View previous topic | View next topic

Gibbons

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

markvent
385120.  Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:16 am Reply with quote

Suzanne Curchod was engaged to the English historian Edward Gibbon, but his father broke off the engagement. In 1764 she married Jacques Necker, then a banker, and encouraged him in his political career. Her salon attracted such figures as the naturalist Georges Buffon and the authors Jean-François de La Harpe and Jean-François Marmontel.

Georges Buffon discovered the apes of the family Hylobatidae or as they were named by him in his Nomenclature of the Apes (Volume 8) .. Gibbons.

There is , that I can find, no documentary evidence that he named them after Edward Gibbon, but ... it seems possible.

Having said that ...

Gilbert is the name of the cat in the fables of "Reynard the Fox" perhaps as a result of these stories, Gilbert or Gib (as a shortened form) seems to have caught on as a cat's name. "Gibbe" is the name of the cat in Chaucer's "The Romaunt of the Rose". "Gib"pronounced Gib (NOT Jib), became a generic old English word, meaning a male cat, especially a castrated male cat. (Seymour (1805, p. 191): "Falstaff says he is as melancholy as 'a gib cat' [1H4 1.2.74 (185)], which is explained by Mr. Steevens 'a glibbed or gelded cat.' Does Hamlet mean, among the other opprobria, to impute impotency to his uncle?" - also Cappell (1783): "a he Cat; now call'd-a Tom Cat; but, anciently,-Gib, an Abbreviation of-Gilbert: the Word, in both Places, carries also with it the Idea of-old.")

Which would suggest that "gibbon" is along the same lines as "orang u'tang" ... it seems possible.

Mark.

 
thegrandwazoo
385921.  Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:05 pm Reply with quote

Perhaps we could look this up in "Stanley Stamps Gibbon Catalogue"?
( I wish I had thought that up but points to anyone who knows where it came from )

 
markvent
386398.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:23 am Reply with quote

thegrandwazoo wrote:
Perhaps we could look this up in "Stanley Stamps Gibbon Catalogue"?
( I wish I had thought that up but points to anyone who knows where it came from )


wasn't it on the shelf next to "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Gibbon, by Edward Empire" ?

Mark.

In case anyone is confused ... or thinks I am ;) .. both are from I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

Later Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden would take the "Gibbon" with them to The Goodies for the song Do The Funky Gibbon and indeed the goodies boat in Post Office Pirates HMS Saucy Gibbon ..


Last edited by markvent on Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:30 am; edited 1 time in total

 
96aelw
386454.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:34 am Reply with quote

The OED, I fear, favours an Indian origin for the word gibbon, although mine (or rather Dad's) doesn't see fit to tell me what the "Indian dialect word" in question is, or even which dialect of which language is involved. Ho hum.

 
suze
386467.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:42 am Reply with quote

It's a mysterious one, to be sure.

The word came to English from French, but the best that any of the major dictionaries can do is to note that it is supposed to have come from a language spoken in the French colonies in India, but has not been identified in any Indian language.

Gibbon as a surname does indeed have the etymology suggested by markvent - at least some of the time. An etymology from the Frankish *geba-win (gift-friend) is also postulated.

 
markvent
386522.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:31 am Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
The OED, I fear, favours an Indian origin for the word gibbon, although mine (or rather Dad's) doesn't see fit to tell me what the "Indian dialect word" in question is, or even which dialect of which language is involved. Ho hum.


Well, on further digging and returning to the source, I refer back to "Buffons Natural History Containing A Theory of the Earth, A General History Of Man, of the Brute Creation, and of Vegetables, Minerals etc. (1792)" (pg. 185)

N.B. Mr Dupleix is Marquis Joseph-François Dupleix (1697-1763), Fr. governor general in India, 1742-54.

Quote:
Gibbon is the name by which Mr. Dupleix sent us this animal from the East-Indies. I thought at first that this was an Indian word, but in looking over the nomenclatura of the monkey family, I found a note of Dalechamp's upon Pliny, that Strabo has described the cephus by the word Keipon; from which, probably, Guibon / Gibbon, is derived.

