Chronological parameters

In Anatolia, from about 1650 bce, we find the earliest attested Indo-European language, Hittite, together with two related languages, Luwian and Palaic. The personal names attested in Assyrian traders' records from Kultepe (the ancient Kanesh, 20 km. north-east of Kayseri) show that the dominant population of that area was already Hittite at the beginning of the second millennium, and that Hittite already had a distinct profile separating it from Luwian. Clearly these Indo-European peoples were well established in Anatolia before 2000 bce. But they were hardly autochthonous, for there were also many non-Indo-European speakers in the land. The native language of the central region was Hattic, which is thought to have Caucasian affinities. Further east there was a solid front of non-Indo-European languages, Hurrian and Semitic. It was in the west and south of Anatolia that the languages of the Indo-European group prevailed. This geographical distribution points strongly to the Indo-European speakers' having entered the country not from the east via the Caucasus, but from the west, from the Balkans, as the Phrygians and Galatians did in later times.16

We shall see shortly that Graeco-Aryan must already have been differentiated from MIE by 2500 bce. We have to allow several centuries for the development of MIE after its split from proto-Anatolian and before its further division. The secession of proto-Anatolian, then, must be put back at least to the early third millennium, whether or not it was synchronous

14 Kretschmer (1896), 213 f.; I. Duridanov, Thrakisch-dakische Studien (Sofia 1969), 99 f.; M.-M. Radulescu, JIES 12 (1984), 82-5 and 22 (1994), 334-40. Cf. also E. C. Polome in The Cambridge Ancient History, iii(1). 866-88; Gamkrelidze-Ivanov (1995), 805 f. (who claim Albanian affinities with Graeco-Aryan); Sergent (1995), 94-9.

16 G. Steiner, JIES 18 (1990), 185-214; Sergent (1995), 409. For the Kultepe tablets see Annelies Kammenhuber, Die Arier im Vorderen Orient (Heidelberg 1968), 27-9; Gamkrelidze-Ivanov (1995), 757-9.

with the migration into Anatolia. There is in fact archaeological evidence that would be consistent with its introduction to Anatolia at that period.17 It is possible that its carriers could have crossed from Europe by a land bridge, the Black Sea being still an enclosed lake; at any rate the Black Sea's water level appears to have been much lower then than it is now.18

It has come to be widely accepted that Greek-speakers were preceded in Greece by speakers of an Indo-European language of the Anatolian type, similar to Luwian.19 These were the people responsible for the numerous place-names ending in -nthos and -ssos. Parnassos, for example, is happily explicable in terms of the Luwian parna- 'house' and possessive suffix -ssa-, and Hittite and Luwian texts attest an Anatolian town (or towns) of the same name, Parnassa. We may call this pre-Hellenic language Parnassian. From the distribution of the names, it seems to have been current in the Early Helladic II period, which began around 2800. I take it to betoken not an invasion from Anatolia, but a parallel movement down from Thrace by a branch of the same people as entered Anatolia, the people who were to appear 1,500 years later as the Luwians.

The first speakers of Greek—or rather of the language that was to develop into Greek; I will call them mello-Greeks20—arrived in Greece, on the most widely accepted view, at the beginning of Early Helladic III, that is, around 2300.21 They came by way of Epirus, probably from somewhere north of the Danube. Recent writers have derived them from Romania or eastern Hungary.22

The Phrygians, whose language shows a number of noteworthy similarities to Greek,23 crossed into Anatolia after 1200. Previously they had been

17 See W. H. Goodenough in Cardona (1970), 261 (appearance of battle-axes in western Anatolia); M. M. Winn, JIES 2 (1974), 120 f. (east Balkan Chalcolithic cultures antecedent to Troy I); J. Mellaart, JIES 9 (1981), 135-49 (spread of north-west Anatolian cultures to the later Luwian lands around 2700-2600); Sergent (1995), 409 f.

18 The Early Bronze Age site of Kiten on the Bulgarian coast, now ten metres under water, was still inhabited in 2715 ± 10 bce (dendrochronological date), when its last pilings were driven: P. I. Kuniholm in Drews (2001), 28.

