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Julien d'Huy
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Polyphemus: a Palaeolithic Tale?
Julien D’Huy

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). The present classification to the ethnologist are certainly article considers the potential use and value of less numerous than those brought to the applying modern phylogenetic tools for the attention of the naturalists. Institute of the African World (IMAF).). In In Copenhagen: Møllers. 3–179. (Lévi-Strauss 2002: 311. relationships among various biological Geographic Method and its variations. 2009. Despite an initial enthusiasm. certainly for stimulation. Elizabeth Ashman.). 1. Pp. 1966.Heusler. Norway: University of Bergen. Nordal. XXVIII. auprès de reconstructive ambitions of the Finnish disciplines qui travaillent sur les mêmes School have been strongly criticized. In Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum Lexicon Poeticum: Antiquæ Linguæ Septentrionalis – handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog. 43 . also has all the more reasons to look perhaps for lessons. Ernst Albin. Bonniers Förlag. The Prose Contexts of Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1.e. 2002. Hardráda”. raisons de chercher des enseignements peut. The ethnologist study of myths and folktales. Jón Helgason. Notationes Norrœnæ: Literary Adaptation of Myth and Legend”. 2012 [2013]. Andreas. rigoureuses. This problèmes à une échelle incomparablement method was conceptualized long before the plus grande et avec des méthodes plus development of computer-assisted methods. “Rekstefja”. 1944. Eddic Poetry: Primarily in the Fornaldarsǫgur. 1953. et al. This structure research has an empirical and positivistic visualizes the inferred evolutionary approach to using the so-called Historical. Sveinbjörn Egilsson & Finnur Jónsson. from The Biological Model disciplines that work on the same problems A great advance in biology occurred when on an incomparably larger scale and with researchers realized that the lineage of more rigorous methods. Ed.). Pp. Matthew (ed. Polyphemus: A Palaeolithic Tale? Julien d’Huy. In Harmondsworth: Penguin. (eds. Stavnem.). the être. and to trace each two or more descendant lineages (i. Ed. “Haralds saga (PhD). des stimulations certainement. Copenhagen: Popp. fornfræða félags VI. From Snorri Sturluson’s. Townend. Paris I Sorbonne Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of 56 variants of European and North American examples of the so-called Polyphemus tale (international tale type ATU 1137) using phylogenetic software according to 190 traits. The scholars characteristics. 2012. & Wilhelm Ranisch (ed. Gade 2009b: 807–808. to analyse the diffusion and frequency of speciation event in which a lineage splits into each of its individual traits. Wilh. 1903. Helen F. Les objets qui posent à l’ethnologue un motif’s history and geographical spread. Rowe. Dortmund: Druck und Verlag von King Harald’s Saga: Harald Hardradi of Norway: Fr. Each node from which of this school tried to collect all variants of a branches of the tree stem represents a tale.) which may hold some potential for The objects that pose a problem of revitalizing this type of research. Rolf (ed. Discussion addresses a number of points of comparative methodology while considering the historical implications of a relationship between different versions of this tale type recorded in diverse cultures. Turnhout: Brepols. 893–939. Diana Whaley. Eddica Minora. Saga- Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning I– Book 26: 38–66. Flateyjarbók I. Sigurður Nordal. Ed. 1825–1837. L’ethnologue n’en a que plus de the attested versions ultimately originated. Heimskringla. Stockholm: Albert Akraness: Flateyjarútgáfan. Dissertation for the degree of philosophiae doctor Sveinbjörn Egilsson (ed. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser. Sigurðr.) organisms could be represented with a The Finnish School of comparative folklore branching diagram or ‘tree’.). the Kings’ Sagas I:2. “Haraldsstikki”. Ruhfus. They problème de classification sont certes moins also tried to reconstruct the ideal primeval nombreux que ceux soumis à l’attention des form of the tale (Urmärchen) from which all naturalistes. Litteraturhistorie B: Norge og Island. which species based upon similarities and was recently discussed by Frog in an earlier differences in their physical or genetic volume of this journal (2013b). 1923–1944. (My translation. In Poetry from Lund: Gleerup. “Sǫrla þáttr: The Kock. Nordisk kultur 8. “Norges og Islands digtning”. Skaldic Leslie. 1931. Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Pálsson (trans.

it is highly possible that convergent evolution could produce apparent 44 .g. mythemes. occasionally clonal Parent–offspring. tale-types) Mechanisms of replication by transcription and Teaching. viruses. the four nucleotides. each of which was in genetic relationships and relatedness can turn coded as a given amino acid (e. program could then arrange the sequences of Applying the biological model to myths functions to identify regions of similarity that and tales is not new. Wilhelm von Sydow (who himself was structural. societal trends variants of the trait may survive and reproduce and conformist traditions) more than individuals with other variants) Allopatric or sympatric speciation Geographical or social separation Hybridization Mixture of two or more myths or tales Horizontal transmission defined to be the Extralineal borrowing or imposition movement of genetic material between bacteria or within the genome other than by descent in which information travels through the generations as the cell divides (e. slippage. As early as 1909. summarized in Table 1. innovation. According to Carl may be a consequence of functional. geographically genome informatics to Propp’s “sequence of and temporally. point mutation and Innovation (e. lines of code for each sequence (from 4 to 12 Arnold van Gennep stated that folkloric functions / amino acids). as Gennep 1909: 84). teaching. The more two related applied an alignment program used for species or two myths diverge. Jun’ichi Oda progressively with time. circumstances.g. Observing these sequence was reduced using the Greimas parallels.g. Biological and mythological with the aid of the biological method” (van entities have many traits in common. the more distant their genetic functions” concerning 45 fairy tales. writing (more recent) Mutation (e. fairy potentially be applied to assess corresponding tale 1 = ACDEF. learning and imitation reproduction Slow rate of evolution Fast or slow rate of evolution Parent–offspring. The most important Initial published attempts using of these is the fact that both are formed by phylogenetic software to study mythology and discrete heritable units which evolve folktales may date back to 2001. Under such elements should be studied “comparatively. Discrete heritable units (e.). codons. Genetic Systems Myths / Folktales Discrete heritable units (e. between the sequences in the same way it folktales are like biological beings (von worked for amino acids in a genome. or evolutionary relationships following a long tradition: see Hafstein 2005). etc. intergenerational transmission.g. This can only work with only a limited number of explains why so many individual variants of functions (only 20 types of amino acids exist) tales differ from the abstract tale-types with and results were limited to only very short which they are identified.g.g. 1948 [1965]: 238–239): they approach presents some difficulty owing to tend to adapt to their environment and they limits of the genome model: the researcher evolve by means of natural selection. This Sydow 1927. relationships between examples of myths and fairy tale 3 = ADPHW. fairy tale 2 = ACFDEF. genes and individual phenotypes) motifs. Propp’s relationship probably is. variation. The use of a folktales. mobile DNA) mistakes) Natural selection of traits (individuals with certain Social selection of traits (e. transposons) Geographic cline Mythological transformations Fossils Ancient texts Extinction Disappearance branches). Equivalence of elements and features in the comparison of genetic systems and of myths / folktales.g. software developed for assessing model to 16 functions. Table 1.

