Bactrians, Saka Scythians and Tocharians
Author: Dr. Fahim Naderi
If there was ever a region that can be described with the old geographical cliché that it is a country of opposites, it must be
Bactria (Bactriana, Bākhtar in Persian, also Bhalika in Arabic and Indian languages, and Ta-Hsia in Chinese) was the ancient Greek name of the country between the range of the Hindu Kush and the Amu Darya (Oxus); its capital, Bactra or Balhika or Bokhdi (now Balkh), was located in what is now Afghanistan. It is a mountainous region with a moderate climate. Water is abundant and the land is very fertile.
Bactria was the homeland of Aryan tribes who later moved south-west into Iran, South Afghanistan, North Pakistan and North-Western India around 2500-2000 BC Later it became the north province of the Persian Empire in Central Asia.(Cotterell, 59) It was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is surrounded by the Turanian desert, that the prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) was said to have been born and gained his first adherents. Avestan, the language of the oldest portions of the Zoroastrian Avesta, was once called "old-iranic" which is related to Sanskrit. Today some scholars believe the Avestan-Language was the western dialect of the Sanskrit because both languages are the oldest Indo-Iranian language of Aryans we know. With the time the Avestan-Language became developed by own western style.
Bactrian was probably spoken by the local populations of Bactria when Alexander the Great invaded the area around 323 BCE, inaugurating a two-century period of Hellenistic rule by the Seleucid Empire and the then the Greco-Bactrian kingdom.
Greek rule ended around 123 BCE with the invasions of the Yuezhi ( Kushans) from the North, who adopted the Greek alphabet to write the local Bactrian language, a case which is unique among Iranian languages. Before that time, Bactrian was written in the Aramaic alphabet.
Bactrian seems to have been, together with Greek, the official language of the Kushans, descendant of the Yuezhi, and was used in their coins and inscriptions. In 1993, the Bactrian Rabatak inscription was discovered, recording that under the Kushan king Kanishka (c. 120 CE), use of the Greek language was officially discontinued. The territorial expansion of the Kushans helped propagate Bactrian to Northern India and parts of Central Asia, as far as Turfan where Buddhist and Manichean inscriptions in Bactrian can be found.
The phonetic composition remains very hard to know for sure, because not all phonemes can be distincted from written documents. Supposedly, there were 9 vowels (all long and short, except short o), which could be reduced easily due to phonetic processes. The consonant mutations included *d > l, *c > dj, -rs- > -s'- etc. In general, Bactrian phonetics has features both seen in modern Pashto and in Middle Iranian Parthian and Sogdian.
In morphology, Bactrian went rather far from ancient languages than other Iranian tongues. The gender disappeared, only 2 noun cases were preserved (direct and indirect), the ancient inflected forms of the past tense were replaced. The language used a definite article i.
According to Professor Nicholas Sims-Williams of SOAS, University of London, who is the leading expert of the Sogdian and Bactrian languages, gave a lecture on the discovery and decipherment of Bactrian documents, written in the little-known Iranian language of Ancient Afghanistan in modified Greek script, at the Ancient Orient Museum in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on September 23.
During the first centuries of the Christian era, Bactrian could legitimately have been ranked amongst the world's most important languages. As the language of the Kushan kings, Bactrian must have been widely known throughout a great empire, in
and the remnants of Buddhist and Manichean manuscripts found as far away as the Turfan oasis in western
Until forty years ago virtually nothing was known of the Bactrian language except for the legends on the coins of the Kushans and their successors. The Kushan coins are inscribed in Greek letters of an angular type, apparently imitating a style of writing used for monumental inscriptions. In principle these legends are not particularly difficult to read, but their content is limited to the names and titles of kings and deities. The coins of the later rulers of
Although I have only been able to describe a small part of an immense new body of material, I hope that I have said enough to show that it will throw new light on many aspects of the history and culture of ancient
This slide shows a small selection of forms which illustrate the position of Bactrian amongst the Iranian languages. In particular I have chosen forms which show the connection between Bactrian and the languages of the surrounding area: medieval Sogdian and Choresmian; modern Pashto, Yidgha-Munji, and Ishkashmi. Such forms support the conclusion which Henning reached on first acquaintance with the new language that it is "in its natural and rightful place in
In many cases the new material confirms or contradicts views originally reached on the basis of limited evidence. For instance, Gershevitch's controversial interpretation of lruh-minan in the Surkh Kotal inscription as the plural of a putative *lruh-min "enemy" receives strong support from the contexts in which the later form druh-min occurs. It is particularly impressive that the new texts provide examples of many previously unattested Bactrian words whose existence had already been postulated by Martin Schwartz on the basis of their occurrence as loanwords in other languages of
Bactrian coin: an imitation
of an Athenian drachma
The Hindu Kush, which marks the fault line of the Iranian and Eurasian tectonic plates, runs more or less from the east to the west, and many small rivers run down from its slopes to the north, deposeting sediments on the foothills and the plain that runs parallel to the mountain range. Consequently, this is a very fertile area, where farmers produced wheat and barley in very ancient times. Their culture, known as the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC), can be dated to c.2200-1700 and is sometimes associated with the arrival of the Indo-Iranians.
2000 BCE. (Louvre,
Once, there had been a semi-arid zone between the fertile area and the river. Some of the mountain streams, however, had reached the river
So, after 2000 BCE, several parallel zones can be discerned:
North of the river was the steppe, which was occupied by Sogdian nomads, with whom the Bactrians must have exchanged products.
According to some scholars, the Bactrian prophet Zarathustra lived in the second half of the second millennium. He is the founder of Zoroastrianism and reformed aspects of an older religion. Archaeologists have tried to see traces of this older religion in the BMAC, but decisive proof is lacking. Besides, it must be noted that there are scholars who date Zarathustra in the mid-first millennium, which makes it very implausible that there is continuity from the BMAC to Zoroastrianism.
A modern picture of
However this may be, Bactria was incorporated in the Achaemenid empire as a special satrapythat was sometimes ruled by the crown prince or intended heir (mathišta). The country north of the
When Darius I the Great reorganized the
The Greeks knew no nation beyond
From coins, it can be deduced that these exiles managed to keep in touch with the motherland. Another group of Greek settlers was called the "Branchidae" and descended from a group of priests that had once lived near Didyma (near
In 329, the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great arrived in
However, the Macedonian occupation of Sogdia and
A mounted archer
Many Bactrians sympathized with the insurrection, and Spitamenes knew how to exploit this. His mounted archers came dangerously close to the walls of
When Alexander was almost mortally wounded during the siege of the city of the Indian Mallians (early in 325), the Greek settlers in Sogdia and
Peithon had wanted to save the Greek settlers, but they were killed by his army. From now on, there were insufficient Europeans to keep
Greek-style capital from
The Greeks and Macedonian living in
In c.130, the Graeco-Bactrian kingdom came to an end: the Sacae nomad ( Scythians ) from the north, who had often made incursions, broke through, and in 110, they were also present in
In the first century CE, the Yuezhi nomads or Kushans reunited
Bactrian language was completely assimilated by the Persian and later by Turkish language, which spread in Tocharistan. This process is believed to take place until the 12th century. Some Bactrian tribes moved south, some north-west who saved partially thier languages
The Bactrians are one of the ancestral lines of the modern-day Pashtuns, Tajiks, Dards, and Pamirians . Some bactrians who lived around
Pashtuns are classified as an Iranian people (Iranic People), possibly as partial modern-day descendants of Bactrians and Saka-Scythians, an ancient Iranian group. According to academic Yu. V. Gankovsky, the Pashtuns began as a "union of largely East-Iranian tribes which became the initial ethnic stratum of the Pashtun ethnogenesis, dates from the middle of the first millennium CE and is connected with the dissolution of the Epthalite (White Huns) confederacy." Early precursors to the Pashtuns were Old Iranian tribes that spread throughout the eastern Iranian plateau. The Pashto-speaking Pashtuns refer to themselves as Pashtuns or Pukhtuns depending upon whether they are speakers of the southern dialect or northern dialect respectively. In terms of phenotype, the Pashtuns overall are predominantly a Mediterranean Caucasoid people, although light hair and eye colors are not uncommon, especially among remote mountain tribes.
