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samedi, 06 juin 2015

L’unità del vivente e la inesistenza del dualismo Anima-Corpo nella spiritualità indoeuropea

L’unità del vivente e la inesistenza del dualismo Anima-Corpo nella spiritualità indoeuropea

di Giandomenico Casalino

Ex: http://www.ereticamente.net

vénus de milo, détail, marbre de paros, h. 2.02 m.jpgPerché i Greci non possiedono nel loro lessico una parola per dire “corpo”? Perché non possiedono una parola per dire “materia”? Ed affermano che essa come tale non esiste? (1) Perché quando parlano di “corpo” si riferiscono al “soma” cioè al “cadavere”? Fanno riferimento quindi al “corpo” senza vita, senza funzione, senza pensiero, sentimenti, coraggio, personalità, senza “Io” nel significato omerico (arcaico) e quindi tradizionalmente ellenico, come complesso multivocale e multifunzionale, ancorché unitario (2), di potenze della Vita simili a quelle cosmiche (gli Dei). Fanno riferimento pertanto ad un non-ente, ad un “niente”.

L’uomo da Omero è chiamato “il vivente”, (3)  non il “corpo”, e quando i Greci parlano di “anima”, la psychè è sempre in riferimento all’evento morte cioè alla distruzione del “vivente”, alla scomposizione del composto, alla disarmonia dell’armonico; allora il “dualismo” anima-corpo è la conseguenza (sul piano della spiritualità) della morte, della separazione, della frattura; anzi è come un’anticipazione della stessa morte fisica che è infatti separazione e perdita della personalità come Spirito-intelletto che non ha più nessun rapporto con il mondo e non ne può avere poiché essa è niente, è Ade, è l’Oscuro, è l’Umido, dove l’anima muore (Eraclito); è non-visione e quindi non conoscenza (Ade deriva dal greco Aide che è composto da alfa privativo + id che è una delle tre radici del verbo greco orao che significa vedere; per cui l’Ade è il luogo della non visione e quindi della non-conoscenza!).

Così è per i Romani, per le stesse ragioni spirituali essi non hanno pensato di edificare necropoli (come hanno fatto gli Etruschi) ma città per i vivi: templi, terme, basiliche, acquedotti, strade, teatri. Nella stessa Romanità, il rito funebre, con l’esposizione delle maschere degli antenati e con la celebrazione degli Officia del defunto resi al servizio della Res Publica, non è, nella sostanza, una ritualità relativa all’evento morte quanto un rendere onore alle Res Gestae della famiglia medesima, che rendono perenne la memoria della stessa.

Nella realtà del mondo, la verità è il Vivente, la Forma Intelligibile nella Luce (la Lichtung di Heidegger) che è la Vita stessa; ellenicamente è essere visto dagli Dei ed è vedere gli Dei cioè conoscere ed essere conosciuto. E quando Platone nel Fedone parla della morte filosofica, del distacco, della separazione, sta enunciando, data la terribile crisi dell’uomo greco e la sua caduta spirituale, la tecnica e la filosofia della cultura orfico-dionisiaca, come “Opera al Nero”, cioè come necessario “distacco” dalla corporeità, dalla vita, per conseguire il più che vita, l’oltre vita; ma questa è la Via Umida, una “tecnica”, non la tecnica; atteso che lo stesso Platone parla e indica, come essenziale al suo insegnamento, la possibilità, per pochi, della Via Secca Apollinea, dell’insegnamento, dell’epistème, della lunga e severa sottilizzazione dell’elemento vita, restando in essa e non negando il mondo e la corporeità per giungere, dopo anni e anni di esercizio della Ascesi filosofica, mediante la potenza catartica della dialettica, alla noesis, alla conoscenza (Lettera VII).

prax2.jpgInoltre Platone, tra le fenomenologie della “mania”, pur non indicando la forma guerriera, fa riferimento a quella erotica, a quella poetica come alla mantica, tutte molto simili alla Via Ultrasecca che è, per l’appunto, la Via del guerriero (vedi il concetto di “ménos” in Omero come “follia” e quello di “furor” nella cultura romana). (3)

Da tutto ciò consegue che il “corpo” inteso come “soma” non esiste poiché non è forma (intelligibile) essendo privo di Vita e se non è forma non è neanche conoscibile, come la “materia”; poiché esso è “materia”, è ύλη = «legname accatastato senza ordine» (Aristotele). L’unica funzione pertanto che svolge il cadavere (il corpo-soma) è quella di essere “strumento” per la pietà religiosa e per la cultura della “bella morte” eroica (vedi Iliade, episodio della morte di Ettore).

I Greci quindi hanno “scoperto” e ci hanno donato il cuore della spiritualità indoeuropea: la Forma che è l’Idea (sempre intelligibile) nello splendore della Luce degli Dei; essa è unità polare e dialettica, è tensione eventuale (nel senso che si eventua nel tempo…), è il Mondo come Forme Viventi, come Dei che non conoscono né il “corpo-soma”, né l’anima-psyché, né la “materia”, poiché non conoscono la morte! Lo psichismo del dualismo conosce l’Anima e il suo Dio solo nella morte ed a causa della morte, quindi la sua “spiritualità” è notturna e oscura come l’Ade; l’indoeuropeo conosce se stesso come Vivente e la Divinità – il complesso degli Dei – nella Luce della Vita ed a causa della Vita perché la sua spiritualità è diurna, luminosa! Gli Dei sovrani indoeuropei sono paterni e luminosi: la radice di Juppiter è la stessa di Dyaus Pitar che in sanscrito vuol dire Padre Luce o Padre Cielo luminoso.

Gli Dei sono gli immortali, gli eternamente beati e l’uomo greco nella Forma della Vita e dell’Essere, nel Vivente, nel Mondo come organismo animato e intelligente, grande Dio, ha venerato ciò che è potentemente esistente poiché è radicalmente ed unitariamente Essenza ed Intelligenza, ha amato solo e soltanto il più-che-vita nella vita, che è la Potenza dell’Atto, dell’Intelletto, è la danza cosmica delle Forme intorno al Nous (Intelletto) che è la loro Fonte Eterna.

(1) PLOTINO, Sulla materia, 4[12], 9.4-5; PLATONE, Timeo, 52b2. 

(2) R. DI GIUSEPPE, La teoria della morte nel Fedone platonico, Bologna 1993; H. FRÄNKEL, Poesia e filosofia della Grecia arcaica, Bologna 1997, pp. 129-142. R. ONIANS, Le origini del pensiero europeo, Milano 1998; G. SPATAFORA, I moti dell’animo in Omero, Roma 1999.

(3) Hegel esprime il medesimo concetto a proposito dell’idea realizzata nell’individualità vivente che è l’uomo! Vedi, a tal proposito, A. STELLA, Per una concezione filosofica dello “Psichico”, Roma 1992, p. 168 e ss.

(4) G. CASALINO, Il nome segreto di Roma. Metafisica della romanità, Roma 2003,  pp. 79 ss.

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dimanche, 24 mai 2015

Le dieu cornu des Indo-Européens

Cernunnos.jpg

Le dieu cornu des Indo-Européens

par Thomas Ferrier

Ex: http://thomasferrier.hautetfort.com

De toutes les figures divines du panthéon proto-indo-européen, celle du dieu « cornu » est la plus complexe et la moins analysée. Elle est pourtant essentielle, même si son importance n’est pas comparable à celle du dieu de l’orage, dont il est souvent le compagnon de lutte mais parfois aussi l’adversaire. On le retrouve chez presque tous les peuples indo-européens, à l’exception notable des Germains même si, on le verra, il est possible d’y retrouver sa trace. Son nom originel était sans doute *Pauson, « celui qui guide ». Représenté avec deux cornes, il fut alors surnommé chez certains peuples le dieu « cornu ».

Chez les Grecs, l’équivalent en toutes choses de *Pauson était le dieu Pan. Son nom, qui ne signifiait pas « tout », comme une étymologie populaire le proposait, dérive directement de son ancêtre indo-européen. Pan est justement représenté cornu avec des pieds de bouc. Il était le dieu des troupeaux, qu’il protégeait contre les loups. C’est là un de ses rôles les plus anciens. On le dit natif d’Arcadie, une région de collines où il était très sollicité par les bergers du Péloponnèse. Son nom a également donné celui de « panique », car on dotait Pan de la capacité d’effrayer les ennemis.

Pan n’était pas le fils de n’importe quel dieu. Il était celui d’Hermès avec lequel il se confond. Comme souvent chez les Grecs, un même dieu indo-européen pouvait prendre plusieurs formes. On confondait ainsi Eôs et Aphrodite ou encore Hélios et Apollon. Le premier portait le nom originel, le second celui d’une épiclèse devenue indépendante. Pan et Hermès étaient dans le même cas de figure. Hermès disposait de la plupart des rôles auparavant dévolus à celui dont les Grecs feront paradoxalement le fils. Il était le dieu des chemins et lui aussi conducteur des troupeaux. On raconte que dans ses premières années il déroba le troupeau dont Apollon avait la garde. C’était le dieu des voleurs et le dieu qui protégeait en même temps contre le vol. Il était aussi le gardien des frontières, d’où sa représentation sous forme d’une borne, tout comme le dieu latin Terminus. Il était également le dieu du commerce et de l’échange, le protecteur des marchands. Enfin, Hermès était un dieu psychopompe, conduisant les âmes des morts aux Champs Elyséens ou dans le sombre royaume d’Hadès.

En Inde, l’homologue de Pan était le dieu Pusan. A la différence de Pan, Pusan avait conservé l’intégralité de ses prérogatives. Il était dieu psychopompe, emmenant les âmes chez Yama. Il protégeait les voyageurs contre les brigands et les animaux sauvages. Ce dieu offrait à ceux qu’il appréciait sa protection et la richesse symbolisée par la possession de troupeaux. Son chariot était conduit par des boucs, là encore un animal associé au Pan grec.

Le dieu latin Faunus, qui fut associé par la suite non sans raison avec Pan, se limitait à protéger les troupeaux contre les loups, d’où son surnom de Lupercus (sans doute « tueur de loup »), alors que Mars était au contraire le protecteur de ces prédateurs. Son rôle était donc mineur. Le dieu des chemins était Terminus et le dieu du commerce, lorsque les Romains s’y adonnèrent, fut Mercure, un néologisme à base de la racine *merk-. Faunus était également le dieu des animaux sauvages auprès de Silvanus, dieu des forêts.

Enfin, le dieu lituanien Pus(k)aitis était le dieu protecteur du pays et le roi des créatures souterraines, avatar déchu d’une grande divinité indo-européenne mais qui avait conservé son rôle de gardien des routes et donc des frontières.

cernunnos-1.jpgLes autres peuples indo-européens, tout en conservant la fonction de ce dieu, oublièrent en revanche son nom. Les Celtes ne le désignèrent plus que par le nom de Cernunnos, le dieu « cornu ». En tant que tel, il était le dieu de la richesse de la nature, le maître des animaux sauvages comme d’élevage, le dieu conducteur des morts et un dieu magicien. Il avait enseigné aux druides son art sacré, d’où son abondante représentation en Gaule notamment. Sous le nom d’Hernè, il a pu s’imposer également chez les Germains voisins. Représenté avec des bois de cerf et non des cornes au sens strict, il était le dieu le plus important après Taranis et Lugus. En revanche, en Bretagne et en Irlande, il était absent. Son culte n’a pas pu traverser la Manche. Chez les Hittites, le dieu cornu Kahruhas était son strict équivalent mais notre connaissance à son sujet est des plus limités.

Dans le panthéon slave, les deux divinités les plus fondamentales était Perun, maître de l’orage et dieu de la guerre, et Volos, dieu des troupeaux. Même si Volos est absent du panthéon officiel de Kiev établi par Vladimir en 980, son rôle demeura sous les traits de Saint Basile (Vlasios) lorsque la Rous passa au christianisme. Il était notamment le dieu honoré sur les marchés, un lieu central de la vie collective, d’où le fait que la Place Rouge de Moscou est jusqu’à nos jours dédiée à Basile. Volos n’était pas que le dieu des troupeaux. Il était le dieu des morts, ne se contentant pas de les conduire en Nav, le royaume des morts, même si la tradition slave évoque éventuellement un dieu infernal du nom de Viy. Il apportait la richesse et la prospérité en même temps que la fertilité aux femmes. Dieu magicien, il était le dieu spécifique des prêtres slaves, les Volkhvy, même si ces derniers avaient charge d’honorer tous les dieux. Perun et Volos s’opposaient souvent, le dieu du tonnerre n’hésitant pas à le foudroyer car Volos n’était pas nécessairement un dieu bon, et la tradition l’accusait d’avoir volé le troupeau de Perun. Une certaine confusion fit qu’on vit en lui un avatar du serpent maléfique retenant les eaux célestes, qui était Zmiya dans le monde slave, un dragon vaincu par la hache de Perun, tout comme Jormungandr fut terrassé par Thor dans la mythologie scandinave.

Dans le monde germanique, aucun dieu ne correspond vraiment au *Pauson indo-européen. La société germano-scandinave n’était pas une civilisation de l’élevage, et les fonctions commerciales relevaient du dieu Odin. Wotan-Odhinn, le grand dieu germanique, s’était en effet emparé de fonctions relevant de Tiu-Tyr (en tant que dieu du ciel et roi des dieux), de Donar-Thor (en tant que dieu de la guerre). Il existait certes un Hermod, dont le nom est à rapprocher de celui d’Hermès, mais qui avait comme seul et unique rôle celui de messager des dieux. Mais c’est sans doute Freyr, dont l’animal sacré était le sanglier, qui peut être considéré comme le moins éloigné de *Pauson. Frère jumeau de Freyja, la déesse de l’amour, il incarnait la fertilité sous toutes ses formes mais était aussi un dieu magicien. On ne le connaît néanmoins pas psychopompe, pas spécialement dédié non plus au commerce, ni à conduire des troupeaux. Wotan-Odhinn là encore était sans doute le conducteur des morts, soit en Helheimr, pour les hommes du commun, soit au Valhöll, pour les héros morts au combat. Le *Pauson proto-germanique a probablement disparu de bonne date, remplacé dans tous ses rôles par plusieurs divinités.

*Pauson était donc un dieu polyvalent. En tant que dieu des chemins, dieu « guide », ce que son nom semble signifier, il patronnait toutes les formes de déplacement, les routes mais aussi les frontières et les échanges. Il était en outre le dieu des animaux sauvages et des troupeaux, qu’il conduisait dans les verts pâturages. Il conduisait même les âmes morts aux Enfers et délivrait aux hommes les messages des dieux, même si ce rôle de dieu messager était partagé avec la déesse de l’arc-en-ciel *Wiris (lituanienne Vaivora, grecque Iris). C’était un dieu qui maîtrisait parfaitement les chemins de la pensée humaine. Les Grecs firent ainsi d’Hermès un dieu créateur et même celui de l’intelligence théorique aux côtés d’Athéna et d’Héphaïstos. Ils lui attribuèrent l’invention de l’écriture et même de la musique. Il est logique d’en avoir fait un magicien, capable de tous les tours et de tous les plans, y compris de s’introduire chez Typhon pour récupérer les chevilles divines de Zeus ou de libérer Arès, prisonnier d’un tonneau gardé par les deux géants Aloades. Sous les traits du romain Mercure, main dans la main avec Mars, il finit par incarner la puissance générée par le commerce, facteur de paix et de prospérité pour la cité autant que les légions à ses frontières.

Son importance était telle que les chrétiens annoncèrent sa mort, « le grand Pan est mort », pour signifier que le temps du paganisme était révolu. Pourtant il ne disparut pas, alors ils en firent leur Diable cornu et aux pieds de bouc. Il conserva ainsi son rôle de dieu des morts mais uniquement pour les pêcheurs, les vertueux accédant au paradis de Dieu.

Thomas FERRIER (PSUNE/LBTF)

00:05 Publié dans Traditions | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : mythologie, dieu cornu, cernunnos, indo-européens, traditions | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

jeudi, 02 avril 2015

Iconographie indo-européenne Intégrale

Jean Haudry:

Iconographie indo-européenne Intégrale

 

00:05 Publié dans Traditions | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : jean haudry, indo-européens, tradition, iconographie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

jeudi, 15 janvier 2015

La tradition indo-européenne chez les Germains

Germanen.jpg

La tradition indo-européenne chez les Germains

Autore:

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it

Les Germains du début de la période historique étaient assez proches des Gaulois, avec lesquels certains auteurs anciens les confondent, et l’appartenance ethnique de certaines tribus frontalières est incertaine. Pourtant, la forme de leurs sociétés diffère, et leur rapport à la tradition indo-européenne plus encore.

Contrairement aux Celtes, les Germains ont conservé une part non négligeable du formulaire hérité. La poésie germanique ancienne, notamment le Chant de Hildebrand allemand, le Beowulf anglais (dont la matière vient du Danemark et de Suède), les poèmes eddiques islandais et même, en dépit de son sujet chrétien, le Heliand saxon conservent nombre de formules traditionnelles héritées qui proviennent des «antiques poèmes» des anciens Germains, «la seule forme de tradition et d’histoire qu’ils connaissent», selon Tacite, La Germanie, 2,3. Ainsi la kenning de l’or «feu des eaux» et le personnage mythologique du Rejeton des eaux. L’expression anglaise frēo nama glosée cognomen «surnom» se superpose exactement à l’expression védique priyám nāma «nom propre». Un poème eddique, les Dits d’Alviss, est fondé sur la notion traditionnelle de «langue des dieux» représentée chez Homère et dans le monde indo-iranien, étendue aux autres classes d’êtres surnaturels, alfes, géants et nains: le soleil y est dit «belle roue», comme dans l’image védique et grecque de la «roue solaire»; la terre y est nommée «la large», comme dans son nom védique. La triade pensée, parole, action est bien représentée dans le monde germanique ancien. Si, dans Heliand, elle provient du Confiteor qui la tient lui-même de l’Avesta, ses attestations dans Beowulf et dans les poèmes eddiques semblent directement héritées. La triade des fonctions structure le panthéon: les principales divinités, dont le noms ont été conservés dans ceux de jours de la semaine, sont les deux dieux souverains *Wōdanaz «furieux» et *Teiwaz «divin», le dieu guerrier *Thunaraz «tonnerre» et le couple *Frawjaz *Frawjō «maître» et «maîtresse» qui préside à l’amour. La triade est directement attestée au temple de Vieil-Upsal. De plus, avec la guerre des Ases (les trois premiers) et des Vanes (les deux derniers) le monde germanique a l’équivalent de la guerre sabine de l’histoire légendaire de Rome: une «guerre de fondation» dans laquelle s’affrontent les représentants des deux premières fonctions et ceux de la troisième avant de se réconcilier pour former ici le panthéon, là un peuple. Innovation commune latino-germanique, ce mythe ne semble pas très ancien; il paraît lié à la dernière période de la tradition, celle où la société lignagère est ébranlée par l’émergence de la société héroïque, dans laquelle la notion de «corps social» est remise en cause par les conflits internes. Il en va de même pour sa contrepartie, la «guerre de dissolution» : la discorde familiale qui provoque une guerre mondiale et la fin de la société lignagère, sujet du Mahābhārata et de la bataille de Brávellir; mais cette concordance indo-scandinave suggère un point de départ plus ancien.

La société héroïque est clairement évoquée aux chapitres 13 et 14 de la Germanie de Tacite:

«Affaires publiques ou affaires privées, il ne font rien sans être en armes. Mais la coutume veut que nul ne prenne les armes avant que la cité ne l’en ait reconnu capable. Alors, dans l’assemblée même, un des chefs ou le père ou ses proches décorent le jeune homme du bouclier et de la framée: c’est là leur toge, ce sont là les premiers honneurs de leur jeunesse; auparavant ils sont censés appartenir à une maison, ensuite à l’État. Une insigne noblesse ou les grands mérites de leurs pères obtiennent la faveur d’un chef à de tout jeunes gens; ils s’agrègent aux autres plus forts et depuis long temps déjà éprouvés, et l’on ne rougit pas de figurer parmi les compagnons. Bien plus, ce compagnonnage lui-même comporte des degrés, à la discrétion de celui à qui on s’est attaché; il y a aussi une grande émulation entre les compagnons à qui aura la première place auprès du chef, et entre les chefs à qui aura les compagnons les plus nombreux et les plus ardents. C’est la grandeur, c’est la force d’être entouré toujours d’un groupe important de jeunes gens d’élite, ornement dans la paix, garde dans la guerre. Et ce n’est pas seulement dans sa nation, c’est encore auprès des cités voisines que la réputation, que la gloire est acquise à quiconque se distingue par le nombre et la valeur de ses compagnons: on les sollicite par des ambassades, on leur offre des présents et souvent leur nom seul décide de l’issue de la guerre. Sur le champ de bataille, il est honteux pour le chef d’être vaincu en courage, il est honteux pour les compagnons de ne pas égaler le courage du chef. Mais surtout c’est une flétrissure pour toute la vie et un opprobre d’être revenu d’un combat où son chef a péri; le défendre, le sauver, rapporter à sa gloire ses propres exploits, voilà l’essence de leur engagement: les chefs combattent pour la victoire, les compagnons pour leur chef. Si la cité où ils sont nés s’engourdit dans l’oisiveté d’une longue paix, la plupart des jeunes nobles s’en vont d’eux-mêmes chez des peuples voisins qui ont alors quelque guerre car cette nation déteste l’état de paix, puis il leur est plus facile de s’illustrer dans les hasards et l’on ne peut entretenir de nombreux compagnons que par la violence et la guerre; ils exigent en effet de la libéralité de leur chef ce cheval de bataille, cette sanglante et victorieuse framée; la table du chef avec ses apprêts grossiers, mais abondante, leur tient lieu de solde; la source de la munificence est dans la guerre et le pillage».

Quand le jeune noble quitte sa famille pour un compagnonnage qui peut être extérieur à sa «nation», son obligation de fidélité, trustem et fidelitatem, selon les termes de la Loi salique, change complètement: il ne la doit plus à sa famille, mais à son seigneur. En cas de conflit, c’est à lui qu’il doit être fidèle. Ce qui peut aboutir à ce que des proches parents combattent dans des camps opposés, et parfois s’affrontent: des cousins, comme dans un passage célèbre de la Chronique anglo-saxonne, à l’année 755, ou même un père et un fils comme dans le récit traditionnel typique de la société héroïque sur lequel se fonde le Chant de Hildebrand. Les premiers mots du chapitre, «affaires publiques ou affaires privées, ils ne font rien sans être en armes» souligne le lien entre la société héroïque et la fonction guerrière devenue prédominante à l’époque des migrations. Thucydide donne une indication similaire pour les Grecs de la période protohistorique, 1,6: «Car toute la Grèce portait les armes, faute d’habitations protégées et de communications sûres: vivre sous les armes était une habitude constante, comme chez les barbares». Il semble pourtant que cet usage ait été accepté et intégré par la société lignagère. Paul le diacre rapporte que le prince langobard Alboin n’avait été admis à la table de son père Audoin qu’après être entré pour un temps dans le compagnonnage d’un roi étranger. Il ne s’agit pas, dans ce cas, d’un engagement définitif, impliquant une rupture avec sa famille, mais d’un stage.

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De fait, la société lignagère traditionnelle est bien vivante dans le monde germanique décrit par Tacite. C’est une société tribale dont l’unité supérieure, qu’il nomme «cité», civitas, est la tribu, *thewdō, de *tewtā, dont le chef, *thewdanaz, est le roi. Vient ensuite le lignage, dont le nom, *kindiz, correspond exactement au latin gens. Sur les institutions du village, *thurpaz, Tacite nous rapporte les relations d’hospitalité entre voisins; sur la famille, *haimaz, les usages matrimoniaux, les règles successorales et l’obligation de solidarité: on est tenu d’embrasser les inimitiés soit d’un père, soit d’un proche, aussi bien que ses amitiés». Cette solidarité a pu s’étendre au lignage. La société comporte également trois statuts: noble, *erilaz, homme libre, *karlaz, serf, *thragilaz, *thrāhilaz. Comme chez les Grecs et les Romains, et contrairement aux Celtes et aux Indo-Iraniens, les castes ne sont pas fonctionnelles: le noble est plus guerrier que prêtre, l’homme libre a son culte domestique à côté de ses occupations pacifiques et guerrières. Mais elles ont conservé le lien traditionnel avec la triade des couleurs: dans le Chant de Ríg eddique, qui relate la genèse des trois castes de la société, le serf naît «noiraud», l’homme libre «roux, auteint vermeil», le noble a la chevelure blonde, les joues claires et les yeux vifs, «terrifiants comme ceux d’un jeune serpent»: une indication qui rappelle le qualificatif védique «au regard de maître».

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La société germanique conserve des vestiges de l’état le plus ancien de la société indo-européenne. L’un est l’importance de l’oncle maternel, que signale Tacite, La Germanie, 20,5: «Le fils d’une sœur ne trouve pas moins d’égards auprès de son oncle que chez son père; certains pensent que cette parenté du sang est plus sainte et plus étroite». Cette dernière indication donne à penser que la conception n’est pas empruntée à un peuple étranger, mais qu’elle représente une tradition antique et vénérable. Comme elle est en contradiction avec la patrilinéarité qui est la règle dans l’ensemble du monde indo-européen ancien, y compris chez les Germains, et avec l’image de la semence et du champ qui en est indissociable, ce doit être un archaïsme remontant à la période la plus ancienne. A cette même période se rattachent les nombreuses légendes de peuples migrants conduits par deux jumeaux accompagnés de leur mère. Ces légendes, comparables à celle de la fondation de Rome par une bande conduite par Romulus, Remus et leur mère Rhea Silvia, ne sont explicables que dans une culture où la femme qui donne naissance à des jumeaux est expulsée avec sa progéniture, en raison de la dangerosité qui s’attache aux naissances gémellaires, et où les jumeaux sont considérés comme doués d’une puissance surnaturelle. Ce qui n’est le cas chez aucun des peuples indo-européens connus. Ici encore, une innovation est exclue, et un archaïsme est plus vraisemblable qu’un emprunt. Apparentée à celle de la première destruction de Troie, la légende du géant bâtisseur dont on connaît de nombreuses variantes dans les contes populaires rappelle la crainte ancestrale d’une nuit hivernal e qui n’aurait pas de fin: le géant demande pour salaire le soleil, la lune et Freyja. Le personnage de l’Aurore annuelle, Ostara, est au centre de la mythologie du cycle annuel des régions circumpolaires; c’est surtout vrai de son pluriel représenté par le nom allemand de Pâques, Ostern, qui correspond aux Aurores plurielles des hymnes védiques. Le mythe de l’Aurore annuelle enlevée et ramenée pas ses frères les jumeaux divins est à la base de diverses légendes, dont celle de Hilde Gudrun et celle de Finnsburh. Rappelons aussi que les Jumeaux divins sont mentionnés dans la Germanie de Tacite, qui les identifie aux Dioscures. Mais leur nom, Alces, prouve leur haute antiquité: alors qu’ailleurs ils sont liés au cheval, comme les Aśvin védiques, Hengest et Horsa, etc., les Alces sont des élans, ce qui renvoie à une période antérieure à la domestication du cheval, et donc à la période commune des Indo-Européens.

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De Les peuples indo-européens d’Europe.

00:05 Publié dans Traditions | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : germains, indo-européens, jean haudry, mythologie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

samedi, 08 mars 2014

Essenzialità e proporzione nella visione del mondo indoeuropea

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Essenzialità e proporzione nella visione del mondo indoeuropea

 
 
 
Di Giuseppe Arminio De Falco
 
Ex.: http://www.ereticamente.net

Dalle celebri opere dell’arte greco-romana, fondamentali per l’immaginario della cultura occidentale, riaffiora una visione del mondo che fa della chiarezza, dell’essenzialità e della proporzione razionale delle forme il proprio fulcro. La grande arte classica greca non è assolutamente concepibile, a nostro parere, come semplice atto politico-culturale volto in sostanza ad aumentare il prestigio di una determinata polis e a legittimarne il potere, o ancora peggio come finzione ornamentale e ludibrio dei sensi. Un posto centrale nella visione del mondo dei popoli indoeuropei, pertanto, lo occupano senz’altro i concetti di “Forma” e “Limite”. In greco queste idee erano espresse dai termini “Peras” (che significa per l’appunto forma, limite) e “Metron” (misura).
Il mondo greco rappresenta, da questo punto di vista, un’autentica miniera d’oro. Riguardo ciò si pensi all’ideale olimpico di Armonia e Ordine e, in particolare, al chiaro e luminoso senso apollineo delle forme, di cui l’arte classica ci ha lasciato una magnifica testimonianza attraverso il nudo ed essenziale stile dorico o attraverso la statuaria di un Fidia o di un Lisippo. Se anche, in una certa misura, specie nel periodo comunemente noto come “ellenismo”, le summenzionate ragioni contingenti sussistettero, cionondimeno il senso profondo di tale arte sta innanzitutto nel suo essere riflesso vivente e pulsante, e non banale simulacro spento, della luce divina. L’immagine (eikon) è un veicolo e un sostegno contemplativo, essa è un mezzo, giammai però un fine in sé stessa. Sempre per quanto riguarda l’area greca si può considerare a buon diritto la filosofia stessa, da Talete a Plotino, come una manifestazione inerente a questo stesso spirito di misura e moderazione. I cosiddetti presocratici, in quanto sophoi, ovvero sapienti, espressero quest’ideale attraverso detti e massime, tra cui spiccano i celebri motti “metron ariston” (misura eccellente) attribuito a Cleobulo e “meden agan” (nulla di troppo) attribuito a Solone. Platone credeva che lo stato retto secondo giustizia (dike) dovesse più di ogni altra cosa fuggire dal “mare infinito della disuguaglianza” (Politico), ossia dall’assenza di proporzione e organicità, dal caos sociale frutto dell’arrivismo e della sconsiderata brama di potere che egli brillantemente descrive nel parlare della demokratia e della sua fine. Equità e “uguaglianza” erano ovviamente intese dagli antichi nel solo senso di armonica attribuzione di oneri e onori sulla base delle caratteristiche naturali dell’individuo, caratteristiche che ne fondavano e legittimavano il ruolo sociale (Repubblica), e giammai nel senso di un livellamento verso il basso, fenomeno caratteristico unicamente delle società moderne. Una medesima idea la ritroviamo in Aristotele, nella sua Etica nicomachea, dove è affermato: “Meson te kai ariston” (la misura è la cosa migliore).Occorre ora però chiarire un punto di fondamentale importanza. In che misura quest’etica del limite ha rappresentato un ostacolo e, appunto, un limite, nel senso negativo del termine? Da parte nostra crediamo che l’uomo, proprio in quanto essere limitato e connotato fin nella sua stessa essenza dalla finitudine e dalla “morte”, in un senso affine a quello dato dal filosofo tedesco Heidegger, debba necessariamente, e oggi più che mai, fare propria la massima del frontone del tempio di Delfi: “Gnothi Seauton” (conosci te stesso), giacché paradossalmente solo conoscendo la propria finitudine e limitatezza può l’uomo approdare a concrete possibilità di auto-trascendimento e auto-superamento. Senza questo senso critico del limite e della misura nasce, infatti, quella cattiva interpretazione dell’Essere di cui parlava il summenzionato Heidegger, in altre parole una “metafisica” nel senso deteriore del termine. E proprio un grande distruttore della metafisica, nonché profondo conoscitore della grecità, Nietzsche, ha dato un contributo fondamentale a questa problematica nella sua prima opera, “La nascita della tragedia”, in cui ebbe l’intuizione tanto geniale quanto feconda dell’“apollineo” e del “dionisiaco” come principi opposti ma complementari e necessari l’uno all’altro per la realizzazione dell’arte autentica. Secondo Nietzsche, infatti, all’apollineo corrisponderebbe il senso della misura, dell’equilibrio e del limite e nell’ambito artistico l’esperienza del “sogno” (Apollo come “manteis” ovvero indovino e profeta degli oracoli) mentre al dionisiaco sarebbe proprio lo scatenamento, l’eccesso e l’assenza di limite e l’esperienza artistica sarebbe caratterizzata dall’“ebbrezza”. L’arte contemporanea, d’altra parte, è a nostro avviso totalmente sprovvista sia del “Sublime” apollineo sia del “Pathos” dionisiaco, ma è bensì ricca proprio degli elementi più degeneri di entrambe le tendenze, quali la vaga e nebulosa dimensione onirica o la sregolatezza delle forme. L’ideale dell’unità di principi cosmici opposti è interpretabile alla stregua della ricerca del “medium”, il mezzo, ossia limite e misura (il celebre motto in medio stat virtus, di origine scolastica, ma rifacentesi a una saggezza anteriore). Spostandoci ora verso altri fuochi delle civiltà indoeuropee, troviamo esempi eloquenti di tale spirito in molti dei valori tipici dell’arcaico “mos maiorum” romano, come la temperantia, la sobrietas, l’abstinentia, la frugalitas, etc. Infatti, sebbene di primo acchito possa sembrare che la mentalità romana sia orientata verso un’etica basata sull’idea dell’illimitatezza (basti pensare all’enormità del progetto imperiale), a un’analisi più attenta risulta piuttosto vero il contrario. La forte attitudine “realistica”, secca e asciutta, scevra in pari modo di eccessi di astrazione speculativa e di istintività sensoriale, è un tratto del Sentire romano in cui la logica del “Metron”è espressa con tal energia che difficilmente lo si potrebbe trovare in un altro popolo indoeuropeo con la medesima intensità. E se presso il romano Pitagorismo e Stoicismo ebbero una grande fortuna (si pensi a Seneca, Marco Aurelio, Nigidio Figulo e, in una certa misura, agli stessi Cicerone e Orazio, oltre al caso emblematico di un intransigente conservatore quale M. Porcio Catone il censore, che in vecchiaia si diede alle dottrine di Pitagora) questo non fa altro che confermare a pieno come tali dottrine non dovettero sembrare affatto peregrine all’animo romano, ma che anzi la stretta affinità di quest’ultimo con esse dovette risultare sì innegabilmente forte e chiara da dover far ammettere la loro bontà persino all'acerrimo nemico di ogni ellenizzazione e di ogni apporto culturale straniero. Se ciò non bastasse, è opportuno ricordare che il popolo romano espresse tale istanza del pensiero indoeuropeo anche nello stesso “ius romanum” che è tutt’ora alla base dell’odierna giurisprudenza, nonostante le innumerevoli storpiature avutesi nel corso del tempo, necessarie all’adattamento di quest’ultimo ai moderni stati “democratici”. Proprio su questo punto occorre un chiarimento e una puntualizzazione. Ci viene in aiuto il concetto greco di “nòmos” che ha, tra i suoi tanti significati, quello di “partizione”, “delimitazione”, “legge”, “costume”, “ordinamento”, significati tutti riconducibili nel primitivo indoeuropeo a idee come quelle di “tagliare” e “dividere”. Un’interpretazione molto interessante del concetto di “nòmos” la da Carl Schmitt nel suo “Il Nomos della terra nel diritto internazionale dello “Ius publicum europaeum”, dove l’autore lo definisce “prima misurazione, da cui derivano tutti gli altri criteri di misura; la prima occupazione di terra, con relativa divisione e ripartizione dello spazio; la suddivisione e distribuzione originaria”, accostandolo, cosa particolarmente significativa, ai termini tedeschi nehmen e Nahme, secondo lui ermeneuticamente affini ai greci “nemein” e “nòmos”. E grande importanza aveva infatti per Schmitt, che era un giurista, il concetto di diritto, che definiva significativamente “unità di ordine e luogo” (in tedesco Ordnung und Ortung), insistendo particolarmente sull’idea del landnahme, la presa di possesso spaziale e ordinativa che è alla base del nòmos basileus, il diritto sovrano, a sua volta fondamento di ogni idea di “possesso” (dal latino possessum, dalle radici *pot-, potere e *sed-, insediarsi) e dominio. Già da questo è lapalissiano quanto fosse aliena e lontana per la mentalità indoeuropea ogni concezione collettivistica e socialmente promiscua, essendo invece qui la proprietà privata concepita come bene inalienabile e fondamentale, al punto che Heidegger giunse fino a vedere una sorta d’identità tra “vivere” e “abitare”, sulla scorta di un’identità etimologica presente in tedesco tra i verbi essere e costruire (buan, che in antico tedesco vuol dire abitare, è affine all’odierno bauen, costruire, ed entrambi vengono dalla medesima radice di ich bin, io sono). Alla base del nòmos vi è dunque per Schmitt ciò che egli stesso chiama Ur-Akt, l’atto primordiale, cioè un atto di conquista, un atto cioè “violento”, ma da cui pur dipende la formazione di un nuovo diritto e di una nuova comunità. Il nòmos viene però meno quando l’interiore hegemonikon è vinto da tendenze disgregatrici e destabilizzanti, e allora prendono piede un’estetica e un pensiero improntati dagli opposti ideali d’indefinitezza e illimitatezza. Tutto questo ci riporta al mito scandinavo della lotta tra Aesir e Vanir, le stirpi divine del Cielo e della Terra, nonché a quello indù della lotta tra Deva e Asura, entrambi conclusisi con la vittoria dei primi sui secondi e cioè delle potenze “ordinative” su quelle “vegetative”. Questi miti ricordano così da vicino la conquista dell’Europa antica (l’Alteuropa) da parte degli indoeuropei che alcuni studiosi hanno voluto vederci un riflesso di questi eventi protostorici. Noi abbiamo invece ragione di credere, sulla base del fatto che il mito riproduce archetipi cosmici immutabili, che questi miti non possano essere circoscritti a tal evento (o meglio a tali eventi, data l’enorme durata che gli indoeuropeisti ormai in modo concorde attribuiscono al fenomeno dell’indoeuropeizzazione), ma ne siano bensì come il modello in senso platonico. Riscontriamo poi una netta corrispondenza tra l’idea schmittiana del “Nehmen Teilen Weiden” (Conquistare, Dividere, Pascolare) e gli antichi miti di fondazione, quali quello di Cadmo, fondatore di Tebe, che sposa Armonia, l’equilibrio del giusto limite, dopo aver ucciso il dragone giacente presso le acque (indistinzione e illimitatezza). Simile discorso vale per la leggenda della fondazione di Roma da parte di Romolo, che è a un tempo un guerriero conquistatore, un sacro legislatore che stabilisce il nòmos attraverso le divisioni e partizioni previste dallo “ius sacrum”, specie nella delimitazione dei confini dell’Urbe con la solenne aratura del sulcus primigenius, e infine pastore perché cresciuto come tale dal genitore adottivo Faustolo, e poiché intraprende l’atto di fondazione (in latino fondare è condere da cum-dare, stabilire dei confini) proprio durante il giorno dei Parilia, festività pastorale che veniva celebrata il 21 d’Aprile. Un altro mito che potremmo accostare a quest’ordine d’idee è senz’altro quello della razzia dei buoi di Gerione compiuta da Eracle come decima fatica. In questo mito l’eroe greco, figura paradigmatica di “eroe culturale”, civilizzatore e portatore di kòsmos nel khàos, intraprende questa razzia come atto di conquista, e quindi come Ur-Akt, non a caso in un luogo mitico posto ai confini del mondo conosciuto (Apeiron), erigendo in tale occasione le celebri “colonne” a metà tra Libia ed Europa, come segno forte dell’imposizione di un limite e di una misura sovrana rispetto al brutale dis-ordine della natura inferiore sciolta dai legami con quella superiore (ciò che si suole chiamare “barbarie” o “stato di natura”). Significativo è poi il fatto che Eracle raggiunga la mandria di Gerione superando le acque occidentali (qui ancora come simbolo dell’indefinitezza) sopra una “coppa dorata” (simbolicamente il Cuore quale principio divino) donatagli dal dio Helios, il dio del sole, nonché la sua vittoria simbolica contro le forze irrazionali e oscure della barbarie incarnate dagli s-misurati abitatori dell’Hesperia, per l’immaginario greco arcaico la misteriosa e selvaggia terra dove il sole moriva ogni giorno. Un mito dall’affine significato e che parimenti si riallaccia alle idee schmittiane di cui sopra è quello celtico del Tàin Bò Cuailnge, poema epico irlandese, in cui riecheggia ancora con forza l’idea di una supremazia fondata sull’idea di conquista e di partizione, quando ad esempio la regina Medb muove guerra all’Ulster per impossessarsi del leggendario toro Donn, così da poter rivaleggiare in potenza col marito, il re Ailill, che possedeva un altro toro prodigioso di nome Finnbhennach. Similmente una medesima concezione la si rinviene nell’Avesta iranica, nel cosiddetto “Fšušo Manthra” (il Mantra della prosperità), dove viene a chiare lettere affermato che sovranità e dignità spirituale sono in relazione con il possesso di “beni”, ovviamente non intesi in senso grossolanamente materialistico, nonché l’idea stessa di ordine sociale garantito da una coordinata articolazione di proprietà private e pubbliche retta dall’idea del giusto limite, attraverso vari gradi di universalità. Già da questo si evince una visione socio-religiosa del mondo agricolo e pastorale a cui è senz’altro già abituato chi conosce anche solo qualcosa del mondo italico-romano. Il contadino/mandriano è guida spirituale del villaggio iranico in quanto garante del nòmos o, per dirla alla maniera dei persiani, dell’Aša. A ulteriore conferma di ciò rileviamo infine come la principale divinità mazdaica dopo Ahura Mazda stesso, e cioè Mithra, dio notoriamente associato alla funzione della sovranità, sia definito nell’Avesta come “signore di tutte le regioni dello spazio” e “Mithra dagli ampi pascoli”. Sulla scorta del Dùmezil, sicuramente uno degli indoeuropeisti più autorevoli, potremmo affermare che questa idea di nòmos e di ordine sapiente del mondo sia riferibile essenzialmente sul piano divino alle divinità della cosiddetta “prima funzione” ovvero le divinità strettamente associate alla sovranità e al comando, mentre su quello umano alle classi aristocratiche, quali i Brahmanah e gli Kshatriya del mondo indù, e gli Athravan e i Rathaeštar di quello iranico. Secondo lo studioso francese, infatti, il dio-cielo degli indoeuropei, assieme a due divinità sussidiarie, sarebbe il garante del nòmos e del kòsmos (nel ruolo di kòsmokràtor, dominatore del cosmo) e perciò stesso tutore dell’ordine e dei patti sociali (il germanico *Tiwaz, il greco Zeus, il romano Dius Fidius, ipostasi di Giove, affiancato da Juventas e da Terminus, e l’indoiranico Mithra, a sua volta affiancato da Aryaman e da Bhaga). Da ciò si evince come per l’indoeuropeo “Dio” è sempre stato sinonimo di forma, limite, creazione, definizione, in una parola: Ordine, di contro a tutto ciò che è caotico, turbinoso, oscuro, informe e indefinito. La fondamentale contrapposizione tra i binomi Ordine/Caos, Maschile/Femminile, Luce/Ombra, Destra/Sinistra, etc. la si può distintamente ritrovare anche nel mito cosmologico indù del Samudramanthan, in cui il dio Vishnu pone l’Ordine divino nell’Oceano primordiale ponendo in esso il monte Meru, simbolo dell’Asse che non vacilla, e così facendo rende possibile la manifestazione e lo sviluppo di ciò che prima era solo allo stato larvale e potenziale, e cioè, usando un linguaggio aristotelico, consente il passaggio del cosmo dalla Potenza all’Atto. Ritroviamo questa visione del mondo anche nelle Upanishad, dove è affermato: “Ordunque l’Atman è un argine, una barriera perché questi mondi non si disgreghino. Né il giorno né la notte raggiungono questo argine, né la vecchiaia né la morte né il dolore e nemmeno la virtù o il vizio; tutti gli errori recedono da quello: perché, invero, questo Brahmaloka (regno celeste) non è affetto da alcuna imperfezione. “Nelle dottrine indù vi è poi il centrale concetto di Dharma quale legge e limite sul piano sia individuale e microcosmico sia sovrindividuale e macrocosmico. Fondamento di tutto il Reale è il Dharma, che nel Buddhismo giunge a essere sinonimo di essenza delle cose, pilastro invisibile che regge tutto l’universo. Nell’Edda, tra l’altro, la concezione della misura e del limite può essere trovata anche nella cosiddetta “poesia gnomica”, dove, nelle “regole di comportamento”, così ci parla lo spirito etico degli antichi germani: “Non stare attaccato alla coppa, bevi moderatamente idromele, parla solo il necessario oppure taci! Certamente nessun uomo ti rimprovererà perché vai a letto presto. L’uomo ingordo, quello senza autocontrollo, si abbuffa; spesso allo stupido lo stomaco suscita risate, quando egli viene dai saggi.” Sembra quasi di trovarsi dinanzi a dottrine epicuree o stoiche, giacchè in fondo entrambe convergono, sebbene da prospettive parecchio diverse, nel medesimo ideale di mediocritas, per dirla con Orazio. Da ciò si può facilmente comprendere l’istintiva repulsione e antipatia che l’uomo indoeuropeo ha sempre provato dinanzi a forme orgiastiche, mistiche e sentimentaliste di approccio al divino (basti pensare al senatus consultum de bacchanalibus del 186 a.c., oltre che alle violente reazioni anticristiane avutesi nel pur tardo e corrotto impero). “Contro queste forme di mistica”dice a proposito il Günther “sta l’aspirazione indoeuropea alla forma (der indogermanische Wille zur Gestaltung), uno sguardo posato sull’Ordine formato del mondo, congiunto al sentimento ariano del dovere che impone di lottare contro il disordine in tutte le sue forme, contro Utgard. E perciò la mistica della segregazione dell’anima in se stessa (mistica da mùein), del distacco dal mondo, dell’inerzia, dell’abulia, come pure la mistica sentimentale e quella dell’oziosa contemplazione, la cosiddetta mistica quietistica, non è mistica indoeuropea.” Per concludere potremmo affermare a ragione che l’attitudine e l’intimo sentire dell’uomo di stirpe indoeuropea, nella sua espansione da Reykjavik a Benares, ha sempre favorito l’emergere di concezioni politiche, economiche, filosofiche, religiose e artistiche strutturate sulla base dei concetti di “Forma” e “Limite”, concetti che, come abbiamo visto, erano strettamente legati a quelli di “sacro” e “divino”. Tutto ciò che è nobile, ordinato, pulito, netto, forte e sano è un prodotto coerente e necessario di tale visione del mondo, che, contrariamente a ciò che si può superficialmente pensare, non si muove per nulla in un orizzonte ristagnante e immobilista, ma al contrario, proprio per la sua vocazione alla “definizione”, è essenzialmente volto alla trascendenza, concepita come un graduale s-velarsi dell’uomo dalla sua scorza materiale in vista del risveglio al suo vero Sé spirituale ed eterno.

