The search for the Proto-Indo-European mother tongue
About the year 1188 Gerald of Wales, the Archdeacon of Brecon, Wales, whose heritage was one part Welsh and mostly English, toured through Wales and wrote two books which have relevance to our inquiry: The Journey through Wales and The Description of Wales. Previously he had written The Topography of Ireland and other books. He pointed out in his examination of the problems of Wales essentially what Sir William Jones concluded in 1786. In his address to the Asiatic Society of Calcutta he proposed that Sanskrit, Greek and Latin are related to one another. And this initiated the study of linguistics, focusing on the matter of Indo-European languages. One of the problems of the human condition is the casual belief that there is always opportunity to discover something new under the sun. Solomon, writing the Proverbs of the Bible about 1,000 B.C., concluded the opposite: that there is nothing new under the sun. An earlier version of the story by Nennius, 8th century A.D., is at: http://www.postroman.info/nennius/historia_brittonum4.htm.
In the case at hand Gerald expressed the belief that Greek, Gaelic and Latin are related. His argument is posed to correct the common perception that Wales and Welsh are the names of the land and people who occupy the land (now known as Wales). The argument Gerald posed over 800 years ago leads to the discussion now taking place among anthropologists as to the original homeland of the Indo-European people. In Chapter 7 of The Description of Wales, Gerald notes that the proper name for Wales is Cambria, taking its name for Camber, the son of Brutus. The correct name for the Welsh is Cymry or Cambrenses (another group with apparently the same name, the Cimmri in the Black Sea area, we shall discuss in a moment).
Brutus is the patriarch of the Britains and is the son of Silvius; his grandfather was Ascanius. After the fall of Troy (about 1180 BC), "three peoples managed to escape from Asia Minor to different parts of Europe..the Romans under their leader Aeneas, the Franks under Antenor and the Britons under Brutus. From this line of descent comes the great courage of these three nations, their magnanimity, their ancient blood, their quick-wittedness and their ability to speak up for themselves. Of the three peoples left alive after the fall of Troy, the Britons alone kept the vocabulary of their race and the grammatical properties of their original tongue. This is because they were held captive in Greece for many years after the destruction of their country and because they migrated much later to these western parts of Europe. You will still find the [Trojan]..names common among them...You must know, too, that all the words in Welsh are cognate with either Greek or Latin. The Greeks say udor for water, the Welsh, 'dwfr'; als for salt, the Welsh 'halen'; mis and tis for I and you, the Welsh, 'mi' and 'ti'; onoma for name, the Welsh 'enw'; pente for five, the Welsh 'pump'; and deka for ten, the Welsh 'deg.' The Romans said 'frenum,' 'tripos,' 'gladius' and 'lorica,' and the Welsh say 'ffrwyn,' 'tribedd,' 'cleddyf' and 'llurig.' The Romans said 'unicus,' 'canis' and 'belua,' and the Welsh say 'unig,' 'ci' and 'bela.'"
The Welsh lived in a remote, mountainous part of Britain and, says Gerald, the Welsh in the Northern part of Wales retained the British language more faithfully than the other groups of Britons (Scots, Irish and Picts). The Picts got their name from the Romans, L. Picti, Òpainted." They received this name either from their habit of tattooing or painting their bodies. They may have migrated from Scandinavia, to Scotland. Before that Bede notes that one report of the Picts' origin is that they originally came from Scythia, the Crimea region above the Black Sea. In any event, the "uncivilized British" and other northern Indo-European groups, the Angles and Saxons, Baltic peoples, etc., were no doubt similar to this description of the Welsh from Gerald:
"They plow the soil once in March and April for oats, a second time in summer, and then they turn it a third time while the grain is being threshed. In this way the whole population lives almost entirely on oats and the produce of their herds, milk, cheese and butter. They eat plenty of meat, but little bread. They pay no attention to commerce, shipping or industry, and their only preoccupation is military training. They are passionately devoted to their freedom and to the defence of their country...They esteem it a disgrace to die in bed, but an honour to be killed in battle. They agree with the words of the poet:
Turn peace away,
For honour perishes with peace
(Lucan, Pharsalia II.101)
"No wonder they cherish their freedom, for these are the descendants of :
The sons of Aeneas who fought for liberty
(Virgil, Aeneid, VIII.648)
"It is a remarkable fact that on many occasions they have not hesitated to fight without any protection at all against men clad in iron...They use light weapons which do not impede their quick movements, small leather corselets, handfuls of arrows, long spears and round shields. They wear helmets and sometimes iron greaves...The horsemen will often dismount, as circumstance and occasion demand, ready to flee or to attack. They go barefoot or else wear boots made from untanned leather roughly sewn together...[quoting a letter from Henry II , King of the English] 'They are so ready to shed their blood for their country that:
For fame they sacrifice their lives
(Virgil, Aeneid, V.230)
"The Welsh are given neither to gluttony nor to drunkenness. They spend little on food or clothes. Their sole interest in life consists of caring for their horses and keeping their weapons in good order, their soul preoccupation the defense of their fatherland and the seizing of booty. From morning to evening they eat nothing, devoting their whole energy to what business they have in hand and their whole day to their affairs, leaving everything else to chance. In the evening they eat a modest meal. If food is short or if they have none at all, they wait patiently for the next evening. Neither hunger nor cold can deter them. They spend the dark and stormy nights in observing the movements of their enemies.
"In Wales no one begs. Everyone's home is open to all, for the Welsh generosity and hospitality are the greatest of all virtues. They very much enjoy welcoming others to their homes. When you travel there is no question of your asking for accommodation or of their offering it: you must march into a house and hand over your weapons to the person in charge. They give you water so that you may wash your feet and that means that you are a guest.
