Manu – The First Man

Man (word)

Manu – The First Man

Early man, tell me if you can,

When did you come to Earth,

Opened your eyes, And took your first steps,

What era was that, Unknown, Unnamed,

When the rising sun, Kissed your forehead,

When you were ignited, And you were born..

In these verses, Kalpana Singh Chitnis beautifully conveys the enigma that the First Human-Beings are. WHO indeed was the first man? HOW did he appear? WHERE did he come from? WHAT gave birth to him and WHEN was he born?

Manu – The First Man

*Mannaz is the conventional name of the m-rune ᛗ of the Elder Futhark. It is derived from the reconstructed Common Germanic word for “man”, *mannaz.

Younger Futhark ᛘ is maðr (“man”). It took up the shape of the algiz rune ᛉ, replacing Elder Futhark ᛗ.

As its sound value and form in the Elder Futhark indicate, it is derived from the letter M (?) in the Old Italic alphabets, ultimately from the Greek letter Mu (μ).

Mannus is a Germanic mythological figure attested by the 1st century AD Roman historian Tacitus in his work Germania. According to Tacitus, Mannus is the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones.

“In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Isvaeones. Some people, inasmuch as antiquity gives free rein to speculation, maintain that there were more sons born from the god and hence more tribal designations—Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi, and Vandilii—and that those names are genuine and ancient.”

The name of this deity or mythological ancestor means human or man (i.e. Homo sapiens). It is thought to stem from the same root as the name of the figure Manu in Hindu tradition, who is held to be the progenitor of humanity, first holy king to rule this earth who saves mankind, the Vedas and the priesthood from the universal flood.

This deity shares his name with the 20th rune of the Elder Futhark and the 14th rune of the Younger Futhark. It also appears in the runic mnemonic the Abecedarium Nordmannicum, which states “Tiu, Birch, and Man in the Middle”. Each of the poems associates Man with the earth, soil (moldR, eorthan).

In the Eddas, Mannus seems to most closely resemble Heimdall (World’s Brightness). In the opening passage of the Voluspa, men are referred to as being Heimdall’s kin, while in the poem Rigsthula he is shown uniting each of the hierarchal ranks in siblinghood. Furthermore, while Mannus is remembered as being the father of both Odin and Frey, Heimdall is remembered as being one of the Aesir, but also to have qualities directly linked to the Vanir and to exist in a close paternal relationship to Freyja.

In Eddaic Creation, Mannus occupies the same stead as Borr, ie. a god (Tuisto, Buri), begets a god (Mannus, Borr), begets a trio of brother gods (Ing-Irmin-Istaev, Odin-Vili-Ve).

The names of the three sons of Mannus can be extrapolated as Ingui, Irmin, and Istaev aka Iscio. In the Eddas we find the name Yngvi applied to the god FreyR, while the same source lists Jormun (the Old Norse cognate of Irmin) as a byname of Odin’s. Widukind of Corvey further identifies the deity associated with the Saxon Irminsul as Hermin, that is, Hermes, but worshipped as Mars.

The term man (from Proto-Germanic *mannaz or *manwaz “man, person”) and words derived from it can designate any or even all of the human race regardless of their sex or age. The word developed into Old English man, mann meaning primarily “adult male human” but secondarily capable of designating a person of unspecified gender, “someone, one” or humanity at large (see also German Mann, Old Norse maðr, Gothic manna “man”). More restricted English terms for an adult male were wer (cognate: Latin vir; survives as the first element in “werewolf”) and guma (cognate: Latin homo; survives as the second element in “bridegroom”).

However, Man in traditional usage refers to the species, to humanity as a whole. Equating the term for the male with the whole species is commonly occurring in other languages (e.g. French l’Homme), particularly in traditional registers, but not uniformly even within language groups. For example, the German equivalent of “Man” is “Mensch” which is male grammatically (itself a possible expression of the tradition as this is an exception to normal morphology which would have Mensch neuter) but refers to a general person not a male one. The usage persists in all registers of English although it has an old-fashioned tone. Modern Standard Chinese has (man) and (woman) both diglyphs with but is analogous to the German Mensch, not English Man and the gender designations of individuals are both prefixed.

*Mannaz or *Manwaz is also the Proto-Germanic reconstructed name of the m-rune ᛗ. It is derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *man- (see Sanskrit/Avestan manu-, Slavic mǫž “man, male”). In Hindu mythology, Manu is a title accorded the progenitor of humankind. The Slavic forms (Russian muzh “man, male” etc.) are derived from a suffixed stem *man-gyo-. *Manus in Indo-European mythology was the first man, see Mannus, Manu (Hinduism)

The Mannaeans (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minni, ) were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day northwestern Iran south of lake Urmia, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC. At that time they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta.

Their kingdom was situated east and south of the Lake Urmia, roughly centered around the Mahabad plain in this part of what’s today are named as “Azerbaijan region of Iran”. Excavations that began in 1956 succeeded in uncovering the fortified city of Hasanlu, once thought to be a potential Mannaean site. More recently, the site of Qalaichi (possibly ancient Izirtu/Zirta) has been linked to the Mannaeans based on a stela with this toponym found at the site.

After suffering several defeats at the hands of both Scythians and Assyrians, the remnants of the Mannaean populace were absorbed by an Iranian people known as the Matieni and the area became known as Matiene. It was then annexed by the Medes in about 609 BC.

According to the Encyclopædia Iranica: It is unlikely that there was any ethnolinguistic unity in Mannea. Like other peoples of the Iranian plateau, the Manneans were subjected to an ever increasing Iranian (i.e. Indo-European) penetration. Boehmer’s analysis of several anthroponyms and toponyms needs modification and augmentation. Melikishvili (1949, p. 60) tried to confine the Iranian presence in Mannea to its periphery, pointing out that both Daiukku (cf. Schmitt, 1973) and Bagdatti were active in the periphery of Mannea, but this is imprecise, in view of the fact that the names of two early Mannean rulers, viz. Udaki and Azā, are explicable in Old Iranian terms.

The Mannaean kingdom began to flourish around 850 BC. The Mannaeans were mainly a settled people, practicing irrigation and breeding cattle and horses. The capital was another fortified city, Izirtu (Zirta).

By the 820s BC they had expanded to become the first large state to occupy this region since the Gutians, later followed by the unrelated Iranian peoples, the Medes and the Persians. By this time they had a prominent aristocracy as a ruling class, who somewhat limited the power of the king.

Beginning around 800 BC, the region became contested ground between Urartu, who built several forts on the territory of Mannea, and Assyria. During open conflict between the two, ca. 750-730 BC, Mannea seized the opportunity to enlarge its holdings. The Mannaean kingdom reached the pinnacle of its power during the reign of Iranzu (ca. 725-720 BC).

In 716 BC, king Sargon II of Assyria moved against Mannea, where the ruler Aza, son of Iranzu, had been deposed by Ullusunu with the help of the Urartians. Sargon took Izirtu, and stationed troops in Parsua (Parsua was distinct from Parsumash located further southeast in what is today known as Fars province in Iran.). The Assyrians thereafter used the area to breed, train and trade horses.

It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. The earliest is from an inscription which mentions Armânum together with Ibla (Ebla) as territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in ca. 2250 BC identified with an Akkadian colony in the Diarbekr region.

Another mention by pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.

The name has also been claimed as a variant of Urmani (or Urmenu), attested epigraphically in an inscription of Menuas of Urartu.

However, many historians, such as Wayne Horowitz, identify Armanî which was conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad, with the Syrian city of Aleppo and not with the Armenian Highland.

Minni is also a Biblical name of the region, appearing in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:27) alongside Ararat and Ashchenaz, probably the same as the Minnai of Assyrian inscriptions, corresponding to the Mannai. Armenia is interpreted by some as ḪARMinni, that is, “the mountainous region of the Minni”.

The name is connected to the Indo-European root Ar- meaning “assemble/create” which is vastly used in names of or regarding the Sun, light, or fire, found in Ararat, Aryan, Arta etc.

According to the Matsya Purana, sage Manu was the first man (and the first human) created by God. In the above Purana it was mentioned that Lord Brahma created, using his divine powers, the Goddess Shatrupa (as Saraswati was first called) and out of the union of Brahma and Shatrupa was born Manu.

Manu obtained through long penance his wife Ananti. The rest of the human race originated from Manu and Ananti. Details about the children of Manu and Ananti are found in the Bhagavata Purana. Manu is also considered to be the author of the ancient Sanskrit code of law, Manu Smriti, which was the summary of a discourse given by Manu to several rishis.

The English noun man and the sanskrit verb mun, meaning to think, are supposed to have evolved from the word Manu. Rigveda has a different account of the origin of the human race, which was born from the five children (four male, and one female) of Lord Prajapati, as Brahma was earlier called. Of the two versions, the Matsya Purana is more popular and complete.

Name of Armenia




The glazed bricks from Bukan (Iran): new insights into Mannaean art

The Finds of Hasanlu  The Art of the Manneans

A Mannaean fortress in north-western Iran

Pre-Achaemenid Iran: Aradabil and East and West Azarbaijan

The origin of the Germans

The Ancestor of the Germans – Herman/Armen

History of Man: The Germans, the Hindus and the Sumerians

Enki and the Making of Man



The glazed bricks from Bukan (Iran): new insights into Mannaean art

Mannaean studies as an independent field began with the discovery of Ziwiye in 1936 and the initiation of scientific excavations there (Boehmer 1964, 1988; Postgate 1989; Levine 1977). The archaeological site at Ziwiye was at first identified as Izbie, one of the important Mannaean provinces in the Iron Age of Iran. After this, great efforts were made to discover Izirtu, soon identified with Qaplanto near Ziwiye (Godard 1949, 1950: 7). But these identifications have since been discarded. In 1956, R. Dyson from the University of Pennsylvania began his extensive excavations on the Hasanlu mound, proposing Hasanlu IV as a Mannaean settlement. In a short time, the presence of Mannaean at Hasanlu became abundantly apparent (Boehmer 1964; Dyson 1989; Dyson & Muscarella 1989).

The glazed bricks from Bukan (Iran): new insights into Mannaean art

Figure 1

Figure 1. Map of north-west Iran, showing the Manneaen sites mentioned in this paper.

Between 1979-1985, illegal excavations were carried out on a massive scale at the site of Qalaichi Tappe, 7km north of Bukan (Figure 1). Some unique glazed bricks were discovered, which soon found their way to antique auction rooms, and were subsequently purchased by private collectors and foreign museums (National Museum of Tokyo, Ancient Orient Museum of Tokyo, and Middle Eastern Cultural Center of Japan).

In 1985, an archaeological team under the direction of E. Yaghmaee was sent to the site. During one season of rescue archaeology the team excavated many glazed bricks and a unique 13-line Aramaic inscription (Yaghmaee 1985). Since the translation in 1988 and subsequent publication of the inscription by Bashash (1996), there has been growing interest and study by linguists, with publication of further interpretive articles (Lemaire 1988, 1998, 1999; Ephcal 1999; Sokoloff 1999; Teixidor 1999; Fales 2003).

Figure 2 (Click to view)

Figure 2. Plan of the architectural remains at the site of Qalaichi (Kargar 2004, with some modifications).