19 L. R. Palmer, TPhS 1958, 36-74; id., Mycenaeans and Minoans (2nd edn., London 1965), 321-57; Alfred Heubeck, Praegraeca (Erlangen 1961); Sergent (1995), 140-4; O. Carruba, Athenaeum 83 (1995), 5-44; R. Drews, JIES 25 (1997), 153-77; M. Finkelberg, Classical World 91 (1997), 3-20. Note the reservations of Anna Morpurgo Davies in Gerald Cadogan (ed.), The End of the Early Bronze Age in the Aegean (Leiden 1986), 109-21.

22 Sergent (1995), 413-15; J. Makkay, Atti e memorie del Secondo Congresso Internazionale di Micenologia (Rome 1996), 777-84; id., Origins of the Proto-Greeks and Proto-Anatolians from a Common Perspective (Budapest 2003), 47-54.

23 G. Neumann, Phrygisch und Griechisch (Sitz.-Ber. Osterr. Ak. 499, 1988); Sergent (1995), 122 f.

residing in the south Balkans. They may have retreated from there under pressure from Thracian tribes coming down from further north, from beyond the Dnieper.24 It was formerly assumed that Phrygians and Thracians were closely related, and compound adjectives such as 'Thraco-Phrygian' used to be freely used in various connections. In fact there is no special affinity between the two. It is to be observed that Phrygian, like Greek, was a centum language, whereas Thracian was satem, like Slavonic and Iranian.

Armenian too is a satem language, and not closely related to Phrygian, even though both belong to the Graeco-Aryan group. In historical times the Armenians were located far away to the east of the Phrygians, and Herodotus (7. 73) was told that they were a Phrygian colony. Perhaps someone had observed a similarity to the Phrygian in their language or culture. But if we set aside this dubious western connection, their geographical situation is much easier to understand on the hypothesis that they came there by way of the Caucasus. They first appear in history in the seventh century bce; there is no sign of them earlier, despite our having Urartian inscriptions from the area from the immediately preceding centuries. Their arrival may be connected with the burning of the main Urartian fortresses in around 640.25 This was just at the time when the Cimmerians had come down from north of the Caucasus and were causing havoc throughout Asia Minor. There seems much to be said for the view that the Armenian influx was part of the same movement.26 If so, the Armenians had previously lived in the north-east Pontic area, in the immediate neighbourhood of other satem-speakers such as the Scythians (who drove out the Cimmerians according to Herodotus 1. 15).

The Iranian and Indic languages are closely related to each other, and must be traced back to a common Indo-Iranian or Aryan. The period of Indo-Iranian unity may be put in the late third to early second millennium, and its territory located north and east of the Caspian Sea. From an archaeological point of view it seems a good fit with the Andronovo culture which developed in northern Kazakhstan between 2300 and 2100 and later spread southwards and eastwards.

Indic was already differentiated from Iranian by the sixteenth century, when a horde of Aryan warriors established themselves as rulers of the land of Mitanni in north Syria. Their personal names, their gods, and other evidence of their speech show that they were Indic-speakers. We may suppose that Indic had been the dialect of the southern Aryans, and that they had made a major southward movement down the east side of the Caspian. Then, faced

24 Cf. Sergent (1995), 423-5. 25 Paul Zimansky in Drews (2001), 23 f.

with the vast uninhabitable desert region of eastern Iran, they divided right and left: one group headed west between Mt Elbruz and the sea and eventually made its fortune in Mitanni, while the main body proceeded east through Afghanistan and reached the Punjab before the middle of the millennium.

An Iranian migration followed some centuries later, again moving south and dividing at the desert. The ones who turned right camped in the Zagros mountains and eventually expanded further south to become the Medes and Persians, peoples first mentioned in Assyrian records in the ninth and eighth centuries. The ones who turned left became the East Iranians of Bactria and Sogdiana. Other Iranians stayed in the north and roamed widely across the steppes, to appear in the mid-first millennium as Scythians and Sarmatians.27

If Indo-Iranian already had a distinct identity in central Asia in the last quarter of the third millennium, and mello-Greeks were entering Greece at the same period, we must clearly go back at least to the middle of the millennium for the postulated Graeco-Aryan linguistic unity or community. This was presumably situated in the east Balkan and Pontic regions.

