They Perished Like Avars.

I was looking through Vasmer’s etymological dictionary when I ran across the entry обрин [obrin] (plural обре [obre]), the Old Russian word for Avar. Vasmer says it’s related to a Slavic word for ‘giant’ (Slovenian óbǝr, Czech оbr, Slovak оbоr, Old Polish obrzym, Polish olbrzym) and Byzantine Greek ᾽Αβαρ (plural ᾽Αβαρεις, ᾽Αβαροι), but beyond that its history is unclear. When I googled the Russian word I found the Old Russian phrase погибоша аки обре ‘they perished like Avars,” which comes from the Povest’ vremennykh let and is apparently used ironically to mean ‘they vanished without a trace.’ I thought that was piquant enough to pass along.

Comments

  1. My Rejzek (an etymology of Czech) has an entry for “obr”! It describes the word as “commonly associated” with the name Avar but is less certain that that name is actually the source of the word for ogre. If I’m reading him right, he seems to think that the first attestation of the word in Old Russian, far from the limits of Avar power, needs to be taken into account. He closes with citations of Gothic abrs “strong, powerful” and Greek óbrimos “strong, violent” as words with more and less convincing connections.

    I can see his counterexample, but it is possible some Slavs that might have gone one to speak Old Russian would have had the chance to come across the Avars as they moved west towards the Danube (and their eventual meeting with the eventual speakers of Czech, Slovak, Upper Sorbian, Polish, and Slovenian (the modern Slavic languages other than Russian with a reflex) as well.

  2. Greg Pandatshang says

    I always get the Avars confused with the Alans. Never can remember which one there’s two of.

  3. January First-of-May says

    I always get the Avars confused with the Alans. Never can remember which one there’s two of.

    Both, IIRC, but in one case (Alans) they’re likely to be the same, and in the other (Avars) they’re probably not.

    On the phrase itself – I recently realized that the word обре (if it really comes from “Avar” and not something else) is yet another witness for Proto-Slavic *a (where *o is expected).

  4. I don’t see where the irony comes in. The Avars have vanished without a trace, given that the modern Avars aren’t the same folks.

  5. I don’t see where the irony comes in. The Avars have vanished without a trace, given that the modern Avars aren’t the same folks.

    The irony would be in comparing whatever modern person or entity you’re talking about to the Avars, and putting a modern-day situation in the context of the Old Russian chronicles.

  6. The issue of the extent of Avar power in Eastern Europe is not settled.

    There is somehow a persistent conception that it’s eastern border run at Carpathian mountains, but this is not supported by archaeological evidence.

    I think Avars ruled all over modern Ukraine, including most of the territories where Kievan Rus emerged several centuries later.

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pereshchepina_Treasure found in Eastern Ukraine.

    In the literature it is linked to Bulgars, but the objects (Byzantine coins used to paying tribute to Avars) found seem to imply that it was treasure of Avar Khagan

  7. Was rereading this passage in the Chronicle last night. Not too ironic – rather, the chronicler monk expresses a linguist’s familiar awe about the idiomatic expressions of his time still retaining the memory of the forgotten historical events. The Chronicler explains that he’s familiar with the “disappeared like the Avars” metaphor even though over 2 centuries passed since their rout and nobody could remember anything for certain about the Avars anymore. (He even seems to be confused between the Oghurs, contemporaneous with the Avarian invasions, and the later, and similarly named Hungarians, spinning the notion of the “two kinds of Hungarians”, the White ones and the Black ones). In a typical tall-chronicle fashion the Avars become giants who rode carts driven by groups of Slavic women (the Dulebs from River Bug, it explains).

    The topic suddenly sprung back to live this summer with the publication of two ancient DNA papers. One looked at the late Avars of the Longobard migration era, and found that some of them were indistinguishable from today’s Western Slavs. Another looked at the earlier warrior graves from the zenith of the Avar power, and they appeared to be East Asian in composition.

