"The theory of invasion is an invention. This invention is necessary because of a gratuitous assumption that the Indo-Germanic people are the purest of the modern representation of the original Aryan race. The theory is a perversion of scientific investigation. It is not allowed to evolve out of facts. On the contrary, the theory is preconceived and facts are selected to prove it. It falls to the ground at every point." â Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Invasionism is the theory that all cultural changes in past societies are the result of outside influences, particularly, the influx of foreign ideas and people through migration and external conquest. Late 19th and early 20th century thinking assumed that an archeological complex was the equivalent of a culture and that a culture was the product of a specific people, even a specific race. The concept of a specific people carried with it the presumption that they had a specific language. There was more than a tacit assumption that all artifacts of a specific culture were produced by speakers of a common language and that all speakers of that common language produced artifacts from a specific culture. It therefore followed that the common language must have evolved in the area surrounding the archeological complex, which was designated as the heartland of that specific people or race. Later evidence of its presence in regions beyond the boundaries of the original area was interpreted as the result of the invasion of those regions by people from the heartland.
The idea of a common or proto language may have originally come from the biblical story of the tower of Babel, but evidence to support the conjecture came in 1647 from Marcus Zuerius van Boxhorn, a Dutch scholar and professor at the University of Leiden, who was the first to recognize the existence of the family of languages that are now called Indo-European. Noticing the similarity among Dutch, Greek, Latin, Persian, and German, he proposed the existence of a primitive common language, which he named 'Scythian' after the area north of the Black and Caspian seas known historically as Scythia. Later, Boxhorn's friend, Claudius Salmasius, added Sanskrit to this list, proposing an Indo-Scythian linguistic connection on the basis of a noted similarity between modern Persian and Indian words recorded in the fragments of the Indica, a lost work by the Greek historian and physician, Ctesias of Cnidus, who accompanied the expedition of Artaxerxes Mnemon against Cyrus the Younger in 401 BCE.
It was not until 1786 that the first evidence of the Indo-European language family was offered in The Sanskrit Language by Sir William Jones, a noted philologist who demonstrated that Greek, Latin and Sanskrit had a common root, and, further, that they might also be related to an extinct East German language called Gothic, to Persian and to the Gaelic and Brythonic Celtic languages. This was also the first important use of the technique of comparative philology, now called comparative linguistics, which is concerned with comparing languages in order to establish their historical relatedness. By the 19th century, comparison of these and other ancient languages revealed strong similarities with such seemingly unlikely languages as Sanskrit and Lithuanian and appeared to confirm the hypothesis that most European, western and southern Asian languages had a common origin.
Between 1818 and 1822, Rasmus Christian Rask and Jacob Grimm (one of the Brothers Grimm) formulated Rask's-Grimm's rule which first described one of the transitionary steps from proto-Indo-European to proto-Germanic and later concluded that, since all Indo-European languages had a common origin, so too did the Indo-European people. The proto-language, they proposed, was spoken by a proto-race, a single people originating from a single location, a homeland, or Urheimat. They then needed to establish where this homeland was.
In 1806, Ãber die Sprache und Weisheit der Inder (On the Language and Wisdom of the Indians), Friedrich Schlegel's essay on German descent from India, had followed traditional Christian beliefs that cultural and racial differences arose following the dispersal of humanity after the loss of a common language, i.e., the Tower of Babel dispersal episode. The viewpoint thus expressed had its roots in the Napoleonic occupation, when German patriots used language as a symbol of national unity, composing a series of narratives "drawn from cultural memory" that traced the origins of the German people back to a sacred homeland and a primal language. According to this propaganda, Proto-Germanic speakers were the chosen people whose destiny was to recreate the lost knowledge of humanity and restore them to the Golden Age from which they had been exiled...
