, people wearing wolf skins as part of their war attire. 

The Úlfhéðnar (singular Úlfheðinn), another term associated with berserkers, mentioned in the Vatnsdœla saga, Haraldskvæði and the Völsunga saga, were said to wear the pelt of a wolf when they entered battle. Úlfhéðnar are sometimes described as Odin’s special warriors: “[Odin’s] men went without their mailcoats and were mad as hounds or wolves, bit their shields…they slew men, but neither fire nor iron had effect upon them. This is called ‘going berserk.'” In addition, the helm-plate press from Torslunda depicts (below) a scene of Odin with a berserker—”a wolf skinned warrior with the apparently one-eyed dancer in the bird-horned helm, which is generally interpreted as showing a scene indicative of a relationship between berserkgang… and the god Odin”—with a wolf pelt and a spear as distinguishing features.

This is Vendel era bronze plate found on Öland, Sweden, thought to represent Odin, Vodan with wolf warriors. 

In my post about Odin I wrote about the the fact that the etymology of the name Odin, Vodan comes from Slavic languages. Are these the same wolf people, Fir Volk from Irish legends?

Serbs in particular believe that they descend from Van, the man who could shift into a white wolf, who was the son of Dabog, Hromi Daba who I believe is the the same as Crom Dubh. Dabog was also known as a wolf shepherd. Appropriate god for Fomorians who according to The Lebor Gabála Érenn: 

made a sheep-land of Ireland“. 

And the Biggest Slavic tribe which is mentioned in relation to the Samhain human sacrifices are called Volci, Vilci, wolf people…Could it be that Fir Bolg are Fir faolchú actually Fir volk, Fir voulk, wolf people, wolf head people? We have seen already that when words cross from irish into serbian the b turns into v and g turns into k. We have a general hardening of sounds from Slavic to Celtic. That this is the case suggests the fact that the Fir Bolg are first mentioned in the 9th century Historia Brittonum, where they are referred to as the Builc…

Then came the Tuatha Dé Danann, another group of descendants of Nemed who was descendant of Partholon’s Brother. They defeated the Fir Bolg in the first Battle of Magh Tuiredh and took possession of Ireland. But then they had to defeat the Fir Bolg again, this time under the name of Fomorians at the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh. Interestingly the Annals of Loch Cé call Magh Tuiredh “Magh-Tuiredh-na-Fomorach” and explain that Magh-Tuiredh what the place “where the Fomorians were imposing their tributes on the men of Erinn…” The name Mag Tuired (modern spelling: Magh Tuireadh) means “plain of pillars” or “plain of towers”. Crom Cruach was represented by a large idol, made completely of gold, which stood on the plain of Mag Sleact, which is in Cavan County in Ulster , Ireland . Twelve smaller idols, these of stone, formed a ring around the Crom Cruach. Were pillars which were standing on this plain the same pillars representing Crom Dubh, Crom Cruach???

At the end of the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh, Bres, the leader of the Fomorians was found unprotected on the battlefield by Lugh, the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Bres pleaded for his life with him. Lugh spared Bres because he promised to teach the Tuatha Dé Danann agriculture. Bres is said to have possessed the the secret knowledge of “How shall the men plough?  How shall they sow?  How shall they reap?”. He gave that secret to Lugh, the leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann and his life was spared. 

What is interesting about this story is that both Bres, the leader of the Fomorians and Lugh the leader of Tuatha Dé Danann at the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh were half Fomorian and half Tuatha Dé Danann.

Lugh‘s father was Cian of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and his mother was Ethniu, daughter of Balor, of the Fomorians.
Bres‘s father was Elatha of the Fomorians and Eri, daughter of Delbaith of the Tuatha Dé Danann.

This means that the Tuatha Dé Danann, who are said to have replaced Fomorians as the rulers of Ireland actually claim descent from or at least close kinship with the Fomorians. Actually the line between the Fomorians and the Tuatha Dé Danann is so blurred, that in the “lebor gabála Érenn” we read:  

At the end of three days and three nights thereafter the Sons of Míl broke the battle of Sliab Mis against demons and Fomoraig, that is, against the Túatha Dé Danann“…

This line literally equates the Fomorians and the Tuatha Dé Danann.

From the above story we see that if Fomorians were indeed related to Partholon, then it was the Fomorians who brought the secret of the grain agriculture to Ireland and preserved it until the time of Tuatha Dé Danann. We also see that when the Milesians came to Irleand, the Fomorians were still there. Lebor Gabála Érenn tells us that the Irial Fáid father of Ethriel and grandfather of Tigernmas:

…cleared twelve plains, dug seven royal forts, and fought four battles against the Fomorians...”