The Aryans first settled on the Oxus (AMU DARYA in
Seen in isolation, the Rigveda is undateable. However, by placing it in the context of external evidence some useful time brackets can be assigned. The reference to copper, harnessing of domesticated horse for transport and draft, and use of wheeled-vehicles show that the oral tradition of the Rigveda is from around 4000-3000 BC.
The 2 rivers Sarasvati (
The Aryans called their country Arya-varta or shortly varta. Later on varta was corrupted to varat, barat which in modern times is mistaken for Bharat a character from the Mahabharata.
Bunsen however states that around 4000BC or earlier the Ayans were living on the Oxus or Sarasvati banks, around 3000 BC they were in Bactria and they reached the Indus around 2000 BC and in 1000 BC they reached Ceylon (Vambery, Bunsen, iii. 584,586), but some scolars object to this and state that the Aryans were much earler in the Indus/Ganga region).
Alexander the Great invaded Bactria, Arya and Arachosia in 332 BC. He built Alexandrias in many parts of the country. Later, one of his generals founded the
Buddhism began to penetrate Afghanistan around 250 BC and from the 1st century to the 7th, it flourished in one of its greatest centers in the beautiful
According to the historians, the same Bactrian Aryans were the ancestors of the Eastern Iranian tribs (Tajiks, Pashtuns, Ossetians, Pamirians) they had settled in the areas of
In historical times, the Arians lived in the country along the river Arios (the modern Hari Rûd), which is more or less identical to the
From the late seventh or early sixth century BCE, the Arians were subjects of the Medes, and their country became a satrapy of the Achaemenid empire when king Cyrus the Great defeated the Medes (550 BC).
During the civil war of 522/520, the Arians seem to have remained quiet. Under Persian rule, the Arians started to live in towns; the Greek geographer Ptolemy of Alexandria (Geography 6.17.3) states that there were many towns and villages in the valley of the river, and that there were nomadic tribes who were living in the mountains. The center of the Persian government was the palace at Artacoana, which is usually identified with the modern town of
In September 330 BC, the Macedonian king Alexander the Great conquered Aria in pursuit of the leaders of the Persian national resistance, king Bessus and the last satrap of Aria, Satibarzanes. Alexander used siege towers to take Artacoana; the inhabitants were killed or sold as slaves. The empty town was rebuilt and called
After Alexander's death (in 323), Aria became a stable part of the Seleucid empire -ruled by a Macedonian dynasty- for more than half a century. However, after 240, the neighboring countries
In Antiquity, Aria was famous for its wine. It is mentioned in the Avesta as one of Ahuramazda's special creations (Vendidad, Fargard 1.9).
by W. J. Vogelsang
The present town of
The site of Herat dominates the productive part of ancient Areia, which was, and basically still is, a rather narrow stretch of land that extends for some
The Persian Achaemenid district of Areia is mentioned in the provincial lists that are included in various royal inscriptions, for instance, in the Bisotun inscription (q.v., DB 1.16) of Darius I (ca. 520 B.C.E.) in Fārs province. In the texts the name of Areia is grouped with Zranka (or Dranka), modern Sistān to the south; Parthava (
Very little is known about Areia during the Achaemenid period. Herodotus (7.61 ff.) tells that Areians were included in Xerxes’ army against
At the time of Alexander the Great, Areia was obviously an important district. It was administered by a satrap, called Satibarzanes, who was one of the three main Persian officials in the East of the Empire, together with the satrap Bessus [see BESSOS] of Bactria and Barsaentes of Arachosia. This would mean that the capital of Satibarzanes, which may have been Herat, was one of the three main Achaemenid centers in this part of the world, together with ancient Bactra (modern Balḵ, the capital of ancient Bactria), and Old Kandahār, the capital of ancient Arachosia. In late 330 B.C. Alexander the Great, according to his biographers, captured the Areian capital that was called Artacoana (Arrian, Anab. Alex. 3.25.2-6; Curtius 6. 6.33 [Artacana]; Diodorus 17.78.1 [Chortacana]; Pliny, Nat. hist. 6.61.93; Strabo 11.10.1 [Artacaena]). The etymology of this name remains unknown, and whether this place should be identified with the modern city of
After Alexander the Great, classical biographers refer to a city called Alexandreia in Areia, but again its identification remains unknown. Soon after the death of Alexander, Areia was briefly attacked by Scythic nomads from the far north (Pliny, Nat. hist. 6.47). In the following years, Areia became a frontier area between the empire of the Parthians to the west and that of the Greco-Bactrians to the east. In the late second century B.C.E. the Greco-Bactrians were defeated by northern tribes, and Scythians (or Sakas) traversed the district of Areia; perhaps under pressure from the Parthians, they finally settled in nearby Sistān (Mid. Pers. skstn “Sakastān”), farther to the south. In the Parthian Stations (14-16) by Isidore of Charax, an itinerary composed in the Augustan era, the district of Areia is placed between Margiana (in the vicinity of modern Marv to the north), and Anauon (around modern Farāh) to the south. At that time the district was clearly regarded as forming part of the Parthian realm.
In the Sasanian period (226-
In the last two centuries of Sasanian rule, the area and town of Areia/Herat had great strategic importance in the endless wars between the Sasanian Iranians and the Chionites and Hephthalites (qq.v.), of Hunnish origin, who had been settled in modern northern
Bibliography: F. R. Allchin and N. Hammond, The Archaeology of
Iranian people ( Irannic People) are not confined to the borders of the current state of Iran. The term Iranic People is sometimes used as an alternative in order to avoid confusion with the citizens of modern
"Iranian", as used above, refers to all Iranian peoples, at the time not yet differentiated from each other at the time of the composition of the Zoroastrian Yashts texts, where Zarathustra is described to have lived in Airyanem Vaejah meaning "Land of Aryans".
Persian/Farsi speaking region will have loan words from a geographically close neighboring nation. Languages like Pashto, Kurdish and Baluchi are close to Persian/Farsi but have become distinct Aryana languages of their own. These languages were very close to Avestan ,Sanskrit and Old Persian during the arrival of the Aryans, but later during the development phase in Aryana ,they took their own course.
The Iranian peoples (Iranic people) are a collection of ethnic groups (Persians,Pushtuns,Ossetians, Yaghnobi, Tajiks, Kurds, Baluchis and ...), who are descents of Old Persians, Saka-Scythinas, Bactrians, Alanian, Sarmatians and Tocharians defined by their usage of Iranian languages and discernable descent from ancient Iranian peoples( Indo-Europeans, Aryans ). The Iranian peoples live chiefly in the Iran, Afghanistan, CentralAsia, Caucasus and parts of the Indian subcontinent, though speakers of Iranian languages were once found throughout Eurasia, from the Balkans to western China.
Tocharians language is classified as indo-european langauge,its not an Iranian language.