Atkinson for which it received heavy criticism (Frog (2013). each time (vs. 2013e–f. its critics (d’Huy 2013a. Rather be interpreted as reflecting the relative than shared mutations. in the questions about the history of tales and the beginning of 2012. An world. but uses a computer rather than graph we can reconstruct the proto-tale and its paper. I used as large a sample of Confronting Methodological Problems versions as possible and multiplied the most The Historical-Geographic Method (HGM). 2013e–f. another. and whether HGM. It is impossible to reconstruct the tale as it most basic. I was the first. Greenhill and Quentin D.g. to tackle many of the historical relationships behind their various remaining problems with this sort of approach forms (Frog 2013b: 21–22). the degrees of formal contributions of vertical and horizontal relatedness are hierarchically organized in a processes in folktale evolution (d’Huy 2012a– tree according to variations that they hold in b. Phylogenetic tools have the potential to study many folktales and myths. This makes it called tale-type or motif indeed form a unity possible to model the evolution of a tale or should better be regarded as divided into inside a tree statistically. the reviewed here: phylogenetic approach is very interesting. This approach is phylogenetically distinct international types similar to the formal studies of the Classic (d’Huy 2013e. such as ‘Classic HGM’ (esp. Tehrani 2013). Little Red Riding Hood and the Several of these issues will be briefly Kind and the Unkind Girl. d’Huy & Dupanloup early could make tales appear to correspond 2015). When the tree-like the statistical reconstruction is essentially a mathematical outcome of the correlation of 45 .similarity between functions that are relations of variants of a tale or tales in a evolutionarily unrelated. 2013c. Tehrani 2013). but the effectiveness of of the Finnish School fell out of favour in the Oda's method was never tested. 2013a–c. This work has been then in the first half of the 20th century or the continued by other researchers. it becomes possible to consider additional problem is that the results depend whether this correlates with reconstructions of on the specific order of sequences. and this can of formal relatedness between items. including to resolve a lot of the problems addressed by Pygmalion. Returning to (d’Huy 2012a–c. the Dragon. 2013a–c. extent to which examples of a given folktale Phylogenetic tools statistically assess degrees exhibit a tree-like set of relations. whereby e. folkloristic research on order to control the results. Tehrani 2013. 2013a–c. Polyphemus. historically shared innovations. Phylogenetic methods have been used 2013b). see the definition below). the Cosmic Hunt. Ross et al. I studied many these questions now with the support of families of mythological narratives and modern phylogenetic tools has the potential to folktales using different datasets of mythemes produce new knowledge. suffered Jahmshid Tehrani (2013) and Robert Ross. in which human migrations that might be responsible case a variation in a conventional plot for that spread (d’Huy 2012a–c. for instance latter half of the 20th century and research by changing the dataset or the method in paradigms changed. 2013). At its 1. assessment of the features of variants and thus 2014a. As the approaches history of research. it can be used to explore the was first composed and told to others. the function of a donor occurs 2013e–f. 2013). More research would database of mythology appear interpretable as be necessary to arrive at any certainty that is reflecting its historical spread through the impossible to obtain with this method. folktales and myths moved away from As far as I know. It can offer answers to a lot of questions. More generally. up-to-date statistical and phylogenetical especially as it became internationally known methods applied. the phylogenetic in their formal sequence of functions that approach offers new resources for considering otherwise have nothing to do with one how folktales evolve (d’Huy 2013a. 2013a–e).1 Indeed. Oda’s work holds a position in the 2013d. It can common. It does not involve qualitative evolution (d’Huy 2012b. which may be produced by be questioned whether the members of a so. Tehrani 2013). Krohn 1926). Oda’s functions. Ross et al. from a number of methodological problems Simon J.

with religious their geographical distribution. For this transmission has the potential for even the reason.g. the could make tracing locations of origin and more distant their genetic relationship. The Classic HGM could not show how two developed from “confusing a continuum of or more seemingly different themes could typological similarities [in the distribution of stand in a structural transformational variants] with a historical progression of relationship to each other (Lévi-Strauss developments accompanying geographic 1968: 185). Moreover. the software makes this and there may not be any evidence to link a observable as a conflict in the data. the geographical emphasis 2. hierarchically structured according to larger Any attempt to find the place of origin of tales units of narrative. a However. carried via contact networks overall narrative form and structure was close and population mobility. Phylogenetic tools can process of divergence to occurr more quickly easily accommodate incomplete phylogeny. However. The evidence possible that variants could be grouped of individual tales has not been evenly together owing to a concentration of formal collected among all cultures and the narrative similarity in the co-occurrence of motif has the potential to be transmitted across elements in one episode even though the different areas.g. phylogenetic tools allow for the cultural mythology).similarity of individual elements. variations of a group. The Moreover. This phenomenon structural treatments: the more two myths of cultural adjacence (Frog 2011: 92–93) diverge from each other or transform. A researcher change). tale to the geographical area of its origin. The tale whole story. moderating compatible with both evolutionist and and negotiating variation. The reconstructive approach identified this method makes this statistical assessment variation with dispersal and reconstructing quantitatively on the basis of the number of the historical form of a tale was thus linked individual elements without being to identifying its location of origin. it is (hypothetically) seems to be doomed to failure. Insofar as 3. phylogenetic tools treat radical transformation that rapidly becomes formal relationships between texts and not socially dominant (e. some tools (such as midpoint use of phylogenetic tools also can take into rooting) may enable the essential features of a account the fact that the tradition in one tale from which all of the variants derive to be cultural area can undergo an abrupt and established. 2013). with a broader system of material (e. in one region and more slowly in another. Ross et al. This processes of geographical spread problematic formal distance seems normally to correlate and most often impossible without support with geographical and/or temporal distance of from other types of evidence or association the examples (e. history of cultures from which examples were collected. but that is another level of analysis and interpretation. Where formal relatedness of one may also simply drop out of use in some areas example does not align with other shared without leaving evidence of the local form. These tools assess formal may take the information produced in a relationships: the interpretation of the history phylogenetic analysis and compare that with behind that formal relatedness is a subsequent the geography of formal distribution and the analysis by the researcher. spread” (Frog 2013a: 117). This process of to that of another set of variants. 46 . the elements chosen for each motif repeated displacement of earlier local and need to be shared equitably throughout the cultural forms as a historical process. At least two progressive spread to new locations. which is roughly The Classic HGM’s focus on the presence or like interpreting variation across dialects of a absence of story details neglected the logical language as reflecting a sequence of relationships evident between different developments based on the language’s versions of a same myth. Such additional principles (variation and selection) continua may be better understood as related in the process of folklore transmission are to contact networks in interaction.g.

