Indo-Aryan words in Hurrian

Bjarte Kaldhol bjartekal at AH.TELIA.NO
Sat Nov 4 12:23:59 EST 2000

Dear listmembers,

As a student of Hurrian, I joined this list to see if I could find
colleagues interested in recent research into the problem of the
Hurrianized words of Indo-Aryan (?) origin found in cuneiform sources from
mainly the fourteenth century BC. It is curious that some of these words,
for instance sattavartanna (or rather -vardanna), appear to contain Middle
Indian assimilations. How can satta- instead of sapta- be explained? In
Hurrian, the sequence -pt- was perfectly possible. Either, we must accept a
Middle Indian dialect in the fourteenth century, or we must assume that
these words passed into Hurrian indirectly, through another language.

In Klaus Klostermaier's article, "Questioning the Aryan Invasion..." etc.,
I noted that among the "seventeen arguments" used against the so-called
Aryan Invasion theory, at least the following one (number 2) can be

"2. The supposed large-scale migrations of Aryan people in the second
millennium BCE first into Western Asia and then into northern India (by
1500 BCE) cannot be maintained in view of the fact that the Hittites were
in Anatolia already by 2200 BCE and the Kassites and Mitanni [sic] had
kings and dynasties by 1600 BCE."

I fail to see how the presence of Hittites in Anatolia about 2000 BC and
the presence of Kassites (a non-Indo-European people) in Mesopotamia about
1600 BC can be relevant to an Aryan migration into India. As for the
Mittani kings, they were obviously Hurrians, not Aryans, although some of
them, after the Hurrian expansion (!), had throne names with an Aryan, or
non-Hurrian, "ring". This does not necessarily mean that there were ever
Indo-Aryans present in the Mittani empire. The (later) Mittani dynasty
might have originated in a group of Hurrians with Indo-Aryan contacts
somewhere outside Syria. Given that less than half a percent of the known
Hurrian words show Indo-Aryan influence, we should be careful not to draw
unwarranted conclusions. No traces of Indo-Aryan words can be found among
the Hurrians before the middle of the millennium. In Hurrian court poetry
from the seventeenth century, no Aryan influence can be detected, which, I
suppose, makes an Indo-Aryan "dynasty" unlikely.

But even if we assume that an Aryan horsetrainer (or two) might have been
present at the Hurrian court, this has no relevance whatever to the
question of an Aryan migration into India.

Best wishes,
Bjarte Kaldhol,

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