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Polyphemus: a Palaeolithic Tale?
Julien D’Huy

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

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

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

the software makes this and there may not be any evidence to link a observable as a conflict in the data. The tale whole story.g. it is (hypothetically) seems to be doomed to failure. 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). 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. with a broader system of material (e.similarity of individual elements. However. The Moreover. 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. but that is another level of analysis and interpretation. a However. For this transmission has the potential for even the reason. 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. This process of to that of another set of variants. 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. moderating compatible with both evolutionist and and negotiating variation. 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. 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. phylogenetic tools treat radical transformation that rapidly becomes formal relationships between texts and not socially dominant (e. This phenomenon structural treatments: the more two myths of cultural adjacence (Frog 2011: 92–93) diverge from each other or transform. with religious their geographical distribution. variations of a group. A researcher change). phylogenetic tools allow for the cultural mythology). At least two progressive spread to new locations. 46 . 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. history of cultures from which examples were collected. Moreover. hierarchically structured according to larger Any attempt to find the place of origin of tales units of narrative. in one region and more slowly in another. Insofar as 3. Phylogenetic tools can process of divergence to occurr more quickly easily accommodate incomplete phylogeny. carried via contact networks overall narrative form and structure was close and population mobility. Ross et al. 2013). 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. the could make tracing locations of origin and more distant their genetic relationship.g. tale to the geographical area of its origin. spread” (Frog 2013a: 117).g. 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. the geographical emphasis 2.

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

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

Simms 1903: 295–297) Southern Athabaskan 5 Jicarilla Apache people (Goddard 1911: 212–214. 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. Examples and sources used in the phylogenetic analysis. 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. 303–304) Basque people (Cerquand 1992. Karel 1907: 38–39) Lithuanian people (Richter 1889: 87–89) Germanic 2 English people (Baring-Gould 1890) West Highlands people (Campbell 1860: 105–114).Table 2. K521. K602: “Noman”. I journal. 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. 38–41) Palestinian-Israelian people (Patai 1998: 31–32) Syrian people (Prym et Socin 1881: 115) Language isolates 5 Kootenays people (Boas 1918: 213–219.1: Escape by dressing in versions according to 98 traits in d’Huy animal (bird. My first preliminary tale-type: G100: Giant ogre. I here increase the number of versions K603: Escape under ram’s belly. Under the pretence of Polyphemus faced major problems owing to curing his eyesight. In this paper. Webster 1879: 4–6) 2013a) and. 25–26) Greek 4 Homer. Indo-Iranian 1 Ossetian people (Dirr 1922: 262) Caucasian 2 Abaza people (Colarusso 2002: 200–202. 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. in the preceding issue of this (56) and traits (190) studied. Polyphemus. 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. 2013a). I used a corpus of examples of this will test my earlier results. Wissler & Duvall 1908: 50–52) Iroquoian 3 Crew people (Lowie 1918: 216–217. 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). Dumézil 1965: 55–59) Uralic 3 Hungarian people (Stier 1857: 146–150) Sami people (Poestion 1886: 122–126. 152–154). 44 the eye). Krauss 1883: 170–173) Russian people (Ralston 1873: 178–181. Dardy 1884) Romanian people (Grimm 1857: 15–16) Valais people (Abry 2002: 58) Balto-Slavic 3 Serb people (Karadschitsch 1854: 222–225. Li romans de Dolopathos Gascon people (Bladé 1886. Uther (2004) 49 . 218–220. Vinson 1883: 42–45. Frobenius 1996. Cappadocia: Dawkins 1916: 551. human) skin. The Odyssey (book IX) Modern Greek people (Athens: Drosinis 1884: 170–176. attempts to reconstruct the evolution of K1011: Eye-remedy.