The passage of Pliny, with Dalechamp's note, is as follows:

"Pompeii magni primum ludi, Ostenderunt ex Ethiopia, quas vocant cepbes(*) quarum pedee posteriores pedibus humanis & cruribus, priores manibus fuere similes; hoc animal postea Roma non vidit."

* Cephos; Strabo, lib, xv. Keipon "vocant esseque tradit
facie satyro similem."
Dal. Plin. Hist. Nat. Lib. viii. cap 10. Nota. cebus of the Greeks, the cephos of Pliny, which is pronounced kebus and kephus, might very possibly take its origin from koph or kophin, which is the name of an ape in the Hebrew and Chaldean.


the actual passage from Pliny is ...

Quote:
"Pompei Magni primum ludi ostenderunt chama, quem Galli rufium vocabant, effigie lupi, pardorum maculis. iidem ex Aethiopia quas vocant κηρους, quarum pedes posteriores pedibus humanis et cruribus, priores manibus fuere similes. hoc animal postea Roma non vidit."


the later part translates roughly as -

He also brought out of Ethiopia other beasts, named Cephi, whose hind feet and legs resembled those of a man and whose fore-feet were like mens hands. He was never seen afterwards at Rome.

and whilst digging still further ...

There is an old French surname Giboin, which is derived from Gothic giban "to give" (geban in Old High German) combined with Old High German wini "friend."

Gibbon - a gift to a friend ? but surely Buffon would have seen/understood/got that ?

Mark.

[John Mitchison stuck out his leg and I tripped right over it !] :)

 
suze
386596.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:21 am Reply with quote

Good work markvent! On asking Mr Google, a few other sources deriving the word from Strabo's keipon present themselves - so the idea is certainly worthy of consideration, at the very least.

What's puzzling me now is why it is that the OED and the other major dictionaries don't even mention it in passing - the OED is rarely shy about referring to the classics!

 
96aelw
386616.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:09 am Reply with quote

Not that the Pliny link is of the first importance in all this, but the reference in question (Nat Hist Book VIII xxviii,70) doesn't refer to beasts called Cephi, but rather to beasts called Ceroi, who seem less likely to be etymologically connected to gibbons. There is, however, a more serious weakness to the theory. I haven't finished reading Strabo 15 yet, but a quick search in an occasionally unreliable corner of the interweb turned up no results for the word keipon, and neither Liddell nor Scott professes any knowledge of the word's existence, so I suspect that the reason for the OED's silence is that neither Strabo nor any other author ever used the word or referred to such an animal.

 
markvent
386629.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:06 am Reply with quote

err apologies, I seem to have taken so long in typing my post re: Pliny etc and the geba-win bit .. that I re quoted what suze had already said ...

are Frankish and Gothic the same ? *puzzled-look*

96aelw - I refer you to

Quote:
A NEW SYSTEM;
OR,
AN ANALYSIS OF ANTIENT MYTHOLOGY:

WHEREIN AN ATTEMPT IS MADE TO DIVEST TRADITION OF FABLE;
AND TO REDUCE THE TRUTH TO ITS ORIGINAL PURITY,

BY JACOB BRYANT, ESQ. (1802)

Quote:
That Apes and Baboons were, among the Egyptians, held in
veneration, is very certain. The Ape was sacred to the God Apis; and by the Greeks was rendered Capis, and Ceipis*. The Baboon was denominated from the Deity Babon, to whom it was equally sacred.


this has the following foot-note
Quote:
* By Strabo expressed [Greek: Keipos], who says, that it was reverenced by the people at Babylon, opposite to Memphis. l. 17. p. 1167. [Greek: Keipon de Babulonioi hoi kata Memphin (sebousi)].

