Cradle of Civilization

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Archive for the ‘Semitic People’ Category

The Semites

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 29, 2013

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Semitic Language Tree

Semitic

Haplogroup E

Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Outside Europe, E1b1b is found at high frequencies in Morocco (over 80%), Somalia (80%), Ethiopia (40% to 80%), Tunisia (70%), Algeria (60%), Egypt (40%), Jordan (25%), Palestine (20%), and Lebanon (17.5%). On the European continent it has the highest concentration in Kosovo (over 45%), Albania and Montenegro (both 27%), Bulgaria (23%), Macedonia and Greece (both 21%), Cyprus (20%), Sicily (20%), South Italy (18.5%), Serbia (18%) and Romania (15%).

Haplogroup E1b1b (formerly E3b) represents the last major direct migration from Africa into Europe. It is believed to have first appeared in the Horn of Africa approximately 26,000 years ago and dispersed to North Africa and the Near East during the late Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods. E1b1b lineages are closely linked to the diffusion of Afroasiatc languages.

The highest genetic diversity of haplogroup E1b1b is observed in Northeast Africa, especially in Ethiopia and Somalia, which also have the monopoly of older and rarer branches like M281, V6 or V92. Ethiopians and Somalians belong mostly to the V22 and V32 (downstream of V12) subclades, but possess also a minority of M81, M123 and V42 subclades. Among the main subclades of E1b1b only V13 and V65 are absent from the Horn of Africa, and probably originated in northern Africa (V65) or the southern Levant (V13).

It is still unclear when haplogroup E first entered Europe. The earliest known prehistoric sample to date is an E-V13 from Catalonia dating from 5000 BCE. So we know for sure that E1b1b was present in southern Europe at least since the Early Neolithic. Nonetheless, the possibility of other migrations of E1b1b to southern Europe during the Mesolithic or Late Palaeolithic cannot be ruled out.

Haplogroup E1b1b may well have been associated with the earliest development of Neolithic lifestyle and the advent of agriculture, which is so far believed to have arisen in the Fertile Crescent, but could have developed earlier in parts of Northeast Africa now covered by the Sahara desert. Agriculture spread from the Near East to Europe, at first mostly ovicaprid and cattle herders.

E1b1b men (accompanied by G2a, J and T men) appear to have been associated at least with the diffusion of Neolithic painted pottery from the Levant to the Balkans (Thessalian Neolithic), and with the Cardium Pottery culture (5000-1500 BCE) in the Western Mediterranean. The only concrete evidence for this at the moment is the presence of the E-V13 subclade, commonest in the southern Balkans today, at a 7000-year old Neolithic site in north-east Spain, which was tested by Lacan et al (2011). The African origin of some Neolithic cattle was confirmed by Decker et al 2013, who reported that Iberian and Italian cattle possess introgression from African taurine.

Judging from modern frequencies, E1b1b would have been a major Near Eastern haplogroup linked to the propagation of agriculture in Europe. It is the only Near Eastern haplogroup consistently found throughout Europe, even in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Baltic countries, which are conspicuous by the absence of other Neolithic haplogroups like G2a (bar the Indo-European G2a3b1), J1 and T (except in Estonia).

E1b1b lineages would have been part and parcel to virtually all Neolithic and subsequent cultures in Europe, if only as a tiny minority in Scandinavia, Northeast Europe and in the Pontic Steppe.

The ancient Greeks contributed to the diffusion of E1b1b to places such as Cyprus, Sicily, southern Italy, Liguria, Provence, and eastern Spain, while the Phoenicians and Carthaginians brought more E1b1b to Cyprus, Malta, Sicily, Sardinia, Ibiza and southern Iberia. Migrations within the Roman Empire probably played a role, although a minor one, in the redistribution of E1b1b in Europe.

Haplogroup J1

Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Haplogroup J1 is a Middle Eastern haplogroup, which probably originated in eastern Anatolia, near Lake Van in central Kurdistan. Eastern Anatolia being the region where goats, sheep and cattle were first domesticated in the Middle East, haplogroup J1 is almost certainly linked to the expansion of pastoralist lifestyle throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Like haplogroup G, J1 might have been of the principal lineages to bring domesticated animals to Europe. Both G and J1 reach their maximal frequencies in the Caucasus, some ethnic groups being almost exclusively J1 (Kubachis, Kaitaks, Dargins, Avars), while others have extremely high levels of G (Shapsugs, North Ossetians). Most of the ethnic groups in the North Caucasus have between 20 and 40% of each haplogroup, which are by far their two dominant haplogroups.

Frequencies og haplogroup J1 in Europe and West Asia tend to vary considerably from one regional community to the next. The highest local percentages in Europe are found in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and hardly ever exceed 5% of the population. However Italy, France and Spain also have areas where J1 appears completely absent. Even in northern Europe, where the nation-wide frequencies are below 0.5%, very localised pockets of J1 have been observed in Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Larger sample sizes are needed to get a clearer picture of the distribution of J1 in Europe.

Surpisingly, even in the Caucasus and in Anatolia, the region where this haplogroup is thought to have originated, there are wide discrepancies between regions. For example, the Kubachi and Dargins from Dagestan in the Northeast Caucasus have over 80% of J1 lineages, while in their Ingush neighbours, 200 km to the north, it barely reaches 3%. East Anatolia around Lake Van sees over 30% of J1, whereas south-west Anatolia has only 2%. Even within Kurdistan frequencies vary greatly. The small sample sizes for each region is surely to blame.

In Arabic countries, J1 climaxes among the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq (81%), the Sudanese Arabs (73%), the Yemeni (72%), the Bedouins (63%), the Qatari (58%), the Saudi (40%), the Omani (38%) and the Palestinian Arabs (38%). High percentages are also observed in the United Arab Emirates (35%), coastal Algeria (35%), Jordan (31%), Syria (30%), Tunisia (30%), Egypt (21%) and Lebanon (20%).

In the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), haplogroup J2 comes into the admixture and is in fact slightly higher than either J1 or G. Most of the Caucasian J1 is at present J1*, meaning that at present no common SNP has been identified that could form a new subclade. Armenia stands out of the lot by having a substantial J1c3d (also called J-P58) minority (at least one third of all J1, i.e. roughly 4% of the population). Most of the Arabic J1 belongs to the J1c3 variety.

J1-P58 (J1b2 on the ISOGG tree, formerly known as J1c3) is by far the most widespread subclade of J1. It is a typically Semitic haplogroup, making up most of the population of the Arabian peninsula, where it accounts for approximately 40% to 75% of male lineages. Most of the J1 in the Caucasus, Anatolia and Europe is of the non-J1-P58 variety.

The dominant lineage in the Arabian peninsula is J1-L147.1. L147.1 is also the Cohen Modal Haplotype. Roughly half of all Cohanim belong to the L147.1 subclade. In the Hebrew Bible the common ancestor of all Cohens is identified as Aaron, the brother of Moses.

Y-chromosomal Aaron is the name given to the hypothesised most recent common ancestor of many of the patrilineal Jewish priestly caste known as Kohanim (singular “Kohen”, “Cohen”, or Kohane). In the Torah, this ancestor is identified as Aaron, the brother of Moses. The hypothetical most recent common ancestor was therefore jocularly dubbed “Y-chromosomal Aaron”, in analogy to Y-chromosomal Adam.

The original scientific research was based on the discovery that a majority of present-day Jewish Kohanim either share, or are only one step removed from, a pattern of values for 6 Y-STR markers, which researchers named the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH). However it subsequently became clear that this six marker pattern was widespread in many communities where men had Y chromosomes which fell into Haplogroup J; the six-marker CMH was not specific just to Cohens, nor even just to Jews.

More recent research, using a larger number of Y-STR markers to gain higher resolution more specific genetic signatures, has indicated that about half of contemporary Jewish Kohanim, who share Y-chromosomal haplogroup J1c3 (also called J-P58), do indeed appear to be very closely related. A further approximately 15% of Kohanim fall into a second distinct group, sharing a different but similarly tightly related ancestry. This second group fall under haplogroup J2a (J-M410). A number of other smaller lineage groups are also observed. Only one of these haplogroups could indicate ancestry from Y-chromosomal Aaron.

 The numerous subclades downstream of L858 represent the tremendous expansion of J1 lineages linked to the propagation of Islam and the Arabic language from Saudi Arabia from the 7th century CE.

J1-P58 is thought to have expanded from eastern Anatolia to the Levant, Taurus and Zagros mountains and the Arabian peninsula at the end of the last Ice Age (12,000 years ago) with the seasonal migrations of pastoralists. Arabic speakers recolonised the Arabian peninsula in the Bronze Age from the north-west of the peninsula, close to modern Jordan. The rise of Islam in the 7th century CE played a major part in the re-expansion of J1 from Arabia throughout the Middle East, as well as to North Africa, and to a lower extent to Sicily and southern Spain.

Haplogroup J2

Haplogroup J2 (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

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 G

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Haplogroup G is believed to have originated around the Middle East during the late Paleolithic, possibly as early as 30,000 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 this haplogroup 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.

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).

So far, the only G2a people negative for subclades downstream of P15 or L149.1 have all been found in the South Caucasus region. The highest genetic diversity within haplogroup G is found between the Levant and the Caucasus, in the Fertile Crescent, which is another 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.

Haplogroup R1b

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

The Paleolithic origins of R1b are not entirely clear to this day. Some of the oldest forms of R1b are found around the Caucasus, in Iran and in southern Central Asia, a vast region where could have roamed the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers during the Ice Age. Haplogroup R1* and R2* might have originated in southern Central Asia (between the Caspian depression and the Hindu Kush).

A branch of R1 would have developed into R1b then R1b1 and R1b1a in the northern part of the Middle East around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (circa 20,000 years ago), while R1a migrated north to Siberia. R1b1a presumptively moved to northern Anatolia and across the Caucasus during the Neolithic, where it split into R1b1a1 (M73) and R1b1a2 (M269). The Near Eastern leftovers evolved into R1b1c (V88), now found at low frequencies among the Lebanese, the Druze, and the Jews. The Phoenicians (who came from modern day Lebanon) spread this R1b1c to their colonies, notably Sardinia and the Maghreb.

R1b1a2 (the most common form in Europe) and R1b1a1 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, including almost all Europe (except Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, European Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.

R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching over 80% of the population in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, western Wales, the Atlantic fringe of France, the Basque country and Catalonia. It is also common in Anatolia and around the Caucasus, in parts of Russia and in Central and South Asia. Besides the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Europe, hotspots include the Po valley in north-central Italy (over 70%), Armenia (35%), the Bashkirs of the Urals region of Russia (50%), Turkmenistan (over 35%), the Hazara people of Afghanistan (35%), the Uyghurs of North-West China (20%) and the Newars of Nepal (11%). R1b-V88, a subclade specific to sub-Saharan Africa, is found in 60 to 95% of men in northern Cameroon.

Haplogroup T

 

Haplogroup T (Y-DNA) - Eupedia

Haplogroup T originated at least 30,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest haplogroups found in Eurasia, which may explain its vast dispersal around Africa and South Asia. It also makes its place of origin uncertain. T is descended from haplogroup K, the ancestor of most of the Eurasian haplogroups (L, N, O, P, Q, R and T), and whose origins are thought to lie in the Middle ast or in Central Asia.

Although haplogroup T is more common today in East Africa than anywhere else, it almost certainly spread from the Fertile Crescent with the rise of agriculture. Indeed, the oldest subclades and the greatest diversity of T is found in the Middle East, especially around the Fertile Crescent. The higher frequency of T in East Africa would be due to a founder effect among Neolithic farmers from the Middle East.

The modern distribution T in Europe strongly correlates with a the Neolithic colonisation of Mediterranean Europe by Near-Eastern farmers, notably the Cardium Pottery culture (5000-1500 BCE).

During the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age haplogroup T would have been an important (though probably not dominant) lineage among ancient peoples such as Sumerians and the Elamites.

The higher than average frequencies of haplogroup T in places like Cyprus, Sicily, Tunisia, Ibiza, Andalusia and the northern tip of Morocco suggest that haplogroup T could have been dispersed around the Mediterranean by the Phoenicians (1200-800 BCE), and that ancient Phoenicia seemingly had a higher incidence of T than Lebanon does today (5%).

While almost all subclades of T are found in the Middle East, most Europeans outside the Mediterranean belong to the subclades T1a2 (L131) and T1a1a1a (P77), who are also found in Anatolia. These subclades probably represent one of the Neolithic migration from the Fertile Crescent to Southeast Europe. They would then have spread around central and Eastern Europe, as far north as the eastern Baltic.

T1a2 has been found as far east as the Volga-Ural region of Russia and Xinjiang in north-west China. This branch probably penetrated into the Pontic-Caspian Steppe during the Neolithic (perhaps alongside G2a3b1 and J2b2) and became integrated to the indigenous R1a peoples before their expansion to Central Asia during the Bronze Age (=> see R1a-Z93).

Haplogroup T has been found at a relatively high frequency among the Tatars (5%) and Maris (2%) of the Volga-Ural region as well as in north-west Russia (3%) and Estonia (3.5%) suggesting that it may have been one of the principal lineages bringing the Neolithic to Uralic-speaking population.

Autosomal DNA tests have also identified unusually high percentages of Southwest Asian admixtures among the Finns (1 to 2.5%) and Lithuanians (1.5%), who otherwise lack West Asian or Caucasian admixture and possess hardly any Middle Eastern Y-DNA. This Southwest Asian admixture could be the trace of T lineages absorbed during the Neolithic.

Semitic

Indo-European and Semitic Languages

The word “Semitic” (from the Biblical “Shem”) is an adjective derived from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21). In Genesis 10:21–31, Shem is described as the father of Aram, Ashur, and Arpachshad: the Biblical ancestors of the Semites, of whom the languages are closely related; the language family containing them was therefore named “Semitic” by linguists.

The concept of “Semitic” peoples is derived from Biblical accounts of the origins of the cultures known to the ancient Hebrews. Those closest to them in culture and language were generally deemed to be descended from their forefather Shem. Enemies were often said to be descendants of his cursed nephew, Canaan (even though Hebrew in reality, is itself a Canaanite language).

As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the extended cultures and ethnicities, as well as the history of these varied peoples as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution.

In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of West Asian origin, now called the Semitic languages. The term Semite means a member of any of various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples originating in the Near East, including;

Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians), Eblaites, Ugarites, Canaanites, Phoenicians (including Carthaginians), Hebrews (Israelites, Judeans and Samaritans), Ahlamu, Amalekites, Amhari, Amorites, Arabs, Arameans, Bahranis, Canaanites, Chaldeans, Dilmunites, Eblaites, Edomites, Ethiopian Semites, Ge’ez, Hebrews, Hyksos, Nabateans, Maganites, Malteses, Mandeans, Moabites, Phoenicians, Shebans, Sutu, Maltese, Mandaeans, Mhallami, Palmyrans Sabians, Syriacs, Tigres, Tigrinyans, Ugarits, and Ubarites.

The Canaanites and Amorites also spoke languages very closely related to Hebrew and attested in writing earlier, and are therefore termed Semitic in linguistics, despite being described in Genesis as sons of Ham. Shem is also described in Genesis as the father of Elam and Lud, however the Elamites were not Semitic, they spoke a language isolate, and the equally non Semitic Lydians spoke an Indo-European language. Equally, the Hittites are described as sons of Ham, but in actuality they spoke an Indo-European language.

The reconstructed Proto-Semitic language, ancestral to historical Semitic languages in the Middle East, is thought to have been originally from either the Arabian Peninsula (particularly around Yemen), the Levant, Mesopotamia or even the Ethiopian Highlands. However, its region of origin is still uncertain and much debated, with, for example, a recent Bayesian analysis identifying an origin for Semitic languages in the Levant around 3,750 BC. with a later single introduction from what is now southern Arabia into north Africa around 800 BC.

The Semitic language family is also considered a component of the larger Afroasiatic macro-family of languages. Identification of the hypothetical proto-Semitic region of origin is therefore dependent on the larger geographic distributions of the other language families within Afroasiatic.

The earliest historical attestation of any Semitic people comes from Mesopotamia, with the East Semitic Akkadian-speaking peoples entering the region dominated by the non-Semitic Sumerians, whom Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer asserts “No people has contributed more to the culture of mankind than the Sumerians” and yet it is only comparatively recently that we have built up a knowledge of the existence of this ancient culture.

The Sumerian city of Eridu, on the coast of the Persian Gulf, was the world’s first city, where three separate cultures fused – that of peasant Ubaidian farmers, living in mud-brick huts and practicing irrigation; that of mobile nomadic Semitic pastoralists living in black tents and following herds of sheep and goats; and that of fisher folk, living in reed huts in the marshlands, who may have been the ancestors of the Sumerians.

The earliest known Akkadian inscription was found on a bowl at Ur, addressed to the very early pre-Sargonic king Meskiang-nuna of Ur by his queen Gan-saman, who is thought to have been from Akkad. However, some of the names appearing on the Sumerian king list as prehistoric rulers of Kish have been held to indicate a Semitic presence even before this, as early as the 30th or 29th century BC.

Sumerian civilization took form in the Uruk period (4th millennium BC), continuing into the Jemdat Nasr and Early Dynastic periods. During the 3rd millennium BC, a close cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians (who spoke a Language Isolate) and the Semitic Akkadian speakers, which included widespread bilingualism.

The influence of Sumerian 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.

The surplus of storable food created by this economy allowed the population of this region to settle in one place, instead of migrating as hunter gatherers. It also allowed for a much greater population density, and in turn required an extensive labour force and division of labour with many specialised arts and crafts.

At the same time, over use of the irrigated soils led to progressive salinisation, and a Malthusian crisis which led to depopulation of the Sumerian region over time, leading to its progressive eclipse by the Akkadians of middle Mesopotamia.

Sumer was conquered by the Semitic-speaking kings of the Akkadian Empire around 2270 BC (short chronology), but Sumerian continued as a sacred language. By the mid 3rd millennium BC, many states and cities in Mesopotamia had come to be ruled or dominated by Akkadian speaking Semites, including Assyria, Eshnunna, Akkad, Kish, Isin, Ur, Uruk, Adab, Nippur, Ekallatum, Nuzi, Akshak, Eridu and Larsa.

The Akkadian Empire (2335 BC – 2193 BC) enabled the Mesopotamian Semites to unite all of Mesopotamia under one rule, and further spread their dominance and cultural and technological influence over much of the Near East, Asia Minor (Anatolia) and Ancient Iran.

The East Semitic Mesopotamian states of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia proved to be not only the oldest, but the most advanced in the Near East and its surrounds, between the mid 24th and late 6th centuries BC, often asserting dominance over the West, Northwest and South Semitic speaking peoples, as well as the Non-Semitic peoples of the region.

A number of non-Semitic peoples were eventually absorbed by Semites; The Sumerians were absorbed into the Akkadian speaking Assyro-Babylonian population of Mesopotamia by around 2000 BC, and the Kassites who ruled Babylonia for almost five centuries from the early 16th century BC, eventually blended into the native population.

