Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two kingdoms of Anatolia, Hayasa located South of Trabzon and Azzi, located North of the Euphrates and to the South of Hayasa. The Hayasa-Azzi confederation were in conflict with the Hittite Empire in the 14th century BC, leading up to the collapse of Hatti around 1290 BC.
\The similarity of the name Hayasa to the endonym of the Armenians, Hayk or Hay and the Armenian name for Armenia, Hayastan has prompted the suggestion that the Hayasa-Azzi confereration was involved in the Armenian ethnogenesis. The term Hayastan bears resemblance to the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and another western deity called Ebla Hayya, related to the god Ea (Enki or Enkil in Sumerian, Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian). Thus, the Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1962 posited that the Armenians derive from a migration of Hayasa into Shupria in the 12th century BC. This is open to objection due to the possibility of a mere coincidental similarity between the two names and the lack of geographic overlap, although Hayasa (the region) became known as Lesser Armenia (Pokr Hayastan in modern Armenian) in coming centuries.
The mentioning of the name Armenian can only be securely dated to the 6th century BC with the Orontid kings and very little is known specifically about the people of Azzi-Hayasa per se. The most recent edition of Encyclopædia Britannica does not include any articles on Hayasa or Azzi-Hayasa likely due to the paucity of historical documentation about this kingdom’s people. Brittanica’s article on the Armenians confirms that they were descendents of a branch of the Indo-European peoples but makes no assertion that they formed any portion of the population of Azzi-Hayasa.
Some historians find it sound to theorize that after the Phrygian invasion of Hittites, the theoretically named Armeno-Phrygians would have settled in Hayasa-Azzi, and merged with the local people, who were possibly already spread within the western regions of Urartu. After the fall of the latter, and the rise of the Kingdom of Armenia under the Artaxiad dynasty, Hayasan nobility (given they were truly Armenian) would have assumed control of the region and the people would have adopted their language to complete the amalgamation of the proto-Armenians, giving birth to the nation of Armenia as we know it today.
Paleoclimate reconstructions have shown that several glacial refugia formed around the Mediterranean and Black Sea during the last glacial period (LGP) that dramatically affected the distribution of the populations of Eurasia and the Middle East. Post-glacial warming, beginning around 12,000 years ago, resulted in population migrations out of those refugia, and drove the Neolithic revolution. The timing and routes of these migrations and their specific regions of expansion remain elusive. The genetic signals marking the initial settlement following the LPG are also unclear.
On the Y chromosome, there is significant regional variation among subhaplogroups of J within the Middle East that are informative about these events, which were investigated in more detail. 2774 samples were analyzed, including 941 newly genotyped, to characterize populations where J haplogroups have expanded geographically. Haplogroup J diversity was measured by coancestry using Y-STR haplotype effective number. Reduced Median networks were calculated for each of the J subhaplogroups and SNP coalescence times were estimated by BATWING. The J subhaplogroups’ frequencies show substantial variation across the Mediterranean Basin. J subhaplogroups show little organization of their haplotypes by geography, suggesting that diversity evolved primarily within a pool of ancestral populations for a larger part of its history, then post-glacial expansions carried this diversity throughout their modern geographical range.
Coalescence time estimates indicate longer evolution of J haplogroups in northern populations, in agreement with co-ancestry diversity. Population divergence time estimates are recent compared to coalescence times, supporting long evolution times prior to post-glacial expansions. Our data provide evidence for the timing and differential routes of post glacial repopulation of the region. When combined with archaeological and linguistic evidence, these genetic data allow us to reconstruct the spread of agriculture and the origins of various Neolithic cultures of the Middle East. The Neolithic expansion has been marked by haplogroups characteristic of the Middle East, with J haplogroups showing geographically differential frequency distributions and haplotype diversities.
These results are suggestive of evolution within the Anatolian Peninsula and the Black Sea basin during the LGP, followed by multiple expansions taking distinct routes at different times subsequent to the LGP.
