The Indo-Iranians are commonly identified with the
Andronovo culture, Vedic civilization, Iranian Culture and their homeland with an area of the Eurasian steppethat borders the Ural Riveron the west, the Tian Shanon the east (where the Indo-Iranians took over the area occupied by the earlier Afanasevo culture), and Transoxianaand the Hindu Kushon the south. Historical linguists broadly estimate that a continuum of Indo-Iranian languages probably began to diverge by 2000 BC, if not earlier,Harvcolnb|Mallory|1989] rp|38–39 preceding both the Vedic and Iranian cultures. The earliest recorded forms of these languages, Vedic Sanskritand Gathic Avestan, are remarkably similar, descended from the common Proto-Indo-Iranian language. The origin and earliest relationship between the Nuristani languagesand that of the Iranian and Indicgroups is unrecoverably obscure.
Two-wave models of Indo-Iranian expansion have been proposed by Harvcoltxt|Burrow|1973 and Harvtxt|Parpola|1999.
The Indo-Iranians and their expansion are strongly associated with the
chariot. It is assumed that this expansion went into the Caucasus, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia. They also expanded into Mesopotamiaand Syriaand introduced the horse and chariot culture to this part of the world. Sumeriantexts from EDIIIb Ngirsu(2500-2350 BC) already mention the 'chariot' (gigir) and Ur IIItexts (2150-2000 BC) mention the horse (anshe-zi-zi).
They left linguistic remains in a Hittite horse-training manual written by one "Kikkuli the Mitannian". Other evidence is found in references to the names of
Mitannirulers and the gods they swore by in treaties; these remains are found in the archives of the Mitanni's neighbors. The time period for this is about 1500 BC.Harvcolnb|Mallory|Mair|2000] rp|257
The standard model for the entry of the Indo-European languages into South Asia is that this first wave went over the Hindu Kush, either into the headwaters of the Indus and later the
Ganges. The earliest stratum of Vedic Sanskrit, preserved only in the Rigveda, is assigned to roughly 1500 BC. [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9063686 Rigveda - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] Harvcolnb|Mallory|Mair|2000] rp|258 From the Indus, the Indo-Aryan languagesspread from c. 1500 BCto c. 500 BC, over the northern and central parts of the subcontinent, sparing the extreme south. The Indo-Aryansin these areas established several powerful kingdoms and principalities in the region, from eastern Afghanistanto the doorstep of Bengal. The most powerful of these kingdoms were the post-Rigvedic Kuru (in Kurukshetra and the Delhi area) and their allies the Pañcālas further east, as well as Gandharaand later on, about the time of the Buddha, the kingdom of Kosalaand the quickly expanding realm of Magadha. The latter lasted until the 4th century BC, when it was conquered by Chandragupta Mauryaand formed the center of the Mauryan empire.
Afghanistanand southwestern Pakistan, whatever Indo-Aryan languageswere spoken there were eventually pushed out by the Iranian languages, such as that of the Avesta-like Kamboja. Most Indo-Aryan languages, however, were and still are prominent in the rest of the Indian subcontinent. Today, Indo-Aryan languages are spoken in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lankaand the Maldives.
The Second Wave is interpreted as the Iranian wave.Harvcolnb|Mallory|1989] rp|42–43 The Iranians would take over all of Central Asia, Iran, and for a considerable period, dominate the European steppe (the modern
Ukraine) and intrude north into Russia and west into central and eastern Europe well into historic times and as late as the Common Era.
The first Iranians to reach the
Black Seamay have been the Cimmeriansin the 8th century BC, although their linguistic affiliation is uncertain. They were followed by the Scythians, who are considered a western branch of the Central Asian Sakas. Sarmatian tribes, of whom the best known are the Roxolani(Rhoxolani), Iazyges(Jazyges) and the Alani(Alans), followed the Scythians westwards into Europe in the late centuries BCE and the first and second centuries of the Common Era (The Age of Migrations). The populous Sarmatian tribe of the Massagetae, dwelling near the Caspian Sea, were known to the early rulers of Persia in the Achaemenid Period. In the east, the Saka occupied several areas in Xinjiang, from Khotan to Tumshuq.
Medes, Parthiansand Persiansbegin to appear on the Persian plateaufrom ca. 800 BC, and the Achaemenids replaced Elamiterule from 559 BC. Around the first millennium of the Common Era(AD), the Iranian Pashtunsand Balochbegan to settle on the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau, on the mountainous frontier of northwestern Pakistanin what is now the North-West Frontier Provinceand Balochistan, displacing the earlier Indo-Aryansfrom the area.
In Central Asia, the
Turkic languagesand culture have replaced Iranian, but a substantial minority remains in Uzbekistanand Turkmenistanas well as in south western Xinjiang (Sariqoli). Otherwise, the Iranian languages are now confined to Iran, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkeyand the Caucasus(Ossete).
Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian expansion include:
Poltavka culture(2700-2100 BC)
Andronovohorizon (2200-1000 BC)
***Sintashta-Petrovka-Arkaim (2200-1600 BC),
***Alakul (2100-1400 BC)
***Fedorovo (1400-1200 BC)
***Alekseyevka (1200-1000 BC)
Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex(2200-1700 BC)
Srubna culture(2000-1100 BC)
Abashevo culture(1700-1500 BC)
Yaz culture(1500-1100 BC)
Painted Gray Ware culture(1100-350 BC)
Early West Iranian Grey Ware(1500-1000 BC)
Late West Iranian Buff Ware(900-700 BC)
Swat culture(1600-500 BC)
Cemetery H culture(1900-1300 BC)Harvtxt|Parpola|1999 suggests the following identifications:
Indo-European languagespoken by the Indo-Iranians in the late 3rd millennium BCwas a Satem languagestill not removed very far from the Proto-Indo-European language, and in turn only removed by a few centuries from the Vedic Sanskritof the Rigveda. The main phonological change separating Proto-Indo-Iranian from Proto-Indo-European is the collapse of the ablauting vowels "*e, *o, *a" into a single vowel, Proto-Indo-Iranian "*a" (but see Brugmann's law). Grassmann's lawand Bartholomae's lawwere also complete in Proto-Indo-Iranian, as well as the loss of the labiovelars (kw, etc.) to k, and the Eastern Indo-European (Satem) shift from palatized k' to ć, as in Proto-Indo-European *k'ṃto- > Indo-Iran. *ćata- > Sanskrit śata-, Old Iran. sata "100".
*Jones-Bley, K.; Zdanovich, D. G. (eds.), "Complex Societies of Central Eurasia from the 3rd to the 1st Millennium BC", 2 vols, JIES Monograph Series Nos. 45, 46, Washington D.C. (2002), ISBN 0-941694-83-6, ISBN 0-941694-86-0.
* Citation | last = Mallory | first = J. P. | author-link = J. P. Mallory | last2 = Adams | first2 = Douglas Q. | author2-link = | contribution = Indo-Iranian Languages | title =
Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture| publisher = Fitzroy Dearborn | publication-date = 1997.
* [http://www.arizonapersian.com/iran/_disc4/00000759.htm The Origin of the Pre-Imperial Iranian Peoples] by Oric Basirov (2001)
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