Mythos 57 – Cimmerians at Arkaim

 

The question of the where the Avesta was composed still remains a mystery, however throughout the last few decades the idea that the Old/Gathic Avestan portions could have been composed in Eastern Europe has gained a following among Zend scholars. One school of thought is that the Avesta might have been written to the north of Persia in the related East-Iranian tribes. The term East-Iranian is applied to wide selection of tribes that spanned the Eurasian Steppes from Eastern Europe to Western China. The term denotes linguistic similarity to the peoples of modern Afghanistan and Tajikistan, historic Eastern Persia.

The Sakan Tribes (Scythians) and Persian Empire (Parthia) Circa 100 BC

The Sakan Tribes (Scythians) and Persian Empire (Parthia) Circa 100 BC

The Sakan tribes, also called Scythians, dominated the Eurasian Steppes for several centuries a couple of millennia ago, around the time of the Persian also called Parthian Empire in Southwest Asia.(1)Barbara A. West (2009) Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. Pages 713-717 Surviving Greek, Chinese, and Babylonian documents record the Sakans displacing other earlier peoples in the Steppes, and then later being displaced by later peoples migrating into the Steppes. One of the peoples displaced by the Sakans in Greek historical records was the Cimmerians, who the Greek recorded as originally living north of the Black and Caspian Seas,(2)Herodotus Book VII, 64 in the Pontic Steppes, the western most region of the Eurasian Steppes. The Chinese recorded them under the name of Wu-sun; a people living in the region of modern Kazakhstan and southwestern Siberia.(3)Edwin G. Pulleyblank (1970) “The Wu-sun and Sakas and the Yüeh-chih Migration,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Number 33, Pages 154–160 These people were also known to the Aramaic speaking peoples of Southwest Asian as the Gimirrai,(4)Claus Westermann and John J. Scullion, Translator (1984) A Continental Commentary, Page 506 which was the same name used for the later Sakans.(5)George Rawlinson, noted in his translation of History of Herodotus, Book VII, Page 378 Like the later Sakans the earlier Cimmerians are believed to have been East-Iranian, or Thracian with an East-Iranian ruling class.(6)J. Harmatta (1996) “Scythians” UNESCO Collection of History of Humanity: Volume III: From the Seventh Century BC to the Seventh Century AD, Page 182 The Thracians were an ancient Indo-European people that lived north of the Black Sea, and were driven south into the Balkans by the Sakans when they invaded the Pontic Steppes. While only a few Thracian inscriptions have survived, the language is believed by some linguist to have been an offshoot of the Proto-Balti-Slavic family of languages.(7)J. H. Holst, (2009) Armenische Studien, Page 66

Artists Rendition of Arkaim Circa 4,200 Years Ago.

Artists Rendition of Arkaim Circa 4,000 Years Ago.

The Cimmerians are believed to have lived in the Pontic Steppes since at least 4,300 years ago until they were driven from the region sometime before 2,700 years ago by the Sakans.(8)Bruce Gordon, “Regnal Chronologies” Several significant archaeological ruins have been discovered in the Pontic region from this time period, including Arkaim in the Ural River drainage basin. Arkaim was discovered in 1987, is generally dated to the 4,000 to 3,700 years ago. Although the settlement was burned and abandoned, much detail is preserved. Arkaim is similar in form but much better preserved than neighboring Sintashta, where the oldest known chariot was unearthed. Sintashta is the remains of a fortified settlement dated to 4,800 to 3,600 years ago, and is generally described as a fortified metallurgical industrial center.(9)David W. Anthony (2007) The Horse, the Wheel, and Language The site is generally associated with the early Aryan culture do to the similarity to the funerary rituals described in the Ṛigveda and the remains of the Sintashta cemeteries, which includes the remains of horse sacrifices, as described in the Ṛigveda. Sintashta and Arkaim are associated with several other sites in the Eurasian Steppes that are collectively known as the Sintashta-Arkaim culture.(10)L. Koryakova (1998) Sintashta-Arkaim Culture

Volga River Drainage Basin

Volga River Drainage Basin

Directly to the west of the Ural River drainage basin, is the Volga River drainage basin, which drains most of the Russian heartland, including the areas around the cities of Moscow, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, and Ufa, before flowing south through Volgograd and Astrakhan into the Caspian Sea. The Russian name Volga (Волга) is derived from Proto-Slavic *vòlga meaning “wetness” or “moisture”, which is preserved in many Slavic languages, including the: Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Russian, and Serbian vlaga (влага) meaning “moisture”; and the Slovene vlage meaning “moisture.” The Slavic name is a loan translation of earlier Sakan Rhā (Ῥᾶ),(11)J. P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams (1997) “dew,” Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, 158-9 also meaning “wetness.” The name Rav (Рав) continues to be used in the local Mordvin language, a Finno-Uralic language spoken in the region, indicating that Finno-Uralic peoples were in the region when it was under Sakan rule. It is believed by a growing number of linguists and Zend Scholars that the Volga/Rhā river was the Raŋhā from the Avesta, and Rásā from the Ṛigveda, both of which translate as “moisture”.(12)Iaroslav Lebedynsky (2002) Les Sarmates : Amazones et lanciers cuirassés entre Oural et Danube The Vedic Rásā is also known as the “great mother” of waters,(13)Ṛigveda 5.41.15 which is identical to the common Russian expression Mother Volga [Волга-матушка], which would translate as “mother-of-moistness.”

References   [ + ]

1. Barbara A. West (2009) Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. Pages 713-717
2. Herodotus Book VII, 64
3. Edwin G. Pulleyblank (1970) “The Wu-sun and Sakas and the Yüeh-chih Migration,” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Number 33, Pages 154–160
4. Claus Westermann and John J. Scullion, Translator (1984) A Continental Commentary, Page 506
5. George Rawlinson, noted in his translation of History of Herodotus, Book VII, Page 378
6. J. Harmatta (1996) “Scythians” UNESCO Collection of History of Humanity: Volume III: From the Seventh Century BC to the Seventh Century AD, Page 182
7. J. H. Holst, (2009) Armenische Studien, Page 66
8. Bruce Gordon, “Regnal Chronologies”
9. David W. Anthony (2007) The Horse, the Wheel, and Language
10. L. Koryakova (1998) Sintashta-Arkaim Culture
11. J. P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams (1997) “dew,” Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, 158-9
12. Iaroslav Lebedynsky (2002) Les Sarmates : Amazones et lanciers cuirassés entre Oural et Danube
13. Ṛigveda 5.41.15