Showing posts with label Hitities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hitities. Show all posts

Origin of Indo - Europeans

The whole theory of Indo-European is based on the premise that if Latin, Greek and Sanskrit were similar, it should be branched out of earlier single Language. So next question comes , what is the original home of Indo – European people who spoke this language. Let us see the likeliest candidates.

First we have to see the characteristics of Indo – Europeans. Are they?

  1. Hunter gatherers, Pastoral Nomads, Agriculturists etc

  2. Vocabulary : Animals, Plants, Agriculture etc

  3. Technical sophistication

  4. Culture Level

  5. Geography


Collin Renfrew says Indo-European homeland as Anatolia and they practiced agriculture around 7000BC. one of their groups moved westward to Europe, crossing the Bosporus and another -group, moving eastward, via the region south of the Caucasus mountains and the Caspian Sea, into Iran from where it must have subsequently entered Afghanistan and India. In an alternative scenario, Renfrew thinks that the Indo-Europeans split up after entering Europe and then the eastern branch went to south-central Asia, via north of the Black and Caspian Seas, whence it moved on to northeastern Iran, Afghanistan and India.

Theory fails on two counts

  1. If Indians and Europeans lived together as farmers ,their vocabulary should have common words or words originating from common words. But there are none.

  2. Secondly Hittite language from which the commonness is perceived is a minority language of Elite and basal language is non-European.


Gamkrelidze and Ivanov say Indo-European homeland between Black Sea and Caspian sea. This theory is based on linguistic paleontology. Since there is mountains , rivers, Lakes in the vacabulary. They also added that the Indo-European has lot of semitic loan words.

This theory fails because.

  1. Many scholars have shown semitic loan words as misplaced theory.

  2. Armenian language spoken in the area has large number of non Indo-European words, meaning there is another native language spoken. Which suggest that Indo-Europeans are not from that area.


Kurgan is steppes north of Black and Caspian Sea. There archaeological remains of Burial barrows (Kurgan in Slavic language) have been found. Maria Gimbutas says Indo- Europeans are essentially horse riding warriors who can thrust the weapons and can easily overrun the area. By 4000BC they reached central Europe.

This theory fails because

  1. On the technology and cultural level kurgan were essentially pastrol nomads.

  2. Mounted warriors were seen in Europe around 1000BC only says Renfrew

  3. Linguistically there is no relation between pastrol Kurgan and Farming Indo – European says Kathrin Krell, Mallory and Schmitt


Johanna Nichols says Sogodiana was their homeland, from there they spread to Aral sea and they split into two.

This theory fails on the basis

  1. There seems to be only language spread with no people movement. It is unlikely to have happened when there was No TV , Radio or Internet.

  2. There is no centre to periphery spread, there is no eastern spread of the language which is baffling.

Indian Subcontinent

According to this theory India is the home of Indo- European languages. This theory was put forward in 18th century but has no takers then. Why now? Because new findings have come which has resurrected the theory. They are

  1. Mehrgarh neolithic are farming in wheat , domesticated animals in contrast to pastrol sheep and goat. So the Mehrgarh are Indigenous.

  2. Journey from Early charcolithic to Indus valley civilization is continuous. After studying the skulls there was a Biological continuity as well right up to the present day from early charcolithic days.

  3. Most Important one is finding the Indus valley and Rig veda people are same Mentioning of the River saraswathi which is cradle of Indus valley Civilization.

  4. Geographical evidence of confirms to Rivers , Mountains , Lakes etc.

  5. Boghaz Kuei inscription(1400BC), refers to Indra, Mitra, Nasatya and Varuna as witnesses to a treaty between the Mitanni king Matiwaza and the Hittite king Suppiluliuma.

  6. T. Burrow came to the conclusion: “The Indo- Europeans appear in Mitanni from 1500 BC as the ruling dynasty, which means that they must have entered the country as conquerors from no where else but from India.


Indo- Europeans are from India. Whether the Greek , Latin and Sanskrit (Vedic) are related we will see in another article.


The Homeland of Indo-European Languages And Culture: Some Thoughts

Author: Prof. B. B. Lal

Trojan War Myth or Reality?

Did the city of Troy really exist? Is the Trojan War myth or military reality? And what about that giant horse?

In the Greek poem The Iliad, the basis for Troy, Prince Paris of Troy steals the gorgeous Helen, of Greece, from her husband, King Menelaus. The act brings the two nations to war, and eventually Greeks led by the warrior Achilles lay siege to Troy. The poet Homer probably wrote the epic several hundred years after the war is supposed to have taken place. Much of it is no doubt fantasy. No evidence that Achilles or Helen exist.

Not single Event
Archaeologists who have been digging into the myth of Homer's poem believe the legendary war may have been a process rather than a single event. Eric Cline cline said Trojan war or wars took place, and that Homer chose to write about one or more of them by making it into a great ten-year-long saga.