Y Chromosome J Haplogroups trace post glacial period expansion from Turkey and Caucasus into the Middle East confirms that the West Asian highlands are responsible for the spread of haplogroup J, including, it seems into the Middle East itself. The chronology presented probably assumes the evolutionary mutation rate; also, the lack of haplogroup J in Europe pre-5ka argues for a late expansion. I am fairly convinced that out of this West Asian highlander population came the two dominant groups of West Eurasian prehistory, the Indo-Europeans and the Semites, their spread associated with a “metallurgical edge” in technology and social complexity during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age.
The latter probably picked their language from a T- or E-bearing population of the southern Levant (Ghassulians), as these two haplogroups might link the Proto-Semites with their African Afroasiatic brethren.
Pontic is the proposed language family or macrofamily, comprising the Indo-European and Northwest Caucasian language families, with Proto-Pontic being the reconstructed proto-language. The internal reconstruction of the Indo-European proto-language done by Benveniste and Lehmann has set Proto-Indo-European (PIE) typologically quite apart from its daughters.
In 1960, Aert Kuipers noticed the parallels between a Northwest Caucasian language, Kabardian, and PIE. It was Paul Friedrich in 1964, however, who first suggested that PIE might be phylogenetically related to Proto-Caucasian. In 1981, Colarusso examined typological parallels involving consonantism, focusing on the so-called laryngeals of PIE and in 1989, he published his reconstruction of Proto-Northwest Caucasian (PNWC). Eight years later, the first results of his comparative work on PNWC and PIE were published in his article Proto-Pontic: Phyletic Links Between Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Northwest Caucasian, an event which may be considered the actual beginning of the hypothesis.
North Caucasian languages, sometimes called simply Caucasic, is a blanket term for two language phyla spoken chiefly in the North Caucasus and Turkey: the Northwest Caucasian family (Pontic, Abkhaz–Adyghe, Circassian, West Caucasian) and the Northeast Caucasian family (Caspian, Nakh–Dagestanian, East Caucasian); the latter includes the former North-central Caucasian (Nakh) family.
Some linguists, notably Sergei Starostin and Sergei Nikolayev, believe that the two groups sprang from a common ancestor about five thousand years ago. However, this proposal is difficult to evaluate, and remains controversial. Among the linguists who support the North Caucasian hypothesis, the main split between Northeast Caucasian and Northwest Caucasian is considered uncontroversial. Problems arise when it gets to the internal structure of Northeast Caucasian itself. So far no general agreement has been reached in this respect. There are approximately 34 to 38 distinct living or extinct North Caucasian languages.
The Proto-Kartvelian language, or Common Kartvelian, is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Kartvelian languages in the Caucasus, which was spoken by the ancestors of the modern Kartvelian peoples. The existence of such a language is widely accepted by specialists in linguistics, who have reconstructed a broad outline of the language by comparing the existing Kartvelian languages against each other.
The ablaut patterns of Proto-Kartvelian are highly similar to those of the Indo-European languages, and so it is widely thought that Proto-Kartvelian interacted with Indo-European at a relatively early date. This is reinforced by a fairly large number of words borrowed from Indo-European, such as the Proto-Kartvelian ṃḳerd (breast), and its obvious relation to the Indo-European kerd (heart). Proto-Kartvelian *ṭep “warm” is also directly derived from Indo-European *tep “warm”. It is also asserted that the name of wine in Indo-European languages is borrowed from Proto-Kartvelian *ɣwino, implicating quite close relations between these languages.
Quite consistent with my idea that Proto-Indo-European is related to the West Asian autosomal component. This component occurs at a a level greater than 50% level in modern North Caucasian speakers, is absent in Europe prior to 5,000 years ago, and occurs at levels greater or equal to 10% in most present-day Indo-European speakers from Europe.
Although we have not been able to find certain proofs of lexical borrowing between PIE and North Caucasian, there are a few undeniable areal-typological parallels in phonology and grammar. Some features generally attributed to PIE are not found in the majority of languages of North and Northeastern Eurasia, while they are common, or universally present, in the languages of the Caucasus (especially North Caucasus).
Those features include the high consonant-to-vowel ratio, tonal accent, number suppletion in personal pronouns, the presence of gender and the morphological optative and, possibly, the presence of glottalized consonants and ergativity. This shows evidence for early contacts between Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and the languages of the Caucasus.