The Fomorians were apparently still in Ireland at the time of  Cú Chulainn. In the medieval Irish tale entitled “The Training of Cú Chulainn”, preserved as a copy by Richard Tipper in British Library, we read:

Cúchulainn came to the place and saluted them. ‘What is this sorrow or the misery upon you?’ says Cúchulainn. The damsel answered and this she said: ‘A royal tribute which the tribe of Fomorians carry out of this country every seventh year, namely, the first-born of the king’s children. And at this time it has come to me to go as that tribute, for to the king I am the dearest of his children.’‘What number comes to lift that tribute?’ asks Cúchulainn. ‘Three sons of Alatrom of the Fomorians,’ she answers, ‘and Dub, Mell and Dubros are their names.’

Did Fomorians brought with them their god of grain agriculture, Crom Cruach, Crom Dubh and is this why the both Crom Dubh and Fomorians demanded the first born sacrifices? And if Tigernmas was worshiping Crom Dubh, was he worshiping Fomorian god? And if so, was Tigernmas a Fomorian king? I believe so. 

If the Fomorians were the people who possessed the secret of the grain agriculture and Tigernmas was the king who introduced the agricultural cult to Ireland which included the same types of sacrifices which were also demanded by Fomorians, that would certainly suggest that Tigernmas was a Fomorian king. James Bonwick thought so too. In the book “Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions” he identified Tigernmas, the king who perished while worhiping Crom Cruach, Crom Dubh, the god of agriculture, with Balor, the King of Fomorians. This is based on the fact that the ancestry of the god Lugh is usually given as Lugh son of Eithliu daughter of Balor but in the text Baile in Scáil it is given as Lugh son of Eithliu son of Tigernmas, thus equating Tigernmas and Balor, the king of Fomorians.

In the comments in the translation of the annals of the four masters by Owen Connellan we reed that in Ireland the sun was worshiped under the names of Bel, Beal, and Baal. Belenus (also Belenos) was a deity worshiped in Gaul, Britain, and Celtic areas of Austria and Spain. He was the god who brought light, who brought whiteness. The name comes from bel + nos = white, light + brings. Beltane was the Irish beginning of Summer festival, celebrating the beginning of the white, bel, part of the year. According to 17th century historian Geoffrey Keating, there was a great gathering at the hill of Uisneach each Beltane in medieval Ireland, where a sacrifice was made to a god named Beil which was again the same sun god Bel, Beal, Baal.

At the time of the writing of the Irish medieval manuscripts, the word Baal was commonly accepted to mean lord. This word is said to come from the Hebrew בעל (ba‘al, “lord, master, owner”), from Proto-Semitic *baʿl- (“lord, master, owner”). Baal was also the enemy of Yahweh, the Christian god, so the term was well known to the christian monks, and would have been used to describe the old gods, the enemies of the Christian god. 

So if a Christian monk wanted to write “a lord who brough gold into Ireland” he could have written this as baal + or = lord + gold. So we have the manuscript “Baile in Scáil” equating Tigernmas who is “the beautiful lord who brought gold to Ireland” with Balor whose name means “the lord of gold, or golden lord”. Coincidence? If we know that Bel, Beal, Beil, Beli, Baal were all the names of the Sun god, the name Balor could also mean a “golden sun”…A fitting name for a sun god with a “blazing” eye… One last thing. Both Tigernmas and Bres mean beautiful. 

Tigernmas is sometimes referred to as the “culture king”, because it is said that he was the one who brought aspects of civilisation to Ireland including the smithing of gold and silver, the dyeing of fabrics, and the making of music and art. It seems that he could have brought the agriculture too. This would mean that it was the Fomorians who brought both agriculture and the metalwork to Ireland. 

According to the archaeological records, the grain farming arrived in Ireland in the fourth or third millennium bc. As for metallurgy, according to the archaeological records the copper metallurgy was brought to Ireland in the third millennium bc.

At the end of the 7th millennium bc, we find in the Balkans, in Serbia, a highly developed grain farming Blagotin culture, which was part of the early Starčevo culture.There are strong indications that this culture was a direct precursor of one of the direct precursors of the Vinča culture. Vinča houses had grinding stones and bread baking ovens indicating that the Vinča culture was both an advanced metallurgical and an advanced grain farming culture. It is quite possible that from the 6th millennium bc, metallurgy and grain farming spread together into Europe from Serbia? And if so then the metallurgy and grain farming really could have reached Ireland together, brought by the same people, the first inhabitants of Ireland, the Fomorians. 

