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Indo-Europeans Religion Semitic People

Similarities between Thor (Nordic) and Tar (Armenian)

Thor

The Ancestor of the Germans – Herman/Armen

The origin of the Germans

Teshub / Tar

The Hurrians were an ancient people, who spoke a Hurro-Urartian language of the Ancient Near East, living in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. The name Hurri is also spelled Harri, the root word for Aryan.

The Resurrection

Resurrection (anglicized from Latin resurrectio) is the concept of a living being coming back to life after death. It is a religious concept, where it is used in two distinct respects: a belief in the resurrection of individual souls that is current and ongoing (Christian idealism, realized eschatology), or else a belief in a singular “Resurrection of the Dead” event at the end of the world.
In comparative mythology, the related motifs of a dying god and of a dying-and-rising god (also known as a death-rebirth-deity) have appeared in diverse cultures. In the more commonly accepted motif of a dying god, the deity goes away and does not return. The less than widely accepted motif of a dying-and-rising god refers to a deity which returns, is resurrected or is reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense.
Beginning in the 19th century, a number of gods who would fit these motifs were proposed. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Norse deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Tammuz, Ra the Sun god with its fusion with Osiris/Orion, Jesus, and Dionysus. Female examples include Inanna/Ishtar, Persephone, and Bari.
The methods of death can be diverse. Some gods who die are also seen as either returning or bringing about life in some other form, in many cases associated with a vegetation deity related to a staple.

The Thunder God

Polytheistic peoples of many cultures have postulated a Thunder God, the personification or source of the forces of thunder and lightning; a lightning god does not have a typical depiction, and will vary based on the culture. In Indo-European cultures, the Thunder God is frequently known as the chief or king of the gods, e.g. Indra in Hinduism, Zeus in Greek mythology, and Perun in ancient Slavic religion; or a close relation thereof, e.g. Thor, son of Odin, in Norse mythology.
In Greek mythology, The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous, evolved from a designation of a place or person struck by lightning, enelysion, enelysios. This could be a reference to Zeus, the god of lightning/Jupiter, so “lightning-struck” could be saying that the person was blessed (struck) by Zeus (/lightning/fortune).

The Labrys

Labrys is the term for a symmetric doubleheaded axe originally from Crete in Greece, one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization; to the Romans, it was known as a bipennis.
The double-bitted axe remains a forestry tool to this day, and the labrys certainly functioned as a tool and hewing axe before it was invested with symbolic function. Labrys symbolism is found in Minoan, Thracian, and Greek religion, mythology, and art, dating from the Middle Bronze Age onwards, and surviving in the Byzantine Empire.

The Thunderbolt

A thunderbolt or lightning bolt is a symbolic representation of a lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap. In ancient Hellenic and Roman religious traditions, the thunderbolt represents Jupiter (etymologically “Right Father”), thence the origin and ordaining pattern of the universe, as expressed in Heraclitus’ fragment describing “the Thunderbolt that steers the course of all things”. It is the same in other Indo-European traditions, for example the Vedic Vajra.
In its original usage the word may also have been a description of the consequences of a close approach between two planetary cosmic bodies.
As a divine manifestation the thunderbolt has been a powerful symbol throughout history, and has appeared in many mythologies. Drawing from this powerful association, the thunderbolt is often found in military symbolism and semiotic representations of electricity.

The bull

The bull is somewhat unique in the world of symbolism in that he is both a solar and a lunar creature. His male fertility, his fiery temperament, and his role as father of the herd make him the masculine sun-god in many cults. Just as the lion is the king and terror of the beasts of the forest, the bull is the king of the farm and the personification of brute strength and power. The lion, the bull, and the sun are popular symbols of life and resurrection. The bull’s crescent shaped horns link him to moon worship and symbolism although, in some areas, the sun is a bull while the moon is a cow. Sin, the moon-god of ancient Ur, was often pictured as a bull.
Its association with the sun makes this animal a god of the heavens, resurrection, and fire, while its association with the moon makes it a god of earth, water, night, and death. This animal’s masculinity is not diminished by its feminine lunar connections. However, when ridden by moon-goddesses such as Astarte, its masculine powers are said to be tamed or domesticated.
The roar of the bull, his windy breath, the sound of his hooves, and his wild nature were likened to thunder, wind, the crash of the ocean, and mighty tempests. Because of these associations, bulls were sacrificed to sea gods such as Poseidon. Along with the thunderbolt, bulls are symbols of thunder, sky, and storm gods such as Adad, Thor, and Ishkur. These gods may also be pictured riding bulls.

The serpent

The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.
Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.
In the Abrahamic religions, the serpent represents sexual desire. According to the Rabbinical tradition, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent represents sexual passion. In Hinduism, Kundalini is a coiled serpent, the residual power of pure desire.
Occasionally, serpents and dragons are used interchangeably, having similar symbolic functions. The venom of the serpent is thought to have a fiery quality similar to a fire spitting dragon. The Greek Ladon and the Norse Níðhöggr (Nidhogg Nagar) are sometimes described as serpents and sometimes as dragons. In Germanic mythology, serpent (Old English: wyrm, Old High German: wurm, Old Norse: ormr) is used interchangeably with the Greek borrowing dragon (OE: draca, OHG: trahho, ON: dreki).
Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. The name of Bellerophon is translated to “the slayer of the serpent” (ahihán), “snake”, directly comparable to Hittite ellu-essar- “snake pit”. He was “the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles”, whose greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail: “her breath came out in terrible blasts of burning flame.”
This myth likely came to Greece via Anatolia, and in the Hittite version, the dragon is called Illuyanka, the illuy- part being cognate to the illa word, and the -anka part being cognate to the angu word for “snake”. As designations for “snake” (and similarly shaped animals) are often liable to taboo in many Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages, no unambiguous Proto-Indo-European form for the eel word can thus be reconstructed, it could have been *ēl(l)-u-, *ēl(l)-o-, or similar.
In the early Vedic religion, Vritra (“the enveloper”), is an Asura and also a serpent or dragon, the personification of drought and enemy of Indra. Vritra was also known in the Vedas as Ahi (“snake”). He appears as a dragon blocking the course of the rivers and is heroically slain by Indra.

Teshub in the Hurrian Mythology

In Hurrian mythology Teshub (Hittite: Taru) was the god of sky and storm. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.
Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.
The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin – he was conceived when the god Kumarbi, is the chief god of the Hurrians, bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.
Teshub’s brothers are Tigris (personification of the river), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu.
In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna – a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.
According to Hittite myths, one of Teshub’s (Tarhunt’s) greatest acts was the slaying of the serpentine dragon Illuyanka. Myths also exist of his conflict with the sea creature (possibly a snake or serpent) Hedammu (CTH 348). It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa.
The context is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli, held at Nerik, a Bronze Age city to the north of the Hittite capitals Hattusa and Sapinuwa, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.
Nerik was founded by Hattic language speakers as Narak; in the Hattusa archive, tablet CTH 737 records a Hattic incantion for a festival there. Under Hattusili I, the Nesian-speaking Hittites took over Nerik. They maintained a spring festival called “Puruli” in honor of its storm god. In it, the celebrants recited the myth of the slaying of Illuyanka. Nerik disappeared from record when the Hittite kingdom fell, ca. 1200 BC.
The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub. The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu, a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia, of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation mythos (named after its opening words). Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.
Illuyanka is probably a compound, consisting of two words for “snake”, Proto-Indo-European *h₁illu- and *h₂eng(w)eh₂-. The same compound members, inverted, appear in Latin anguilla “eel”. The *h₁illu- word is cognate to English eel, the anka- word to Sanskrit ahi. Also this dragon is known as Illujanka and Illuyankas.
The English name “eel” descends from Old English ǽl, Common Germanic *ǣlaz. Also from the common Germanic are German Aal, Middle Dutch ael, Old High German âl, and Old Norse áll.
Eels are an order of fish which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators. The term “eel” is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eels and spiny eels, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.
The daylight passage in the spring of elvers upstream along the Thames was called “eel fare”, and the word ‘elver’ is thought to be a corruption thereof.
The myth of Illuyanka is found in Catalogue des Textes Hittites 321, which gives two consecutive versions. In the first version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. Teshub then goes to the Hattian goddess Inaras for advice. Having promised her love to a mortal named Hupasiyas in return for his help, she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of food and drink, and entices him to drink his fill. Once drunk, the dragon is bound by Hupasiyas with a rope. Then the Sky God Teshub appears with the other gods and kills the dragon.
In the second version, after the two gods fight and Teshub loses, Illuyanka takes Teshub’s eyes and heart. To avenge himself upon the dragon, the Sky God Teshub marries the goddess Hebat, daughter of a mortal, named Arm. They have a son, Sarruma, who grows up and marries the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.
The Sky God Teshub tells his son to ask for the return of Teshub’s eyes and heart as a wedding gift, and he does so. His eyes and heart restored, Teshub goes to face the dragon Illuyanka once more.
At the point of vanquishing the dragon, Sarruma finds out about the battle and realizes that he had been used for this purpose. He demands that his father take his life along with Illuyanka’s, and so Teshub kills them both with thundery rain and lightning.
This version is illustrated on a relief which was discovered at Malatya (dating from 1050-850 BC) and is on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey.
The Hittite texts were introduced in 1930 by W. Porzig, who first made the comparison of Teshub’s battle with Illuyankas with the sky-god Zeus’ battle with serpent-like Typhon, told in Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke (I.6.3). The Hittite-Greek parallels found few adherents at the time, the Hittite myth of the castration of the god of heaven by Kumarbi, with its clearer parallels to Greek myth, not having yet been deciphered and edited.

Thor in the Norse Mythology

In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar, stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning “thunder”).
Tanngrisnir (Old Norse “teeth-barer, snarler”) and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse “teeth grinder”) are the goats who pull the god Thor’s chariot in Norse mythology.
In Norse mythology, Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor. Mjölnir is depicted as one of the most fearsome weapons, capable of leveling mountains. In his account of Norse mythology Snorri Sturluson relates how the hammer was made by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr, and how its characteristically short handle was due to a mishap during its manufacture.
Jörmungandr, alternately referred to as the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent, is a sea serpent of the Norse mythology, the middle child of Loki and the giantess Angrboða.
According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki’s three children by Angrboða, Fenrisúlfr, Hel and Jörmungandr. He tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so big that he was able to surround the Earth and grasp his own tail, and as a result he earned the alternate name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When he lets go, the world will end. Jörmungandr’s arch-enemy is the god Thor.
In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin, including the death of Thor. Thor, she foretells, will do battle with the great serpent during the immense mythical war waged at Ragnarök, and there he will slay the monstrous snake, yet after he will only be able to take nine steps before succumbing to the venom of the beast.
Afterwards, says the völva, the sky will turn black before fire engulfs the world, the stars will disappear, flames will dance before the sky, steam will rise, the world will be covered in water, and then it will be raised again; green and fertile. Thor’s sons will survive, and return after these events with Thor’s hammer.
In the poem Grímnismál, the god Odin, in disguise as Grímnir, and tortured, starved and thirsty, imparts in the young Agnar cosmological lore, including that Thor resides in Þrúðheimr, and that, every day, Thor wades through the rivers Körmt and Örmt, and the two Kerlaugar. There, Grímnir says, Thor sits as judge at the immense cosmological world tree, Yggdrasil.

