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Ancient Indian History
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Did Porus actually surrender?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Western Historian says he did, but Indian accounts say otherwise.
It will take some time to make this issue clear like Aryan Invasion or tourism theory. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Sep 22 2006, 10:59 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Sep 22 2006, 10:59 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Did Porus actually surrender?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Western Historian says he did, but Indian accounts say otherwise.
It will take some time to make this issue clear like Aryan Invasion or tourism theory. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->

The most ridiculous excuse ever being heard in history is that a powerful succesful army, defeating opponents from Macedonia to the Indus, feels home sick and revolt against their leader without having lost any battle.
The morale of an army drops to a low point after a severe battle with a win or defeat at a heavy cost, with still more heavily opposing armies awaiting.

The lesson Alexander learned, before them the Achaemenids, afterwards the Muslims and British, is that Indian armies fight back from all layers of the society, men and in many cases women too. Alexander like the Muslims had overrun the areas upto Indian territories, but from there on troubles never ceased. Seleukos I Nikator would soon find out the Indian mentality to oppose foreigners.
see what Plutarch has to say:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <i>62 As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India.101 2For having had p401all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was •thirty-two furlongs, its depth •a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. 3For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants. 4And there was no boasting in these reports. For Androcottus, who reigned there not long afterwards, made a present to Seleucus of five hundred elephants, and with an army of six hundred thousand men overran and subdued all India. </i>http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Alexander*/9.html <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
NOTE: notice the remark about the small figure of Poros'army! Alexander's army must have been not much different or larger, as he had the recruits from Omphis Taxiles. The army sizes are another factor to be determined more exactly.

Most western historians are eager to glorify Alexander, and try to minimalize his war crimes, genocides, most clearly committed on Indian soil. For a more balanced western view point see: http://www.dragonrest.net/histories/alexander.html
He is still much hated in the histories of former Persian areas. He is rather non-existent in Indian texts, that much of his epithet "the Great". Chengiz Khan was even more "great, but he isn't remembered with that epithet, as an Asian. Hitler's army was militarily seen brilliant and modern. The German military marked the beginning of modern warfare. But does history mark Hitler as "the Great"? Or does history stress the German military achievement or glorify warfare (except the military academia)?

The even more idiotic explanation of Alexander by the historians is that he retreated back to the west through one of the most deadly deserts only to punish the revolters. Why then did he split his army in two?
The simple question is, why Alexander didn't retreat through already conquered, and thus safer, areas from the NW to the Persian capital?
The true answer is as simple as the question, but do the historians like it: Alexander was hated by the Indian and "Iranoid/Iranized" Indian Avagana=farther away Janas, and his army would certainly be confronted again by their fierce armies. An opton he would rather try to avoid.
Thus in order to retreat back to the safer centre in Persia of his conquered areas in order to maintain his fresh dominance over these areas, he did split his army in two. One of these at least should reach safer areas and hopefully both.

The Greek and Roman classical accounts about Alexander's failed Indian expedition are on closer examination not anonymous about certain crucial points. The most "reliable"account is the one of (the former military and later politician) Arrian, as that one glorifies Alexander most, from a classical=western point of view.
Remember that the classical accounts are written down several centuries later on, from accounts of the commanders, etc. who would never admit any defeat in order not to reveal the failed expedition and also not to stimulate revolts in the conquered areas.

That the Macedonian army didn't know the existence of war elephants before they met Poros, is another veil most western historians are putting to the truth. He was confronted with these elephants when he was opposed by Indian armies on the other side of the Indus. (if I am not wrong, but I have to check this, he even saw the first limited use in Persia, possibly a Gandharan section). He even had his own elephant section under command of Crateros. Animals he had taken from defeated armies and been given by a friendly one in the Apara and Purva Gandhara areas respectively.
see: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/luke/ueda-sarson/Al-Ele.html

The crucial question is, did he defeat Poros? He may have defeated one Poros, his son who was killed, but is that defeat certain? Did he defeat the father? He certainly didn't defeat another Poros from an adjoing area.
What was the month of the Hydaspes Battle, were there one or two battles. Was there heavy rain, how then did the elephant sections crush the soldiers, etc.
See what Plutarch has to say:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><i>3Then, on a dark and stormy night, he took a part of his infantry and the best of his horsemen, and after proceeding along the river to a distance from where the enemy lay, crossed over to a small island. 4Here rain fell in torrents, and many tornadoes and thunder-bolts dashed down upon his men; but nevertheless, although he saw that many of them were being burned to death by the thunder-bolts, he set out from the islet and made for the opposite banks. 5But the Hydaspes, made violent by the storm and dashing high against its bank, made a great breach in it, and a large part of the stream was setting in that direction; and the shore between the two currents gave his men no sure footing, since it was broken and slippery. </i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

NOTE the Macedonians crossed the Hydaspes (Vitasta) or Jhelam under the most difficult circumstances. How well-equipped can such an army be? Remember that we are amidst heavy rains and storms when Plutarch goes on to describe the battle:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><i>8For after routing a thousand of the enemy's horsemen and sixty of their chariots which engaged him, he captured all the chariots, and slew four hundred of the horsemen. 9And now Porus, thus led to believe that Alexander himself had crossed the river, advanced upon him with all his forces, except the part he left behind to impede the crossing of the remaining Macedonians. 10But Alexander, fearing the elephants and the great numbers of the enemy, himself assaulted their left wing, and ordered Coenus to attack their right. 11Both wings having been routed, the vanquished troops retired in every case upon the elephants in the centre, and were there crowded together with them, and from this point on the battle was waged at close quarters, and it was not until the eighth hour that the enemy gave up. Such then, is the account of the battle which the victor himself has given in his letters. </i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
NOTE: how is it possible to use effectively war chariots and elephants in a territory drained by heavy rains?
Notice also that the battle went on for 8 hours, as per Plutarch.

Alexander is said to have reached the Hypasis (Vipash) or Beas. But Plutarch only refers to the Malli who nearly killed Alexander. Did Alexander really reach the Hyphasis, sounding somewhat like Hydaspes, or is there some (con)fusion with the expedition of Seleukos I Nikator against the Kathaioi and Malloi before being defeated by Sandrocottos later on?
How reliable are classical or any accounts about the defeats of the armies of their heroes? What is the extent of (con)fusions of different accounts from different periods put together for one historical person? Why do western historians stress about the historical Shri KrShNa that he was more than one "mythical" personality, but show instant amnesia when European (liked) characters are being described?

In short, I wouldn't accept uncritically the western historical standard accounts.
See one clear instance of viewing the biased classical accounts with some suspicion:
The Astronomical Diary: <i>“The most intriguing information from the Astronomical diary, however, is related to the battle of Gaugamela, which was fought on 1 October 331. It suggests that the Persian soldiers were demoralized and states that they left their king and fled during the battle (text). This is exactly the opposite of what we read in the four tertiary sources, Diodorus, Curtius Rufus, Plutarch and Arrian: they write that Darius left his soldiers.”
The official account of the battle was written by Callisthenes of Olynthus and as we will see, the stories of Diodorus, Curtius Rufus, Plutarch and Arrian are derived from this account. Modern reconstructions of the battle of Gaugamela that ignore the Astronomical diary are therefore nothing but reconstructions of what the Macedonians thought that had happened, and not of the battle itself.”</i>
Alexander and biographies
from: http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexander/al...r_z1a.html
Scheme newly ordered and presented by Ishwa

All the classical authors lived more than three centuries after the events they described, but they used older, nearly contemporary sources, that are now lost.
The sources are contained in a “Vulgate” Tradition, based upon Cleitarchus as secondary and Diodorus Siculus (1st century BCE) and Curtius Rufus (1sr century CE) as tertiary sources, and a “Good”Tradition, based upon Ptolemy as a primary and Arrian (2nd century CE) and as secondary source.

Cleitarchus' work is often called 'the vulgate' (Diodorus and Curtius Rufus being 'the vulgate tradition'). It is indeed a popular story: its contains romantic details, a convincing (but incorrect) psychological portrait, fantastic stories. It is certainly not a bad source, but modern historians prefer the account of Arrian, which is based on terse primary sources like Ptolemy. These are called the 'good' tradition.
Cleitarchus', who had presented the Macedonian king as a young prince who had been corrupted by his constant success. Arrian (he was in the Roman army too and in the senate and personal friend of the emperor), on the other hand, admires Alexander, although he is too much a philosopher to be completely uncritical. Sometimes, he condemns aspects of the conqueror's behavior, but as a whole, he is positive about Alexander's achievements.

