Copyright F.B. Welbourn 1968 CHAPTER TWO The natural and the supernatural
Few Britons have seen bacteria. We rarely think about them unless they cause disease. And even today many people are ignorant that bacteria are essential to healthy organic life. If we have to deal with them, whether to kill the malign bacteria which cause dysentery or to increase their benign activity in a compost heap, we consult a specialist. Normally, if we think about them at all, we simply take them on trust. But most of us, if challenged, would say that they are a natural and inescapable part of our environment.
No traditional Baganda have seen a ghost (Baganda ghosts are not expected to be seen. They work in other ways). Although custom directed that shrines to the dead should be tended regularly, they usually were neglected unless the ghost of the deceased caused trouble. The benign activity of ghosts was so much taken for granted as to be hardly mentioned except on very special occasions. If, however, a ghost caused trouble a specialist was consulted. But, if challenged, traditional Baganda would say that ghosts were a natural and inescapable part of their environment. There was nothing "supernatural" about them. Indeed, the contrast between "natural" and "supernatural" cannot be expressed in the Luganda language.
The idea that religion has to do with the supernatural, that is with miracles and the breaking of "natural law", is deeply ingrained in Western thinking. We think of the "natural" and "supernatural" as two entirely different realms to such an extent that some of us find it extremely difficult to believe that a supernatural world exists at all.
Contrast our way of thinking with two folk-tales which show how differently the Baganda thought about what we would call "the supernatural":
When Kintu, first king of the Baganda, came to the country, he was alone except for his cow. He ate its dung and drank its urine and enjoyed its company. One day, sliding down the rainbow from the sky, which was ruled by a king called Ggulu, came Ggulu's sons and daughters to have a look at the earth. One daughter, Nnambi, fell in love with Kintu and determined to marry him. Her brothers told their father, who advised them to steal Kintu's cow so that he would die. But Nnambi saw what happened and took Kintu to the sky to recover it.
Ggulu set Kintu impossible tasks: to eat 10,000 helpings of food and beer; to use a copper axe to cut a rock into firewood; to collect a pot of drinking water from the dew; and finally to find his own cow among 40,000 others. All these Kintu accomplished and drew wondering praise from Ggulu. He married Nnambi; and they went back to earth to breed the Baganda.
Whatever the moral of this story, it is clear that the wonder-worker was Kintu the man, not Ggulu the "ruler of the sky" whom we would call a god. Kintu and Ggulu dealt with each other as any Baganda suitor would deal his potential father-in-law. Earth and sky, man and heavenly being, do not represent different, incomparable, levels of existence in this story but are part of a single, intercommunicating, whole.
Nnambi's brothers, Walumbe, followed the happy pair to earth and, out of jealousy, became the spirit of disease and death. He was eventually chased away and lived in a hole in the earth. But he was finally responsible for all death; and all ghosts had to visit him before returning to their clan graveyards. On one occasion a hunter, called Mpobe, followed his dog, which was chasing an edible rat; and the rat ran down Walumbe's hole. At the bottom was a village and many people and, a little further on, an old man who was Walumbe. Mpobe was, not unnaturally, afraid; and he knelt down, as any Muganda would kneel to a chief. He explained how he had come and was allowed to go home on condition that he told nobody where he had been. Else, Walumbe would kill him. In the end, of course, he blabbed to his mother and Walumbe came to claim him. Mpobe asked if he might first sell his things, buy a cow and eat it. Permission was given; and Mpobe made the deal last over several years before he finally had to pay his debt.
There is no suggestion here that death not something to be avoided. But Death does not appear as a terrible figure but as a patient creditor-having certainly the last word but, dealing with man on almost equal terms.
The recent experience of a Marakwet woman in Kenya, interviewed in the 1960's, tells the same story. In a dream she was visited by the ghost of her dead son, who asked her to get him his favourite fruit. This she did, leaving it at the spot he indicated. The next night he again asked for fruit. She replied, 'If you can't come home without making a nuisance of yourself, why don't you stay where you are?' So the third night he just came for a chat.
‘There is nothing more natural than the supernatural;’ and any attempt to understand the religious experience of traditional Africans must begin from a reversal of our normal secular Western, but not particularly Christian, idea that the "natural" and "supernatural" are different. Certainly, there is a recognition, in many African societies, of a hierarchy of power. The Creator God, if there is a belief in him or it, is the source of this power, as he or it is the source of all things. But power is found, in descending order, in lesser spirits, in ancestral ghosts, in chiefs, who are often the focus of communication with the spirits, in witches and sorcerers. Finally in ordinary men and women, animals, plants and inanimate things.
Sometimes this power is personalised. The Baganda, for instance, have many stories of pregnant girls, deserted by their lovers, who gave birth to water instead of a child. The water became a river; and the girl's spirit might catch unwary travelers and drown them. Near one village in Uganda there lived a leopard which kept the people in its care and warned them if other leopards were coming to steal their stock. An animal's horn, which had been filled with suitable ingredients and empowered by a spirit, could be used by its owner to do jobs for him at a distance and could speak to him.
Sometimes the power has to be put into things, as into the horn and articles of sorcery which will be discussed later. But sometimes it is inherent. A Buganda man who killed the animal after which his clan is named was believed to have killed his clan totem and automatically died. If a pregnant woman laughed at a lame person, her child would be born lame. If a sheep, a goat or a dog got onto the roof of a house, the inhabitants would leave it at once, saying it was unlucky to live there. All these things were 'taboo.'
When this power was first described by Europeans, it was called by the Melanesian word mana. The Melanesians used mana to explain any exceptional excellence or skill in men - the power of a chief, the success of a warrior, skill in rearing pigs or raising large crops of food. The attempt to obtain mana was thought to be the basis of Melanesian religion. A similar idea was later found in Polynesia, where mana was described as an all-pervasive psychic force behaving very much like electricity. People and things which were positively 'charged' could pass it by contact to one that was 'negative'. Unless this process was properly controlled, damage might result. A positively charged chief, for instance, might come into contact with a commoner. The chief would lose some of his power; and the commoner might be injured. An example of this type of reaction in 2 Samuel 6.6f. Therefore 'taboos' were imposed to prevent the fatal contact.
But the electrical metaphor, which was so effectively used to describe the action of mana, can be used to illuminate the relation between 'natural' and 'supernatural'. Sir Arthur Eddington once pointed out that a physicist's description of matter in terms of electrons and protons might easily give the impression that a chair consists largely of wide-open space - hardly a suitable support for sitting. The common-sense account is entirely different. Common sense can normally disregard the electrical basis of matter. Electrical forces become of concern to common sense when they are not properly controlled - when lightning strikes, for instance - or when they are harnessed to human welfare to produce effects which are impossible without them. To harness them requires specialist skill; lightning may be extremely frightening. But we do not therefore regard electricity as supernatural. It is an inescapable part of our natural environment with special powers for good or ill. It is very much in this way that traditional peoples understand the power which operates in taboos and magic, through the ghosts and the spirits. It underlies all life; but 'common sense' can normally disregard it. When out-of-the-way things happen, or when a man needs special power for a particular purpose - to deal with misfortune or to seek unusual success - he becomes aware, as we become aware of electricity, of something which he believes to be around him and available all the time. But a word of warning is necessary. Electricity can be dangerous as well as useful. The Doctor Who stories suggest how the popular imagination fears electricity when it gets into the hands of men who use it for their own evil ends. An electric iron may give a fatal shock. So a man who can control mana may be feared as well as admired. If he can use it to improve his own crops, he can equally well use it to do harm to others. Among the Lugbara of Uganda, a man who consistently has better crops than his neighbours is liable to be accused of witchcraft and punished.