Nine Cities of Troy
Archeologists who dig the placed said to be troy say , the site contains nine cities built on top of each other. There is a citadel in the middle and a town around it. A high wall fortified the town.
Eager to find the legendary treasures of Troy, Schliemann blasted his way down to the second city, where he found what he believed were the jewels that once belonged to Helen. As it turns out, the jewels were a thousand years older than the time described in Homer's epic.

Today archaeologists believe that the sixth and seventh oldest cities found in layers at Hisarlik are the best candidates for the Troy of The Iliad. Resplendent and strong, city number six looks like Homer's Troy. The problem is that this city's destruction in 1250 B.C. does not appear to have been caused by war but an earthquake.

Homer Clue
In The Iliad, the Greeks breach the city walls by hiding inside a giant horse, which they present as a gift to the Trojans. The Trojan horse could have been a metaphor for Poseidon, a god associated with horses who was both the god of the seas and earthquakes. "The suggestion is that Homer knew that the city he was describing had been destroyed by an earthquake," Cline said. "But that's not how you want to end your monumental saga—with a whimper. So he concocted this idea of a Trojan horse."

The seventh oldest city at the site, on the other hand, fits the description of a city under siege and destroyed by war in 1175 B.C. Archaeologists have found arrowheads in the streets. But the city itself was not as grand as the one described by Homer. cline said Homer may have taken the description of Troy 6 and the destruction of Troy 7, and, using poetic license, blurred the two into one ten-year-long war. But these are the words of people who have already agreed to trojan war and are searching for evidence.

Sea People
In the late Bronze Age, Troy, if located at the Hisarlik site, would have been a great prize for power-hungry kings. Perched at the entrance to the Black Sea, the city would have been at an international crossroads. The Greek Mycenaean empire would have lain to the west. The Hittite empire, which stretched from Mesopotamia to Syria, would have been to the east. As for its great wealth, Troy may have acquired that by taxing seafarers traveling into the Black Sea.
One theory suggests that the lesser known Sea Peoples wrecked Troy. Originally from what is now Italy, the Sea Peoples swept across the Mediterranean Sea from west to east. According to inscriptions found in Egypt, this group came through Troy at the time of the Trojan War, around 1200 B.C.

Hittites and Greece
Yet another theory, supported by ancient Hittite texts, suggests an intermittent, 200-year conflict that raged between the Hittite empire and a rebel coalition that included Troy. In this text, the Mycenaeans of Greece actually allied themselves with the Trojans against the Hittites. Archaeologists have found Mycenaean pottery in Troy 6, supporting the suggestion that the two nations were allies.

The least plausible explanation, most archaeologists agree, is that the Trojan War was fought over Helen, described by Homer as the most beautiful woman in the world. However, there is a historical precedent for a war being fought over an injustice done to a king. In the 14th century B.C., the Hittite king received a letter from the Egyptian queen. She said her husband had died and asked the Hittite king if he could send a son for her to marry. The Hittite eventually agreed and sent one of his sons. On his way to Egypt, however, the prince was killed. Believing the Egyptians killed him, the Hittites declared war on Egypt.

If the Hittites and the Egyptians could go to war in the 14th century over the son of the king, why wouldn't the Mycenaeans and Trojans go to war less than a hundred years later because the king's wife has been kidnapped? Cline asked. "One can't really rule out that it was fought over Helen, but at the moment we don't have any supporting data for that."

Romantic History
One thing is clear: The wars seem to have ended an age. "Homer is writing a memory of the end of the world," said Diane Thompson, author of The Trojan War: Literature and Legend from the Bronze Age to the Present. "Nostalgia fuels his writing, and it has fueled it ever since."

When the Roman poet Virgil in the first century B.C. rewrote Homer's story in his own classic The Aeneid, he turned the Greeks into scruffy villains and described the Trojans as beautiful losers who went on to found the Roman Empire. Through the ages, European people clung to this version—many of them tracing their ancestry back to Troy.

 Is Troy True? The Evidence Behind Movie Myth by Stefan Lovgren
National Geographic News May 14, 2004

Related Posts 
Black Athena 
Dating Greek Civilization
Indo European Origin
Homer Date


Myth of Sumerian Legacy

The term "Sumerian" is the common name given to the ancient inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia by their successors, the Semitic Akkadians. The Sumerians called themselves sag-giga, literally meaning "the black-headed people". The Akkadian word Shumer may represent this name in dialect, but it is unknown why the Akkadians called the southern land Shumeru. Biblical Shinar, Egyptian Sngr and Hittite Šanhar(a) could be western variants of Šumer

Severalpeople have claimed decendents of Sumerians or related to sumerians. Let us see the claims


Sumerian is generally believed today to be an isolate language without known close relatives, even though most will say it is the closest to the FinnUgor and Altaic language. Even the well known Sumerologist, Samuel Noah Kramer has hinted at the probability at times about the FinnUgor and Altaic links to Sumerian. Many others mention it also but then try to play it down and minimize the true extent of the links. Early pioneers as Jules Oppert (France), Archibald.H Sayce (England), A.H. Layard (England), Francis Lenormant (France), Delitzs (Germany), Coloman-Gabriel Gostony (France) and many others who are less known today such as Hungarian Sumerologists Dr Zsigmond Varga, a student of Delitz, and his student Dr Ida Bobula. Unfortunately the detailed work and sound correspondences needed by modern "historic" linguist, were only started by them, but never continued and refined by anyone, before it became a semi "taboo" topic to compare Sumerian to other language families.