  8. Fascinating! DNA studies are really exploding.

  9. David Marjanović says

    References or links, please!

  10. VI Century data (open access)
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06024-4

    Avar-era burials (AV1 and AV2) were sort of a byproduct in this study, but the genomes ended up openly accessible as well

  11. VI Century data (open access)
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06024-4

    AV1 / AV2 are the two graves sampled essentially by chance

  12. The system keeps deleting my other link 🙂 where, along with dozens Longobardi, the reasearchers snagged a couple of (not really wanted) Avar burials in the same cemetery in Pannonia.
    It’s in Nature Communications entitled
    Understanding 6th-century barbarian social organization and migration through paleogenomics

  13. Sorry, your comments got caught in moderation — I freed them as soon as I woke up!

  14. David Marjanović says

    Very interesting, but I hope the “phylogenetic” analysis in the preprint is replaced with something closer to the state of the art before peer-reviewed publication. Neighbor-joining in PHYLIP?!? Which century is this?

  15. Another new paper attempting to show a correlation between genetic and linguistic proximity in the Uralic languages, and peculiarly finding no trace of the Avars or indeed “the original Hungarians”.
    https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13059-018-1522-1
    An important observation is that although most Finno-Ugric peoples are substantially genetically similar to their neighbors, they present with a large swath of genetic ancestry best represented in Khanty and Mansi, as well as Selkups and non-Uralic Kets.

    In the Volga-Ural region and further to the North, most neighbors of the Finno-Ugric peoples (including Turkic Chuvash / Bashker / Tatar and Slavic Northern Russians) are only a little behind in their share of the same (presumably Proto-Uralic / Paleosiberian component) which isn’t too surprising considering the demographic history of the region.

    Estonians possess very little of this presumed PU DNA, and aren’t that different in this respect from their Latvian neighbors (perhaps the extinct Livonians are responsible for the latter?). But in Hungarians, they couldn’t see anything “Proto-Uralic” in their DNA at all.

  16. If I read it correctly, they say that while there’s a significant shared ancestry separating most Uralic speaking groups from their non-Uralic neighbours, it’s unclear exactly how much of the “Sibirian” ancestry in Northeast Europe that may rather be attributable to other events, like the one that brought Siberian genes to Northern Fennoscandia. (I bring this up only to have another chance to use the word Ymyjakhtakh,)

  17. Very interesting, thanks for the tip!

    The Khantys and Mansis have quite obviously gone through a language shift, which I think makes it seem likely that this “Khanty–Mansi-like” cluster K9 does not represent Proto-Uralic speakers, but rather some earlier stage of population movement (as I believe Trond is also saying). This would go well with its absence from Estonian and Hungarian: early southerly latitudinal expansion, followed by spreading northwards with admixture from earlier populations, and the later extirpation of Uralic from most of its original early range by Russian/Turkic (/? Iranian). At least in the Finnish/Estonian case, we know quite well that the Proto-Finnic homeland was in northern Baltia, and that Finns have partial Sami ancestry. Shame that Ingrians proper / Votes / Livonians were not sampled here, but there will be time for that later still (the languages are all moribund-to-extinct, but this is due to language shift, not demic replacement).

    One intriguing sub-result is how this study also shows that the Mansi have a particularly large range of genetic variation, seemingly in three components — per Fig. 2a a western group close to Mordvins and North Russians, a central group close to Komis, and an eastern group close to Khantys.

  18. (as I believe Trond is also saying)

    Not as strongly, but yes. When the K9 signal is strongest in periferal regions and in Ket, it looks like a substrate to me. In North Fennoscandia the language shift from some Non-Uralic language to Sami happened in the first centuries CE or thereabouts. The relation between Siberian and Finnic populations disappears at K11. I’m not sure what that means, but maybe a deep split in the shared Siberian ancestry.

