Horses

Paul K. Manansala kabalen at MAIL.JPS.NET
Sun May 10 19:29:43 EDT 1998


  Indology <INDOLOGY at LISTSERV.LIV.AC.UK>
wrote:

> "Paul K. Manansala" <kabalen at MAIL.JPS.NET> wrote:
>
> >> "Altaic peoples" in the Ukraine 4000-3500 BC?  Impossible.
> >>
> >> The first signs of r-Turkic tribes (Huns, Xiongnu) moving into the
> >> Eastern steppe are from the last centuries BC.  Before that, there is
> >> abundant and overwhelming evidence (e.g. written records in
> >> Khwarezmian, Sogdian, Saka (Khotanese), Scytho-Sarmatian and
> >> Bactrian, borrowings into Finno-Ugrian and Slavic lgs., etc.) that
> >> the steppe (both Eastern and Western) was inhabited by Iranian
> >> peoples.
> >>
> >You are quite incorrect.  First of all, I was referring primarily to
> >anthropological remains. Many of the early steppe people were biologically
> >similar to modern and ancient Altaic speaking peoples but not to modern or
> >ancient Iranians.
>
> Do these "modern Iranians" include the Ossetes, the Yaghnobi or the
> Tajiks?
>

Yes.

> Modern Turks of Turkey speak an Altaic language, yet "biologically"
> they are similar to ancient Anatolian populations speaking
> Indo-European (Anatolian, Phrygian, Greek) languages.  I hear nobody
> claiming that the Hittites were Altaic...
>

But the ancient remains were not biologically similar to the stock
believed to be the original speakers of Indo-European languages.

> >The fragmentary evidence of Iranian writings in the steppe mean
> >nothing.  No more than early fragmentary Arabic writings in Indonesia or
> >China.  There is  evidence of Altaic archaeological culture
> >in the steppe and also linguistic evidence in local languages.
>
> The evidence is not fragmentary.

So what is the evidence then?

>
> What is an "Altaic archaeological culture"?  What evidence in which
> local languages?  Why are all the ancient loanwords in Finno-Ugrian
> from Iranian or Tocharian, not Altaic?  How do you explain Tocharian
> in the Tarim basin?
>

The evidence of Tocharian in the Tarim basin is fragmentary.

Regarding the Altaic culture, the similarities between Hsiung-nu and
later Turko-Mongol culture with the culture ascribed to Scythians by
Herodotus and others is well-known.  Here is a partial list:

1. The joint burial of humans with horses often oriented toward East.
2. Fully nomadic society on horseback.
3. Slitting the throat of the chief's wife and servants on tomb
4. Cutting one's enemy's skull at eyebrow level, inlaying with gold
    and covering with leather to make a drinking cup.
5. Head-hunting.
6. Hanging scalps of victims from bridles.
7. Wide trousers strapped to the ankle.
8. Fur cap and cape.
9. Mourn dead by gashing face with knives so "blood flows with
    tears."
10. Had flocks of sheep and herds of horses, camel and cattle.
11. Meat and milk diet.Rarely practiced regular agriculture.
12. Dressed in skins.
13. Wolf as totem guard and revival totem.
14. Used felt tents and brought women and children in wagons.
15. Practiced shamanism based on woship of Heaven and sacred
      mountains.
16. Supreme leader summoned all tribes in the autumn for census of
      humans and animals.
17. Used raiding and fleeing tactics.
18. Depended on mounted bowmen in battle.
19. Used same feigned retreat strategies.
20. Both were experts at firing bows to the rear while mounted.
21. Slept on furs.
22. Usually shaved head except small tuft on top.
23. Used similar small yet fierce pony.
24. Switched horses in battle.
25. Drank blood of horse during battle to prevent dehydration.
26. Usually no beard except tuft on chin.
27. Sheath of bow suspended from belt in front of left thigh.
28. Quiver attached to belt and suspended across back with arrows to
      right.
29. Preferred mare's milk to other types of milk.
30. Similar burial in raised mounds.
31. Similar "plank and file" coffins
32. Similar bows

Practically all of these features appear in later Altaic burials in
Central and Northern Asia as far as Korea.  This culture is world's
apart however from early Persian, European or even Hittite culture.
Also has very little in common with Vedic culture.

Concerning linguistic aspects, you know very well yourself that
Yenesei-Ostyak languages used to be grouped together with Altaic
langauges in the Ural-Altaic family.

Regards,
Paul Kekai Manansala



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