REX/res COMES FROM LINEAR B FORM RA-WA-KE-TA or QA-SI-RE-U


I am reaching out to some true philologists/etymologists out there. I have a theory based on some research and what seems to be common sense, that the old latin word res has a forerunner rex. In other words, the word res is derived from the older word rex. One instance of the “common sense” side of the theory is that rex means king, or the one, the chief of the tribe; res means thing, or the one separated from the many. I would welcome ANY reasonable comments, but am hoping that at some point I can ask this question or pose this theory to an ancient Latin etymologist. Please help. -A.J. Groft

A pesar de su parecido fónico, sólo hay parecido en el el nominativo singular, en el resto de los casos, en el acusativo, por ejemplo, ya no se parecen:regem de rex, pero rem de res.
El semantema de res es √rē-, mientras que el de rex es √rĕg– (una vocal es larga mientras la otra es breve, lo cual es una distinción fonológica en latín).
Res es una antigua palabra perteneciente al italo-celta y al indo-iranio (en los extremos del arco lingüístico ie. lo que asegura su antigüedad). En latín el nominativo está rehecho sobre el acusativo rem (cosa lógica que la palabra que significa ‘cosa’ sea naturalmente objeto directo, acusativo y no agente en nominativo). En latín es femenino (también aparece en femenino en indo-iranio). Su significado principal y primero es ‘cosa que se posee’, ‘patrimonio’, ‘riqueza’. Res tiene que ver con el lenguaje jurídico más antiguo, seguramente ligada a la transmisión de la herencia y a la institución del potlacht.
Rex (que es una forma de escribir *regs) es también una palabra raíz, antiquísima y del grupo de palabras ie. atestadas en el grupo italo-celta y en el indo-ranio. Es del lenguaje religioso y político. *Reg– es un nombre de agente, cosa excepcional en los nombres raíz ie. Tiene un femenino regina (también hay femeninos correspondientes en celta e indo-iranio) formado como gallina (frente a gallus).

 

Despite the phonetic resemblance, there is only similarity in the nominative singular, in other cases, the accusative, for example, no longer seem: regem <rex, but rem < res.
The semanteme of res is √rē, while the semanteme of rex is √rĕg- (a vowel is long while the other is short, which is a phonological distinction in Latin).
Res is an old word belongs to the Italo-Celtic and Indo-Iranian (at the ends of the arc of the IE languages: It ensures their age). In Latin, the nominativeres is remade from the accusative rem (logical thing to the word meaning ‘thing’ is naturally a direct object, accusative, not nominative agent). Latin res is feminine (also shown in female the Indo-Iranian languages). Its main meaning is first ‘thing that has’, ‘heritage’, ‘wealth’. Res has to do with the oldest IE  legal language, probably linked to the transmission of heredity and the institution of potlacht.
Rex (which is a form of writing *regs) is also a root word, ancient group of IE words present in the groups Italo-Celtic and Indo-Iranian. It is the religious and political language. *Reg is an agent name, something unique in the IE root names. Regina has a female (female is also relevant in Celtic and Indo-Iranian), trained as gallina <gallus.

Can you tell us what research you have done/read that might suggest that rēs is derived from rēx? To expand on XiaoRoel’s message, these two words are generally believed to trace back to two distinct IE roots: *rei- and *reĝ-. For all we know, these roots may be linked further back in time, and one might be derived from the other, but there is no way to relate the two words etymologically within the evolution of Latin.
The semantic link between the two words (what you call the “common sense” side of your hypothesis) is also rather tenuous:

tribal chief → distinguished person → distinguished object → thing

I would have proposed something like (NB: I am not proposing this):

tribal chief → wealth/property → things → thing​

The point is that you can almost always come up with a story to link two words, but this in itself does not provide any evidence for an etymological connection.

