CATO MAJOR/ CATO MARCIUS PORCIUS (234-149 BC) a witness of Getic writing’s ancientness

An outstanding Roman politician (234-149 BC) renowned for his endeavours to restore the old Roman habits, in his capacity as a Consul, as well as by the words which he used to utter every single time in the end of his active presence in the Senate, namely, “ceterum censeo Carthaginam esse delendam” (= Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed), he being shocked by its rapid recovery after the first two Punic wars, they proving a lot of manliness (not without ground, the Carthaginian General Hannibal made it into sayings, like ”Hannibal ante portas”, when speaking of an imminent major threat; the Carthaginians, holding a vast sea fleet, posed a threat for the Romans, and the Romans didn’t let it go until they destroyed Carthage as a state, turning it into a Roman province; his happened in after the Third Punic War waged by Scipio Africanus. CATO MAJOR was however a cultural, scientific, not only political figure, he also authoring two highly important and useful books. One of them would be a treatise, De agricultura/ De re rustica, which, in fact, can also be a therapy handbook, since, by describing every plant and tree in detail, it also shows in which diseases it can be used and how to prepare a medicine; this is why I think, and I said it on other occasions, too, it would be very useful if used as a teaching material at the School of Medicine.

However, ORIGINES is the book that interests us most, a book deemed to be lost (a manner that I’d disapprove, however, in any case, not lost forever, as long as quotations were given from it, even substantial sometimes, in later authors, among others in the grammarian FESTUS (Sextus Pompeius – “De verborum significatu” (On the Sense of Words).

Let’s only take one quotation from this precious work “ORIGINES”, which occurs too in an Old Greek and Latin teacher in Bruges named BONAVENTURA VULCANIUS in his “De litteris et lingua Getarum sive Gothorum” (On Getic or Gothic Letters and Language), Lugdunum Batavorum, 1597 – here it is: “Getae etiam ante Romam conditam, heroum suorum res praeclargestas carmine conscriptas ad tibiam cecinerint quod multo post tempore a Romanis factitatum” (= The Getae had had a writing long before Rome was founded, since they used to sing their heroes’ exploits in written odes; such thing would occur with the Romans long after the Getae). Should we consider the time of Rome’s foundation – 753 BC according to Titus Livy – “Ab urbe condita” (From the foundation of Rome), it is still the 8th century BC, yet Cato said, “etiam ante Romam conditam” = even before the foundation of Rome. Should we consider the information given by the Swedish scholar CAROLUS LUNDIUS in his book “Zamolxis primus Getarum legislator” = Zamolxis, First Lawgiver of the Getae, which I translated from Medieval Latin into Romanian (its first translation worldwide), we can learn, among others, about a huge rock on which the Getic alphabet was engraved by the Giants, whose reign the historiography sets about 10 to 12 thousand years ago, at the time of the last Ice Age; so, we can assert that the Getae had a writing as early as that time. This rock was carried by an iceberg and, as it arrived at the gates of Uppsala, the capital of Sweden at that time, King Charles XI ordered to be taken to the Royal Museum of Antiques. Johannis Axehielmus was the director of such museum, and, as a matter of fact, he had been charged with the collection of every antique all over the Scandinavian Peninsula and keeping them in that museum.

I deem necessary to have an act of culture of major importance in the Romanian history, so disfavoured in the last period, yet with beautiful thoughts that would require implementation: a small research team should be authorised to go to Stockholm and visit the Royal Antiques Museum in Uppsala, to take photographs of such rock and possibly examine some other antiques, too. We should not forget that Romanian is related to the Germanic languages, that we shared a history, that a part of the Swedish lexis occurs identically in Romanian, that the scholar Carolus Lundius said in the above book that his time Swedes spoke Getic, that all our kings starting with Tomyris and ending with Decebalus were their “extra patriam” kings, too, according to historians OLAUS and JOHANNES MAGNUS GOTHUS.

We should note that the oldest word is GHE = earthlings, including the fact that in Turkish and Persian the phrase get-beget is almost like in Romanian, and it is attested in writing in Hesiod’s “Works and Days” (ργα κα μέραι), this meaning the 8th century BC.

I’d think some of the billionaires of our beautiful and rich country could fund such a cultural act of universal importance (= a team of philologists, historians, geographers, archaeologians and a medical doctor, who would look into the matter for maximum 30 days).

Maria Crişan

  1. 10. 2015

Member of “ERNST KIRSTEN” International Society of Geographical History in Stuttgart