00:05 Publié dans Philosophie, Traditions | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : traditions, indo-européens, philosophie | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mardi, 18 février 2014

Taliban bedreigen niet-islamitisch bergvolk

Taliban bedreigen niet-islamitisch bergvolk: bekeer je of sterf!

Ex: http://www.parool.nl
 
 
Kailash-vrouwen in Islamabad op een bijeenkomst over de verschillende culturen in het land. © epa

De Kalash, het Pakistaanse bergvolk dat zegt af te stammen van Alexander de Grote, zijn altijd veilig geweest achter hun muren van rots en ijs. Maar de Taliban hebben 'een gewapende strijd' aangekondigd tegen deze stam, omdat deze zich nooit heeft bekeerd tot de islam.

Er komen weinig buitenstaanders in de Chitral-vallei. De wegen zijn een groot deel van het jaar onbegaanbaar en voordat een vliegtuig het aandurft om op te stijgen, moeten de weersomstandigheden absoluut perfect zijn: de kleine luchthaven ligt weggemoffeld tussen bergtoppen van meer dan achtduizend meter hoog.

Dit is misschien wel het mooiste deel van Pakistan. Bergtoppen torenen woest, rauw en overdonderend boven de vallei uit. Overal is water: rivieren, beken en watervallen vechten zich een weg naar beneden en op sommige plaatsen verandert grijze rots in een boomgaard vol roze bloesem of velden vol wuivende tarwe.

Altijd met rust gelaten

Vroeger werd deze vallei gedomineerd door gematigde Ismaëlies, een aftakking van de islam die wordt geleid door de Agha Khan. Nu zijn soennitische moslims er in de meerderheid, maar ook zij hebben de 3.500 Kalash altijd met rust gelaten. De rijzige mannen en vrouwen, vaak met lichte ogen en een lichte huid, leven in hun afgelegen dorpen, ver in de bergen.

Soms ondernemen toeristen de lange reis om de Kalash te zien. Een enkele buitenlander. Een handjevol Pakistanen uit 'de vlaktes'. Die laatste groep is overigens niet erg populair bij de Kalash-vrouwen, zo vertelden ze in 2002 in een interview met de Volkskrant. 'Ze verstoppen hun eigen vrouwen, maar komen wel naar onze gezichten kijken', zei een jong meisje. 'Ze hebben geen respect.'

'Bekeer of sterf'


Begin deze maand, op 2 februari, verscheen er een video op een website van de Taliban die volgens persbureau AFP begint met prachtige beelden van de vallei. Daarna zegt een stem dat de Kalash zich tot de islam moeten bekeren, of zullen sterven.

'Bij de genade van Allah heeft een groeiend aantal mensen van de Kalash de islam omarmd. We willen aan de hele stam duidelijk maken dat de leden zullen worden vernietigd met hun beschermers, de westerse agenten, als ze niet bekeren.'

In de video worden internationale non-gouvernementele organisaties ervan beschuldigd in Chitral te infiltreren om de cultuur van de Kalash te beschermen, en daarmee mensen weg te houden van de islam. De liefdadigheidsorganisatie van de Agha Khan wordt hierbij als voorbeeld genoemd, en de stem zweert om dergelijke snode plannen in de kiem te smoren.

(Door: Sacha Kester)

dimanche, 22 décembre 2013

Le Mazdéisme et l’Avesta : à l’origine des tribus indo-européennes

photo-1571398-L.jpg

Le Mazdéisme et l’Avesta : à l’origine des tribus indo-européennes

« On vit apparaître
un si grand nombre d’analogies,
de points  identiques entre les dogmes, les mythes,
les légendes, les institutions religieuses
de l’Orient et de l’Occident,
que les recherches prirent aussitôt
une direction nouvelle et précise
»

(propos sélectionnés par Fabrice Dutilleul de la préface d’Émile Burnouf)

Qu’est-ce que l’Avesta ?

C’est l’ensemble des textes sacrés de la religion mazdéenne et forme le livre sacré, le code sacerdotal des zoroastriens. Il est parfois connu en Occident sous l’appellation erronée de Zend Avesta. Il est rédigé en plusieurs états de l’iranien ancien, désignés sous le nom d’avestique. Les parties les plus anciennes, celles des gathas, sont dans une langue aussi archaïque que celle du Rig Veda (sanskrit védique), le « gathique », les autres en avestique tardif. Le tout est écrit dans l’alphabet avestique.

Et qu’est-ce que le Mazdéisme ?

Le Mazdéisme originel remonte aux tribus indo-européennes des 2e et 1er millénaires avant JC. Il possède une étroite parenté avec l’ancienne religion indienne décrite dans les Veda. Le dieu suprême, Ahura Mazda ou Ormazd (Varuna, en Inde), est entouré de divinités, les Amesa Spenta. Cette religion est donc polythéiste. La société des hommes, quant à elle, est tripartite… Prêtres, guerriers et agriculteurs-éleveurs.

Que permet la persévérance de l’étude des religions ?

Que la science cherche depuis un siècle à en saisir l’unité. L’unité cherchée n’est pas cette fusion des églises qu’ont vainement discutée Leibniz et Bossuet ; c’est la communauté des dogmes primitifs d’où les diverses religions sont sorties ; c’est une unité historique.

Comment la science a-t-elle été conduite à cette recherche ?

Ce ne fut point par une théorie préconçue, par une rêverie ; ce fut par les faits euxmêmes. Tant qu’on n’eut pour matériaux que les doctrines chrétiennes, soit romaines, soit orthodoxes et, d’autre part, les anciennes mythologies grecques et latines, l’opposition entre elles parut si grande qu’on ne put pas les supposer issues d’un fonds commun. Mais lorsque, dans la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle et dans la première moitié du XIXe, on fut en possession des livres sacrés de l’Inde et de la Perse et qu’on put converser avec des Brahmanes et des Parsis, une révolution se fit dans la science. On vit apparaître un si grand nombre d’analogies, de points  identiques entre les dogmes, les mythes, les légendes, les institutions religieuses de l’Orient et de l’Occident, que les recherches prirent aussitôt une direction nouvelle et précise.

Plusieurs conceptions primordiales ont donné lieu à plusieurs groupes de religions

Le groupe aryen parut le plus important et, après lui, le groupe sémitique. Le premier comprenait l’Inde, la Perse avec la Médie, les anciens Pélasges avec les Grecs et les Latins, les Germains, les Celtes, les Scandinaves. Le second était représenté par les peuples de race sémitique, notamment par les Assyriens, les Hébreux et plus tard par les Arabes. On voit que cette division des dogmes répond presque exactement à celle des langues. Si dans l’avenir, les langues sont, par de nouvelles découvertes, ramenées à une origine commune, il pourra en être de même des religions. Jusqu’à présent, disonsle, rien ne fait prévoir un tel résultat. Constater des similitudes et une communauté d’origine entre plusieurs religions, ce n’est pas supprimer les différences. La science, prudente et sincère, ne supprime rien ; mais elle doit rendre raison de tous les faits constatés.

Le Mazdéisme. L’Avesta, Gaston-Eugène de Lafont, préface d’Émile Burnouf, éditions de L’Æncre, collection « Patrimoine des religions », dirigée par Philippe Randa, 238 pages, 26 euros

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vendredi, 05 avril 2013

Deux ouvrages récents sur les origines indo-européennes

Deux ouvrages récents sur les origines indo-européennes

par 

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

Linguiste, M. G. Devoto s’est très tôt intéressé aux réalités historiques, psychologiques, esthétiques qu’expriment et reflètent les faits de langue. En particulier, il n’a pas cessé, depuis ses débuts, de préconiser une collaboration étroite entre grammaire comparée et disciplines historiques. Dès 1931, l’essai Gli antichi Italici montrait l’efficacité de la méthode appliquée à l’Italie pré romaine, et deux éditions n’en ont pas épuisé le succès. Son commentaire des Tables eugubines (1940) est tout nourri d’histoire. Depuis lors, il n’est pas d’année qui n’ait apporté (notamment dans la revue Studi etruschi) le témoignage de la réflexion à laquelle M. Devoto soumettait les résultats conjoints de la linguistique, de l’archéologie, des sciences du droit et des institutions. Dans ces travaux, l’auteur confère à la préhistoire indo-européenne une dynamique, une historicité qu’elle n’avait pas avant lui. Les Scritti minori, recueillis en 1958, sont ainsi comme la préfiguration du grand oeuvre qu’il restait à construire: le livre de doctrine sur les origines indo-européennes.

Giacomo Devoto, Origini indeuropee

Giacomo Devoto, Origini indeuropee

Un grand oeuvre dont, après vingt-cinq années de recherches, l’auteur considère sans illusion l’inévitable caractère d’inachèvement: «un chantier», écrit-il ; et d’en «prendre congé», comme ferait l’artiste d’un chef-d’oeuvre ambitieux, si longtemps médité, si longuement accru et travaillé qu’à la fin il dépasse son auteur et ne lui appartient plus. Mais il y a là un excès de mod estie, et l’on devine que le livre de M. Devoto est plus qu’un recueil de données. Il comporte une doctrine, à la fois souple et originale, tout en restant, de propos délibéré, ouvert à la critique et à la révision. Comparé au livre récent de M. P. Bosch-Gimpera, analysé ici même en 1963 (1), il en diffère et par la méthode et par les dimensions.

Fondé presque entièrement sur l’archéologie préhistorique, l’exposé de M. Bosch-Gimpera, quoique fortement personnel, laisse assez loin l’aspect proprement linguistique de la recherche, et seules quelques données très générales y demeurent sous-jacentes; mais le problème crucial, qui est de retrouver le processus historique de la diffusion des dialectes indo-européens, demeure en quelque sorte dilué dans l’extrême foisonnement des faits archéologiques. En somme, M. Bosch-Gimpera n’imposait pas au comparatiste des vues nouvelles. Au contraire, M. Devoto a résolu — et c’est là son grand mérite — d’affronter successivement tous les aspects du problème, d’en réunir et d’en organiser toutes les données, sans jamais négliger l’historique de la recherche. M. Devoto est convaincu, évidemment avec raison, que la diffusion de l’indo-européen ne saurait, dans la plupart des cas, s’être accomplie sans un déplacement notable de groupes de colonisateurs ou de conquérants; qu’en outre, ces groupes d’hommes ne peuvent avoir imposé leur langue à l’exclusion de tous les autres éléments culturels, qu’ils soient de nature intellectuelle (faits sociaux, religieux, psychologiques) ou matérielle (outillage, céramique, armement, usages domestiques et funéraires). Des premiers, l’archéologie ne livre que des traces très indirectes; mais ils ont dû conditionner l’histoire du vocabulaire. Des autres, les témoignages livrés par le lexique sont plus fuyants; mais l’archéologie, là du moins où elle est suffisamment avancée, permet d’en restituer les modalités et les variantes avec une fidélité souvent surprenante. Le problème revient à déterminer dans quelle mesure, dans le cas des Indo-Européenes, vicissitudes de la civilisation, que révèle l’archéologie, peuvent correspondre avec les faits qui ont conditionné l’histoire linguistique.

Se situant au point de convergence de plusieurs disciplines qui relèvent de méthodes très différentes, pareille tâche présuppose un aménagement multilatérale des données retenues comme pertinentes. Mais M. Devoto a bien vu que le problème indo-européen étant un problème linguistique, l’enquête doit être orientée dans le sens qu’indiquent les faits de langue. Reste à savoir si l’auteur a opéré avec les faits linguistiques et avec les faits historico-culturels de façon à satisfaire à la fois les comparatistes et les archéologues, et s’il n’est pas inévitable que des faits aient été choisis et traités de manière un peu intentionnelle pour leur capacité de s’accorder les uns avec les autres. Il va de soi qu’en pareille matière, une tentative de solution ne va pas sans une forte part d’hypothèse, sans une sorte de démiurgie. On ne peut qu’admirer en tout cas l’étendue de l’effort déployé pour ordonner une matière aussi vaste et pour dominer un problème d’une complexité aussi décourageante.

Giacomo Devoto (Genova, 19 luglio 1897 – Firenze, 25 dicembre 1974)

Giacomo Devoto (Genova, 19 luglio 1897 – Firenze, 25 dicembre 1974)

Il n’y aurait pas proprement de «problème indo-européen» si l’on n’était à même d’établir l’existence d’une unité linguistique indo-européenne. Aussi est-ce à réexaminer la légitimité du problème, maintes fois mise en doute en ce dernier quart de siècle, que M. Devoto consacre son premier chapitre: reconstruction «structurale», esquissée dans ses grands traits, de l’indo-européen commun; rappel succinct des quelques faits relevant d’un état plus ancien, le «proto-indo-européen» (2); examen rapide du problème des rapports entre indo-européen et d’autres familles linguistiques — on sait qu’outre le sémitique et le finno-ougrien, on a noté des concordances lexicales jusqu’en chinois et en coréen: certaines ne sont peut-être pas fortuites, comme pour le nom du «miel» (chin. arch. *myet: i.-e. *medhu-) ou du «chien» (chin. arch. *k’iwen: i.-e. *k’won-), et posent la question d’antiques relations transasiatiquee et transsibériennes.

Le chap. II examine les données géographiques, anthropologiques et ethnologiques et fait l’historique des nombreuses controverses qu’elles ont soulevées. M. Devoto procède par éliminations successives, en ‘en tenant fermement à un principe simple mais rigoureux: sont à exclure a priori toutes les régions où des témoignages historiques ou linguistiques attestent ou font en trevoir que les populations de langue indo-européenne s’y sont progressivemeént établies à la suite de migrations, et où l’archéologie et l’épigraphie garantissent l’existence, jusqu’à des époques relativement récentes, de civilisations et de langues de substrat (Inde, y compris le bassin de l’Indus, Iran méridional, Caucase, Grèce, Italie, pays celtiques). L’aire qui demeure possible est limitée en gros par le Rhin, les Alpes, le bassin du Danube, les mers Noire et Caspienne; mais les confins orientaux, en direction des steppes, sont fuyants. Quant aux limites chronologiques, M. Devoto, avec raison, considère comme de date trop basse l’âge du Bronze de l’Europe centrale (débuts du IIe millénaire), mais le Mésolithique, qui a pourtant été proposé (avant le Ve millénaire), est visiblement trop haut (3).

M. Devoto estime le volume démographique des migrations comme étant en raison inverse de la supériorité technique ou politico-sociale des colonisateurs sur les colonisés. C’est dire qu’on ne doit pas s’attendre à en retrouver des traces archéologiques à la fois massives et très spécifiques. Aussi une grande partie du livre — et la plus personnelle — est-elle consacrée aux aspects techniques, idéologiques et sociologiques du monde indo-européen. L’auteur ne se fait guère d’illusion sur la vertu de la comparaison en ethnologie et en histoire du droit, et l’on ne peut qu’approuver sa prudence: la probabilité mathématique d’un morphème ou d’un sémantème n’a rien de commun avec celle d’un genre de vie ou d’une institution sociale ou religieuse, où la part de contingence est évidemment beaucoup plus grande.

En revanche, si faible que soit, par définition, la réductibilité de ses résultats à des faits d’ordre ethnique ou linguistique, l’archéologie est devenue au jourd’hui une science trop rigoureuse, trop objective pour n’être pas interrogé: c’est l’objet du chap. III. Selon M. Devoto, les éléments du décor d’une poterie peuvent être considérés comme des critères suffisants, car ils sont par nature non fonctionnels et reposent sur une tradition désintéressée, donc non contingente. Mais l’auteur ne marque pas assez nettement, peut-être, que si les groupements céramologiques n’ont guère de chance a priori de recouvrir des groupements linguistiques, c’est en vertu du fait d’expérience, méthodologiquement fondamental, que les conditions dans lesquelles se transmettent langues et éléments de civilisation sont radicalement différentes. Aussi M. Devoto ne renouvelle-t-il pas les imprudences des «lois» céramologico-linguistiques d’un O. Montelius ou d’un G. Kossinna, qui postulaient un parallélisme entre continuité culturelle (temps ou espace) et continuité ethnique, discontinuité culturelle et discontinuité ethnique. Et il ne cherche pas à identifier les expansions indo-européennes antérieures au IIIe millénaire, c’est-à-dire les expansions qui n’ont pas abouti à la formation des communautés historiques et qui n’offrent pas à l’historien un point d’arrivée où langue et culture soient indiscutablement associées. Ce que cherche avant tout à définir l’auteur, ce n’est donc pas la toute première communauté «proto-indo-européenne», insaisissable, mais plutôt un jeu de forces en mouvement, en partie antagonistes, propre à justifier l’éclatement culturel et linguistique postulé par l’histoire. De même que certains astres ont pu être identifiés par l’incidence de leurs mouvements sur l’ensemble d’un système, c’est par la dialectique des rapports entre traditions linguistiques et culturelles différentes que M. Devoto arrive à saisir l’existence d’une communauté indo-européenne. Ce jeu de forces, il en trouve le cadre, après bien des éliminations, et d’accord avec plusieurs préhistoriens (tels M. Bosch-Gimpera et Mme M. Gimbutas), dans le monde néolithique de la céramique rubanée. Celui-ci, on le sait, présente une relative uniformité entre le Rhin et l’Oder et entre la ligne Cologne-Magdebourg-Francfort-sur-Oder et le bassin de la Drave en Hongrie.

L’aire ainsi définie est vaste, notamment en direction de l’Ouest; et il s’agit d’une époque que les récentes datations au radio-carbone tendent à reporter au-delà du IVe millénaire. G. von Kaschnitz-Weinberg écartait la civilisation de la céramique rubanée, M. H. Hencken la restreint à l’une de ses composantes orientales. On pourrait craindre aussi que le caractère si particulier de la morphologie indo-européenne s’accorde mal avec l’hypothèse de populations nombreuses et dispersées, chez qui toute unité linguistique paraît vouée à une fragmentation dont il semble malaisé de placer les débuts vers le Ve ou même le IVe millénaire. Il est vrai que, d’une part, il ne s’agit pas, dans l’esprit de M. Devoto, d’identifier simplement les porteurs de la civilisation «rubanée» avec les porteurs de l’indo-européen, ni d’assimiler une certaine technique décorative — d’ailleurs dépourvue d’unité organique — à une tradition linguistique donnée. Et ce n’est que plus tard qu’apparaissent la plupart des phénomènes d’attraction, de résistance et d’expansion capables d’éclairer le problème des rapports entre le monde indo-européen et sa périphérie: pressions de l’extérieur et notamment du monde asianique et méditerranéen (spondylus gaederopus, céramique peinte, idoles anthropomorphes) mais aussi du monde nordique (civilisation de Rossen) ou occidental (civilisation du vase campaniforme); attractions et résistances exercées par des foyers extérieurs (Balkans, Thrace, Thessalie, Italie du Nord et du Sud); facteurs internes, foyers d’expansions futures (Hongrie et Silésie avec les civilisations de Jordansmühl, des amphores globulaires, de la céramique cordée; Bohême avec la civilisation d’Unëtice; de nouveau Hongrie et Silésie avec la civilisation de Lusace et l’expansion des Champs d’urnes). On le voit, ces phénomèn esse pour suivent jusqu’à l’âge du Bronze final. Après d’autres, M. Devoto attache une grande importance au dynamisme de la civilisation d’Unëtice, dont des éléments se retrouvent de la Pologne à la Roumanie, mais aussi, mêlés à des traits apenniniens, dans la culture lombardo-émilienne des «terramares». En réaction contre l’«anti-décorativisme» radical d’Unëtice, la civilisation des tumulus s’affirme surtout en direction de l’Occident où elle prépare l’expansion future de la civilisation de Lusace et des Champs d’urnes.

Or, on sait que ces dernières inaugurent en Europe le rite funéraire de l’incinération. Pour M. Devoto cet avènement marque un changement profond des conceptions eschatologiques: cette opinion ancienne paraît devoir être retenue dans certaines limites, en dépit des résistances qu’elle a rencontrées; mais souvent, et parfois très rapidement, les formes extérieures de l’inhumation et les croyances qui y sont attachées ont réagi sur l’incinération et ont tendu à la supplanter. L’auteur marque bien, en tout cas, que l’incinération n’implique, dans les lieux mêmes où s’élabore la culture de Lusace, ni une mutation ethnique ni de changements profonds de la civilisation: ainsi à Knoviz, en Bohême, on peut observer stratigraphiquement le passage graduel de la culture inhumante d’Unëtice à celle, incinérante, de Lusace. Il n’en reste pas moins vrai qu’ailleurs que dans ses foyers d’élaboration, l’incinération introduite par les porteurs des «Champs d’urnes» s’insère brutalement et globalement dans un horizon inhumant, et constitue dès lors le signe probable d’une immigration, peut-être numériquement faible, mais idéologiquement puissante. Ainsi, en Italie, le contraste entre Subapenniniens inhumants et Protovillanoviens incinérants est net à tous égards, quelque interprétation qu’on soit amené à donner de ce contraste.

Le chap. IV étudie la problématique des données linguistiques. La doctrine de M. Devoto est, on le sait, résolument progressiste: critique des conceptions généalogiques abstraites, exclusivement centrifuges, de la linguistique traditionnelle; vision très souple des relations entre mondes indo-européen et non-indo-européens; large utilisation des principes de la linguistique «spatiale». M. Devoto distingue ainsi des courants anti-indo-européens parallèles aux pressions extérieures reconnues par l’archéologie; les noms du «minerai de cuivre» (i.-e. *raud(h)o-) et du «bovin domestique» (*gwôu~), le système de numération duodécimal peuvent avoir été apportés par les mêmes courants de provenance anatolienne et mésopotamienne (cf. resp. sum. urud «cuivre» et gu «boeuf») qui ont introduit en Roumanie, en Thessalie, en Italie du Sud la céramique peinte; de même, le système vigésimal qui apparaît dans le monde celtique pourrait être mis en rapport avec le courant d’origine sud-occidentale représenté archéologiquement par la céramique campaniforme. Là où l’expansion indo-européenne rencontrait ces mêmes courants anti-indo-européens, il est arrivé que l’indo-européen, du moins en un premier temps, ne se soit pas imposé, et n’ait laissé à la langue de substrat que des traces isolées, lexicales ou morphologiques; il en est résulté, spécialement dans l’Europe méditerranéenne et en Anatolie, une frange de neutralisation que M. Devoto appelle péri-indo-européenne: il s’agirait en somme d’un processus amorcé mais non achevé d’indo-européisation. Cette notion permettrait d’expliquer la présence d’éléments indo-européens en étrusque, dans des parlers préhelléniques et asianiques, ainsi que des contaminations de traditions indo-européennes et «méditerranéennes»: des faits tels que gr. πννδαξ «fond de vase» à côté de πνθμήν, πύργος à côté de got. baùrgs «ville» mais aussi de médit. *parga-/*perga-, trouveraient ainsi leur explication.

Le chap. V dégage, par une étude exhaustive du lexique, les traits du patrimoine spirituel, institutionnel et technique. Un effort pour relier ce patrimoine notionnel aux réalités que fait connaître l’archéologie aboutit à de nombreuses explications de détail tantôt convaincantes, tantôt, il faut le dire, simplement ingénieuses. Si, par exemple, il existe un adjectif commun pour «mou, tendre» *mldu-) sans complémentaire pour «dur», c’est, enseigne l’auteur, que le premier avait dans cette communauté néolithique une valeur technique, et se référait à une certaine qualité de la pierre ou du bois les rendant propres à être façonnés: mais la non-aptitude n’est-elle pas aussi une valeur technique? De même, le rapport de lat. color avec celô «recouvrir» — on pourrait y ajouter celui, parallèle, de skr. varnah avec vrnóti — s’expliquer aipart la technique de la céramique peinte introduite dès une phase ancienne du Néolithique; mais l’indo-européen n’a de nom commun ni pour «couleur», ni pour« substance colorante»: M. Devoto ne craint-il pas que cette date soit beaucoup trop haute pour des faits suspects d’être des créations propres à chaque langue? V. h. all. hulsa, p. ex., ne signifie que «gousse».

C’est essentiellement dans les oppositions de nature sociale ou chronologico-spatiale des éléments du lexique que M. Devoto reconnaît le jeu des forces antagonistes qui exprime et explique tout à la fois les mouvements d’expansion indo-européens (chap. VI-VII). D’une part, le fait que les langues occidentales ont en commun un ancien vocabulaire agricole (dit «du Nord-Ouest») dont certains éléments se retrouvent dans les langues orientales (ainsi lat. arô: tokh. A âre «charrue») paraît confirmer l’antiquité de l’agriculture; mais celle-ci ne paraît pas avoir eu le caractère aristocratique de l’élevage. Sans doute, il est normal — et l’opinion avait été émise par A. Meillet — que les expéditions en direction de l’Orient, ayant traversé de vastes régions steppiques qui se prêtaient mal à une économie agraire, aient à la longue perdu une partie notable de ce vocabulaire; en revanche un semi-nomadisme a introduit des termes nouveaux liés de près ou de loin à l’activité pastorale (comme le numéral pour «mille» inconnu en Occident). On peut pourtant se demander si, dans certains cas, M. Devoto ne tend pas à s’exagérer l’antiquité du vocabulaire du Nord-Ouest, où il entre des mots isolés et de caractère anomal comme le nom de la «pomme» (osq. Abella, v. h. a. apful, etc.) ou de la «fève» (lat. faba, ν. h. a. bôna, etc.) et d’autres indiquant des traditions techniques acquises en commun, à une date qui peut être post-néolithique, comme le nom du «timon» (lat. têmô, etc.). Il demeure probable que certains éléments de ce vocabulaire sont de date plus récente et résultent d’une expansion dans des régions encore non ou imparfaitement indo-européisées: ne pourrait-on songer par exemple à la civilisation des tumulus, au Bronze moyen?

M. Devoto, dans plusieurs travaux antérieurs, a développé une théorie opposant un monde indo-européen «central», générateur d’innovations religieuses, économiques et sociales, à une périphérie vers laquelle seraient repoussés des éléments plus archaïques. Cette théorie, amplifiée, occupe le chap. VII. M. Devoto voit dans ces tendances révolutionnaires, de caractère essentiellement démocratique et collectiviste, l’une des causes profondes de la dislocation. Ce n’est pas à dire — le chap. VIII le montre abondamment — que des groupes archaïques déjà éloignés n’aient pu être rejoints plus tard par des groupes innovateurs, voire par des innovations lexicales isolées. M. Devoto pousse jusqu’au bout le principe de l’indépendance des isoglosses: les expéditions n’ont pas perdu tout contact avec la communauté restée sur place, non plus qu’avec d’autres groupes emigrants; et les communautés historiques représentent des synthèses, élaborées parfois tardivement, d’éléments porteurs de traditions non contemporaines. On reconnaît ici la fluidité des conceptions de l’école linguistique italienne, caractéristique notamment de M. V. Pisani. Mais si le principe est juste, et si cet assouplissement de la doctrine paraît historiquement nécessaire, l’application en est très délicate; il est à craindre que, sur ce point, la démonstration de M. Devoto ne suscite des résistances de la part des linguistes. On pourra trouver par exemple qu’il est accordé, d’une manière générale, trop d’importance aux isoglosses phonétiques, les faits de prononciation ayant une probabilité statistique beaucoup plus grande que les faits morphologiques. Et là même où l’idée générale paraît juste, il y aurait, dans le détail, des réserves à faire : ainsi, pp. 296 et 307, M. Devoto oppose à un nom animé *egni- du «feu», conçu comme une force agissante susceptible d’être personnalisée (cf. véd. Agnih), et maintenu dans les langues marginales, le nom inanimé, selon lui nouveau, *pür-, rattaché au verbe «purifier» (skr. punâti), conçu comme instrument de purification, et propre à l’aire centrale. Mais d’abord, on croira difficilement qu’un mot comme *pé∂2ur- n’appartient pas à la couche la plus ancienne du lexique, quand on considère qu’il apparaît en hittite avec une forme qui exclut un apport récent; car la conservation de la laryngale intérieure (pahkur, gén. pahhuenaš) semble exclure tout à fait qu’il n’ait pas été apporté en Anatolie par les premiers colons, autour de 2200/2000 av. J.-C. L’alternance r/n apparaît d’ailleurs dans des langues où l’analogie ne peut avoir joué aucun rôle, comme en germanique ou en arménien (hur «feu»: hn-oc «fourneau»). En outre, la forme *pe∂2- de la racine écarte tout rapprochement avec le groupe de skr. punâti où la racine a la forme *pew- (E. Benveniste, Orig. de la form des noms, p. 169).

Le chap. VIII, par lequel se clôt le volume, en constitue en même temps la conclusion et l’aboutissement. L’histoire de chaque grande communauté de langue indo-européenne s’y trouve reconstruite à la fois sur le plan archéologique et sur le plan linguistique, et la synthèse originale que constitue chacune d’elles, étudiée dans ses diverses composantes: superstrats indo-européens, adstrats anti-indo-européens, substrat indigène. Le courage et la loyauté scientifiques de M. Devoto se révèlent ici pleinement; M. Devoto ne s’est pas dérobé à l’obligation de reconstruire la préhistoire de chaque nation, et d’affronter le jugement d’une multitude de spécialistes. Il tire ainsi les conséquences extrêmes de sa doctrine, il en éprouve le bien-fondé. Le chapitre tout entier est d’un très vif intérêt. Aussi sera-t-on tenté de discuter çà et là avec l’auteur. P. 373, hitt. tuzziaš «armée» est donné comme équivalent à got. þiuda, ombr. tota «cité, peuple», etc., à l’appui du caractère «central» du hittite: mais, dans un livre que M. Devoto ne pouvait connaître (Hitt. et i.-e., pp. 123-124), M. Benveniste a montré que le mot hittite ne signifie à l’origine que «camp», ce qui écarte le rapprochement; le même ouvrage comporte en revanche bien des connexions nouvelles avec l’indo-européen «marginal»: hitt. â- «être chaud», skr. anti-, antikä «foyer, four», ν. irl. áith «id.»; hitt. allaniya- «suer», v. irl. allas «sueur»; hitt. - «accepter pour véridique», lat. ô-men; h tt. hašša «foyer», osq. aasa, lat. âra, etc. Si les parlers anatoliens représentent avec le grec une tradition «centrale», la date très haute (avant 2.000 probablement) des migrations semble du moins exclure que les tendances innovatrices du monde central encore indivis aient eu le temps d’arriver à leur terme, et, tout en ne participant pas entièrement à l’archaïsme marginal, lexical et idéologique, de l’indo-iranien et de l’ensemble italique et celtique, le hittite et le mycénien demeurent archaïques de par leur date. J’hésiterais donc à mettre au compte d’innovations des termes comme hitt. watar (cf. myc. udo), myc. werege « Fέργει», etc.

Ce qu’on sait de la société mycénienne cadre d’ailleurs mal avec un aménagement démocratique des institutions; comme semble le reconnaître implicitement M. Devoto p. 382, si l’ancien *rëg- y a disparu au profit de Fάναξ, ce n’est pas parce que, dans le monde central, le « roi » avait déjà perdu son caractère aristocratique, mais parce que les rois minoens avaient un tout autre caractère que les chefs de tribus des sociétés néo-chalcolithiques de l’Europe centrale. Ce qui est vrai du monde slave, baltique, germanique ou illyrien vers 1500, 1000 ou même 500 av. J.-C. et plus tard encore ne l’était pas nécessairement autour de 2500-2000 av. J.-C.

Pp. 386-387 est à nouveau affirmée la théorie, due à M. Devoto et défendue du point de vue archéologique par M. M. Pallottino, d’une triple tradition à l’origine des peuples italiques. Sans engager ici une discussion approfondie de ces vues, archéologiquement défendables en effet, qu’il soit permis de présenter quelques remarques. Se baser sur le traitement des sonores aspirées pour établir une tripartition en «Protolatins» (cuit, des tombes à fosses), «Proto-Italiques» (Protovillanoviens, Vénètes) et Ombro-Sabelliens, c’est supposer que les traitements de l’époque historique étaient déjà ceux d’une protohistoire lointaine. Or, les traitements «protolatin» et sicule (Aetna), latin et vénète (aedês) et ombro-sabellique (Aefulae) peuvent présenter des stades divers d’une même évolution. Le fait que le vénète n’a pas participé au passage de la dentale à la labiale au voisinage de u, r, passage qui se conçoit mieux au stade spirant (cf. mon c. r. de G. Giacomelli, La lingua falisca, Latomus, XXIV [1965], p. 696), suffit à faire soupçonner que Latins et Vénètes étaient déjà séparés au moment où apparaissent les sonores. Et comment écarter ce stade spirant devant des faits comme wehô en face de uêxi , fingô ? Un mot comme figulus (de *ρίχ-εΙο-) ne montre-t-il pas que le -χ- avait encore une consistance au moment du passage de *-e- à -u- et que, par suite, la sonore intérieure du latin — et du vénète — est chose récente et résulte de répartitions délicates, propres à chaque dialecte? Le -t- de sicule Aίτνα, λίτρα ne peut-il vraiment être le témoin d’un très ancien *-th- «proto-italique» (ou, si l’on préfère, protovillanovien, cf. les découvertes récentes de Milazzo et de Lipari) qui tendait vers -t- au moment où les Grecs, vers le VIII-VIIe siècle, ont rendu ce phonème par -τ- et non par -Θ-?

Ce très bel ouvrage, dont la correction typographique n’est pas loin d’être parfaite, est pourvu d’une illustration archéologique de haute qualité, et d’autant plus précieuse qu’il s’agit le plus souvent de documents rares, qu’il faudrait aller chercher dans des recueils spéciaux. Le linguiste aura par là, pour la première fois peut-être, une vision concrète des groupements culturels que reconstitue l’archéologie dans les aires intéressées par le problème indo-européen. Des cartes très précises permettent d’ailleurs leur constante mise en place. On ne négligera pas, enfin, l’important lexique, qui groupe par catégories concrètes (termes généraux, activités mentales, familles, techniques, etc.) près de 1000 racines ou lexemes, et dont l’heureuse disposition permet d’apprécier du premier coup d’oeil l’extension de chaque élément dans les diverses parties du domaine.

* * *

ARCHITETTURA-BUTI-LA CASA DEGLI INDOEUROPEI-TRADIZIONE ..._20130320-170153

Dans la vaste et longue enquête qu’il a menée à travers le monde indo-européen, il est un dossier, et l’un des plus volumineux, dont M. Devoto a confié l’étude à une élève: celui de l’histoire de l’habitat. M.lle Gianna Buti a courageusement entrepris ce sujet difficile et elle a tiré, de l’étude parallèle des textes, des faits linguistiques et archéologiques une monographie originale, dont il n’existait aucun équivalent, et qui complète opportunément les Origini indeuropee. On peut d’ores et déjà affirmer qu’avec ce très heureux essai l’autrice se place parmi les spécialistes d’un ordre d’études qui a jusqu’ici été l’apanage des archéologues: l’architecture comparée des peuples indo-européens.

Une amicale préface de M. Devoto indique que, si le livre de M. S. M. Puglisi sur la civilisation apenninienne de l’Italie (paru dans cette même collection en 1959) marque, de la part d’un archéologue, une ouverture vers un échange fécond entre archéologie et linguistique, celui de M.lle Buti se veut une réponse du linguiste, aussi ouverte à cette même collaboration. L’ouvrage est richement illustré, et de belles planches, très originales, constituent un véritable album qui fait revivre l’histoire de l’habitat en Europe à travers l’espace et le temps.

Quelques pages liminaires examinent des points de terminologie et de méthode, et témoignent d’une vision très claire des difficultés du problème. A cet égard, il est intéressant de voir la pensée d’un maître revue et exposée par un disciple. Bien entendu, Mlle Buti réaffirme qu’il n’existe pas proprement de «maison indo-européenne», mais qu’il n’y a que «des manières indo-européennes d’appeler les maisons communes à tout un milieu naturel et culturel», chaque manière de dénommer la «maison», soit comme construction, soit comme lieu d’habitation, soit comme siège de la famille, dénote en face du concept «maison» une attitude psychologique différente et révélatrice. Une première partie est consacrée à cette étude de sémantique historique, et examin successivement l’habitation en cavités rocheuses — qui n’a guère laissé de traces lexicales, sauf peut-être dans le groupe de v. isl. kot, kytia, etc. —; l’habitation à demi creusée dans le sol, typique des communautés du Néolithique et du Bronze — qui s’exprime par la racine *(s)keu- de germ, hûs, serbo-cr. kùca, etc., et dont des témoignages classiques (Virgile, Strabon, Vitruve) ont gardé le souvenir —; l’habitation construite (en bois) au niveau du sol — qu’exprimerait la rac. *dem- «construire», cf. v. isl. timbr «bois de construction» comparé à all. Zimmer.