There is an interesting monograph by Fournet & Bomhard on the Indo-European Elements in Hurrian (pdf). I will leave the linguistic details to the experts, as I doubt that many people are competent in both Proto-Indo-European and Hurrian to assess the authors’ thesis. However, this is the bit that captured my attention:
Hurrian cannot be considered an Indo-European language — this is so obvious that it barely needs to be stated. Traditional Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Gothic, Old Irish, Old Church Slavic, Tocharian, etc., are clearly related to each other through many common features and shared innovations that are lacking in Hurrian.
However, that is not the end of the argument. In the preceding chapters, we presented evidence that Hurrian and Proto-Indo-European “[bear] a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could have been produced by accident; so strong that no philologer could examine [them] without believing them to have sprung from some common source.” In this chapter, we will discuss our views on what that common source may have been like. In so doing, we will have to delve deeply into prehistory, well beyond the horizon of what is traditionally reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European in the traditional handbooks.
Our discussion now comes to an end. In the course of this book, we have attempted to show, through a careful analysis of the relevant phonological, morphological, and lexical data, that Urarto-Hurrian and Indo-European are, in fact, genetically related at a very deep level, as we indicated at the beginning of this chapter by quoting from the famous Third Anniversary Discourse (1786) of Sir William Jones. We propose that both are descended from a common ancestor, which may be called “Proto-Asianic”, to revive an old, but not forgotten, term.
On the basis of genetic data I have recently proposed an origin of the Indo-Aryans in the Transcaucasus, based on their possession of a genetic component related to that of modern Northeast Caucasian speakers and the putative relationship of the latter with the Hurro-Urartian group. If the Hurrian-Indo-European “Proto-Asianic” hypothesis is true, then it would strengthen that hypothesis as it would place the Proto-Indo-Europeans in the vicinity of the Hurrians.
Linguists classify Armenian as an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. Armenian shares a number of major innovations with Greek, and some linguists group these two languages together with Phrygian and the Indo-Iranian family into a higher-level subgroup of Indo-European which is defined by such shared innovations as the augment. More recently, others have proposed a Balkan grouping including Greek, Armenian, Phrygian and Albanian.
The earliest testimony of the Armenian language dates to the 5th century AD (the Bible translation of Mesrob Mashtots). The earlier history of the language is unclear and the subject of much speculation. It is clear that Armenian is an Indo-European language, but its development is opaque. In any case, Armenian has many layers of loanwords and shows traces of long language contact with Hurro-Urartian, Greek and Indo-Iranian.
The Proto-Armenian sound-laws are varied and eccentric (such as *dw- yielding erk-), and in many cases uncertain. For this reason, Armenian was not immediately recognized as an Indo-European branch in its own right, and was assumed to be simply a very eccentric member of the Iranian languages before H. Hübschmann established its independent character in an 1874 publication.
Proto-Indo-European voiceless stops are aspirated in Proto-Armenian, a circumstance that gave rise to an extended version of the Glottalic theory, which postulates that this aspiration may have been sub-phonematic already in PIE. In certain contexts, these aspirated stops are further reduced to w, h or zero in Armenian (PIE *pots, Armenian otn, Greek pous “foot”; PIE treis, Armenian erekʿ, Greek treis “three”).
The reconstruction of Proto-Armenian being very uncertain, there is no general consensus on the date range when it might have been alive.“
The Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrians (and Urartians), Luvians and the Mushki. After arriving in its historical territory, Proto-Armenian would appear to have undergone massive influence on part the languages it eventually replaced. Armenian phonology, for instance, appears to have been greatly affected by Urartian, which may suggest a long period of bilingualism.
The large percentage of loans from Iranian languages initially led linguists to erroneously classify Armenian as an Iranian language. The distinctness of Armenian was only recognized when Hübschmann (1875) used the comparative method to distinguish two layers of Iranian loans from the true Armenian vocabulary.
W. M. Austin in 1942 concluded that there was an early contact between Armenian and Anatolian languages, based on what he considered common archaisms, such as the lack of a feminine and the absence of inherited long vowels. But, unlike shared innovations (or synapomorphies) the common retention of archaisms (or symplesiomorphy) is not necessarily considered evidence of a period of common isolated development.