The origin of this theory was explained by Ida Bobula this way: "When in the middle of the 19th century, under the debris of Mesopotamia the first written memories, the tiletable notched cuneiform and hieroglyphic text began to turn up, professionals recognized that those against the Assyrian-Babylonian texts were written in a non-Semitic structured language." The language proved to be agglutinatively structured. The pioneer orientalists, Julius Oppert, Rawlinson, and Archibald Sayce, spoke of the ancient Scythian and Turanian languages; the French scientist Lenormant decisively declared that the language of these "artificers of writing" is closest to Hungarian, and that it would prove to bear a relationship to the "Turanian" family similar to that of Sanskrit for the Indo-European family.

The second account has been related to Biblical history. The document starts with Tana, perhaps the same as the Sumerian Etana of the city of Kish, son of "Arwium", son of "Mashda". The Kushan Scythians also had an ancestor called Kush-Tana. In the Sumerian account, Etana of Kish was the first king who 'stabilised all the nations'. Some feel that Etana of Kish corresponds to the Biblical Cush, father of Nimrod.

In the Hungarian account, Tana's son is called Menrot, whose twin sons, Magor and Hunor dwelled by the Sea of Azov in the years following the flood, and took wives from the Alans, presumably meaning the ancestors of the Iranians (from the eponymous ancestor Aran).
Another version of this legend found in the Kepes Kronika makes Magor and Hunor the sons of Japheth rather than of Nimrod, equating Magor with Magog.Nimrod the hunter, founder of Erech, is more plausibly identified by David Rohl with Enmerkar, founder of Uruk (Sum. kar=hunter).

The mother of the twin sons in the Hungarian version is Eneth, Enech or Eneh, who is the wife of either Menrot (Nimrod) or of Japheth. If she is to be equated with the Sumerian goddess Inanna, she may have originally been the wife of both men, and a great many others beside.

The Sumerian legends of "Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta" describe vividly how the powerful Inanna, something of a kingmaker in her time, abandoned the king of Aratta, who is called Ensuhkeshdanna, and awarded the kingship of Erech to Enmerkar.Another argument sometimes used to link the Sumerians (who called their language Emegir) with the Magyars, involves the hereditary caste among the Medes and later Persians known as "Magi".

But the theory has many loopholes. Eventhough mountain of documents show Closest Europeon languge to Sumerian is Hungarian, the language is noticed only in 9th century AD , while the sumerians rule ended in 2000 BC. So how come they are related. The myth was created to show the Hungarians inferior to Europeons ruling societies. The Hungarian whose origin has been conflicting claims trace their origin to Huns. And Hungarian being close to Finnish is itself doubt.

Ur or Uru (=city) was a major city during Sumerian civilizatin times. The word Uru or Ooru ( village or township) has got into almost all Dravidan languages including Tulu.Possibly the the name of the once famous Sumerian city was extended to all civilized settlements later on.It is a common suffix now in most of the place names in southern India. Bengalur,Mangaluru,Mundkur,Tanjavur ,Trichur,Gudur etc.There are also other Sumerian/Dravidian words sharing similar sounding verb -ur. SumerianUru (2) (= firewood.) has similar words in Tulu, Kannada (Uri- is to burn) and other Dravidian languages. Similarly, Sumerian Uru (3)(=to till or grow) has Urpini/Ulpini (Tulu), Ulu(=to till) in Kannada.
One of the numbers,"five" in Sumerian was Ia or i (=five).It is ain in Tulu and aidu in Kannada.
Sig(=sun burnt clay tiles) has analogous Sike or seke (=sunny sultriness) and Sigadi (=fire place/oven) in Tulu and Kannada.
There may be more such analogous words in Sumerian and Tulu/Kannada/Dravidian languages.
The analogy is cited here to suggest that some early Tulu,Kannada and other Dravidian tribes might have migrated from Sumerian region to India.A genealogical relationship exist between the Black African, Dravidian, Elamite and Sumerian languages. But apart from these word similarities there is nothing else to say Sumerians and Dravidian are related.

Elam, lasting from around 2700 BC to 539 BC, is one of the oldest recorded civilizations. Elam was centered in the far west and southwest of modern-day Iran (the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, which takes its name from Elam), as well as parts of southern Iraq. It was preceded by what is known as the Proto-Elamite period, which began around 3200 BC when Susa (later capital of Elam) began to be influenced by the cultures of the Iranian plateau to the east.
The Elamite culture show influence of sumerian. But the elamite is seprate culture and language is seprate and still to be deciphered elamite text are different from Sumerian.