    I agree that the Mansi results are interesting. The Ob-Yenisei cluster of Eastern Mansi, Khanty, Selkup and Nenets could well have been Yeniseian speakers before the shift to Uralic. That fits what I’ve heard about toponymic evidence in the Ob-Yenisei basin, but it’s in the wrong direction for the Dene-Yeniseian link. I’d like to see what happens if they add North American data.

  19. There are about no Yeniseian loanwords in Ob-Ugric though, alas. My money would be on some entirely extinct group. Though I’ve seen at least one guy propose that some of the toponymic evidence has been interpreted backwards and would rather indicate Ugric substrate or loanwords in Yeniseian.

    Mansi, Khanty, Selkup and Nenets share a few linguistic areal features too, e.g. retention of *w as labiovelar, or being the only Uralic languages that neither retain geminates nor have introduced voiced stops. The latter I’ve already suggested earlier as a common substrate feature.

  20. Trond Engen says

    So a shared unknown substrate in Ket and “Ob-Yenisei Uralic”. Sakhartya? On another note, the real outlier in Uralic is Nganasan. What’s going on there?

    I wouldn’t be very surprised if the Yeniseians turned out to be relative newcomers to Central Siberia. I must have said before that I suspect a Dene-Yeniseian homeland on the Arctic Coast, with a first spread zone from Yenisei to Mackenzie (a range of a similar extent as Eskimoan) and migrations up the rivers being later developments, maybe even as a result of new groups spreading on the coast, either coming down from the Baikal area or north through the Bering Strait.

    When I said North American data would be interesting, it’s also because of the cluster of Koryaks, Chukchis, and partly Nivkhs and Evens.

  21. Sakhartya?

    If you mean the Sikhirtya: no, they were from the Barents Sea coast and they probably had nothing in particular to do with any Paleosiberians. If we want a label for a hypothetical Ob-Ugric++ substrate, already Helimski suggests that the name “Yugra” could be even pre-Uralic. Seemingly the implication would be that this name has been only folk-etymologically associated with Onogur > Hungary (similar to how the h has been added by folk-etymological association with the Huns).

  22. Trond Engen says

    If you mean the Sikhirtya: no, they were from the Barents Sea coast and they probably had nothing in particular to do with any Paleosiberians.

    Yes, thanks, stupid error. I love the word Sikhirtya almost as much as Ymyjakhtakh, But Yugra is a good word too. I agree that the name Sikhirtya is known from too far away to be applicable here, but I also think they could have come to the Barents coast from the east, e.g. in the K9 (per above) spreading event.

  23. On another note, the real outlier in Uralic is Nganasan.

    Freshly reporting from a seminar earlier today…

    Nganasans have a decent share of seemingly non-Samoyedic vocabulary, mythology and cultural traits (e.g. reindeer hunting rather than husbandry), which have for long been suspected to be substrate influence. This would check out chronologically. Apparently archeology shows southern Siberian ceramics spreading to the Arctic Sea around the first half of the first millennum CE, followed by long-term cultural stability ranging to the present day, and this transition would make a natural point for the northern expansion of Samoyedic. (Driven by the domestication of reindeer, probably?) Human settlement however goes much further back, even on the Taimyr peninsula.

    While previous research has not managed to find any loanword connections, apparently V. Gusev has recently identified a handful of suspiciously specific syntactic commonalities between Nganasan and Yukaghir. This might be the first real lead on the identity of the substrate.

    I must have said before that I suspect a Dene-Yeniseian homeland on the Arctic Coast, with (…) migrations up the rivers being later developments

    A coastal homeland does not match up very well with how almost all of the groups are today inland. The only marine mammal hunters are the Dena’ina in southern Alaska, which possibly involves language shift from an Aleut substrate. Yeniseians as newcomers sounds good to me, but a Central Asian route of entry seems better already from how the Yeniseian languages get more diverse towards the south, not the north.