"In Wales young people go about in groups and families, under their chosen leader. They spend their time in exercise and in practising with their weapons, with the result that they are ready at a moments notice to protect their homeland. They enter anyone's house without asking permission, as if it were their own...in every Welsh court or family the menfolk consider playing on the harp to be the greatest of all accomplishments...In a Welsh house there are no tables, no tablecloths and no napkins. Everyone behaves quite naturally, with no attempt whatsoever at etiquette. You sit down in threes, not in pairs as elsewhere, and they put the food in front of you, all together, on a single large trencher containing enough for three, resting on rushes and green grass. Sometimes they serve the main dish on bread, rolled out large and thin, and baked fresh each day. In ancient books you will find these thin breads called 'lagana.' That noble youth from whom the Welsh claim their descent [Ascanius] and whose mode of living they still in part maintain ate his food off thin bread in the same way...The whole family waits upon the guests, and the host and hostess stand there making sure that everything is being attended to. They themselves do not eat until everyone else has finished. If there is a shortage of anything, it will be they who go without. Finally the time comes to retire to rest. Alongside one of the walls is placed a communal bed, stuffed with rushes, and not all that many of them. For sole covering there is a stiff harsh sheet, made locally and called in Welsh a 'brychan.' They all go to bed together. They keep on the same clothes which they have worn all day, a thin cloak and a tunic, which is all they have to keep the cold out. A fire is kept burning all night at their feet, just as it has done all day, and they get some warmth from the people sleeping next to them. When their underneath side begins to ache through the hardness of the bed and their uppermost side is frozen stiff with cold, they get up and sit by the fire, which soon warms them up and soothes away their aches and pains. Then they go back to bed again, turning over on their other side if they feel like it, so that a different part is frozen and another side is bruised by the hard bed.
"...In their narrative poems and their declamations they are so inventive and ingenious that, when using their native tongue, they produce works of art which are at once attractive and highly original, both in the choice of words and the sentiments expressed. You will find many poets in Wales, bards, as they call them, who devote their energies to this kind of composition:
Stern bards who many an austere epic song have sung
(Lucan, Pharsalia, I.499)
"Among the Welsh there are certain individuals called 'awenyddion' [meaning poets, from 'awen,' oracular frenzy'] who behave as if they are possessed by devils. You will not find them anywhere else. When you consult them about some problem, they immediately go into a trance and lose control of their senses, as if they are possessed. They do not answer the question put to them in any logical way...When it is all over, they will recover from their trance, as if they were ordinary people waking from a heavy sleep, but you have to give them a good shake before they regain control of themselves.
"You will only rarely find soothsayers of this sort among peoples other than the Britons, and, of course, the Trojans, from whom they descend. In Troy, at the time of the siege of that noble city, there were two soothsayers endowed with the spirit of prophecy, Calchas and Cassandra, who openly fortold the destruction to come...Cassandra, King Priam's daughter, foretold the fall of the city every day, but the Trojans were far too stubborn and proud to believe what she said. On the very night when Troy was destroyed she described in full detail the act of treachery and how it was to be effected.
"The Welsh value distinguished birth and noble descent more than anything else in the world...They do not live in towns, villages or castles, but lead a solitary existence, deep in the woods. It is not their habit to build great palaces, or vast and towering structures of stone and cement. Instead they content themselves with wattled huts on the edges of the forest, put up with little labour or expense, but strong enough to last a year or so.
"They do not have orchards or gardens, but if you give them fruit or garden produce they are only too pleased to eat it. Most of their land is used for pasture. They cultivate very little of it, growing a few flowers and sowing a plot here and there. They use oxen to pull their ploughs and carts, sometimes in pairs but more often four at a time. The ploughman walks in front, but backwards. When the bulls pull out of the yoke, as often happens, he falls on his back and is in grave danger. They do not usually use sickles when they reap, for they prefer a short piece of iron in the shape of a knife, which is loosely joined to a stick at either end.
"For fishing and crossing rivers they make coracles out of withies. These are not oblong but rounded, and they are pointed in front, rather in the shape of a triangle. They are left bare inside, but are covered outside with untanned animal-skins. When a Salmon is landed inside one of these coracles, the fish sometimes strikes the boat so hard with its tail that it is turned over, to the great danger of the man who is fishing. When fishermen are on their way to the river, or going home, they have the primitive habit of carrying their coracles on their backs. Bledri, the well-known story-teller, who lived a little before our time, used to describe this in the most amusing way: 'There are among us men who, when they go a-hunting, carry their horse on their shoulders until they come near to their quarry. Then, to catch their prey, they mount their steeds. When they have finished, they lift their horses back onto their shoulders and carry them home again."
The Gaelic people broke into four main language groups: Irish & Welsh, Scots-Gaelic, Manx, from the island of Man (The language is extinct, as is Cornish) and Breton. "In both Cornwall and Brittany they speak almost the same language as in Wales. It comes from the same root and is intelligible to the Welsh in many instances, and almost in all. It is rougher and less clearly pronounced, but probably closer to the original British speech, or so I think myself." (Penguin Classics, Gerald of Wales, translated by Lewis Thorpe, Chapters 7-17). We have seen television documentaries on the Tocharian practices (tattoos, tartan kilts, and also the fact that they were not only Caucasians in China, along the Silk Road, but also red-headed. And it is true that kindred of the Scots and the Irish did end up along the Silk Road, and their language is close to Gaelic and English-Indo-European.