The Qalaichi inscription indicates that the place in which the glazed bricks were found was dedicated to Haldi (god of war), and Hadad (god of storm, lightening and thunder). Moreover, the Qalaichi Inscription says that the temple is located in a place called Zatar (Bashash (1996) associates the word Zatar with Izirtu the capital of the Mannaeans). In regard to dating of the inscription, Ephcal places it in the eighth or early seventh century BC (1999: 117).

Excavations at Qalaichi restarted in 1999, under the direction of B. Kargar, and have revealed architectural structural remains covering one hectare. In this complex, a columned hall of 19x35m, and some spaces thought to have religious function have been discovered (Kargar 2004) (figure 2). These buildings were decorated internally with red mud, and for external decoration of the temple, glazed bricks were used.

The archaeological site of Qalaichi and its inscription provide valuable information on the recognition of customs and ideologies of Mannaean society. This paper announces preliminary analysis of the newly accessed glazed bricks from this period.

Figure 3 (Click to view)

Figure 3. Façade of dedication platform from Qalachi.

Figure 4 (Click to view)

Figure 4. Glazed bricks from Qalaichi, showing the body of a lion, wing of an eagle, and a human face, from Urmia Museum, Iran (Kargar 2004).

Glazed bricks of Qalaichi
The inscription and glazed bricks from the 1985 excavation, alongside those recovered from looters total 450 pieces, now accessed by the National Museum of Iran. A joint project between the National Museum of Iran and Department of Archaeology at Tehran University started in July 2003, with the aim of studying the glazed bricks. This research programme has ten phases, of which we have completed the following four:

  • Laboratory study including chemical study by XRD, Pixe and Thermo luminescence.
  • Raw material sourcing in the Bukan area.
  • 3D architectural reconstruction.
  • Drawing of all motifs seen on the glazed bricks.

The glazed bricks of Bukan can be divided into two groups from the viewpoint of placement of motifs:

  • A: Bricks with motifs on the lateral side.
  • B: Bricks with motifs on the upper face.
In terms of visual coherence, the bricks cover a wide spectrum, from those made unintelligible due to damaged glaze, to intact highly vivid images. In this research, the motifs have been divided into six different groups: A- Botanic, B- Zoomorphic, C- Anthropomorphic, D- Combination (human and animal), E- Geometric, F-Anonymous.

These artistic traits can be attributed to ‘Zagross Artistic Style’, which covers a vast area from Marlik, west of Alborz mountain ranges, to Luristan in the central Zagross. This style blossomed in late second millennium BC and reached its highpoint during the first millennium BC. It is seen on archaeological sites at Marlik, Ziwiye, and Luristan. Throughout its use this artistic style utilised animal motifs intensively, and arguably influenced the tastes of local governors and their supporters. This natural style with its freedom of action, contrasts noticeably with the formal and more restrictive art of Mesopotamia (Charlesworth 1980: 52). These glazed bricks are being compared with contemporary images in Assyrian and Urartian Art, and also with the newly discovered Mannaean glazed bricks from Tappe Rabat (15km from north-east Sardasht, discovered and damaged by looters in 2004, excavated in 2005 by B. Kargar).

Figure 5 (Click to view)

Figure 5. Glazed brick from Bukan depicting a winged goat from the Ancient Orient Museum Tokyo, Japan (Tanabe 1983).

Figure 6 (Click to view)

Figure 6. One of the glazed bricks being studied at the National Museum of Iran.

This ongoing research project is expected to provide new insight into Mannaean art and different influences of other regional artistic styles.

I would like to thank M. Kargar, director of the National Museum of Iran for his support and help with the project, K. Abdi, H. Molasalehi, and M. Malekzadeh for their comments, F. Biglari for his help, R. Yousefi and A. Vahdati for translation and R. Arab for correcting t


Ancient European admixture in the Americas, or ancient Amerindian admixture in Europe?

Learn about Y-DNA Haplogroup Q

Native American Gene Flow – Europe?, Asia and the Americas

Haplogroup-Q Eupedia

Nature is about to publish a paper on the genome of a 24,000 year old South Siberian from the Mal’ta Upper Paleolithic site near Lake Baikal. This is the oldest modern human genome sequenced to date.

Thanks to a presentation on the paper at the recent Paleoamerican Odyssey conference by the author, Eske Willerslev, we already have a fair idea about the genetic structure of this individual. Here’s a brief summary:

– Belongs to Y-DNA haplogroup R and mtDNA haplogroup U

– Shows West Eurasian, South Asian and Amerindian genome-wide genetic components

– Doesn’t show any signals of East Asian ancestry

Apparently, the paper also features the genome-wide ancestry results of another Upper paleolithic Siberian, from the Afontova Gora site, which are basically identical to that of the Mal’ta sample, but I can’t confirm this information at present. In any case, yesterday Science reported on Willerslev’s interpretation of the results for the Mal’ta genome:

Before 24,000 years ago, the ancestors of Native Americans and the ancestors of today’s East Asians split into distinct groups. The Mal’ta child represents a population of Native American ancestors who moved into Siberia, probably from Europe or west Asia. Then, sometime after the Mal’ta boy died, this population mixed with East Asians. The new, admixed population eventually made its way to the Americas.

Indeed, Willerslev estimates that Native Americans are about 1/3 European in terms of genome-wide genetic structure, even without any post-colonial gene flow from Europe. However, David Reich, who was quoted in the same Science article, proposed a different explanation for the results, which was obviously inspired by a recent paper he co-authored on Amerindian-like ancestry in Europe:

“Mal’ta might be a missing link, a representative of the Asian population that admixed both into Europeans and Native Americans,” Reich says.

So who’s right? Well, I’d say the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, as the old cliche goes.

I suspect the answer to this problem has been around for a while, and can be seen in the phylogeny of the human Y-chromosome. Note that the Mal’ta individual’s hapogroup, the West Eurasian-specific R, is actually more closely related to the Siberian and Amerindian-specific Q, than to other West Eurasian markers like IJK. Indeed, R and Q form a relatively unique brother clade that derives from P (Yan et al. 2013).

So it’s hardly plausible that haplogroups P, R and Q were originally specific to any biogeograhic zone(s) that we can identify today. Rather, they seem to have been markers of hunter-gatherer populations that roamed across the Mammoth Steppe all the way from Iberia to North America (see figure below from Graf 2009). These populations were probably outside the range of modern European genetic variation, and that was indeed found to be the case for their likely direct descendants from Mesolithic and Neolithic Europe (see here and here).

I don’t have a strong opinion where P split into R and Q. Perhaps in Western and Eastern Siberia, respectively? In any case, R and Q ended up dominating different parts of Eurasia, with the latter taking over a more easterly range, and obviously for that reason it was better placed to expand across the Americas. So the ancient European-like genome-wide signals picked up by Willerslev in present-day Native Americans probably arrived in the New World along with haplogroup Q, because as far as I know, there’s no evidence of the existence of pre-colonial R in the Americas.

The Ice Age played a major role in dispersing the Mammoth Steppe populations. It forced them to vacate most of Europe, Siberia and Northwest America, and seek shelter in various refugia to the south. But once the cold spell was over, they re-expanded and went on to mix with different groups in West Eurasia, Central Asia, Siberia and also the Americas, helping to form the main modern biogeographic groups in these regions. In Europe, for instance, they probably interbred with Neolithic groups genetically similar to Oetzi the Iceman to create present-day Europeans.

Perhaps this is why today different clades of Y-DNA R have such disparate regional hotspots, specifically when the more basal lineages are taken into account: R1a in Eastern Europe, R1b in the Near East and Western Europe, and R2 in South Central Asia? Indeed, perhaps this is also why when the Mal’ta individual is forced into modern genome-wide genetic clusters, he appears West Eurasian, South Asian and Amerindian? However, eventually, when enough Mammoth Steppe genomes are sequenced, we’re likely to see a new cluster emerge that is modal in these samples.

Haplogroup Q in Europe

Distribution of haplogroup Q in Europe

Götaland and Gotland in southern Sweden now have the highest frequency of haplogroup Q in Europe (5%) and almost all of it belong to the Q1a2b1 (L527) subclade.

The Romans reported that the Huns consisted of a small ruling elite and their armies comprised mostly of Germanic warriors. Gotland and Götaland is the presumed homeland of the ancient Goths. In the 1st century CE, some Goths migrated from Sweden to Poland, then in the 2nd century settled on the northern shores of the Black Sea around modern Moldova. The Huns conquered the Goths in the Pontic Steppe in the 4th century, forcing some of them to flee the Dnieper region and settled in the Eastern Roman Empire (Balkans).

It would not be improbable that some Goths and Huns moved back to southern Sweden, either before invading the Roman Empire, or after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, displaced by the Slavic migrations to Central Europe. After all, even ancient people kept the nostalgia of their ancestral homeland and knew exactly where their ancestors a few hundreds years earlier came from.

While Q1a is more Mongolian, Siberian and Native American, Q1b appears to have originated in Central Asia and migrated early to South Asia and the Middle East. The highest frequency of Q1b in Europe is found among Ashkenazi Jews (5%) and Sephardic Jews (2%), suggesting that Q1b was present in the Levant before the Jewish disapora 2,000 years ago.

Q1b is also found in Lebanon (2%), and in isolated places settled by the Phoenicians in southern Europe (Crete, Sicily, south-west Iberia). This means that Q1b must have been present in the Levant at latest around 1200 BCE, a very long time before the Hunnic migrations. One hypothesis is that Q1b reached the Middle East alongside haplogroup R1a-Z93 with the Indo-Iranian migrations from Central Asia during the Late Bronze Age.


Mitochondrial haplogroup N1a and the origin of European farmers

File:Haplogroup R (mtDNA) & subclades.PNG

N1a Phylotree

File:Peopling of eurasia.jpg

MtDNA haplogroups

All mtDNA haplogroups found outside of Africa are descendants of either haplogroup N or its sibling haplogroup M. M and N are the signature haplogroups that define the out of Africa migration and the subsequent spread to rest of the world. The global distribution of haplogroups N and M, indicates that very likely, there was one particularly major prehistoric migration of humans out of Africa, and both N and M were part of the same colonization process.

An enormous haplogroup spanning many continents, the macro-haplogroup N, like its sibling M, is a descendant of haplogroup L3. There is widespread agreement in the scientific community concerning the African ancestry of haplogroup L3 (haplogroup N’s parent clade). However, whether or not the mutations which define haplogroup N itself first occurred within Asia or Africa has been a subject for ongoing discussion and study.

Haplogroup N is derived from the ancestral L3 haplotype that represents the ‘Out of Africa’ migration. Haplogroup N is the ancestral haplogroup to almost all European and Oceanian haplogroups in addition to many Asian and Amerindian ones. It is believed to have arisen at a similar time to haplogroup M.

MtDNA haplogroup R is a very extended mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup and is the most common macro-haplogroup in West Eurasia. It is a descendant of macro-haplogroup N. Among its descendant haplogroups are B, U (and thus K), F, R0 (and thus HV, H, and V), and the ancestral haplogroup of J and T. As of June 2009, the most recent study dates the origin of haplogroup R to 66.8kya with a 95% confidence interval of 52.6-81kya.

