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

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Elizabeth Ashman. Despite an initial enthusiasm. des stimulations certainement. raisons de chercher des enseignements peut. Notationes Norrœnæ: Literary Adaptation of Myth and Legend”. rigoureuses. Diana Whaley. In In Copenhagen: Møllers. 1931. Dortmund: Druck und Verlag von King Harald’s Saga: Harald Hardradi of Norway: Fr.). Norway: University of Bergen. et al. Stavnem.e. Heimskringla. “Norges og Islands digtning”. 43 . 2009. Hardráda”. 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. Matthew (ed. Turnhout: Brepols. Eddic Poetry: Primarily in the Fornaldarsǫgur. (My translation. Helen F. 1923–1944.). The Prose Contexts of Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 1. Copenhagen: Popp. Andreas. Litteraturhistorie B: Norge og Island. 2012. & Wilhelm Ranisch (ed. Townend. 2012 [2013]. Nordisk kultur 8. Saga- Anteckningar till Edda och skaldediktning I– Book 26: 38–66. Sveinbjörn Egilsson & Finnur Jónsson. (eds. Magnus Magnusson & Hermann Pálsson (trans. to analyse the diffusion and frequency of speciation event in which a lineage splits into each of its individual traits. 1825–1837. Ed. In Fornmanna sögur eptir gömlum Lexicon Poeticum: Antiquæ Linguæ Septentrionalis – handritum útgefnar að tilhlutun hins norræna Ordbog over det norsk-islandske skjaldesprog. L’ethnologue n’en a que plus de the attested versions ultimately originated. 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. 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. Ruhfus.). From Snorri Sturluson’s. Ernst Albin. 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). Jón Helgason. Eddica Minora. Bonniers Förlag.). Pp. 1903. relationships among various biological Geographic Method and its variations.) organisms could be represented with a The Finnish School of comparative folklore branching diagram or ‘tree’. The ethnologist study of myths and folktales. “Rekstefja”. Wilh. Ed. Sigurður Nordal. “Haraldsstikki”. 2002. Rowe. “Sǫrla þáttr: The Kock. 1944. Nordal. auprès de reconstructive ambitions of the Finnish disciplines qui travaillent sur les mêmes School have been strongly criticized. the Kings’ Sagas I:2. 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. Sigurðr. This problèmes à une échelle incomparablement method was conceptualized long before the plus grande et avec des méthodes plus development of computer-assisted methods. also has all the more reasons to look perhaps for lessons. Institute of the African World (IMAF). Polyphemus: A Palaeolithic Tale? Julien d’Huy. “Haralds saga (PhD). Ed. Dissertation for the degree of philosophiae doctor Sveinbjörn Egilsson (ed. the être. Each node from which of this school tried to collect all variants of a branches of the tree stem represents a tale. fornfræða félags VI. (Lévi-Strauss 2002: 311. 3–179. Rolf (ed. Les objets qui posent à l’ethnologue un motif’s history and geographical spread.). and to trace each two or more descendant lineages (i. Stockholm: Albert Akraness: Flateyjarútgáfan. In Poetry from Lund: Gleerup. 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. 1966. 1953. 1. Skaldic Leslie.Heusler. This structure research has an empirical and positivistic visualizes the inferred evolutionary approach to using the so-called Historical. Flateyjarbók I. XXVIII. In Harmondsworth: Penguin. certainly for stimulation. The scholars characteristics.). 893–939. Pp.) which may hold some potential for The objects that pose a problem of revitalizing this type of research. Gade 2009b: 807–808. Lunds Universitets årsskrift new ser.