Following the comparative technique, Andis Kaulins, Lexline.com (now a dead link), advances an argument that Latvian and Lithuanian, the older Baltic languages, are close to Proto-Indo-European and Latvian is "older." If you want to get an idea what the original Indo-Europeans spoke, look at Latvian, he argues. The argument follows a thesis that though the early Indo-Europeans may have moved into Europe from the Russian steppes, their center took root in the Baltic and spread from there. Kaulins also shows how Latvian tartans are similar to the Tocharian tartars. He also explores the relationship between Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic languages (Hametic and Semitic, covering the Sahara languages, Berber, Cushitic, Ancient Egyptian, Omotic, and Chadic, plus we have Arabic, Hebrew, Akkadian / Babylonian in this group; and there are hints that Indo-European and the Afro-Asiatic group may be close relatives. Those exploring these connections are looking for the "mother tongue" from which the Indo-European group broke away. When the break took place, in any event, appears to be between 3,500 and 10,000 - 13,000 years ago. The end of the last Ice-Age, allowed people to move out of the lush Sahara and Middle East northward centering in the steppes of the Ukraine, north of the Black Sea. From there the groups appear to have launched into Europe (the oldest Indo-European megaliths date circa. 3,500 B.C. in Britain; Anatolia (the first Indo-European civilization being the Hittites, about 1,700 B.C.) and the concurrent appearance of the Aryans in India about 1,800 B.C., later the Medes (700 B.C.) Persians (500 B.C.) in now what is known as Iran (Persia).
Reconstruction of the protolanguage revolves around the thesis that sound change is mechanical and exceptionless. Kathleen Hubbard (Her web site, "Everything you ever wanted to know about Proto-Indo-European [and the comparative method], but were afraid to ask!"), refers to this in her criteria.
"If a proto-/p/ becomes /f/ in a daughter language, it does so in regular fashion (that's the heuristic you have to use). If there are exceptions, there must be some conditioning factor. Using this assumption, we can conclude that some common ancestory produced Sanskrit /bh/, Avestan /b/, Greek /ph/ (which is not /f/, it's aspirated /p/ at the stage we're talking about), Latin /f/, and Germanic /b/. Now the question is, what was that common ancestor?
"The way we decide what segment must have been there in the protolanguage involves things we know independently about how sounds behave, based partly on how sounds alternate synchronically in languages (i.e. rules that operate to change one sound to another in different contexts during a single stage of a language), partly on experience. Pure gold for the historical linguist is ATTESTED (written) ancient forms. For instance, we know that the modern Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romansch, Rumanian, etc.) are descended from Latin. And we have lots of attested Latin to work with — so we have clear, unambiguous examples of how some sound changes have worked; likewise in other language families where ancient texts are preserved (i.e. ancient religious texts in Semitic, etc.). So we have some real-life models on which to build our guesses.
"So anyway, you reconstruct Proto-Indo-Iranian, and Proto-Germanic, and Proto-Balto-Slavic, and Proto-Celtic, and ultimately you have a pretty good idea of what — on the basis of very rigorous analysis — must have been the forms of certain words / roots in Proto-Indo-European, before it split up. Now this method does not yield reliable results further back than about 10,000 years, because beyond that too much change occurred for there to be any recognizable remnants (that we can be sure about anyway) in attested languages."
A glossary on the Hittite language is on a page by Jonathan Slocum and Sara E. Kimball: "Hittite Online."
The first split in the IndoEuropean family may have been between Anatolian and the rest of the Indo-European groups, "making an Indo-Hittite family" says Marisa Lohr (http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~marisal/). "This claim is largely based on the simplicity of the Hittite grammatical system compared with that of Sanskrit and Greek, which may represent an earlier system elaborated on in the ancestor of the Indo-European branch. However, Hittite may rather have undergone substantial grammatical reduction under the influence of neighbouring non-Indo-European languages in Anatolia.
"Some theories have also linked Italic and Celtic closely as Italo-Celtic, or Germanic and Balto-Slavic together, or Greek and Armenian; however, the similarities between these groups may well be due to contact rather than common ancestry after the break-up of PIE, or to dialect variations within PIE before its break-up. The linking of Indic and Iranian, and of Baltic and Slavic as Balto-Slavic, seems much more generally accepted, however."
Theories on the diffusion of culture
When analyzing the origin of languages one must examine all the resources available which could explain the movement of a particular group or groups, the impact on other groups, and the eventual form of the language and culture hosted by a particular piece of land. Besides history and mythology (mythological sources, as Joseph Campbell so aptly pointed out, can lead directly to the truth; not all myth is fiction), we can examine cultural artifacts, genetic diffusion, and linguistic diffusion. Like genes, languages leave their marks. While it may be that the modern English vocabulary hosts about 100 original words — The Little Red Hen story, for example, is 100 percent Old English words — the fact remains that the root of our speech still is retained despite infusion from foreign invaders, beginning with the Romans to the Normans (Franks), and of late, Spanish. Margaret Mead impressed me the most, perhaps, with regard to the precept that the original form of a culture tends to be most faithfully represented in the areas furthermost from the center. We can look at the Irish, with regard to the diffusion of Catholicism to one far corner of the world from Constantinople (Istanbul), and the Phillipines, the Filipinos, on the other side of the world — both faithful to the central doctrine of the Catholic faith. Central to that faith is the belief in the Pope, sheparding the church from Rome. This, among other points of doctrine, distinguishes the Catholic Croat from the Orthodox Serb, Catholics from Protestants, etc. It can illustrate how particular aspects of a culture can be disseminated and retained in some areas and disappear in other places. No matter who invaded Ireland, once the Irish took hold of their Catholic faith, they retained the core of their beliefs. Even with the invasion of Protestant Scots into Northern Ireland, the Irish have held their ground, holding onto that which — in their eyes — is central to that thing which makes them "Irish." We have witnessed this conflict between the two cultures. It's a four hundred year old conflict, having begun by Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I (died 1603). There are many issues involved in this struggle between the two cultures — though we must admit they are distant kin, both Gaelic.
It may be that Bede's report of the traditional / mythological source of the Scots is correct, that they entered Britain via Europe, across the Baltic Sea, from the Crimea. And it may be that a southern wave of the Gaelic migration came by sea, up the Atlantic coast of Europe, to Britain, from Anatolia. The oldest cultural evidence of Gaelic infusion in Britain is in Scotland.
