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Thread: Greeks/Nestorians/Armenians of Central Asia/South Asia

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    Greeks/Nestorians/Armenians of Central Asia/South Asia

    What happened to the Greek colonies of Central Asia? One theory is that the Scythians (along with the Maruyans and Parthians) completely eliminated them and restored the Indo-Iranian character of Central Asia. Which Scythians did this? Were they in retreat from the steepe or were they the local Scythians of Central Asia?

    I also read Nestorian Christians were present in Central Asia but I recently learned the later nestorian Church was centered on Sassanid Persia. So who spread Christaniaity to the East? If it was a Semitic population they didn't seem to leave any genes behind. Same applies to the supposed Armenian communities of Central Asia?

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    Christianity spread to the "Asian" east, as far as I know, thanks to individual proselytism. There are a couple of instances of Christians moving to Kerala, India from Syro-Mesopotamia, but I have never heard of the same for the Mongolian territories, China, etc. So, I would not expect there to be much, if any, in the way of "Semitic" genetic legacies surviving today in the east.

    Also, our church never moved to Sassanid Persia. The Church of the East (not Syriac Christianity) was "born," so to speak, in the area of Seleucia-Ctesiphon (not too far from the site of ancient Babylon). Our presence in what is today Iran was always modest. The Church of the East came to be known as the "Church of Persia," not because it was a "Persian" church, but as a means to distinguish it from the Greco-Roman ("western") varieties of Christianity.

    Also, regarding "Nestorian," in "Nestorian Christianity."

    THE 'NESTORIAN' CHURCH: A LAMENTABLE MISNOMER

    It need hardly be said that such a picture is an utterly pernicious caricature, whose roots lie in a hostile historiographical tradition which has dominated virtually all textbooks' of church history from antiquity down to the present day, with the result that the term 'Nestorian Church' has become the standard designation for the ancient oriental church which in the past called itself 'The Church of the East', but which today prefers a fuller title 'The Assyrian Church of the East'. Such a designation is not only discourteous to the modern members of this venerable church, but also - as this paper aims to show - both inappropriate and misleading.
    More in this thread: Dr. Sebastian Brock on Syriac Christianity
    Last edited by Humanist; 02-20-2013 at 06:05 AM.

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    If I recall correctly, the Nestorian faith even reached the Tarim Basin, but I cannot recall which ethnic group or class was responsible for this spread. An old memory is firing towards the Soghdians having something to do with it.

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    Either way there were populations of Armenians/Greeks/Nestorians in Central Asia. What happened to them? Central Asians don't show any ancestry from them either autosomally or on the ydna. The only thing that could expalin is the purging of foreign influence/groups by nomadic groups because these Western influences never extended to them. King of similar to how the Sassanids went through an Iranian renassance although in this case the settled group purged the foreign influences over a nomadic or semi nomadic group (parthians).

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    Quote Originally Posted by newtoboard View Post
    Either way there were populations of Armenians/Greeks/Nestorians in Central Asia. What happened to them?Central Asians don't show any ancestry from them either autosomally or on the ydna.
    You are using "Nestorians" as a genetic identity, and equating it with "Assyrian." Although that may be correct in Mesopotamia, it does not mean it extends farther than the immediate area. The "Nestorians" in the east were not necessarily "Assyrians." Just like the members of the church in Kerala, India are not "Assyrians."* In fact, I would not doubt that we in the west have more of their blood, than they have of our blood.

    If there were "Assyrian" Christians in the east in significant enough number, then perhaps Tamerlane contributed to their demise?

    I do not know about Central Asia, but Tamerlane, according to the historical record, caused major upheavals in the demographics of our particular region.

    Wikipedia

    He ruled over an empire that, in modern times, extends from southeastern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, through Central Asia encompassing part of Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and even approaches Kashgar in China. The conquests of Timur are claimed to have caused the deaths of up to 17 million people; an assertion impossible to verify.[65] Timur's campaigns sometimes caused large and permanent demographic changes. Northern Iraq remained predominantly Assyrian Christian until attacked, looted, plundered and destroyed by Timur, leaving its population decimated by systematic mass slaughter.[66]
    * CHRISTIAN WEDDING (ASSYRIAN CHURCH OF THE EAST,INDIA)
    Last edited by Humanist; 02-20-2013 at 10:33 PM.

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    ^ Some Burusho also claim Greek ancestry? I was only aware of certain Pathan groups and Nuristanis in Afghanistan doing so.

    The combination of Y-DNA and autosomal data from the region thus far suggests Greek influence is minimal in the region. I recall either Firasat or Qamar et al. finding only one Y-DNA E1b1b Pathan man had an STR string match with people from the Balkans today.