La seconde partie, fondée plus particulièrement sur les textes, étudie les problèmes de l’interprétation des faits: l’habitation dans la préhistoire indo-européenne, l’habitation dans la protohistoire de chaque peuple indo-européen en particulier (mondes indo-iranien, grec, etc.). On trouvera, p. 163, une curieuse carte donnant la distribution de la maison à atrium dans l’Europe centro-septentrionale.

Une bibliographie soignée et des index linguistiques et archéologiques rendront les plus grands services.

Les circonstances font que cette notice paraît au moment où M. Devoto vient de célébrer son soixante-dixième anniversaire et où, par suite, s’achève à Florence une carrière universitaire d’un éclat singulier. Les deux très beaux livres qui en sont le couronnement auraient sans doute mérité un recenseur moins pressé; du moins a-t-on essayé ici d’en faire saisir l’esprit, de mettre en lumière leur exceptionnelle puissance de reconstruction. Convaincants dans leurs démarches et séduisants dans la plupart de leur résultats, ils font grand honneur au talent et au dynamisme de M. G. Devoto et de son école.

Notes

(*) Giacomo Devoto, Origini indeuropee («Origines». Studi e materiali pubblicati a cura dell’Istituto Italiano di Preistoria e Protostoria), Florence, Sansoni, 1962, in-4°, xii-428 pp.; 74 figg. et XX pli. hors texte; à part, un fasc. in-4° paginé 425-521, 18.000 lires.
Gianna Buti, La casa degli Indeuropei. Tradizione e archeologia (même collection), Florence, Sansoni, 1962, in-4°, 207 pp., 37 figg. et XVI pli. hors texte, 10.000 lires.

(1) P. Bosch-Gimpera, Les Indo- Européens. Problèmes archéologiques. Préface et trad. de R. Lantier (Paris, 1961). Cf. J. Loicq dans R.B.PLH., XLI (1963), pp. 112 et suiv.

(2) Les comparatistes parlent d’habitude de «pré-indo-européen»; mais ce terme n’est pas conforme aux emplois actuels du préfixe pré- chez les historiens, et évoque des réalités antérieures à l’indo-européisation. Le terme «proto-indo-européen», sans équivoque, paraît donc préférable.

(3) Ceci n’implique pas, bien entendu, que l’on ne puisse supposer théoriquement l’existence, dès le Mésolithique ou le Pré-Néolithique de l’Europe orientale, par exemple, ou de régions encore situées plus à l’Est, de groupes d’hommes porteurs de dialectes se situant au début du continuum dont l’indo-européen conventionnel représente le dernier état avant le départ des premières expéditions «historiques»: une langue a toujours une histoire. Mais toute tentative de définition ou de localisation serait vaine, car il peut s’agir, à cette époque lointaine, de quelques tribus infimes possédant une culture matérielle identique à celle des tribus avoisinantes.

* * *

[Jean Loicq, Archéologie et linguistique historique. Deux ouvrages récents sur les origines indo-européennes. In: Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire. Tome 45 fasc. 1, 1967. Antiquité - Oudheid. pp. 86-96; de http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/rbph_0035-0818_1967_num_45_1_2671].


dimanche, 03 mars 2013

Mitteleuropa: Ursprung des Germanischen?

germanic-map_copy.gif

Mitteleuropa: Ursprung des Germanischen?

Ex: http://www.genius.co.at/

Wolfram EULER (und Konrad Badenheuer, graphische Gestaltung), Sprache und Herkunft der Germanen. Abriss des Protogermanischen vor der Ersten Lautverschiebung. Hamburg – London, Verlag Inspiration Un-Limited 2009, ISBN 978-3- 9812110-1-6, 244 S., 29 farbige Abbildungen, € 29,90.

 
Buchbesprechung von Heinz-Dieter Pohl

Dieses ausgezeichnete Buch ist der Frühgeschichte des Germanischen gewidmet. Die germanische Sprachfamilie selbst, mit über 500 Millionen Muttersprachlern eine der größten der Welt, ist ein Glied in der indogermanischen (auch indoeuropäisch genannten) Sprachfamilie, die aus gut einem Dutzend weiterer Sprachen und Sprachfamilien besteht (u.a. Keltisch, Italisch [dazu Lateinisch, woraus Romanisch] Baltisch, Slawisch, Indoiranisch [woraus Iranisch und Indoarisch], Albanisch, Griechisch, Armenisch und einige ausgestorbene Sprachen). Ausgangspunkt der Darstellung ist das Protogermanische, also jene Sprachform, die dem eigentlichen Urgermanischen zugrunde liegt. Dieses hat ja bereits die „Erste“ oder germanische Lautverschiebung (in vorchristlicher Zeit, s.u.) durchgeführt; die „Zweite“ oder hochdeutsche Lautverschiebung ist erst später (frühestens um die Mitte des ersten nachchristlichen Jahrtausends) eingetreten. Von den beiden Lautverschiebungen waren die Konsonanten betroffen.

Der Verfasser vertritt die Auffassung, dass die erste Lautverschiebung im 5./4. Jhdt. v. Chr. einsetzt und schließlich im 1. Jhdt. v. Chr. abgeschlossen war. Das zugrunde liegende indogermanische Lautinventar wird traditionell beschrieben, also nicht im Sinne der „Glottaltheorie“. Insgesamt gesehen wird der Sprachzustand des Germanischen vor den Wanderbewegungen der Germanen, wie er beim Einsetzen der Lautverschiebung bestanden hat, erstmals zusammenfassend beschrieben; es ist die Zeit rund 600 (und vielleicht auch etwas mehr) Jahre vor den ersten überlieferten gotischen Texten. Erst mit der Lautverschiebung vollzieht sich der Übergang vom Protogermanischen zum Urgermanischen. Diese betraf die Verschlusslaute; die stimmlosen (Tenues) wurden zu Reibelauten (p t k kw > f þ χ χw),[1] die stimmhaften (Mediae) zu stimmlosen (also b d g gw > p t k kw) und die behauchten (Mediae aspiratae, also bh dh gh gwh) wurden zunächst zu stimmhaften Reibelauten und dann weiter zu b d g gw. Zur Zeit der Lautverschiebung war der Wortakzent (Betonung) noch variabel, d.h. jede Silbe konnte den Ton tragen und der konnte sich in der Flexion ändern. Die Tenues wurden im Inlaut nur dann zu stimmlosen Reibelauten, wenn der Ton auf dem vorangehenden Vokal lag, sonst wurden sie stimmhaft (z.B. gotisch broþar ‚Bruder‘ – fadar ‚Vater‘, althochdeutsch bruoder – fater aus indogermanisch *bhrater –*pətar, vgl. altindisch bhrata – pita).[2] Dies nennt man „Vernersches Gesetz“.

Vor dem Einsetzen der Lautverschiebung hat sich das Protogermanische überwiegend nur im Formensystem gegenüber den indogermanischen Grundlagen gewandelt. Im Bereich des Verbalsystems hat sich das Protogermanische (ähnlich wie das Protobaltische) am stärksten vom indogermanischen Zustand entfernt: erhalten geblieben ist nur das Präsens, das Perfekt wurde zum Präteritum schlechthin; die anderen Tempusformen wurden aufgegeben. Allerdings lebt das indogermanische Perfekt nur im sogenannten „starken“ Verbum (Typus binden – band – gebunden) sowie bei den „Präteritopräsentia“ (s.u.) weiter, bei den schwachen (vielfach abgeleiteten) Verben wurde ein neues „schwaches“ Präteritum gebildet (Typus sagen – sagte – gesagt), wegen des charakteristischen Dentallautes auch „Dentalpräteritum“ genannt. Seine historische Entstehung ist umstritten, seine Entstehungsgeschichte wird vom Verfasser anschaulich erklärt unter Berücksichtigung der verschiedenen Deutungsversuche; teils hat hier das Partizipium auf *-to-, teils das Verbum *do- ‚tun‘ eine große Rolle gespielt (auch das Keltische hat ein t-Präteritum, doch ob bzw. wie beide zusammenhängen muss offen bleiben). Als dritte Verbalklasse treten neben die starken und schwachen Verben die sogenannten Präteritopräsentia, die zwar aus dem indogermanischen Perfekt entstanden sind, aber als Zustandsverben mit resultativer Bedeutung im Germanischen Präsensbedeutung angenommen haben. Auch zu diesen wird dann ein „schwaches“ Präteritum gebildet. Eine Sonderstellung nehmen – wie in allen indogermanischen Sprachen – die hocharchaischen athematischen Verben ein; im Germanischen gehören dazu sein, tun, gehen, stehen und tun sowie wollen.

Das germanische Formensystem (Deklination und Konjugation) wird anschaulich dargestellt, in vielen Übersichten werden die protogermanischen Ausgangsformen den einzelnen altgermanischen Entsprechungen gegenübergestellt und es werden Vergleiche mit den indogermanischen Schwestersprachen gezogen. Auch die Wortbildung (v.a. die Wortzusammensetzung oder Komposition – typisch fürs Germanische im Gegensatz u.a. zum Lateinischen und Slawischen) und die Syntax (Satzlehre) werden behandelt. Interessant sind die Überlegungen zu den typisch germanischen Stilmitteln Metapher und Stabreim. Das Germanische macht nämlich von der Metapher in vorchristlichen Texten (Runeninschriften, Götter-und Heldendichtung) reichlich Gebrauch; diese Tradition setzt sich dann in der altnordischen Dichtung fort. Zwei Beispiele: widuhudaR ‚Waldhund‘ = ‚Wolf‘ oder Beowulf ‚Bienenwolf‘ = ‚Bär‘. Eine Besonderheit in der germanischen Lyrik ist der Stabreim, der in der gesamten altgermanischen Dichtung vorkommt. Historisch kann er erst zu der Zeit entstanden sein, als das Germanische bereits die Wortbetonung auf die erste Silbe des Wortes festgelegt hatte; im Laufe des Mittelalters wurde der Stab-durch den Endreim nach und nach abgelöst, doch Relikte haben sich bis heute erhalten – in Redewendungen wie Kind und Kegel oder mit Mann und Maus.

In Mitteldeutschland entstanden

Bezüglich des germanischen Wortschatzes zeigt Wolfram Euler, dass das Germanische in bestimmten Wortfeldern sehr altertümlich ist, so haben die Verwandtschaftsbezeichnungen (Vater, Tochter, Bruder usw.) und die meisten Körperteile (Auge, Nase usw.) und Tiere Entsprechungen auch in anderen indogermanischen Sprachen, einige Körperteile (z.B. Hand, Lunge, Zehe) und Tiere (z. B. Bär, Lamm) sind jedoch germanische Neubildungen. Solche gibt es Bereich des Grundwortschatzes nicht wenig, (z.B. Himmel, Erde, Schwert, Blut, trinken, Winter). Die Gründe dafür sind vielfältig.

Am Ende des Buches werden zahlreiche Textproben geboten, so u.a. die berühmte, auf August Schleicher zurückgehende Fabel „Das Schaf und die Pferde“ (indogermanisch – Proto-und Urgermanisch) sowie germanische „Vaterunser“-Paralleltexte (spätur-und protogermanisch – Gotisch – Althochdeutsch – Altenglisch – Isländisch), wodurch ein guter Einblick in die Struktur und Entwicklung der germanischen Sprachen geboten wird.

Auch zur „Urheimat“ der Germanen äußert sich der Verfasser. Er vermeidet allerdings aus guten Gründen diesen Terminus und spricht lieber vom Entstehungsgebiet. Auf Grund zahlreicher archäologischer Überlegungen und den Beziehungen zu den Kelten kommt Wolfram Euler zum Schluss, dass das Protogermanische im Mitteldeutschland entstanden ist (daher „mitteldeutsche Theorie“, auszugehen ist von einem Raum nördlich des Erzgebirges westlich der Elbe und südlich der Aller); dafür sprechen u.a. die alteuropäischen Gewässernamen, zu denen es in diesem Gebiet fließende Übergänge zu germanischen Namen gibt, die anderswo fehlen. Der zeitliche Rahmen ist ein Zusammenhang mit der Jastorf-Kultur (in der „vorrömischen Eisenzeit“). Skandinavien, das man lange (und auch ideologisch motiviert) für die „Urheimat“ der Germanen gehalten hat, ist also auszuschließen. Vielmehr kam es in Mitteleuropa zur Ausbildung und Entfaltung der germanischen Sprachen und Völker in einem Spannungsfeld zwischen dem Keltischen im Westen und Südwesten, Italischen im Süden, Baltischen im Nordosten und Slawischen im Osten.

Besonders hervorgehoben seien die zahlreichen schönen (farbigen) Abbildungen; schon auf dem Umschlag prangt der Sonnenwagen von Trundholm, der in die mittlere Bronzezeit zu datieren ist, auf der Vorderseite die „Tagseite“, auf der Buchrückseite die „Nachtseite“ des im Kopenhagener Nationalmuseum aufbewahrten Gefährts. Wer sich für die Frühgeschichte der Germanen und deren Sprache(n) interessiert, dem sei dieses Buch wärmstens empfohlen.

Anmerkungen

[1] Die Zeichen þ  χ stehen für th (= englisches th) und ch.

[2] Die Buchstaben a o usw. bezeichnen Langvokale.

Die Auszeichnung der Langvokale findet sich nur in der den Abonennten zugänglichen PDF-Ausgabe

Bearbeitungsstand: Montag, 28. Jänner 2013

mercredi, 23 janvier 2013

Les Indo-Européens, faits et polémiques

16:58 Publié dans Evénement | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : événement, france, indo-européens | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

vendredi, 23 novembre 2012

Inner Revolutions and Kindred Souls

 

Inner Revolutions and Kindred Souls:
A Review of Indo-Europe Rising and Atoms of Kshatriyas

by Gwendolyn Taunton

Ex: http://shunyarevolution.wordpress.com/

“Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.” — Nietzsche

Azsacra Zarathustra’s work always makes for an interesting read, and his latest books (Indo-Europe Rising and Atoms of Kshatriyas are no exception. Since these books are related in terms of content, I will review them both together in this article). In these texts Azsacra Zarathustra continues to expand on the themes developed in earlier works and a number of concepts presented in these titles are covered extensively and explained in earlier books. As such, I would to stress here that Zarathustra’s work can be intellectually challenging for beginners and people whom are not well versed in traditional metaphysics and philosophy. Therefore it is essential for readers to familiarise themselves with his earlier works in order to understand his writing in the full context. Azasacra Zarathustra: Creator of ShunyaRevoution and Absolute Revolutionis recommended as an introductory text for those who are unfamiliar with the concepts introduced by Zarathustra. For those who are already loyal readers, no such introduction is required and they will thoroughly enjoy immersing themselves in the pages of his latest writing.That being said, like Nietzsche whom I quoted above, I have no time for the idle readers — and it is the readers who appreciate different ideas and perspectives who will experience the greatest rewards from Zarathustra’s books. Here, at last we see some new ideas emerging in Traditionalism — rather than reciting Traditionalists, Zarathustra develops of some of their ideas — and challenges them when need be. In this regard, Zarathustra’s latest book Indo-Europe Uprising is unapologetically addressed to the Hindu and European Traditions (which are linked by linguistic and religious heritage).

It is from this perspective that they need to be understood — the revolution and uprising of which he writes is one rooted in tradition and spirituality, and is not politically motivated. It is a revolution that is rooted deep in the roots of the psyche of India and Europe, and like all good books it speaks not to the head but direct to the heart and to the blood. The Absolute Revolution is an interior one, not an exterior revolution — thus like Krishna’s instructions to Arjuna, it is a spiritual process. This instruction to the Ksatriya is echoed in Zarathustra’s works, who like Evola adopts the perspective that the Ksatriya caste has its own set of spiritual teachings which differs from that of the religious code of the Brahmins. This is readily supported by the Upanisads, to which Ksatriya authorship is attributed, and even to the Buddha who was born into the Ksatriya caste. It is to those people who identify with the Ksatriya role (for caste is not determined by birth in his works, but by temperament and natural inclination) that Zarathustra addresses his works and expounds the theory of the Shunya Revolution; an interior and psychological process weaving together thoughts from Hinduism, Buddhism and Nietzsche — all of which Zarathustra does not merely cite, but actively develops upon, adding new teachings to the old ones to develop a new level.

What is of special interest in Zarathustra’s latest book, is that it offers a new model of Tradition which places emphasis on the ties between Europe and India, in contrast to the older Traditionalist model which favours the Abrahamic Traditions of Christianity and Islam. In terms of the history of religion, this perspective is academically correct as Vedic India and the old gods of Europe come from the same religious family, the Indo-European genus of religion. Christianity, Islam (and also Judaism) originate instead from Abraham, and form a triad which scholars refer to as the Abrahamic Tradition. The remaining Traditions fall under the rubric of Taoic, Dharmic (Hindu), Pagan (European) and Shamanic. Recent developments in the studies of religion such as the reconstruction of the Proto Indo European language and consequential dialect shifts suggest that the Dharmic Traditions and the Pagan Traditions stem from a common heritage in the pre-Vedic era, thus indicating that they are in fact related, and therefore the association of India with Europe is a genuine one which is easily backed up by historical facts.  The bond between the Hindu Tradition and the European Tradition is therefore a natural one which is rooted deep in the past where it has existed since the dawn of history. The Indo-Europe Uprising of which Zarathustra writes is one which unites both Hinduism and the indigenous spiritual traditions of Europe at the core of this ancestry, and therefore it is a  shared kinship between two cultures. This is the new element of Traditionalism which speaks to the Hindu and Pagan audiences, who have previously been under represented in Traditionalism and have previously occupied only a secondary role to that of the Abrahamic Traditions. Also of interest here is that Zarathustra correctly identifies Tibet as having a religious connection with Hinduism and it is included as part of the theory — thus forming a religious triad of its own as part of the Indo-European Tradition: Hinduism, the European Traditions, and Buddhism.

Into this vision of a shared ancestral past is woven an intricate dialogue of Ksatriya mysticism, the metaphysical state of emptiness and the detachment from the karma-phalam advocated by Krishna. These Hindu and Buddhism thoughts are then coupled with the ideas of Europe’s greatest thinker and philosopher, Freidrich Nietzsche to create a perspective which is not only unique and original, but also profoundly Indo-European in this combination. Much of Nietzsche’s thought expresses an admiration for the Vedic past, and he too advocated the warrior temperament above that of the priest, for he saw it as a more vital mode of life and being, rather than the mode of renunciation which represents a withdrawal from life rather than engaging and conflicting with it head on. It is obvious that Zarathustra is highly influenced by Nietzsche, but he does not merely cite Nietzsche’s works — rather he develops on them by adding layers of mysticism and spiritual development drawn from the esoteric doctrines of India and Tibet, to develop a new teaching for those who identify themselves as Kstariya, in order to fight the great internal war and overcome the flawed human nature which separates them from the numinous essence of the divine which is the great spiritual uprising and the esoteric doctrine of the Absolute Revolution and the forms the Atoms of Ksatriyas.

Gwendolyn Taunton was the recipient of the Ashton Wylie Award for Literary Excellence in 2009 for her work with Primordial Traditions and is a well-known author on Hinduism and Heathen/Pagan Traditions:  Her most recent work is ‘Mimir — Journal of North European Traditions’:

http://numenbooks.com.au/books/spirituality_books/mimir_-_journal_of_north_european_traditions.aspx

lundi, 05 novembre 2012

Mégalithisme et tradition indo-européenne

megalithes.jpg

Mégalithisme et tradition indo-européenne

par

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

1. L’espace, le temps, la mesure dans le monde indo-européen

L’expression des notions d’espace et de temps est manifestement récente dans les langues indo-européennes, mais les notions elles-mêmes, et celle de leur mesure conjointe — base de l’architecture sacrée — certainement anciennes.

  • 1.1. Les noms de l’espace et du temps dans les langues indo-européennes

L’expression des notions d’espace et de temps diffère d’une langue à l’autre, sauf quand elle a été empruntée, et surtout les termes qui les désignent présentent initialement une autre signification. C’est le cas pour le français temps. Il se retrouve certes dans l’ensemble des langues romanes, mais le latin tempus auquel il remonte est isolé en indo-européen. D’autre part, comme le montrent les formes tempête, tempérer, température, intempéries, le “temps qui passe” est initialement lié au “temps qu’il fait”, que distinguent les langues germaniques.

Il n’y a pas non plus d’ancien nom de l’espace, souvent désigné à partir d’une forme qui signifie “espace libre” comme le latin spatium ou la forme germanique d’où est issu l’allemand Raum. Certaines de ces formes peuvent s’appliquer au temps, comme le latin spatium et le français espace. Les seules désignations anciennes sont celles de l’espace libre, notamment la base sur laquelle reposent le latin rûs (campagne) et l’allemand Raum.

  • 1.2 Espace et temps dans le système grammatical

Espace et temps ont une expression grammaticale. L’espace dans les compléments de lieu (lieu où l’on est, où l’on va, d’où l’on vient, par où l’on passe), dont certains sont à l’origine de cas grammaticaux comme l’accusatif d’objet, le temps dans les compléments de temps (instant ou durée), et les propositions subordonnées correspondantes. De plus, le temps s’exprime dans la conjugaison: le verbe indo-européen a un présent, *esti «il est» (grec esti, latin est), un prétérit ou imparfait *êst (grec ê), un futur, dit aussi “subjonctif” *eseti (latin erit). Au futur correspondent, dans le nom, le datif “prospectif” et les adjectifs correspondants, qui expriment la destination, la possibilité, l’obligation. Les 3 temps sont également à la base d’énoncés formulaires du Véda (le géant cosmique Prajâpati est aussi «ce qui fut» et «ce qui sera»), de l’Avesta (qui joue sur les temps du verbe être pour évoquer le présent, le passé et l’avenir, ou les vivants, les morts et les enfants à naître); selon l’Illiade, le devin Chalcas connaît «le présent, le passé et l’avenir»; et, à en juger par leurs noms, les 3 Nornes scandinaves Yrd, Verdandi, Skuld ont été mises en rapport avec les 3 temps. Le verbe indo-européen a de plus un “intemporel” *est (il est) employé pour les procès qui ne se situent pas dans le temps, comme les vérités générales.

  • 1.3 La mesure de l’espace et du temps

Il existe une racine qui désigne la mesure de l’espace, “arpenter”, et du temps, “viser”, 2 procès dont la réalité physique diffère, mais dont le but est identique, et, par extension, diverses activités et diverses situations homologues comme “être en mesure de”, “prendre des mesures”. Elle possède 3 formes liées entre elles par des formes intermédiaires: *meH-, d’où *mê-, *met-, mêt-, *med-, *mêd-. Cette morphologie singulière indique une haute antiquité.

La première forme *meH-, conservée dans le nom hittite du “temps” (mehur) mais qui a évolué en *mê- dans les autres langues indo-européennes, est à la base du nom de la lune (conservé dans les langues germaniques, mais remplacé en latin par lûna) et du mois, que le français conserve aussi dans ses formes “savantes” (empruntées au latin) mensuel, trimestre, semestre. Elle l’est aussi dans le nom des mœurs, issu du latin môrês, pluriel de môs.

La deuxième forme *met-, mêt- est représentée en français par l’emprunt savant au grec mètre avec ses dérivés métrique, métrer, et ses composés diamètre, symétrie, géomètre, et certains composés en métro-: métrologie, métronome. Elle l’est également dans le nom de la mesure, et dans les formes savantes en mens- — immense, dimension, (in)commensurable, mensuration — qui se rattachent au participe passé mênsus du verbe latin mêtîrî: “mesurer” et “parcourir”. On note que cette forme comporte un n comme le nom de la lune (anglais moon, allemand Mond) et du mois (anglais month, allemand Monat).

Dans les langues baltiques, cette forme réunit les notions: “mesurer, en général” (lituanien matas: “mesure”), “mesurer le temps” (lituanien metas: temps, année), mais aussi “viser”, d’où “lancer” (lituanien mesti: “lancer”, d’où “jeter”) et “regarder” (lituanien matyti). Nous reviendrons ci-dessous § 2 sur cette indication significative.

La troisième forme *med-, *mêd-, est représentée en français par divers substantifs qui se rattachent directement ou non au latin modius (boisseau) comme muid, moyeu, trémie, moule ainsi que les invariants comme, comment, combien, qui se rattachent au latin quômodô, et les formes savantes en med-, médecin, remède, méditer, et en mod-, mode, modèle, module, modérer, modeste, moderne, modique. Cette troisième forme est également à la base du verbe “mesurer” des langues germaniques, allemand messen. Dans plusieurs langues, l’un de ses dérivés désigne le destin et, en vieil-anglais, le Dieu chrétien. S’y rattache aussi le perfecto- présent *môt (allemand müssen, anglais must) qui signifie initialement “avoir la place”, d’où “pouvoir”, puis “devoir”.

On voit par là que l’arpentage et la mesure du temps par visée, qui s’expriment par cette même racine, sont dans le monde indo-européen des activités à la fois anciennes et exemplaires. Or la mesure du temps est spatiale. Avant l’invention du sablier et de la clepsydre, qui permettent de mesurer directement une durée, on a mesuré le temps à partir des cycles temporels. Le cycle quotidien et le cycle mensuel s’observent directement, l’un par la place du soleil dans le ciel du jour, l’autre par l’aspect de la lune, et leurs extrémités sont directement saisissables. Mais la mesure du cycle annuel est moins aisée. On emploie à cet effet un instrument nommé gnomon.

2 – Le gnomon

La mythologie védique rend compte de la création de l’espace, ou plus précisément des 3 mondes, par les 3 pas de Vishnou, dieu mineur, mais qui deviendra l’un des 3 grands dieux des temps ultérieurs: son premier pas crée l’espace terrestre, son deuxième pas l’espace intermédiaire (ce que nous nommons l’atmosphère), son troisième pas le ciel. De la provient la fréquente identification de Vishnou au soleil. Mais comme le montre clairement le mythe de la décapitation de Vishnou, c’est la tête du dieu que l’Inde védique identifie au soleil, non le dieu lui-même. Reprenant une hypothèse antérieure, Falk (1987) a identifié Vishnou au gnomon. Le gnomon est l’artefact qui, dès l’époque védique, remplace l’arbre du soleil du stade antérieur de la mesure du temps. Avant de diviser le jour en sous-unités, les peuples primitifs ont cherché à déterminer les solstices. À cet effet, ils ont pris comme points de repère (que l’on vise, *met-) des sommets de montagnes ou des arbres: d’où par ex. l’arbre du Soleil (féminin) Saule, des Chansons mythologiques lettonnes (Jonval 1929 : 65 et suiv.). Ainsi la strophe 227:

Un tilleul touffu aux branches d’or
Pousse au bord de la mer, dans le sable;
Sur la cime est assise la Fille de Saule
Saule elle-même sur les branches d’en bas.

Un passage de la Taittirîya Samhitâ conserve le souvenir de cette notion. Après avoir indiqué que celui qui désire la splendeur doit offrir une vache blanche à Sûryâ (Soleil féminin, comme Saule, dont le nom est apparenté), et que le poteau sacrificiel doit être en bois de l’arbre bilva, le texte poursuit: «l’endroit d’où le soleil d’en haut naquit, c’est là que s’éleva l’arbre bilva. Le sacrifiant gagne la splendeur grâce au lieu d’origine du soleil». Ce “lieu d’origine” du soleil est manifestement l’arbre qui servait à déterminer le terme de sa course annuelle, comme l’arbre du soleil des chansons mythologiques lettonnes. Mais l’arbre du soleil a pu servir ultérieurement à subdiviser le jour, d’abord par la mesure de l’ombre portée, puis par sa place sur un cadran. Or c’est à partir de l’arbre que s’interprète l’image de la décapitation. Le soleil rouge du soir ou du matin qui s’éloigne de l’arbre pris comme repère peut être assimilé à une tête coupée qui se détache du tronc. Le gnomon en conserve parfois le souvenir: ainsi celui que décrit Pline l’Ancien, Histoire Naturelle, 36, 72-73: sa pointe était surmontée d’une boule dorée assimilée à une tête humaine.

À partir de ces considérations, j’ai proposé une nouvelle interprétation de la comparaison effectuée antérieurement par G. Dumézil entre la décapitation de Vishnou et celle du géant Mimir de la légende scandinave, ainsi qu’une étymologie du nom de Vishnou (Haudry 2001).

3 – Mégalithes et cycle annuel

Nombre de constructions mégalithiques d’Europe ont été édifiées sur la base du cycle annuel, comme le rappelle Vadé (2008 : 9 et suiv.):

«On sait depuis longtemps que Stonehenge n’est pas un monument isolé. Ce n’est que l’exemple le plus considérable d’une série de constructions circulaires de l’époque néolithique, soit en pierres, soit en bois, dont on trouve des vestiges depuis l’Europe du Nord jusqu’au Proche-Orient. En France, les enclos circulaires de plus de 100 m. de diamètre découverts à Étaples (Pas-de-Calais) et dépourvus de toute trace liée aux fonctions d’habitat présentent de fortes similarités avec les henges d’outre-Manche. Leur destination cultuelle, notent prudemment les archéologues, “ne semble pas totalement exclue”.

Mais c’est surtout en Allemagne qu’on a retrouvé de semblables constructions. La plus notable est le cercle de Goseck en Saxe-Anhalt, énorme ensemble tumulaire de 75 m. de diamètre, daté du début du Ve millénaire. Il comporte 3 cercles concentriques de terre et d’épieux et s’ouvre par 3 portails, dont l’un est orienté au nord et les 2 autres, au sud-est et au sud-ouest, correspondant au lever et au coucher du soleil au solstice d’hiver. Ensembles analogues au Portugal, avec les cercles de pierres de l’Alentejo également datés du Ve millénaire. Sensiblement à la même époque, en Nubie, l’important champ mégalithique de Nabta Playa, à une centaine de kilomètres à l’ouest d’Abou Simbel, comporte des alignements marquant le nord, l’est et le lever du soleil au solstice d’été ainsi qu’un petit cercle de pierres dont les couvertures correspondent également à l’axe nord-sud et à l’axe solsticial».

Il conclut :

«On est loin d’avoir fini d’établir la liste des lieux d’Europe comportant des “portes solsticiales” dûment aménagées. Une exposition récente [hiver 2006] sur L’Or des Thraces au Musée Jacquemart-André donnait l’occasion d’en découvrir plusieurs. Le plus spectaculaire est peut-être le monument mégalithique de Slantcheva Vrata dominant la “Vallée des rois thraces” près de Kazanlak. Plusieurs blocs empilés de main d’homme figurent une véritable porte, d’où l’on embrasse du regard tout le territoire sacré des rois odryses. Au moment du solstice d’été, le soleil passe par l’ouverture.

Il faudrait parler encore du site de Kokino en Macédoine (à 75 km environ de Skopje). L’archéologue Jovica Stankovski y a découvert en 2002, au sommet d’une colline de plus de 1.000 m. d’altitude, “un observatoire” daté d’environ 1800 avant notre ère. Selon l’astronome Gjorgii Cenev, de l’observatoire de Skopje, on y observait les solstices et les équinoxes, ainsi que la constellation des Pléiades, depuis d’énormes “trônes” de pierre face à l’horizon de l’est, où des repères marquaient les directions remarquables».

Mohen (2008 : 48 et suiv.) en cite quelques autres:

Newgrange (co. Meath, Irlanda).

Newgrange (co. Meath, Irlanda).

«L’un des plus beaux exemples de cette intention précise est constituée par le couloir du grand tumulus dolménique de Newgrange (Co. Meath) en Irlande. Le fouilleur, M. Herity, constata en1963 qu’un linteau décoré, placé au-dessus et en arrière de la dalle de couverture de l’entrée du couloir, était en réalité le sommet d’une ouverture qui permaittait à un rayon du soleil levant de parcourir le couloir jusque dans la chambre. L’angle de cette ouverture, appelé roof-box, laissant passer le rayon lumineux rectiligne du soleil levant, le jour du solstice d’hiver, illuminait le fond du dolmen de plan cruciforme. Ainsi, comme le niveau du sol à l’entrée du couloir était à 2 m., en-dessous du sol de la chambre, lieu funéraire sacré, l’ouverture de la lucarne située au-dessus des 2 m., à l’entrée du couloir, permettait au rayon d’éclaircir la chambre. Impressionnés par cette précision, et le rôle du soleil solsticial, les archéologues ont pensé que les motifs spiralés ornant les grandes dalles disposés devant et à l’arrière du tumulus ou encore au pourtour de nombreux tumulus irlandais, dont ceux de Knowth ou de Dowth dans la même région irlandaise orientale, étaient peut-être en relation avec le mouvement perpétuel du soleil.

L’autre exemple qui prouve que l’observation des constructeurs préhistoriques de mégaliques pouvait être d’une précision extrême est celui de la dernière phase du monument de Stonehenge, système de fossés circulaires et de pierres dressées, délibérément orienté à partir d’un aménagement des trilithes disposés en U, entourant l’observateur situé au centre du dispositif en cercle, et visant à travers 2 pierres rapprochées l’endroit exact où le soleil apparaît à l’horizon, le jour du solstice d’été. Si cet axe de la phase 1, antérieure aux trilithes, reste approximatif en cadrant un angle entre 27°N et 24°N, le nouvel aménagement est très précis et juste; il est celui de la quatrième et dernière phase, contemporaine de l’implantation de 2 nouveaux menhirs laissant passer exactement la ligne d’observation allant du centre du site au point d’apparition du solstice d’été, selon l’axe principal de 24°N. Cette troisième phase est datée de 2250 à 1900 avant notre ère. C’est elle qui est encore, de nos jours, le cadre des célébrations contemporaines du solstice d’été».

Il mentionne également les alignements de Carnac, dont l’étude a permis à Alexandre Thom de déterminer l’unité de mesure utilisé, le “yard mégalithique” valant 0,829 m., et observe à ce propos:

«Il semble bien que le fait de dresser des monolithes réponde à un besoin de concrétiser un repère spatial que la lumière révèle, d’où l’attention particulière à l’emplacement topographique de la pierre dressée, d’où aussi les déplacements fréquents des pierres depuis les gîtes géologiques. L’endroit choisi pour l’implantation de la pierre est donc sans doute minutieusement choisi. La notion d’espace est de la même manière minutieusement calculée et se retrouve dans l’aménagement du territoire que les recherches archéologiques peuvent, dans le meilleur des cas, révéler. La place des mégalithes y est essentielle» (p. 51).

4 – Interprétations

Les mégalithes font l’objet de multiples interprétations, dont la conclusion de Mohen (p. 53) donne un aperçu: «Ces mégalithes et monuments sont des indicateurs pour ceux qui les mettent en œuvre. Ils reflètent des visions cosmiques de ces premiers agriculteurs mais aussi des préoccupations ancestrales et topographiques, liées sans doute à la légitimité du terroir et à la protection des aïeuls». Une précédente étude parue dans cette même revue (Haudry 2007-2008) fait écho à la théorie récente de Mahlstedt (2004), qui permet de donner un contenu à l’image indo-européenne du “ciel dans la pierre”, mais on s’en tiendra ici à leurs rapports avec le cycle annuel.

Le fait que les mégalithes apparaissent au Néolithique a suggéré une interprétation des rapports de leur disposition avec cycle annuel [cf. Culture mégalithique et archéoastronomie, Y. Verheyden, in Nouvelle École n°42, 1985]: ils auraient constitué un premier calendrier agricole. Cette utilisation est une possibilité qui ne peut être écartée. Elle est confirmée à l’âge du bronze par la présence, sur le disque de Nebra et à Kokino (Macédoine), comme on l’a vu ci-dessus, des Pléiades, dont Hésiode rappelle que leur lever et leur coucher constituait des signaux pour l’agriculteur:

«Au lever des Pléiades, filles d’Atlas, commencez la moisson, les semailles à leur coucher. Elles restent, on le sait, quarante nuits et quarante jours invisibles ; mais, l’année poursuivant sa course, elles se mettent à reparaître quand on aiguise le fer. Voilà la loi des champs» (trad. Paul Mazon).

Mais elle ne constitue sûrement pas la motivation initiale, comme l’observe Vadé (2008 : 12) :

«A-t-il fallu attendre l’agriculture, comme on le pense généralement, pour repérer les bornes de la course du soleil et en tirer parti pour le choix de certains lieux? Autrement dit, à défaut de structures d’observations construites, des orientations solaires privilégiées ne pourraient-elles être repérées dès le Paléolithique supérieur, à l’époque du grand art pariétal? Il semble bien, grâce aux recherches de Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez, que l’on puisse répondre par l’affirmative. On sait que cette chercheuse indépendante a provoqué une certaine sensation au cours de l’année 2000 en présentant au Symposium d’art préhistorique en Italie une communication sur la vision du ciel des Magdaléniens de Lascaux. On continue à discuter sur les interprétations qu’elle a proposées des peintures de la grotte.

Retrouver des constellations définies beaucoup plus tard et parler de zodiaque primitif ne va pas de soi. Mais ce qui n’est guère contestable, c’est la coïncidence de l’orientation de l’ancienne entrée de la grotte et de la direction du soleil couchant au solstice d’été. Il s’ensuit qu’à cette date le fond de la grande salle se trouve éclairé comme à aucun autre moment de l’année par les rayons du soleil vespéral. À partir de cette constatation, la chercheuse s’est demandé si d’autres grottes à peintures présentaient des particularités analogues. Elle a ainsi engrangé une moisson de résultats dont elle nous donne ici un échantillon concernant la grotte de Commarque — avec une étude parallèle sur la chapelle du château, où des fenêtres dissymétriques répondent au même souci de faire entrer la lumière solsticiale, tant cette préoccupation semble permanente dans les cultures restées traditionnelles».

Cette interprétation “traditionnelle” postule une continuité ininterrompue du Paléolithique au Moyen Âge comme l’indique Jègues-Wolkiewiez (2008 : 25) dans le résumé de son étude:

«Dans le sanctuaire magdalénien de Commarque, comme à Lascaux, le coucher solsticial d’été pénètre la grotte ornée par des artistes paléolithiques. À 50 mètres de distance dans l’espace, mais à douze millénaires de distance dans le temps, au Moyen Âge, les bâtisseurs de la chapelle Saint Jean du château de Commarque ont non seulement mis en valeur le coucher solsticial d’été, mais aussi le lever de l’hiver. Les rayons solaires pénètrent par les fenêtres situées de part et d’autre de l’autel et éclairent celui-ci.

Ces deux temps forts de l’année sont mis en valeur sur le territoire français par l’ornementation préférentielle des grottes ornées paléolithiques. Ce phénomène cyclique partageant l’année en deux temps avait non seulement été remarqué mais aussi exploité par les Paléolithiques. On peut se demander si la mise en scène des rayons de lumière du “roi du ciel”, lors de ces deux moments clefs de calcul du temps par les constructeurs catholiques du Moyen Âge ne relève pas du même concept que celui des païens du Paléolithique? »

Les conceptions sur lesquelles se fonde cette pratique remontant au Paléolithique supérieur ne sont pas attestées directement, faute de textes. Mais la continuité matérielle constatée rend admissible une continuité de la signification qui toutefois ne peut être précisée, et qui n’exclut pas la possibilité d’utilisations et de réinterprétations. La probabilité de la continuité est renforcée par ce que nous savons des courants traditionnels au sein du christianisme tels que les a mis en évidence Paul-Georges Sansonetti dans le numéro précédent de cette revue.

5 Mégalithisme et tradition indo-européenne

  • 5.1 Conception et réinterprétation

Il n’est évidemment pas envisageable d’interpréter l’ensemble des données mentionnées ci-dessus par la tradition indo-européenne: certains lui sont extérieurs, notamment ceux du Proche-Orient et d’Afrique du nord, d’autres, comme l’orientation des grottes paléolithiques, lui sont antérieurs. Mais on peut déterminer les significations qui leur ont été attribuées, même s’il s’agit de la réinterprétation d’édifices conçus et mis en place par une population antérieure qui lui attribuait une autre signification.

  • 5.2 Le symbolisme social de la “concordance”

La proximité formelle entre le nom indo-iranien du “moment propice”, du “temps fixé pour une activité” — *r(a)tu-, terme qui désigne par ailleurs le “modèle”, le “représentant idéal” —, et celui de la “vérité”, (a)rta-, suggère un rapport entre les 2 notions. Ce rapport est confirmé et précisé par le troisième représentant de la base *(a)rt-, l’adverbe grec arti, qui signifie à la fois “justement”, “récemment” et en premier terme de composés “convenablement”, “correctement”. Cet emploi est à la base d’une concordance formulaire que j’ai signalée jadis (en dernier lieu: Haudry 2009 : 84, 119, renvoyant à un travail antérieur) entre 3 composés grecs et leurs correspondants indo-iraniens, reflétant la triade héritée pensée, parole, action. Il semble que les Indo-Européens aient considéré la régularité des cycles temporels comme l’image cosmique de leur valeur suprême, la vérité, c’est-à-dire essentiellement de la “fidélité”, concordance entre ce que l’on dit (notamment ce que l’on promet) et ce que l’on fait. Les Yârya avestiques, génies des 6 saisons de l’année, sont des “modèles de vérité”, ashahe ratavô.