Early Iranian tribes were the precursors to many diverse modern peoples, including Persians, Pushtuns,Ossetians,Pamirians,Yaghnobi, Kurds,Baluchis and many other smaller groups. The southern Iranian peoples survived Alexander the Great's conquests, Muslim Arab attempts at cultural dominance, and devastating assaults by the Mongols.
The series of ethnic groups which comprise the Iranian peoples are traced to a branch of the ancient Indo-European Aryans known as the Iranians or Proto-Iranians.
Having descended from the Aryans (Proto-Indo-Iranians), the ancient Iranian peoples separated from the Indo-Aryans in the early 2nd millennium BCE. The Iranian languages form a sub-branch of the Indo-Iranian sub-family, which is a branch of the family of Indo-European languages. The Iranian peoples stem from early Proto-Iranians, themselves a branch of the Indo-Iranians, who are believed to have originated in either Central Asia or Afghanistan circa 1800 BCE. The Proto-Iranians are traced to the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, a Bronze Age culture of
The area between northern
By the first millennium BCE, Ancient Iranian peoples such as the Medes, Persians, Bactrians ( Pushtuns,Pamirians,Tajiks ) and Parthians populated the Iranian plateau, while Iranian peoples such as the Scythians, Sarmatians, and Alans populated the steppes north of the Black Sea. The Saka and Scythian tribes remained mainly in the north, and spread as far west as the Balkans and as far east as Xinjiang. Later offshoots, related to the Scythians, included the Sarmatians, who vanished following Slavic and other invasions into southern
Map of Iranic people : Persians , Pushtuns , Baluchis , Kurds,
Ossetians , Yaghnobi , Pamirians, Gurani, Zazaki
Genetic testing of Iranian peoples has revealed many common genes for most of the Iranian peoples, but with numerous exceptions and regional variations. Genetic studies conducted by Cavalli-Sforza have revealed that Iranic peoples cluster closely with European groups and more distantly from Near Eastern groups. Preliminary genetic tests suggest common origins for most of the Iranian peoples.
In a study released by The Genographic Project, DNA analysis shows that the majority of all known ethnic Afghans share a unique genetic heritage that can be traced back to a single common ancestral population. A total of 204 Afghan DNA samples were investigated along with over 8,500 samples from surrounding populations concluding that the emergence of these early civilizations most likely occurred 10,000- 7,000 years ago during the Neolithic revolution and the formation of early agricultural communities. Published on March 28th, 2012 in the journal PLoS ONE, the study was led by principal investigator Pierre Zalloua and Marc Haber.
“Afghanistan embraces a rich diversity of multi-ethnic and multi-lingual communities. The goal of our study was to determine whether the various Afghan groups arose from a common population with different social systems but with the same genetic stock or whether cultural and ethnic differences were founded on already existing genetic differences,” said Zalloua.
Results of the study also indicate that fragmentation within these early civilizations began during the Bronze Age, probably due to migrations and invasions into various regions including Iran, Greece, India, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and East Asia.
"We knew that the Afghans were culturally diverse, but we were not sure if their DNA would give us any clues as to how they have evolved. We now know that major cultural evolutions and prehistoric technological advancements, followed later by migrations and conquests, have left traceable records in the Afghans' DNA, giving us an amazing insight into the origin of this population," said Haber.
Afghanistan's strategic geographical location serves as a major hub for trade as well as a crossroads of many invasion routes. Location alongside cultural developments has shaped the unique genetic heritage of the Afghan people
Led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Spencer Wells, The Genographic Project has continued to surface numerous studies revealing new developments on shared genographic history. Not only has DNA analysis been applied to nearly 75,000 participants from over 1,000 indigenous populations around the world, but also more than 440,000 members of the general public who have purchased a testing kit online to discover their own family genealogy.
Dr. Spencer Wells noted, “This study, the first detailed analysis of Afghan populations, demonstrates the unprecedented geographic breadth of Genographic’s sampling. The project is striving to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of human migratory history. We now have a much better picture of how these groups relate to each other and to the surrounding regions. Moving forward, we hope to fill in the details of Afghanistan’s demographic history with studies of other genetic markers in these populations.”
Who were the Saka Scythians ?
The Scythians or Scyths or Saka (from Greek Óêýèçò), a nation of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who spoke an Iranian language.
Scholars generally classify the Scythian language as a member of the Eastern Iranian languages, and the Scythians as a branch of the ancient Iranian peoples expanding into the steppe regions caucasus from around 1000 BCE. The name was also used among early scholars studying the Proto Indo-Europeans, and the Scythians are still considered a reasonable analogue for their Proto Indo-European ancestors.They were also one of the ancestral lines of Pushtuns and Pamirians in Afghanistan.
The Scythians migrated from Central Asia toward
The most dominant surviving EasternIranians ( Saka-Scythians) are represented by the Pashtuns, whose origins are generally believed to be in southern Afghanistan, from which they began to spread until they reached as far west as Herat (Aria) and as far east as the Indus. The Pashtu language shows affinities to Scythians and Bactrians. Scythian tribe (Saka tribe) were somewhat illiterate when they first came to
There is a distant relationship between the Iranic Saka and the Germanic people due to the fact that both speak Indo-European languages. Their common forefathers, or better : the people speaking the proto-language which gave rise to Germanic and Iranian probably lived somewhere near the
The early Sakas or Scythians are remembered by Greek (e.g. Herodotus, Megatheses, Pliny, Ptolemy) and Persian historians as tall, large framed and fierce warriors who were unrivalled on the horse. Herodotus from the 5th century BC writes in an eye-witness account of the Scythians : " They were the most manly and law-abiding of the Thracian tribes. If they could combine under one ruler, they would be the most powerful nation on earth."
According to their origin myth recorded by Herodotus, the Sakas arose when three things fell from the sky: the
The following sections deal mostly with popular traditions of Saka descent found among numerous Asian and European peoples. The Saka/Scythians are considered by mainstream historians and linguists as being Indo-Europeans who spoke a language in the Northern branch of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian also Aryan family of the Indo-European languages. The two surviving modern languages closest to Scythian are Ossetian in the Caucausus mountains and Pashto in
Like other Iranians, these nomads probably called themselves by the generic term "Airya." This is testified inter alia by the native name of their descendants in the present day
The Northern Iranian Aryan speakers including the Saka/Scythians were slowly overwhelmed by the Mongol-Turkic expansion in
The adherents of the Saka -Scythians theory point out that the burial customs of the Scythians and the Vikings show certain similarities. Furthermore, the Old English chroniclers write that when the Saxons invaded
From 5th century BCE to 1st century BCE Europeans have faced many difficulties with this small tribe reasonably big enough to cause distractions. Scythians attacked many parts of Europe, including
Some of these Saka tribes entered northwest
Paul Pezon supports this theory, claiming that the Saka Scythians and the seemingly related Cimmerians were ultimately ancestors to the Celts and Germans , and that the Germans fled the Baltic area when it was flooded by the rising sea level after the Ice age. He believes that the German tribe Cimbri have descended from a branch of the Cimmerians.
We know a great deal about their physical appearance. They were long-headed giants with blond hair and blue eyes; this well-known fact is attested by various classical sources , and by their skeletal and other remains in numerous archaeological excavations, which give a fairly detailed description of these ancient Iranians ( Iranic People).
According to some traditions, the Saka race, with an affiliated tribe under a different name, migrated to the area of the Baltic Sea, and supposedly gave rise to the Saxon tribe in the area of present day Germany. This claim was cited in favour of Nazi claims that Germans were "original descendants of the Aryan race". Nevertheless, many Germans believe that there was a connection between people in
Indo-German ( Indo-European ) migration.
