"Out of India"

Lars Martin Fosse l.m.fosse at internet.no
Wed Dec 11 23:05:41 UTC 1996

At 21:05 11.12.96 GMT, you wrote:
>> Large scale migrations have occurred quite regularly within Europe and out
>> of Europe for the last 3000 years. 
>> E.g.:
>> 1) Hittites into Asia Minor (3rd millenium B.C.?)
>> 2) Indo-Aryans into Iran and India (2nd millenium B.C.)
>> 3) Greek tribes into Greece (2nd millenium B.C.)
>> 4) Italic tribes into Italy (2nd millenium B.C)
>These four depend on a model of the spread of IE languages which is
>still the subject of heated discussions.

I suggest that you check out the book by Mallory which I have recommended in
another email. The details may be discussed, but apart from Renfrews
attempt, not the general model.

>> 5) Celtic tribes into France and Britain, followed by
>> 6) Germanic tribes, reaching Scandinavia possibly 800 B.C.
>Same problem as above. From where, how, what is the hard evidence?

Again, check out Mallory.

>> 7) Germanic tribes into Gaul, Northern Italy, Spain and North Africa (end of
>> 1st millenium B.C. until about 5-600 C.E.)
>> 8) Magyar tribes into Hungary (800 C.E)
>> 9) Norsemen into Northern Britain, Ireland, Hebrides, the Shetlands,
>> Iceland, Greenland about 1000 C.E.)
>What was the number of settlers, versus number of raiders who came,
>pillaged and left?

Unfair question! We don't have a census :-)

But seriously: Norse was spoken in Northern England and left its marks on
modern English. It was also spoken on the Hebrides, Man, Shetland and in
Ireland. Remember: We have historical records here. We know that the
Norsemen settled in these areas. The same thing goes for the other
migrations quoted above.

>> 10) The enourmous transfer of Europeans from Europe to the Americas during
>> the last 500 years
>> 11) The migration of Europeans to Australia during the last 200 years.
>The last two were migrations of much smaller number of people, follwed by
>a population explotion made possible by more intensive use of land by
>the newcomes.

It is true that a population explosion took place there like everywhere
else. But as migrations go, I would think that the transfer of people from
Europe to the Americas in the period 1500 to 1900 (about 400 years) was
pretty big. From a small country like Norway, about 300,000 people left for
the US in the period 1840 - 1930. The migration was, under all
circumstances, big enough to make life quite miserable for the Indians, and
for the Europeans to establish political control of the area.

>This leaves only 5 cases out the original 11. #7 is a case of 
>X pushed Y who pushed Z etc. After all, that is why it took nearly
>600 years for the Goths to get North Africa.

It took 600 years for the Germanic tribes to get to Africa simply because
the Roman Empire stood in their way and kept them back. 

 Now what is the
>chronology of Indo-Aryan `invasion'? And, remember, the Indo-Aryans had
>to drive their chariots over Afghanistan. Anybody measured the speed of
>chariots over mountains? 

As far as I remember, the chariots were only actually driven in war
situations. Otherwise, they were normally disassembled and carried on
ordinary carts. As for an exact chronology - well, nobody can give an exact
chronology, but judging by the data from the Middle East, we may assume that
they entered Northern India sometime during the second millenium B.C. Again,
Mallory will give you the available details. 

>> Large-scale displacement of people do not happen every day, but they
>> certainly do occur.
>Movements of tribes numbering in 10,000s, I will swollow. But they hardly
>displaced prexisting populations. They simply inserted themselves into
>the preexisting populations in all cases of yours which I consider to be
>cases of established migrations.

As it happens, we have documentation (Caesar) showing that as much as
368,000 people could join a trek. Caesar says: "In the Helvetian camp [after
the battle between them and the Romans] documents were found written with
Greek letters, where the number of those who had left home was given on a
name by name basis, those who could carry arms, and also separately boys,
old men and women. The total of all these were 263,000 Helvetians, 36,000
Tulingi, 14,000 Latovici, 23,000 Raurici, 32,000 Boii. Those of these who
could carry arms amounted to 92,000." (De bello gallico, I,29). I don't
think we should underestimate the ability of people in ancient times to move
in great numbers. But normally, we don't have to look for numbers as
dramatic as this. Often intruders establish themselves as a warrior
aristocracy and are gradually "digested" by the locals. (As an example may
serve the Mongols in China). It suffices if they have the military strength
to supplant the old overlords. But then again, they don't leave many traces
of their language. 

As for the question of archaeology vs. language, the linguistic data are in
themselves sufficient to establish the theory. Archaeological data may
support the theory, but as long as you don't have ancient documents or
inscriptions saying "we are Indo-Europeans" or "We are not Indo-Europeans"
(or some statement that amounts to the same), we should not put too much
weight on archaeological data. Even in Europe it is difficult to determine
correspondences between archaeological data and ethnic data. As soon as we
have words, like the Indo-Aryan gods of Mitanni mentioned in a cuneiform
treaty, we are on much safer ground. 

Best regards,

Lars Martin

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