PIE breakup in ca. 1750 B.C.

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 27 17:18:03 UTC 1998

The widely published Professor of Classics is saying that
PIE breakup occured in ca. 1750 B.C. Is he is correct? Otherwise,
are there any reviews where his theory is shown to be wrong?

If PIE existed in 1750 B.C., then the date of Rigveda as ca. 1000 B.C.
seems certainly possible. I would philosophize that a few centuries are
necessary for the crystallization of the Rigveda with 'systemic'
retroflexes, few Dravidian words, etc.,

N. Ganesan

Robert Drews, The coming of the Greeks: Indo-European conquestd
in the Aegean and the Near East, Princeton University press, 1988
(available in both hard cover and paperback editions)
page 197:

" Some dubious assumptions about the PIE speakers are interlocked and
of long standing. One of these assumptions is that when poised on the
threshold of history, the PIE speakers were a numerous people, making
up a fair portion of the world's population. For such a multitude,
a spacious home must be imagined, and a second assumption is that
the IE homeland was a vast territory, perhaps covering much of
Eastern Europe or the Eurasian steppe. From this homeland, the
Indo-Europeans are supposed to have set out, in prehistoric times, in
a series of massive Volkerwanderungen; eventually, they came to rest
in the lands in which during historical times the IE languages were
spoken. The beginnings of these mass migrations are placed between ca.
and ca. 2000 B.C., and the reasons for the migrations are seldom

 An alternative picture is more likely. At the end of the third
the PIE-speaking community was no larger than the Hurrian, the Sumerian,
the Hattic, or the Proto-Anatolian and was only a fraction the size
of the Semitic. The PIE-speaking community remained intact, playing no
significant historical role, until the second quarter of the second
millennium. In the late seventeenth or early sixteenth century,
and then whole communities of PIE speakers began leaving their native
lands (probably in the lake district of eastern Anatolia). None of these
movements of PIE speakers involved a population much larger than that
of one Mesopotamian city of the first rank. Nor were the movements
Wanderungen at all. The relocations - some of them apparently by sea-
were well planned and organized, and their leaders knew where they were
going and what they would do when they got there. The PIE speakers'
object in leaving their native lands was to take control of societies
that were vulnerable and that could profitably be exploited.

 Takeovers rather than Volkerwanderungen are what seem to have plagued
the ancient world in second millennium B.C. The IE takeovers appear to
have been analogous to the hyksos takeover of Egypt, and to the Kassite
and Hurrian takeovers of various communities in the Fertile Crescent
(the Kassites and Hurrians may have been neighbors of the PIE
speakers before they set out on their adventures). For all of these
intruders, chariotry was essential: it was their mastery of chariot
warfare that made it possible for the intruders to conquer and then to
dominate lands from Egypt and Greece to India. The takeovers were
motivated, it need hardly be said, by the desire for power and wealth."

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