Europe was settled four main groups : The Celts , the Germans , the Balts and the Slaves .
In south penetrating, the Aryans (
Ancient Ariana : From the Aryans to the Medes. 1500 BCE–551 BCE
Between 2000–1200 BCE, a branch of Indo-European-speaking tribes known as the Aryans began migrating into the region. They appear to have split into Iranian (Iranic), Nuristani, and Indo-Aryans groups at an early stage, possibly between 1500 and 1000 BCE in what is today Afghanistan or much earlier as eastern remnants of the Indo-Aryans drifted much further west as with the Mitanni. The Iranians ( Persians , Pushtuns , Balochis, Tajiks, Kurds..) and Nuristanis dominated the Iranian plateau, while the Indo-Aryans ultimately headed towards the Indian subcontinent, but probably not before establishing some early civilization in what is today eastern
Due to the similarity between early Avestan and Sanskrit (and other related early Indo-European languages such as Latin and Ancient Greek), it is believed that the split between the Iranian and Indo-Aryan tribes had taken place at least by 1000 BCE. There are striking similarities between the Eastern Iranian language of Avestan and Sanskrit, which may support the notion that the split was contemporary with the Indo-Aryans living in
It has also been surmised by many researchers that the Iranian prophet Zoroaster was born somewhere in ancient Aryana, possibly in the ancient city of Balkh, but it remains unknown even if he was born in what is today Afghanistan or northeastern Iran or Central Asia, and the timeframe of his life literally spans millennia from as early 2000 BCE to as late as 600 BCE. Regardless, Zoroastrianism spread throughout the region alongside early pagan beliefs and centuries later Buddhism.
During this early period, the Pashtuns or some of their early Eastern Iranian ancestors are believed to have originated near the vicinity of Kandahar and possibly begun to expand into other parts of
The Medes, a Western Iranian people, arrived from what is today Kurdistan sometime around the 700s BCE and came to dominate most of ancient
Indo-European People :
Celtic , Germanic, Romance, Slavic, Baltic, Albanian , Armenian , Greek , Aryans ( Irano-Afghans ) and Indo-Aryans (north
Naqshe europa , da goshesh khord
The Aryans of
Who are the Ossetians ?
Ossetic is the spoken and literary language of the Ossetes, a people living in the central part of the Caucasus and constituting the basic population of the North-Ossetic ASSR, which belongs to the Russian Federation, and of the South-Ossetic Autonomous Oblast which belongs to the Georgian Republic. Ossetic belongs to the Northern subgroup of the Eastern-Iranian group of the Indo-European family of languages. Thus, it is genetically related to the other Eastern-Iranian languages,e.g. Pashto and Yaghnobi_language.
From deep antiquity (since the 7th-8th centuries B. C), the languages of the Iranian group were distributed in a vast territory including present-day
The Scythian group included numerous tribes in Central Asia and Southern Russia, known in ancient sources as the Scythians, Massagetae, Saka, Sarmatians, Alans and Roxolans. The more easterly Khorezmians and the Sogdians were also closely affiliated, in linguistic terms.
Ossetic is classified as Northeastern Iranian, the other surviving members of the subgroup being Yaghnobi and Pashto .These are remnants of the Scytho-Sarmatian dialect group which was once spoken across Central Asia.
The Huns could not push all the Alans out of their homeland. Their descendants, known as Ossets, are the only Iranians who still live in
Ossets are mostly Christian, speaking Ossetic, or as they themselves call it "Ironig", or "Ironski", which is classified as an Eastern Iranian language. Ossetic maintains on the one hand, some remarkable features of the Gathic Avestan, and possesses on the other, a number of words, such as, thau (tauen, to thaw, as in snow) and gau (region, district) which are remarkably similar to their modern Germanic equivalents.
This modern Iranian nation, still provides a physical link between the Indo-Europeans of the East, and those of the West, that is, most people of
Were the Proto-Bulgarians and East Iranians ( Pushtuns & Pamirians) from the same ancestors ?
Ossetians were conected to their neighbours "Proto-Bulgarians" in some Point somewhere in
There is also another theorys about bulgarians origin :
1. Bactrians origin of Proto-Bulgarians (Aryans and Saka Scythians) : Bactrians are one of ancestor lines of Modern East Iranians.
2. Avars, Hephthalites (white huns) origin :
3. Altic orgine ( Eastern Turks) : Iranized in The neighbourhood of Iranic People.
But there is no doubt about 2000 words which Bulgarian language shares with Afghan langueges ( Pushtu, Pamirian Languages and Farsi-dari ).
This fact supports Bactrian Origin theory of Bulgarians . There is also some grammatical similarity between Bulgarian and Pushtu ( East iranic language).
WERE THE PROTO-BULGARIANS A SAKA TRIBE ?
The Saks (Shaka), were another neighbouring people of the Bulgarians of the earliest period. This great and mighty tribe once lived to the east and north of Imeon. According to the legends, Budha, also known as Shakyamuni, sprang. Little is known of the relations between the Bulgarians and the Saks. It is known though that the Saks spoke a language of the Eastern-Iranian type, which was close to the Sogdian language. They resembled the ancient Bulgarians in their outer appearance; there is information about that in the Indian sources. In the Arabic chronicles, the Bulgarians were called by two parallel names, Bulgarians and Sakalibs. When their king sent a letter to the Arab khalif, Al-Moktadir, he called himself King of the Sakalibs in order, perhaps, to highlight his connection to the famous ancient Saks. It is also known that a characteristic feature of the clothing of the Saks and the
The information of the ancient calendar of the Sacs, which was brought to
Ancient Aryana (
Ariana according to Romans
"According to most anthropologists, Pashto-speaking Pashtuns appear to be primarily of Iranian origin (as well as being modified by various other invaders and migrants over the centuries) and are very similar to the Pamirians,Ossetians,Yaghnobis, Persians, Tajiks and probably Proto-Bulgarians.
Pashtuns have Eastern Iranian origin as the Pashto language is classified as an eastern Iranian tongue distantly related to Ossetic among other Iranian languages (see Ethnologue for further details). The other East Iranians "Ossetians" in Caucasian would later adopt Christianity, with Russian Orthodoxy becoming dominant following their annexation into the Russian Empire, while some converted to Islam due to the influence of the Ottomans.
Aryana, a name older than History
The first mentioning by an Iranian tribe of their "Aryan" lineage is from an early inscription known as the Behistun Inscription, recording a proclamation by Darius I of Persia that he was of Aryan ancestry and that his language was an Aryan language. The inscription thus provides a link in the Iranian languages to the usage of the term Arya in early Indo-Aryan texts. These ancient Persians recognized three official languages (Elamite, Babylonian, and Old Persian), which suggests a multicultural society. It is not known to what extent other Proto-Iranian tribes referred to themselves as "Aryan", or if the term has the same meaning in other Old Iranian languages.
Old Persian believed to be very similar to the languages spoken by the Bactrians (Pushtu,Pamirian) and Soghdians in the east. Following the establishment of the Achaemenid Empire, the Persian language spread from Fars to various regions of the empire, with the modern dialects of Iran, Afghanistan (also known as Dari) and Central-Asia (known as Tajiki) descending from Old Persian.
The most dominant surviving Eastern Iranians are represented by the Pashtuns, whose origins are generally believed to be in south and east Afghanistan, from which they began to spread until they reached as far west as Herat and as far east as the Indus. The Pashto language shows affinities to Bactrian, as both languages are believed to be of Middle Iranian origin. The modern Ossetians claim to be the descendants of the Alano-Sarmatians ( Iranic tribs ), and their claims are supported by their Northeast Iranian language, while culturally the Ossetians resemble their Caucasian neighbors, the Kabardians, Circassians and Georgians.