NOTE Ishwa: As the eyewitness authors of the primary sources are all connected with Alexander, they would be rather diplomatic about (military) embarrassments, atrocities, losses and defeats, blunders, critique on their leader, etc.
Cleitarchus would be not suffering from this feature, which is certainly reflected in his Tradition.

Older Sources:
1. Astronomical Diary (not lost)
2. Callisthenes of Olynthus (lost): Alexander’s court historian
3. a. Onesicritus of Astypalaea (lost): Alexander's helmsman
b. Nearchus (lost): Alexander's fleet commander
c. Ptolemy (lost): Alexander’s commander
d. Aristobulus (lost): official in campaigns of Alexander
e. Cleitarchus (lost): not an eyewitness, independant

1. The Astronomical Diary, which is the only contemporary source. “The most intriguing information from the Astronomical diary, however, is related to the battle of Gaugamela, which was fought on 1 October 331. It suggests that the Persian soldiers were demoralized and states that they left their king and fled during the battle (text). This is exactly the opposite of what we read in the four tertiary sources, Diodorus, Curtius Rufus, Plutarch and Arrian: they write that Darius left his soldiers.”
The official account of the battle was written by Callisthenes of Olynthus and as we will see, the stories of Diodorus, Curtius Rufus, Plutarch and Arrian are derived from this account. Modern reconstructions of the battle of Gaugamela that ignore the Astronomical diary are therefore nothing but reconstructions of what the Macedonians thought that had happened, and not of the battle itself.”
NOTE Ishwa: This information on one incident already betrays the tampering, whether deliberate or not, of information by the classical writers.

I. The “Vulgate” Tradition
A. Cleitarchus (book lost). He was not an eyewitness, thus this is a secondary source. This author was in Babylon when Alexander received an embassy from Rome; it may be true. The History of Alexander was finished between 310 and 301 BCE. The author of this secondary source had, written a fine history that focused on Alexander's presumed psychological development - from a brilliant young conqueror to a paranoid despot.”
His main source may have been the work of Alexander's court historian Callisthenes of Olynthus (to be discussed below). However, this work only covered the period until 329, and Cleitarchus added information from other sources; among these were the memoirs of Onesicritus of Astypalaea and Nearchus, Alexander's helmsman and his fleet commander. Another source of information was available in Alexandria: there were many Macedonian and Greek veterans living in this city, and they must have told Cleitarchus about their adventures. Perhaps Cleitarchus had already to make notes in Babylon.
His book was -if popularity is an indicator- the most entertaining history of Alexander's conquests. It offered many vivid descriptions and eyewitness accounts, usually from a soldier's point of view. We know these stories from Diodorus' Library of world history and the History of Alexander the Great of Macedonia by Curtius Rufus, because Cleitarchus' own book is now lost. However, Diodorus and Curtius Rufus retell the stories often in almost identical words, which gives us a good idea of the History of Alexander.
Summing up, we can say that Cleitarchus' work combined vivid descriptions, eyewitness accountants and a dark psychological portrait of Alexander. He also delights in fantastic tales and he sometimes sacrificed historical reliability to keep the story entertaining and to stress the psychological development.

B.1. Diodorus Siculus (65/60 and 35/30 BCE) wrote the Library of world history, of which Book 17 contain the exploits of Alexander.
Diodorus has an account of the destruction of Persepolis
B2. Quintus Curtius Rufus (between 31 and 41 CE) is the only Roman writer whose work, the History of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, has survived.
“It has Cleitarchus as its source. He has read other sources (Ptolemy, Aristobulus) and sometimes corrects his model.
Curtius gives a description of the fall of Tyre, including a description of a mass crucifixion and also an account of the difficult crossing of the Hindu Kush

II. The “Good” Tradition
A. Ptolemy, eyewitnesses. Ptolemy was the personal friend of Alexander. After the death of Alexander, he was recognized as an independent ruler, and had himself proclaimed king in 306. This, and not the conquest by Alexander, meant the formal end of the unity of the Achaemenid empire
In the first place, he uses Callisthenes' Deeds of Alexander and a sequel, because he has the correct chronology of the events and knows the names of the appointees. In the second place, Ptolemy sometimes exaggerates his own role. In his opinion, Alexander had been a rational expansionist.
At one place, Ptolemy corrects Cleitarchus' account of Alexander's campaigns, and this proves that Ptolemy's history was published after theHistory of Alexander, which can be dated between 310 and 301
It is possible that Ptolemy started to write his memoirs in order to prove that he was worthy of the royal title he had assumed: for example, he wrote that he had killed an Indian king and had stripped him of his armor, an incident that must have reminded his readers of the behavior of the heroes of Homer, who had been kings.

B. Arrian Was first in the Roman army and then in the senate. He wrote many books of which the seven books of the Anabasis: the history of Alexander's march into Asia, the Indikê (one book), telling about the marvels of India and the voyage home of Alexander's admiral Nearchus and the ten books Events after Alexander, known from a Byzantine summary.
His sources are mainly Aristobulus and Ptolemy.

Independent Tradition (combining both)
Plutarchus (46-c.120 CE): We should read his Life of Alexander as a collection of short stories, in which virtues and vices are shown. The most important theme (one might say: Plutarch's vision on Alexander's significance in world history) is that he brought civilization to the barbarians and made them human; Alexander is, so to speak, a practical philosopher, who improves mankind in a rather unusual but effective way. This theme is more explicitly worked out in a writing called The fortune and virtue of Alexander. Alexander's presumed philosophical interests are shown in stories like Alexander's conversation with Diogenes.
Plutarch has read many books on Alexander, and one cannot simply say that he belongs to the 'vulgate' tradition (which follows Cleitarchus) or the 'good' tradition (which follows Ptolemy). He tells his own, moral story and has taken elements from all traditions. His Life of Alexander is especially interesting because it contains a great many childhood stories, which he seems to have taken from a book called Alexander's education, written by a Macedonian named Marsyas, who went to school with the crown prince.

III. The “Oriental” Sources
A. Arda Viraf (commentaries on the Avesta in the third or fourth century of the common era), etc. tell stories about a serious religious persecution by 'the accursed Alexander', who killed the Iranian priests and ordered the holy book of Zoroastrianism, the Avesta, to be burned.
B. Aethiopian sources, etc.

Other (lost) primary sources
1. Onesicritus is not heard of during the first half of Alexander's campaign and makes his first appearance in our sources in 326, when he translated the conversation between Alexander and the Indian sages at Taxila. During the voyage to the south, Onesicritus was the helmsman of Alexander's royal ship; when a large part of the Macedonian army had to be shipped back to Babylonia, he was also present.
After his return, he published How Alexander was educated, a primary source that is now lost. It is certain, however, that in this book, he claimed to have been the commander of the fleet, which was not true and caused admiral Nearchus to write an account of his own.

2. Aristobulus. He was probably one of the friends of Alexander's father Philip and accompanied Alexander on his war in the East. Since he is never mentioned as a participant to the fights, it has been assumed that he was either a military engineer or a non-military official. He may have been Alexander's greatest admirer, because when there are more than one versions of the same event, Aristobulus usually gives the kinder version. For example: all authorities agree that Alexander was a heavy drinker, but Aristobulus explains that this was merely because he loved to be with his friends. And when a drunken Alexander killed Clitus, Aristobulus says that it was Clitus' own mistake. Another example: Ptolemy writes that Alexander ordered Callisthenes, who had criticized him in public, to be crucified, and Aristobulus says that the man died in prison.

3. Nearchus: In India, Nearchus initially had some minor commands, but was made admiral of the Macedonian navy (326); in this quality, he was responsible for the transport of the army to the Ocean and -later- for the shipping of troops to Babylonia. After the death of Alexander, he backed Heracles, the son of Alexander and Barsine; the boy was killed, however, and Nearchus retired to write a book called Indikê.
All of Stephen Knapp's books are good, but this one is relevant here.

Proof of Vedic Culture's Global Existence
<!--QuoteBegin-ishwa+Sep 23 2006, 02:33 PM-->QUOTE(ishwa @ Sep 23 2006, 02:33 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Alexander and biographies

Purshottama was the king of a kingdom whose length was just 60 Km long. He was known as Porus to Greeks. He was a vassal of Nanda dynasty of Magadha.