Similarly, the Philistines eventually disappeared into the native Israelite-Canaanite population, and in northern Aram (Syria) and south central Asia Minor, there was a synthesis between the Semitic Arameans and Indo-European Neo-Hittites, with the founding of a number of small Syro-Hittite states fro the 12th century BC until their destruction by Assyria in the 8th and 7th centuries BC.

During the Middle Assyrian Empire (1366-1050 BC) and in particular the Neo Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC) much of the Near East, Asia Minor, Caucasus, Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, Ancient Iran and North Africa fell under Assyrian domination. During the 8th century BC the Assyrians introduced Aramaic as the lingua franca of their empire, and this language was to remain dominant among Near Eastern Semites until the early Medieval Period.

The Assyrian Empire collapsed by 605 BC after decades of internal civil war followed by a combined attack on the weakened sate by an alliance of its former subject peoples (their own Babylonian relations, together with the Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians), and after the collapse of the succeeding Neo Babylonian Empire in 539 BC, the Semitic peoples found themselves largely under the domination of various Indo-European speaking empires for over twelve centuries; the Achaemenid Empire, Seleucid Empire, Parthian Empire, Roman Empire, Sassanid Empire and Byzantine Empire.

Babylon became the centre of a short lived but influential Babylonian Empire in the 18th century BC, and subsequent to this southern Mesopotamia came to be known as Babylonia, with Babylon superseding Nippur as the primary religious center of southern Mesopotamia. Northern Mesopotamia had long before already coalesced into Assyria. After the fall of the first Babylonian Empire, the far south of Mesopotamia broke away for circa 300 years, becoming the independent Sealand Dynasty.

Babylonia was often erroneously referred to as Chaldea from the period of the Neo Babylonian Empire onwards, although only the first three or four rulers of the empire were certainly Chaldeans, and the last ruler was Assyrian. The Chaldeans, like the Amorites and Kassites of southern Mesopotamia before them, eventually blended into the indigenous population, and disappeared as a distinct people, and Babylonia itself was subsumed into the Assyrian province during the Parthian Empire.

There were a number of Non-Semitic groups living in the same regions, and whose histories are interwoven with the Semites at various times; these included peoples who spoke Language Isolates, stand alone languages unrelated to any other recorded language, living or dead.

Language isolate speakers included; Sumerians in Mesopotamia, Elamites in south western Ancient Iran, Lullubi, Kassites, Gutians and Manneans in north western Ancient Iran, as well as Hattians, Hurrians and Urartians in Asia Minor.

A number of Indo-European speaking peoples also appeared; In Asia Minor, the Kaskians, Luwians, Ancient Greeks and Hittites emerged between the 23rd and 19th centuries BC, and the Mitanni in the 17th century BC, the Phrygians and Dorian Greeks arrived in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) during the 13th century BC, followed by Cappadocians, Lydians, Carians, Cilicians, Lycians, Cimmerians, Scythians, Armenians and Corduene (Kurds) during the late Iron Age and early Classical Period.

The non-Semitic Philistines, one of the Sea Peoples, and not to be confused with modern Palestinian Arabs, are conjectured to have arrived in southern Canaan sometime in the 12th century.

They are conjectured to have spoken an Indo-European language, as there are possibly Greek and Luwian traces in the limited information available about their tongue, although this is not certain.

At approximately the same time or shortly before the Iranic Indo-Europeans, the Medes, Persians, Parthians, Sogdians and Bactrians entered Ancient Iran Circa 1000 BC, nations speaking Kartvelian (Georgian) languages arose, Colchia and Tabal in Asia Minor.

In Egypt, the people were speakers of a stand alone Afroasiatic tongue, a language loosely related to but distinct from those of the Semitic peoples, as were the Berbers of the Sahara and the coasts of North Africa, Semitic Carthage aside. Nilotic peoples such as the Nubians and Kushites dwelt to the south of the Egyptians, and Puntites to the south east of Ethiopia.

Sumerian texts repeatedly refer to three important centers with which they traded: Magan, Dilmun, and Meluhha. Magan is usually identified with Oman. This identification, however, is Assyrian; the Sumerian localization of Magan was probably Oman. Dilmun was a Persian Gulf civilization which traded with Mesopotamian civilizations, the current scholarly consensus is that Dilmun encompassed Bahrain, Failaka, Kuwait and the adjacent eastern Arabia coast in the Persian Gulf.

The location of Meluhha, however, is hotly debated. There are scholars today who confidently identify Meluhha with the Harappan Civilization on the basis of the extensive evidence of trading contacts between Sumer and this region. Sesame oil was probably imported from the Indus valley into Sumer: the Sumerian word for this oil is illu (Akkadian: ellu). In Dravidian languages of South India el or ellu stands for sesame.

There is extensive presence of Harappan seals and cubical weight measures in Mesopotamian urban sites. Specific items of high volume trade are timber and specialty wood such as ebony, for which large ships were used. Luxury items also appear, such as lapis lazuli mined at a Harappan colony at Shortugai (Badakshan in northern Afghanistan), which was transported to Lothal, a port city in Gujarat in western India, and shipped from there to Oman, Bahrain, and Sumer.

A number of other non-Arab South Semitic states existed in the far south of what was much later to become known as the Arabian Peninsula, such as Sheba (in modern Yemen), Magan and Ubar (both in modern Oman), although the histories of these states is sketchy (mainly coming from Mesopotamian and Egyptian records), as there was no written script in the region at this time.

During these periods there were spells of varying degrees of independence in Israel, and among the Assyrians (with the Neo-Assyrian states of Adiabene, Osrhoene and Hatra, as well as for a time the old Assyrian capital of Ashur itself), in the Aramean state of Palmyra, the Syriac speaking Nabatean state, with its capital of Petra, and most notably the powerful Phoenician state of Carthage which rivaled Rome.

During this period (circa 27th to 26th century BC), another East Semitic speaking people, the Eblaites, appear in historical record north eastern Syria, founding the state of Ebla, whose language was closely related to Akkadian.

Aleppo, who in historical records appears as an important city much earlier than Damascus, has scarcely been touched by archaeologists, since the modern city occupies its ancient site. The site has been occupied from around 5000 BC, as excavations in Tallet Alsauda show.

The first record of Aleppo comes from the third millennium BC, when Aleppo was the capital of an independent kingdom closely related to Ebla, known as Armi to Ebla and Armani to the Akkadians. Giovanni Pettinato describes Armi as Ebla’s alter ego. Naram-Sin of Akkad destroyed both Ebla and Armani in the 23rd century BC.

All early Semites across the entire Near East appear to have originally been Polytheist. Mesopotamian religion is the earliest recorded and for millenia the most influential, exerting strong influence on the later recorded Canaanite religions then practiced in what is today Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories and the Sinai, and also those of the Arameans, Chaldeans, Phoenicians/Carthaginians and Arabs.

The influence of Mesopotamian religion can also be found in Armenian and Graeco-Roman religion and to some degree upon the later Semitic Monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, Mandeanism, Gnosticism and Islam.

Of the West Semitic speaking peoples who occupied what is today Syria (excluding the East Semitic north east), Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and the Sinai peninsula, the earliest references concern the Canaanite speaking Amorites (known as “Martu” or “Amurru” by the Mesopotamians) of northern and eastern Syria, and date from the 24th century BC in Mesopotamian annals.

The technologically advanced Sumerians, Akkadians and Assyrians of Mesopotamia mention the West Semitic peoples in disparaging terms;- The MAR.TU who know no grain… The MAR.TU who know no house nor town, the boors of the mountains… The MAR.TU who digs up truffles… who does not bend his knees (to cultivate the land), who eats raw meat, who has no house during his lifetime, who is not buried after death.

However, after initially being prevented from doing so by powerful Assyrian kings of the Old Assyrian Empire intervening from northern Mesopotamia, these Amorites would eventually overrun southern Mesopotamia, and found the state of Babylon in 1894 BC, where they became Akkadianized, adopted Mesopotamian culture and language, and blended into the indigenous population.

In the 19th century BC a similar wave of Canaanite speaking Semites entered Egypt and by the early 17th century BC these Canaanites (known as Hyksos by the Egyptians) had conquered the country, forming the Fifteenth Dynasty, introducing military technology new to Egypt, such as the war Chariot.

Proto-Canaanite texts from northern Canaan and the Levant (modern Lebanon and Syria) around 1500 BC yield the first undisputed attestations of a written West Semitic language (although earlier testimonies are possibly preserved in Middle Bronze Age alphabets, such as the Proto-Sinaitic script from the late 19th century BC), followed by the much more extensive Ugaritic tablets of northern Syria from the late 14th century BC in the city-state of Ugarit in north west Syria. Ugaritic was a West Semitic language, the same language family as the Amorites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Moabites, Edomites and Israelites.

The Shasu appear in Egyptian records circa 14th century BC, as a semi-nomadic Canaanite speaking people inhabiting Moab and northern Edom (a region stretching from the Jezreel Valley to Ashkelon and the Sinai), and a number of scholars believe the Shasu were synonymous with the Hebrews, who went on to eventually found Israel.

The appearance of nomadic Semitic Aramaeans and Suteans in historical record also dates from the late 14th century BC, the Arameans coming to dominate an area roughly corresponding with modern Syria (which became known as Aram or Aramea), subsuming the earlier Amorites, and founding states such as Aram-Damascus, Idlib (Aleppo), Hamath Aram-Naharaim, Paddan-Aram, Aram-Rehob, and Zobah, while the Suteans occupied the deserts of south eastern Syria and north eastern Jordan.

The Chaldeans, closely related to but distinct from the Arameans, appeared in south east Mesopotamia (Babylonia) circa the 12th century BC, where they settled and became Akkadianised.

A Canaanite group known as the Phoenicians came to dominate the coasts of Syria, Lebanon and south west Turkey from the 13th century BC, founding city states such as Tyre, Sidon, Byblos Simyra, Arwad, Berytus (Beirut) and Aradus, eventually spreading their influence throughout the Mediterranean, including building colonies in Malta, Sicily, the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain), the coasts of North Africa, founding the major city state of Carthage (in modern Tunisia) in the 9th century BC.

The Phoenicians created the Phoenician alphabet in the 12th century BC, which would eventually supersede Cuneiform. Phoenician became one of the most widely used writing systems, spread by Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world and beyond, where it evolved and was assimilated by many other cultures.

The still extant Aramaic alphabet, a modified form of Phoenician script, was the ancestor of modern Hebrew, Syriac/Assyrian and Arab scripts, stylistic variants and descendants of the Aramaic script.

The Greek alphabet (and by extension its descendants such as the Latin, the Cyrillic and the Egyptian Coptic scripts), was a direct successor of Phoenician, though certain letter values were changed to represent vowels. Old Italic, Anatolian, Armenian, Georgian and Paleohispanic scripts are also descendant of Phoenician script.

Between the 13th and 11th centuries BC, a number of small Canaanite speaking states arose in Southern Canaan, an area approximately corresponding to modern Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Sinai peninsula, these were the lands of the Edomites, Moabites, Hebrews/Israelites, Ammonites and Amalekites, all of whom spoke closely related west Semitic Canaanite languages.

Edom and Moab were first to appear in historical record during the mid to late 13th century BC, both coming into conflict with Egypt. The Hebrews (who spoke a Canaanite dialect) make an appearance in historical record, with the founding of the state of Israel in the late 11th century BC in southern Canaan. Later, a part of Israel broke away, becoming Judah, with a further Jewish kingdom Samarra (the land of the Samaritans) also founded as a puppet kingdom by the Assyrians.

In Israel the very first example of Monotheism arose, with the founding of Judaism, and the belief in one single god, Yaweh. The Hebrew language, closely related to the earlier attested Canaanite language of the Phoenicians, would become the vehicle of the religious literature of the Tanakh and Torah, and thus eventually have global ramifications.

Alongside and at the same time as the Hebrews/Israelites, another closely related West Semitic/Canaanite nation of Ammon also appeared, often involved in local rivalries with Israel, as did the stateless Amalekites.

The Arabs first appear in record in Assyrian Annals from the mid 9th century BC as desert dwelling nomadic inhabitants of what is today Saudi Arabia. They were regarded as conquered vassals of the Assyrians.

Later still, written evidence of Old South Arabian and Ge’ez (both related to but in reality separate languages to the Arabic language) offer the first written attestations of South Semitic languages in the 8th century BC in what is now modern Oman and Yemen. These, along with writing in the form of the Ge’ez script, were later imported to Ethiopia and Eritrea by migrating South Semites from part of Southern Arabia (modern west Yemen) during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, who intermingling with the native non-Semitic African peoples, gave rise to Ethiopian Semitic speaking peoples whose languages survive to this day.

The Nabateans, an Aramaic speaking people of mixed Canaanite, Aramean and Arab origins appear in the 4th century BC around the Negev, Sinai Peninsula and northern Arabia, forming an independent Nabatea between the 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD, with its capital at Petra.

The Mandeans, a Gnostic Ethno-Religious sect venerating John the Baptist as the true Messiah, appear in the 1st century AD first in Assyria, and then Southern Mesopotamia. Their origins are unclear, but most scholars believe that they are originally a Canaanite or Aramean people originating from around the River Jordan, while others believe them to be native Mesopotamians.

During the Seleucid period, the Greek rulers of both Mesopotamia and Aram (modern Syria) applied the terms Syria and Syrian, the Indo-European name for Assyria and Assyrians, not only to Assyria itself, but also to Aram to the west. From this point (and particularly from the early Christian period) onward, both the Arameans of the Levant and the Assyrians of Mesopotamia, although distinct and separate peoples to this day, were often collectively referred to as Syriacs or Syrians in Greco-Roman culture and later also by western Europeans.

By the 1st century AD various Aramaic dialects had come to dominate an area stretching from eastern Asia Minor in the north to the northern Arabian Peninsula in the south, and from Assyria, Mesopotamia and north western Persia in the east, to the Eastern coasts of the Mediterranean in the west.

Particularly Semitic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Mandaeism, Sabianism, Manicheanism and Gnosticism took root among the Semites, with Judaism long centered in Judaea (Israel) and Mesopotamia, and Christianity first spread initially among the largely Aramaic speaking Semitic races of Judaea, Syria, Assyria, Babylonia, Nabatea and Phoenicia during the 1st century AD, an area encompassing the modern states of Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, south eastern Turkey and the Palestinian Territories. Syriac Christianity was largely centered in areas outside of Roman control, such as in Persian-occupied Assyria (Athura/Assuristan) from whence it spread to Central Asia, India and China, and Coptic Christianity spread from Egypt to the Ethiopian Semites by the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. Mandeanism was centered in Assyria and Mesopotamia, and Gnostic sects were to be found all over the Semitic world.

With the advent of the Arab Islamic conquest of the 7th and 8th centuries AD, the hitherto largely uninfluential Arabic language (and Islamic culture) gradually replaced many (but not all) of the indigenous Semitic languages and cultures of the Near East. Both the Near East and North Africa saw an influx of Muslim Arabic people from the Arabian Peninsula.

The previously dominant Aramaic dialects gradually began to be sidelined, however descendant dialects of Aramaic, including Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, survive to this day among the Assyrians (and Mandeans) of Iraq, Northwestern Iran Northeastern Syria and southeastern Turkey, with the dialects of the Assyrian Christians still containing hundreds of Akkadian loan words and an Akkadian grammatical structure.

Long extant geopolitical regions such as Judaea, Assyria, Phoenicia and Syria were dissolved by the Arabs. Indigenous Semitic peoples became citizens in a greater Arab Islamic state, and those who resisted conversion to Islam had certain restrictions imposed upon them.[19] They were excluded from specific duties assigned to Muslims, did not enjoy certain political rights reserved to Muslims, their word was not equal to that of a Muslim in legal matters, they were subject to payment of a special tax (jizyah), they were banned from spreading their religions further in Muslim ruled lands, but were otherwise equal under the laws of property, contract and obligation.

The Arabs spread their South Semitic language to North Africa where it gradually replaced Coptic and Berber (although Berber is still largely extant), and for a time to the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal).

The Druze religion, a hybrid of Islam and Christianity, was founded in the 12th century AD in Lebanon and Syria, with its followers eventually becoming a distinct people in their own right.

A number of South Arabian languages distinct from Arabic still survive, such as Soqotri, Mehri and Shehri which are mainly spoken in Socotra, Yemen and Oman, and are likely descendants of the languages spoken in the ancient kingdoms of Sheba, Magan, Ubar and Dilmun.

By the 21st century AD, people identifying as Arabs now make up the largest population of Semites in the Near East, followed by large numbers of non-Semitic Berbers in North Africa and Ethiopian Semites in the Horn of Africa. Isreal and Malta are currently the only non-Arab ruled Semitic nations.

However a significant number of the once dominant indigenous, ancient Pre-Arab, Non-Arab and Pre-Islamic Semitic peoples of the Middle East maintain their identities to this day, despite being often persecuted ethnic (and often also religious) minorities.

In Israel, the majority population are Hebrew speaking ethnic Jews, with a tiny minority of Samaritans still extant.

In Iraq and the areas of northeast Syria, northwest Iran and southeast Turkey bordering Northern Iraq, the indigenous Assyrian people (also known as Chaldo-Assyrians) still maintain their Akkadian-influenced dialects of Eastern Aramaic as spoken and written tongues, together with their ancient forms of Eastern Rite Christianity. In these same areas the Mandeans retain their distinct pre-Arab Mandean language and Gnostic religion.

Among the Syrian Christians and Mhallami of modern Syria, the advocacy of a pre-Arab Aramean or Syriac-Aramean identity is still strong, although only tiny minorities now speak their native Western Aramaic tongue.

In Lebanon and some coastal regions of Syria the concept of Phoenicianism is endorsed, particularly by Maronite Christians who reject Arab identity and instead assert their ethnic roots lie with the pre-Arab and pre-Islamic Canaanites and Phoenicians.

Malta is the only Semitic nation in Europe, with Maltese being a member of the Semitic language group.

Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA) – Eupedia

Haplogroup J (Y-DNA) – Familypedia

Haplogroup J-P209

Haplogroup J-M267

Y-DNA Haplogroup J

Semitic people

Afroasiatic languages

Proto-Semitic

Posted in Haplogroups, Semitic People, The Fertile Crescent | Leave a Comment »

The Root of Our Civilization

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 19, 2013

There seems to be a different major haplogroup to be prevalent in each of four sets of populations that occupy distinct geographic regions and belong to different linguistic branches of the North Caucasian family spoken by the Caucasus populations.

The haplogroup frequencies correlated with geography and, even more strongly, with language. Within haplogroups, a number of haplotype clusters were shown to be specific to individual populations and languages.