Anatolia

In the prologue to his Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson euhemerises Thor as a prince of Troy, and the son of king Memnon by Troana, a daughter of Priam. Thor, also known as Tror, is said to have married the prophetess Sibyl (identified with Sif). Thor is further said here to have been raised in Thrace by a chieftain named Lorikus, whom he later slew to assume the title of “King of Thrace”, to have had hair “fairer than gold”, and to have been strong enough to lift ten bearskins.
The name of the aesir is explained as “men from Asia,” Asgard being the “Asian city” (i.e., Troy). Odin is a remote descendant of Thor, removed by twelve generations, who led an expedition across Germany, Denmark and Sweden to Norway.

Tyr and Tir

Týr is a god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tîwaz (*Tē₂waz). The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.
In the late Icelandic Eddas, Tyr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.
Tir is the Armenian god of literature, science and art, god of wisdom, culture, science and studies, he also was an interpreter of dreams. Tir was a messenger of the gods. He was a fortune-teller and a guide of dead persons soul.
In 21 of September is celebrated a Holiday in honor of Tir. The first day was dedicated in memory of ancestors. In this day people were glorifying ancestors. In other day people were show theatre, told about their voyages over the world. Tir’s holiday is celebrated at the beginning of September as a day of knowledge.

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Indo-Europeans Religion Semitic People

The Baal Cycle

Baal Cycle

The Baal Cycle

In the Canaanite religion, or Levantine religion as a whole, Ēl or Il was the supreme God, the Father of humankind and all creatures and the husband of the Goddess Asherah as recorded in the clay tablets of Ugarit (modern Ra′s Shamrā, Syria).
The noun ʾEl was found at the top of a list of Gods as the “Ancient of Gods” or the “Father of all Gods”, in the ruins of the royal archive of the Ebla civilization, in the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh in Syria dated to 2300 BC.
The bull was symbolic to Ēl and his son Baʻal Hadad, and they both wore bull horns on their headdress. He may have been a desert god at some point, as the myths say that he had two wives and built a sanctuary with them and his new children in the desert. Ēl had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, a Northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the earlier attested East Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad, Yam, the god of the sea, and Mot, personified as a god of death, each share similar attributes to the Greco-Roman Gods: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades respectively.
The Baal Cycle is a Ugaritic cycle of stories about the Canaanite god Baal, also known as Hadad the god of rain, storm and fertility. They are written in Ugaritic, a language written in a cuneiform alphabet, on a series of clay tablets found in the 1920s in the Tell of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), situated on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria, a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia, far ahead of the now known coast.

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Indo-Europeans Religion Semitic People

The Hurrians: The Kumarbi Cycle

SUCCESSIONS Kumarbi Cycle v. Hesiods Theogany Kumarbi Both

Baal Cycle

In Hurrian mythology Teshub (Taru) was the god of sky and storm. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.
Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.
The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin – he was conceived when the god Kumarbi, is the chief god of the Hurrians, bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.
Kumarbi is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El.
Kumarbi is known from a number of mythological Hittite texts, sometimes summarized under the term “Kumarbi Cycle”. The Song of Kumarbi or The Kingship in Heaven is the title given to a Hittite version of the Hurrian Kumarbi myth, dating to the 14th or 13th century BC. It is preserved in three tablets, but only a small fraction of the text is legible.
The song relates that Alalu was overthrown by Anu who was in turn overthrown by Kumarbi. When Anu tried to escape, Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three new gods. In the text Anu tells his son that he is now pregnant with the Teshub, Tigris, and Tašmišu. Upon hearing this Kumarbi spit the semen upon the ground and it became impregnated with two children. Kumarbi is cut open to deliver Tešub. Together, Anu and Teshub depose Kumarbi.
In another version of the Kingship in Heaven, the three gods, Alalu, Anu, and Kumarbi, rule heaven, each serving the one who precedes him in the nine-year reign. It is Kumarbi’s son Tešub, the Weather-God, who begins to conspire to overthrow his father.
From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.
 

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Indo-Europeans Mediterrean Megalithic Religion Semitic People The Fertile Crescent