Marshall Zhukov, the Russian General who defeated Nazis and was the first to enter German capital, was keynote speaker at IMA few decades back and he told the graduating class that Indian army under Porus had stopped Alexander in his tracks and they should be proud of it.

Similar thing was actually recorded by E.A.W Badge who translated some texts that were apparently written by Alexander's contempraries. Badge writes in ''The Life and Exploits of Alexander''

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the battle of Jhelum a large majority of Alexander's cavalry was killed. Alexander realized that if he were to continue fighting he would be completely ruined. He requested Porus to stop fighting. Porus was true to Indian traditions and did not kill the surrendered enemy.

Interestingly, Oliver Stone made the movie Alexander a few years back. In this movie it is shown that Porus did not loose the war. Such historical movies are made with fair deal of research and with a good sprinkling of academic historians on the roster of movie making staff.

The fact they showed there was never any "Treat me like a king..." non-sense is significant and it points to a defeat of Alexander at Hydapses.

Moreover it is recorded by Plutarch and others that Alexander gave a lot of gold to Porus. Now why would a victor give his booty to a king who lost?

Lastly, Alexander could not go back the route he came. So he decided to chug south along Indus river to get to the ocean and then sail back. Here there is no record of Porus helping him get to the ocean. On this journey when Mallis attacked Alexander there is no record of Porus's army fighting against the Mallis alongside the Greek army. If Porus was really defeated why would he not help Alexander get to the ocean and fight the Mallis?

E. A. Wallis Badge, ''Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great'', Publisher: Kessinger Publishing Company ISBN 1417947837

The last Alexander movie that came out 2 years ago did show Alex getting defeated , and his troops getting decimated by war elephants.



look at Alexander's life

alexander met his match in India,he couldnt conquer himself
Great video clip but it definitely would have been better with the original music by Vangelis.


<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+Apr 8 2006, 04:36 AM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ Apr 8 2006, 04:36 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->From HPI..

<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Indus Valley Seals Available For Download


April 7, 2006: An unusual resource is available for download in PDF form at "source." It is a 188-page catalog of Indus Valley seals and inscriptions, running about forty items per page. In addition to the seals are pottery pieces, index of known signs and various commentaries. The photos of the seals are relatively high resolution. We're not aware of the source of this collection. Be advised that the download process from this free site is slow.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

The link is dead....plz upload the book to rapidshare or send to me at azygos@gmail.com

Thanks once again
Reclaiming the Chronology of Bharatam
B. N. Narahari Achar

Date of the Mah˜bh˜rata War based on Simulations using Planetarium Software
<span style='color:red'>Hero stones of third century BC found on the bank of the river Vaigai about 16 km south of Batlagundu, TN</span>

<img src='http://www.hindu.com/2006/09/24/images/2006092406750301.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->DISCOVERY: Hero stones discovered by Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology, Tamil University.

Thanjavur: Hero stones inscribed with Tamil-Brahmi script datable to third century BC have been discovered by the faculty of the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology, Tamil University, Thanjavur, at Thathapatti in Nilakottai taluk of Dindigul district.

Briefing presspersons, C. Subramaniam, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil University, said on Friday that it was a remarkable discovery made by V. P. Yatheeshkumar working under the leadership of K. Rajan, Head of the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology.

The discovery was part of the archaeological project on Archaeology of Vaigai River Valley funded by University Grants Commission and for the project on Historical Atlas of South India funded by Ford Foundation.

The stone was found on a menhir installed as part of urn burial.

It was found on the southern bank of river Vaigai about 16 km south of Batlagundu.

This is for the first time Brahmi inscribed hero stone was noticed on a menhir. This remarkable and breakthrough discovery throws new challenges to the archaeologists and scholars, the Vice-Chancellor said.

The original height of the stone would have been more than 200 cm.  It has 13 letters engraved in a single line.


1. Experts, what is the significance of this?
2. Did the ancient Indians always bury the dead? If so, when did the custom change to burning the dead bodies?
3. WHy is Ford Foundation funding such archeological research?
Ford is a staunch Hare Krishna. He was in the news for trying to bring a multimillion dollar temple complex to Bengal, but opted for Orissa after being harassed by Buddhadeb and his commie cronies.
Was the burial usual method of last rites in ancient India? If yes, when did it change for burning ("daah" sanskar)? Do Vedas mention anything about last rites?
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Sep 30 2006, 07:09 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Sep 30 2006, 07:09 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Was the burial usual method of last rites in ancient India? If yes, when did it change for burning ("daah" sanskar)?  Do Vedas mention anything about last rites?

Unfortuanately most of our ancient texts were burnt during wars with muslims. But there have been lot of seals discovered about the Hittite kingdom who were followers of Veda i.e Hindu (they worshipped Gods like Indra, Vayu etc) which clearly record the cremation of there Kings. And also they were master charioteers and kicked Rameses's (Paharoh of Egypt) ass at Kadesh.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->(Bodhi @ Sep 30 2006, 07:09 AM)
Was the burial usual method of last rites in ancient India? If yes, when did it change for burning ("daah" sanskar)?  Do Vedas mention anything about last rites?

The ancient Hindus did know both cremation and burial as systems. Cremation was the dominant and normal custom, burial was practised by some sections. Cremation followed by burial of ashes in urns was an intermediate custom:

Rgveda X.15.14 and Yajurveda-VajSamhita 18.60 give the following
funeral modes in a ritual way:
1. agnidagdha (RV)= agniShvaatta (YV)
2. anagnidagdha (RV)= anagniShvaatta (YV)
RV X.18.11-12 describes that the dead goes to mother earth which is
to enclose him as a mother covers her child with a garment. [burial]

Atharvaveda XVIII.2.34-35 elaborates more on this, and gives the
following details:
1. agnidagdha = ritually cremated [35]
a. dagdha = simply cremated (ashes in water)
b. paropta = sown/planted elsewhere (ashes in urns under ground)

2. anagnidagdha = ritually not cremated [35]
a. nikhaata = simply buried
b. uddhita = exposed (like the Parsis)

Nikhaata and Paropta are first mentioned, indicating the modes
connected with putting the body or remains in the ground. Dagdha and
Uddhita indicate the modes which deal with putting the remains above
the ground.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But there have been lot of seals discovered about the Hittite kingdom who were followers of Veda i.e Hindu (they worshipped Gods like Indra, Vayu etc) which clearly record the cremation of there Kings. And also they were master charioteers and kicked Rameses's (Paharoh of Egypt) ass at Kadesh.

-Digvijay <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I am trying to look for links of Meluhha, Meluhhan colonists in Iraq with their own rulers/leaders having first close ties with the kingdom of Lagash (pre-2100 BCE) and then with Ur of theThird dynasty period (2112-2004 BCE) on.

The rise of Indic equestrian technique and nomenlature must have been dispersed from the Khabur Valley centre, an ancient area with a horse culture already from the days of their kings Shatarmat and his son Atalshen, to Anatolia (19th century BCE) and Egypt (17th/16th century BCE) even before the rise of the Mitannian empire.
The Mita-nni or Maita-nni Hindus were especiallly at home within the Hurri speaking areas.

My theory is that the ancient SA.GAZ (Sumerian logogram from Ur II period on) and its synonymous word Hapir-u/Habir-u or 'Apir-u (Akkadian, from 19th century on) were especially applied to the Hurri and its elite, who were Indic with Hurri, mixed Hurri-indic or Indic names. Much later, the Habiru absorbed many Semitic speaking people in Canaan, and when the Israelites appear, much after the decline of Mitanni, the word Habiru gradually becomes synonymous to Israelite (Hebrew. Abraham was called a Hebrew, because he did live for a while in Habir-u lands when he left Ur). There may be a connection between the words Habir-u and the later word Khabur (Valley).

Even today, right in the heartland Khabur area of former Mitanni lands and present Kurdistan, the most prestigious clan has the name "Sindi"!
<!--QuoteBegin-Bodhi+Sep 29 2006, 05:43 AM-->QUOTE(Bodhi @ Sep 29 2006, 05:43 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hero stones of third century BC found on the bank of the river Vaigai about 16 km south of Batlagundu, TN[right][snapback]58140[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Followup article in the Hindu<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><img src='http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/05/images/2006040518340601.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<b>2,300-year-old hero stones found in Theni district</b>

These are inscribed with Tamil Brahmi script

# Stones found on the banks of the Vaigai, about 19 km south of Vattalakundu
# The three-foot high stones seem to be a part of urn burials found in the area
# The research was part of a project on the archaeology of the Vaigai valley

POINTER TO THE PAST: Hero stones of the Sangam era found at Puliyamkombai in Andipatti taluk of Theni district. — Photo: M. Srinath

THANJAVUR: Hero stones over 2,300 years old and inscribed with the Tamil Brahmi script have been discovered, for the first time, at Puliyamkombai in Andipatti taluk of Theni district.