The data suggested a direct origin of Caucasus male lineages from the Near East, followed by high levels of isolation, differentiation and genetic drift in situ. Comparison of genetic and linguistic reconstructions covering the last few millennia showed striking correspondences between the topology and dates of the respective gene and language trees, and with documented historical events. Overall, in the Caucasus region, unmatched levels of gene-language co-evolution occurred within geographically isolated populations, probably due to its mountainous terrain.

Hhaplogroup E1b1b1 has a more Mediterranean distribution and is conspicuously absent in the North Caucasus. Unfortunately no downstream markers were typed, but (a) its presence in small amounts in NW Caucasians (1-1.7%) together with a similar low frequency (1.5%) in Georgians, (b) its absolute absence among Nakho-Dagestanians, except for one Lezghin, suggest to me that it arrived to the region from the west, and is probably a low-frequency trace of Ancient Greek colonies of the Black Sea, just as it is associated with Greek colonists in the West Mediterranean and Sicily.

There is a little haplogroup L in the North Caucasus. L-M27 and L-M317 seems concentrated in the Northwest, while L-M357 is found only in Nakh speakers. The detection of L-M357 in North but not South Iran may be related with this population, and also the L-rich population of Syria, especially from the eastern inland area.

Haplogroup T is in this region found in 2 NW Caucasians, 1 Ossete and a couple of Lezgins, but unfortunately with no fine phylogenetic resolution.

At least two population events in the Caucasus are documented archaeologically, which allows additional comparison with these “historical” dates. In both cases, the historical (archaeological) date is similar to a genetic estimate based on the “genealogical” mutation rate.

The correspondence seems remarkable; the only major discrepancy is for Iranic (Indo-European) Ossetes who group with NW Caucasians genetically, which makes sense as the Ossetes are probably to a large extent NW Caucasians that underwent a language shift at the influence of the Alans.

Speaking of the Ossetes, their negligible R1a1-M198 frequency (0.4-0.8%) should be a warning that Iranic steppe nomads does not equal R1a1. While a limited contribution of Alans to the Ossetes is expected, it is not expected that Ossetes will have two of the lowest M198 frequencies in the Caucassus: in all probability R1a1 was not particularly important among Alans, and, by implication Sarmatians.

There seems to be a correspondence between Y-chromosome haplogroups and language groups. Overall, the most frequent haplogroups in the Caucasus were G2a3b1-P303 (12%), G2a1a-P18 (8%), J1*-M267(xP58) (34%), and J2a4b*-M67(xM92) (21%), which together encompassed 73% of the Y chromosomes, while the other 24 haplogroups identified comprise the remaining 27% .

Haplogroup G2a3b1-P303 comprised at least 21% (and up to 86%) of the Y chromosomes in the Shapsug, Abkhaz and Circassians. Haplogroup G2a1a-P18 comprised at least 56% (and up to 73%) of the Digorians and Ironians (both from the Central Caucasus Iranic linguistic group), while not being found at more than 12% (average 3%) in other populations.

Interestingly, G2a3 is one of the lineages of early Central European farmers. G2 is also, curiously, one of the West Eurasian lineages that are found in very small quantities in India, especially among upper caste Hindus. We are beginning to make connections across space and time, even though the patterns are far from clear yet.

Two of the modal haplogroups in this paper are G2a1a-P18 (Iranic, 56-73%) and G2a3b1-P303 (NW Caucasians, 21-86%). Battaglia et al. (2008) also found a high frequency of G2a* in Georgians and Balkars (~30%, also modal in both populations). It appears that G2a is a mainly West (both NW and SW) Caucasian phenomenon within the context of this region.

Haplogroup J2a4b*-M67(xM92) comprised 51-79% of the Y chromosomes in the Ingush and three Chechen populations (North-East Caucasus, Nakh linguistic group), while, in the rest of the Caucasus, its frequency was not higher than 9% (average 3%).

To make things more interesting, the Nakh groups (Ingush and Chechens) have J2a4b*-M67(xM92) as their modal haplogroup. Nakh is also a Northeast Caucasian language subfamily, like Dagestani, and indeed NE Caucasian is also called Nakho-Daghestanian.

Haplogroup J1*-M267(xP58) comprised 44-99% of the Avar, Dargins, Kaitak, Kubachi, and Lezghins (South-East Caucasus, Dagestan linguistic group) but was less than 25% in Nakh populations and less than 5% in the rest of Caucasus.

Surpisingly, even in the Caucasus and in Anatolia, the region where this haplogroup is thought to have originated, there are wide discrepancies between regions. For example, the Kubachi and Dargins from Dagestan in the Northeast Caucasus have over 80% of J1 lineages, while in their Ingush neighbours, 200 km to the north, it barely reaches 3%. East Anatolia around Lake Van sees over 30% of J1, whereas south-west Anatolia has only 2%. Even within Kurdistan frequencies vary greatly. The small sample sizes for each region is surely to blame.

The prevalence of J1*-M267(xP58) in Dagestan is well known (or suspected) from previous studies. Notice that J-P58, if we use the genealogical rate has an age of ~5.4ky in Semitic groups, and this is in concordance with the 5,750 years ago origin of Semitic languages based on Bayesian phylogenetics. So, it is clear that part of haplogroup J1 was prevalent in ancient Semitic groups, another, disjoint part in ancient Dagestani groups.

It would be tempting to think that Proto-Nakho-Dagestanians were J1-dominated, as J1 exists in both Nakh (16-25%) and Dagestani (58-99%) groups, whereas J2a4b-M67 (the Nakh modal haplogroup) is nearly completely absent in Dagestanians.

Like haplogroup G, J1 might have been of the principal lineages to bring domesticated animals to Europe. Both G and J1 reach their maximal frequencies in the Caucasus, some ethnic groups being almost exclusively J1 (Kubachis, Kaitaks, Dargins, Avars), while others have extremely high levels of G (Shapsugs, North Ossetians). Most of the ethnic groups in the North Caucasus have between 20 and 40% of each haplogroup, which are by far their two dominant haplogroups.

Haplogroup J1 is a Middle Eastern haplogroup, which probably originated in eastern Anatolia, near Lake Van in central Kurdistan. Eastern Anatolia being the region where goats, sheep and cattle were first domesticated in the Middle East, haplogroup J1 is almost certainly linked to the expansion of pastoralist lifestyle throughout the Middle East and Europe.

The Haplogroup J1e found among Dagestanis in high Percentage is found in high Percentage among Semitic further south. This Haplogroup originated somewere in Mesopotamia, Zagros migrated North and South (Arabian Peninsula). In South it mutated to a own subclade what is distinct from Caucasian.

In Arabic countries, J1 climaxes among the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq (81%), the Sudanese Arabs (73%), the Yemeni (72%), the Bedouins (63%), the Qatari (58%), the Saudi (40%), the Omani (38%) and the Palestinian Arabs (38%). High percentages are also observed in the United Arab Emirates (35%), coastal Algeria (35%), Jordan (31%), Syria (30%), Tunisia (30%), Egypt (21%) and Lebanon (20%). Most of the Arabic J1 belongs to the J1c3 variety.

While Proto-Indo-European is dated to 6400 BC., in agreement with the work of Gray and Atkinson, Kitchen et al. (2009) estimate for Semitic languages somewhat less than 3,750 BC. All in all, it’s good to see different researchers using different techniques, but coming up with similar solutions.

It is increasingly clear that while the Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in the Neolithic Near East, the Proto-Semites followed them by about three thousand years. In the latter case there is also a Y-chromosome marker (J-P58) with an apparent age in impeccable agreement with the linguistic evidence, now that the genealogical-“evolutionary” mutation wars seem to have been won.

This also brings into focus the weakness of the argument that Anthony (2007) (p. 76) brings to the table by hypothesizing that the first farmers of northern Syria were Afro-Asiatic speakers like the Semites of the Near Eastern lowlands. Semites come into the picture 5,000 years after the onset of the Neolithic, and 3,000 years after the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Their relationship with Afroasiatic speakers of Africa make it quite likely that they lived in the south, probably in Arabia, and certainly not in eastern Anatolia or northern Syria.

Indeed, the recent discovery that haplogroup J1*(xP58) is associated with Northeast Caucasian languages, together with the absence or paucity of J1 in most African Afroasiatic speakers suggests to me that the J-P58 Proto-Semites may be the result of the transfer of an African language on a basically West Asian population. Such a scenario might also explain some of the -incorrectly quantified, but nonetheless existent- African genetic components in both Jews and Arabs, as well as the pastoralist/dry-climate J1 associations.

Frequencies og haplogroup J1 in Europe and West Asia tend to vary considerably from one regional community to the next. The highest local percentages in Europe are found in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and hardly ever exceed 5% of the population. However Italy, France and Spain also have areas where J1 appears completely absent. Even in northern Europe, where the nation-wide frequencies are below 0.5%, very localised pockets of J1 have been observed in Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Larger sample sizes are needed to get a clearer picture of the distribution of J1 in Europe.

In the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), haplogroup J2 comes into the admixture and is in fact slightly higher than either J1 or G. Most of the Caucasian J1 is at present J1*, meaning that at present no common SNP has been identified that could form a new subclade. Armenia stands out of the lot by having a substantial J1c3d minority (at least one third of all J1, i.e. roughly 4% of the population).

The Caucasus is most probably the source of Indo-Europeans which migrated Northward and created the Kurgan culture from there they migrated in all directions. The Urartain, Hurrians and Gutians, proberly early Tocharians, are somehow the missing link between Indo-Europeans and Caucasians. My opinion is that this three groups were the first one which separated from Northeast-caucasians (in Dagestan) and created the Proto Indo-Europeans.

I think Proto Indo-Europeans could have been just one of many language in some Caucasus valley that found its way onto the steppes. Goats, sheep & cows were domesticated somewhere in the Middle-East & it’s known that the Proto-Indo-Europeans made a living herding those animals. So maybe some Caucasians went to the Pontic-Caspian steppe to find grassland for their herds, much like the Turks came to eastern Europe for the same reason.

The Lezgians are an ethnic group living predominantly in southern Dagestan and northeastern Azerbaijan and who speak the Lezgian language, one of seven branches of the Northeast Caucasian language family. The Samur languages (also called Nuclear Lezgic) are the principal component of the Lezgic branch of the Northeast Caucasian languages.

The Lezgic languages are relevant to the glottalic theory of Indo-European, as several have undergone the voicing of ejectives that has been postulated but widely derided as improbable in that family. A similar change has taken place in non-initial position in the Nakh languages.

The Northeast Caucasian or Dagestanian (Daghestanian) languages constitute a language family spoken in the Russian republics of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, in northern Azerbaijan and northeastern Georgia, as well as in diaspora populations in Russia, Turkey, and the Middle East. They were formerly called Nakho-Dagestanian (Nakh-Dagestanian), and sometimes Caspian, the latter together with Pontic for the Northwest Caucasian languages.

The most common term, Northeast Caucasian, contrasts the three established families of the Caucasus language area: Northeast Caucasian, Northwest Caucasian, and South Caucasian (Kartvelian). This may be shortened to East Caucasian, especially by those linguists who accept the North Caucasian languages as a language family.

Some linguists such as Sergei Starosin think that the Northeast and Northwest Caucasian languages should be joined into a putative North Caucasian family, citing shared vocabulary and typological features as evidence. This proposed family does not usually include the neighboring Kartvelian languages. This hypothesis is not well demonstrated.

The older term Nakho-Dagestanian reflected an erstwhile primary division of the family into Nakh and Dagestanian branches, a view which is no longer widely accepted. The rare term Caspian (that is, bordering the Caspian Sea) is only used in opposition to Pontic (that is, bordering the Black Sea) for the Northwest Caucasian languages.

The Lezgic family, along with a couple of other families (Avar–Andic, Tsezic, Lak, Dargin, and Khinalug), forms the Daghestanian part of the Nakh–Daghestanian language family (the Nakh part is constituted by Chechen, Ingush and related small languages).

Some linguists – notably I. M. Diakonoff and S. Starostin – also see similarities between the Northeast Caucasian family and the extinct languages Hurrian and Urartian. Hurrian was spoken in various parts of the Fertile Crescent in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Urartian was the language of Urartu, a powerful state that existed between 1000 BC or earlier and 585 BC in the area centered on Lake Van in current Turkey.

The two extinct languages have been grouped into the Hurro-Urartian family. Diakonoff proposed the name Alarodian for the union of Hurro-Urartian and Northeast Caucasian. The Alarodian family was first proposed by Fritz Hommel (1854–1936). The term comes from the name that Herodotus used to refer to the kingdom of Urartu.

The connection between the Northeast and North-central families was based on claimed similarities in phonetics and grammar, such as sentence structure and an ergative case system. However, neither of these characteristics is limited to languages of this area, and neither constitutes the extensive evidence required to demonstrate a genetic relationship. The Hurro-Urartian languages were included on the basis of grammatical and lexical similarities. However the genetic relationships between these languages is not clear.

The Proto-Northeast Caucasian language had many terms for agriculture, and Johanna Nichols has suggested that its speakers may have been involved in the development of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent. They had words for concepts such as yoke, as well as fruit trees such as apple and pear that suggest agriculture was already well developed when the proto-language broke up.

”Yoke“, one of the most archaic and productive terms in Indo-European, present from prehistorical times in all the branches of the family, could be one of the keys for unlocking the enigma of the original cradle of the Indo-Europeans. ”Yoke“ appears to be one of the linguistic proofs that the ancestors of today‘s Europeans, Iranians and Indians spread out from a region in the vicinity of the Caucasus, and that the Proto-Indo-Europeans were in direct contact with both South Caucasians and North Caucasians.

The term is of vast antiquity and presents a remarkably regular form: Hittite iúkan, Vedic Sanskrit (yugá, meaning yoke, but also: pair; yoga comes from the same root), Ancient Greek ζυγόν (zugόn), Latin iugum, Gothic juk (German Joch), Old Church Slavonic igo, Lithuanian jungas, etc. So enduring was this root that it remains productive to our days in the sense of (re)uniting something, as under a “yoke”, into a “junc-tion”… that when the modern Lithuanian language had to invent the notion of a political “Union”, as in the European Union, it used the old jug-/jung- : Europos Są-junga…

Gamkrelidze and Ivanov, in their groundbreaking The Indo-European language and the Indo-Europeans (Индоевропейский язык и индоевропейцы, Tbilisi, 1984) have convincingly reorganised the traditionally accepted phonetic system of the Proto-Indo-European by giving the voiced consonants (b, g, d) the value of the Caucasian ejectives, which are unvoiced gutturals (p‘, t‘, q‘, this last sounding like the Semitic q). From this perspective, the famous law of the German ”Lautvershiebung“, whereby the Indo-European voiced sounds become un-voiced in German (cf. Latin iug-um – Gothic juk) loses its relevance: it is Germanic (and Armenian) which prove to be more archaic, closer to the pan-Caucasian sound system, while the other branches of the I-E family have innovated by voicing the q‘ into g. The root would thus be: *juq‘ -, and not *jug-, as accepted historically.

From Indo-European, the term has passed, in its voiced form, as an archaic loan into the South-Caucasian (Kartvelian) languages: Georgian uγel, Mingrelian uγu, Svan uγwa.

The Indo-european etymologies proposed traditionally are unconvincing and circular, like: ”from verb *yeug- (join, unite)“. It is here that a comparison, never effectuated, with the North-East Caucasian languages, totally unrelated to the South Caucasian Kartvelian languages, brings a possible solution.

Chechen, and all the languages from Daghestan, present a rare particularity: they are ”class languages“. All words are distributed between various nominal classes corresponding to our grammatical genders. Where Indo-European languages have historically three grammatical genders, Chechen has six. These are indicated by a set of four markers appended initially to words: v- indicates masculinity, like in: vasha = brother; y- indicates a female person, like in

yisha = sister, but it can also be the mark of some neuters, alternating with b- and d- to produce various notions. The set of v-, y-, b-, d- initial markers are also appended to verbs and adjectives, which change their beginning according to the gender of the ruling noun.

This creates a heavy but predictable grammatical machinery, and also an easily analysable lexical corpus. Thus, from the root -q‘-, ”to divide“ / ”to reunite”, Chechen possesses the set vuq‘, yuq‘, buq‘, duq‘ : thus, duq‘ and vuq‘ commonly indicate the yoke; yuq‘ is the ”middle“, or a ”pair“… buq‘ is the spine, the backbone, or a mountain ridge…

The Chechen series is extremely productive, yuq‘ being the most used, and, besides various verbs with meanings going from ”reunite“ to ”put together“ and ”put in the middle“ (cf. Latin derivatives, from jugum > con-jugare, sub-jugare, etc., or Sanskrit yoga, from the same root), yuq‘ can also take on temporal values: Chechen yuq‘-yuq‘a = from time to time, periodically (cf. Sanskrit yugá, ”period of time“, in parallel with ”yoke“); and, very important from a socio-cultural point of view, to get married, to ”go under the same yoke“: hence the Latin con-iux, spouse, (under the same con-jug-al yoke), the notion being borrowed as well into Old Georgian: me-uγle = spouse.

The morphological and semantical concordances between Chechen yuq‘ (and the other Daghestani languages) on the one hand, Indo-European *yuq‘ on the other are too systematical, coherent and symmetrical to be due to mere chance. The disturbing fact is that the root *yuq‘- is unexplained in Indo-European, while in Chechen-Daghestani it is native, part of the system of indicators of nominal classes y-, v-, b-, d-…

The word seems thus to have been borrowed by the Indo-Europeans from the North-Caucasians… together with the tool it designated : the ”yoke“ itself.

Quite consistent with the 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.

There seems to have been early contacts between Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and the languages of the Caucasus. Although we were not 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.

In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521/0 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

Aleppo has scarcely been touched by archaeologists, since the modern city occupies its ancient site. The site has been occupied from around 5000 BC, as excavations in Tallet Alsauda show.

Aleppo appears in historical records as an important city much earlier than Damascus.

The first record of Aleppo comes from the third millennium BC, when Aleppo was the capital of an independent kingdom closely related to Ebla, known as Armi to Ebla and Armani to the Akkadians. Giovanni Pettinato describes Armi as Ebla’s alter ego. Naram-Sin of Akkad destroyed both Ebla and Armani in the 23rd century BC. In the Old Babylonian period, Aleppo’s name appears as Ḥalab (Ḥalba) for the first time.

Scholars such as Carl Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi.

Chaldea or Chaldæa, from Greek Chaldaia; Akkadian: Ḫaldu; Hebrew: Kaśdim; Aramaic: Kaldo) was a marshy land located in south eastern Mesopotamia which came to rule Babylon briefly. Tribes of Semitic settlers who arrived in the region from the 10th century BC became known as the Chaldeans or the Chaldees. The Hebrew Bible uses the term Kaśdim and this is translated as Chaldaeans in the Septuagint.

The shared paternal lineages observed today between Armenians and Assyrians, such as R-M269 and J1*, converge, perhaps, 2000-4000 years ago. With the caveat, of course, that predictions based on STR markers may lack significant precision. If we exclude Y-DNA T, Assyrians and Caucasian populations, particularly those of Dagestan, may share a close relationship, as far as the Y chromosome is concerned. Assyrians also show Y chromosome affinities to minority populations of the Levant and Mesopotamia, such as the Syrian Alawites (R-M269), Druze (R-M269 and T), “Babylonian” Jews (T), and Marsh Arabs (J1*).

