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The Aryan Problem—fifty years later

  • A. H. Sayce

In archaeology as in other branches of science we are only at the beginning of discoveries. New vistas are opening up to us and we are beginning to realize how little we know about the origin and early history of civilized man. Theories and presumptions, chronologies and criticisms, all are being revolutionized. In Egypt, in Babylonia, in India and in Asia Minor discoveries are being made which teach us that we are still only upon the threshold of knowledge about what is called “the remote past” and how insecure are the foundations upon which most of our assumptions in regard to the earlier history of culture really rest. Many of our assumptions, in fact, have nothing behind them except want of evidence, and excavation in Egypt alone has proved, time after time, how archaeologically valueless negative evidence must be. All that it shows is that scientifically conducted excavation and archaeological exploration are still in their infancy. Negative evidence has been a favourite weapon of argument, especially among German scholars, and we need not be surprised that theory after theory based or partially based upon it has broken down. It is merely a survival of the early Victorian belief that science had mastered all the secrets of the material universe.

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1 The Aryans, a study of Indo-European origins, Kegan Paul and Co., 1926.

2 In the Revue d’Assyriologie, 22, 2 (1925) Dr Scheil has published a clay sealing from Jokha (the ancient Umma) in Babylonia which has an impression of one of these plaques. The line of pictographs stands over a figure of the “Susian” bull in front of which is an altar. As the back of the sealing bears the marks of some linen or cotton material it must have been attached to a bale of merchandise which would probably have come from India.

3 SirMarshall, John in the Illustrated London News, 20 September 1924 and 6 March 1926, and Messrs. Gadd and Sidney Smith, 4 October 1924. At Mohenjo–daro there have also been found blue glass bangles and bars of copper which may have been used as coins and so remind us of the early knife–coins of the Chinese. Inhumation with contracted burial was practised originally ; this was afterwards superseded by cremation, the ashes being deposited in urns. Below the Buddhist site (of the third century B.C.) are seven or eight earlier levels of occupation. A “Babylonian Seal” from Harappa has long been in the possession of the British Museum and was published by Terrien de Lacouperie many years ago in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology. It has a pictographic inscription over a “Brahminical” or “Susian” bull.

4 Or less probably a title like that of “scribe.”

5 KUB p. 25, line 57. See the Classical Review, Nov. 1924, p. 164.

6 Journal of Hellenic Studies, 45, 2 (1925).

7 KUB xiv, p. 7,1.89. Maréwanes, the mariyanni of the Semitic texts (“mercenary generals”). Forrer reads Kuirewanes and identifies the word with kuirwanas “princelings,” Greek xo'tpavot. In the Hittite script ma and ku have the same forms. The long vowel after r seems to preclude Forrer's identification.

8 Strab. 330, frag. 25.

9 See Strab. viii, 501, xii, 785 ; Scholiast to Apollonius Rhodius 11, 181.

10 Nouvelles Fouilles de Tello 1, p. 55.

11 Schroeder: Keilschrift-texte aus Assur, 1920, no. 92, 1, 31.

12 Equally convincing is a form like paizzi-us where the plural of the noun (-us) is affixed to the so-called third person of the verb. Thus in the Legend of the Great Serpent we read (KUB xii, p. 50. 3, 4) (nu) paizzi-us khantezzius sîunus iêr “the gods who go in front effect (it).” No distinction, it will be observed, is made between the verbal and nominal suffixes in paizzi “he” or “they march” and khantêzzi(s) “foremost.” So in the Legal Code (11, 85) we read : kuenzi–us khassus khuis-nu-zi-;ya-(u)s “the king may kill or (literally and) let (him) live.” And -zi can denote the second person as well as the third ; e.g. istamas-zi “thou hearest” (KT. V. 9. 11, 17), while in forms like kistan-zi-attat (KUB II, 7, 46) we find a double verbal affix. The Asianic verbal suffixes -r and -tari, it may be added, were borrowed by some of the Indo-European languages.

13 As Kretschmer writes (Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes xxi, p. 3) “Das nominativische –s ist eine Erscheinung, die das Indogermanische mit dem Finno–Ugrischen und verschiedenen vorderasiatischen Sprachen, nicht nur dem Kanisischen (official Hittite) und Luvischen sondern auch sicher un–indogermanischen Harrischen (Mitannian) und mit dem Lydischen teilt.” The suffix -l can be used verbally (as in Vannic) like fabil “he manufactured” in Lydian ; e.g. in the Legal Code we have khurkil “he is guilty” (not the abstract “guilt” as it has been translated). Khurkil corresponds to forms like Alisa–il “he of Alisa,” Zibiskhuna-il “he of Zibisk-huna” and in words like Khattusi-lis “he of Khattusis” (Boghaz Keui) we find the Indo–Europeanized suffix -is in addition. Cp. the Etruscan suffix -l which can similarly annex the suffix -(a)s.

14 Ap. Clem. Alex. : Strom, vii, p. 302. MrCasson, (Macedonia Thrace and Illyria, p. 164) quotes a passage in Firmicus Maternus (Mathes. 1, 1). “Omnes in Aithiopia nigri, in Germania candidi, in Thracia rubri procreantur.” The Thracians were rubri, however, because they were sunburnt, but not or “bronzed.”

15 εἰ δὲ τιτι τὸ ‘£λληιx; ὸν xαίωνιχὸνγέν ἐΦυλ砙χ θ η xαΦαρŵς ουτι εἰJ;ιν αὐrα ρxŵς μεϒάλοιἄrδρες, εύρύεροι, öρθ ;ιοι, ε πύ αϒεÎς, λευxὸτ εροιτ ην χρὸαν, ξανξì . . . ἔχοντες τÇxωμα ύπὸξαν, ἀπαλώτερον, ολον πρὰως, πρὸπον τετρ ὰγωοω, χείλη πεπτ, ρÎ ɾα ὸρξŵɾη . ὸΦξαλμο ῠδύϒροδ . . Φŵδ πολῠχουτδἐɾαύrο ς. ε οῠΦαλμŵτατ νr ϒὰρπὰτω ἐξŵrτὸ̔λληιοr.I have seen shepherd–boys in the Peloponnesus of the same type ; their eyes were a liquid blue.

16 Forms like e-es-khut “I was,” e-es-lut “I will be” indicate that the vowel was long. E-es-khar, “divine blood,” as shown by the borrowed Greek t%wp (which has no Indo–European etymology), would have had as its equivalent in Greek is (–XMP) with long iota.

17 In ordinary speech missa (also written mas) was the word for “water,” When the king requires water for washing his hands he is always said to cry : kas (or ka) missa “water here I”

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  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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