Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The populing of Europa (Old Europe and the IE), and its connection with en/an (Ensi/An) or as/ar (Aser/Arian)

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 20, 2014


Taur: Deus/Dyēus/Devas/Tīwaz/Tuisto/Tyr/Zeus/Zhu

Dingir: Djinn/Tengri/Tian/Shang-di

Sky father

Taurus Mountains














Dyauṣ Pitar

Deus (feminine dea)

Divus or diva

Deity, deism, pandeism, panendeism, polydeism, theism, day






 Eni/Ani is god in Hurrian/Aryan (Aratta – Urartu/Ararat)

Ba is bull – Bael (Baal/Bel) – in Hurrian

En/ar/as/al is the same

Ar (sun) – Aries – Aryan

Aratta (atta means father in Hurrian)

Ararat/Urartu – Armenia/Assyria


Aryan is the same as As(h)syrian – meaning fire/Sun-star – to create

We are all spirits kept in “prison” in our bodies – creatures – we are created

EN is the Hurrian and Sumerian cuneiform for “lord” or “priest”. Originally, it seems to have been used to designate a high priest or priestess of a Sumerian city-state’s patron-deity – a position that entailed political power as well. It may also have been the original title of the ruler of Uruk. See Lugal, ensi and en for more details.

Ensí (spelled PA.TE.SI in Sumerian cuneiform, hence occasionally transliterated as patesi; possibly derived from <en si-k>, “lord of the plowland”; borrowed into Akkadian as iššakkum) is a Sumerian title designating the ruler or prince of a city state. Originally it may have designated an independent ruler, but in later periods the title presupposed subordinance to a lugal (King/Emperor).

For the Early Dynastic Period of Sumer (about 2800–2350 BC), the meaning of the Sumerian titles EN, ENSI and LUGAL cannot be differentiated clearly: see Lugal, ensi and en for details. Énsi may have originally been a designation of the ruler restricted to Lagash and Umma. The énsi was considered a representative of the city state’s patron deity. In later periods, an énsi was normally seen as subordinate to a lugal (king). Nevertheless, even the powerful rulers of the Second Dynasty of Lagash (circa 2100 BC) such as Gudea were satisfied with the title énsi.

In Ur III times (about 2100–2000 BC) énsi referred to the provincial governors of the Kingdom. These exercised great powers in terms of government, tax revenue and jurisdiction, but they were supervised, installed, and dismissed by the King (lugal) of Ur. Although the office could be inherited, all énsi had to be endorsed by the King. No independent foreign policy or warfare was allowed.

In the city state of Ashur, the hereditary ruler bore the Akkadian language version of the title énsi, while the patron deity was regarded as šarrum (“King”). They held most political power in Sumerian city states during the Uruk period (c.4100-2900 BCE).

The genealogy and identity of Urkesh’s rulers is largely unknown, but the following names have been identified as being those of the city-state’s kings. The first three known kings (only two of whom are known by name) bore the Hurrian title endan.

In Old Norse, ǫ́ss (or áss, ás, plural æsir; feminine ásynja, plural ásynjur) is the term denoting a member of the principal pantheon in the indigenous Germanic religion known as Norse paganism. The cognate term in Old English is ōs (plural ēse) denoting a deity in Anglo-Saxon paganism. The Old High German is ans, plural ensî.

Æsir is the plural of áss, óss “god” (gen. āsir) which is attested in other Germanic languages, e.g., Old English ōs (gen. pl. ēsa) and Gothic (as reported by Jordanes) anses “half-gods”. Unlike the Old English word god (and Old Norse goð), the term ōs (áss) was never adopted into Christian use and survived only in a secularized meaning of “pole, beam, stave, hill” or “yoke”.

Old Saxon irmin “strong, whole”, maybe also “strong, tall, exalted” (Old High German ermen, Old Norse jǫrmun, Old English Eormen), from Proto-Germanic *erminaz, *ermenaz or *ermunaz, in personal names (Arminius/Armin, Ermanaric, Ermenbald, Ermenbert, Ermenfried, Ermenhard, Ermelinda, Erminia, Ermintrude, Emma)

The Gothic language had ans- (based only on Jordanes who glossed anses with uncertain meaning, possibly ‘demi-god’ and presumably a Latinized form of actual plural *anseis). The reconstructed Proto-Germanic form is *ansuz (plural *ansiwiz). The a-rune ᚫ was named after the æsir.

These all stem from Proto-Germanic *ansis ~ ansuz, which itself comes from Proto-Indo-European *h₂énsus (gen. h₂n̥sóus) “life force” (cf. Avestan aŋhū “lord; lifetime”, ahura “godhood”, Sanskrit ásu “life force”, ásura “god” (< *h₂n̥suró)). It is widely accepted that this word is further related to *h₂ens- “to engender” (cf. Hittite hass- “to procreate, give birth”, Tocharian B ās- “to produce”).

Old Norse áss has the genitive áss or ásar, the accusative æsi and ásu. In genitival compounds, it takes the form ása-, e.g. in Ása-Þórr “Thor of the Aesir”, besides ás- found in ás-brú “gods’ bridge” (the rainbow), ás-garðr, ás-kunnigr “gods’ kin”, ás-liðar “gods’ leader”, ás-mogin “gods’ might” (especially of Thor), ás-móðr “divine wrath” etc. Landâs “national god” (patrium numen) is a title of Thor, as is allmáttki ás “almighty god”, while it is Odin who is “the” ás.

The feminine’s -ynja suffix is known from a few other nouns denoting female animals, such as apynja “female monkey”, vargynja “she-wolf”. The word for “goddess” is not attested outside of Old Norse. The latinization of Danish Aslak as Ansleicus indicates that the nasalization in the first syllable persisted into the 9th century.

The cognate Old English form to áss is ōs, preserved only as a prefix Ōs- in personal names (e.g. Oscar, Osborne, Oswald) and some place names, and as the genitive plural ēsa (ēsa gescot and ylfa gescot, “the shots of anses and of elves”, jaculum divorum et geniorum). In Old High German and Old Saxon the word is only attested in personal and place names, e.g. Ansebert, Anselm, Ansfrid, Vihans. Jordanes has anses for the gods of the Goths.

This pantheon includes Odin, Frigg, Thor, Baldr and Týr. The second pantheon comprises the Vanir. In Norse mythology, the two pantheons wage the Æsir-Vanir War, which results in a unified pantheon.

An áss like Ullr is almost unknown in the myths, but his name is seen in a lot of geographical names, especially in Sweden, and may also appear on the 3rd century Thorsberg chape, suggesting that his cult was widespread in prehistoric times.

The names of the first three Æsir in Norse mythology, Vili, Vé and Odin all refer to spiritual or mental state, vili to conscious will or desire, vé to the sacred or numinous and óðr to the manic or ecstatic.

A second clan of gods, the Vanir, is also mentioned in Norse mythology: the god Njord and his children, Freyr and Freyja, are the most prominent Vanir gods who join the Æsir as hostages after a war between Æsir and Vanir.