I so appreciate your feedback and hope that I can offer a bit more information to help us come to something productive.
Okay, here’s a little more information. The reason why the whole tribal chief to wealth and property to things to thing does not, I believe work, is that tribal chiefs, or the original “kings” or life-givers were not wealthy, but simply the chief life-giver and life protector of the tribes. So “the one” who is distinguished from the rest, as well as “the one” that is distinguished from the rest: king, thing. The idea of a king being wealthy came much later when tribal kings (chief life-givers) took slaves in war and began to build states where former rivals became slaves–these same slaves became second class citizens when they assisted in battle and more new slaves were taken on.
Also, I cannot fine any time where the word respublica was written before c. 56 BC when Cicero, in hopes of helping stave off the demise of their republic reminded people that their government was “the people’s thing” or “the thing of the people.” But it was 450 years earlier that Publius Valerius, Brutus and others rebelled against the Etruscan King Tarquin and set up a new government. Could it be that the new government was actually a rexpublica, and that the original idea was one where the mainspring was mothers and fathers acting as chief life-givers in their homes–deciding not to allow one man to be a king over any other, but kings and queens would rule the homes and take their turns amongst other kings and queens to serve in government for a time. Cicero, it seems, resurrects the use of Res and I believe he does it as a reminder of the Roman roots in the face of a dissolving form. But could the original have been a rex publica? It makes more sense to me, and leaves me wondering why Cicero would have chosen res instead of rex.
Still very interested in your insights and help with this.

No, because rex is a masculine noun, unlike res which is feminine, so it would have been rex publicus rather than publica.

A couple of lines from the play “Curculio”, written by Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254–184 BC):

Quis res publica et privata geritur, nonne eis crederem?
ego abeo, tibi res solutast recte. bellator, vale.

 

Thank you for that reference from Plautus. It’s always fun to go one step deeper. Still, I want to learn more about Rex and Res. It makes more sense to me that the revolutionaries of 509 BC were more interested in the kings and queens of each patrician family sharing the reigns of the government (rex publica) than everyone sharing it equally as a commonwealth as res publica is commonly translated. Thoughts?

 

The reason why the whole tribal chief to wealth and property to things to thing does not, I believe work, is that tribal chiefs, or the original “kings” or life-givers were not wealthy, but simply the chief life-giver and life protector of the tribes. So “the one” who is distinguished from the rest, as well as “the one” that is distinguished from the rest: king, thing. The idea of a king being wealthy came much later when tribal kings (chief life-givers) took slaves in war and began to build states where former rivals became slaves–these same slaves became second class citizens when they assisted in battle and more new slaves were taken on.

I’m not sure where you got this idea, or what you mean by “life-givers”. It sounds highly dubious to me, and it certainly wasn’t true of the kings of Rome, or of Italic kings in general. It was precisely through their large landholdings that kings acquired their power. Those with wealth always had the greatest influence in ancient societies, and since it was easy to pass wealth down to one’s children, tribal dynasties were easily maintained.
I’ll also add that in prehistoric Italy, and usually even in the Roman Republic, slaves did not fight in wars. You had to have some moderate amount of wealth to even participate in military affairs because arms were expensive and weren’t typically distributed by a king. If you couldn’t afford a weapon and armor, or a horse if a cavalryman, then you didn’t fight. Fighting wars alongside your king or chieftain was considered an honor, and if your side won it also proved extremely lucrative as you’d get some measure of the spoils, including sometimes slaves of your own. It was only much later that state-owned slaves were occasionally allowed to serve in the legions with the promise that they’d be granted freedom (and reward money) at the completion of their service.

Also, I cannot fine any time where the word respublica was written before c. 56 BC when Cicero, in hopes of helping stave off the demise of their republic reminded people that their government was “the people’s thing” or “the thing of the people.”

I think you’re reading too much into the name. Res publica is simply an idiom, so translating it literally as “the people’s thing” isn’t going to get you very far in terms of understanding how Romans of the period used the word. It existed long before Cicero, and it doesn’t necessarily refer to what we now commonly call the Roman Republic as distinguished from the Roman Empire. Those are just convenient labels that modern historians have applied to demarcate different eras of Roman rule.

But it was 450 years earlier that Publius Valerius, Brutus and others rebelled against the Etruscan King Tarquin and set up a new government. Could it be that the new government was actually a rexpublica, and that the original idea was one where the mainspring was mothers and fathers acting as chief life-givers in their homes–deciding not to allow one man to be a king over any other, but kings and queens would rule the homes and take their turns amongst other kings and queens to serve in government for a time.