  • 5.3 Concordance et retour annuel de la lumière

L’interprétation à partir de l’image cosmique de la vérité vaut pour la période récente de la période commune, celle dans laquelle les rapports sociaux se sont diversifiés et complexifiés, exigeant loyauté mutuelle entre les clans potentiellement rivaux, voire ennemis. Mais dans la phase la plus ancienne, on est encore loin de cette conception. La “concordance” entre l’événement humain, rassemblement, fête, sacrifice, et la manifestation cosmique, l’arrivée de la lumière solsticiale dans l’ouverture de l’enclos (initialement de la grotte), est l’essentiel. La concordance entre l’événement humain et l’événement cosmique avait sa signification en elle-même, et non par référence aux rapports sociaux. Dans la part de la tradition qui prend son origine dans le Grand Nord (Haudry 2006), le but du rite était d’assurer la régularité du cycle des saisons, et notamment le retour annuel de la lumière.

* * *

De: Hyperborée magazine n°10/11, 2011.

* * *

Bibliographie

FALK Harry, 1987: Vishnu im Veda, Festschrift für Ulrich Schneider: 112 et suiv.
JEGUES-WOLKIEWIEZ Chantal, 2008: Paléoastronomie à Commarque, VADÉ 2008: 23-45.
JONVAL Michel, trad., 1929: Les chansons mythologiques lettonnes, Paris: Picart.
HAUDRY Jean, 2001: Mimir, Mimingus et Vishnu, Festschrift für Anders Hultgård: 296-325.
HAUDRY Jean, 2006: Les Indo-Européens et le Grand Nord, Hyperborée, 3: 5-10.
HAUDRY Jean, 2007-2008: Du ciel de pierre au ciel dans la pierre, Hyperborée, 5 (2007): 18-24; 6 (mai 2008): 37-42; 7 (nov. 2008): 9-15.
HAUDRY Jean, 2009: Pensée, parole, action dans la tradition indo-européenne, Milan: Archè.
MAHLSTEDT Ina, 2004: Die religiöse Welt der Jungsteinzeit, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.
MOHEN Jean-Pierre, 2008: Mégalithes européens de la préhistoire et orientations remarquables, in VADÉ 2008: 46-54.
VADÉ Yves (éd.), 2008: Étoiles dans la nuit des temps, L’Harmattan.


Horseback Riding and Bronze Age Pastoralism in the Eurasian Steppes

Horseback Riding and Bronze Age Pastoralism in the Eurasian Steppes

jeudi, 01 novembre 2012

Indo-European Dispersals and the Eurasian Steppe with J.P. Mallory

Indo-European Dispersals and the Eurasian Steppe with J.P. Mallory

dimanche, 23 septembre 2012

De la déesse de l’aurore

Thomas FERRIER:

De la déesse de l’aurore

Ex: http://thomasferrier.hautetfort.com/

 

Aurora.jpgEn ce 15 août, il me paraissait intéressant de consacrer un article à une déesse fondamentale au sein des mythologies indo-européennes, déité vierge uniquement lorsqu’elle adopte une dimension guerrière, à l’instar de Pallas Athênê en Grèce.

A l’origine, les divinités indo-européennes patronnent les éléments de la nature, et en particulier le ciel, la terre et les astres, mais aussi les phénomènes atmosphériques. Jean Haudry a notamment démontré que le système trifonctionnel indo-européen était appliqué aux cieux, ceux-ci se partageant entre le ciel de nuit, correspondant aux forces telluriques et infernales, le ciel de jour, correspondant à la lumière des divinités souveraines, et enfin le ciel intermédiaire, le *regwos (ou « érèbe »), ciel auroral et crépusculaire, lié à la couleur rouge, mais aussi ciel d’orage. Les trois couleurs sont donc le blanc de la souveraineté, le rouge de la guerre et le noir de la fonction de production. Dans ce schéma, le ciel nocturne, domaine du dieu *Werunos (« le vaste »), qui donnera Ouranos en grec et Varuna en sanskrit, peut être remplacé par la terre, domaine de la déesse *Dhghom (« Dêmêter »), épouse du dieu céleste *Dyeus (« Zeus ») et en ce sens surnommée *Diwona (« celle de Dyeus »), qu’on retrouve dans le nom de la divinité romaine Dea Dia, probablement aussi dans celui de Diane, et dans la grecque Dionè, mère d’Aphrodite, respectant ainsi ce code de couleurs.

Le ciel intermédiaire est patronné par deux divinités fondamentales des panthéons indo-européens, à savoir le dieu de l’orage, *Maworts (génitif *Mawrtos), et la déesse de l’aurore *Ausōs (génitif *Ausosos), l’un et l’autre formant réunis probablement à l’origine un couple divin, couple qui sous la forme de Mars et de Venus inspirera les artistes depuis Homère. *Ausōs portait plusieurs épiclèses importantes, *bherghenti (« celle qui est élevée ») et *Diwos *dhughater (« fille de Zeus »), mais était également liée à la racine *men-, relative à tout ce qui relève de l’intelligence.

La triple aurore grecque.

Le déesse grecque de l’aurore est Eôs, une déesse mineure du panthéon hellénique, qu’Homère qualifie d’ « aux doigts de rose », et pour laquelle peu de mythes sont associés, à savoir celui des amours d’Arès et d’Eôs d’une part et celui de Tithon d’autre part, amant troyen dont elle avait demandé à Zeus de lui accorder l’immortalité, mais en oubliant de lui faire accorder également la jeunesse éternelle, ce qui en fit de fait le premier zombie de la mythologie.

Si Eôs, déesse pourtant fondamentale des panthéons indo-européens, est si mineure, c’est en fait parce que son rôle a été repris par deux nouvelles divinités, qui étaient probablement à l’origine de simples épiclèses de l’Aurore, à savoir Athéna et Aphrodite. Même si leur étymologie est obscure, on peut émettre quelques hypothèses sérieuses. Athéna est formée de la racine *-nos/a qui désigne une divinité (exemple : Neptu-nus à Rome, Ðiro-na chez les Celtes) et de la base athê[- qui pourrait être liée à l’idée de hauteur. Athéna serait ainsi la déesse protectrice des citadelles, comme l’acropole d’Athènes. Elle incarne l’Aurore guerrière, casquée et armée. Quant à Aphrodite, son nom a été rapproché de celui de la déesse ouest-sémitique Ashtoreth (« Astarté »), déesse tout comme elle honorée à Chypre. S’il est probable que les deux déesses ont été associées dans l’esprit des chypriotes grecs, cela ne signifie pas pour autant qu’Aphrodite serait d’origine sémitique. En fait, son étymologie classique de « née de l’écume des mers » pourrait bien être la bonne, car on peut la comparer avec le nom de petites divinités féminines indiennes, les Apsaras, nymphes érotiques peuplant le Svarga (« paradis indien ») du dieu Indra dans la tradition védique, et elles aussi nées sorties des eaux. Elle incarne l’Aurore amoureuse, symbolisée par la rose.

Enfin, Athéna est la fille de la déesse de la sagesse, Mêtis (p.i.e *Men-tis) dont le nom rappelle très précisément celui de la déesse Minerve, son équivalente latine.

Cela nous amène à constater l’existence de trois déesses de l’aurore, celle du phénomène atmosphérique (Eôs), celle de la guerre défensive (Athêna) et celle du désir amoureux (Aphrodite), déesses par ailleurs toutes liées au dieu de la guerre Arês. Eôs et Aphrodite ont en effet été l’une et l’autre la maîtresse du dieu, alors qu’Athéna est présentée comme sa rivale sur les champs de bataille par Homère mais était souvent honorée aux côtés du dieu, comme dans le temple d’Arès à Athènes. En outre, même s’il existe par ailleurs un Zeus Areios, une version guerrière du dieu suprême, parmi toutes les déesses, seules Athéna et Aphrodite sont qualifiées d’Areia. Arês joue ici son rôle originel, celui de dieu de l’orage et de la guerre, même si, sous l’influence crétoise, les Grecs ont préféré conférer désormais à Zeus cette fonction de dieu foudroyant, qu’en revanche son homologue germano-scandinave Thor conservera.

Déesse de l’amour et de la guerre.

*Ausōs est donc une déesse plutôt complexe, liant deux aspects qui peuvent paraître contradictoires. Ce n’est d’ailleurs pas un phénomène propre aux divinités indo-européennes, puisque la déesse proto-sémitique *Ațtartu associait ces deux rôles, tout comme la déesse sumérienne Inanna, même si en revanche elle n’était pas aurorale. Par ailleurs, comme dans le cas grec, la déesse de l’aurore sous son nom propre a bien souvent perdu de sa superbe au profit de divinités nouvelles. Ce n’est toutefois pas le cas partout.

Dans le monde indo-iranien, la déesse Ushas (sanskrit) ou Ushah (vieux-perse) a conservé ses traits originels, même si elle partage désormais son rôle de déesse de l’amour avec la Venus indienne, la déesse Rati, « le Désir », mère du dieu de l’amour Kama comme Aphrodite est celle d’Erôs. Chez les Lituaniens, la déesse lituanienne Aushrinè reste au premier plan, alors que chez les Lettons, pour une raison inexpliquée, elle a changé de sexe et est devenu le dieu Auseklis et personnifie par ailleurs la planète Venus.

En revanche, chez les Romains, même si Aurora a conservé des éléments de culte plus solides, elle connaîtra une évolution parallèle à celle qu’elle a connue chez les Grecs. Si Aurora est Mater Matuta, « la déesse des matins », attestant de son rôle atmosphérique, elle n’est plus une déesse guerrière, son rôle étant repris par Minerve, et plus non plus déesse de l’amour, car Venus a pris le relai.

Dans le rôle de déesse aurorale guerrière, on trouve les Zoryas slaves (au nombre de trois), les Valkyries germano-scandinaves, toutes casquées et armées comme Athéna. Dans le rôle de déesse aurorale de l’amour, c’est en revanche Lada chez les Slaves et Freya chez les Germano-scandinaves. Cela explique pourquoi une partie des guerriers morts ne va pas au Valhalla pour rejoindre Odin mais au paradis de la déesse Freya, illustrant à l’état de vestige un rôle guerrier plus ancien. Freya, dont le nom signifie sans doute « chérie » (p.i.e *priya), est la Venus scandinave, alors qu’Ostara, déesse de l’aurore fêtée au moment de la Pâques germanique, est restreinte aux questions de fécondité de la nature.

La déesse albanaise Premtë, épouse du dieu de l’orage Perëndi, remplace Agim, « l’aurore », de même que la celte Epona, « celle du cheval », car une des représentations les plus anciennes est celle d’une Aurore cavalière. La Brighid celte, déesse vierge comme Athéna, et qui était appelée Brigantia par les Gaulois, patronnait les affaires guerrières, et apparaissait sous son aspect le plus cruel sous les traits de Morrigain.

Déesse de la planète Venus.

Indo-européens et Sémites ont, pour une raison mystérieuse, sans doute liée à la couleur de l’astre, associé l’Aurore et la planète Venus. En revanche, les Sumériens avaient lié la planète Venus à la déesse Inanna, aucune déesse spécifique de l’aurore n’apparaissant dans leur mythologie. Si les Akkadiens ont simplement remplacé Inanna par leur Ishtar, les peuples ouest-sémitiques ont en revanche associé l’astre à leur propre dieu de l’aurore, Shahar.

Une des particularités du dieu Shahar c’est d’avoir engendré deux frères jumeaux, qui sont Helel, dieu de l’étoile du matin, et Shalem, dieu de l’étoile du soir. On retrouve un phénomène comparable chez Aphrodite, Venus et le dieu letton Auseklis. Il est difficile de savoir si c’est un emprunt des Indo-Européens aux Sémites, ou bien des Sémites aux Indo-Européens, et à quelle époque. Chez les Arabes païens également, deux dieux jumeaux patronnent le matin et le soir, à savoir Aziz et Ruda.

Aphrodite est la mère de Phosphoros, également appelé Eosphoros, « porteur d’aurore », ce qui est significatif, et de son frère Hesperos. De la même façon, probablement par imitation de la déesse grecque, Venus est la mère de Lucifer et de Vesper, l’un et l’autre pouvant s’expliquer par le proto-indo-européen (*leuks-bher, « porteur de lumière » et *wesperos, « soir »). Enfin, les jumeaux divins de la mythologie lettone, fils du dieu du ciel Dievs, à savoir Usins (« Aurore ») et Martins (« Mars ») sont également associés au matin et au soir.

Si la planète Venus semble associée dès l’époque proto-indo-européenne à la déesse *Ausōs, l’introduction de deux fils patronnant le matin et le soir, un dieu du matin et un dieu du soir, semblent résulter d’une influence extérieure, sumérienne ou sémitique. Ainsi, chez les Celtes, les Germains, les Slaves par exemple, mais aussi en Inde et en Lituanie, on ne retrouve pas de « fils de l’aurore » patronnant le matin et le soir. Ce n’est le cas concrètement qu’en Grèce et à Rome, cette dernière ayant été en outre considérablement influencée par son aînée en Méditerranée. En outre, les jumeaux divins ne sont pas non plus « fils de l’Aurore », mais fils du dieu du ciel (Zeus en Grèce, Dievas en Lituanie, Dyaus en Inde), rôle repris à Rome par le dieu de la guerre (Romulus et Rémus sont fils de Mars et non de Jupiter).

Le mythe de la déesse-vierge guerrière.

On a pu constater que lorsqu’une déesse a remplacé l’Aurore dans son rôle guerrier, elle y a pris les traits d’une déesse virginale. C’est notamment le cas d’Athéna et de Minerve, comme si une sexualité accomplie était incompatible avec ce rôle plutôt masculin. Et c’est en raison d’une histoire d’amour que la valkyrie Brynhildr, amoureuse de Siegfried, connaîtra bien des tourments. Cette virginité est aussi l’apanage d’Artémis, déesse de la chasse et de la nature sauvage inviolée.

La déesse-vierge a été remplacée dans la mythologie européenne par la Vierge Marie, privée pourtant de tout rôle militaire. L’ « amazone » est devenue une sorcière, promise à la mort, et d’ailleurs Diane est considérée au moyen-âge comme la déesse par excellence du sabbat. La femme européenne pouvait apparaître comme une guerrière, ou en tout cas avait un rôle pour galvaniser les guerriers, même si elle ne participait pas directement au combat. Ce mythe se retrouve pleinement dans celui de Jeanne d’Arc, mais aussi dans les différentes incarnations patriotiques de la nation. Britannia est totalement calquée sur la Minerve romaine, et Germania ressemble à une valkyrie. La république française, incapable de rompre totalement avec le christianisme, a préféré une déesse-mère, Marianne, « petite Marie ». Elle a aussi choisi toutefois de se représenter en Cérès, déesse du blé, la fameuse semeuse, et non en divinité guerrière. On notera enfin que les Sans Culottes, et notamment Hébert, préféraient la déesse Raison, qui n’était autre que Minerve elle-même.

Venus sans Mars, Mars sans Venus.

De l’Athêna Potnia mycénienne à la déesse Raison, on retrouve une filiation que le christianisme même n’a pas réussi à rompre. Et face au puritanisme, la déesse Aphrodite a vaincu elle aussi. C’est dire si la déesse de l’aurore, en tant qu’Athéna comme en tant qu’Aphrodite, a joué et joue un rôle fondamental dans la psychê européenne. C’est elle qui raisonne Mars lorsqu’il est courroucé et l’occupe aux jeux de l’amour, délaissant alors le champ de bataille. Si Rome connut douze siècles de puissance, c’est parce qu’elle était la cité de Mars et de Venus, l’un et l’autre s’équilibrant, comme le souligna le poète Rutilius Namatianus. Et lorsque le politologue américain Robert Kagan définit l’Europe comme le continent de Venus, il nous rappelle que la puissance résulte de l’union des deux divinités, mais le dieu Mars est mal vu depuis un peu plus d’un demi-siècle en Europe. Lorsque Mars triompha, Venus était encore prisonnière des geôles vaticanes. Lorsque Venus triomphe, aujourd’hui, c’est Mars qui est sous les chaînes. Le déchaîner sauvera l’Europe. Car il n’y a pas de paix sans conflit (Venus sans Mars), et pas de science sans puissance (Minerve sans Mars).

Thomas Ferrier (LBTF/PSUNE)

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mercredi, 19 septembre 2012

Bouckaert et al.: Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family

Bouckaert et al.: Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family

Onlangs lanceerde een team onder leiding van Remco BOUCKAERT (University of Auckland) een nieuwe hypothese inzake de oorsprong van de Indo-Europese talen.
Hieronder vindt u een paar recensies, alsook een link naar het oorspronkelijke artikel in Science zelf:

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/archaeology/recent/indo-european-anatolia-bouckaert-2012.html

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/08/there-are-more-things-in-prehistory-than-are-dreamt-of-in-our-urheimat/

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6097/957

Het betreft een soort intermediair standpunt tussen de Kurgan-hypothese van Gimbutas, Mallory en vele anderen en de Anatolië-hypothese van Renfrew, met de argumentatie dat de Indo-Europese talen wel degelijk hun oorsprong in Anatolië (ca. 8000 vot) zouden hebben, maar de huidige Indo-Europese "taalgroepen" in Europa waarschijnlijk in een later stadium (vanaf ca. 4000 vot) geleidelijk vanuit de Pontisch-Kaspische steppe naar Europa zouden zijn uitgewaaierd.

Op te volgen...


vendredi, 14 septembre 2012

Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste Populations

Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste Populations

 

This 2001 study found that the genetic affinity of Indians to Europeans is proportionate to caste rank, the upper castes being most similar to Europeans whereas lower castes are more like Asians. The researchers believe that the Indo-European speakers entered India from the Northwest, mixing with or displacing proto-Dravidian speakers, and may have established a caste system with themselves primarily in higher castes.
 
Foto: de Bollywood-actrice Aishwarya Rai (bron: www.voxtropolis.com)

lundi, 28 mai 2012

Il mito cosmogonico degli Indoeuropei

16.jpg

Il mito cosmogonico degli Indoeuropei

di Giorgio Locchi

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

«Ich sagte dir, ich muß hier warten, bis sie mich rufen»

(Oreste, in Elektra di Hugo von Hoffmanstahl)

 

Il Rig-Veda dell’India antica e l’Edda germanico-nordica presentano due grandi miti cosmogonici, che concordano tra loro a tal punto che vi si può vedere a giusto titolo una duplice derivazione di un mito indoeuropeo comune. Di tale mito delle origini è forse possibile trovare qualche eco presso i Greci. Roma, come vedremo, non ha mai perso il ricordo del “protagonista” di questo dramma sacro che era, per i nostri antenati indoeuropei, l’inizio del mondo. Ma il dramma stesso non ci è pervenuto, nella sua integralità, che tramite l’intermediazione dei germani e degli indoari, di cui scopriamo così che essi ebbero, almeno quando entrarono nella “storia scritta”, e più che ogni altro popolo europeo, la “memoria più lunga.

 

Grazie ai suoi ammirevoli lavori sulla ideologia trifunzionale, Georges Dumézil ha da lungo tempo messo in luce un aspetto fondamentale, assolutamente originale, della Weltanschauung e della religione degli indoeuropei. Non meno essenziale, non meno originale ci appare la credenza istintiva nel primato dell’uomo (e dell’umano) che testimonia il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo “conservato” nel Rig-Veda e nell’Edda. Per l’indoeuropeo, in effetti, l’uomo è all’origine dell’universo. E’ da lui che procedono tutte le cose, gli dèi, la natura, i viventi, lui stesso infine in quanto essere storico. Tuttavia, come rimarca Anne-Marie Esnoul, «questo cominciare non è che un un cominciare relativo: esiste un principio eterno che crea il mondo, ma, dopo un periodo dato, lo riassorbe» (La naissance du monde, Seuil, Parigi 1959). L’uomo, presso gli indoeuropei, non è soltanto all’origine dell’universo: è l’origine dell’universo, in seno al quale l’umanità vive e diviene. Giacché all’inizio, dice il mito, vi era l’Uomo cosmico: Purusha nel Rig-Veda, Ymir nell’Edda, Mannus, citato da Tacito, presso i germani del continente (Manus, in quanto antenato degli uomini, essendo parimenti conosciuto presso gli indiani).

 

Nel decimo libro del Rig-Veda, il racconto dell’inizio del mondo si apre così:

 

«L’Uomo (Purusha) ha mille teste;

ha mille occhi, mille piedi.

Coprendo la terra da parte a parte

la oltrepassa ancora di dieci dita.

Purusha non è altro che quest’universo

Ciò che è passato, ciò che è a venire.

Egli è signore del dominio immortale,

perché cresce al di là del nutrimento».

 

E’ da Ymir, Uno indiviso anche lui, che procede la prima organizzazione del mondo. Il Grimnismál precisa:

 

«Della carne di Ymir fu fatta la terra,

il mare del suo sudore, delle sue ossa le montagne,

gli alberi furono dai suoi capelli,

e il cielo del suo cranio».

 

Le cose avvengono nello stesso modo nel Rig-Veda:

 

«La luna era nata dalla coscienza di Purusha,

dal suo sguardo è nato il sole,

dalla sua bocca Indra e Agni,

dal suo soffio è nato il vento.

Il dominio dell’aere è uscito dal suo ombelico,

dalla sua testa evolse il sole,

dai suoi piedi la terra, dal suo orecchio gli orienti;

così furono regolati i mondi».

 

Purusha è anche Prajapati, il «padre di tutte le creature». Giacché gli dèi stessi non costituiscono che un “quartiere” dell’Uomo cosmico. Ed è da lui solo che in ultima istanza proviene l’umanità. Si legge nel Rig-Veda:

 

«Con tre quartieri l’Uomo (Purusha) s’è elevato là in alto,

il quarto ha ripreso nascita quaggiù».

 

 

Essendo “Uno indiviso”, l’Uomo cosmico è uno Zwitter, uno Zwitterwesen, un essere asessuato o, più esattamente, potenzialmente androgino. Riunisce in sé due sessi, in maniera ancora confusa. La teologia indiana nota d’altronde che il “maschio” e la “femmina” sono nati dalla «suddivisione di Purusha», così come tutti gli altri “opposti complementari”. Ymir, quanto a lui, dormiva nei ghiacci dell’abisso spalancato (Ginungagap) tra il sud e il nord, quando due giganti, uno maschio e l’altro femmina, si sono formati come escrescenze sotto le sue ascelle. E’ parimenti da lui, o dal ghiaccio fecondato da lui, che è nata la prima coppia umana, Bur e Bestla, genitori dei primi Asi (o dèi sovrani), Wotan (Odhinn), Wili e We.

 

Nell’interpretazione di questi grandi miti cosmogonici non bisogna mai dimenticare che per la mentalità indoeuropea la generazione reciproca è un processo assolutamente normale: gli “opposti logici” sono sempre complementari e perfettamente equivalenti: si pongono mutualmente. E’ così che l’uomo dà nascita a, o tira da se stesso, gli dèi, mentre gli dèi a loro volta danno nascita agli uomini (o insufflano loro lo spirito e la vita). Secondo il racconto dell’Edda, più precisamente nella Voluspá:

 

«Tre Asi, forti e generosi,

arrivarono sulla spiaggia:

trovarono Ask e Embla,

(che erano ancora) privi di forza.

Senza destino, non avevano sensi,

né anima, né calor di vita, né un colore chiaro.

Odhinn donò il senso, Hoenir l’anima,

Lodur donò la vita e il colore fresco».

 

In tutta evidenza, in questo racconto, i tre Asi giocano il ruolo dei primi “eroi civilizzatori”. Ask (ovvero “frassino”) e Embla (ovvero “orma”) rappresentano un’umanità ancora “immersa nella natura”, interamente sottomessa alle leggi della specie, testimone di un’era trascorsa, quella di Bur. Se ci si pone al momento della società indoeuropea caratterizzata dalla tripartizione funzionale, ci si accorge d’altronde che le classi che assumono rispettivamente le tre funzioni appaiono come discendenti del dio Heimdal e di tre donne umane. Il Rigsmál racconta come Heimdal, avendo preso le sembianze di Rigr, generò Thrael, capostipite degli schiavi, con Ahne (“antenata”), Kerl, antenato capostipite dei contadini, con Emma (“nutrice”) e Jarl, capostipite dei nobili con “Madre”. Nel Rig-Veda, per contro, gli antenati delle classi sociali sorgono direttamente dall’Uomo cosmico primordiale:

 

«La bocca di Purusha divenne il brahmino,

il guerriero fu il prodotto delle sue braccia,

le sue coscie furono l’artigiano,

dai suoi piedi nacque il servo».

 

Così come la distribuzione delle classi è sufficiente a dimostrare, la “versione” del Rig-Veda è probabilmente la più fedele al racconto originale indoeuropeo. Non è escluso cionostante che la “versione” germanica si riallacci anch’essa ad una fonte molto antica. Heimdal, in effetti, è una figura tra le più misteriose. Dumézil ha messo ben in evidenza la particolarità essenziale di questo dio, corrispondente germanico dello Janus romano e del Vaju indiano. Cronologicamente, Heimdal è il primo degli Asi, il più vecchio degli dèi. E’ anche un dio che vede tutto: «ode l’erba spuntare sul prato, la lana crescere dalla pelle delle pecore, nulla sfugge al suo sguardo acuto», ed è questa la ragione per cui svolge il ruolo di guardiano di Asgard, la «dimora degli Asi». Dalui è proceduto l’inizio, da lui procederà anche la fine, il Ragnarok (o “crepuscolo degli dèi”) che annuncerà lui stesso dando fiato al corno. Heimdal riunisce dunque in sé tutti i caratteri dell’”Essere supremo”, oggetto di una più antica credenza che Raffaele Pestalozzi attribuiva all’umanità primitiva (cioè agli umani della fine del mesolitico), ma corresponde anche al “dio dimenticato” di cui parla Mircea Eliade, oscura reminiscenza in seno alle religioni “evolute” di una preesistente concezione della divinità. Il che lascia supporre che Heimdal non sia che una proiezione dell’”Essere supremo” degli antenati degli indoeuropei in seno alla società dei “nuovi dèi”, nello stesso modo in cui Ymir lo prolunga, in quanto “principio universale, a livello della cosmogonia (1). Una tale interpretazione è suscettibile di gettare una nuova luce sul “problema di Janus”, altra divinità misteriosa, di cui abbiamo detto che corrispondeva a Roma allo Heimdal germanico. Innumerevoli discussioni hanno avuto luogo sull’etimologia del nome “Janus”. Da qualche tempo, sembra che un accordo si stia formando nel senso di ricollegarlo alla radice indoeuropea *ya, che ha a che fare con l’idea di”passare”, di “andare”. Ma tale spiegazione non sembra molto convincente, e ci si può domandare se non vale la pena di mettere il nome “Janus” in relazione con le radici *yeu(m) o *yeu(n) (da cui il latino jungo, “congiungere”, “coniugare”), che esprimono l’idea di “unire”, di “accoppiare ciò che è separato”, dunque di “gemellare i contrari” (gli “opposti logici”). Ciò spiegherebbe bene il carattere ambiguo di questo deus bifrons, che è, come Ymir, uno Zwitter.

 

 

Si sa, del resto, che un antichissimo appellativo di Janus, di cui i romani dell’epoca di Augusto non comprendevano più esattamente il significato, è Cerus Manus, che si traduce come “buon creatore” (da *krer, “far crescere”, e da un ipotetico *man, “buono”). Noi pensiamo piuttosto che “Manus” non è che un fossile alto-indoeuropeo conservato nel latino antico, che rinvia perfettamente a “Mannus” e significa “uomo” come in germanico ed in sancrito. Il latino immanis non significa d’altronde affatto “cattivo”, “malvagio”, bensì “prodigioso”, “smisurato” (inumano: fuori dalla misura umana). Si comprende allora perché Janus, che è come Heimdal il dio dei prima (delle cose “cronologicamente prime”) è considerato, in quanto Cerus Manus, l’antenato delle popolazioni del Lazio, così come Mannus è l’antenato delle popolazioni germaniche.

 

Il rituale vedico, essenzialmente imperniato sulla nozione di sacrificio, fa precisamente dello smembramento, della “suddivisione” dell’Uomo cosmico (Purusha), il prototipo stesso del sacrificio. Ora, nei testi “speculativi”, questo sacrificio di Purusha ci è presentato sotto due aspetti: da un lato Purusha sacrifica se stesso, inventando così il «sacrificio imperituro»; dall’altro, sono gli dèi che sacrificano Purusha e lo “smembrano”. La questione si pone dunque di sapere se gli indiani hanno “interpretato” o se al contrario hanno conservato la tradizione indoeuropea in tutta la sua purezza. Questa ultima eventualità ci sembra la più verosimile, non fosse che per il fatto che all’origine ogni mito è al tempo stesso storia del rito e proiezione del rito stesso. D’altra parte, la medesima doppia immagine si ritrova nell’Edda. Allo “smembramento” di Purusha corrisponde, sotto una forma desacralizzata, ma sempre presente, lo “smembramento” di Ymir da parte degli Asi, figli di Bur. Quanto all’altro aspetto del sacrificio dell’Uomo cosmico, quello dell’autosacrificio, basta riportarsi alla Canzone delle Rune (Runatals-thattr) per trovarne una forma trasposta, quanto Wotan dichiara:

 

«Lo so: durante nove notti

sono rimasto appeso all’albero scosso dai venti

ferito dalla lancia, sacrificato a Wotan,

io stesso a me stesso sacrificato,

appeso al ramo dell’albero di cui non si può

vedere da quale radice cresca»

 

 

Odhinn-Wotan, dio sovrano, non è certo l’Uomo cosmico, e tanto meno ne gioca il ruolo in seno alla società degli dèi (2). Nondimeno, anche se non è all’origine dell’universo, Wotan è all’origine di un nuovo ordine dell’universo. Gli spetta dunque di inaugurare mercè il suo proprio sacrificio su Ygdrasil, l’albero-del-mondo, la “seconda epoca” dell’uomo (l’epoca propriamente storica). Odhinn-Wotan si sacrifica non più, come Purusha, per “suddividersi” e “liberare” così i contrari grazie ai quali l’universo deve acquisire la sua fisionomia, bensì per acquisire il sapere (il “segreto delle rune”) che gli permetterà di organizzare, o più esattamente di riorganizzare, l’universo. A dire il vero, questo “rimaneggiamento” del mito originale non sorprende: la Weltanschauung germanica ha sempre sottolineato e amplificato l’immaginazione storica degli indoeuropei, mettendo l’accento su un divenire ove sia il passato, sia il futuro, sono contenuti nel presente, pur venendone trasfigurati.

 

Per secoli il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo non ha cessato di ispirare e di nutrire l’immaginazione degli indiani antichi. Forse la sua ricchezza non appare da nessuna parte, in tutto il suo splendore, meglio che nel magnifico poema di Kalidasa, il Kumarasambhava, in cui Purusha è Brahma, divina personificazione del sacrificio:

 

«Che tu sia venerato, o dio dalle tre forme

Tu che eri ancora unità assoluta, prima che la creazione fosse compiuta,

Tu che ti dividevi nei tre gunas, da cui hai ricevuto i tuoi tre appellativi.

O mai nato, il tuo seme non fu sterile allorché fu eietto nell’onda acquosa!

Tuo tramite l’universo sorse, che si agita e che è senza vita,

e di cui tu sei festeggiato nel canto come l’origine.

Tu hai dispiegato la tua potenza sotto tre forme.

Tu solo sei il principio della creazione di questo mondo,

ed anche la causa di ciò che esiste ancora e che alla fine crollerà.

Da te, che hai suddiviso il tuo proprio corpo per poter generare,

derivano l’uomo e la donna in quanto parte di te stesso.

Sono chiamati i genitori della creazione, che va moltiplicandosi.

Se, tu che hai separato il giorno e la notte secondo la misura del tuo proprio tempo,

se tu dormi, allora tutti muoiono, ma se vivi, allora tutti sorgono.

[...]

Con te stesso conosci il tuo proprio essere.

Tu ti crei da te stesso, ma anche ti perdi,

con il tuo te stesso conoscente, nel tuo proprio te stesso.

Sei il liquido, sei ciò che è solido, sei il grande e il piccolo,

il leggero e il pesante, il manifesto e l’occulto.

Ti si chiama Prakriti, ma sei conosciuto anche come Purusha

che in verità vede Prakriti, ma da lei non dipende.

Tu sei il padre dei padri, il dio degli dèi. Sei più alto del supremo.

Tu sei l’offerta in sacrificio, ed anche il signore del sacrificio.

Sei il sacrificato, ma anche il sacrificatore.

Tu sei ciò che si deve sapere, il saggio, il pensatore,

ma anche la cosa più alta che sia possibile pensare».

 

Questo inno di Kalidasa è uno degli apici della “riflessione poetica” indiana sulla tradizione dei Veda. Esplicita a meraviglia tutti i sottintesi del mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo, nello stesso tempo in cui riconduce ad unità le variazioni (successive o meno) del tema originario. L’opposizione di Purusha e Prakriti (che corrisponde, in qualche modo, alla natura naturans) è estremamente rivelatrice, soprattutto se la si mette in parallelo con quella di Purusha e dell’”onda indistinta” rappresentata da Ymir e dall’”abisso spalancato”. E’ per il fatto di «vedere Prakriti senza dipenderne» che l’Uomo cosmico è all’origine dell’universo. Giacché l’universo non è che un caos indistinto, sprovvisto di senso e di significato, da cui solo lo sguardo e la parola dell’uomo fanno sorgere la moltitudine degli esseri e delle cose, ivi compreso l’uomo stesso, alla fine realizzato. Il sacrificio di Purusha, se si preferisce, è il momento apollineo tramite cui si trova affermato il principium individuationis, «causa di ciò che esiste e che ancora esisterà», fino al momento in cui questo mondo «crollerà», ovvero sino al momento dionisiaco di una fine che è anche la condizione di un nuovo inizio.

 

In una Weltanschauung di questo tipo, gli dèi sono essi stessi un “quartiere” dell’Uomo cosmico. “Uomini superiori” nel senso nietzschano del termine, essi perpetuano in un certo modo il ricordo trasfigurato e trasfigurante dei primi “eroi civilizzatori”, di coloro che trassero l’umanità dal suo stato “precedente” (quello di Ask e di Embla), e fondarono davvero, ordinandola per mezzo delle tre funzioni, la società umana, la società degli uomini indoeuropei. Questi dèi non rappresentano il “Bene”. Non rappresentano neppure il Male. Sono al tempo stesso il Bene e il Male. Ciascuno di loro, di per ciò stesso, presenta un aspetto ambiguo (un aspetto umano), il che spiega perché, mano mano che l’immaginazione mitica ne svilupperà la rappresentazione, la loro personalità tenderà a sdoppiarsi: Mitra-Varuna, Jupiter-Dius Fidius, Odhinn/Wotan-Tyr, etc. In rapporto all’umanità presente, che essi hanno istituito in quanto tale, questi dèi corrispondono effettivamente agli “antenati”. Legislatori, inventori della tradizione sociale, e, in quanto tali, sempre presenti, sempre agenti, restano nondimeno assoggettati in ultima istanza al fatum, votati molto umanamente a una “fine”.

 

Si tratta, in conclusione, di dèi non creatori, ma creature; dèi umani, e tuttavia ordinatori del mondo e della società degli uomini; dèi ancestrali per l’”attuale” umanità: dèi, infine, “grandi nel bene come nel male” e che si situano essi stessi al di là di tali nozioni.

 

 

Ciò che chiamiamo il “popolo indoeuropeo” è in effetti una società risalente agli inizi del neolitico, il cui mito si è precisamente costruito a partire dalla nuova prospettiva inaugurata dalla “rivoluzione neolitica”, per mezzo di una riflessione sulle credenze del periodo precedente, riflessione che è alla fine sfociata in una formulazione rivoluzionaria dei temi della vecchia Weltanschauung.

 

Se, come pensa Raffaele Pestalozzi, autore di L’omniscience de dieu, la credenza in un “Essere supremo” (da non confondere con il dio unico dei monoteisti!) era propria all’”umanità primitiva”, cioè ai gruppi umani della fine del mesolitico, allora il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo può effettivamente essere considerato come una formulazione rivoluzionaria in rapporto a tale credenza (o, se si preferisce, come un discorso che fa scoppiare, superandoli, il linguaggio e la “ragione” del periodo precedente). Giunti a questo punto, siamo in diritto di pensare che, per gli antenati “mesolitici” degli indoeuropei, l’”Essere supremo” non era forse che l’uomo stesso, o più esattamente la “proiezione cosmica” dell’uomo in quanto detentore del potere magico. Ugualmente, possiamo constatare al tempo stesso che questa idea di un Essere supremo, propria agli indoeuropei, non è affatto comune a tutti i gruppi umani usciti dal mesolitico, o, almeno, che essa non appare più tale ad altri gruppi di uomini ugualmente condotti dalla rivoluzione neolitica a “riflettere” sulle credenze antiche.

 

L’Oriente classico, ad esempio, ha “riflesso”, immaginato e interpretato le credenze “mesolitiche” in una direzione diametralmente opposta a quella presa dagli indoeuropei. La Bibbia ebraica, summa della Weltanschauung religiosa levantina, si situa, in effetti, agli antipodi della “visione” indoeuropea. Vi si ritrova purtuttavia, come antico tema offerto alla “riflessione”, l’idea di un Essere supremo confrontato, all’inizio del mondo, ad una «terra deserta e vuota, dalle tenebre plananti sull’abisso» (Genesi, I, 1). Questo “abisso spalancato”, è vero, è immediatamente presentato come risultante da una antecedente creazione di Elohim-Jahvé. Ora, Jahvé non ha tratto l’universo da una suddivisione e “smembramento” di sé. L’ha creato ex nihilo, a partire dal nulla. Non è affatto la coincidentia oppositorum, l’”Uno indiviso”, non è l’Essere e il Non-essere al tempo stesso. E’ l’Essere: «Io sono colui che è». Di conseguenza, e dal momento che l’universo creato non saprebbe essere l’uguale del dio creante, il mondo non ha essenza, ma soltanto un’esistenza, o, più esattamente, una sorta di “essere di grado inferiore”, di imperfezione. Mentre il politeismo degli indoeuropei è il “rovescio” complementare di ciò che si potrebbe chiamare il loro mono-umanismo (equivalente d’altronde a un pan-umanismo), il monoteismo ebraico appare come la conclusione di un processo di riassorbimento, come la riduzione all’unicità di Elohim-Jahvé di una molteplicità di dèi non umani, personificanti forze naturali (3), in breve come lo sbocco di una speculazione che ha anch’essa ricondotto la pluralità delle cose a un principio unico, che in tal caso non è l’uomo ma la materia e l’energia (la “natura”).

 

Per il fatto di essere un dio unico, non ambiguo, che non è per nulla il luogo in cui si risolvono e coincidono gli “opposti logici”, Jahvé rappresenta evidentemente il Bene assoluto. E’ dunque del tutto normale che si mostri sovente crudele, implacabile o geloso: il Bene assoluto non può non essere intransigente rispetto al Male. Ciò che è molto meno logico, per contro, è la concezione biblica del Male. Non potendo derivare dal Bene assoluto, il Male, in effetti, non dovrebbe esistere in un mondo creato, a partire dal nulla, da un dio “di una bontà infinita”. Ora, il Male esiste: il che pone un problema molto serio. La Bibbia prova a risolvere il problema facendo del Male la conseguenza accidentale della rivolta di certe creature, tra cui in primo luogo Lucifero, contro l’autorità di Jahvé. Il Male appare così come come il rifiuto manifestato da una creatura di giocare il ruolo che Jahvé le ha assegnato. La potenza di questo Male è considerevole (poiché deriva dalla ribellione di una creatura angelica, dunque privilegiata), ma, comparata alla potenza del Bene, ovvero di Jahvé, essa è praticamente pari a nulla. L’esito finale della lotta tra il Bene e il Male non è dunque minimamente in dubbio. Tutti i problemi, tutti i conflitti, sono risolti in anticipo. La storia è puro decadimento, effetto dell’accecamento di creature impotenti.

 

Così, sin dall’inizio, la storia si trova privata di qualsiasi senso. Il primo uomo (la prima umanità) ha commesso la colpa di cedere ad una suggestione di Satana. Egli ha, di conseguenza, ricusato il ruolo che Jahvé gli aveva assegnato. Ha voluto toccare il pomo proibito ed entrare nella storia.