V.P.Yatheeskumar and S.Selvakumar of the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology of Tamil University, Thanjavur, found the stones on March 23 and 25 on the banks of the Vaigai, about 19 km south of Vattalakundu. They are functioning under the department head K.Rajan.

"These are the oldest among the hero stones in India so far," Vice-Chancellor C.Subramaniam told reporters here on Tuesday. "... They will pose new challenges to archaeologists of Tamil Nadu."

Position changed

The three-foot high stones seem to be a part of urn burials found in large numbers in the area. In recent years, they were removed from their original position when the ground was levelled for cultivation. The area is known as Veppamarattukadu.

Dr.Rajan said the research was part of a project on the archaeology of the Vaigai valley, funded by the University Grants Commission and a project on the historical atlas of South India, funded by the Ford Foundation.

The first hero stone has three lines that read, <b>"Kal pedu tiyan antavan kudal ur akol," which means it has been put up in memory of Tiyan Antavan of pedu village, </b><b>who died in a cattle raid at Kudalur. </b>The second stone is partly broken. The inscription says it is in memory of Atan. The full name of the village and the man could not be ascertained as the stone has been damaged. The inscription on the third stone reveals that it is in memory of Patavan Avvan of Velur.

The last two inscriptions can be dated to the third century BC.

The first inscription seems to be older than the other two.

According to Iravatham Mahadevan, an expert in the Tamil Brahmi script, the writings and orthography are similar to the cave inscriptions of Mangulam. This is the earliest inscription found so far in Tamil Nadu. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
From e-Mail:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"The reading of the inscription is : <b>adi oon paakal paali kal.</b>
It is one of the interesting features of this discovery is it is
engraved on
a menhir." <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-ishwa+Sep 30 2006, 05:38 PM-->QUOTE(ishwa @ Sep 30 2006, 05:38 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->The ancient Hindus did know both cremation and burial as systems.

Dear ishwa ji, thank you for sharing your insight. Your posts are always enlightening.

You did mention cremation, burial, and exposing (like Parsees). There is one more mode which is very common among Hindus even today - submitting the dead body to rivers. It is a tradition, followed in rural areas of UP/Bihar/Nepal to limited extent even to this day, that if someone dies an Akaal Mrityu (untimely death), or death of an infant etc, this is the preferred mode of last rites.

Do you have any information about historicity of this tradition? Or example of any famous person's last rites done like this? Mentions in Vedas?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Even today, right in the heartland Khabur area of former Mitanni lands and present Kurdistan, the most prestigious clan has the name "Sindi"! <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
This is an email I had got from some scholar, thought it's relevant here:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"The Mittani aristocratic house almost certainly was from the
immigrant Sindis, who survive today in the populous Kurdish clan of
Sindi—again—in the same area where the Mittani kingdom once existed.
These ancient Sindi seem to have been an Indic, and not Iranic group
of people, and in fact a branch of the better known Sindis of
India-Pakistan, that has imparted its name to the River Indus and in
fact, India itself."
Prof. M. R. Izady (From a Lecture given at Harvard University, 10 March

Golden rhyton from Ecbatana

Delal bridge in Zaxo

Median empire archeology

The lion of Ecabtana

Kurdish History and Culture

By: Prof. M. R. Izady

People and Origin

The question of Kurdish origins, i.e., who the Kurds are and where
they come from, has for too long remained an enigma. Doubtless in a
few words one can respond, for example, that Kurds are the end-product
of numerous layers of cultural and genetic material superimposed over
thousands of years of internal migrations, immigrations, cultural
innovations and importations. But identifying the roots and the course
of evolution of present Kurdish ethnic identity calls for a greater
effort. It calls for the study of each of the many layers of these
human movements and cultural influences, as many and as early in time
as is currently possible. And to achieve this, one needs to delve deep
into antiquity, and debate notions as diverse as anthropology,
linguistics, genetics, theology, economics and demography, not to
mention simple old narrative history.

Presently, at least 5 distinct layers can be identified with various
degrees of certainty.

Halaf Cultural Period

The earliest evidence thus far of a unified and distinct culture
shared by the people inhabiting the Kurdish mountains relates to the
period of the 'Halaf Culture' that began around 8000 years ago. Named
after the ancient mound of Tell Halaf west of the town of Qamishli in
what is now the Syrian Kurdistan, this culture is best-known for its
easily recognizable style of pottery which, fortunately, was produced
in abundance. Exquisitely painted, delicately designed Halaf pottery
are easily distinguishable from earlier and later productions. Judging
from the pottery remains alone, Halaf culture appears to have been
extant between 6000 to 5400 BC, a period of about 600 years.

In fact taking Halaf pottery as a prime example, many archaeologists
now point out by that shared pottery style is a simple but crucial
tool in helping to classify prehistoric cultures in the Middle East.
Yet, while shared pottery can imply shared culture, it can no more
imply shared ethnicity for the people who produced them than shared
rug designs can now. Today, for example, the Turkic Qashqai, Luric
Mamasani and the Arab Baseri peoples of southern Iran all share
similar rug designs. Ethno-linguistically, however, these three
peoples share virtually nothing else. This fact should serve as a
clear warning to those who would use shared artistic styles and
plastic arts as an indication of shared ethnicity. Pottery styles must
be taken in tandem with other evidence in order to make a case for
shared culture and ethnicity. But, wide-spread Halafian excavation
sites have much more in common than styles of pottery.

Delal bridge in Zaxo

Solid evidence has now emerged indicating striking similarities in
food, technology, architecture, ritual practices and ornaments, all of
which merge to suggest something more substantive. Archaeologist
Julian Reade, now a curator at the British Museum's Department of
Western Asiatic Antiquities thus states: "While we really know little
about how the inhabitants of a Halaf village thought, let alone what
languages or languages they used for thinking, and what levels of
abstraction could be expressed verbally, it seems likely they had
comparable social structures, sharing many of the same implicit
values, and that even those who did not travel regularly many have met
from time to time in a religious or administrative centers." (footnote

With the aid of these archaeological criteria, J. Reade as well as M.
Roaf (archaeologist and former director of the British School of
Archaeology in Iraq, now at the University of California, Berkeley)
have determined the boundaries of the Halaf culture. They coincide
almost exactly with the area the ethnic Kurds still call home: from
Kirmanshah to Adyaman, and from Afrin near the Mediterranean Sea to
northern areas of Lake Van. The distribution of the Halaf pottery and
the distribution of ethnic Kurds today are a near-perfect match. The
single exception is the Mosul-Tikrit region of the Mesopotamian
lowlands. (footnote 2) James Mellaart, better known for his excavation
at Catal Hüyük, meanwhile, has found many of the motifs and composite
designs present on the Halaf pottery and figurines still extant in the
textile and decorative designs of the modern Kurds who now inhabit the
same excavated Halafian sites. (footnote 3)

It is highly unlikely that the Halaf people constituted an immigrant
population. According to several demographic studies, the Zagros
mountains were the site of perennial population surplus and pressure
from 12000 to 5000 years ago, which must have resulted in many
episodes of emigration. (footnote 4) This population pressure in the
Zagros-Taurus folds was a consequence of successive technological
advances in domestication of common crops and animals, and resulted in
a prosperous agricultural economy and trade, ergo high population
density. The Halafian phenomenon is likely the result of a massive
internal migration which succeeded to culturally unify the population
in Kurdistan.

The fact that the Halaf Culture spread so rapidly over such a
considerable distance across the rugged Kurdish mountains is thought
to have been the result of the development of a new life-style and
economic activity necessitating mobility, namely nomadic herding. All
the pre-requisite technologies had been developed and the necessary
animals, particularly the dog, had now been domesticated by the
settled agriculturists. The Halafian figurines of dogs (with jaunty
upcurled tails uncharacteristic of any wolf), excavated from Jarmo in
central Kurdistan is the earliest definitive evidence of the
development of "man's best friend" and the herder's most prized
protection. (footnote 5) Nomadic herding has since been a very mobile
cornerstone of the Zagros-Taurus cultures and societies.