Comparative Linguistics and the movement of the Indo-Europeans
This site employs comparative techniques to examine the Etruscan language. But the research did not begin on a comparative linguistics foundation. It began with a knowledge and research into the diffusion of cultural characteristics found among the Etruscans. This includes the practice of "mound" burial, cremation and urnfields, archeological evidence on the spread of urnfields from the Crimea and Lydia / Troy, beliefs and practices, mythological considerations and historical accounts. The first increment of the linguistic study was to identify grammatical patterns without an eye towards comparative definitions of words. Once the grammar became visible, then a comparative analysis of the words and grammatical patterns in Etruscan to other similar structures could be done. The result of this first part of the comparative study is in the Vocabulary below. There we compare Etruscan words to Latin, Italian, French and, of course, English. Having discerned patterns through the Vocabulary I then entered the next step in the comparative analysis: comparing the Etruscan words and grammar to the rest of the Indo-European family. This, as noted earlier, provides a further benefit in the study of Indo-European roots, since Etruscan is a language frozen in time, taking us to a date of ~1,000 B.C. (2,500 years ago). Etruscan is a key, adding more light to what happened in the break-up of the Indo-European languages. It may be supposed that when the Etruscans broke away from their "mother land," which probably is Anatolia, Lydia most likely, they represent also a technological break, and no doubt we should be able to find "sister" tongues linked to the period of time the Etruscan culture broke away from Anatolia, which, again would be about 1200 B.C.
We can recall Gerald's note that Welsh, Cornish and Breton were languages close enough in his time 800 years ago for the speakers of one group to understand the other. We can anticipate that a sister tongue to Etruscan about 800 B.C. would follow the same example, that after the scattering (diaspora) of the Bretons and Cornish the language separation began; that after the scattering of Etruscan and its sister-tongue in 1,200 B.C. the separation began. The search for a sister tongue (or tongues) to Etruscan would thus be part of our inquiry.
It is important to note that the Etruscans became a central part of the Iron-Age in Western Europe, being one of the principal ushers of that world from the Copper / Bronze Age to the Iron Age.
The use of Copper was known in eastern Anatolia by 6,500 B.C. and, of course, Cyprus was a principal source of copper in the eastern Mediterranean. By the middle of the 4th millennium it became a factor in the urbanization of the Middle East (Mesopotamia), and by 3,000 B.C. it was well in use there and beginning to spread into the Neolithic cultures of Europe. By 2,000 B.C. the great tin deposits in Corwall were in demand, being traded by the Mycennean Greeks among others, for the manufacture of bronze. Artifacts made of bronze reflect a mixture of tin to copper from 65% to 95%.
By 1,000 B.C. the ability to heat and forge Iron brought the Bronze Age to an end. First among those cultures to exploit iron in weapons was the Hittite civilization. Hittite society was essentially feudal and agrarian and the common people were either freemen, artisans, or slaves. Anatolia was rich in metals, especially silver and iron, and in the empire period (1,400-1,200 B.C.) the Hittites developed iron-working technology, helping to initiate the Iron Age.
Common to the Indo-Europeans are words which include agricultural practices, the terrain, flora and fauna of an Anatolian-like area, mountains and steppes, shepherding and employment of the wagon and chariot. Indo-European words for barley, wheat, flax, apples, cherries, mulberries, grapes and agricultural implements describe a way of life unknown in northern Europe until the third or second millennium B.C., when the first archaelogical evidence appears, Thomas V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov point out; that the language includes "..words for mountain oak, birch, beech, hornbeam, ash, willow or white willow, yew, pine or fir, heather and moss. Moreover, the language has words for animals that are alien to northern Europe: leopard, snow leopard, lion, monkey and elephant."
These things considered, it is probable that the break-up of the Indo-European language began in the period 3,200-2,000 B.C. The earlier PIE group from which Indo-European evolved is called Nostratic, meaning, "our language," which would have existed about 10,000-14,000 B.C. Nostratic is also believed to be the offspring of the Proto-World language. Human speech is believed to harken back to 30-50,000 years ago. This link, of course, dates the time of the appearance of Cro-Magnon man and the disappearance of Neanderthal man. We do know that some of the oldest settlements date to about 8,000-10,000 B.C., with Jericho being one of the longest continually occupied settlements. The recession of the Ice-Age circa. 13,000 B.C. encouraged the growth of early settlements from North Africa to the Middle East and Anatolia.
A lot was happening about 1,200 B.C. in the Fertile Crescent and Anatolia. The Indo-Europeans, perhaps led by the Scythians, moved down from the Russian steppes into Iran: Says the Encylopedia Britannica, "Beginning as early as the 9th century, and. with increasing impact in the late 8th and early 7th centuries, groups of nomadic warriors entered western Iran, probably from across the Caucasus. Dominant among these groups were the Scythians, and their entrance into the affairs of the western plateau during the 7th century may perhaps mark one of the important turning points in Iron Age history. Herodotus speaks in some detail of a period of Scythian domination, the so-called Scythian interregnum in Median dynasty history. His dating of this event remains uncertain, but traditionally it is seen as falling between the reigns of Phraortes and Cyaxares and as covering the years 653 to 625 BC. Whether such an interregnum ever actually occurred and, if it did, whether it should not be dated later than this are open questions. What is clear is that, by the mid-7th century BC, there were a great many Scythians in western Iran, that they, along with the Medes and other groups, posed a serious threat to Assyria, and that their appearance threw previous power alignments quite out of balance."
