Paired Horse and PIE breakup

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Fri Nov 6 20:50:22 UTC 1998

"N. Ganesan" <naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>      Also:
>      Mr. J-C. Svadchii's post shows that we cannot
>      support 5500 B.C. as the breakup date. Want
>      to know how you reconcile the similarities
>      between Roman and Indic religions for such a
>      long time.

Frankly, I have never looked at this comparative mythology /
comparative religion angle too closely.  And what I've seen of it
doesn't convince me at all.  I think there are great differences
between Roman and Indic religions.  And there are similarities
between all religions, be they Indo-European or otherwise.

As to the Dniepr boundary between Tripolye and the Ponto-Caspian,
indeed it is an important one.  It marks the boundary between the
semi-nomadic inhabitants of the steppe (soon to become fully nomadic
by the domestication of the horse) and Gimbutas' "Old European
culture", settled, agricultural, metallurgical.  Mallory, in a recent
article ("The Homelands of the Indo-Europeans"), also emphasizes what
he calls the Dniepr-Dniestr "tripline".  I fully agree that it must
have corresponded with a linguistic boundary, but not necessarily one
between IE and non-IE.  Just like the boundary between Iran and Turan
did not mark the boundary between Iranian and non-Iranian, but
between West and East Iranian.

The Tripolye culture is all the more interesting, because it was in
contact with all the (Late) Neolithic cultures of Europe.  Vinca and
the other "Old European" cultures to the SE, the steppe cultures to
the NE, and the "Danubian" Linear Ware (LBK) and later TRB cultures
to the N and W (the abbreviations are German for LinealBand Keramik
and TRichterBecher [Funnel Neck Beaker]).  Indeed, the Tripolye
culture, although basically a Balkan culture of the "Old European"
type, also incorporates features that resemble the Danubian cultures,
as well as pottery styles that originated in the steppe.  Imported
Tripolye pottery is found abundantly all over the Ponto-Caspian area,
and so is metal (copper) from the Balkans.


      <---  "Danubian" (LBK/TRB)  --->
                                      \  Sredny-Stog   Khvalynsk
                              TRIPOLYE \
                   "Old European"         Dnepr)
                   (Vinca, Karanovo)

Now the Dniepr-Donets culture of the 5th millennium, ancestral to the
steppe cultures of the 4th millennium (Stredny-Stog/Khvalynsk, later
Yama/Pit Grave), is described by the Ukrainian archaeologist Dmitry
Telegin (quoted in Mallory "In Search of ...") as having entered from
the north-west (Poland, Belarus).  And Poland marks the eastern
boundary of the Linear Ware cultures of Northern Europe.  If this is
correct, then the "tripline" was never crossed, merely circumvented
(and that c. 5000 BC).

If we translate the map above in linguistic terms, then according to
my theory what we get is a map of the emerging major subdivisions of
the IE languages in the 4th millennium (my "Romance" analogy):
Southern (Anatolian-Hittite), Western (Germanic, Italic, Celtic) and
Eastern (Greek, Armenian, Indio-Iranian), with Balto-Slavic (Central)
intermdiate between Western and Eastern, and Tocharian a very early
Eastern offshoot (so early that it resembles the more archaic Eastern
and Southern languages).  Notice that the Tripolye area very possibly
acted as the pivot connecting them all (where for instance the
wheeled vehicle terminology may have been transferred):

             Western        Central
                                      \   Eastern     Tocharian?
                              TRIPOLYE \

Besides the Southern ("Anatolian") branch of IE, the area of the
Balkans, Greece and Western Anatolia must have contained other
languages, more distantly related to Indo-European, all descended
from Renfrew's first European farmers of c. 7000 BC.  Etruscan, which
originates from the Aegean area, is probably the closest known
relative of Indo-European.  Besides some common vocabulary (but not
enough to make sense of most Etruscan texts), the Etruscan declension
is very much like the IE one, with genitives in -s and -l [as in
Hittite], dative/locative in -i and an accusative in -n (PIE *-m).
In fact, another possibility is that only the Tripolye area was
"Southern IE" speaking, and that the Balkans were entirely

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list