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Thread: [Split] Origins of the Saka

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    [Split] Origins of the Saka

    @ Cold Mountain
    There is a quite a difference between Proto Indo Iranians and Indo Iranians, the later only emerges by blending with BMAC culture and people.
    The BMAC was not some watering hole, its what transformed Proto - Indo Iranians to Indo Iranians. This is what fundamentally differentiates Indo Iranians from other Indo European groups.

    If your alluding to Scythians, they much emerged later. Even then they spoke Eastern Iranian languages which stems from the Yaz culture, which stemmed from the BMAC synthesis.
    But they have varied origins because they acted more as a group with a shared identity and values.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasus View Post
    @ Cold Mountain
    There is a quite a difference between Proto Indo Iranians and Indo Iranians, the later only emerges by blending with BMAC culture and people.
    The BMAC was not some watering hole, its what transformed Proto - Indo Iranians to Indo Iranians. This is what fundamentally differentiates Indo Iranians from other Indo European groups.

    If your alluding to Scythians, they much emerged later. Even then they spoke Eastern Iranian languages which stems from the Yaz culture, which stemmed from the BMAC synthesis.
    But they have varied origins because they acted more as a group with a shared identity and values.
    Eastern European Scythians and Saka don't originate from Yaz in my opinion and the material culture, historical sources(Herodot) and in my opinion also genetics point to a Siberian and North Central Asian origin of them where also the first typical Saka sites and artifacts were found.Central Asian Saka were certainly in some way admixed with South Central Asians via indirect and direct genetic influx and they migrated quite much. The Saka living in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the Tarim basin were likely just like a bit northern shifted Tajiks or Pashtuns. But Scythians and northern Saka were just East Iranians who stayed in the homeland or in regions close to the former homeland of Indo-Iranians. They were probably almost identical to Andronovo/Sintashta but with some exotic admixture, which gradually increased by time. European Scythians originated likely from Asia also and settled later in the North Pontic steppe where they replaced older steppe populations. But I doubt that BMAC had a major impact on them. Caucasians and Greeks influenced them more in my opinion and modern Ossetians are very Caucasian-like genetically and I guess this was also true for other European Scythians/Sarmatians. Many Indo-Iranians never migrated into BMAC/IVC territory and just for us southern Indo-Iranians they are very important as substrate populations. I also think that the transformation of southern Indo-Iranians happened long after the end of IVC and BMAC and was linked to later urbanization, the gradual adoption of local cults/traditions and religious reformers. In Rig Veda Indo-Aryans are still pastoralists and in many cases even hostile to sedentary and pre-IE populations. Of course it is wrong to claim that they had just hostile relationships but pastoralists and agriculturists had in most cases very difficult relations because of conflicts about land, cattle and water. But it is worth mentioning that Zoroaster was totally against this aggressive steppe customs and tried to reform Iranian society so he was very hostile to northern (turanian) Iranians who preserved an archaic, "primitive" and warlike steppe culture.
    Last edited by Coldmountains; 07-02-2015 at 07:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coldmountains View Post
    Eastern European Scythians and Saka don't originate from Yaz in my opinion and the material culture, historical sources(Herodot) and in my opinion also genetics point to a Siberian and North Central Asian origin of them where also the first typical Saka sites and artifacts were found.Central Asian Saka were certainly in some way admixed with South Central Asians via indirect and direct genetic influx and they migrated quite much. The Saka living in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the Tarim basin were likely just like a bit northern shifted Tajiks or Pashtuns. But Scythians and northern Saka were just East Iranians who stayed in the homeland or in regions close to the former homeland of Indo-Iranians. They were probably almost identical to Andronovo/Sintashta but with some exotic admixture, which gradually increased by time. European Scythians originated likely from Asia also and settled later in the North Pontic steppe where they replaced older steppe populations. But I doubt that BMAC had a major impact on them. Caucasians and Greeks influenced them more in my opinion and modern Ossetians are very Caucasian-like genetically and I guess this was also true for other European Scythians/Sarmatians. Many Indo-Iranians never migrated into BMAC/IVC territory and just for us southern Indo-Iranians they are very important as substrate populations. I also think that the transformation of southern Indo-Iranians happened long after the end of IVC and BMAC and was linked to later urbanization, the gradual adoption of local cults/traditions and religious reformers. In Rig Veda Indo-Aryans are still pastoralists and in many cases even hostile to sedentary and pre-IE populations. Of course it is wrong to claim that they had just hostile relationships but pastoralists and agriculturists had in most cases very difficult relations because of conflicts about land, cattle and water. But it is worth mentioning that Zoroaster was totally against this aggressive steppe customs and tried to reform Iranian society so he was very hostile to northern (turanian) Iranians who preserved an archaic, "primitive" and warlike steppe culture.