1: Magic objects been analysed individually. Deception through false doctoring. a simple model to calculate the hero escapes by holding on to to the fleece the 100 more parcimonious trees was used. French. Tree under the maximum parsimony and consensus criterions (right) and bayesian tree (right). adds five additional motifs: F512: Person of the results remains conditional on the unusual as to his eyes. German. the host wants to kill the hero.2. With MrBayes 3.5. The present substitution (the GTR) with gamma- study is founded on the premise that the texts distributed rate variation across sites. or fur of an animal who is going out. Italian). and each of compare the mythological versions they them has its own evolutionary story. The forming the corpus are sufficiently trees were sampled every 5. The fact that a stationary reasonable.75 (Madisson & shepherd.000 generations. I will only consider the motif of to their presence in (1) or absence (0) from the escape from Polyphemus’ cave (K521. Figure 1. These motifs can be found in sentences have then been added to an index to disparate ways in other tales. in contain. Ronquist & the sources used were not available in forms Huelsenbeck 2003). K1010: representativeness of the corpus.000 generations or could reflect summaries and paraphrases with 4 chains was run. breaking it into betray fugitive. but Madisson 2011).2 summarized into one – consensual – tree The versions are drawn from diverse (strict consensus. each version. Figure 1. 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. in order to produce a binary K603) and I define the Polyphemus type as a matrix. Then each tree was rearranged by subtree concealing himself under an animal’s skin or pruning and regrafting. So. Give alarm when fugitive the shortest possible sentences. 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. K521: Each version of the Polyphemus Tale has Escape by disguise. The sentences were coded according this study. The coding also incorporated a tale in which a person gets into the homestead symbol (?) for uncertainty in the data. using a model of DNA (although see discussion above). of a master of animals or of a monstrous With Mesquite 2. published sources in several languages left column). F531: Giant. This also means that the reliability distribution of values had been reached was controlled with Tracer 1. D1612.0 (Drummond & 50 . These escapes.000. treelength: 608. Some of (Huelsenbeck & Ronquist 2001. before being with a living animal. An ordinary Markov Chain Monte significant editing for the earlier publication Carlo analysis for 20.

At the end of the run. I used a midpoint tradition older than the Indo-European solution with the MrBayes tree. created by a Considering the monster in the earliest 50% majority rule. On the both legends and mythology (cf. which places tradition that included a belief in a lord of the root directly between the Ojibwa and animals. Valais versions (Figure 2). 2010: 168). As pointed out by Frog (p. Figure 2.005. Rambaut 2007). af Klintberg one hand.97) and was shaped historically in relation to dominant systematically found in the previous livelihoods of the cultural environment in reconstructions (d’Huy 2012a. samples (excluding the burn-in).). It is likely that the European version The tree obtained is a consensus tree from all exhibits the most archaic features. as polytomy is introduced if a particular split in the Valais3 and North American variants. the between the European and Amerindian average standard deviation of split corpora. right column).002 trees. the Valais is formally intermediate.002 were sampled. The supernatural shepherd of 51 .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. with a lord of wild animals similar to frequencies was 0. corpus. Maximum tree with a midpoint rooting. This means that a shared form of the tale as a lord of animals. of which 6. Both runs produced Amerindian versions found in the Valais 8. Homer drew on a primeval mythological To root the trees. 2013a). 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.

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. European traditions is equivalent to the lord (see also Frog 2011: 91–93. which discusses a motif associated with North American and European versions of the the lord of animals also adapted to livestock). Figure 4. also Tolley which the attested versions derive. on which the hero’s escape then it is improbable that the necessary is dependent. 2014). Figure 3. 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. Principal coordinates analysis (Cosine).4 keeper of animals. Principal coordinates analysis (Jaccard). 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 . If the 2012.

On the other the adversary was most likely a lord of hand. Non-Metric multidimensional Scaling (Cosine) the domestication of livestock. A principal coordinates construable form of the plot. The appearance of a lord Past 3.3 unclear why it would be maintained only in and 4) and a non-metric MDS (Jaccard. Figure 6. 2D.74. Cosine: PC1: 35.07. explains its place in our analysis. which 53 . the tradition area of Valais where it is attested Cosine. 2001) show a of animals in the Valais instance may not remarkably consistent pattern.0 (Hammer et al. geographically reflect a historical continuity from such an era speaking (North America / Europe. PC1: 29.62. Figure 5. fig. It is therefore 10. analysis (transformation exponent: c = 2. The lord of animals is attested among Similarity index: Jaccard. the Ojibwa’s branch is also situated in animals or equivalent figure in the earliest an intermediate place.859. Figures 5 and 6) conducted with in only one variant. PC2: several peoples in Europe. Non-Metric Multidimensional Scaling (Jaccard). 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. PC2: 11. nearest before the domestication of livestock that was geographical versions tended to form sister maintained in isolation in Western Europe. Accordingly. clades).