So who were these Fomorians then and where did they come from? Irish historians agree that the name Fomorians means probably people of the sea, or people who came from across the sea, or sea pirates. Where could have been that land across the sea famous for its sea pirates whose name sounds like Fomori?

There is a country like that. It is south Baltic part of Germany, called Pomerania or Pomorje.
Pomerania, Pomorje is a Slavic word meaning the land by the sea. The word comes from po + more = by, along + sea. The people living by, along the sea are in Slavic languages called pomori, pomorci, pomorjani, meaning the sea people, coast people. 

This is the territory of Pomerania, Pomorje:

Pomerania (German: Pommern, Latin: Pomerania, Polish: Pomorze) is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. The name Pomerania comes from Slavic po more, which means Land at the Sea. The adjective for the region is Pomeranian (Polish: pomorski, German: pommersch), inhabitants are called Pomeranians (Polish: Pomorzanie, German: Pommern).

This land was indeed famous for its sea pirates and traders. Pomerania is where we find Sorbs, northern Serbs who also worship Dabog (Dazdbog). These Baltic Slavs, Sorbs made human sacrifices in medieval time to their gods at the end of harvest at the beginning of November, at Samhain. Lebor Gabála Érenn says that “Tigernmas died in Mag Slecht, with three fourths of the men of Ireland in his company, on Samhain night to be particular, while worshiping of Crom Cruaich; for he was the king-idol of Ireland.” During these Samhain ceremonies, human sacrifices were offered to Crom Cruaich, Crom Dubh.  Tigernmas is said to have been the first king to give drinking-horns to his follower. The god to whom Pomeranian Slavs sacrificed people on Samhain was Svetovid. He is sometimes referred to as Beli (or Byali) Vid (Beli = white, bright, shining), and is often depicted with a sword or bow in one hand and a drinking horn in the other. Drinking horn was used for divination during the Slavic ceremonies. In Slavic mythology, the “horn of plenty” is the equivalent of Dagda’s “cauldron of plenty”. Dagda is then in turn believed to be another name of Crom Dubh, Crom Cruach

There is a well established cultural distribution path Balkans – South Baltic (Pomorje, Pomerania) – Ireland which has been in operation since at least fifth millennium bc. I wrote about this in my posts about henges, in my post about wooden trackways, tochars and in my post about baba stone statues. I believe that the agriculture and metalwork probably followed the same distribution route, which means that the people who brought agriculture and metalwork could have been referred to as Fomori, Pomori.

It seems that the old Irish legends about Tigernmas the king of Fomorians bringing agriculture and metal work to Ireland could be true. Except that if they are true, then Tigernmas lived in the 3rd or 4th millennium bc. Is it possible that the Irish oral tradition has preserved records of events that happened 5000, 6000 years ago? Is it possible that metallurgy arrived in Ireland earlier than we think, at the same time when grain farming arrived? Or did grain farming arrive in Ireland later than we think, at the same time with metallurgy? 

Crom Cruach also known as Crom Dubh who was the Sun God,Thunder god but also the god of agriculture. One of the most important early Bronze Age monuments in Ireland, The Grange circle, was built as a temple dedicated to Crom Cruach, Crom Dubh.

When was the Grange circle built? If we knew when the Grange circle, the temple of Crom Cruach, Crom Dubh was built, that could help us determine how old Crom Dubh as a deity was. In my post about the Grange circle you can read that professor Ó Ríordáin postulated that the circle dated from the Late Neolithic and that it was built c. 2,200 B.C. Archaeologist Helen Roche, however, has suggested that the Grange stone circle was constructed in the Late Bronze Age (c. 1000 BCE) on a site that may have been sacred for thousands of years.

I believe that the building date proposed by Seán P. Ó Ríordáin (2200 bc) is much closer to the actual building date. I believe that the Grange circle was contemporary with the Newgrange and that was certainly built between 3200 bc and 2200 bc. However, additions and changes were probably made in the following millenniums as the worship of Crom Dubh persisted in Ireland up until the arrival of Christianity.

If the Grange circle was built in the 3rd millennium bc, then it would fall into the “pre flood” period which would make Crom Dubh a deity of Fomorians.