Equivalence of elements and features in the comparison of genetic systems and of myths / folktales. transposons) Geographic cline Mythological transformations Fossils Ancient texts Extinction Disappearance branches). variation. Propp’s relationship probably is. mythemes. learning and imitation reproduction Slow rate of evolution Fast or slow rate of evolution Parent–offspring. Under such elements should be studied “comparatively. lines of code for each sequence (from 4 to 12 Arnold van Gennep stated that folkloric functions / amino acids). relationships between examples of myths and fairy tale 3 = ADPHW. genes and individual phenotypes) motifs. etc. Genetic Systems Myths / Folktales Discrete heritable units (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. Biological and mythological with the aid of the biological method” (van entities have many traits in common. summarized in Table 1. software developed for assessing model to 16 functions.g.g.g. 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. slippage. fairy potentially be applied to assess corresponding tale 1 = ACDEF. Wilhelm von Sydow (who himself was structural. 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. mobile DNA) mistakes) Natural selection of traits (individuals with certain Social selection of traits (e. The use of a folktales.g. or evolutionary relationships following a long tradition: see Hafstein 2005). Jun’ichi Oda progressively with time. fairy tale 2 = ACFDEF.g. The more two related applied an alignment program used for species or two myths diverge. writing (more recent) Mutation (e. tale-types) Mechanisms of replication by transcription and Teaching. This Sydow 1927. According to Carl may be a consequence of functional. occasionally clonal Parent–offspring. intergenerational transmission. 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. the more distant their genetic functions” concerning 45 fairy tales. teaching.). viruses.g.g. the four nucleotides. Observing these sequence was reduced using the Greimas parallels. Table 1. codons. between the sequences in the same way it folktales are like biological beings (von worked for amino acids in a genome. each of which was in genetic relationships and relatedness can turn coded as a given amino acid (e. As early as 1909. it is highly possible that convergent evolution could produce apparent 44 . geographically genome informatics to Propp’s “sequence of and temporally. as Gennep 1909: 84). Discrete heritable units (e. point mutation and Innovation (e. circumstances. 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. innovation.

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. suffered Jahmshid Tehrani (2013) and Robert Ross. Rather be interpreted as reflecting the relative than shared mutations. folkloristic research on order to control the results. Phylogenetic methods have been used 2013b). I was the first. Tehrani 2013). it can be used to explore the was first composed and told to others. Phylogenetic tools have the potential to study many folktales and myths. in which human migrations that might be responsible case a variation in a conventional plot for that spread (d’Huy 2012a–c. Little Red Riding Hood and the Several of these issues will be briefly Kind and the Unkind Girl. see the definition below). When the tree-like the statistical reconstruction is essentially a mathematical outcome of the correlation of 45 .g. 2013e–f. This work has been then in the first half of the 20th century or the continued by other researchers.1 Indeed. and this can of formal relatedness between items. 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. I used as large a sample of Confronting Methodological Problems versions as possible and multiplied the most The Historical-Geographic Method (HGM). in the questions about the history of tales and the beginning of 2012. At its 1. its critics (d’Huy 2013a. which may be produced by be questioned whether the members of a so. historically shared innovations. another. Returning to (d’Huy 2012a–c. the function of a donor occurs 2013e–f. the Dragon. each time (vs. Ross et al. folktales and myths moved away from As far as I know. Tehrani 2013). 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. Atkinson for which it received heavy criticism (Frog (2013). assessment of the features of variants and thus 2014a. the Cosmic Hunt. 2013a–c. 2013a–c. An world. Oda’s functions. it becomes possible to consider additional problem is that the results depend whether this correlates with reconstructions of on the specific order of sequences. 2013a–c. 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. Krohn 1926). extent to which examples of a given folktale Phylogenetic tools statistically assess degrees exhibit a tree-like set of relations. It can offer answers to a lot of questions. It is impossible to reconstruct the tale as it most basic.similarity between functions that are relations of variants of a tale or tales in a evolutionarily unrelated. but the effectiveness of of the Finnish School fell out of favour in the Oda's method was never tested. Greenhill and Quentin D. whereby e. It can common. Tehrani 2013. 2013c. Ross et al. but uses a computer rather than graph we can reconstruct the proto-tale and its paper. from a number of methodological problems Simon J. up-to-date statistical and phylogenetical especially as it became internationally known methods applied. to tackle many of the historical relationships behind their various remaining problems with this sort of approach forms (Frog 2013b: 21–22). It does not involve qualitative evolution (d’Huy 2012b. d’Huy & Dupanloup early could make tales appear to correspond 2015). for instance latter half of the 20th century and research by changing the dataset or the method in paradigms changed. Tehrani 2013). 2013). This approach is phylogenetically distinct international types similar to the formal studies of the Classic (d’Huy 2013e. As the approaches history of research. such as ‘Classic HGM’ (esp. More generally. 2013e–f. the reviewed here: phylogenetic approach is very interesting. 2013a–e). 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. and whether HGM. Polyphemus. 2013). Oda’s work holds a position in the 2013d. including to resolve a lot of the problems addressed by Pygmalion.