Hebrew belongs to the Afro-Asiatic language family. Sumerian is a different language family. Hebrew is related to Akkadian, Aramaic, Egyptian and Phoenician.

The term "Sumerian" is the common name given to the ancient inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia by their successors, the Semitic Akkadians. Clearly this shows that Semitic and Sumer are different people. While semitic people are migrants from outside, sumerians are natives.

The Babylonian civilization, which endured from the 18th until the 6th century BC, was, like the Sumerian that preceded it, urban in character, although based on agriculture rather than industry. The country consisted of a dozen or so cities, surrounded by villages and hamlets. At the head of the political structure was the king, a more or less absolute monarch who exercised legislative and judicial as well as executive powers. Under him was a group of appointed governors and administrators. Mayors and councils of city elders were in charge of local administration.
The Babylonians modified and transformed their Sumerian heritage in accordance with their own culture and ethos. The resulting way of life proved to be so effective that it underwent relatively little change for some 1200 years. It exerted influence on all the neighboring countries, especially the kingdom of Assyria, which adopted Babylonian culture almost in its entirety. But sumerians are not babylonians as they are not semitic. Infact semitic babylonians named them numers.
Early Eastern Europe did have an important early local civilization, even before the coming of the Indo-Europeans, who are mistakenly claimed to bring agriculture to the natives. Most grain names or the name of bread in various major branches of Indo-European languages (Germanic, Latin, Slavic) cannot be derived from a common origin indicating that they weren't agriculturalist prior to their separation. The earliest appearance of Indo Europeans, from the east in Europe was around 2800BC with the first appearance of the ancestors of the early Greeks

The claims are based on some similarities , we dont know how the sumerians spoke . The Sumerians can be Elamaites or Semitic or Huns or Dravidians or East African we dont know. As the Mystery race they have claims from all over the world. The documents of Elam are decoded it may throw further light. Until then people will claim sumerian as their own

Dating Ancient Greek Civilization

Greek civilization is said to have started around 2800BC by many western scholars , eventhough we have no information about the Greek before 770BC. Let us analyse the facts.

Let us see the The Aegean Civilizations and how is Greek they are.
Before 2000BC we do not have any information

The first people on aegean were the Minoans from Crete. Their civilization lasted from about 2000-1400 BC. Their capital, Knossos, was the cultural center of the Aegean. What caused the Minoan civilization to decline? An older historical opinion said that the volcano on Thira (Santorini) erupted in 1450 BC and caused massive tidal waves, etc., that washed the Minoan civilization away. The new historical data dates the volcano eruption to the 17th century BC -- much too early to have been the cause of the Minoan decline. Now, scholars are debating what really happened. No one really knows.

The next civilization to rise in the Aegean was the Mycenaean Civilization which lasted from 1400-1200 BC. (In Homer, the Mycenaeans are called "Acheans.") These people were still not the "Greeks" who later ruled the region.

One theory states that the Mycenaeans really were the Greeks who came down from the north. What is known, however, is that the Greek speaking people came to the mainland around 1450 BC. Around 1400 BC, the Minoan civilization was destroyed. The culture of the Aegean shifted from the islands to the mainlands.

During the time of the Mycenaeans, the Hittites controlled much of Asia Minor. Their dates, 1450-1200 BC, coincide with the dates of the Mycenaeans. It is logical to say that the two cultures had to have communicated with one another although there is little scholarly evidence. This, too, is a point in Greek history that is often debated.

According to Greek tradition, the Trojan War happened around 1200 BC, near the end of the Mycenaean civilization. The old scholarly view was that the Mycenaeans were invaded by a Dorian tribe from the north who destroyed them. Currently, scholars believe the Mycenaeans declined because of fighting amongst themselves. This view is the most archeologically correct.

Greek Dark Ages
After the Mycenaean decline, the Greek Dark Ages occur (1100-750 BC). (Depending on when Homer is dated, he could have lived during this time period.) This period also has an old view/new view perspective. Older theories state that all Greek civilization came to a complete halt during the Dark Ages. Greeks later had to begin their civilization anew. The current historical opinion is that the Greeks still had some level of civilization -- they didn't revert to barbarianism -- but they lived simpler lives.

Despite being called the "dark ages," this period of Greek history led to many fantastic developments.
  • Greek speaking people migrated to the islands of the Aegean and the coast of Asia Minor in an exodus known as the Ionian Movement
  • The notion of the Polis or City-State was developed
  • The Greek alphabet was developed from Phoenician
Greek New Age
These three major developments led to the Greek New Age (750-500 BC). Other names for this period are: the Age of Colonization, the Lyric Age, the Archaic Age, and the Greek Renaissance. This period saw extensive colonization by the Greeks and their rivals, the Phoenicians. Art and literature increased, as well.