The theory that the Pashtun people originate from the exiled Lost Tribes of Israel was proven wrong.
Those who advocate the theory cite oral history and the names of various clans, which resemble the names of the Israelite tribes that were exiled by the Assyrian Empire , as evidence for this claim. This evidence, however, has not substantiated by a genetic studies, such as the study by Sengupta et al. (2006) and Firasat et al. (2007) which found no substantial connection between Jewish populations and the Pashtuns.
Numerous ancient texts, such as the Rig Veda, composed before 1200 BCE, which mentions the "Paktha" as an enemy group (e.g. in 4.25.7c), and Herodotus (Greeks historian) in his Histories composed circa 450 BCE which mentions the Pashtuns as "Paktyakai" (Book IV v.44) and as the "Aparytai" = Afridis (Book III v.91) in what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet no sources before the before the conversion of the Pashtuns to Islam mention any Israelite or Jewish connection, nor is the Eastern Iranian language of the Pashtuns taken into account when examining the claims of Hebrew ancestry.
It could be concluded that these claims appear to have emerged amongst the some Pashtuns following the Islamic conquest of Afghanistan; it is conceivable that many tribes have created elaborate ancestral lineages to link themselves to prominent peoples mentioned in the Qur'an such as Jews, Greeks (see Alexander the Great in the Qur'an), and Arabs, all of whom have come to the region, but appear to have contributed a very small genetic input into the population rather than drastically altering the demographics of Afghanistan. So this theory is just a mythor propaganda because there is no prove from Genetic or linguistic studies.
The Bactrians appear to have spoken a related Middle Iranian language and it is conceivable that some Pashtuns are at least partially related to them (Greco-Bactrians).
The Pakthas were one of the tribes that fought against Sudas in the Dasarajna battle. The Rig-Veda( 1500 BC ) mentions a tribe called the Paktues in the Battle of the Ten Kings (in the region of Pakhat) as inhabiting present-day
The tribes Further information: Rigvedic tribes
Tritsu: The tribe of King Sudas.
Alinas: They were probably one of the tribes defeated by Sudas at the Dasarajna, and it was suggested that they lived to the north-east of
Nurestan, because the land was mentioned by the Chinese pilgrim Hiouen Thsang. (Macdonell and Keith, Vedic Index, 1912, I, 39)
Anu: They were said to be a dynasty that lived in Kashmir.
Bhrigus: Said to be descended from Lord Varuna. They are also related to the composition of the Atharva Veda.
Bhalanas: One of the tribes that fought against Sudas in the Dasarajna battle. Some scholars have argued that the Bhalanas lived in East Kabulistan, and that the
Dasa, Dasyu: A term labelled to all Iranic tribes that were in opposition to King Sudas, cognate to the Iranian ethnonym Dahae (also known as Dahan Scythians). In the Rig Veda, Dasyu refers to an inimical people and is generally a term of denigration.
Druhyus: From them came Gandhari, Pakhtas . who gave his name to a region he settled in the Gandhara Valley.
Parsu: The Parsus have been connected with the Persians, though this view is disputed by some. This is based on the evidence of an Assyrian inscription from 844 BC referring to the Pesians as Parsu, and the Behistun Inscription of Darius I of Persia referring to Parsa as the origin of the Persians.
Purus: The tribe of King Sudas. The Bharatas were a clan among the Puru tribe. The Prthas were also a clan from the Puru tribe, judging from Arjuna's Pandava clan descending from the Kaurava clan in the Bhagavad Gita, which in turn descends from the Pauravas, but Krishna also referred to Arjuna as Pārtha (descendant of the Prtha clan.)
Panis: Also known as the Parni, a Scythian tribe which later founded the Parthian dynasty of the Persian Empire.
Heinrich Zimmer connects Pakhtas with a tribe already mentioned by Herodotus (Pactyans), and with Pakhtuns in Afghanistan.
A Pushtun is Caucasian. Anthropologist Carleton S. Coon described Irano-Afghans in his The Races of Europe. A Pushtun is of the East Iranian genetic base, bearing a genetic make up that resembles that of a European.
Research into human DNA has emerged as a new and innovative tool being used to explore the genetic make-up of various populations in order to ascertain historical population movements. According to some recent genetic research the Pashto-speaking Pashtuns are mainly related to East-Iranian people with "R1a "Haplotypes. There is also evidence of a small Greek contribution to the Pashtun gene pool that will likely require further testing in order to ascertain its pervasiveness.
The Pushtu language says enough about pushtuns origin : Pusho language is Classified as East-Iranian, a branche of Indo-European language.
In Pashto most of the lexicon is of Eastern Iranian origin; those words can be easily compared to those known from Avestan, Ossetic and Pamir languages. Post 7th century borrowings came primarily from Arabic; however, modern borrowings come from Persian, Hindi/Urdu, English.
Unlike many Iranian languages, in Pashto nouns and adjectives are inflected for gender (masc./fem.), as well as the usual Indo-European number (sing./plur.), and case (direct, oblique I, oblique II and vocative).
From the time of Islam's rise in
Pashto has more vowels and consonants than either Arabic or Persian. As a result, the Pashto alphabet has several letters which do not appear in any other Arabic script. For example, the letters representing the retroflex consonants /ʈ/, /ɖ/, /ɺ̡/ and /ɳ/ are written like the standard Arabic teh, dâl, reh and nun with a "panddak", "gharrwandah" or also called "skarraen" attached underneath, which looks like a small circle: ړ ,ډ ,ټ, and ڼ, respectively. It also has the letters šin and žeh (representing voiceless and voiced retroflex fricatives), which look like a sin and reh respectively with a dot above and beneath: ښ and ږ. The letters representing /ts/ and /dz/ are also specific to Pashto; they look like a ح with three dots above and an hamza (ء) above; څ and ځ witch is identical with slavian /ц/ (ts,or tz).
This map Shows Proto-Langueges ( Proto - IndoEuropean langueges )
Welsh : Irish Gaelic : Scottish Gaelic : Breton
English : Dutch : Flemish : Frisian : Afrikaans
Romance (Latin) Branch
Italian : Sardinian : French : Provencal : Catalonian
Russian : Belorussian : Ukrainian : Polish : Sorbian
Lithuanian : Latvian
Hittite : Lydian : Lycian: Luwian : Palaic
Farsi : Pashto : Kurdish : Baluchi : Ossetian : Tadzhik
Old Persian : Avestan (Old Bactrian) : Scythian
Turfanian : Kuchean
Legend: † Extinct language
Who are Tajiks?
The Persian-speaking Tajiks are, at least in terms of language, culture, and history, closely related to the Persian-speakers of Iran.
The Tajiks trace their ancestry to the East Iranian-speaking Bactrians, Sogdians, and Parthians, which means that the historical ancestors of the Tajiks did not speak Persian. This fact could be explained by "R1a" genetic haplotypes which is the highest by East-Iranic people not by West-Iranian Persians.
The 'Tajiks' adoption of the now dominant southwestern branch Persian DARI language is believed to have as its root cause, the Islamic conquest of
Sir George Abraham Grierson holds that the Tajiks of Badakshan ( Pamirians ) belong to the east Iranian group as do the other Ghalcha speakers( Pamirians ) of the Tajikstan “. George Grierson also records that the speech of Badakshan was a Ghalcha till about three centuries ago when it was supplanted by a form of new Persian ( Dari).
