Re: Indo-European Studies

R. Wallace (
10 Jul 1995 14:17:46 GMT

I think it would perhaps help us all to follow this thread if we were to
realise that Mr Verma's postings are statements which reflect (no doubt
sincere) religious belief rather than contributions to what most of us
recognise as archaeology.

Virendra Verma ( wrote:

: In article <>, (Gerold Firl) writes...
: >
: >Surely you are aware that the vedas are written in sanskrit? And that
: >sanskrit is an IE language?

: This logic is based on false premise. Sanskrit is much older than
: any languages of Europe. In fact, Europe is only 6000 years old
: and Sanskrit is much older than that. Rig veda is supposed to be
: composed around 6500 BC!!!!

These are strange statements. Europe is a bit older than 6,000 years! It has
even been inhabited for much longer than that. Certainly Sanscrit may well
have been written down much earlier than any European language, but
languages exist in a spoken form long before they are recorded in writing,
and I know of no evidence to suggest that people were *speaking* in the
Indian subcontinent before any part of Europe. I thought the usual view was
that the Rigveda came from some time in the second millenium BC, but of
course I could be wrong. We must also remember that works of this kind may
have been composed long before they were written down.

: Some European languages may have been derived from Sanskrit, but
: the origin of Sanskrit lies in India.

Well, perhaps; that is one possibility. The Indo-European hypothesis is of
course designed to explain the apparent fact that languages spoken from
Ireland to India appear to belong to the same family. There are many ways of
accounting for this. The crudest is to hypothesise the migration of a single
group from one particular centre, but there are many ways in which a
language can spread. One would be inclined to look for 'origins' (if we can
use that word) of the family of languages somewhere in the central region of
its present spread, at least as a first thought, but any hypothesis needs to
be supported by evidence, rather than simply asserted.

: >If aryans (i.e., indo-europeans) did not
: >physically move into india ("invade"), then where did the language come
: >from?

: This argument is stupid. Where do you find Sanskrit so nicely
: preserved other than India? The west discovered Sanskrit
: only in the 18th century.

This reply is incomprehensible. Sanskrit is one of the oldest recorded
Indo-European languages; Hittite is another (again, 2nd millenium BC). There
is no particular evidence to suggest that either is *the* original
Indo-European language, even supposing such a thing ever existed. And
presumably everywhere else in the world illiterate people were
communicating with one another, and there is no reason to believe that some
of them
were not speaking in Indo-European languages

: >Where the customs? The religion?

: Don't tell me that European culture is Vedic.

It depends on your definitions, but I do agree that in arguing for some kind
of common Indo-European culture we are an much more dodgy ground.

: > In pre-television days it was
: >difficult to transmit culture over long distances without the people moving
: >along with it.

: So Europe is the center of all civilizations? The tone sounds similar
: to what Max Muller and Hitler were propagating earlier in this
: century.

This is an astonishing non-sequitur. Mad racial theories arise when you
start arguing for an Indo-European racial group, as opposed to a family of
languages. So what? But I don't think that anyone (apart from recognised
loonies) now argues for a European source of Indo-European.

: >The vedas were written by the descendants of the barbarian
: >IE invaders who entered india through the passes northwest of the indus
: >valley, and who travelled from kashmir down the ganges valley. If you have
: >an alternative explanation, lets hear it.

: Get a life! I don't have patience to reply.

Or to engage in rational argument, apparently. Of course, in some sense we
are all descended from barbarians at some stage or other!

Richard Wallace