Labrys – The Symmetric Doubleheaded Axe


The axe (or ax) is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood; to harvest timber; as a weapon; and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialised uses but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.
Before the modern axe, the stone-age hand axe was used from 1.5 million years BP without a handle. It was later fastened to a wooden handle. The earliest examples of handled axes have heads of stone with some form of wooden handle attached (hafted) in a method to suit the available materials and use. Axes made of copper, bronze, iron, steel appeared as these technologies developed.
Initially axes were probably not hafted (see hand axe). The first true hafted axes are known from the Mesolithic period (ca. 6000 BC). Axes made from ground stone are known since the Neolithic. Few wooden hafts have been found from this period, but it seems that the axe was normally hafted by wedging. Birch-tar and raw-hide lashings were used to fix the blade.
From the late Neolithic/Chalcolithic onwards, axes were made of copper or copper mixed with arsenic. These axes were flat and hafted much like their stone predecessors. Axes continued to be made in this manner with the introduction of Bronze metallurgy. Eventually the hafting method changed and the flat axe developed into the ‘flanged axe,’ then palstaves, and later winged and socketed axes.
The Proto-Indo-European word for “axe” may have been pelek’u- (Greek pelekus πέλεκυς, Sanskrit parashu, see also Parashurama), but the word was probably a loan, or a Neolithic wanderwort, ultimately related to Sumerian balag, Akkadian pilaku- .
At least since the late Neolithic, elaborate axes (battle-axes, T-axes, etc.) had a religious significance and probably indicated the exalted status of their owner. Certain types almost never show traces of wear; deposits of unshafted axe blades from the middle Neolithic (such as at the Somerset Levels in Britain) may have been gifts to the deities.
A common weapon was the shaft-hole copper battle-ax, of a type also found in central and northern Europe. There is evidence that the distribution of this weapon resulted from a migration of horse-riding folk, the so-called Battle-Ax people, who spread Indo-European speech. Their place of origin is not certain, but it was more probably in the east than in the west of their area of spread.
The roots of Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, a Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture which existed from approximately 4800 to 3000 BC, from the Carpathian Mountains to the Dniester and Dnieper regions in modern-day Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, encompassing an area of more than 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi), can be found in the Starčevo-Körös-Criș and Vinča cultures of the 6th to 5th millennia, with additional influence from the Bug-Dniester culture (6500-5000 BC).
During the early period of its existence (in the 5th millennium BC), the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was also influenced by the Linear Pottery culture from the north, and by the Boian-Giulesti culture from the south. Through colonization and acculturation from these other cultures, the formative Precucuteni/Trypillia A culture was established.
Over the course of the fifth millennium, the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture expanded from its ‘homeland’ in the Prut-Siret region along the eastern foothills of the Carpathian Mountains into the basins and plains of the Dnieper and Southern Bug rivers of central Ukraine. Settlements also developed in the southeastern stretches of the Carpathian Mountains, with the materials known locally as the Ariuşd culture.
Most of the settlements were located close to rivers, with fewer settlements located on the plateaus. Most early dwellings took the form of pit houses, though they were accompanied by an ever-increasing incidence of above-ground clay houses. The floors and hearths of these structures were made of clay, and the walls of clay-plastered wood or reeds. Roofing was made of thatched straw or reeds. As with the Sredny Stog culture the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture had Axes, including double-headed axes, hammer axes and possible battle axes.
The Sredny Stog culture, which had contact with the agricultural Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the west and was a contemporary of the Khvalynsk culture, was a pre-kurgan archaeological culture, named after the Dnieper river islet of Seredny Stih where it was first located, dating from the 5th millennium BC. It was situated across the Dnieper river on both its shores, with sporadic settlements to the west and east.
In its three largest cemeteries, Alexandria (39 individuals), Igren (17) and Dereivka (14), evidence of inhumation in flat graves (ground level pits) has been found. This parallels the practise of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, and is in contrast with the later Yamna culture, which practiced tumuli burials, according to the Kurgan hypothesis.
In Sredny Stog culture, the deceased were laid to rest on their backs with the legs flexed. The use of ochre in the burial was practiced, as with the kurgan cultures. For this and other reasons, Yuri Rassamakin suggests that the Sredny Stog culture should be considered as an areal term, with at least four distinct cultural elements co-existing inside the same geographical area.
The expert Dmytro Telegin has divided the chronology of Sredny Stog into two distinct phases. Phase II (ca. 4000–3500 BC) used corded ware pottery which may have originated there, and stone battle-axes of the type later associated with expanding Indo-European cultures to the West. Most notably, it has perhaps the earliest evidence of horse domestication (in phase II), with finds suggestive of cheek-pieces (psalia).
In the context of the modified Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas, this pre-kurgan archaeological culture could represent the Urheimat (homeland) of the Proto-Indo-European language. The culture ended at around 3500 BC, when Yamna culture expanded westward replacing Sredny Stog, and coming into direct contact with the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the western Ukraine.
The Funnel(-neck-)beaker culture, short TRB or TBK from (German) Trichter(-rand-)becherkultur (ca 4300 BC–ca 2800 BC) was an archaeological culture in north-central Europe. The culture used Battle Axes which were stone versions of Central Europe’s copper axes. The culture imported copper from Central Europe, especially daggers and axes. The early versions were multi-angled, and the later are called double-edged, although one of the edges is more rounded.
TRB developed as a technological merger of local neolithic and mesolithic techno-complexes between the lower Elbe and middle Vistula rivers, introducing farming and husbandry as a major source of food to the pottery-using hunter-gatherers north of this line.
Preceded by Lengyel-influenced STK groups/Late Lengyel and Baden-Boleraz in the southeast, Rössen groups in the southwest and the Ertebølle-Ellerbek groups in the north, the TRB techno-complex is divided into a northern group including modern northern eastalbingian Germany and southern Scandinavia (TRB-N, roughly the area that previously belonged to the Ertebølle-Ellerbek complex), a western group between Zuiderzee and lower Elbe, an eastern group centered around the Vistula catchment, roughly ranging from Oder to Bug, and south-central groups (TRB-MES, Altmark) around the middle and upper Elbe and Saale.
Especially in the southern and eastern groups, local sequences of variants emerged. In the late 4th millennium BC, the Globular Amphora culture (KAK) replaced most of the eastern and subsequently also the southern TRB groups, reducing the TRB area to modern northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. The younger TRB in these areas was superseded by the Single Grave culture (EGK) at about 2800 BC. The north-central European megaliths were built primarily during the TRB era.
In the context of the Kurgan hypothesis, the culture is seen as non-Indo-European, representing the culture of what Marija Gimbutas termed Old Europe, the peoples of which were later to be governed by the Indo-European-language-speaking peoples (see Yamna culture) intruding from the east. The political relation between the aboriginal and intrusive cultures resulted in quick and smooth cultural morphosis into Corded Ware culture.
Heterodoxically, Dutch publications mention mixed burials and propose a quick and smooth internal change to Corded Ware within two generations occurring about 2900 BC in Dutch and Danish TRB territory, probably precluded by economic, cultural and religious changes in East Germany, and call the migrationist view of steppe intrusions introducing Indo-European languages obsolete (at least in this part of the world). It is more likely that Indo-European languages were adopted by local populations because they represented a new way of life, bringing with them horses and cattle and the status they represented.
It has been suggested that the Funnelbeaker culture was the origin of the gene allowing adults of Northern European descent to digest lactose. It was claimed that in the area formerly inhabited by this culture, prevalence of the gene is virtually universal.
A paper published in 2007 by Burger et al. indicated that the genetic variant that causes lactase persistence in most Europeans (-13,910*T) was rare or absent in early farmers from central Europe. A study published by Yuval Itan and colleagues in 2010 clearly shows this. A study published in 2009, also by Itan et al., suggests that the Linear Pottery culture (also known as Linearbandkeramik or LBK), which preceded the TRB culture by some 1,500 years, was the culture in which this trait started to co-evolve with the culture of dairying.
Ancient DNA extracted from three individuals ascribed to a TRB horizon in Gökhem, Sweden, were found to possess mtDNA haplogroups H, J, and T.
The culture is named for its characteristic ceramics, beakers and amphorae with funnel-shaped tops, which were probably used for drinking. One find assigned to the Funnelbeaker culture is the Bronocice pot, which shows the oldest known depiction of a wheeled vehicle (here, a 2-axled, 4-wheeled wagon). The pot dates to approximately 3500 BC.
The houses were centered around a monumental grave, a symbol of social cohesion. Burial practices were varied, depending on region and changed over time. Inhumation seems to have been the rule.
The oldest graves consisted of wooden chambered cairns inside long barrows, but were later made in the form of passage graves and dolmens. Originally, the structures were probably covered with a heap of dirt and the entrance was blocked by a stone.
The Funnelbeaker culture marks the appearance of megalithic tombs at the coasts of the Baltic and of the North sea, an example of which are the Sieben Steinhäuser in northern Germany. The megalithic structures of Ireland, France and Portugal are somewhat older and have been connected to earlier archeological cultures of those areas.
The graves were probably not intended for every member of the settlement, but for only an elite. At graves, the people sacrificed ceramic vessels that probably contained food, and axes and other flint objects.
Axes and vessels were also deposed in streams and lakes near the farmlands, and virtually all Sweden’s 10,000 flint axes that have been found from this culture were probably sacrificed in water.
They also constructed large cult centres surrounded by pales, earthworks and moats. The largest one is found at Sarup on Fyn. Another cult centre at Stävie near Lund.
The Labrys is the doubleheaded axe, known to the Classical Greeks as pelekus) but which predated the arrival of the Hellenes in the Aegean world. Representations of the labrys are on Neolithic finds of “Old Europe”, and the labrys is continued in Minoan Thracian, Greek (and Byzantine) art and mythology. It also appears in African mythology. Today, it is sometimes used as a symbol associated with female and matristic power.
The Labrys or Double Axe, is an over-determined, many layered symbol that Carl Jung believed was an archetype, an indelible marker of the Great Mother myth, in the Psyche of every human being, male and female. The Labrys is not a weapon, and it is of equal psychological importance to men and women. The “battle-axes” were primarily a status object.
Labrys is the term for a symmetric doubleheaded axe. The double-bitted axe remains a forestry tool to this day, and the labrys certainly functioned as a tool and hewing axe before it was invested with symbolic function.
The Labrys is a double-sided hatchet or axe, which, in accordance with archaeological data, was widely used in ancient Europe, Africa and Asia as both a battle weapon and harvesting tool. It can be said with some certainty that “the Labrys peoples” had a large ethnic, social, and cultural inheritance from the hunters-fishers of the forest cultures.
The motives of the Labrys are found in ceramic ornaments of the Bronze Age agricultural societies of different geographical locations. This symbol is Typical for the art of Neolithic “Old Europe”, for Minoan, Thracian, Greek (and Byzantine) art and mythology. It played a significant ritual role in the ancient Mediterranean region and was closely connected with the cult of the Mother Goddess.
Plutarch relates the word labrys with a Lydian word for axe. This was a cult-word that was introduced from Anatolia, where such symbols have been found in Catal Huyuk from the neolithic age. Similar symbols have been found on plates of Linear pottery culture in Romania. Clay miniature axes (axes, hammers or double axes) belonging to this period have been found.