    What are you talking about? ALL Iranic groups originate in Central Asia, this is a KNOWN fact, there were later back migrations to Europe and to other regions in the steppe.
    Scythians themselves were a mixed up group, as I mentioned earlier it was more of a shared identity. A lot of the Eastern Scythians were mixed Proto Turks from the Altai,
    Western Scythian groups mixed with Slavic peoples in the West.
    Also I am talking in context of Indo Iranians, not Scythians.
    I don't where the Rig Veda is figuring into the BMAC, because Vedic culture developed in NW South Asia. Also using the Rig Veda, is not really a concrete source, one word in Sanskrit can have 10 different meanings and in English the context can be totally different.
    Last edited by pegasus; 07-02-2015 at 01:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasus View Post
    What are you talking about? ALL Iranic groups originate in Central Asia, this is a KNOWN fact, there were later back migrations to Europe and to other regions in the steppe.
    Scythians themselves were a mixed up group, as I mentioned earlier it was more of a shared identity. A lot of the Eastern Scythians were mixed Proto Turks from the Altai,
    Western Scythian groups mixed with Slavic peoples in the West.
    Also I am talking in context of Indo Iranians, not Scythians.
    I don't where the Rig Veda is figuring into the BMAC, because Vedic culture developed in NW South Asia. Also using the Rig Veda, is not really a concrete source, one word in Sanskrit can have 10 different meanings and in English the context can be totally different.
    Many Indo-Iranian loanwords in Finno-Ugrian languages are of Indo-Aryan origin and not of Iranian so Indo-Aryans and Iranians spoke already different dialects/languages when they lived close to the Ural and from here they are also derived from. Iranians and Indo-Aryans were heavily influenced by BMAC and IVC but it is not right to claim that prior to contact with this pre-IE cultures no Indo-Iranians existed at all. Even old traditions like horse sacrifices can be traced from Sintashta and the core of old Indo-Iranian civilization is derived from there and other close related cultures. Scythians and Saka originated in North Central Asia and Siberia and not in former BMAC territories, which were territories of predominantly sedentary populations and Iranian populations there were different from them in many aspects. But later a massive Saka migration from the North took place and Saka even penetrated into the Indian subcontinent. But i guess that some mixture in the North with Southerners took also place.
    Last edited by Coldmountains; 07-02-2015 at 03:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coldmountains View Post
    I agree about the huge impact of BMAC/IVC on South Asian and South Central Asian Indo-Iranians but let not forget that many Indo-Iranians did not move south and either migrated deep into Siberia or East Europe. The core of early Indo-Iranian culture is derived from Sintashta/Andronovo in my opinion and only after massive urbanization in the iron age after the end of IVC and BMAC Indo-Iranians gradually become sedentary and gave up some of their steppe customs. For a long time they were still pastoralists and rather stayed out of the urban areas what later changed dramatically and this is also obvious from the later adoption of many local pre-indo-Iranian cults, which revived and even got often more popular than the steppe cults. It is interesting how popular non-IE gods like Nana were among South Central Asian Indo-Iranians in the Kushan period and sometimes they were even associated with the ruling elite like Nana, which was an extremely important deity for many Kushan emperors.
    I would not say that Nana is non-IE. The Nana/Nanny/Naani - second mother godess/mother's mother concept - is prevalent in many IE speaking populations. She could surely predate PIE, but likely was incorporated very early.

    See eg. Nana temples
    Vettikkara Nana Durga Navagraha Temple
    Perumbi Nana Durga Temple
    Manjukulangara Bhagavathy (Nana Durga) Temple
    Hinglaj Nani Mandir

    The ancient Peshawar region (Pakhalavadi) was named for her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parasar View Post
    I would not say that Nana is non-IE. The Nana/Nanny/Naani - second mother godess/mother's mother concept - is prevalent in many IE speaking populations. She could surely predate PIE, but likely was incorporated very early.