Moreover. but that is another level of analysis and interpretation. Insofar as 3. 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.similarity of individual elements. For this transmission has the potential for even the reason.g. moderating compatible with both evolutionist and and negotiating variation. 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. a However. the software makes this and there may not be any evidence to link a observable as a conflict in the data. 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. 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). 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. carried via contact networks overall narrative form and structure was close and population mobility. tale to the geographical area of its origin. The Moreover. Phylogenetic tools can process of divergence to occurr more quickly easily accommodate incomplete phylogeny. The tale whole story. phylogenetic tools allow for the cultural mythology). with religious their geographical distribution. Ross et al. 2013). At least two progressive spread to new locations. history of cultures from which examples were collected. A researcher change). However. This process of to that of another set of variants. variations of a group. 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.g. 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. 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. phylogenetic tools treat radical transformation that rapidly becomes formal relationships between texts and not socially dominant (e. with a broader system of material (e. hierarchically structured according to larger Any attempt to find the place of origin of tales units of narrative. the geographical emphasis 2. it is (hypothetically) seems to be doomed to failure. This phenomenon structural treatments: the more two myths of cultural adjacence (Frog 2011: 92–93) diverge from each other or transform. 46 . in one region and more slowly in another. the could make tracing locations of origin and more distant their genetic relationship.g. 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. 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).

type analysis where. not isolating through which the mythic message is the motif of the escape from Polyphemus’ communicated. 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. for example. Source-critical problems. 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. this attitude valuations of individual variants and cannot could have consequences for handling be purely quantitative.4. 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. However. which it sought assessed and sorted according to to distinguish from literacy influence. versions used in analysis is therefore necessary. (2010). 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. It does 6. The concern However. materials owing to the number of languages this type of reconstruction presents a accessible to any one researcher. the introduction. 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. or the stemmatic tree of relations. if literary normally now thought of in terms of isolation adaptations draw on elements from other from a performance context.e. than primary sources in a data-set to be The translation could nevertheless have an analysed. This emphasis on oral sources was part of the point 4 above). A selection among the cave but also all of the surrounding tale). infer a lineage based on the proximate relation of many elements at the same level. 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. for example. it may be noted that phylogenetic is unwarranted when using phylogenetic analysis could be used as a tool in a larger methods. 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 . contemporary source-critical standards (cf. The representativeness of sources. However. The effect of The decontextualization of sources is horizontal transmission (i. longer story or integrating it into that plot. (2009) frequently cut from their context in more and by Curie et al. because the validity of sources. Phylogenetic methods collector/author/redactor. The Classic HGM advocated the 7.g. 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. 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. like discarding masses of variants. This was particularly problematic in motif analysis but also in tale- 5. (example in Frog 2011: 82–83). This impression if treated as conventional of the approach needs to maintain qualitative inherited oral tradition. The decontextualization of sources and not need to presume a gap between the true presumptions of relatedness folktale and literary adaptations. complex narratives. As noted. text-critical strategy for tracing the history of omission or alteration of elements in e. Early research gave preponderant possible. none are in an whether these may have been introduced by a intermediate position).