The Trojan War dates from about 1180 B.C., about the time of the end of the Hittite Empire. For a period of about 300-400 years the region from the steppes south to Assyria was up for grabs. Egypt was also being invaded by "Sea Peoples." And about this time a wave of Jewish refugees out of Egypt crossed the Jordan river at Jericho. They came into conflict with another group — one of the "Sea Peoples" — the Philistines (now called Palestinians). The dispute between the Jews and the Palestinians since those days still, as we have witnessed in our own day, remains to be resolved. This lesson on the conflict between the Hebrews and the Palestinians, the Irish and the Scotch-Irish, tell us that though conflicts between cultures may continue for hundreds, even thousands of years, the impact on culture and language may not follow established guesses: in the rule of glottochronology the speed of the development of a language corresponds to the loss of 20 percent of the main stock of words every thousand years. Following this rule Hans Joachim Alscher in "Relations between Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic Languages," suggests that after 12,000 years less than five percent of the word stock of a language may be present, at which time the limit of possible coincidence between two parent languages is reached. Following this thesis, using depleted word stocks of two like languages, for comparison in their linguistic affinity, would prove difficult in expressing a scientific relationship. Recognizing this Alscher proposes, " Common features need not prove a 'genetic' relationship of the compared languages but common origin of the features themselves." Words get mixed between languages when cultures mix.
With regard to the common features between Indo-European and Afro-Asiatic languages, Alscher concludes that the common origin between the two groups may be in the assignment of gender. "Proto-Indo-European shows a gender system animate -m, versus inanimate -d. Afro-Asiatic shows a gender system male versus female (including things) with the female marker -t (for example Akkadian 'sarr-um,' 'king,' versus 'sarrat-um,' queen.' Nama (central Khoisan) shows a gender system male versus female versus common (= male or female); for example, goma-p, 'bull,' versus goma-s (dual -ra, plural -ti) 'cow,' versus goma-i, 'cattle.' If the Proto-Indo-European gender system animate versus inanimate goes back to a former gender system, male versus female, the markers seem to be identical in all three language families — which would mean the common origin not only of the gender system as such but also of the elements used as markers for gender.."
Dr. Ghil'ad Zuckermann explores the impact of diffusion on the Jewish language. The Jews were in diaspora for the last two-thousand years. When the Emperor Vespasian laid siege to Jerusalem, followed by his son Titus, who finished the siege in August 70 A.D., the Jews began their diaspora. By about 135 A.D., with the finish of the Bar Kochba revolt, a Roman edict existed which stated that no Jew would be allowed to lay his eyes on Jerusalem again. They would be rounded up and scattered midst the empire. Having been re-established again in this day, the Jews now face a come-to-God sort of decision with regard to their future and responsibility in the Holy Land. Dr. Zuckermann looks at the impact on the language which is "Israeli." It's not Hebrew, since it has high German elements (Yiddish) in it. It is still Hebrew, but it has changed. He says, " My own hypothesis is that Israeli is both Semitic and Indo-European..." His inquiry, "Mosaic or Mosaic? The Genetics of the Israeli Language," explores this. His web site is at: http://www.zucikermann.org/mosaic.html.
Valentyn Stetsyuk provides a wonderful study on his web site, http://www.geocities.com/valentyn_ua/Topo.html, which examines the diffusion of the Indo-Europeans through a comparison of toponyms in the area of the Russian steppes, from Belorussia through the Ukraine to Kazakhstan and south through Armenia and the Caucus Mountain land-bridge between the Caspian and Black Seas. By examining the names of villages and towns in this Indo-European Homeland, he shows maps of where he believes the original groups were centered. It is a site worth looking at, and his comparative tables on Germanic and Persian / Kurdish movements are worth down-loading. The tables compare words which would be "indigenous" to the steppes for that period of time when the Kurgan culture was giving way to other cultures. The period when the Ice-Age began to recede, about 10,000 - 13,000 years ago, seems to have turned the steppes into an inviting pasture-land where the Indo-Europeans congregated in one form or another. Some say that the climate today is about how it was back then, but the petroglyphs of the arid Caspian shore may controvert this. Salmon most certainly was enjoying a good run through the steppe river systems, establishing itself as a preferred fish, called Lox, in the Indo-European diet, and it would appear that the southern limit for Salmon would be the same today as it was when the word "lox" came into the Indo-European languages. This word, along with the names of oak, beech, cherries, etc. would indicate a temperate climate zone.
Stetsyuk's study on the Indo-EuropeanToponyms of the steppes points out that the Kurds entered the Dnieper region of the Ukraine on at least two separate occassions. The movements of pastoral people, following green pastures as it were, reflect not only the effects of climate but also the effects of other peoples upon them as they enter other lands. That the Kurds have not had their own country over the millenia shows to this day how a people can affect an area, leaving behind them the names of the places they occupied. Today the Kurds are nestled in a land which straddles the eastern border of Turkey and the northern lands of Iraq and Iran.
When a people conquer foreign lands they tend to rename the cities and towns in their language. A good example of this is Israel, where under the Arabs and later the Ottomans places were given Arabic names. Israel is a land bridge across which peoples have flowed over the eons, where people have settled and left their now ruined cities and towns. Israel is symptomatic of the cross-roads and places in history where people have lived and left memories of themselves. How they are remembered is not only through their own histories, myths, cultural artifacts and toponyms, but also through other histories about them.