The Vanir appear to have mainly been connected with cultivation and fertility and the Æsir were connected with power and war. The Æsir and Vanir may correspond to the Indo-Iranian and Vedic Asuras and Devas.

In the Eddas, however, the word Æsir is used for gods in general, while Asynjur is used for the goddesses in general. For example, in the poem Skírnismál, Freyr was called “Prince of the Æsir”. In the Prose Edda, Njord was introduced as “the third among the Æsir”, and among the Asynjur, Freyja is always listed second only to Frigg.

In surviving tales, the origins of many of the Æsir are unexplained. Originally, there are just three: Odin and his brothers Vili and Vé. Odin’s sons by giantesses are naturally counted as Æsir. Heimdall and Ullr’s connection with the Æsir is not clearly mentioned. Loki is a jötunn with no evidence of being worshipped, and Njord is a Vanir hostage, but they are often ranked among the Æsir.

The interaction between the Æsir and the Vanir has provoked an amount of scholarly theory and speculation. While other cultures have had “elder” and “younger” families of gods, as with the Titans versus the Olympians of ancient Greece, the Æsir and Vanir were portrayed as contemporaries. The two clans of gods fought battles, concluded treaties, and exchanged hostages (Freyr and Freyja are mentioned as such hostages).

Given the difference between their roles and emphases, some scholars have speculated that the interactions between the Æsir and the Vanir reflect the types of interaction that were occurring between social classes (or clans) within Norse society at the time.

According to another theory, the Vanir (and the fertility cult associated with them) may be more archaic than that of the more warlike Æsir, such that the mythical war may mirror a half-remembered religious conflict.

Another historical theory is that the inter-pantheon interaction may be an apotheosization of the conflict between the Romans and the Sabines, an Italic tribe that lived in the central Apennines of ancient Italy, also inhabiting Latium north of the Anio before the founding of Rome.

Finally, the noted comparative religion scholar Mircea Eliade speculated that this conflict is actually a later version of an Indo-European myth concerning the conflict between and eventual integration of a pantheon of sky/warrior/ruler gods and a pantheon of earth/economics/fertility gods, with no strict historical antecedents.

Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas to describe what she perceived as a relatively homogeneous pre-Indo-European Neolithic culture in southeastern Europe located in the Danube River valley.

In her major work, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500–3500 B.C. (1982), she refers to these Neolithic cultures as Old Europe (Neolithic Europe and Pre-Indo-European as synonymous).

Archaeologists and ethnographers working within her framework believe that the evidence points to later migrations and invasions of the peoples who spoke Indo-European languages at the beginning of the Bronze age.

Old Europe, or Neolithic Europe, refers to the time between the Mesolithic and Bronze Age periods in Europe, roughly from 7000 BC (the approximate time of the first farming societies in Greece) to ca. 1700 BC (the beginning of the Bronze Age in northwest Europe).

The duration of the Neolithic varies from place to place: in southeast Europe it is approximately 4000 years (i. e., 7000–3000 BC); in North-West Europe it is just under 3000 years (ca. 4500–1700 BC).

According to Gimbutas’ version of the Kurgan hypothesis, Old Europe was invaded and destroyed by horse-riding pastoral nomads from the Pontic-Caspian steppe (the “Kurgan culture”) who brought with them violence, patriarchy, and Indo-European languages.

More recent proponents of the Kurgan hypothesis agree that the cultures of Old Europe spoke pre-Indo-European languages but include a less dramatic transition, with a prolonged migration of Proto-Indo-European speakers after Old Europe’s collapse because of other factors.

Marija Gimbutas investigated the Neolithic period in order to understand cultural developments in settled village culture in the southern Balkans, which she characterized as peaceful, matrilineal, and possessing a goddess-centered religion.

In contrast, she characterizes the later Indo-European influences as warlike, nomadic, and patrilineal. Using evidence from pottery and sculpture, and combining the tools of archaeology, comparative mythology, linguistics, and, most controversially, folkloristics, Gimbutas invented a new interdisciplinary field, archaeomythology.

In late 19th century opinions on comparative religion, in a line of thinking that begins with Friedrich Engels and J. J. Bachofen, and which received major literary promotion in The Golden Bough by James G. Frazer, it was believed that worship of a sky father was characteristic of nomadic peoples, and that worship of an earth mother similarly characterised farming peoples.

This view was stylized as reflecting not only a conflict of nomadism vs. agriculturalism but of “patriarchy” vs. “matriarchy”, and has blossomed into a late ideological in certain currents of feminist spirituality and feminist archaeology in the 1970s.

The theory about earth goddesses, sky father, and patriarchal invaders was a stirring tale that fired various imaginations. The story was important in literature, and was referred to in various ways by important poets and novelists, including T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and most influentially, Robert Graves. How it worked out in practice depended on the side for which the believers chose to root.

Belief in the sky father and the military prowess of Aryan supermen was a feature of Nazi racial ideology; the swastika was chosen to embody this belief system because it was a symbol thought to be used by the ancient Vedic religion (as well as modern Hinduism and Buddhism.) Sympathy with the lost utopia of the matriarchal goddessdom arose later.

Established as a recurring theme in important literature, the tale lived on among the literature faculty long after it had been dropped by the anthropology department. Its truth was assumed by several historical novelists and fantasy authors, including Mary Renault, Mary Stewart, and more recently Mercedes Lackey and Marion Zimmer Bradley, among many others.

As (meaning star), ar (meaning sun), an (meaning sky) is compatible. N example is the Alans, who also were known over the course of their history by another group of related names including the variations Asi, Aorsi and Os

The name Arya lives in the ethnic names like Alan, New Persian: Iran, Ossetian: Ir and Iron. The name Iran has been in usage since Sassanid times. The Ossetians (Ossetian: irættæ) are an Iranian ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, indigenous to the region known as Ossetia. They speak Ossetic, an Iranian language of the Eastern branch of the Indo-European languages family.

The Ossetians and Ossetia received their name from the Russians, who adopted the Georgian designations Osi (sing., pl.: Osebi) and Oseti (“the land of Osi”), used since the Middle Ages for the Iranian-speaking population of the Central Caucasus and probably based on the old Alan self-designation “As”.

As the Ossetians lacked any single inclusive name for themselves in their native language, these terms were accepted by the Ossetians themselves already before their integration into the Russian Empire.

Van is a city in eastern Turkey’s Van Province, located on the eastern shore of Lake Van. Archaeological excavations and surveys carried out in Van province indicate that the history of human settlement in this region goes back at least as far as 5000 BC. The Tilkitepe Mound, which is on the shores of Lake Van and a few kilometres to the south of Van Castle, is the only source of information about the oldest culture of Van.

Under the ancient name of Tushpa, Van was the capital of the Urartian kingdom in the 9th century BC. The early settlement was centered on the steep-sided bluff now known as Van Castle (Van Kalesi), close to the edge of Lake Van and a few kilometers west of the modern city.

