Paired Horse and PIE breakup

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 5 18:48:22 UTC 1998

>> But the Indic azvamedha and Roman equus have so close similarities
>> that ought to have come from a common, compact area. People
>> from that area started to spread out after the use of horses in

>Thinking the unthinkable, what if IE languages were already being
>spoken in these regions 6,000 BC or even earlier and some other
>brought the horse and disappeared? Why not? Haven't IE peoples invaded
>each others' lands afterwards? Didn't other invaders disappear from
>history with their language?

  Many guesses for PIE splitup dates are possible. But the
  evidence points to a more likely scenario that PIE people
  lived as one single speech community in rather a small
  region after 3500 B.C.. Want to know the reasons
  why PIE split up before 6000 B.C.? I will appreciate
  Summary of main points for a PIE split date like
  6000 B.C. or references.

Prof. Anthony's reasoning is attached below.

N. Ganesan

        Antiquity, Sept 1995 v69 n264 p554(12)

        Horse, wagon & chariot: Indo-European
        languages and archaeology. David W.

   Wheels and the date of the Indo-European spread

   Reconstructed proto-Indo-European (PIE) represents a
   real ancient vocabulary that is potentially of
   inestimable value to archaeologists. Historical
   linguists have established that the speakers of PIE
   were familiar with wheeled vehicles, reconstructing
   at least six PIE terms that refer to them: three
   terms for wheel (perhaps an indication of the
   importance of wheels in PIE life), one for axle, one
   for 'thill' (the draft pole to which the yoke is
   attached) and a verbal root meaning 'to go or convey
   Cognates for these terms exist in all branches of
   Indo-European, from Celtic in the west to Sanskrit
   and Tocharian in the east, and from Baltic in the
   north to Hittite and Greek in the south (Schrader
   1890: 339; Specht 1944: 99-103; Gamkrelidze & Ivanov
   1984: 718-38; Anthony & Wailes 1988; Anthony 1991;
   Meid 1994). The PIE terms probably referred to the
   earliest form of wheeled vehicle - the solid-wheeled
   wagon or cart, pulled (slowly) by cattle. There is no
   single shared root for 'spoke', a later refinement in
   wheeled-vehicle technology.

   Renfrew and others have suggested that none of these
   terms need derive from PIE; all of them might have
   spread through the IE languages as wheeled vehicle
   technology diffused, long after the separation and
   formation of the IE daughter tongues (Renfrew 1987:
   86, 110; 1988: 464-5; Zvelebil & Zvelebil 1988). A
   post-PIE date for the diffusion of wheeled vehicles
   is unlikely for four reasons.

   First, the cognate vocabulary consists of not one
   term, but at least six. Entire technical vocabularies
   have rarely been borrowed intact over so large an
   area in the absence of sophisticated communications
   and literacy. The core wagon vocabulary is
   distributed from India to Scotland with no terms
   confined to just the western or just the eastern IE
   languages. If it diffused after the IE dispersal it
   must have spread as a single semantic unit over a
   very large region that was fragmented linguistically,
   ethnically and ecologically [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE
   1 OMITTED]. The diffusion of other post-PIE
   technologies (notably the spoke and iron) through the
   IE-speaking world was not accompanied by the spread
   of standardized vocabularies in the manner proposed
   for wheeled vehicles.

   Second, the diffusion of the earliest wheeled vehicle
   technology occurred so rapidly that we cannot now
   determine if it was invented by a single donor
   culture and diffused, or if it was independently
   invented in several regions (Piggott 1983: 63;
   Hausler 1994). The post-PIE theory assumes a single
   donor culture whose vehicular vocabulary was adopted
   across the entire territory between India and western
   Europe. No archaeological evidence has been offered
   for this proposition, and much contradicts it.

   Third, since five of the six Indo-European
   wheeled-vehicle terms (all except 'thill' or
   draft-pole) have good Indo-European etymologies -
   they are derived from recognizable IE verbal or noun
   roots - the core vocabulary must have been created by
   an Indo-European-speaking group, which places
   additional constraints on an already awkward
   diffusionary hypothesis.

   Finally, there is simply no internal phonetic or
   morphological evidence for borrowing within the
   relevant Indo-European vocabulary. None of these
   terms - and there are at least 35, when the six roots
   are multiplied by the number of IE languages in which
   they appear - is a phonological or morphological
   misfit within its language lineage (Gamkrelidze &
   Ivanov 1984: 718-38; Meid 1994; Mallory & Adams
   forthcoming). If the wheeled-vehicle vocabulary
   originated in an Indo-European daughter language
   after the separation of the IE languages into
   numerous distinct phonological and morphological
   systems, then the phonetic and morphological traits
   of that language should be detectable in at least
   some of the borrowed vocabulary, given the
   phonological distinctiveness of the IE daughter
   languages. The absence of such evidence indicates
   that the IE wheeled-vehicle vocabulary was not
   borrowed, but inherited from PIE.
   [[[Note 1:
   I have not proposed that wheeled vehicle technology
   originated in the PIE homeland, a position that has
   been attributed to me by Hausler (1994: 223). I have
   proposed only that most of the IE vocabulary for
   wheeled vehicles originated in PIE.
   None of these problems has been explicitly addressed
   or acknowledged in print, beyond a brief discussion
   in Current Anthropology (Renfrew 1988). While the
   diffusionary scenario for IE wheeled-vehicle
   terminology remains an assertion, largely unanalysed
   and undefended, the genetic-inheritance explanation
   has been researched and supported in specialized
   studies by linguists (Specht 1944: 99-103;
   Gamkrelidze & Ivanov 1984: 718-38; review in Anthony
   1991: 198-201; Meid 1994; Mallory & Adams
   forthcoming). The simplest and most widely accepted
   explanation of the linguistic evidence is that the
   speakers of PIE were familiar with and had a
   vocabulary for wheeled vehicles. Coleman's (1988)
   brief linguistic dissent stands alone against a body
   of scholarship to which he did not refer. If we
   accept the majority interpretation, PIE should have
   existed as a unified speech community after wheeled
   vehicles were invented. Archaeological evidence
   places this event after 3500 BC.

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