Using the software structure American branches of the tale.47% for the European cluster) and the Valais (0. 54 . number of inclined toward the center of shared features iteration: 10. this again suggests that these two versions are in the middle ground between European and Figure 7.53% for the Amerindian cluster. 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. 0.28% for the Amerindian cluster. 0. 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 software also computes the probabilities of each version for each cluster. 0. Although the Harvester (Earl & von Holdt 2012). southwestern France. The probability is by far the lowest for the Ojibwa (0.3. Falush et al. European and North American clusters are 50. Ancestry Model. may be the earliest pictographic representation of the Polyphemus tale (Breuil 1930: 262). Admixture model.000 MCMC Reps after burn-in. This makes it appear less likely that Figure 8a. The limited clusters.000 Burn-in period. Magdalenian. I also used Structure2. 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. recessive alleles model used for of the traditions rather than away from it at random. 2003) to culture in a dependable manner. Figure 7). Nevertheless.72% for the European cluster). test for the phylogenetic analysis clearly shows 1 to 12 clusters) in the sample of versions distinct groupings of the European and North studied.4 conventional form of the tradition for any one (Pritchard et al. The ‘Petit Sorcier á l’Arc Musical’ [‘The Sorcer with the Musical Bow’] in the Cave of the Trois-Frères in Ariège. 2000. detect the true number of clusters (K.

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

1000 characters found. folktale data. NeighborNet graph of the Polyphemus variants. An RI of 1 This algorithm makes it possible to see indicates that the tree shows no borrowings. NeighborNet correctly simulated). 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. we would expect the example. the Retention Index (RI) has been The results also should be controlled with calculated for both our trees.3422. 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. Bryant et al. The Retention NeigbhorNet (implemented in Splitstree4. Both RIs obtained (0. and proposes good representations amount of borrowings that is possible.63 for the Bayesian tree between versions (box-like structures) was (Jukes-Cantor model. for the model of its history. biological data sets of Collard et al. The delta-method scores individual 56 .57 and 0. Indeed. through common descent. 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. greater than 0. uncertainty as while an RI of 0 indicates the maximum webbing. doubt.60) usually show a (see below). However. 2005.61. conflicting data. noise. then.12. similar to those found in both trees instance. in completely significant rather than. However. explaining it as an interpretive bias rate of borrowing of mythemes to be low. test this. evaluates the degree to which a trait is shared characters transformation: Jaccard.63) are 0. of the stories. Index is a traditional tool in cladistics and Bryant & Moulton 2004. whose mean RI is 0. domesticated livestock (noting that here he (2006). To in selecting. The may be guardian of a particular species. A real conflicting signal Mesquite tree and 0. were notably a herd animal). This interpretation is structured by speciation. The main delta-score is here 2010). suggesting a good conservation low horizontal transmission (Nunn et al. high RI values (for clusters. Thus the vertical speculative. 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.57 for the between the taxa. The RI about both clusters and evolutionary distances calculated with Mesquite was 0. labelling or interpreting data. Figure 9).Figure 9.