Ubaid Cultural Period

The Halaf Cultural period ends with the arrival, circa 5300 BC of a
new culture and, quite likely a new people: the so-called Ubaidians.

Named after the archaeological mound of al-Ubaid in modern Iraq, where
their remains first excavated, the people of Ubaid culture expanded in
time from the plains of Mesopotamia into the mountains. The culture of
the Ubaidians, or the proto-Euphratians, as they are sometimes called,
caused a hybrid culture to emerge in the mountains. This new cultural
phase in Kurdistan comprised of the earlier Halafian heritage,
superimposed by this new, but foreign influence. The Ubaid cultural
ascendance predominated in most of Kurdistan and Mesopotamia for the
ensuing 1000 years.

Of the language and ethnic affiliation of the Ubaidians we know
nothing beyond the barest conjecture. However, it is they who gave the
names 'Tigris' and 'Euphrates' to the primary rivers of Kurdistan and
Mesopotamia. (footnote 6)

Personally, I have come to suspect that the Ubaidian people may be
identical or related to the enigmatic "Khaldi." The Khaldi are well
represented in ancient Kurdistan, and were time Kurdicized to survive
today as many Kurdish clans and tribes bearing variations of the old
name, such as the modern Khallikan.(footnote 7) The modern survivors
are found precisely were the classical Graeco-Roman sources recorded
the Khaldi around 2000 years ago: mainly in northern and western
Kurdistan. In support of this one may note the important fact that as
the Ubaidians were found in lowland Mesopotamia as also in highland
Kurdistan, the same is true of the Khaldi who were found in large
numbers in both regions. Like their highland branch, the lowland
Khaldi were also in time assimilated. In Mesopotamia, the Ubaidians
were Semitized, becoming known as the celebrated Chaldeans.

Median empire archeology

The cultural impact of the Ubaidians on the mountain communities,
nonetheless, was vast, although apparently it was not particularly

Hurrian Cultural Period.

By approximately 4300 BC, a new culture, and possibly a new people,
came to dominate the mountains: the Hurrians.

Of the Hurrians we know much more, and the volume of our knowledge
becomes greater as the time becomes more recent. We know, for example,
that the Hurrians spread far and wide into the Zagros-Taurus-Pontus
mountain systems, and intruded for a time also on the neighboring
plains of Mesopotamia and the Iranian Plateau. However, they never
expanded too far from the mountains. Their economy was surprisingly
integrated and focused, along with their political bonds, which runs
largely parallel with the Zagros-Taurus-Pontus mountains, rather than
radiating out to the lowlands, as was the case during the preceding
Ubaid cultural period. Mountain-plain economic exchanges remained
secondary in importance, judging by the archaeological remains of
goods and their origin.

The Hurrians spoke a language, or properly, languages, of the
north-eastern group of the Caucasic family of languages, distantly
related to modern Chechen, Lezgian and Lakz. Their direction of
Hurrian expansion is not yet understood, and by no means should be
taken as having been north-south, i.e., an expansion out of the
Caucasus, as often is presumed without any evidence. It may well be
that it was the prolific Hurrians who introduced Northeast Caucasian
languages into the Caucasus, instead of having originated from that
tiny, sparsely-populated region.

For a long time the states founded by the Hurrians remained small,
until around 2500 BC when larger political-military entities evolved
out of the older, Hurrian city-states. Six polities are of special
note: Urartu, Mushq/Mushku, Urkish, Subar/Saubar, Baini, Guti/Qutil
and Manna. The kingdom of Mushku is now believed to have brought about
the final downfall of the Hittites in Anatolia. Their name survives in
the city of Mush/Mus in north-central Kurdistan of Turkey. The Subaru
who operated from the areas north of modern Arbil in central Kurdistan
have left their name in the populous and historic Kurdish tribal
confederacy of Zubari, who still inhabit the areas north of Arbil.

The Guti/Qutils of central and southern Kurdistan, after gradually
unifying the smaller mountain principalities, became strong enough in
2250 BC to actually annex Sumeria and the rest of lowland Mesopotamia.
A Guti/Qutil dynasty ruled Sumeria for 130 years until 2120 BC.

Four legendary emporia, Arrap'ha, Melidi Washukani and Aratta served
the Hurrians in their inter-regional trade with the economies outside
the mountains. With certainty, Arrap'ha is to be identified with
modern Kirkuk, Melidi with Malatya, while Washukani and Aratta are
probably to be identified, respectively, with the rich archaeological
sites of Godin Teppa (near Kangawar in southeastern Kurdistan, Iran)
and Tell Fakhariya (west of Qamishli, in west-central Kurdistan,
Syria). By the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, the culture and people
of Kurdistan appear to have been unified under a Hurrian identity.

The legacy of the Hurrians to the present culture of the Kurds is
fundamental. It is manifest in the realm of Kurdish religion,
mythology, material and martial arts, and even the genetics. Nearly
three-quarters of Kurdish clan names and roughly half of topographical
and urban names are also of Hurrian origin, e.g., the names of the
clans of Bukhti, Tirikan, Bazayni, Bakran, Mand; rivers Murad, Balik
and Khabur, lake Van; the towns of Mardin, Ziwiya and Dinawar.
Mythological and religious symbols present in the art of the later
Hurrian dynasties, such as the Mannaeans and Kassites of eastern
Kurdistan, and the Lullus of the southeast, present in part what can
still be observed in the Kurdish ancient religion of Yazdanism,
better-known today by its various denominations as Alevism, Yezidism,
and Yarisanism (Ahl-i Haqq).

It is fascinating to recognize the origin of many tattooing motifs
still used by the traditional Kurds on their bodies as replicas of
those which appear on the Hurrian figurines. One such is the
combination that incorporates serpent, sun disc, dog and comb/rain
motifs. In fact some of these Hurrian tattoo motifs are also present
in the religious decorative arts of the Yezidi Kurds, as found most
prominently at the great shrine at Lalish.

By the end of the Hurrian period, Kurdistan seem to have been
culturally and ethnically homogenized to form a single civilization
which was identified as such by the neighboring cultures and peoples.
Sumerians, for example, called everybody in the Kurdish mountains as
"Subaru," while the Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonians used the term
"Guti/Qutil." To the ancient Jews, they were are all the "Qarduim."
All these ancient appellations have modern representatives in the
names of major Kurdish clans, and were by no means the artifacts of
the imagination of those early Mesopotamians. The lowlanders of
Mesopotamia must have seen the uniformity of the culture (and
presumably the ethnicity) of the peoples of the Kurdish mountains,
prompting them to call these mountaineers by a single native
ethnic/tribal name that was most familiar to them at any given time.
Likewise, today we know all of these same mountain people as Kurds.
This portrait of a culturally homogenized Kurdistan was not to last.

The Aryan Period

As early as 2000 BC, the vanguards of the Indo-European speaking
tribal immigrants, such as the Hittites and the Mittanis (Sindis), had
arrived in southwestern Asia. While the Hittites only marginally
affected the mountain communities in Kurdistan, the Mittanis settled
inside Kurdistan around modern Diyarbakir, and influenced the natives
in several fields worthy of note, in particular the introduction of
knotted rug weaving. Even rug designs introduced by the Mittanis and
recognized by the replication in the Assyrian floor carvings, remain
the hallmark of the Kurdish rugs and kelims. The modern mina khâni and
chwar such styles are basically the same today as those the Assyrians
copied and depicted nearly 3000 years ago.

The name 'Mittani' survives today in the Kurdish clans of Mattini and
Motikan/Moti who inhabit the exact same geographical areas of
Kurdistan as the ancient Mittani. The name "Mittan," however, is a
Hurrian name rather than Aryan. At the onset of Aryan immigration into
Kurdistan, only the aristocracy of the high-ranking warrior groups
were Aryans, while the bulk of the people were still Hurrian in all
manners. <b>The Mittani aristocratic house almost certainly was from the
immigrant Sindis, who survive today in the populous Kurdish clan of
Sindi—again—in the same area where the Mittani kingdom once existed.
These ancient Sindi seem to have been an Indic, and not Iranic group
of people, and in fact a branch of the better known Sindis of
India-Pakistan, that has imparted its name to the River Indus and in
fact, India itself. (footnote 8) While the bulk of the Sindis moved on
to India, some wondered into Kurdistan to give rise to the Mittani
royal house and the modern Sindi Kurds. Others, still, remained in
Europe, and are recorded in the 1st century AD inhabiting the Taiman
Peninsula on the Sea of Azov between Russia and Ukraine.