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. 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. 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. it becomes elements for each text subjected to analysis. 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). This identification of motifs / elements of the text problem requires a close analysis to establish may nevertheless remain a problem. Tale The reconstruction of the Polyphemus tale is a 8. 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. Researcher interpretation in type. 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. 31n. 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. statistical tools. the distribution of Sámi and inventions around the world. Frog 2013b: 27. Concern interpretation. If this sort of identification is 1904). the Americas and individual examples are considered in relation to those broad patterns Phylogenetic Analysis of the Polyphemus (cf. 2013f). geographical origin of this story also valid. 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. can be safely or group of examples could be inaccurate or dismissed as erroneous. This study suffers from a total lack of considered justified. Some elements (cf.13). and of the significance which The researcher’s identification of an example lies at the root of the story. The problem of the such loose groupings may not in all cases be physical. This is simple examples of this are the examples of a very controversial issue that could be ATU 1148b attested in Sámi. The researcher’s Greek/Homeric variants in Fig. This is a broad irrelevant. the proto-myth. 1). Latvian and statistically evaluated for each motif thanks to Greek discussed by Frog (2011: 81. question appears to be the criticisms of Kaarle 48 . 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. which could be parallels by looking for them: what qualifies born/borrowed at different times. 87). below). too wide to be reviewed here. This is motif has a single unique origin. This whether the variants present different locally problem is similar to the issue of producing established forms. A solution alleviated when focus is calibrated to a could be to determine the maximal number of broader scope: for example. This becomes a problem of seems unsolvable (Glenn 1978). textbook case. which rejects particularly relevant to phylogenetic analysis the possibility of ‘multigenisis’ of narrative on the basis of individual formal traits.examples can be considered representative of Krohn’s (1926: 28–29) conception that each a local or cultural tradition. 84. such as the Sámi examples subject. Hackman’s analysis based on a basis of formal features of the individual Historical-Geographical approach (Hackman examples. The earlier reconstructions of identification.

Webster 1879: 4–6) 2013a) and. K602: “Noman”. The Odyssey (book IX) Modern Greek people (Athens: Drosinis 1884: 170–176. 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). Dardy 1884) Romanian people (Grimm 1857: 15–16) Valais people (Abry 2002: 58) Balto-Slavic 3 Serb people (Karadschitsch 1854: 222–225. 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. Under the pretence of Polyphemus faced major problems owing to curing his eyesight. I used a corpus of examples of this will test my earlier results. 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. My first preliminary tale-type: G100: Giant ogre. Krauss 1883: 170–173) Russian people (Ralston 1873: 178–181. 44 the eye). 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. 152–154). I journal. Karel 1907: 38–39) Lithuanian people (Richter 1889: 87–89) Germanic 2 English people (Baring-Gould 1890) West Highlands people (Campbell 1860: 105–114). Wissler & Duvall 1908: 50–52) Iroquoian 3 Crew people (Lowie 1918: 216–217. 2013a). K521. I here increase the number of versions K603: Escape under ram’s belly. Vinson 1883: 42–45.Table 2. Cappadocia: Dawkins 1916: 551. 218–220. 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. Dumézil 1965: 55–59) Uralic 3 Hungarian people (Stier 1857: 146–150) Sami people (Poestion 1886: 122–126. Uther (2004) 49 . In this paper. 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. 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. 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. 25–26) Greek 4 Homer. human) skin.1: Escape by dressing in versions according to 98 traits in d’Huy animal (bird. attempts to reconstruct the evolution of K1011: Eye-remedy. Simms 1903: 295–297) Southern Athabaskan 5 Jicarilla Apache people (Goddard 1911: 212–214. Polyphemus. Frobenius 1996. Examples and sources used in the phylogenetic analysis.