Here have been found Urartian cuneiform inscriptions dating to the 8th and 7th centuries BC. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Babylonian is called Armenia in Old Persian.

The city has a long history as a major urban area. It has been a large city since the first millennium BC, initially as the capital of Urartu in the 9th century BC and later as the center of the Armenian Kingdom of Vaspurakan. It remained an important center of Armenian culture until the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Today, Van has a Kurdish majority.


Portasar, also known as Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”), is an archaeological site at the top of a mountain ridge in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 6 km (4 mi) northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa.

The tell includes two phases of ritual use dating back to the 10th-8th millennium BCE. During the first phase, Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected. More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known through geophysical surveys.

Each pillar has a height of up to 6 m (20 ft) and a weight of up to 20 tons. They are fitted into sockets that were hewn out of the bedrock. In the second phase, Pre-pottery Neolithic B (PPNB), the erected pillars are smaller and stood in rectangular rooms with floors of polished lime. The site was abandoned after the PPNB-period. Younger structures date to classical times.

The imposing stratigraphy of Göbekli Tepe attests to many centuries of activity, beginning at least as early as the epipaleolithic period. Structures identified with the succeeding period, PPNA, have been dated to the 10th millennium BCE. Remains of smaller buildings identified as PPNB and dating from the 9th millennium BCE have also been unearthed.


The name El first appears in fragmented records from the city of Ebla, the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh (Marduk), located about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mardikh in southern Syria, dated to 2300 BC.

The noun ʾEl was found at the top of a list of Gods as the “Ancient of Gods” or the “Father of all Gods”, in the ruins of the royal archive of the Ebla civilization. Although it is not possible to gain any insight into the cult of El at that time there are indications that he was viewed as supreme amongst the gods.

Ebla was an important center throughout the third millennium BC and in the first half of the second millennium BC. It was discovery in 1968 proved the Levant to be an equal center of ancient centralized civilization next to Egypt and Mesopotamia, and ruled out the view that the former two were the only important centers in the Near East during the early Bronze Age.

Starting as a small settlement in the early Bronze Age (c. 3500 BC), it developed into a trading empire and later turned into an expansionist power that imposed its hegemony over much of northern and eastern Syria.

Its language, Eblaite, is now considered to be the earliest attested Semitic language after Akkadian. The site is most famous for the Ebla tablets, an archive of about 20,000 cuneiform tablets found there, dated to around 2350 BC. Written in both Sumerian and Eblaite and using the Sumerian Cuneiform, the archive has allowed a better understanding of the Sumerian language.

During the first kingdom period between about 3000 and 2300 BC, Ebla was the most prominent kingdom amongst the Syrian states, especially during the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, which is known as the age of the archives after the Ebla tablets.

In the middle of the 25th century BC, Mari was defeated by Ebla, perhaps by King Kun-Damu, whose reign over Ebla can be dated to this period. The power of Ebla then declined, and during the reign of King Igrish-Halam in the mid-24th century it paid tribute to Mari.

Ebla recovered under King Irkab-Damu in about 2340 BC, becoming prosperous and launching a successful counteroffensive against Mari. At its greatest extent Ebla controlled an area roughly half the size of modern Syria, half of which was under the direct control of the king and administered by governors, while the rest consisted of vassal kingdoms paying tribute and supplying military assistance to Ebla.

One of the most important of these vassals was Armi, an important Bronze Age city-kingdom during the late third millennium BC located in northern Syria, and identified by some historians with the city of Aleppo, which was the city most often mentioned in the Ebla tablets.

Armi was the most quoted city in Ebla texts, Giovanni Pettinato describes Armi as Ebla’s alter ego, however the relations between the two cities is complicated, for it wasn’t always peaceful, the texts of Ebla mentions gifts exchange between the kings but it also mentions wars between the two kingdoms.

The complicated relations between Ebla and Armi is very similar to the relations between Ebla and Mari, the eblan texts mentions two interdynastic marriages with the son of the king of Nagar and that of Kish, but despite very close relations between Ebla and Armi an interdynastic marriage is never attested.

During its last years, Ebla in alliance with Nagar and Kish conducted a great military expedition against Armi and occupied it, Ibbi-Sipish son Enzi-Malik resided in Armi.


Both Armi and Ebla was destroyed during the 23rd century BC. Armi wasn’t mentioned after the destruction. Many theories were proposed for this destruction. Historian Michael C.

Astour believes that the destruction of Ebla and Armi would have happened c. 2290 BC during the reign of Lugal-zage-si of Sumer, whose rule coincided with Sargon of Akkad (23rd and 22nd centuries BC) first years.

King Naram-Sin of Akkad (2254–2218 BCE) mentions that he conquered Armanum and Ib-la and captured the king of Armanum. Naram-Sin gives a long description about his siege of Armanum, his destruction of its walls and the capturing of its king Rid-Adad.

The similarities between the names led historian Wayne Horowitz to identify Armanum with Armi. If Armi was in fact Armanum mentioned by Naram-Sin then the event can be dated to c. 2240 BC. In all cases it is a confirmed fact that the whole of northern Syria including Ebla and Armi was under the domination of the Akkadian empire during the reign of Naram-Sin.

Astour believes that the Armanum mentioned in the inscriptions of Naram-Sin is not the same city as Eblaite Armi. Naram-Sin makes it clear that the Ebla he sacked (in c.2240 BC) was a border town of the land of Arman, while the Armi in the Eblaite tablets is a vassal to Ebla and the Syrian Ebla, would based on the political map given in the Eblaite tablets, have been burned in 2290 BC, long before the reign of Naram-Sin.

Armani, (also given as Armanum) was an ancient kingdom mentioned by Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin of Akkad as stretching from Ibla to Bit-Nanib, its location is heavily debated, and it continued to be mentioned in the later Assyrian inscriptions.

Armani was attested in the treaties of Sargon in a section that mentions regions located in Assyria and Babylonia or territories adjacent to the East in contrast to the Syrian Ebla location in the west.

The later King Adad-Nirari I of Assyria also mentions Arman as being located east of the Tigris and on the border between Assyria and Babylon. Historians who disagree with the identification of Akkadian Armani with Syrian Armi place it (along with Akkadian Ibla) north of the Hamrin Mountains in northern Iraq.

Armani was later mentioned amongst the cities that rebelled against Naram-Sin, during the middle Assyrian and Kassites periods. The land of Armani was mentioned as located east of the Tigris, king Shalmaneser III mentions his conquest of Halman, but the identification of Halman with Akkadian Armani (Arman) is dubious.

Elam (corresponding to the Sumerian elam(a), the Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti) was an ancient Pre-Iranic civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan (Luristan of Bakhtiari Lurs) and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq.

Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature, Elam was more often referred to as Susiana a name derived from its capital, Susa. However, Susiana is not synonymous with Elam and, in its early history, was a distinctly separate cultural and political entity.

It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. The land of Ararat-Urartu-Armenia is different synonyms used by different peoples throughout different times for the same land and people.

There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. Another mention by pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.

