Category Archives: Indo-Hittite

In 1880 in France…

It was said among Army recruits that only 20% could speak the actual French language. The French language itself was codified around 1800 based on the Parisien dialect, spoken around Paris. So modern French is just Parisien the same way that modern German is just Upper Saxon and modern Italian is simply Florentine Tuscan.

What were the rest of the soldiers speaking? Many of them may have been speaking patois. Patois are generally other langues d’oil, related to Parisien. There are many of them, but they are dying out. In general, patois are not intelligible with Standard French.

Many also spoke Occitan, a language between Spanish and French spoken in the south of France. Further, some Occitan dialects are hardly even understandable to other Occitan speakers. French speakers are quite lost when listening to an Occitan speaker.

130 years ago, there were probably many speakers of Breton in Brittany. Breton is related to Welsh, and a French speaker can’t understand a word of it.

Surely, there were many speakers of Basque in the southwest of France. Basque is incomprehensible to a French speaker.

In far northeast France, Flemish is still spoken, and it was much more spoken 130 years ago.

In the part of France near Luxembourg, varieties of German are spoken, Moselle Franconian, Lorraine Franconian and Luxembourgian. These are actually three separate languages. They were much more commonly spoken 130 years ago.

To the south, Alsatian was spoken in the Alsace Lorraine. A traveler to this region wrote that in some areas people speak German, in others they speak French, and in others they speak some language that is neither German nor French. Alsatian is a German dialect that is declining. But it was very widely spoken 130 years ago.

In the far southeast of France, Nissart, Monegasque, Montenasque, and Intermelian are spoken. The last two are dialects of Ligurian, a language spoken in Italy. The first two are Occitan dialects with a heavy Ligurian mixture. All of these were spoken much more 130 years ago.

In Corsica, Corse is spoken. Corse is related to Standard Italian. It is declining, but was widely spoken 130 years ago.

In the area near Switzerland, a language called Arpitan or Franco-Provencal is still spoken. It was much more widely spoken 130 years ago.

In the far southwest of France in Rousillon, Catalan is spoken. It is dying out, but was probably widely spoken 130 years ago.

As you can see, the notion that only Standard French is spoken in France is quite mistaken. It was even less true 130 years ago, when only 20% of the population spoke the standard language.

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Filed under Basque, Europe, European, France, French, History, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Isolates, Italic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Occitan, Regional, Romance

Neoslavonic Website

Here.

Neoslavonic is a new constructed language, or conlang. These languages have a history of not being very successful for some odd reason, but they are definitely a good idea. For instance, in Esperanto it takes about 1 year to get to a fluency level that it takes one 8 years to get to in English.

Neoslavonic was created from mixing together the major Slavic languages, presumably Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian and Macedonian. These languages are fairly similar anyway and there is a fair amount of intelligibility between them. The notion of a Pan-Slavic language is a good idea.

The website is very well done and there seems to be some time and money behind it. Seems to be run out Czechoslovakia.

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Filed under Applied, Balto-Slavic, Balto-Slavic-Germanic, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, Slavic

An Anatolian Homeland For Indo-European?

That may be, but the part about “proto-Europeans” coming from the Lower Volga is bullshit. All archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, and genetic evidence (not to mention, evidence from indigenous pagan religions/mythologies) point to an Anatolian origin of the Indo-Europeans.

During the LGM, European hunter-gatherer groups gathered in some refugia in South Central Europe (Iberia, Western Balkans, Ukraine…) Northern Europe was almost entirely covered in glacier, as were the Alps, Caucasus, Pyrenees, and other major mountain ranges.

After the LGM, the scant remnant of Upper Paleolithic survivors moved back north, but Southern Europe was depopulated, only to be repopulated again by Near Eastern agriculturalists at the dawn of the Neolithic. These agro-pastoralists from the Anatolian-Levantine refugium brought farming, livestock, and copper to Europe. Among the earliest farmers were the Anatolian proto-Indo-Europeans.

The Basques are probably remnants of the Mesolithic survivor population. The purest descendants of these Near Eastern settlers are the Greeks, Albanians, Armenians, and at least some Italians -also the Turks, who inhabit the PIE origin land – ironically Turks, who speak a non-Indo-European Altaic language, are probably more Indo-European than most Indo-European speakers, especially Brits or Indians.)

Of course, there were other migrations around that time. A people closely related to the Mongols expanded westward across Siberia, over the Urals and into Scandinavia, following the deglaciation. They introduced Uralic languages (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian, Lappish) into Europe, and the Lapps are their most direct descendants.

But we have strong reason to believe that Indo-European spread from the Near East (most likely North-Central Anatolia) chiefly due to agriculture, not from Western Europe (as some White Nationalists might believe) or from India/Pakistan (as many Hindu nationalists believe) or from Gimbutas’ fanciful Kurgan patriarchs (which Wikipedia deems as “official” and which you appear to take for granted).

[Actually, it surprises me that so many people take for granted some nutty hypothesis proposed by the Marxist-feminist Jewess Marija Gimbutas despite the lack of evidence or historical precedent. At least the Paleolithic Continuity Model is based on some evidence (albeit misinterpreted) and the Out-of-India hypothesis is based on understandable wishful thinking.]

Consider the following:

* As per your own model, virtually all Europeans cluster closely with each other and with Persians, Kurds, Caucasus folks, Jews, Turks, and some Semitic-speaking Levantines. Basques, North Africans, Arabs, and “West Asians” (i.e. Afghans) are minor outliers.

This interrelatedness suggests a strong demic diffusion and also implies that the stat that Europeans are 80% Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic remnants but only 20% Neolithic colonists is considerably off. How else do you explain that Europeans are generally closer to Iranians than to Basques?