which it sought assessed and sorted according to to distinguish from literacy influence. Phylogenetic methods collector/author/redactor. Early research gave preponderant possible. However. materials owing to the number of languages this type of reconstruction presents a accessible to any one researcher. certain Criticisms against the HGM in the latter part traits of a tale were clearly outcomes of of the 20th century included issues raised by adapting the narrative to the context of a the sources used and source-critical standards. or the stemmatic tree of relations. contemporary source-critical standards (cf. The Classic HGM advocated the 7. Lévi-Strauss hermeneutical problem and such synthetic (1958: 232) notes that a mythic message is reconstructions should not be included rather preserved even through the worst translation. (example in Frog 2011: 82–83). The issue of decontextualization can impact on the encoding of specific traits for then be in part mitigated by the coverage of phylogenetic analysis if ‘the worst translation’ the maximal amount of text for each example alters surface details of images and motifs (in the present case. for example. a text-type transmission according to which translation of low source-critical quality may these variants would create an inaccurate affect results in a phylogenetic analysis. than primary sources in a data-set to be The translation could nevertheless have an analysed. The representativeness of sources. Source-critical problems. text-critical strategy for tracing the history of omission or alteration of elements in e.4. However. for example. It does 6. The decontextualization of sources and not need to presume a gap between the true presumptions of relatedness folktale and literary adaptations. This emphasis on oral sources was part of the point 4 above). The concern However. It was cultural traditions and only partly reflect problematic in earlier research because inherited culture) has been addressed in an sections of text relevant for comparison were optimistic fashion by Greenhill et al.e. versions used in analysis is therefore necessary. but then those materials were attention to oral tradition. as the outcome of analysis will be dependent on was done for example by Jan de Vries the quality and representativeness of the data. the introduction. A selection among the cave but also all of the surrounding tale). complex narratives. which analyze taxa as brothers or corpus to assess the probability that certain cousins rather than assessing them as a traits in variants of low source-critical quality lineage per se (each example is at the top of accurately reflect local or cultural tradition. principle that analysis should be based on an The problem of the representativeness of as extensive and exhaustive a corpus as sources is a question of whether isolated 47 . (2009) frequently cut from their context in more and by Curie et al. infer a lineage based on the proximate relation of many elements at the same level. These criticisms were in part associated with Some such comparative analyses presumed a changes in source-critical standards more historical relationship and thus parts recorded generally (Frog 2013b) but a significant factor in different tales might even be first combined in broad comparative research was and as a reconstruction of the historical local or remains reliance on edited and translated cultural tradition for comparison. this attitude valuations of individual variants and cannot could have consequences for handling be purely quantitative.g. This was particularly problematic in motif analysis but also in tale- 5. (2010). like discarding masses of variants. it may be noted that phylogenetic is unwarranted when using phylogenetic analysis could be used as a tool in a larger methods. none are in an whether these may have been introduced by a intermediate position). This impression if treated as conventional of the approach needs to maintain qualitative inherited oral tradition. As noted. because the validity of sources. The effect of The decontextualization of sources is horizontal transmission (i. if literary normally now thought of in terms of isolation adaptations draw on elements from other from a performance context. type analysis where. not isolating through which the mythic message is the motif of the escape from Polyphemus’ communicated. longer story or integrating it into that plot.