In his paper, “Hurro-Urartian Borrowings in Old Armenian”, Soviet linguist Igor Mikhailovich Diakonov notes the presence in Old Armenian of what he calls a Caucasian substratum, identified by earlier scholars, consisting of loans from the Kartvelian and Northeast Caucasian languages such as Udi. Noting that the Hurro-Urartian peoples inhabited the Armenian homeland in the second millennium BC, Diakonov identifies in Armenian a Hurro-Urartian substratum of social, cultural, and zoological and biological terms such as ałaxin (‘slavegirl’) and xnjor (‘apple(tree)’).
Some of the terms he gives admittedly have an Akkadian or Sumerian provenance, but he suggests they were borrowed through Hurrian or Urartu. Given that these borrowings do not undergo sound changes characteristic of the development of Armenian from Proto-Indo-European, he dates their borrowing to a time before the written record but after the Proto-Armenian language stage.
Graeco-Armenian (also Helleno-Armenian) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Greek and Armenian languages which postdates the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE). Its status is comparable to that of the Italo-Celtic grouping: each is widely considered plausible without being accepted as established communis opinio.
The hypothetical Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage would need to date to the 3rd millennium BC, only barely differentiated from either late PIE or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan. Evaluation of the hypothesis is tied up with the analysis of the poorly attested Phrygian language. While Greek is attested from very early times, allowing a secure reconstruction of a Proto-Greek language dating to the late 3rd millennium, the history of Armenian is opaque. It is strongly linked with Indo-Iranian languages; in particular, it is a Satem language.
The hypothesis that Greek is Armenian’s closest living relative originates with Pedersen (1924), who noted that the number of Greek-Armenian lexical cognates is greater than that of agreements between Armenian and any other Indo-European language. Meillet (1925, 1927) further investigated morphological and phonological agreement, postulating that the parent languages of Greek and Armenian were dialects in immediate geographical proximity in the parent language. Meillet’s hypothesis became popular in the wake of his Esquisse (1936). Solta (1960) does not go as far as postulating a Proto-Graeco-Armenian stage, but he concludes that considering both the lexicon and morphology, Greek is clearly the dialect most closely related to Armenian.
Hamp (1976:91) supports the Graeco-Armenian thesis, anticipating even a time “when we should speak of Helleno-Armenian” (meaning the postulate of a Graeco-Armenian proto-language). Armenian shares the augment, a negator derived from the set phrase *ne hoiu kwid (“not ever at all”), the representation of word-initial laryngeals by prothetic vowels, and other phonological and morphological peculiarities with Greek. Clackson (1994:202) is again more reserved, holding the evidence in favour of a positive Graeco-Armenian sub-group to be inconclusive and tends to include Armenian into a larger Graeco-Armeno-Aryan family.
The closeness of the relationship between Armenian and Greek sheds light on the paraphyletic nature of the Centum-Satem isogloss. Nevertheless, linguists including Fortson (2004) comment “by the time we reach our earliest Armenian records in the 5th century A.D., the evidence of any such early kinship has been reduced to a few tantalizing pieces.”
Early in the fifth century, Classical Armenian, or Grabar, was one of the great languages of the Near East and Asia Minor. Although an autonomous branch within the Indo-European family of languages, it had some affinities to Middle Iranian, Greek and the Balto-Slavic languages, but belonged to none of them. It was characterized by a system of inflection unlike the other languages, as well as a flexible and liberal use of combining root words to create derivative and compound words by the application of certain agglutinative affixes. Of all Indo-European languages only Armenian is agglutinative.
Armenian is a pluricentric language, having two modern standardized forms: Eastern Armenian and Western Armenian. The most distinctive feature of Western Armenian is that it has undergone several phonetic mergers; these may be due to proximity to Arabic and Turkish-speaking communities. For example, Eastern Armenian speakers pronounce (թ) as an aspirated “t” as in “tiger”, (դ) like the “d” in “develop”, and (տ) as a tenuis occlusive, sounding somewhere between the two as in “stop.”
Proto-Indo-European voiceless occlusives are aspirated in Proto-Armenian, one of the circumstances that is often linked to the Glottalic theory, part of which postulated that the voiceless occlusives of Proto-Indo-European were aspirated. The Glottalic Theory holds that Proto-Indo-European had ejective stops, *pʼ *tʼ *kʼ, instead of plain voiced ones, *b *d *ɡ, of traditional Proto-Indo-European phonological reconstructions.