South Asia lies on the way of earliest dispersals from Africa and is therefore a valuable well of knowledge on early human migration. The analysis of the indigenous haplogroup R lineages in India points to a common first spread of the root haplotypes of M, N, and R along the southern route some 60–70 kya.

Haplogroup R has wide diversity and antiquity among varied ethnic status and different language families in South Asia. In Indian western region among the castes and southern region among the tribes show higher haplogroup diversity than the other regions, possibly suggesting their autochthonous status.

MtDNA Haplogroup U descends from a woman in the mtDNA haplogroup R branch of the phylogenetic tree, who lived around 55,000 years ago. It is widely distributed across Western Eurasia, North Africa, and South Asia.

Subclades such as Haplogroup U6, are also found at moderate to low frequencies in the Northwest and East Africa, due to a back migration from Asia around 27,000 years ago. In spite of the highest diversity of Iberian U6, Maca-Meyer argues for an Near East origin of this clade based on the highest diversity of subclade U6a in that region, where it would have arrived from West Asia. She estimates the age of U6 between 25,000 and 66,000 years BP.

Controversy surrounds the existence of mitochondrial DNA haplogroup N in Africa. Some researchers have suggested that haplogroups N probably originated in Africa (Quintana-Murci et al, 1999; Sun el al,2005). Quintana-Murci et al (1999) has suggested that haplogroup N probably originated in Ethiopia before the out of Africa migration.

Other researchers believe that haplogroup Nin Africa is the result of a back migration. The cra-niofacial and molecular evidence does not supportthis conclusion. The molecular evidence indicatesthat haplogroup N is found across Africa from Eastto West on into India where it was deposited by Dravidian speakers (Winters, 2007, 2008).

Archaeogenetics is the use of genetics, ar-chaeology and linguistics to explain and discuss theorigin and spread of Homo sapiens. Using thismethodology we can gain valuable insight into hu-man history and population movements in prehis-toric times.

In this paper we will examine the spread of haplogroup N from Africa to Eurasia. It will either support an African origin or, back migration for the presence of the N haplogroup in Africa

Origin and Spread of Haplogroup N

Haplogroup M (mtDNA)

Haplogroup N (mtDNA)

Macro-haplogroup R

Haplogroup U (mtDNA)

Haplogroup U6

MtDNA haplogroup N1a

The current human mitochondrial (mtDNA) phylogeny does not equally represent all human populations but is biased in favour of representatives originally from north and central Europe. This especially affects the phylogeny of some uncommon West Eurasian haplogroups, including I and W, whose southern European and Near Eastern components are very poorly represented, suggesting that extensive hidden phylogenetic substructure remains to be uncovered.

This study expanded and re-analysed the available datasets of I and W complete mtDNA genomes, reaching a comprehensive 419 mitogenomes, and searched for precise correlations between the ages and geographical distributions of their numerous newly identified subclades with events of human dispersal which contributed to the genetic formation of modern Europeans.

Our results showed that haplogroups I (within N1a1b) and W originated in the Near East during the Last Glacial Maximum or pre-warming period (the period of gradual warming between the end of the LGM, ~19 ky ago, and the beginning of the first main warming phase, ~15 ky ago) and, like the much more common haplogroups J and T, may have been involved in Late Glacial expansions starting from the Near East.

Thus our data contribute to a better definition of the Late and postglacial re-peopling of Europe, providing further evidence for the scenario that major population expansions started after the Last Glacial Maximum but before Neolithic times, but also evidencing traces of diffusion events in several I and W subclades dating to the European Neolithic and restricted to Europe.

Mitogenomes from two uncommon haplogroups mark late glacial/postglacial expansions from the near east and neolithic dispersals within Europe

N1a lineages found among Central European early Neolithic people (Western The Origin of the N1a lineages – of West Asian origin, or from Eastern, Southern or local Central Europe?

Haplogroup N1a

Haplogroup N1a is widely distributed throughout Eurasia and Eastern Africa and is divided into the European/Central Asian and African/South Asian branches based on specific genetic markers.

N1a originated in the Near East 12,000 to 32,000 years ago. Specifically, the Arabian Peninsula is postulated as the geographic origin of N1a. This supposition is based on the relatively high frequency and genetic diversity of N1a in modern populations of the peninsula. Exact origins and migration patterns of this haplogroup are still subject of some debate.

The tree of N1a has two distinct branches: Africa/South Asia and Europe with a Central Asian subcluster. However, the African branch has members in southern Europe, and the European branch has members in Egypt and the Near East. The Africa/South Asia branch is characterized by the 16147G mutation, whereas the European branch is characterized by 16147A, 3336, and 16320. The Central Asian subcluster is an offshoot of the European branch that is characterized by marker 16189.

Subclade N1a1 is associated with mutation 16147A. Palanichamy calculates N1a1 to have emerged between 8900 to 22400 YBP. Subclade N1a1a is denoted by marker 16320, and is therefore associated with the “European” N1a branch. Petraglia estimates that N1a1a arose between 11000 to 25000 YBP.

Two main competing scenarios exist for the spread of the Neolithic from the Near East to Europe: Demic diffusion (in which farming is brought by farmers) vs. Cultural diffusion (in which farming is spread by the passage of ideas).

N1a became particularly prominent in this debate when a team led by Wolfgang Haak analyzed skeletons from Linear Pottery Culture, credited with the first farming communities in Central Europe, marking the beginning of Neolithic Europe in the region some 7500 years ago.

As of 2010, mitochondrial DNA analysis has been conducted on 42 specimens from five locations. Seven of the 42 specimens were found to be members of haplogroup N1a.

A separate study analyzed 22 skeletons from European hunter-gatherer sites dated 13400-2300 BC. Most of these remains were members of Haplogroup U, which was not found in any of the Linear Pottery Culture sites. Conversely, N1a was not identified in any of the hunter-gatherer fossils, indicating a genetic distinction between early European farmers and late European hunter-gatherers.

While no modern population is a close match to the LBK findings, the authors claim that the Linear Pottery population is most closely affiliated with modern Near East populations. Given this affiliation and the group’s distinctiveness from hunter-gatherers, Haak’s team concludes that “the transition to farming in central Europe was accompanied by a substantial influx of people from outside the region.”

However, they note that haplogroup frequencies in modern Europeans are substantially different from early farming and late hunter-gatherer populations. This indicates that “the diversity observed today cannot be explained by admixture between hunter-gatherers and early farmers alone” and that “major demographic events continued to take place in Europe after the early Neolithic.”

Critics of these studies claim that the LBK N1a specimens could have derived from local communities established in Europe before the introduction of farming. Ammerman’s team voiced concern due to some of the LBK specimens coming from communities several hundred years after farming was first established in the region; a rebuttal was given.

In 2010, researchers led by Palanichamy conducted a genetic and phylogeographic analysis of N1a. Based on the results, they conclude that some of the LBK samples were indigenous to Europe while others may have resulted from ‘leapfrog’ colonization.

Deguilloux’s team agreed with Haak’s conclusion on a genetic discontinuity between ancient and modern Europeans. However, they consider demic diffusion, cultural diffusion, and long-distance matrimonial exchanges all equally plausible explanations for the current genetic findings.

Seven of 42 skeletons from Linear Pottery Culture sites were found to be members of the N1a haplogroup (see Neolithic European section). N1a was also identified in remains from a 6200 year-old megalithic long mound near Prissé-la-Charrière, France. A 2500 year old fossil of a Scytho-Siberian in the Altai Republic, easternmost representative of the Scythians, was found to be a member of N1a1.

A study of a 10th and 11th century Hungarians found that N1a1a1 was present in high-status individuals but absent from commoners. One of thirteen skeletons analyzed from a medieval cemetery dated 1250-1450 AD in Denmark was found to be a member of subclade N1a1a.

Mitochondrial haplogroup N1a phylogeography, with implication to the origin of European farmers

Danubian Neolithic ancient mtDNA N1a is (mostly) European by origin

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: Origin of Neolithic N1a

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: N1a in Brahmnins

Mitochondrial haplogroup N1a phylogeography

Ancient DNA From the First European Farmers in 7500-Year-Old Neolithic Sites

Origin and Spread of Haplogroup N

Haplogroup N1a (mtDNA) – Familypedia

Family Tree DNA – The Haplogroup N mtDNA Study

mtDNA N1a, how rare are we?

Haplogroup N1a


Finno-Uralic people and languages


The Permians are a branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples and include Komis and Udmurts, speakers of Permic languages. Formerly the name Bjarmians was also used to describe these peoples. The recent research on the Finno-Ugric substrate in northern Russian dialects however suggests that in Bjarmaland there also lived several other Finno-Ugric groups besides the Permians.

The ancestors of the Permians inhabited originally the land called Permia (1323–1505), a medieval Komi state in what is now the Perm Krai of the Russian Federation, covering the middle and upper Kama River. Permians split into two groups probably during the 9th century.

The Komis came under the rule of the Novgorod Republic in the 13th century and were converted to Orthodox Christianity in the 1360-70s. In 1471-1478 their lands were conquered by the Grand Duchy of Moscow that later became the Tsardom of Russia. In the 18th century the Russian authorities opened the southern parts of the land to colonization and the northern parts became a place to which criminal and political prisoners were exiled.

The Udmurts came under the rule of the Tatars, the Golden Horde and the Khanate of Kazan until their land was ceded to Russia, and the people where Christianized at the beginning of 18th century.

Bjarmaland (also spelled Bjarmland and Bjarmia) was a territory mentioned in Norse sagas up to the Viking Age and – beyond – in geographical accounts until the 16th century. The term is usually seen to have referred to the southern shores of the White Sea and the basin of the Northern Dvina River (Vienanjoki in Finnish) and – presumably – some of the surrounding areas. Today, these territories comprise a part of the Arkhangelsk Oblast of Russia.

In the account of the Viking adventurer Ottar who visited Bjarmaland in the end of the 9th century AD, the term “Beorm” is used for the people of Bjarmaland. According to the account, “Beormas” spoke a language related to that of the Sami people, and lived in an area of the White Sea region.

Accordingly, many historians assume the terms beorm and bjarm to derive from the Uralic word perm, which refers to “travelling merchants” and represents the Old Permic culture. However, some linguists consider this theory to be speculative.

The recent research on the Uralic substrate in northern Russian dialects suggests that several other Uralic groups besides the Permians lived in Bjarmaland, assumed to have included the Viena Karelians, Sami and Kvens.

According to Helimski, the language spoken in the northern Archangel region ca. 1000 AD, which he terms Lop’, was closely related to, but distinct from the Sami languages proper. This would fit Ottar’s account perfectly.

Based on medieval sources, Bjarmaland’s closest neighbor in the west was Kvenland. According to some medieval accounts and maps, Kvenland included also the Kola Peninsula north from Bjarmaland, as stated e.g. in the late 1150s’ AD Leiðarvísir og borgarskipan in which the Icelandic Abbot Níkulás Bergsson writes that north from Värmland there are “two Kvenlands (Kvenlönd), which extend to north of Bjarmia (Bjarmalandi)”.

Bjarmian trade reached south-east to Bolghar by the Volga River where the Bjarmians also interacted with Scandinavians and Fennoscandians, who adventured southbound from the Baltic Sea area.

