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Remarkable Sardinian Statues Reconstructed

Submitted by on March 4, 2012 – 8:26 pm 2 Comments |  
Archeologists on the Italian island of Sardinia have completed the painstaking reconstruction of “small yet unique army of life-size stone warriors which were originally destroyed by enemy action in the middle of the first millennium BC.” The statues originally stood guard over the graves of elite warriors, buried in the eighth century BCE. They were produced by members of the indigenous Nuragic culture, a little-known but impressive civilization that dominated Sardinia from the 18th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. The Nuragic culture is best known for its stone tower-fortresses, the nuraghe, sometimes considered Europe’s first castles. The remains of some 7,000 of these structures are still found on the island.

Although Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean, with a long, distinctive, and interesting history, it has often been ignored by outsiders. Few realize that the Sardinian language is not a dialect of Italian, but rather forms its own branch of the Romance linguistic family. The Sardinian language includes a number of ancient, pre-Indo-European features, which may have been derived from the language of the Nuragic civilization.

As the modern language map shows, not all parts of the island are Sardinian-speaking today. Most people in northern Sardinian speak Corsican, an Italian dialect, and a significant area in the northwest is Catalan-speaking. Standard Italian, of course, is spoken everywhere, and may be gradually replacing the other languages and dialects of the island.

Like Sicily and several regions of northern Italy, Sardinia is constitutionally defined as an “autonomous region with special statute,” allowing it to retain more of its tax receipts and run more of own governmental functions than other parts of Italy. Sardinia does, however, have an active movement pushing for full sovereignty. Its main political party, Independence Republic of Sardinia, is non-violent and social-democratic. It has undergone splits over the past few years, and has not done well in recent elections.

 

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  • Ibrahim Al-Marashi

    When I was in Sardinia I noticed a pride in the Phoenicians that was comparable to that in Lebanon. Whereas in Lebanon an imagined Phoenician identity allowed one the means of disassociation with the Islamic past, in Sardinia it was a means of claiming an identity unique from the Italian Peninsula. However the intensity of neo-Phoenicianism was much stronger in Lebanon. Another thing that sets Sardianians apart from the Peninsula is the last name.  Usually I can tell a Sardinian if they have a 4 letter last name or the characteristic -dd- embedded in their last name.  The double “d’ was also found in the Sicilian language. 

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thank you for your interesting story.

      Regarding the double dd in spelling, it represents a double retroflex [d] (I can’t do a proper symbol here). This double retroflex -dd- is the output of a sound change from Latin -ll-. For example, the Latin “bellus” (pretty) became “bello” in Italian but “beddu” in Sardinian. This example also illustrates another property of Sardinian, which it shares with Corsican: the preservation of short [u] instead of changing it into [o].

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