Dialects of Armenian also show glottalization. This has been argued to be influence from the other Caucasian languages, but Kortlandt argues glottalization cannot be considered a modern innovation and must be reconstructed with a wider dialectal distribution in older stages of Armenian.
The Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Homeland, based on the Glottalic theory suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highland. The phonological peculiarities proposed in the Glottalic theory would be best preserved in the Armenian language and the Germanic languages, the former assuming the role of the dialect which remained in situ, implied to be particularly archaic in spite of its late attestation.
The Proto-Greek language would be practically equivalent to Mycenaean Greek and date to the 17th century BC, closely associating Greek migration to Greece with the Indo-Aryan migration to India at about the same time (viz., Indo-European expansion at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, including the possibility of Indo-European Kassites).
The Armenian hypothesis argues for the latest possible date of Proto-Indo-European (sans Anatolian), roughly a millennium later than the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis. In this, it figures as an opposite to the Anatolian hypothesis, in spite of the geographical proximity of the respective suggested Urheimaten, diverging from the timeframe suggested there by as much as three millennia.
Graeco-Aryan (or Graeco-Armeno-Aryan) is a hypothetical clade within the Indo-European family, ancestral to the Greek language, the Armenian language, and the Indo-Iranian languages. Graeco-Aryan unity would have become divided into Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian by the mid 3rd millennium BC. The Phrygian language would also be included. Conceivably, Proto-Armenian would have been located between Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian, consistent with the fact that Armenian shares certain features only with Indo-Iranian (the satem change) but others only with Greek (s > h).
Graeco-Armeno-Aryan has comparatively wide support among Indo-Europeanists for the Indo-European Homeland to be located in the Armenian Highland. Early and strong evidence was given by Euler’s 1979 examination on shared features in Greek and Sanskrit nominal flection.
Used in tandem with the Graeco-Armeno-Aryan hypothesis, the Armenian language would also be included under the label Aryano-Greco-Armenic, splitting into proto-Greek/Phrygian and “Armeno-Aryan” (ancestor of Armenian and Indo-Iranian).
In the context of the Kurgan hypothesis, Greco-Aryan is also known as “Late PIE” or “Late Indo-European” (LIE), suggesting that Greco-Aryan forms a dialect group which corresponds to the latest stage of linguistic unity in the Indo-European homeland in the early part of the 3rd millennium BC. By 2500 BC, Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian had separated, moving westward and eastward from the Pontic Steppe, respectively.
If Graeco-Aryan is a valid group, Grassmann’s law may have a common origin in Greek and Sanskrit. (Note, however, that Grassmann’s law in Greek postdates certain sound changes that happened only in Greek and not Sanskrit, which suggests that it cannot strictly be an inheritance from a common Graeco-Aryan stage. Rather, it is more likely an areal feature that spread across a then-contiguous Graeco-Aryan-speaking area after early Proto-Greek and Proto-Indo-Iranian had developed into separate dialects but before they ceased being in geographic contact.)
In 1981, Hopper proposed to divide all Indo-European languages into Decem and Taihun groups, according to the pronunciation of the numeral ’10’, by analogy with the Centum-Satem isogloss, which is based on the pronunciation of the numeral ‘100’. The Armenian, Germanic, Anatolian, and Tocharian subfamilies belong to the Taihun group because the numeral ’10’ begins from the voiceless t there. All other Indo-European languages belong to the Decem group because the numeral 10 begins from the voiced d in them. The question then can be framed as which, if either, of these groups reflects the original state of things, and which is an innovation.
The centum–satem division is one of many isoglosses of the Indo-European language family, related to the different evolution of the three dorsal consonant rows of the mainstream reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European (PIE).
The terms Centum versus Satem languages is derived from the words for the number “one hundred” in a traditional representative language of each group: Latin centum and Avestan satəm. The centum group includes Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Hellenic and Tocharian. This group merged PIE palatovelars and plain velars yielding plain velars only, but retain the labiovelars as a distinct set. The satem languages (which have the sibilant where the centum equivalents have the velar) include Baltic, Slavic, Armenian and Indo-Iranian. This group lose the labial element of the PIE labiovelars and thus merge them with the dorso-velars while the dorso-palatals remain distinct.