Classical Age
From 500-323 BC, Greece experienced the Classical Age. This is the period that most people think of when they hear "Greek civilization." There were two major wars during the Classical Age: the Persian Wars (499-449 BC) and the Great Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC).

The Classical Age continued for about another 100 years, but the Greek city-states were not able to withstand the invasion of Phillip of Macedonia and the expansions made by his son, Alexander the Great. In fact, the Classical Age's end is marked by the death of Alexander the Great.

As we can see the date markers like Homer, Trojan war, date of Ionian and Mycenaean decline is not known and there are about 400 years where there is no information about the greek. Western scholars have putting a very classical picture ,but as evidence we have nothing. The greek civilization developed due to proximity to Egypt, Syria, Palestine, the lands of Asia Minor, and the Mesopotamia valley. And western scholars have developed theories to somehow prove that Greek is independent and developed on its own not from adjoining civilizations.

Related Posts
Trojan War
Black Athena 
Indo European Origin 
Homer Date


Myths of India by Indologists

Article by N.S. Rajaram

The study of ancient India, at least in the modern Western sense, may be said to have begun with Sir William Jones in the late 18th century. With his discovery of the Sanskrit language and its literature, Jones became the founder of the field we now call Indology. For the next century and half, this became the basis for the study of everything connected with ancient India, including its history.

With the discovery of the Harappan Civilization in 1921 — greater in extent than ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia combined — archaeological data also became available, which could now be used in the study of ancient India. But no systematic effort was made to connect archaeological data with the ancient Indian literature. On the other hand, entrenched theories like the Aryan invasion sought to keep Harappan archaeology and ancient Indian literature permanently separated. This has created a strange situation. The Harappans, the creators of the greatest material civilization of antiquity, have no literary or historical context. On the other hand, the Vedic Aryans, the creators of the greatest literature the world has ever known have no archaeological or even geographical existence.

As a result, after more than two centuries, the subject called Indology has no foundation to speak of; what we have instead is little more than a collection of views and ad-hoc theories that often contradict one another. It is time now to look at the underlying beliefs and methods of Indology, which has for all practical purposes served as a substitute for historiography as far as ancient India is concerned. The present volume is intended as a contribution towards that end. It focuses on two sources: first, ancient literary sources which challenge the Indological version of Vedic Civilization as the creation of nomadic invaders called the Aryans; and next, the separation of the Harappan Civilization from the Vedic mainstream.

In this reexamination, the recent decipherment of the Indus script by Natwar Jha is beginning to play a fundamental role. To begin with, it provides a firm historical context for the Harappans by linking their archaeology to the Vedic literature. This provides a chronological and cultural marker of the first importance by placing the later Vedic literature in the third millennium. As a result, it now becomes possible to begin to formulate the history of Vedic India on a solid foundation. It is shown that this is best done by discarding the field called Indology which has no scientific basis; its place should be taken by a historical structure built on a foundation of primary sources from archaeology and ancient literature. With this, our study of ancient India can begin in earnest.


In the last decade of the 18th century, Sir William Jones, an English jurist in the employ of the British East India Company began a study of Sanskrit to better understand the legal and political traditions of the Indian subjects. As a classical scholar, he was struck by the extraordinary similarities between Sanskrit and European languages like Latin and Greek. He observed:

… the Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of the verbs in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three without believing them to have sprung from the same source.

With this dramatic announcement Jones simultaneously launched the two fields that we now call Indology and comparative linguistics. With the benefit of hindsight we can see that the two fields were doomed from the start: being new, neither had a scientific foundation, and yet they tried to grow by feeding on each other. It soon spawned a new breed of scholars who went on to apply the first superficial findings of these new fields to the problems of ancient India. Into these new fields — rich with data, but without any foundation to speak of — entered a man whose name has become almost synonymous with Indology, Freidrich Max Müller.

Max Müller was a romantic with a vivid and sometimes uncontrolled imagination. Through his combination of erudition, enthusiasm, skill in presentation and fortunate circumstances, he came to dominate the new field of Indology. To account for the similarities between Indian and European languages, European scholars went on to propose something called the ‘Aryan invasion’. According to this theory, a nomadic people inhabiting the Eurasian steppes speaking the common ancestor of Sanskrit and Greek — variously called Indo-European, Indo-Aryan and so forth — invaded India from the northwest and settled in India. Max Müller placed this invasion in 1500 BC, and the composition of the Rigveda in 1200 BC. He presented various arguments, but it is now known — we have his own word for it — that what influenced him was his firm belief in the Christian dogma of the creation of the world in 4004 BC (October 23 at 9:00 AM, time zone unspecified), and the Biblical Flood in 2448 BC!