The Aryan Invasion
The Aryan Invasion theory was first propounded during the British colonial era, when the linguistic similarity between Sanskrit and the major European languages was at last fully acknowledged. This was an era dominated by the belief that modern civilization was the exclusive invention of western European peoples. While it was true that this pinacle of human achievement had spread outward over time to other peoples, most were incapable of recognizing its advantages and achieving their own full potential without guidance. It was inevitable that any explanation of a common origin would appear inexplicable to those with this mindset unless that common origin could somehow be used to prove the natural superiority of the western Europeans.
In 1830, Christian Lassen, a German Indologist, used the discovery of Harappa in the Indus Valley to resolve the conundrum of how a black Indian race could conceive a superior culture and concluded that Indo-Germanic speakers belonging to a dominant white race called Aryans had migrated into India from the northwest, subduing the black natives. He explained the success of Aryan territorial conquest as "a result of the mental dexterity fostered by the linguistic structures of Indo-Germanic languages and of the physical characteristics of their speakers."
The ruins of Harappa were discovered by Charles Masson, a deserter from the East India Company's Bengal Artillery, when he stumbled across them in 1827. Indologists quickly accepted the discovery as proof that a nomadic tribe from the Eurasian Steppes had invaded India. Using Biblical chronology and Vedic literature, this Aryan Invasion was dated between 1500 and 1000 BCE. These 19th century scholars had initially addressed the question of the original homeland of the Indo-Europeans based almost exclusively on linguistic evidence; British imperialism and German nationalism tainted this early research when their scholars accepted the premise that the spread of the Proto-Indo-European language was due to widespread invasions by a superior white race.
The Indo-European Expansion
According to Marija Gimbutas, Kurgan culture came into existence in the first half of the 5th millennium BCE when, by means of domesticated horse, horseback-riding, and wheeled transport, pastoral people overwhelmed the peoples of the Russian steppe north of the Caucasus and reached the borders of indigenous Europe in the Dnieper basin. Kurgan theory does not depict a thousand-year-old homeland, but recounts a specific situation created by social and economic conditions, especially a hierarchical/patriarchal social structure and horse domestication. From the mid-5th millennium onward, the pastoral people of South Russia came into close contact with Old Europe, and from around 4300 BCE these pastoralists started a westward push that eventually caused the great civilization of indigenous Europe to disintegrate.
Following this scenario, the Indo-European language arrived in east central Europe between 6000 and 5500 years ago with the migration of the Kurgan culture peoples from the Pontic Steppes. These original Indo-European speakers formed a loose network of nomadic tribes consisting of equestrian herdsmen and raiders who invaded many areas of the Eurasian steppes and left behind burial mounds called kurgans, high barrows heaped over chamber-tombs of larch-wood.
Using the mixed disciplines of archaeomythology â archaeology, mythology, linguistics and history, Gimbutas posited the spread of Indo-European languages and customs across Europe as this patriarchic warrior society superimposed itself on the indigenous European culture. The Indo-Europeans, according to Gimbutas, replaced the highly artistic, goddess-worshiping, matrilinear society of the indigenes living peacefully in their Neolithic villages with the hierarchical, patriarchal social structure formed by horseback-riding pastoralists adept in warfare, weaponry and bronze metallurgy who worshiped sky gods and used solar symbolism.
According to the Indo-European Expansion theory, successive waves of barbaric nomads assailed the European continent for almost 4000 years (The Aryan Invasion of the Indian Sub-continent occurred midway in this period). Overthrowing established and more advanced civilizations and imposing their language and customs on peaceful realms from the Black Sea to the Baltic, from the Indian subcontinent to the European Atlantic FaÃ§ade, these nomadic warriors tamed the horse, invented the chariot and ushered in, first, the bronze, then the iron age, as they swept across Europe and India.