There are three ways in which men have looked at the universe (other ways may be possible). One is that of materialism, which sees all phenomena as matter organised in less or more complicated forms but, because it is matter, ultimately subject to control by man. The second, which has been described in this chapter, sees all phenomena as the expression of a mysterious force, which may or may not be personalised, which men may try to control for their own advantage but to which they are ultimately subject. The third divides phenomena into ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’, the one subject to man's control the other wholly mysterious. In order to understand the ‘religions’ described in this book, it is necessary to try to suspend judgement as to which of theses views of the universe is true and to enter as fully as possible into the point of view of the second.
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The origin and homeland of the major linguistic groupings in Africa, has been a subject of controversy since the first tentative attempts to classify the more than 2000 languages of the continent. Although most scholars are now agreed on the assignment of most languages to one or other of the phyla present in Africa, the intemal arrangement of the subgroups within each phylum is very much open to discussion. Models of interna1 structure influence the historical interpretation of ethnolinguistic diffusion; if one branch of a phylum is considered especially close to another then historical models must account for its speakers' contiguity at some time in pi-ehistory.
Of particular interest in this respect is the Afroasiatic phylum, both because it is so widespread in Africa and the Near East and because its intemal structure is as yet very unclear. Afroasiatic has a somewhat ambiguous status among the major language phyla of the world. As the grouping that includes not only several languages sanctified by major world religions, but also the earliest written language, it has benefited from a massive research and publication effort in certain rather specific areas. It also has old-established traditions of scholarship that have not always had a positive effect on innovative research.
40 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
One branch of Afroasiatic that presents a specific problem is Chadic, the family of 150 + languages centred on Lake Chad but spreading from the borders of Sudan to northwestein Nigeria. Chadic is clearly the most intemally diversified subgroup of Afroasiatic and perhaps for that reason might be considered as the most ancient branching.
However. linguistic geography suggests rather strongly that it is indeed an intrusive group reaching the region after the establishment of the Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo phyla (see maps in Perrot 1988; Crozier & Blench 1992; Blench 1993a, 1997a). Since its nearest relatives are geographically remote (Berber or Cushitic) it has often been suggested that speakers of the Proto-Chadic were mobile pastoralists of some type. This has never been substantiated either linguistically or archaeologically and no date has been proposed for such a movement.
The purpose of this paperl is to put forward a mode1 to account for the position of Chadic within Afroasiatic and to suggest a time and a route whereby Chadic pastoralists could have ai-rived at the Lake Chad area. Linguistic support foi- this hypothesis is presently limited to livestock tei-minology; full confirmation of this idea could only come from much more detailed comparative work within Afroasiatic. The paper explores the history of ideas concerning the interna1 classification and membership of Afroasiatic and to a lesser extent of Nilo-Saharan, since the two phyla intei-penetrate in the crucial region of Central Africa. It then considers the domestic stock in this region of Central Africa and sets out the linguistic evidence for connections between Afroasiatic subgroups. Finally, archaeological evidence that can be linked to the pioposed migrations is reviewed.
1 I would like to thank the organisers of Méga-Tchad for allowing me to present this long and somewhat complex paper, a preliminary version of which was given at SOAS in 1995.1 would like to thank David Appleyard, Jean-Charles Clanet, Richard Hayward, Hermann Jungraithmayr and Kay Williamson who have commented on various versions of it. Lionel Bender has been the source of stimulating debates on the subject of the classifi- cation of Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic, while not commenting directly on the text of the paper.
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderinqs of Cushitic pastoralists 41 V Afroasiatic and Nilo-Saharan
Historical Views of Afroasia tic
Ruhlen (1 987: 87 ff.) gives a useful concise history of the classification of the languages that constitute the phylum. The kinship of Hebr-ew, Arabic and Aramaic was recognised as early as the 1530s, and Ludolf pointed out the affinity of Ethiosemitic with the near Eastern languages in 1702. The name "Semitic" was proposed in 178 1 by von Schlozer. Berber and some of the Chadic languages, notably Hausa were added during the course of the nineteenth century. The earliest version of Afroasiatic as presently understood probably appears in Müller (1 876- 87) who linked Egyptian, Semitic, Berber, Cushitic and Hausa, the only known Chadic language at the period.
A phylum under the name Afroasiatic goes back to Joseph Greenberg (1963). Previously, the preferred name was "Hamito-Semitic", an unfortunate conjunction both clumsy and redolent of suspect racial theories. Hamito-Semitic is by no means expunged from the lexicon: hence the confus in^ titles of various collections of conference proceedings (cf. Bynon 1984). Even disregarding the "Hamitic hypothesis" Hamito-Semitic gives a primacy to Semitic that is entirely without linguistic justificationz. Other proposed names include Afrasian, Lisramic (Hodge 1976) and more strangely, Lislakh. These have not been widely adopted and Afroasiatic will be used here.
Afroasiatic has been the subject of a number of overviews, beginning with Müller (op. cit.). Historically, the most important of these have been Cohen (1947) and Diakonoff (1988). Hodge (1 971, 1976) represents a summary of the situation in the early 1970s. In 1995, two very different perspectives on Afroasiatic were published, both accompanied by substantial data tables (Ehret 1995: Orel & Stolbova
2 Much the same has been the case with Sino-Tibetan, where the written record of Chinese came to be regarded as evidence for its primary split with the largely unwritten Tibeto-Burrnan languages. As Van Driern (1995) has recently shown, this is not supported by the linguistic evidence, which suggests that Chinese should be classified with Bodic.
42 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
1995). The implications of these works have yet to be fully absorbed, but the contrast between them is that Ehret is concerned to justify a particular view of Afroasiatic phylogeny (Fig. 2, p. 43), while Orel and Stolbova are oriented towards etymologies. Ehret argues for a particular version of Afroasiatic phonology while Orel and Stolbova take for granted that proposed by Diakonoff.
An aspect of Afroasiatic that is worth noting is the important role played by scholars whose focus has been text. Inteipretations have been, even more than usual, a miiror to the intellectual preoccupations of each scholarly generation. Ancient Egyptian has always been inteipreted by Mediterraneanist scholars and this is reflected in the interpretations of the sound-system. The undoubted African contribution has been largely ignored or implicitly denied.
Despite this, it is fair to Say that there has been a revolution in the treatment of Afroasiatic largely brought about by the massive growth in studies of African languages. Greenberg (1 963) was responsible for the establishment of this phylum in its pi-esent foi-m. His particular contribution was the dethronement of Semitic fi-om its foimerly central position. and the emphasis he placed on its i-elations with the languages of Africa.
The Interna1 Phylogeny of Afroasiatic
Gi-eenberg's hypotheses marked an important development, but in one way they remained resolutely old-fashioned; they left the inteinal stiucture of Afroasiatic unexplored. Greenberg's classification allowed five CO-ordinate branches, with Cushitic subdivided into five further CO-ordinate branches. This is represented in Figure 1.
I I I I l
Semitic Berber Ancient Egyptian Cushitic Chadic
l I l I I
Northern Central Eastern Western Southern
1 Figure 1 The principal subdivisions of Afroasiatic in Greenberg (1963).
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralisls 43 V This scheme broadly follows Cohen (1 947) although Cohen included only Hausa as an example of a Chadic language and offered no specific hypothesis about Cushitic. Greenberg was undoubtedly the first researcher to outline Chadic as a distinct language family, eliminating the typological elements that had confused Lukas' classification.
The most significant development since this period has been the recognition that Greenberg's "Western Cushitic" is quite distinct from other branches of Afro-Asiatic. To mark this, it has been renamed Omotic (Bender 1975, 1988). Most scholars have accepted the coherence of Omotic as a group and agree on its assignment to Afroasiatic. Some researchers would prefer to retain Omotic within Cushitic, but these are now in a minority. In the case of the other branches of Cushitic, there has also been considerable discussion about whether it really constitutes a family and Beja, Ethiopian Cushitic and Southein Cushitic are often treated as distinct branches. Ehret (1987) has proposed a "proto-Cushitic" making explicit the hypothesis that these branches form a unity. New data on Dahalo have made its usual classification with South Cushitic less evident and some writers now wish to make it an independent branch of Cushitic (Tosco 1991 ).