This highlights another problem that has plagued Indology right from the start. Not only was Indology (and its associated field of comparative linguistics) without a foundation, but also heavily influenced by Christian beliefs and political considerations. This is reflected in its methodology also which often resembles theology more than science. This can be seen in the following statement of the well-known linguist Murray Emeneau made as recently as 1954:

At some time in the second millennium B.C., probably comparatively early in the millennium, a band or bands of speakers of an Indo-European language, later to be called Sanskrit, entered India over the northwest passes. This is our linguistic doctrine, which has been held now for more than a century and a half. There seems to be no reason to distrust the arguments for it, in spite of the traditional Hindu ignorance of any such invasion. (Emphasis added.)

As Emeneau himself acknowledges, this notion of a foreign origin for the Vedas and Sanskrit is a 'linguistic doctrine' for which there is no evidence in the Vedic or other ancient literature. Presumably Emeneau expects us to accept his doctrine on faith — as revealed truth. To a scientifically informed person this seems more like theology than anything else. (Remember Thomas Aquinas' dictum: Philosophia ancilla thologiae or "Rational inquiry must be subordinate to theology.")

There were other forces at work — notably the rise of German nationalism, and political and career considerations of individual scholars; these need not detain us here. The point to recognize here is that in such a climate, dominated by political and religious considerations, Indology had no chance of evolving into a systematic discipline — let alone a science. As a result, influence and powers of rhetoric often prevailed over logic and facts.

The basic assumptions of Indology were (and remain): (1) Vedas and the Sanskrit language (or its ancestor), were brought into India by nomadic invaders in the second millennium; (2) there was no indigenous civilization in India prior to that date. An immediate corollary to these assumptions is that India never had an indigenous civilization and everything was an import. This is still the central dogma of Marxist historians who became the successors to the colonial and Christian missionary scholars. (More of this later.) In this climate of combined religious and political darkness that resembled Medieval Europe more than the modern world, there were a few shafts of scientific light. Scholars like H.T. Colebrook, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Herman Jacobi found astronomical references in the Vedic literature that brought to light serious problems with the Aryan invasion and other assumptions (and dogmas) of Indology. This, however, was not enough to dislodge entrenched dogmas. Then, in the third decade of this century, there was a significant change.

Beginning in 1921, archaeologists Rakhal Das Bannerji and Daya Ram Sahni, working under the direction of Sir John Marshall discovered two ancient cities in Punjab and Sind; these are now famous as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Subsequent excavations showed that they were part of a great civilization spread over more than a million square kilometers. This is now known as the Harappan or the Indus Valley Civilization. Archaeologists now place it in the c. 3100 – 1900 BC period, though its antecedents can be traced to 7000 BC at sites like Mehrgarh in the northwest and Koldihwa in Central India.

This was a major blow to the Aryan invasion theory, and the idea that there was no civilization in India prior to the arrival of the Aryans in 1500 BC. It should have made scholars sit up and take a serious look at the foundation of their theories and arguments. It did not. To begin with, Indologists had never built a foundation for their subject. All they had to show for their century of activity was a collection of theories and conjectures. In keeping with this record, they added another conjecture: the Harappan Civilization was destroyed by the invading Aryans. The result of all this piling of conjecture upon conjecture was to move Indology (and Indologists) further and further away from empirical reality. As it stands today, Indology resembles nothing so much as comparative mythology. Clearly, this cannot be the basis for history let alone historiography. So we must look elsewhere to build a foundation for the study of ancient India.

From colonialism to Marxism

A consequence of this unusual history is that the major influences on the evolution of Indology have been Christian missionary interests and European politics including colonial interests. (It should be noted that throughout the colonial period, Christian missionaries worked closely with colonial authorities, especially in fields like education.) This came to an end with the independence of India from colonial rule on August 15, 1947. So the time was ripe for Indian scholars to reject these colonial impositions and begin a reexamination of their history and culture based on a study of their matchless heritage of primary records, supplemented by modern scientific tools. In fact, more than a century ago, Swami Vivekananda had exhorted Indians:

The histories of our country written by English [and other Western] writers cannot but be weakening to our minds, for they talk only of our downfall. How can foreigners, who understand very little of our manners and customs, or religion and philosophy, write faithful and unbiased histories of India? Naturally, many false notions and wrong inferences have found their way into them.

Nevertheless they have shown us how to proceed making researches into our ancient history. Now it is for us to strike out an independent path of historical research for ourselves, to study the Vedas and the Puranas, and the ancient annals of India, and from them make it your life's sadhana to write accurate and soul-inspiring history of the land. It is for Indians to write Indian history.

But again, for reasons peculiar to every post-colonial country, this did not happen. Why this was so is an important subject that still awaits serious study. For our purposes it is enough to know that at the time of independence, India had a substantial English educated elite class that identified itself closely with the values and attitudes of the British rulers. A good number of these had received their education at institutions run by Christian missions, and had gone on to imbibe many of the anti-Hindu prejudices perpetuated by missionary scholars. Following the withdrawal of colonialism, Marxism — no less hostile to Hinduism — filled the resulting vacuum. This elite, without the guidance of colonial and missionary scholarship, readily embraced Marxist formulations of Indian history.