Figure 1. The sentences were coded according this study.2. of a master of animals or of a monstrous With Mesquite 2. This also means that the reliability distribution of values had been reached was controlled with Tracer 1. or fur of an animal who is going out.000. French. treelength: 608. using a model of DNA (although see discussion above). Italian). a simple model to calculate the hero escapes by holding on to to the fleece the 100 more parcimonious trees was used. before being with a living animal. each version. breaking it into betray fugitive. in order to produce a binary K603) and I define the Polyphemus type as a matrix. Deception through false doctoring. The present substitution (the GTR) with gamma- study is founded on the premise that the texts distributed rate variation across sites. 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. adds five additional motifs: F512: Person of the results remains conditional on the unusual as to his eyes.2 summarized into one – consensual – tree The versions are drawn from diverse (strict consensus. Tree under the maximum parsimony and consensus criterions (right) and bayesian tree (right). representative of the traditions of the cultures with relative burn-in discarding the first 25% in question to make phylogenetic analysis of sampled trees.75 (Madisson & shepherd. and each of compare the mythological versions they them has its own evolutionary story. So. in contain. Some of (Huelsenbeck & Ronquist 2001.000 generations. Then each tree was rearranged by subtree concealing himself under an animal’s skin or pruning and regrafting.1: Magic objects been analysed individually.0 (Drummond & 50 . Figure 1. These motifs can be found in sentences have then been added to an index to disparate ways in other tales. These escapes. F531: Giant. the host wants to kill the hero. The fact that a stationary reasonable. published sources in several languages left column).5. The forming the corpus are sufficiently trees were sampled every 5. Give alarm when fugitive the shortest possible sentences. German.1 (English. With MrBayes 3. Ronquist & the sources used were not available in forms Huelsenbeck 2003). An ordinary Markov Chain Monte significant editing for the earlier publication Carlo analysis for 20. D1612.000 generations or could reflect summaries and paraphrases with 4 chains was run. but Madisson 2011). The coding also incorporated a tale in which a person gets into the homestead symbol (?) for uncertainty in the data. K1010: representativeness of the corpus. I will only consider the motif of to their presence in (1) or absence (0) from the escape from Polyphemus’ cave (K521. K521: Each version of the Polyphemus Tale has Escape by disguise.

At the end of the run. This means that a shared form of the tale as a lord of animals. 2013a). created by a Considering the monster in the earliest 50% majority rule. of which 6. Both runs produced Amerindian versions found in the Valais 8. On the both legends and mythology (cf. Figure 2. the between the European and Amerindian average standard deviation of split corpora.002 trees. Rambaut 2007).). Valais versions (Figure 2).005. Maximum tree with a midpoint rooting. the Valais is formally intermediate. which places tradition that included a belief in a lord of the root directly between the Ojibwa and animals. 2010: 168). It is likely that the European version The tree obtained is a consensus tree from all exhibits the most archaic features. The supernatural shepherd of 51 . as polytomy is introduced if a particular split in the Valais3 and North American variants.002 were sampled. samples (excluding the burn-in). corpus. right column). As pointed out by Frog (p. af Klintberg one hand. 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. with a lord of wild animals similar to frequencies was 0. Homer drew on a primeval mythological To root the trees.97) and was shaped historically in relation to dominant systematically found in the previous livelihoods of the cultural environment in reconstructions (d’Huy 2012a.c. 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. I used a midpoint tradition older than the Indo-European solution with the MrBayes tree.

If the 2012. Figure 4.4 keeper of animals. also Tolley which the attested versions derive. 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 (Cosine). 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. which discusses a motif associated with North American and European versions of the the lord of animals also adapted to livestock). Principal coordinates analysis (Jaccard). Figure 3. 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. European traditions is equivalent to the lord (see also Frog 2011: 91–93. 2014).

Figure 6.07.74. Cosine: PC1: 35. 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. The lord of animals is attested among Similarity index: Jaccard.0 (Hammer et al. A principal coordinates construable form of the plot.62. Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (Jaccard). PC2: 11. the tradition area of Valais where it is attested Cosine. which 53 . explains its place in our analysis. fig. 2001) show a of animals in the Valais instance may not remarkably consistent pattern. nearest before the domestication of livestock that was geographical versions tended to form sister maintained in isolation in Western Europe. Accordingly.3 unclear why it would be maintained only in and 4) and a non-metric MDS (Jaccard. geographically reflect a historical continuity from such an era speaking (North America / Europe. PC2: several peoples in Europe. The appearance of a lord Past 3. the Ojibwa’s branch is also situated in animals or equivalent figure in the earliest an intermediate place. PC1: 29. 2D. It is therefore 10. analysis (transformation exponent: c = 2. Figure 5. On the other the adversary was most likely a lord of hand. Non-Metric multidimensional Scaling (Cosine) the domestication of livestock. clades). Figures 5 and 6) conducted with in only one variant.859.