I haven't read Strabo, but a reasonably reliable English translation I have gives the following from Book 17, page 111 in which he talks about animals venerated in Egypt by different "groups" ...
Quote:

"...and a cebus by the Babylonians who live near Memphis (the cebus has a face like a satyr, is between a dog and a bear in other respects, and is bred in Aethiopia);"


if my old mum could see me now ... quoting Pliny and Strabo .. she'd be even more amazed than I am :D

Mark.

 
suze
386686.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:07 pm Reply with quote

markvent wrote:
are Frankish and Gothic the same ? *puzzled-look*


No they're not. Frankish is the ultimate ancestor of modern day Dutch, and most Germanic words in French either come from Frankish or else are modern borrowings from English. Since no written material in Frankish exists, all that is known about it has been constructed theoretically.

Gothic was a written language, so rather more is known about it. There's a theory that it was closely related to Old Norse (while they are undoubtedly both Germanic, claims of a closer relationship are controversial), and some say that it lingered on in some isolated areas until the 18th or even 19th century.


Getting back to the topic at hand, we have this fellow Buffon, writing in 1799, and claiming that Strabo used the word keipon. We then have Jacob Bryant writing in 1802 and saying the same thing - this time with a proper citation. In Greek, that quote is "Κειπον δε Βαβυλωνιοι ὁι κατα Μεμφιν (σεβουσι)".

Only problem is, Strabo just doesn't use the word Κειπον (or indeed Κειπος) anywhere - and I'm now at a complete loss as to why Buffon and Bryant both say that he did.

 
thegrandwazoo
386726.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:23 pm Reply with quote

markvent wrote:
thegrandwazoo wrote:
Perhaps we could look this up in "Stanley Stamps Gibbon Catalogue"?
( I wish I had thought that up but points to anyone who knows where it came from )


wasn't it on the shelf next to "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Gibbon, by Edward Empire" ?

Mark.

In case anyone is confused ... or thinks I am ;) .. both are from I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

Later Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden would take the "Gibbon" with them to The Goodies for the song Do The Funky Gibbon and indeed the goodies boat in Post Office Pirates HMS Saucy Gibbon ..

Points to Markvent. It was also the name of a track by Soft Machine on their album inventively called "Six" dedicated to Bill Oddie.

 
markvent
386772.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:00 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

No they're not. Frankish is the ultimate ancestor of modern day Dutch, and most Germanic words in French either come from Frankish or else are modern borrowings from English. Since no written material in Frankish exists, all that is known about it has been constructed theoretically.

Gothic was a written language, so rather more is known about it. There's a theory that it was closely related to Old Norse (while they are undoubtedly both Germanic, claims of a closer relationship are controversial), and some say that it lingered on in some isolated areas until the 18th or even 19th century.


ahhhh thanks suze :)

suze wrote:
Getting back to the topic at hand, we have this fellow Buffon, writing in 1799, and claiming that Strabo used the word keipon. We then have Jacob Bryant writing in 1802 and saying the same thing - this time with a proper citation. In Greek, that quote is "Κειπον δε Βαβυλωνιοι ὁι κατα Μεμφιν (σεβουσι)".

Only problem is, Strabo just doesn't use the word Κειπον (or indeed Κειπος) anywhere - and I'm now at a complete loss as to why Buffon and Bryant both say that he did.


Not just the two of them, a whole tribe of people assigning that "name" to Strabo but I can't find it in his work anywhere. Aside from that we have another problem ...

From Illustrated Natural History by J G Wood (1865)

Quote:
The derivation of the name Gibbon is rather doubtful, although it is of great antiquity. The opinion which seems to be most in accordance with probability is, that the term is a corruption of Kophin, a Chaldaic word, signifying an ape. Delachamp thinks that it may be derived from Keipos, which in Strabo's version of the well-known word Keplios, signifies an ape or monkey. The difficulty in the latter case appears to be that the Keipon resides in Ethiopia, while the Gibbons are Asiatic animals.


Mark.