Expectedly, the Mittani pantheon includes names like Indra, Varuna,
Suriya and Nasatya is typically Indic. The Mittanis could have
introduced during this early period some of the Indic/Vedic tradition
that appears to be manifest in the Kurdish religion of Yazdanism.</b>
The avalanche of the Indo-European tribes, however, was to come about
1200 BC, raining havoc on the economy and settled culture in the
mountains and lowlands alike. The north was settled by the Haigs who
are known to us now as the Armenians, while the rest of the mountains
became targets of settlement of various Iranic peoples, such as the
Medes, Persian, Scythians, Sarmatians, and Sagarthians (whose name
survives in the name of the Zagros mountains).

The lion of Ecabtana
By 850 BC, the last Hurrian states had been extinguished by the
invading Aryans, whose sheer number of immigrants must have been
considerable. These succeeded over time to change the Hurrian
language(s) of the people in Kurdistan, as well as their genetic
make-up. By about the 3rd century BC, the Aryanization of the mountain
communities was virtually complete.

Since the star of the Mittani shown brightest in 1500 BC, Aryan
dynasties of various size and influence continued their appearance in
various corners of Kurdistan. None, however, was to match, and in fact
surpass the Mittanis as the Medians. The rise of the Medes from their
capital at Ecbatana (modern Hamadan) in 727 coincided with the fall of
the last major Hurrian kingdom: the Mannaeans. Ignoring the proud
legacy of the Hurrian states and even the Aryan empire of the Mittanis
which can squarely be claimed by on every ground by modern Kurds, it
is the Medes that the Kurds have grown most fund of. Medes are claimed
regularly by the Kurds and pronounced by others to be the ancestors of
them. This is strange, when realizing how many millennia of cultural
and ethnic evolution preceded the rise of Medes into Kurdistan. In
reality, Medes are no more the ancestors of the modern Kurds as all
other Halafian, Hurrian and Mittani who came before them or the legion
of other peoples and states that came after them. Nonetheless, today,
even the first Kurdish satellite television transmitter is given the
name "Med TV" (Kurdish for "Median TV"). Fascination of the Kurds with
the Median Federation (a.k.a., Empire) that ended in 549 BC remains
supreme, indeed.

It is surprising to most that among the Kurds the Aryan cultural was
and still remains secondary to that of the Hurrians. Culturally, Aryan
nomads brought very little with to add to what they found already
present in the Zagros-Taurus region. As has been the case, cultural
sophistication and civilization are not what nomads are known for. On
the contrary, nomads are inclined to annihilate what settled life and
culture they find in their path as adversaries for possession of land
and political dominance. We have no ample evidence, including a bona
fide economic dark age lasting for roughly 500 years in the areas
touched by the Aryans, that they behaved much the same barbarian way.

The Aryan influence on the local Hurrian Kurdish people must have been
very similar to what transpired in Anatolia 2,500 years later when the
Turkic nomads broke in after the battle of Manzikert in AD 1071. Much
insight can be learned from this more recent nomadic dislocation for
the older, murkier Aryan episode. Following the Manzikert, the Turkic
nomads gradually imparted their language to all the millions of
civilized, sophisticated Anatolians whom they converted from
Christianity to their own religion of Hanafi Sunni Islam. Almost
everyone in Anatolia gradually assumed a new Turkish identity when
converted to Islam. But, this did not mean that the old cultural,
human and genetic legacy ceased to exist. On the contrary, the rich
and ancient Anatolian cultures and peoples continued their existence
under the new Turkish identity, albeit, with the addition of some
genetic and cultural material brought over by the nomads.

Architecture, domestic and monumental, decorative arts, farming
techniques, herding practices, and religion remained much the same in
Kurdistan following Aryan settlement, while the people progressively
came to speak the Indo-European, Iranic language of these Aryan
immigrants, admit new deities into their earlier Hurrian pantheon, and
become lighter in their complexion. No abrupt change is encountered in
the culture of Kurdistan while this linguistic and genetic shift was
taking place under the Aryan pressure, barring the appearance of the
so-call, "gray ware" pottery.

Near every thing in the contemporary culture of the Kurds can be
traced to this massive Hurrian substructure, with the Aryan
superstructure generally quite superficial and "skin deep"—to use a
pun, in many fundamental ways. Even the time-honored Kurdish tactic of
guerrilla warfare finds its roots among the Hurrian Gutis long before
its was put into good use as a well-tested and developed tactic by the
Median Cyaxares in this Assyrian campaigns in 612 BC. In the Bisitun
inscription, the Persian king Darius I also makes note of this battle
tactic used by the mountaineers against his forces, calling the
guerrillas the kara (a lexical cognate of the term, "guerrilla").
Eight hundred years later, King Ardasher, founder of the Persian
Sasanian dynasty, faces the same defensive tactics by the Kurds. The
term he uses for them is jan-spâr, which means almost identical with
the modern term Kurds give their guerrilla warriors: the peshmerga.

So far the victory cylinder of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser I (r.
1114-1076 BC) is the oldest record of the incidence of the ethnic name
of the Kurds. It records the "Kurti" or "Qurtie" among the peoples
whom the king conquered in his mountain campaigns south of the Lake
Van region. The more exact location of these "Kurti" is given by the
same document as Mt. Azu/Hazu. We are extraordinarily lucky that this
"address" was still current until about sixty years ago—over 3100
years after Tiglath-pileser I. The town of Kurti in the Mt. Hizan
region south of Lake Van is the same as the "Kurti in the Mt. Azu" of
the Assyrians. The town of Kurti was still serving as a seat of a
Kurdish princely house when the Kurdish historian Sharaf al-Din
Bitlisi added the dynasty's history into his celebrated history, the
Sharafnâma, in 1597. This "birthplace" of the Kurds continued to be
known with the archaic name until the Turkish government changed its
name and that of its eponymous river, respectively, to Aksar (at 38.30
N, 42.49 E) and Büyük river in the 1930s. The oldest Kurdish place
name—its "birth place" thus joined history so recent in history.

The Akkadian term "Kurti" denoted vaguely and indeterminate portion or
groups of inhabitants of the Zagros (and eastern Taurus) mountains. To
their very end in the 6th century BC, on the other hand, the
Babylonians loosely (and apparently pejoratively) called most every
body who lived in the Zagros-Taurus system a "Guti", including the
Medes! But Babylonian records also attest to many more specific
subdivisional names such as the Mardi, Kardaka, Lullubi and Qardu, the
last three of which have all been used frequently in the needless
controversy over the roots and antiquity of the ethnic term 'Kurd,'
and the question of the presence of a general ethnic designator.

By the 3rd century BC, at any rate, the very term Kurd (or rather
"Kurti") had been conclusively established. Polybius (d. ca. 133 BC)
in his history when reporting on the events of 221-220 BC, (footnote
9) and Strabo (d. ca. AD 48) in his geography (footnote 10) are the
earliest Western sources I am aware of to have made mention of the
Kurds with their present ethnic name, albeit, in latinized form
Cyrtii, "the Kurti." Historians Livy, Pliny, Plutarch, and much later,
Procopius also mention this ethnic name for the native population of
Media and parts of Anatolia for the classical times. Ptolemy
inadvertently provides us with an array of Kurdish tribal names, when
he records them as they appear as toponyms for where the tribe
resided. Bagraoandene for the Bagrawands or Bakrans of Diyarbakir,
Belcanea for the Belikans of Antep, Tigranoandene for the Tirigans of
Hakkari, Sophene for the Subhans of Elazig, Derzene for the Dersimis
and Bokhtanoi for the Bokhti (Bohtans) etc. These tribes are still
with us today.

