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Phrygian (Armenian) Caps for the Occupiers!

Posted by Fredsvenn den mars 10, 2013

Letter

Time for Outrage!

Stephane Hessel, the concentration camp survivor who inspired the Occupy Wall Street movement has died aged 95. In 2011, one of the names given to the 2011 Spanish protests against corruption and bipartisan politics was Los Indignados (The Outraged), taken from the title of the book’s translation there (¡Indignaos!). The Spanish protests later inspired other protests all around the world, including Greece, Israel and Occupy Wall Street in the United States.

Wearing a Phrygian (Armenian) cap (from the French Revolution) Stephane Hessel, 93, a former French Resistance spy, Nazi concentration camp survivor and postwar diplomat,speaks during a rally of Solidarite-Palestine in Paris, January 18 2011. Hessel says his runaway best-seller “Indignez-Vous” (Be Indignant!) is a call to action to protect human rights and combat the yawning gap between rich and poor.

Time for Outrage!

Stéphane Hessel

Time for Outrage!

Time for Outrage!

Phrygian caps have a long history. Phrygia (a part of what is now Turkey) is sometimes associated with Troy. Mithras and Attis are sometimes shown wearing Phrygian caps.

Wiki says that the Phrygian cap is a “soft conical cap with the top pulled forward,” that became associated with the “the pileus, the [conical] felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) slaves of ancient Rome.” During the French and American Revolutions, the Phrygian cap became a symbol of freedom from tyranny. And, of course, my own beloved Goddess and genius loci, Columbia, is often shown wearing a Phrygian cap (sometimes called a Liberty cap).

When I decided a few weeks ago to knit caps for people at Occupy DC, I began casting about for a pattern for a Phrygian cap. I was able to locate a pattern for a Phrygian cap for a doll and a pattern for a Voyager’s cap. (I asked one of the best historians and researchers that I know for help, and these were the two patterns she was able to locate, as well. So if there’s a better one out there, it’s hidden pretty well. But if you’ve got one, I’d love to have it.) I took the pattern for the doll and played around with it. This is what I came up with:

Using size 10 needles, cast on 108 stitches. Knit in *k1, p1* ribbing for 2 1/2 inches. Knit a row, increasing 8 stitches evenly over the row (116 stitches). Continue in stockinette stitch for 5 inches.

K1, k2 tog, k2 tog, knit to last 5 stitches. K2 tog, k2 tog, k1 (112 stitches). Knit 4 rows in stockinette stitch.

*P1, P2 tog, P2 tog. Pearl to last 5 stitches. P2 tog, p2 tog. P1. Knit three rows in stockinette stitch.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until you get down to 100 stitches.

Knit 1 inch in stockinette stitch, ending with a pearl row.

*Knit 7 stitches, k2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 6 stitches, k2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 5 stitches, k2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 4 stitches, k2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 3 stitches, k2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 2 stitches, k2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 1 stitche, k2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.
Pearl a row.
*Knit 2 tog.* Repeat the instructions between the asterisks until the end of the row.

Cut yarn, thread through a needle, and pull the yarn through the remaining stitches. Sew up the back seam of the cap. Make a tassel and attach to tip of the cap. (The tassel’s optional and, if you’re going for a classical (as in classical Rome) cap, don’t add it. A few pictures of Liberty caps with tassels start showing up in pictures of Columbia from just before the end of the 19th Century, by my completely unscholarly survey. I think it helps to make the top, “slouchy” part slouch towards the front.)

(I’m using up yarn from my stash, so my gauge varies a bit. However, for a stretchy item such as a cap, that’s not a big deal. This makes a large, loose cap that would fit a man. I may play a bit with a future cap to make a slightly smaller one. A more ambitious woman would work intarsia stars into the ribbed edge or sew red, white, and blue rosettes onto one side.)

At any rate, we all do what we can. I can knit caps. My hero, the Freeway Blogger, can hang signs. What can you do?