It has been shown that the modern Ghalcha dialects, Vakhi, Shigali, Sriqoli, Jebaka (also called Sanglichi or Ishkashim), Munjani and Yidga , mainly spoken in Pamirs and countries on the headwaters of the Oxus, still use terms derived from ancient Kamboja verb Śavati in the sense "to go". Furthermore, the Yagnobi dialect spoken in Yagnobi province around the headwaters of Zeravshan valley in Sogdiana, also still contains a relic "Śu" from the ancient Kamboja Śavati in the sense "to go".The ancient Kambojas, were originally located in the Badakshan, Pamirs and northern territories including Yagnobi province in the doab of the Oxus and Jaxartes. On the east they were bounded roughly by Yarkand and/or Kashgar, on the west by Bahlika (Uttaramadra), on the northwest by Sogdiana, on the north by Uttarakuru, on the southeast by Darada, and on the south by Gandhara. Numerous Indologists have located Kamboja in Pamirs and Badakshan and the Parama Kamboja, in the Trans-Pamirian territories, comprising Zeravshan valley and north up the parts of Sogdiana/Fargana—in the Sakadvipa or Scythia of the classical writers.The Ghalcha speaking Tajik population occupy, more or less, the same territories, which in ancient time, were held by east Iranian Kambojas and the Parama Kambojas.This people are stated to have held their own in spite of centuries of Hunic, Turkic and Mongol invasions.Based on George Grierson's Sociolinguistics researches in India, eminent scholars like Dr J. C. Vidyalankara, Dr Moti Chandra, Dr S. K. Chatterjee, Dr J. L. Kamboj etc write that the Tajiks are the modern representatives of the ancient Kambojas/Parama Kambojas. Some scholars hold that the Ghalcha Tajiks ( Pamirians ) are descendants both of the Kambojas as well as the Tukharas
The geographical division between the eastern and western Iranians is often considered historically and currently to be the desert Dasht-e Kavir, situated in the center of the Iranian plateau.
Origin of the term
"Tājik" is a word of Turko-Mongol origin and means (literally) Non-Turk. The 17th century Persian dictionary Farhang Burhan Qati' by Muhammad Husayn ibn Khalaf Tabrizi also defines it as "non-Arab" and "non-Turk". It has the same root as the word Tat which is used by Turkic-speakers for the Persian-speaking population of the Caucasus. In a historical context, it is synonymous with Iranian and particularly with Persian. Since the Turko-Mongol conquest of Central Asia, Persian-speakers in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran and all the way to Pakistan and Kashmir have been identified as Tājiks based of their language. The term is mainly used as opposed to "Turk" and "Mongol". "Tajik" is just another word for "Dari speakers". The origin of the name Tajik has been embroiled in twentieth-century political disputes about whether Turkic or Iranian peoples were the original inhabitants of
First mentioned by the Uyghur historian Mahmoud Al-Kāshgharī, Tājik is an old Turkic expression referring to all Dari (Persian)-speaking peoples of
At certain periods of history, the word Tājik also referred to Persian-speaking scholars and clerks of early Islamic time who were schooled in Arabic.
According to some old Tājik folktales, as well as old Persian books, the word "Tājik" literally refers to the "people having the crown" ("Tāj" means crown in Persian). It is believed that it initially refers to the East-Iranian people ,who adopted Persian language after the Islamic conquest of Central Asia by the Arabs, which means that the historical ancestors of the Tajiks did not speak Persian - the southwestern Iranian language, today known as 'Farsi' in Iran and Afghanistan. The 'Tajiks' adoption of the now dominant southwestern branch Persian language is believed to have as its root cause, the Islamic conquest of
Who are Pamirians :
The Pamiris of the Badakhshan region in
In the West Pamirs there live several small peoples with the common self-designation Pamir, who speak the Pamir languages belonging to the East-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family -- the Shughni, the Bartang, and the Roshani (the Shughni-Roshani Group) together number around 30,000--40,000, the Yazgulami about 2,000, the Wakhis 15,000--20,000, the Ishkashmi, and the Yaghnabi and others 3,000--4,000 all together. No precise data exists regarding the Pamir-speaking peoples since statistics constantly overlooked them in the U.S.S.R. where they were last separately registered in 1939. This is also the case in other countries. Under the U.S.S.R. they were registered as Tadzhik. It is also clear that in a system which made consistent efforts to wipe out ethnic minorities, even a census would not yield absolutely reliable results.
In literature the Pamir peoples are sometimes referred to as the Mountain-Tadzhik whereas the Tadzhik themselves refer to them as the
The Islamic faith, more precisely Ismailite, began to spread in the Pamirs in the 11th century. Marco Polo who visited Wakhan in 1274 noted that the people were Mohammadans. The Islamic faith has left a deep imprint on the culture and way of life of the
Alongside the minor Pamir languages several dialects of the Tadzhik and
Outside the ex-U.S.S.R., where at least half of the speakers of the Pamir languages reside, they are also to be found in
The first explorers of the
More comprehensive research into the
In comparison with the other Iranian languages the Pamir Group has retained a lot of ancient characteristics of Old and Middle Iranian, brought about by territorial seclusion. The relative homogeneity of the
As mentioned earlier, none of the
Local newspapers are in Tadzhik and Russian as are radio broadcasts. Tadzhik is the language of all public meetings.
The extensive propagation of the Tadzhik language in the Pamirs is mainly a phenomenon linked to the Soviet era. In the past Tadzhik was spoken by the men who had seasonal jobs in eastern
It should, however, be noted that the
Communications have always been difficult in the Pamirs. In the past vehicular transport was made redundant by the absence of roads. Asses and camels, the latter especially in Roshan and Bartang, were used as beasts of burden and pack animals. An uncontestable achievement of the Soviet era is the construction of a road network -- in 1934 the Osh-Khorog motorway was completed, followed by Dushanbe-Khorog in 1940. During World War II the road network was developed still further. Nowadays the roads are supplemented by air traffic.
Since World War II the inhabitants of the high mountain villages have been forced to move down to the new cotton growing regions such as the Vakhsh valley. In these regions the forcibly resettled inhabitants form 40--70% of the population (N. Ginzburg). The resettlements were justified by the difficulties in maintaining socio-cultural and medical services due to lack of roads, as well as by scarcity of arable land and seismically hazardous conditions, (L. Monogarova,
Ethnic Interpretations: Indo-European - Indo-Iranian (Iranian, Indo Aryan, and Nuristani)
1. The Indo-Iranian sub family of Indo-European is divided into three main branches: Iranian, Indo-Aryan, and Nuristani.
HOLLIS lists 14 additional sub-families for the Iranian language: Avestan(Old Bactrian), Baluchi, Dari, Ephthalite, Gilaki, Hazara, Old Persian, Persian, Pushto (Pashto), Talysh, Tat, Wakhi, Yaghnobi, and Yueh Chih. [Arutiunov states that Yueh Chi and Ephthalite are probably the same and might be Tokharic but are not Iranian 15 ] HOLLIS, as listed above, includes Yueh Chi and Ephthalite as members of the Iranian language family. As per Arutiunov, Dari, Modern Persian, and Tadjik are three slightly different standards of one language, Farsi.
Iranian languages in more detail: Avestan is one of the two ancient languages comprising Old Iranian and that in which the sacred books of the Zoroastrian religion were written and as an ancient language is extinc. Baluchi is spoken by an Indo-Iranian people of the Irano-Afghan type in Baluchistan; and Dari is the literary language still used in
Persian is one of the ancient Iranian people who under Cyrus became the dominant people in
· Iranian Language - modified from HOLLIS with additions by Arutiunov in Bold Face.