A key figure in this development was the Marxist scholar D.D. Kosambi. He formulated a version of ancient Indian history around the central Marxist dogma of the class struggle, and economy as the basis of history. An inseparable part of Marxist theology is that India has no history of its own and what is called history is nothing but a record of its intruders. This was stated by no less a person than Karl Marx. This dogma has become sacrosanct for the Marxist scholars who came to dominate the Indian intellectual scene for nearly half a century. They are no more prepared to question it than a devout Catholic the notion of virgin birth. The Aryan invasion theory fitted in well with this belief system. Even when archaeological data forced some of them to abandon the invasion idea, they grimly hung on to the notion of the Vedas and the Sanskrit language as foreign imports. This is essentially the position of Indian Marxists, many of whom recognize that the Aryan invasion has been shattered by science. They assert that even though there was no invasion, the Vedas and Sanskrit are foreign imports. Their very identity as Marxists depends on it.

Secular eschatology

It is important to understand that what has passed for ‘research’ and ‘scholarship’ by this school has consisted entirely of manipulating data from Indian sources around Marxist beliefs. Where Christian missionaries in India had followed this course to establish the superiority of Christianity over all other religions — especially Hinduism — the Marxists used similar arguments to establish the inevitability of Marxism. Marxists essentially adopted the idea of ‘progress’ from Christian theology.

Christianity sees history as the evolution of mankind from its ‘natural’ sinful state to be redeemed by Christ. This is the essence of mankind’s ‘progress’ or eschatology. Marxists hold the history of the world to be a similar evolution into a Marxist society. It was for this reason that the philosopher Bertrand Russell called Marxism a ‘Christian heresy’. And for the same reason, the Marxist view of history may justifiably be called a ‘secular eschatology’. From all this it is not hard to see that modern Indian historians have been acting more as theologians than scientists. This in fact is at the heart of the current debate over the interpretation of ancient Indian history. There is now battle raging over it. This is examined in the next article.

Life and Time controversies of Zarathushtra

Let us see some of the controversies associated with Zarathushtra

Date of Zarathushtra

No one knows where or when the Prophet was born. Some legends place his birth in western Iran, perhaps near Tehran; others, which are somewhat more likely due to the eastern Iranian language of his poetry, place his birthplace in the east. As for the date of his birth, it has been since ancient times a matter of controversy. Greek sources placed him as early as 6000 B.C., a reckoning derived from poorly transmitted Zoroastrian legends; few if any scholars take that date seriously. The traditional Zoroastrian date for Zarathushtra's birth and ministry is around 600 B.C. This is derived from a Greek source that places him "300 years before Alexander" which would give that date; other rationales for the 600 BC date identify the King Vishtaspa of Zarathushtra's Gathas with the father of the Persian King Darius, who lived around that time.

As the linguists of both Europe and India worked on the Gathas, however, it became clear that the language of the Gathas attributed to Zarathushtra was far older than the language spoken in Iran at the time of King Darius' father. Gathic Avestan was very close to the Sanskrit of the Indian Rig-Vedas, which can be dated from the period 1500-1200 BC. This would mean that Zarathushtra lived far earlier than the "traditional" date. Some scholars have said that the 600 BC date is still plausible if Gathic Avestan was actually an artificially preserved sacred language, somewhat like Latin, which continued in literature and rituals thousands of years after it had ceased to be spoken.

Recent work by Martin Schwartz and Almut Hintze tends to discount this theory, as the linguists show that the Gathas are not the work of an academic writing in a dead language; they show all the signs of poetry composed and recited in an oral tradition, similar to the heroic poetry of Homer or the Rig-Vedas. These studies would confirm the earlier date for Zarathushtra.

The problem of Zarathushtra's time will never be solved, unless some improbable archaeological find turns up. Most scholars agree on a time-frame for Zarathushtra which could be as early as 1700 B.C. or as late as 1000 B.C.

Zoroaster's Name

The name Zarathustra is a Bahuvrihi compound in the Avestan language, of zarata- "feeble, old" and usatra "camel", translating to "having old camels, the one who owns old camels". The first part of the name was formerly commonly translated as "yellow" or "golden", from the Avestan "zaray", giving the meaning "having yellow camels".

A more romantic, but inaccurate, translation of the name in the past has been Bringer of the Golden Dawn, based on the mistaken assumption that the second part of the name is a variant of the Vedic word "Ushas" meaning "dawn".

This last translation seems to have derived from a desire to give a more fitting meaning to the prophet's name than "owner of feeble camels."

An alternate reading is "old camel." Animals such as camels and horses were essential and even sacred to the people of Zarathushtra's age, and thus a name containing one of these animals marks a person as important. A similar naming practice occurred among the ancient Greeks where names containing "-ippos" or horse denoted high birth - such as Philippos (lover of horses), Aristippos (best horse), or Xanthippos (yellow horse).

