Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Yaroslav V. Vassilkov yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU
Tue Nov 3 22:49:11 UTC 1998

> On 4 Nov. Paul Kekai Manansala wrote:
> >We see Persians using cuneiform and Aramaic scripts that they borrowed.
> >Assyrians certainly had their own chariots.  These type of things
> >crossed linguistic and ethnic barriers.  So, I ask how do we know
> >the Sintashta or related cultures spoke Indo-European?
> >Why couldn't they have spoken languages related to Hurrian,
> >the Caucasian languages or Uralic (among others)?

        I have started my answer to this question with the words:

>         No, they could not, it is absolutely impossible.

And now Paul Kekai Manansala comments on it in this way:

> ...using terms like "impossible" is not useful in the type of speculation
> that is being engaged in with these theories.

        You would be probably right if I stopped at that. But in my letter
it was followed and supported with arguments which you omitted in your
quotation. I referred to the opinion of specialists, according to which the
Andronovo people most probably spoke Iranian, because the Scythians, who
are their cultural descencents, were surely Iranian-speaking people. You
doubt it, suggesting that the "Scythians" were rather Altaic or Uralic

>Again the so-called "Scythian" culture was found among many peoples
>including Altaic and Uralic.  In fact, we have much more hard evidence
>of this culture among the latter peoples.  I might add that until fairly
>recently the Scythian cultures were also considered "Turanian."

        Both Western (North Pontic) and Eastern (Saka) Scythians spoke
Iranian dialects which is attested by Greek and Indian written sources, by
etymology of place-names and so on. Uralians, with the only exception of
The Hungarians in the middle of the 1st century AD, were always forest
hunters, not the steppe pastoralists. The same may be said about proto-Turks
until 3rd century BC, when they came to the steppes from their forest
Siberian homeland. What could these peoples have in common with the problem
that we are now discussing: the emergence of the war-chariot in the western
part of the Eurasian steppe in the beginning of the 2-n mill. BC?

        The word "Turanian" goes back to the Iranian epic, where it is
used to designate the Eastern Iranian nomadic tribes. As far as I know,
the word has nothing in common with "Turk" and related words.

        What is the "hard evidence" of Scythian culture among "Altaic and
Uralic" tribes? Is there any evidence at all in favour of your point of
view that Scythian's language was not Iranian? Will you kindly present it,
it would be very interesting to learn what sources did you use.
        Best regards,


Yaroslav V.Vassilkov, Ph.D.

Department of South and SE Asian Studies
Institute of Oriental Studies
Dvortsovaya nab., 18,
St Petersburg, 191186,

Home address: Fontanka, 2,
kv. 617, St Petersburg,
191187, Russia
tel. +7 (812) 275 8179
e-mail: yavass at

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