Re: Will East and West ever meet?

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 10485
Date: 2001-10-20

--- In cybalist@..., george knysh <gknysh@...> wrote:

[GK] Leaving aside the issue of the origin and nature of Anatolian
IE, perhaps one might discuss another aspect of Piotr Gonsiorowski's
interesting and original theory of Indo-European beginnings. I have
read it in a few posts on this forum (esp. that of 10 August 2000).
As PG notes, the difficulty of the Gimbutas-Mallory view of things is
that there is no devastatingly clearcut continuity between
the "kurgan" cultures of the East and the CW cultures of the West and
NW: there are similarities as to certain cultural items but nothing
conclusive. There may be a way out of this if one does not insist on
maintaining a strict "invasion" scenario, but let's not get into this
just yet.

[PG] Here is the main reason why I find the Danubian homeland
attractive (a theory for which I deserve no credit, of course; Miguel
has advocated it for some years too, and János Makkay and several
other scholars have done so for more than a decade): the expansion of
the Linear Pottery culture (or, to be strict, the dispersal of its
carriers) is the most elegant way of explaining why it should be the
Linear Pottery area that is the most thoroughly Indo-Europeanised
part of the world. Even ancient toponyms like river-names seem to be
100% IE there (pace Theo Vennemann) -- something that can't be said
of Asia Minor, India, Central Asia, Greece, etc. Beyond this initial
Neolithicisation of North/Central Europe, I do not argue for strong
correlations between archaeological cultures and linguistic groups.
Once we have Neolithic cultures both in Central Europe and in the
Pontic steppes, linguistic and cultural osmosis could be more
independent of each other.

[GK] The alternative explanation by PG has some very attractive
features, but unfortunately it also breaks down, and even more
severely than Gimbutas-Mallory, because there is no convincing
evidence of eastward continuity which would explain the emergence not
only of the Indo-Aryans,Iranians, and Nuristanis, but also that of
the proto-Greeks and proto-Armenians, and perhaps other groups as
well. Let me put it as succinctly as possible. The LB Pottery culture
which PG posits as a starting point only reached the westernmost
areas of contemporary Ukraine, and petered out with no discovered
archaeological continuations there (if one believes Ukrainian
archaeologists and why not?). It has no direct links to Trypilja-
Cucuteni(Tripolye) and to the steppe cultures of southern and eastern
Ukraine. The Funnel Beaker culture has also no such links, even
though it did spread a little further to the east than LB.

[PG] I realise that myself, and I have modified my scenario
accordingly (my views are still evolving). In more recent postings, I
do not insist that any IE branches (with the exception of Tocharian
and possibly of Hellenic) are directly connected with Linear Pottery
or Funnel Beaker intrusions in Ukraine. There was some Funnel
Beaker/Tripolye interaction in western Ukraine, so perhaps Proto-
Hellenic speaking communities became Tripolye's cultural satellites
at an early date. But if any archaeological phenomenon corresponds to
the origin of the Satemic languages, it's the eastward spread of the
Globular Amphorae.

[GK] Only the easternmost Globular Amphorae c. exhibits some
similarities to the steppe cultures, but it arrives on the scene a
considerable time after Serednyj Stih (Sredny Stog), so the shared
cultural traits move from east to west here and not the other way

[PG] I see the "eastern Globular Amphora people" (expanding into the
forest and forest-steppe zone of eastern Europe ca. 3000 BC) as the
ancestral Satem speakers, perhaps with SE Poland and Volhynia as the
focal region of Proto-Getic/Albanian, with Proto-Thracian (and Proto-
Armenian?) developing further south (Podolia?), and the Proto-
Baltic/Slavic dialects more or less south of the Pripyat' and west of
the Middle Dnieper. The Indo-Iranian branch would have resulted from
the integration of some IE-speakers into the "autochthonous" cultures
and semi-nomadic economies of the steppe -- presumably Yamnaya
(possibly non-IE-speaking). I would connect that "cooperative"
acculturation process with social transformations producing warlike
and "heroic" tendencies, increasing social stratification and leading
to the collapse of the ethnic and political stability of the Pontic
region as the Proto-Indo-Iranians extended their dominance.

One strangely neglected question in IE studies is what precisely
happened to Indo-Iranian during its formative period. The satem
shift, the "ruki" rule and even the palatalisation of velars before
front vowels are shared with some other eastern groups and pre-date
Proto-Indo-Iranian as the _most recent_ ancestor of Indo-Aryan,
Nuristani and Iranian. Areal grammatical traits link Indo-Iranian
more closely to Greek and Armenian than to Baltic or Slavic. The
striking reduction of the vowel system (basically *a, *i, *u, plus
perhaps a highish central vowel) may be due to the non-IE steppe
substrate -- simple triangular systems were widespread in the Near
East and the Caucasus. There are a number of common Indo-Iranian
etyma without clear IE cognates, sometimes reflected also in
Armenian, Greek or Tocharian, but I'm not aware of a serious study of
them -- perhaps linguists take it for granted that the steppe was the
IE homeland and don't even suspect that the non-IE substrate in Indo-
Iranian might be of Pontic origin.