Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Paul Kekai Manansala kekai at JPS.NET
Fri Nov 6 03:58:08 UTC 1998

Yaroslav V. Vassilkov wrote:
> >
> > On 4 Nov. Paul Kekai Manansala wrote:
> >
> >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.

We don't know for sure what the original Scythians spoke.  Some of the
Scythian vocabulary given by Herodotus has been analyzed as Altaic.
Some works given by McGovern proposing that Scythians were Altaic
speakers are: Peisker's _Die Alteren Beziehungen der Slaven zu
Turko-Tartaren_; Treidler's "Die Skythen und inhre Nachbarvolker,"
_Archiv fur Anthropologie_, 1914, pp. 280ff and Minns _Scythians and
Greeks_. He also mentions Niebuhr and Neumann.

The Scythians may have adopted other languages in places they went such
as the case with the Parthians. Minns felt the Scythians were Altaic
people who had incorporated large numbers of Iranians as they moved
across their territory.

>         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?

There is no hard evidence one way or another.  However, there is plenty
of hard evidence that Altaic and at least one Uralic people lived lives
almost exactly similar to that described for the Scythians. OTOH, the
first completely verifiable Indo-Iranians in Persia practiced a culture
that was as different as night is to day.

In medieval times, Europeans called Huns, Avars, Magyars and related
peoples "Scythians."  Mostly this was a cultural description, although
there may have been so "racial" connotation also (see Hippocrates).

Paul Kekai Manansala

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