A solution alleviated when focus is calibrated to a could be to determine the maximal number of broader scope: for example. it is then followed by the explanation for the criteria used to limit the problem that many similar cases remain number of versions included in the corpus unidentified and the additional problem that (Calame 1995: 143). The most complete attempt to reconstruction of their relatedness to the reconstruct the proto-version of Polyphemus abstract tale-type rather than purely on the was O. and this is complemented by over whether an example is historically rooted the problem of researcher subjectivity in in one culture as opposed to borrowed determining which elements are relevant for through contacts with another may be observation and which are not. The earlier reconstructions of identification. can be safely or group of examples could be inaccurate or dismissed as erroneous. geographical origin of this story also valid. question appears to be the criticisms of Kaarle 48 . It unnecessary to resolve whether a Sámi should also be noted that varying the number example reflects a borrowing from Russian or and categorisation of elements subject to Norwegian tradition if comparison is between analysis often does not change the overall European/Eurasian traditions and traditions in result (d’Huy 2013c. the Americas and individual examples are considered in relation to those broad patterns Phylogenetic Analysis of the Polyphemus (cf. too wide to be reviewed here.13). and of the significance which The researcher’s identification of an example lies at the root of the story. Researcher interpretation in type. which could be parallels by looking for them: what qualifies born/borrowed at different times. 2013f). This identification of motifs / elements of the text problem requires a close analysis to establish may nevertheless remain a problem. The problem of the such loose groupings may not in all cases be physical. and the reviewed in Frog (2011: 81) that are identified reader may consult Justin Glenn (1978) for an with ATU 1148b on the basis of the historical introduction. This study suffers from a total lack of considered justified. Tale The reconstruction of the Polyphemus tale is a 8. the distribution of Sámi and inventions around the world. Latvian and statistically evaluated for each motif thanks to Greek discussed by Frog (2011: 81. Concern interpretation. Some elements (cf. 1). This becomes a problem of seems unsolvable (Glenn 1978).examples can be considered representative of Krohn’s (1926: 28–29) conception that each a local or cultural tradition. This whether the variants present different locally problem is similar to the issue of producing established forms. This is simple examples of this are the examples of a very controversial issue that could be ATU 1148b attested in Sámi. Frog 2013b: 27. This is motif has a single unique origin. or if a local as presence/absence or ‘the same’/‘different’ teller know both the traditional and an remains dependent on researcher anomalous tale at the same time. statistical tools. the proto-myth. for example by estimating This is particularly significant for the types of how many founder events are necessary to interpretations discussed when different explain the diversity of a studied corpus. 84. such as the Sámi examples subject. hermeneutics: to what extent does looking for I have previously applied phylogenetic parallels produce parallels and their methods to the historical reconstruction of the justification? In the background of this Polyphemus Tale elsewhere (d’Huy 2012a. This is a broad irrelevant. The researcher’s Greek/Homeric variants in Fig. If this sort of identification is 1904). Hackman’s analysis based on a basis of formal features of the individual Historical-Geographical approach (Hackman examples. 31n. below). which rejects particularly relevant to phylogenetic analysis the possibility of ‘multigenisis’ of narrative on the basis of individual formal traits. textbook case. 87). A variants of a tale from a single cultural group solution may also be to search for a do not systematically group together as more sufficiently complex set of traits that could closely related to one another than to those of not be the product of many independent other groups (cf. it becomes elements for each text subjected to analysis.

Table 2. Dumézil 1965: 55–59) Uralic 3 Hungarian people (Stier 1857: 146–150) Sami people (Poestion 1886: 122–126. Wissler & Duvall 1908: 50–52) Iroquoian 3 Crew people (Lowie 1918: 216–217. Under the pretence of Polyphemus faced major problems owing to curing his eyesight. tradition to explore the potential of Natural Stith Thompson (1961) counted five Language Processing software for identifying traditional elements or motifs in Polyphemuss motifs (d’Huy 2014c). In this paper. The Odyssey (book IX) Modern Greek people (Athens: Drosinis 1884: 170–176. I used a corpus of examples of this will test my earlier results. attempts to reconstruct the evolution of K1011: Eye-remedy. Indo-Iranian 1 Ossetian people (Dirr 1922: 262) Caucasian 2 Abaza people (Colarusso 2002: 200–202. in the preceding issue of this (56) and traits (190) studied. Krauss 1883: 170–173) Russian people (Ralston 1873: 178–181. 38–41) Palestinian-Israelian people (Patai 1998: 31–32) Syrian people (Prym et Socin 1881: 115) Language isolates 5 Kootenays people (Boas 1918: 213–219. Examples and sources used in the phylogenetic analysis. Polyphemus. Language / № of Langauge Family Variants Sources Algonquian 4 Ojibwa people (Desveaux 1988: 83) Atsina people (Kroeber 1907: 65–67) Niitsitapi people (Spence 1914: 208–212.1: Escape by dressing in versions according to 98 traits in d’Huy animal (bird. Cappadocia: Dawkins 1916: 551. Dardy 1884) Romanian people (Grimm 1857: 15–16) Valais people (Abry 2002: 58) Balto-Slavic 3 Serb people (Karadschitsch 1854: 222–225. 152–154). Vinson 1883: 42–45. 303–304) Basque people (Cerquand 1992. Kartvelian 1 Mingrelia people (Frazer 1921: 449–450) Turkic 2 Oghuz Turks people (Book of Dede Korkut) Kyrgyz from Pamir (Dor 1983: 34–36) Afro-Asiatic 6 Berbers (Germain 1935. 218–220. I here increase the number of versions K603: Escape under ram’s belly. human) skin. Chios: Ludwig 1863: 287–289) Albanian 1 Albanian people (Comparetti 1875: 308–310) Italic 10 Abbruzzian people (Nino 1883: 305–307) Sicilian people (Crane 1885: 89) Jean de Haute-Seille. Li romans de Dolopathos Gascon people (Bladé 1886. 25–26) Greek 4 Homer. 2013a). the trickster blinds the the initial sample sizes (24 versions analysed dupe (Often with a glowing mass thrust into according to 72 traits in d’Huy 2012a. Frobenius 1996. Uther (2004) 49 . Karel 1907: 38–39) Lithuanian people (Richter 1889: 87–89) Germanic 2 English people (Baring-Gould 1890) West Highlands people (Campbell 1860: 105–114). Opler 1938: 256–260) Kiowa Apache people (McAllister 1949: 52–53) Lipan Apache people (Opler 1940: 122–125) Chiricahua Apache people (Opler 1942: 15–18) Tanoan 2 Kiowa people (Parsons 1929: 21–24. Webster 1879: 4–6) 2013a) and. K521. 44 the eye). I journal. My first preliminary tale-type: G100: Giant ogre. K602: “Noman”. Simms 1903: 295–297) Southern Athabaskan 5 Jicarilla Apache people (Goddard 1911: 212–214.