 

Creatore dell’universo, Jahvé gioca ugualmente, in rapporto alla società umana “attuale”, un ruolo perfettamente antitetico a quello degli dèi sovrani indoeuropei. Jahvé è non l’”eroe civilizzatore” che inventa una tradizione sociale, ma l’onnipotenza che si oppone alla “colpa” di Adamo, cioè alla vita umana che questi ha voluto gustare, alla civilizzazione urbana, uscita dalla rivoluzione neolitica, a cui rinvia implicitamente il racconto della Genesi. Come sottolinea Paul Chalus in L’homme et la réligion, Jahvé non ha che odio per “coloro che cuociono i mattoni”. Quando li vede costruire Babele e la celebre torre, grida: «Se cominciano a fare ciò, nulla impedirà loro ormai di compiere ciò che avranno in progetto di fare. Andiamo, scendiamo a mettere confusione nel loro linguaggio, di modo che non si comprendano più l’un l’altro» (Genesi, XI, 6-7). Jahvé, aggiunge Paul Chalus, «li disperse da là su tutta la terra, ed essi smisero di costruire città». Ma già ben prima di questo evento Jahvé aveva rifiutato le primizie che gli offriva l’agricoltore Caino, e non aveva “guardato” che la pia offerta d’Abele. Il fatto è che Abele non era un allevatore, ma semplicemente un nomade che aveva abbandonato la caccia per la razzia, che prolungava la tradizione “mesolitica” in seno alla nuova civiltà uscita dalla rivoluzione neolitica, e che ne ricusava il modo di vivere. Ulteriormente, la missione di Abramo, il nomade che aveva disertato la città (Ur), e quella della sua discendenza, sarà di negare e ricusare dal di dentro ogni forma di civiltà “post-neolitica”, la cui esistenza stessa perpetua il ricordo d’una “rivolta” contro Jahvé.

 

L’uomo, in rapporto al “dio” della Bibbia, non è veramente un “figlio”. Non è che una creatura. Jahvé l’ha fabbricato, così come ogni altro essere vivente, nello stesso modo in cui un vasaio modella un vaso. L’ha fatto “a sua immagine e somiglianza” per farne il suo intendente sulla terra, il guardiano del Paradiso. Adamo, sedotto dal demonio, ha ricusato questo ruolo che il Signore voleva fargli giocare. Ma l’uomo resterà sempre il servo di Dio. «La superiorità dell’uomo sulla bestia è nulla, perché tutto è vanità», nota Paul Chalus. «Tutto va verso un identico luogo: tutto viene dalla polvere, e tutto ritorna alla polvere» (Ecclesiaste).

 

L’uomo, secondo l’insegnamento della Bibbia, non ha dunque che da rammentarsi perpetuamente che è polvere, che ogni Giobbe merità il destino che gli riserva il capriccio di Jahvé, e che l’esistenza storica non ha senso, se non quello che implicitamente gli si dà rifiutando attivamente di attribuirgliene uno. Con la loro voce terribile, i profeti di Israele ricorderanno sempre agli eletti di Jahvé la necessità imperiosa di questo rifiuto, così come gli eletti riconosceranno sempre, nelle loro disgrazie, la conseguenza e la giusta sanzione di una trasgressione (o di un semplice oblio) del comandamento supremo di Jahvé.

 

Il cristianesimo “romano”, nato dall’”arrangiamento costantiniano”, corrisponde sin dall’inizio al tentativo di stabilire, in seno al mondo “antico” trasformato da Roma in orbis politica, un compromesso tra le Weltanschauungen indoeuropee e una religione giudaica, che Gesù si sarebbe sforzato di adattare alla civilizzazione imperiale romana (4). Il dio unico è diventato, tramite il gioco di un “mistero” dogmatico, un dio “in tre persone”. Ha “integrato” la vecchia nozione di Trimurti, di “Trinità”, e le sue “persone” hanno grosso modo assunto le tre funzioni delle società indoeuropee, sotto una forma d’altronde “invertita” e spiritualizzata. Pur essendo creatore e sovrano, Jahvé continua nondimeno a ricusare il doppio aspetto: il Male è provincia esclusiva di Satana. Al vecchio nome che gli dà la Bibbia si è sostituito il nuovo nome di “deus pater“, il «padre eterno e divino» riverito dagli indoeuropei. Ma Jahvé non è davvero padre che della sua “seconda persona”, di questo figlio che ha inviato sulla terra per svolgervi un ruolo opposto a quello dell’”eroe fondatore”; di questo figlio che si è alienato a questo mondo per meglio rinviare all’oltremondo, e che, se rende a Cesare ciò che è di Cesare, non lo fa che perché ai suoi occhi ciò che appartiene a Cesare non riveste alcun valore; di questo figlio, infine, la cui funzione non è più di “fare la guerra”, ma di predicare una pace gelosa, di cui soli potranno beneficiare gli uomini “di buona volontà”, gli avversari di questo mondo, coloro a cui è riservato il solo nutrimento d’eternità che vi sia, la grazia amministrata dalla terza “persona”, lo Spirito Santo.

 

L’uomo, creatura e prodotto fabbricato, è il servo dei servi di Dio, «escremento» (stercus), come dirà così bene Agostino. Tuttavia, nello stesso tempo, è ora anche il fratello del figlio incarnato di Jahvé, il che fa di lui un “quasi-figlio” di Dio, a condizione che sappia volerlo e meritarlo, tutte cose che dipendono dalla grazia che amministra il creatore secondo criteri insondabili. Il giorno verrà dunque in cui l’umanità si dividerà definitivamente (per l’eternità) in santi e dannati. Giacché vi è ben un Valhalla biblico, il Paradiso celeste, ma è ormai riservato agli anti-eroi. L’Inferno, quando ad esso, appartiene agli altri.

 

Questo compromesso ha modellato per secoli la storia di ciò che viene chiamata la “civilizzazione occidentale”. Per secoli, secondo le loro affinità profonde, l’uomo “pagano” e l’uomo “levantino” hanno ciascuno potuto vedere nel dio “uno e trino” la loro propria divinità. Ciò spiega idee e confusioni ben numerose: a cominciare dall’assimilazione di Gesù, Sigfrido e Barbarossa da parte di un Wagner, o il “dio bianco delle cattedrali” caro a Drieu La Rochelle, e, d’altra parte, il Gesù di Ignazio di Loyola, il dio del prete-operaio e Jesus Christ Superstar.

 

Constatiamo oggi, e in modo certo, che l’”arrangiamento” costantiniano alla fine non arrangiò proprio nulla, e che la giornata dell’«In hoc signo vinces» fu un imbroglio, le cui conseguenze si esercitarono a detrimento del mondo greco-romano-germanico. Sino ad una data relativamente recente, la Chiesa di Roma e le chiese cristiane sono restate, in quanto potenze secolari organizzate, attaccate a tutte le apparenze del vecchio compromesso. Ma da tempo ormai hanno cominciato a riconoscere l’autentica essenza del cristianesimo. Ed ecco che l’irrappresentabile Jahvé, sbarazzato dalla maschera del Dio-Padre luminoso e celeste, è ritrovato e proclamato. Ben prima che le chiese ci arrivassero, tuttavia, il “cristianesimo profano” (demitizzato e secolarizzato), ovvero l’egualitarismo in tutte le sue forme, aveva a modo suo ritrovato la verità secondo la Bibbia. Il “rifiuto della storia”, la volontà proclamata di “uscire dalla storia” (per ritornarne alla natura), la tendenza riduzionista mirante a “riassorbire l’umano nel fisico-chimico”, tutti i materialismi deterministi, la condanna marcusiana di un’arte che tradirebbe la “verità” integrando l’uomo alla società, l’ideologia egualitaria infine che intende ridurre l’umanità al modello dell’anti-eroe, al modello dell’eletto ostile ad ogni civiltà concreta perché non vi vuole vedere che infelicità, miseria, sfruttamento (Marx); repressione (Freud); o inquinamento: tutto ciò non ha cessato di restituire ai nostri occhi, e continua ancora a restituire – nel momento stesso in cui una nuova rivoluzione tecnica invita a superare le “forme” che aveva imposto la rivoluzione precedente – l’immobile visione jahvaitica, visione “eterna” se mai ve ne furono, poiché se limita ad una negazione senza cessa ripetuta di ogni presente carico d’avvenire.

 

Il “Sì” da parte sua non può essere “eterno”. Essendo un “Sì” al divenire, diviene esso stesso. Nella storia che non cessa di ri-proporsi, per mezzo di nuove fondazioni, questo “Sì” deve a se stesso il fatto di assumere sempre una forma e un contenuto parimenti nuovi. Il “Sì” è creazione, opera d’arte. Il “No” non esiste che negando un valore a tale opera. In un mondo in cui il clamore di voci divenute innumerevoli tende a persuaderci del contrario il mito cosmogonico indoeuropeo ci ricorda che il “Sì” resta sempre possibile: che un nuovo Ymir-Purusha-Janus può ancora risvegliarsi dall’”onda indistinta” in cui giace addormentato; che appena ieri, forse, si è già risvegliato, si è già sacrificato a se stesso, che ha già dato vita a Bur e Bestla, e che presto dei nuovi Asi, dèi luminosi, verranno a loro volta alla vita e intraprenderanno allora, in un mondo differente, sorto dalle rovine caotiche del vecchio, la loro eterna missione di “eroi civilizzatori”, assumendo così, serenamente, lo splendido e tragico destino dell’uomo che crea se stesso, e che avendo dato nascita a se stesso accetta anche, nell’idea della propria fine, la condizione di ogni avventura storica, di ogni vita.

Note

(1) Di Purusha, corrispondente indoario di Ymir, il Rig-Veda del resto dice espressamente che ha «mille teste e mille occhi», cosa che mostra bene che all’origine l’Uomo cosmico era dotato di onniveggenza. Secondo Pestalozzi, l’onniveggenza era precisamente uno degli attributi dell’”Essere supremo” primitivo.

(2) Questo ruolo, come abbiamo visto, si trova parzialmente proiettato nel personaggio di Heimdal.

(3) Jahvé confessa d’altronde di essere «geloso» degli altri dèi. Il termne stesso di Elohim non è forse plurale (plurale storico, e non di maestà)?

(4) Non è evidentemente il caso qui di entrare nei dettagli di tale complessa questione, cui si accenna pertanto unicamente a grandi linee.


Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

mardi, 07 février 2012

Reinhard Schmockel - Die Indoeuropäer

tradition,indo-européens,livre,anthropologie,archéologie,protohistoire,histoire

Reinhard Schmoeckel
 
Die Indoeuropäer
Aufbruch aus der Vorgeschichte
 
ISBN 978-3-938176-37-5
587 Seiten, gebunden, fester Einband
 
Preis: 24,80 Euro
 
Erscheinungstermin: 19.3.2012
 
Dr. Reinhard Schmoeckel begibt sich auf die Suche nach unseren Ahnen, den Indoeuropäern oder Indogermanen. Im Geschichtsunterricht unserer Schulen kommt dieses geheimnisvolle Urvolk nicht vor. Die wissenschaftliche Erforschung unserer Herkunft und damit auch unserer Identität scheint immer noch von Tabus bestimmt zu sein. Der Autor widersetzt sich den herrschenden Denkverboten, indem er die verstreut vorliegenden Erkenntnisse der Archäologen, Sprachforscher und anderer Spezialwissenschaften zusammenträgt und sie zu einer spannend geschriebenen, populärwissenschaftlichen Gesamtdarstellung vereint.

Ursprünglich in den Steppen des südlichen Innerasiens beheimatet, begann sich ein Hirten- und Bauernvolk schon vor sechstausend Jahren in immer neuen Auswanderungswellen über ganz Europa und große Teile Asiens auszubreiten. Griechen, Römer, Germanen, Slawen, Kelten, Perser und die frühen arischen Eroberer Indiens - sie alle sind Abkömmlinge des gleichen mysteriösen Hirtenvolkes. Eine ungeheure Dynamik, ein Leistungs- und Gestaltungswillen von beispielloser Kraft müssen diesem Volk seit vorgeschichtlichen Zeiten innegewohnt haben. So sind heute fast alle Europäer deren biologische und geistige Erben. Reinhard Schmoeckel gelingt es, die Entstehung einer vielfältigen indoeuropäischen Kultur und den wirkmächtigen Aufbruch der sich daraus entwickelnden Völker aus der Vorgeschichte anschaulich zu beschreiben. Eine faszinierende Entdeckungsreise auf den Spuren unserer Vorfahren.

Reinhard Schmoeckel, geb. 1928 in Berlin, journalistische Ausbildung, Dr. jur., langjährige Tätigkeit im Bundespresseamt, Bundeskanzleramt, Bundespräsidialamt in Bonn. Autor mehrerer erfolgreicher populärwissenschaftlicher Bücher über deutsche und europäische Vor- und Frühgeschichte und historischer Romane.

Aus Rezensionen:

„Das Buch ist spannender als mancher Abenteuerroman.“ (Fuldaer Zeitung)

„Eine immer fühlbarer werdende Lücke ist nun endlich durch einen Außenseiter geschlossen worden.“ (DIE WELT)

„Sehr anschaulich und mit verblüffender Quellenkenntnis.“ (Rheinische Post)

 

Wir bitten um Vorbestellungen!

Vielen Dank!

 

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

 

Heiderose Weigel

Lindenbaum Verlag GmbH

Bergstr. 11

56290 Beltheim-Schnellbach

Tel. 06746 / 730047

Fax 06746 / 730048

Internet: www.lindenbaum-verlag.de

E-Brief: lindenbaum-verlag@web.de

 

Inhaltsverzeichnis:

 

 

Vorwort

I. Das Volk, das aus der Steppe kam

4500-2000 v. Chr.

1. Kapitel: Geweihter Frühling

Die Ausbreitung des indoeuropäischen „Ur-Volkes“

Dieus peter grollt – Der Aufbruch der Jungmannschaft – Anfang Europas – Frohe Botschaft – Not und Tatkraft, das schöpferische Elternpaar – Woher weiß man das alles?

2. Kapitel: Vater – pater – peter

Sprachforscher entdecken ein Volk

Die Spur begann in Kalkutta – Zehn-Minuten-Kurs in verglei­chender Sprachwissenschaft – „Das Schaf und die Rosse“ – Urah­ne, Großmutter, Mutter und Kind – Die heute häufigsten Spra­chen der Welt – Die Umrisse einer Kultur werden sichtbar – Pro­fessorenstreit um die „Urheimat“

3. Kapitel: Im Würgegriff der Politik

Warum ein vorgeschichtlicher Völkername in politischen Mißkredit geraten konnte

„Arische Weltanschauung“ – Von Graf Gobineau bis zu Hitler – Rassenkunde wissenschaftlich betrachtetVerdrängung oder Resignation?

4. Kapitel: Hirten und Bauern

Jahrtausende der Entwicklung zum Kurgan-Volk

Cowboys vor sechstausend Jahren – Viehzüchter-Weltanschau­ung – Stippvisite in die Eiszeit und wieder zurück – Der Spaten bestätigt das Wörterbuch

5. Kapitel: Die fremde Welt, in die die Kurgan-Hirten gingen

Kultur und Kulturen in Europa vor fünftausend Jahren

„Im Schweiße deines Angesichts ...“ – Die erste Besiedlung des nacheiszeitlichen Europas – Zwei Welten: Alteuropäer und Indoeuropäer

 

II. Die Streitwagenherren

2000-1200 v. Chr.

6. Kapitel: Die vergessene Großmacht

Das Reich der Hethiter

Nächtliche Eroberung – Geheimnisse um die Herkunft der Hethiter – Die Streitwagen – Der „Mann von Hattuscha“ und sein Reich – Eine ungewöhnliche Entscheidung – Hethitisches Recht und hethitische Kultur – Großmacht unter Großmächten – Ein König stirbt den Heldentod – Dreitausend Jahre lang ver­gessen

7. Kapitel: Söldner und Könige

Arische Herrschaften im nahen Osten

Ein heikler Auftrag – Was hatten Inder in Mesopotamien zu suchen? – Nur ein paar Namen als Spuren für die Detektive – Die Königin von Ägypten schreibt einen Brief – Das Ende der Arier von Mitanni

8. Kapitel: Die Edlen aus dem Norden

Die arischen Eroberer Indiens

„Kampf den Dasyus!“ – Realistische und weniger realistische Theorien – Der „Mund des Puruscha“ –Eine ganze Bibliothek im Kopf – Das Land prägt die Men­schen – Dharma und Bhakti – Im Strom der Zeit – Der „Erleuch­tete“ – Unvergängliches Erbe der Arier

9. Kapitel: Die Helden des Homer

Mykenische Kultur in Griechenland

Das Opfer des Akrisios – Griechische Mythen und die Wirklichkeit – König Atreus von Mykene – Wer waren die Achäer? – Die Welt ist weit und hell – Zeit des Handels, Zeit der Heroen – Der Zug gegen Troja, nicht nach Homer – Vollständige Vernichtung?

 

 

III. Räuber, Heroen, Könige

1300-500 v. Chr.

10. Kapitel: Völker auf dem Marsch

Von der illyrischen Wanderung, dem Seevölkersturm und den Philistern

Die Jugend wird unruhig – Die „Urnenfelderwanderung“ – „Unsere Pläne werden gelingen!“ – Der Seevölkersturm – Der Tri­umph der Philister – Indoeuropäer mit semitischer Sprache

11. Kapitel: Herren, Bauern, Städtegründer

Dorer, Jonier und das „dunkle Zeitalter“ Griechenlands

Das Schafsfest in Argos – Kehrten die „Söhne des Herakles“ zurück? – Zu neuen Ufern – Die Anfänge der Hellenen – Sparta, wie man es nicht kennt – Saatbeet der abendländischen Kultur

12. Kapitel: Im Schmelztiegel der Völker

Die zweite indoeuropäische Welle in Kleinasien

König Midas’ Glück und Ende – Dionysos kam aus Phrygien – Die Erfindung des Geldes und eine folgenreiche Sonnenfinster­nis – Lydien, Vermittler zwischen Osten und Westen – Aus den Schluchten des Balkans ins wilde Armenistan

 

IV. Die Reiter aus dem Osten

800 v. Chr. – 600 n. Chr.

13. Kapitel: Die ersten Stürme aus Innerasien

Kimmerier, Skythen und Sarmaten – Vorboten einer neuen Zeit

„Reiten oder untergehen!“ – Aus Viehhirten wurden Reiternomaden –  Kimmerier von Urartu bis Frank­reich – Totenfeier für einen König – Sechs Jahrhunderte skythischer Geschichte

14. Kapitel: Vom Nomadenhäuptling zum Weltreichsherrscher

Meder und Perser, die Schöpfer des ersten indoeuropäischen Imperiums

Assurs Ende durch den „Mächtigsten der Heiden“ – Die frühen Iraner und das kurzlebige Großreich der Meder – Kyros, der „König des Weltalls“ – Persische Frühzeit – Also sprach Zarathustra ... – Auf der Höhe der Macht

15. Kapitel: Die verborgenen Väter des frühmittelalterlichen Europa

Sarmaten – ein Reiterhirtenvolk, anders als die anderen

Die Lanze ist stärker als der Pfeil – Sarmaten – die Vorbilder der Amazonen-Sage? – Neubewertung eines vergessenen Volkes – Panzerreiter gegen und für Rom – „Man muß sich gegen die Schachmänner wehren ...“ – Sarmatische Adlige als Gründer neuer Völker – Kaisergeschlechter aus sarmatischer Wurzel?

16. Kapitel: Rund um das „Dach der Welt“

Indoeuropäische Vorherrschaft in Innerasien und ihr Ende

Die Geburtsstunde des neuen Reiches – Ein halbes Jahrtausend trotzten Parther den Griechen und Römern – Am Hofe König Kanischkas – Das Kuschan-Reich der Indoskythen – Das Rätsel der „Tocharer“ – Hunnen, Türken und Mon­golen, die neuen Reiter aus dem Osten

 

 

V. Aufbruch in Mitteleuropa

2000 v. Chr. – 500 n. Chr.

17. Kapitel: Das „Goldene Zeitalter“

Die Bronzezeit in Europa

Der Kaufmann und der Häuptling – Eine Zeit des Fortschritts und des Friedens – Die Schiffe der Nordleute – Die „Nordische Bronzezeit“ – Wandlungen in „Alteuropa“ – Der Scheiterhaufen – Die große Unruhe

18. Kapitel: Völker ohne Geschichte

Verschollene Ahnen halb Europas

Der Donnerer – Uralte Volksbräuche – Auf Wacht nach Osten – Die „Hallstatt-Kultur“ – Eine Stadt vor dem Untergang – Die umstrittene „Lausitzer Kultur“

19. Kapitel: Die ersten Herren Europas

Vor den Römern beherrschten Kelten unseren Kontinent

Wie eine Nation entsteht – Das „Rätsel“ des Keltentums – „Vae victis!“ – Die keltische Völkerwanderung – Asterix, der Gallier – Keltisches Erbe

20. Kapitel: Wolf und Stier

Das Ringen der indoeuropäischen Einwanderer um die Vorherrschaft in Italien

Feriae Latinae – Sage und Wirklichkeit in Roms Frühzeit – Zer­stritten im Inneren, einig nach außen – Kleine Anfänge Roms – „Befreien wir uns vom römischen Joch!“ – Die italischen „Vettern“ der Römer

21. Kapitel: Vergeblicher Freiheitskampf

Die ersten indoeuropäischen Völker auf dem Balkan

Sitalkes’ Bündnis mit Athen – Die Thraker: Zu Unrecht im Schatten der Griechen – Unruhige Balkan-Illyrer – Als „Gast“ zum Daker-König – Sind die Rumänen Daker?

22. Kapitel: Die neuen Herrscher der alten Welt

Der Aufstieg der Germanen

Karges Leben abseits vom Strom der Welt – Germanische Anfän­ge – Herminonen und Duren – Sind wir Deutschen Germanen? – „Den römischen Namen mit gotischer Kraft erneuern!“ – Ablö­sung im „Staffellauf“ der indoeuropäischen Völker

 

VI. Die Nachzügler

500-1400 n. Chr.

23. Kapitel: Ein Riese erwacht

Die Jahrhunderte slawischer Landnahme in Osteuropa

Im Dorf der Severjanen – Die Bildung der südslawischen Völker –„Komm und herrsche über uns!“ – Sagenhafte Frühzeit des Russi­schen Reiches – „... bis entweder das Heidentum oder das Volk vernichtet ist“ – Ein Jahrtausend der Auseinandersetzung zwi­schen Deutschen und Westslawen

24. Kapitel: Untergang und Triumph

Die verschiedenen Wege der baltischen Völker von der Vorgeschichte in die Geschichte

Ein Volk steht auf – 3000 Jahre „Vor“-Geschichte – Balten und Deutsche – Großfürst Gedimins Bekenntnisse – Die „heidnische“ Großmacht Litauen im Spätmittelalter

25. Kapitel: Die Adlersöhne

Die Albaner, das letzte „vorgeschichtliche“ Volk der Indoeuropäer

„Ein Volk ganz für sich allein“ – Vergessen von der Weltgeschichte – Wie die Albaner wurden, was sie sind

 

Nachwort

Literaturverzeichnis

Register 

 

vendredi, 02 décembre 2011

Notas sobre la celtización del Languedoc

qgaule11.jpg

Notas sobre la celtización del Languedoc

Olegario de la Eras

Ex: http://www.revistaeuropae.org/

     ...Los cátaros ¿no eran druidas convertidos al cristianismo por misioneros maniqueos?

Otto Rahn

 

     A veces un cierto fenómeno histórico o incluso un cierto personaje, real o ficticio, se convierte en la única seña de identidad de un país. Mucho podrían hablar en este sentido en la Mancha sobre la omnipresencia de la figura del Quijote o en Escandinavia sobre el periodo vikingo. Pero si este fenómeno ha llegado a su culmen en un territorio europeo es indudablemente en el Languedoc. Occitania, tierra cátara, Montségur, Muret, Gilabert de Castres, Simón de Monfort, Esclarmonde, Consolamentum... todo aquel que se acerque a una librería especializada en la historia del Mediodía francés saldrá abrumado por el inmenso volumen de la bibliografía sobre los siglos XII y XIII, pudiendo llegar a preguntarse si aquellas tierras tuvieron existencia real antes y después de esas centurias. Pues efectivamente, aunque no lo parezca, Occitania constituye una realidad étnica cuyas raíces se hunden en la protohistoria, en la Romanidad y en el goticismo (Gotia, no sin motivo, fue denominado este territorio durante siglos). Y antes de ser capital del condado del mismo nombre, Tolouse fue capital de una poderosa y orgullosa etnia céltica, los volcos tectosagos.    

     Durante milenios las tierras del futuro país de Oc formaron parte del área cultural mediterránea que hunde sus raíces en la expansión neolítica cardial sobre los grupos precedentes mesolíticos. Sobre este substrato, que ha recibido a su vez diferentes influencias (megalíticas, campaniformes...), a partir de mediados del segundo milenio anterior a nuestra era se superponen nutridos grupos de origen centroeuropeo. Es el movimiento denominado de los Campos de Urnas por sus típicos cementerios de incineración, (para una caracterización de esta cultura eminentemente guerrera, que practica una economía mixta agrícola-ganadera y que posee una metalurgia muy desarrollada, véase Ruiz Zapatero 1983/85). Estos grupos que se remansan en las llanuras al norte de los Pirineos han asimilado previamente a la denominada cultura de los Túmulos, extendida  muy grosso modo por las regiones renanas fronterizas entre las actuales Francia y Alemania. La cultura de los Campos de Urnas supone, pese a las dudas de los hipercríticos, el reflejo material de la primera gran expansión céltica o, al menos, protocéltica por el occidente europeo. Desde la instalación de estos grupos en Occitania no existirá ninguna solución de continuidad hasta que las fuentes escritas clásicas nos iluminen sobre los pueblos allí asentados, pueblos indudablemente célticos. Los caminos de la migración desde sus sedes centroeuropeas son resumidos así por Bosch-Gimpera (1975,672-3): «Por la puerta de Belfort, los grupos del Alto Rin se extendieron por la región montañosa del Jura (departamento del Ain, Jura, Doubs). Desde la meseta suiza llegaron a la Saboya (lago de Bourgwt), superponiéndose a la población indígena de la Edad del Bronce (...) Otra extensión desde la puerta de Belfort pasó por Lyon – Saint Etienne – Le Puy  y Saint Flour, bifurcándose por una parte hacia el oeste por el valle bajo del Dordoña y por otra hacia el sur, hacia el Languedoc. La corriente hacia el Languedoc seguiría el camino hacia Entraigues –Rodez – Gailhac – Saint Culpice – La Pointe, el departamento del Tarn Con la necrópolis de  Gabor), siguiendo a Tolouse (necrópolis de Saint Roch y Le Cluzel), para continuar por el Alto Garona (Bordes-sur-Riviere, en Montréjeau, Espiaup y Garin, cerca de Bagneres de Luchon, llegando al valle de Arán (necrópolis del Pla de Beret, cerca de Salardú). Otra infiltración siguió en el Ariège (necrópolis de Pamiers y cuevas de las región), llegando a la Cerdaña (cerámica de la cueva de la Fou de Borgt), ya en Cataluña (...) Por el Bajo Ródano y la costa Mediterránea, la cultura de las urnas se extiende por los departamentos de Vaucluse, Gard, Hérault, Aude y el Rosellón (Pyrenées orientales), llegando por los puertos de las Alberas a Cataluña (necrópolis de Agullana, llegada por el camino del Perthes; necrópolis de Villars, por el del puerto de Bañuls...». Bosch también señala que es precisamente desde Tolouse desde donde parte hacia el sudoeste la migración de Campos de Urnas que va a anegar Navarra (Cortes). En estos Urnenfelder occitanos se encuentra el origen de los Campos de Urnas del NE de la Península Ibérica (Ruiz Zapatero 1983/85, 1044).

     Estos movimientos son los que van a llevar las lenguas célticas al Languedoc, cuyos rastros perviven en la toponimia y la hidronimia, y que atestiguan los datos suministrados por las fuentes clásicas, fuentes que igualmente aluden al sentimiento de pertenencia a la Céltica de los pueblos de estos territorios. E igualmente son los que van a ubicar en sus sedes históricas a los tarbellii (Tarbes) o a los sibuzates y los propios tolosates, pueblos de indudable raigambre celta en los que, no obstante, se advierte la presencia de un sustrato no céltico. Pero el pueblo céltico más conocido es el de los volcos, una de cuyas ramas los tectosagos se asienta en el Languedoc y otra, la de los arecómicos, en la Provenza. Su origen estaría ligado a la polémica de la explicación del fenómeno de La Téne en función de un paradigma invasionista (con lo que su llegada no estaría relacionada con las Urnas sino que sería posterior) o en función, más verosímilmente, de una transformación cultural de los propios grupos originados con la llegada de los Campos de Urnas. Sin entrar en mayores precisiones, quisiéramos señalar que la estabilización de la cultura de las urnas supone por doquier un impresionante aumento demográfico durante las centurias siguientes, pudiendo afirmarse que las culturas que se forman a partir de ella, esencialmente célticas en el occidente de Europa, han constituido substratos determinantes en el posterior desarrollo histórico de cada uno de los países que la han conocido (Ruiz Zapatero 1983/85, 1037). Y el Languedoc y la Provenza no constituyen en este sentido ninguna excepción. 

     En definitiva, estas muy breves notas sólo pretenden recordar que durante más de un milenio el Languedoc estuvo integrado en la Céltica, esa especie de koiné, religiosa y cultural, y por ende lingüística, que abarcó la práctica totalidad del occidente europeo. Al contemplar la deidad de Roquepertuse, no podemos dejar de pensar, al igual que quizás lo haya hecho Rahn, que probablemente muchos siglos después algún perfecto fue consciente, al adoptar la postura ceremonial para el endura, de estar realizando un asana practicado por sus antepasados druidas.

     Occitania no debe olvidar jamás que al igual que en el resto de Europa la herencia céltica, junto a la romanidad y el germanismo, constituye uno de los pilares esenciales de su identidad.  

Olegario de la Eras.

Referencias.

Bosch-Gimpera, P., Prehistoria de Europa, Madrid 1975

Ruiz Zapatero, G., Los campos de Urnas del Noreste de la Península Ibérica, Madrid 1983/85.

 

dimanche, 27 novembre 2011

Goethe and the Indo-European religiosity

 

Goethe-italy.jpg

Goethe and the Indo-European religiosity

Hans Friedrich Karl Günther

The greatest ideas of mankind have been conceived in the lands between India and Germania, between Iceland and Benares (where Buddha began to teach) amongst the peoples of Indo-European language; and these ideas have been accompanied by the Indo-European religious attitude which represents the highest attainments of the mature spirit. When in January 1804, in conversation with his colleague, the philologist Riemer, Goethe expressed the view that he found it “remarkable that the whole of Christianity had not brought forth a Sophocles”, his knowledge of comparative religion was restricted by the knowledge of his age, yet he had unerringly chosen as the precursor of an  Indo-European religion the poet Sophocles, “typical of the devout Athenian… in his highest, most inspired form”,41 a poet who represented the religiosity of the people, before the people (demos) of Athens had degenerated into a mass (ochlos). But where apart from the Indo-European, has the world produced a more devout man with such a great soul as the Athenian, Sophocles?

Where outside the Indo-European domain have religions arisen, which have combined such greatness of soul with such high flights of reason (logos, ratio) and such wide vision (theoria)? Where have religious men achieved the same spiritual heights as Spitama Zarathustra, as the teachers of the Upanishads, as Homer, as Buddha and even as Lucretius Carus, Wilhelm von Humboldt and Shelley?

Goethe wished that Homer’s songs might become our Bible. Even before the discovery of the spiritual heights and power of the pre-Christian Teuton, but especially after Lessing, Winckelmann and Heinrich Voss, the translator of Homer, the Indo-European outlook renewed itself in Germany, recalling a world of the spirit which was perfected by great German poets and thinkers during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Since Goethe’s death (1832), and since the death of Wilhelm von Humboldt (1835), the translator of the devout Indo-European Bhagavad Gita, this Indo-European spirit, which also revealed itself in the pre-Christian Teuton, has vanished.

 Goethe had a premonition of this decline of the West: even in October 1801 he remarked in conversation with the Countess von Egloffstein, that spiritual emptiness and lack of character were spreading — as if he had foreseen what today characterises the most celebrated literature of the Free West. It may be that Goethe had even foreseen, in the distant future, the coming of an age in which writers would make great profits by the portrayal of sex and crime for the masses. As Goethe said to Eckermann, on 14th March 1830, “the representation of noble bearing and action is beginning to be regarded as boring, and efforts are being made to portray all kinds of infamies”. Previously in a letter to Schiller of 9th August 1797, he had pointed out at least one of the causes of the decline: in the larger cities men lived in a constant frenzy of acquisition and consumption and had therefore become incapable of the very mood from which spiritual life arises. Even then he was tortured and made anxious, although he could observe only the beginnings of the trend, the sight of the machine system gaining the upper hand; he foresaw that it would come and strike (Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, Third Book, Chapter 15, Cotta’s Jubilee edition, Vol. XX, p. 190). In a letter to his old friend Zelter, on 6th June 1825, he pronounced it as his view that the educated world remained rooted in mediocrity, and that a century had begun “for competent heads, for practical men with an easy grasp of things, who [...] felt their superiority above the crowd, even if they themselves are not talented enough for the highest achievements”; pure simplicity was no longer to be found, although there was a sufficiency of simple stuff; young men would be excited too early and then torn away by the vortex of the time. Therefore Goethe exhorted youth in his poem Legacy of the year 1829:

In increasing degree since approximately the middle of the nineteenth century poets and writers as well as journalists — the descendants of the “competent heads” by whom Goethe was alarmed even in the year 1801 — have made a virtue out of necessity by representing characterlessness as a fact. With Thomas Mann this heartless characterlessness first gained world renown. Mann used his talent to conceal his spiritual desolation by artifices which have been proclaimed by contemporary admirers as insurpassable. But the talent of the writers emulating Thomas Mann no longer sufficed even to conceal their spiritual emptiness, although many of their readers, themselves spiritually impoverished, have not noticed this.

The freedom of the Press, which was introduced through the constitution of May 1816 into the Duchy of Weimar and which had already been demanded by Wieland with his superficial judgment would, Goethe declared, do nothing more than give free rein to authors with a deep contempt of public opinion (Zahme Xenien, Goethes Sämtliche Werke, Cotta’s Jubilee edition, Vol. IV, p. 47; Annalen (Annals) 1816, same edition, Vol. XXX, p. 298). In the Annalen of 1816, he remarked that every right-thinking man of learning in the world foresaw the direct and incalculable consequences of this act with fright and regret. Thus even in his time, Goethe must have reflected how little the men of the Press, were capable of combining freedom with human dignity.

When the descendants of the competent heads of the beginning of the nineteenth century rose, through their talents, to the upper classes, where due to a lower birthrate their families finally died out, the eliminating process of social climbing in Europe seized hold of less capable heads and bore them away into the vortex of the time. Their culture has been described most mercilessly by Friedrich Nietzsche in his lectures of the year 1871-72: Concerning the Future of Our Educational Institutions (Pocket edition, Vol. I, 1906, pp. 314, 332-333, 396). Nietzsche above all concentrated on famous contemporary writers, “the hasty and vain production, the despicable manufacturing of books, the perfected lack of style, the shapelessness and characterlessness or the lamentable dilution of their expressions, the loss of every aesthetic canon, the lust for anarchy and chaos” — which he described as if he had actually seen the most celebrated literature of the Free West, whose known authors no longer mastered their own languages even to the extent still demanded by popular school teachers around 1900. These vociferous heralds of the need for culture in an era of general education were rejected by Nietzsche who in this displayed true Indo – European views – as fanatical opponents of the true culture, which holds firm to the aristocratic nature of the spirit. If Nietzsche described the task of the West as to find the culture appropriate to Beethoven, then the serious observer today will recognise only too well the situation which Nietzsche foresaw and described as a laughing stock and a thing of shame.

In the year 1797, Friedrich Schiller composed a poem: Deutsche Grösse. Full of confidence in the German spirit he expressed the view that defeat in war by stronger foes could not touch German dignity which was a great moral force. The precious possession of the German language would also be preserved. Schiller (Das Siegesfest) certainly knew what peoples had to expect of war:

 

For Patrocles lies buried
and Thersites mes back;

 

but he must have imagined that the losses of the best in the fight could be replaced. The dying out of families of dignity and moral stature (megalopsychia and magnanimitas), had then not yet begun in Europe.

In the year 1929, just a decade after the First World War had ended, that Peloponnesian war of the Teutonic peoples, which caused both in England and in Germany excessively heavy losses of gifted young men, of officers and aristocrats, Oskar Walzel (Die Geistesströmungen des 19. Jahrhunderts, 1929, p. 43), Professor of German literature at the university of Bonn, gave it as his opinion that after this war the trend to de-spiritualise Germany had gained ground far more rapidly than hitherto: “Is there in German history in general such an identical want of depth in men to be observed as at present?” But for the Germans it is poor consolation that this “de-spiritualising” is just as marked in other Western countries. Another sign of this trend is that today many famous writers are no longer capable of preserving the precious possession of the German language. Other Western languages are also neglecting their form and literature, but this again is poor consolation for the Germans. Such neglect is considered by many writers today as characteristic of, and part of the process of gaining their freedom and liberation from all traditional outlooks. Goethe criticised this as a false idea of freedom (Maxims and Reflections, Goethes Sämtliche Werke, Cottas Jubiläumsausgabe, Vol. IV, p. 229) in the following words:

“Everything which liberates our spirit, without increasing our mastery of ourselves, is pernicious.”

Thus, by freedom Goethe also understood the dignity of the freeborn, not the nature and mode of life of the freed slave.

From The Religious Attitudes of The Indo-Europeans, London 1967. Translated by Vivian Bird.

jeudi, 27 octobre 2011

L'importance des études indo-européennes par Jean Haudry

L'importance des études indo-européennes par Jean Haudry

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mercredi, 26 octobre 2011

La notion de tradition indo-européenne par Jean Haudry

La notion de tradition indo-européenne par Jean Haudry


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vendredi, 21 octobre 2011

Nos ancêtres à la conquête de la Méditerranée, il y a 130.000 ans

Nos ancêtres à la conquête de la Méditerranée, il y a 130.000 ans

Ex: http://tpprovence.wordpress.com/

Une découverte archéologique au sud de la Crète bouleverse l’histoire de la conquête des mers et des peuplements des îles méditerranéennes. La nouvelle, annoncée à l’origine par Hesperia

, bulletin de l’Ecole américaine d’archéologie d’Athènes, a été saluée par le magazine Archeology comme l’un des dix événements de l’année 2010.

 

 

3 janvier 2011. Le ministère grec de la culture annonce que des recherches archéologiques menées en Crète, dans le sud de la Grèce, ont livré la première preuve au monde que les ancêtres de l’homme prirent la mer il y a plus de 130 000 mille ans. A l’issue de deux ans de fouilles autour de la localité de Plakias, dans le sud de l’île de Crète, une équipe gréco-américaine a mis au jour des pierres taillées paléolithiques, remontant à 130 000 ans au moins. Ces trouvailles, qui attestent pour la première fois d’une installation d’hominidés sur l’île avant le néolithique (7000 – 3000 avant notre ère), apportent aussi « la plus ancienne preuve de navigation au monde », précise encore le communiqué officiel. Les outils, des « haches », ont été trouvés près de vestiges de « plate-formes marines remontant à au moins 130 000 ans, ce qui apporte la preuve de voyages marins en Méditerranée des dizaines de milliers d’années plus tôt que ce que nos connaissances établissaient jusque là » relève le ministère. Et de conclure : ces découvertes, faites près de la très touristique plage de Prévéli, « modifient aussi l’estimation des capacités cognitives des premières espèces humaines », les outils retrouvés renvoyant à des populations d’ « Homo erectus et Homo heidelbergensis ».

La découverte d’outils de pierre taillée

Cette formidable aventure scientifique commence sur la côte sud de la Crète, près du site de Plakias, où existe aujourd’hui une station balnéaire dont la baie, très ventée, attire – clin d’œil de l’histoire – de nombreux véliplanchistes. On trouve là de hauts reliefs de calcaire forgés par la tectonique des plaques, des terrasses laissées par la baisse du niveau de la mer qu’elles surplombent d’une centaine de mètres, des grottes et des abris rocheux. Ce n’est pas par hasard si l’Américain Thomas Strasser, professeur au Providence College de Rhode Island, aux Etats-Unis, et la Grecque Eleni Panagopoulou, de la direction de la paléoanthropologie et de la spéléologie de la Grèce du sud, ont engagé des fouilles précisément à cet endroit. L’équipe a été guidée par des critères simples, comme la présence d’eau potable et de cavités habitables, critères qui ont déjà permis de localiser des implantations préhistoriques en Grèce continentale.

La baie de Plakias

Au cours de campagnes de fouilles réalisées en 2008 et 2009, les chercheurs découvrent un véritable trésor. Plus de 2000 pierres taillées, façonnées dans du quartz blanc, du quartzite et du chert – une roche siliceuse – dont la taille varie de vingt centimètres pour les plus grands, à moins de un centimètre pour les plus petits éclats. On y trouve des bifaces, des hachereaux, des racloirs, des grattoirs, des perforateurs, des burins. « Notre première réaction a été l’incrédulité, a déclaré Eleni Panagopoulou. Nous étions tout à la fois heureux, stupéfaits et troublés. Puis nous avons dû nous rendre à l’évidence. Car ces outils sont très caractéristiques ».

Restes de haches retrouvés sur le site

L’œuvre d’Homo erectus ou d’Homo sapiens ?

