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

Riccardo Ginevra*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


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
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


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


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