Chud or Chude (Slavic: чудь, in Finnic languages: tshuudi, tšuudi, čuđit) is a term historically applied in the early Russian annals to several Finnic peoples in the area of what is now Estonia, Karelia and Northwestern Russia.

Perhaps the earliest written use of the term ‘Chudes’ to describe proto-Estonians was ca. 1100, by the monk Nestor, in the earliest Russian chronicles. According to Nestor, Yaroslav I the Wise invaded the country of the Chuds in 1030 and laid the foundations of Yuryev, (the historical Russian name of Tartu, Estonia). Then Chud was used to describe other Baltic Finns called volok which is thought to refer to the Karelians.

According to Old East Slavic chronicles the Chudes were one of the founders of the Rus’ state.

The Northern Chudes were also a mythical people in folklore among Northern Russians and their neighbours. In Komi mythology, the Northern Chudes represent the mythic ancestors of the Komi people.

The Udmurts are a people who speak the Udmurt language. Through history they have been known in Russian as Chud Otyatskaya, Otyaks, or Votyaks, and in Tatar as Ar.

The name Udmurt probably comes from *odo-mort ‘meadow people,’ where the first part represents the Permic root *od(o) ‘meadow, glade, turf, greenery’ (related to Finnish itää ‘to germinate, sprout’) and the second part (Udmurt murt ‘person’; cf. Komi mort, Mari mari) is an early borrowing from Indo-Iranian *mertā or *martiya ‘person, man’ (cf. Urdu/Persian mard). This is supported by a document dated Feb. 25, 1557, in which alongside the traditional Russian name otyaki the Udmurts are referred to as lugovye lyudi ‘meadow people’.

On the other hand, in the Russian tradition, the name ‘meadow people’ refers to the inhabitants of the left bank of river general. Recently, the most relevant is the version of V. V. Napolskikh and S. K. Belykh. They suppose that ethnonym was borrowed from the Iranian entirely: *anta-marta ‘resident of outskirts, border zone’ (cf. Antes) → Proto-Permic *odə-mort → Udmurt udmurt.

Most Udmurt people live in Udmurtia. Small groups live in the neighboring areas: Kirov Oblast and Perm Krai of Russia, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Mari El.

Anthropologists relate Udmurts to the Urals branch of Europeans. Most of them are of the middle size, often have blue or gray eyes, high cheek-bones and wide face. The Udmurt people are not of an athletic build but they are very hardy. and there have been claims that they are the “most red-headed” people in the world. Additionally, the ancient Budini tribe, which is speculated to be an ancestor of the modern Udmurts, were described by Herodotus as being predominantly red-headed.

The Budini (Greek: Boudinoi) were an ancient people who lived in Scythia, in what is today Ukraine.

Herodotus wrote in his Histories (iv.21, 108, 109): The Budini for their part, being a large and numerous nation, is all mightily blue-eyed and ruddy. And a city among them has been built, a wooden city, and the name of the city is Gelonus.

Of its wall then in size each side is of thirty stades and high and all wooden. And their homes are wooden and their shrines. For indeed there is in the very place Greek gods’ shrines adorned in the Greek way with statues, altars and wooden shrines and for triennial Dionysus festivals in honour of Dionysus

Above the Sauromatae (Sarmatians), possessing the second region, dwell the Budini, whose territory is thickly wooded with trees of every kind. The Budini are a large and powerful nation: they have all deep blue eyes, and bright red hair.

The Budini, however, do not speak the same language as the Geloni, nor is their mode of life the same. They are the aboriginal people of the country, and are nomads; unlike any of the neighbouring races, they eat lice.

Their country is thickly planted with trees of all manner of kinds. In the very woodiest part is a broad deep lake, surrounded by marshy ground with reeds growing on it. Here otters are caught, and beavers, with another sort of animal which has a square face.

With the skins of this last the natives border their capotes: and they also get from them a remedy, which is of virtue in diseases of the womb… Beyond the Budini, as one goes northward, first there is a desert, seven days’ journey across…

Later located eastward probably on the middle course of the Volga about Samara, the Budini are described as fair-eyed and red-haired, and lived by hunting in the dense forests.

The 1911 Britannica surmises that they were Fenno-Ugric, of the branch now represented by the Udmurts and Komis (this branch is now called “Permic”), forced northwards by later immigrants.

In their country was a wooden city called Gelonos, inhabited with a “distinct race”, the Geloni, who according to Herodotus were Greeks that became assimilated to the Scythians.

Later writers add nothing to our knowledge of the Budini, and are more interested in the tarandus, an animal that dwelt in the woods of the Budini, possibly the reindeer (Aristotle ap. Aelian, Hist. Anim. xv. 33).

Edgar V. Saks identifies Budini as Votic people.

The Komi or Zyrian people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian Federation. They belong to the Permian branch of the Uralic peoples. The Komis are divided into eight sub-groups.

Their northernmost sub-group is also known as the Komi-Izhemtsy (from the name of the river Izhma) or Iz’vataz. This group numbers 15,607. This group is distinct for its more traditional, strongly subsistence based economy which includes reindeer husbandry. Komi-Permyaks (125,235 people) live in Perm Krai (Komi-Yazvas group) and Kirov Oblast (Upper-Kama Komi group) of Russia.

The name “Komi” may come from the Udmurt word “kam” (meaning “large river”, particularly the River Kama) or the Udmurt “kum” (meaning “kinfolk”). The scholar Paula Kokkonen favours the derivation “people of the Kama”. The name “Zyrian” is disputed, but may be from a personal name Zyran.

The Komi language belongs to the Permian branch of the Uralic family. There is limited mutual intelligibility with Udmurt. There are three main dialects: Pechora, Udor and Verkhne-Vyshegod.

The Komi language is a Uralic language spoken by the Komi peoples in the northeastern European part of Russia. Komi may be considered a single language with several dialects, or a group of closely related languages, making up one of the two branches of the Permic branch of the family. The other Permic language is Udmurt, to which Komi is closely related.

Of the several Komi dialects or languages, two major varieties are recognized, closely related to one another: Komi-Zyrian, the largest group, serves as the literary basis within the Komi Republic; and Komi-Yodzyak, spoken by a small, isolated group of Komi to the north-west of Perm Krai and south of the Komi Republic. Permyak (also called Komi-Permyak) is spoken in Komi-Permyak Okrug, where it has literary status.

The Permic languages have traditionally been classified as Finno-Permic languages, along with the Finnic, Saami, Mordvin, and Mari languages. The Finno-Permic and Ugric languages together made up the Finno-Ugric family. However, this taxonomy has more recently been called into question, and the relationship of the Permic languages to other Uralic languages remains uncertain.

Ugric or Ugrian languages are a hypothetical branch of the Uralic language family. The term derives from Yugra, a region in north-central Asia. Ugric is a linguistic concept, not an ethnic or cultural one. The term Ugric people is used to describe peoples speaking a Ugric language, which includes the three subgroups: Hungarian (Magyar), Khanty (Ostyak) and Mansi (Vogul).

The last two have traditionally been considered single languages, though their main dialects are sufficiently distinct that they may also be considered small subfamilies of 3–4 languages each. A common Proto-Ugric language is posited to have been spoken from the end of the 3rd millennium BC until the first half of the 1st millennium BC, in Western Siberia, east from the southern Ural mountains. However, recent reconstructions of Uralic have not generally found support for Ugric. Of the three languages, Khanty and Mansi have traditionally been set apart from Hungarian as Ob-Ugric, though features uniting Mansi and Hungarian in particular are known as well.

Khanty (in older literature: Ostyaks) are an indigenous people calling themselves Khanti, Khande, Kantek (Khanty), living in Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug, a region historically known as “Yugra” in Russia, together with the Mansi. In the autonomous okrug, the Khanty and Mansi languages are given co-official status with Russian.

In the 2002 Census, 28,678 persons identified themselves as Khanty. Of those, 26,694 were resident in Tyumen Oblast, of which 17,128 were living in Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug and 8,760—in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. 873 were residents of neighbouring Tomsk Oblast, and 88 lived in the Komi Republic.

Some consider the Khanty’s ancestors to be the prehistoric metalworking Andronovo Culture. They are originated from the south Ural steppe and moved into their current location about 500 AD.

Most researchers associate the Andronovo horizon with early Indo-Iranian languages, though it may have overlapped the early Uralic-speaking area at its northern fringe.

Eugene Helimski has suggested that the Andronovo people spoke a separate branch of the Indo-Iranian group. He claims that borrowings in the Finno-Ugric languages support this view.

Vladimir Napolskikh has proposed that borrowings in Finno-Ugric indicate that the language was specifically of the Indo-Aryan type.

Since older forms of Indo-Iranian words have been taken over in Uralic and Proto-Yeniseian, occupation by some other languages (also lost ones) cannot be ruled out altogether, at least for part of the Andronovo area: i. e., Uralic and Yeniseian.

Out of 10 human male remains assigned to the Andronovo horizon from the Krasnoyarsk region, 9 possessed the R1a Y-chromosome haplogroup and one haplogroup C-M130 (xC3). mtDNA haplogroups of nine individuals assigned to the same Andronovo horizon and region were as follows: U4 (2 individuals), U2e, U5a1, Z, T1, T4, H, and K2b.

90% of the Bronze Age period mtDNA haplogroups were of west Eurasian origin and the study determined that at least 60% of the individuals overall (out of the 26 bronze and Iron Age human remains’ samples of the study that could be tested) had light hair and blue or green eyes.

A 2004 study also established that, during the Bronze/Iron Age period, the majority of the population of Kazakhstan (part of the Andronovo culture during Bronze Age), was of west Eurasian origin (with mtDNA haplogroups such as U, H, HV, T, I and W), and that prior to the thirteenth to seventh century BC, all Kazakh samples belonged to European lineages.

Khanty probably appear in Russian records under the name Yugra (ca. 11th century), when they had contact with Russian hunters and merchants. The name comes from Komi-Zyrian language jögra (‘Khanty’). It is also possible that they were first recorded by the English King Alfred the Great (ca. 9th century), who located Fenland (wetland) to the east of the White Sea in Western Siberia. The older Russian name Ostyak is from Khanty as-kho ‘person from the Ob (as) River,’ with -yak after other ethnic terms like Permyak..

The Khanty duchies were partially included in the Siberia Khanate from the 1440s–1570s.

Mansi (obsolete: Voguls) are an endangered indigenous people living in Khanty–Mansia, an autonomous okrug within Tyumen Oblast in Russia. In Khanty–Mansia, the Khanty and Mansi languages have co-official status with Russian. The Mansi language is one of the postulated Ugrian languages of the Uralic family.

Together with the Khanty people, the Mansi are politically represented by the Association to Save Yugra, an organisation founded during the Perestroika of the late 1980s. This organisation was among the first regional indigenous associations in Russia.

The ancestors of Mansi people populated the areas west of the Urals. Mansi findings have been unearthed in the vicinity of Perm. In the first millennium BC, they migrated to Western Siberia where they assimilated the native inhabitants. According to others they are originated from the south Ural steppe and moved into their current location about 500 AD.

The largest of the Ugric people are Hungarians numbering 14,500,000. Hungarians live in the Carpathian Basin, where they have independent state – Hungary. Khanty (21 000) and Mansi (12 000) peoples live in the Ob river area of Russia, mostly in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. There is also a significant Khanty population in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Khanty and Mansi together are called Ob-Ugrians.