    Including Greeks in the same bracket as Armenians is not viable in my opinion. Despite some similarities in autosomal profile, the West Asian peak in Armenians makes it difficult to determine whether a substantial number of ancient Armenians also settled in Central Asia. We must remember that the BMAC in archaeological terms was an offshoot of agricultural practices in West Asia and it would be fair to presume genetic continuity from there.

    So, a later sprinkling of predominantly West Asian people on a demographic strata that already is predominantly West Asian will be near-impossible to detect. The Southwest Asian component is also rendered useless here, as any elevation in certain Central Asian populations/sites may be a result of Persian admixture.

    However, Greek influence in the region can be elucidated in a more confident manner given their largely Mediterranean (as opposed to West Asian) genetic profile.

    On the topic of Nestorian Suryayen (Assyrians, please correct me Humanist if this isn't the preferred term ), I briefly looked up the topic of Central Asian Nestorianism on Wikipedia:

    The Edict of Milan in 313, granted Christianity toleration by the Roman Empire. After the Emperor Constantin's conversion to Christianity, the indigenous Christians of Persia were considered a political threat to the Sassanians. They exiled Christian communities to the east, such as a community of Orthodox Melchites who were installed in Romagyri near Tashkent, or a community of Jacobites, who were sent to Yarkand in the Xinjiang at the doorstep of China.[12] The Hephthalites are known to have been open somewhat to Christianity since 498, and they requested the Nestorian Catholicos to establish a diocesan bishop in their lands in 549.[13]
    More on the Melchites (malkāyā):

    The Melkites were generally Greek-speaking city-dwellers living in the west of the Levant and in Egypt, as opposed to the more provincial Syriac- and Coptic-speaking non-Chalcedonians.
    Based on the above, Humanist's point concerning the disconnect between Nestorianism and Suryayen in Central Asia is justified completely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMXX View Post
    On the topic of Nestorian Suryayen (Assyrians, please correct me Humanist if this isn't the preferred term )...


    In Sureth, in the east (Chaldean Catholics before their break and "Nestorians"), our self-appellation is "Suraya." * In the west (a relative term, since we are basically speaking of NW Mesopotamia (i.e. NE Syria, Tur Abdin in SE Turkey, etc.)), the self-appellation is "Suroyo."

    *
    fem. "Suraita"
    pl. "Suraye"
    Last edited by Humanist; 02-21-2013 at 03:28 AM.

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    In the case of Armenians they are distinguished from Central Asians by a high amount of I, R1b, E, J1 and specific G clades. The Non R1a lineages in Central Asia and South-Central Asia tend to be R2a, L1a, L1c and J2a. In Fact G2a, L1a, L1c, R2a and R1a account for almost the entirety of West Eurasian ydnas in South and Central Asia. The Armenian communities were temporary and they largely migrated away except in the case of nomadic groups destroying them.
    Last edited by newtoboard; 02-21-2013 at 11:53 AM.

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    I attended the Tarim Mummies exhibit a couple of years ago, and there were many artifacts on display. I remember seeing a large Nestorian crucifix, made of stone, that is said to originate in "Syria," and made its way to the Tarim basin.

    http://factsanddetails.com/china.php...d=1681&catid=2

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    Quote Originally Posted by newtoboard View Post
    In the case of Armenians they are distinguished from Central Asians by a high amount of I, R1b, E, J1
    Their mtDNA might be more distinct still than their yDNA, with HV, R0, and the like.

    Quote Originally Posted by newtoboard View Post
    Non R1a lineages in Central Asia and South-Central Asia tend to be R2a, L1a, L1c and J2a.
    Don't forget yDNA F and H. These are not numerous but are relatively more common in South Asia and parts of Central, and are perhaps interesting for this conversation because there are also pockets in the northern Near East/West Asia, as well as in Europe. (In fact, I have a Swiss yDNA F Relative Finder cousin, and if that pattern holds, my guess is the F and H distribution in Europe is similar to that of L, so these are probably all worth mentioning at once.)
     

    Other ancestral Y lines:

    E1b-M81 Ukraine (Ashkenazi)
    E1b-V13 England
    I1-M253 Ireland
    I2-M423 Ukraine
    R1a-L176.1 Scotland
    R1b-L584 Syria/Turkey (Sephardi)
    R1b-L20 Ireland
    R1b-L21 (1)England; (2)Wales?>Connecticut
    R1b-L48 England
    R1b-P312 Scotland
    R1b-FGC32576 Ireland

    Other ancestral mtDNA lines:

    H1b2a Ukraine (Ashkenazi)
    H6a1a3 Ukraine
    K1a9 Belarus (Ashkenazi)
    K1c2 Ireland
    V7a Ukraine

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