Urkesh or Urkish (modern Tell Mozan‎) is a tell, or settlement mound, located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains in Al-Hasakah Governorate, northeastern Syria. It was founded during the fourth millennium BC by the Hurrians (Armenians).

Urkesh was an ally of the Akkadian Empire through what is believed to have been a dynastic marriage tradition. Tar’am-Agade the daughter of the Akkadian king, Naram-Sin, is believed to have been married to the king of Urkesh.

Ebla was then rebuilt and was attested in the records of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The second Ebla was a continuation of the first, ruled by a new royal dynasty.

It was destroyed at the end of the second millennium BC, which paved the way for the Amorite tribes to settle in the city and form the third Ebla. The third kingdom flourished again as a trade center; it became a subject and an ally to Yamhad (modern Aleppo) until its final destruction by the Hittite king Mursili I in c. 1600 BC.

Ebla maintained its prosperity through a vast trading network. Artifacts from Sumer, Cyprus, Egypt, and as far as Afghanistan were recovered from the palaces of the city. The political organization of Ebla had unique features different from the Sumerian model. The pantheon of gods was mainly north Semitic and included deities exclusive to Ebla.

During the early second millennium BC the city passed into the hands of the rulers of Mari, a city a few hundred miles to the south. The king of Urkesh became a vassal (and apparently an appointed puppet) of Mari.

In the middle of the millennium, Tell Mozan was the location of a Mitanni religious site. The city appears to have been largely abandoned circa 1350 BC, although the reason for this is unknown to archaeologists at this time.


The Hurrians (transliteration: Ḫu-ur-ri) were a people of the Bronze Age Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language called Hurrian, and lived in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia.

The Hurrians spoke an ergative-agglutinative language conventionally called Hurrian, which is unrelated to neighbouring Semitic or Indo-European languages, and may have been a language isolate.

The Iron Age Urartian language is closely related to or a direct descendant of Hurrian. Several notable Russian linguists, such as S. A. Starostin and V. V. Ivanov, have claimed that Hurrian and Hattic were related to the Northeast Caucasian languages.

Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) was an Iron Age kingdom centred around Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands.

Strictly speaking, Urartu is the Assyrian term for a geographical region, while “kingdom of Urartu” or “Biainili lands” are terms used in modern historiography for the Proto-Armenian (Hurro-Urartian) speaking Iron Age state that arose in that region.

That a distinction should be made between the geographical and the political entity was already pointed out by König (1955). The landscape corresponds to the mountainous plateau between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and the Caucasus mountains, later known as the Armenian Highlands.

The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but was conquered by Media in the early 6th century BC. The heirs of Urartu are the Armenians and their successive kingdoms.

The land of Subartu (Akkadian Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian mât Šubarri) or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit, and came to be known as the Hurrians or Subarians and their country was known as Subir, Subartu or Shubar.

Subartu was apparently a polity in Northern Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Most scholars accept Subartu as an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east, north or west of there. Its precise location has not been identified.

From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elam and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites).

Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer. Subartu in the earliest texts seem to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.

Eannatum of Lagash was said to have smitten Subartu or Shubur, and it was listed as a province of the empire of Lugal-Anne-Mundu; in a later era Sargon of Akkad campaigned against Subar, and his grandson Naram-Sin listed Subar along with Armani (Armenians), -which has been identified with Aleppo-, among the lands under his control. Ishbi-Erra of Isin and Hammurabi also claimed victories over Subar. Aratta has been the oldest state in the Armenian Highland, particularly in the Ayrarat district. Atta means father.

A link between Subarians, who from the earliest historical periods are found not only occupying vast mountainous areas north of Babylonia but also living peacefully within Babylonia side by side with Sumerians and Akkadians, in the east and the much younger Hurrians, who appeared relatively late on the Mesopotamian scene and who played an important role in the history of the Near East in the 2nd millennium BC, in the west was established eventually with the aid of personal names — first from Babylonia and subsequently from Nuzi.

Meanwhile, extra-cuneiform connections of the Hurrians proved to include the biblical Horites as well as sundry Egyptian analogues. With this mounting evidence for the expansion of the Hurrians came also recognition of their substantial influence on other cultures — the Hittite, the Assyrian, and the Canaanite — involving such fields as political history, law and society, religion, art, and linguistics.

The “political and geographic unit” which was one thing to the Babylonians and another thing to the Assyrians. In the former instance it lay ” somewhere between the Tigris, the Zagros Mountains, and the Diyala.” At times it might stand for the whole North.

To the Assyrians, on the other hand, Subartu signified regions in the mountains to the east and north of the Tigris, yet it could extend “sometimes far west into the land of the Amorites and far east into the land of the Elamites.” It is recurring references to the “widespread Subarians ” to the west and northwest of Assyria, which is precisely the territory that figures otherwise as good Hurrian stamping ground.

There is also a mention of “Subartu” in the 8th century BC Poem of Erra (IV, 132), along with other lands that have harassed Babylonia. In Neo-Babylonian times (under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar II and Nabonidus), Subartu was used as a generic term for Assyria.

Assyria was a major Mesopotamian Semitic kingdom, and often empire, of the Ancient Near East, existing as an independent state for a period of approximately nineteen centuries from c. 2500 BC to 605 BC, spanning the Early Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age.

For a further thirteen centuries, from the end of the 7th century BC to the mid-7th century AD, it survived as a geo-political entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers, although a number of small Neo-Assyrian states arose at different times throughout this period.

Centered on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia (northern Iraq, northeast Syria and southeastern Turkey), the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires at several times, the last of which grew to be the largest and most powerful empire the world had yet seen.

As a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian “cradle of civilization” which included Sumer, Akkad and later Babylonia, Assyria was at the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time. At its peak, the Assyrian empire stretched from Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea to Persia (Iran), and from the Caucasus Mountains (Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan) to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt.

Assyria is named for its original capital, the ancient city of Aššur (a.k.a. Ashur) which dates to c. 2600 BC (located in what is now the Saladin Province of northern Iraq), originally one of a number of Akkadian city states in Mesopotamia.

In the late 24th century BC, Assyrian kings were regional leaders only, and subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian Semites and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from c. 2334 BC to 2154 BC. Following the fall of the Akkadian Empire c. 2154 BC, and the short lived succeeding Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur which ruled southern Assyria, Assyria regained full independence.

The history of Assyria proper is roughly divided into three periods, known as Old Assyrian, Middle Assyrian and Neo-Assyrian. These terms are in wide use in Assyrology and roughly correspond to the Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, respectively. In the Old Assyrian period, Assyria established colonies in Asia Minor and the Levant and, under king Ilushuma, it asserted itself over southern Mesopotamia.

From the late 19th century BC, Assyria came into conflict with the newly created state of Babylonia, which eventually eclipsed the older Sumero-Akkadian states in the south, such as Ur, Isin, Larsa and Kish.