And, of course, it’s an act of magic. It’s magical to invoke this symbol of freedom that goes back to a people whose language of words is now “dead,” but whose language of symbols continues to carry meaning. It’s magical to invoke those ancestresses of the bone and of the heart who wore these caps during times of revolution. It’s magical to work protection into every knit row and warmth into every pearl row. It’s magical to cast on (a lot like casting a circle, is casting on in knitting) with intent and to stitch up the seam with “So mote it be.” So, I can knit caps. And I can do magic. And so can you.

The Phrygians and the Armenians

Herodotus (Book VII, Polymnia): According to the Macedonian account, the Phrygians, during the time that they had their abode in Europe and dwelt with them in Macedonia, bore the name of Brygians; but on their removal to Asia they changed their designation at the same time with their dwelling-place. The Armenians, who are Phrygian colonists, were armed in the Phrygian fashion. Both nations were under the command of Artochmes, who was married to one of the daughters of Darius.

Armeno-Phrygian is a term for a minority supported claim of hypothetical people who are thought to have lived in the Armenian Highland as a group and then have separated to form the Phrygians and the Mushki of Cappadocia. It is also used for the language they are assumed to have spoken. It can also be used for a language branch including these languages, a branch of the Indo-European family or a sub-branch of the proposed Graeco-Armeno-Aryan or Armeno-Aryan branch. Classification is difficult because little is known of Phrygian and virtually nothing of Mushki, while Proto-Armenian forms a subgroup with Hurro-Urartian, Greek, and Indo-Iranian.

Note that the name Mushki is applied to different peoples by different sources and at different times. It can mean the Phrygians (in Assyrian sources) or Proto-Armenians as well as the Mushki of Cappadocia, or all three, in which case it is synonymous with Armeno-Phrygian.

Armeno-Phrygian

The proto-Indo-European ancestors of the Phrygians, Greeks and Armenians entered the Balkans during the early bronze age. After the migration to Anatolia, Phrygians came in contact with the Anatolian populations who affected them in several ways. Religiously they adopted the pre-Indo-European cult of the Great Mother Cybele/Rhea, which they were calling Matar Kybileya. Culture and art was affected from the few remaining Hittites and later the Lydians. The relation of the Phrygians to the Armenians remains uncertain, not in the sense that they are not related at all, but in way they are related. In ancient sources, Armenians are described as Phrygian colonists. However, under the influence of Hurro-Urartean and Luwian, Armenian changed considerably. There’s obviously a common prehistoric language relationship but there’s no way to estimate when and how the two languages diverged from each other. On the question whether Phrygians retained a sense of Ethnic identity, C. Brixhe supports the idea that they actually did, even when they had been under foreign rule. We can’t know exactly when their identity faded away, but it is believed that Phrygian was hardly spoken until the 7th century AD, when it was finally replaced by common Greek. That should let their ethnic identity to live on for some short time ahead.

Origins of the Phrygians

The Mushki were an Iron Age people of Anatolia, known from Assyrian sources. They do not appear in Hittite records. Two different groups are called Muški in the Assyrian sources (Diakonoff 1984:115), one from the 12th to 9th centuries, located near the confluence of the Arsanias and the Euphrates («Eastern Mushki»), and the other in the 8th to 7th centuries, located in Cappadocia and Cilicia («Western Mushki»). Assyrian sources identify the Western Mushki with the Phrygians, while Greek sources clearly distinguish between Phrygians and Moschoi.

Identification of the Eastern with the Western Mushki is uncertain, but it is of course possible to assume a migration of at least part of the Eastern Mushki to Cilicia in the course of the 10th to 8th centuries, and this possibility has been repeatedly suggested, variously identifying the Mushki as speakers of a Georgian, Armenian or Anatolian idiom. The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture notes that «the Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians and the Proto-Armenian Mushki (or Armeno-Phrygians) who carried their IE language eastwards across Anatolia.»

Moschoi

I. M. Diakonoff, The Pre-history of the Armenian People

The Armenians – The proignitors of Troy, Rome and Europe

The Indo-European part of the Armenian nation

aaaphrygia

aaapcap

aaaLiberty

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