The ancestral element(s) captured by the Dodecad K12b “Caucasus” component may represent the principal element of the ancient Levantines and Mesopotamians. At least, in my opinion, as far back as the 1st millennium BCE. I believe this to be a possibility because even in the extreme SW Levant (not far from the Asian/African continental divide), the “Caucasus” component remains significant.

Assyria (Akkadian: Aššur), a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, existing from the late 25th or early–2400 until 605 BC., was centered on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia (present day Northern Iraq). The Assyrians came to rule powerful empires at several times. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Aššur (Akkadian: Aššūrāyu; Aramaic: Aṯur; Hebrew: Aššûr; Arabic: Ašūr).

As part of the greater Mesopotamian civilization, Assyria was, at its height, a highly advanced nation for its time in terms of architecture, engineering, agriculture, economics, civil service, mathematics, medicine, literature, military technology, law, astronomy and libraries/record keeping. A number of Assyrian kings showed an early interest in botany and zoology also.

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 centred. The modern Assyrian Christian minority in northern Iraq, north east Syria, south east Turkey and north west Iran are the descendants of the ancient Assyrians (see Assyrian continuity).

Assyria was 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 succeeding Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur, there were a number of other competing Amorite states, such as Isin and Larsa, but Mesopotamia eventually coalesced into two distinct nations: Assyria in the north, and Babylonia in the south.

In the Old Assyrian period of the Early Bronze Age, Assyria had been a kingdom of northern Mesopotamia, initially competing with their fellow Sumero-Akkadian states in southern Mesopotamia for dominance of the region, and also with the Hattians and Hurrians to the north in Asia Minor, the Gutians to the east in the Zagros Mountains and the Eblaites and later Amorites in the Levant to the west.

Chaldea as the name of a country is used in two different senses. In the early period it was the name of a small territory in southern Babylonia extending along the northern and probably also the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is called in Assyrian mat Kaldi “land of Chaldea”. The expression mat Bit Yakin is also used, apparently synonymously. Bit Yakin was likely the chief or capital city of the land. The king of Chaldea is also called the king of Bit Yakin, just as the kings of Babylonia are regularly styled simply king of Babylon, the capital city. In the same way, the Persian Gulf was sometimes called “the Sea of Bit Yakin, instead of “the Sea of the Land of Chaldea.”

Though conquerors, the Chaldeans were rapidly and completely assimilated into the dominant Semitic Akkadian Babylonian culture, as the Amorites before them had been, and after the fall of Babylon in 539 BC the term “Chaldean” was no longer used to describe a specific ethnicity, but rather a socio-economic class.

The homeland of the Semitic Chaldean people was in the far south east of Mesopotamia. It is not certain when they migrated at an unknown period into the country of the Mesopotamian sea-lands about the head of the Persian Gulf. They seem to have appeared there at about the same time that other new Semitic peoples, the Arameans and the Sutu appeared in Babylonia, c. 1000 BC. This was a period of weakness in Babylonia, and its ineffectual kings were unable to prevent new waves of peoples invading and settling in the land.

Though belonging to the same Semitic ethnic group, they are to be differentiated from the Aramean stock; and the Assyrian king Sennacherib, for example, is careful in his inscriptions to distinguish them. When they came to possess the whole of southern Mesopotamia, the name “Chaldean” became synonymous with “Babylonian”, particularly to the Greeks and Jews. In the Hebrew Bible, the prophet Abraham is stated to have originally been from “Ur of the Chaldees” (Ur Kasdim); if this city is to be identified with the Sumerian Ur, it would be within the original Chaldean homeland south of the Euphrates, although Chaldeans were not extant in Mesopotamia at the time of Abraham. On the other hand, the traditional identification with a site in Assyria would then imply the later sense of “Babylonia”, and a few interpreters have additionally tried to identify Abraham’s birthplace with Chaldia, a distinct region in Asia Minor on the Black Sea. According to the Book of Jubilees, Ur Kasdim (and Chaldea) took their name from Ura and Kesed, descendants of Arpachshad.

The language used by the Chaldeans was the Babylonian dialect of Akkadian, the same Semitic language, save for slight peculiarities in sound and in characters, as Assyrian Akkadian. In late periods both the Babylonian and Assyrian dialects of Akkadian ceased to be spoken, and Aramaic took its place across Mesopotamia, and remains the mother tongue of the Assyrian (also known as Chaldo-Assyrian) Christians of Iraq and its surrounds to this day. One form of this widespread language is used in Daniel and Ezra, but the use of the name “Chaldee” to describe it, first introduced by Jerome, is incorrect and a misnomer.

Sumer (from Akkadian Šumeru; Sumerian ki-en-ĝir, approximately “land of the civilized kings” or “native land”) was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. Although the earliest historical records in the region do not go back much further than ca. 2900 BC, modern historians have asserted that Sumer was first permanently settled between ca. 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people who may or may not have spoken the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc. as evidence). These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called “proto-Euphrateans” or “Ubaidians”, and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria).

The Ubaid period is marked by a distinctive style of fine quality painted pottery which spread throughout Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf. During this time, the first settlement in southern Mesopotamia was established at Eridu (Cuneiform: NUN.KI), ca. 5300 BC, by farmers who brought with them the Hadji Muhammed culture, which first pioneered irrigation agriculture.

It appears this culture was derived from the Samarran culture from northern Mesopotamia. It is not known whether or not these were the actual Sumerians who are identified with the later Uruk culture. Eridu remained an important religious center when it was gradually surpassed in size by the nearby city of Uruk. The story of the passing of the me (gifts of civilisation) to Inanna, goddess of Uruk and of love and war, by Enki, god of wisdom and chief god of Eridu, may reflect this shift in hegemony.

Inanna (Cuneiform: MUŠ; Sumerian: Inanna; Akkadian: Ištar) is the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare. Inanna can be considered the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia. As early as the Uruk period (ca. 4000–3100 BC), Inanna was associated with the city of Uruk. The famous Uruk Vase (found in a deposit of cult objects of the Uruk III period) depicts a row of naked men carrying various objects, bowls, vessels, and baskets of farm produce, and bringing sheep and goats, to a female figure facing the ruler. This figure was ornately dressed for a divine marriage, and attended by a servant. The female figure holds the symbol of the two twisted reeds of the doorpost, signifying Inanna behind her, while the male figure holds a box and stack of bowls, the later cuneiform sign signifying En, or high priest of the temple. Especially in the Uruk period, the symbol of a ring-headed doorpost is associated with Inanna.

Seal impressions from the Jemdet Nasr period (ca. 3100–2900 BC) show a fixed sequence of city symbols including those of Ur, Larsa, Zabalam, Urum, Arina, and probably Kesh. It is likely that this list reflects the report of contributions to Inanna at Uruk from cities supporting her cult. A large number of similar sealings were found from the slightly later Early Dynastic I phase at Ur, in a slightly different order, combined with the rosette symbol of Inanna, that were definitely used for this purpose. They had been used to lock storerooms to preserve materials set aside for her cult. Inanna’s primary temple of worship was the Eanna, located in Uruk (c.f. Worship).

Inanna’s name derives from Queen of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-anna). The cuneiform sign of Inanna however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin; Cuneiform: SAL.TUG) and sky (Sumerian: an; Cuneiform: AN). These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities. The view that there was a Proto-Euphratean substrate language in Southern Iraq before Sumerian is not widely accepted by modern Assyriologists.

It appears that this early culture was an amalgam of three distinct cultural influences: peasant farmers, living in wattle and daub or clay brick houses and practicing irrigation agriculture; hunter-fishermen living in woven reed houses and living on floating islands in the marshes (Proto-Sumerians); and Proto-Akkadian nomadic pastoralists, living in black tents.

The Ubaidians were the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery.

However, some scholars such as Piotr Michalowski and Gerd Steiner, contest the idea of a Proto-Euphratean language or one substrate language. It has been suggested by them and others, that the Sumerian language was originally that of the hunter and fisher peoples, who lived in the marshland and the east Arabian littoral region, and were part of the Arabian bifacial culture.

Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer asserts “No people has contributed more to the culture of mankind than the Sumerians” and yet it is only comparatively recently that we have built up a knowledge of the existence of this ancient culture.

During the 3rd millennium BC, a close cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians (who spoke a Language Isolate) and the Semitic Akkadian speakers, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian 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. Sumer was conquered by the Semitic-speaking kings of the Akkadian Empire around 2270 BC (short chronology), but Sumerian continued as a sacred language.

Subarian is the term used by certain scholars (such as I. J. Gelb & E. A. Speiser) to describe the aboriginal language and inhabitants of Subar-Tu an ancient kingdom in Ararat mentioned in Sumerian records.

The theory is that even the Sumerians originally came down from this area or if not then at least the exonym originated there. Arno Poebel & S.N. Kramer pushed this hypothesis even further to suggest that the original tribe carrying the Sumer/Subar ethnonym was actually the original Shem tribe whose memory is recorded in the Bible (sumerian final -r being an amissable consonant in words with a Semitic form).

Tribes called Subarians were living in an area extending to Zagros Mountains in the north Mesopotamia and to Habur and Balih in the west.The Khabur River (Arabic‎ al-khābūr, Kurdish: Xabûr, Syriac ḥābur/khābur, Turkish: Habur) is the largest perennial tributary to the Euphrates in Syrian territory.

Subarians were known as preliminary Asurians by historians and their country was called Subarto. The Assyrians, also known as Syriacs, Chaldeans, and Aramaeans (see names of Syriac Christians), are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia. They are Semitic people, who speak and write distinct dialects of Eastern Aramaic exclusive to Mesopotamia and its immediate surroundings.

Assyrians trace their ancestry back to the Sumero-Akkadian civilisation that emerged in Mesopotamia circa 4000–3500 BC, and in particular to the northern region of the Akkadian lands, which would become known as Assyria by the 24th century BC. The Assyrian nation existed as an independent state, and often a powerful empire, from the 24th century BC until the end of the 7th century BC.

Subarians are known to have established the first country in the history by making Tel Halief city (Tell Half), which was in the south of Ceylanpınar and Rasulayn (Ra’s al-‘Ayn) 40 km.

Important sites that have been excavated include Tell Halaf, Tell Brak, Tell Leilan, Tell Mashnaqa, Tell Mozan and Tell Barri. The region has given its name to a distinctive painted ware found in northern Mesopotamia and Syria in the early 2nd millennium BCE, called Khabur ware. The region of the Khabur River is also associated with the rise of the kingdom of the Mitanni that flourished c.1500-1300 BC.

The Halaf culture, is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 and 5500 BCE. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in south-eastern Turkey, Syria, and northern Iraq, although Halaf-influenced material is found throughout Greater Mesopotamia.

While the period is named after the site of Tell Halaf in north Syria, excavated by Max von Oppenheim between 1911 and 1927, the earliest Halaf period material was excavated by John Garstang in 1908 at the site of Sakce Gözü, then in Syria but now part of Turkey. Small amounts of Halaf material was also excavated in 1913 by Leonard Woolley at Carchemish, on the Turkish/Syrian border. However, the most important site for the Halaf tradition was the site of Tell Arpachiyah, now located in the suburbs of Mosul, Iraq.

Although no Halaf settlement has been extensively excavated some buildings have been excavated: the tholoi of Tell Arpachiyah, circular domed structures approached through long rectangular anterooms. Only a few of these structures were ever excavated. They were constructed of mud-brick sometimes on stone foundations and may have been for ritual use (one contained a large number of female figurines). Other circular buildings were probably just houses.

The Halaf period was succeeded by the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (~5500 – 5200 cal. BCE) and then by the Ubaid period (~5200 – 4000 cal. BCE).

Although the Khabur originates in Turkey, the karstic springs around Ra’s al-‘Ayn are the river’s main source of water. Several important wadis join the Khabur north of Al-Hasakah, together creating what is known as the Khabur Triangle, or Upper Khabur area. From north to south, annual rainfall in the Khabur basin decreases from over 400 mm to less than 200 mm, making the river a vital water source for agriculture throughout history. The Khabur joins the Euphrates near the town of Busayrah.

Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands. The culture is dated to mid-6th or early-5th millennia BC and is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures. The Shulaveri-Shomu culture begins after the 8.2 kiloyear event which was a sudden decrease in global temperatures starting ca. 6200 BC and which lasted for about two to four centuries.

Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture and surrounding areas, which is assigned to the period of ca. 4000 – 2200 BC, and had close relation with the middle Bronze Age culture called Trialeti culture (ca. 3000 – 1500 BC). Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.

In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes. Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).

The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC. The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain.

Hurrian and Urartian elements are quite probable, as are Northeast Caucasian ones. Some authors subsume Hurrians and Urartians under Northeast Caucasian as well as part of the Alarodian theory.

The presence of Kartvelian languages was also highly probable. Influences of Semitic languages and Indo-European languages are also highly possible, though the presence of the languages on the lands of the Kura–Araxes culture is more controversial.

In the Armenian hypothesis of Indo-European origins, this culture (and perhaps that of the Maykop culture) is identified with the speakers of the Anatolian languages.

Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Hurrian-speaking kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. The capital was called Ubbumu. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.

Weidner interpreted textual evidence to indicate that after the Hurrian king Shattuara of Mitanni was defeated by Adad-nirari I of Assyria in the early 13th century BC, he then became ruler of a reduced vassal state known as Shubria or Subartu. The name Subartu (Sumerian: Shubur) for the region is attested much earlier, from the time of the earliest Mesopotamian records (mid 3rd millennium BC).

Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians.

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.

Three of the 14th century BC Amarna letters, Akkadian cuneiform correspondence found in Egypt, mention Subari as a toponym. All are addressed to Akenaten; in two (EA 108 and 109), Rib-Hadda, king of Byblos, complains that Abdi-Ashirta, ruler of Amurru, had sold captives to Subari, while another (EA 100), from the city of Irqata, also alludes to having transferred captured goods to Subari.

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, Nebuchadrezzar II and Nabonidus), Subartu was used as a generic term for Assyria. The term was still current under Cambyses II, who mentions Subarian captives.

Subartu may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians. There are various alternate theories associating the ancient Subartu with one or more modern cultures found in the region, including Armenian or Kurdish tribes. Some scholars, such as Harvard Professor Mehrdad Izady, claim to have identified Subartu with the current Kurdish tribe of Zibaris inhabiting the northern ring around Mosul up to Hakkari in Turkey.

Hurrian names occur sporadically in northwestern Mesopotamia and the area of Kirkuk in modern Iraq by the Middle Bronze Age. Their presence was attested at Nuzi, Urkesh and other sites. They eventually infiltrated and occupied a broad arc of fertile farmland stretching from the Khabur River valley in the west to the foothills of the Zagros Mountains in the east. I. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser believed Semitic Subarians had been the linguistic and ethnic substratum of northern Mesopotamia since earliest times, while Hurrians were merely late arrivals.

According to the historian Henry Hoyle Howorth (1901), Assyriologist Theophilus Pinches (1908), renowned archaeologist Leonard Woolley (1929) and Assyriologist Ignace Gelb (1944) the Gutians were pale skinned and blonde haired. This identification of the Gutians as fair haired first came to light when Julius Oppert (1877) published a set of tablets he had discovered which described Gutian (and Subarian) slaves as namrum or namrûtum, meaning “light colored” or “fair-skinned”. This racial character of the Gutians as blondes or being light skinned was also taken up by Georges Vacher de Lapouge in 1899 and later by historian Sidney Smith in his Early history of Assyria (1928). Ephraim Avigdor Speiser however criticised the translation of “namrum” as “light colored”.

An article was published by Speiser in the Journal of the American Oriental Society attacking Gelb’s translation. Gelb in response accused Speiser of circular reasoning. In response Speiser claimed the scholarship regarding the translation of “namrum” or “namrûtum” is unresolved.

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 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 older Armenian vocabulary.

W. M. Austin (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. However, unlike shared innovations (or synapomorphies), the common retention of archaisms (or symplesiomorphy) is not necessarily considered evidence of a period of common isolated development.

Soviet linguist Igor Diakonov (1985) noted 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 b.c., Diakonov identifies in Armenian a Hurro-Urartian substratum of social, cultural, and animal and plant terms such as ałaxin “slave girl” (< Hurr. al(l)a(e)ḫḫenne), cov “sea” (< Urart. ṣûǝ “(inland) sea”), ułt “camel” (< Hurr. uḷtu), and xnjor “apple(tree)” (< Hurr. ḫinzuri). Some of the terms he gives admittedly have an Akkadian or Sumerian provenance, but he suggests they were borrowed through Hurrian or Urartian. 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.

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”).

Another interesting discovery of this study is the lack of European influence in the populations of the North Caucasus. It seems that both R1a1a-M198 and I2a-P37 have a major barrier eastward in the Don river. The former is not strictly a European haplogroup, but it nonetheless experiences a massive drop in frequency, and is negligible everywhere except in Abkhaz-Circassians (NW Caucasus; 10.3-19.7%), with an outlier in Dargins (22%).

This seems to put a limit on the origin of any hypothetical movements across the Eurasian steppe east of the Don river, as haplogroup I2a-P37 is largely absent in Central Asia, and occurs 3 times in 1,525 individuals in this sample. So, while there have been proposals of a Central European origin of some steppe pastoralist groups, these are hard to reconcile with this picture.

As a result of a glotto-chronological approach to the North Caucasian languages, which provides a unique opportunity to make direct comparisons of linguistic and genetic data from the same populations, and lexico-statistical methods to a number of language families using a Bayesian approach to increase the statistical robustness of language classification, to the problem of language time depth.

I have recently speculated about a possible link between the Caucasus region and India based on the appearance of a “Dagestan” component in India, the clear West Asian origin of Ancestral North Indians, as well as a possible linguistic link between Northeast Caucasian, Hurrian, and Indo-European.

A problem with that theory is that the high J1*(xP58) frequency in Dagestan has no counterpart in South Asia. The current study, however, adds data on the Nakh part of the Nakho-Dagestanian (Northeast Caucasian) family, showing this to be J2a4b-M67 dominated. So, while I think that J1*(xP58) may have been present among Proto-Northeast Caucasians, these must have interacted with J2a folk.

J-M67 is clearly intrusive into the Central Caucasus, from the South where a much greater variety of J2a-related lineages is observed among Armenians, North Iranians, and Anatolian Turks.

We now have good coverage of J2a in the entirety of the West Asian region, with the exception of Azerbaijan, and a few patterns are beginning to emerge: The center of the J2a world is somewhere between eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Syria. The Caucasus is a northern extension of this world, just as Greece and Italy are its main western extensions, with a strong extension into Central Asia as far as Xinjiang, and well into South Asia all the way to upper caste South Indian Hindus. In the Caucasus itself J-M67 is dominating Nakh speakers, but with little other J2a related variation. In comparison to Nakhs, J2a seems more varied in Georgians, among Ossetes, and among NW Caucasian speakers.