Gerald of Wales' account of the ancient Celts illustrates how historians view the world from their point of view, being limited in hindsight, as it were, but a witness of their own times. He relied on earlier accounts, such as Bede's and Gregory of Tours' histories, and appended to them his own personal report. Another of importance is Roger Bacon's "Opus Maius," ca 1268, which describes the world from his research of histories before him as well as his own personal experience. A map of the world of 1571 A.D. shows the limitations then we had of the view of (one of the) the birthplaces of the Indo-European peoples. The map, from the Yaakov Aviel collection, — click here — reflects Biblical traditions on the locations of the various peoples mentioned in the Jewish Scriptures. This is Bacon's view of that world — he quotes from Pliny the Elder, A.D. 23-79, "Natural History," (Translation by Herbert M. Howe, Emeritus Professor of Classics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996):
"Now let us return to the east beyond Mesopotamia, Assyria and Babylon, and follow the opinion of Pliny [6.114] and all the others that in that region are the kingdoms of the Medes, Persians and Parthians. These kingdoms have the river Tigris to the west, the Indus to the east, the Persian Gulf (or rather the Persian arm of the Red Sea) to the south, and to the north they have Armenia, the Taurus and Caucasus mountains, the Caspian or Hyrcanian Gates, the land of the Hyrcanians and the Hyrcanian Sea, which is the same as the Caspian, as Pliny [6.36] tells us. The [former] Persian kingdoms, as he says, are those we now know as those of the Parthians. Actually the part of the Persian Gulf is properly [proprie] called Persia, and gets its name from the gulf. There are eighteen Parthian kingdoms, as he says, of which eleven, the Upper or Northern kingdoms, starting at the boundary of Armenia and the shores of the Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, are properly called Parthian; their people are related to the Scythians and live in the same way [ex aequo vivunt] as the poeple who cling to the Caspian (Hyrcanian) mountains or sea."
One theory on the origin of the Etruscans is that they came from the Near East (Parthia). The Parthians occupied the land corresponding roughly to the modern region of Khorasan in eastern Iran. The term is also used in reference to the Parthian empire (247 BC–AD 224). Their empire extended from the Euphrates in the west to the Oxus river (which feeds into the Aral Sea) in the east and from the Caspian Sea south to the Indian Ocean. They controlled Media, Iran, Mesopotamia, Hyrcania, Ariana, Margiana, Armenia and the area south of Lake Van, called Kardukh (Xenophon1V.4). The Parthians spoke a language related to Persian. Bacon tells us that the Parthians are related to the Scythians and we recall the theory that the Scythians also made their way into northern Europe, becoming known to us there as the Celts. And one branch of the Celts, we are reminded, spoke a language related to the Italic language. The Etruscans spoke a language related to Latin. Let's continue with Bacon:
"The seven other Parthian kingdoms are in the south, along the Persian Gulf. These are properly called the Persian kingdoms: They are the Elamites, the chiefs [principes] of Persia, as Jerome says in the Commentary on Geneis and the Book of Places. Elam is the capital  of the Persians, and in it was Susis or Susa, its citadel, mentioned in Daniel 8.2, when it was the capital of the Persian kingdom. Susa, which lies on the northern branch of the Tigris, about 250 miles from the Persian Gulf, was founded by Darius the son of Hydaspes. Nearby is a town whose inhabitants, alone of mortals, have such a loathing of gold that they collect it only to bury it again, so that nobody may be able to make any use of it."
"The Medes border on the Parthians as well as on the Persians. For one part of the Medes, the northern part, is next to the Parthians and Caspians, and properly begins by the Caspian Gates in the territory of Armenia. These people therefore have the Parthians to the east, Armenia and the Caspian Gates to the north, and the Tigris to the west, while the Parthians to the east extend to the Indus. Another part of [the land] of the Medes, the southern, curves around between the Upper and Lower Parthian kingdoms in such a way that Lower Parthia is not directly east of Persia, but rather faces it from the southwest, according to Pliny's [6.114-116] account, for he makes Media surround both Persian kingdoms.
"To the east, beyond the River Indus, lies the whole extent of India, all the way to the Scythian [or Chinese] Ocean, which lies to its north, and Mts. Himanus, Hemodus and many other parts of the [long range of ] Caucasus, which continues all the way to the Eoan [Eastern] Ocean and, to the south, to the Indian Ocean. The Indus flows into this, as Pliny [6.72] tells us, since [this far to the east] the name "Red Sea" has become meaningless. India, therefore, has the Indus River to the west, and also the kingdoms of the Medes and the Persians. To the north it has the Scythian Ocean, the Caucasus and Taurus mountains and the kingdoms of the Scythians; the Indian Ocean lies to the south, and the Eastern Ocean to the east. This layout I have discussed in many places above, for India is the [eastern] beginning of the inhabitable world...On the border of Media and Parthia is the Iron Gate of Alexander, a city named for its [nearby] mountain passes. These 'gates' are called 'Caspian,' not 'Caucasian,' as Pliny [6.30-31] reports. The Caucasian Gates are entirely different, as I shall presently show; these are right along the shore of the Caspian Sea. This is a sea fed [quod fix ex concursu] by the joining of enormous rivers that flow from the north; it is called the Caspian or Hyrcanian Sea, for the Caspian and Hyrcanian tribes live along the coast. This sea, however, is not an arm of the Ocean, as Isidore [9.17.1] and Pliny [6.36] and all other western writers claim. In this matter they had no reliable witness, their own or that of others, but were transcribing [unchecked] rumor. But in the books 'On the Customs of the Tartars' (clearly deserving our trust, since its authors have actually travelled in those regions), we find that this sea —  one of considerable size — is fed by the confluence of rivers. Its circumnavigation requires four months. Hyrcania runs along the southern shore of this sea, on the Parthian border; where Parthia meets Media at the [Caspian] Gates, it [the sea] goes on past these gates to the east, just as Pliny tells us. It then runs north past the rest of Media. To the west of Hyrcania is Armenia Major; the Euphrates divides this from Cappadocia, as Pliny tells us. Cappadocia, in consequence, lies to the west of Armenia Major...Next, in the direction of Syria and the Mediterranean [south], lies Cilicia, also called Armenia Minor. Part of Armenia Minor is south and part is west of Cappadocia, which begins more than two days journey from Antioch....From Tarsus, Cilicia extends about four days journey north in the direction of Turkey, but directly north of Cilicia is Lycaonia, with the famous city of Iconium, from which the province gets its name — pronounced Lycaonia, as if derived from Icaonia. Thus the ruler of the region is called the Sultan of Iconium and Turkey, for Lycaonia is now known as Turkey.