  24. Trond Engen says

    Freshly reporting from a seminar earlier today…

    Wow, thanks! If you look for a candidate for a substrate in Nganasan, and base it on nothing but maps, Yukaghir is a pretty obvious candidate. Based on nothing but maps, I’ve also thought that there ought to be a Yeniseian substrate in Enets.

    When I want the Arctic Coast to be the homeland and/or route for Dene-Yeniseian, it’s one of those hypotheses of mine that tend to get knocked down by the slightest of evidence. But disregarding that for a moment longer, my three arguments are (1) it’s the shortest route, (2) those who live there often travel long distances on a regular basis, and (3) we know of a language family with a similarly wide circumpolar distribution. If we think the Yeniseians came from the south, they are so riverine that it’s hard to see how they could have crossed from anywhere by foot, and I want to suggest that they specialized in transport of Taimyr bronze to the Seima-Turbino workshops, gradually increasing their reach by boat from the southern end of their known realm. But this trade could also just as well have pulled them up from the coast.

    I gather that there were two culturally distinct centres of bronze production in the Taimyr peninsula, one western towards the Yenisei, with ties to the south and west, and one on the eastern side, connected to the surrounding hunting culture. We might hypothesise that the western centre was ‘Yugri’ and the eastern Proto-Yukaghir. Or either one could have been Yeniseian.

  25. The disappeared Avars keep reappearing in DNA (and appear to the NE Asians):
    Hun, Avar and conquering Hungarian nomadic groups arrived into the Carpathian Basin from the Eurasian Steppes and significantly influenced its political and ethnical landscape. In order to shed light on the genetic affinity of above groups we have determined Y chromosomal haplogroups and autosomal loci, from 49 individuals, supposed to represent military leaders. Haplogroups from the Hun-age are consistent with Xiongnu ancestry of European Huns. Most of the Avar-age individuals carry east Eurasian Y haplogroups typical for modern north-eastern Siberian and Buryat populations and their autosomal loci indicate mostly unmixed Asian characteristics. In contrast the conquering Hungarians seem to be a recently assembled population incorporating pure European, Asian and admixed components. Their heterogeneous paternal and maternal lineages indicate similar phylogeographic origin of males and females, derived from Central-Inner Asian and European Pontic Steppe sources. Composition of conquering Hungarian paternal lineages is very similar to that of Baskhirs, supporting historical sources that report identity of the two groups.
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/597997v1

  26. David Marjanović says

    Nice! I’ll have to read that ASAP.

  27. Reading this Hungarian paper, I kept remembering the recent grandstanding about David Reich ( http://languagehat.com/the-reich-backlash/ ). Sure, these local university researchers did all the work without international colleagues and without any help from the top-tier ancient DNA lab. But they also did a remarkably poor job in investigating autosomal DNA, plucking just 26 obsolete “contemporary population-related informative markers” from the sea of millions of markers which could have really made sense of what ancient populations combined to yield these DNA samples, and when. Instead of trying to identify the ancestors, they concentrated on predicting the mere “looks” of the warriors. And I was, like, wish David Reich was there to help!

  28. Trond Engen says

    Yes, I was surprised at the crudeness of the report, e.g. on the contributions to the amalgamated “Conqueror” genetic heritage, but thought that might be just their choice of emphasis in the writeup. I trust you that this actually reflects the questions asked and answered in the study. Either way, could this “racial” angle play to current public or political interest in Hungary? Could it be a teaser or a preliminary report, meant to spur interest where interest is most easily spurred and ensure continued support or funding for a more advanced analysis? If that doesn’t follow, won’t their published data be available for analyses by other labs?

  29. I was surprised at the crudeness of the report, e.g. on the contributions to the amalgamated “Conqueror” genetic heritage, but thought that might be just their choice of emphasis in the writeup. I trust you that this actually reflects the questions asked and answered in the study. Either way, could this “racial” angle play to current public or political interest in Hungary?