It is hard to make any pronouncements on how J2a spread northwards from its Transcaucasian cradle, but I would think that the Kura-Araxes and Maikop cultures are fairly good candidates for that spread, with the former being J2a dominated, and the latter being more G2a dominated. I would not, however, dismiss a more recent spread of J2a into the region.

The “Dagestan” genetic component is to be found in South Asia and Europe. This component is modal in populations of Dagestan: Dargins from Urkarah, Lezgins, and Kumyks from Stalskoe.

Dargins and Lezgins are Northeast Caucasian speakers, and while Kumyks are Turkic, this is probably due to a small East Eurasian component in their ancestry, and it’s a fair guess that they too are natives to the region who underwent language shift.

Surprisingly, this component occurs at a high frequency in some South Asian populations, including Telugu and Tamil Brahmins from South India. These are believed to be descended from Indo-Aryan speakers from North India and to have maintained a genetic distinctiveness vis a vis the native inhabitants of South India.

There are two reasons why I think I am picking a really meaningful signal: Differentiation between Tamil and Andhra Pradesh Brahmins and non-Brahmin populations from the same states. The levels of the component in India are as high as any other Eurasian populations save for the Dagestanis immediate neighbors in the Caucasus.

Indeed, if you inspect the project members’ results on this component, you will see that the “Dagestan” component is found at many South Asians who belong to other populations than those available in the public references. Without giving anything away, it’s clear that the “Dagestan” component is found frequently in many parts of India.

The question of the origin of the Indo-Aryans is obviously very difficult, and attempts at tracing their origin use either a type of “geolinguistic trigonometry” to make them fit in the broader context of Indo-European dispersals, or rely on archaeological interpretation of the material culture of sites such as Arkaim or the BMAC.


I’ll leave these speculations to those competent to make them, and I will turn to the concrete: the Mitanni of Syro-Anatolia. Here we have what seems to be Indo-Aryan personal/deity names, as well as numerals in what appears to have been a largerly Hurrian-speaking population.

The Kingdom of the Mitanni flourished in the 2nd millennium BC, a time also generally considered to be that of the earliest Indo-Aryan linguistic monument, the Rigveda.

What is most interesting, however, is that Hurrian, like Urartian are part of the Hurro-Urartian language family, which has been linked by some linguists to Northeast Caucasian.

I won’t comment on whether such a link exists, but a relationship between Hurro-Urartian and Northeast Caucasian coupled with the known proximity of Indo-Aryans with Hurrians would immediately supply an explanation for the “Dagestan” component: it might be the legacy of an absorption of Hurrian elements by the ancestors of the Indo-Aryans while the latter were still in the Near East.

By the 2nd millennium BC, the Indo-Aryan element seems to have been well on its way to disappearance in the region, and we find no trace of it after the demise of the Mitanni. A millennium later came the disappearance of Urartian, replaced by various types of Indo-European (such as Armenian and Iranian), and Semitic. We are fortunate that the Indo-Aryans of Syro-Anatolia left traces of their existence before their demise.

The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex was excavated by Viktor Sarianidi (here is a trailer for a documentary about it, and a Discover magazine article). According to Sarianidi, it is at least Indo-Iranian (if not specifically Indo-Aryan) and can be traced to the Syro-Anatolian region. The formation of the BMAC begins in the 3rd millennium BC, and it ends its existence in the 2nd, at around the time when Indo-Aryans are said to have made their appearance in the subcontinent. The geographical region of the BMAC (aka Oxus River civilization) is pictured on the left.

Whether we trace it to Anatolia, or, more modestly, to Iran, the likely western origin of the BMAC would almost certainly mean that it could have served as a conduit for the dispersal of the mystery “Dagestan” component to India.

The scenario I have outlined above derives the Indo-Aryans from the Transcaucasus where they pick up the “Dagestan” component, south of the Caspian, to the Oxus River civilization (BMAC) of Turkmenistan, to Afghanistan, and then via the Khyber Pass to Pakistan. The Mitanni are seen as Indo-Aryans who “stayed behind” and became thoroughly Hurrianized in the 2nd millennium BC.

We have one piece of evidence of the association of this component with Indo-Aryans: its presence in Brahmins and absence from low caste and tribal groups.

But, there is a different source of evidence that can potentially complete the argument: the non-Indo-European speakers of Pakistan: the Dravidian Brahui and the Burushaski speakers.

My theory predicts that they should have less of this component than Indo-Aryan and Iranian speakers from Pakistan such as Pathans, Sindhi, and Balochi. To test this, I repeated my South Asian experiment, but this time I added these two populations as well.

The East Asian and Southeast Asian components have “folded back” into one, and the Burusho isolate has formed its own cluster. The component is minimized in tribals, low castes, and non-Indo-European groups of Pakistan (Burusho and Brahui).

I am not going to bet that all the details presented in this scenario are correct. But, this theory seems to make sense of many different pieces of evidence (such as the presence of Indo-Aryans in the Near East) and to harmonize with the genetic evidence. The presence of component #1 in Uygurs and in Pathans may mean that it may have been carried by Indo-Iranians rather than specifically Indo-Aryans.

Posted in Haplogroups, Indo-Europeans, Semitic People, The Fertile Crescent | Leave a Comment »

Indo-European and Semitic Languages

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 19, 2013

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.

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.

The present day distribution of Y chromosomes bearing the haplogroup J1 M267*G variant has been associated with different episodes of human demographic history, the main one being the diffusion of Islam since the Early Middle Ages.

Phylogenetic analyses depicted a new genetic background consistent with climate-driven demographic dynamics occurring during two key phases of human pre-history: (1) the spatial expansion of hunter gatherers in response to the end of the late Pleistocene cooling phases and (2) the displacement of groups of foragers/herders following the mid-Holocene rainfall retreats across the Sahara and Arabia.

Genetic structuring of Western Balkan populations has been analyzed in a global context. Comparison of the variation within autosomal and haploid data sets of studied Western Balkan populations revealed their genetic closeness regardless of a genetic system inspected, in particular among the Slavic speakers.

Hence, culturally diverse Western Balkan populations are genetically very similar to each other. Only the Kosovars show slight differences both in the variance of autosomal and uniparentally inherited markers from the other populations of the region, possibly also due to their historically strict patrilineality.

In a more general perspective, our results reveal clear genetic continuity between the Near Eastern and European populations, lending further credence to extensive, likely multiple and possibly bidirectional ancient gene flows between the Near East and Europe, cutting through the Balkans.

The Armenians are responsible for the spread of Haplogroup J, which trace post glacial period expansion from the Armenian Highland into the Middle East and other places. The chronology presented probably assumes the evolutionary mutation rate; also, the lack of haplogroup J in Europe pre-5000 BC. argues for a late expansion.

Out of this 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 Afro-Asiatic T- or E-bearing population of the southern Levant, as these two haplogroups might link the Proto-Semites with their African Afroasiatic brethren.

J carriers can still be Semites though. In the biblical interpretation Ham’s son Canaan is the one who settled the Levant. Ham and his sons represent Africans. The African lineage that has early presence in the Levant is E-M123. The correlation between one of J1’s specific subclades (namely, P58) and the formation and subsequent expansion of Semitic has been extensively reviewed by geneticists.

Haplogroup J1 is a prevalent Y-chromosome lineage within the Near East. We report the frequency and YSTR diversity data for its major sub-clade (J1e). The overall expansion time estimated from 453 chromosomes is 10 000 years. Moreover, the previously described J1 (DYS388¼13) chromosomes, frequently found in the Caucasus and eastern Anatolian populations, were ancestral to J1e and displayed an expansion time of 9000 years.

For J1e, the Zagros/Taurus mountain region displays the highest haplotype diversity, although the J1e frequency increases toward the peripheral Arabian Peninsula. The southerly pattern of decreasing expansion time estimates is consistent with the serial drift and founder effect processes.

The first such migration is predicted to have occurred at the onset of the Neolithic, and accordingly J1e parallels the establishment of rain-fed agriculture and semi-nomadic herders throughout the Fertile Crescent. Subsequently, J1e lineages might have been involved in episodes of the expansion of pastoralists into arid habitats coinciding with the spread of Arabic and other Semitic-speaking populations.

This fits well with Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures (ca 8,500 to 7,500 BC.), as with the sites of Jericho, Netiv Hagdud, Nahul Oren, Gesher, Dhar’, Jerf al Ahmar, Abu Hureyra, Göbekli Tepe and Chogha Golan, and with Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) cultures (7,500 to 6200 BC.), as with the sites of Abu Hureyra, Ain Ghazal, Çatalhöyük, Cayönü Tepesi, Jericho, Shillourokambos and Chogha Golan.

Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Earlier Natufian but shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia. Cultural tendencies of this period differ from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet. In addition the flint tool kit of the period is new and quite disparate from that of the earlier period.

This is the first period in which architectural styles of the southern Levant became primarily rectilinear; earlier typical dwellings were circular, elliptical and occasionally even octagonal. Pyrotechnology was highly developed in this period. During this period, one of the main features of houses is evidenced by a thick layer of white clay plaster floors highly polished and made of lime produced from limestone.

It is believed that the use of clay plaster for floor and wall coverings during PPNB led to the discovery of pottery. The earliest proto-pottery was White Ware vessels, made from lime and gray ash, built up around baskets before firing, for several centuries around 7000 BC at sites such as Tell Neba’a Faour (Beqaa Valley).

Sites from this period found in the Levant utilizing rectangular floor plans and plastered floor techniques were found at Ain Ghazal, Yiftahel (western Galilee), and Abu Hureyra (Upper Euphrates).

The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BC., and which lasted for the next two to four centuries. In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture.

The 8.2 kiloyear event is the term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6,200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries. Milder than the Younger Dryas cold spell that preceded it, but more severe than the Little Ice Age that would follow, the 8.2 kiloyear cooling was a significant exception to general trends of the Holocene climatic optimum. During the event, atmospheric methane concentration decreased by 80 ppb or 15% emission reduction by cooling and drying at a hemispheric scale.

A rapid cooling around 6200 BCE was first identified by Swiss botanist Heinrich Zoller in 1960, who named the event Misox oscillation (for the Val Mesolcina). It is also known as Finse event in Norway. Bond et al. argued that the origin of the 8.2 kiloyear event is linked to a 1,500-year climate cycle; it correlates with Bond event 5.

The strongest evidence for the event comes from the North Atlantic region; the disruption in climate shows clearly in Greenland ice cores and in sedimentary and other records of the temporal and tropical North Atlantic. It is less evident in ice cores from Antarctica and in South American indices. The effects of the cold snap were global, however, most notably in changes in sea level during the relevant era.

The 8.2 Ka cooling event may have been caused by a large meltwater pulse from the final collapse of the Laurentide ice sheet of northeastern North America—most likely when the glacial lakes Ojibway and Agassiz suddenly drained into the North Atlantic Ocean. The same type of action produced the Missoula floods that created the Channeled scablands of the Columbia River basin.

The meltwater pulse may have affected the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation, reducing northward heat transport in the Atlantic and causing significant circum-North Atlantic cooling.

Estimates of the cooling vary and depend somewhat on the interpretation of the proxy data, but drops of around 1 to 5 °C (1 to 11 °F) have been reported. In Greenland, the event started at 8175 Before Present, and the cooling was 3.3 °C (decadal average) in less than ~20 years, and the coldest period lasted for about 60 years, and the total duration was about 150 years. Further afield, some tropical records report a 3 °C (5 °F) cooling from cores drilled into an ancient coral reef in Indonesia.

The event also caused a global CO2 decline of ~ 25 ppm over ~ 300 years. However, the dating and interpretation of this and other tropical sites are more ambiguous than the North Atlantic sites.

Drier conditions were notable in North Africa, while East Africa suffered five centuries of general drought. In West Asia and especially Mesopotamia, the 8.2ky event was a three-hundred year aridification and cooling episode, which may have provided the natural force for Mesopotamian irrigation agriculture and surplus production that were essential for the earliest class-formation and urban life. However multi-centennial changes around the same period are difficult to link specifically to the approximately 100-year abrupt event as recorded most clearly in the Greenland ice cores.

The initial meltwater pulse has caused between 0.5 and 4 m (1 ft 8 in and 13 ft 1 in) of sea-level rise. Based on estimates of lake volume and decaying ice cap size, values of 0.4–1.2 m (1 ft 4 in–3 ft 10 in) circulate. Based on sea-level data from below modern deltas 2–4 m (6 ft 7 in–13 ft 1 in) of near-instantaneous rise is estimated, recorded superimposed on background ‘normal’ post-glacial sea-level rise.

Meltwater pulse sea level rise was experienced fully at great distance from the release area. Gravity and rebound effects associated to the shifting of watermasses mean that the sea-level fingerprint is smaller in areas closer to the Hudson Bay. The Mississippi delta records ~20%, NW Europe records ~70% and Asia records ~105% of the global averaged amount. The cooling of the 8,200 event was a temporary feature; the sea-level rise of the meltwater pulse was permanent.

In 2003, the Office of Net Assessment at the United States Department of Defense was commissioned to produce a study on the likely and potential effects of a modern climate change. The study, conducted under ONA head Andrew Marshall, modelled its prospective climate change on the 8.2 kiloyear event, precisely because it was the middle alternative between the Younger Dryas and the Little Ice Age.

Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C (PPNC) period (ca 6200 to 5500 BC.), referring to the terminal Early Neolithic, as with the sites of Hagoshrim and Ain Ghazal.

The 5.9 kiloyear event was one of the most intense aridification events during the Holocene Epoch. It occurred around 3900 BC (5,900 years BP), ending the Neolithic Subpluvial and probably initiated the most recent desiccation of the Sahara desert. Thus, it also triggered worldwide migration to river valleys, such as from central North Africa to the Nile valley, which eventually led to the emergence of the first complex, highly organised, state-level societies in the 4th millennium BC. It is associated with the last round of the Sahara pump theory.

A model by Claussen et al. (1999) suggested rapid desertification associated with vegetation-atmosphere interactions following a cooling event, Bond event 4. Bond et al. (1997) identified a North Atlantic cooling episode 5,900 years ago from ice-rafted debris, as well as other such now called Bond events that indicate the existence of a quasiperiodic cycle of Atlantic cooling events, which occur approximately every 1,470 years ± 500 years.

For some reason, all of the earlier of these arid events (including the 8.2 kiloyear event) were followed by recovery, as attested by the wealth of evidence of humid conditions in the Sahara between 10,000 and 6,000 BP. However, it appears that the 5.9 kiloyear event was followed by a partial recovery at best, with accelerated desiccation in the millennium that followed. For example, Cremaschi (1998) describes evidence of rapid aridification in Tadrart Acacus of southwestern Libya, in the form of increased aeolian erosion, sand incursions and the collapse of the roofs of rock shelters. The 5.9 kiloyear event was also recorded as a cold event in the Erhai Lake (China) sediments.

Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BC., partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon domesticated animals, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in the Southern Levant, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into southern Iraq.

Also another issue with Arabian pastoralist migration being responsible for J in Africa is that – In Africa where such pastoral settlements are found, the remains are represented by “Negroid” type Africans noted to be the Ancestors of modern Nilo-Saharan and Nilotic types. Neolithic migrations does seem like a better alternative in some parts of Africa.

According to Ryder and Nicholls a unimodal posterior distribution for the age of Proto-Indo-European centred at 6400 BC. with 95% highest posterior density interval equal to 5100–7800 BC. All results agree with the Anatolian hypothesis that the spread of the Indo-European family started around 6000 BC., while none of the analyses agree with the Kurgan theory that the spread started between 4000 and 4500 BC. This in agreement with the work of Gray and Atkinson.

The same authors estimate Semitic languages to be somewhat younger than 3,750 BC. All in all, it’s good to see different researchers using different techniques but coming up with similar solutions. The root of the Semitic tree (the branching of Akkadian) is 2400-3100 BC.

It is increasingly clear that while the Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in the Neolithic Near East, the Proto-Semites followed them by about three thousand years. In the latter case there is also a Y-chromosome marker (J-58) with an apparent age in impeccable agreement with the linguistic evidence, now that the genealogical-“evolutionary” mutation wars seem to have been won.

This also brings into focus the weakness of the argument hypothesizing that the first farmers of northern Syria were Afro-Asiatic speakers like the Semites of the Near Eastern lowlands. Semites come into the picture 5000 years after the onset of the Neolithic, and 3000 years after the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Their relationship with Afroasiatic speakers of Africa make it quite likely that they lived in the south, probably in Arabia, and certainly not in eastern Anatolia or northern Syria.

Indeed, the recent discovery that haplogroup J1*(xP58) is associated with Northeast Caucasian languages, together with the absence or paucity of J1 in most African Afroasiatic speakers suggests that the J-P58 Proto-Semites may be the result of the transfer of an African language on a basically West Asian population. Such a scenario might also explain some of the incorrectly quantified, but nonetheless existent, African genetic components in both Jews and Arabs, as well as the pastoralist/dry-climate J1 associations.

The well-established and prominent theory that PIE Urheimat is in Eastern Anatolia and Armenian Highland is supported by countless scholars from wide disciplines including archaeology, genetics, ethnology, molecular biology, comparative linguistics only to name but a few.

Finds have been conducted by world renowned scholars like Colin Renfrew (pioneered radio carbon dating and the discipline of archaeogenetics), Quentin Atkinson (Oxford University), Russell Gray (Auckland University), Vyacheslav Ivanov (UCLA, honorary member of many academies including the Royal British and Russian Academy of Sciences), Tamaz Gamkrelidze (President of the Georgian Academy of Sciences), Robert Drews (Vanderbilt University), Luigi Lucca Cavalli-Sforza (Stanford University) and many many others.

In fact, the above scholars have pointed out that various disciplines show the strongest evidence in favor of Eastern Anatolia and Armenian Highland as the PIE urheimat, the competing theories such as the “Kurgan theory” and others have significant flaws in terms of multi-disciplinary evidence when it comes to archaeology, genetics or comparative linguistics.

The ancestral element(s) captured by the Dodecad K12b “Caucasus” component may represent the principal element of the ancient Levantines and Mesopotamians. At least, in my opinion, as far back as the 1st millennium BCE. I believe this to be a possibility because even in the extreme SW Levant (not far from the Asian/African continental divide), the “Caucasus” component remains significant.

The shared paternal lineages observed today between Armenians and Assyrians, such as R-M269 and J1*, converge, perhaps, 2000-4000 years ago. With the caveat, of course, that predictions based on STR markers may lack significant precision.

If we exclude Y-DNA T, Assyrians and Caucasian populations, particularly those of Dagestan, may share a close relationship, as far as the Y chromosome is concerned. Assyrians also show Y chromosome affinities to minority populations of the Levant and Mesopotamia, such as the Syrian Alawites (R-M269), Druze (R-M269 and T), “Babylonian” Jews (T), and Marsh Arabs (J1*).