Assyria experienced fluctuating fortunes in the Middle Assyrian period. Assyria had a period of empire under Shamshi-Adad I and Ishme-Dagan in the 19th and 18th centuries BC. Following this, it found itself under Babylonian and Mitanni-Hurrian domination for short periods in the 18th and 15th centuries BC respectively, and another period of great power occurred with the rise of the Middle Assyrian Empire (from 1365 BC to 1056 BC), which included the reigns of great kings, such as Ashur-uballit I, Arik-den-ili, Tukulti-Ninurta I and Tiglath-Pileser I. During this period, Assyria overthrew Mitanni and eclipsed both the Hittite Empire and Egyptian Empire in the Near East.

Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II from 911 BC, it again became a great power over the next three centuries, overthrowing the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt and conquering Egypt, Babylonia, Elam, Urartu/Armenia, Media, Persia, Mannea, Gutium, Phoenicia/Canaan, Aramea (Syria), Arabia, Israel, Judah, Edom, Moab, Samarra, Cilicia, Cyprus, Chaldea, Nabatea, Commagene, Dilmun, the Hurrians, Sutu and Neo-Hittites, driving the Ethiopians and Nubians from Egypt, defeating the Cimmerians and Scythians and exacting tribute from Phrygia, Magan and Punt among others.

After its fall (between 612 BC and 605 BC), Assyria remained a province and geo-political entity under the Babylonian, Median, Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid empires until the Arab Islamic dominance of Mesopotamia in the mid-7th century, when it was finally dissolved, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people (by now Christians) gradually became a minority in their homeland.

Assyria was also sometimes known as Subartu prior to the rise of the city state of Ashur and, after its fall, from 605 BC through to the late 7th century AD variously as Athura and also referenced as Atouria according to Strabo, Syria (Greek), Assyria (Latin) and Assuristan.

The term Assyria can also refer to the geographic region or heartland where Assyria, its empires and the Assyrian people were (and still are) centered. The modern Assyrian Christian (AKA Chaldo-Assyrian) ethnic minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, south east Turkey and north west Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians.

The earliest Neolithic sites in the region that was to become known as Assyria (and Subartu) were the Jarmo culture c. 7100 BC and Tell Hassuna, the centre of the Hassuna culture, c. 6000 BC. During the 3rd millennium BC, a very intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Semitic Akkadians throughout Mesopotamia, which included widespread bilingualism.

The influence of Sumerian (a language isolate, i.e. not related to any other language) on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the 3rd millennium BC as a sprachbund.

Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere after the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), but Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD.

The cities of Assur (also spelled Ashur or Aššur) and Nineveh, together with a number of other towns and cities, existed since at least before the middle of the 3rd millennium BC (c. 2600 BC), although they appear to have been Sumerian-ruled administrative centres at this time, rather than independent states.

According to some Judaeo-Christian writers, the city of Ashur was founded by Ashur the son of Shem, who was deified by later generations as the city’s patron god. However, it is not among the cities said to have been founded by him in Genesis 10:11–12, and the far older Assyrian annals make no mention of the later Judeo-Christian figures of Shem and Ashur.

Assyrian tradition lists an early Assyrian king named Ushpia as having dedicated the first temple to the god Ashur in the city in the 21st century BC. It is highly likely that the city was named in honour of its patron Assyrian god with the same name.

Aššur is a remnant city of the last Ashurite Kingdom. The remains of the city are situated on the western bank of the river Tigris, north of the confluence with the tributary Little Zab river, in modern-day Iraq, more precisely in the Al-Shirqat District (a small panhandle of the Salah al-Din Governorate).

Archaeology reveals the site of the city was occupied by the middle of the third millennium BC. This was still the Sumerian period, before the Assyrian kingdom emerged in the 23rd to 21st century BC. The oldest remains of the city were discovered in the foundations of the Ishtar temple, as well as at the Old Palace. In the following Old Akkadian period, the city was ruled by kings from Akkad. During the “Sumerian Renaissance”, the city was ruled by a Sumerian governor.

Aššur is the name of the city, of the land ruled by the city, and of its tutelary deity. At a late date it appears in Assyrian literature in the forms An-sar, An-sar (ki), which form was presumably read Assur. The name of the deity is written A-šur or Aš-sùr, and in Neo-assyrian often shortened to Aš.

In the Creation tablet, the heavens personified collectively were indicated by this term An-sar, “host of heaven,” in contradistinction to the earth, Ki-sar, “host of earth.” If this name /Anšar/ is derived from */Anśar/, then it may be related to the Egyptian hieroglyphic /NṬR/ (“god”), since hieroglyphic Egyptian /Ṭ/ may be etymological */Ś/.

Osiris (Usiris; also Ausar), is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail.

In Hinduism, the asuras are a group of power-seeking deities related to the more benevolent devas (also known as suras). They are sometimes considered nature spirits. They battle constantly with the devas.

In view of this fact, it seems highly probable that the late writing An-sar for Assur was a more or less conscious attempt on the part of the Assyrian scribes to identify the peculiarly Assyrian deity Asur with the Creation deity An-sar.

On the other hand, there is an epithet Asir or Ashir (“overseer”) applied to several gods and particularly to the deity Asur, a fact which introduced a third element of confusion into the discussion of the name Assur. It is probable then that there is a triple popular etymology in the various forms of writing the name Assur; viz. A-usar, An-sar and the stem asdru.

Athura (Neo-Aramaic for Assyria) was a geographical area within the Persian Achaemenid Empire held by the last nobility of Aššur (Akkadian), known as Athura (Neo-Aramaic) or Atouria (Greek), during the period of 539 BC to 330 BC as a military protectorate state of Persia under the rule of Cyrus the Great.

Although sometimes regarded as a satrapy, Achaemenid royal inscriptions list it as a dahyu, a concept generally interpreted as meaning either a group of people or both a country and its people, without any administrative implication.


Ḫaldi (Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk) was one of the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). His shrine was at Ardini, meaning city in Hurrian. The other two chief deities were Theispas of Kumenu, and Shivini of Tushpa.

Of all the gods of Ararat (Urartu) pantheon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to him. His wife was the goddess Arubani. He is portrayed as a man with or without a beard, standing on a lion.

Khaldi was a warrior god whom the kings of Urartu would pray to for victories in battle. The temples dedicated to Khaldi were adorned with weapons, such as swords, spears, bow and arrows, and shields hung off the walls and were sometimes known as ‘the house of weapons’.

Hayk or Hayg, also known as Haik Nahapet (Hayk the Tribal Chief) is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His story is told in the History of Armenia attributed to the Armenian historian Moses of Chorene (410 to 490).

The name of the patriarch Hayk is not exactly homophonous with the name for “Armenia”, Hayk’. Hayk is the nominative plural in Classical Armenian of hay, the Armenian term for “Armenian.”

Some claim that the etymology of Hayq from Hayk is impossible and that origin of the term Hay (“Armenian”) is verifiable. Nevertheless, Hayk and Haig are usually connected to hay and hayer (the nominative plural in Modern Armenian), the self-designation of the Armenians. The Armenian word haykakan or haigagan (meaning “that which pertains to Armenians”) finds its stem in this progenitor.