the host wants to kill the hero. I will only consider the motif of to their presence in (1) or absence (0) from the escape from Polyphemus’ cave (K521. treelength: 608.75 (Madisson & shepherd.1: Magic objects been analysed individually. but Madisson 2011). Tree under the maximum parsimony and consensus criterions (right) and bayesian tree (right). Give alarm when fugitive the shortest possible sentences. Deception through false doctoring. breaking it into betray fugitive. each version. K1010: representativeness of the corpus.000 generations or could reflect summaries and paraphrases with 4 chains was run. a simple model to calculate the hero escapes by holding on to to the fleece the 100 more parcimonious trees was used. With MrBayes 3. representative of the traditions of the cultures with relative burn-in discarding the first 25% in question to make phylogenetic analysis of sampled trees.1 (English. So. in contain.5.000 generations. F531: Giant. published sources in several languages left column). in order to produce a binary K603) and I define the Polyphemus type as a matrix. Italian). Some of (Huelsenbeck & Ronquist 2001. Ronquist & the sources used were not available in forms Huelsenbeck 2003). German.2 summarized into one – consensual – tree The versions are drawn from diverse (strict consensus. An ordinary Markov Chain Monte significant editing for the earlier publication Carlo analysis for 20. These motifs can be found in sentences have then been added to an index to disparate ways in other tales. These escapes. the posterior distribution that are up to modern source-critical standards of phylogenetic tree for all the versions was and may have potentially been subject to inferred. Figure 1.0 (Drummond & 50 .000. of a master of animals or of a monstrous With Mesquite 2. French. before being with a living animal. The forming the corpus are sufficiently trees were sampled every 5. or fur of an animal who is going out. adds five additional motifs: F512: Person of the results remains conditional on the unusual as to his eyes. This also means that the reliability distribution of values had been reached was controlled with Tracer 1. Then each tree was rearranged by subtree concealing himself under an animal’s skin or pruning and regrafting. D1612.2. The coding also incorporated a tale in which a person gets into the homestead symbol (?) for uncertainty in the data. K521: Each version of the Polyphemus Tale has Escape by disguise. The sentences were coded according this study. The present substitution (the GTR) with gamma- study is founded on the premise that the texts distributed rate variation across sites. The fact that a stationary reasonable. and each of compare the mythological versions they them has its own evolutionary story. using a model of DNA (although see discussion above). Figure 1.

). af Klintberg one hand. Both runs produced Amerindian versions found in the Valais 8. which places tradition that included a belief in a lord of the root directly between the Ojibwa and animals. of which 6. samples (excluding the burn-in). This means that a shared form of the tale as a lord of animals. The supernatural shepherd of 51 . It is likely that the European version The tree obtained is a consensus tree from all exhibits the most archaic features. corpus.c. I used a midpoint tradition older than the Indo-European solution with the MrBayes tree. Maximum tree with a midpoint rooting. Valais versions (Figure 2). the Valais is formally intermediate. created by a Considering the monster in the earliest 50% majority rule. At the end of the run. 2010: 168).005. Figure 2. On the both legends and mythology (cf. As pointed out by Frog (p. the between the European and Amerindian average standard deviation of split corpora. as polytomy is introduced if a particular split in the Valais3 and North American variants. Rambaut 2007). occurs in less than 50% of all trees and so the would be in agreement with Burkert’s program was unable to resolve this lineage statement (1979: 33) that the Cyclops in (Figure 1.97) and was shaped historically in relation to dominant systematically found in the previous livelihoods of the cultural environment in reconstructions (d’Huy 2012a. with a lord of wild animals similar to frequencies was 0.002 were sampled. Homer drew on a primeval mythological To root the trees. right column).002 trees. The phylogenetic narrative traditions and the images of different link between both versions possess a very categories of imaginal being adapt and are strong confidence degree (0. 2013a).

It is of animals in his control of resources while therefore probable that this feature of the tale the resources concerned are connected to was established already in the form from different kinds of livelihoods (cf. Principal coordinates analysis (Cosine). 2014). European traditions is equivalent to the lord (see also Frog 2011: 91–93. on which the hero’s escape then it is improbable that the necessary is dependent. narrative are historically related and the The plot of the Polyphemus tale is narrative was not carried to the Americas by structurally dependent on the monster being a late medieval colonization by Europeans. If the 2012. Figure 3. also Tolley which the attested versions derive. Figure 4. and which would account for its contact and exchange relevant to the spread of long-term stability as an element of the plot the European version with sheep antedated 52 . Principal coordinates analysis (Jaccard).4 keeper of animals. which discusses a motif associated with North American and European versions of the the lord of animals also adapted to livestock).

PC2: several peoples in Europe. the tradition area of Valais where it is attested Cosine. nearest before the domestication of livestock that was geographical versions tended to form sister maintained in isolation in Western Europe.859. Cosine: PC1: 35. On the other the adversary was most likely a lord of hand. explains its place in our analysis. geographically reflect a historical continuity from such an era speaking (North America / Europe. Accordingly. PC2: 11. It is therefore 10. the Ojibwa’s branch is also situated in animals or equivalent figure in the earliest an intermediate place. analysis (transformation exponent: c = 2. Non-Metric multidimensional Scaling (Cosine) the domestication of livestock. and confirm the intermediary Yet the local evolution of this tale shaped it situation of the Valais’ and Ojibwa’s versions like the (Palaeolithic) proto-form. 2D. Figure 5.07.74. Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (Jaccard). which 53 . 2001) show a of animals in the Valais instance may not remarkably consistent pattern. The lord of animals is attested among Similarity index: Jaccard. The appearance of a lord Past 3.62. PC1: 29. fig. clades).0 (Hammer et al. Figures 5 and 6) conducted with in only one variant.3 unclear why it would be maintained only in and 4) and a non-metric MDS (Jaccard. A principal coordinates construable form of the plot. Figure 6.

recessive alleles model used for of the traditions rather than away from it at random.53% for the Amerindian cluster.72% for the European cluster).000 MCMC Reps after burn-in. I also used Structure2. European and North American clusters are 50. 54 . 0. two main historical background behind the branching of clusters are identified among the variants in the Ojibwa (as well as the Crow) and Valais the way that the variants within a cluster are examples is unclear. The software also computes the probabilities of each version for each cluster.28% for the Amerindian cluster. Ancestry Model. number of inclined toward the center of shared features iteration: 10. may be the earliest pictographic representation of the Polyphemus tale (Breuil 1930: 262). 0. detect the true number of clusters (K. Using the software structure American branches of the tale. southwestern France. 2003) to culture in a dependable manner. test for the phylogenetic analysis clearly shows 1 to 12 clusters) in the sample of versions distinct groupings of the European and North studied. The limited clusters. This makes it appear less likely that Figure 8a. number of examples from each culture in the as exhibiting formal distinction from these corpus may not be sufficient to reconstruct the larger groups. The ‘Petit Sorcier á l’Arc Musical’ [‘The Sorcer with the Musical Bow’] in the Cave of the Trois-Frères in Ariège. 0. Figure 7).47% for the European cluster) and the Valais (0. Although the Harvester (Earl & von Holdt 2012). Falush et al. The probability is by far the lowest for the Ojibwa (0. Magdalenian.4 conventional form of the tradition for any one (Pritchard et al. 2000.000 Burn-in period. The data align perfectly with the Amerindian/European distinction. it remains noteworthy more similar to each other than to the other that significant formal variations in the cluster (Parameters: 10. Delta K's score associated with 1 to 12 Amerindian developments. this again suggests that these two versions are in the middle ground between European and Figure 7.3. Admixture model. Nevertheless.

