experts, dealing, as it does, with the interpretation of more than one ideogram, and enveloped as yet in uncertainties. It is to be observed, that in 1857 Dr. Hincks, one of the four test-translators,15 had rendered the passage almost exactly as Lotz has done 23 years later, though I cannot see that Lotz makes any allusion to this fact. [See Encycl. Bibl. ii. 1262.] Apart from arguments as to decipherment and ideograms, it is certain that probabilities are much affected by the publication of the Egyptian inscription of Amenhoteb, which gives a greater plausibility to the rendering ‘elephant’ than could be ascribed to it in 1857. And should it eventually be upheld, it will be all the more remarkable that the sagacity of Dr. Hincks should then have ventured on that rendering.

In various suggestions, including Pott’s, besides others that we have omitted, the etymology has been based on a transfer of the name of the ox, or some other familiar quadruped. There would be nothing extraordinary in such a transfer of meaning. The reference to the bos Luca16 is trite; the Tibetan word for ox (glan) is also the word for ‘elephant’; we have seen how the name ‘Great Boar’ is alleged to be given to the elephant among the Kabyles; we have heard of an elephant in a menagerie being described by a Scotch rustic as ‘a muckle sow’; Pausanias, according to Bochart, calls rhinoceroses ‘Aethiopic bulls’ [Bk. ix. 21, 2]. And let me finally illustrate the matter by a circumstance related to me by a brother officer who accompanied Sir Neville Chamberlain on an expedition among the turbulent Pathan tribes c. 1860. The women of the villages gathered to gaze on the elephants that accompanied the force, a stranger sight to them than it would have been to the women of the most secluded village in Scotland. ‘Do you see these?’ said a soldier of the Frontier Horse; ‘do you know what they are? These are the Queen of England’s buffaloes that give 5 maunds (about 160 quarts) of milk a day!’

Now it is an obvious suggestion, that if there were elephants on the skirts of Taurus down to B.C. 1100, or even (taking the less questionable evidence) down only to B.C. 1600, it is highly improbable that the Greeks would have had to seek a name for the animal, or its tusk, from Indian trade. And if the Greeks had a vernacular name for the elephant, there is also a probability, if not a presumption, that some tradition of this name would be found, mutatis mutandis, among other Aryan nations of Europe.

Now may it not be that [Greek Text] elefaVfantoV in Greek, and ulbandus in Moeso-Gothic, represent this vernacular name? The latter form is exactly the modification of the former which Grimm’s law demands. Nor is the word confined to Gothic. It is found in the Old H. German (olpentâ); in Anglo-Saxon (olfend, oluend, &c.); in Old Swedish (aelpand, alwandyr, ulfwald); in Icelandic (ulfaldi). All these Northern words, it is true, are used in the sense of camel, not of elephant. But instances already given may illustrate that there is nothing surprising in this transfer, all the less where the animal originally indicated had long been lost sight of. Further, Jülg, who has published a paper on the Gothic word, points out its resemblance to the Slav forms welbond, welblond, or wielblad, also meaning ‘camel’ (compare also Russian verbliud). This, in the last form (wielblad), may, he says, be regarded as resolvable into ‘Great beast.’ Herr Jülg ends his paper with a hint that in this meaning may perhaps be found a solution of the origin of elephant (an idea at which Pictet also transiently pointed in a paper referred to above), and half promises to follow up this hint; but in thirty years he has not done so, so far as I can discover. Nevertheless it is one which may yet be pregnant.

Nor is it inconsistent with this suggestion that we find also in some of the Northern languages a second series of names designating the elephant —not, as we suppose ulbandus and its kin to be, common vocables descending from a remote age in parallel development—but adoptions from Latin at a much more recent period. Thus, we have in Old and Middle German Elefant and Helfant, with elfenbein and helfenbein for ivory; in Anglo-Saxon, ylpend, elpend, with shortened forms ylp and elp, and ylpenban for ivory; whilst the Scandinavian tongues adopt and retain fil. [The N.E.D. regards the derivation as doubtful, but considers the theory of Indian origin improbable.

[A curious instance of misapprehension is the use of the term ‘Chain elephants.’ This is a misunderstanding of the ordinary locution zanjir-i-fil when speaking of elephants. Zanjir is literally a ‘chain,’ but is here akin to our expressions, a ‘pair,’ ‘couple,’ ‘brace’ of anything. It was used, no doubt, with reference to the iron chain by which an elephant is hobbled. In an account 100 elephants would be entered thus: Fil, Zanjir, 100. (See NUMERICAL AFFIXES.)]

[1826.—“Very frequent mention is made in Asiatic histories of chain - elephants; which always mean elephants trained for war; but it is not very clear why they are so denominated.”—Ranking, Hist. Res. on the Wars and Sports of the Mongols and Romans, 1826, Intro. page 12.]


  By PanEris using Melati.

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