Hayk would then be an aitiological founding figure, like e.g. Asshur for the Assyrians, Indra for the Indians, etc. One of Hayk’s most famous scions, Aram, settled in Eastern Armenia from the Mitanni kingdom (Western Armenia), when Sargon II mentions a king of part of Armenia who bore the (Armenian-Indo-Iranian) name Bagatadi (“Theodore”).

A connection was made in Armenian historiography of the Soviet era, with Hayasa mentioned in Hittite inscriptions. Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two kingdoms of Armenian Highlands, Hayasa located South of Trabzon and Azzi, located north of the Euphrates and to the south of Hayasa. The Hayasa-Azzi confederation was in conflict with the Hittite Empire in the 14th century BC, leading up to the collapse of Hatti around 1190 BC.

In Sumerian mythology Haya is mainly known as spouse of the goddess Nidaba/Nissaba, goddess of grain and scribes. In some cases he was identified as father of the goddess Ninlil. He is known both as a “door-keeper” and associated with the scribal arts. His functions are two-fold: he appears to have served as a door-keeper but was also associated with the scribal arts, and may have had an association with grain.

In the god-list AN = dA-nu-um preserved on manuscripts of the first millennium he is mentioned together with dlugal-[ki-sá-a], a divinity associated with door-keepers. Already in the Ur III period Haya had received offerings together with offerings to the “gate”. This was presumably because of the location of one of his shrines.

At least from the Old Babylonian period on he is known as the spouse of the grain-goddess Nidaba/Nissaba, who is also the patroness of the scribal art. While there is plenty of evidence to connect Haya with scribes, the evidence connecting him with grain is mainly restricted to etymological considerations, which are unreliable and suspect.

Nidaba reflects fundamental developments in the creation of Mesopotamian culture, those which take us from agriculture to accounting, to a very fine literary tradition. Nidaba was originally an agricultural deity, more specifically a goddess of grain.

Nidaba’s importance as goddess of writing and patron of scribes is well documented from the Early Dynastic to the early Old Babylonian periods. Sumerian literary compositions often end with the doxology “Praise be to Nidaba!”

The intricate connection between agriculture and accounting/writing implied that it was not long before Nidaba became the goddess of writing. From then on her main role was to be the patron of scribes. She was eventually replaced in that function by the god Nabu.

There is also a divine name Haia(-)amma in a bilingual Hattic-Hittite text from Anatolia which is used as an equivalent for the Hattic grain-goddess Kait in an invocation to the Hittite grain-god Halki, although it is unclear whether this appellation can be related to ha-ià.

Haya is also characterised, beyond being the spouse of Nidaba/Nissaba, as an “agrig”-official of the god Enlil. The god-list designates him as “the Nissaba of wealth”, as opposed to his wife, who is the “Nissaba of Wisdom”.

Attempts have also been made to connect the remote origins of ha-ià with those of the god Ea (Ebla Ḥayya), although there remain serious doubts concerning this hypothesis. How or whether both are related to a further western deity called Ḥayya is also unclear.

The Sumerian tale of the Curse of Agade lists Nidaba as belonging to the elite of the great gods, but traditions vary regarding the genealogy of Nidaba. She appears on separate occasions as the daughter of Enlil, of Uraš, of Ea, and of Anu. Nidaba’s spouse is Haya and together they have a daughter, Sud/Ninlil.

Ninlil (Mulliltu, Mullissu, Mylitta), the patron deity of the city of Ereš (Uruk), is a goddess mainly known as the wife of Enlil, the head of the early Mesopotamian pantheon, and later of Aššur, the head of the Assyrian pantheon. She first appears in the late fourth millennium BCE and survived into the first centuries CE. She was at times syncretised with various healing and mother goddesses as well as with the goddess Ištar.

Because Ninlil primarily appears as Enlil’s consort, she shares some of his characteristics (e.g., his characteristics as creator, father of the gods, head of the pantheon, giver of life). Through her syncretisms she also took on aspects of healing and mother goddesses, but these seem to be secondary rather than original functions. Her epithets include “Queen of the heavens and the earth, queen of the lands” or “Lady of the gods” and “foremost lady of the Anunna gods”.

Ninlil was syncretised with several goddesses. The foremost among these is Sud, the patron deity of the city of Šurrupag, one of the antediluvian cities mentioned in The Sumerian Kinglist. The Sumerian myth of Enlil and Sud is a literary rendering of this syncretism and relates how Sud married Enlil and thus became Ninlil. In addition, Ninlil was also syncretised with several minor healing and mother goddesses.

The Sumerian myth Enlil and Ninlil describes how Enlil pursues Ninlil amorously, resulting in Ninlil giving birth to the moon-god Su’en, the underworld deity Nergal, and the gods Ninazu and Enbilulu. When Enlil was syncretised with Aššur, the highest god of the Assyrian pantheon, Ninlil consequently became Aššur’s wife and was identified with Šeru’a.

In the first millennium BCE, Ninlil became identified with Ištar, like many other goddesses, especially with Ištar of Kiš and Ištar of Arbela. In Herodotus’ Histories, Ninlil under the name Mylitta was identified as the Assyrian version of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It is possible that this identification was due to Ninlil’s syncretism with Ištar as the goddess of love and war.

As Enlil’s wife, it is likely that Ninlil was worshipped in the same places as her husband. Her main temple at Nippur was called the Eki’ur (Ekur). In addition, Ninlil was worshipped in the city of Tummal, which has not been located yet but is most likely in the vicinity of Nippur.

Unlike her consort Nergal, Ereškigal has a distinctly dual association with death. This is reminiscent of the contradictive nature of her sister Ištar, who simultaneously represents opposing aspects such as male and female; love and war. In Ereškigal’s case, she is the goddess of death but also associated with birth; regarded both as mother(-earth) and a virgin.

Ereškigal is the sister of Ištar and mother of the goddess Nungal. Namtar, Ereškigal’s minister, is also her son by Enlil; and Ninazu, her son by Gugal-ana. The latter is the first husband of Ereškigal, who in later tradition has Nergal as consort. Bēlet-ṣēri appears as the official scribe for Ereškigal in the Epic of Gilgameš.

The iconography of Ereškigal remains unknown except for a possible representation on the so-called Burney Relief, a large terra-cotta plaque (now displayed at the British Museum), the authenticity of which has long been the subject of dispute.

The relief shows a winged nude female with talons for feet. Standing on two recumbent lions and flanked by owls, she sports the horned headdress of divinity and carries a rod and ring in each raised hand. The avian features may be linked to the netherworld whose residents re described as dressed in bird feathers.

Two myths describe the marriage of Sud/Ninlil with Enlil. This implies that Nidaba could be at once the daughter and the mother-in-law of Enlil. Nidaba is also the sister of Ninsumun, the mother of Gilgameš.

Nidaba is frequently mentioned together with the goddess Nanibgal who also appears as an epithet of Nidaba, although most god lists treat her as a distinct goddess.