In 1998 a labrys, complete with an elaborately embellished haft, was found at Cham-Eslen, Canton of Zug, Switzerland. The haft was 120 cm long and wrapped in ornamented birch-bark. The axe blade is 17.4 cm long and made of antigorite, mined in the Gotthard-area. The haft goes through a biconical drilled hole and is fastened by wedges of antler and by birch-tar. It belongs to the early Cortaillod culture.
The Cortaillod culture is one of several archaeologically defined cultures belonging to the Neolithic period of Switzerland. The Cortaillod Culture in the west of the region is contemporary with the Pfyn Culture in the east and dates from between 3900-3500 BC. The Classic Cortaillod Culture of the western Alpine foreland and the Early Cortaillod Culture of central Switzerland pre-date this at 4300-3900 BC.
V. Danilenko, analyzing in his work “Kosmogony of Prehistorical Societies” spiral ornaments, which were widely used to decorate ceramic pots of the Early Bronze Age agricultural European societies, describes a basic ornamental motive of the double-edged axe.
The Labrys is used in the ornaments in close connection with the sun disk, “earthy” motives of an ox, and such symbols of the sky as a bird and dragon. In many patterns, the Labrys seems to untite all those symbolic elements together. In some pots, the Labrys also has a additional element of “eyes”, painted on its edges, which is interpreted by V. Danilenko as one more association with the sky and the solar cult. The motives of the ceramic ornaments of the Tripol culture seem to be tightly related to those of ancient Crete, where the similar symbolism is observed.
In Minoan Crete, the double axe (labrys) had a special significance, used by women priests in religious ceremonies. And the symbol refers to deification ceremonies; part of the leaping over the bull symbol also found at Crete; whereby aspirant becomes able to speak as a God to create any reality; the symbol being really a sky map.
The Minoan civilization features a flying anthropomorfal Labrys with its head in a form of a shining solar disk: Thus, the Labrys, as a cosmic and, in some cases, solar symbol, which connects together opposite elements of earth and sky, is a typical motive of art on the ceramic ornaments of Crete, Tripol, and other cultures. The Labrys seems to compose a core of their symbolic plot, being a basic character directly connected with the sun, which reflects some important functions between the sun and the sky.
In the Near East and other parts of the region, eventually axes of this sort are often wielded by male divinities and appear to become symbols of the thunderbolt. Labrys may be associated with an archaic symbol of the thunder deity whom as storm gods wield their thunder weapons and are found in some motifs of Indo-European mythology.
Teshub was the Hurrian god of sky and storm. He was derived from the Hattian Taru. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun, although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.
Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.
In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna—a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.
The double-axe accompanies the Hurrian god of sky and storm Teshub. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun. Both are depicted holding a triple thunderbolt, and a double axe on the other hand. Similarly, Zeus throws his Keravnos to bring storm. The labrys, or pelekys, is the double axe Zeus uses to invoke storm, and the relative modern Greek word for lightning is star-axe.
In feminist interpretations however, it is interpreted as a symbol of the Mother Goddess, and especially as the symbol of matriarchy, or of a butterfly.
Labrys symbolism is found in Minoan, Thracian, and Greek religion, mythology, and art, dating from the Middle Bronze Age onwards, and surviving in the Byzantine Empire.
It seems natural to interpret names of Carian sanctuaries like Labranda in the most literal sense as the place of the sacred labrys, which was the Lydian (or Carian) name for the Greek, or double-edged axe. In Labraunda of Caria the double-axe accompanies the storm-god Zeus Labraundos.
On Greek coins of the classical period (e.g. Pixodauros, etc.) a type of Zeus venerated at Labraunda in Caria that numismatists call Zeus Labraundeus (Ζεὺς Λαβρανδεύς) stands with a tall lotus-tipped sceptre upright in his left hand and the double-headed axe over his right shoulder.
In the context of the Classical Greek myth of Theseus, the labyrinth of Greek mythology is frequently associated with the Minoan palace of Knossos and has a long tradition of use that extends before any written records explain the traditions.
The word labyrinthos (Mycenaean daburintos) is probably connected with the word labrys. In the context of the myth of Theseus, the labyrinth of Greek mythology is frequently associated with the Minoan palace of Knossos.
In historical times, the priests of Delphi were called Labryaden, “the double-axe men”, which indicates Minoan origin. The double-axe, labrys, was the holy symbol of the Cretan labyrinth.
Britomartis, also known as Diktynna (“hunting nets”), was the Minoan goddess of mountains and hunting. The oldest aspect of the Cretan goddess was as Mother of Mountains, who appears on Minoan seals with the demonic features of a Gorgon, accompanied by the double-axes of power and gripping divine snakes. Her terror-inspiring aspect was softened by calling her Britomartis, the “good virgin”, a euphemism to allay her dangerous aspect.
She is among the Minoan goddess figures that passed through the Mycenaeans’ culture into classical Greek mythology, with transformations that are unclear in both transferrals. The goddess addressed as “Britomartis” was worshipped in Crete as an aspect of Potnia, the “Mistress”. For the Greeks, Britomartis was a mountain nymph (an oread) whom Greeks recognized also in Artemis and in Aphaea, the “invisible” patroness of Aegina.
Herakles, having slain Hippolyte and taken her axe with the rest of her arms, gave it to Omphale. The kings of Lydia who succeeded her carried this as one of their sacred insignia of office, and passed it down from father to son until Candaules. Candaules, however, disdained it and gave it to one of his companions to carry.
When Gyges rebelled and was making war upon Candaules, Arselis came with a force from Mylasa to the assistance of Gyges, slew Candaules and his companion, and took the axe to Caria with the other spoils of war. And having set up a statue of Zeus, he put the axe in his hand and called the god, “Labrandeus,” labrys being the Lydian word for ‘axe’.
Archeology suggests that the veneration of Zeus Labraundeos at Labraunda was far older than Plutarch imagined. Like its apparent cognate “labyrinth”, the word entered the Greek language as a loanword, so that its etymology, and even its original language, is not positively known. The loanword labyrinth was used in Greek, but the designation “The house of the Double Axe” for the palace at Knossos is an imaginative modern innovation.
The labrys symbol has been found widely in the Bronze Age archaeological recovery at the Palace of Knossos on Crete. The word labyrinth, which the Greeks used for the palace of Knossos is derived from “labrys”. However the designation “The house of the Double Axe” cannot be limited to the palace of Knossos, because the same symbols were discovered in other palaces of Crete.
In Crete the symbol always accompanies female divinities and it was probably the symbol of the arche of the creation (Mater-arche:matriarchy). In Crete, the symbol of the double-axe always accompanies goddesses, and it seems that it was the symbol of the beginning (arche) of the creation.
Sometimes the double-axe is combined with the sacral-knot which seems that was a symbol of holiness. Such symbols have been found in Crete, and also on some goldrings from Mycenae.
In the Mycenaean context, the labrys has a wide range of sizes, from miniature forms to giant forms that measure 1.20 meters. However, the labrys site is frequently associated with the moon and can be a symbol of a goddess of vegetation, the forerunner of Demeter, who, on Mycenaean seals, is found under a tree. The goddess has an ax in her hand and receives as gifts poppies and fruits.
Of all the Minoan religious symbols, the axe was the holiest. The term, and the symbol, is most closely associated in historical records with the Minoan civilization, which reached its peak in the 2nd millennium BC, and specifically with the worship of a Goddess.
Some Minoan labrys have been found which are taller than a man and which might have been used during sacrifices. The sacrifices would likely have been of bulls. In feminist interpretations (particularly by Marija Gimbutas), it is also interpreted as a symbol of the Mother Goddess and compared to the shape of a butterfly rather than an axe.
According to archaeological finds on Crete this double-axe was used specifically by Minoan priestesses for ceremonial uses. It seems that the goddess of the double-axe presided over the Minoan palaces, and especially over the palace of Knossos.
A Linear B inscription on tablet Gg702 found in Knossos, was interpreted “da-pu-ri-to-jo po-ti-ni-ja= labynthoio potnoiai” ( to the Mistress of the labyrinth), and she was undoubtedly the goddess of the palace.
The word labyrinthos (Mycenaean daburinthos) is probably connected with the word labrys. In the Linear B (Mycenean Greek) script a symbol similar to a double-axe represents the phonetic sign a .
Several double axes were found at the Arkalochori cave in Crete, with inscriptions in the Linear A script. A golden axe assumed to be from Alkalochori is now exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Among the double axes, the second-millennium bronze Arkalochori Axe with an inscription was excavated by Marinatos in 1934. It has been suggested that these might be Linear A but it seems that “the characters on the axe are no more than a ‘pseudo-inscription* engraved by an illiterate in uncomprehending imitation of authentic Linear A characters on other similar axes.”
On Greek vase paintings, a labrys sometimes appears in scenes of animal sacrifice, particularly as a weapon for the slaying of bulls. Some Minoan labrys have been found which are taller than a human and which might have been used during sacrifices. The sacrifices would likely have been of bulls.
The labrys is one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization; to the Romans, it was known as a bipennis. It should be noted that the priests at Delphi in classical Greece were called Labryades (the men of the double axe).
On the “Perseus Vase” in Berlin (F1704; ca 570–560 BC), Hephaestus ritually flees his act of slicing open the head of Zeus to free Athena whose pregnant mother Zeus swallowed to prevent her offspring from dethroning him. Over the shoulder of Hephaestus is the instrument he has used, the double-headed axe. The more usual double-headed instrument of Hephaestus is the double-headed smith’s hammer so the symbolism is important.
Zeus swallowing the goddess symbolized the progressive suppression of the earlier traditional religious beliefs, symbolically dethroning the goddess, Metis, but allowing Athene (her daughter) to be “born” of Zeus because her worship was so pervasive and widespread that it could not be suppressed. That is likely the reason the labrys was depicted as the instrument used by Hephaestus (who much earlier had been a consort of the Earth goddess) to release Athene.
The double-axe also appears in Thracian art. On the Aleksandrovo kurgan fresco, a Thracian burial mound and tomb excavated near Aleksandrovo, Haskovo Province, South-Eastern Bulgaria, dated to c. 4th century BC., it is probably wielded by Zalmoxis.
The fresco in the main chamber depicts a hunting scene where a boar is attacked by a mounted hunter and a naked man wielding a double-axe. The double-axe is interpreted as representing royal power, the naked man as representing Zalmoxis, the Thracian solar god corresponding to Zeus.
A battle axe (also battle-axe or battle-ax) is an axe specifically designed for combat. Battle axes were specialized versions of utility axes. Many were suitable for use in one hand, while others were larger and were deployed two-handed.
The Corded Ware culture (in Middle Europe c. 2900 – 2450/2350 cal. BC), alternatively characterized as the Battle Axe culture or Single Grave culture, is an enormous European archaeological horizon that begins in the late Neolithic (Stone Age), flourishes through the Copper Age and culminates in the early Bronze Age.
Corded Ware culture is associated with some of the Indo-European family of languages by many scholars and believed to be related to the Catacomb culture.
Around 2400 BC the people of the Corded Ware replaced their predecessors and expanded to Danubian and Nordic areas of western Germany. One related branch invaded Denmark and southern Sweden, while the mid-Danubian basin, though showing more continuity, shows also clear traits of new Indo-European elites (Vučedol culture).
It receives its name Corded Ware from the ornamentation of its characteristic pottery, Single Grave from its burial custom, and Battle Axe from its characteristic grave offering to males, a stone battle axe (which was by this time an inefficient weapon but a traditional status symbol).
The culture was the first to introduce corded pottery decorations into the steppes and shows a profuse use of the polished battle axe, providing a link to the West.
The Labrys – Semiotic Analysis
Iron Labrys found at ancient Thracian residence
Kiss My Axe – The History of the Ancient Labrys