When the Aryan Medes and Persians arrived on the eastern flanks of the
Zagros around 1000 BC, a massive internal migration from the eastern
Taurus and northern and central Zagros toward the southern Zagros was
in progress. By the 6th century BC, many large tribes which we now
find among the Kurds were also present in southern Zagros, in Fars and
even Kirman. As early as the 3rd century BC, the "Kurtioi" are
reported by the Greek, and later Roman authors (in the Latin form of
"Cyrtii") to inhabit as much the southern Zagros (Persis or Pars/Fars)
as the central and northern Zagros (Kurdistan proper). This was to
continue for another millennium, by which time, the ethnic name of
"Kurd" had become established for nearly all if not all inhabitants of
the mountains, from the Straits of Hormuz to the heart of Anatolia.
Northern Zagros and Anatolia once teamed with various and related
groups of people speaking Iranic tongue(s). By about 2000 years ago,
many of these, such as the Iranic Pontians, Commagenes, Cappadocians,
the western Medes and the Indic Mitannis, like the earlier Hurrian
Mannas, Lullus, Saubarus, Kardakas, and Qutils, had been totally
absorbed into a new Kurdish ethnic pool. These are among many
mountain-inhabiting peoples whose assimilation has formed genetically,
culturally, socially and linguistically the contemporary Kurds. The
Kurdish diversity of race, tradition and spoken dialects encountered
today point to the direction of this compound identity.

Reflecting on the gradual and organic assimilation of one of these
groups into the larger Kurdish ethnic pool, Pliny the Elder (d. AD 79)
tries to reconcile what appeared to him to be rather a name-change for
a familiar people. Enumerating the nations of the known world, he
states, "Joining on to Adiabene [central Kurdistan centered on Arbil]
are the people formerly called the Carduchi [the Kardukh] and now the
Cordueni past whom flows the river Tigris…" (footnote 11)

These Carduchi mentioned by Pliny are the same people whom Xenophon
and his fellow ten thousand Greek troops had encountered nearly three
centuries earlier when retreating through Kurdistan in 401 BC.
Xenophon called them the "Kardukhoi" The name is likely the same as
that of 'Kardaka,' (the people who provided a part of the Babylonian
royal guards before 530 bc), and the 'Qarduim' (mentioned frequently
in the Talmud). (footnote 12)

The early Islamic sources enumerate tens of Kurdish tribes and family
clans outside Kurdistan proper in the southern Zagros, the Caucasus,
Elburz, Taurus and Amanus mountains. In time, however, all of these
assimilated into the local. This fact has been an unwarranted source
of puzzlement for many modern writers on Kurdish history. Unaware of
the history and extent of early Kurdish migrations and finding, at
present, very few Kurds in these other mountain areas, they have often
drawn the wrong conclusion that the term "Kurd" could not have been an
ethnic name but rather a designator for all mountain nomads in
general. This facile hypothesis is hardly worthy of refutation,
realizing that no such doubt is cast on any other mobile nations such
as the Turks and that Arabs who have spread and contracted
periodically over thousands of miles of territory. (footnote 13)

From the time the Kurds are Aryanized until the 16th century of our
era, the Kurdish culture remained basically unchanged, despite
introduction of new empires, religions, and immigrants. The Kurds
remained primarily followers of the ancient, Hurrian religion of
Yazdanism, spoke an Iranic language that the medieval Islamic sources
termed Pahlawani. Pahlawani survives today in the dialects of Gurani
and Dimili (Zaza) on the peripheries of Kurdistan. Only the loss of
Kurds of the southern Zagros through their metamorphosis into Lurs and
a fresh expansion of Kurds into Elbruz and Pontus mountains that are
noteworthy events.

Semitic and Turkic Periods

After the Aryan settlement, Kurdistan continued to receive new peoples
and cultural influences, none however, strong enough to alter the
Kurdish cultural and ethnic identity as did the Aryans. Large numbers
of Aramaic-speaking people seem to have only settled in more
accessible valleys of western Kurdistan. Through the introduction of
Judaism, and later Christianity, some Kurds, however, came to
relinquish Kurdish and spoke Aramaic instead despite the paucity of
the Aramaic demographic element. It is fascinating to note through
examining contemporary Kurdish culture that Judaism appear to have
exercised a much deeper and more lasting influence on the Kurdish
indigenous culture and religion than Christianity, despite the fact
that most ethnic neighbors of the Kurds between 5th and 12th centuries
were Christians.

The role of the Arabs and the impact of Islam on the Kurdish society
and culture is less difficult to survey. The Arabian peninsula was
experiencing a runaway population explosion when the advent of Islam
translated that pressure into a massive outburst of Arabian nomads and
brought about their settlement of foreign lands. In Kurdistan Arab
tribes settled near almost every major town and agricultural center.
By the 10th century, the Islamic historians and geographers report
Arabian populations living among the Kurds from northern shores of
Lake Van to Dinawar and from Hamadan to Malatya. These eventually
assimilated, living behind only their genetic imprint (as the
darker-complected city Kurds), and bequeathing of two exotic Semitic
sounds into the speech of many Kurds: glottal a and h.

The same fleeting influence was true of the Turkic settlement of
Kurdistan and its cultural impact. Several centuries of Turkic nomadic
passage through Kurdistan beginning with the 12th century, wrecked
havoc with the settled Kurds and their economy, as the Aryan
migrations had done so 2500 years earlier. The Turkic cultural legacy
was in itself nil, but the forces of internal change it unleashed
within the Kurdish society turned out to be nearly as decisive as the
Aryan invasion and settlement. Kurdistan would surely have turkified
under this tremendous nomadic pressure and destructiveness, had it not
been for one group of Kurdish nomads, the energetic Kurmanj, who
emerged from the Hakkari highlands to fill nearly every niche left
vacant by the agriculturist Kurds and less energetic nomads under the
Turkic pressure. The Turkic nomads were primarily steppe nomads, and
proved less of a match for the Kurmanj mountain nomads in the rough
terrain of Kurdistan. Some Kurds were Turkified to be sure; e.g., the
populous tribes of Dimbuli, Sheqaqi, Barani and Jewanshir. Conversely,
many Kurdish tribes with Turkic names (e.g., Karachul, Chol, Oghaz,
Jambul, Devalu, Ivä, Karaqich and Chichak) are in fact assimilated
Turkish and Turcoman tribes who have left behind only their names and
were in every other respect kurdicized.

This massive tribal dislocation that could have subsided over time
took a new and more destructive turn by the advent of a century-long
holocaust in Kurdish and Armenian territories in eastern Anatolia in
the 16th century. The decisive turn for massive nomadization of the
Kurdish was made by the long Perso-Ottoman wars and particularly the
Safavids' "scorched-earth" policy. More importantly still was the
deadly economic blow brought about by the shift for the sea transport
of the East-West commerce which also commenced at the turn of the 16th
century. Together they heralded the beginning of the end for much of
the social fabric and sophisticated culture of Kurdistan as it had
existed since the time of the Medes. The agriculturist, urban-based
Kurdish culture and society was to shift to a nomadic economy under a
newly assumed identity. The nomadized Kurdish farmers eventually
accepted the Shafiite Sunni Islam from the Kurmanj nomads and began
speaking the vernacular of Kurmanji, a close kin to the old Pahlawani.
In time, the older Kurdish society—religion and language
notwithstanding—was marginalized and physically pushed to the
peripheries of Kurdistan. At present, over three-quarters of the Kurds
speak various dialects of Kurmanji and similar numbers practice
Shafiite Sunni Islam. In a sense, the "Kurmanj" assimilated the
"Kurds," and in the process they assumed the old ethnic name and
inherited all that was left of the older culture. Until only 50 years
ago, a vast majority of the "Kurds" would identify themselves as
Kurmanj and their language as Kurmanji. It was the outsiders and the
educated that continued to uniformly call them Kurds, regardless of
the dialect they spoke, religion they practiced, or the economic life
style they followed. In the past 50 years, however, the term Kurmanj
as an ethnic designator has been ruthlessly suppressed by the native
population themselves and their leadership in favor of the
time-honored term, "Kurd." Only in the most remote areas in the
mountains and the detached but populous Kurdish exclave in Khurasan
and Turkmenistan is the term "Kurmanj" given routinely by the common
people for their ethnic affiliation. This too is disappearing fast
under the influence of the educated Kurds.

There is, as should be expected, a strong correlation between practice
of ancient Yazdani religion and the speaking of Pahlawani, as there is
also a close connection between being a Muslim and speaking Kurmanji.
The shift from the former to the latter identity in Kurdistan is
accelerating, and seems destined to totally submerge the residual
Pahlawani-Yazdani identity of the older Kurdistan. Only a shrinking
number of Kurds still speak Pahlawani in the form of the dialects of
Dimili (Zaza) in far northwestern Kurdistan in Turkey, and as Gurani,
Laki and Hewrami (Awramani) in southeastern Kurdistan in Iran and
Iraq. The old religion of Yazdanism is still practiced as Alevism,
Yezidism and Yarisanism (the Ahl-i Haqq) denominations, but these too
are shrinking in number and import.