"The names of the provinces in this region have been much changed because of the [many] wars. Turkey now includes many lands, which in the pages of [ancient] authors show their old names: so part of Asia Minor, for example, and Phrygia and Lydia. Asia Minor [properly] includes more than half the whole world — everything, indeed, except for Europe and Africa; hence it includes this part we call Asia Minor, but which, among the Greeks, is called Anatolia ("Greece toward the sunrise"). In the region is [the district of] Galatia, from which comes the name of the Galatians, to whom the Apostle [Paul] wrote. There too are Illium, also called Troy, a most famous city...To the east of the arm [called St. George's Arm; the Hellespont; my note] lies Phrygia, which, Pliny tells us [5.145] [curialiter? 'as if from a list of political boundaries'], lies just inland from the Troad, joining Galatia to the north, Lycaonia on the south, and Cappadocia on the east. Lydia, he adds, is also an eastern neighbor of Phrygia, which made Croesus the richest of Lydian kings. The Arm of St. George is a very narrow strait, with Constantinople at its eastern end on the European side; it runs from the Great Sea between Asia and Egypt, Syria, and Italy, for about a hundred leagues north, all the way to another very large sea called the Pontic [Black Sea]. This sea, which is a boundary of so many regions, is shaped like a Scythian bow...
"The larger [the Black] sea extends east — i.e. from (357) Constantinople — for 1400 miles, and in its middle is narrowed by two projections of the coasts. On the southern headland is a castle and seaport of the Sultan of Turkey, called Sinopolis. On the northern headland he has another castle, named Soldea [Sudak], in a province now called Cassaria or Cessaria [Crimea?]. The breadth of the sea between the two headlands is 300 miles from Sinopolis to Soldea. The castles guard ['are,' sunt] two famous seaports, from which men from the regions to the south cross to the north and visa versa. From these castles the sea stretches about 700 miles west to Constantinople in length [and width] and likewise for 700 to the east. [I suppose he means a voyage from Sinope to the Crimea and then Constantinople (540 miles), or Sinope to the Crimea and then to Trebizond (?) (also 540 miles). Otherwise, the distances don't fit.]. This province of Cassaria is surrounded on three sides by the sea. Part of the Black Sea lies to the west, by the town of Cherson, where St. Clement suffered martyrdom. Nearby is an island with a church said to have been built by the hands of angels, in which the body of the saint is buried. Between Cherson to Sudah there are [lacuna]...forty fortified towns, almost every one of which has its own local dialect; there are many Goths in the neighborhood, all of whom speak German [Teutonicum].
"To the south of Cassaria stretches, the Black Sea, and to its east the River Don, twelve miles wide at its mouth, flows into the sea, by the city of Matrica [Azov? Kertch?]. The river produces a sort of [quoddam] 'sea' to the northeast seven hundred miles long and wide, whose depth nowhere exceeds six feet. This 'sea' [of Azov] is the celebrated Maeotic swamp of which the philosophers, historians and poets speak. Beyond the swamp the Don stretches north all the way to the Riphean [see Pliny 5.98] Mountains in the extreme north. The river Don rises in these mountains and flows through a long tract of land to the swamp I have mentioned above, which, indeed, it generates. In this region this celebrated river divides Europe from Asia, and the swamp and many other marshy areas connected with it are reckoned as one; one speaks of the swamps of Maeotis or, in adjectival form, the Maeotic swamps; they are called a sea — of a shallow sort — and are on the east side of Cassaria, and are part of the system of the Don, which runs among them and into the Pontic Sea.
"(358) To the north this province of Cassaria faces a vast wilderness, stretching from the Don in the east to the Danube in the west, a two-month's journey of a galloping horseman, one riding as the Tartars ride — a distance equal to that from Orleans to Paris — in a single day. But this land takes four months to traverse at the rate other folk generally ride. The whole land used to belong to the Cumani, who were called the Captae [Slavs?]. But the Tartars wiped them out and slew all the Cumani except for a remnant which fled to the Kingdom of Hungary, to which they are subjects. By the Germans they are called Valana [Volhynia?], by Pliny [6.12 mentions the Castellum Cumania?], Isidore [9.2.94] and others the eastern Alans; their territory includes the Danube, Poland and eastern Hungary.
"To the northeast of this province is Great Russia, which also extends on one side [the west] from Poland to the Don, but a great part of its western boundary is Leucovia [Lithuania?], a land as big as Germany [Alemania]. To the west of Great Russia there are many lands making a semicircle around a sort of sea formed by many arms of the Ocean, which reach past the middle of Denmark [reading Dania, not Dacia]. Beyond Denmark to the east it broadens out into a great sea [the Baltic] with Denmark and Sweden on the west...If we start from the northern end of the western edge and move [ascendamus] eastward, Ireland comes first, then Great Britain (which includes England and Scotland), then Norway, Sweden and Denmark. After them to the east is the great sea [the Baltic] I have mentioned, called the Eastern Sea because (359) the Ocean does not reach beyond it. Beyond the eastern coast of the Baltic, just past the [southeast] corner of Sweden comes Estonia; then Livonia to the east of the sea, then Curonia or Courland, as we move further south, then Prussia (a large region on the southern coast). Then comes Pomerania, then Lübeck, a great and famous seaport at the boundary of Denmark and Saxony. In the middle of the Baltic is an island called Götland. Beyond Livonia to the east is Semi-Gallia. All these lands — Estonia, Livonia, Semi-Gallia and Curonia — are surrounded by Leucovia, as I mentioned, and Great Russia surrounds Leucovia on both sides [ex utraque parte — east and south?] of the above mentioned sea; on the southern coast it ends at Prussia and Poland. Poland lies to the south of Prussia; to its south is Bohemia, and then Austria. To the west of these lands is Germany, and further still [to the west] France and Spain. Everybody knows about them; I mention them only [to show their relation to] the others. East of Austria and Bohemia is Hungary, next to which is [descendit] the western part of Albania. For Hungary straddles [cadit super] the Danube, which flows through its middle; later on it empties into the Black Sea through twelve great mouths. At the end of eastern Hungary, on the north side is this province of Albania, opposite which, to the south of the Danube, are the Balchi [Vlachs?], Bulgars and Constantinople; in antiquity the whole region was called Thrace. Eastern Albania, then, stretches from the Danube, then eastward beyond Hungary all the way to the Don, with Cassaria, Balchia, Bulgaria, and Constantinople to the south. On the west it borders Hungary, Poland and the borders of Russia. To the north lies the whole length of Russia.