Categories
Indo-Europeans Religion

The Swastika



The symbol of the Swastika and its 12,000-year-old history

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=E_reuMKpgow]

The word swastika came from the Sanskrit word svastika, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote auspiciousness, or any piece of luck or well-being. The word in this sense is first used in the Harivamsa. The Ramayana does have the word, but in an unrelated sense of “one who utters words of eulogy”.
The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good” or “auspicious,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix meaning “soul”, suastika might thus be translated literally as “that which is associated with well-being,” corresponding to “lucky charm” or “thing that is auspicious.” The swastika literally means “to be good” or “well-being.” Or another translation can be made: “swa” is “higher self”, “asti” meaning “being”, and “ka” as a suffix, so the translation can be interpreted as “being with higher self”.
Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world including India, Iran, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea and Europe. Iron Age attestations of the swastika can be associated with Indo-European cultures such as the Indo-Iranians, Celts, Greeks, Illyrians, Germans, Balts and Slavs. It also appears in the Bronze and Iron Age cultures around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, including Iron Age designs of the northern Caucasus (Koban culture).
An object very much like a hammer or a double axe is depicted among the magical symbols on the drums of Sami shamans, used in their religious ceremonies before Christianity was established. The name of the Sami thunder god was Horagalles, thought to be derived from “Old Man Thor” (Þórr karl). Sometimes on the drums, a male figure with a hammer-like object in either hand is shown, and sometimes it is more like a cross with crooked ends, or a swastika.
The earliest swastika known has been found in Mezine, Ukraine, not far from Kiev. It is carved on late paleolithic figurine of mammoth ivory, being dated as early as about 10,000 BC. It has been suggested this swastika may be a stylized picture of a stork in flight and not the true swastika that is in use today.
The earliest known association with the swastika with the mandala is on the Samarra ware found in Sāmarrā on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, 125 kilometers (78 mi) north of Baghdad in Iraq.
In Bronze Age Europe, the “Sun cross” (a three- or four-armed hooked cross in a circle) appears frequently, often interpreted as a solar symbol. Swastika shapes have been found on numerous artifacts from Iron Age Europe (Armenian Arevakhach), Greco-Roman, Illyrian, Etruscan, Baltic, Celtic, Germanic, Slavic and Georgian Borjgali. This prehistoric use seems to be reflected in the appearance of the symbol in various folk cultures of Europe, notable the Vinča culture, also known as Turdaș culture or Turdaș-Vinča culture, a Neolithic archaeological culture in Southeastern Europe, dated to the period 5500–4500 BC.
Farming technology first introduced to the region during the First Temperate Neolithic, an archaeological horizon consisting of the earliest archaeological cultures of Neolithic Southeastern Europe, dated to c. 6400–5100 BC, was developed further by the Vinča culture, fuelling a population boom and producing some of the largest settlements in prehistoric Europe.
These settlements maintained a high degree of cultural uniformity through the long-distance exchange of ritual items, but were probably not politically unified. Various styles of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figurines are hallmarks of the culture, as are the Vinča symbols, which some conjecture to be an early form of proto-writing. Though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or “Copper Age”, the Vinča culture provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy.
The Vinča symbols, sometimes called the Vinča signs, Vinča script, Vinča-Turdaș script, Old European script, etc, are a set of symbols found on Neolithic era (6th to 5th millennia BCE) artifacts from the Vinča culture of southeastern Europe.
The symbols are mostly considered as constituting the oldest excavated example of “proto-writing” in the world; that is, they probably conveyed a message but did not encode language, predating the development of writing proper by more than a millennium.
In 1875, archaeological excavations led by the Hungarian archeologist Zsófia Torma (1840–1899) at Tordos (today Turdaș, Romania) unearthed a cache of objects inscribed with previously unknown symbols. In 1908, a similar cache was found during excavations conducted by Miloje Vasić (1869–1956) in Vinča, a suburb of Belgrade (Serbia), some 120 km from Turdaș.
Later, more such fragments were found in Banjica, another part of Belgrade. Since, over one hundred and fifty Vinča sites have been identified in Serbia alone, but many, including Vinča itself, have not been fully excavated. Thus, the culture of the whole area is called the Vinča culture, and the script is often called the Vinča-Turdaș script.
The discovery of the Tartaria tablets in Romania by Nicolae Vlassa in 1961 reignited the debate. Vlassa believed the inscriptions to be pictograms and the finds were subsequently carbon-dated to before 4000 BCE, thirteen hundred years earlier than the date he expected, and earlier even than the writing systems of the Sumerians and Minoans. To date, more than a thousand fragments with similar inscriptions have been found on various archaeological sites throughout south-eastern Europe, notably in Greece (Dispilio Tablet), Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, and southern Ukraine.
Most of the inscriptions are on pottery, with the remainder appearing on ceramic spindle whorls, figurines, and a small collection of other objects. Over 85% of the inscriptions consist of a single symbol. The symbols themselves consist of a variety of abstract and representative pictograms, including zoomorphic (animal-like) representations, combs or brush patterns and abstract symbols such as swastikas, crosses and chevrons.
Other objects include groups of symbols, of which some are arranged in no particularly obvious pattern, with the result that neither the order nor the direction of the signs in these groups is readily determinable.
The usage of symbols varies significantly between objects: symbols that appear by themselves tend almost exclusively to appear on pots, while symbols that are grouped with other symbols tend to appear on whorls.
The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the bulk of the Vinča symbols was created in the period between 4500 and 4000 BC, with the ones on the Tărtăria clay tablets even dating back to around 5300 BC. This means that the Vinča finds predate the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk (modern Iraq), which is usually considered as the oldest known script, by more than a thousand years.
Analyses of the symbols showed that they have little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that these symbols and the Sumerian script probably arose independently. There are, however, some similarities between the Vinča signs and other Neolithic symbologies found elsewhere, as far afield as Egypt, Crete and even China, but scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development of proto-writing which evolved independently in a number of societies.
Although a large number of symbols are known, most artifacts contain so few symbols that they are very unlikely to represent a complete text. Possibly the only exception is the Sitovo inscription in Bulgaria, the dating of which is disputed; regardless, even that inscription has only around 50 symbols. It is unknown which language used the symbols, or indeed whether they stand for a language in the first place.
According to Marija Gimbutas, the Vinča culture was part of Old Europe – a relatively homogeneous, peaceful and matrifocal culture that occupied Europe during the Neolithic. According to this theory its period of decline was followed by an invasion of warlike, horse-riding Proto-Indo-European tribes from the Pontic-Caspian steppe.
According to Gimbutas’ version of the Kurgan hypothesis, Old Europe was invaded and destroyed by horse-riding pastoral nomads from the Pontic-Caspian steppe (the “Kurgan culture”) who brought with them violence, patriarchy, and Indo-European languages. More recent proponents of the Kurgan hypothesis agree that the cultures of Old Europe spoke pre-Indo-European languages but include a less dramatic transition, with a prolonged migration of Proto-Indo-European speakers after Old Europe’s collapse because of other factors.
Çatalhöyük is Turkish for “fork”, höyük for “mound”) was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date. In July 2012, it was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Greece, we find the earliest Neolithic culture in Europe, called the Sesklo culture. This culture probably derived from similar ancient cultures in Anatolia, and in turn influence the Balkan cultures and, possibly, the Cardium Pottery culture. The Sesklo people probably spoke an “Aegean” language, none of which survive, but which might have included Minoan and Eteocretan.
In England, neolithic or Bronze Age stone carvings of the symbol have been found on Ilkley Moor. Mirror-image swastikas (clockwise and anti-clockwise) have been found on ceramic pottery in the Devetashka cave, Bulgaria, dated 6,000 BC.
The most traditional form of the swastika’s symbolization in Jainism is that the four arms of the swastika remind us that during the cycles of birth and death we may be born into any one of the four destinies: heavenly beings, human beings, animal beings, (including birds, bugs, and plants) and hellish beings.
Jainism gives even more prominence to the swastika as a tantra than Hinduism does. It is a symbol of the seventh Tirthankara, Suparshvanath. In the Svetambara tradition, it is also one of the symbols of the ashtamangala. All derasars and holy books must contain the swastika and ceremonies typically begin and end with creating a swastika mark several times with rice around the altar. Jains use rice to make a swastika in front of statues in a temple. Jains then put an offering on this swastika, usually a ripe or dried fruit, a sweet, or a coin or currency note.
The most traditional form of the swastika’s symbolization in Hinduism is that the symbol represents the purusharthas: dharma (that which makes a human a human), artha (wealth), kama (desire), and moksha (liberation).
The swastika is recognized as a Hindu symbol in most parts of the world. In Hinduism, the swastika is at times in certain sects considered a symbolic representation of Ganesha. In Hindu rites, Ganesha is offered first offerings in every pooja. The swastika is made with Sindoor during Hindu religious rites.
Among the Hindus of Bengal, it is common to see the name “swastika” applied to a slightly different symbol, which has the same significance as the common swastika, and both symbols are used as auspicious signs. This symbol looks something like a stick figure of a human being. Right-facing swastika in the decorative Hindu form is used to evoke “shakti”. The swastika is a historical sacred symbol both to evoke ‘Shakti’ in tantric rituals and evoke the gods for blessings in Indian religions.
The Mahabharata has the word in the sense of “the crossing of the arms or hands on the breast”. Both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana also use the word in the sense of “a dish of a particular form” and “a kind of cake”. The word does not occur in Vedic Sanskrit.
Buddhism originated in the 5th century BC and spread throughout the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BC (Maurya Empire). The Buddhist sign has been standardized as a Chinese character (pinyin: wàn) and as such entered various other East Asian languages such as Japanese where the symbol is called (manji). Known as a “yungdrung” in ancient Tibet, it was a graphical representation of eternity.
In the Zoroastrian religion of Persia, the swastika was a symbol of the revolving sun, infinity, or continuing creation. It rose to importance in Buddhism during the Mauryan Empire and in Hinduism with the decline of Buddhism in India during the Gupta Empire. With the spread of Buddhism, the Buddhist swastika reached Tibet and China. The symbol was also introduced to Balinese Hinduism by Hindu kings. The use of the swastika by the Bön faith of Tibet, as well as later syncretic religions, such as Cao Dai of Vietnam and Falun Gong of China, can also be traced to Buddhist influence.
The swastika appear in Neolithic China in the Majiabang, Dawenkou and Xiaoheyan cultures. The Majiabang culture was a Neolithic culture that existed at the mouth of the Yangtze River, primarily around the Taihu area and north of Hangzhou Bay in China. The culture was spread throughout southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC.
Initially, archaeologists had considered the Majiabang sites and sites in northern Jiangsu to be part of the same culture, naming it the Qingliangang culture. Archaeologists later realized that the northern Jiangsu sites were of the Dawenkou culture and renamed the southern Jiangsu sites as the Majiabang culture. The Majiabang culture coexisted with the Hemudu culture for over a thousand years as two separate and distinct cultures, with cultural transmissions between the two cultures.
The paired swastika symbols are included, at least since the Liao Dynasty (AD907–1125) , as part of the Chinese writing system and are variant characters for (wàn in Mandarin, man in Korean, Cantonese and Japanese, vạn in Vietnamese) meaning “all” or “eternity” (lit. myriad). The swastika marks the beginning of many Buddhist scriptures. In East Asian countries, the left-facing character is often used as symbol for Buddhism and marks the site of a Buddhist temple on maps.
In Chinese and Japanese the swastika is also a homonym of the number 10,000, and is commonly used to represent the whole of Creation, e.g. ‘the myriad things’ in the Dao De Jing. During the Chinese Tang Dynasty, Empress Wu Zetian (684-704) decreed that the swastika would also be used as an alternative symbol of the Sun.
When the Chinese writing system was introduced to Japan in the 8th century, the swastika was adopted into the Japanese language and culture, with the meaning remained unchanged but slight change on its pronunciation. It is commonly referred as the manji (lit. Man-character).
Since the Middle Ages, it has been used as a mon by various Japanese families such as Tsugaru clan, Hachisuka clan or around 60 clans that belong to Tokugawa clan. On Japanese maps, a swastika (left-facing and horizontal) is used to mark the location of a Buddhist temple. The right-facing manji is often referred to as the gyaku manji (lit. “reverse manji”) or migi manji (lit. “right manji”), and can also be called kagi jūji (literally “hook cross”).
In Chinese and Japanese art, the swastika is often found as part of a repeating pattern. One common pattern, called sayagata in Japanese, comprises left- and right-facing swastikas joined by lines. As the negative space between the lines has a distinctive shape, the sayagata pattern is sometimes called the “key fret” motif in English.
As a pottery graph of unknown provision and meaning the swastka-like sign is known in Chinese Neolithic culture (2400-2000 BCE, Liu wan, Qinghai province).
The swastika is also seen in Egypt during the Coptic period. Textile number T.231-1923 held at the V&A Museum in London includes small swastikas in its design. This piece was found at Qau-el-Kebir, near Asyut, and is dated between AD300-600.
The Tierwirbel (the German for “animal whorl” or “whirl of animals”) is a characteristic motive in Bronze Age Central Asia, the Eurasian Steppe, and later also in Iron Age Scythian and European (Baltic and Germanic) culture, showing rotational symmetric arrangement of an animal motive, often four birds’ heads. Even wider diffusion of this “Asiatic” theme has been proposed, to the Pacific and even North America (especially Moundville).
It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol to evoke shakti or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness. The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization as well as the Mediterranean Classical Antiquity and paleolithic Europe. It first appears in the archaeological record here around 2500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilization.
While there was a lot of different gods pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) mention the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.
In Armenia the Swastika is called “vardan“, “arevakhach” and “ker khach” and is the ancient symbol of eternal light (i.e. God). Swastikas in Armenia were founded on petroglyphs. Among the oldest petroglyphs is the seventh letter of the Armenian alphabet – “E” (which means “is” or “to be”) – depicted as half-swastika.
Swastikas can also be seen on early Medieval churches and fortresses, including the principal tower in Armenia’s historical capital city of Ani. The same symbol can be found on Armenian carpets, cross-stones (khachkar) and in medieval manuscripts.
Swastikas have also been found on pottery in archaeological digs in Africa, in the area of Kush and on pottery at the Jebel Barkal temple, sa very small mountain located some 400 km north of Khartoum, in Karima town in Northern State in Sudan, on a large bend of the Nile River, in the region called Nubia.
Around 1450 BCE, the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III extended his empire to that region and considered Gebel Barkal its southern limit. There, he campaigned near the city of Napata that, about 300 years later, became the capital of the independent kingdom of Kush. The 25th Dynasty Nubian king Piye later greatly enlarged the New Kingdom Temple of Amun in this city and erected his Year 20 Victory stela within it.
The swastika is also a motif used by certain African groups. One of the oldest recorded uses of the swastika is in the adinkra artwork of the Akan people in Ghana. Referred to as nkotimsefuopua, the swastika was used in Akan goldweights as early as 1400. In 1927, Scottish anthropologist Robert Sutherland Rattray noted servants in Ashanti Empire wearing the image on their dresses. The swastika is clearly carved on one of the Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia which dates to the 12th or 13th century.

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Armenia Caucasus Indo-Europeans

A common ancestor of Indo-European and Hurrian

A common ancestor of Indo-European and Hurrian

Who Were the Hurrians?
There is an interesting monograph by Fournet & Bomhard on the Indo-European Elements in Hurrian (pdf). I will leave the linguistic details to the experts, as I doubt that many people are competent in both Proto-Indo-European and Hurrian to assess the authors’ thesis. However, this is the bit that captured my attention:

Hurrian cannot be considered an Indo-European language — this is so obvious that it barely needs to be stated. Traditional Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Gothic, Old Irish, Old Church Slavic, Tocharian, etc., are clearly related to each other through many common features and shared innovations that are lacking in Hurrian.
However, that is not the end of the argument. In the preceding chapters, we presented evidence that Hurrian and Proto-Indo-European “[bear] a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could have been produced by accident; so strong that no philologer could examine [them] without believing them to have sprung from some common source.” In this chapter, we will discuss our views on what that common source may have been like. In so doing, we will have to delve deeply into prehistory, well beyond the horizon of what is traditionally reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European in the traditional handbooks.
Our discussion now comes to an end. In the course of this book, we have attempted to show, through a careful analysis of the relevant phonological, morphological, and lexical data, that Urarto-Hurrian and Indo-European are, in fact, genetically related at a very deep level, as we indicated at the beginning of this chapter by quoting from the famous Third Anniversary Discourse (1786) of Sir William Jones. We propose that both are descended from a common ancestor, which may be called “Proto-Asianic”, to revive an old, but not forgotten, term.

On the basis of genetic data I have recently proposed an origin of the Indo-Aryans in the Transcaucasus, based on their possession of a genetic component related to that of modern Northeast Caucasian speakers and the putative relationship of the latter with the Hurro-Urartian group. If the Hurrian-Indo-European “Proto-Asianic” hypothesis is true, then it would strengthen that hypothesis as it would place the Proto-Indo-Europeans in the vicinity of the Hurrians.
A common ancestor of Indo-European and Hurrian
The Indo-European Elements In Hurrian
Hurrians – Wikipedia

Categories
China Indo-Europeans

Indo-Europeans at Linzi

File:Linzi model 2010 06 06.jpg
File:Sacrificial horsepit linzi 2010 06 06.jpg
Stock Photo #4149-12270, Ancient chariot from Shang Dynasty, Linzi Museum of Ancient Chariots, Linzi District, Zibo City, Shandong, China
File:EN-QI260BCE.jpg