* While Indo-Europeans are/were indeed fairly heavily male-dominated (Gimbutas was at least correct about this), this follows from a Near Eastern origin, as the Middle East was, and still is, very patriarchal. Ironically, Gimbutas located the homeland of those “evil patriarchal invaders” who decimated the “feminist utopia” that neolithic European society (allegedly) was in Scythia, which is believed to be the source of the Amazon legends…

* Indo-European languages show relatively strong affinities to Semitic languages, and probably Kartvelian and Pelasgian languages (the latter may have actually been Indo-European, related to Hittite), possibly Ligurian (probably Indo-European and related to both Celtic and Italic languages), and even Etruscan (controversially). No such closeness to Iberian (Basque), Ural-Altaic, or Dravidian languages.

* The oldest evidence of Indo-European languages comes from Anatolia (Hittite) and the Aegean (Greek in Linear B). Minoan (in Linear A) remains undeciphered and may have been related. Archaeological records demonstrate a settled native population.

* Even the pagan religions seem to cluster near the Anatolian centre. Zoroastrianism and the Indic religions both descend from the Indo-Aryan religion, but the Persian religion is more similar to ancient European religious traditions than the Dharmic faiths are (because Hinduism absorbed some Harappan/Dravidian pre-Aryan influences.)

Greco-Roman and Germanic religions were more alike than either was akin to Celtic (Druidic) paganism, the Celts being more matriarchal and probably influenced by relatives of the Basques in Western Europe and the British Isles.

All this points to an origin for Indo-European in Neolithic Anatolia, but you ae probably correct that the Aryans (Indo-Iranians, not blonde Germanic supermen) came into Iran and India via Central Asia. Most likely route being a clockwise migration around the Caspian Sea…

Excellent commentary, fascinating stuff.

I actually agree with an Anatolian homeland for PIE, however, I also agree with a secondary spread from the Lower Volga. So, things are complicated. In fact, I argue that Indo-European is actually Indo-Hittite, with Anatolian being so far removed from the rest that it is actually a sister to the rest of the family. Just a look at Hittite shows you how archaic it is compared to the rest of the family.

The part about the Turks, Greeks, Albanians, Armenians, and at least some Italians being the remnants of the original IE people is probably true. So, in a sense, these are really the “original Whites.” Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Nordicists.

Gimbutas’ theory has always ween a bit nutty. There were no ancient matriarchies. As a female friend once said, men have always ruled. Why? She answered, “Men are bigger, men are stronger, men push women around and make them do what they want them to do.” Well, of course, and women are too weak to fight back.

As it is now, as it’s always been. In gender relations, it’s the law of the jungle. I also feel that matriarchies might have been inherently unstable, as I’m not sure that “female rule” works very well. We are having enough problems with what matriarchy we have in the West.

Patriarchy or male rule is sort of a bad deal for women, but at least it seems to “work.” And I have noticed that women from patriarchal cultures seem to be happiest in their femininity and in general. The men are masculine, the women are feminine, and everyone’s happy.

The more women rule, the more miserable women seem to be, and men never seem to be happy under female rule. For one thing, oddly enough, female rule tends to make women act masculine and men act feminine. Neither is a normal role model, and I argue that the more masculine a woman is, the more unhappy she is, and the more feminine a man is, the more unhappy he is. That ‘s possibly because they are violating nature itself. When you do that, nature fights back, possibly by making you miserable.

Surely IE is related to Afro-Asiatic and Kartvelian, but I disagree that it is less related to Uralic or Altaic, and I also disagree that Uralic and Altaic represent some family. Ligurian and Pelasgian are probably IE, but no one knows what Etruscan is.

I definitely agree that almost all Europeans are quite close to Persians, Kurds, Caucasus folks, Jews, Turks, and some Semitic-speaking Levantines. It is interesting how close the Caucasians are to each other. Most Caucasians are much closer to each other than other major races are. There is much larger differentiation among NE and SE Asians, Aborigines, Papuans and for sure Africans than there is among Caucasians.

A lot of the rest of the post is rather over my head.

All around, a great comment. The rest of you may feel free to chime in if you have any thoughts or anything to add.

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Filed under Aborigines, Afroasiatic, Altaic, Anatolian, Anthropology, Asia, Asians, Basques, Blacks, Cultural, Dravidian, Europe, Europeans, Gender Studies, History, India, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Iran, Iranians, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Near Easterners, Nordicism, Papuans, Physical, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Religion, Semitic, South Asia, Spaniards, Turks, White Nationalism, Whites, Zoroastrianism

Why the Rig Vedas Cannot Overlap with the Indus Valley Civilization

This is one of the classic Hindutva claims of course. But it can’t possibly be true.

See new commenter Rupert from India for more:

1. The Aryan invasion (in India) also suggests that Aryans might have migrated to India from northwest.  This doesn’t mean nobody was there at the time of migration. So can be called as a invasion.

2: There is  strong evidence in the Rigveda for a migration from the northwest. The geographical information given in the Rigveda changes from the beginning of the book to the end in a sequence supporting a migration from the northwest.

3. The migration derived from the Rigveda cannot be dated back before Indus Valley civilization. Because then it should be dated before 7000 BC.  The language spoken by the present people there is a Indo-Aryan (Sanskrit) derived language. So if it is dated back before 7000 BC, the period of Sanskrit derived language speaking people would be from 7000 BC until present. But the Indus people (7000 BC- 1300 BC) spoke a language which is still hardly known.

This suggests there would not be any time overlap. Carbon dating calculations proves the Indus Valley period. So the mistake could only be about the date of the migration. It cannot be dated back before the Indus Valley civilization. From that it is confirmed that the Rigveda occurs after the Indus Valley Civilization.

4. Indus valley civilization itself encompassed the entire Bronze age (3300 – 1300 BC).  If the migration happened after the Indus valley civilization as mentioned in point 3, the Rigveda can not be dated back before 1300 BC.