Les pièces mises à jour sont impossibles à dater directement. Mais les couches sédimentaires et les terrasses marines où ils ont été retrouvés laissent présager deux vagues de peuplement. La plus récente, au début de l’holocène, voilà 9000 à 11000 ans, et la plus ancienne au pléistocène, il y a 130 000 ans au moins. Cette phase d’occupation, pense la chercheuse grecque, a même sans doute été « beaucoup plus précoce ». Pascal Depaepe, directeur scientifique de l’INRAP (1) et spécialiste du paléolithique, qui a examiné la facture plutôt grossière de ces vestiges, pense, lui, que les plus anciens pourraient avoir en réalité plusieurs centaines de milliers d’années. Toutefois, précise-t-il, « pour les dater avec certitude, il faudrait pouvoir les associer à des ossements humains qui font défaut ».

Un biface qui daterait de plus de 130 000 ans !

Cette découverte extraordinaire pose bien des questions. Premier mystère : quels représentants du genre humain en furent les artisans ? Si les plus vieux objets lithiques remontent « seulement » à 130 000 ans, ils pourraient bien avoir été façonnés par des néandertaliens ou des hommes modernes, les Homo sapiens. Certes, si l’on en croit la doxa imposée par la science officielle, ceux-ci sont censés n’avoir quitté leur supposé berceau est-africain, où ils seraient nés voici 200 000 ans, il n’y a qu’environ 60 000 ans, pour « conquérir » l’Asie et l’Europe. Dogme quasi religieux, remis en question par nombre de découvertes, ainsi par exemple, ces dents datant de 400 000 ans, trouvées récemment par des chercheurs israéliens, qui auraient appartenu à des Sapiens archaïques. Si, en revanche, les outils ont plusieurs centaines de milliers d’années, ils seraient alors l’œuvre de très anciens cousins, Homo erectus ou Homo heidelbergensis

Les premiers navigateurs !

Un second mystère, plus insondable encore, se pose aux scientifiques. Effectivement, la Crète est séparée du continent depuis plus de cinq millions d’années, sans qu’aucune glaciation ou baisse de niveau n’aient jamais permis de la rejoindre à pied. Les tailleurs de pierre du pléistocène y sont donc obligatoirement arrivés sur une embarcation. Il suffit de lire une carte pour mesurer l’exploit accompli. Même en imaginant des eaux plus basses d’une centaine de mètres, comme lors du dernier maximum glaciaire, il y a 21 000 ans, la bathymétrie (2) montre qu’il leur a fallu parcourir plusieurs dizaines de kilomètres en haute mer, en partant soit de la Grèce continentale, soit de la Turquie, en tenant compte d’éventuelles escales sur les îles de Cythère et d’Anticythère dans le premier cas, de Karpathos et de Kasos dans le second. Depuis la côte libyenne, ils auraient dû voguer sur 200 km, ce qui rend cette troisième hypothèse peu probable.

Le plus vraisemblable, suppose le linguiste Christophe Coupé (3), qui travaille sur les liens entre langue et navigation, est que les premiers marins hauturiers furent « des peuples familiers de la mer, habitués à voyager le long des rivages », qui se sont ensuite enhardis et aventurés plus loin. Evacuons le scénario selon lequel quelques naufragés, emportés par les courants, auraient échoué à Plakias. « Le très grand nombre d’outils trouvés, comme le seuil de population nécessaire à sa survie et à sa reproduction, laisse penser que la colonie devait compter au moins une cinquantaine d’individus » évalue Eleni Panagopoulou. Et qu’il y a donc eu, sans doute, « plusieurs voyages ».

Jusqu’à présent, les paléoanthropologues tenaient pour établi que les premières implantations humaines sur les îles méditérranéennes (Sicile, Sardaigne, Corse) remontaient à une période plus récente. Les colons de Plakias font reculer de plus de cent mille ans, et probablement bien davantage, les débuts de la navigation en Méditerranée, devançant largement les Sapiens qui, il y a 60 000 ans, accostèrent en Australie, où leur présence est attestée par des outils de pierre, mais également des ossements et un bouleversement de l’écosystème fatal à de gros marsupiaux. Ils restent cependant battus par les premiers occupants de l’île de Florès, en Indonésie, où a été mis au jour un outillage lithique datant, lui, de 700 000 à 800 000 ans. Mais le chapelet formé par les îles indonésiennes permettait, lors des pics glaciaires, de passer de l’une à l’autre en franchissant des bras de mer d’une dizaine de kilomètres au maximum.

Pour les professeurs Strasser et Panagopoulou, ces fouilles jettent une nouvelle lumière sur l’histoire « de la colonisation de l’Europe par des hominidés venus d’Afrique ». Dans un article publié par Hesperia, ils écrivent : « L’approche d’un peuplement de l’Europe seulement par la terre doit clairement être repensée (…) il y a peut-être eu des routes maritimes empruntées par des navigateurs sur de longues distances ». Par contre, ils relèvent ne pas pouvoir, en l’état, déterminer d’où venaient les navigateurs paléolithiques de Crète, « une origine africaine ou proche-orientale étant aussi probable qu’une provenance d’Anatolie ou de Grèce continentale ». Encore un effort, Messieurs les chercheurs, pour vous affranchir du dogme de l’out of Africa, et conclure qu’une provenance d’Anatolie ou de Grèce continentale est aussi probable qu’une origine africaine ou proche-orientale !

Jean-François Vilhet, Hyperborée, automne-hiver 2011, n°12.

Notes

(1) Institut national de recherches archéologiques préventives.

(2) Mesure des profondeurs marines.

(3) Chargé de recherche au Laboratoire dynamique du langage, CNRS-Université de Lyon.

Références :

Thomas Strasser, Eleni Panagopoulou, Curtis Runnels, Priscilla Murray, Nicholas Thompson, Panayiotis Karkanas, Floyd McCoy, et Karl Wegmann, « Stone Age Seafaring in the Mediterranean: Evidence from the Plakias Region for Lower Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Habitation of Crete », Hesperia, 79.2, pp. 145-190.

vendredi, 14 octobre 2011

The genesis of India according to Bernard Sergent

 

The Genesis of India Acording to Bernard Sergent

A review

Dr. Koenraad ELST

Ex: http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/reviews/sergent.html/

1. A remarkable book

The debate concerning the theory of an Aryan invasion in India has taken off at last. In spite of the mutual deafness of the pro- and anti-invasionist schools, the increasing awareness of a challenge has led prominent scholars groomed in the invasionist view to collect, for the first time in their careers, actual arguments in favour of the Aryan Invasion Theory. As yet this is never in the form of a pointwise rebuttal of an existing anti-invasionist argumentation, a head-on approach so far exclusively adopted by one or two non-invasionists.

Nonetheless, some recent contributions to the archaeological and physical-anthropological aspects of the controversy pose a fresh challenge to the (by now often over-confident) noninvasionist school.

An extremely important new synthesis of various types of data is provided by Dr. Bernard Sergent in his book Genèse de l'Inde (Genesis of India), as yet only available in French (Payot, Paris 1997). The book comes as a sequel to his equally important book Les Indo-Européens (Payot 1995). Sergent is a Ph.D. in Archaeology with additional degrees in Physical Anthropology and in History, a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, and chairman of the French Society for Mythology.

One of Sergent's objectives is to counter the rising tide of skepticism against the AIT with archaeological and other proof. In particular, he proposes a precise identification of a particular Harappan-age but non-Harappan culture with the Indo-Aryans poised to invade India: the Bactrian Bronze Age culture of ca. 2500-2000 BC. At the same time, he is quite scornful of AIT critics and neglects to take their arguments apart, which means that he effectively leaves them standing. He dismisses the non-invasion theory in one sentence plus footnote as simply unbelievable and as the effect of nationalistic blindness for the shattering evidence provided by linguistics (Genèse de l'Inde, p.370 and p.477 n.485).

Nonetheless, it is important to note that, unlike Indian Marxists, he does not show any contempt for Hinduism or for the idea of India. Most people who analyze Indian culture into different contributions by peoples with divergent origins do so with the implicit or explicit message that "there is no such thing as Indian or Hindu culture, there is only a composite of divergent cultures, each of which should break free and destroy the dominant Brahminical system which propagates the false notion of a single all-Indian culture". Sergent, by contrast, admits that the ethnically different contributions have merged into an admirable synthesis, e.g.: "One of the paradoxes of India is its astonishing linguistic diversity compared with its cultural unity." (p.9) Rather than denying the idea of India, he strongly sympathizes with it: though a construct of history, India is a cultural reality.

2. Evidence provided by physical anthropology

Bernard Sergent treads sensitive ground in discussing the evidence furnished by physical anthropology. Though not identifying language with race, he maintains that in many cases, a certain correlation between language and genes may nonetheless be discernible, as explained earlier by Luigi Cavalli-Sforza and other leading population geneticists. The underlying logic is simple: people who speak a common language do so by living together as a community, and as such, they will also intermarry and pass on their genes along with their language and culture to their children. Yet, to say that there was an original Proto-Indo-European (PIE) community whose language got diversified into the existing IE languages, and whose "heirs" we IE-speakers are, is already enough to attract suspicions of Nazi fantasies, even in the case of so authoritative and objective a scholar as Bernard Sergent.

Indeed, oblique aspersions have been cast on Sergent by Jean-Paul Demoule ("Les Indo-Européens, un mythe sur mesure", La Recherche, April 1998, p.41), who uses the familiar and simple technique of juxtaposition, i.c. with the term "mother race", used off-hand by Emmanuel Leroy-Ladurie in a review of Sergent's book Les Indo-Européens. Demoule's explicit thesis is that "not one scientific fact allows support for the hypothesis of an original [PIE-speaking] people". In fact, there are no known languages which are not spoken by a living community or a "people", either in the past (e.g. Latin) or in the present. Plain common sense requires that the PIE dialects were also spoken by some such "people". If postmodernists like Demoule want to deny to the hypothetical PIE language the necessary hypothesis that it was used by a community of speakers, it is up to them to provide an alternative hypothesis plus the "scientific facts" supporting it.

A related political inhibition obstructing the progress of research in IE studies is the post1945 mistrust of migratory models as explanations of the spread of technologies, cultures or indeed languages. Sergent goes against the dominant tendency by insisting that the IE language family has spread by means of migrations (p.153-156, criticizing non-migrationist hypotheses by Jean-François Jarrige and Jim Shaffer). Prior to the telegraph and the modern electronic media, a language could indeed only be spread by being physically taken from one place to the next. In the case of India, while we need not concede Sergent's specific assumption of an Aryan immigration, it is obvious that migrations have been a key factor in the present distribution of languages. One scholar who still agrees with Dr. Sergent's commonsense position is Dr. Robert Zydenbos ("An obscurantist argument", Indian Express, 12-12-1993): "And it should be clear that languages do not migrate by themselves: people migrate, and bring languages with them."

As Sergent points out, the historical period in India has witnessed well-recorded invasions by the Greeks, Huns, Scythians, Kushanas, Arabs, Turks, Afghans and Europeans.

So, there is no need to be shy about surmising the existence and the linguistic impact of migrations, including violent ones, in the proto-historical period. It so happens that migrations may leave traces in the physical-anthropological "record" of a population, thus adding modern genetics to the sciences which can be employed in reconstructing ancient history.

Sergent claims that the oldest Homo Sapiens Sapiens racial type of India, now largely submerged by interbreeding with immigrant Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic and IE populations, is the one preserved in the Vedda and Rodiya tribes of Sri Lanka. While the purely black skin is associated (by Sergent) with the population which "brought" the Dravidian languages, the Veddoid traits are found to an extent among tribal populations in south India and as far north as the Bhils and the Gonds. Perhaps Nahali is the last remnant of the lost language of this ancient layer of the Indian population, for all the said tribes including the Veddas now speak the languages of their non-tribal neighbours. (p.38)

Sergent questions the neat division of the South-Asian population into "Mediterranean", "Melano-Indian" (black-skinned, associated with the Dravidian languages) and "Veddoid" or "Australoid", introduced by British colonial anthropologists: "the Vedda, the Melano-Indians and the Indus people and the actual inhabitants of the northern half of India, which classical anthropology used to class as Mediterraneans, all belong to one same human 'current' of which they manifest the successive 'waves'. Everything indicates, physical traits as well as geographical distribution, that the Vedda have arrived first, followed by the Melano-Indians, and then the Indus people." (p.43) Note that he does not mention "Aryans" as a distinct type separate from and arriving after the "Indus people". Indeed, he joins the list of anthropologists who acknowledge the absence of a genetic discontinuity at the end of the Harappan age marking the Aryan invasion.

Sergent rejects the classical view that populations having traits halfway between the typical Veddoid and Mediterranean traits must be considered "mixed". Instead, rather than assuming discrete racial types subsequently subject to miscegenation, he posits a racial continuum, corresponding with the continuum of migrations from northeastern Africa via West Asia to South Asia. The Dravidian-speakers largely coincide with a racial type called "Melano-Indian", which is very dark-skinned but in all other respects similar not to the Melano-Africans but to the Mediterranean variety of the white race, e.g. wavy hair, a near-vertical forehead, a thinner nose. Sergent thinks they arrived in Mehrgarh well before the beginning of the Neolithic, in ca. 8,000 BC, and that they were subsequently replaced or absorbed by the real Harappans, who belonged to the "Indo-Afghan" type. (p.50)

At this point, it is customary to point to the Dravidian Brahui speakers of Baluchistan (living in the vicinity of Mehrgarh) as a remnant of the Dravidian Harappans. However, Sergent proposes that the Brahui speakers, far from being a native remnant of a pre-Harappan population of Baluchistan, only immigrated into Baluchistan from inner India in the early Muslim period. Given that Baluchi, a West-Iranian language, only established itself in Baluchistan in the 13th century ("for 2000 years, India has been retreating before Iran", p.29; indeed, both Baluchistan, including the Brahminical place of pilgrimage Hinglaj, and the Northwest Frontier Province, homeland of Panini, were partly Indo-Aryan-speaking before Baluchi and Pashtu moved in), and that the only Indo-Iranian loans in Brahui are from Baluchi and not from Pehlevi or Sindhi, Sergent deduces that Brahui was imported into its present habitat only that late. (p.130) We'll have to leave that as just a proposal for now: a Central-Indian Dravidian population migrated to Baluchistan in perhaps the 14th century.

The Harappan civilization "prolongs the ancient Neolithic of Baluchistan [viz. Mehrgarh], whose physical type is West-Asian, notably the type called (because of its contemporary location) Indo-Afghan". (p.50) This suggests that the "Indo-Afghan" type was located elsewhere before the beginning of the Neolithic in Mehrgarh, viz. in West Asia. If so, this means that the last great wave of immigrants (as opposed to smaller waves like the Scythian or the Turco-Afghan or the English which did not deeply alter the average genetic type of the Indian population) took place thousands of years before the supposed Aryan invasion. And the latter, bringing Aryans of the Indo-Afghan type into an India already populated with Harappans of the Indo-Afghan type, happens to be untraceable in the physical-anthropo-logical data.

No new blood type or skull type or skin colour marks the period when the Aryans are supposed to have invaded India. So, one potentially decisive proof of the Aryan invasion is conspicuously missing. Indeed, the physical-anthropological record is now confidently used by opponents of the AIT as proof of the continuity between the Harappan and the post-Harappan societies in northwestern India.

3. The archaeological evidence

3.1. Tracing the Aryan migrants

Though the question of Aryan origins was much disputed in the 19th century, the Aryan invasion theory has been so solidly dominant in the 20th century that attempts to prove it have been extremely rare in recent decades (why prove the obvious?), until the debate flared up again in India after 1990. In his attempt to prove the Aryan invasion, Bernard Sergent uses the archaeological record, which, paradoxically, is invoked with equal confidence by the noninvasionist school (e.g. B.B. Lal: New Light on the Indus Civilization, Aryan Books, Delhi 1997).

The crux of the matter is: can archaeologists trace a population migrating through Central Asia and settling down in India? There seems to be new hope to pin down this elusive band of migrants: "Today, thanks to the extremely rich findings in Central Asia in the past twenty years, the discovery of the 'pre-Indian Indians' has become possible." (p.33) Sergent has tried to identify a crucial stage in this itinerary: the 3rd-millennium Bactrian culture as the base from which the Indo-Aryans invaded India.

Bactria, the basin of the Amu Darya or Oxus river, now northern Afghanistan plus southeastern Uzbekistan, is historically the heartland of Iranian culture. In an Indian Urheimat scenario, the Iranians left India before the heyday of the Harappan cities. The next waystation, where they developed their own distinct culture, was Bactria, where Zarathushtra lived (in the city of Balkh). In that framework, it is entirely logical that a separate culture has been discovered in Bactria and dated to the late 3rd millennium BC. However, Bernard Sergent identifies this Bronze Age culture of Bactria, "one of the most briliant civilizations of Asia" (p.157), as that of the Indo-Aryans poised to invade India.

Though not figuring much in the development of his own theory, evidence for similarities in material culture between Harappa and Bactria is acknowledged by Bernard Sergent, e.g. ceramics resembling those found in Chanhu-Daro. This Harappan influence on the Bactrian culture proper is distinct from the existence of six fully Harappan colonies in Afghanistan, most importantly Shortugai in Bactria, "a settlement completely Harappan in character on a tributary of the Amu Darya (...) on the foot of the ore-rich Badakshan range (...) with lapis lazuli, gold, silver, copper and lead ores. Not one of the standard characteristics of the Harappan cultural complex is missing from it." (Maurizio Tosi: "De Indusbeschaving voorbij de grenzen van het Indisch subcontinent", in UNESCO exhibition book Oude Culturen in Pakistan, Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis, Brussels 1989, p.133)

Logically, the close coexistence of Harappan colonies and Bactrian settlements was a conduit for mutual influence but also a source of friction and conflict. Indian-Iranian conflict has been a constant from the Bronze Age (replacement of Harappan with Bactrian culture in Shortugai ca. 1800 BC, Genèse de l'Inde, p.180) through Pehlevi, Shaka and Afghan invasions in India until Nadir Shah's sack of Delhi in the 18th century. Any Bactrian-Harappan antagonism would fit this pattern of hostility between Indo-Aryans and Iranians. Sergent's first job is to disprove the Iranian and prove the Indo-Aryan character of the Bactrian culture; the second is to show a Bactrian immigration in late- or post-Harappan India and a subsequent overwhelming Bactrian cultural impact on Indian society.

Sergent cites Akhmadali A. Askarov's conclusion that the Harappan-Bactrian similarities are due to "influence of northwestern India on Bactria by means of a migration of Indus people to Central Asia after the end of their civilization". (p.224, with reference to A.A. Askarov: "Traditions et innovations dans la culture du nord de la Bactriane à l'âge du bronze",Colloque Archéologie, CNRS, Paris 1985, p.119-124) The acknowledgment of a Harappa-to-Bactria movement is well taken, but this poses a chronological problem, for the Bactrian culture was not subsequent to but contemporaneous with Harappan culture. Sergent solves the problem by pointing out that Askarov and other Soviet scholars who first dug up the sites in Margiana (eastern Turkmenistan) and Bactria, used an obsolete form of C-14 Carbon dating, and that newer methods have pushed the chronology of these sites back by centuries, making Bactrian culture contemporaneous with Harappa. (p.160)

For Sergent, this chronological correction is essential: if the Bactrian culture was that of the Indo-Aryans who brought down the Indus civilization, it is necessary that they lived there before the end of the latter. But this synchronism is equally compatible with a dim pre-Harappan kinship between the Bactrian and Harappan cultures, which were different yet partly similar, a similarity which Askarov and Sergent attribute to Harappa-to-Bactria influence (which must inevitably have existed), but which may also owe something to a common origin.

Sergent then mentions a number of similarities in material culture between the Bactrian culture and some cultures in Central Asia and in Iran proper, e.g. ceramics like those of Namazga-V (southern Turkmenistan). Some of these were loans from Elam which were being transmitted from one Iranian (in his reconstruction, Indo-Iranian) settlement to the next, e.g. the so-called "Luristan bronzes", Luristan being a Southwest-Iranian region where Elamite culture was located. Some were loans from the "neighbouring and older" (p.158) culture of Margiana: does this not indicate an east-to-west gradient for the Indo-Iranians?

Well, one effect of Sergent's chronological correction is that what seem to be influences from elsewhere on Bactrian culture, may have to be reversed: "From that point onwards, the direction of exchanges and influences gets partly reversed: a number of similarities can just as well be explained by an influence of Bactria on another region as one of another on Bactria." (p.160) Note that this fits the Iranian east-to-west expansion implicit in the Avestic data and in the first chapter of the Zoroastrian Vendidad, which puts Afghanistan in the centre of the Iranian world, with the Caspian region hardly on the horizon yet. So, even for the relation between the Bactrian culture and its neighbours, the proper northwest-to-southeast direction required by the AIT has not been demonstrated, let alone a movement all the way from the northern Caspian region to India. And if there was transmission from other cultures to Bactria (as of course there was), this does not prove that the Bactrians were colonists originating in these other cultures; they may simply have practised commerce. Conversely, if they were colonists from elsewhere, they may have been colonists originating in pre-Harappan India.

At any rate, all the sites related in material culture to the prototypical Bactrian settlement of Dashli are in present-day Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan or Iran proper, without exception regions which were Iranian at the time they made their appearance in written history, mostly in the last millennium BC. While migrations are obviously possible, this Iranian bias says something about the burden of proof. It is entirely reasonable to accept as a starting hypothesis that the Dashli settlement, like its sister settlements, was Iranian. Those who insist it was something else, should accept the burden of proving that Dashli was Indo-Aryan, that migrations took place in which the Indo-Aryans there made way for Iranians.

3.3. Bactria vs. Harappa

A new insight based on archaeology and detrimental to the stereotypical Harap-pan/Aryan opposition, is that the Harappans were not matriarchal pacifists after all, that they did have weapons and fortifications, "just like" the Aryans (see e.g. Shereen Ratnagar: Enquiries into the Political Organization of Harappan Society, Ravish Publ., Pune 1991; note that Prof. Ratnagar is a virulent critic of all Indocentric revisions of the Aryan question, as in her article "Revisionist at work: a chauvinistic inversion of the Aryan invasion theory", Frontline, 9-2-1996, an attack on Prof. N.S. Rajaram). Yet, Sergent insists that the old picture still holds good: relatively unarmed mercantile Harappans versus heavily armed Aryans preparing their invasion in Bactria. The Bactrian settlements abound in metal weaponry, and this does present a contrast with the relative paucity of weapons in Harappa. The latter was a well-ordered mercantile society, Bactria a frontier society.

This contrast actually reminds us of a contrast between Iranian and Indian in the historical period. In pre-Alexandrine Iranian royal inscriptions, we come across truly shameless expressions of pride in bloody victories, even defiantly detailing the cruel treatment meted out to the defeated kings. By contrast, in Ashoka's inscriptions, we find apologies for the bloody Kalinga war and a call for establishing peace and order. Far from being a purely Buddhist reaction against prevalent Hindu martial customs, Ashoka's relative pacifism presents a personal variation within a broader and more ancient tradition of Ahimsa, nonviolence, best expressed in some sections of the Mahabharata. Though this epic (and most explicitly its section known as the Bhagavad Gita) rejects the extremist non-violence propagated by Mahatma Gandhi and also by the wavering Arjuna before the decisive battle, Krishna's exhortation to fight comes only after every peaceful means of appeasing or reconciling the enemy has been tried, whence the Hindu dictum Ahimsa paramo dharma, "non-violence is the highest religious duty".

True, the Vedas seem to be inspired by the same martial spirit of the Iranian inscriptions, but in the Indocentric chronology, they predate the high tide of Harappan civilization, belonging to a pre-Harappan period of conquest, viz. the conquest of the northwest by the Yamuna/Saraswati-based Puru tribe. Their westward conquest was connected with a larger westward movement which included the Iranian conquest of Central Asia (later continued into the Caspian area and West Asia). By way of hypothesis, I propose that Ahimsa was a largely post-Vedic development, and that the Iranians (who had a taste of it through Zarathushtra's strictures against animal sacrifice and the like) missed its more radical phase, sticking instead to the more uncivilized glorification of victory by means of force. This would concur with the finding of a more military orientation of Bactrian culture as compared with the post-Vedic Harappan culture.

3.4. The Bactrian tripura

In the principal Bactrian site of Dashli, a circular building with three concentric walls has been found. The building was divided into a number of rooms and inside, three fireplaces on platforms were discovered along with the charred remains of sacrificed animals. In this building, its Soviet excavator Viktor Sarianidi recognized an Iranian temple, but Sergent explains why he disagrees with him. (p.161) He argues that the Vedic Aryans were as much fire-worshippers as the Iranians, and that they sacrificed animals just like the early Iranians did (prior to the establishment of Zarathushtra's reforms, and even later, cfr. the bull sacrifice in the Roman-age Mithras cult), so that the excavated fire altars could be either Indo-Aryan or Iranian.

Of course, India and Iran have a large common heritage, and many religious practices, mythical motifs and other cultural items in both were the same or closely similar. But that truism will not do to satisfy Sergent's purpose, which is to show that the Bactrian culture was not generally Indo-Iranian, and definitely not Iranian, but specifically Indo-Aryan. There is nothing decisively un-Iranian about the Dashli fire altars, and I think Sarianidi's identification of Dashli as Iranian remains undisproven.

In fact, there may well be something un-Indic and specifically Iranian about it. First of all, roundness in buildings is highly unusual in Hindu culture, which has a strong preference for square plans (even vertically, as in windows, where rectangular shapes are preferred over arches), in evidence already in the Harappan cities. Moreover, Sergent notes the similarity with a fire temple found in Togolok, Margiana. The Togolok fire altar has gained fame by yielding traces of a plant used in the Soma (Iranian: Haoma) sacrifice: laboratory analysis in Moscow showed this to be Ephedra, a stimulant still used in ephedrine and derivative products.

Asko Parpola has tried to identify the Togolok temple as Indo-Iranian and possibly proto-Vedic, citing the Soma sacrifice there as evidence: the Rg-Vedic people reproached their Dasa (Iranian) enemies for not performing rituals including the Soma ritual, so Parpola ("The coming of the Aryans to Iran and India and the cultural and ethnic identity of the Dasas", in Studia Orientalia, vol.64, Helsinki 1988, p.195-265) identifies the former with the "Haumavarga Shakas" or Soma-using Scythians mentioned in Zoroastrian texts. However, every testimony we have of the Scythians, including the Haumavarga ones in whose sites traces of the Soma ceremony have been found, is as an Iranian-speaking people. It is possible that the sedentary Iranians included all nomads in their term Shaka, even the hypothetical Vedic-Aryan nomads on their way to India, but it is not more than just possible. The use of Soma was a bone of contention within Mazdeism, with Zarathushtra apparently opposing it against its adepts who were equally Iranian. There is nothing against characterizing the Togolok fire temple as Iranian.

And even if Thomas Burrow ("The Proto-Indoaryans", Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1973, cited with approval by Sergent: Genèse de l'Inde, p.232) were right with his thesis that the Mazdean religion originated in a sustained reaction against the Indo-Aryans present in Bactria and throughout the Iranian speech area, making the non-Zoroastrian faction in Greater Iran an Indo-Aryan foreign resident group, it remains to be proven that these dissident Indo-Aryans made way for Zoroastrian hegemony in Iran by moving out, and more specifically by moving to India, somewhat like Moses taking the Israelites out of Egypt. There is neither scriptural nor archaeological evidence for such a scenario: the normal course of events would be assimilation by the dominant group, and the only emigration from Iranian territory (if it had already been iranianized) by Indo-Aryans that we know of, is the movement of the Mitannic Indo-Aryans from the southern Caspian area into Mesopotamia and even as far as Palestine.

In the Dashli building, Asko Parpola recognized a tripura such as have been described in the Vedic literature as the strongholds with three circular concentric walls of the Dasas or Asuras (Asura/Ahura worshippers), whom Parpola himself has identified elsewhere as Iranians ("The coming of the Aryans", Studia Orientalia, vol.64, p.212-215, with reference to Shatapatha Brahmana 6:3:3:24-25; and: "The problem of the Aryans and the Soma", in G. Erdosy ed.: The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, p.368 ff.). So, chances are once more that the Soma-holding fire-altars, like the tripura structures around them, in both Togolok and Dashli, were Iranian. Parpola (in Erdosy, ibid.) makes this conclusion even more compelling when he informs us that a similar building in Kutlug-Tepe "demonstrates that the tradition of building forts with three concentric walls survived in Bactria until Achaemenid times" -- when the region was undoubtedly Iranian.

Moreover, Parpola points out details in the Vedic descriptions of the tripura-holding Dasas and Asuras which neatly fit the Bactrian culture: the Rg-Veda "places the Dasa strongholds (..) in the mountainous area", which is what Afghanistan looks like to people from the Ganga-Saraswati-Indus plains; it speaks of "a hundred forts" of the Dasa, while the Vedic Aryans themselves "are never said to have anything but fire or rivers as their 'forts'. The later Vedic texts confirm this by stating that when the Asuras and Devas were fighting, the Asuras always won in the beginning, because they alone had forts. (...) The Rg-Vedic Aryans described their enemy as rich and powerful, defending their cattle, gold and wonderful treasures with sharp weapons, horses and chariots. This description fits the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex in Bactria, with its finely decorated golden cups, weapons with ornamental animal figurines including the horse, and trumpets indicative of chariot warfare." (in Erdosy, ibid.)

This may pose a chronological problem to those who consider the Rg-Veda as pre-Bronze Age, or perhaps not, e.g. Parpola notes that the term tripura was "unknown to the Rg-Veda" and only appears later, "in the Brahmana texts" (in Erdosy, p.369) which noninvasionists date to the high Harappan period, contemporaneous with the Bactrian Bronze Age culture. At any rate, it affirms in so many words that the Bactrian Bronze Age culture was Dasa or Asura, terms which Parpola ("The coming of the Aryans", Studia Orientalia, vol.64, p.224) had identified with "the carriers of the Bronze Age culture of Greater Iran". It also constitutes a challenge to those who make India the Urheimat of IE or at least of Indo-Iranian: if the presumed tripuras are a distinctly Dasa/Iranian element, identified as such in Vedic literature, and if the Vedic Aryans fought the Dasas in India, as the Rg-Vedic data indicate, should we not be able to find some tripuras in India too? Or did the Iranians only develop them after leaving India but while still waging occasional wars on the Indian border?

3.5. Were the Bactrians Indo-Aryans?

Other artefacts in Dashli have the same Iranian/Indo-Aryan ambiguity with a preference for the Iranian alternative. A vase in Dashli shows a scene with men wearing a kind of shirt leaving one shoulder uncovered. In this, Sergent recognizes the upanayana ceremony, in which a youngster is invested with the sacred shirt or thread. (p.163) But this is both a Vedic and a Zoroastrian ritual, with the latter resembling the depicted scene more closely: in India, only a thread is given, but among Zoroastrians, it is an actual shirt.

Some vases display horned snakes or dragons carrying one or more suns inside of them: according to Sergent, this refers to an Indo-Iranian dragon myth, attested in slightly greater detail in the Rg-Veda than in the Avesta (but what else would you expect, with Vedic literature being much larger, older and better preserved than the Avestan corpus?), about Indra liberating the sun by slaying the dragon Vrtra, or in the Avesta, Keresaspa killing the snake Azhi Srvara, "the horned one". (p.163-164, ref. to Rg-Veda 1:51:4, 1:54:6) The sources which drew his attention to this picture, both Soviet and French (Russian articles from the 1970s by Viktor Sarianidi and by I.S. Masimof, and Marie-Hélène Pottier: Matériel Funéraire de la Bactriane Méridionale à l'Age du Bronze, Paris 1984, p.82 ff.), are agreed that it is specifically Iranian, and we have no reason to disbelieve them. What Sergent adds is only that, like with the fire cult, it could just as well be Indo-Aryan; but that does not amount to proof of its Indo-Aryan rather than Iranian identity.

Several depictions (statuettes, seals) of a fertility goddess associated with watery themes have been found. Sergent points out that they are unrelated to Mesopotamian mythology but closely related to the "Indo-Iranian" goddess known in India as Saraswati, in Iran as Anahita. Which shall it be in this particular case, Iranian or Indian, Avestan or Vedic? Sergent himself adds that the closest written description corresponding to the visual iconography in question is found in Yasht 5 of the Avesta. (p.163)

Of course we must remain open to new interpretations and new findings. In this field, confident assertions can be overruled the same day by new discoveries. But if Sergent himself, all while advocating an Indo-Aryan interpretation of the known Bactrian findings, is giving us so many hints that their identity is uncertain at best, and otherwise more likely Iranian than Indo-Aryan, we have reason to believe in the Iranian identification established by other researchers. On the strength of the data he offers, the safest bet is that the Bactrian Bronze Age culture was the centre of Iranian culture.

This happens to agree with the evidence of Zoroastrian scripture, which has dialectal features pointing to the northeast of the historical Iranian linguistic space, meaning Bactria, and which specifically locates Zarathushtra in Bahlika/Balkh, a town in northern Afghanistan. It tallies with the list of regions in the opening chapter of the Vendidad, corresponding to Bactria, Sogdia, Pamir, Margiana, southern Afghanistan and northwestern India (Hapta Hendu, the Vedic Sapta Sindhavah), which happens to put Balkh near the geographical centre. Iran proper was iranianized only well after Zarathushtra's preaching. As Sergent notes, in ca. 1900 BC, the Namazga culture in Turkmenistan changes considerably taking in the influence of the then fast-expanding Bactria-Margiana culture (p.179): I read that as the Iranian expansion from their historical heartland westward into the south-Caspian area. From there, but again only after a few more centuries, they were to colonize Kurdistan/Media and Fars/Persia, where their kingdoms were to flourish into far-flung empires in the 1st millennium BC.

It is only logical that the dominant religious tradition in a civilization is the one developed in its demographic and cultural metropolis: the Veda in the Saraswati basin, the Avesta in the Oxus basin, i.e. Bactria. That Bactria did have the status of a metropolis is suggested by Sergent's own description of its Bronze Age culture as "one of the most brilliant in Asia". Though provincial compared with Harappa, it was a worthy metropolis to the somewhat less polished Iranian civilization.

3.6. Clarions of the Aryan invaders

Another distinctively Aryan innovation attested in Dashli was the trumpet: "Bactria has yielded a number of trumpets; some others had been found earlier in Tepe Hissar and Astrabad (northeastern Iran); Roman Ghirshman proposed to connect these instruments with the use of the horse, with the Iranian cavalry manoeuvring to the sound of the clarion. (...) In ancient India, the trumpet is not mentioned in the written sources". (p.162) Would it not be logical if the same type of cavalry manoeuvres had yielded the Aryans both Iran and India? In that case, we should have encountered some references to clarions in the Vedas. But no, as per Sergent's own reading, the Rg-Veda, supposedly the record of Aryan settlement in India, knows nothing of trumpets; though post-Harappan depictions of riders with trumpets are known.

All this falls into place if we follow the chronology given by K.D. Sethna and other Indian dissidents: the Rg-Veda was not younger but older than the Bronze Age and the heyday of Harappa. So, the trumpet was invented in the intervening period, say 2,500 BC, and then used in the subsequent Iranian conquest of Bactria, Margiana and Iran.

The comparatively recent migration into Iran of the Iranians, who supposedly covered the short distance from the Volga mouth to Iran in the 3rd or 2nd millennium BC (losing the wayward Indo-Aryans along the way), has not been mapped archaeologically, in contrast with the successive Kurgan expansion waves into Europe. Jean Haudry reports optimistically: "Since the late 3rd millennium BC, an undecorated black pottery appears in Tepe Hissar (Turkmenistan), together with violin-shaped female idols and esp. with bronze weapons, the horse and the war chariots, and -- a detail of which R. Ghirshman has demonstrated the importance -- the clarion, indispensible instrument for collective chariot maneuvers. We can follow them from a distance on their way to the south." (J. Haudry: Les Indo-Européens, p.118, with reference to R. Ghirshman: L'Iran et les Migrations des Indo-Aryans et des Iraniens, 1977) But this is not necessarily the entry of "the" Iranians into Iran, and if it is, it need not have the Kurgan area as its starting-point.

In the account of Roman Ghirshman and Jean Haudry, the proto-Iranians with their clarions travelled "to the south". Rather than Indo-Iranians on their way from South Russia to Iran and partly to India, these may just as well be the Iranians on their way from Bactria (and ultimately from India), via the Aral Lake area, to Iran and Mesopotamia. Indeed, viewed from Iran, entrants from Russia and from India would arrive through the same route, viz. from the Aral Lake southward. A look at the map suffices to show this: rather than go in a straight line across the mountains, substantial groups of migrants would follow the far more hospitable route through the fertile Oxus valley to the Aral Lake area, and then proceed south from there.

Even in Bernard Sergent's erudite book, I have not found any data which compel us to accept that a particular culture can be identified with the very first Indo-Iranian wave of migrants; Central Asia was criss-crossed for millennia by variegated Iranian-speaking tribes. Nonetheless, Haudry's clarion-wielders of "the late 3rd millennium BC" and Sergent's occupiers of Namazga "in ca. 1900 BC" may of course be the first Iranian intruders into Turkmenistan and Persia, but that would serve the Indocentric theory even better, for Sergent's data show that these intruders came from Bactria, not from Russia.

3.7. Bactrian invasion in India

Thus far, the archaeological argument advanced by some scholars in favour of an Aryan invasion into India has not been very convincing. Consider e.g. this circular reasoning by Prof. Romila Thapar ("The Perennial Aryans", Seminar, December 1992): "In Haryana and the western Ganga plain, there was an earlier Ochre Colour Pottery going back to about 1500 BC or some elements of the Chalcolithic cultures using Black-and-Red Ware. Later in about 800 BC there evolved the Painted Grey Ware culture. The geographical focus of this culture seems to be the Doab, although the pottery is widely distributed across northern Rajasthan, Panjab, Haryana and western U.P. None of these post-Harappan cultures, identifiable by their pottery, are found beyond the Indus. Yet this would be expected if 'the Aryans' were a people indigenous to India with some diffusion to Iran, and if the attempt was to find archaeological correlates for the affinities between Old Indo-Aryan and Old Avestan."

Firstly, if no common pottery type is found in Iran and India in 1500-800 BC, and if this counts as proof that no migration from India to Iran took place, then it also proves that no migration from Iran to India took place. In particular, the PGW, long identified with the Indo-Aryans, cannot be traced to Central Asia; if it belonged to Aryans, then not to Aryan invaders. So, if substantiated, Prof. Thapar's statement is actually an argument against an Aryan invasion in ca. 1500 BC. Secondly, if the absence of migration in either direction in the period from 1500 BC onwards is really proven, this evidence remains compatible with an Indo-European emigration from India in another time bracket, say between 6000 and 2000 BC.

In spite of the impression created in popular literature, archaeology has by no means demonstrated that there was an Aryan immigration into India. Even the new levels in accuracy do not affect the following status quaestionis of the Aryan Invasion theory: "The question of Indo-European migrations into the subcontinent of India can, at best, be described as enigmatic." (David G. Zanotti: "Another Aspect of the Indo-European Question", Journal of Indo-European Studies, 1975/3, p.260) Thus, among those who assume the Aryan Invasion, there is no consensus on when it took place, and some AIT archaeologists alter the chronology so much that the theory comes to mean the opposite of what it is usually believed to mean, viz. an affirmation of Aryan dominance in Harappa rather than an Aryan destruction of Harappa: "[This] episode of elite dominance which brought the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family to India (...) may have been as early as the floruit of the Indus civilization (...)" (C. Renfrew: "Before Babel", Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 1, p.14)

Enter Bernard Sergent. He builds on a corpus of findings (some of them already used by Asko Parpola) pertaining to the apparent entry of elements from the Bactrian Bronze Age culture into late- and post-Harappan northwestern India. He also offers a theory of how these Bactrians may have caused the downfall of the Harappan civilization, parallel with the contemporaneous crisis in civilizations in Central and West Asia.

Civilization and urbanization are closely related to commerce, exchange, colonization of mining areas, and other socio-economic processes which presuppose communications and transport. When communication and transport cease, we see cultures suffer decline, e.g. the Tasmanian aboriginals, living in splendid isolation for thousands of years, had lost many of the skills which mankind had developed in the Stone Age, including the art of making fire. One of the reasons why the Eurasian continent won out against Africa and the Americas in the march of progress, was the fairly easy and well-developed contact routes between the different civilizations of Europe, Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China. So, one can force decline on a culture by cutting off its trade routes, a tactic routinely used for short periods (hence only with limited long-term effect) in wartime, but which seems to have troubled the ancient civilizations in ca. 2000 BC with devastating effect for several centuries. It was in reaction to this destabilization of international trade links that the civilizational centres started building empires by the mid-2nd millennium, e.g. the Kassite empire in Mesopotamia where there had only been city-states (Ur, Uruk, Isin, Larsa, etc.) prior to the great crisis.

Or so Sergent says. Dismissing the thesis of a climatological crisis (though such a crisis would by itself already trigger an economic crisis even in the areas not directly affected climatologically), he argues that only an economic crisis can explain the simultaneous decline of cities in widely different locations, some near rivers and some on hills, some in densely populated agglomerations and some overlooking thinly populated steppes or mountain areas, some in hot and some in colder areas. The ones to blame are -- who else? -- the Aryans. They, and "specifically Indo-Aryans" (p.198-99), played a role in the Hurrian and Kassite invasions disrupting Mesopotamia (while the IE or non-IE identity of the Guti and Lullubi invaders remains unknown, though attempts are made to link the Guti with the Tocharians); and from Bactria, they by themselves disrupted the economy of the Indus-Saraswati civilization.

