Horses and chariots again.

Artur Karp hart at POLBOX.COM
Wed Nov 11 21:33:41 UTC 1998

At 11:27 11.11.98 -0500, you wrote:
>Anthony's claim that `wegh' meant `convey in a >vehicle<' sounds
>suspect to me. It does not have that specific a meaning in RV. What
>about Hittite, Greek, etc?

PSl >vezti< - with the meaning "to convey (in a vehicle)" belongs to
All-Slavic Basic Vocabulary [cf. F. Kopecny, Zakladni vseslovanska slovni
zasoba, Praha 1981, p. 400]. Similarly PSl >voz"< - "waggon, cart" [p. 411].

While commenting on PSl >v^e^za< (I do not know how to use standard ASCII
characters to produce diacritical marks necessary to represent sounds in
Slavic languages; in this case ^ should be reversed and imagined not before
but over e and z) - meaning "tower" in modern Czech, Slovak and Polish - V.
Machek [Etymologicky slovnik jazyka ceskeho, Praha 1971] makes an
interesting remark that connects >wegh< with sleds:

"Originally it meant, as is shown in Old Russian texts, tent, abode of
nomads, temporary shelter (till now North Russian >v^e^za< = Lapponian
yurt) [...]. In this connection an assumption was made, that [the word in
question] was related [to the verb] >vezti<, and that originally it meant
transportable [little] house. There are informations of such [houses] (on
wheels) used by the Skyths and other nomads. Even nowadays sheds mounted on
sleds are known [to be used] among Balkan Slavs: they are part of permanent
farming equipment, in the summer they are dragged to the field which is to
be guarded, and dragged back to the farm for the winter. Using sleds for
transportation means in the summer was not uncommon, it was sanctified by
the tradion to that extent, that not so long ago in the Trans-Karpathian
Ukraine the bodies of deceased used to be carried to funerals on sleds" [p.

Although Machek suspects that v^e^za may be an early borrowing from OHG
>sweige< "cattle-shed/pen, shepherd's/herdsman's shelter", the new
corrected Russian version of Max Vasmer's dictionary confirms connection
with PSl >vezti<. According to Vasmer the original meaning was
"transportable house [dom-povozka] on [sleds] runners or wheels" [M.
Fasmer, Etimologiceskij slovar' russkogo jazyka, Moskva 1986, p. 285,
(where also lit. on the history of the problem)].

Hoping it helps,

Artur Karp, M.A.

University of Warsaw

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