Falush et al. 0.000 Burn-in period. 0. Using the software structure American branches of the tale.72% for the European cluster). Although the Harvester (Earl & von Holdt 2012). test for the phylogenetic analysis clearly shows 1 to 12 clusters) in the sample of versions distinct groupings of the European and North studied. I also used Structure2. Admixture model. The limited clusters.28% for the Amerindian cluster.53% for the Amerindian cluster. Ancestry Model. 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. This makes it appear less likely that Figure 8a. this again suggests that these two versions are in the middle ground between European and Figure 7.000 MCMC Reps after burn-in.47% for the European cluster) and the Valais (0. The ‘Petit Sorcier á l’Arc Musical’ [‘The Sorcer with the Musical Bow’] in the Cave of the Trois-Frères in Ariège. number of inclined toward the center of shared features iteration: 10. The software also computes the probabilities of each version for each cluster. detect the true number of clusters (K. 2000. The data align perfectly with the Amerindian/European distinction. Magdalenian. may be the earliest pictographic representation of the Polyphemus tale (Breuil 1930: 262). number of examples from each culture in the as exhibiting formal distinction from these corpus may not be sufficient to reconstruct the larger groups.4 conventional form of the tradition for any one (Pritchard et al. European and North American clusters are 50. Figure 7). southwestern France. 0. The probability is by far the lowest for the Ojibwa (0. Nevertheless. 2003) to culture in a dependable manner.3. Delta K's score associated with 1 to 12 Amerindian developments. 54 . it remains noteworthy more similar to each other than to the other that significant formal variations in the cluster (Parameters: 10. recessive alleles model used for of the traditions rather than away from it at random.

This figure is striking controls the beasts from his dwelling. for the relationship to the upright bison-man Gourhan 1971: 97) and a very detailed. 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. The ‘Petit another. local or reflect an imaginal relevant to the Polyphemus tale (Breuil 1930: 262. in a way similar to be consistent with the proposed evolution of 55 . Interpreting narrative through image systems of a remote earlier period is inevitably problematic and speculative. The bison-man could be current in some form in the Palaeolithic era. Some believe the core of the Prometheus tale – i. 1996). Vialou 1987: herd: the bison-man would then fill the role of 116). long before the first The peculiar image of the animal with a domestication of animals.e.the two major branches of this complex the one used by the North American Lakota narrative emerged independently of one hunters approaching their prey. a supernatural guardian of a herd watching for the hero who escapes by hiding within one of the animals. depiction of a historical event. guardian or other Avantès. 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 features he has in common with it. a flute or a musical bow (Bégouën An illustration of the Polyphemus tale can & Breuil 1958: 58). This cave is located in Montesquieu. In addition. A popular or relevance. it would also account (see discussions in Breuil 1930: 263. 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. representation of a herd (Figure 8a). legs and holding or pointing a bow. hunter or predator but rather aligned with Frères. the that they represent hunters in animal disguise escape of the hero. large looking at the animal within the context of a anus / vulva (Breuil 1930: 261. but its choice Breuil’s drawing). The narrative depicted Figure 8b. as seen more clearly in Figure 8b. 1996). but can be compared to the within a dense. Comparative evidence supports interpretation is that the figure of the human. 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. This bow in his hand (on which see further enables the hero to escape the monster who Demouche et al. interpreted as some type of magical hunter. human thigh and prominent rear orifice is The potential case is included as a scene equally obscure. rather than would appear to parallel elements that stand at those that are different from it. Magdalenian period. for the prominence of the anus / vulva on the human. The images of Figure 8a that may be might be random. and its longue durée is a relevant indicator but the bison-man head identifies him with that it held social interest and relevance. Leroi. 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. 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. If this set of images elements indeed belongs together. them as their protector. they can reasonably be presumed to reflect some sort of a narrative through its constituent elements. 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. The bison-man would also (Demouche et al. the probability that the Polyphemus tale was bison is a ‘shaman’. in the French Ariège département agent and representative (Clottes & Lewis- and the cave drawings appear to date to the Williams 1996: 94).