Grange circle was built as a giant threshing floor. Threshing floors were in the past used not only for threshing wheat but also as solar observatories and as ceremonial grounds used for agricultural cult practices. I wrote about this in my post about threshing floors. So it is only to be expected that the temple dedicated to Crom Cruach, Crom Dubh, the Sun God and Harvest god of Fomorians, the people who brought agriculture to Ireland, was built to resemble a giant threshing floor.

So is it possible that Crom Dubh is really 5000 years old deity? I believe so. We find aditional proof of the antiquity and the importance of Crom Dubh in the Serbian tradition where Crom Dubh is known as Hromi Daba. This is what Serbian tradition tells us about Hromi Daba:

According to the Serbian folk tradition, Hromi Daba was another name for the old god Dabog, Dajbog, Dažbog, Daždbog, the Giving God, the ancestral deity of the Serbs. Serbs believe that they descend from Dabog. 

Hromi Daba, Dabog was also said to be “the oldest devil and this is why he is also called “djed” meaning the elder, the ancestor”. This means that the Serbian tradition claims that Hromi Daba is the the oldest god. With the arrival of Christianity the main old God of the pagan Serbs became the main Devil of the Christians. 

Hromi Daba is also “the devil from which all the other devils come from”. This identifies Hromi Daba as the origin of all the other pagan gods. If Hromi Daba, Crom Dubh, Grom Div is really 5000 or 6000 thousand years old, that would make him at least a contemporary with the oldest deities in Evroasia and north Africa if not their origin. The fact that Crom Dubh is directly linked with the Bull cult makes it possible that Crom Dubh descends from much earlier bull cults which originated in Catalhuyuk and which were later found in Vinča. I will dedicate a whole post to this link bewteen the Crom Dubh and the Bull worship.

Hromi Daba was “the main enemy of god”, “as powerful as the god in heaven” but aslo that he was “the king of earth”. This identifies Hromi Daba as the main god of the pagan Serbs. Hromi Daba is said to “carry the sun on top of his spear” which identifies Hromi Daba as a sky god. Crom Dubh is in Ireland associated with solar circles and with the Croagh Patrick, the holy sun mountain. We know from the archaeological records that Croagh Patrick and the area around it was regarded as a holy place in the 4th millennium bc.

Hromi Daba, Dabog is also identified as Triglav, Trimurti, the three headed Sun, Thunder and Fire deity. Triglav is also identified as the main god of the Serbs. The three headed idols found in Ireland are identified as representations of Crom Dubh. This confirms that Triglav and Dabog, Hromi Daba are one and the same deity. According to the Serbian folk tradition, “god gave thunder and ligthning to St Ilija, to kill all the devils and he did so. Only Hromi Daba managed to escape”. St Ilija is the Christian replacement of Perun, the thunder god of the pagan Slavs. As I already wrote in my post about Triglav, Perun is the third head of Triglav, the sun at its most powerful and dangerous, at the end of the summer. You can read more about this in my posts about Ognjena Marija and Threshing Floors. The day of Perun and St Ilija is the 2nd of August, which is in Ireland the day of Crom Dubh. In Indian tradition both Trimurti, Shiva and Agni are represented as three headed deities. In Europe Lugh, the thunder god was also represented as three headed. I believe that cruciform tumuluses which were built in Ireland in the 4th millennium bc were built as temples of the three headed god Triglav, Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Grom Div. But I will talk about this in a separate post in detail. 

 Another Serbian folk tale identifies the hill in eastern Serbia which was the home of the “Silver king”, the demon of the mines, as Dajbog hill. This means that Dajbog, Hromi Daba was also a god of metalurgy. Serbian word “hrom” means lame and lameness was a common mallady aflicting the first metalurgists working with arsenic copper. This is why Serbian historian Veselin Čajkanović thought that Dabog was among other things the Smith god. Croagh Patrick, the holy mountain of Crom Dubh is also a gold mountain, as its top is very rich in gold. The 12th century “Book of Leinster”, talks about the god called Crom Cruach, whose cult image, consisted of a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone figures. This deity was “propitiated with first-born sacrifice in exchange for good yields of milk and grain” and it is said that “High King, Tigernmas, along with three quarters of his army, have died while worshipping Crom on Samhain eve”. The 9th century “Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick” talks about the deity called Cenn Cruach, which is another name of the Crom Cruach, Crom Dubh. The book says that Crom had a cult image which consisted of a central figure covered with gold and silver, surrounded by twelve bronze figures. This i believe identifies Crom Dubh as a deity linked with metalurgy as well as with agriculture, but also as a solar deity. 