as seen more clearly in Figure 8b. human thigh and prominent rear orifice is The potential case is included as a scene equally obscure. The bison-man would also (Demouche et al. but its choice Breuil’s drawing). This bow in his hand (on which see further enables the hero to escape the monster who Demouche et al. they features he has in common with it. the probability that the Polyphemus tale was bison is a ‘shaman’. legs and holding or pointing a bow. This cave is located in Montesquieu. hunter or predator but rather aligned with Frères. This figure is striking controls the beasts from his dwelling. the herd of animals and suggests his identity Provided that the set of image-elements have is somehow connected to the herd by the been more or less accurately interpreted.e. 1996). Some believe the core of the Prometheus tale – i. and its longue durée is a relevant indicator but the bison-man head identifies him with that it held social interest and relevance. local or reflect an imaginal relevant to the Polyphemus tale (Breuil 1930: 262. Vialou 1987: herd: the bison-man would then fill the role of 116). A motif in that it appears to be a rather detailed of the hero hiding in this way would account representation of a bison standing on its hind. superimposed and complex Amerindian versions of the Polyphemus tale. as a subject for representation could also be Interpreting such images is necessarily connected to some type of social prominence speculative and problematic. large looking at the animal within the context of a anus / vulva (Breuil 1930: 261. for the prominence of the anus / vulva on the human. depiction of a historical event. interpreted as some type of magical hunter. depicted animal and the co-occurrence of this This being observes one of the animals which with the peculiar feature of a human thigh on – if correctly interpreted – has a human thigh the animal.the two major branches of this complex the one used by the North American Lakota narrative emerged independently of one hunters approaching their prey. long before the first The peculiar image of the animal with a domestication of animals. The narrative depicted Figure 8b. rather than would appear to parallel elements that stand at those that are different from it. The in which the hero often hides inside an animal scene in question depicts a bison-man with a itself by entering through its anus. a flute or a musical bow (Bégouën An illustration of the Polyphemus tale can & Breuil 1958: 58). a supernatural guardian of a herd watching for the hero who escapes by hiding within one of the animals. Comparative evidence supports interpretation is that the figure of the human. 1996). the that they represent hunters in animal disguise escape of the hero. Sorcier à l’Arc Musical’ has also be described as a man with a bison head playing an An Example from Palaeolithic Rock Art? instrument. they can reasonably be presumed to reflect some sort of a narrative through its constituent elements. Another possibility is that potentially be interpreted from the this figure is not separated from the herd as a Palaeolithic cave drawings found in the Trois. Magdalenian period. The bison-man could be current in some form in the Palaeolithic era. In addition. them as their protector. The ‘Petit another. Interpreting narrative through image systems of a remote earlier period is inevitably problematic and speculative. The images of Figure 8a that may be might be random. Leroi. in a way similar to be consistent with the proposed evolution of 55 . If this set of images elements indeed belongs together. A popular or relevance. in the French Ariège département agent and representative (Clottes & Lewis- and the cave drawings appear to date to the Williams 1996: 94). guardian or other Avantès. it would also account (see discussions in Breuil 1930: 263. but can be compared to the within a dense. for the relationship to the upright bison-man Gourhan 1971: 97) and a very detailed. representation of a herd (Figure 8a).

high RI values (for clusters.57 for the between the taxa. biological data sets of Collard et al.3422. whose mean RI is 0. However. This interpretation is structured by speciation.57 and 0. the Retention Index (RI) has been The results also should be controlled with calculated for both our trees. the tale’s protagonist in Europe/Eurasia from broadly the same as the mean RIs for the a guardian of animals into a herdsman of biological data sets presented by Collard et al.60) usually show a (see below). The Retention NeigbhorNet (implemented in Splitstree4. were notably a herd animal).63) are 0. To in selecting. The may be guardian of a particular species. uncertainty as while an RI of 0 indicates the maximum webbing. Both RIs obtained (0. 1000 characters found. labelling or interpreting data. However. Thus the vertical speculative. noise. conflicting data. These indices indicated that most brings the major part of these versions of the mythemes were shared through together into coherent geographical or cultural common descent. The RI about both clusters and evolutionary distances calculated with Mesquite was 0. An RI of 1 This algorithm makes it possible to see indicates that the tree shows no borrowings. then. The delta-method scores individual 56 . NeighborNet correctly simulated). 2005. of the stories. folktale data. suggesting a good conservation low horizontal transmission (Nunn et al. for the model of its history. explaining it as an interpretive bias rate of borrowing of mythemes to be low. we would expect the example. NeighborNet graph of the Polyphemus variants. test this.61. doubt. through common descent. evaluates the degree to which a trait is shared characters transformation: Jaccard.12. and proposes good representations amount of borrowings that is possible. Figure 9). greater than 0. but it is not unreasonable and is transmission (from mother to daughter worth putting forward owing to what we populations) should be the dominant know of the tale and can infer about its evolutionary process in both biological and history. Index is a traditional tool in cladistics and Bryant & Moulton 2004. Indeed. Bryant et al.Figure 9. A real conflicting signal Mesquite tree and 0. in completely significant rather than.63 for the Bayesian tree between versions (box-like structures) was (Jukes-Cantor model. similar to those found in both trees instance. domesticated livestock (noting that here he (2006). The main delta-score is here 2010). note that the RI for the Polyphemus myth does not look The Tale’s Retention Index sufficiently high enough to consider it If Polyphemus is a Palaeolithic tale.