The Baltic Finns are a Finno-Ugric group of peoples of Northeastern Europe whose modern descendants include the Finns proper, Karelians (including Ludes and Olonets), Veps, Izhorians, Votes, Livonians and Estonians (including Võros and Setos) who speak Baltic-Finnic languages and have inhabited the Baltic Sea region for 3,000 years according to one theory, or up to ten thousand years according to another theory.

Finno-Ugric, Finno-Ugrian or Fenno-Ugric is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is based on criteria formulated in the 19th-century and is often criticized by contemporary linguists. The three most-spoken Uralic languages, Hungarian, Finnish, and Estonian, are all included in Finno-Ugric.

Linguistic roots common to both branches of the traditional Finno-Ugric language tree (Finno-Permic and Ugric) are distant. About two hundred words with common roots in all main Finno-Ugric languages have been identified by philologists including fifty-five about fishing, fifteen about reindeer, and three about commerce.

The term Finno-Ugric, which originally referred to the entire family, is sometimes used as a synonym for the term Uralic, which includes the Samoyedic languages, as commonly happens when a language family is expanded with further discoveries.

The validity of Finno-Ugric as a genetic grouping is under challenge, with some feeling that the Finno-Permic languages are as distinct from the Ugric languages as they are from the Samoyedic languages spoken in Siberia, or even that none of the Finno-Ugric, Finno-Permic, or Ugric branches has been established.

Received opinion has been that the easternmost (and last-discovered) Samoyed had separated first and the branching into Ugric and Finno-Permic took place later, but this reconstruction does not have strong support in the linguistic data. In the past, and occasionally today as well, the term Finno-Ugric was used for the entire Uralic language family.

Attempts at reconstructing a Proto-Finno-Ugric protolanguage—that is, a common ancestor of all Uralic languages except for the Samoyedic languages—are largely indistinguishable from Proto-Uralic, suggesting that Finno-Ugric might not be a historical grouping but a geographical one, with Samoyedic being distinct due to lexical borrowing rather than actually being historically divergent. It has been proposed that the area where Proto-Finno-Ugric was spoken reached between the Baltic Sea and the Ural mountains.

The Finno-Uralic group is not typologically distinct from Uralic as a whole: the most widespread structural features among the group all extend to the Samoyedic languages as well.

The relation of the Finno-Permic and the Ugric groups is adjudged remote by some scholars. On the other hand, with a projected time depth of only 3 or 4 thousand years, the traditionally accepted Finno-Ugric grouping would be far younger than many major families such as Indo-European or Semitic, and would be about the same age as, for instance, the Eastern subfamily of Nilotic. But the grouping is far from transparent or securely established. The absence of early records is a major obstacle. As for the Finno-Ugric Urheimat, most of what has been said about it is speculation.

Some linguists criticizing the Finno-Ugric genetic proposal also question the validity of the entire Uralic family, instead proposing a Ural–Altaic hypothesis, within which they believe Finno-Permic may be as distant from Ugric as from Turkic. However, this approach has been rejected by nearly all other specialists in Uralic linguistics. For refutations, see e.g. Aikio 2003; Bakró-Nagy 2003, 2005; De Smit 2003; Georg 2003; Kallio 2004; Laakso 2004; Saarikivi 2004.

The Finno-Permic languages (also Finno-Permian and Fenno-Permic/Permian) are a traditional but disputed group of the Uralic languages that comprises the Baltic-Finnic languages, Sami languages, Mordvinic languages, Mari language, Permic languages, and likely a number of extinct languages. In the traditional taxonomy of the Uralic languages, Finno-Permic is estimated to have split from Finno-Ugric around 3000–2500 BC, and branched into Permic languages and Finno-Volgaic languages around 2000 BC. Nowadays the validity of the group as a taxonomical entity is questioned.

The term Finnic languages has often been used to designate all the Finno-Permic languages, based on an earlier belief that Permic languages would be much more closely related to the Baltic Finnic languages than to the Ugric languages.

Proto-Finnic or Proto-Baltic-Finnic is the common ancestor of the Finnic languages, which include the national languages Finnish and Estonian. Proto-Finnic is not attested in any texts, but has been reconstructed by linguists. Proto-Finnic is itself descended ultimately from Proto-Uralic.

Proto-Uralic is the reconstructed language ancestral to the Uralic language family. The language was originally spoken in a small area in about 7000-2000 BC (estimates vary), and expanded to give differentiated protolanguages. The exact location of the area or Urheimat is not known, and various strongly differing proposals have been advocated, but the vicinity of the Ural Mountains is usually assumed.

The Proto-Uralic homeland has always been located near the Ural Mountains, either on the European or the Siberian side. The main reason to suppose a Siberian homeland has been the traditional taxonomic model that sees the Samoyed branch splitting off first; because the present border between the Samoyed and the Ugric branch is located in Western Siberia, the original split was seen to have occurred there, too.

However, the Ugric languages are known to have earlier been spoken on the European side of the Urals, so a European homeland would be equally possible. In recent years it has also been argued that on the phonological basis the oldest split was not between the Samoyed and the Finno-Ugric, but between the Finno-Permic and the Ugro-Samoyedic language groups.

The lexical level is argued to be less reliable, and lexical innovativeness (a small number of shared cognates) can be confused with a great age of the division. For a long time, no new arguments for a Siberian homeland have been presented.

Both European and Siberian homeland proposals have been supported by palaeolinguistic evidence, although only such cases are valid in which the semantic reconstructions are certain. A Siberian homeland has been claimed on the basis of two coniferous tree names in Proto-Uralic, although these trees (Abies sibirica and Pinus cembra) have for a long time been present also in easternmost Europe. A European homeland is supported by words for ‘bee’, ‘honey’, ‘elm’ etc. These can be reconstructed already in Proto-Uralic, when Samoyed is no more the first entity to split off.

More recently also the loanword evidence has been used to support a European homeland: Proto-Uralic has been seen borrowing words from Proto-Indo-European, and the Proto-Indo-European homeland has rarely been located east of the Urals. Proto-Uralic even seems to have developed in close contact with Proto-Aryan, which is seen to have been born in the Poltavka culture of the Caspian steppes before its spread to Asia.

Although Proto-Uralic is now located on the European side of the Urals, Pre-Proto-Uralic seems to have been spoken in Asia, as argued on the basis of early contacts with the Yukaghir languages and typological similarity with the Altaic (in the typological meaning) language families.

Archaeological continuity has for a long time been applied as an argument for linguistic continuity, in the Uralic studies since the Estonians Paul Ariste and Harri Moora in 1956. Just as long this kind of argumentation has also been heavily criticized.

The oldest version of the continuity theories can be called the moderate or shallow continuity theory, and according to it the linguistic continuity in Estonia and Finland can be traced back to the arrival of Typical Combed Ware about 6,000 years ago. This view became mainstream in the multidisciplinary Tvärminne symposium in 1980, when there seemed to be nothing in the linguistic results to seriously contradict this archaeological view.

The continuity argumentation in the Uralic studies gained greater visibility during the 1990s, when the next step was popularized (even though already earlier this line of reasoning had been occasionally sported): in the radical or deep continuity theory it was claimed that the linguistic continuity in Finland could be traced back to the Mesolithic initial colonization, beyond 10,000 years.

However, in the Indo-European studies J. P. Mallory had already thoroughly scrutinized the methodological weakness of the continuity argumentation in 1989. In the Uralic studies it was also soon noted that the one and the same argument (archaeological continuity) was used to support contradicting views, thus revealing the unreliability of the method.

At the same time new linguistic results appeared contradicting the continuity theories: both the datings of Proto-Saami and Proto-Finnic as well as Proto-Uralic (Kallio 2006; Häkkinen 2009) were argued to be clearly younger than were thought in the framework of the continuity theories.

Nowadays linguists rarely believe in the continuity theories due to both their shown methodological flaws and incompatibility with the new linguistic results, although some archaeologists and laymen may still sport on such argumentation.

After the rejection of the continuity theories, the recent linguistic arguments have placed the Proto-Uralic homeland around the Kama River, or more generally close to the Great Volga Bend and the Ural Mountains.

The expansion of Proto-Uralic has been dated to about 2000 BC (4 000 years ago), while its earlier stages go back at least one or two millennia further. Either way, this is considerably later than the earlier views of the continuity theories, which would place the Proto-Uralic deep into Europe.

According to the traditional binary tree model, Proto-Uralic diverged into Proto-Samoyedic and Proto-Finno-Ugric. However, reconstructed Proto-Finno-Ugric differs little from Proto-Uralic, and many apparent differences follow from the methods used. Thus Proto-Finno-Ugric may not be separate from Proto-Uralic. Another reconstruction of the split of Proto-Uralic has three branches (Finno-Permic, Ugric and Samoyedic) from the start.

Recently these tree-like models have been challenged by the hypothesis of larger number of protolanguages giving a “comb” rather than a tree. The protolanguages would be Sami, (Baltic-)Finnic, Mordva, Mari, Permic, Magyar, Khanti, Mansi, and Samoyedic. This order is both the order of geographical positions as well as linguistic similarity, with neighboring languages being more similar than distant ones.

Until the 18th century, Komi was written in the Old Permic alphabett, sometimes called Abur or Anbur, introduced by Saint Stephen of Perm in the 14th century. It is a “highly idiosyncratic adaptation” of the Cyrillic script once used to write medieval Komi (Permic). Cyrillic was used from the 19th century and briefly replaced by the Latin alphabet between 1929 and 1933.

The Abur inscriptions are among the oldest relics of the Uralic languages. Only one of these languages has earlier documents: Hungarian, which had been written using the Old Hungarian script first, then with the Latin script after 1000. For comparison, Finnish as a written language only appeared after the Reformation in 1543. However, an isolated birch bark letter, found in 1957 in Novgorod and written in a Finnic language has been dated to the beginning of the 13th century.

The Hungarian Runes are derived from the Old Turkic script,[6] itself recorded in inscriptions dating from c. AD 720. The Old Turkic script was presumably derived from Asian scripts such as the Pahlavi and Sogdian alphabets, or possibly from Karosthi, all of which are in turn remotely derived from the Aramaic script.

Speakers of Proto-Hungarian would have come into contact with Turkic peoples during the 7th or 8th century, in the context of the Turkic expansion, as is also evidenced by numerous Turkic loanwords in Proto-Hungarian.

The Komi language is currently written in Cyrillic, adding two extra letters – Іі and Ӧӧ – to represent vowel sounds which do not exist in Russian. The first book to be printed in Komi (a vaccination manual) appeared in 1815.

Most Komis belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, but their religion often contains traces of pre-Christian beliefs. Komi mythology is the traditional mythology of the Komi people. A large number of Komis are Old Believers, which is Christians that separated after 1666 from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon between 1652 and 1666.

Based on linguistic reconstruction, the prehistoric Permians are assumed to have split into two peoples during the first millennium BC: the Komis and the Udmurts. Around 500 AD, the Komis further divided into the Komi-Permyaks (who remained in the Kama River basin) and the Komi-Zyrians (who migrated north).

