Possible cognates in southeast Europe

Inscriptions from Bulgaria attest a hero-cult of one Perkos or Perkon. He was presumably an old Thracian divinity of some kind, and the similarity of the name to those we have been considering has prompted the guess that he belonged in this context. It is not an implausible guess, but a guess it remains.19

The Albanian Perendi 'Heaven', 'God', has been analysed as a compound of which the first element is related to Perunu and the second to *dyeus.20

At Lebadea in Boeotia there was a cult of a divinity Herkyna or Herkynna, identified with Demeter, and a stream of the same name (Lycophron 153, Livy 45. 27, Paus. 9. 39. 2-3, Hesych. e 5931). If she was originally a cognate of Fiorgyn, the goddess of the wooded landscape, it is understandable that she could be equated with Demeter. The problem is that Herk- for *Perk(w)- could only be a Celtic form, which would be very unexpected so far south. The Gauls who invaded Greece in 279 bce can hardly have managed to leave a goddess behind. If the similarity of Herkyna's name to those we have been considering is not fortuitous, it is theoretically possible that at some earlier period a Celtic splinter group had found its way down there, perhaps in the late second or early first millennium when Illyrian and other tribes from the north-west were infiltrating. Feminine river-names are more typical of Celtic than of Greek or Illyrian.

The thunder-god's functions were taken over in Greece by the great sky-god, Zeus. What was his name when he still existed as an independent deity? It is tempting to conjecture that it was Keraunos, the name used in historical Greek for Zeus' thunderbolt. It is perfectly plausible that the obsolete god's name should come to be used in this way; we have seen that this is exactly what happened to the Baltic and the Slavonic thunder-gods. Heraclitus (B 64) spoke of Keraunos as a purposeful cosmic force, allied to Zeus and 'steering everything'. A Mantinean inscription of the mid-fifth century bce, consisting of the two words AOs Kepawo, marked a place where lightning had

18 See Jakobson (1962-88), ii. 636 f.; Nagy (1974), 115 f. = (1990), 185 f.

19 G. Mihailov, Inscriptiones Graecae in Bulgaria repertae (Serdica 1956), nos. 283-283 bis "Hpwei nepKwvei, nepKw(i) "Hpwi. Cf. V. I. Georgiev, Linguistique Balkanique 18.1 (1975), 46; I. Duridanov in Meid (1998), 562.

struck as '(sacred to) Zeus Keraunos' (IG v(2). 288): this looks like a case where, as often happened, an old deity's name survived locally as a surname of the national god who replaced him or her.21

Kepawos is conventionally explained as a formation from the same root as Kepa(F)iZw 'devastate, slaughter, plunder'. But there have long been suspicions that it was somehow related to Perun and Perkunas. There is a Latvian variant form perkauns 'thunderbolt', and Perunu may go back to *Peraunos. It has been proposed that for taboo reasons *Peraunos was replaced by the rhyming Keraunos, or that *Perkaunos suffered first metathesis to *Kerpaunos and then deletion of the initial consonant of the second syllable, on the same principle as suggested for Perunu.22 Another hypothesis is that the anomalously formed Homeric epithet of Zeus repniKepawos, traditionally understood as 'delighting in the thunderbolt', is derived by metathesis from *perkwi-peraunos, 'having a smiting bolt'; the simple Kepawos was then abstracted from the compound.23 I cannot solve these conundrums, but the structural similarity of Keraunos to *Per(k)aunos—if that is a correct reconstruction—looks too great to be coincidental.

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