1. Avestan ( Old Bactrian) - extinct
3. Dari (variety of modern Persian)
4. Ephthalite (might be Tokharic, not Iranian; they likely are the same as the Yueh Chih and were replaced by the Uighurs)
5. Farsi (includes modern Persian, Dari, and Tajik)
6. Gilaki (???extinct)
9. Old Persian (extinct)
12. Parthian (extinct)
13. Persian (the standard of
14. Pashto (Pushtu or Pushto; spoken by the Pathan people)
15. Tajik (variety of Modern Persian)
18. Wakhi (Wama and other Kafir languages of
19. Yaghnobi (relic of ancient Sogdian) 16
20. Yueh Chih (might be Tokharic, not Iranian; the Yueh Chih were replaced by Uighurs)
HOLLIS lists the following Iranian People : Alani, Indo Iranians (Indo Aryans & Iranians), Indo Scythians (Saka & Yueh Chih), Kurds, Ossetes, Parthians, Pushtuns, Saka, Sarmatians, Scythians, Tajiks.
Iranian people in more detail: the Alani (see lecture 14) are an Iranian people who migrated from Central Asia to the northern
The Indo Iranians consist of the Indo Aryans whom HOLLIS relates to the Parya Indic People and the Iranians. The Indo Scythians are related to the Saka, a nomadic people of the steppelands north of the Iranian plateau, and to the Yueh Chih (also known as Tocharian) a people in
· Iranian People - modified from HOLLIS with additions by Arutiunov in Bold Face.
1. Alani - are descendants of Sarmatian (and were replaced by the Ossetes; thus Alani are extinct)
2. Indo Iranians
a. Indo Aryans 17
· (Parya Indic People 18) - a small group; they are the only Indo-Aryan people in the former
3. Indo Scythians
a. Saka (eastern Scythians; extinct)
b. Yueh Chih (not Iranian; extinct)
5. Ossetes (successors of Alans, deriving from Sarmates)
6. Parthians (extinct)
7. Pushtuns (language of the Pathans)
8. Saka (eastern Scythians; extinct)
9. Sarmatians (partly successors to Scythians; extinct)
10. Scythians (extinct)
12. Pathans (who speak Pushtun)
Alexeev did not detail the Indo Aryan branch of the Indo Iranian language. The Indo Aryan branch of the Indo Iranian subfamily of Indo European language, as per HOLLIS, includes Dardic, Palic, Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Vedic.
The Dardic people or Dards were a stocky, broad shouldered moderately fair people living in the upper valley of the
According to Arutiunov, Sanskrit and Vedic are very closed; only Sanskrit is the written standard, Vedic is not. Vedic is older than Sanskrit. Palic is one of the Prakrits (in medieval
· Indo Aryan Languages - as per HOLLIS with additions by Arutiunov in Bold Face.
1. Dardic [also listed under Nuiristani]
a. Kashmiri 19
b. Phalura 20
c. Torwali 21
d. Wotapuri Katarqalai
2. Palic (is one of the Prakrits) 22
4. Sanskrit (the written standard)
a. Manipravalam language Malayalam
· Indo Aryan Languages - other sources including standard dictionary and Parpola 23
1. Indo Aryan Languages - other sources including standard dictionary and Parpola
· Dardic (from Parpola) 24; however we do not know if extinct languages and/or dialects are included.
12. Sina (or Shina)
· Indo Aryan People 25 - as per HOLLIS with additions by Arutiunov in Bold Face
1. Parya Indic people 26 - wrong!
· Indo Aryan People - as per standard dictionary
The Nuristani branch of the Indo Iranian subfamily of the Indo European language family was not detailed by Alexeev. HOLLIS lists Nuristani as a subgroup of Indo Iranian along with Indo Aryan and Iranian. As per Arutiunov,
· Kafir or Nuristani Languages - as per Parpola
Burusho or Hunza People :
The Burusho or Brusho people live in the Hunza, Nagar, and Yasin valleys of northern
The Hunza people, or Hunzakuts, descend from the principality of Hunza. They live alongside the Wakhi and the Shina. The Wakhi reside in the upper part of Hunza locally called Gojal. Wakhis also inhabit the bordering regions of
The Hunzakuts and the region of Hunza has one of the highest literacy rates as compared to other similar districts in
Burusho legend maintains that they descend from the village of Baltir, which had been founded by a soldier left behind from the army of Alexander the Great—a legend common to much of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. In 1996 an ex-patriate Macedonian linguist attempted to demonstrate a link between Burushaski and the modern, Macedonian language, and told the Hunza about the modern state of Republic of Macedonia. His proposed linguistic connection has not been accepted by other linguists, and genetic evidence only supports a Balkan genetic component in the Afghan Pushtun, not the Burusho. Nonetheless, in 2008 the Republic of Macedonia organized a visit by Hunza Prince Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Princess Rani Atiqa as descendants of the Alexandran army. They were greeted by the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and heads of the church, but the opposition dismissed the visit as populism. This political support of a connection with the Hunza parallels Greek relations with the neighboring Kalash people of
he break-up of the PIE ( Proto-Indo European ) speech-community
The early branching order of the immediate descendants of PIE is largely indeterminate. A theory popular in previous years was that of a centum-satem initial split, based largely on a distinction in the realisation of palatal stops in different sub-families: in more western branches (Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Greek) they seem to merge with original velars; in more eastern branches (Indo-Iranian, Balto-Slavic, Armenian) the original velars merge with the labiovelar series, while the palatals become sibilants and affricates eg. Latin centum, Avestan satem "hundred". However, this neat division was obscured by the more recent discovery and decipherment of Tocharian and Anatolian, which are centum varieties, but located in the east of the Indo-European family.
600 BC, east of persian Empire ( 1300 years befor Islam )
This map of Persian empire shows GANDHARA in the area east of
The name of the Gandharis is attested from the Rigveda (RV 1.120.1)and in ancient inscriptions dating back to Achaemenian
The Gandharis are a tribe attested from the Rigveda (RV 1.120.1, 1.126.7) and later texts.
According to Zimmer, they lived East on Kubha river(
The Gandharis, along with the Mujavantas, Angas and the Magadhas, are also mentioned in the Atharvaveda (AV 5.22.14), but apparently as a despised people. Gandharas are included in the Uttarapatha division of Puranic and Buddhistic traditions. Aitareya Brahmana refers to king Naganajit of Gandhara who was contemporary of Shah Janaka of Videha. The Ghandaris are also mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad and the Srauta Sutras.
The Puranas record that the Druhyus were driven out of the land of the seven rivers by Mandhatr and that their next king Ghandara settled in a north-western region which became known as Ghandara. The sons of the later Druhyu king Pracetas finally migrate to the region north of
Gandharas and their king figure prominently as strong allies of the Kurus against the Pandavas in Mahabharata war. The Gandharas were a furious people, well trained in the art of war. According to Puranic traditions, this Janapada was founded by Gandhara, son of Aruddha, a descendant of Yayati. The princes of this country are said to have come from the line of Druhyu who was a famous king of Rigvedic period. The river
The Afridi, Dilazak and Khattak tribes were the prominent Pashtun tribes of ancient Gandhara (called by them "
The city of Kandahar in
The Bactrian religious leader Zarathrushta (Zardasht) in his work Zendavesta calls this region Aeseen Vijo or Aryanum Vijo meaning the land of the Aryans.