They didn't physically destroy the Harappan cities, as Mortimer Wheeler and others of his generation thought: "No trace of destruction has been observed in these cities." (p.201) But by creating insecurity for the travelling traders, they bled and suffocated the economy which made city life possible, and thus forced the Harappans to abandon their cities and return to a pre-urban lifestyle. The declining and fragmented Harappan country and society then fell an easy prey to the Indo-Aryan invaders from Bactria.

This scenario has been attested in writing in the case of Mesopotamia. Sergent quotes other experts to the effect that "from ca. 2230 BC, (...) the Guti had cut off the roads, ruined the countryside, set the cities on fire" (p.199, quoting Paul Garelli: Le Proche-Orient Asiatique, PUF, Paris 1969, p.89-93), that the Assyrian trade system was disrupted by the Mitannic people, etc. But is there similar evidence for the Indus-Saraswati civilization?

Sergent cites findings that in the final stage of Mohenjo Daro, we see the large mansions of the rich subdivided into small apartments for the poor, the water supply system neglected, the roads and houses no longer following the plan. (p.200) This certainly marks a decline, the rich losing their power and the powerful losing their control and resources. Same story in Harappa, Chanhu Daro, Kalibangan, Lothal: a great loss of quality in architecture and organization in the last phase. Moreover, all traces of long-distance trade disappear (just as in Mesopotamia, all signs of commerce with "Meluhha"/Sindh disappear by 2000 BC), and trade is the basis of city life. So, "these cities didn't need to be destroyed: they had lost their reason for existing, and were vacated". (p.201) But that doesn't bring any Indo-Aryan invasion into the picture. Indeed, it is perfectly compatible with a hypothesis of Iranian Bactrians disrupting a Harappan economy manned by Indo-Aryans.

3.8. Aryan invader settlements in India

To Bernard Sergent, the "strategic" key to the Aryan invasion puzzle has been provided by the discovery, by a French team in 1968, of the post-Harappan town of Pirak, near the Bolan pass and near Mehrgarh in Baluchistan. Pirak was a new settlement dating back only to the 18th century BC. Culturally it was closely related to the societies to its north and west, especially Bactria. Sergent sums up a long list of precise material items which Pirak had in common with those non-Indian regions. (p.219 ff.) So, this was a settlement of foreign newcomers bringing some foreign culture with them.

Sergent will certainly convince many readers by asserting that in Pirak, "the horse makes its appearance in India, both through bones and in figurines", and this "connotes without any possible doubt the arrival in India of the first Indo-European-speaking populations". (p.221) That depends entirely on how much we make of the limited but real evidence of horses in the Harappan civilization. Note moreover that while the horse was important to the Indo-Aryans, the Bactrian two-humped camel was not; but in Pirak, both camel and horse are conspicuous, both in skeletal remains and in depictions.

If the Bactrian culture and those to its west were Iranian-speaking, which is likely, then Pirak is simply an Iranian settlement in an Indian border region, a southward extension of the Bactrian culture. Indo-Iranian borders have been fluctuating for millennia, while different groups of Iranians down to Nadir Shah have again and again tried to invade India, so the Iranian intrusion in Pirak (which may have ended up assimilated into its Indo-Aryan environment) need not be the momentous historical breakthrough which it is to Sergent. It would only be that if it can be shown that the Pirak innovations are repeated in many North-Indian sites in the subsequent centuries, where we know that the dominant culture was Indo-Aryan.

A related culture is the Cemetery H culture on the outskirts of Harappa itself. Sergent offers a detail which is distinctly non-Vedic and Mazdean (Zoroastrian): "The dead, represented by unconnected skulls and bones, were placed, after exposure, in big jars". (p.224; emphasis added) Exposure to birds and insects is still the first stage in the Zoroastrian disposal of the dead. Sergent also reports that the influence of the native Harappan civilization is much greater here than in Pirak. So, as the Iranian invaders moved deeper inland, across the Indus, they soon lost their distinctiveness. Considering that Afghan dynasties have ruled parts of India as far east as Bengal, using Persian and building in a West-Asian style, this post-Harappan Iranian intrusion as far as the Indus riverside is not that impressive.

Indeed, from the Indus eastwards, we lose track of this Bactrian invasion. Sergent himself admits as much: "For the sequel, archaeology offers little help. The diggings in India for the 2nd millennium BC reveal a large number of regional cultures, generally rather poor, and to decree what within them represents the Indo-Aryan or the indigenous contribution would be arbitrary. If Pirak (...) represents the start of Indian culture, there is in the present state of Indian archaeology no 'post-Pirak' except at Pirak itself, which lasted till the 7th century BC: the site remained, along with a few very nearby ones, isolated." (p.246-247) So, the Bactrian invaders who arrived through the Bolan pass and established themselves in and around the border town of Pirak, never crossed the Indus, and never made their mark on India the way the Indo-Aryans did.

This confirms the statement by the American archaeologist Jim Shaffer that "no material culture is found to move from west to east across the Indus" (personal communication, 1996), or more academically, that the demographic eastward shift of the Harappan population during the decline of their cities, i.e. an intra-Indian movement from Indus and Saraswati to Ganga, "is the only archaeologically documented west-to-east movement of human populations in South Asia before the first half of the first millennium BC", while the archaeological record shows "no significant discontinuities" for the period when the Aryan invasion should have made its mark. (Jim Shaffer and Diane Lichtenstein: "The concepts of 'cultural tradition' and 'palaeoethnicity' in South-Asian archaeology", in G. Erdosy, ed.: The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, p.139-140)

The Pirak people were not the Vedic Aryans conquering India. The Aryan invasion of India has somehow gone missing from the archaeological record, and this is admitted by Sergent himself in the very section containing his decisive piece of evidence for the Aryan Invasion Theory.

3.9. Scriptural evidence

To fortify his reconstruction of the Aryan invasion, Bernard Sergent repeats some well-known scriptural references. Indian authors are right in pointing out that this is systematically the weakest part in AIT argumentations, as the knowledge of Vedic literature among Western scholars is either too limited or too distorted by AIT presuppositions. Sergent's arguments at this point repeat well-known claims about the contents of the Vedas. Thus, the Rg-Veda was written by foreigners because it doesn't know the tiger nor rice nor "the domesticated elephant which existed in the Harappan Indus culture". (p.241)

As for the tiger, it is often said that India was divided in a lion zone in the west and a tiger zone in the rest. This image persists in the symbolism of the civil war in Sri Lanka: the Sinhalese, originating in Gujarat (where lions exist even today), have the lion as their symbol, while the separatists among the Tamils, originating in southeastern India, call themselves the Tigers. However, to judge from the Harappan seal imagery, tigers did originally exist in the Saraswati and Indus basins as well, overlapping with the lion zone. As Sir Monier Monier-Williams (Sanskrit-English Dictionary, p.1036, entry vyâghra) notes, in the Atharva-Veda, "vyâghra/tiger is often mentioned together with the lion". It is simply impossible that the Rg-Vedic seers, even if they were unfamiliar with the Ganga basin (quod non), had never heard of tigers.

As for the domesticated elephant, if it was known in Harappa, does anyone seriously suggest that it was not known in the same area in subsequent centuries by the Vedic Aryans?

While regression in knowledge and technology does sometimes happen, there is no reason whatsoever why people who could domesticate elephants would have lost this useful skill, which is not dependent on foreign trade or urbanization, when the Harappan cities declined. Isn't the mention of how "the people deck him like a docile king of elephants" (Rg-Veda 9:57:3, thus translated by Ralph Griffith: Hymns of the Rg-Veda, p.488) a reference to the Hindu custom of taking adorned domesticated elephants in pageants?

Rice, according to Sergent himself, made its appearance in the Indus basin in the late Harappan period, and was known to the Bactrian invaders in Pirak. (p.230) He identifies those Bactrian invaders as the Vedic Aryans, so why haven't they mentioned rice in their Rg-Veda? One simple answer would be that the Rg-Veda is pre-Harappan, composed at a time when rice was not yet cultivated in northwestern India. This chronological correction solves a lot of similar arguments from silence. Thus, there was cotton in Harappa and after, but no cotton in the Rg-Veda. Bronze swords were used aplenty in the Bactrian culture and in Pirak, but are not mentioned in the Rg-Veda; a short knife can be made from soft metals like gold or copper, but a sword requires advanced bronze or iron metallurgy. (Ralph Griffith uses "sword" twice in his translation The Hymns of the Rg-Veda, p.25, verse 1:37:2, and p.544, verse 10:20:6, both already in the younger part of the Rg-Veda, but in the index on p.702 he corrects himself, specifying that "knife" or "dagger" would be more appropriate.) Likewise, the core stories of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the ones most likely to stay close to the original versions even in their material details (unlike the many sideshows woven into these epics, often narrating much more recent events), feature only primitive pre-Bronze Age weapons: Rama's bow and arrow, Hanuman's club.

Camels were part of the Bactrian culture and its Pirak offshoot, but are not mentioned in the Rg-Veda except for its rather late 8th book, which mentions Bactrian fauna, possibly in the period when the early Harappans were setting up mining colonies like Shortugai. It all falls into place when the Rg-Veda is considered as pre-Harappan. Incidentally, the late appearance of Afghan fauna in the Rg-Veda contradicts an Afghanistan-to-India itinerary, and argues in favour of an India-to-Afghanistan movement during the Rg-Vedic period.

For a very different type of scriptural evidence, Sergent sees a synchronism between the archaeologically attested settlement of Pirak and the beginning of the Puranic chronology, which in his view goes back to the 17th century BC, in "remarkable coincidence" with the florescence of Pirak. (p.223) Reference is in fact to Kalhana's Rajatarangini, which starts a dynastic lists of kings of Kashmir in 1882, i.e. the early 19th century BC. But if Kalhana can be a valid reference, what about Kalhana's dating the Mahabharata war to the 25th century BC? If Puranic history is any criterion, Sergent should realize that its lists of Aryan kings for other parts of India than Kashmir go way beyond 2,000 BC.

Another classic scriptural reference concerns everything relating to the enemies of the Vedic Aryans, such as the "aboriginal" Dasas. Very aptly, Sergent identifies the Dasas and the Panis as Iranian, and the Pakthas (one of the tribes confronting the Vedic king Sudas in the Battle of the Ten Kings) as the Iranian Pathans. (p.241-244) He specifically rejects the common belief that the Dasas were black-skinned, in spite of their occasional description as "black-covered" or "from a black womb", pointing out that even the fair-haired and white-skinned Vikings were called the "black foreigners" by the Irish, with "black" purely used as a metaphor for "evil". (This is even the case in some African languages, for there is no relation between colour symbolism and skin colour: white is the sacred colour to dark-skinned Indian tribals, while black is auspicious to the whitish Japanese, who consider white as the colour of mourning, just as Sanskritic Hindus do.)

Yet, Sergent doesn't identify the said Iranian tribes with the Bronze Age Bactrians, arguing that in Alexander's time, Greek authors locate the Parnoi and Dahai just south of the Aral Lake. But that was almost two thousand years after the heyday of the Bactrian Bronze Age culture and arguably even longer after the Rg-Veda. The only mystery is that these ethnonyms managed to survive that long, not that during those long centuries, they could migrate a few hundred miles to the northwest -- centuries during which we know for fact that the Iranians expanded westward from their Bactrian heartland across rivers and mountains to settle as far west as Mesopotamia.

Moreover, the Vedas locate the confrontations in the prolonged hostility between IndoAryans and Iranians not on the Saraswati (which could in theory be identified as the homonymous Harahvaiti/Helmand in Afghanistan) (p.242), but on the riverside of the Parush-ni/Ravi and other Panjab rivers, unambiguously in India. This is only logical if the Vedic Aryans were based in the Saraswati basin and their Iranian enemies were based in an area to their west near the Khyber pass: they confronted halfway in Panjab. So not only did these Iranian tribes (Dahai, Parnoi) move from Bactria to the Aral Lake area in 2000-300 BC, but they had started moving northwestward centuries earlier, in the Rg-Vedic period, in Panjab.

With every invasionist attempting to strengthen his case by appealing to the testimony of Hindu scripture, the collective failure becomes more glaring.

3.10. Comparison with archaeological reconstruction in Europe

The westward expansion of the Kurgan culture has been mapped with some degree of accuracy: "If an archaeologist is set the problem of examining the archaeological record for a cultural horizon that is both suitably early and of reasonable uniformity to postulate as the common prehistoric ancestor of the later Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, and possibly some of the Indo-European languages of Italy, then the history of research indicates that the candidate will normally be the Corded Ware culture. At about 3200-2300 BC this Corded Ware horizon is sufficiently early to predate the emergence of any of the specific proto-languages. In addition, it is universally accepted as the common component if not the very basis of the later Bronze Age cultures that are specifically identified with the different proto-languages. Furthermore, its geographical distribution from Holland and Switzerland on the west across northern and central Europe to the upper Volga and middle Dniepr encompasses all those areas which [have been] assigned as the 'homelands' of these European proto-languages."

(J.P. Mallory: In Search of the Indo-Europeans, Hudson & Hudson, London 1989, p.108)

This is a very important insight for understanding the large common (partly pre-IE substratal) element in the European IE languages, distinguishing them collectively from Anatolian, Tocharian and Indo-Iranian: "The study of the lexicon of the Northern European languages, especially Germanic and Baltic, reveals that a large number of terms relevant to the ecology of the habitat of the early populations of the area and to their socio-economic activities have no plausible Indo-European etymology. (...) it is possible to ascribe to the pre-Indo-European substrate in the Baltic area a number of names of plants, animals, objects and activities characteristic of the Neolithic cultures." (Edgar C. Polomé: "The Indo-Europeanization of Northern Europe: the Linguistic Evidence", Journal of Indo-European Studies, fall 1990, p.331-337) Many of these terms also extend to Celtic, Slavic and sometimes Italic and Greek.

Examples include the words barley, Russian bor ("millet"), Latin far ("spelt"); Irish tuath, Gothic thiuda, "people", whence the ethnic names Dutch/Deutsch; German wahr, Latin verus, Old Irish fir, "true"; Latin granum, Dutch koren, English grain and corn; Lithuanian puodas, Germanic fata, whence Dutch vat, "vessel"; Dutch delven, "dig", Old Prussian (Baltic) dalptan, "piercing-tool"; Old Irish land, Old Prussian lindan, Germanic land; Latin alnus (<alisnos), Dutch els, Lithuanian elksnis, "alder", also related to Greek aliza, "white poplar"; Dutch smaak, "taste", Gothic smakka, "fig, tasty fruit", Lithuanian smaguricu, "sweet, treat"; from an ancient form *londhwos, Dutch lenden, Latin lumbus, "waist". Likewise, the Germanic words fish, apple, oak, beech, whale, goat, elm, (n)adder have counterparts in other European languages, e.g. Latin piscis, Old Irish aball, Greek aig-ilops or krat-aigos (possibly related to Berber iksir, Basque eskur, as suggested by Xavier Delamarre: Le Vocabulaire Indo-Européen, Maisonneuve, Paris 1984, p.167), Latin fagus, squalus, haedus, ulmus, natrix; but they have no attested counterparts in the Asian IE languages. Archaeology and linguistics reinforce each other in indicating the existence of a second centre of IE dispersal in the heart of Europe, the Corded Ware culture of ca. 3000 BC, whence most European branches of IE parted for their historical habitats.

Even earlier demographic and cultural movements have been mapped with promising accuracy. The sudden apparition of full-fledged Neolithic culture in the Low Countries in about 5,100 BC can clearly be traced to a gradual expansion of the agricultural civilization through Hungary (5700) and southern Germany (5350 BC), from the Balkans and ultimately from Anatolia. (Pierre Bonenfant & Paul-Louis van Berg: "De eerste bewoners van het toekomstige 'België': een etnische overrompeling", in Anne Morelli ed.: Geschiedenis van het eigen volk, Kritak, Leuven 1993, p.28) It is this gradual spread of agriculture and its concomitant changes in life-style (houses, tools, ceramics, domesticated animals) which the leading archaeologist Colin Renfrew has rashly identified as the indo-europeanization of Europe, but which Marija Gimbutas and many others would consider as the spread of the pre-IE "Old European" culture.

It remains possible that in some outlying regions, the early Indo-Europeans arrived on the scene in time to capture this movement of expanding agriculture, but it did not originate with them, because Anatolia and the Balkans were demonstrably not the IE Urheimat. On the contrary, in the northeastern Mediterranean, the presence of pre-IE elements in the historically attested IE cultures and languages (Greek, Hittite) is very strong, indicating that the Indo-Europeans had to subdue a numerous and self-confident, culturally advanced population. It is this Old European people, known through towns like Catal Hüyük and Vinca, which gradually spread to the northwest and civilized most of Europe before its indo-europeanization.

So, that's archaeology in action. After the wave of agriculture spreading to the farthest corners from the southeast in the 7th-4th millennium BC (linguistically unidentified), the wave of the horse-riding late-Kurganites has been identified as bringing the IE languages. There is as yet no parallel map of a Kurgan-to-India migration. Thus, the material relation between the Andronovo culture in Kazakhstan (often considered as the Indo-Iranians freshly emigrated from the Kurgan area) and the Bactria-Margiana culture (presumed to be the Indo-Aryans and the Iranians on their way to India and Iran) has been established only vaguely, certainly not well enough to claim that the latter was an offshoot of the former (which would support the AIT). As we saw, even tracing a migration from Bactria across the Indus has not succeeded so far.

But then, neither has a reverse migration been mapped archaeologically. If the Bactrian Bronze Age culture was Iranian and the Iranians had earlier been defeated in India, where is the archaeological trail of the Iranians from India to Bactria? And earlier, where is the evidence of Proto-Indo-Europeans on their way from India to the Kurgan area? Those who consider India as the Urheimat of IE should suspend their current triumphalism and take up the challenge.

3.11. Indo-Aryans in West Asia

Another challenge to the Indocentric school has been thrown by Bernard Sergent without his realizing it. On p.206 ff., he adds some new data about the large IE and specifically Indo-Aryan presence in West Asia: Indo-Aryan names are quite common in Syria and Palestine in the 15th-13th century BC, e.g. the Palestian town of Sichem was ruled by one Birishena, i.e. Vira-sena, "the one who has an army of heroes", and Qiltu near Jerusalem was ruled by one Suar-data, i.e. "gift of Heaven"; to Sergent, this also proves that the Indo-Aryans maintained a separate existence after and outside the Mitannic kingdom until at least the 13th century BC.

A fairly serious problem for the non-invasionists in this regard concerns the term Asura: in the Rg-Veda a word for "god" (cfr. Germanic Ase, Aesir), in later Vedic literature a word for "demon", obviously parallel and causally related with the Iranian preference for Asura/Ahura as against the demonized Deva/Daeva, the remaining Hindu term for "god". On p.211 and p.280, Sergent makes the very popular mistake of seeing "the Asuras" as a separate class of gods next to "the Devas". In fact, the distinction and opposition between them is a late-Vedic development connected with the Irano-Indian (or Mazdeic-Vedic) conflict. In the Rg-Veda, Deva and Asura are not two tribes of gods; they are as synonymous as "God" and "Lord" are in Christian parlance.

That state of affairs seems to persist in the Indo-Aryan diaspora in West Asia of the 2nd millennium BC, i.e. long after the completion of the Rg-Veda in the non-invasionist chronology.

Sergent has found quite a few personal names with Asura in West Asia, e.g. the Mitannic general Kart-ashura, the name Biry-ashura attested in Nuzi and Ugarit, in Nuzi also the names Kalm-ashura and Sim-ashura, the Cilician king Shun-ashura, while in Alalakh (Syria), two people were called Ashura and Ashur-atti. (p.210) He explicitly deduces a synchronism between early Vedic and Mitannic-Kassite, which tallies splendidly with the AIT chronology. But in that case, the problem which I am drawing attention to, disappears: of course the West-Asian Indo-Aryans practised a form of the Vedic religion consistent with the early Vedic data, because theirs was the early Vedic age. And that is why Sergent doesn't see the problem which arises when the wild non-invasionist chronology is accepted: if two millennia have passed between the Rg-Vedic seers and the said testimony of an Indo-Aryan presence in West Asia, how is it possible that these West-Asian Indo-Aryans have missed the late-Vedic developments which turned the revered Asuras into demons?

At present, this problem for the non-invasionists can only be solved at the level of hypothesis. It is perfectly possible, even if not yet attested archaeologically or literarily, that along with the Iranians, a purely Indo-Aryan-speaking group emigrated from India in the Rg-Vedic period to seek its fortune in the Far West. Perhaps it is from them that Uralic speakers borrowed the term Asura, "lord", along with Sapta, "seven, week", Sasar, "sister", and a few other Indo-Aryan words. Some of these Indo-Aryans, organized as bands of warrior, engineered the conquests of their Mitannic and Kassite host populations. Considering that Vedic names are still given to Hindu children today, thousands of years after Vedic Sanskrit went out of daily use, and often in communities which speak a non-Indo-Aryan language, it is conceivable that the Indo-Aryans in West Asia managed to preserve their Vedic tradition from the time of their emigration from India during the Vedic age until the mid-2nd millennium BC. And if so, they had to preserve it in the form it had at the time of their emigration, i.c. complete with the veneration for Asura, the Lord.

A related problem concerns the Kassites, who were also Indo-Aryan to a extent. Non-in-vasionists have made much of the presence of Sanskrit names in the Kassite dynasty in Babylon. However, we have information from Semitic Mesopotamians about the Kassite language, and it was not Indo-Aryan. A number of known Kassite words are apparently unrelated to any known language, e.g. mashu, "god"; yanzi, "king"; saribu, "foot". They also seem to have a formation of the plural unknown in IE, viz. with an infix, e.g. sirpi, sirpami, "brown one(s)", or minzir, minzamur, "dotted one(s)". (Wilfred van Soldt: "Het Kassitisch", Phoenix, Leiden 1998, p.90-93) Assuming that the language described as "Kassite" and located by the Babylonian sources in the hills east of Mesopotamia was indeed the language of the Kassite dynasty (for language names sometimes change referent), does this not refute the Indian connection of the Kassites?

No: this state of affairs suggests a third scenario, viz. that a non-IE population in Iran used Sanskrit names referring to Vedic gods. This would be the same situation as in the Dravidian provinces: a non-IE-speaking population maintains its own language but adopts Sanskritic lore and nomenclature. It would mean that Vedic culture had spread as much to the west as we know it has spread to the east and south, and that a part of western Iran (well before its iranianization) was as much part of Greater India as Kerala or Bali became in later centuries.

4. Linguistic arguments

4.1. East-Asian influences

Bernard Sergent traces practically all Indian language families to foreign origins. He confirms the East-Asian origins of both the Tibeto-Burmese languages (Lepcha, Naga, Mizo etc.) and the Austro-Asiatic languages (Santal, Munda, Khasi etc.). Though many tribals in central and southern India are the biological progeny of India's oldest human inhabitants, their adopted languages are all of foreign origin. To Sergent, this is true of not only Austro-Asiatic and Indo-Aryan, but also of Dravidian.

The Himalayan branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family, distinct from Tibetan, already has a very long but inconspicuous presence in northern India. Originating in China, this group of now very small languages once embraced parts of the northern plains. Of greater historical importance is the Austro-Asiatic family, which Sergent describes as once the predominant one in a continuous area from central India to Vietnam, but now reduced to a series of pockets in between the riverine population centres dominated by the immigrant Thai and Tibeto-Burmese languages (originating in China) and in India by the Indo-Aryan languages.

Sergent is merely following in others' footsteps when he assumes that mayura, "peacock", gaja, "elephant", karpasa, "cotton", and other Sanskrit fauna or flora terms are loans from Austro-Asiatic. (p.370) In most such cases, the only ground for this assumption is that similar-sounding words exist in the Munda languages of Chotanagpur, languages which have not been committed to writing before the 19th century. Chances are that in the intervening millennia, when these words were attested in Sanskrit but not necessarily in Munda, they were borrowed from Indo-Aryan ino Munda, or from an extinct language into both. At any rate, the hypothesis of an Austro-Asiatic origin should only be accepted in case the term is also attested in non-Indian branches such as Khmer.

The alleged loans only start appearing in the 10th and youngest book of the Rg-Veda and really break through in the Brahmanas. Sergent follows the classical interpretation, viz. that this shows how the Vedic Aryans gradually moved east, encountering the Austro-Asiatic speakers in the Ganga basin. While I am not convinced of the existence of more than a few Munda terms in Sanskrit (more in the adjoining Indo-Aryans Prakrits: Hindi, Bengali, Oriya), I would agree that there are other Munda influences, notably in mythology, as we shall discuss separately. Non-invasionists will have to account for this Munda contribution.

Here too, I suggest that chronology is all-important. It is quite possible that Munda had not arrived in India at the time of the Rg-Veda. When the Harappans migrated eastward (as demographically expansive populations do), or when the post-Harappans fled eastward from the disaster area which the Indus-Saraswati basin had become, the Munda-speaking people they encountered in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar may have been recent immigrants from the agricultural civilization of what is now Thailand and southwestern China. All the same, it remains possible that for local flora and fauna, the Indo-Aryans did adopt some Munda terminology.

Broadly, the Austro-Asiatic expansion can be compared with the gradual spread of the Old European Neolithic from Anatolia and the Balkans to the far corners of Europe, and with the spread of India's Northwestern Neolithic to the rest of the subcontinent. In that case, the Munda-speaking farmers in the eastern Ganga basin must have assimilated into the Indo-Aryan population, with only the peripheral populations in the hills retaining their imported languages. This Munda contribution is by no means incompatible with a native status of IE.

4.2. Is Dravidian native to India?

In one of his most innovative chapters, Sergent reviews all the evidence of Dravido-African and Dravido-Uralic kinship. In African languages spoken in the entire Sahel belt, from Sudan to Senegal, numerous semantic and grammatical elements are found which also exist in Dravidian. The similarity with the Uralic languages (Finnish, Hungarian, Samoyedic) is equally pronounced. Sergent offers the hypothesis that at the dawn of the Neolithic Revolution, some 10,000 years ago, the Dravidians left the Sudan, one band splitting off in Iran to head north to the Urals, the others entering India and moving south.

Within this scenario of a Dravidian immigration, it is tempting to speculate that upon entering India, the Dravidians first of all founded the Indus civilization. Surprisingly, Sergent rejects this otherwise popular hypothesis, on the impeccably rational ground that there is no evidence for it. Thus, except in coastal Sindh and Gujarat, geographical terms in the Indus-Saraswati area are never of Dravidian origin. There is also no continuity in material culture between Harappan culture and the oldest known Dravidian settlements.

True to scholarly norms, Sergent pleads for a provisional acceptance of our ignorance about the identity of the Harappans. However, as a concession to impatient readers who insist on having some theory at least, he gives one or two very slender indications that the Burushos (who preserve their Burushaski language till today in Hunza, Pak-Occupied Kashmir) may have played a role in it. (p.138) However, he finds no Burushaski lexical influence on Indo-Aryan except possibly the word sinda, "river", connected in one direction or the other with Sanskrit Sindhu, "river, Indus", not otherwise attested in IE. (Remark that the Iranian name Hindu for "Indus", hence also for "India", indicates that the Iranians have lived near the Indus. If they had not, then Sindhu would have been a foreign term which they would have left intact, just as they kept the Elamite city name Susa intact rather than evolving it to Huha or something like that; but because Sindhu was part of their own vocabulary, it followed the evolution of Iranian phonetics to become Hindu.)

Sergent is also skeptical of David MacAlpin's thesis of an "Elamo-Dravidian" language family: what isoglosses there are between Elamite and Dravidian can be explained sufficiently through contact rather than common origin.

Like many others, Sergent suggests that the early Dravidians can be equated with the "southern Neolithic" of 2500-1600 BC. Their round huts with wooden framework are the direct precursors of contemporary rural Dravidian housing. Two types of Hindu vessel have been discovered in southern Neolithic sites, including a beaked copper recipient still used in Vedic fire ceremonies. (p.48, with reference to Bridget and Raymond Allchin and to Dharma Pal Agrawal) Though the prehistory of the southern Neolithic is difficult to trace, it can be stated with confidence that the best candidate is the Northwestern Neolithic, which started in Mehrgarh in the 8th millennium BC. It is, by contrast, very unlikely that it originated as an outpost of the Southeast-Asian Neolithic, which expanded into India at a rather late date, bringing the Austro-Asiatic languages. According to Sergent, a link with the mature Harappan civilization is equally unlikely: neither in material culture nor in physical type is such a link indicated by the evidence. The Dravidians were certainly already in the Deccan when the mature Harappan civilization started. Sergent suggests that the Dravidians formed a pre-Harappan population in Sindh and Gujarat, and that they were overwhelmed and assimilated, not by the invading Aryans, but by the mature-Harappan population. (p.52)

The picture which emerges is that of a multi-lingual Indus-Saraswati civilization with Dravidian as the minor partner (possibly preserved or at least leaving its mark in the southern metropolis of Mohenjo Daro) who ended up getting assimilated by the major partner, a non-Dravidian population whom we may venture to identify as Indo-Iranian and ultimately Indo-Aryan.

4.3. Afro-Dravidian kinship

One of the most remarkable findings related in some detail by Bernard Sergent, on the basis of three independent studies (by Lilias Homburger, by Tidiane Ndiaye, and by U.P. Upadhyaya and Mrs. S.P. Upadhyaya) reaching similar conclusions, is the multifarious kinship of the Dravidian language family with African languages of the Sahel belt, from Somalia to Senegal (Peul, Wolof, Mandé, Dyola). As Sergent notes, all Melano-African languages have been credibly argued to be related, with the exception of the Khoi-San and Korama languages of southern Africa and the Afro-Asiatic family of northern Africa; so the kinship of Dravidian would be with that entire Melano-African superfamily, though it would be more conspicuous with some of its members.

Thus, between Dravidian and Bantu, we find the same verbal endings for the infinitive, the subjunctive, the perfect, the active participle or nomen agentis, related postpositions or nominal case endings, and many others. In over-all structure, Dravidian and the Melano-African languages (as distinct from North-African and Khoi-San languages) form a pair when compared with other language families: "The tendency to agglutination, the absence of grammatical gender, the absence of internal vowel change, the use of pre- or postpositions instead of flection are some of the main traits which set the Negro-African and Dravidian languages jointly apart from the Indo-European and Hamito-Semitic groups." (p.55) Here I would say that this doesn't prove much: the first trait is shared with some more, and the other ones are shared with most language families on earth; it is IE and Semito-Hamitic which stand out jointly by not having these traits.

That Hamito-Semitic (Afro-Asiatic) and IE stand jointly apart and may have a common origin in Mesopotamia, has been argued by B. Sergent himself (Les Indo-Européens, p.431-434). Critics such as the reviewer in Antaios 10, Brussels 1996, have suggested that with this position, he is playing a political game. This much is true, that by design or by accident, Sergent is pulling the leg of far-rightist adepts of IE studies who consider the reduction of IE to sisterhood with Semitic as sacrilege. All the same, his position is quite sound linguistically.

But between Melano-African and Dravidian, there are more specific similarities: "A simple system of five basic vowels with an opposition short/long, vocalic harmony, absence of consonant clusters in initial position, abundance of geminated consonants, distinction between inclusive and exclusive pronoun in the first person plural, absence of the comparative degree in adjectives, absence of adjectives and adverbs acting as distinct morphological categories, alternation of consonants or augmentation of nouns noted among the nouns of different classes, distinction between accomplished and unaccomplished action in the verbal paradigms as opposed to the distinction of time-specific tenses, separate sets of paradigms for the affirmative and negative forms of verbs, the use of reduplicated forms for the emphatic mode, etc." (Genèse de l'Inde, p.55)

Sergent himself adds more isoglosses: "Preference for open syllables (i.e. those ending in vowels), the rejection of clusters of non-identical consonants, the generally initial position of the word accent in Dravidian and in the languages of Senegal". (p.56) The similarity in the demonstrative affixes is among the most striking: proximity is indicated by [i], initial in Dravidian but terminal in Wolof; distance by [a], intermediate distance by [u].

Knowing little of Dravidian and nothing at all of African languages, I don't feel qualified to discuss this evidence. However, I do note that we have several separate studies by unrelated researchers, using different samples of languages in their observations, and that each of them lists large numbers of similarities, not just in vocabulary, but also in linguistic structure, even in its most intimate features. Thus, "the preposed demonstratives of Dravidian allow us to comprehend the genesis of the nominal classes, the fundamental trait of the Negro-African languages". (p.53)

To quite an extent, this evidence suggests that Dravidian and some of the African languages (the case has been made in most detail for the Senegalo-Guinean languages such as Wolof) have a common origin. At the distance involved, it is unlikely that the isoglosses noted are the effects of borrowing. Either way, Proto-Dravidian must have been geographically close to the ancestor-language of the Negro-African languages. Did it come from Africa, as Sergent concludes? Should we think of a lost Saharan culture which disappeared before the conquests of the desert? Note that earlier outspoken fans of Dravidian culture (e.g. Father H. Heras: Studies in Proto-Indo-Meditarranean Culture, 1953, and Alain Daniélou: Histoire de l'Inde, 1983) didn't mind describing the Dravidians as immigrants: unlike the Aryans, they were bringers rather than destroyers of civilization, but they were immigrants nonetheless. Or should we follow Tamil chauvinists in assuming that the Dravidians came from Tamil Nadu and the now-submerged lands to its south, and took their language and civilization to Africa?

4.4. Additional indications for Afro-Dravidian

Bernard Sergent argues against the Indian origin of Dravidian. One element to consider is that the members of the Dravidian family have not diverged very much from one another. The relative closeness of its members suggests that they started growing apart only fairly recently: a thousand years for Tamil and Malayalam (well-attested), perhaps three thousand for the divergence of North- from South-Dravidian. This would indicate that Dravidian was still a single language covering a small area in the early Harappan period, after having entered the country from the West.

That the "genealogical tree" of the Dravidian family seems to have its trunk in the coastal West of India, i.e. to the northwest of the main Dravidian area, has long been recognized by scholars of Dravidian. A map showing this "tree" is given in G. John Samuel, ed.: Encyclopedia of Tamil Literature, Institute of Asian Studies, Madras 1990, p.45, with reference to Kamil Zvelebil, who locates the Proto-Dravidians in Iran as late as 3500 BC. It also fits in with the old Brahminical nomenclature, which includes Gujarat and Maharashtra in the Pancha-Dravida, the "five Dravida areas of Brahminical settlement" (as contrasted with Pancha-Gauda, the five North-Indian ones). The northwestern coast was the first part of India to be dravidianized, the wellspring of Dravidian migration to the south, but also an area were Dravidian was gradually displaced by Indo-Aryan though not without influencing it.

Another indication for the Dravidian presence in Gujarat is the attestation in Gujarati Jain texts of inter-cousin marriage, typically South-Indian and quite non-Indo-European. (p.51) The IE norm was very strict in prohibiting even distant forms of incest, a norm adopted by both Hinduism and Christianity. Linguists had already pointed out, and Sergent confirms, that Dravidian has left its mark on the Sindhi, Gujarati and Marathi languages (as with the distinction between inclusive and exclusive first person plural) and toponymy. So, it is fairly well-established that Dravidian culture had a presence in Gujarat while spreading to South India.

It is possible that Gujarat was a waystation in a longer Dravidian migration from further west. Whether the itinerary of Dravidian can ultimately be traced to Sudan or thereabouts, remains to be confirmed, but Sergent already has some interesting data to offer in support. Africans and Dravidians had common types of round hut, common music instruments, common forms of snake worship and tree worship. A South-Indian board game pallankuli closely resembles the African game mancalal; varieties of the game are attested in Pharaonic Egypt and in a pre-Christian monastery in Sri Lanka. (p.59)

A point which I do not find entirely convincing is the distinction, based on Mircea Eliade's research, between two types of Shamanism, one best known from Siberia and in evidence among all people originating in North and East Asia including the Native Americans and the Indian Munda-speaking tribes, another best known from Africa but also attested among some South-Indian tribes. (p.62) This is a distinction between Shamanism properly speaking, in which the Shaman makes spirit journeys, despatches one of his multiple souls to the spirit world to help the soul of a sick person, etc.; and the religion of ghost-possession, in which the sorcerer allows the ghost to take him over but at the same time makes him obey. The latter is perhaps best known to outsiders through the Afro-Caribbean Voodoo religion, but is also in evidence among South-Indian tribals such as the Saora and the Pramalai Kallar.

If anthropologists have observed these two distinct types, I will not disbelieve them. It does not follow that there must be a link between Africa and South India: Sergent himself notes that the same religion of ghost-possession is attested among the Australian aboriginals, who may be related with the Veddoid substratum in India's population. (p.62) On the other hand, this theme of ghost-possession is but one of Sergent's numerous linguistic and anthropological data which all point in the same direction of Afro-Dravidian kinship.

4.5. Uralic-Dravidian kinship

If Dravidian migrated from Africa to India through the Middle East, it could have left traces in Egypt and countries under Egyptian influence as well, explaining the data which led earlier researchers to the thesis of a Dravidian "Indo-Mediterranean" culture, most influentially Father H. Heras: Studies in Proto-Indo-Mediterranean Culture, 1953. Sergent links Indian forms of phallus worship with Sahel-African, Ethiopian, Egyptian and Mediterranean varieties of the same. The Egyptian uraeus ("cobra"), the snake symbol on the pharaonic regalia, has been linked in detail with Dravidian forms of snake worship, including the priest's possession by the snake's spirit. Dravidian cremation rituals for dead snakes recall the ceremonial burial of snakes in parts of Africa. Others have added the similarity between the Dravidian nâga-kal (Tamil: "snake-stone", a rectangular stone featuring two snakes facing one another, their bodies intertwined) and the intertwined snakes in the caduceus, the Greek symbol of science and medicine.

It has consequently been suggested that some Dravidian words may also have penetrated into the European languages. Thus, Dravidian kal, "stone", resembles Latin calculus, "pebble", and Dravidian malai, "mountain", resembles an Albanian and Rumanian word mal, "rock, rocky riverside". (Sorin Paliga: "Proto-Indo-European, Pre-Indo-European, Old European", Journal of Indo-European Studies, fall 1989, p.309-334) But this hypothesis is a long shot and we need not pursue it here.

Far more substantial is the Dravidian impact on another language family far removed from the present Dravidian speech area, viz. Uralic. The influence pertains to a very sizable vocabulary, including core terms for hand, fire, house (Finnish kota, Tamil kudi), talk, cold, bathe, die, water, pure, see, knock, be mistaken, exit, fear, bright, behind, turn, sick, dirty, ant, strong, little, seed, cut, wait, fish (Hungarian men, Tamil min) tongue, laugh, moist, break, chest, tree; some pronouns, several numerals and dozens of terms for body parts. (p.66-67) But it goes deeper than that. Thus, both language families exclude voiced and aspirated consonants and all consonant clusters at the beginning of words. They have in common several suffixes, expressions and the phonological principle of vocalic harmony.

As the Dravidian influence, like that of IE, is more pronounced in the Finno-Ugric than in the Samoyedic branch, we may surmise that the contact took place after the separation of the Samoyedic branch. But the main question here is how Dravidian could have influenced Uralic given their actual distance. Sergent suggests that a lost branch of Dravidians on the way from Africa strayed into Central Asia and got assimilated but not without influencing their adopted language.

On the other hand, he rejects the theory that Dravidian forms one family along with Uralic, Turkic, Mongolian and Tunguz. The latter three are often grouped as "Altaic", a partly genetic and partly areal group which may also include Korean and Japanese, and all the said languages including Japanese have at one time or another been claimed as relatives of Dravidian, with which they do present some isoglosses. However, the isoglosses are fragmentary and mostly different ones for every language group concerned. Moreover, some Dravidian influences are also discernible in Tocharian, or Arshi-Kuchi (Tocharian A c.q. Tocharian B) as Sergent appropriately calls it, which is obviously a matter of influence through contact. So Sergent concludes that this is a matter of areal influence rather than genetic kinship: Dravidian was a foreign language entering Central Asia at some point in time to briefly exert an influence on the local languages before disappearing. (p.71-76) This goes against a fairly popular theory locating Dravidian origins in Central Asia whence a Dravidian immigration preceded the Aryans one.

I am not sure this will convince everyone: if Dravidian is not genetically linked with all the said language groups, it might still be so with one of them, viz. Uralic, at least on the strength of the data Sergent offers. Tamil chauvinists may well be tempted to complete the picture by claiming that before the Indo-Europeans from India colonized Central Asia and Europe, it was the turn of the Dravidians to colonize Central Asia and, after mixing genetically and linguistically with the natives, to develop the Uralic languages. At a time when subtropical Neolithic cultures had a tremendous technological and demographical edge over the hunter-gatherers in the inhospitable northern countries, it would not even be so far-fetched to imagine that a small wayward group of Dravidians could enter the vast expanse of Central Asia and completely change the linguistic landscape there.

At any rate, Sergent's observations represent a clean break with earlier theories which had the Dravidians originate in the Uralic speech area and preceding the Indo-Aryans in an invasion of India from Central Asia.

