Re: [tied] Re: Armenian.

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 8017
Date: 2001-07-20

I'll address your questions A and B later to keep the length of this posting within moderate limits.
As regards the Armenian migration, my suggestion, drawing on Winter's argument, is that its final (Anatolian) stage took place after the collapse of Urartu (8th-6th centuries BC), when the vacuum was filled by opportunistic settlers. Perhaps I didn't say it clearly enough, but I don't accept either a second-millennium date for the entry of the (Proto-)Armenians into Anatolia or (for obvious linguistic reasons) the classification of Armenian as an Anatolian language.
However, Armenian/Hurrite contacts (whether direct or involving intermediaries) may date back to a far deeper past. I wouldn't exclude some part of Azerbaijan as the place where Proto-Armenian differentiated in the early second millennium BC if not earlier. In fact, we need such a nook for it to account for its early separation from Indo-Iranian and for the remarkably "Caucasian" typological features of Armenian. In Armenian etymological dictionaries some 50%+ of entries are words of "obscure origin". Many of them must reflect borrowings from unknown or little-known ancient languages (note that Urartian is also poorly known and that we probably wouldn't be able to identify a large number of Urartian loans if we saw them).
Finally, I wish we knew enough about Thracian to be able to assess its genetic distance from Armenian. I also wish we knew _anything_ about the linguistic status of the Cimmerians. The knowledge of such things would certainly bear some relevance to the question of Armenian origins.
----- Original Message -----
From: cas111jd@...
Sent: Friday, July 20, 2001 4:54 PM
Subject: [tied] Re: Armenian.

A. What is meant by "more consistently Satemic than any other branch?

B. How 'bout this one: last year a study was published that concluded
the Germanic languages were originally Satem, then later Centumized.
If this is true, then I would suspect that the Satems were the Kurgan
or (more probably) the Battle Axe people coming from eastern Europe,
assimilating with centum speakers in central Europe, then moving into

Might this model have been duplicated by the proto-Greeks before they
moved into Greece?

As for the Armenian origin: I am not aware of any historical or
archaeological evidence that suggests an Armenian migration into the
Transcaucasus in the mid-2nd millenium BC. Surely the Hittites or
Assyrians would have noticed them. Besides, the Mitanni Aryans and
Hurrians would have been too strong for them to gain a significant
foothold anywhere south of the Caucasus, I think.

Even later, the Urartians would have successfully resisted any
foothold. That is, the Armenians would have been unable to settle on
any amount of territory large enough for them to have a population
that could ever succeed in later occupying all of eastern Anatolia in
the immediate aftermath of the Urartian collapse. My personal opinion
is that the Armenians arrived in the vacuum caused by the destruction
of Urartu who, though they had earlier been badly damaged by Assyrian
attacks, seemed to have quite unopposed on their nothern frontier,
which included modern Armenia.

As for the Armenian migration, the Caucasus route is, I think,
difficult at best. The Scythians and Cimmerians made big splashes
through this area, but these were mounted warriors that could zip
through the Caucasus unencumbered by women and children.

A folk migration of steppe pastoralists in their clumsy wagons would
have been easy prey for the Caucasic tribes. The only place they
could have settled, logically, would have been on the river valley of
Azerbaijan, but this area was the Caucasic homeland of Albania until
the Azeri Turks arrived. It is seldom that we find an entire
population literally "hopping over" another to their new homeland -
especially when that hop is over terrain as alien as hills and
mountains. It is also difficult to explain why steppe pastoralists
would abandon a familiar terrain such as Azerbaijan in favor of the
east Anatolian plateau.

--- In cybalist@..., "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...> wrote:
> Armenian is a Satem language; in fact it's more consistently
Satemic than any other branch. I suggest that until ca. 2000 BC, pre-
Hellenic, pre-Armenian and Proto-Indo-Iranian dialects (as well as
ancestors of minor groups such as Phrygian, which was closer to
Greek, Thracian, Getic and perhaps Albanian) formed a Sprachbund
north of the Black Sea and the Caucasus, with Greek splitting off
before the Satem palatalisation and some other eastern features began
to spread. Some early innovations affected Greek, Armenian and Indo-
Iranian but did not diffuse into other neighbouring groups such as
pre-Baltic/Slavic. As regards Armenian, some scholars propose a very
early migration date, not later than the middle of the second
millennium BC. Werner Winter (1997) argues that the most likely
derivation of Hurrian es^s^i- 'horse' is from an ancestral form of
Armenian e:s^ (now meaning 'donkey' but reflecting *eis^- < ek^wo-;
the shape of the Hurrian word rules out Anatolian or Indo-Aryan
origin). If so, however, the date of Proto-Armenian/Hurrian contacts
would likely have preceded the borrowing of Indo-Aryan horse-breeding
and horse-training jargon by the Hurrians, and the area where the
contacts occurred may have been well to the northeast of historical
Arme (= Armini, attested in the mid-8th c. BC), possibly in or near
the Caucasus.