    Could be politics or nationalist sentiment, yes. One might try to look up the authors in the news and social media to make a better guess. But they didn’t collect data anywhere else in the genome, so one is essentially left with male-line Y-chromosome ancestry implication, still leaving much of the genesis of Hungarian language and population in the dark.

    The majority of the Y-DNA lineages they uncovered can be traced to Germanic and Slavic populations. About 1/6th belong to haplogroup N which is hypothesized to be ancient Uralic, but the evidence is more or less circumstantial as it is also widespread in Baltic and Slavic groups, but so far hasn’t be found there before the Iron Age, so it’s most likely due to the Finnic migrations. But what was the full genetic makeup of the bearers of haplogroup N Y-chromosomes in the conquest-era Pannonia, remains unclear. Conspicuously, there are no N-group Y-chromosomes in Hungary today, making me wonder if the Finnic speakers were the subjugated substrate who contributed language, and maternal lineage, to the post-conquest populations, but few if any male lines? In one way or another, the N haplogroup males must have been prevented from procreation, yet the language ended up being Finnic. It’s harder to imagine this outcome if they really constituted the ruling class. OK maybe they were the ruling class of some early wave of invasion, who later lost their influence and probably lives to another wave or to a civil war within?

    Then, suppose there was no contamination with contemporary DNA in the study. Where are the Turkic Y-chromosomes then? Did the authors select burials to exclude Turkic gravesites?

    One of the “Conquerors” Y-chromosomes looks Iranian, but then Y-chromosomes persist for so long, it’s hard to guess what a lone find means without, again, autosomal data.

  30. Trond Engen says

    I didn’t mean to imply that the team has any nationalist agenda, just that they may have adjusted the questions asked in a preliminary study to the climate of the society around them. The lack of Turkic Y-chromosomes would speak against that, if the little I know of Hungarian nationalism is correct.

  31. The lack of Turkic Y-chromosomes would speak against that, if the little I know of Hungarian nationalism is correct
    They get around this issue by noting the high frequency of similar N-haplotypes among the contemporary Bashkirs, and drawing parallels with (often dubious IMVHO) historic sources equating Hungarians with Bashkirs, and later hypotheses that Bashkiria was the location of legendary Magna Hungaria. I don’t believe that this is the best interpretation, as all Volga basin Turkic / Finnic / Slavic groups have the same type of Y-DNA as well as autosomal Finnic affinities, so it may be easier to attribute both Bashkir / Tatar Y-DNA and autosomal DNA to the Finnic substrates of Volga-Kama Basin, predating the Volga Bulgaria and Bashgort?But it is also true that similar chromosomes are found further East too, closer to the Altai Urheimat of the Turks.

    They cite two papers on N-haplogroups, one more thorough and recent but paywalled, another open but possibly obsolete due to lower numbers of people and markers in it
    https://www.cell.com/ajhg/fulltext/S0002-9297(16)30160-4

    But check Fig.1 there, it looks very intriguing (if it is still confirmed by the far larger volume of recent data). N3a2 and N3a4 is where the Pannonian Conquerors map. This whole section of the tree suggests wide dissemination of N3 Y-chromosomes in the 3rd millennium BC, leaving seeds across Eurasia from the Baltic to the Bring seas across a variety of language groups – with each “seed” later sprouting into a rich branch. The authors even mention Seima-Turbino phenomenon as a possible vehicle for such a wide-range, short-lasting spread.

  32. My post about Turkic and possibly even, gasp, Seima-Turbino connections may be stuck in moderation due to a link, but in the meantime I looked up the authors. Last author is a respected fruitfly geneticist who completely switched to archaeological DNA very recently. First author got his PHD in 1984, didn’t seem to be heavily involved in research, recently joined archaeological DNA and defended D.Sci. No obvious agenda in their position, but it seems obvious that funding priorities changed in the academia there. This is what powers that be want done.