5. There is some evidence which suggests the IVC period and the Rigveda cannot be overlapped.

  • There is no reference in Rigveda to the big cities or important places of the IVC.
  • There is no evidence in Rigveda about the Indus peoples’ architectural skills.
  • There is no evidence in Rigveda about the tubed drainages found in the Indus valley.
  • There is no evidence in Rigveda about water reservoirs or ponds found in Indus valley.
  • There is no evidence in Rigveda about water urn burials found in Indus valley.

6. The Rigveda people might not have even known about the IVC as the civilization was destroyed without a trace. This suggest the migration  happened long after the IVC.

7. The Rigvedic people might not have even known about cotton. This could have happened if they had an alternate source.

The “no cotton in the Rig Vedas” line is used by Hindutvas to say that the Rig Vedas must predate the IVC considerably, as we know the date cotton was introduced into the region.

The language of the IVC is generally thought to be something along the lines of proto-Dravidian, which may have a deep time depth along the lines of ~9000 years.

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Filed under Agricutlure, Antiquity, Asia, History, India, Indic, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Irano-Armenian, Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic, Language Families, Linguistics, Literature, Regional, Sanskrit, South Asia

The Aryans of Asia

Here are some comments from a recent post. My remarks will follow.

“How do you account then for the genetic divide between Indian Caucasoids and Australoids? Given that archeological evidence has revealed the Harrapans to be Dravidian, where did the Caucasoids come from?”

Can you prove that the Caucasoids came at the same time as the indo-Aryan languages? If there had been earlier Caucasoid migration then they could have either acquired the Dravidian languages or they could have taken a part in creating them. I think it is kind of hard to peg a language to a race.

Especially when the area is so close to the central Asian steppe, which is the site of much racial and cultural mixing and has been since time immemorial. For example, many people would see Turkic as being a language associated with yellow people. This holds some water because every Turkic speaking country has a sizable Mongoloid genetic element.

However, that could also occur if the language was spawned from communities of Caucasoid/Mongoloid mixes. For example descriptions of the Kirghiz in the past are different that what the Kirghiz look like now.

“The early Kirghiz of the upper Yenisei River, who appear in seventh-century Chinese sources as pale, blond, and green eyed, later migrated westward, tangled with the Kalmyks, and acquired predominantly Mongoloid features. The Kirghiz became “Oriental”, in short, by migrating westward.” Cater Vaughn Findlay, The Turks in World History

So he says their appearance changed towards a more Mongoloid one after centuries of interbreeding, but it can be asked, how did they get to look like Caucasoid in the first place? It seems unlikely that Caucasoids would have originated the language because the Yakuts are another Turkic speaking people and they only have a minute amount of Caucasoid genes compared to the rest of the Turkic world.

Maybe they had more extreme interbreeding? I don’t really know. My point is that pinning a racial phenotype to a language is a tricky business if possible at all.

” In Iran, we can see the transition from Avestan to Sassanid Pahlavi and then finally to Farsi.”

There’s a major problem with this statement. You’re starting off Iranian linguistic history with Avestan, an Indo-European language. In reality, Iranian history starts with the Kingdom of Elam before the Indo-European invaders. The Elamite language is not Indo-European. Some say it is and isolate. Some say it is Afro-Asiatic. Most interestingly for this thread, some say it is Dravidian. Either way it is not genetically related to Avestan or any other IE language.

” How did the language suddenly transform from the Dravidian script to Sanskrit?”

I can’t explain that. All I can say is that scripts are often changed with political movements. For example, in the 20th century the Soviet Union was changing all kinds of scripts. Turkic languages that had once been written in Arabic script were rewritten using Cyrillic. So was Tajik.

So Tajik is in Cyrillic and Persian/Dari are in Arabic script. Moldovan is written in Cyrillic and Romanian in Latin letters despite the fact that they the same language. Language modernization happened after political movements in China and Turkey. Turkey itself is interesting in this regard.

The Anatolian Turkish language has been written in Arabic, Greek, and Armenian scripts in the past. When the Greeks conquered northern south Asia the Greek alphabet was used for the Bactrian language.

This alphabet change may be as a result of that as well.

I’m not claiming expert knowledge here. I just trying to grapple with some alternatives to the narrative of a biological invasion.

The Kirghiz are quite simply Aryans. Remains of Proto Indo-Iranians have been found in the Kurgan area. 60% of them had light hair and blue or green eyes. The Pastmist blog, though in French, has excellent photos of what are possibly the original Aryan or Indo-European types of Asia.

The Kazakhs and even the Altai were described in a similar way as the Kirghiz above – they were said to be quite White until 2700 YBP or so when Turkic invaders moved through, bringing many Mongolian genes and a Turkic language. It’s not known what the Kazakhs and Kirghiz were speaking before they spoke Turkic.

It’s highly probable that many to most of the people portrayed on the Pastmist site are the remains of Indo-Europeans or Aryans. One mystery is the Burusho or Burushaski, who look White but speak a non-Indo-European language not related to any other tongue. So how did the Burusho get so White if they are not Aryans?

Nevertheless, I think it quite clear that the reason the northern Indians look so much more European than the Southern Indians is due to Indo-European genes. I can’t see how there can be any other explanation.

Yes, it is thought that the Harappan culture was Dravidian-speaking, but no one knows for sure. The Harappan script was not so much abandoned as it simply went extinct. The Indus Valley Civilization collapsed. That means that people were no longer using the script, and no one quite knows that that script is anyway. It’s never been deciphered and it may be more hieroglyphic than an actual alphabetical script.

The best guess for a relative to Elamite might be Dravidian, but it’s not proven.

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Filed under Altaic, Anthropology, Antiquity, Asia, Central Asians, Dravidian, East Indians, Europe, Europeans, Genetics, Greece, History, Indo-European, Iran, Kazakhs, Language Families, Linguistics, Physical, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Sociolinguistics, South Asia, South Asians, Tajiks, Turkey, Turkic, USSR, Whites

The Most Photographed Woman of the 1800’s

“Bernadette,” or Bernadette Soubirous.

