The Lament


The Lament:  The Last Words of the Last Speaker of the Proto-Indo-European Language


“… the Sanskrit language, whatever its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a strong affinity, both in the roots of verbs and forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists.”

– William Jones (1786)

“… we will term Indo-European any language which at any time whatever, and however altered, is a form taken by this ancestor language, and which thus continues by an uninterrupted tradition the usage of the Indo-European.”

– Antoine Meillet (philologer)

“The total number of speakers of all Indo-

European languages amounts to approximately half the population of the earth.”

– Calvert Watkins (1971)


So Spoke the Sage:

“There is a land called Hap-Kaptah where monoliths, square in plan with triangular sides, called Pyramids, loom above the desert  sands.

“There is a region, crescent in formation, between the Tigris and the Euphrates, where Cities rise in profusion and the fields are watered by a system of mighty channels. This is called Mesopotamia.

“There is an island in the midst of the Mediterranean housing a culture that records it achievements – and these are many – in hieroglyphs. It is called Krete.

“There is a place of the Rising Sun, in this great land mass called Asia, where the warriors of wandering tribes mount a beast called the horse.

“Then there is Europe, Land of the Setting Sun, of which little is known. Whether this is an abode of the gods, a habitat of man, or neither, is uncertain.

“There is a region of Cities to the East, called Mohenjo Daro, whose people cultivate a soft, white fiber, cotton, into order to weave it into clothing.

“There is a culture called the Sumerian which has made pottery making into an Art and where the Priests write in curious, wedge-shaped symbols. They have also developed a method by which a metal called bronze is extracted from rock, through a magical process, and is twisted into all sorts of wonderful implements.

“There are lands where wondrous things called wheels and arches exist.

“There is a region that is ruled by but one God.

“There are cultures where there is an Art by the name of Astronomy and a Science called Astrology.

“There are cultures where strange beasts are made tame and where wood is carved into strange and peculiar shapes and structures.

“There are islands where magic rules; where men never age; and where women remain forever virgins.

“Yes, there are many lands to behold under the Heavens and of all, only ours will be forgotten.

“We have been conquered over and again. Our Cities remain charred and despoiled. Our monuments eroded by the sands of time. No markings shall remain. Where we tread there shall be no tracks.

“Those of us who have been left unharmed, and indeed, we are few in number, die of plague and the pestilence. Woe be our name. It would have been better had we never existed.

“In the dark aeons to come there shall be no remembrance of us by those who follow, if there be any.”

Thus Spoke the Sage.

And he spoke this all in a tongue that one day would be known as Proto-Indo-European.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s