Continuity and Discontinuity
The European concept of an Aryan race was born at the beginning of the 19th century when the name Aryan was applied to the most ancient known language of the Indo-Europeans. The European concept of an Aryan race was formed from Johann Gottfried Herder's theory that language is the basis of the character and cultural genius of a nation and on "folk" tales designed to establish a German national idenity after the Napoleanic subjugation of the German states. British imperalism during the occupation of India added to the racial connotations attached to the name, bolstered by the contentions of linguists and ethnologists that all who spoke the Proto-Indo-European language belonged to a distinctive white race and the Aryan people, whose language was the most ancient, were most like these ancient progenitors â and, therefore, most racially pure.
Gustav Kossinna, a linguist and professor of German archaeology at the University of Berlin, one of the most influential German prehistorians of his day, brought this racist doctrine forward into the 20th century when he introduced the idea that the ancient Germans were the Aryans and therefore superior to all other peoples. Many of his ideas formed the foundation of Nazi ideology.
It was not until the second half of the 20th century, that Professor Lord Colin Renfrew, a noted English archaeologist, began to question the role the political and social imperatives of the 19th century played in shaping the racial bias behind the Indo-European invasion and expansion theories which inspired Gustav Kossinna's racist ideas and influenced the doctrine of the Nazi Party.
He also pointed out the circular logic in the interdisciplinary relationship between archaeology and linguistics that supported this bias. Archaeologists had interpreted data on the proposed spread of Indo-European peoples based on the assumptions made by linguists who had then used the interpretation of Indo-European prehistory by archaeologists to make further assumptions... The whole field of Indo-European studies was built on arguments developed in just this manner during the late 19th and early 20th century and needed to be re-assessed.
The first area to be reevaluated, he felt, should be the role pastoralism had been assigned. Contrary to the 19th century view, pastoralism was not an intermediate stage between hunting-gathering and agriculture, but a marginal industry developed by and wholly dependant on agriculture. Despite a nomadic lifestyle, pastoralism did not support large-scale migration or invasion but was a local development supported primarily by a farming economy. Applying 20th century archaeological techniques, it soon became obvious that no large-scale movement of peoples had interrupted these social and economic processes. And, without the movement of substantial numbers of people speaking various Indo-European tongues, there was no mechanism to support the replacement of indigenous languages.
Seeking a substitute for the now suspect Indo-European Invasion theories, Renfrew developed his Neolithic Discontinuity theory, postulating that the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who lived over 2,000 years before the Kurgan culture developed, had migrated from Anatolia into the lands around the Mediterranean, into Northern Europe and, later, into the Indian subcontinent; colonization by peaceful Neolithic farmers replaced invasion by warlike nomadic herdsmen. Unfortunately, the same problems that apply to the Invasion theories apply to the Discontinuity theory. Archaeology finds no trace of the discontinuity, no parallel discontinuities in modern industrial and cultural revolutions and no sign of the disappearance of vast populations with their advanced cultures and languages.
Most European Neolithic cultures were a continuation of earlier Mesolithic cultures. Even the areas where archaeological evidence exists indicating migrations, acculturation proceeded rapidly and there was no real discontinuity between Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures. The only areas with divergent linguistic elements that are not Indo-European are in Southern Europe. In Italy and Greece especially, the Middle Eastern influence is exactly opposite what could be expected if the Middle Eastern farmers who introduced Neolithic technology into that area were Proto-Indo-European speakers.
It is even more difficult to define a timeline for the introduction of Indo-European in that area known as the Atlantic FaÃ§ade, the North and West of Europe occupied by the Celtic and Germanic peoples. The Neolithic Discontinuity theory places their arrival long after the beginning of the Neolithic cultures, yet, archaeologists have found no trace whatsoever of discontinuity: The Celtic and Germanic presence has existed in this area since the Palaeolithic. As Alinei states, "It is preposterous to think that the farmers of the LBK, who were, according to the Discontinuity theory, Proto-Germanic, would be motivated to spread northward to Scandinavia and to Norway, would adopt the Mesolithic fishing tools and deep-sea fishing techniques and habits of the rich Mesolithic specialized fishing cultures of that area, without adopting, however, any part of their fishing terminology, and especially without adopting any of their place names: the whole Scandinavian toponymy is either Germanic or Uralic!