The linguistic reconstruction of the Finno-Ugric language family has led to the postulation that the ancient Proto–Finno-Ugric people were ethnically related, and that even the modern Finno-Ugric-speaking peoples are ethnically related.

Such hypotheses are based on the assumption that heredity can be traced through linguistic relatedness, although it must be kept in mind that language shift and ethnic admixture, a relatively frequent and common occurrence both in recorded history and most likely also in prehistory, confuses the picture and there is no straightforward relationship, if at all, between linguistic and genetic affiliation. Still, the premise that the limited community of speakers of a proto-language must have been ethnically homogeneous remains accepted.

Modern genetic studies have shown that the Y-chromosome haplogroup N3, and sometimes N2, is almost specific though certainly not restricted to Uralic or Finno-Ugric speaking populations, especially as high frequency or primary paternal haplogroup.

These haplogroups branched from haplogroup N, which probably spread north, then west and east from Northern China about 12,000–14,000 years before present from father haplogroup NO (haplogroup O being the most common Y-chromosome haplogroup in Southeast Asia).

A study on north-eastern populations, published in March 2013, found that Komi peoples form a distinct pole of genetic diversity.

The Baltic Finns are a Finno-Ugric group of peoples of Northeastern Europe whose modern descendants include the Finns proper, Karelians (including Ludes and Olonets), Veps, Izhorians, Votes, Livonians and Estonians (including Võros and Setos) who speak Baltic-Finnic languages and have inhabited the Baltic Sea region for 3,000 years according to one theory, or up to ten thousand years according to another theory.

According to the Migration Theory that was based primarily on comparative linguistics, the proto-Finnic peoples migrated from an ancient homeland somewhere in northwestern Siberia or western Russia to the shores of the Baltic Sea around 1000 BC, at which time Finns and Estonians separated. The Migration Theory has been called into question since 1980, based on genealogy, craniometry and archaeology. Recently, a modified form of the Migration Theory has gained new support among the younger generation of linguists, who consider that archaeology, genes or craniometric data cannot supply evidence of prehistoric languages.

During the last 30 years, scientific research in physical anthropology, craniometric analyses, and the mitochondrial and Y-chromosomal DNA frequencies have reduced the likelihood for a major westward migration as recently as 3,000 years ago. The Settlement Continuity Theory asserts that at least the genetic ancestors of the Finno-Ugric peoples were among the earliest indigenous peoples of Europe.

The origin of the people who lived in the Baltic Sea area during the Mesolithic Era continues to be debated by scientists. From the middle of the Neolithic Era onwards, there is agreement to a certain extent among scholars: it has been suggested that Finno-Ugric tribes arrived in the Baltic region from the east or southeast approximately 4000–3000 BC by merging with the original inhabitants, who then adopted the proto-Finno-Ugric language and the Comb Ceramic culture of the newcomers. The members of this new Finno-Ugric-speaking ethnic group are regarded as the ancestors of modern Estonians.

The Y-chromosomal data has also revealed a common Finno-Ugric ancestry for the males of the neighboring Baltic peoples, speakers of the Indo-European Baltic languages. According to the studies, Baltic males are most closely related to the Finno-Ugric-speaking Volga Finns such as the Mari, rather than to Baltic Finns.

The Volga Finns (sometimes referred to as Eastern Finns) are a historical group of indigenous peoples of Russia whose descendants include the Mari people, the Erzya and the Moksha Mordvins, as well as extinct Merya, Muromian and Meshchera people. The Permians are sometimes also grouped as Volga Finns.

The modern representatives of Volga Finns live in the basins of the Sura and Moksha Rivers, as well as (in smaller numbers) in the interfluve between the Volga and the Belaya Rivers. The Mari language has two dialects, the Meadow Mari and the Hill Mari.

Traditionally the Mari and the Mordvinic languages (Erzya and Moksha) were considered to form a Volga-Finnic or Volgaic group within the Finno-Permic branch of the Uralic language family, accepted by linguists like Robert Austerlitz (1968), Aurélien Sauvageot & Karl Heinrich Menges (1973), Harald Haarmann (1974) and Charles Frederick Voegelin & Florence Marie Voegelin (1977), but rejected by others like Björn Collinder (1965) and Robert Thomas Harms (1974).

This grouping has also been criticized by Salminen (2002), who suggests it may be simply a geographic, not a phylogenetic, group. Since 2009 the 16th edition of Ethnologue: Languages of the World has adopted a classification grouping Mari and Mordvin languages as separate branches of the Uralic language family.

The Volga Finns are not to be confused with the Finns. The term is a back-derivation from the linguistic term “Volga-Finnic”, which in turn reflects an older usage of the term “Finnic”, applying to most or whole of the Finno-Permic group, while the group nowadays known as Finnic were referred to as “Baltic-Finnic”.

The speakers of Permic languages, the Permians, are sometimes considered belonging to the Volga Finnic group of peoples because according to some theories their ancient homeland lies in the Northern part of the Volga River basin.

The indicator of Finno-Ugric origin has been found to be more frequent in Latvians (42%) and Lithuanians (43%) than in Estonians (34%). The results suggest that the territories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have been settled by Finno-Ugric-speaking tribes since the early Mesolithic period.

On the other hand, some linguists do not consider it likely that a Baltic-Finnic language form could have existed at such an early date. According to these views, the Finno-Ugric languages appeared in Finland and Baltic only during the Early Bronze Age (ca. 1,800 BC), if not later.

The region has been populated since the end of the last glacial era, about 10,000 BC. The earliest traces of human settlement are connected with Suomusjärvi culture and Kunda culture. The Early Mesolithic Pulli settlement is located by the Pärnu River. It has been dated to the beginning of the 9th millennium BC.

The Kunda Culture received its name from the Lammasmäe settlement site in northern Estonia, which dates from earlier than 8500. Bone and stone artefacts similar to those found at Kunda have been discovered elsewhere in Estonia, as well as in Latvia, northern Lithuania and southern Finland.

Around 5300 BCE pottery entered Finland. The earliest representatives belong to the Comb Ceramic Cultures, known for their distinctive decorating patterns. This marks the beginning of the Neolithic Period

Until the early 1980s, the arrival of Finnic peoples, the ancestors of the Estonians, Finns, and Livonians on the shores of the Baltic sea around 3000 BC, was associated with the Comb Ceramic Culture. However, such a linking of archaeologically defined cultural entities with linguistic ones cannot be proven and it has been suggested that the increase of settlement finds in the period is more likely to have been associated with an economic boom related to the warming of climate. Some researchers have even argued that a form of Uralic languages may have been spoken in Estonia and Finland since the end of the last glaciation.

The linguistic ancestors of modern Livonians may have lived on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea around the Gulf of Riga as early as 1800 B.C. The first speakers of Indo-European Baltic languages, i.e. the linguistic ancestors of today’s Latvians and Lithuanians, are thought to have arrived in the area around 2000 B.C. The exact date of the Uralic migration to the region has been disputed, but according to DNA studies, there were Uralic peoples in the Baltic region some 10,000 years ago. These peoples later merged with the Balts and Finnic tribes.

The Pit–Comb Ware culture AKA Comb Ceramic culture was a northeast European culture of pottery-making hunter-gatherers. It existed from around 4200 BC to around 2000 BC. The name is derived from the most common type of decoration on its ceramics, which looks like the imprints of a comb.

The distribution of the artifacts found includes Finnmark (Norway) in the north, the Kalix River (Sweden) and the Gulf of Bothnia (Finland) in the west and the Vistula River (Poland) in the south. In the east the Comb Ceramic pottery of northern Eurasia extends beyond the Ural mountains to the Baraba steppe adjacent to the Altai-Sayan mountain range, merging with a continuum of similar ceramic styles.

It would include the Narva culture of Estonia and the Sperrings culture in Finland, among others. They are thought to have been essentially hunter-gatherers, though e.g. the Narva culture in Estonia shows some evidence of agriculture. Some of this region was absorbed by the later Corded Ware horizon.

The Pit–Comb Ware culture is one of the few exceptions to the rule that pottery and farming coexist in Europe. In the Near East farming appeared before pottery, then when farming spread into Europe from the Near East, pottery-making came with it. However in Asia, where the oldest pottery has been found, pottery was made long before farming. It appears that the Comb Ceramic Culture reflects influences from Siberia and distant China.

By dating according to the elevation of land, the ceramics have traditionally (Äyräpää 1930) been divided into the following periods: early (Ka I, c. 4200 BC – 3300 BC), typical (Ka II, c. 3300 BC – 2700 BC) and late Comb Ceramic (Ka III, c. 2800 BC – 2000 BC).

Previously, the dominant view was that the spread of the Comb Ware people was correlated with the diffusion of the Uralic languages, and thus an early Uralic language must have been spoken throughout this culture. However, another more recent view is that the Comb Ware people may have spoken a Paleo-European (pre-Uralic) language, as some toponyms and hydronyms also indicate a non-Uralic, non-Indo-European language at work in some areas. Even then, linguists and archaeologists both have also been skeptical of assigning languages based on the borders of cultural complexes, and it’s possible that the Pit-Comb Ware Culture was made up of several languages, one of them being Proto-Uralic.

The Pitted Ware culture (ca 3200 BC– ca 2300 BC) was a hunter-gatherer culture in southern Scandinavia, mainly along the coasts of Svealand, Götaland, Åland, north-eastern Denmark and southern Norway. Despite its Mesolithic economy, it is by convention classed as Neolithic, since it falls within the period in which farming reached Scandinavia. It was first contemporary and overlapping with the agricultural Funnelbeaker culture, and later with the agricultural Corded Ware culture.

The economy was based on fishing, hunting and gathering of plants. Pitted Ware sites contain bones from elk, deer, beaver, seal, porpoise, and pig. Pig bones found in large quantities on some Pitted Ware sites emanate from wild boar rather than domestic pigs.

Seasonal migration was a feature of life, as with many other hunter-gatherer communities. Pitted Ware communities in Eastern Sweden probably spent most of the year at their main village on the coast, making seasonal forays inland to hunt for pigs and fur-bearing animals and to engage in exchange with farming communities in the interior.

This type of seasonal interaction may explain the unique Alvastra Pile Dwelling in south-western Östergötland, which belongs to the Pitted Ware culture as far as the pottery is concerned, but to the Funnelbeaker culture in tools and weapons.

The repertoire of Pitted Ware tools varied from region to region. In part this variety reflected regional sources of raw materials. However the use of fish-hooks, harpoons, and nets and sinkers was fairly widespread. Tanged arrow heads made from blades of flintstone are abundant on Scandinavia’s west coast, and were probably used in the hunting of marine mammals.

One notable feature of the Pitted Ware Culture is the sheer quantity of shards of pottery on its sites. The culture has been named after the typical ornamentation of its pottery: horizontal rows of pits pressed into the body of the pot before firing.

Though some vessels are flat-bottomed, others are round-based or pointed-based, which would facilitate stable positioning in the soil or on the hearth. In shape and decoration, this ceramic reflects influences from the Comb Ceramic culture (also known as Pit-Comb Ware) of Finland and other parts of north-eastern Europe, established in the sixth and fifth millennia BC.

Small animal figurines were modelled out of clay, as well as bone. These are also similar to the art of the Comb Ware culture. A large number of clay figurines have been found at Jettböle on the island of Åland, including some which combine seal and human features.