The later Zoroastrians, perhaps embarrassed by their prophet's primitive-sounding name, said that the name meant "Golden Light," deriving their meaning from the word zara and the word ushas, light or dawn. There is no doubt about Zarathushtra's clan name, which is Spitama - perhaps meaning "white." Zarathushtra's father was named Pouruchaspa (many horses) and his mother was named Dughdova (milkmaid). His birthday is celebrated on March 26, as part of the Iranian New Year Festival.

Life if Zarathushtra

Zarathushtra is said to have had six children, three boys and three girls. This is not exact information, since the number and gender equals that of the six Amesha Spentas and may be only symbolic. But the last Gatha is composed for the marriage of Zarathushtra's daughter Pouruchista (Full of Wisdom) so he is known to have had at least one child. Zarathushtra, in the legends, had three wives (in sequence) of whom the last was Hvovi (Good Cattle) the daughter of King Vishtaspa's prime minister. Thus Zarathushtra married into the king's court; Pouruchista, in turn, married the prime minister.

There is no exact or provable information about Zarathushtra's life at court, though it may be assumed that it was here that he composed the Gathas, and the names of king and court appear in the poetry as if, in oral recitation, they were there listening to him. The prophet may have spent almost three decades there, before his death at age 77.

Again, no one knows how Zarathushtra died. Many legends, and Zoroastrian tradition, say that he was killed, while praying in the sanctuary, by a foreign enemy of the king. But there is no holiday commemorating the martyrdom of the Prophet, as there would be in other religions (Christianity, for instance) and other Zoroastrian traditions, and scholars, say that Zarathushtra died peacefully.

One of the controversies about Zarathushtra concerns whether he was a priest. He did not live in a religious vacuum, but was born into a society that practiced the polytheistic rites of ancient Indo-Iranian religion. This religion already had a well-developed system of priesthood and service. In one verse of the Gathas (Y,33, 6) Zarathushtra calls himself a "zaota" which in later Zoroastrian usage is the word for officiating priest. The word, though, literally means "invoker" and both Taraporewala and Jafarey translate it simply, claiming that Zarathushtra never meant to call himself a priest. It is very possible that Zarathushtra, if not a priest, had priestly training (how else would he know the highly technical spiritual language found in the Gathas, as well as the ability to compose philosophical/religious poetry?). Other Zoroastrians, including more traditionally minded ones, say that Zarathushtra was indeed a priest and the first of the millennia-old tradition of Zoroastrian ritualizing priesthood.

In the later Avesta, Zarathushtra is used as a character in dialogue with Ahura Mazda; he is featured in ritual texts and in law- texts, and great amounts of ritual and doctrine are thus attributed to him, whether he was their originator or not. In much later Zoroastrian traditions, some of which were not recorded until centuries after the Arab conquest, the life of the Prophet abounds with miracles and divine interventions.

His mother glowed with the divine Glory usually reserved for kings; the soul of the prophet was placed by God in the sacred Haoma plant (which Z. condemned in the Gathas) and the prophet was conceived through the essence of Haoma in milk (though the birth is not a virgin birth, but the natural product of two special, but earthly parents.). The child laughed at his birth instead of crying, and he glowed so brightly that the villagers around him were frightened and tried to destroy him. All attempts to destroy young Zarathushtra failed; fire would not burn him nor would animals crush him in stampedes; he was cared for by a mother wolf in the wilderness.

He spent years in the wilderness communing with God before his first vision, in which Vohu Manah came to him in the form of a huge Angel. All the heavenly entities, the Amesha Spentas, instructed Zarathushtra in heaven, and he received perfect knowledge of past, present, and future. Zarathushtra's preaching to King Vishtaspa was enhanced by miracles, especially the healing of a paralyzed horse that convinced the king to accept the new religion.

Most of these motifs are familiar from the lives of other culture heroes such as Romulus, Moses, and Jesus. Whether any of this literally happened is a matter for belief, not scholarship. Tradition-minded Zoroastrians do accept these legends as truth about Zarathushtra. Other, more modern Zoroastrians, who rely more on the Gathas as a scriptural source, discount the legends as pious fantasies, noting that there are no miracles or supernatural interventions in the Gathas.

Unlike Mohammed's recitation of the Koran, the Gathas of Zarathushtra are not "channeled" - that is, the Gathas are regarded as the inspired composition of a poet-prophet rather than a text dictated by a heavenly being. Zarathushtra was inspired by God, through the Bounteous Immortals of Vohu Manah, Asha, and the others - but he was not a passive recipient of the divine wisdom. In accordance with Zoroastrian philosophy, he reached God through his own effort simultaneously with God's communication to him.

Zarathushtra was never divine, not even in the most extravagant legends. He remained a man like all others, though divinely gifted with inspiration and closeness to Ahura Mazda. His life is an inspiration for Zoroastrians of all persuasions, traditionalist and modern - in his innovation, loving relationship with God, and spiritual courage he is a model for all his followers. After his death. Zarathushtra's great soul attains almost the level of a Bounteous Immortal, but still is not merged in the divinity.