the hero clings to a living animal.] Then he waits monster was in a shelter and the animals were for the man near the entrance to kill him.] a house or something similar].] Then he falls asleep and a vengeance occurs that is [The enemy is a completely solitary figure. [To enters in the monster’s house [which is a hut. the following text. contrary to Ross and al. Peričić et al. et al. with more than a know whom he will meet]. area across millennia. are at least as tree-like as preserved at least partially a reconstructed languages. 3.3. it versions and another choice of traits to study may have been disseminated through the tale. some families of folktales. Thus.’s during the Last Glacial Maximum (Pala et al. where reconstructed makes the outcome appear relatively traits are not necessarily those which occur consistent with what would be developed most frequently.taxa from 0 to 1. A human Then mythemes reconstructed with a high [perceives a light in the distance and does not degree of confidence – i. Whichmann very hypothetical reconstruction.] The According to the reconstructed origin of the monster possesses herd of wild animals. immovable or a large door. 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. 2002). 2012. mythemes with herd of domestic animals (sheep). 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.e. in blue) 0. a stemma for Germanic languages should appear more or less the same even if we were 57 . which may Mesquite 2. version of the story in which the monster was a master of animals. These phylogenetic reconstruction methods The enemy is a completely solitary figure. 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. escape. In the text. 2005) and probably including K603. [The hero does not know whom he will meet. [He traps more than 75% probability have been the man and his own animals with an underlined. and is are applied to each mytheme of the family. However. In Europe. because the whole branch is stable (cf. yet they can propose remains almost the same (Figure 10). Their average is migrated toward the South (fig. Parcimony reconstructions) implemented in tree at the left). in blue). 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. The monster possesses a been retained. Indeed. 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. this is a in the data (Holland et al.] A human hunter the man near the entrance to kill him. [To sheep may go back to about the domestication escape. can been reconstruct the probable form of the first reconstructed: Palaeolithic state of the Polyphemus family. if not more so. claims (2013). a giant who has one eye in the forehead. connected with fire. (2011) calculates delta scores across the the palaeolithic populations may have world’s language families. Note that this model is from stemmatic models developed by other linked to features that are also correlate with means. Greece / Syria / traps the man and his own animals with an Abaze. He enters the 50% probability using both methods – have monster’s house. affronted alone by the hero. of sheep is estimated to fall between nine and eleven thousand years ago in Mesopotamia.75 have been used with maximum approximate the features of versions of the parsimony and consensus criterions tree to European Neolithic proto-tale. the Amerindian traditions. It could be the Palaeolithic myth of successive migrations from the Mediterranean the first appearance of game on Earth. the domestication date this story. the hero clings to a living animal.3113. [He European type (Figure 3. this new version where the immovable or a large door. This statistical reconstructions. The monster waits for who is affronted alone.] In of the species.

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

so this low result estimate of the punctuational effect on the suggests a very complex evolution for the clock-like behaviour of these trees.4. could explain the clade languages. If correct. it is generally restricted to rare and story have been ‘seeded’ through Europe very fast events of branching speciation again and again. 2013 for higher Goidelic. The results have been far superior to those 59 . the Tectosages.07. Pagel et al. 2006). diffusions (rather than a single one). The link between the Pyrenean area results about a European folktale). 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. p = linear relationship (Pearson + Spearman5) 0.85 (Pearson: 0. Yorkshire belongs to the Brittonic joining closely Israeli.” One sign of the coefficient matrix (permutation: 10000) on punctuational evolution of myths is the individual version data with SAM v. the result may imply that the Gallic invasion of the Balkans in 279 BC. with many waves of was 0.times in the Iberian Penninsula) or Gaulish such the Homeric one. palaeolithic diverge rapidly.8% (r² = 0. establishment of a branch of the tradition How could the Polyphemus’ tales – and could not be shown to be ‘true’. 2013c–d). and not necessary from the root variance (r² = 0. and the West Highlands is included in versions (see Ross et al.79. diffusion of versions could be more More precisely. p(uncorr): 2. The mean Amerindian data and 0. which is also a the websites Glottolog and Wals). 2010). each speciation events (nodes) have occurred. 270 BC. 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. 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.043) in the of the tree to each final version. tale. or what Frog (2011: 91) To test the multiple migration hypothesis.15E-22. I found that sign of punctuational evolution (Wagner & geographical distance explains 7% of the Erwin 1995). If an analogy may be drawn. newly consequently seem to make it difficult to mythological sister versions would tend to correlate the earliest.008. superseding one another and (Eldredge & Gould 1972.3) among European data. be low relationship between geographic 2003.] in fits and starts. This would 1977).77E-13). which would be followed by reconstructable version of the tale with any extended periods of stability with little net particular geographical space. p = 0. and the Spearman’s rs: 0. there should number of speciation events (Webster et al. Where many distance and similarity between versions. If this has happened repeatedly. Berber and Russian area.. The geographical locations of each predicts no relationship between node and version were estimated using information path lengths. evolutionary change. breaking the continuity of linear path lengths). 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. which would be borrowing without However. included in the books and papers. geographical. In these and Oghuz Turks could be explained by the conditions. significant evolutionary change occurs in a it would suggest that different versions of the species. A gradual model of evolution diffusion. an account of the Celtic major modifications.. The theory of population movements and cultural changes punctuated equilibrium states that when of traditions. p(uncorr): 6. there new version taking the place of older should be more total genetic change (longer versions.0 correlation between branch length and the (Rangel et al. 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. long-distance influence of certain versions. I has described as “the evolution of tradition realised a Mantel test using a Jaccard\s [.91. The result European versions.