Despite a wealth of documentation, attempts to put a structure to the groupings within Afro-Asiatic have been relatively few. Within Chadic, the interna1 classification of the most ramified of the subgroups of Afroasiatic has proved particularly complex. Greenberg (1963) left Chadic with nine rather ill-defined subgroups, but Newman and Ma (1966) made a major breakthrough in proposing three divisions. Newman (1977) later expanded this to four with the separation of the Masa group, although Tourneux (1 990) has argued that Masa should be re-incorporated in Central Chadic. Barreteau and Jungraithmayr (1993) in a study combining lexicostatistics with proposed lexical innovations, have split West Chadic into two CO-ordinate groups, opposing Hausa and the Plateau Chadic languages, such as Ron, with the Miya-Warji and other northeastern languages such as Ngizim.
It is interesting to note from the point of view of intellectual history that the first proposa1 to specifically link Cushitic and Chadic seems to have been made in 1909 by Leo Reinisch, the great Austiian scholar of the languages of the Hom of Africa. Reinisch noted that these languages were linked with Semitic and Egyptian and concluded on
44 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin (lu lac Tchad
ground of linguistic geography that Afroasiatic ("Chamitische" in his terminology) must have originated in Africa. Reinisch's conclusions are rarely cited and were probably far more unwelcome in 1909 than Greenberg in the 1950s and even Greenberg had to face considerable opposition. Arelated and challenging view of the Afroasiatic homeland was put fonvard by Behrens (1985) who used linguistic evidence, especially livestock terminology, to suggest that the homeland of Berber was far from its present centre of gravity. Behrens argued for a region of Western Sudan with subsequent diffusion both West and north some 6000 years BC.
Most recently, there have been a number of developments that have yet to be fully evaluated. The most important of these are: a) The proposal that Ongota, a moribund language 3 of southwestem
Ethiopia constitutes a valid seventh branch of Afroasiatic (Fleming et al. 1992).
b) Blaiek (in press) has proposed that Elamite. an extinct language of the Ancient Near East, either constitutes a seventh branch of Afroasiatic or is CO-ordinate with it. Elamite is usually classified with Dravidian, spoken in South India, but does show clear resemblances with Afroasiatic. Blaiek proposes a structure where Afi-oasiatic is related to Dravidian at a higher level and Elamite foims a bridge between the two. Whether the links between Elamite and Afroasiatic reflect a genetic relationship or are simply a case of extensive loanwords, remains to be explored.
Ehret's (1995) schema of the intemal structure for Afroasiatic is fairly similar to the models proposed formally or informally by other researchers and 1have adapted sonle of his proposed names for the nodes (e.g. North Afroasiatic and Erythraic). Figure 2 shows a composite view of Afroasiatic incorporating my own views and some of the recent proposals made conceining Elamitic, On, Dota etc.
Bender (1 997) has also proposed a radically new structure for
Afroasiatic ("upside-down Afi-asian" in his teiminology). His revised
tree is as follows (Figure 3).
3 Ongota has only 6 speakers as of 1997, down from the 15 reported in 1992.
R. BLENCH-The weslward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 45 V Proto-Afro-Asiatic
Elamite? Erythraic 1
~esl-1 East Beja Aga* E. Cushitic S. Cushitic erter Egyptian Semitic OmoÉ Ongola?
1 Figure 2
Proposed Revised Afroasiatic Classification
Chadic Egyptian-Coptic Berber Sernitic Cushitic Ornotic
1 Figure 3 The lnternal Structure of Afroasiatic according to Bender (1997)
46 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
Bender proposes a homeland for Afroasiatic (the region where Chad, Sudan and Libya meet today) and a date (10,000 BP). Perhaps even more startlingly, he canvases the possibility that Indo-European is somehow an offshoot of his "Macro-Cushitic". Whether these suggestions will be taken on board by the scholarly commiinity will depend on the presentation of fuller evidence than is given in his short article.
The Nilo-Saharan language phylum remains the least-known and most
controversial of African language groupings. Since its initial delineation
by Greenberg (1963) there have been a series of studies, piincipally
by Bender (1991 b, 1996a, b) and Blench (1995a). An unpublished
classification by Ehret is reviewed in Bender (1 996a). Figure 4 shows
one mode1 of the relationship between the various branches of Nilo-
Saharan; quite different structures are given in some of the literature
cited. This is a much more controversial topic: but for the present
argument, this is marginally relevant: al1 that needs to be taken on
trust is that there are large numbers of fragmented Ni1o.-Saharan
languages presently in the region between Chadic and Cushitic.
Shabo Berta Kunarna Kornuz
Saharan Songhay 1
Kado (= Kadugli-Krongo)
Central Sudanic East Sudanic
1 Figure 4 Interna1 Phylogeny of Nilo-Saharan: Minimal Hypothesis.
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 47 V Trees, Peoples and Origins
This paper treats non-phylogenetic views with limited sympathy. Languages are spoken by people and communities split and diversify in real historical time for a multiplicity of reasons. Although the interplay of factors that underlie these processes remains only partly understood, it is only by seeking to apply sociological models of known processes that we can hope to mode1 the past. Historically speaking, divisions in communities are a common process. Apastoral society divides as one group goes to seek pasture and water elsewhere. An agricultural community divides as one body of villagers go to seek new agricultural land.
Languages usually spread by two complementary processes, language- shifting and physical expansion. The Hausa and Fulfulde languages of West Africa are good examples of these processes at work. Hausa has largely spread in historical time through the Hausaization of agricultural populations, a process still at work today. Fulfulde, however, has spread across West-Central Africa through the physical movement of pastoralists with their herds. There is no reason to suppose these processes were not as common in the past as they are today.
The Inter-Saharan Hypothesis
Much of the conventional literature on the diffusion and spread of Afroasiatic assumes, implicitly or explicitly, a trans-Saharan route for the development of Chadic. Links with Berber and Egyptian abound in the literature and the analogy with the medieval Islamic trade-routes is extended into an unknown past. This paper argues, that while trans-Saharan routes were of importance. the present-day distribution of Chadic languages and their immediate affinities in Afroasiatic can best be understood by assuming that speakers of the proto-language migrated from east to West. from the Nile to the Niger. to exaggerate slightly. To distinguish this from the conventional view 1 propose to cal1 this the "inter-Saharan" coi-ridor.
If Chadic and Cushitic languages do have a privileged relationship. then this is best explained by the assumption that Chadic speakers
48 V L'homme et i'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
broke away from a branch of Cushitic and moved westwards. In view of the intemal diversification of Chadic this must have been several thousand years ago. Given the long distances involved, it seems likely that this migration took place in the context of a pastoral subsistence system. In other words, a group of Cushitic speakers, herding cattle, sheep and goats, began to drift westward (Blench 1995b).
The inter-Saharan coi-ridor is today largely in the Republics of Sudan and Chad. Today and presumably in the past it was inhabited by Nilo- Saharan speakers. If such a migration took place, then one confirmatory piece of evidence should be the scattered presence of livestock terms in Nilo-Saharan languages al1 the way between the Nile and Lake Chad. The data tables given below provide some evidence that this is indeed the case.
Leo Reinisch pointed out in the early part of the century that there are striking lexical correspondences between Nile Nubian and Cushitic. Work on the prehistory of Nubian and the languages of the Nile Valley by Bechhaus-Gerst (1 98415, 1989, 1999) has made this more historically probable. She shows that when Nobiin speakers reached the Nile Valley (by Ca. 1500 BC) they encountered resident speakers of Cushitic languages from whom they borrowed a large number of words, most strikingly those connected with livestock production (goat, sheep, hen, pig, dung, stock enclosure, milk etc.). The languages that are apparently the source of these loanwords are Highland East Cushitic (Haddiya etc.) rather than Beja or the Agaw languages which are today geographically closer.
P Pastoralism and Domestic Aninials
Why Domestic Animals?
One approach to exploring the history of a language phylum is to examine in detail a semantic field that illuminates some aspect of the subsistence strategies of its assumed speakers. In the case of Khoisan, for example, it would be sensible to look in detail at animal names and hunting technology. In the case of Afroasiatic, livestock terminology provides a useful window, since it has long been obseived
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 49 V that many lexical items are widely distributed through the phylum. Livestock is also useful because:
a. it is probably older than cultivation in Africa: cattle, donkeys, cats and guinea-fowl are indigenous domesticates: b. it is represented in rock-art and it is bettes attested archaeologically than cultivated plants; c. maRy Afroasiatic speakers are still pastoralists. Terms for domestic animals occupy a curious halfway house between cultural and basic lexicon. Domestic animals are ancient, but their exact antiquity is often in question. Therefore their presence at the period when a hypothetical proto-language is spoken remains doubtful.
The Principal Pastoral Species: Cattle, Sheep and Goats
The ancestry of domestic cattle remains one of the most disputed topics in the broader debate over domestication. The most comprehensive overviews of the origin of the traditional cattle breeds of Africa are Epstein (1971) and Epstein and Mason (1984). Wild cattle seem to have been present in the Ancient Near East and Northeast Afi-ica as late as 5000 B.C. and the earliest African cattle presumably derive from these. Muzzolini (1983b) has reviewed the evidence for cattle in Ancient Egypt and Gautier (1987) has synthesised the archaeological evidence for Northern and Middle Africa. Blench (1993b) represents an oveiview of the existing evidence from cattle breeds and races. MacDonald and MacDonald (1 999) represents a comprehensive recent summary of the archaeozoological evidence for West-Central Africa.
Very early dates, before 9000 BP, are postulated for cattle in the Eastern Sahara (Gautier: 198 1: 336, 1984: 69). Wendorf & Schild (1984: 420) note comparable domesticated cattle from Syria by the tenth millenniurn BP. Breunig et al. (1993) and Breunig and Neumann (1996) give dates of > 3000 BP (uncalibrated) for the bones of domesticated cattle in Boino.
Many early representations in rock-art of cattle in the Ancient Middle East, Egypt and the Sahara show cattle with some sort of hump.
50 V L'homme ef l'animal dans le bassin tlu lac Tchad
Muzzolini (1983a. 1991) concludes that there are sorne apparently early images of humped cattle in Saharan rock-art which do not fit with the late introduction of zebu and therefore advmces the hypothesis of an independent evolution of humpedness in the Sahara. The present- day humped breeds of West Africa almost certainly cornbille genetic rnaterial from the indigenous breeds and the incorning zebu. Recent work on the cattle DNA does appear to suggest a dual domestication in the Indian and NE Afi-ical Near Eastern regions (Loftus et al. 1994).
The goat. Capra I~ircus aegagrus, evolved 7 million yeass ago. but it was probably not dornesticated until 10,000 years ago in the Mesolithic period of the Ancient Near East (Gautier 198 1 : 336: Mason 1984b). Goats were certainly kept in Egypt after 5000 BC and presumably spread to sub-Saharan Africa shoi-tly after that. The site at Haua Fteah, Cyrenaica in North Afi-ica, has srnall ruminant bones datiny from the 6800 BP with no associated cattle and Kadero. near Khartum. has both cattle and small iurninants at 6000 BP (Gautier 1981 :336).
As with goats. sheep are descended from an ancestral Near Eastern wild sheep and domestic foms xe recorded in Iraq as early as 11,000 BP. In Africa, they first occur as domesticates in the eastern Sahara at 7000 BP and at Haua Fteah in North Africa at 6800 BP (Gautier 198 1: 336). Muzzolini (1990) has reviewed the evidence for sheep in Sahasan rock ait and his revision of the chronology placing the first appearance of sheep rather later. at 6000 BP, seems generally accepted.
Associated Species: Donkeys, Dogs and Guinea- fo wl
The wild ass, Equus asinus africanus, is indigenous to the African continent and is usually divided into a chain of races of subspecies spi-eading from the Atlas rnountains eastwards to Nubia, down the Red Sea and probably as far as the border of present-day Northein Kenya (Groves 1966, 1986: Haltenorth & Diller 1980: 109; Kingdon
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 51 V 1997). Four notional races, atlanticus. africanus, taeniopirs and somaliensis are located approximately as shown in earlier studies
(e.g. Haltenorth & Diller 1980). However, two of these, atlanticus and tueniopus have been rejected more recently and indeed the proposed arlanticus race tuins out to have been based on misidentified zebra bones (Kingdon 1997: 311). The extent to which the wild ass penetrated the interior of Africa is controversial, but it is generally considered unlikely that it evei- occurred in sub-Saharan regions. Groves (1986) argues that the wild ass extended into the Near East in ancient times and CO-existed with the onager, Equus hemionus. Blench (1999 a) summarises the recent evidence for the history of the donkey in Africa. The main features differentiating races of wild ass are the amount and type of stripes and the shoulder crosses. However, their charac- terisation may be somewhat bluired, since populations that survived into historical times have almost cei-tainly crossed with feral donkeys, leading to a merger of characteiistics. Civil war in both Somalia and Eritrea may mean that the fragile populations marked have disappeared or are severely threatened. There are two doubtful populations of wild ass near Siwa oasis in Egypt and further south towards the Sahara proper.
Records of domestic donkeys begin in Egypt in the fourth millennium
B.C. with cleai. representations of working donkeys by the middle of the next millennium (Epstein 1971: 392). At about the same period there are textual records of extremely large herds of donkeys, many of which were apparently used for portage. The expeditions to Punt (Ethiopia) consisting of large trade caravans usually included numerous donkeys (Kitchen 1993). Donkeys from the second millennium BC occur at Shaqadud in the Butana grasslands of Sudan (Peters 1991). Donkeys were found in the faunal assemblages at Carthage in the Roman period (1-4th centuries AD) (Levine 1994). The earliest record of a donkey in West Africa is at Siouré in Senegambia (MacDonald and MacDonald 1999). The stratigraphy of this site appears to be reliable and the donkey bone is dated to between 0-250 A.D. After this? the next finds of donkey bones are at Akumbu in Mali with a date of 600-100 A.D. However, such finds are extremely rare even in sites, such as Tegdaoust, where there have been extensive finds of other domestic species.
52 7 L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
The ancestry of the domestic dog remains uncertain and a number of canids may be implicated in present-daytypes (Clutton-Brock, 1984). The dog is not native to Africa and was introduced at an unknown period in the past. Epstein (1971, 1) who reviewed this question at length, shows that dogs were known in Egypt in the pre- Dynastic period and so could have been brought across the desert in prehistoric times. It is likely that there have been multiple introductions from different sources, although the only race found in Central Africa is what Epstein calls the "pariah dog". Dogs are kept everywhere in Africa for hunting and security purposes. Frank (1 965) has exhaustively reviewed the literature on domestic dogs in Africa, and Epstein (1 97 1) has examined the evidence for the evolution of the African dog.
The crested or helmet guinea-fowl, Numida meleagris galeata, Pallas, is part of the native fauna of West Africa. It is distributed from Senegambia to Cameroon and is also found in a part of Western Zaire. It was presumably domesticated long ago, although the larger domestic races closely iesemble their wild countei-parts. There are several wild species and geneia of guinea-fowl in West and East Africa, notably
N. nzeleagris nzeleagris in Sudan and Ethiopia, but apparently only N. nzekagris galeata has been domesticated (see Donkin 199 1, Map 1). Wild guinea-fowl are still regularly trapped as a source of food and their eggs are raided in the bush. Mongin and Plouzeau (1 984) present an overview of recent scholarship on the guinea-fowl worldwide while Ayeni (1 983) summarises existing infoimation for West Africa. Donkin (1991) is an "ethnogeographical" study of the guinea-fowl that synthesises a great deal of scattered material, especially on the iconography of the guinea-fowl in the Mediteiranean. Blench (1999 b) summarises the recent evidence for the history of the guinea-fowl in Africa. The history of the domestic pig in Africa remains highly controversial. Although the wild pig, Sus scrofa, is native to north Africa, and its
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 53 V range extends along the Atlantic Coast to the Senegal River, there is no evidence that it was ever domesticated in Africa (Epstein 1971, II). Pigs are usually thought to have been domesticated in Anatolia and the earliest archaeological finds of pigs date back to 7000 BC. Domesticated pigs were kept in the Ancient Near East and Egypt from the end of the fifth millennium BC (Epstein 197 1, II: 340). Pigs were known along the North African littoral, and seem to have spread down the Nile at least as Sennar, where they are still kept (Spaulding & Spaulding 1988). Pigs cannot be herded and are generally not kept by pastoralists unless they settle. Since pigs cannot survive by grazing for more than part of the year and depend on grown food they are usually kept by settled farmers. There is evidence that semi-feral pigs spread into the Omotic-speaking regions of the Ethiopian borderland and westward at least as far as Kordofan (see map of sites where pigs were recorded in Spaulding & Spaulding (1988)) and may have spread to West-Central Africa along a corridor from Darfur to Lake Chad. Blench (1999 c) summarises the recent evidence for the history of the domestic pig in Africa.
This section sets out the principal base forms proposed to illustrate the inter-Saharan connection. 1have given apparent or actual cognates in Berber, Egyptian and Semitic where these have been proposed rather than omit evidence that may run contrary to the argument proposed here. I have not given the source of the data for each attestation to keep the references to manageable length. In most cases these are standard published sources and are listed in the references.
West and Central Chadic attest a form something like $a-with likely cognates in East Chadic (Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow 1994,I: 43). Southein Cushitic also has a voiceless lateral: #J-, in the same Ci slot (Ehret 1987: 80).
Related terms seem to be found in Semitic but not in Berber or Egyptian, if the 411 coi~espondence holds. Cohen (1 947: 182) presents an #1-series for Semitic, including Akkadian lu and Soqotri le3e:
54 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
'Central Africa' here refers to the area presently encompassed by Chad, Cameroon and Central African Republic.
Spellings can be phoneniic (where the language has been analysed in depth), phonetic (where the foim given is the surface form recorded in field- work) or orthographic (talen froni earlier sources with inexplicit rules of transcription). The follo- wing table gives the fornis used here and their IPA equivalents;
This Other IPA Work Orthographic (1993) Y j c ch ts j dj d3 5 dl. zl, 2 B 4 il, hl, SI. S 4
Words extractcd froni French sources have been normalised to niake coniparison easier.
Tone and stress marks
The exact sigiiificance of tone-niarks varies froni one language to another and I have used the conventions of the authors in the case of published languages. The usual conventions are :
In non-tonal languages, such as South Arabian, stress on vowels is niarhed with an acute accent, a convention 1 have retained.
In Afroasiatic languages with vowel length distinc- tions, only the first vowel of a long vowel is tone- marked. Some nineteenth century sources, such as Heinrich Barth, use diacritics to mark stress or length. These have been 'translated' into modein
notation to avoid theconfusing implication of tone- marking.
Long vowels are usually niarked by doubling in African languages but are often transcribed with a macron in Semitic etc. All long vowels have been transcribed by doubling Io make comparison simpler.
Reconstructions A word prefaced by # represents a pseudo-recons- Lniction. in other words a form denved from inspec- tion of roots that looks probable, but has notbeen rigorously established through sound-correspon- dences. This contrasts with *, used to indicate reconstructions from systeniatic sound-corres- pondences.
* Reconstmction established froni coniplete analysis of sound-change # 'Quasi-reconstruction' established from quick inspection of CO,Onates BC Benue-Congo BES Berber-Egyptian-Semitic C Consonant Eth Ethiopic (unlocated Ethiopian root)
HEC Highland East Cushitic N Nasal NC Niger-Congo NS Nilo-Saharan PAA Proto-Afroasiatic PC Proto-Cushitic Ehret, 1987 PEC Proto-Eastein Cushitic Ehret, 1987 PO Pinto-Oniotic PS Prolo-Seniitic PWS Proto-West Sudanic Westerniann, 1927 s/r sniall ruminant (in tables) V Vowel
R. BLENCH -The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 55 V Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss A A Cushitic Agaw Bilin lawi cow East Gedeo lali cattle Oromo loon cattle West Rift Iraqw 3 ee cow Chadic West Ngizim 4à cow Semitic Central Central Ga'anda Akkadian 4à lu'um cow wild bull l1 bull Iuu Arabic la'an bull Jibbali (=Shahri) Ié'llh6ti cow 1 Kuliak II, 13 cow l
1Table 1 Attestations of #+a, "cow, cattle".
which may form a cognate set. These may: however, refer to the wild bull, still present in the Middle East and Arabia in the fifth millenium BC. Leslau (1938: 61) points out that the Hebrew persona1 name "Leah" is almost certainly cognate with these forms. The common Ethio-Semitic #lam for cow is something of a puzzle (Appleyard 1977: 26). Semitic scholars seem generally unwilling to connect this with the lateral fricative roots in Cushitic. As a result it has been suggested that the 1-!z-nz roots meaning "food" in Arabic and "shark" in Soqotri (lehenz) are cognate. A semantic coi~espondence between "shark" and "cow" has a certain Greenbergian charm, but Akkadian Lu'ui11 "wild bull" is surely more likely. Leslau (1979, II: 379) also notes a comparison with Arabic lihm, "aged ox".
This root is a suppletive plural for "cow", i.e. "cattle" throughout Eastern Cushitic and Beja. Hudson reconstmcts *sa?a for Highland East Cushitic and Ehret (1987: 61) has reconstiucted *Sua!- for Proto-
56 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad Cushitic. An interesting further possible link suggested by Beja is with words for rhinoceros. Beja Se pl. Sa for rhinoceros is certainly close to the common plural for cattle Sa'. Since these two animals would have inhabited the same ecological niche in the pre- domestication period, such a semantic shift is at least plausible. This root is analysed by Pilszczikowa (1960) who links it with words for "sheep" in Semitic and Egyptian. Behrens (1985: 179) and Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1994,I: 43) assume that the roots with lateral fricatives in Ciare also cognate. This analysis is not adopted here. Although attested in Hausa, sâa is an isolated citation and it seems likely that this is a loanword, possibly from Berber or directly from Arabic. The same may apply to the isolated Kotoko witness the source of which may be Shuwa Arabic, which has sâ 'a, meaning "wealth in livestock"4. Other attestations related to shaanui~occur in Old Semitic langages, for example, Akkadian sa'ni*m,and in Berber. Tamachek 1 Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation Gloss 1 AA Cusliitic Beja Beja Sa. pl. 3a'a CON Eastern Sidanio saa cow A Far saga Proto-Cushitic *J~~,. (Ehret) Chadic West Hausa siiniyii sâa pl. sliaanuu Central Kotoko h'sââ Semitic Akkadian ga'num Shuwa Arabic sâ'a Brrbrr Tamachek eesu. pl. eeswaan 1 Tamazight esu cow 1 NS Kuliak Tepeth saa cattle kraal C. Sudnnic Sara Ndoka sa+ cow Modo si cow 1Table 2 Attestations of #saa, "cattle".
R. BLENCH -The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 57 V eeswaan "cattle". The nasals seem to be added in Berber-Egyptian- Semitic forms. Althoiigh these roots clearly CO-exist in Afroasiatic, the absence of widespread attestations for s-in Chadic do suggest boirowing from Berber.
The Chadic #k-m-(bull) resembles closely the common Agaw term for "cattle", something like #karn-(Appleyard 1984: 39). Jungraith- mayr and Ibriszimow (1994,I: 43) consider this connected with more widespread Chadic roots for "meat". Cushitic forms usually have #k-Y-IIIso Agaw may have shortened this. Cohen (1 947: 112) noted a common Afroasiatic k-for "bull" though he speculated that it was possibly a widespread loan. Although this word occurs throughout West Rift it so closely resembles the Ethiopian foims that it is probably
Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
AA Omotic N. Ometo Maale k'6lnio cattle
S. Onieto Koy ra Ltymo cattle Cushitic Agaw Bilin kam cattle East Gedeo korma bull Arbore koll catt le Southrrn Iraqw karamao Steer Chadic West Kulere kyààl cattle Karrkare kwàni bull Central Hwana k wÈl bull East Lele kdl-b& cattle
Mubi kiyi cattle Ancient Egyptian km3 bull l
Saharan Kanuri k5nni calf
(O) This root also occurs in a number 1 Table 3 of Bantu languages in Tanzania and I assume Attestations of #k-1-m, "bull"
these are loans from West Rift languages.
4 Also a cornmon association in Indo-European; see "cattle" and "capital"
58 V L'homme el l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
a recent loan rather than an old retention, since the practice of using pack-oxen is probably not as old as domestication.
Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation Gloss
AA Ornotic S. Ometo Zayse-Zergula gal6 Cushitic Brja tagar Agaw Bilin gar East Burji giree Arbore goran heifer Somali agor bull calf Chadic West Mburku $'wi cow Znnr gààl cow Central Guduf dayalr bull Vulum gàrii bull Semitic West Ugaritic '-3.1 calf Hebrew Teegel calf Egyptian Coptic ~gol calf
NS E. Sudanic Nubian Nobiin ;or calf
1Table 4 Attestations of #gor, "calf"
This root was suggested by Bechhaus-Gerst (1 999) as a loanword into Nobiin. However, it clearly is more widespread as Table 4 shows, assuming the Chadic forms are indeed cognate.
The Zayse-Zergula citation may be a single loanword, since this is not a common form for calf in Omotic. The Chadic forms are almost certainly cognate with each other, but less certainly cognate with the Cushitic forms.
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 59 V #b-g-r, "male ruminant"
Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss A A Ornotic Mocha big0 sheep Shinasha baggoo sheep Cushitic A;aw (= Central) Bilin bagga sheep Chadic West Karekare bùgùrk sheep Kwaarni rnb6Mri sherp Central Racarna b6;Gré sheep Musgu béggere he-;oat East Mokilko bû-ggàR cattle Kera ku-purki he-;oat Sernitic Centriil Shuwa Arabic bagar cattle South Harsüsi bakarat cattle Bzrber Tarnachek Ni;er A-beg;ug sheep NS Saharan Saharan Zaghawa b66guri young rnamied man E. Sudanic Nubian Nobiin fag goa
1Table 5 Attestations of #b-g-r, "male ruminant".
Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1 994,I: 8 1) cite this as #b-k-r, a pan- Chadic root and describe this as a Wanderwort. Given its widespread distribution in Afi-oasiatic and the antiquity of goat domestication, there is no reasons why this should be so. However, they also (op. cit. 148) give #baga for "sheep" in Central Chadic and these roots must almost cei~inly be combined. The Berber citation (fi-om Behrens, 1985: 167 ex Heinrich Barth) is unusual and not otherwise attested in Berber; it may therefore be a loanword. Bechhaus-Gerst (1989) also argues that the West Rift forms such as Lraqw be'i are also related, although this involves vowel changes and the assumption that the deleted consonant is /g/.The -ri consonant common to Semitic and Chadic is curious, suggesting a source in Ethiopic not synchronically attested.
60 7 i'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
A A Omotic N. Ometo Maalc k6le goat South Karo k'oli goat
Cushitic East Burji k'al-60 goat Yaaku k311-&h castratr goat Rendille kelex castrate goat
Chadic West Koîjar Loor largl castrate goat Bade akun goat Central Dera kwiarào goat Uroovin xwun goat Ysdina kàanio goat
Kuliak 1k ka1 goat Kadu Central Katcha k3r3mak goat
E. Sudanic Suimic Bodi koloy goat Temein Dese kwjrarnàl he -g09t E. Nilotic Turkana a-korai 209t S. Nilotic Proio-Kalenjin "~WEr he -goai Snharari Kanuri kaliwo virgin she-goal (O) These may be loans from Kanuri kanyîand thus indirectly or unconnected 1Table 6 Attestations of #kol. "goat"
The base form #t-ln-koccurs in Afroasiatic, Saharan, and Niger-Congo (not cited in the table) and is definitely a Wanderwort. Newman (1 977: 3 1) proposes *tanzki for sheep in proto-Chadic and Jiingraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1 994,I: 148) note its presence in al1 branches of Chadic, but they do not consider the exteinal Afroasiatic lookalikes to be cognate. The word for a two-yeai- old sheep in Teda- Daza, durna, is cognate with the Kanuri term di'nzi and lamb turna as
Fi. BLENCH-The westward wanderinqs of Cushitic pastoralists
with the Berti tanzi. The boirowings into Niger-Congo would have come from multiple introductions in the West African Sahel at the termini of trans-Saharan routes.
Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation AA Cushitic East Oromo turnzamaa Chadic West Hausa tunkiyii. pl. tumaikii Central Bade taarnan. taniahun Hiei of Kiria tlmbaka Tpala tàrnâk Masa Masa dirniina East Mubi turnik Kera taamagi Berbsr Wargla adanimani NS C. Sudanic Moru-Madi Moru temilé Kadu Eastern Krongo diirnà 1 Saharan Kanuri dirni Kanuri tania Beni tami
1Table 7 Attestations of #t-m-(k),"sheep".
The third literal, -k-,only occurs in Chadic and is presumably an early affix or compound. As the Oromo citation seems to be isolated, without further evidence the provenance of this root as Erythraic must remain doubtful. However, the Nilo-Saharan citations look convincing, providing sonle evidence for the base form further East in Central Africa. The Berber citation is interesting, since this word explicitly applies to hair sheep that have been bi-ought from Mali and Niger (Delheure 1987: 53). It is likely that al1 such forms in Berber are loanwords fi-om Chadic or even Saharan.
Gloss castrate sheep
sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep hair sheep
sheep female zoat
Sernale larnh lamb
62 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
#'aare, "srnall ruminants"
Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss
AA Omotic Koyra ?&are Rock of shwp Cushitic Beja Beja ano. annee e we East Burji aray Rendille 'a@ s'r South Gorwaa aaraa ;o;its Chadic West Hausa irà-ir8 lune-lc;;ed sir
East Lele ore ;o;its Semitic Guraze Muher Br2z Berber Guanche ara ;oat
Kuliak 1k ri goat
E. Sudanic E. Jebel Gaam àar shcep Nubian Meidob arar ram Nyiman: Dinik Ér sheep Maba Masalit Br i i-am Fur Fur w-ùri ewr Saharan Za;hii~,a aro ewe
66rù flock arro he-zoat
1Table 8 Attestations of #'aare, "small ruminants"
The Guanche citation is curious and may well be just coincidence. Perhaps related is a root that floats between sheep and goat, onu, which appears as a word for ewe in Beja but surfaces in Gurage as "goat". These could be a subset of Proto-Semitic #n-z.
Ehret (1987: 22) reconstructs Proto-Cushitic *?erg-for "small ruminant" but this is most likely "he-goat" to judge by the predominant
R. BLENCH -The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 63 V 1 Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation Gloss 1 AA Ongota Ongota orgai-ko goat Omotic Omet« Wolaitta lorggé he-goat Cushitic East Harso orkakk6 he-goal Saho xarge he-goat Borana orge hzifer came1 (!) South Asax 'a'aku sheep T'roto-Cushitico *?org-small ruminant Chadic West Hausa àwiakii she-goat Ngizim iakù soat Central Ndrenie àwik goat l1 "Proto-Chadicoo 7 - l NS Saharan East Dangla Teda i~skà *a(w)ku orko goat goal zoat l1 1
(0) Ehret (1987: 22) ("0) Newman (1977). 1Table 9 Attestations of #xorge, "he-goat"
gloss. This particular root has both Omotic and even Ongota cognates> although these could well be loans (Table 9).
Since this form does not otherwise occur in Nilo-Saharan, the Teda attestation may be a recent loanword.
Newman (1977) gives #a(w)kuas a proto-Chadic reconstruction, but there seem to be sufficient attestations of a Iateral in C2 position in Cushitic to add this to the reconstruction. Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1 994,I: 43) give the root as "wk-and similarly attest its presence in al1 branches of Chadic. These are almost certai~ily cognate with the Cushitic kor-roots. Indeed it is possible to speculate that kor-and org-are in fact the same root with metathesis.
64 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
#m-r-k, "castrated small ruminant"
1 Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss 1
A A Omotic N. Ometo Wolaitta mara larnb
Koy ra mari ram
Chadic West Polci niaar gout
Tangale rnara castrate goat
Masa Masa marak castrate goat
East Birgid mar bu Il
NS Maba Masalit mar-Sa bull
Fur Fur Fur m aà lanib Tama Tama mi bull
C. Sudanic Modo mùrikù castrated sheep E. Sudanic W. Nilotic Dinh -Bol- aniiil shssp E. Nilotic Tes0 e-rnerek2k ran~ Nubian Birgid niar ra rn 1 Suimic Murle rnerkee ram
1Table 10 Attestations of #m-r-k. "castrated ruminant"
This root is so widely attested that it is suiprising to find no evidence for Cushitic.
The historical and archaeological evidence for the wild ass or donkey does not appear to suggest either early domestication or transmission to West Africa. The linguistic evidence, however, is clear. The #k-r root is spread from Omotic to West Chadic, with intervening Nilo- Saharan attestations and is also largely apparently absent in BES which Ilas a series of quite distinct roots.
The most likely history of this root is that it originally developed as a word applied to "wild ass". probably in Ethiopia. Bender (1 988: 152)reconstructs proto-Omotic "krrrfor ass. Skinner cites *dAn&i~Ar for proto-Cushitic based on forms such as Bilin daxllara. The dV- prefix strikingly links Southern Cushitic and Agaw and is apparently
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 65 V Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation
AA Omotic Gimira Benr Non kur
Mao Hozo kuuri
Southem Karo uk'uli
Agaw Bilin daxwara
Cushitic Eastern Saho okaalo
West Rift Iraqw daqwaay
Chadic West Karekare k6or6o
Central Vulum kùré
Masa Pevc koro
East Nanrere kuri
NS E. Sudanic W. Nilotic Mabaan tmrm Temein Keiga-Jiriu kul-kjq
C. Sudanic Sara Mbay k6ro Saharan Kanuri k6ro 1Table 11 Attestations of #k-r, "donkey".
not attested in Eastein Cushitic at all. The Mabaan form is only cognate if initial t- coi~esponds to k-. Although the West Chadic forms closely resemble those of Masa and East Chadic, they may be loanwords from Kanuri.
This is an extremely widespread root through the Horn of Africa, and appears virtually unchanged in niimerous East Cushitic and Omotic langiiages. This suggests that it is probably a widespread loanword and should not be reconstructed to Proto-Ciishitic. The Ethio-Semitic languages have a different word, cognate with the Near Eastern Semitic root h-171-r:argiling that the ancestral speakers of these languages already had a domestic donkey when they crossed the Bab el Mandeb.
The most probable source for harre are the Oromoid words for "zebra". Zebras are not part of the fauna of the highlands but they are widespread in the lowlands south of the Ethiopian Plateau and are
66 V L'homme et i'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
very familiar to pastoral groups such as the Borana. Borana has harre dida for zebra, with dida meaning "outdoors" or "open air" The term harre was probably originally a word for zebra in lowland Oromoid and was transferred to donkey once it was fully domesticated. The zebra would then become the "donkey of the plains". Formations such as Konso harr-etita for "zebra" would be calques of the Borana expression, already using the borrowed word for donkey. The development of the donkey as pack animal is probably reflected in the Beja harri "anything ridden, from a came1 to a train".
In the Hoin of Africa, an old root for the wild ass #kuur-was largely displaced by #harre when the domesticated donkey developed economic significance. The term #harre was probably borrowed from terms in lowland Oromoid originally applied to "zebra".
Arguing historically from terms for "dog" presents a special problem; these words have an astonishing similarity across much of Eurasia. For example, proto-Omotic for dog is *kan(Bender 1988: 145) closely resembling Proto-Indo-European *bon-(Rabin 1982: 27). Similar forms are also found in proto-Austronesian and Chinese. Newman (1 977) proposes #kar-for the original proto-Chadic, forms of which also show up in Nilo-Saharan and is identical to English "cur". Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1 994, 1: 49) note the widespread 1-eflexes of this root across Chadic and consider it may reflect a "Central Saharan areal lexeme". Linguistically. therefore, probably the only useful evidence comes from compounded or affixed forms.
If, as Bender (1975: 159) and Skinner (1977: 187) suggest, this root is common Afroasiatic, then Akkadian k-l-b,Arabic kalb and Kabylé akelbun al1 form part of a cognate set. The k-l-b root is also applied to wolves in Eurasia (e.g. South Arabian languages) but this is probably a secondaiy meaning as wolves are absent in Africa. The South Semitic languages, such as Mehn and Soqotri, explicitly apply the same word kalb to both "dog" and "wolf'. The third radical, -b,is now generally considered to be an affix marking wild animals and would not necessarily travel with the remainder of the word. Rabin (1982: 27) notes that forms such as Latin canis may be direct loans from Afroasiatic. Historically speaking, given the Middle Eastein origins
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 67 V Phylum Family Branch Language Attestation Gloss AA Ornotic Common *kana Cushitic Beja Beja keluus PUPPY Agaw Bilin zadar] East Saho kare Gawwada xar-o Konso kuta South Asax kite Chadic West Hausa kàree Central Bata kade Kada kara East Mokilko zédè Sokoro kuyo Sernitic Central Ugaritic k-1-b South Soqotri kalb Berber Kabyle akelbun PLlPPS NS Kuliak Trpeth kudo' Il Saharan Kanuri Teda kari kidii ll 1 able 12 Attestations of #k-r, "dog" of the dog, this is not improbable. Agaw terms for dog, such as Bilin gadag, seem to resemble Central Chadic foims very closely, although this may be accidental similarity. Another root with some promise is #k-t-r for "puppy". This lexical item is much more rarely recorded, and therefore less certain. However, this root has the advantage that it does not appear to be con-espondingly widespread across the world in the same way as the basic terms for "dog". The #t-t-1forms are only found in Gurage and probably loans from Cushitic.
68 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation
AA Cushitic East Haddiya tuu!iilla
l l South Gorwaa kut~ikuti
l l Chadic West Karekare tiiutùu
Central Bura kutiru
East Bidiya kurkido Semitic Gurage Zway ~ulalla
Saharan Kanuri kut~~rii
1Table 13 Attestations of #k-t-r, "puppy"
The most comrnon root in Chadic is #sVb-vVn which Skinner (1 977: 192-3) shows is spread throughout the family. Skinner argues from this that the word has spread recently, but this seems unlikely as the guinea-fowl is indigenous to the region. Newman (1977) also notes this root and proposes #zaban for proto-Chadic while Jungraithmayr and Ibriszimow (1994,I: 84) propose #z-b-1. Strikingly, the foi-ms in Cushitic are very similar. The common Ethiopic i-oot appears to be #z-g-r,widespread in Cushitic and Ethio-Semitic; whether its witnesses in Omotic are more than sporadic loans remains to be seen. This root also means "spotted" in many languages. Ehret (1987: 54) suggests *zagr-for proto-Cushitic, but Agaw foims have -n-in the C, slot and centralised vowels in VI and V2.
Linguistic evidence suggests thai some of the pigs in West Africa were introduced at an early period by the Portuguese, "unimproved Iberian swine", as Epstein has it. Loanwords from Portuguese porco are widely found in the coastal region of Nigeria (Williamson, P.C.). But there is also evidence for a chain of teims stretching from Eastein Burkina Faso to the Sudan-Ethiopian borderlands that appear to be unrelated to European introductions. Spaulding & Spaulding (1988).
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderinas of Cushitic oastoralists 69 V Bechhaus-Gerst (1999) and Blench (1999 c) have made preliminary compilations of the evidence (Table 14).
1 Phylum Farnily Branch Language Attestation 1
Kornan Anej kutum
ES Nyirnang kudur
Old Nobiin kutun
Maba Aiki ginvà wart-hog (?C)
Saharan Kanuri godu warthog
Kadu Karndanz b-oburuk. pl. k-aburuk
Kordofanian Ori; kàdifi
Benue-Congo Nupe kutsü
Kwa Fon agurusa
Gur Dagbane kurutJu
Bantu #CB #-$du wild pis
Ornotic Kefa gudinoo
A A Sernitic Sudan Arabic kadruuk
Chadic Hausa ;hduu
1 Table 14 Attestations of #-kutu, "pig".
This root appears in Nilo-Saharan. Niger-Congo and Afroasiatic and can also be applied both to the warthog and the bush-pig (Potamochoerus porcus). Manessy (1972: 314) points out that the chain of lexemes connecting to the Gur languages can be traced through dialect and obsolete terms for domestic pig given in Koelle. It was also cited by Gregersen (1972: 86) who used this as evidence for a proposed "Kongo-Saharan" grouping (wrongly, given that it is clearly a widespread cultural loan). Gregersen (op. cit.) also mentions Greenberg's suggestion that the Saharan form was loaned into *PB. Schadeberg and Elias (1 979: 84) observe that this root has been loaned into Sudariese Arabic to give kudruuk.
The linguistic evidence is rather compelling; it suggests strongly that the small black pigs of the interior of Africa were indeed part of an
70 V Chomme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
ancient pig-keeping culture that spread across Central Africa from the Nile. Pigs were kept in a semi-fera1 manner either roaming throughout the year or only being confined during the growing season. The rise of Islam drove pig production into pockets, and the intro- duction of larger European breeds which crossed freely with the local pigs has virtually obscured their genetic heritage. The pig, the "democratic philosopher of the Medieval Sudan" needs to be highlighted as a significant element in African subsistence strategies. It may be, however, the transmission of the domestic pig was chronologically and culturally distinct from the pastoral movement proposed in this paper; pastoralists usually eschew pigs because they cannot move long distances.
iThe "Inter-Saharan" Hypothesis
Tentative Historical lrnplications
A rather unexpected consequence of the study of domestïc animal
names is the numbei- of common lexical items shared between Cushitic
and Chadic. This tends to confirm the studies of Mukarovsky (1990,
in press) on numerals and body parts. If this is correct, then Cushitic
and Chadic may shai-e a special relationship and be opposed to Berber-
Egyptian-Semitic or "North Afroasiatic" (Ehret 1995). The links
between Cushitic and Chadic would then be the result of a migration
of Cushitic speakers westward. This is a considerable distance and
might be explained by the gradua1 migration of pastoralist peoples.
The example of the Ful6e pastoralists who have expanded from
Senegambia to the borders of Sudan in the last millennium show that
such a migration can occur (Blench, 1995b, 1999d). The animals
accompanying this migration would have been three species of
ruminant: cattle, goats and sheep. More controversially, donkeys,
dogs, pigs and guinea-fowl may also have been associated with this
movement, although perhaps not kept as pastoral species.
Speakers migrated from the Nile Valley to Lake Chad, as would the Shuwa Arabs, millennia later. Languages related to present-day Chadic were presumably once spoken in a strip across present-day Sudan but
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 71 V were later eliminated by movements of Nilo-Saharan speakers (Map 1). Little-known Chadic languages such as Kujarke, spoken in Western Sudan, may well be the last suiviving remnants of this process (Blench, in press, b).
Such a significant long-distance movement of actual population as implied by this model should have archaeological correlates. One of the distinct problems in relating linguistic to archaeological evidence is the patchy nature of excavation. Sudan is relatively well covered, but data for Chad and the relevant regions of Ethiopia and Nigeria remain spasse indeed. To seek sites or traditions that might provide material evidence for such a movement, certain parameters must be established. The linguistic data provides no inteinal evidence for dating although the model has to allow sufficient time for the intemal diversity of Chadic languages to develop. Such a movement of pastoral peoples must also lie within the known parameters of ruminant domestication.
A likely candidate for the wandering Cushites is the Leiterbatzd pottery tradition that has been identified in the Eastern Sahara, most specifically in the Wadi Howar, which is a now dry river system that stretches oves 1000 km between Eastern Chad and the Nile Valley 5. The Howar ends just beyond the Sudanese border and the proposed migrating pastoralists would then have faced a substantial obstacle in the shape of the Ennedi and Biltine mountainous regions which run Noith-South. However, there is a gap between these two outcrops which would permit pastoral migration, and the herds would then pick up the Wadi Hawach and thence a seiies of smaller wadis, iunning towards Lake Chad.
Leiterband traditions were first identified by Kuper (1 98 1) as distinct from Nubian C-group pottery. They have been subsequently studied in more detail by Keding (1 993) who argues that this tradition shows its strongest links with the Khartum Neolithic, out of which it may
5 1 am grateful to Jean-Charles Clanet, who encouraged me to examine the geography of this region more closely.
72 V L'homme et l'animal dans le bassin du lac Tchad
develop. Keding shows that the pottery traditions are strongly associated with cattle-keeping and indeed complete cattle skeletons have been found in pits on Leiterband sites. From this she argues that the makers of the pottery were pastoralists who also supplemented their diet with fish, at that period widely available in the rivers. This pastorallfishing economy is extremely familiar today from the Nilotic- speakers in the region. such as the Dinka. Map 1 shows the projected route of the speakers of proto-Chadic as well as the approximate locations of the wadis referred to above.
O 1 000 km /
Cushltrc (taday) Cushific (presumed former exlensian)
1Map 1 Proposed migrations of Chadic-speakers.
Leiterband traditions have yet to be convincingly dated directly, but if the chronological sequence linking it with the Khartum Neolithic is correct, then it would begin to develop appioximately 4000 BP. This would suit the present hypothesis extremely well: if the Cushites
R. BLENCH-The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists 73 V began their westward movement from Ethiopia some 6-5 000 years BP they may have been responsible for the Khartum Neolithic (beginning 5700 BP) and then gradually spread westwards along the Wadi Howar some 4000 years ago. The increasing aridity after this period severed the links with the Nile Valley allowing an independent evolution of decorative styles. In the meantime, the continuing westward drift reaches Lake Chad Ca. 3000 BP. This would then link with the earliest dates for cattle in this region at about this period (Breunig et al. 1994).
Various models of the internal structure of Afroasiatic have been pi-oposed, most notably those of Fleming (1983), Ehret (1 975, 1999, Stolbova and Orel (1 995), Bender (1997) and Blakek (in press). The terminology of domestic livestock suggests strongly that Cushitic and Chadic share a special relationship and that this is reflected in the terminology for species of domestic animals. As names for domestic animals are notoi-iously susceptible to loaning, the demonstration of such links is far fi-om constituting proof of the specific Cushitic-Chadic relationship. However, other evidence also supports this notion, pointing to an avenue for further investigation.
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