The context of my question is a philosophical reflection on the concept of culture in the anthropological sense.
The anthrological concept of "culture" dates from Tylor: culture is “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”
It is often asserted that "culture" comes from "cultura": first agriculture, then "cultura animi", and finally all the qualities men gain from living in society, all the qualities by which men are distinguished from the savages.
Deriving "culture" from "cultura" leads to associate the idea of culture with the idea of progress. It tends to make of culture a normative idea.
It also suggests that the idea of "culture" in the anthropological sense is a new one, a new meaning added to "cultura" in the 18th–19th century.
But couldn't it be asserted that, in fact, "culture" does not derive from "cultura" but from "cultus" , which meant "way of life, customs of a people".
In the Gaffiot Latin Dictionary, I find: "funera sunt pro cultu gallorum magnifica" Caesar, G. , 6, 19,4.
This would lead to a different idea of culture: culture is everything men (belonging to a given society) respect, take care of, what they honor (and first of all traditions).
My question is: could there be, at the origin of the modern use of the term "culture", a confusion between "cultura" and "cultus"?
Could it be a case of "false etymology" as when french erudites wanted to write "savoir" as " sçavoir" (mistakenly deriving it from "scire", while it comes from "sapere").