2013a. a be to use the tools belonging to the field of Natural story of the origin of fire was told by an Language Processing. the narratives would be. paragraphs or the experience something similar to founder whole text should be rewritten to facilitate the events and drift. Little Red Riding Hood: Tehrani 2013. However. mean R² = 0. The proto-myth fit the data very well.fr) Institute of the that characterizes the node-density artefact African World (IMAF. Polyphemus: d’Huy another tale-type: the Cosmic hunt (84%: 2012a. 2013c. rue Malher.obtained from biological data (r = from 0. into the tale’s A well-known artifact of phylogenetic possible prototype. Centre punctuational effect in biological species Malher. d’Huy & Dupanloup 2015. Pagel et al. It should contribute Notes 75% to the evolution of the Polyphemus tale. 2013). The punctuational University. the shorter the distance between Indian of another tribe (Goddard 1904: 197). such as asking which elements should be effect also could be due to a mythological compared (individual sentences. sentences. such an approach would require them (Désveaux 2001: 85). the trees obtained are the coefficient of determination (R²) has been better and more coherent than those obtained calculated. 75004 Paris. and to what extent the reconstructions (the so-called ‘node-density versions studied belong to a same tale-type. the R² with a reconstruction and the punctuational linear regression (R² = 0. An R² near 1.69. Paris I Sorbonne. the Dragon: d’Huy 2013e. 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. which shows the regression line fits the data well. 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). 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. have been corroborated here. to consider how to prevent ambiguity in the identification of unique terms and terms with many 60 . into how a tale evolves. 2006). among languages within a language family. also found in R² with a logarithmic regression (R² = 0. groups of founder effect. previous works. With these tools. the Cosmic a result close to what was obtained for Hunt: d’Huy 2012b.22 Conclusion to 0. artifact’) may lead us to believe in a false with a common ancestor. France. while an R² importance of experimental replications and closer to 0 indicates a regression line does not using a larger database. family of this folktale. d’Huy 2013c: 100). 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. 9. (CNRS/IRD/EHESS/ effect for this folktale is stronger than the Univ. small social communities tend sentences.Paris1/EPHE/Aix-Marseille Univ-AMU). (22%. explain these mythological punctuations. 2. Another approach. 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. For instance. 2008). parts of text or structural formations) and to lose part of their mythological complex and whether certain words. Pagel et al. They can offer insights explained by independent gradual effects.83) is higher than the evolution of the folktale. 2013a. which increase the rate of analysis based on the textual surface of a heterogeneously written corpus. It is also necessary change (for an example. 2014a. Here. not used here.0 indicates that a in previous studies. see d’Huy 2013f). To conclude. Trees also did not show the curvilinear trend Julien d’Huy (dhuy. 1. Aix-Marseille (Venditti et al. Pygmalion: d’Huy 2012c. 2013. The punctuational taking many precautionary measures (d’Huy 2014c). 2006). To avoid this.18. could individuals with this group. 2013f. d’Huy Ethnology provides a model that could 2014b. Concerning the punctuated equilibrium effect. the closer Amerindian to offset another story by an the contents of two narratives (as reflected through their surface texts). see Atkinson et al. UMR 8171).75). the Kind and the Unkind Girl: Ross et al. The considerations of the past behind the remaining variation in path could be documented evidence.julien[at]yahoo.

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