Its grave customs are not well known, but Västerbjers on the island of Gotland has produced a large number of grave fields, where the limestone has preserved the graves well. In these graves, archaeologists found skeletons laid on their backs with well-preserved tools in bone and horn. Numerous imported objects testify to good connections with the Scandinavian mainland, Denmark and Germany.

A theory among archaeologists was that the Pitted Ware culture evolved from the Funnelbeaker culture by a process of abandonment of farming for hunting and fishing. However the two populations are genetically distinct. Samples of skeletal remains from Pitted Ware and Funnelbeaker sites in Sweden yielded mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).

The nineteen Pitted Ware samples from Gotland were dominated by mtDNA haplogroups U4, U5 and U5a, though it should be noted that, because of the low resolution of the tests performed, some haplotypes reported as U4 may actually belong to haplogroup H.

By contrast the three Funnelbeaker samples from Gökhem contained no haplogroup U. This is consistent with findings elsewhere in northern Europe of a distinct difference in mtDNA between hunter-gatherers and farmers.

A very low level (5%) of an allele (-13910*T) strongly associated with the ability to consume unprocessed milk at adulthood was found among Pitted Ware Culture individuals in Gotland, Sweden. This frequency is dramatically different from the extant Swedish population (74%).

As the language left no records, its linguistic affiliations are uncertain. It has been suggested that its people spoke a language related to the Uralic languages and provided the unique linguistic features discussed in the Germanic substrate hypothesis.

The beginning of the Bronze Age in Estonia is dated to approximately 1800 BC, in present-day Finland some time after 1500 BCE.

The coastal regions of Finland were a part of the Nordic Bronze Culture, whereas in the inland regions the influences came from the bronze-using cultures of Northern Russia. The development of shipbuilding facilitated the spread of bronze.

The development of the borders between the Finnic peoples and the Balts was under way. The first fortified settlements, Asva and Ridala on the island of Saaremaa and Iru in the Northern Estonia, began to be built.

Changes took place in burial customs, a new type of burial ground spread from Germanic to Estonian areas, stone cist graves and cremation burials became increasingly common aside small number of boat-shaped stone graves.

Many relationships between Uralic and other language families have been suggested, but none of these are generally accepted by linguists at the present time.

Uralic languages

Proto-Uralic language

Proto-Uralic homeland hypotheses


Main article: Ural–Altaic languages

Theories proposing a close relationship with the Altaic languages were formerly popular, based on similarities in vocabulary as well as in grammatical and phonological features, in particular the similarities in the Uralic and Altaic pronouns and the presence of agglutination in both sets of languages, as well as vowel harmony in some. For example, the word for “language” is similar in Estonian (keel) and Mongolian (хэл (hel)).

These theories are now generally rejected and most such similarities are attributed to coincidence or language contact, and a few to possible relationship at a deeper genetic level.


Main article: Indo-Uralic languages

The Indo-Uralic (or Uralo-Indo-European) hypothesis suggests that Uralic and Indo-European are related at a fairly close level or, in its stronger form, that they are more closely related than either is to any other language family. It is viewed as certain by a few linguists (see main article) and as possible by a larger number.


Main article: Uralic–Yukaghir languages

The Uralic–Yukaghir hypothesis identifies Uralic and Yukaghir as independent members of a single language family. It is currently widely accepted that the similarities between Uralic and Yukaghir languages are due to ancient contacts. Regardless, the hypothesis is accepted by a few linguists and viewed as attractive by a somewhat larger number.


Main article: Eskimo–Uralic languages

The Eskimo–Uralic hypothesis associates Uralic with the Eskimo–Aleut languages. This is an old thesis whose antecedents go back to the 18th century. An important restatement of it is Bergsland 1959.


Main article: Uralo-Siberian languages

Uralo-Siberian is an expanded form of the Eskimo–Uralic hypothesis. It associates Uralic with Yukaghir, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, and Eskimo–Aleut. It was propounded by Michael Fortescue in 1998.


Main article: Nostratic languages

Nostratic associates Uralic, Indo-European, Altaic, and various other language families of Asia. The Nostratic hypothesis was first propounded by Holger Pedersen in 1903 and subsequently revived by Vladislav Illich-Svitych and Aharon Dolgopolsky in the 1960s.


Main article: Eurasiatic languages

Eurasiatic resembles Nostratic in including Uralic, Indo-European, and Altaic, but differs from it in excluding the South Caucasian languages, Dravidian, and Afroasiatic and including Chukotko-Kamchatkan, Nivkh, Ainu, and Eskimo–Aleut. It was propounded by Joseph Greenberg in 2000–2002. Similar ideas had earlier been expressed by Heinrich Koppelmann (1933) and by Björn Collinder (1965:30–34).

Borean languages

Main article: Borean languages

Borean (also Boreal or Boralean) is a hypothetical linguistic macrofamily that encompasses almost all language families except those native to sub-Saharan Africa, New Guinea, and Australia.

The hypothesis proposes that the various languages of Eurasia and adjacent regions have a genealogical relationship, and ultimately descend from languages spoken in the Upper Paleolithic in the millennia following the Last Glacial Maximum.

The name “Borean”, based on Greek means “northern”. This reflects the fact that the group is held by its proponents to include most language families native to the northern hemisphere. Two distinct models of Borean exist: that of Harold C. Fleming and that of Sergei Starostin.


The hypothesis that the Dravidian languages display similarities with the Uralic language group, suggesting a prolonged period of contact in the past, is popular amongst Dravidian linguists and has been supported by a number of scholars, including Robert Caldwell, Thomas Burrow, Kamil Zvelebil, and Mikhail Andronov.

This hypothesis has, however, been rejected by some specialists in Uralic languages, and has in recent times also been criticised by other Dravidian linguists such as Bhadriraju Krishnamurti.

All of these hypotheses are minority views at the present time in Uralic studies.

Other comparisons

Various unorthodox comparisons have been advanced such as Finno-Basque and Hungaro-Sumerian. These are considered spurious by specialists.

(Baltic Finnic) Finnic peoples

(“Volgaic”) Volga Finns


Permic languages

(Ugric) Ugric peoples

Ugric languages

Pitted-Ware culture

Pit-Comb Ceramic culture

Finno-Ugric peoples


Proto-Finnic language

Finno-Ugric languages

Finno-Permic languages

Finno-Volgaic languages

Baltic Finnic languages


Samoyedic peoples

Samoyedic languages



Old Hungarian script

Old Permic script


The Kingdom of Gordyene

File:Maps of the Armenian Empire of Tigranes.gif

File:Kurdish Kingdoms of Corduene-Sophene.jpg

Hva som er urartu-hurriere, armenere, kurdere osv. er ikke lett å finne ut av. Det har pågått alle mulige slags blandinger opp gjennom tiden. Kanskje er det rett at Corduene kommer fra Gordiene, og dermed fra den frygiske kongen Gordias (Gord-i-as). Dette på samme måte som den frygiske kongen Midas, eller Mita, stammer fra Mitanni (Me-ta-ni).

“Kurd” er en utvikling av ordet “Gard” eller “Gord” fra utdød proto-iransk, som betyr “Soldat” eller “Vakt” eller “Kriger”. Kurderne ble gitt dette navnet fordi de er et krigerfolk og var kjent disse egenskapene. I dag finnes fortsatt ordet “Guard” på engelsk og “Gard” i germanske og skandinaviske språk. Det betyr fortsatt “Vakt”, “Kriger” eller “Soldat”. Mange nordmenn heter også “Gard” til fornavn – samme som “Kurd”.

Og så, med tiden og innflytelse fra nye folk, som araberne, endret “G” seg til “K”, fordi “G” ikke finnes på arabisk. En vokallyd – som O eller U – er uansett ikke avgjørende for betydningen av et ord og avhenger av hvem som uttaler det. Et eksempel: skiftet mellom “a” på persisk og “o” på dari er like regelmessig som natt og dag.

The Kingdom of Gordyene emerged from the declining Seleucid Empire and for most of its history, it was a province of the Roman Empire and acknowledged the sovereignty of Rome. From 189 to 90 BC it enjoyed a period of independence. Its area was much smaller than what is now called Kurdistan, and was mainly concentrated in the south of Lake Van and around Diyarbakir.

Ancient Corduene, identified as Kurdistan in some sources was twice incorporated into the Kingdom of Armenia. The first period was in the first century BC from 90 to 66 AD as a vassal kingdom of Armenia. Corduene was then incorporated in the Roman Republic and remained in Roman hands for more than four centuries. In the late fourth century AD, it became a part of Armenia for the second time (in 384) and remained as such until 428 AD.

It is described as a small vassal state between Armenia and Persia in the mountainous area south of Lake Van in modern Turkey. The three principalities of Corduene, Moxoene, and Zabdicene are referred to as Carduchian dynasties by Toumanoff. The region seemed never to have been a unified one in most parts of its history even in periods of independence. Moxoene was a province of old Armenia, today in Van province, Turkey. It was governed by Armenian princes.

The Urartians, specifically to their archaeology. They had possession of northern (if not the greater portion) of Corduene. On linguistic grounds the region would have been Hurrian, as the Urartians spoke a Hurrian-related language.  Northern Corduene was known as Khubushkia, a Nairi land, and its capital of the same name was known as the capital of the Nairi.  Urartu likewise was a Nairi land, and its ruler styled himself “King of Nairi”. The people of Gorduene were known to have worshipped the Hurrian sky God Teshub.

19th-century scholars, such as George Rawlinson, identified Corduene and Carduchi with the modern Kurds, considering that Carduchi was the ancient lexical equivalent of “Kurdistan”. This view is supported by some recent academic sources which have considered Corduene as proto-Kurdish or as equivalent to modern-day Kurdistan.

There were numerous forms of this name, partly due to the difficulty of representing kh in Latin. The spelling Karduchoi is itself probably borrowed from Armenian, since the termination -choi represents the Armenian language plural suffix -kh. It is speculated that Carduchi spoke an Old Iranian language.

Armenians referred to the inhabitants of Corduene as Korduk’. This name found its way into Greek documents and Xenophon used the Hellenized form of the name, Karduchoi. According to Strabo, the region of Corduene (“Gordyaean Mts.”) referred to the mountains between Diyarbakir and Mush. It is argued that Greeks learned this term (Karduchoi) from Armenians, since the termination -χoι represents the Armenian plural in -k’.

The Turkish government has been building numerous dams in the southeast since the 1980’s. This is to meant bring agriculture and improve the economy of the area. Some of the ancient sites (already discovered or yet to be discovered) have and may become flooded.

Det armenske høylandet

Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity)

Historical regions of Armenia

Armenian–Kurdish relations



Turkic Peoples – Name Etymology

The first known mention of the term Turk it was applied to a Turkic group was in reference to the Göktürks in the 6th century. A letter by Ishbara Qaghan to Emperor Wen of Sui in 585 described him as “the Great Turk Khan.” The Orhun inscriptions (735 CE) use the terms Turk and Turuk.

The Chinese Book of Zhou (7th century) presents an etymology of the name Turk as derived from “helmet”, explaining that taken this name refers to the shape of the Altai Mountains.