    See eg. Nana temples
    Vettikkara Nana Durga Navagraha Temple
    Perumbi Nana Durga Temple
    Manjukulangara Bhagavathy (Nana Durga) Temple
    Hinglaj Nani Mandir

    The ancient Peshawar region (Pakhalavadi) was named for her.
    Nana Durga?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasus View Post
    one word in Sanskrit can have 10 different meanings and in English the context can be totally different.
    Actually, every word in Sanskrit has multi meanings, and the you are absolutely right about what happens when you translate sanskrit to English. Sanskrit is a liquid flowing language as compared to English which is a solid language. When two words in sanskrit is connected it gives a different meaning: Sandhi - union

    An example,

    Keshava = another name for Krishna also a corpse ke shava

    Yaz = adore and worship
    Bodh also understood later in buddhist context as Boddisattva. Bodh means awaken also understand

    Many sanskrit words cannot be interpreted correctly in English

    Aashram is called monastery which ain't right. The concept of monastery in english is totally different from the concept of Aashram in Sanskrit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coldmountains View Post
    I agree about the huge impact of BMAC/IVC on South Asian and South Central Asian Indo-Iranians but let not forget that many Indo-Iranians did not move south and either migrated deep into Siberia or East Europe. The core of early Indo-Iranian culture is derived from Sintashta/Andronovo in my opinion and only after massive urbanization in the iron age after the end of IVC and BMAC Indo-Iranians gradually become sedentary and gave up some of their steppe customs. For a long time they were still pastoralists and rather stayed out of the urban areas what later changed dramatically and this is also obvious from the later adoption of many local pre-indo-Iranian cults, which revived and even got often more popular than the steppe cults. It is interesting how popular non-IE gods like Nana were among South Central Asian Indo-Iranians in the Kushan period and sometimes they were even associated with the ruling elite like Nana, which was an extremely important deity for many Kushan emperors.
    I have read about Nanaia also nana inscribed in coins as well : Actually a persian(some books) female deity(goddess) of the Kushans . She is depicted as riding a lion.



    In hinduism the female goddess Durga's vahan is lion. Shiva's wife Parvati is the same goddess whose avatar is durga resembling Shakti, there are other avatars like sarswati(knowledge) and laxmi (wealth and prosperity).




    Then there is Nanâ the sumero-akkadian goddess.