We are beginning to get a sense of overall chronology, or at least a set of termini ante quos: divergence of Anatolian from the rest of Indo-European by 2900 at latest, perhaps some centuries earlier; emergence of a distinct eastern dialect (Graeco-Aryan) by 2500; individuation of Greek, Indo-Iranian, and no doubt other languages in the group by 2300; differentiation of Indic and Iranian by 1600.

It is more difficult to reconstruct developments in other parts of the Indo-European world. Historical evidence for the northern and western peoples— Balts and Slavs, Germans, Celts, Italics, and the rest—becomes available much later than it does for the Anatolians, Indics, and Greeks. By the seventh century bce we can see that a clear differentiation of Italic languages has occurred; a common Italic must surely be put back into the second millennium.28 We may assume that at least a proto-Celtic and a proto-Germanic also existed by the same date. But this is more than a millennium after the epoch when MIE began to break up. To bridge the gap we are reduced to poring over the archaeological record, trying to identify prehistoric cultures that might have evolved by continuous development into what we know to have been a Celtic culture, an Italic one, and so on.

27 On Indo-Iranian migrations cf. R. Heine-Geldern, Man 56 (1956), 136-40; P. Bosch-Gimpera, JIES 1 (1973), 513-17; T. Burrow, JRAS 1973, 123-40; D. W. Anthony, JIES 19 (1991), 203; EIEC 308-11; A. Hintze in Meid (1998), 139-53. On the Iranianness of the Scythians cf. Kretschmer (1896), 214 f.; Sergent (1995), 429.

28 Cf. H. Rix in Alfred Bammesberger and Theo Vennemann (edd.), Languages in Prehistoric Europe (Heidelberg 2003), 147-72.

Those practised in this form of endeavour tend to agree that three large culture complexes in the third millennium are likely to be relevant to the early history of the Indo-European dispersal: the Yamna(ya) or Pit-grave culture which extended from the Danube to the Urals, a Balkan-Danubian complex in south-east Europe, and the Corded Ware culture extending from the Rhine across Germany and southern Scandinavia eastwards to the upper Volga. One adept has written recently:

No one has yet figured out a coherent linguistic history of Europe without assuming that both the Corded Ware and the Yamnaya cultures were predominantly Indo-European speaking, and yet there is no general agreement about the relationship between these cultures.29

His own model seems entirely plausible. His original Indo-Europeans are represented by the Sredny Stog and Khvalynsk cultures in the Ukraine and middle Volga regions. About 4400 bce, following depopulation in the Balkans, they spread westward. The division between the Anatolians and the rest perhaps took place in the lower Dnieper region in the first half of the fourth millennium, before the invention or general currency of the wheel, as the Anatolian word for a wheel is not from the same root as that current in other branches of Indo-European.30 The Anatolian party might be represented by the Usatovo and other hybrid cultures found west of the Black Sea down to 3500; this area had close ties across the Bosporos. In the third millennium what later appears as the Luwian area shows a sequence of destruction and depopulation, followed by a switch to a more pastoral economy: this would be the work of the incoming Indo-European groups. The MIE peoples would be represented by the Yamna and Corded Ware cultures together. Evidence is cited for population movements from the steppe into north and central Europe between about 3500 and 3200.31

This scenario implies a higher (but not much higher) chronology than the termini ante quos proposed above. In placing the last phase of Indo-European unity no earlier than the late fifth to early fourth millennium, it is in accord with arguments drawn from the Indo-Europeans' apparent familiarity with the domesticated horse, ox traction, and the woolly sheep.32 It also suggests an incipient division between east and west Indo-European in the late fourth millennium. The eastern variety would be ancestral to Graeco-Aryan.

30 The earliest evidence for wheeled vehicles is from Poland and dated to 3530-3310. See D. W. Anthony, JIES 19 (1991), 199 f.; K. Jones-Bley, JIES 28 (2000), 445; Darden in Drews (2001), 204-9. On the vocabulary see EIEC 640 f.

31 Darden, ibid. 184-228.

32 Cf. EIEC 157, 276, 648 f.; E. W. Barber in Drews (2001), 6, 13; Darden, ibid. 193-200, 204.

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