And I had never even heard of her before this post by Joseph Cannon.

It’s also interesting that her native language was Occitan, specifically, Gascon. She didn’t learn French until she was 18 or 19, and spent half her life as a nun in a convent. She came from the Pyrenees, one of the most pro-feminist places in that part of Europe at the time.

She’s a very famous person, a Catholic saint, and the most photographed woman of the 19th Century. How many have heard of her?

Her story is here. Especially check out the part about the exhumation of her body, whereupon the Church declared it “incorrupt.” Weird stuff.

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Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Europe, Feminism, France, Gender Studies, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Italic, Italo-Celtic, Italo-Celtic-Tocharian, Language Families, Linguistics, Occitan, Regional, Religion, Romance, Women

Who Were the Aryans of the Vedas?

The Vedas were written no earlier than 3400 YBP. The latest Vedas were written ~2500 YBP. So the Vedas were written between 2500-3400 YBP.

Who were these people, where did they live, and what was their society like? Let’s have a brief overview of the Vedic Aryans.

They spoke a language called Vedic Sanskrit that produced a large volume of literature.

They had a patrilineal society with the beginnings of a class structure with nobles, priests/poets and the rest of the people. These later evolved into the Indian castes. They were organized in clans, tribes and tribal unions. The tribes were led by chiefs often nominated from the highest nobles. They engage in continuous warfare with each other and with the non-Aryan dasyu, mostly over land, cattle and water rights. The Arya are semi-nomadic cattle herders who also herd sheep, goats and horses. They engage in some minor agriculture as a sideline, mostly growing barley. For sports and in battle they use horse-drawn chariots and also a sort of all-terrain vehicle called a vipatha that can move over rough terrain.

They have a complex religious pantheon, including Gods of nature such as a wind God, a fire God Agni, female water gods, a father god in heaven and a mother god on Earth, and a goddess of dawn.

There are also moral gods of law and order and the typical warrior god Indra. The gods keep everything moving smoothly in heaven and on Earth. All of these deities, though are under a supreme deity, which is an active positive force of truth, Rta, later to evolve into the Hindu concept of Dharma. This force pervades the entire universe and controls all behavior of the gods and men. Every year, the gods battle their adversaries – the Asura, and every year, the gods win, for now. This dualism was later used by Zoroaster to create his dualistic religion, Zoroastrianism.

All of the gods but especially Indra and Agni are worshipped in elaborate rituals. These ceremonies occur at specific times of years, are lorded over by priests, and are public rather than private. The gods are invited to the ceremony, and the gods seat themselves on the grass next to the sacred fires. People then offer the gods meat or grain cakes and the drink Soma along with alcoholic beverages. Skilled poet orators entertain the gods with bardic poetry. These men compose hymns, often after deep concentration but sometimes right on the spot, meant to praise the nobility and invite the gods. The rites of passage as such for men involve a period of study of traditional knowledge after which they roam the countryside searching for some cattle with which they and start their capital. As soon as cattle are acquired, they are fully admitted into adult society and allowed to marry.

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Filed under Anthropology, Cultural, Hinduism, Indic, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Irano-Armenian, Indo-Irano-Armeno-Hellenic, Literature, Religion, Sanskrit, Zoroastrianism

The Aryan Migration Theory: Last Word

It has been known for 150 years now that the Indo-Aryan languages came from outside of India. The evidence is overwhelming, primarily linguistic, but there is also some archeological evidence. In scholarly circles, there is no debate on the Aryan Migration Theory (AMT) and there has been little debate for 150 years. It is only among Indian nationalists and a few hacks and kooks that it is not accepted.

1. There is a substrate of a language that looks like a Munda language in the Rig Vedas. A Munda language was probably spoken in the Punjab when the Aryans migrated there. About 4% of the words in Rig Vedas are these early Munda loans. None of these Munda loans are found outside of Indic.

They would be found all through IE if the Out of India Theory (OIT) was true. The OIT holds that Aryans inhabited North India for 8,000 years, all the while the Dravidians were in South India and Munda tongues were in East India. Obviously, the Aryans came into Punjab and there mass language shift from a Munda language to Indo-Aryan (IA). The language shift is evident in the sparse Munda loans into Vedic Sanskrit.

There are also a few place names left in North India from the original Munda language of the Greater Punjab area. There are some river names left in Eastern Punjab and Haryana where the local Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) continued for some time after the arrival of the Aryans. These names would not be there if the OIT was true.

There are a large number of IA words for local plants and animals and for agriculture that have been borrowed from the Munda language of Punjab. There would be no reason for the IA people to borrow these terms if the IA people were native to Punjab. Instead, this borrowing is precisely what we would expect to see when pastoralists from Central Asia move into the tropics, encounter new plants and animals and start farming – they borrow the terms for these new living things and technologies from the locals.

This is particularly so in the case of farming, which was left to the local people – the Sudra caste. The IA people only brought a few farming related words with them from Central Asia – the remainder were borrowed from the new locals.

40% of Hindi agricultural words still derive from an unknown pre-Munda language of the Indo-Ganges Plains. Nahali, a small language in Madhya Pradesh, at successively lower levels of its vocabulary, displays high levels of borrowing from earlier tongues. 36% of vocabulary is of Kurku (Munda) origin and 9% is Dravidian. At the oldest level, 24% have no cognates in any known language and appear to have derived from the oldest language known from India.

2. There is an old set of shared loans between proto-Indo-Aryan and proto-Iranian for a number of agricultural and other cultural items that appeared in the Bactria-Margiana (BMAC) 3700-4200 YBP. The BMAC is located more or less in present day Turkmenistan. Obviously, these shared loans were picked up by the proto-Indo-Iranian people as they moved down from the steppes of Kazakhstan and Russia into the BMAC, conquering the people who lived there.

