Vidhyanath Rao vidynath at MATH.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Mon Mar 2 12:30:44 UTC 1998

Quotation from Cavalli-Sforza

> [...] Linking the two series
> of events in Turkmenia and the Indus Valley, it seems very likely that both
> were due to the takover of power by Aryan pastoral nomads who came from the
> steppes of Cental Asia, spoke an Indo-European language and used iron and
> Horses. More about their origin was given in section 4.3. [.....]"

``take-over of power'' implies continuity in the pattern of political
organization and a political organization to take over. Archeologists
will very much dispute that for 2nd millennium BCE India. And do
philologists really claim that RV shows familiarity with iron?

At first I was miffed at the all the put-downs of scientists in
Indology. But perhaps it is deserved, to judge by the above quote:-)
The question is, why are such elementary mistakes tolerated when the
scientist says what Indologists want to hear?


Incidentally, there a couple common misconceptions that should be
cleared up.

The first is that the The famous treaty that mentions Mitra, Indra etc.
mention Varunas. The trouble is this: One version has Arunasil, another
Urvanasil. Apparently neither of them can be legitimately taken as
transcriptions of Varuna based on what we know of Near Eastern
languages. One suggestion that I have heard connects to Av. urvan,
`soul', suggesting that Mittanis should really be connected to Nuristani
groups, whose main pre-Islamic god was Imra (<yamaraja). [I am not sure
but I think that this suggestion was made by Diakonoff (sp?)
and a version of this appeared in ``When worlds collide''.]

There is a lively debate about whether the vehicle whose traces were
discovered at Shintasha really deserves to be called a chariot.
The details are rather too long to explain here, but you can start
from the paper of Littauer and Crouell in Antiquity, 1997. It should
be noted that David Anthony, in a paper published in Antiquity in 1997,
called it a `proto-chariot' as suggested by Littauer and Crouell.

[Littauer's various publications should really be read by Indologists
before they start asserting that chariots were used as tanks and that
horses would have frightened the people of ancient Near East of late
3rd-early 2nd m. BCE. Making absurd assertions about what one does not
have under full control is not limited to scientists.]

Andronov culture, which seem to the currently popular candidate for
original Indo-Iranians, is familiar with irrigation agriculture.
Pastoral nomads and irrigation agriculture make for an odd combination,
don't they?. And is that culture really unfamiliar with wheel-thrown
pottery, as has been suggested for proto-Indo-iranians?


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