(2011) calculates delta scores across the the palaeolithic populations may have world’s language families. this new version where the immovable or a large door. the hero clings to a living animal. affronted alone by the hero. claims (2013).75 have been used with maximum approximate the features of versions of the parsimony and consensus criterions tree to European Neolithic proto-tale. version of the story in which the monster was a master of animals.] Then he waits monster was in a shelter and the animals were for the man near the entrance to kill him.taxa from 0 to 1. if not more so. some families of folktales. and is are applied to each mytheme of the family.’s during the Last Glacial Maximum (Pala et al. the Amerindian traditions. Greek 2 and Two phylogenetic comparative methods Abaze variants’ cluster treated as the root (Maximum Likelihood with model Mk1 and point of the European variants' stemma (fig. a stemma for Germanic languages should appear more or less the same even if we were 57 . It could be the Palaeolithic myth of successive migrations from the Mediterranean the first appearance of game on Earth. [He traps more than 75% probability have been the man and his own animals with an underlined.3. with more than a know whom he will meet]. connected with fire. it versions and another choice of traits to study may have been disseminated through the tale. this is a in the data (Holland et al. Greece / Syria / traps the man and his own animals with an Abaze.] In of the species. 2005) and probably including K603. can been reconstruct the probable form of the first reconstructed: Palaeolithic state of the Polyphemus family. immovable or a large door. [To enters in the monster’s house [which is a hut. This statistical reconstructions. 3. The monster waits for who is affronted alone. However. 2012. a relatively high delta score We can attempt to correlate the trees with a (close to 1) shows a strong conflicting signal model of historical spread. In Europe. a vengeance occurs that is connected with fire.] a house or something similar]. the following text. Phylogenetic methods cannot discover the This model has been tested by removing original form of a story in the sense of an the Amerindian data: the Bayesian tree Urform with certainty. If the Valais variant is left aside as an exceptional outlier in the data The Reconstruction of a Protoversion and the branching of the Syrian. are at least as tree-like as preserved at least partially a reconstructed languages. et al. a giant who has one eye in the forehead. [To sheep may go back to about the domestication escape. [The hero does not know whom he will meet. mythemes with herd of domestic animals (sheep). contrary to Ross and al. Thus. Indeed. in blue). the domestication date this story. in blue) 0.e. yet they can propose remains almost the same (Figure 10). He enters the 50% probability using both methods – have monster’s house. In the text. Whichmann very hypothetical reconstruction. Their average is migrated toward the South (fig. Parcimony reconstructions) implemented in tree at the left).] Then he falls asleep and a vengeance occurs that is [The enemy is a completely solitary figure. A human Then mythemes reconstructed with a high [perceives a light in the distance and does not degree of confidence – i. [He European type (Figure 3. If This abstract is very close to what has been the new Polyphemus’ tale type was linked to found previously (d’Huy 2013a) using fewer the early stages of animal domestication. the hero clings to a living animal.] The According to the reconstructed origin of the monster possesses herd of wild animals. These phylogenetic reconstruction methods The enemy is a completely solitary figure. Note that this model is from stemmatic models developed by other linked to features that are also correlate with means. area across millennia. where reconstructed makes the outcome appear relatively traits are not necessarily those which occur consistent with what would be developed most frequently. escape. 2002). of sheep is estimated to fall between nine and eleven thousand years ago in Mesopotamia. Peričić et al. The monster possesses a been retained. which may Mesquite 2. because the whole branch is stable (cf.] A human hunter the man near the entrance to kill him.3113.

In this case. I have observed a similar Following the working hypothesis that cluster previously (d’Huy 2013) with the use complex narratives of the escape from of other mythems to study the Polyphemus' Polyphemus are unlikely to emerge tales. Figure 10. one can propose that on the improbability of multigenisis. the Pyrenean area. Oghuz Turks. example. Yorkshire and Trends of Stability and Contrasts the West Highlands. the Black joined present day Alaska and eastern Siberia Sea and the Northern Balkan Peninsula. Bayesian tree calculated without the Amerindian versions. one of the first steps of diffusion in Europe includes Basque. unaware of a connection to Indo-European). type’s distribution in two very large areas that Yet this tree alone would not resolve which are geographically remote from one another features in the primary split should be and diversity within these different areas considered probable for an antecedent form which only partly seems to correlate with other than those shared across that split. The during the Pleistocene ice ages. For cultural and population histories. conditional millennia. Burkert’s hypothesis that an earlier A 10. it Basque versions may be a borrowing from the becomes necessary to account for the tale. neighbouring Celtiberian (spoken in ancient 58 . these stories first millennium BC. including North America when a former land bridge Great Britain. For instance. Celtic languages were could only have spread across Eurasia and spoken across much of Europe. During the independently of one another. It could be easy to explain.000 year model of population form of the tale incorporated a belief in a lord movements and cultural changes have of animals requires the Amerindian branch of probably had transformative effects on data in order to advance beyond speculation traditions across Europe and America for to have empirically based support.