Previous use of similar terms are of unknown significance, although some strongly feel that they are evidence of the historical continuity of the term and the people as a linguistic unit since early times. This includes Chinese records Spring and Autumn Annals referring to a neighbouring people as Beidi.

There are references to certain groups in antiquity whose names could be the original form of “Türk/Türük” such as Togarma, Turukha, Turukku and so on. But the information gap is so substantial that we cannot firmly connect these ancient people to the modern Turks.

According to Persian tradition, as reported by 11th-century ethnographer Mahmud of Kashgar and various other traditional Islamic scholars and historians, the name “Turk” stems from Tur, one of the sons of Japheth (Turan).

Tūrān iis the Persian name for a region around Central Asia, literally meaning “the land of the Tur”. As described below, the original Turanians are an Iranian tribe of the Avestan age. As a people the “Turanian” are one of the two Iranian peoples both descending from the Persian Fereydun but with different domains and often at war with each other.

In fact according to the Shahnameh’s account, at least 1,500 years later after the Avesta, the nomadic tribes who inhabited these lands were ruled by Tūr, who was the emperor Fereydun’s elder son.

The association with Turks is also primarily based on the Shahnameh’s geographical account where Turkification of Central Asia was partially completed during that time.

Tur/Turaj (Tuzh in Middle Persian) is the son of emperor Fereydun in ancient Iranian mythology. In the Shahnameh, he is identified with the Turks although culturally, there is no relationship between Turanians of the Shahnameh and the culture of ancient Turks.

In 19th century and early 20th century discourse, now obsolete, Turan was primarily an ideological term designating Altaic and Uralic languages.

According to the assumptions of the Turkologists Peter Golden and András Róna-Tas, the term Turk could be rooted in the East Iranian Saka language.

However, it is generally accepted that the term “Türk” is ultimately derived from the Old-Turkic migration-term “Türük” or “Törük”, which means “created”, “born”, or “strong”.

“Tùrk” would find a suitable Turkic etymology, being conflated with the word tùrk, which means one in the prime of youth, powerful, mighty” (Rona-Tas 1991,10-13).

It seems hard to avoid the conclusion that the Tùrks, per se, had strong connections with — if not ultimate origins in — Irano-Tocharian east Turkistan.

They, or at least the Ashina, were migrants to southern Siberia-northern Mongolia, where we seem to find the major concentration of Turkic-speaking peoples.

There are a considarable number of Tocharian and Iranian loan words in Old Turkic — although a good number of these may have been acquired, especially in the case of Soghdian terms, during the Tùrk impérial period, when the Soghdians were a subject people, an important mercantile-commercial element in the Tùrk state, and culture-bearers across Eurasia. It also should be noted here that the early Tùrk rulers bore names of non-Turkic origin.

Turukkaeans (Turukkum, Turukku) were an ancient near eastern people in the northern parts of Mesopotamia during the Bronze Age. In particular, they inhabited the Urmia basin and the valleys of northwestern Zagros Mountains. Turukkum appears to have consisted of a group of kingdoms whose populations were of mixed stock, perhaps predominantly Hurrian but with significant Semitic components.

The Turukkaeans were long considered to be a semi-nomadic tribal people who repeatedly raided the cities and kingdoms of northern Mesopotamia. But according to Eidem and Laessøe, evidence provided by the Shemshara archives indicated that Turukkum was made up of a number of polities with a relatively complex political organization and systems of noble lineage sharing territorial power.

The kingdom of Itabalhum seems to have been the most important of these polities. Itabalhum (Itab/pal) was an ancient kingdom of the Turukkaeans in the middle part of the Bronze Age. It is located in the northwestern parts of Zagros mountain region.

The kingdom was attested in the texts of Shemshara (Shusharra). As viewed from Shemshara the Turukkean kingdom of Itabalhum appears to be a peripheral polity, with a largely Mesopotamian material culture.

The Turukkaeans were a constant threat to the security of the Old Assyrian kingdom during the reign of Shamshi-Adad I (1796 – 1775 BC) and his son and successor Ishme-Dagan. The name of Hammurabi’s 37th year records his defeat of Turukku.

The etymology of Turkey (Tur-ki-a), or Turukki (Tur-uk-ki), but it can also come from (Tu-ru-ki) – Tocharians (To-cha-ri-ans). Togarma, son of Gomer, brother of Ashkenaz (Indo-Iranians) and Riphat (Indo-Aryans) answering to Armenia, and Ar-ma (Armenia), but also Tocharians (Tok-ar-ians), from Toka (tu-ka), Sanskrit for tribe or race. Togarma, also answering to Armenia from To-ka, Sanskrit for tribe or race, and Ar-ma (Armenia). At the same time Armenians comes from Aram, son of Shem.

The Tocharians or Tokharians (/təˈkɛəriənz/ or /təˈkɑriənz/) were inhabitants of medieval oasis city-states on the northern edge of the Tarim Basin (modern Xinjiang, China). Their Tocharian languages (a branch of the Indo-European family) are known from manuscripts from the 6th to 8th centuries AD, after which they were supplanted by the Turkic languages of the Uyghur tribes.

Some scholars have linked the Tocharians with the Afanasevo culture of eastern Siberia (c. 3500 – 2500 BC), the Tarim mummies (c. 1800 BC) and the Yuezhi of Chinese records, most of whom migrated from western Gansu to Bactria in the 2nd century BC and then later to northwest India where they founded the Kushan Empire.

The Kushan Empire was an empire in South Asia originally formed in the early 1st century CE under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria around the Oxus River (Amu Darya), and later based near Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Kushans spread from the Kabul River Valley to defeat other Central Asian tribes that had previously conquered parts of the northern central Iranian Plateau once ruled by the Parthians, and reached their peak under the Buddhist emperor Kanishka (127–151), whose realm stretched from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic Plain.”

The Kushans were one of five branches of the Yuezhi confederation, a possibly Tocharian, Indo-European nomadic people who had migrated from the Tarim Basin and settled in ancient Bactria.

Turkic Peoples – Name Etymology

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: On Tocharian origins

Res Obscura: Vanished Civilization II: The Tocharians


Tocharian languages

Tocharian alphabet


Central Asia

File:Tarimbecken 3. Jahrhundert.png





Tarim mummies

Lop Nur

Tarim Basin

Taklamakan Desert

Dzungarian Gate

Silk Road

Cities along the Silk Road

Silk Road transmission of Buddhism

Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves

Northern Silk Road





The birth of Christianity


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USAs og Frankrikes ønske om å gå til krig mot Syria for å innføre vestlig eller “pan-arabisk” demokrati der i samarbeid Al Qaida og andre “”Friends of Syria”- land som Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, Tyrkia, og UK (Cameron), blir for kristne i Sørvest Asia en gjentakelse av historien, som vil si at imperialistiske europeree (og amerikanere) allierer seg med de kristne i Sørvest Asia sine egne fiender – jf britene som i 1882 allierte seg med tyrkere for å kolonisere Egypt og tyskere som under WW1 allierte seg med tyrkere (jf flkemordet på armenerne).

Det har de siste par tiår skjedd en religiøs og politisk “vekkelse” blant innfødte kristne etniske grupper som er urbefolkninger i Midtøsten (arabere, assyrere – Assyria, armenere, kurdere- Kurdistan, iranere, koptere osv).

Disse ønsker ikke utenlandsk innblanding fra euroepisk og amerikansk kristendom, ei heller fra kristne eller post-kristne Frankrike, Storbritannia, Russland som koloniserte og delte Midtøsten mellom seg i 1916 – jf den hemmelige Sykes–Picot-avtalen av 1916, ei heller fra USA, Russland eller Kina.

Etniske og religiøse minoriteter (urbefolkninger) i det sunni-dominerte Sørvest Asia som trues avfolkemord fra sunni-muslimer i regionen som har samme poltiske agenda som Det muslimske brorskap i Egypt og fra sunni-islamister som støtter Al Qaida.

De Israel sympatiserende høyreekstreme i Norge nyanserer like lite det etniske og religiøse mangfoldet i regionen utenfor Israel, som den tidligere danske imamen Ahmed Akkari, som nå må tale til “araberne” i “Midtøsten”, som vil si til de “araberne” som i 2006 lot sitt voldsomme raseri mot en dansk Muhammed-karikatur gå ut over de kristne araberne, assyrerne, kopterne osv i regionen.

Arabiske drusere og alawitter, kristne arabere, assyrere, kurdere, iranere (persere) og koptere i Egypt er urbefolkninger i Sørvest Asia som har like stor rett til å bo i den regionen som alle andre etniske og religiøse grupper der. “First: Christians were in this region before Muslims. They are not strangers, nor colonialists, nor foreigners. They are the natives of these lands and Arabs, just as Muslims are.” – prins Ghazi bin Muhammad den 11. sept. 2013

I desember 2012 roste amerikanske John Eibner USAs forpliktelse til å forsvare Israel mot trusselen om folkemord fra Iran, som aspirerer til atommakt. John Eibner oppfordret samtidig president Obama til å lage en forpliktelse som garanterer for sikkerheten til “den eksistensielt truede etniske og religiøse minoriteter i den islamske Sørvest Asia (dvs utenfor Israel) ”

Briten Rupert Shortt i desember 2012: “In the Holy Land (kristne arabere i Sørvest Asia, som er urbefolkning der, kaller gjerne Israel for “Det hellige land”), Christians in 1945 made up 20 per cent of the population; now the figure stands at 2 per cent, as they find themselves caught between the rock of Israeli nationalism and the hard place of growing Palestinian Islamic militancy.

This diaspora is particularly heartrending, for the Middle Eastern communities are among the most ancient of the Christian world. Yet their attackers reject any notion of their right to belong there.”

Svenske Lisa Bjurwald, som har skrevet “The Extreme and Far Right in Europe” (2010) og boken “Europas skam” (2011): “The pan-European anti-Muslim movement includes leading individuals who embrace “Judeo-Christian values” and express their undying support for Israel instead of the anti-Semitism that is so central to the neo-Nazi movement.”

Assyrisk identitet: En ung assyrisk jente, som representerer den assyriske urbefolkningen i Midtøsten, til de vestlige landene: “I really hope that your tolerance and freedom will not put the Western World in the same chains as my indigenous people of Mesopotamia”.

Vesten arbeider for regimeskifte i Syria. Det vil innebære en katastrofe for landets to millioner kristne. De blir bra behandlet av det sekulære regimet. Om regimet faller, må de kristne regne med omfattende massakrer og fordrivelse. Dette vet USAs president meget godt, men han velger å se bort fra ettersom hans venner i verdens mest reaksjonære diktatur Saudi-Arabia, samt i Tyrkia og Israel, teller mer.

I tillegg ser de muligheten for å fordrive Russland fra sitt eneste baseområde i Middelhavet. Og hva betyr vel skjebnen til to millioner kristne, eller for den saks skyld det syriske folket, da? Men samtidig illustreres det i disse dager at epoken der USA er verdens eneste supermakt, nå går mot slutten.

Russland, og spesielt Kina, utgjør en stadig sterkere motvekt. Det er mye å kritisere disse landene for, ikke minst innenrikspolitisk. Men de har en langt mer fredelig tilnærming i sin utenrikspolitikk enn den perverse krigslogikken som har drevet USA siden 1991.