in completely significant rather than. high RI values (for clusters. doubt. of the stories. Bryant et al. 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. Thus the vertical speculative. test this. Indeed. The may be guardian of a particular species. and proposes good representations amount of borrowings that is possible. similar to those found in both trees instance. whose mean RI is 0. biological data sets of Collard et al.3422.60) usually show a (see below). conflicting data. The RI about both clusters and evolutionary distances calculated with Mesquite was 0.12. labelling or interpreting data.63) are 0.Figure 9. The Retention NeigbhorNet (implemented in Splitstree4. NeighborNet graph of the Polyphemus variants. NeighborNet correctly simulated).57 and 0. for the model of its history. 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. through common descent. the Retention Index (RI) has been The results also should be controlled with calculated for both our trees. then. 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. were notably a herd animal). folktale data. explaining it as an interpretive bias rate of borrowing of mythemes to be low. The main delta-score is here 2010). noise. suggesting a good conservation low horizontal transmission (Nunn et al. Figure 9). A real conflicting signal Mesquite tree and 0.61. To in selecting. Index is a traditional tool in cladistics and Bryant & Moulton 2004. 2005. greater than 0. evaluates the degree to which a trait is shared characters transformation: Jaccard. domesticated livestock (noting that here he (2006). This interpretation is structured by speciation. An RI of 1 This algorithm makes it possible to see indicates that the tree shows no borrowings. Both RIs obtained (0. uncertainty as while an RI of 0 indicates the maximum webbing. we would expect the example.57 for the between the taxa. 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. However. 1000 characters found.63 for the Bayesian tree between versions (box-like structures) was (Jukes-Cantor model. The delta-method scores individual 56 . However.

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

It could be easy to explain. conditional millennia. one can propose that on the improbability of multigenisis. 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.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. In this case. one of the first steps of diffusion in Europe includes Basque. these stories first millennium BC. Celtic languages were could only have spread across Eurasia and spoken across much of Europe. including North America when a former land bridge Great Britain. Oghuz Turks. Figure 10. example. Yorkshire and Trends of Stability and Contrasts the West Highlands. 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. Bayesian tree calculated without the Amerindian versions. the Black joined present day Alaska and eastern Siberia Sea and the Northern Balkan Peninsula. For cultural and population histories. unaware of a connection to Indo-European). Burkert’s hypothesis that an earlier A 10. For instance. it Basque versions may be a borrowing from the becomes necessary to account for the tale. The during the Pleistocene ice ages. neighbouring Celtiberian (spoken in ancient 58 . the Pyrenean area. During the independently of one another.

If this has happened repeatedly. evolutionary change. it is generally restricted to rare and story have been ‘seeded’ through Europe very fast events of branching speciation again and again. Yorkshire belongs to the Brittonic joining closely Israeli.4. superseding one another and (Eldredge & Gould 1972. If correct. included in the books and papers. p = linear relationship (Pearson + Spearman5) 0. The link between the Pyrenean area results about a European folktale). which would be followed by reconstructable version of the tale with any extended periods of stability with little net particular geographical space. Pagel et al.. which is also a the websites Glottolog and Wals).0 correlation between branch length and the (Rangel et al. The geographical locations of each predicts no relationship between node and version were estimated using information path lengths.85 (Pearson: 0. or what Frog (2011: 91) To test the multiple migration hypothesis. The result European versions. so this low result estimate of the punctuational effect on the suggests a very complex evolution for the clock-like behaviour of these trees. The results have been far superior to those 59 . Berber and Russian area. long-distance influence of certain versions. which would be borrowing without However.8% (r² = 0.008. could explain the clade languages. be low relationship between geographic 2003.15E-22. 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. establishment of a branch of the tradition How could the Polyphemus’ tales – and could not be shown to be ‘true’. diffusion of versions could be more More precisely. breaking the continuity of linear path lengths).043) in the of the tree to each final version.” One sign of the coefficient matrix (permutation: 10000) on punctuational evolution of myths is the individual version data with SAM v. 2013c–d).79. p(uncorr): 2. 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. palaeolithic diverge rapidly. This would 1977).] in fits and starts. Where many distance and similarity between versions. geographical. 270 BC. I found that sign of punctuational evolution (Wagner & geographical distance explains 7% of the Erwin 1995). there should number of speciation events (Webster et al. If an analogy may be drawn. 2013 for higher Goidelic. p = 0.times in the Iberian Penninsula) or Gaulish such the Homeric one. each speciation events (nodes) have occurred.77E-13). newly consequently seem to make it difficult to mythological sister versions would tend to correlate the earliest. In these and Oghuz Turks could be explained by the conditions.3) among European data. The mean Amerindian data and 0. and not necessary from the root variance (r² = 0. and the West Highlands is included in versions (see Ross et al. there new version taking the place of older should be more total genetic change (longer versions. with many waves of was 0. significant evolutionary change occurs in a it would suggest that different versions of the species. an account of the Celtic major modifications. 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. A gradual model of evolution diffusion. 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. Gould & Eldredge receding in the wake of history. diffusions (rather than a single one). the result may imply that the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. I has described as “the evolution of tradition realised a Mantel test using a Jaccard\s [. 2010).91. 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.. 2006). and the Spearman’s rs: 0. The theory of population movements and cultural changes punctuated equilibrium states that when of traditions. tale. the Tectosages. p(uncorr): 6.07.