Certain Arab groups are known to have a marked and most unexpected reduction in the size of the metacone of the maxillary second molars as well as distinctive inter-tooth-group size proportions. These features are not found in the Jarmo teeth. Rather, the Jarmo dentition resembles more the Indo-European type. It also holds a close resemblance to that of the Anatolians.

Non-metric analysis of the permanent and deciduous dentition of the northern Mesopotamian Bronze Age site of Tell Leilan, when compared with similar analysis conducted world wide and in the Near East, reveals a relatively consistent affiliation with Western Eurasian, or Caucasoid populations, although certain traits share affinities to both Western Eurasian and Sunda-Pacific populations.

When it comes to the gap between the “evolutionary” dates and the date for the breakup of Proto-Semitic a recent Bayesian analysis of Semitic languages supports an originin the Levant 3750 BC., and subsequent arrival in the Horn of Africa from Arabia 800 BC.,11 thus providing an indirect support of our phylogenetic clock estimates.

It is important to note that the glottochronological dates yield estimates for the break-up and expansion of the Proto-Semitic language. Proto-Semitic, itself, may have been spoken in a localized linguistic community for millennia before its bifurcation into the East and West Semitic branches.

However, if one rejects the “evolutionary” rate, there is no need to postulate that Proto-Semitic was spoken (but did not disperse) for millennia; indeed, a “static” Proto-Semitic/J-P58 community would be difficult to explain in view of the fact that mobile herding was their main economic activity.

J1 is a Middle Eastern haplogroup, which probably originated in eastern Anatolia, near Lake Van in central Kurdistan. Eastern Anatolia being the region where goats, sheep and cattle were first domesticated in the Middle East, haplogroup J1 is almost certainly linked to the expansion of pastoralist lifestyle throughout the Middle East and Europe. J1 can be divided in two main groups: the J1c3 (P58) subclade, and the other forms of J1 (J1*, J1a, J1b, J1c1 and J1c2).

The diversity of J1 in Arabia peninsula is low compared to further north, in Palestine for instance, which was one of the homelands of Neolithic in West Eurasia and the World. North African J1 is also highly diverse and there is a STR subcluster in J1 (about half of the J1 population) that looks like coalescing in North Africa. All that is best explained within the Epipaleolithic and Neolithic demographic flows, though J1 as such is older than that.

Arabia peninsula has also been demonstrated to have Fertile Crescent-derived lineages in mtDNA (per Abu Amero 2008). All this is logical if you consider the aridity of the region and the fact that it could barely be inhabited at all before the camel was domesticated, which is pretty late.

Haplogroup J1 is a prevalent Y-chromosome lineage within the Near East. According to the frequency and YSTR diversity data for its major sub-clade (J1e) the overall expansion time estimated from 453 chromosomes is 10 000 years. Moreover, the previously described J1 (DYS388=13) chromosomes, frequently found in the Caucasus and eastern Anatolian populations, were ancestral to J1e and displayed an expansion time of 9000 years.

J1c3 (J-P58) is by far the most widespread subclade of J1. It is a typically Semitic haplogroup, making up most of the population of the Arabian peninsula, where it accounts for approximately 40% t 75% of male lineages. J-P58 is also the Cohen Modal Haplotype. Roughly half of all Cohanim belong to the J-P58 subclade. In the Hebrew Bible the common ancestor of all Cohens is identified as Aaron, the brother of Moses.

J1c3 is thought to have expanded from eastern Anatolia to the Levant, Taurus and Zagros mountains and the Arabian peninsula at the end of the last Ice Age (12,000 years ago) with the seasonal migrations of pastoralists. Arabic speakers recolonised the Arabian peninsula in the Bronze Age from the north-west of the peninsula, close to modern Jordan. The rise of Islam in the 7th century CE played a major part in the re-expansion of J1c3 from Arabia throughout the Middle East, as well as to North Africa, and to a lower extent to Sicily and southern Spain.

Other subclades of J1 are less well studied due to their much lower frequencies. Most of the J1 in the Caucasus, Anatolia and Europe is of the non-J1c3 variety. Other types of J1 most probably spread to Europe during the Neolithic. J1 is particularly common in mountainous regions of Europe (with the notable exception of the Alps and the Carpathians), like Greece, Albania, Italy, central France, and the most rugged parts of Iberia (Asturias, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha) as well as those with the highest density of Neolithic settlements (Portugal and Andalusia).

Like haplogroup G, J1 might have been of the principal lineages to bring domesticated animals to Europe. Both G and J1 reach their maximal frequencies in the Caucasus, some ethnic groups being almost exclusively J1 (Kubachi, Kaitak, Dargins), while others have extremely high levels of G (Shapsugs, North Ossetians). Most of the ethnic groups in the North Caucasus have between 20 and 40% of each haplogroup, which are by far their two dominant haplogroups. In the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), haplogroup J2 comes into the admixture and is in fact slightly higher than either J1 or G.

For J1e, the Zagros/Taurus mountain region displays the highest haplotype diversity, although the J1e frequency increases toward the peripheral Arabian Peninsula. The southerly pattern of decreasing expansion time estimates is consistent with the serial drift and founder effect processes.

The first such migration is predicted to have occurred at the onset of the Neolithic, and accordingly J1e parallels the establishment of rain-fed agriculture and semi-nomadic herders throughout the Fertile Crescent. Subsequently, J1e lineages might have been involved in episodes of the expansion of pastoralists into arid habitats coinciding with the spread of Arabic and other Semitic-speaking populations.

Haplogroup J1 is a prevalent Y-chromosome lineage within the Near East. We report the frequency and YSTR diversity data for its major sub-clade (J1e). The overall expansion time estimated from 453 chromosomes is 10 000 years. Moreover, the previously described J1 (DYS388=13) chromosomes, frequently found in the Caucasus and eastern Anatolian populations, were ancestral to J1e and displayed an expansion time of 9000 years.

For J1e, the Zagros/Taurus mountain region displays the highest haplotype diversity, although the J1e frequency increases toward the peripheral Arabian Peninsula. The southerly pattern of decreasing expansion time estimates is consistent with the serial drift and founder effect processes.

The first such migration is predicted to have occurred at the onset of the Neolithic, and accordingly J1e parallels the establishment of rain-fed agriculture and semi-nomadic herders throughout the Fertile Crescent. Subsequently, J1e lineages might have been involved in episodes of the expansion of pastoralists into arid habitats coinciding with the spread of Arabic and other Semitic-speaking populations.

The timing and geographical distribution of J1e is representative of a demic expansion of agriculturalists and herder–hunters from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B to the late Neolithic era. The higher variances observed in Oman, Yemen and Ethiopia suggest either sampling variability and/or demographic complexity associated with multiple founders and multiple migrations.

The presence of a large frequency of undifferentiated J*(xJ1, J2) chromosomes in Soqotra suggests that the Arabian peninsula possessed such chromosomes, which now have a marginal status throughout the Middle East. The early steppe desert herders of 6000-7000 BC. possessed J* chromosomes, while J1 arose in the Middle East, and its subclade J-P58 experienced rapid growth associated with the breakup and expansion of Semitic languages in the 4th millennium BC.

The J-P58 bearing Proto-Semites emerge in the 4th millennium BC., out of a general J1 Middle Eastern background, just as their TMRCA suggests. They begin to expand at that time, and emerge in the historical record 1-2 thousand years later in both their Eastern (Akkadian) and, later, Western (Aramaic and Canaanite) forms.

The Berbers are the indigenous populationof north-west Africa. Although their Y-DNA is almost perfectly homogenous, belonging to haplogroup E-M81, Berber maternal lineages show a much greater diversity, as well as regional disparity. At least half (and up to 90% in some regions) of the Berbers belong to some Eurasian lineages, such as H, HV, R0, J, T, U, K, N1, N2, and X2, mostly of Middle or Near Eastern origin. 5 to 45% of the Berbers will have sub-Saharan mtDNA (L0, L1, L2, L3, L4, L5). There are only three native North African lineages, U6, X1 and M1, representing 0 to 35% of the people depending on the region.

Haplogroup U6 has been observed from the Iberia and the Canary Islands to Senegal in the West, and from Syria to Ethiopia and Kenya in the East. It is also found at low density in Europe, though mostly limited to Iberia. Approximately 10% of all North Africans belong to this lineage.

Ryder and Nicholls: Proto-Indo-European 8,400 years old

Nicholls and Ryder: Semitic 4.4-5.1 thousand years before present

The emergence and dispersal of haplogroup J-P58 (aka J1e)

Y-chromosomal Aaron

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Semitic people and haplogroup J1

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 17, 2013

File:Expansion of Afroasiatic.svg

Plaetje:Semitic languages.svg

The earliest attestations of a Semitic language are in Akkadian, dating to ca. the 23rd century BC (see Sargon of Akkad) and Eblaite. Early inscriptions in the (pre-) Proto-Canaanite alphabet, presumably by speakers of a Semitic language, date to ca. 1800 BC. The specific appearance of the donkey (an African animal) in proto Semitic but total absence of any reference to wheeled vehicles rather narrowly dates proto Semitic to between 4,800 BP and 4,500 BP.

Semitic languages

Proto-Semitic language

Homeland

(Since Semitic is a branch of Afro-Asiatic, the question of the Proto-Afro-Asiatic homeland is a related debate)

The Semitic Urheimat is suggested by some to be in the Middle East; more specifically, Kienast (2001) advocates the Arabian peninsula. The East and West Semitic branches spread to Mesopotamia and the Levant during the Bronze Age, while South Semitic speakers migrated to Africa before the 8th century BC. via the Yemen gap. This is also supported by the presence of nouns in proto Semitic that seemingly make an African orign for the language impossible – ice, oak, horse and camel.The camel and horse did not arrive in Africa until nearly two thousand years after Semitic languages were being written in the Mesopotamia area.

Other people suggest Syria/Mesopotamia as the homeland for proto Semitic, due to the flora and fauna described by it, which include oak, pistachio and almond trees and the horse. The presence of ice and four different words for hill also suggest a colder more mountainous area than Arabia. Eblaite, one of the oldest Semitic languages, when deciphered had almost no non Afro Asiatic nouns in its lexicon, suggesting a very long presence in the Syria area. Bitumen and Naptha were also well known and have root words, and these are resources not found in Africa or Arabia, but commonly in the Northern parts of the Levant.

Yet others believe that the first prehistoric speakers of the ancestral Proto-Semitic language came from Africa. In historic times, the Semitic languages spread throughout the region via migrations from Arabia that displaced and subjugated the local populations. This alternative scenario makes Ethiopia the Proto-Semitic homeland.

More recently, Juris Zarins has suggested that the development of a Circum-Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex of cultures developed in the period of the 6,200 BCE climatic crisis, stretching from Southern Palestine down the Red Sea shoreline, and northeastward into Syria and Iraq, spread Proto-Semitic languages through the region.

This complex may have developed from the fusion of Harifian and Pre-Pottery Neolithic B cultures in Southern Palestine. As Harifian used the Outacha retouch point technique found earlier in the Fayyum, it has been suggested that Proto-Semitic may have come from Egypt across the Sinai. Given the fact that Semitic is most closely related to the Ancient Egyptian language of all the Afro-Asiatic languages, this origin is also distinctly possible.

However, regarding resemblances among language subgroups, recent “research into the lexicon would seem to suggest a closer relationship between Chadic and ancient Egyptian”. More recent study using techniques in bayesian phylogenetic analysis, identifies a place of origin in the Levant, giving rise to the most basal of Semitic languages in Akkadian.

Haplogroup J1

Haplogroup J1 (Y-DNA) – Eupedia

Haplogroup J1 is a Middle Eastern haplogroup, which probably originated in the Armenian Highland, near Lake Van. This region being the region where goats, sheep and cattle were first domesticated in the Southwest Asia, haplogroup J1 is almost certainly linked to the expansion of pastoralist lifestyle throughout this region and Europe.

Surpisingly, even in the Caucasus and in Anatolia, the region where this haplogroup is thought to have originated, there are wide discrepancies between regions. For example, the Kubachi and Dargins from Dagestan in the Northeast Caucasus have over 80% of J1 lineages, while in their Ingush neighbours, 200 km to the north, it barely reaches 3%. The Armenian Highland around Lake Van sees over 30% of J1, whereas Southwest Anatolia has only 2%. Even within Kurdistan frequencies vary greatly. The small sample sizes for each region is surely to blame.

ISOGG states that J-M267 originated in the Southwest Asia. It is found in parts of the Near East, Anatolia and North Africa, with a much sparser distribution in the southern Mediterranean flank of Europe, and in Ethiopia. But not all studies agree on the point of origin. The Levant has been proposed but a 2010 study concluded that the haplogroup had a more northern origin, possibly Asia Minor.

The origin of the J-P58 subclade is likely in the more northerly populations and then spreads southward into the Arabian Peninsula. The high Y-STR variance of J-P58 in ethnic groups in Turkey, as well as northern regions in Syria and Iraq, supports the inference of an origin of J-P58 in nearby eastern Anatolia. Moreover, the network analysis of J-P58 haplotypes shows that some of the populations with low diversity, such as Bedouins from Israel, Qatar, Sudan and UAE, are tightly clustered near high-frequency haplotypes suggesting founder effects with star burst expansion into the Arabian Desert (Chiaroni 2010).

Since the discovery of haplogroup J-P209 it has generally been recognized that it shows signs of having originated in or near West Asia. The frequency and diversity of both its major branches, J-M267 and J-M172, in that region makes them candidates as genetic markers of the spread of farming technology during the Neolithic, which is proposed to have had a major impact upon human populations.

The area including eastern Turkey and the Zagros and Taurus mountains, has been identified as a likely area of ancient J-M267 diversity. Both J-P58 and other types of J-M267 are present, sometimes with similar frequencies. The Caucasus has areas of both high and low J-M267 frequency. The J-M267 in the Caucasus is also notable because most of it is not within the J-P58 subclade.

Like haplogroup G, J1 might have been of the principal lineages to bring domesticated animals to Europe. Both G and J1 reach their maximal frequencies in the Caucasus, some ethnic groups being almost exclusively J1 (Kubachis, Kaitaks, Dargins, Avars), while others have extremely high levels of G (Shapsugs, North Ossetians).

Most of the ethnic groups in the North Caucasus have between 20 and 40% of each haplogroup, which are by far their two dominant haplogroups. In the South Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), haplogroup J2 comes into the admixture and is in fact slightly higher than either J1 or G.

J1 can be divided in two main groups: the very large J1-P58 subclade, and the other branches of J1. Most of the Caucasian J1 is at present J1*, meaning that at present no common SNP has been identified that could form a new subclade. Armenia stands out of the lot by having a substantial J1c3d minority (at least one third of all J1, i.e. roughly 4% of the population).

J1-P58 (J1b2 on the ISOGG tree, formerly known as J1c3) is by far the most widespread subclade of J1. It is a typically Semitic haplogroup, making up most of the population of the Arabian peninsula, where it accounts for approximately 40% to 75% of male lineages. The dominant lineage in the Arabian peninsula is J1-L147.1. The numerous subclades downstream of L858 represent the tremendous expansion of J1 lineages linked to the propagation of Islam and the Arabic language from Saudi Arabia from the 7th century CE.

It is proposed that J-P58 might have first dispersed during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period from a geographical zone, including northeast Syria, northern Iraq and eastern Turkey toward Mediterranean Anatolia, southern Syria, Jordan, Palestine and northern Egypt.

It is proposed that the Zarzian material culture may be ancestral, and that this movement of people may also be linked to the dispersal by caucasian hunter-herders, who moved into arid areas during periods known to have had low rainfall. Thus, while other haplogroups including J-M172 moved out of the area with agriculturalists who followed the rainfall, populations carrying J-M267 remained with their flocks.

According to this scenario, after the initial neolithic expansion, a more recent dispersal occurred during the Chalcolithic or Early Bronze Age (approximately 3000–5000 BCE). The authors propose that this involved a spread of some J-P58 from the direction of Syria towards Arab populations of the Arabian Peninsula and Negev.

On the other hand, the authors agree that later waves of dispersion in and around this area have also had complex effects upon the distributions of some types of J-P58 in some regions. They list three regions which are particularly important to their proposal:

  1. The Levant (Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine). In this area, Chiaroni 2009 note a “patchy distribution of J1e frequency” which is difficult to interpret, and which “may reflect the complex demographic dynamics of religion and ethnicity in the region”.
  2. The northern area of eastern Anatolia, northern Iraq and northwest Iran. In this area, Chiaroni 2009 recognize signs that J-M267 might have an older presence, and on balance they accept the evidence but note that it could be in error.
  3. The southern area of Oman, Yemen and Ethiopia. In this area, Chiaroni 2009 recognize similar signs, but reject it as possible a result of “either sampling variability and/or demographic complexity associated with multiple founders and multiple migrations.”

Not only is the J-P58 group itself very dominant in many areas where J-M267 is common, but J-P58 in turn contains a large cluster which had been recognized before the discovery of P58, and is still a subject of research.

This relatively young cluster, compared to J-M267 overall, was identified by STR markers haplotypes – specifically YCAII as 22-22, and DYS388 having unusual repeat values of 15 or higher, instead of more typical 13 (Chiaroni 2011). This cluster was found to be relevant in some well-publicized studies of Jewish and Palestinian populations (Nebel 2000 and Hammer 2009).

More generally, since then this cluster has been found to be frequent among men in the Middle East and North Africa, but less frequent in areas of Ethiopia and Europe where J-M267 is nevertheless common. The pattern is therefore similar to the pattern of J-P58 generally, described above, and may be caused by the same movements of people (Chiaroni 2009).

Tofanelli 2009 refers to this overall cluster with YCAII=22-22 and high DYS388 values as an “Arabic” as opposed to a “Eurasian” type of J-M267. This Arabic type includes Arabic speakers from Maghreb, Sudan, Iraq and Qatar, and it is a relatively homogeneous group, implying that it might have dispersed relatively recently compared to J-M267 generally. The more diverse “Eurasian” group includes Europeans, Kurds, Iranians and Ethiopians (despite Ethiopia being outside of Eurasia), and is much more diverse.

The authors also say that “Omanis show a mix of Eurasian pool-like and typical Arabic haplotypes as expected, considering the role of corridor played at different times by the Gulf of Oman in the dispersal of Asian and East African genes.” Chiaroni 2009 also noted the anomalously high apparent age of Omani J-M267 when looking more generally at J-P58 and J-M267 more generally.

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Amorites

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 12, 2013

File:Semitic languages.svg

The Conquest of the Amorites

Semitic peoples and their languages, in ancient historic times (between the 30th and 20th centuries BC), covered a broad area which encompassed what are today the modern states and regions of Iraq, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebannon, Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Sinai and Malta, as well as parts of southern Turkey, before spreading to Tunisia in the 9th century BC, Ethiopia and Eritrea in the 8th century BC, and into Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Mauritania and Khuzestan (south western Iran) from the 7th century AD.

