Greeks immigrated Peru and Polynesia? Wow!

Article published on Nov. 14, 2010
Article published on Nov. 14, 2010
Interview of the German Proffessor of Linguistics, Pr. Nors S. Josephson to Nansy Mpika, which was published in the Davlos magazine (issue 214, October 1999) ( N. Biska: How did you discover greek linguistic elements in the languages of Polynesia? NORS S. JOSEPHSON: I have always had a keen interest in the ancient civilization of the Easter Island.
I visited the island and later I ve traveled to Polynesia, where I myself have gathered dictionaries and word lists of Polynesian languages. Many scholars before me, especially linguists, have pointed out the unusual and non-Polynesian origin words that remain in today's spoken language of Easter Island. So I decided to compare these words with the major languages of Asia, America and Europe, including the ancient Greek.

N. Biska: Have you studied the Greek language in the past?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: I ve studied modern Greek and I have basic knowledge of etymology and the grammatical structure of ancient Greek. Furtheromre, for eight years I am studying the languages of the Pacific.

N. Biska: What emanates your interest for this specific study?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: As linguist and a musician, I am fascinated by the sonic types and the use of language as well as the role of music as a vehicle of communication. Ever since I ve visited the Easter Island in 1978, I decided to investigate the spoken language in order to find possible cultural roots of ancient civilizations.

N. Biska: How many years spent in studying and what are your main conclusions?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: It took me about eight years to finish my first book, «Greek Linguistic Elements in The Polynesian Languages-Hellenicum Pacificum» which was published in 1987. Then for the next five years I ve worked for the new and enhanced version of my book, which is about to be published these days, again by the German University of Heidelberg (C. Winter Universitatsverlag, Heidelberg, Germany). My main conclusions are summarized in that eastern Polynesian languages (in particular the language of Easter Island) have an important substrate grammatical structure and words that have their roots in the ancient Greek language and particularly its archaic types. (See page "THE GREEK LANGUAGE). Moreover, the culture of Easter Island has many ancient Greek and Egyptian originals, which are being referred extensively in the newest version of my book.

N. Biska: the Greek penetration to the islands happened, through Peru-Bolivia ? How do you explain the Greek cultural influence not only to Polynesia but also to Peru, as you suggest in your book?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: The Greeks who colonized the eastern Polynesia, probably originated from what is modern Peru and Bolivia, as the culture of Easter Island has had numerous similarities to those areas during the pre-Incan era. In addition, ocean waves are moving westwards from the coast of Peru to the south-eastern Polynesia. These Greek-speaking inhabitants were speaking ancient Greek, and also brought an ancient Greek culture (in addition to many Egyptian elements), which is reminiscent of Cyprus and the Cyclades islands, including Naxos and Melos over the same period.

N. Biska: Do you reject the hypothesis that the Greek cultural influence is even earlier?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: There are linguistic and archaeological evidence (presented in the new edition of my book), that it is possible that multiple migrations took place towards ancient Peru and the Easter Island. For example, the architecture of the Inca wall construction using "zigzag" and trapezoidal entrances, is reminiscent of the Mycenaean prototypes. So i Greek migrations in South America, may have been even earlier.

N.Biska: How do you explain the possible spread of the Greeks on such a scale in ancient times?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: Greek immigration in Sicily, southern Italy and parts of Spain was possible thanks to the numerous innovations in shipbuilding and navigation systems. Moreover, the Greek trade with England (which appears to date from 1000 BC) made the Greek navigators acquainted with the Straits of Gibraltar (the so-called "Pillars of Hercules") and the coast of Morocco. From this point on the southwest flows could easily transported the ships around the Caribbean or off the northern coast of South America close to the pre-Inca cultural centers of Peru and Bolivia. (See page "ANCIENT GREEKS IN AMERICA)

N. Biska: And the influence of ancient Greek music? Can you Identify common elements between the Polynesian and Greek music?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: My new book contains a chapter on ancient music of Easter Island, which was rescued by Ramon Campbell in 1960 and was published in his book «La herencia musical Rapanui». There are many parallel elements between the older music of Easter Island and the melodies of Nazca in southern Peru on the one hand and the ancient music on the other.

N. Biska: What are the reactions of the academic community in the version of your book?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: The minimum academic reactions I received were mixed. From Greece I had a particularly enthusiastic reception of my study by Professor University of Thessaloniki, Mr. T. Kazakos.

N. Biska: Have you traveled to Greece and what do you think about modern Greece and the Greeks?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: I traveled to Greece several times, and three times in Cyprus. In my opinion it is good for Greece that belongs to the European community. I hope that the Cyprus problem will find a peaceful solution, so that Greece can not be compelled to spend large sums on defense. To this end I have recorded and distributed to all interested parties a plan for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem.

N. Biska: What is the contribution of ancient Greek thought and culture?

NORS S. JOSEPHSON: The Greek culture has contributed in a unique way to promote culture, political systems, education and technology. It set the stage for the dramatic art and music of the West. Without the Greek civilization we wouldnt know the culture as it exists today.

Pr. Nors S. Giozefson after an eight-year survey summarized his findings in the book  «Greek Linguistic Elements in The Polynesian Languages-Hellenicum Pacificum»

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