SV: method of dating RV, III

George Thompson thompson at JLC.NET
Thu Oct 29 02:11:48 UTC 1998

I'd just like to register my support for Miguel Carrasquer Vidal's critique
of Drew's eccentric dating of the PIE breakup [as well as Drew's strange
insistence on a well-planned and highly organized invasion of the known
world by PIE speakers!]. I'd also like to thank MCV for his overview of the
commonly accepted version among scholars, as seen for example in Mallory.

As a way of steering this thread back to the Indological sphere, perhaps
MCV could be persuaded to comment on the following:

"Turning to the east again, the origin of Indo-Iranian can also be traced
back to the Yamna/Kurgan cultures of the 4th/3rd. millennium. By 2000 BC,
the area of modern Russian Turkestan is occcupied by the Kurgan-derived
Andronovo culture, ancestral to the Iranians or the Indo-Iranians as a
whole, depending on where one wants to put the split between the two. I
would favour a slightly early date, making Andronovo exclusively Iranian,
with the Dardic/Indo-Aryan speakers already in Kashmir, watching the IVC

I am interested in a more detailed and specific discussion of both the
location and the time of the Indo-Iranian split.

To return to Yaroslav Vassilkov's earlier post:

YV's distinction between Vedic-Scythian relations and Vedic- Avestan
relations is helpful. There is no question that Vedic-Avestan relations are
close and direct, whereas Vedic-Scythian ones are remote and perhaps
vestigial. But it is very useful, on this list especially, where there is
always the temptation to focus attention exclusively on the Indic side of
things, to remember that, even if they are peripheral, both Vedic and
Scythian belong to the same Indo-Iranian Kulturkreis.

[large snip]

>. It is a historical
>fact that the trousers as a dress item were invented by the Scyths - the
>first really nomadic people who started to spent most of their lives on
>horseback (the Vedic Aryans were not true nomads, their way of life was
>rather "pastoralism cum agriculture").

It may be true that the Vedic Aryans were not true nomads, as you say, but
consider the following:

On the Scythian side, cf. Sulimirski [op.cit., p.153]: "The genuine steppe
Scyths were nomads who had no permanent homes; they lived on waggons in
which women and children spent their lives. The men spent most of their
lives on horseback..."

On the Vedic side, there are clear references to gRhas,'homes', as *moving*
[cf., e.g., RV 6.2.8 & 10.119.13], also grAmas as [wagon] trains likewise
on the move [RV 3.33.11]. On the latter, cf. W. Rau [most recently in
*Inside the Texts, Beyond the Texts*, already cited]. On the former, cf.
Elizarenkova *'Words and Things' in the Rgveda* [PD Gune Memorial Lectures,
Sixth Series, BORI, 1995]. As for the Scythian connection, I'd like to call
attention to an old but important article by R. Hauschild: 'Das Selbstlob
[Atmastuti] des Somaberauschten Gottes Agni' [in *Asiatica: Festschrift Fr.
Weller* 1954: public thanks to John Brockington for kindly forwarding it to
me some time ago]. As a matter of fact, in this article Hauschild compares
RV gRha to the wagons of Scythians, which are described in a Greek text
from the Corpus Hippocraticum.

This is not to suggest that Vedic Aryans were nomadic in the strict sense.
It is to point to vestiges of nomadism in their collective memory
[tradition], which was in fact profoundly Indo-Iranian.

Hoping that this is of interest to the list in general...



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