and the West Highlands is included in versions (see Ross et al. but as a other tales – evolve and survive from the possible but indemonstrable explanation that Palaeolithic period? Biology may propose a would be the outcome of the effect of model (d’Huy 2013a.] in fits and starts.4.07. The result European versions. p(uncorr): 6. breaking the continuity of linear path lengths). the result may imply that the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. Berber and Russian area.85 (Pearson: 0.. one of the phylogenetic (only the existence of a parental three tribes who settled Galatia (an area in the version needs to be taken into account) than highlands of central Anatolia) ca.” One sign of the coefficient matrix (permutation: 10000) on punctuational evolution of myths is the individual version data with SAM v. diffusions (rather than a single one). and not necessary from the root variance (r² = 0.3) among European data. This would 1977). The correlation square between path lengths and nodes in the coefficient detects only linear dependencies MrBayes’ tree has been used to give an between two variables.15E-22. with many waves of was 0. If an analogy may be drawn. p = linear relationship (Pearson + Spearman5) 0. 2010). Another hypothesis could be a came from southern France and could very good conservation of the structure of the potentially be the vector of transmission. If correct. included in the books and papers. long-distance influence of certain versions.043) in the of the tree to each final version. The mean Amerindian data and 0. 270 BC. and the Spearman’s rs: 0.times in the Iberian Penninsula) or Gaulish such the Homeric one. In these and Oghuz Turks could be explained by the conditions. If this has happened repeatedly. diffusion of versions could be more More precisely. it is generally restricted to rare and story have been ‘seeded’ through Europe very fast events of branching speciation again and again. which is also a the websites Glottolog and Wals). so this low result estimate of the punctuational effect on the suggests a very complex evolution for the clock-like behaviour of these trees. Yorkshire belongs to the Brittonic joining closely Israeli.. 2006). p = 0.8% (r² = 0. which would be borrowing without However.0 correlation between branch length and the (Rangel et al. I found that sign of punctuational evolution (Wagner & geographical distance explains 7% of the Erwin 1995). be low relationship between geographic 2003.79. could explain the clade languages. or what Frog (2011: 91) To test the multiple migration hypothesis. each speciation events (nodes) have occurred. Pagel et al. Where many distance and similarity between versions. newly consequently seem to make it difficult to mythological sister versions would tend to correlate the earliest. establishment of a branch of the tradition How could the Polyphemus’ tales – and could not be shown to be ‘true’. 2013 for higher Goidelic. an account of the Celtic major modifications.91. p(uncorr): 2. superseding one another and (Eldredge & Gould 1972. The geographical locations of each predicts no relationship between node and version were estimated using information path lengths. The link between the Pyrenean area results about a European folktale).77E-13). I has described as “the evolution of tradition realised a Mantel test using a Jaccard\s [. there should number of speciation events (Webster et al. significant evolutionary change occurs in a it would suggest that different versions of the species. which would be followed by reconstructable version of the tale with any extended periods of stability with little net particular geographical space. A gradual model of evolution diffusion. palaeolithic diverge rapidly. Gould & Eldredge receding in the wake of history. evolutionary change. geographical. I adopted The mean length has been calculated for the centroid of geographical coordinates for each branch of the Bayesian tree (Figure 2) each language area when no precise from the final version to the first polytomy – geographical information was available (using more than two based branches.008. 2013c–d). The results have been far superior to those 59 . the Tectosages. tale. there new version taking the place of older should be more total genetic change (longer versions. The theory of population movements and cultural changes punctuated equilibrium states that when of traditions.

The proto-myth fit the data very well. to consider how to prevent ambiguity in the identification of unique terms and terms with many 60 . mean R² = 0. 2.75). see Atkinson et al. and to what extent the reconstructions (the so-called ‘node-density versions studied belong to a same tale-type. paragraphs or the experience something similar to founder whole text should be rewritten to facilitate the events and drift. which increase the rate of analysis based on the textual surface of a heterogeneously written corpus. have been corroborated here. 2006). 2013c. not used here. the Dragon: d’Huy 2013e. It should contribute Notes 75% to the evolution of the Polyphemus tale. into the tale’s A well-known artifact of phylogenetic possible prototype. For instance. d’Huy Ethnology provides a model that could 2014b. Here. Trees also did not show the curvilinear trend Julien d’Huy (dhuy. The punctuational taking many precautionary measures (d’Huy 2014c). Polyphemus: d’Huy another tale-type: the Cosmic hunt (84%: 2012a. explain these mythological punctuations.22 Conclusion to 0. 2008). the Kind and the Unkind Girl: Ross et al. 2013f. It is also necessary change (for an example.julien[at]yahoo. the closer Amerindian to offset another story by an the contents of two narratives (as reflected through their surface texts). Traits were selected for the whole tale in order to Folktale variations are largely defined by avoid the possibility that variants could be grouped people drawing a line between ‘us’ and together in analysis owing to a concentration of ‘them’ (Ross et al. 2013.0 indicates that a in previous studies. artifact’) may lead us to believe in a false with a common ancestor. parts of text or structural formations) and to lose part of their mythological complex and whether certain words. They can offer insights explained by independent gradual effects. 2013a. see d’Huy 2013f). With these tools. 75004 Paris. sentences. a be to use the tools belonging to the field of Natural story of the origin of fire was told by an Language Processing. 2014a. previous works. among languages within a language family. into how a tale evolves. rue Malher. groups of founder effect. This coding would concern and people belonging to a certain tribe the whole text and avoid the pre-selection of traits explained that another tribe with whom it (which is perhaps not so significant: see d’Huy shares many myths did not know how to tell 2013f). Another approach. Pagel et al. the Cosmic a result close to what was obtained for Hunt: d’Huy 2012b. small social communities tend sentences. the trees obtained are the coefficient of determination (R²) has been better and more coherent than those obtained calculated. Aix-Marseille (Venditti et al. France. 2006). However. Pygmalion: d’Huy 2012c. 2006) or in languages (10– Acknowledgements: The author gratefully 33% being the overall vocabulary differences acknowledges comments from Frog that played a significant role in developing this paper. Pagel et al. The considerations of the past behind the remaining variation in path could be documented evidence. Little Red Riding Hood: Tehrani 2013. the narratives would be. could individuals with this group. which shows the regression line fits the data well. Concerning the punctuated equilibrium effect.Paris1/EPHE/Aix-Marseille Univ-AMU). UMR 8171). such as asking which elements should be effect also could be due to a mythological compared (individual sentences. the R² with a reconstruction and the punctuational linear regression (R² = 0. The punctuational University. Centre punctuational effect in biological species Malher. 2013a. Paris I Sorbonne. To avoid this.18. 1. phylogenetic and statistical tools showing a greater change of the tree length used to study folktale allow us to return to attributable to punctuationnal effects. family of this folktale. Punctuation may formal similarity in the co-occurrence of motif elements in one episode even if the overall narrative thus reflect a human capacity to enhance both form and structure was close to that of another set the group identity and the identification of of variants. To conclude. (22%. d’Huy & Dupanloup 2015. 2013).69. 9.obtained from biological data (r = from 0. An R² near 1. such an approach would require them (Désveaux 2001: 85). also found in R² with a logarithmic regression (R² = 0. while an R² importance of experimental replications and closer to 0 indicates a regression line does not using a larger database. (CNRS/IRD/EHESS/ effect for this folktale is stronger than the Institute of the that characterizes the node-density artefact African World (IMAF. the shorter the distance between Indian of another tribe (Goddard 1904: 197).83) is higher than the evolution of the folktale. d’Huy 2013c: 100).

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