In a debate between Nidaba and Grain, Nidaba is syncretised with Ereškigal as “Mistress of the Underworld”. Nidaba is also identified with the goddess of grain Ašnan, and with Nanibgal/Nidaba-ursag/Geme-Dukuga, the throne bearer of Ninlil and wife of Ennugi, throne bearer of Enlil.

The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the multi-ethnic kingdom of Mitanni (Mi-ta-an-ni; also Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni) or Hanigalbat (Assyrian Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) or Naharin in ancient Egyptian texts, the Mitanni being perhaps an Indo-Aryan people who formed a ruling class over the Hurrians in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC.

The population of the Indo-European-speaking Hittite Empire in Anatolia included a large population of Hurrians, and there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology. By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples, except perhaps in the kingdom of Urartu.

Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia. Eventually, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite and later Assyrian attacks, and was reduced to the status of a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire.

Within a few centuries of the fall of Washshukanni to Assyria, Mitanni became fully Assyrianized and linguistically Aramaized, and use of the Hurrian language began to be discouraged throughout the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

However, Urartean, a dialect closely related to Hurrian seems to have survived in the new state of Urartu, in the mountainous areas to the north. In the 10th to 9th century BC inscriptions of Adad-nirari II and Shalmaneser III, Hanigalbat is still used as a geographical term.

Chaldea or Chaldaea, from Greek Chaldaia; Akkadian: māt Ḫaldu; Hebrew: Kaśdim; Aramaic: Kaldo) was a small Semitic nation which existed between the 10th and 6th centuries BC. It was located in the marshy land of the far south eastern corner of Mesopotamia, and briefly came to rule Babylon.

During a period of weakness in the East Semitic speaking kingdom of Babylonia, new tribes of West Semitic-speaking migrants arrived in the region from The Levant (Aramea, modern Syria) between the 11th and 10th centuries BC.

The earliest waves consisted of Suteans and Arameans, followed a century later by a group who became known as the Chaldeans or the Chaldees. The Hebrew Bible uses the term Kaśdim and this is translated as Chaldaeans in the Latin Septuagint. These migrations did not affect Assyria to the north, which repelled these incursions.

The short-lived 11th dynasty of the Kings of Babylon (6th century BC) is conventionally known to historians as the Chaldean Dynasty, although only the first four rulers of this dynasty were positively known to be Chaldeans, and the last ruler, Nabonidus and his son and regent Belshazzar, were known to be from Assyria.

When the Babylonian Empire was absorbed into the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the name “Chaldean” completely lost its meaning in reference a particular ethnicity, and came to be applied only to a socioeconomic class of astrologers and astronomers.

The actual Chaldean tribe had long ago become Akkadianized, adopting Mesopotamian culture, religion, language and customs, blending into the majority native population, and they eventually wholly disappeared as a distinct race of people, much as other fellow preceeding migrant peoples, such as the Amorites, Kassites, Suteans and Arameans of Babylonia had also done.

The Persians found this so-called Chaldean societal class masters of reading and writing, and especially versed in all forms of incantation, in sorcery, witchcraft, and the magical arts. They spoke of astrologists and astronomers as Chaldeans; consequently, Chaldean came to mean simply astrologist rather than an ethnic Chaldean. It is used with this specific meaning in the Book of Daniel (Dan. i. 4, ii. 2 et seq.) and by classical writers such as Strabo.

Armenian language

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.

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.

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 Armenian hypothesis of the Proto-Indo-European Urheimat, based on the Glottalic theory suggests that the Proto-Indo-European language was spoken during the 4th millennium BC in the Armenian Highland. It is an Indo-Hittite model and does not include the Anatolian languages in its scenario.

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).

Haplogroup R1b

It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs.

With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals.

The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars and goats led to their progressive taming. Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence, while other people in the Fertile Crescent (presumably represented by haplogroups E1b1b, G and T) settled down to cultivate the land or keep smaller domesticates.

The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains.

The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b.

The early R1b cattle herders would have split in at least three groups. One branch (M335) remained in Anatolia, but judging from its extreme rarity today wasn’t very successful, perhaps due to the heavy competition with other Neolithic populations in Anatolia, or to the scarcity of pastures in this mountainous environment.

A second branch migrated south to the Levant, where it became the V88 branch. Some of them searched for new lands south in Africa, first in Egypt, then colonising most of northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahel.

The third branch (P297), crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle. They split into two factions: R1b1a1 (M73), which went east along the Caspian Sea to Central Asia, and R1b1a2 (M269), which at first remained in the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga.

It is not yet clear whether M73 actually migrated across the Caucasus and reached Central Asia via Kazakhstan, or if it went south through Iran and Turkmenistan. In the latter case, M73 might not be an Indo-European branch of R1b, just like V88 and M335.

R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, which comprised almost all Europe (except Finland, Sardinia and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, European Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably in Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, northern India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.

Haplogroups G

Nowadays haplogroup G is found all the way from Western Europe and Northwest Africa to Central Asia, India and East Africa, although everywhere at low frequencies (generally between 1 and 10% of the population). The only exceptions are the Caucasus region, central and southern Italy and Sardinia, where frequencies typically range from 15% to 30% of male lineages.

Most Europeans belong to the G2a subclade, and most northern and Western Europeans more specifically to G2a-L141.1 (or to a lower extend G2a-M406). About all G2b (L72+, formerly G2c) Europeans are Ashkenazi Jews. G2b has also been found around Afghanistan, probably as an offshoot of Neolithic farmers from the Levant. Haplogroup G1 is found predominantly in Iran, but is also found in the Levant, among Ashkenazi Jews, and Central Asia (notably in Kazakhstan).

G2a makes up 5 to 10% of the population of Mediterranean Europe, but is fairly rare in Northern Europe. The only places where haplogroup G2 exceeds 10% of the population in Europe are Cantabria, central and southern Italy (esp. in the Apennines), Sardinia, northern Greece (Thessaly) and Crete – all mountainous and relatively isolated regions. Other regions with frequencies approaching the 10% include Asturias in northern Spain, Auvergne in central France, Switzerland, Sicily, the Aegean Islands, and Cyprus.

Haplogroup G1 might have originated around modern Iran, while G2 would have developed in Southwest Asia during the Upper Paleolithic, probably in the Late Glacial period (19,000 to 12,000 years ago). At that time humans would all have been hunter-gatherers, and in most cases living in small nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes.

Members of haplogroup G2 appear to have been closely linked to the development of early agriculture in the Levant part of the Fertile Crescent, starting 11,500 years before present. The G2a branch expanded to Anatolia, the Caucasus and Europe, while G2b ended up secluded in the southern Levant and is now found mostly among Jewish people.

There has so far been ancient Y-DNA analysis from only four Neolithic cultures (LBK in Germany, Remedello in Italy and Cardium Pottery in south-west France and Spain), and all sites yielded G2a individuals, which is the strongest evidence at present that farming originated with and was disseminated by members of haplogroup G (although probably in collaboration with other haplogroups such as E1b1b, J, R1b and T).