To examine temporal changes in population genetic structure, we compared the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of three populations that lived in the same location, Linzi, China, in different periods: 2,500 years ago (the Spring–Autumn era), 2,000 years ago (the Han era), and the present day. Two indices were used to compare the genetic differences: the frequency distributions of the radiating haplotype groups and the genetic distances among the populations.
The results indicate that the genetic backgrounds of the three populations are distinct from each other. Inconsistent with the geographical distribution, the 2,500-year-old Linzi population showed greater genetic similarity to present-day European populations than to present-day east Asian populations. The 2,000-year-old Linzi population had features that were intermediate between the present-day European/2,500-year-old Linzi populations and the present-day east Asian populations.
These relationships suggest the occurrence of drastic spatiotemporal changes in the genetic structure of Chinese people during the past 2,500 years.
Genetic Structure of a 2,500-Year-Old Human Population in China and Its Spatiotemporal Changes
Prior to the expansion of Shang and Zhou culture through the region, many hundreds of tumuli were also constructed by the “Baiyue” peoples of the Yangtze valley and southeastern China. Historian Luo Xianglin has suggested that these peoples shared a common ancestry with the Xia Dynasty. There is little evidence, however, that the Yue peoples held any common identity.
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty, according to traditional historiography, ruled in the Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia Dynasty and followed by the Zhou Dynasty.
The earliest archaeological evidence of chariots in China, a chariot burial site discovered in 1933 at Hougang, Anyang in Henan province, dates to the rule of King Wu Ding of the late Shang Dynasty (c. 1200 BC). Oracle bone inscriptions suggest that the western enemies of the Shang used limited numbers of chariots in battle, but the Shang themselves used them only as mobile command vehicles and in royal hunts.
The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Classic of History, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian. According to the traditional chronology based upon calculations made approximately 2,000 years ago by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled from 1766 BC to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the “current text” of Bamboo Annals, they ruled from 1556 BC to 1046 BC. The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 BC to 1046 BC.
Archaeological work at the Ruins of Yin (near modern day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, uncovered eleven major Yin royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices. Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been obtained. The workmanship on the bronzes attests to a high level of civilization.
The Anyang site has yielded the earliest known body of Chinese writing, mostly divinations inscribed on oracle bones – turtle shells, ox scapulae, or other bones. More than 20,000 were discovered in the initial scientific excavations during the 1920s and 1930s, and over four times as many have been found since. The inscriptions provide critical insight into many topics from the politics, economy, and religious practices to the art and medicine of this early stage of Chinese civilization.
Before the 20th century, the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC) was the earliest Chinese dynasty that could be verified from its own records. However during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD), antiquarians collected bronze ritual vessels attributed to the Shang era, some of which bore inscriptions.
Chinese bronze casting and pottery advanced during the Shang dynasty, with bronze typically being used for ritually significant, rather than primarily utilitarian, items. As far back as c. 1500 BC, the early Shang Dynasty engaged in large-scale production of bronze-ware vessels and weapons. This production required a large labor force that could handle the mining, refining, and transportation of the necessary copper, tin, and lead ores. This in turn created a need for official managers that could oversee both hard-laborers and skilled artisans and craftsmen.
The Shang royal court and aristocrats required a vast amount of different bronze vessels for various ceremonial purposes and events of religious divination. Ceremonial rules even decreed how many bronze containers of each type a nobleman or noblewoman of a certain rank could own. With the increased amount of bronze available, the army could also better equip itself with an assortment of bronze weaponry. Bronze was also used for the fittings of spoke-wheeled chariots, which appeared in China around 1200 BC.
The Western Zhou period (1046–771 BCE) was the first half of the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou overthrew the Shang Dynasty at the Battle of Muye. The dynasty was successful for about seventy-five years and then slowly lost power. The former Shang lands were divided into hereditary fiefs which became increasingly independent of the king. In 771, barbarians drove the Zhou out of the Wei River valley; afterwards that real power was in the hands of the king’s nominal vassals.
The twelfth and last king of the Western Zhou period was King You of Zhou (781–771 BCE). When You replaced his wife with a concubine, the former queen’s powerful father, the Marquess of Shen, joined forces with Quanrong barbarians to sack the western capital of Haojing and kill King You in 770 BCE. Most of the Zhou nobles withdrew from the Wei River valley and the capital was reestablished downriver at the old eastern capital of Chengzhou near modern-day Luoyang. This was the start of the Eastern Zhou period, which is customarily divided into the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period.
It is possible that the Zhou kings derived most of their income from royal lands in the Wei valley. This would explain the sudden loss of royal power when the Zhou were driven east, but the matter is hard to prove. In recent decades, archaeologists have found a significant number of treasure hoards that were buried in the Wei valley about the time the Zhou were expelled. This implies that the Zhou nobles were suddenly driven from their homes and hoped to return, but never did.
Qi was a powerful state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China. Its capital was Linzi, in present-day Zibo, Shandong Province. The state was founded around in 1046 BC as one of the many vassal states of the Zhou Dynasty. The first ruler of Qi was Jiang Ziya, the most powerful official during that time. The Jiang family ruled Qi for several centuries before it was replaced by the Tian family in 386 BC. In 221 BC, Qi was the last state of pre-Imperial China to be conquered by the State of Qin, which became the Qin Dynasty, the first centralized empire of China.
Linzi, originally called Yingqiu, was the capital of the ancient Chinese state of Qi during the Zhou Dynasty. The ruins of the city lie in modern day Linzi District, Shandong, China. The city was one of the largest and richest in China during the Spring and Autumn Period.
With occupying Linzi in 221 BC, King Zheng of Qin completed his conquest of the Chinese rival states and declared himself the first emperor of China shortly afterwards. The ruins of the ancient city were excavated in 1926 by Japanese archaeologists and in 1964 by Chinese archaeologists.
Linzi covered an area of around 668 km². The city was built between two parallel rivers that ran north-south, the Zi River to its east and the old course of the Xi River to its west. The city was surrounded by a 14 km perimeter wall of rammed earth.
The city consisted of an outer city and an inner city. The outer city wall reached a maximum of 43 meters in base width, averaging between 20 to 30 meters in width. The inner city wall reached a maximum of 60 meters in base width. The city had a sewer and water works system.
The palace was located in the inner city, located in the southwestern corner of Linzi. A large rammed earth platform was found inside the inner city, commonly referred to as the Duke Huan platform. The remains of the platform measure 86 by 70 meters and are 14 meters high.
“Seven broad avenues, some 20 m wide and over 4,000 m long, ran north-south and east-west, roughly forming a grid pattern. Four major avenues met in the northeast section of the city. It is no coincidence that this area yielded the richest cultural remains from the Western Zhou to the Han.”
In the Records of the Grand Historian, the population of Linzi in the fourth and third centuries B.C. was said to be 70,000 households, with at least 210,000 adult males. Scholars today believe this was somewhat exaggerated.
The kings of Qi and the Qi state acted as patrons of the Jixia Academy (ca 315-285 B.C.) in Linzi, the earliest and largest (in its time) center of learning in China. The Academy, possibly named after the city gate (Ji) nearby, was made up of chosen scholars who received a handsome stipend from the government in return for advising the king on government, rites and philosophy. Among the Jixia Academy scholars were Mencius, Xun Zi (who taught Han Fei Zi and Li Si, among others), and Shen Dao.
The ruins of the city are surrounded by over 100 tumulus, some as far as 10 km away. Many of the tombs around Linzi had been looted in antiquity. Over 600 horses were sacrificed in two rows, found in a tomb pit, near what is considered the tomb of Duke Jing of Qi. The sacrificial horse pit is now the site of a museum, the Museum of the State of Qi.
Shang Dynasty
Western Zhou
Qi (state)