    A review of references to the cult of Nanâ, or Nanaia, in Mesopotamian sources, covering the period between the third millennium B. C. and Sassanian times, reveals the cult to have remained remarkably syncretic. As Ištar's counterpart, Nanâ later appears not only as a daughter of the moon-god Sin and sister of the sun-god Šamaš, but also under different guises and with different names. The cult of Nanâ spread from the Iranian plateau to the east Iranian world in Transoxiana where it survived until the Muslim conquest. The ascendance and prevalence of the cult of Nanâ in the early medieval east Iranian world is attributed to the syncretic nature of that cult which combined the functions of the Sumero-Akkadian Nanâ with those of the Iranian goddess Ārmaiti. The transference of the creative and chthonic aspects of the Iranian earth spirit to the regional cult of Nanâ thus led to Nanâ's association with the funerary and dynastic cults of Transoxiana.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coldmountains View Post
    Many Indo-Iranian loanwords in Finno-Ugrian languages are of Indo-Aryan origin and not of Iranian so Indo-Aryans and Iranians spoke already different dialects/languages when they lived close to the Ural and from here they are also derived from. Iranians and Indo-Aryans were heavily influenced by BMAC and IVC but it is not right to claim that prior to contact with this pre-IE cultures no Indo-Iranians existed at all. Even old traditions like horse sacrifices can be traced from Sintashta and the core of old Indo-Iranian civilization is derived from there and other close related cultures. Scythians and Saka originated in North Central Asia and Siberia and not in former BMAC territories, which were territories of predominantly sedentary populations and Iranian populations there were different from them in many aspects. But later a massive Saka migration from the North took place and Saka even penetrated into the Indian subcontinent. But i guess that some mixture in the North with Southerners took also place.
    If your referring to Scytho Siberians, they emerged after Indo Iranians formed, they are not proto Indo Iranians. Your narrative is that some isolated groups held out in Siberia are impervious to the transformations occurring further South. Scythians spoke Eastern Iranian languages, if they were indeed holding out in Siberia during that time, they would be speaking Proto Indo Iranian. Your putting the horse before the cart, you cannot have Eastern Iranian speakers living before Indo Iranian ones.
    The only IE groups in Asia that held out before what was going on in the BMAC , were Tarim/Tocharian peoples and they were not Indo Iranian.
    Nobody is debating the cultural continuity of the Indo Iranians with other IE groups , obviously they share common customs.
    Last edited by pegasus; 07-03-2015 at 03:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pegasus View Post
    If your referring to Scytho Siberians, they emerged after Indo Iranians formed, they are not proto Indo Iranians. Your narrative is that some isolated groups held out in Siberia are impervious to the transformations occurring further South. Scythians spoke Eastern Iranian languages, if they were indeed holding out in Siberia during that time, they would be speaking Proto Indo Iranian. Your putting the horse before the cart, you cannot have Eastern Iranian speakers living before Indo Iranian ones.
    The only IE groups in Asia that held out before what was going on in the BMAC , were Tarim/Tocharian peoples and they were not Indo Iranian.
    Nobody is debating the cultural continuity of the Indo Iranians with other IE groups , obviously they share common customs.
    Do you can show me any sources which link Scythians or Saka with the Yaz culture? Siberia and North Central Asia are the places with the first distinct Saka sites and their material culture is certainly derived from there (animal style). The Yaz culture is in most cases linked with Avestan Iranians, who were enemies of this nomadic Northern Iranian tribes (Iran vs.Turan). Avestan Iranians were gradually adopting a sedentary lifestyle and were in conflict with their Northern relatives, who as nomads with a archaic culture were a threat for more southern sedentary populations (cattle raids, tribal warfare,.
    ). I would maybe agree with you if there were no post PII Indo-Aryan loanwords in Finno-Ugrian languages which prove that even Indo-Aryans already emerged in the north and not in the contact zone with BMAC. East Iranians are just Indo-Iranians who migrated latest out of the pan Indo-Iranian homeland and the East Iranian linguistic group is not clearly defined and some even doubt it is a genetic group and prefer to see it as "Sprachbund" because if you reconstruct Proto East Iranian you just get Proto-Iranian. Saka/Pashto/Pamiri represent one important group of East Iranian languages and seem to have a "genetic" connection. Scythian-Samartian/Ossetian is another important group but not sure how it is ultimately related to Pashto/Pamir/Saka.

    Eastern Iranian as a group. The best evidence for the unity of Eastern Iranian is provided by shared innovations such as the voicing of xt to γd, or the use of *kapā/ă- for “fish” in place of older *masyā/ă- (cf. OInd. mátsya-, Av. masiia-, Parth. m’sy’g, Pers. māhī), since they can hardly have come about everywhere independently. Archaisms such as the preservation of θ or of *gari- “mountain,” as opposed to the innovative use of *kaufa- in this sense in Western Iranian, cf. Parth. kwf, Pers. kūh, etc. (also Av. kaofa-), are less significant in this respect. Within Eastern Iranian one can establish several sub-groups of languages which are particularly closely related to one another, e.g.: Alanic, Sarmatian and Ossetic; Khotanese and Tumshuqese; Sogdian and Yaghnobi; the Shughni group and Yazghulami. However, it does not seem possible to regard the Eastern Iranian group as a whole—even excluding Parachi and Ormuri—as a genetic grouping. Such a conception would imply the existence of an ancestral “proto-Eastern Iranian” intermediate between “common Iranian” and the attested Eastern Iranian languages; but if one reconstructs “proto-Eastern Iranian” in such a way as to account for all the features of the group, it proves to be identical to the “common Iranian” reconstructible as the ancestor of the whole Iranian family. It is therefore more plausible to conceive of Eastern Iranian as a “Sprachbund” or areal grouping of languages. In this case the members of the “Sprachbund” happen to be genetically related, but the special features which mark them out as a group result rather from centuries of contiguity, during which innovations will have spread from one language of the group to another and neighboring languages will have supported each other in the retention of shared features.
    Last edited by Coldmountains; 07-03-2015 at 06:38 AM.

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