The highest genetic diversity within haplogroup G is found between the Levant and the Caucasus, in the Fertile Crescent, which is a good indicator of its region of origin. It is thought that early Neolithic farmers expanded from the Levant and Mesopotamia westwards to Anatolia and Europe, eastwards to South Asia, and southwards to the Arabian peninsula and North and East Africa.

The domestication of goats and cows first took place in the mountainous region of eastern Anatolia, including the Caucasus and Zagros. This is probably where the roots of haplogroup G2a (and perhaps of all haplogroup G) are to be found. So far, the only G2a people negative for subclades downstream of P15 or L149.1 were found exclusively in the South Caucasus region.

It has now been proven by the testing of Neolithic remains in various parts of Europe that haplogroup G2a was one of the lineages of Neolithic farmers and herders who migrated from Anatolia to Europe between 9,000 and 6,000 years ago. In this scenario migrants from the eastern Mediterranean would have brought with them sheep and goats, which were domesticated south of the Caucasus about 12,000 years ago. This would explain why haplogroup G is more common in mountainous areas, be it in Europe or in Asia.

The geographic continuity of G2a from Anatolia to Thessaly to the Italian peninsula, Sardinia, south-central France and Iberia already suggested that G2a could be connected to the Printed-Cardium Pottery culture (5000-1500 BCE). Ancient DNA tests conducted on skeletons from a LBK site in Germany (who were L30+) as well as Printed-Cardium Pottery sites from Languedoc-Roussilon in southern France and from Catalonia in Spain all confirmed that Neolithic farmers in Europe belonged primarily to haplogroup G2a. Other haplogroups found so far in Neolithic Europe include E-V13, F and I2a1 (P37.2).

Ötzi the Iceman (see famous individuals below), who lived in the Italian Alps during the Chalcolithic, belonged to haplogroup G2a2a2 (L91), a relatively rare subclade found nowadays in the Middle East, southern Europe (especially Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica) and North Africa. G2a2 (PF3146) is otherwise found at low frequencies all the way from the Levant to Western Europe. In conclusion, Neolithic farmers in Europe would have belonged to G2a, G2a2 (+ subclades) and G2a3 (and at least the M406 subclade).

Haplogroup J2

Haplogroup J2 is thought to have appeared somewhere in the Middle East towards the end of the last glaciation, between 15,000 and 22,000 years ago. Its present geographic distribution argue in favour of a Neolithic expansion from the Fertile Crescent.

This expansion probably correlated with the diffusion of domesticated of cattle and goats (starting c. 8000-9000 BCE) from the Zagros mountains and northern Mesopotamia, rather than with the development of cereal agriculture in the Levant (which appears to be linked rather to haplogroups G2 and E1b1b).

A second expansion of J2 could have occured with the advent of metallurgy, notably copper working (from the Lower Danube valley, central Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia), and the rise of some of the oldest civilisations.

Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. This is the case of the Hattians, the Hurrians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians (and their Carthaginian offshoot), the Israelites, and to a lower extent also the Romans, the Assyrians and the Persians. All the great seafaring civilisations from the middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age were dominated by J2 men.

There is a distinct association of ancient J2 civilisations with bull worship. The oldest evidence of a cult of the bull can be traced back to Neolithic central Anatolia, notably at the sites of Çatalhöyük and Alaca Höyük. Bull depictions are omnipresent in Minoan frescos and ceramics in Crete.

Bull-masked terracotta figurines and bull-horned stone altars have been found in Cyprus (dating back as far as the Neolithic, the first presumed expansion of J2 from West Asia). The Hattians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Canaaites, and Carthaginians all had bull deities (in contrast with Indo-European or East Asian religions).

The sacred bull of Hinduism, Nandi, present in all temples dedicated to Shiva or Parvati, does not have an Indo-European origin, but can be traced back to Indus Valley civilisation. Minoan Crete, Hittite Anatolia, the Levant, Bactria and the Indus Valley also shared a tradition of bull leaping, the ritual of dodging the charge of a bull. It survives today in the traditional bullfighting of Andalusia in Spain and Provence in France, two regions with a high percentage of J2 lineages.

Haplogroup I1

Haplogroup I1, the oldest major haplogroup in Europe and in all probability the only one that originated there, apart from very minor haplogroups like C6 and deep subclades of other haplogroups, is the most common I subclade in northern Europe.

It is found mostly in Scandinavia and Finland, where it typically represent over 35% of the male Y-chromosomes. Associated with the Norse ethnicity, I1 is found in all places invaded by ancient Germanic tribes and the Vikings. Other parts of Europe speaking Germanic languages come next in frequency. Germany, Austria, the Low Countries, England and the Scottish Lowlands all have between 10% and 20% of I1 lineages.

It is thought to have arrived from the Middle East as haplogroup IJ sometime between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago, and developed into haplogroup I approximately 25,000 years ago. In other words, Cro-Magnons most probably belonged to IJ and I (alongside older haplogroups like F and C6).

The I1 branch is estimated to have split away from the rest of haplogroup I some 20,000 years ago. I1 is defined by at least 25 unique mutations, which indicates that this lineage experienced a serious population bottleneck. Men belonging to this haplogroup all descend from a single ancestor who lived between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago.

It has been speculated that I1 evolved in isolation in Scandinavia during the late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, when hunter-gatherers from southern Europe recolonised the northern half of the continent from their LGM refugia. The oldest attested evidence of postglacial resettlement of Scandinavia dates from 11,000 BCE with the appearance of the Ahrensburg culture.

However, evidence emerged from the testing of Early Neolithic Y-DNA from western Hungary that haplogroup I1 was in fact present in central Europe at the time of the Neolithic expansion. A single I1 sample was identified alongside a G2a2b sample, both from the early Linear Pottery (LBK) culture, which would later diffuse the new agricultural lifestyle to most of Poland, Germany and the Low Countries.

It is therefore possible that I1 lineages were among the Mesolithic European hunter-gatherers assimilated by the wave of East Mediterranean Neolithic farmers (represented chiefly by Y-haplogroup G2a). There is also evidence from the Neolithic samples of the Early Neolithic Starčevo and Cardium Pottery cultures that haplogroup I2a lived alongside G2a farmers both in south-east and south-west Europe.

The most likely hypothesis at present is that I1 and I2 lineages were dispersed around Europe during the Mesolithic, and that some branches prospered more than others thanks to an early adoption of agriculture upon contact with the Near Eastern farmers who were slowly making their way across the Balkans and the Mediterranean shores. The small group of farmers from the early LBK culture from Hungary might have formed a blend of I1 and G2a men. Yet distinct families would have spread in different directions and met varying successes in their expansion.

It would appear that a founder effect in the northern LBK population led to a sudden explosion of I1 lineages, perhaps in part thanks to their better knowledge of the Central European terrain and fauna (since hunting was typically practised side by side to agriculture to complement the farmers’ diet). I1 would later have spread to Scandinavia from northern Germany.

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