Categories
China Indo-Europeans

Indo-Europeans in China

The Wei River is a major river in west-central China’s Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It is the largest tributary of the Yellow River and very important in the early development of Chinese civilization.
The valley of the Wei was one of the early cradles of Chinese civilization, along which the capitals of the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang Dynasties were situated. The area of Dingxi around its headwaters in Gansu has numerous stone age sites from various early cultures. The Wei Valley is likely the earliest center of Chinese civilisation, and also the location of China’s first major irrigation works and some Chinese historians now believe the Wei is the ancient Jiang River which gave its name to the families of Shennong and the Yan emperor, two Chinese culture heroes involved with the early development of agriculture there.
The headwaters of the Wei River are also notable in the development of the Northern Silk Road. The Chinese segment of the Northern Silk Road connected Xi’an (then the capital of China) to the west via Baoji, Tianshui at the Wei’s headwaters, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, and the Wushao Ling Pass, before looping north of the Takla Makan on its way to Kashgar and the routes into Parthia.
The chariot is a type of carriage using animals (almost always horses) to provide rapid motive power. Chariots were used for war as “battle taxis” and mobile archery platforms, as well as more peaceable pursuits such as hunting or racing for sport, and as a chief vehicle of many ancient peoples, when speed of travel was desired rather than how much weight could be carried.
The wheeled vehicle spread from the area of its first occurrence (Mesopotamia, Caucasus, Balkans, Central Europe) across Eurasia, reaching the Indus Valley by the 3rd millennium BC. During the 2nd millennium BC, the spoke-wheeled chariot spread at an increased pace, reaching both China and Scandinavia by 1200 BC.
A further expansion to northwestern China happened around 2000 BC. Although ‘’Equus’’ bones of uncertain species are found in some Late Neolithic sites in China dated before 2000 BC, ‘’Equus caballus’’ or ‘’Equus ferus’’ bones first appeared in multiple sites and in significant numbers in sites of the Qijia and Siba cultures, 2000-1600 BC, in Gansu and the northwestern provinces of China.
The U.S. National Gallery of Art defines the Chinese Bronze Age as the “period between about 2000 BC and 771 BC,” a period that begins with Erlitou culture and ends abruptly with the disintegration of Western Zhou rule.
In 1899, it was found that Chinese pharmacists were selling “dragon bones” marked with curious and archaic characters. These were finally traced back in 1928 to a site (now called Yinxu) near Anyang, north of the Yellow River in modern Henan province, where the Academia Sinica undertook archeological excavation until the Japanese invasion in 1937.
Archaeologists focused on the Yellow River valley in Henan as the most likely site of the states described in the traditional histories. After 1950, remnants of an earlier walled city were discovered near Zhengzhou. It has been determined that the earth walls at Zhengzhou, erected in the 15th century BC, would have been 20 metres (66 ft) wide at the base, rising to a height of 8 metres (26 ft), and formed a roughly rectangular wall 7 kilometres (4 mi) around the ancient city.
The rammed earth construction of these walls was an inherited tradition, since much older fortifications of this type have been found at Chinese Neolithic sites of the Longshan culture (c. 3000–2000 BC).
In 1959, the site of the Erlitou culture was found in Yanshi, south of the Yellow River near Luoyang. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the Erlitou culture flourished ca. 2100 BC to 1800 BC. They built large palaces, suggesting the existence of an organized state.
The Erlitou culture is a name given by archaeologists to an Early Bronze Age urban society that existed in China from 1880 BCE to 1520 BC. The culture was named after the site discovered at Erlitou in Yanshi, Henan Province. They built large palaces, suggesting the existence of an organized state.
The Erlitou culture may have evolved from the matrix of Longshan culture. Originally centered around Henan and Shanxi Province, the culture spread to Shaanxi and Hubei Province. After the rise of the Erligang culture, a Bronze Age archaeological culture in China, the site at Erlitou diminished in size but remained inhabited.
Discovered in 1959 by Xu Xusheng, Erlitou is the largest site associated with the Erlitou Culture, with palace buildings and bronze smelting workshops. Erlitou monopolized the production of ritual bronze vessels. The city is on the Yi River, a tributary of the Luo River, which flows into the Yellow River.
The Erligang culture was centered in the Yellow River valley. Its bronzes developed from the style and techniques of the earlier Erlitou culture, centred 85 km to the west of Zhengzhou. Erligang was the first archaeological culture in China to show widespread use of bronze vessel castings. Bronze vessels became much more widely used and uniform in style than at Erlitou.
The Erligang culture represented by the Zhengzhou site is found across a wide area of China, even as far northeast as the area of modern Beijing, where at least one burial in this region during this period contained both Erligang-style bronzes and local-style gold jewelry. The discovery of a Chenggu-style ge dagger-axe at Xiaohenan demonstrates that even at this early stage of Chinese history, there were some ties between the distant areas of north China. The Panlongcheng site in the middle Yangtze valley was an important regional center of the Erligang culture.
Accidental finds elsewhere in China have revealed advanced civilizations contemporaneous with but culturally unlike the settlement at Anyang, such as the walled city of Sanxingdui in Sichuan. Western scholars are hesitant to designate such settlements as belonging to the Shang dynasty. Also unlike the Shang, there is no known evidence that the Sanxingdui culture had a system of writing. The late Shang state at Anyang is thus generally considered the first verifiable civilization in Chinese history. In contrast, the earliest layers of the Wucheng site, pre-dating Anyang, have yielded pottery fragments containing short sequences of symbols, suggesting that they may be a form of writing quite different in form from oracle bone characters, but the sample is too small for decipherment.
The oldest extant direct records date from around 1200 BC at Anyang, covering the reigns of the last nine Shang kings. The Shang had a fully developed system of writing, preserved on bronze inscriptions and a small number of other writings on pottery, jade and other stones, horn, etc., but most prolifically on oracle bones. The complexity and sophistication of this writing system indicates an earlier period of development, but direct evidence of that development is still lacking. Other advances included the invention of many musical instruments and observations of Mars and various comets by Shang astronomers.
Their civilization was based on agriculture and augmented by hunting and animal husbandry. In addition to war, the Shang also practiced human sacrifice. Cowry shells were also excavated at Anyang, suggesting trade with coast-dwellers, but there was very limited sea trade in ancient China since China was isolated from other large civilizations during the Shang period. Trade relations and diplomatic ties with other formidable powers via the Silk Road and Chinese voyages to the Indian Ocean did not exist until the reign of Emperor Wu during the Han Dynasty (206 BC–221 AD).
Chinese historians living in later periods were accustomed to the notion of one dynasty succeeding another, and readily identified the Zhengzhou and Erlitou sites with the early Shang and Xia Dynasty of traditional histories. Chinese archaeologists generally identify the Erlitou culture as the site of the Xia dynasty, but there is no firm evidence, such as writing, to substantiate such a linkage.
The actual political situation in early China may have been more complicated, with the Xia and Shang being political entities that existed concurrently, just as the early Zhou, who established the successor state of the Shang, are known to have existed at the same time as the Shang.
Yu the Great (c. 2200 – 2100 BC), was a legendary ruler in ancient China famed for his introduction of flood control, inaugurating dynastic rule in China by founding the Xia Dynasty, and for his upright moral character. Yu is one of the few Chinese rulers posthumously honored with the epithet “the Great”.
Few, if any, records exist from the period of Chinese history when Yu reigned. Because of this, the vast majority of information about his life and reign comes from collected pieces of oral tradition and stories that were passed down in various areas of China, many of which were collected in Sima Qian’s famous Records of the Grand Historian. Yu and other “sage-kings” of Ancient China were lauded by Confucius and other Chinese teachers, who praised their virtues and morals.
A major goal of archaeology in China has been the search for the capitals of the Xia and Shang dynasties described in traditional accounts as inhabiting the Yellow River valley. These originally oral traditions were recorded much later in histories such as the Bamboo Annals (c. 300 BCE) and the Records of the Grand Historian (1st century BCE), and their historicity, particularly regarding the Xia, is doubted by many scholars. The discovery of writing in the form of oracle bones at Yinxu in Anyang definitively established the site as the last capital of the Shang, but such evidence is unavailable for earlier sites.
When Xu Xusheng first discovered Erlitou, he suggested that it was Bo, the first capital of the Shang under King Tang in the traditional account.
Since the late 1970s speculation among Chinese achaeologists has focussed on its relationship to the Xia. The traditional account of the overthrow of the Xia by the Shang has been identified with the ends of each of the four phases of the site by different authors. The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project identified all four phases of Erlitou as Xia, and the construction of the Yanshi walled city as the founding of the Shang. Other scholars, particularly outside China, point to the lack of any firm evidence for such an identification, and argue that the historiographical focus of Chinese archaeology is unduly limiting.
The Erligang culture represented by the Zhengzhou site is found across a wide area of China, even as far northeast as the area of modern Beijing, where at least one burial in this region during this period contained both Erligang-style bronzes and local-style gold jewelry. The discovery of a Chenggu-style ge dagger-axe at Xiaohenan demonstrates that even at this early stage of Chinese history, there were some ties between the distant areas of north China. The Panlongcheng site in the middle Yangtze valley was an important regional center of the Erligang culture.
Accidental finds elsewhere in China have revealed advanced civilizations contemporaneous with but culturally unlike the settlement at Anyang, such as the walled city of Sanxingdui in Sichuan. Western scholars are hesitant to designate such settlements as belonging to the Shang dynasty.
Also unlike the Shang, there is no known evidence that the Sanxingdui culture had a system of writing. The late Shang state at Anyang is thus generally considered the first verifiable civilization in Chinese history. In contrast, the earliest layers of the Wucheng site, pre-dating Anyang, have yielded pottery fragments containing short sequences of symbols, suggesting that they may be a form of writing quite different in form from oracle bone characters, but the sample is too small for decipherment.
The Qijia culture was in contact with cultures of the Eurasian steppes, as shown through similarities between Qijia and Late Bronze Age steppe metallurgy, so it was probably through these contacts that domesticated horses first became frequent in northwestern China.
The Altai Mountains in what is now southern Russia and central Mongolia have been identified as the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon. It is conjectured that changes in climate in this region around 2000 BC and the ensuing ecological, economic and political changes triggered a rapid and massive migration westward into northeast Europe, eastward into China and southward into Vietnam and Thailand across a frontier of some 4,000 miles.
The Qijia culture (2400 BC – 1900 BC) was an early Bronze Age culture distributed around the upper Yellow River region of Gansu (centered in Lanzhou) and eastern Qinghai, China, it is regarded as one of the earliest bronze cultures. Johan Gunnar Andersson discovered the initial site at Qijiaping) in 1923.
Qijia culture was a sedentary culture, based on agriculture, and breeding pigs, which were also used in sacrifices. Qijia culture is distinguished by a presence of numerous domesticated horses, and practice of oracle divination, the metal knives and axes recovered apparently point to some interactions with Siberian and Central Asian cultures, in particular with the Seima-Turbino complex.
Archeological evidence points to a plausible early contacts between the Qijia culture and Central Asia. During the late stages of the culture, the Qijia culture retreated from the west and suffered a reduction in population size. Qijia culture produced some of the earliest bronze and copper mirrors found in China. Extensive domestication of horses are found at many Qijia sites.
The archaeological site at Lajia, Huangniangniangtai, Qinweijia, and Dahezhuang are associated with the Qijia culture.
Evidence of wheeled vehicles appears from the mid-4th millennium BC, near-simultaneously in Mesopotamia, Indus Valley(Moenjodaro), the Northern Caucasus (Maykop culture) and Central Europe, so that the question of which culture originally invented the wheeled vehicle remains unresolved and under debate. The world’s oldest wooden wheel, dating from 5,250 ± 100 BP, was discovered by Slovenian archeologists in 2002.
The earliest well-dated depiction of a wheeled vehicle (here a wagon—four wheels, two axles), is on the Bronocice pot, a c. 3500 – 3350 BC clay pot excavated in a Funnelbeaker culture settlement in southern Poland.
In China, the wheel was certainly present with the adoption of the chariot in c. 1200 BC, although Barbieri-Low argues for earlier Chinese wheeled vehicles, c. 2000 BC. The earliest archaeological evidence of chariots in China, a chariot burial site discovered in 1933 at Hougang, Anyang in Henan province, dates to the rule of King Wu Ding of the late Shang Dynasty (c. 1200 BC).
Oracle bone inscriptions suggest that the western enemies of the Shang used limited numbers of chariots in battle, but the Shang themselves used them only as mobile command vehicles and in royal hunts.
Wagons and chariots were introduced into China from the west by Indo-Europeans. The European penetration of China did not begin with the opening of the transcontinental Silk Road trade route that history books usually place in the second century B.C., but at least 2,000 years earlier at the turn of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, when the whole of Eurasia became culturally and technologically interconnected by migrating Europeans.
These discoveries have extremely important consequences for understanding the origins of Chinese civilization, since the chariot has now been demonstrated to have entered China only around the middle of the second millennium B.C., at roughly the same time that bronze metallurgy and writing developed there.
The earliest Tarim mummies, found at Qäwrighul and dated to 1800 BCE, are of a Europoid physical type whose closest affiliation is to the Bronze Age populations of southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and the Lower Volga. The earliest Bronze Age settlers of the Tarim and Turpan basins can be traced to the Afanasevo culture (3500–2500 BC), which displays cultural and genetic connections with the Indo-European-associated cultures of the Eurasian Steppe yet predates the specifically Indo-Iranian-associated Andronovo culture (c. 2000–900 BCE) enough to isolate the Tocharian languages from Indo-Iranian linguistic innovations like satemization.
The colonists from the steppelands and highlands immediately north of East Central Asia were related to the Afanasievo culture which exploited both open steppelands and upland environments employing a mixed agricultural economy. The Afanasievo culture formed the eastern linguistic periphery of the Indo-European continuum of languages.
The occupants of the Afanasevo culture are not derived from proto-European steppe populations, but share closest affinities with Eastern Mediterranean populations. Such Eastern Mediterraneans may also be found at the urban centers of the Oxus civilization located in the north Bactrian oasis to the west.
Gansu is a compound name first used in Song Dynasty China of two Sui and Tang Dynasty prefectures (): Gan (around Zhangye) and Su (around Jiuquan).
The ruins of a Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) Chinese watchtower made of rammed earth at Dunhuang, Gansu province, the eastern edge of the Silk Road
In prehistoric times, Gansu was host to a number of Neolithic cultures. The Dadiwan culture, from where numerous archaeologically significant artifacts have been excavated, flourished in the eastern end of Gansu from about 6000 BC to about 3000 BC. The Majiayao culture and part of the Qijia culture also took root in Gansu from 3100 BC to 2700 BC and 2400 BC to 1900 BC respectively.
The Yuezhi originally lived in the very western part of Gansu until they were forced to emigrate by the Xiongnu around 177 BCE. The Qin state, later to become the founding state of the Chinese empire, grew out from the southeastern part of Gansu, specifically the Tianshui area. The Qin name itself is believed to have originated, in part, from the area. Qin tombs and artifacts have been excavated from Fangmatan near Tianshui, including one 2200-year-old map of Guixian County.
In imperial times, Gansu was an important strategic outpost and communications link for the Chinese empire, as the Hexi corridor runs along the “neck” of the province. The Han dynasty extended the Great Wall across this corridor, also building the strategic Yumenguan (Jade Gate Pass, near Dunhuang) and Yangguan fort towns along it. Remains of the wall and the towns can be found there to this date. The Ming dynasty also built the Jiayuguan outpost in Gansu. To the west of Yumenguan and the Qilian Mountains, at the northwestern end of the province, the Yuezhi, Wusun, and other nomadic tribes dwelt (Shiji 123), occasionally figuring in regional imperial Chinese geopolitics.
Situated along the Silk Road, Gansu was an economically important province, and a cultural transmission path as well. Temples and Buddhist grottoes such as those at Mogao Caves (‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’) and Maijishan Caves contain artistically and historically revealing murals. An early form of paper inscribed with Chinese characters and dating to about 8 BC was discovered at the site of a Western Han garrison near the Yumen pass in August 2006.
By the Qingshui treaty, concluded in 823 between the Tibetan Empire and the Tang Dynasty, China lost for a long while a chunk of the Gansu province.
After the fall of the Uyghur Empire, an Uyghur state was established in parts of Gansu that lasted from 848 to 1036 AD. During that time, many of Gansu’s residents converted to Islam.
The Hui people are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group in China. Hui people are found throughout the country, though they are concentrated mainly in the Northwestern provinces and the Central Plain. According to a 2000 census, China is home to approximately 9.8 million Hui people, the majority of whom are Chinese-speaking practitioners of Islam, though some practice other religions. Although many Hui people are ethnically similar to Han Chinese, the group has retained some Arabic, Persian and Central Asian features, their ethnicity and culture having been shaped profoundly by their position along the Silk Road trading route.
In the People’s Republic of China, the Hui people are one of 56 officially recognized ethnic groups. Under this definition, the Hui people are defined to include all historically Muslim communities in People’s Republic of China that are not included in China’s other ethnic groups. Since China’s Muslims speaking various Turkic, Mongolic, or Iranian languages are all included into those other groups (e.g., Uyghurs, Dongxiang, or Tajiks), the “officially recognized” Hui ethnic group consists predominantly of Chinese language speakers. In fact, the “Hui nationality” is unique among China’s officially recognized ethnic minorities in that it does not have any particular non-Sinitic language associated with it.
Most Hui, although they are not ethnically Han Chinese, are similar in culture to Han Chinese with the exception that they practice Islam, and have some distinctive cultural characteristics as a result. For example, as Muslims, they follow Islamic dietary laws and reject the consumption of pork, the most common meat consumed in Chinese culture, and have also given rise to their variation of Chinese cuisine, Chinese Islamic cuisine and Muslim Chinese martial arts. Their mode of dress also differs primarily in that men wear white caps and women wear headscarves or (occasionally) veils, as is the case in most Islamic cultures.
Elements of Indo-European Culture in China
Horse, Indo-Europeans Spread and The Rising of Zhou Dynasty
The Eastern-Asiatic Indo-Europeans and Their Fate
The Caucasians in China Part 2
Chinese culture – Barbarians