The Centum–Satem isogloss is now understood to be a chronological development of PIE. Centumization removed the palatovelars from the language, leaving none to satemize. In addition there is residual evidence of various sorts in satem languages of a former distinction between velar and labiovelar consonants, indicating the earlier centum state. It is therefore clear that centumization was followed by satemization. However the evidence of Anatolian indicates that centum was not the original state of PIE.
Armenia is sandwiched between Anatolia, the Fertile Crescent, the Iranian plateau, the Caucasus, and the Black and Caspian seas, making the study of Armenian Y-chromosomes extremely interesting for the student of Eurasian prehistory.
Gene flow from the surrounding regions may have affected the Armenian population over historical time, but the remoteness of the Armenian highlands, coupled with the national church — which distinguished Armenians from both the Orthodoxy of the Roman Empire, the Zoroastrianism of the Persians, and, later the Islam of Arabs and Ottomans — may have prevented it.
The Armenian population has a very low frequency of haplogroup R1a1. Proponents of the Kurgan model of Indo-European dispersals sometimes associate this haplogroup with the Proto-Indo-European community, and it is strange why -if their ideas are right- Armenia is so lacking in this haplogroup, like its Caucasian neighbors. Why would these hypothetical migrants make such a huge impact in faraway India and barely a dent in nearby Armenia?
The simple reason for the paucity of R1a1 in the Armenians (or related populations) is perhaps because the Indo-Europeans exercised cultural and linguistic dominance over the Hurro-Urartian population. It happened, to a degree, with the Hurrian kingdom, Mitanni, dominant in northern Mesopotamia in ancient times…an early form of Indo-Aryan was imposed was over the local Hurrian language as a superstrate language.
Finally, the occurrence of some I2, E-V13, and, perhaps, J2b in Armenia may point to Balkan contacts. But, when did these contacts occur? Are they traceable to the migration of Phrygians to Anatolia, according to the Herodotean account of Armenian origins, or can they be attributed to later contacts with Greeks or other Europeans?
The veil of mystery seems to be raised even higher by every new study: we may be less certain of what really happened today than in the days of happy ignorance, ten years ago. Ultimately it is new data, like the ones included in this paper, that will make every piece of evidence fit, and the grand puzzle of the history of Eurasia will be revealed in all its glory.
Armenia, situated between the Black and Caspian Seas, lies at the junction of Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan and former Mesopotamia. This geographic position made it a potential contact zone between Eastern and Western civilizations. We find a striking prominence of haplogroups previously implicated with the Agricultural Revolution in the Near East, including the J2a-M410-, R1b1b1*-L23-, G2a-P15- and J1-M267-derived lineages.
Given that the Last Glacial Maximum event in the Armenian plateau occured a few millennia before the Neolithic era, we envision a scenario in which its repopulation was achieved mainly by the arrival of farmers from the Fertile Crescent temporally coincident with the initial inception of farming in Greece. However, we detect very restricted genetic affinities with Europe that suggest any later cultural diffusions from Armenia to Europe were not associated with substantial amounts of paternal gene flow, despite the presence of closely related Indo-European languages in both Armenia and Southeast Europe.
From the linguistic point of view, there are several layers of loans in Armenian: Anatolian (maybe related to the wave of Balkan immigrants in 2d millennium BC that became Armenians), Urartian/Hurrian (up to 7th century BC), Iranian (200 BC-200 AD) and finally Hellenic Greek. The amount of Iranian lexical loans in Armenian actually exceeds the amount of Armenian-specific inherited vocabulary, so it’s here that we may expect the strongest genetic admixture signal. Armenian, Greek, Phrygian (and sometimes Albanian) are usually considered to be part of a separate subgroup which fits with the end of 2d millennium BC emergence of Armenians from the Balkans.