In the biographies of the Bishop Otto fon Bramburg, who converted Western Slavs (Sorbs) in the South Baltic, in Pomerania we can find more information about the god Triglav (Dabog, Hromi Daba). All three biographers ( Ebo , Herbord and an unnamed monk from the monastery of Priflinger ) have witnessed the existence of a three-headed idol in Wolin and Szczecin. Ebo said that the city of Wolin is situated on the slopes of three hills, and that it has a temple dedicated to a deity with three heads, which was called God Triglav („…deo Triglavo dicitus, tricapitum habebat…“). The same author says that Otto von Bamberg destroyed the idols, by chopping the heads off with an axe. He then sent the three silver coated heads to the pope Calixto II in Rome, as evidence that his mission of converting Polabian Slavs (Sorbs) was successful. According to Ebo, Triglav is the highest Slavic God ( ” summus Deus ” ), the ruler of the three worlds (heaven , earth and the underworld). The statue was made of wood, that it’s three heads were encrusted in silver, and that it’s heads were covered with the “tiara” or some kind of a hat made of gold, which covered the idol’s eyes.

In the town of Stettin were three hills, the central one being dedicated to Triglav, the chief local deity. This idol was of gold and had three heads, while its eyes and lips were covered with a golden veil. The pagan priests declared that Triglav (“Three-Heads”) was tricephalous because he wished to make it known that he ruled over three realms, i. e., heaven, earth, and the underworld; and he covered his face because he would not see the sins of men. The temple of Triglav was built with wonderful skill. On the inner and outer sides of the walls were various embossed figures of men, birds, and animals, so well made that they seemed to live and breathe. Their colour was always fresh and durable, and could be damaged neither by rain nor by snow. According to the custom of the ancestors one tenth of all booty was stored in the treasury of the temple, and there was, moreover, an abundance of gold and silver vessels used by the chieftains on festive occasions, as well as daggers, knives, and other rare, costly, and beautiful objects. In honour of and in homage to the gods colossal horns of wild bulls, gilded and adorned with precious stones, were kept there, some serving for drinking vessels, and some for musical instruments.

The fact that Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba is both the Solar Agricultural god and Smith god is understandable if we remember that Farming and Agriculture spread together from the Balkans.

In Serbia Hromi Daba, Dabog was finally “killed” by St Sava, who became the patron saint of Serbia. In Ireland Crom Dubh was finally “killed” by St Patrick, who became the patron saint of Ireland.

So how old is Crom Dubh? Is Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Grom Div realy a 5000 or even 6000 thousand years old Deity? Did Crom Dubh, Hromi Daba, Grom Div arrive to Ireland from the Balkans with the  the first farmers and metallurgists to reach Ireland in the 4th or 3rd millennium bc?  What do you think?

And if Crom Dubh really is 5000 or even 6000 thousand years old, isn’t it amazing that his cult managed to survive in Ireland and Serbia and only in Ireland and Serbia, until medieval time?

The Irish word “dar” means by, in a sense “i swear by”. This word is used in swears and oaths and invokes the god as a witness. There are several versions of this swear all with the same meaning “by God”: “Dar Dia”, “Dar Duach” and “Dar Crom”.

“Dar Dia”. Dia is the Irish word for God which comes from Old Irish día (“god”), from Proto-Celtic *dēwos (compare Welsh duw), from Proto-Indo-European *deywós. So no surprises here. 

“Dar Duach”. Duach is the Irish word with an interesting etymology. In Irish it is said that it comes from du- , do- prefix which denoting badness of quality, Irish, Old Irish du-. In Welsh we find the word duach as comparative form of du which comes from Proto-Celtic *dubus (“black”) (compare Old Irish dub, Irish/Scottish Gaelic dubh), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰewbʰ meaning black. So this would make “Dar Duach” mean By Dark Lord, By Evil Lord…Interesting don’t you think? Were people really swearing by the Dark Lord? I don’t think so. I don’t think that this is the true meaning of the word Duach in this phrase. In Slavic languages the word Duh means spirit, ghost and it comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *dʰeus meaning breath or the root *deywós meaning god. So no surprises here about the meaning. 

In the end we have “Dar Crom”. That Crom is still used in Irish to mean God is a big surprise. After all the attempts to eradicate the belief in Crom Dubh from Ireland and to turn the oldest sky god of Evroasia into the Dark Lord, the Devil, the Evil king of the Earth, the Irish languages still managed to preserve the true meaning of Crom Dubh in this one little phrase: Dar Crom = By Jove…Crom is not the Devil, he is the God, and not just any God, but Jove, the Sky god, the god in Heaven, the Thundering Sun Giant.