"Beyond Russia to the north are the Hyperborean people, so named for the vast mountains called Hyperborean ['beyond the north wind']. Because of the health-giving quality of the air, this people lives its life in the forest, so long lived that they have no concern about death. They are a people of laudable habit, quiet and peaceful, who injure nobody else, and are troubled by no others; rather, other peoples flee to them as their refuge...(360) The religious practices of these peoples are quite varied. The Prussians, Courlanders, Livonians, Estonians, Semi-Galli, and Leucovians are pagan. Not so the Alans, for the Tartars invaded their land and drove the Cumanians before them all the way to Hungary; the Cumani are pagan and the Alans were, but they have [now] been wiped out. The Russians are Christians, but of a schismatic sort who cling to the Greek rite, but use, not the Greek language, but rather Slavonic, one of the languages spoken over many lands and still the commonest in Russia, Poland and Bohemia, and many other regions as well. The Tartars from the Danube now inhabit the land once held by the Alans or Cumani, and almost everywhere to the furthest bounds on the east, having destroyed most other neighboring nations to the north and south — though there are a few mountain tribes in such secure fastnesses that they cannot be crushed, however close their attackers may get.
"The river Don flows south from the towering Riphaean [Ural] mountains, which are so far north that there is no habitable land beyond them. There the merchants and others who have come from Hungary, Cassaria, Poland and Russia have established a sort of trading post, at a point where the River Don can be crossed in a barge, being, at this point, where the River Don can be crossed in a barge, being at this point, about the breadth of the Seine at Paris. Beyond the river is Upper Albania, which reaches all the way to another great river called the Ehilia [Volga], more than four times as big as the Seine. [Indeed], along with many other rivers which rise in Persia and elsewhere, it feeds the sea. For, according to Pliny [6.31 gives several figures; his own estimate is 200 miles], it is 380 miles from the Black Sea to the Caspian.
"The Cumani used to live in this region, but the Tartars wiped them out completely, as they did on the other side of the Don and all the way to the Danube; this I have mentioned above. The Tartars own innumerable sheep (361) and live in tents, having no permanent houses or castles, or at least only a few. Each [Unus] leader with his horde and their flocks wander about between a pair of rivers — one between the Danube and Don, another between the Dan and Volga, and so on to the east; their divisions are based on grazing and water."
Having seen this description of the Eur-Asian world from Bacon, we can better appreciate the extent of the movement of peoples around the Black Sea since Bacon's time. Albania and Armenia, now occupying small territories compared to Bacon's times of the twelfth century, appear to have been two of the major Indo-European languages in Eastern Europe and Anatolia (Cassius Dio, [150-225 B.C.] in Books 5 and 6, places the Albanians north of Armenia, north of the Caucaus Mountains. Next to them he records the encroaching Alanai). With Bacon's testimony comes the realization that Celtic and Germanic peoples were not long ago leaving their place names where Valentyn Stetsyuk has listed anamolies in the names of towns above the Black Sea. And the extent of the Scythians is impressive. One may wonder whether the China connection involving the Scythians (i.e., the Scythian Sea) might include the red-headed, tatooed Tocharians.
Peter Forster and Alfred Toth posted an article on the internet, PNAS Online: "Toward a phylogenetic chronology of ancient Gaulish, Celtic and Indo-European." They propose, " Indo-European is the largest and best-documented language family in the world, yet the reconstruction of the Indo-European tree, first proposed in 1863, has remained controversial. Complications may include ascertainement bias when choosing the linguistic data, and disregard for the wave model of 1872 when attempting to reconstruct the tree. Essentially analogous problems were solved in evolutionary genetics by DNA sequencing and phylogenetic network methods, respectively. We now adapt these tools to linguistics, and analyze Indo-European language data, focusing on Celtic and in particular on the ancient Celtic language of Gaul (Modern France), by using bilingual Gaulish-Latin inscriptions. Our phylogenetic network reveals an early split of Celtic within Indo-European. Interestingly, the next branching event separates Gaulish (Continental Celtic) from the British (Insular Celtic) languages, with Insular Celtic subsequently splitting into Brythonic (Welsh, Breton) and Goidelic (Irish and Scottish Gaelic). Taken together, the network thus suggests that the Celtic language arrived in the British Isles as a single wave (and then differentiated locally), rather than in the traditional two-wave scenario ("P-Celtic" to Britain and "Q-Celtic" to Ireland). The phylogenetic network furthermore permits the estimation of time in analogy to genetics, and we obtain tentative dates for Indo-European at 8100 B.C. ± 1,900 years, adn for the arrival of Celtic in Britain at 3200 B.C. ± 1,500 years...Our particular focus will be the Celtic languages, including ancient Gaulish, formerly spoken in what is today France and northern Italy. In Western Europe, Gaulish is the only pre-Roman language with a significant bilingual corpus, and knowledge of its time depth and relationship to other languages would enable valuable comparisons with the time depth and landscape of western European archaeology and genetics In A.D. 98, Tacitus recorded that between Britain and Gaul 'the language differes but little' (Agricola 11). Nevertheless, classical sources excluded Britain from the 'Celtic' designation bestowed on Gaul. Compare Strabo in A.D. 18: 'The men of Britain are taller than the Celti, and not so yellow-haired' (Geography 4.5.2).'"