As has already been pointed out, *rex publica is ungrammatical. Besides that, it seems to me you’re trying to impute a meaning to the word rex that simply isn’t there. Traditional Roman households did not have kings and queens any more than modern households do. Moreover, the familial sphere was always kept quite separate from the civil sphere in Roman life. No matter what form of government the Romans happened to live under, the pater familias held supreme authority over his family. The wife was subservient to the husband within the household and had almost no influence outside the household. Women could not hold public office, so “queens” serving in government was out of the question.

Cicero, it seems, resurrects the use of Res and I believe he does it as a reminder of the Roman roots in the face of a dissolving form. But could the original have been a rex publica? It makes more sense to me, and leaves me wondering why Cicero would have chosen res instead of rex.

He didn’t resurrect the term res publica, if that’s what you’re trying to say. That was always a common term for the civil realm in Roman society, and so by extension also for the state and its government as a whole. Even assuming such a term as rex publicus (“the people’s king”?) existed, it could only have referred to a person anyway, not to a form of government.

Thank you for that reference from Plautus. It’s always fun to go one step deeper. Still, I want to learn more about Rex and Res. It makes more sense to me that the revolutionaries of 509 BC were more interested in the kings and queens of each patrician family sharing the reigns of the government (rex publica) than everyone sharing it equally as a commonwealth as res publica is commonly translated. Thoughts?

Your assumption that the term res publica necessarily implies an egalitarian or democratic form of government is simply unwarranted. Again, don’t confuse the Latin word’s meaning with that of its modern derivative “republic”, which usually implies some form of representative government. The idea behind thepublica element is not that everyone has a say in how the state is run, but rather that the state involves everyone to some degree, i.e. it deals with the people as a whole rather than as individuals. It does not mean that everyone has an equal share in its government.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your reactions. It is instructive and I appreciate it. A couple thoughts:
King comes from the word gen and later became kin. All three words deal with the origin and perpetuation of life through familial processes.
Germanic tribes (and I believe tribes going back to at least the western migrations (2000-1200 BCE?)) also had chiefs, patriarchs, grandfathers, kings. In the case of the word king, they were so named not for their wealth (originally I believe as dubious as that may seem) but for their status as the father of the extended family. Only later when tribes became cities and villages taking in people from multiple families, did that “king” become known for his status and wealth.
I do not know the origins of the word rex. Possibly Egyptian Ra plus the symbol x as a symbol of intersection, intercession, fertility (?). Maybe it is from something more ancient (Hebrew?). Maybe from whatever earlier latin root that gave us re, as in mos re, or mosre (a return to the core characteristic of humanity). But I believe–yes conjecture–that rex has similar meanings to gen… that it is not originally about wealth, but about life.
Similarly, queen must not be pigeonholed into modern queens, or even the queens we see or hear of after the family joined with other families into cities, villages and empires. Queen is also from gen. It is the word king with the feminine u… kuing (later kuin, gwen and queen). She is originally the grandmother, and helpmeet of the tribal chief.
I agree that what we know of Roman life after the Punic Wars does not follow this tribal model because the old tribal ways had likely disappeared by this time. But what of Roman life prior to the Etruscan rule? What of Roman life after the overthrow of Tarquin? To me it is a plausible theory that the Romans after 509 BC set up a commonwealth of sorts with the foundation of, “we will no longer be made children by some foreign king, but will each live up to the original tribal ideal of kings within our households, and citizen statesmen in the state. We will allow certain men to rule over us for limited time, but then another “king” from one of our families will take his place, again for a limited time.
This is a theory that I thank you so much for challenging me about. If it is not true, it is not true. But I cannot let it slide too easily, and the time you are taking to help me see flaws, but also (hopefully) to consider the possibilities is, indeed, very kind. I look forward to correction and insight.