There are references in the Rig Vedas to the conquest of the BMAC peoples by the Arya. For this sequence of events to have occurred, the Indo-Aryans would have had to have moved through the BMAC during this time period and later moved into Iran and India, not the other way around. The language of the loans is not known, but it is apparently the language of the BMAC people.

So there is a BMAC or Central Asian substrate in Indo-Iranian. A possible guess for the language of the BMAC people might be a relative of the Burushaski language of northern Pakistan.

The substrate of the Rig Vedas is a Munda language. The substrate of the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian language is the language of the BMAC. This sequence is not possible under the OIT and is only possible under the AMT.

3. There are early Indo-Aryan loans into the Caucasian language of the Mittani, who lived in northern Iraq and Syria. These loans are dated to ~3400 YBP. These loans are from an earlier form of Indo-Aryan than is used in the Vedas. Therefore, the Vedas must have been composed 3000-3500 YBP and could not have been composed any earlier.

Also, the Mittani could not possibly have come out of India as the OIT demands, since the IA loans do not show any Indic influences. Nor could the loans have come from Iran, as there are numerous IA Gods in the Mittani texts who are marginalized or do not exist in Iran. The loans must have come from somewhere else, apparently the north.

4. We have numerous references in the Vedas to battles between the Arya with their stone forts, metals, horses and chariots against the more sedentary peoples living in South Asia at the time.

5. There are pottery shards in the BMAC that resemble that shards found in the steppe culture to the north. This indicates that there is cultural resemblance between the two cultures. The suggestion is that the shards are Indo-Aryan and appear first on the steppes and then again in the BMAC with its conquest by the Aryans.

6. The chariot appears in the Urals 4000 YBP and then spreads rapidly in many directions with the spread of IE languages, to Europe, to China via the Tocharians and of course to India and Iran via the Aryans. The horse also appears in South Asia (Pakistan) 3700 YBP in conjunction with the chariots. The modern horse is not native to South Asia, so obviously it came from outside, obviously from the Aryans. The indigenous horse of South Asia, the Siwalik horse, was long since extinct.

7. There are specific Punjabi and Uttar Pradesh loans in Vedic Indic that are not found in Iranian. Therefore, Iranian could not possibly have come from Indic as the OIT demands. The languages must have split in the BMAC, one line going to Iran and another line going to India.

8. The Soma ritual originates in the high mountains of Central Asia  – the mountains of Iran, the Himalayas and the Pamirs – with the proto-Indo-Iranian peoples. The original name for the plant is a Central Asian term amsu . This term is borrowed into Indo-Iranian and eventually becomes soma, etc. Later, it moves down into Iran and India and appears in the Vedas. Therefore, the Aryans brought the Soma ritual with them from Central Asia to Iran and India.

9. There is tremendous evidence for a common Indo-Iranian language, mythology and ritual. This shared heritage is not possible with the OIT. It is only possible if there was an Indo-Iranian people, who then split into the Iranian and Indic branches.

10. The Vedic branch of IA becomes innovated and Indianized (in particular, the retroflex consonants) after its arrival in Punjab, while the Iranian branch escapes this development because it did not enter the subcontinent then. In addition, Iranian lacks any specific Indic terms. According to the OIT, the Iranian branch must be Indianized too, or else all of the Indic terms were somehow lost in Iranian.

Since it is not, both branches came from outside India, to the northwest. Iranian languages cannot possibly have come from the Punjab. An early date for Iranian to leave India is preposterous, and Old Iranian (Avestan) is too archaic to have left India after the Vedas. All this means that Iranian and Indic must have split before the Vedas and thus, not inside India. The OIT for Iranian lies in ruins.

11. Zero specifically Indic words are found in IE languages outside of India. For the OIT to be correct, many Indic terms should be found in all the other branches of IE. After all, the Gypsies left India 1000 years ago and took a large specifically Indic set of terms with them to Europe and beyond.

12. Retroflexion. According to the OIT, all branches of IE would have had to have lost their retroflexion after they left India. How likely is that? What we do find, though, is that those branches of Iranian which move east to abut the Indic languages do acquire retroflexion. Since retroflexion is in general not present outside Indic or languages abutting Indic, it must be a late development in IE specific to Indic and cannot have been part of the original IE language as required by the OIT.

Retroflexion only effects those moving into the Indic plain and the eastern Iranian lands, but everyone moving out of South Asia somehow loses it. This does not make sense.

13. Chariots. For the OIT to make sense, chariots must be exported from India 7,000 YBP. However, chariots only appear 4000 YBP in the Urals and NW Kazakhstan and from there spread from Ukraine to Mongolia. The western IE languages retain an IE root rotho for wheel because they had already moved away before the chariot had actually been developed in the Urals. Everyone to the east uses the IA form ratha. This could only be the case if the IA languages moved south from Urals.

Further, according to the OIT, chariots that appear in the Rig Vedas must show up in the text before they have even been invented. Linguistics shows that the word must have been innovated in proto IA at the Urals, for it is present in both branches of IA. This word, along with its invention, can be proved to have been innovated in the steppes and and then carried into India and vice versa could not possibly be the case.

14. Lack of tropical core vocabulary in IE. The core vocabulary of IE shows that the IE homeland was a temperate or even cold place. The plants and animals in the IE language include such cold weather animals, plants and weather words as the otter, beaver, wolf, bear, lynx, salmon, elk, red deer, hare, hedgehog, mouse, birch, willow, elm, fir, ash, oak, beech, juniper, poplar, apple, maple, alder, hazel, nut, linden, hornbeam, and cherry in addition to snow.

A few of these are found in South Asia, but most are not. There are no specific Indic plant and animal names found outside of India, even where these plants do occur outside of India. The OIT would assume retention of at least some of these terms, would it not? Instead, what we find is that a few core IE terms are modified inside India to apply to new plants and animals.

