The Louisiana Classicist

February 27, 2013

“genetics meets the classics”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann E. M. Ostrom @ 7:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

Geneticists Estimate Publication Date Of The ‘Iliad’

By following the evolution of certain core concepts through the language of the Hittites to the ancient and then modern Greeks, geneticists have estimated the date of the composition of the Iliad.

The researchers employed a linguistic tool called the Swadesh word list, put together in the 1940s and 1950s by American linguist Morris Swadesh. The list contains approximately 200 concepts that have words apparently in every language and every culture, Pagel said. These are usually words for body parts, colors, necessary relationships like “father” and “mother.”

They looked for Swadesh words in the “Iliad” and found 173 of them. Then, they measured how they changed.

found via Archaeology Magazine

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