The assumption regarding the prevalence of Iranian borrowings is simply a dated echo of the original classification of Armenian as an Iranian language, demonstrably disproved by Heinrich Hübschmann’s identification of Armenian as an independent branch of IE. In his proposed schematic, Hübschmann concluded that Armenian would not merely be an independent branch between “Aryan/Persian” and “Balto/European languages”, but would represent a connecting ring of the two components at a time when they were still very similar to one another as dialects.
As early as 1866, Paul de Lagarde organized the detectable Iranian strata into those having a common and native basis, an Old Iranian alluvium and a post-Achaemenid New Iranian layer. Due to the wider-spread familiarity with Persian rather than Armenian, many of the terms were interpreted as New Iranian loans without much convincing philological validation.
Furthermore, some of the older borrowings proved to be dubious as well. H. Adjarian’s comprehensive and definitive etymological dictionary of Armenian identifies 11,000 root words, 36% of which are borrowings. Of that 36%, only 8-9% is confidently Iranian.
In contrast, more than half of the vocabulary (55%) has “undermined” or “uncertain” roots, revealing the fundamental elements of the so-called “Hurro-Urartian” phylum and the subsequent Anatolian languages. Aside from the archeological and logistical discrepancies, the detection of semantically correlated and characteristically Armenian toponyms predating the proposed Balkan timeline leaves the Phrygian hypothesis on quite shaky grounds.
Finally, the occurrence of some I2, E-V13, and, perhaps, J2b in Armenia may point to Balkan contacts. But, when did these contacts occur? Are they traceable to the migration of Phrygians to Anatolia, according to the Herodotean account of Armenian origins, or can they be attributed to later contacts with Greeks or other Europeans?
Given the practically continuous tie between Armenia and the Hellenic world in the historical era, the genetic signals are plausibly the remnants of more recent interactions. While the linguistic affinity of Armenian and the Paleo-Balkan languages is notable, the ambiguity regarding the classification of the latter forces us to reconsider the extent and nature of the kinship. In addition, the recent reevaluation of the “eastern Mushkian” ethnogenetic hypothesis emphasizes the mythographic significance rather than the strict historicity of the Greek historiographic account of Armenian origins.
Y-chromosomal diversity in four geographically distinct populations that represent the extent of historical Armenia shows a striking prominence of haplogroups previously implicated with the Agricultural Revolution in the Near East, including the J2a-M410-, R1b1b1*-L23-, G2a-P15- and J1-M267-derived lineages.
Given that the Last Glacial Maximum event in the Armenian plateau occured a few millennia before the Neolithic era, we envision a scenario in which its repopulation was achieved mainly by the arrival of farmers from the Fertile Crescent temporally coincident with the initial inception of farming in Greece.
However, we detect very restricted genetic affinities with Europe that suggest any later cultural diffusions from Armenia to Europe were not associated with substantial amounts of paternal gene flow, despite the presence of closely related Indo-European languages in both Armenia and Southeast Europe.”
Similar designations can hide very different groups. I think this problem often does not receive enough attention. E1b1b1a1b V13 is the only branch of E found in considerable numbers across most of Europe. It shows comparatively little variation and evidence of branches concentrated in some regions. There are also a few examples of it in Armenia.
Armenian men’s most common Y-DNA (paternal) haplogroup is R1b, found in about 28 percent of those studied. J2 is the next most common at a frequency of 22 percent. Other haplogroups found among them, in descending order of frequencies, include G (11%), J1 (11%), R1a (8%), T (6%), E (5%), I (4%), L (4%), N (2%), and others (1%).
The most frequent branch of E among Armenians is E1b1b1c M123. In Europe, this group is found mainly among Eastern European Jews. Within E, the haplogroup E1b1b1 was found among members of the “Armenian DNA Project”. They belong to branches called V12, V13, V22, and M84/M34.
Armenian men have such G subhaplogroups as G2a3a* (their most frequent G subhaplogroup as of November 26, 2011), G2a* (their second-most frequent G subhaplogroup as of November 26, 2011), G1a, G2a3a1*, G2a3a2*, G2a3b1a*, G2a3b1a1*, and a smattering of others.