For instance, IE beaver bheber is adopted for the mongoose in South Asia, since beavers do not exist there. IE willow becomes reed, cane in India. So we see that IE temperate plant and animal terms are adopted for the newly encountered tropical living things in India. The flow is into India, not out of India.

For the OIT to be right, the IE languages would have had to have coined these terms after they left India. However, this is not what happened. Instead, the words were IE words from the core IE language itself, which, according to the OIT, was only spoken in India. But these plant and animal names could not possibly have been created in India because most don’t even exist there.

For the OIT to be correct, IE core vocabulary should indicate a tropical climate.

15. Early loans in very early IE. The earliest loans in IE are from Semitic languages of the Middle East. This is possible with an IE homeland in SW Russia or Anatolia, but not possible if the IE homeland is in India, as the OIT requires.

16. Typological features of IE. The typological features of IE are between Kartvelian in Georgia and Uralic in the Urals, as we would expect with an IE homeland in SW Russia, and unlikely with an IE homeland in India.

17. Skeletons. Where are the Indian bones? The OIT requires not a trickling out of India, but a massive migration out of the Punjab. Yet Indian bones look remarkably different from Middle Eastern and European bones. With the massive migration out of India required by the OIT, we should find Indian bones in all of the branches of IE. One would have to argue that the IE speakers who left India did not look like the rest of the Indian people.

18. Facial characteristics. DNA analyses of burials in the Kurgan area near the IE homeland 6000 YBP shows that 60% of the early IE people there had light hair and green or blue eyes. How many Indians, even North Indians, have light hair and light eyes? Almost none. Clearly, the Kurgan peoples were a European type of people. They moved down into Iran and India and mixed with the darker folks already there, creating the present day swarthy peoples of South and Central Asia.

19. Very early Proto IA loans in Finno-Ugric. The homeland of the Finno-Ugric people is somewhere in the Urals. The homeland of the Proto Indo-Aryan people is also somewhere in Urals, especially at the very southern end. The only way for these early PIA loans to get into Finno-Ugric is if the PIA homeland is in the Urals. It’s not possible with the OIT, which generally makes a separate Indo-Aryan branch impossible anyway.

20. Vedic is later than Hittite. For the OIT to be correct, Vedic must be the most ancient branch of IE of them all, very close to Proto IE itself. Yet Hittite, attested from 4000 YBP, is earlier than Vedic. In fact, it is later than Eastern IE, Proto IA, and even pre-Vedic, so Vedic must be a fairly late development in IE. In fact, Vedic is even later than the early forms present in Mittani 3400 YBP.

21. Sanskrit is the most ancient language in all of IE and looks a lot like the original IE language. This is the OIT claim. In fact, IE does not look much like Sanskrit at all. And Sanskrit is not even the oldest attested IA language. Vedic comes first, then Epic Sanskrit and then Classical Sanskrit, and Vedic itself cannot possibly be older than 3500 YBP. The IE language is dated to 6500-8000 YBP (I favor the earlier date). Epic Sanskrit appears only 2500 YBP and Classical Sanskrit comes even later.

22. Lack of IA archeological sites. This is a classic OIT argument. Actually, we do have quite a few site. From the original Proto-Indo-Iranian sites in Sintashta southeast of Urals to the BMAC in Turkmenistan to the Yaz Culture in northeast Iran to the Swat Culture in the Swat Valley of Pakistan to the Cemetery H Culture in Punjab to the Copper Hoard Culture to the south, to the Painted Grey Ware Culture to the south and east, we have a long stretch of cultures that have long been associated with the AMT by archeologists.

Cemetery H in particular shows a possible move away from IVC culture. While the pottery is of course the same, there is a new design on the pottery. On funeral urns we see a small picture of a man with a bird inside of him. This seems to indicate the Vedic belief that the souls of men could fly like birds. Cemetery H also shows a new burial style – cremation and deposit of remains in burial urns. These changes in culture are probably due to Aryan influence.

The ideal Aryan archeological site, however, has typically not yet been found. The ideal site would have the remains of horses and their furnishings, chariots, A Vedic ritual site with three fireplaces west of a river, a flimsy and primitive building pattern of bamboo huts, tools made of stone, copper and bronze, gold and silver ornaments, food consisting of barley, milk products and the meat of cows, sheep and goats. However, the pottery style would remain local, as the Aryans did not innovate pottery.

Such a site has continued to elude searchers, but one has been found in Swat. Swat is mentioned in the Vedas as Aryan territory – suvastu.

23. No Aryan bones. Another OIT argument. It’s quite common for migrations to not be represented by skeletal remains. The remains of the Huns, a large force of proven invaders who conquered Hungary have only just been found in the past 20 years. The most recent research indicates that the Aryans left language, but few genes, in India.

This is reasonable and is often the case with many migrations and invasions. The Huns left as little genetic imprint on the Hungarians as the IA people did on Indians. The Magyars also left their language in the Danube, as the IA people left their IA language in India.

24. European appearance of Indo-Iranian peoples. There is no getting around it. The speakers of Indo-Iranian (II)languages often look strikingly European. This is particularly the case of Iranians, who consider themselves White, or Europeans outside of Europe. The speakers of II languages in Afghanistan often look very European. People in northern Pakistan are some of the most European looking people in the region. Punjabis often look very European, and they look much different from the South Indians to the south.

For the OIT to be correct, this should not be the case. All across the region, all II speakers should look like South Indians, and so should the Punjabis of North India. That II speakers look so European is evidence that they are partly descended from the very European looking peoples of the Kurgan culture of southern Russia. They moved south and east into Central and South Asia, bred in with darker locals, but still retain a strong resemblance to their European roots.