With introduction of modern age communication systems into the Kurdish
society, the process of cultural and ethnic homogenization of the
Kurds has inevitably accelerated. The last step in the evolution of
Kurdish cultural and ethnic identity is near completion today. The
Kurdish ethnic identity is thus destined to comprise
Kurmanji-speaking, Shafiite Muslim people, the last layer to be added
to the many former layers which, in combination, render the Kurds what
and who they are today: the heirs to millennia of cultural and genetic
evolution of the native inhabitants of the Zagros-Taurus mountain

M. R. Izady (From a Lecture given at Harvard University, 10 March


1- Julian Reade, Mesopotamia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
1991), 17.
2- Michael Roaf,Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near
East (New York: Equinox-Oxford, 1990), 49.
3- James Mellaart, The Neolithic of the Near East (New York: Scribner,
4- E.g., T. Cuyler Young, T., "The Iranian Migration into the Zagros,"
Iran V (1967); ); Cuyler Young, T., "Population Dynamics and
Philosophical Dichotomies," in L.D. Levine and T.C. Young, Jr., eds.,
Mountains and Lowlands: Essays in the Archaeology of Greater
Mesopotamia (Malibu, California: Bibliotheca Mesopotamica, vol. 7,
1977); Smith, P., "Iran 9000-4000 BC," Expedition 13 (1971 Bridsell,
J.B., "Some Population Problems Involving Pleistocene Man," Population
Studies: Animal Ecology and Demography, Cold Spring Harbor Symposia in
Quantitative Biology 22 (Cold Spring, Colorado, 1957; and
particularly, Smith, P. and T. Cuyler Young, "The Force of Numbers:
Population Pressure in the Central Zagros 12000-4500 BC," The Hilly
Flanks, Essays on the Prehistory of Southwestern Asia (Chicago:
University of Chicago, 1982).
5- Charles Reed, "A Review of the Archaeological Evidence on Animal
Domestication in the Prehistoric Near East," in R. Braidwood and B.
Howe, eds., Prehistoric Inveestigation in Iraqi Kurdistan (Chicago:
University of Chicago, 1960), 128."
6- As well as the names of almost all the cities that we now recognize
as Sumerian.
7- Khaldi>Kalli+the clan suffix, kan>Khallikan
8- What is known to the west as River Indus, is River Sindh to the
natives of the Indian Subcontinent. Southern third of Pakistan is
still the realm of the Sindhi people and is knwon by that name. The
name "India" is, meanwhile, derived from Sindh through the Old Persian
conversion of the initial letter s to h (a common practice in that
language), to produce Hind. The ancient Greeks, meanwhile, took up
this Persian rendition of the name (i.e., Hind), and dropped the
initial letter h (as is common in that language), coming up with name
"Ind," plus the Greek suffix us, to get "Indus".
9- Polybius.Histories, V.52.
10- Strabo, Geography, V.xi.13.2-3; VII.xv.15.1.
11- Pliny. Natural History VI.xviii.46.
12- In the 20th century, many hypotheses have been advanced to connect
the name Kurd to that of the ancient Hurrian Guti (Hallo, 1971) or the
"Kardukhoi" of the Greek historian Xenophon (Cawkwell, 1979), none of
which can any longer be maintained in light of discovery of the
aformentioned Assyrian stele. The name Guti, at any rate, survives
today clearly in the name of the Kurdish clan of Judikan, inhabiting
the heartland of the ancient Gutis in southeatern Kurdistan. The
"Kardukhoi" who come to subsequently be known as the Gordyene to the
classical authors, are none other than the predecessors of modern
Girdi clan of Kurds who still reside exactaly where the ancient
Kardukhoi/Godyene were found. The name "Kurti/Kurd" seem likely to be
of Aryan origin—one of the first, in fact, in Kurdistan—instead of the
far more common Hurrian clan names encountered at all periods until
today and including the Khardukhoi and Guti.
13- No "proof" beyond a single, vague phrase by a medieval Persian
writer, Hamza Isfahani, has ever been produced to support the idea
that "Kurd" was not an ethnic designator. Hamza states that "The
Persians call the Daylamites the 'Kurds of Tabaristan', and the
Badouin the 'Kurds of Assyria'." What some medieval Persian did or did
not according to Hamza is hardly material to the Kurds and their
ethnic history. Other, far more respected medieval historian such as
Tabari, Ya'qubi, Mas'udi, Yaqut, Jayhani, Juwayni, Rawandi, Miskiwayh
and Mustawfi, arry the Kurds alongside the Arabs and Turks as bona
finde ethnic groups.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Dear ishwa ji, thank you for sharing your insight.  Your posts are always enlightening. 

You did mention cremation, burial, and exposing (like Parsees).  There is one more mode which is very common among Hindus even today - submitting the dead body to rivers.  It is a tradition, followed in rural areas of UP/Bihar/Nepal to limited extent even to this day, that if someone dies an Akaal Mrityu (untimely death), or death of an infant etc, this is the preferred mode of last rites. 

Do you have any information about historicity of this tradition?  Or example of any famous person's last rites done like this?  Mentions in Vedas?<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Dear Bodhi ji, thanks. The mode of submitting bodies to rivers is the Uddhita form of the Atharvaveda. The body is given back to all the possible elements for purification, except to fire, which got a special (practical) purifying status.

Perhaps the original basis of all funeral types is an original Uddhita: Aagneya exposure is cremation, Paarthiva exposure is burial, Vaayaviiya then became the restricted Uddhita as anagnidagdha (like the Parsis), Audaka is then the one practised especially in Praacya. And there are combined forms.
The Atharvaveda refers to Uddhita and other forms, while its geograpgy is from Magadha/Anga to Gandhara, thus knowing all variations of funeral modes.

regards, ishwa

Dear Viren, I do know the article by Izady. I do not share the migration theory (AIT/AMT) from the Pontic vicinities to India he refers to. There is absolutely no archaeological trail from the Pontic into the subcontinent.

The Mitanni Saindhva had an r-isogloss, like the main dialect in Rgveda (pinkara reddish, parita = greyish. Praacya RV has pinjala and palita). But the Pontic Saindhva (Sindoi-Maeotoi) had an l-isogloss (Hesychius "mesple" for moon must be maas =moon and ple= pra(a), filling, fulfilling => full moon; see for -pra as last member: kaama-pra), which means that they are either from a different Saindhva group, or a little unlikely that the Pontic changed their r for l under influence of northern non-Saindhva speakers.

The main Rgvaidika Vaac, which has a Pratiicya feature (sharing that with Iranic) is more related to the Mitanni Saindhva than to the Pontic one. While the l-isogloss is the special Praacya feature in India (Mishla instead of Mishra). Indian Praacya is in every sense unrelated to the Pontic, while the Pratiicya share similarities. But there is neither a trail from Khabur-Zagros to the subcontinent.

One particular RShi family is common to all three (Mitannic, Iranic, Indic), that is KaNva, and especially the Medha KaNvas: Medha is central to Avesta religion as Mazda, Biriamasda (Priyamedha) is the name of one of the Mitanni kings, while Priyamedha is an important Aangirasa, who must be a KaNva. Sindhu-kShit (!) Praiyamedha is the RShi of Rgveda X.75 the Nadii Stuti.
If Mitannians travelled to india, the Rgveda should have known the form *Priyamazdha, which it doesn't.

The KaNvas (Paippalaada Shaakhaa has the older form KrNva) are a relative late Vaidika Gotra, offbranched from the Shaaktya/Aindra VasiShThas.
A reference to 4 Vaidika Devas of the latest Xth MaNDala of the Rgveda can be found in a Mitanni-Egyptian treaty of ca. 1398 BCE. (with one slight important difference: RV mentions Ashvinaa, while the Mitannias have Naasatyaa).

The later r-isogloss Iranian clans do appear from the (north)east to the Zagros. They must have come from the Yaz I and Archaic Dahistan cultures of which similarities can be found in the Hasanlu layers (Kurdistan area) from the 1st millennium on as intrusive, merging with the older Saindhva clans.
That must have been one of the trails too of the Saindhva groups, while the southern and sea routes (sea-faring Meluhhans) were the other ones.

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