An R² near 1. a be to use the tools belonging to the field of Natural story of the origin of fire was told by an Language Processing. such an approach would require them (Désveaux 2001: 85). which shows the regression line fits the data well. Aix-Marseille (Venditti et al. d’Huy 2013c: 100). Little Red Riding Hood: Tehrani 2013. 2006). which increase the rate of analysis based on the textual surface of a heterogeneously written corpus. 2. 2013a. into the tale’s A well-known artifact of phylogenetic possible prototype. The considerations of the past behind the remaining variation in path could be documented evidence. Polyphemus: d’Huy another tale-type: the Cosmic hunt (84%: 2012a. the narratives would be. to consider how to prevent ambiguity in the identification of unique terms and terms with many 60 . To avoid this. rue Malher. 2008). the closer Amerindian to offset another story by an the contents of two narratives (as reflected through their surface texts). see d’Huy 2013f).obtained from biological data (r = from 0.83) is higher than the evolution of the folktale.0 indicates that a in previous studies. 2013). 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. sentences. The punctuational University. small social communities tend sentences. the Cosmic a result close to what was obtained for Hunt: d’Huy 2012b. the R² with a reconstruction and the punctuational linear regression (R² = 0. 2013f. Concerning the punctuated equilibrium effect. have been corroborated here. Trees also did not show the curvilinear trend Julien d’Huy (dhuy. (22%. Pagel et al. 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. the trees obtained are the coefficient of determination (R²) has been better and more coherent than those obtained calculated. 75004 Paris. family of this folktale. Here. groups of founder effect. 2014a.69. They can offer insights explained by independent gradual effects. Centre punctuational effect in biological species Malher. France. artifact’) may lead us to believe in a false with a common ancestor. mean R² = 0. see Atkinson et al. With these tools.22 Conclusion to 0. 1. also found in R² with a logarithmic regression (R² = 0. It is also necessary change (for an example. and to what extent the reconstructions (the so-called ‘node-density versions studied belong to a same tale-type. However. 9. 2013. paragraphs or the experience something similar to founder whole text should be rewritten to facilitate the events and drift. previous works. It should contribute Notes 75% to the evolution of the Polyphemus tale. while an R² importance of experimental replications and closer to 0 indicates a regression line does not using a larger database. Pygmalion: d’Huy 2012c. could individuals with this group. To conclude. explain these mythological punctuations. UMR 8171). 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. 2013a. Pagel et al. Paris I Sorbonne. among languages within a language family.18. the Kind and the Unkind Girl: Ross et al. 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.julien[at]yahoo. 2006). not used here. The proto-myth fit the data very well.75). For instance. d’Huy Ethnology provides a model that could 2014b. parts of text or structural formations) and to lose part of their mythological complex and whether certain words.Paris1/EPHE/Aix-Marseille Univ-AMU). d’Huy & Dupanloup 2015. 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). such as asking which elements should be effect also could be due to a mythological compared (individual sentences. 2013c. into how a tale evolves. the Dragon: d’Huy 2013e. (CNRS/IRD/EHESS/ effect for this folktale is stronger than the Univ. The punctuational taking many precautionary measures (d’Huy 2014c).fr) Institute of the that characterizes the node-density artefact African World (IMAF. the shorter the distance between Indian of another tribe (Goddard 1904: 197). Another approach.

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