The Rig Veda and the Zendavesta are believed to be the oldest texts in the world. Many European scholars believe that both the texts were composed in
Zarathrushta, the composer of Avesta was born in north Afghanistan near Balkh, where he preached the Zorastrian religion which was the national religion of
There are so many references made to
According to most historians, the Rigveda was composed in the ancient homeland of the Aryans,
East-Iranian Afghans are mainly descendants of 2 groups Iranic people ( Aryans ) :
1. Saka-Scythians ( Indo-Europeans, Eastern Iranic People ) .
2. Bactrians ( Aryans, Tocharians) .
But there is no doubt that some Afghan tribs are mixed with Hephthalites and Greeks in somepoint & a few Afghan tribes are mixed with Altic people and Indo-Aryans.
The Iranic peoples have often mingled with other populations, with the notable example being the Hazaras, who display a distinct Turkic-Mongol background that contrasts with most other Iranian peoples. Similarly, the Baloch have mingled with the Dravidian-speaking Brahui (who have been strongly modified by Iranian invaders themselves), while the Ossetians have invariably mixed with Georgians and other Caucasian peoples. The Pashtuns are split between those who have mingled with fellow Iranian groups such as the (Persians) and those to the south who have mingled with Dardic People( such as Nuristanis, Kalash..),Greeks( http://www.nature.com/ejhg/journal/v15/n1/full/5201726a.html#tbl2) and hephtalites. Some Persians have mingled with Armenian, Azeri Turks and Arabs . Some Tajiks are mixture of Persian, Arabs, Pushtuns Pamirian and Altic poeple. Thus al these Iranic tribs have been mingled with each other, sometimes with non-Aryan groups .
But generally all these poeple have an Aryan ( Iranic ) origin .
Many of the cultural traits of the ancient Iranians were similar to other Proto-Indo-European societies. Like other Indo-Europeans, the early Iranians practiced ritual sacrifice, had a social hierarchy consisting of warriors, clerics, and farmers, and poetic hymns and sagas to recount their deeds.
Following the Iranian split from the Indo-Iranians, the Iranians developed an increasingly distinct culture. It is surmised that the early Iranians intermarried with and assimilated local cultures over a long period of time, and thus a caste identity was never needed or created by the Iranians—in sharp contrast with the Indo-Aryans.
Various common traits can be discerned amongst the Iranian peoples. For example, the social event Norouz is an Iranian festival that is practiced by nearly all of the Iranian peoples as well as others in the region. Its origins are traced to Zoroastrianism and pre-historic times.
Some Iranian peoples exhibit distinct traits that are unique unto themselves. The Pashtuns adhere to a code of honor and culture known as Pashtunwali.
Iranian influence upon Turkic peoples
In matters relating to culture, the various Turkic-speaking minorities of Iran (notably the Azerbaijani people) and Afghanistan (Uzbeks, Turkmen, Hazaras) are often conversant in Iranian languages, in addition to their own Turkic languages, and also have Iranian culture to the extent that the term Turko-Iranian can be applied. The usage applies to various circumstances that involve historic interaction, intermarriage, cultural assimilation, bilingualism, and cultural overlap or commonalities. In fact, throughout much of the expanse of Central Asia and the Middle East, Iranian and Turkic culture has merged in many cases to form various hybrid populations and cultures, as evident from various ruling dynasties such as the Ghaznavids, Saljuqs,Safavids,Afsharids,Qajar dynasty and Mughals.
Iranian cultural influences have also been significant in Central Asia, where Turkic invaders are believed to have largely mixed with native Iranian peoples of which only the Tajik are still speaking an Iranian language.
The areas of the former Soviet Union adjacent to Iran, Afghanistan, and the Kurdish areas (such as Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan) have gone through the prism of decades of Russian and Soviet rule that has reshaped the Turko-Iranian cultures there to some degree.
A 1998 report by UNCHR reported half a million Arabs residing in
According to Jane's Information Group, "Most Iranian Arabs seek their constitutionally guaranteed rights and do not have a separatist agenda ... While it may be true that some Arab activists are separatists, most see themselves as Iranians first and declare their commitment to the state's territorial integrity." 
The first Arabs in
Payame Noor University, which has 229 campuses throughout the country, in 2008 declared that Arabic will be the "second language" of the university, and that all its services will be offered in Arabic, concurrent with Persian.[
Although after the Arab invasion of Persia in the 7th century, many Arab tribes settled in different parts of Iran, it is the Arab tribes of Khuzestan that have retained their identity in language, culture, and Shia Islam to the present day. But ethno-linguistic characteristics of the region must be studied against the long and turbulent history of the province,with its own local language khuzi, which may have been of Elamite origin and which gradually disappeared in the early medieval period. The immigration of Arab tribes from outside the province was also a long-term process. There was a great influx of Arab-speaking immigrants into the province from the 16th to the 19th century, including the migration of the Banu Kaab and Banu Lam. There were attempts in vain by the Iraqi regime during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) to generate Arab nationalism in the area but without any palpable success 
Most Iranian Arabs in Khūzestān Province are bilingual, speaking Arabic as their mother tongue, and Persian as a second language. The variety of Arabic spoken in the province is Khuzestani Arabic, which is a Mesopotamian dialect shared by Arabs across the border in Iraq. It has significant Persian influence and may be harder to understood by other Arabic-speakers. 
Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic, which differ to a degree from Khuzestani Arabic dialect, are taught across
They are majority Shi'a, with Sunni minority and small numbers of Christians and Jews.
See also: Khūzestān Province, History of Khūzestān Province, and Politics of Khūzestān Province
In Hormozgan Province the Iranian Arab population speak various local dialects of Gulf Arabic that like the Mesopotamian dialects has significant Persian influence.The Arabs in the province are most fishermans from neighboring Oman, but still the Arabs of the province are estimated to be 4 - 8 % of the population of Hormozgan.
In Bushehr Province, there are about 20,000 Arabs that immigrated to
Khamseh nomads live in eastern
Most Khorasani-Arabs belong to the tribes of Sheybani, Zangooyi, Mishmast, Khozaima and Azdi. Khorasani-Arabs are Persian speakers and only a few speak Arabic as their mother tongue.
Central Asian Arabic is a variety of Arabic spoken in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and currently facing extinction. It was once spoken among Central Asia's numerous settled and nomadic Arab communities, which inhabited areas in Samarqand, Bukhara, Qashqadarya, Surkhandarya (present-day Uzbekistan), and Khatlon (present-day Tajikistan), as well as Afghanistan. The first wave of Arabs migrated to this region in the 8th century during the Muslim conquests and was later joined by groups of Arabs from Balkh and Andkhoy (present-day
History of Arabs in
The History of Arabs in Afghanistan span several centuries from ethnic Arab fighters who battled or migrated to the area now known as Afghanistan during conflicts dating back from the 7th century till the recent Soviet-Afghan War when they assisted fellow Muslims in fighting the Soviets and pro-Soviet Afghans. Most of these Arabs gradually lost their Arabic hegemony and ultimately mixed with the local population, though they are still considered a cognizably distinct ethnic group according to Afghanistan's constitution and national anthem.
Further information: Rashidun Empire
At the end of the 7th century, the Ummayad Arabs entered into the area now known as
Following the confrontation, the Arabs partially relinquished some of their territorial control though reasserted its authority approximately 50 years later in
After the Bolshevik Revolution, many Arabs residing in Bukhara and other areas of Central Asia migrated to
Further information: Defensive Jihad and Afghan Arabs
During the Soviet-Afghan War, many Muslims, most of them Arabs, came to
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