 

En el post anterior no quise extenderme sobre las implicaciones de la palabra rex en la antigua relación poder-religión que deja asomar la raíz √*reg– indoeuropea. Esta raíz, por el campo al que atañe, el de la religión y organización social, tiene que ser antiquísima, de las palabras base del i-e.
La antigua realeza i-e. era un concepto más de carácter religioso que relacionado con el ejercicio del poder, tal como fué la realeza que conocemos históricamente. Ésta es sólo el final de un largo proceso evolutivo en el que la autoridad política van lentamente independizándose del poder religioso que siempre detentaron los sacerdotes. El que en principio se mantuviesen las viejas instituciones i.e. durante largo tiempo se debe a la existencia de colegios sacerdotales en todas las sociedades de los grupos indio-iranio e italo-celta: fratres Aruales romanos, fratres Atiedii de las tablas Iguvinas, druidasentre los celtas, brahmanes y atharvanes en la India, āθavanes y magos en Irán.
En latín, desde el punto de vista del i-e. rex tiene relación con sus derivados, rego, regnum, regina, pero también con regio y rectus (el germánico que no tiene rex, tiene sin embargo un paralelo de rectus, el gótico raihts (alemán recht).
Así como el germánico, sin el término correspondiente a rex, confirma el rectus latino, el griego ofrece un verbo, ὀρέγω (su ómicron es epentética ya que el protogriego no admite la ro, , en principio de palabra, y las ros del griego clásico son evoluciones de los grupos iniciales *sr– o *wr-) que es una de las claves en la comprensión de la semántica antigua de esta antiquísima raíz i-e. Su significado es ‘extender(se) en línea recta’ (frente a πετάννυμι, ‘extender a lo largo’). Este vestigio del griego orienta la conexión de la palabra rex con la palabra regio que en origen no significa ‘región’, sino ‘el punto alcanzado en línea recta’ (que explica el significado ‘en el lado opuesto’ de e regione, es decir, ‘enfrente en línea recta’, y en la lengua de los augures regio es ‘el punto alcanzado por una línea recta trazada en la tierra o en el cielo’ y, a partir de aquí, ‘el espacio comprendido entre tales rectas trazadas en diferentes sentidos’.
Rectus, paralelamente significará ‘recto como la línea que se traza’ y regula el instrumento con que se traza. El sentido moral de la palabra y el material están unidos desde muy antiguo. Lo recto es lo moral y se opone a lo torcido también en lo moral. Raihts en germánico también tiene este doble uso material y moral, y el antiguo persa rasta ‘recta’ en el sentido moral y físico, adjetivando a la palabra que significa ‘vía’
Así el rex latino traza las líneas rectas al fundar una sociedad, marca los límites, el pomoerium sagrado El verbo rego tiene un uso con fines también importantes, regere fines, ‘trazar las fronteras con líneas rectas’.
Este acto es en cierto modo mágico y político y religioso a la vez. El rex, más sacerdotal que político también marcará lo recto, fijará las reglas de la sociedad.
Para este vocabulario antiguo i-e. es importante el libro Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes de Émile Benveniste.
No tengo tiempo ahora para ponerlo en inglés; si nadie lo hace, mañana lo haré yo. Mis disculpas más sinceras.

 

Queen is also from gen. It is the word king with the feminine u… kuing (later kuin, gwen and queen).

Where in the world did you get this? :confused: King and queen are not etymologically related, and there is no such thing as a “feminine u” infix in IE.
Anyway, the topic of this thread is the etymology of rex and res (and I hope that you have now abandoned your mistaken hypothesis about res). There is plenty to be said, based on reliable scholarship, about the unrelated Germanic words king and queen, but it doesn’t belong here. Nor do lengthy discussions of the concept of the tribal chief throughout the cultures of antiquity.
To get back on topic:

 

I do not know the origins of the word rex. Possibly Egyptian Ra plus the symbol x as a symbol of intersection, intercession, fertility (?). Maybe it is from something more ancient (Hebrew?). Maybe from whatever earlier latin root that gave us re, as in mos re, or mosre (a return to the core characteristic of humanity). But I believe–yes conjecture–that rex has similar meanings to gen… that it is not originally about wealth, but about life.

You do know the origins of the words rex: read the preceding messages in this thread. I’m afraid the rest of what you say is absurd. I wish I could be more supportive, but this kind of baseless speculation must be discouraged. In fact it is normally not even allowed in this forum.

 

SOURCE  https://forum.wordreference.com

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