Halogroup G is a very complex and deeply divided group with many branches both in the Middle East and in most of Europe. Figure 2 of the paper gives only 3 divisions of G, but the project has 14. Many Western European members of G belong to specifically European branches of the haplogroup, especially to a group characterized by DYS 388 = 13 and apparently corresponding to G2a3b1a2 L43/S147. The Armenian project has two G haplotypes with 388 = 13 but they are placed in “G2a3a M406+ L14-“ so the 13 has probably arisen independently here.
Figure 2 shows J1 about equally divided between J1* and J1e. The latter is the group that predominates among Asian Arabs. J1* presumably corresponds to the group in the project designated “J1* L136- DYS388 12, 13 or 14” (in haplogroup J DYS388 is usually 15-18). This group is also more clearly distinguished by DYS436=11, DYS490=13. Several sources suggest that this group is mainly responsible for the high frequency of haplogroup J1 in and near the Caucasus. It is also widely but very thinly scattered across Europe. I think it is surprising that this group still lacks an SNP and a proper designation.
J1 is common in the Near East. In the “Armenian DNA Project” there are members of the haplogroup branches J1*, J1c3d, and J1c3d1. J2 haplogroups found among Armenians include J2a*, J2a3, J2a4, J2a4a, J2a4b, J2a4b1, J2a4d, J2a4h2, J2a4h2a, J2a4h2f, J2a4h2g, J2b*, and J2b1.
J2 is another very complex and deeply divided group. Figure 2 divides it more than the other groups, but about half are only designated “J2*”. The project has about 23 sub-divisions of J2. Among them, J2a3b is divided into J2a3b1 M92 with DYS425=null and other parts with DYS425=12. The paper, the project and Ysearch all agree that both groups occur in significant numbers among Armenians. However, in Europe, the 425=null group is found mainly among East European Jews, while the 425=12 group is found mainly in the west. There seems to be much less evidence of Western European branches of J2 than in the case of G.
The representatives of haplogroup I are mostly designated “I2*” in figure 2. They presumably correspond to the 14 members of “I2c P215+ L596+ L597+ P37.2- P217- L416-“ in the project. This separate branch of I2 has only been added to the ISOGG list this year, although Ken Nordtvedt recognized it a few years ago on the basis of STR data. It is especially characterized by DYS490=13. (Other STR figures clearly distinguish it from the above mentioned J1* group with 490=13). This group has been found in various parts of Europe, but it seems to be more common in Armenia than anywhere else.
Haplogroup I is found mainly in Europe, but its relationship to haplogroup J points to a Middle Eastern origin. I think the ancestors of I2c could have stayed in the Middle East, when the ancestors of I1 and I2a went to Europe. The former I2b is now considered part of I2a. A new I2b has been defined but it seems to be extremely rare. The branches of haplogroup I are very deeply divided from each other and their distribution is very strongly regionalized. This suggests that I is the oldest haplogroup in Europe.
R1b-L23* is relatively frequent in the Middle East (~10% in Turkey, Iran, Caucasus, Iraq, Syria, Jews and Albania) and dominant haplogroup of Armenians (20-30%) – it is thus called the “Armenian Modal Haplotype”. It is also found on the Balkans, where it has moved around 7000-8000 years ago, with early farmers. At the end of 2010, new SNPs were found in this group (L277, L405) which are not private and need further research to see how they split the L23* clade. People who are M269+ L23+ L51- P310- may test these SNPs with the chance of being positive.
Some members of the “Armenian DNA Project” are part of the branch of R1b known as R1b1a2a* (L23+). A smaller number in the project are located in the branch called R1b1a2* (L265+). These branches are distinguishable from the R1b branches of Europe. That’s why Armenians don’t belong to the European branches of R1b called U106 and P312.
The Indo-European Elements In Hurrian
Hattic as a Sino-Caucasian language
A solution to the problem of Indo-Aryan origins
Armenian Y-chromosomes revisited
A common ancestor of Indo-European and Hurrian
Where did the Ancient Semites come from?
Proto-Indoaryans, Mitanni, Hurrians
Indo-European genetic signatures in an Orcadian and a Lithuanian
Proto-Indo-European homeland in Neolithic Anatolia (Bouckaert et al.)
The Problem of Identification of the Proto-Armenians: A Critical Review
The Problem of Proto-Armenians and the Formation of the Armenian People
Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses
Armenian Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries