Indo-European Cosmology and Poetics: Cosmic Merisms in Comparative and Cognitive Perspective

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Abstract

The Old Norse mythological poem Vǫluspá and the hymn 10.129 of the Rigveda attest cosmogonic narratives which, as long noted, display various correspondences, but also clear differences: inter alia, the collocation [HEAVEN and EARTH and WATER/SEA] for [COSMOS] which occurs in Vǫluspá 3 does not seem to have exact parallels in the Vedic hymn. In the article, a new interpretation of this collocation is advanced as a merism of [A+[B+C]] structure, reflecting the same polar conceptualization of the [COSMOS] which underlies the much more frequent merism [HEAVEN and EARTH], namely as an entity which comprises two "halves", an upper one and a lower one; this analysis finds support in the lexicon and phraseology of various other Indo-European languages (Latin, Greek, Hittite and Armenian, inter alia). From a cognitive perspective, this conceptualization reflects the application of the spatial scheme UP-DOWN to cosmic structure; this considerations allows for the individuation of a further parallel between the cosmogonic poetics of Vǫluspá 3 and that of Rigveda 10.129.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)5-17
Numero di pagine13
RivistaArchivio Glottologico Italiano
Volume104
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020

Keywords

  • Linguistics, historical, comparative, Indo-European, cognitive, Old Norse, Icelandic, Vedic, Sanskrit, Homeric, Greek, Hittite, poetics, mythology.

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