25. LANDSTAT photos indicate the drying up of the Sarasvati River 3900 YBP. A stable of the OIT argument. Since the Sarasvati is mentioned as “the great river” in the Vedas, this proves that the Vedas are much older than 4000 YBP, despite the copious linguistic evidence. The problem is that LANDSTAT photos cannot indicate geographic times.

Further, the Sarasvati River situation is very tricky. The situation as represented in the Vedas is the same situation as exists today. The upper Sarasvati is a significant river, and this is where the settlements were. The lower Sarasvati had already begun to dry up, and by the time of the Vedas it emptied into an inland lake. In a few places, the lower river goes underground in the alluvial Punjabi plains and disappears.

Archeological investigation indicates that settlements along the lower river were abandoned as the river dried up around this time. As you can see, the “Sarasvati River dried up” meme is a huge red herring.

26. No memories of an Aryan migration. Another OIT line. First of all, it is quite typical of most people to have no memories or false memories of wherever they came from. The Romans said they came from Greece. The Gypsies say they came from Egypt.

However, the Vedas do contain vague references to former habitations, such as what appears to be the BMAC and there are references to journeys over mountains and mountain passes. Many place names in Afghanistan are from proto-II words from Central Asia and often lead back to ancient Central Asian enemies of the Arya referred to in the Vedas. One of these is the Parni, associated with the BMAC and later with a northern Iranian group. They had stone forts and well-built cow stables in northern Iran that look a lot like earlier BMAC structures.

The route of migration did not take place over the high passes of the Himalayas and the Pamirs. Few groups have migrated over these treacherous mountains in the last 2000 years. Instead, the migration went from the BMAC down through northern Iran to Herat in West Afghanistan to the Gomal River in near Ghazni in East Afghanistan to the Swat Valley.

There are frequent references in the Vedas to southward and eastward movements of various groups of Arya. There are no references to westward groups as would be required by the OIT. Some of these movements to the south and east are described in military terms as victorious conquests. There are also references in the late Vedas of movements of the Arya east from the Afghan/Pakistan border to Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and all the way to Bihar.

27. Archeoastronomy. OIT proponents like to push this theory. Supposedly, the positions of stars are mentioned in the Vedas. By analyzing the positions of stars in the Vedas, we can make claims about when the Vedas were written via tracking the movements of stars in ancient days.

However, archeoastronomy is a field in poor standing. All we can learn for sure from archeoastronomy is that the Vedas were written some time in the past 8,000 years. All else is up in the air.

The Indian Astrophysicist Rajesh Kochhar has clearly mentioned that the astronomical data in the Vedas is not reliable.

28. The association of Andronovo culture with Indo-Iranians is controversial. So say the OIT proponents. This is not true.

Andronovo is a culture associated with the proto Indo-Iranians that stretched, in its formative location, around northern Kazakhstan and and west into Russia to near Samara, then down to the Caspian Sea, covering most of the northwest quadrant of Kazakhstan.

Later its borders enlarged. At maximum, its northern boundary was from Samara in the Volga Basin east to Anzhero Sudzhensk northeast of Novosibersk in southern Siberia.

The eastern boundary bordered on the Afansevo Culture in eastern Kazakhstan, southern Siberia and Xinjiang. Andronovo did include part of Xinjiang in the far north where the Altai Mountains come down.

The eastern border then encompassed most of eastern Kazakhstran except the area east of Balquash Koli, moving down to the border with Kyrgyzstan in the south, encompassing most of Uzbekistan except the far south, the northern half of Turkmenistan all the way to the the southeastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The Aral Sea was the realm of the Andronovo People.

The relation of Andronovo to the Indo-Aryan people in particular, as opposed to Indo-Iranians in general, is more controversial, but has been suggested by some experts.

29. Chariots could not go over the Hindu Kush. Another OIT argument. But as noted above, the Aryans did not move down through the Hindu Kush; instead, they came east from the BMAC through northern Iran to Herat in west Afghanistan east to around Ghazni over to the Bannu region in the NWFP of Pakistan. That’s a much easier route than the Hindu Kush.

30. There was no invasion. The invasion scenario has been replaced in the past 40 years to a migration scenario. It seems more likely that instead of defeating the Dravidian people and pushing them to the south, or destroying the IVC, instead the Aryans merely profited from the collapse of the IVC that was already underway.

31. There was no genocide of the Dravidian people, all Indians look alike genetically. No one ever said there was a genocide of the Dravidians by the Aryans. Instead, the Aryans moved in, and there was intermingling and intermarriage with the Dravidians, the combined result being the culture of the Vedas.

32. The linguistic evidence. The case for the AMT and the total non-case for the OIT is made by the linguistic evidence. Everything else is secondary. The case was clinched by Hock 1999 (see references).

33. Indians descend overwhelmingly from the Paleolithic population of India. It’s true that 80% of Indian genes go all the way back to the Paleolithic era. But 80% of European genes go all the way back to the Paleolithic too. Same in Britain. Therefore, Europe and Britain has never experienced any migrations of invasions in the past 10,000 years. The Aryan genetic footprint on Indian genes, if it exists, is doubtless less than 10% of the total. It’s well known by now that the Aryans left language, but few genes, in India. Identifying genetic history with linguistic history is naive.

Keep in mind that the Aryans were probably installed a superstrate over the existing Dravidian population. The Aryans were probably no more than 10-15% of the population genetically, and the remaining 85-90% were Dravidians.

34. How could a more primitive people like the Aryans replace the language of the more civilized people, the IVC Dravidians? So ask the OIT theorists. However, let us note that Greek speakers in the Levant, Aramaic speakers in Mesopotamia, Coptic speakers in Egypt and Romans in northern Africa all got their languages replaced by the culturally inferior Bedouins of Arabia. This sort of thing happens all the time.