By the late 3rd millennium BC, East Semitic languages, such as Akkadian and Eblaite, were dominant in Mesopotamia and north east Syria, while West Semitic languages, such as Amorite, Canaanite and Ugaritic, were probably spoken from Syria to the Arabian Peninsula, although Old South Arabian is considered by most people to be South Semitic despite the sparsity of data.

The Akkadian language of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia had become the dominant literary language of the Fertile Crescent, using the cuneiform script that was adapted from the Sumerians. The Middle Assyrian Empire, which originated in the 14th century BC, facilitated the use of Akkadian as a ‘lingua franca’ in many regions outside its homeland. The related, but more sparsely attested, Eblaite disappeared with the city, and Amorite is attested only from proper names in Mesopotamian records.

The earliest historic (written) evidences of them are found in the Fertile Crescent (Mesopotamia) circa the 30th century BC, an area encompassing the Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (modern Iraq), followed by historical written evidence from the Levant, Canaan, Sinai Peninsula southern Asia Minor and the Arabian peninsula.

Later historical Semitic languages also spread into North Africa in two widely separated periods. The first expansion occurred with the ancient Phoenicians from around the 9th century BC, along the southern Mediterranean Sea all the way to the Atlantic Ocean (Phoenician colonies which included ancient Rome’s nemesis Carthage), followed by migrations of South Semites from Yemen to Ethiopia and Eritrea a century or so later.

The second, a millennium later, was the expansion of the Muslim armies and Arabic in the 7th and 8th centuries AD, which, at their height, controlled the Iberian Peninsula (until 1492) and Sicily.

Arab Muslim expansion is also responsible for modern Arabic’s presence from Mauritania, on the Atlantic coast of West Africa, to the Red Sea in the northeastern corner of Africa, and its reach south along the Nile River as far as the northern half of Sudan, where, as the national language, non-Arab Sudanese even farther south must learn it.

Some recent genetic studies have found (by analysis of the DNA of Semitic-speaking peoples) that they have some common ancestry. Genetic studies indicate that modern Jews, Assyrians, Samaritans, Syriacs-Arameans, Maronites, Druze, Mandeans, Mhallami and Arabs from the regions north of the Arabian Peninsula all have an ancient indigenous common Near Eastern heritage which can be genetically mapped back to the ancient Fertile Crescent, but often also display genetic profiles distinct from one another, indicating the different histories of these peoples.

They were found to be far more closely related to both each other and the non-Semitic speaking Near Easterners, such as Iranians, Anatolians, and Caucasians, than to the Semitic-speakers of the Arabian peninsula (Gulf Arabs), Ethiopian Semites (Falasha, Beta Israel, Amharic and Tigrean speakers), and the Arabic speakers of North Africa.

The Encyclopedia Britannia states that by the mid-3rd millennium BC, various Semitic peoples had migrated into Syria-Palestine and Babylonia. Knowledge of this period was enormously enhanced by the excavations at Tall Mard Ykh, ancient Ebla, south of Aleppo (northern Syria). The palace yielded more than 17,000 inscribed clay tablets, dated to about 2600–2500 BC, which detail the social, religious, economic, and political life of this thriving and powerful Syrian kingdom. The language of Ebla has been identified as Northwest Semitic.

The Amorites are normally regarded by historians as a Semitic people; they certainly seem to have spoken a Semitic language. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to them, as well as to their principal deity. They appear as nomadic people in the Mesopotamian sources, and they are especially connected with the mountainous region of Jebel Bishri in Syria called the “mountain of the Amorites”.

However, our evidence for all population affinities at that remote time is really quite thin; and there are plenty of historical cases of peoples adopting the languages around them. The Amorites’ original home seems to have been in Syria, rather than the Arabian desert, and it is quite likely that that part of western Asia had experienced immigration from the north-east tip of Africa.

At the end of the third and the beginning of the second millennia BC, civilization in the Fertile Crescent went through a sticky patch. The numerous city-states in Mesopotamia, Syria and Canaan were attacked by nomadic peoples they called “Amorites”. It was a time when tribes were on the loose, wandering from one area to another; it was one of those unsettled periods which have periodically occurred in the Middle East, when desert nomads seem to have the upper hand and settled farmers are on the defensive.

Ancient writers help us understand the geographic designation for Syria, one of the locales for the Amorites. Homer (Iliad ii.785) and Hesiod (Theog. 304) called the inhabitants of that district Arimoi. Compare the cuneiform Arimu or Assyrian Aramu for Aramaeans. The earliest Assyrian name was Martu, which Hommel regards as a contraction of Amartu, the land of the Amurru or Amorites.

Here we see a confusion between two different Semitic words, found in the Old Testament texts:

Hebrew amoree = Amorite, from amar, a verb, to be or make prominent, and

Hebrew aramee = Aramean, from aram, a noun.

However, both are used to designate people who occupied the same geographical area, and had similar histories. Aram is described as one of the ancestors of Abraham and the Hebrew people, Gen 10:22.

Note that the two words demonstrate metathesis, or the switching of two consonants. All Semitic words derived from a verb base; this linguistic confusion may be the reason the word aram has no verbal foundation in Hebrew. Refer to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and the Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver, and Briggs.

However, there is considerable doubt concerning their origins. This doubt may be due to the fact that they were troublesome nomads who roamed freely around the Near East. They penetrated deep into Sumeria and were believed to be one of the causes of the downfall of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (c. 2112–c. 2004 BC).

We should keep in mind that different human groups, speaking different dialects of the same language, and related genetically, may be sharply separated by modern scholarship in order to distinguish them historically. This process then blurs and obscures the biological origins and relationship among people.

Amorite (Sumerian; Mar.tu) refers to an ancient Semitic-speaking people from ancient Syria who also occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC. In the earliest Sumerian texts, beginning about 2400 BC, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including Syria and Canaan, were known as “the land of the MAR.TU (Amorites).

The term Martu also appears in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, which describes it in the time of Enmerkar as one of the regions inhabited by speakers of a different language. Another text known as Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird describes how, fifty years into Enmerkar’s reign, the Martu people arose in Sumer and Akkad, necessitating the building of a wall to protect Uruk.

Known Amorites (mostly those of Mari) wrote in a dialect of Akkadian found on tablets at Mari dating from 1800–1750 BC; since the language shows many northwest Semitic forms and constructions, the Amorite language was presumably a northwest Semitic dialect, as opposed to the east Semitic Akkadian language of the native Mesopotamians. The main sources for our extremely limited knowledge about the language are proper names, not Akkadian in style, that are preserved in such texts.

These Amorites appear as nomadic clans ruled by fierce tribal chiefs, who forced themselves into lands they needed to graze their herds. Some of the Akkadian literature of this era speaks disparagingly of the Amorites, and implies that the Akkadians and Sumerians viewed their nomadic way of life with disgust and contempt.

There are also sparse mentions in tablets from Ebla, dating from 2500 BC to the destruction of the city ca. 2250 BC: from the perspective of Ebla, the Amorites were a rural group living in the narrow basin of the middle and upper Euphrates. For the Akkadian kings of central Mesopotamia Mar.tu was one of the “Four Quarters” surrounding Akkad, along with Subartu/Assyria, Sumer, and Elam. The Akkadian king Naram-Sin records successful campaigns against them in northern Syria ca. 2240 BC, and his successor Shar-Kali-Sharri followed suit.

By the time of the last days of the Sumerian Ur III empire, immigrating Amorites had become such a force that kings such as Shu-Sin were obliged to construct a 170 miles (270 km) long wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates to hold them off.

During the 2nd millennium the term Amurru referred not only to an ethnic group but also to a language and to a geographic and political unit spread throughout Syria and Palestine. At the beginning of the millennium, a large-scale migration of great tribal federations resulted in the occupation of Babylonia proper, the mid-Euphrates region, and Syria-Palestine.

They set up a mosaic of small kingdoms and rapidly assimilated the Sumero-Akkadian culture. Some scholars prefer to call this second group Canaanites. Between about 2000 and 1800 BC they covered both Syria and Mesopotamia with a multitude of small principalities and cities, mostly governed by rulers bearing some name characteristic of the Semitic dialect that the Amorites spoke.

Almost all of the local kings in Babylonia (such as Hammurabi of Babylon) belonged to this stock. One capital was at Mari (modern Tall al-Sar YrY, Syria). Farther west, the political center was Aleppo; in that area, as well as in Palestine, the newcomers were thoroughly mixed with the Hurrians.

From the 21st century BC and likely triggered by the 22nd century BC drought, a large-scale migration of Amorite tribes infiltrated southern Mesopotamia. They were one of the instruments of the downfall of the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur, and acquired a series of powerful kingdoms, including the founding of Babylon as a state and usurping the thrones of the Sumero-Akkadian states of Isin, Larsa and Kish among others, culminating in the triumph under Hammurabi of one of them,that of Babylon.

The era of the Amorite kingdoms, ca. 2000–1595 BC, is sometimes known as the “Amorite period” in Mesopotamian history. The principal Amorite dynasties arose in Mari, Yamkhad, Qatna, Assyria (under Shamshi-Adad I), Isin, Larsa, and also Babylon, which was founded as an independent state by an Amorite named Sumuabum in 1894 BC. This era ended in northern Mesopotamia with the defeat and expulsion of the Amorite dominated Babylonians from Assyria by king Adasi circa 1730 BC, and in the south with the Hittite sack of Babylon (c. 1595 BC) which brought new ethnic groups — particularly Kassites — to the forefront in southern Mesopotamia.

From the 15th century BC onward, the term Amurru is usually applied to the region extending north of Canaan as far as Kadesh on the Orontes. The terms Amorite and Canaanite seem to be used more or less interchangeably, Canaan being more general and Amorite a specific component among the Canaanites who inhabited the land.

After their expulsion from Mesopotamia, the Amorites of Syria came under the domination of first the Hittite Empire and from the 14th century BC, the Middle Assyrian Empire. They appear to have been displaced or absorbed by a new wave of semi nomadic Semites, the Arameans, from circa 1200 BC onwards. And from this period the region they had inhabited became known as Aram (Aramea).

From about 1100 BC Assyrian inscriptions use the term Amurru to designate parts of Syria and all of Phoenicia and Palestine but no longer refer to any specific kingdom, language, or population. This shows how the various people had blended and mixed to blur ethnic identifications. The Amorite-Canaanite-Phoenician-Aramean-Hebrew people came all from a common Semitic stock. Since the Egyptian tomb paintings show them with blue eyes, we certainly have a genetic affinity to the blue eyes illustrated by Rahotep, Nofret, and King Hor.

The difficulty with these classifications is that Phoenician and Hebrew were almost identical to one another, with only minor inflectional differences, not more than we find among modern English speakers around the world. Since Phoenicians and Canaanites were essentially the same people this further reduces the language classes. The Amorites was also closely related; using the mother tongue of Abraham. This reduces the classes still farther. Then substantial differences exist only with Ugaritic and Aramaic, but even those are closely related.

The Bible’s internal chronology places Abraham around 2000 BC, but the stories in Genesis cannot be definitively related to the known history of that time. Most historians think that, if Abraham actually existed, then this was probably when he lived – his tale can be interpreted as a classic case of migration by a group of desert pastoralists.

Abraham is confirmed from the archives of Nuzi in Yorgan Tepe, fifteen kilometres south west of Kirkuk. The written documents from this Hurrian city of the kingdom of Mitanni (c. 1500 BC.) cast a light not only on the ancient laws of the Hurrians, but also on the legal practices of the Biblical patriarchs which agree to an amazing degree with the Biblical texts.

Abrahams clan came from Hurrian country, the region between Ur-kesh (the biblical Ur-kashdim, in north-east Syria on the present Turkish border) and Harran which is west of Ur-kesh. These migrating Hurrians were known to adopt the local languages of the lands they settled in, and so Abrahams clan adopted the Phoenician language as their own, now popularly known as Hebrew.

Whatever the correct date for Abraham may be, he represents the beginning of the nation to the Hebrews. Yahweh’s promise to the patriarch and his successors is considered to be the guarantee of national existence (Num. 32:11).

The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) contains the only surviving ancient text known to use the term Jebusite to describe the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Jerusalem; according to the Table of Nations at Genesis 10, the Jebusites are identified as a Canaanite tribe, which is listed in third place among the Canaanite groups, between the biblical Hittites and the Amorites.

In the Amarna letters, mention is made of the contemporaneous king of Jerusalem was named Abdi-Heba, which is a theophoric name invoking a Hurrian goddess named Hebat; unless a different ethnic group occupied Jerusalem in this period, this implies that the Jebusites were Hurrians themselves, were heavily influenced by Hurrian culture, or were dominated by a Hurrian maryannu class.

In the Old Babylonian period, Aleppo’s name appears as Ḥalab (Ḥalba) for the first time. Aleppo was the capital of the important Amorite dynasty of Yamḥad. The kingdom of Yamḥad (ca. 1800–1600 BC), alternatively known as the ‘land of Ḥalab,’ was the most powerful in the Near East at the time.

Yamhad (also written Yamkhad or Jamhad) was an ancient Amorite kingdom centered at Ḥalab (or Ḥalba, modern day Aleppo). The ancient name of the city, Halab, is also its Arabic name in the modern day. It is of obscure origin. Some have proposed that Halab means ‘iron’ or ‘copper’ in Amorite languages since it was a major source of these metals in antiquity. Halaba in Aramaic means white, referring to the colour of soil and marble abundant in the area.

A substantial Hurrian population also settled in the kingdom, and the Hurrian culture influenced the area. The kingdom was powerful during the Middle Bronze Age, ca. 1800-1600 BC. Its biggest rival was Qatna further south. Yamḥad was finally destroyed by the Hittites under Mursilis I in the 16th century BC. However, Aleppo soon resumed its leading role in Syria when the Hittite power in the region waned due to internal strife.

The discovery of a sophisticated city with monumental architecture, plumbing, stonework, and a large population contradicts the idea that Hurrians were a roving mountain people in a strange land. Far from being yet another rough nomadic tribe, such as the Amorites or Kassites who were latecomers to the Mesopotamian party, the Hurrians and their unique language, music, deities, and rituals may have played a key role in shaping the first cities, empires, and states.

Taking advantage of the power vacuum in the region, Parshatatar, king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, conquered Aleppo in the 15th century BC. Subsequently, Aleppo found itself on the frontline in the struggle between the Mitanni and the Hittites and Egypt.[22] The Hittite Suppiluliumas I permanently defeated Mitanni and conquered Aleppo in the 14th century BC. Aleppo had cultic importance to the Hittites for being the center of worship of the Storm-God.

When the Hittite kingdom collapsed in the 12th century BC, Aleppo became part of the Aramaean Syro-Hittite kingdom of Arpad (also known as the state of Bit Agusi) at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, and later it became the capital of the Aramaean Syro-Hittite kingdom of Hatarikka-Luhuti. Aleppo itself was known as Halman, and this changed over time to Hatarikka (or Hadrach, in the Old Testament). While the Iron Age Aleppo may initially have been independent, it quickly became a south-eastern province within another Aramean Syro-Hittite state known as Pattin (or Unqi), before falling into the hands of Hamath.

In the 9th century BC, Aleppo was conquered by the Assyrians and became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire until the late 7th century BC, before passing through the hands of the Neo-Babylonians and the Achamenid Persians.

At some point in the early second millennium BCE, the Amorite kingdom of Mari to the south subdued Urkesh and made it a vassal state. In the continuous power struggles over Mesopotamia, another Amorite dynasty made themselves masters over Mari in the eighteenth century BCE. Shubat-Enlil (modern Tell Leilan), the capital of this Old Assyrian kingdom, was founded some distance from Urkesh at another Hurrian settlement in the Khabur River valley.

Cuneiform texts from Mari mention rulers of city-states in upper Mesopotamia with both Amurru (Amorite) and Hurrian names. Rulers with Hurrian names are also attested for Urshum and Hashshum, and tablets from Alalakh (layer VII, from the later part of the old-Babylonian period) mention people with Hurrian names at the mouth of the Orontes. There is no evidence for any invasion from the North-east. Generally, these onomastic sources have been taken as evidence for a Hurrian expansion to the South and the West.

Mitanni (Hittite cuneiform KUR URUMi-ta-an-ni, also Mittani Mi-it-ta-ni) or Hanigalbat (Assyrian Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat) was an Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC. Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominately Hurrian population, 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.

The land of Mitanni in northern Syria extended from the Taurus mountains to its west and as far east as Nuzi (modern Kirkuk) and the river Tigris in the east. In the south, it extended from Aleppo across (Nuhashshe) to Mari on the Euphrates in the east. Its centre was in the Khabur River valley, with two capitals: Taite and Washshukanni called Taidu and Ushshukana respectively in Assyrian sources. The whole area allows agriculture without artificial irrigation; cattle, sheep and goats were raised. It is very similar to Assyria in climate, and was settled by both indigenous Hurrian and Amoritic-speaking (Amurru) populations.

Amorite

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Abraham

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 12, 2013

Abraham is commanded to sacrifice Isaac, his son—Both father and son yield to the will of God—Abraham’s seed will be as the stars and the sand in number—In his seed, all nations will be blessed—Rebekah is born to Bethuel.

Genesis – Chapter 22

The Bible’s internal chronology places Abraham around 2000 BC, but the stories in Genesis cannot be definitively related to the known history of that time. Most historians think that, if Abraham actually existed, then this was probably when he lived – his tale can be interpreted as a classic case of migration by a group of desert pastoralists.

Abraham is confirmed from the archives of Nuzi in Yorgan Tepe, fifteen kilometres south west of Kirkuk. The written documents from this Hurrian city of the kingdom of Mitanni (c. 1500 BC.) cast a light not only on the ancient laws of the Hurrians, but also on the legal practices of the Biblical patriarchs which agree to an amazing degree with the Biblical texts.

Abrahams clan came from Hurrian country, the region between Ur-kesh (the biblical Ur-kashdim, in north-east Syria on the present Turkish border) and Harran which is west of Ur-kesh. These migrating Hurrians were known to adopt the local languages of the lands they settled in, and so Abrahams clan adopted the Phoenician language as their own, now popularly known as Hebrew.

Whatever the correct date for Abraham may be, he represents the beginning of the nation to the Hebrews. Yahweh’s promise to the patriarch and his successors is considered to be the guarantee of national existence (Num. 32:11).

Who Were the Hebrews?

Abraham’s Ur

Nuzi Archives

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Aram & Arameans

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 25, 2013

In the early stages of critical historiography in 19th century, the idea was advanced that the terms Arma or Aram, and Arime or Arme are Semitic and pertain to the Semites. I. Diakonoff, makes the supposition tha the name Armina ( Armini-Armeni) is given to Armenian and the Armenians because of their neighborhood to the Aramaeans in the southern region of Hayk.