4.5. Geographical distribution of IE languages

Since Bernard Sergent doesn't take the Indocentric case for IE seriously, he doesn't bring out all the linguistic data which to him support the Kurgan scenario. One classical argument from linguistics is nonetheless developed at some length: "In Europe one finds the most numerous and geographically most concentrated IE language groups. Such a situation is not unique, and invariably denotes the direction of history: the Indo-Iranian languages represent a branch extended to the east and south, starting from Europe and not the other way around. It is obviously not the IE languages of Europe which have come from India". (p.29-30)

This early in his book (p.30 of 584 pp.), he is already so sure that "obviously" the central question of the Urheimat has been decided to the disadvantage of India. That is a great pity, for it is the reason why he has not applied himself to really developing the argument against the Indian Urheimat. If anyone is capable of proving the AIT, it must be Sergent. Yet, because he assumes no proof is necessary, he gives the question much less attention than

e.g. the much less contentious (though more original) question of the geographical origins ofDravidian.

To be sure, the pattern of language distribution invoked by Sergent as "not unique", is indeed well-attested, e.g. in sub-Saharan West Africa, there are about 15 language families, while in the much larger region of sub-equatorial Africa, a very large majority of the people speaks languages belonging to only one family, Bantu. Though it is only a branch of a subfamily of the Niger-Kordofanian language family, Bantu easily outnumbers all the other branches of this family combined: "Africanists conclude that Bantu originated in a small area, on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon." (p.30)

But in fact, India is in this respect more akin to West Africa, and Europe more to subequatorial Africa. India has more language families: Nahali, Andamanese, Burushaski, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic (Munda and Mon-Khmer), Sino-Tibetan (Himalayan, Tibetic and Burmese) and IE (Iranian, Kafir, Dardic, Indo-Aryan, and possibly proto-Bangani). Europe is almost entirely IE-speaking, with Basque serving as the European counterpart to the Khoi-San languages in subequatorial Africa, a left-over of the original linguistic landscape largely replaced with the conquering newcomer, IE c.q. Bantu; and Uralic (Finnish, Estonian, Hungarian) a fellow if perhaps slightly later intruder in the European landscape, vaguely comparable to the intrusion of an Austronesian language in a part (viz. Madagascar) of southern Africa.

Therefore, I reject the argument from the geographical distribution. If the spread of the IE languages to Europe was often a matter of assimilating divergent native populations, this process promoted the speedy diverging of the IE dialects into distinct language groups. Though this is not a conclusive argument against the possibility of IE settlement in Indian being younger than in Europe, it at least terminates the impression that there was a compelling case in favour of that possibility. So, even under Bernard Sergent's hands, the fabled "linguistic evidence" has failed to decide the IE Urheimat question once and for all.

5. The evidence from comparative religion

5.1. Aryan contributions to indigenous culture

Unlike most invasionists, who minimize the IE contribution by seeing "pre-Aryan" origins behind every (post-Harappan) Hindu cultural item, Sergent admits the IE origin of numerous elements of Hinduism usually classified as remnants of earlier populations. This is one of the most elaborate and original sections in his book.

In invasionist sources, and more so in politicized writings against the "Aryan invader religion" Hinduism, it is claimed that the two most popular gods, Vishnu and Shiva, are (the former partly, the latter wholly) sanskritized pre-Aryan indigenous gods. Sergent argues that they are in fact neat counterparts of IE gods attested in distant parts of the IE language domain, Vishnu corresponding to the Germanic god Vidar, Shiva to the Greek and Thracian and Phrygian god Dionysos and to an extent also to the Celtic god Dagda. (p.310, p.402) He notices the puzzling fact that the classical Shiva is unattested in the Vedas (though Shiva's persona includes some elements from Indra, Rudra and Agni who are not counterparts of Dionysos); so he suggests that the Shiva tradition, definitely part of the common IE heritage, was passed on through a Vratya or non-Vedic Indo-Aryan circle. (p.323-324) This is an important acknowledgment of the fact that the Vedic tradition is only one tradition in the Indo-Aryan religious landscape, a key element in Shrikant Talageri's reconstruction of ancient Indian history (The Aryan Invasion Theory, a Reappraisal, Ch.14): just as Sanskrit is not the mother of all Indo-Aryan languages (rather an aunt), the Vedas are not the wellspring of the whole of Hindu tradition.

Sergent goes into great detail in showing how the IE trifunctionality model does apply throughout the Vedic and Puranic worldview, in fact far more splendidly than in any other IE culture. (p.252-278) Thus, the first function is juridical-religious and corresponds with sattva, the transparent and truthful quality in the Hindu triguna or three-qualities model; the second function is martial-political and corresponds with rajas, the passionate and energetic quality; the third function is production and consumption, corresponding with tamas, the quality of materiality and ignorance. This threesome also corresponds with the trivarga ("three categories") model, where dharma or religious duty is sattvik, artha or striving for worldly success is rajasik, kama or sensuous enjoyment is tamasik, though there is a fourth (nirguna, "quality-less") dimension, viz. moksha, liberation. Likewise for the three states of consciousness: dreaming, waking, sleeping, surpassed by "fourth state", turiya, the yogic state. This scheme can then be applied to the Hindu pantheon, e.g. Brahma the creator is rajasik, Vishnu the maintainer is sattvik, Shiva the dissolver is tamasik; or the white mountain goddess Parvati is sattvik, the tiger goddess Durga rajasik, the black devouring goddess Kali tamasik.

Many more IE elements in Hinduism could be cited to the same effect, such as the numerous correspondences in epic motifs between Hindu and European sagas, which Sergent discusses at length. But the interesting ones for our purpose are those which already existed in the Harappan civilization.

5.2. The linga

Dr. Sergent goes quite far in indo-europeanizing the alleged aboriginal contribution to Hinduism. He even asserts that "the linga (or Shiva's phallus) cult is of IE origin". (p.139) An important detail is that Aryan linga worshippers venerated the linga by itself, not in the linga-yoni combination common in Hindu shrines, for "the yoni cult is without IE parallel". (p.139) Sergent makes a distinction between the sculpted stone phallus and the unsculpted variety. The first type is attested in the Harappan area and period, as well as in Africa and the Mediterranean, while the second type is common in historical and contemporary Hinduism. However, on linga worship in the Harappan cities, we find conflicting presentations of the facts, with Sergent assuming that the same Mediterranean-type phallus worship flourished, while no less a scholar than Asko Parpola claims the exact opposite. Parpola (Deciphering the Indus Script, p.221) contrasts the "earliest historical (1st-2nd century BC) lingas", which are "realistic", with the "abstract form of the Harappan conical stones". If Parpola is right, the Harappan linga cult was more akin to the classical Hindu form than to Mediterranean phallus worship. However, the crucial point of comparison in this case is not Harappa but the Indian tribals.

Votaries of the Indo-Mediterranean school claim that the cult of phallus-shaped stones is unknown among the indigenous (though in many cases historically dravidianized) tribal populations of India, implying that the Dravidian immigrants brought it from abroad, first to the Indus Valley, next to the whole of India. The same claim, that the untainted tribals are unattracted to the urban Hindu depravity of phallus-worship, has often been made by Christian missionaries as an argument in support of their doctrine that "tribals are not Hindus". But is this true?

First of all, many Indian tribals do practise linga worship. Pupul Jayakar (The Earth Mother, Penguin 1989/1980, p.30) situates both Shiva and the linga within the culture of a number of tribes, e.g. the Gonds: "There are, in the archaic Gond legend of Lingo Pen, intimations of an age when Mahadeva or Shiva, the wild and wondrous god of the autochthons, had no human form but was a rounded stone, a lingam, washed by the waters of the river Narmada. Even to this day there are areas of the Narmada river basin where every stone in the waters is said to be a Shiva lingam: '(...) What was Mahadev doing? He was swimming like a rolling stone, he had no hands, no feet. He remained like the trunk (of a tree).' [Then, Bhagwan makes him come out of the water and grants him a human shape.]" Till today, Shiva or a corresponding tribal god is often venerated in the shape of such natural-born, unsculpted, longish but otherwise shapeless stones.

At the same time, female yoni symbols are common enough among Indian tribals, esp. inverted triangles, the origin of the Hindu plural-triangle symbols called yantra, venerated in such seats of orthodoxy as the Shankaracharya Math in Kanchipuram, where celibacy is the rule and thoughts of fertility unwelcome. In a palaeolithic site in the Siddhi district of Madhya Pradesh (10th or 9th millennium BC), a Mother Goddess shrine has been found containing well-known Hindu symbols: squares, circles, swastikas and most of all, triangles. (Pupul Jayakar: The Earth Mother, p.20-22) A participant in an excavation in Bastar (Jan Van Alphen, of the Etnografisch Museum, Antwerp) told me of how a painted triangular stone was dug up, and the guide, a Gond tribal, at once started doing puja before this ancient idol. Such is the continuity of indigenous Indian religion across eleven thousand years.

However, these two-dimensional triangles constitute a different symbolism from the three-dimensional ring-shaped or oval-shaped sculpted yoni symbols used in the linga-yoni combination. Sergent sees these sculpted yoni symbols as part of the Dravidian tradition with African links, while the triangles, like the unsculpted linga stones, might be older in India than even the Dravidian invasion as imagined by Sergent.

Quite separate from these abstract triangles and unsculpted stones, explicit sexual imagery is also common among the "untainted" tribals: "When the Bhils, primitive people of western India, paint their sacred pithoras, they include in an obscure corner a copulating man and woman. When asked to explain, they say, 'without this, where would the world be?'" (Pupul Jayakar: The Earth Mother, p.36) When they want to express the fertility process, they do so quite explicitly, and they don't have to make do with a shapeless stone. Conversely, when they do choose to use a shapeless stone, it must be for a different purpose. Therefore, it is logical that the tribal linga cannot be equated with the sexually explicit sculptures of the ancient Mediterranean cultures.

Like the tribals, Vedic Hindus worship unsculpted lingas without explicit sexual connotation. Most Hindus will reject the Western interpretation of their idol as a phallic symbol, and the quoted details of tribal linga worship tend to prove their point, as would the abstract uses of the term linga ("sign", "proof", one of the terms in a syllogism, and symbol of the nirguna/undefined primeval reality; for a serious discussion of the profound meanings of linga worship, see Swami Karpatri & Alain Daniélou: Le mystère du culte du linga, Ed. du Relié, Robion 1993). The pebbles picked up from the Narmada river are hardly phallus-shaped, in contrast to the phallic pillars in the Mediterranean.

When Hindus object to the purely sexual reading of their symbols by Western authors, the latter, irritated with the "refusal of prudish Indian hypocrites to face facts", retort that "after all, anyone can see that this is explicit sexual imagery". Or for a more academic variation: "The Brahmans succeeded in concealing the alcoholic and sexual-orgiastic character of the adoration of the phallus (lingam or linga) and transformed it into a pure ritualistic temple cult", according to Max Weber: The Religion of India, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi 1992 (ca. 1910), p.298.

Clearly, both conflicting interpretations have their validity, and linga worship in India is probably a syncretic phenomenon. If "phallus worship" was scorned in the Rg Veda (in the much-discussed verses where the enemies are abused as shishna-devâh, "those who have the phallus for god", Rg-Veda 7:21:5 and 10:99:3.), we do not perforce have to deny, as most anti-AIT authors do, that this concerned non-Aryan people who worshipped phallic stones. There were non-Aryans in many parts of India, though these phallus worshippers may equally have been Indo-Aryan-speaking cultists. We have at any rate a testimony for an ancient religious dispute. A clue has perhaps been given in Sergent's information that the lone linga ("objects which are interpreted as phalli", p.139; emphasis added) has been found in the northern half of the Indus-Saraswati civilization, the yoni-linga couple with ring-shaped yoni stones in its arguably Dravidian south.

Anyway, the point for now is that the alleged tribal and Vedic Aryan forms of linga worship are very similar. If this linga worship was IE, as Sergent claims, and if it is an age-old Indian tribal tradition at the same time, may I suggest that the Indo-Europeans discovered or developed it in India itself? Could this be an instance of what should at present be the Holy Grail of non-invasionist researchers, viz. a case of decided continuity between native tribal and IE cultures, distinguishing both together from imported cultures such as that of the Dravidians?

5.3. Harappan and Vedic fire cult

Most invasionist accounts of Hindu history acknowledge that classical Hinduism has included elements from the "Indus civilization". Thus, the unique water-supply system in the Indus-Saraswati system and the public baths so visibly similar to the bathing kunds still existing in numerous Indian cities have been interpreted as early witnesses to the Hindu "obsession" with purity. Though open to correction on details, this approach is not controversial. However, it runs into difficulties when items are discovered which are not typical for the Indian IE-speaking culture alone, but for the whole or larger parts of the IE-speaking family of cultures: how could these have been present in Harappa when the IE contribution was only brought in during or after Harappa's downfall by the Aryan invaders?

The bathing culture which the Harappans shared with the later Hindus is often cited as a pre-IE remnant which crept into Hinduism. However, this is also attested (with local differences, of course) among such IE tribes as the Romans and the Germanic people, and may therefore be part of the common IE heritage. Of course, a general concern about cleanliness is not a very specific and compelling type of evidence. More decisive would be a case like the famous Harappan seal depicting the so-called Pashupati (Shiva as Lord of Beasts), long considered proof that the Shiva cult is indigenous and non-Aryan. It is found to have a neat counterpart, to the detail, in the horned god Cernunnos surrounded by animals (largely similar ones and in the same order as on the Pashupati seal) on the Celtic Gundestrup cauldron made in central Europe sometime in the last centuries BC. So, this Harappan motif may well be part of the common IE heritage.

For another very general trait, the absence of distinct temple buildings in the Harappan cities constitutes a defect in the AIT postulate of a Vedic-Harappan cultural opposition. The fact that no temples are attested is a common trait of Harappa, of some ancient IE cultures (Vedic, Celtic, Germanic), and of that other acclaimed centre of Aryanism, the South Russian Kurgan culture, where "no real sanctuaries have ever been found; they probably had open sanctuaries" (M. Gimbutas: "Proto-Indo-European Culture: The Kurgan Culture during the Fifth, Fourth and Third Millennia BC", in George Cardona et al., eds.: Indo-European and Indo-Europeans, p.191). It contrasts with Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures and with the bhakti cult in later Hinduism, which venerates the deity as if it were a human person and consequently gives the deity a house to live in: a temple. Harappans, Vedic Aryans, many ancient IE-speaking Europeans and contemporary Indian tribals have this in common: they worship without temple buildings.

For a more specific example: fire plays a central role in most historically attested IE religions, most emphatically in the Indo-Iranian branches. A fire-cult was present in the Indus-Saraswati civilization, and it resembled the practices of the Vedic people. The presence of Vedic fire-altars in several Harappan cities (Lothal, Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi) has been noticed by a number of authors, but is somehow always explained away or ignored. Parpola ("The coming of the Aryans to Iran and India and the cultural and ethnic identity of the Dasas", Studia Orientalia, Helsinki 1988, p.238) admits as "quite plausible" the suggestion (made to him by Raymond and Bridget Allchin) that they form an Indo-Aryan element within Harappan civilization, but he explains them as imported by "carriers of the Bronze Age culture of Greater Iran, who had become quickly absorbed into the Indus Civilization, culturally and linguistically".

Likewise, Sergent admits that "the Indian Vedic fire altar seemed to have borrowed its construction principles from the Indus civilization", all while "the very idea of the fire cult was Indo-Iranian". (p.161) This falls neatly into place if we equate proto-Harappan with Indo-Iranian: the idea of a fire cult was taken along by the emigrating Iranians, while the Indo-Aryans stayed on in the Indus-Saraswati region to develop their altars' distinct Indian style of construction.

At any rate, how deeply had these Aryan fire-worshippers not penetrated the Harappan civilization, that they had installed their altars in patrician mansions of three of the largest Harappan cities, all three moreover very far from the northwestern border? If they were imported from outside, it rather seems they came from the east, which would bring us back to Shrikant Talageri's thesis that IE originated in the Ganga basin and entered the Harappan area from there. Leaving aside this question of ultimate origins, the very fact of the Vedic fire-altars in the Indus-Saraswati culture is a serious problem for the AIT.

5.4. More on Harappan vs. Vedic

The stellar cult is common to the Harappan and Vedic religions. This is explained by Asko Parpola as the effect of borrowing: the barbarian invaders adopting the religion of the empire they just conquered, somewhat like the Heathen Germanic tribes did when they conquered the Christian Roman empire. In fact, the whole of Vedic and core-Puranic literature has been explained as essentially translations of non-Aryan Harappan traditions.

A similar explanation is given for the "soma filter", often depicted on Harappan seals, and of which an ivory specimen has been discovered by J.M. Kenoyer's team. Iravathan Mahadevan (interviewed by Omar Khan, Chennai, 17-1-1998, on http://www.harappa.com/script/mahadevantext.html) proposes that "the mysterious cult object that you find before the unicorn on the unicorn seals is a filter. (...) Since we know that the unicorn seals were the most popular ones, and every unicorn has this cult object before it, whatever it represents must be part of the central religious ritual of the Harappan religion. We know of one religion whose central religious cult [object] was a filter, that is the soma [cult] of the Indo-Aryans." If this is not an argument for the identity of Vedic and Harappan, I don't know what is. Yet, Mahadevan dismisses this conclusion citing the well-known argument that the Vedas know of no cities while Harappa had no horses, so "the only other possibility is that a soma-like cult (...) must have existed in Harappa and that it was taken over by the Indo-Iranians and incoming Indo-Aryans." This is a case of multilying entities without necessity.

Speaking of the unicorn: Prof. R.S. Sharma ("The Indus and the Saraswati", interview published on http://www2.cybercities.com/a/akhbar/godown/history/RSSIndus.htm) defends the AIT pointing out that the unicorn/ekashrnga is popular on Indus seals and in late- or post-Vedic literature but is not mentioned at all in the Rg-Veda. Within the AIT, this would be an anomaly: first the Harappans had unicorn symbolism, then the Vedic-Aryan invaders didn't have it, and finally the later Aryans again had it. The implied and slightly contrived explanation is that native unicorn symbolism went underground after the Aryan invasion, but reasserted itself later. But this pro-AIT argument is circular in the sense that it is dependent on the AIT-based chronology, viz. of the Rg-Veda as post-Harappan. Its force is dissolved (along with the anomaly) if the possibility is considered that the Rg-Veda was pre-Harappan, with the Unicorn an early Harappan innovation attested in both the the archaeological and the late-Vedic literary record.

Asko Parpola (in G. Erdosy: The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, p.370) has developed the theory that there is at least one clearly identifiable Hindu deity whose trail of importation from abroad we can follow. In the Bactrian Bronze Age culture, deemed Indo-Iranian if not specifically Indo-Aryan, ample testimony is available of the cult of a lion goddess, known in Hinduism as Durga, "the fortress", and who is "worshipped in eastern India as Tripura, a name which connects her with the strongholds of the Dasas". Politicized Indian invasionists usually claim goddess worship as a redeeming native, non-Aryan, "matriarchal" and "humanist" contribution to the "patriarchal" and "oppressive" Hindu religion, but now it turns out to have been brought along by the Bactrian invaders: how one invasionist can upset another invasionist's applecart.

However, Parpola himself reports elsewhere ("The coming of the Aryans to Iran and India and the cultural and ethnic identity of the Dasas", Studia Orientalia, Helsinki 1988, p.238) that the same lion or tiger goddess was worshipped in the Indus-Saraswati civilization as well.

Discussing "carriers of the Bronze Age culture of Greater Iran" as having been "quickly absorbed into the Indus civilization", he finds support in "the famous Kalibangan seal showing a Durga-like goddess of war, who is associated with the tiger". For now we retain Parpola's confirmation of a common religious motif in a Harappan city and an Aryan culture (on top of the indications mentioned above of a soma cult in both the Harappan cities and the Bactria-Margiana Bronze Age culture); but whether this shows an early Bactrian penetration of India as far as the Saraswati riverside remains to be seen. The hypothesis that both Harappa and Bactria were Aryan, is less contorted.

Just like those few colleagues who have paid attention to the elements of continuity between Harappa and Aryan India, Sergent fails to discuss the most plausible conclusion that could be drawn from all this material: that Harappan and post-Harappan or Aryan are phases of a single civilization.

5.5. The impact of East-Asian mythology

Indo-European mythology, or some of its branches, has certain motifs and stories in common with mythologies of non-IE cultures. Some of these are a common heritage dating back to long before a separate IE linguistic and cultural identity existed.

Conversely, some myths can be shown to have been transmitted in a fairly recent time,

e.g. the Excalibur myth known to most readers through the King Arthur saga has an exactparallel in a North-Iranian myth, with the sword being drawn from the stone (a poetic reference to the mystery of metallurgy, transforming shapeless ore into metal implements), making its bearer invincible, and finally getting thrown into a lake. This is not because of a common IE heritage of the Celtic and Iranian communities, but because in the 2nd century AD, Sarmatian mercenaries in the Roman army were garrisoned in Britain and, well, told their story. (Shan

M.M. Winn: Heaven, Heroes and Happiness. The Indo-European Roots of Western Ideology, p.34-35) Through Mongolia and Korea, elements of this myth have even reached Japan when the supremacy of the sword was established there. So, myths are not necessarily witnesses from the night of time; their invention and transmission can sometimes be dated.

In the case of the transmission of East-Asian myths into Hindu tradition, by medium of the Munda-speaking culture of the eastern Ganga basin, the apparent date might pose a problem. Some contributions are fairly late: "The puja, that extremely common and important practice of covering the gods' idols with flowers and perfumes, is rather late in India, and succeeds wholly different practices: could that also be an East-Asian substratum?" (p.483, n.639, with reference to Louis de la Vallée Poussin: "Totémisme et végétalisme", 1929, who emphasizes the similarity with devotional practices among the Kol tribe and among the Semang, a tribe in Malaysia. The more usual explanation is that puja came from the Dravidian south.) On the other hand, Sergent mentions several apparently East-Asian contributions to Vedic and Puranic lore which point to the ultimate beginning of those traditions themselves.

The name of Ikshvaku, founder of the Solar Dynasty of Ayodhya, whom the Puranic genealogies place several dozen generations before the Rg-Vedic seers, literally means "bitter gourd". Likewise, Sumati, wife of the early Ayodhya king Sagara, is said to produce offspring with the aid of a bitter gourd. Sergent attributes this to the Southeast-Asian mythic motif of the birth of humanity from a bitter gourd: "The Austro-Asiatic myth has visibly been transposed in the legends of Sumati and Ikshvaku". (p.386)

The birth of Vyasa's mother Satyavati from a fish equally refers to a Southeast-Asian myth, unknown in the IE world. The Brahmanas have a story of Brahma or Prajapati, the Creator, taking the form of a boar and diving to the bottom of the ocean to extract the earth and bring it to the surface (p.372, citing Taittiriya Brahmana 7:1:5:1-2 and Shatapatha Brahmana 14:1:2:11). This myth of the "cosmogonic plunge" is widespread in Siberia, among the native Americans, and among some Southeast-Asian peoples, but is foreign to the IE mythologies and to the Vedic Samhitas. The same is true of another innovative mythic motif appearing in the Brahmanas: Brahmanda, the cosmic egg which, when broken, releases all creatures.

Sergent explains that the Rg-Veda could not yet know these myths, just as it had not yet adopted items of Munda vocabulary, because its horizon was still confined to the northwest (note that Ikshvaku is first mentioned in the youngest part of the Rg-Veda: 10:60:4). But once the Vedic Aryans settled in the Ganga basin, they started assimilating the mythic lore of the Munda people, also immigrants, but who had settled there earlier. So, this seems to confirm the classic picture of the Aryans moving through North India from east to west.

However, even the non-invasionist school accepts that the Vedic tradition spread eastwards during and after the Harappan period, just as it spread to South India in subsequent centuries; but it maintains that the Ganga down to Kashi or so, already had an Indo-Aryan (but non-Vedic) population. This population was obviously exposed to influences from its eastern neighbours, immigrants from Southeast Asia. And their non-Vedic, partly borrowed traditions were incorporated in later Vedic and especially in Puranic literature. By contrast, the IE-speaking people living to the west of the Vedic Puru tribe, those who migrated to the west and formed the other branches of IE, were not exposed to this Austro-Asiatic lore, which is why their mythologies have not adopted elements from Southeast-Asian myths, just as their languages have not borrowed from Munda (or if they have, those words or those mythic motifs would be pan-IE and consequently not recognizable as borrowed).

If Ikshvaku, one of flood survivor Manu Vaivasvata's immediate successors, was indeed a historical figure, and if his name really refers to an Austro-Asiatic myth, then that would prove either that Manu and his crew had come from the southeast (but then why hasn't the bitter gourd myth become a pan-IE myth?), or that the Mundas were already in the Ganga basin at the beginning of IE history as narrated in the Puranic genealogies (6776 BC?). In that case, shouldn't non-invasionists be able to find more points of contact between IE and Munda, linguistically too?

A parallel argument could be made from the commonly assumed etymology of Ganga, a name already appearing in the oldest part of the Rg-Veda (6:45:31), viz. as an Austro-Asiatic loan cognate to Chinese kiang/jiang, "river". This would mean that the Munda presence in the (western!) Ganga basin well precedes the beginning of the Vedic period, and that they were either the first or the dominant group, so that they could impose their nomenclature. However, Zhang Hongming: "Chinese etyma for river", Journal of Chinese Linguistics, January 1998, p.1-43, has refuted the derivation of Chinese kiang from Austro-Asiatic, arguing among other things that the reconstructed Austro-Asiatic form is *krong, still preserved in the Mon-Khmer languages. This makes the Munda origin of Ganga less likely. A third language family may be involved, or an obscure IE etymon. How about kinship with Middle Dutch konk-el, "twist, turn, whirlpool"? Or simply a Vedic reduplication, nasalized for onomatopoeic effect, of the root ga-, "go", meaning "the fast-flowing"?

How exactly should we imagine the beginning of IE history in India, in what cultural and linguistic environment? For example, one could imagine that the Aryans overran the Indus basin, then Afghanistan and beyond, because they had been pushed to the west by invading Mundas from the east. If the idea of the fierce Aryans being put to flight by the fun-loving Mundas seems strange, remember that the invasion of the Roman Empire by the fierce Germanic tribes was partly caused by their being pushed westward by the Slavs. For another question: does this evidence of Munda contributions support the mainstream indological position that the entire Puranic history of the Vedic and pre-Vedic age in Ayodhya, Kashi or Prayag is but "reverse euhemerism", i.e. the transformation of myth into fabulated history, so that Ikshvaku and his clan never existed except as projections by aryanized Mundas of their gourd-god onto the ancestry of their conquerors? This is worth a discussion in its own right.

For now, I propose a hypothesis which takes care of all the data: there was a period of neighbourly coexistence of Indo-Aryans and Mundas in the Ganga basin, with a very limited exchange of cultural items (mythic motifs, vocabulary), which suddenly increased when the

Indo-Aryans started incorporating parts of the Munda territory and assimilating its inhabitants. This does not exclude that the Mundas entered India in the late-Vedic period; after all, even a pre-Munda population of the lower Ganga basin may have known some Southeast-Asian myths. But the main point is that North India was big enough to contain both Indoa-Aryans and Mundas, and that a Munda presence does not imply an Aryan invasion from outside India.

5.6. Some caveats to comparatists

Mythology is a large subject, and numerous myths are not well-known even to aficionados of the subject. This way, it sometimes happens that a Hindu myth gets classified as non-IE because it is not reported in any other IE mythology, only to show up in some far corner of the IE world upon closer scrutiny. Sergent provides one example.

Everyone knows the Hindu myth of the "churning of the ocean" with which the gods and demons jointly produce the amrta, the immortality drink. Sergent assures us that this myth "has no parallel in the IE world" (p.116), that it "is ignored by Vedic India and the IE world outside India" (p.378-379) but present in Mongolian mythology and in the Kojiki, a kind of Japanese Purana. Yet, he also informs us of a lesser-known Germanic myth in which the god Aegir churns the ocean to make the beer of the gods. (p.378-79, with reference to Georges Dumézil: Le Problème des Centaures, Paris 1929, p.51-60) But that one finding, even if it is in only one (but certainly distant) corner of the IE world, completely nullifies the earlier statement that the myth "has no parallel in the IE world". It is in fact possible that the Mongolian version (which is closer to the Germanic one, with a single deity doing the churning) and the Japanese version have been adapted from an IE original, just like the Excalibur myth.

Secondly, eastern contributions to Hindu tradition are not exclusively from the Mundas. The Rajasuya ceremony described in the Shatapatha Brahmana has an exact counterpart, not in Rome or Greece, nor in Chotanagpur or Japan, but in Fiji. The latter coronation ceremony has been analyzed into 19 distinct elements, and practically all of them are found in the Rajasuya. (p.381, with reference to Shatapatha Brahmana 5:3-5, and Arthur M. Hocart: Kingship, OUP 1927, p.76-83) This island culture is part of the vast expanse of the Austronesian language family. And indeed, a number of scholars have pointed out remarkable lexical similarities between IE and Austronesian. Unlike in the case of the Mundas, contacts of the Indo-Europeans with the Austronesians are hard to locate even in theory, unless we assume that the Austronesians at one time had a presence in India.

Finally, if a myth or religious custom is attested in India but not in the other IE cultures, this need not mean that the Indians have borrowed it from "pre-Aryan natives" or so. It can also mean that the other Indo-Europeans have lost what was originally a pan-IE heirloom. All of them have started by going through the same bottleneck, passing through Afghanistan, immediately plunging themselves into a very different climate from India's permanent summer, so that they had to adopt a very different lifestyle. And as they moved on, the difference only got bigger. Of practically all IE myths attested in some IE cultures, we know that they have been lost in other (generally in most) IE cultures; it is statistically to be expected that some myths have survived only in the Hindu tradition. And because of the full survival of Pagan religion in India plus the long centuries of literacy, it is in fact to be expected that a much higher percentage than the statistical average has only survived in India. So, probably, some myths attested only in Hinduism are purely IE, and if they are also attested in a non-IE neighbouring culture, the possibility remains that the latter has borrowed it from the Indo-Europeans rather than the reverse.

5.7. Harappa, teacher of China?

Quite separate from the importation of Southeast-Asian myths through the Austro-Asiatic population of the Ganga basin, Sergent also notes similarities between Harappan and Chinese civilizations unrelated to Munda lore. An important myth is that of the cosmogonic tortoise, the Chinese symbol of the universe; also the vehicle of Varuna, god of world order, and the form which, in the Shatapatha Brahmana, Prajapati takes to create the world. A tortoise-shaped construction forms part of the Yajur-Vedic fire altar, and the tortoise has also been depicted in a giant sculpture found in Harappa, indicating a similar myth. (p.116, with reference to John Marshall: Mohenjo Daro and the Indus civilization, London 1931) The tortoise as a cosmogonic symbol may well be one such mythic motif which is purely IE yet not attested in the non-Indian branches of IE. There is no indication for a foreign origin, and the tortoise's association with the Yamuna river (like the crocodile with the Ganga, the swan with the Saraswati) adds to its indigenous Northwest-Indian character.

Sergent also mentions the common origin of the Chinese and Hindu systems of 27 lunar mansions (Xiu, Nakshatra), which we have already considered. He admits that it could only have originated in an advanced culture, and that this was not Mesopotamia. He also notes that the Nakshatra system starts with the Pleiades/Krttika, which occupied the vernal equinox position in the centuries around 2,400 BC, exactly during the florescence of the Indus cities. This date, approximately, has been accepted by Jean Filliozat: "Notes d'astronomie ancienne de l'Iran et de l'Inde", Journal Asiatique 250, 1962, p.325-350; Albert Pike: "Lectures on the Arya", Kentucky 1873; and A.L. Basham: The Wonder That Was India, London 1954, according to Bernard Sergent: Genèse de l'Inde, p.422, n.65. We'll stick to this date for the present discussion, but not without mentioning that Asko Parpola (Decipherment of the Indus Script, p.206, p.263-265) himself gives reasons for thinking that Aldebaran had been the starting-point earlier, which would push back the birthdate of the Nakshatra system to ca. 3054 BC, the time of the pre-Harappan Kot Diji culture.

So, Harappa is the best bet as originator of this system, which spread to China and later also to West Asia. Sergent wonders aloud whether the similarities should be attributed to Harappa being "the teacher of China, whose civilization's beginning is contemporaneous". (p.380)

He informs us that the Nakshatra division of the heavens is unknown in other IE cultures, and in this case I would not speculate that they had known it but lost it along the way: rather, the system was invented after they had left India. This simple fact that there already was IE history before the genesis of the Nakshatra system also explains another fact he mentions: "The Rg-Veda doesn't allude to it, except in its 10th mandala, the youngest one occording to most indologists." (p.118) And even the youngest book only mentions "constellations" (RV 10:85:2), a concept known to all cultures, without specifying them as lunar mansions. At any rate, it is only at the end of (if not completely after) the Rg-Vedic period, well after the European branches of IE had left India, that the Nakshatra system was devised. This indicates once more that the Rg-Veda was pre-Harappan.

This chronology is confirmed by another fact related by Sergent: "Another aspect of the continuity between Indus and historical India is marked in the personal names: the oldest in Vedic India are in perfect conformity with Indo-European customs and highlight mostly the attributes with which an individial (or his family) adorns himself. In a later period astral names appear in India, which is foreign to the customs observed elsewhere among the Indo-Europeans". (p.121) Exactly: the Rg-Vedic people lived before the heyday of astronomy in Harappa and before the starry sky acquired a central place in the late-Vedic "and" in the Harappan religion.

5.7. The Harappan contribution

Sergent has identified the Oriental origin of so many Hindu myths, and the Dravidian (ultimately even African) origin of so many Hindu customs, including even the purity concept underlying post-Vedic caste relations: "As the same importance of purity is found in other societies, e.g. Semitic societies including even Islam and sub-Saharan Africa, it is not impossible that we have here another substratum: that of the ex-Dravidians of North India [Sindh-Gujarat], for instance?" (p.483, n.639) Yet, he has said relatively little about specifically Harappan contributions, eventhough these should logically have made a much larger impact. After all, the Harappans were more numerous, more advanced and more literate than the Mundas, and it is in their territory that the invading Aryans settled before scouting around in the then peripheral and relatively backward Munda-speaking region.

To be sure, Sergent devotes a chapter to the Harappan heritage in Hindu civilization. Thus, the weights and measures found in Lothal are the same ones which Kautilya has defined in his Arthashastra. (p.113) Personally, I would add that apart from being an important fact in itself, this continuity may also be symptomatic for a profounder continuity pertaining to fundamental cultural traits. Thus, the same search for standardization visible in the decimal measurements and in the orderly geometrical lay-out of the Harappan cities is evident in the rigorous structure of the Vedic hymns; in the attempt in the later Vedic literature to categorize all types of phenomena in neat little systems (from verbal conjugation classes listed by the grammarians through the Manu Smrti's artificial genealogy of the occupational castes in society to the Kama Sutra's varieties of sexual intercourse); and in the laborious ritual and architectonic details laid down in Brahminical texts for the proper construction of Vedic altars.

Sergent correctly notes that statuettes of mother goddesses have been found in large numbers in the Harappan cities, that mother goddesses are equally common in popular Hinduism, and that these are very uncommon in the historic IE religions. He also adds that in Europe, mother goddesses originated in the neolithic Old European culture, and remained popular all through the IE Pagan period to be picked up for christianization as Our Lady, suggesting a parallel: in India like in Europe, the popular pre-IE mother goddess survived and even asserted itself against the male-dominated IE official religion.

But clearly, IE religion was not hostile to the goddess cult: when the Church sought to win over the devout by accepting their goddess worship in a christianized form, most of Europe had been IE-speaking for several thousand years. All memory of a pre-IE period had vanished, yet these Celts and Romans and Germans venerated goddesses. In their mythologies, goddesses played only a supporting act, but this is the same situation as in Puranic Hinduism, in which goddess worship is widespread eventhough most myths have the male gods in the starring roles. It is like in real life: men need to dramatize their importance with all kinds of heroism, women simply are important without making such fuss over it. The Virgin Mary is by far the most popular Catholic saint, still present on every rural street corner around my village, much more popular than Jesus and His Father, yet the parts about her in the New Testament and the stories confabulated about her are very few. Therefore, our view of IE religion may be distorted by the fact that we rely on textual sources and myths, which belong to the public and official part of the religion; while by contrast, of Harappan religion we only have cult objects, showing us religion as it was lived by the people.

Sergent mentions the association of gods with animals as their respective "vehicle" (vahana: Vishnu's eagle, Shiva's bull, Saraswati's swan etc.) as an element of Hinduism which is commonly attributed to the pre-Aryan Harappans. But he minimizes this contribution, pointing out that such associated animals are common throughout the IE pantheon, e.g. Athena with her owl, Wodan with his raven, Jupiter who can appear as an eagle, Poseidon as a horse, Demeter as a cow. (p.115) In one case, the correspondence is even more exact: like Hindu goddess Saranyu (mother of the Ashwins), Celtic goddess Epona is imagined as either mare or rider.

Several more astronomy-based amendments to IE customs are mentioned as effects of Harappan influence, e.g. the fixation of the goddess festival (which existed in other parts of the IE world as well -- see that the Indo-Europeans had goddess cults of their own?) at the autumnal equinox. Very significant is the "stellar vestment": the shirt worn by the famous Harappan "priest-king" shows little three-petaled designs (also in evidence on other Harappan depictions), which Sergent, following Parpola, interprets as depictions of stars, exactly like in the scriptural description of the tarpya coat which the king must wear at some point in the Rajasuya ceremony. (p.121, with reference to Asko Parpola: Deciphering the Indus Script, p.201-218) In post-Harappan centuries, Mesopotamian kings are known to have worn such stellar vestments, and the China court ritual was likewise full of celestial symbolism.

What we see happening in the Harappan period is that a particular IE culture transforms itself under the impact of the florescence of what I would call a first scientific revolution; there is no indication of a foreign impact. Sergent has the facts under his own eyes without realizing their significance: "Shiva, Varuna, Yama, Durga-Parvati, we already said it, are deities of IE origin, the rituals concerning fire, soma and the person of the king are equally of IE if not Indo-Iranian origin. But it is now obvious that the Indo-Aryans, upon arriving in India, have amply harvested the Harappan heritage and included its ritual customs (construction of hearth-altars, rites inside buildings, use of the stellar vestment, ritual baths, fixation of feasts on the stellar equinoxes...) in their own religion." (p.124) Well, building facilities had been vastly improved, astronomical knowledge had been developed, so these innovations are not a matter of syncretism, merely of material and intellectual progress.

What more continuity was there? Apart from numerous material items, we note Harappan depictions of men wearing a tuft of hair on their backheads like Brahmins do, and of women wearing anklets. Some pictures suggest the notion of the "third eye". Most importantly, the Harappan people have remained in place: "the Italian anthropologist has emphasized not only that the skulls of Mohenjo Daro resemble those of today's Sindh and those of Harappa resemble those of today's Panjab, but even that the individual variability is identical today to what it was four thousand years ago." (p.128, quoting Mario Cappieri: "Ist die Indus-Kultur und ihre Bevölkerung wirklich verschwunden?", Anthropos 60:22, 1965, p.22)

Though Sergent considers it exaggerated to say that "the Indus civilization is still alive today", I would comment that it is not very exaggerated. (p.128; the quoted phrase, which Sergent dismisses in footnote 146, p.425, as "a Hindu nationalist myth", is from Dharma Pal Agrawal: L'Archéologie de l'Inde, CNRS, Paris 1986, p.2) But the point for now is that we really have seen very little evidence of the incorporation in Vedic tradition of elements which are foreign to it and which are traceable to the Harappan civilization. Compared with the limited but very definite list of items borrowed by Hindu tradition from cultures of East-Asian origin, the harvest in the case of the Harappan contribution is of a different type, larger but murkier. In spite of the ample archaeological material (quite in contrast with the zero objects identified as Vedic-age Austro-Asiatic), we don't get to see a sequence of "now it's in Harappa, and now it enters Vedic tradition". We don't get to see that clear contrast between Harappan and Vedic which most scholars have taken for granted. What we see is on the one hand plenty of elements which are simply in common between the Vedic and Harappan cultures, and on the other certain late-Vedic innovations which match the Harappan data and which constitute a departure from the common IE heritage: they are perfectly explainable through internal developments, particularly in proto-scientific knowledge and material control of the environment.

6. Conclusion

Bernard Sergent has written a book of incomparable erudition to narrate the genesis of the "composite culture" of Hinduism from what to him are the separate sources of Harappan, Dravidian, Indo-European and Austro-Asiatic elements. As part of this effort, he has tried to pinpoint the arrival of the Indo-Aryans in India, and this attempt has become the heroic failure of his book. Even in his two fields of expertise, he has not succeeded in finding decisive evidence for the Aryan invasion: in archaeology, he has not shown where a Bactrian or otherwise foreign culture crossed the Indus into India (indeed, the one entry he identifies as the Indo-Aryan invasion doesn't get farther than Pirak in Baluchistan); and in physical anthropology, he has not been able to identify an immigration wave coinciding with the supposed aryanization of northwestern India.

In comparative religion and mythology, he has thrown a few interesting challenges to non-invasionists, giving them some homework to do in fact-finding as well as in interpreting the data. But here too, he has not presented any insurmountable difficulties for a noninvasionist reading of the Harappan and Vedic information. On the contrary, many bits of information which he has either discovered or synthesized from secondary sources actually add substance to the emerging outlines of a non-invasionist version of ancient Indian and Indo-European history. For once the trite reviewer's phrase fully applies: one need not agree with Sergent's position, but his work is highly thought-provoking and bound to stimulate further research.

This is a shorter version of a chapter of Koenraad Elst's new book: Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, Aditya Prakashan, Delhi.

 

 

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