IE and nations

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 9000
Date: 2001-09-03

>What was the concept of a 'nation' indicated by the following lexeme
>used in the R.gveda, which may be a document relatable to pre-history?
>ra_s.t.ra = a kingdom, realm , empire , dominion , district ,
>country; a people , nation , subjects (Skt.lex.)
>There is also a term, 'bha_ratam janam'; can this denote an incipient
>idea of a 'nation'? Or is it, as Marx called it a primitive communist

If you're trying to twease a concept of "nation" out of IndoEuropean
speaking peoples via the extremely narrow window of Sanskrit
vocabulary, you won't find anything at all. It's clear that
IndoEuropeans were made up of bands or tribes. But kingdoms or
nations? Never.

Perhaps the closest concept to "nation" amongst the IE might be
something I've suggested earlier - that IndoTyrrhenian peoples, both
IE and Tyrrhenians, were aware of their more ancient affiliations
thanks to a long tradition of story telling and mythology, and may
have had general terms for all peoples like themselves speaking
languages like their own. One may note the general Ojibway
term "Anishinaabe" which can be used to refer not only to the
Ojibway but to all Algonquian peoples, as diverse as they are.

However, without a centralized ruler, there was absolutely no way
to unite all IE peoples together as one nation, regardless of their
knowledge of common ancestry in the past. They were many peoples
with many chiefs, and with many variations on stories of their
origins depending on what area you visited.

Terms like *reg^- "to rule" have little to do with kingdoms and
more to do with the comparatively simple function of a local chief,
a function steeped in shamanistic magic and mystery. IE comparative
mythology confirms the twinning of the magical with the juridicial
functions of IE society, further hinting at shamanism in the past.

A "nation" is simply a postIE concept.

gLeNny gEe
...wEbDeVEr gOne bEsErK!

email: glengordon01@...

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at