The idea of seeing a Semitic origin in the names Arma, Aram, Arim, Arime, Arme, Armani, Armina, Armeni, and the like, had become such an obsession with some authors that it prevents them from seeing the essence of the interrelationships between the Armenian Highland and Northern Mesopotamia, and creates added difficulties for the clarification of certain obscure problems related to them.

The fact is that the very name Aram has no connection of origin with those Semites who were later called Aramaeans. A careful study of the cuneiform documents of the Near East shows that the Semitic nomadic tribes that were later called Aramaeans, were previously known by the names Sutu and Ahlame. They had come to Northern Mesopotamia and settled in the territories of Mitanni ( Naharina) which was either destroyed or about to be destroyed at that time, and they were called Aramaeans after the ancient name Arma or Aram of the land on which they settled. A similar example is the case of the Egyptians; the name Egypt did not belong to the Arabs, but they have come and settled in the land of Egypt, and by this ancient name of the land they were (and still are) called Egyptians.

J. Myers had written earlier that the Aramaeans* seem to have started to come out of Northeastern Arabia around 1350 B.C. when nomadic marauders whom the Babylonian kings called “SUTI AND ACHLAME” were spreading, looting and devastating along the entire Euphratian border.

R. O’Callaghan has the following to say about the appearance of these Semitic tribes: “The Sutu and the Akhlamu are first mentioned in Assyrian sources as appearing in the time of Arik-den-ili (1316-1305) of Assyria. The former name is connected with the Egyptian Sttyw, meaning “Asiatics”. Thus as a matter of fact they do service as Egyptian mercenaries…”

We see an indication to the recent appearance of these tribes in Northern Mesopotamia in the following statement of Adad-Nirari I (cir. 1310-1280 B.C.): “…conqueror of the lands of Turuki and Nigimhi in their totality, together with all their kings, mountains, and highlands, the territory of widespreading Kuti (v. adds, conqueror of Kutmuhi and all of its allies), the hordes of the Ahlami and Suti, the Iauri and their lands, who enlarged boundary and frontier…”

As we see, according to Adad_Nirari’s assertion, at the beginning of the 13th century these Semitic tribes were still in the process of enlarging their borders by moving forth and occupying new territories that did not belong to them.

Source:”Armenia, Summer and Subartu” by Prof. Dr.Martiros Kavoukjian

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Similarities between Thor (Nordic) and Tar (Armenian)

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

Thor

The Ancestor of the Germans – Herman/Armen

The origin of the Germans

Teshub / Tar

The Hurrians were an ancient people, who spoke a Hurro-Urartian language of the Ancient Near East, living in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. The name Hurri is also spelled Harri, the root word for Aryan.

The Resurrection

Resurrection (anglicized from Latin resurrectio) is the concept of a living being coming back to life after death. It is a religious concept, where it is used in two distinct respects: a belief in the resurrection of individual souls that is current and ongoing (Christian idealism, realized eschatology), or else a belief in a singular “Resurrection of the Dead” event at the end of the world.

In comparative mythology, the related motifs of a dying god and of a dying-and-rising god (also known as a death-rebirth-deity) have appeared in diverse cultures. In the more commonly accepted motif of a dying god, the deity goes away and does not return. The less than widely accepted motif of a dying-and-rising god refers to a deity which returns, is resurrected or is reborn, in either a literal or symbolic sense.

Beginning in the 19th century, a number of gods who would fit these motifs were proposed. Male examples include the ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Norse deities Baal, Melqart, Adonis, Eshmun, Tammuz, Ra the Sun god with its fusion with Osiris/Orion, Jesus, and Dionysus. Female examples include Inanna/Ishtar, Persephone, and Bari.

The methods of death can be diverse. Some gods who die are also seen as either returning or bringing about life in some other form, in many cases associated with a vegetation deity related to a staple.

The Thunder God

Polytheistic peoples of many cultures have postulated a Thunder God, the personification or source of the forces of thunder and lightning; a lightning god does not have a typical depiction, and will vary based on the culture. In Indo-European cultures, the Thunder God is frequently known as the chief or king of the gods, e.g. Indra in Hinduism, Zeus in Greek mythology, and Perun in ancient Slavic religion; or a close relation thereof, e.g. Thor, son of Odin, in Norse mythology.

In Greek mythology, The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous, evolved from a designation of a place or person struck by lightning, enelysion, enelysios. This could be a reference to Zeus, the god of lightning/Jupiter, so “lightning-struck” could be saying that the person was blessed (struck) by Zeus (/lightning/fortune).

The Labrys

Labrys is the term for a symmetric doubleheaded axe originally from Crete in Greece, one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization; to the Romans, it was known as a bipennis.

The double-bitted axe remains a forestry tool to this day, and the labrys certainly functioned as a tool and hewing axe before it was invested with symbolic function. Labrys symbolism is found in Minoan, Thracian, and Greek religion, mythology, and art, dating from the Middle Bronze Age onwards, and surviving in the Byzantine Empire.

The Thunderbolt

A thunderbolt or lightning bolt is a symbolic representation of a lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap. In ancient Hellenic and Roman religious traditions, the thunderbolt represents Jupiter (etymologically “Right Father”), thence the origin and ordaining pattern of the universe, as expressed in Heraclitus’ fragment describing “the Thunderbolt that steers the course of all things”. It is the same in other Indo-European traditions, for example the Vedic Vajra.

In its original usage the word may also have been a description of the consequences of a close approach between two planetary cosmic bodies.

As a divine manifestation the thunderbolt has been a powerful symbol throughout history, and has appeared in many mythologies. Drawing from this powerful association, the thunderbolt is often found in military symbolism and semiotic representations of electricity.

The bull

The bull is somewhat unique in the world of symbolism in that he is both a solar and a lunar creature. His male fertility, his fiery temperament, and his role as father of the herd make him the masculine sun-god in many cults. Just as the lion is the king and terror of the beasts of the forest, the bull is the king of the farm and the personification of brute strength and power. The lion, the bull, and the sun are popular symbols of life and resurrection. The bull’s crescent shaped horns link him to moon worship and symbolism although, in some areas, the sun is a bull while the moon is a cow. Sin, the moon-god of ancient Ur, was often pictured as a bull.

Its association with the sun makes this animal a god of the heavens, resurrection, and fire, while its association with the moon makes it a god of earth, water, night, and death. This animal’s masculinity is not diminished by its feminine lunar connections. However, when ridden by moon-goddesses such as Astarte, its masculine powers are said to be tamed or domesticated.

The roar of the bull, his windy breath, the sound of his hooves, and his wild nature were likened to thunder, wind, the crash of the ocean, and mighty tempests. Because of these associations, bulls were sacrificed to sea gods such as Poseidon. Along with the thunderbolt, bulls are symbols of thunder, sky, and storm gods such as Adad, Thor, and Ishkur. These gods may also be pictured riding bulls.

The serpent

The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. The word is derived from Latin serpens, a crawling animal or snake. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.

Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.

In the Abrahamic religions, the serpent represents sexual desire. According to the Rabbinical tradition, in the Garden of Eden, the serpent represents sexual passion. In Hinduism, Kundalini is a coiled serpent, the residual power of pure desire.

Occasionally, serpents and dragons are used interchangeably, having similar symbolic functions. The venom of the serpent is thought to have a fiery quality similar to a fire spitting dragon. The Greek Ladon and the Norse Níðhöggr (Nidhogg Nagar) are sometimes described as serpents and sometimes as dragons. In Germanic mythology, serpent (Old English: wyrm, Old High German: wurm, Old Norse: ormr) is used interchangeably with the Greek borrowing dragon (OE: draca, OHG: trahho, ON: dreki).

Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. The name of Bellerophon is translated to “the slayer of the serpent” (ahihán), “snake”, directly comparable to Hittite ellu-essar- “snake pit”. He was “the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles”, whose greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail: “her breath came out in terrible blasts of burning flame.”

This myth likely came to Greece via Anatolia, and in the Hittite version, the dragon is called Illuyanka, the illuy- part being cognate to the illa word, and the -anka part being cognate to the angu word for “snake”. As designations for “snake” (and similarly shaped animals) are often liable to taboo in many Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages, no unambiguous Proto-Indo-European form for the eel word can thus be reconstructed, it could have been *ēl(l)-u-, *ēl(l)-o-, or similar.

In the early Vedic religion, Vritra (“the enveloper”), is an Asura and also a serpent or dragon, the personification of drought and enemy of Indra. Vritra was also known in the Vedas as Ahi (“snake”). He appears as a dragon blocking the course of the rivers and is heroically slain by Indra.

Teshub in the Hurrian Mythology

In Hurrian mythology Teshub (Hittite: Taru) was the god of sky and storm. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.

Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.

The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin – he was conceived when the god Kumarbi, is the chief god of the Hurrians, bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.

Teshub’s brothers are Tigris (personification of the river), Ullikummi (stone giant) and Tashmishu.

In the Hurrian schema, Teshub was paired with Hebat the mother goddess; in the Hittite, with the sun goddess Arinniti of Arinna – a cultus of great antiquity which has similarities with the venerated bulls and mothers at Çatalhöyük in the Neolithic era. His son was called Sarruma, the mountain god.

According to Hittite myths, one of Teshub’s (Tarhunt’s) greatest acts was the slaying of the serpentine dragon Illuyanka. Myths also exist of his conflict with the sea creature (possibly a snake or serpent) Hedammu (CTH 348). It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa.

The context is a ritual of the Hattian spring festival of Puruli, held at Nerik, a Bronze Age city to the north of the Hittite capitals Hattusa and Sapinuwa, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to or influenced by the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat.

Nerik was founded by Hattic language speakers as Narak; in the Hattusa archive, tablet CTH 737 records a Hattic incantion for a festival there. Under Hattusili I, the Nesian-speaking Hittites took over Nerik. They maintained a spring festival called “Puruli” in honor of its storm god. In it, the celebrants recited the myth of the slaying of Illuyanka. Nerik disappeared from record when the Hittite kingdom fell, ca. 1200 BC.

The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub. The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu, a spring festival in ancient Mesopotamia, of the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation mythos (named after its opening words). Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.

Illuyanka is probably a compound, consisting of two words for “snake”, Proto-Indo-European *h₁illu- and *h₂eng(w)eh₂-. The same compound members, inverted, appear in Latin anguilla “eel”. The *h₁illu- word is cognate to English eel, the anka- word to Sanskrit ahi. Also this dragon is known as Illujanka and Illuyankas.

The English name “eel” descends from Old English ǽl, Common Germanic *ǣlaz. Also from the common Germanic are German Aal, Middle Dutch ael, Old High German âl, and Old Norse áll.

Eels are an order of fish which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators. The term “eel” is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eels and spiny eels, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.

The daylight passage in the spring of elvers upstream along the Thames was called “eel fare”, and the word ‘elver’ is thought to be a corruption thereof.

The myth of Illuyanka is found in Catalogue des Textes Hittites 321, which gives two consecutive versions. In the first version, the two gods fight and Illuyanka wins. Teshub then goes to the Hattian goddess Inaras for advice. Having promised her love to a mortal named Hupasiyas in return for his help, she devises a trap for the dragon. She goes to him with large quantities of food and drink, and entices him to drink his fill. Once drunk, the dragon is bound by Hupasiyas with a rope. Then the Sky God Teshub appears with the other gods and kills the dragon.

In the second version, after the two gods fight and Teshub loses, Illuyanka takes Teshub’s eyes and heart. To avenge himself upon the dragon, the Sky God Teshub marries the goddess Hebat, daughter of a mortal, named Arm. They have a son, Sarruma, who grows up and marries the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka.

The Sky God Teshub tells his son to ask for the return of Teshub’s eyes and heart as a wedding gift, and he does so. His eyes and heart restored, Teshub goes to face the dragon Illuyanka once more.

At the point of vanquishing the dragon, Sarruma finds out about the battle and realizes that he had been used for this purpose. He demands that his father take his life along with Illuyanka’s, and so Teshub kills them both with thundery rain and lightning.

This version is illustrated on a relief which was discovered at Malatya (dating from 1050-850 BC) and is on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, Turkey.

The Hittite texts were introduced in 1930 by W. Porzig, who first made the comparison of Teshub’s battle with Illuyankas with the sky-god Zeus’ battle with serpent-like Typhon, told in Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke (I.6.3). The Hittite-Greek parallels found few adherents at the time, the Hittite myth of the castration of the god of heaven by Kumarbi, with its clearer parallels to Greek myth, not having yet been deciphered and edited.

Thor in the Norse Mythology

In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar, stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning “thunder”).

Tanngrisnir (Old Norse “teeth-barer, snarler”) and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse “teeth grinder”) are the goats who pull the god Thor’s chariot in Norse mythology.

In Norse mythology, Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor. Mjölnir is depicted as one of the most fearsome weapons, capable of leveling mountains. In his account of Norse mythology Snorri Sturluson relates how the hammer was made by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr, and how its characteristically short handle was due to a mishap during its manufacture.

Jörmungandr, alternately referred to as the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent, is a sea serpent of the Norse mythology, the middle child of Loki and the giantess Angrboða.

According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki’s three children by Angrboða, Fenrisúlfr, Hel and Jörmungandr. He tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so big that he was able to surround the Earth and grasp his own tail, and as a result he earned the alternate name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When he lets go, the world will end. Jörmungandr’s arch-enemy is the god Thor.

In the poem Völuspá, a dead völva recounts the history of the universe and foretells the future to the disguised god Odin, including the death of Thor. Thor, she foretells, will do battle with the great serpent during the immense mythical war waged at Ragnarök, and there he will slay the monstrous snake, yet after he will only be able to take nine steps before succumbing to the venom of the beast.

Afterwards, says the völva, the sky will turn black before fire engulfs the world, the stars will disappear, flames will dance before the sky, steam will rise, the world will be covered in water, and then it will be raised again; green and fertile. Thor’s sons will survive, and return after these events with Thor’s hammer.

In the poem Grímnismál, the god Odin, in disguise as Grímnir, and tortured, starved and thirsty, imparts in the young Agnar cosmological lore, including that Thor resides in Þrúðheimr, and that, every day, Thor wades through the rivers Körmt and Örmt, and the two Kerlaugar. There, Grímnir says, Thor sits as judge at the immense cosmological world tree, Yggdrasil.

Anatolia

In the prologue to his Prose Edda, Snorri Sturluson euhemerises Thor as a prince of Troy, and the son of king Memnon by Troana, a daughter of Priam. Thor, also known as Tror, is said to have married the prophetess Sibyl (identified with Sif). Thor is further said here to have been raised in Thrace by a chieftain named Lorikus, whom he later slew to assume the title of “King of Thrace”, to have had hair “fairer than gold”, and to have been strong enough to lift ten bearskins.

The name of the aesir is explained as “men from Asia,” Asgard being the “Asian city” (i.e., Troy). Odin is a remote descendant of Thor, removed by twelve generations, who led an expedition across Germany, Denmark and Sweden to Norway.

Tyr and Tir

Týr is a god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tîwaz (*Tē₂waz). The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Tyr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion. It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war.

Tir is the Armenian god of literature, science and art, god of wisdom, culture, science and studies, he also was an interpreter of dreams. Tir was a messenger of the gods. He was a fortune-teller and a guide of dead persons soul.

In 21 of September is celebrated a Holiday in honor of Tir. The first day was dedicated in memory of ancestors. In this day people were glorifying ancestors. In other day people were show theatre, told about their voyages over the world. Tir’s holiday is celebrated at the beginning of September as a day of knowledge.

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The Baal Cycle

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

Baal Cycle

The Baal Cycle

In the Canaanite religion, or Levantine religion as a whole, Ēl or Il was the supreme God, the Father of humankind and all creatures and the husband of the Goddess Asherah as recorded in the clay tablets of Ugarit (modern Ra′s Shamrā, Syria).

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, in the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh in Syria dated to 2300 BC.

The bull was symbolic to Ēl and his son Baʻal Hadad, and they both wore bull horns on their headdress. He may have been a desert god at some point, as the myths say that he had two wives and built a sanctuary with them and his new children in the desert. Ēl had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, a Northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the earlier attested East Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad, Yam, the god of the sea, and Mot, personified as a god of death, each share similar attributes to the Greco-Roman Gods: Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades respectively.

The Baal Cycle is a Ugaritic cycle of stories about the Canaanite god Baal, also known as Hadad the god of rain, storm and fertility. They are written in Ugaritic, a language written in a cuneiform alphabet, on a series of clay tablets found in the 1920s in the Tell of Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra), situated on the Mediterranean coast of northern Syria, a few kilometers north of the modern city of Latakia, far ahead of the now known coast.

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The Hurrians: The Kumarbi Cycle

Posted by Fredsvenn on September 14, 2013

SUCCESSIONS Kumarbi Cycle v. Hesiods Theogany Kumarbi Both

Baal Cycle

In Hurrian mythology Teshub (Taru) was the god of sky and storm. His Hittite and Luwian name was Tarhun (with variant stem forms Tarhunt, Tarhuwant, Tarhunta), although this name is from the Hittite root *tarh- “to defeat, conquer”.

Teshub is depicted holding a triple thunderbolt and a weapon, usually an axe (often double-headed) or mace. The sacred bull common throughout Anatolia was his signature animal, represented by his horned crown or by his steeds Seri and Hurri, who drew his chariot or carried him on their backs.

The Hurrian myth of Teshub’s origin – he was conceived when the god Kumarbi, is the chief god of the Hurrians, bit off and swallowed his father Anu’s genitals, as such it most likely shares a Proto-Indo-European cognate with the Greek story of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus, which is recounted in Hesiod’s Theogony.

Kumarbi is the son of Anu (the sky), and father of the storm-god Teshub. He was identified by the Hurrians with Sumerian Enlil, and by the Ugaritians with El.

Kumarbi is known from a number of mythological Hittite texts, sometimes summarized under the term “Kumarbi Cycle”. The Song of Kumarbi or The Kingship in Heaven is the title given to a Hittite version of the Hurrian Kumarbi myth, dating to the 14th or 13th century BC. It is preserved in three tablets, but only a small fraction of the text is legible.

The song relates that Alalu was overthrown by Anu who was in turn overthrown by Kumarbi. When Anu tried to escape, Kumarbi bit off his genitals and spat out three new gods. In the text Anu tells his son that he is now pregnant with the Teshub, Tigris, and Tašmišu. Upon hearing this Kumarbi spit the semen upon the ground and it became impregnated with two children. Kumarbi is cut open to deliver Tešub. Together, Anu and Teshub depose Kumarbi.

In another version of the Kingship in Heaven, the three gods, Alalu, Anu, and Kumarbi, rule heaven, each serving the one who precedes him in the nine-year reign. It is Kumarbi’s son Tešub, the Weather-God, who begins to conspire to overthrow his father.

From the first publication of the Kingship in Heaven tablets scholars have pointed out the similarities between the Hurrian creation myth and the story from Greek mythology of Uranus, Cronus, and Zeus.

 

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