"Obviously, the convergence between the continuity of Northern peoples, fishing cultures and technologies, and the Germanic or Uralic character of terminologies and place names point to continuity of language, just as it does in the Uralic area."
There is absolutely no trace of a gigantic warlike invasion which would have forced a replacement of indigenous languages across the entire continent. And any analysis of Proto-Indo-European terminology rules out the Indo-Europeans as the inventors of farming. The Indo-European people in Europe and Asia, given the very lengthy expanse of time for the differentiation of the various languages, are now thought to have appeared in one of several successive waves of people (the Euskara and Uralic speakers were two others) during the period of the original migrations out of Africa.
In the first installment of this series, which discussed the myth of Darwin's Evolutionary replacement theory popularly known as the survival of the fittest, we found that two characteristics were unique to the Cro-Magnon population of the European Atlantic FaÃ§ade; the Ile-65 allele polymorphism which probably disappeared elsewhere before the emergence of anatomically modern humans and the microcephalin D allele which was introduced into the Cro-Magnon genome from an alien/archaic population after 1.1 to 1.7 million years of segregation, nearly the entire lifespan of all hominins from Homo erectus forward. We can now add a third, the Y-DNA genetic markers, collectively known as the Atlantic Modal Haplotype, that identify the Basque, Insular Celts, Scandinavians, Finns and Sami as indigenous to the European Atlantic FaÃ§ade.
127,000 years ago, during the Eemian interglacial, temperate forests of alder, hazel, hornbeam, oak and yew extended as far north as the Arctic Circle; the northern hemisphere winters were generally warmer and wetter than at present, with temperatures ranging from 1.4 to 50Â° F; sea levels were 16-26 feet higher and Greenland was almost completely free of ice. The distribution of ancient marine deposits indicates that Scandinavia was an island, cut off from Europe by an extended Baltic seaway and the inundation of vast areas of northern Europe and the West Siberian Plain. The depression of the land at this stage was probably due to exceptionally rapid deglaciation, which left insufficient time for upwards isostatic rebound to occur after the ice melted.
It was around this time that people began migrating out of the south, just as people had been doing for almost two million years; when the ice sheets advanced, the people followed the familiar routes southward to the biotic refugia on the peninsulas of Iberia and Italy, to the Balkans, Greece and much of Anatolia, but, when the ice receded, they once again turned to the north, for the north was their homeland. Homo erectus, the very first of their ancestors, the transitional species whose offspring would become Homo sapiens, was born in the north so it was to the north the hominins returned with every retreat of the ice.
Most followed the ancient land routes, but others took to the open waters - Neandertalensis, for instance, had utilized the inland waters for over 500,000 years. Homo Sapiens sapiens, the youngest of the several species, also had members who adapted to life on or near the water. Their diet reflected this adaptation, as did their preference for the shores, islands and littoral plains skirting the continents. These were areas not favored by the older species and it is even possible that these new folk became semi-aquatic by necessity. Using vessels made of logs and reeds and leather, these earliest boat people followed the shores of the swollen sea until they reached the great islands now called Greenland and Scandinavia at the top of the world.
Although humans were smart enough to devise rafts to cross bodies of water they are not by nature water-creatures; thus the evolution of a part of humanity into a life using boats could not have occurred spontaneously just anywhere. It had to have occurred in a place and at a time where there was no other alternative, where survival depended on it. Through trial and error, those hominins who devised the best ways of dealing with the watery environment were the ones who produced the largest populations and flourished. The middle and late Eemian Interglacial was a period of extreme flooding along the rivers and coasts of all the continents, factors that may have contributed to the migration out of Africa. Cro-Magnons, already pushed to the margins of the land, were caught between the dominant, older species and the rising water; with few options available, they took to the sea.