 
96aelw
386798.  Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:51 pm Reply with quote

markvent wrote:

suze wrote:
Getting back to the topic at hand, we have this fellow Buffon, writing in 1799, and claiming that Strabo used the word keipon. We then have Jacob Bryant writing in 1802 and saying the same thing - this time with a proper citation. In Greek, that quote is "Κειπον δε Βαβυλωνιοι ὁι κατα Μεμφιν (σεβουσι)".

Only problem is, Strabo just doesn't use the word Κειπον (or indeed Κειπος) anywhere - and I'm now at a complete loss as to why Buffon and Bryant both say that he did.


Not just the two of them, a whole tribe of people assigning that "name" to Strabo but I can't find it in his work anywhere.


I have made some vague headway with this, but I can't properly nail it without seeing a Greek text or two, of which the only one I can find online doesn't seem to wish to co operate. I shall seek one out at the library tomorrow. Anyway, I suspect the answer may well be a straightforward issue of textual criticism; that is, the editions used by Buffon and Bryant may have included the word keipon, but subsequent editors have decided that this reading is incorrect, and replaced it with something else. An online English text (that provided by Lacus Curtius) enabled me to find the references, anyway, of which there are in fact two.

Book 16, chapter 4, subsection 16 is the first, and 17.1.40 the second (and the one that has been quoted or misquoted already). The word used in that translation is "cebi". Again, neither Liddell nor Scott are willing to help out here, but they do offer the word "keblos", which is pretty damn close, and which they translate as "dog faced baboon". I suspect that when I get hold of a text this may prove to be our man, as the notes on the Lacus Curtius edition suggest that "cebi" were specimens of Papio Cebus, a species of which I can find no other trace on the web, but which must be some kind or other of baboon. The Yellow Baboon suggests itself, as its Latin name, Papio Cynacephalus, translates as the dog faced baboon the Lexicon was touting.

 
96aelw
387387.  Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:35 pm Reply with quote

Right. Well, the main problem was my indescribable blockheadedness in not checking words with a long e as well as words with a short e when looking for a Greek word that could be rendered "cebi". "κηβος" is the feller in the text, and is well known to the lexicographers. Sorry about that. The word was also used by Galen and Aristotle, and is defined as a long tailed monkey, "perhaps the nisnas monkey, cercothipecus pyrrhonotus", which seems to be a possible subspecies of the patas monkey, which seems to be more plausible than the insistence of more than one translation that the species in question is papio cebus, given the apparent non existence of that as a species name (although the word cebus, presumably derived from this Greek root, is the family name for Capuchin monkeys, just to confuse matters). Neither text I consulted noted any controversy over the reading of the word in question, but Liddell and Scott affirm that some editors have preferred the reading κηπος (cepos, rather than cebos) in Strabo, which variant form of the word is more certainly used by two other authors (Aelian and Agatharchides). That's close enough to keipon to suggest that it may be the source of the confusion, I think.

κηπος, incidentally, when it's not being a variant spelling for an African monkey, was also a word meaning a garden, a kind of hairstyle, or female genitalia (rather sweetly, Liddell and Scott didn't feel quite up to providing that last definition straight out, but took refuge in offering the offending meaning in Latin).

 
markvent
387396.  Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:53 pm Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
... which seems to be more plausible than the insistence of more than one translation that the species in question is papio cebus, given the apparent non existence of that as a species name (although the word cebus, presumably derived from this Greek root, is the family name for Capuchin monkeys, just to confuse matters).


the papio family is the Baboon :) [edit: ugh! as you mentioned previously - the repeater repeats...]

Quote:
... κηπος, incidentally, when it's not being a variant spelling for an African monkey, was also a word meaning a garden, a kind of hairstyle, or female genitalia (rather sweetly, Liddell and Scott didn't feel quite up to providing that last definition straight out, but took refuge in offering the offending meaning in Latin).


*blushes* and titters lightly whilst fanning himself ...

Most excellent digging Mr 96aelw :)

Mark.

 

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group