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China Indo-Europeans Uncategorized

Tocharians

There was a time, well before the Turkic population movements, when central Asia was speaking Indo-european languages. During antiquity, Indo-iranian languages were once spoken by populations from the east of Europe up to the Altai mountains of south Siberia (Scythians, Sakas and Sarmatians were such peoples) and down to south Asia. Nevertheless, prior to this situation, another kind of Indo-european language was apparently present in Asia.
The first (supposedly) Indo-european migration eastwards (from its ancestral home of Ukraine and south Russia) we find tracks of, occured right before 3,500 BC and gave birth to the Afanasevo culture, whose extent was from Kazakhstan to south Siberia and Mongolia. It is likely that the population of the Afanasevo culture was speaking a language that was the ancestor of the Tocharian language (see the Xinjiang article for more details).
Central Asia

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Anatolia Indo-Europeans Norsk På reise

Gordium – the capital city of ancient Phrygia

BILDER: Gordium – the capital city of ancient Phrygia

The Mushki were an Iron Age people of Anatolia, known from Assyrian sources. They do not appear in Hittite records. Several authors have connected them with the Moschoi (Μόσχοι) of Greek sources and the Georgian tribe of the Meskhi. Josephus Flavius identified the Moschoi with the Biblical Meshech.
Two different groups are called Muški in the Assyrian sources (Diakonoff 1984:115), one from the 12th to 9th centuries, located near the confluence of the Arsanias and the Euphrates (“Eastern Mushki”), and the other in the 8th to 7th centuries, located in Cappadocia and Cilicia (“Western Mushki”). Assyrian sources identify the Western Mushki with the Phrygians, while Greek sources clearly distinguish between Phrygians and Moschoi.
Identification of the Eastern with the Western Mushki is uncertain, but it is of course possible to assume a migration of at least part of the Eastern Mushki to Cilicia in the course of the 10th to 8th centuries, and this possibility has been repeatedly suggested, variously identifying the Mushki as speakers of a Georgian, Armenian or Anatolian idiom.
The Eastern Muski appear to have moved into Hatti in the 12th century, completing the downfall of the collapsing Hittite state, along with various Sea Peoples. They established themselves in a post-Hittite kingdom in Cappadocia.
Whether they moved into the core Hittite areas from the east or west has been a matter of some discussion by historians. Some speculate that they may have originally occupied a territory in the area of Urartu; alternatively, ancient accounts suggest that they first arrived from a homeland in the west (as part of the Armeno-Phrygian migration), from the region of Troy, or even from as far as Macedonia, as the Bryges.
Armeno-Phrygian is a term for a minority supported claim of hypothetical people who are thought to have lived in the Armenian Highland as a group and then have separated to form the Phrygians and the Mushki of Cappadocia. It is also used for the language they are assumed to have spoken. It can also be used for a language branch including these languages, a branch of the Indo-European family or a sub-branch of the proposed Graeco-Armeno-Aryan or Armeno-Aryan branch.
Classification is difficult because little is known of Phrygian and virtually nothing of Mushki, while Proto-Armenian forms a subgroup with Hurro-Urartian, Greek, and Indo-Iranian. These subgroups are all Indo-European, with the exception of Hurro-Urartian.
Note that the name Mushki is applied to different peoples by different sources and at different times. It can mean the Phrygians (in Assyrian sources) or Proto-Armenians as well as the Mushki of Cappadocia, or all three, in which case it is synonymous with Armeno-Phrygian.
The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture notes that “the Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians and the Proto-Armenian Mushki (or Armeno-Phrygians) who carried their IE language eastwards across Anatolia.”
In the 8th century, Tabal became the most influential of the post-Hittite polities, and the Mushki under Mita entered an anti-Assyrian alliance with Tabal and Carchemish. The alliance was soon defeated by Sargon of Assyria, who captured Carchemish and drove back Mita to his own province. Ambaris of Tabal was diplomatically married to an Assyrian princess, and received the province of Hilakku, but in 713 BC, Ambaris was deposed and Tabal became an Assyrian province.
In 709, the Mushki re-emerged as allies of Assyria, Sargon naming Mita as his friend. It appears that Mita had captured and handed over to the Assyrians emissaries of Urikki, king of Que, who were sent to negotiate an anti-Assyrian contract with Urartu, as they passed through his territory.
According to Assyrian military intelligence reports to Sargon recorded on clay tablets found in the Royal Archives of Nineveh by Sir Henry Layard, the Cimmerians invaded Urartu from Mannai in 714. From there they turned west along the coast of the Black Sea as far as Sinope, and then headed south towards Tabal, in 705 defeating an Assyrian army in central Anatolia, resulting in the death of Sargon.
Macqueen (1986:157) and others have speculated that the Mushki under Mita may have participated in the Assyrian campaign and were forced to flee to western Anatolia, disappearing from Assyrian accounts, but entering the periphery of Greek historiography as king Midas of Phrygia.
Rusas II of Urartu in the 7th century fought the Mushki-ni to his west, before he entered an alliance with them against Assyria. Assyrian sources from the 8th century BC speak of a king Mita of the Mushki, identified with king Midas of Phrygia. An Assyrian inscription records Mita as an ally of Sargon of Assyria in 709 BC.
After the collapse of the Hittite Empire at the beginning of the 12th century BC, the political vacuum in central/western Anatolia was filled by a wave of Indo-European migrants and “Sea Peoples”, including the Phrygians, who established their kingdom with a capital eventually at Gordium. It is presently unknown whether the Phrygians were actively involved in the collapse of the Hittite capital Hattusa or whether they simply moved into the vacuum left by the collapse of Hittite hegemony.
The so-called Handmade Knobbed Ware was found by archaeologists at sites from this period in Western Anatolia. According to Greek mythographers, the first Phrygian Midas had been king of the Moschi (Mushki), also known as Bryges (Brigi) in the western part of archaic Thrace.
Though the migration theory is still defended by many modern historians, most archaeologists have abandoned the migration hypothesis regarding the origin of the Phrygians due to a lack substantial archeological evidence, with the migration theory resting only on the accounts of Herodotus and Xanthus.
A distinctive Phrygian pottery called Polished Ware appears in the 8th century BC. The Phrygians founded a powerful kingdom which lasted until the Lydian ascendancy (7th century BC). Under kings alternately named Gordias and Midas, the independent Phrygian kingdom of the 8th and 7th centuries BC maintained close trade contacts with her neighbours in the east and the Greeks in the west. Phrygia seems to have been able to co-exist with whatever power was dominant in eastern Anatolia at the time.
Gordium, the capital city of ancient Phrygia, lies where the ancient road between Lydia and Assyria/Babylonia crossed the Sangarius river. It was located at the site of modern Yassıhüyük, about 70–80 km southwest of Ankara (capital of Turkey), in the immediate vicinity of Polatlı district.
During the 8th century BC the Phrygian kingdom with its capital at Gordium in the upper Sakarya River valley expanded into an empire dominating most of central and western Anatolia and encroaching upon the larger Assyrian Empire to its southeast and the kingdom of Urartu to the northeast.
The invasion of Anatolia in the late 8th century BC to early 7th century BC by the Cimmerians was to prove fatal to independent Phrygia. Cimmerian pressure and attacks culminated in the suicide of its last king, Midas, according to legend. Gordium fell to the Cimmerians in 696 BC and was sacked and burnt, as reported much later by Herodotus.
According to ancient tradition, in 333 BCE Alexander the Great cut (or otherwise unfastened) the Gordian Knot: this intricate knot joined the yoke to the pole of a Phrygian wagon that stood on the acropolis of the city. The wagon was associated with Midas or Gordias (or both), and was connected with the dynasty’s rise to power. A local prophecy had decreed that whoever could loose the knot was destined to become the ruler of Asia.
A series of digs have opened Gordium as one of Turkey’s most revealing archeological sites. Excavations confirm a violent destruction of Gordion around 675 BC. A tomb of the Midas period, popularly identified as the “Tomb of Midas” revealed a wooden structure deeply buried under a vast tumulus, containing grave goods, a coffin, furniture, and food offerings (Archaeological Museum, Ankara). The Gordium site contains a considerable later building program, perhaps by Alyattes, the Lydian king, in the 6th century BC.
Minor Phrygian kingdoms continued to exist after the end of the Phrygian empire, and the Phrygian art and culture continued to flourish. Cimmerian people stayed in Anatolia but do not appear to have created a kingdom of their own. The Lydians repulsed the Cimmerians in the 620s, and Phrygia was subsumed into a short-lived Lydian empire. The eastern part of the former Phrygian empire fell into the hands of the Medes in 585 BC.
The site was excavated by Gustav and Alfred Körte in 1900 and then by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, under the direction of Rodney S. Young, between 1950 and 1973. Excavations have continued at the site under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Museum with an international team.
Tumulus MM (for “Midas Mound”), the Great Tumulus, is the largest burial mound at Gordium, standing over 50 meters high today, with a diameter of about 300 meters. The tumulus was excavated in 1957 by Young’s team, revealing the remains of the royal occupant, resting on purple and golden textiles in an open log coffin, surrounded by a vast array of magnificent objects.
The burial goods included pottery and bronze vessels containing organic residues, bronze fibulae (ancient safety pins), leather belts with bronze attachments, and an extraordinary collection of carved and inlaid wooden furniture, exceptional for its state of preservation.
The Tumulus MM funeral ceremony has been reconstructed, and scientists have determined that the guests at the banquet ate lamb or goat stew and drank a mixed fermented beverage. The burial is now dated to the second half of the 8th century BCE, and while it is possible that this is the tomb of King Midas himself, it is now generally assumed to be that of his father Gordias.
Gordium – the capital city of ancient Phrygia
Gordion – Phrygian capital and King Midas’ Grave
Gordias
Gordium
Gordian Knot
Midas
Mushki
Phrygia
Bryges