35. There is no solid proof an Aryan migration to India in archeological terms. This is true as far as it goes, but all it means that is that archeologists typically refuse to characterize migrations in terms of who is migrating where. While there is no archeological proof for an Aryan migration, there is also no proof for Greek, Germanic, Italic, Celtic or Armenian migrations in those branches of IE either.

36. The Rig Veda says that the Sarasvati River flows to the sea. According to OIT folks, since the river dried up 3900 YBP, if the Vedas discuss it flowing the sea, they must have been written before 4000 YBP. However, this statement is only in one sentence of the Vedas, and the word “sea” in question is actually samuda, which Sanskrit experts say can mean lots of thing, but in this case means and inland sea or lake as formed by a river emptying into a desert. Which is what the Sarasvati did. The Sarasvati never emptied into the sea at any time.

37. Horses. OIT proponents keep claiming that they have found horse bones or evidence of horses on seals or objects at some early date. None of this has been confirmed, and some cases have involved overt fraud by Indian nationalist “scholars.” The earliest confirmed horse in the region is at Pirak 3800 YBP. Many horse remains have been found after that, but none earlier.

38. The AMT was invented by Max Muller in 1848. Muller as a British spy – agent – whatever who was sent by the British to falsify the history of India so the Indians would lose their national pride. Hence, the AMT is a British conspiracy. Yes, OIT supporters actually say this. The long version is that he was hired by the British East India Company as part of a nefarious plot to denigrate Hinduism.

First of all, the theory was not invented in 1848 nor was it invented by Muller, as it substantially predates 1848 and Muller was not the first to come up with it.

There is no evidence at all that the AMT was hatched as a British conspiracy (other popular theories say that the entire linguistic community was in on this conspiracy), nor has anyone offered any reason how or why the British could profit by making up the theory of a Bronze Age culture in India. Or why the British, who supposedly hated Indians and thought they were inferior, would invent a theory that said that Indians were in part related to the great British people.

References

Hock, Hans H. 1999. Out of India? The Linguistic Evidence. In: J. Bronkhorst & M. Deshpande, Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia: Evidence, Interpretation and Ideology, 1-18. Harvard Oriental Series. Opera Minora, Vol. 3. Cambridge, MA. 

Kochhar, Rajesh. 2000. The Vedic People: Their History and Geography. New Delhi: Sangam Books. 2000.

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Hindutva Crazies on the Dating of the Rig Vedas

I am not sure why Hindutvas want to push the dating the Rig Vedas back so far. Can anyone help me here?

Generally, the Rig Vedas are said to begin around 3900 YBP. This is also the time of the Aryan migration to India. For some reason, in order to subdue the hated Aryan migration theory (AMT) Hindutvas need a very early date for the Rig Vedas. But why is this? Why is an early date so important? I’m lost here.

An early dating of the Rig Vedas is very important if you want to push the Out of India Theory for Indo-European. Perhaps this is the motivation here?

Here is an article on the dating of the Rig Vedas from a crazy Hindutva website that is extremely popular with educated Hindus.

We will go through this nonsense part by part here:

The Saraswati River. This river supposedly disappeared 3900 YBP and it is mentioned in the Rig Vedas. However, no one really knows what river is being referred to here. The earliest references to the Saraswati are to the Helmand in Afghanistan. Later references are to a river in India. The Saraswati has always been a mystical river in the Vedas, and the Saraswati River theory endlessly pounded by Indians is widely considered to be a red herring.

The Egyptian pyramids had to have been built using ancient Indian mathematical knowledge. I’ve never heard this one before, but it sounds nuts. The algorithm for building the pyramids is supposedly found in the Vedas.

Astronomy. Supposedly, astronomical records prove that the Vedas date back to 6000 YBP. This theory is widely considered dubious.

The Rig Vedas do not mention silver or cotton. This is another one that they hammer on all the time. I’m not exactly sure what it is supposed to mean, but supposedly it puts an early date on the Vedas. The Vedas don’t mention all sorts of things.

The sages. Supposedly the sages are dated all the way back to 5700 YBP. But we have no way of dating any of these wise men and their eras. That’s purely speculative.

No mention of iron in the Vedas. Iron came to India 3200 YBP, so supposedly the Vedas must date before that. However, the word ayas is reportedly used in the Vedas for iron. Hindutvas dispute this. There is definitely mention of metals in the Vedas, and the Aryan migration can be dated from place to place in South Asia according to the introduction or iron, as the Aryans brought metalworking.

Indus Valley Civilization. The Harappans, or IVC, are said by one Indian author to be mentioned all throughout the Vedas. This would take the Vedas all the way back to 9000 YBP. This makes no sense. The time of Vedas, with horses, chariots, soma, stone forts and metals, simply screams 2nd millennium BC. The Harappan civilization was in ruins by the time the Aryans showed up, having declined 5000 YBP.

Dating of events in the Mahabharata is put by all sources at 5100 YBP. As Hindu culture is ahistoric in terms of dates and events, no one knows when these events took place.

The Aryan Invasion Theory was used by Hitler to commit genocide. There’s no evidence that this is true or that the Nazis cared much about it. At any rate, the Nazis used “Aryan” to mean “Germanic.”

Max Muller, one of the originators of the AMT, was hired by the British to erase Indian history. Why would the British bother to do that? It’s ridiculous.

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Map of the Out of India Theory

A map of the Out of India Theory for the Indo-European languages. Click to enlarge.

Notice how preposterous this theory is. OIT folks never talk much about the spread of IE after it left India, so one of the detractors took their theory and made a map out of it, just to show how idiotic it is. Based on Est’s theory of the spread of IE using the OIT model. What the Hell are the IE languages doing in the Middle East a few thousand years ago anyway? Does this mean that Sumerian was IE? Once you start playing with the actual dynamics of the theory, it makes less and less sense.

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Filed under Anthropology, Asia, Geography, India, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Language Families, Linguistics, Maps, Regional, South Asia