  33. David Marjanović says

    In case anyone is wondering, I’ve read it and find nothing to add to the discussion. 🙂 The Far East Asian ancestry of some of the male Avar lineages fits Futaky’s Tungusic words in Hungarian and Helimski’s Manchu-like reading of the golden bowl of Nagyszentmiklós (fully legible Greek letters representing an unknown language… and probably the first attestations of the etymology-free Slavic title župan), but it’s not specific enough by far. Whole genomes compared in ADMIXTURE would be interesting.

  34. Trond Engen says

    I forgot to mention that they also quote their own recent paper Mitogenomic data indicate admixture components of Central-Inner Asian and Srubnaya origin in the conquering Hungarians (which I still haven’t had time to read).

  35. Not sure if last year’s mitogenomes paper has been discussed here. They tried to make a big point from the observations that mtDNA of the Conquerors was very much unlike that of the Finno-Ugric peoples to the North-East, and also didn’t contribute all that much to the modern population of Hungary. I would say, big deal. These were male-dominated societies of migrating warriors; of course they took wives wherever they passed, so as they passed the Pontic Steppes, they must experienced a lot of mtDNA turnover; and as they settled in Pannonia, more turnover still.

    But the authors hypothesize that Hungarian was a substrate language pre-dating the conquest, and that the conquerors were all Turkic. Actually we know for a fact that SOME of the conquerors were Turkic. By sampling 4 cemeteries from an edge of the Pannonian plain (3 of which are within a few hundred meters from each other), one can get a pretty good idea about some members of the conquering tribal confederacy, but not about ALL members of said confederacy, right? Perhaps run of the mill Finnic Y-DNA is somewhere out there, but not sampled yet.

    Incidentally they also equate Oghurs (better known from the times of Bulgars and Avars) with Hungarians (better known 2 centuries later) in the same as did Nestor the Russian chronicler in the opening post (who mentioned “two kinds of Hungarians” right around the Avars (Avar’s contemporaries “white Hungarians” in early VII c. and Oleg’s contemporaries “black Hungarians” in late IX c.): придоша угре бѣлии и наслѣдиша землю словѣньскую, прогнавше волохы, иже бѣша приялѣ землю словеньску. Си бо угри почаша быти пр-Ираклии цесари, иже ходиша на Хоздроя, цесаря пѣрьскаго… then Avars and then: По сихъ бо придоша печенизѣ, и пакы идоша угри чернии мимо Киевъ послѣже при Ользѣ.

    Pechenegs in Nestor’s quote, who passed to the West after the Avars but before the Hungarians, are also said to have included Finno-Ugric allied tribes.

  36. According to the generally accepted etymology of the ethnonym “Ugry”, it comes from the ancient Turkic word “Ogur”, included as a component in many ethnonyms of the Ogur peoples: Onogurs, Uturgurs, Kuturgurs, etc., and meaning “horn”.

    In other words, the Magyars while still in the Urals region adopted a Turkic ethnonym, being recent newcomers to the nomadic steppe way of life.

  37. Conspicuously, there are no N-group Y-chromosomes in Hungary today, making me wonder if the Finnic speakers were the subjugated substrate who contributed language, and maternal lineage, to the post-conquest populations, but few if any male lines? In one way or another, the N haplogroup males must have been prevented from procreation, yet the language ended up being Finnic.

    …as all Volga basin Turkic / Finnic / Slavic groups have the same type of Y-DNA as well as autosomal Finnic affinities, so it may be easier to attribute both Bashkir / Tatar Y-DNA and autosomal DNA to the Finnic substrates of Volga-Kama Basin…

    Perhaps run of the mill Finnic Y-DNA is somewhere out there, but not sampled yet.

    This was all a bit confusing to parse at first, so allow me to suggest an adjustment to prevent further confusion: please use something else like “Uralic”, “Finno-Ugric” or “Ugric” here! Today “Finnic” is all but universally taken to refer to the Baltic Finns. While past usage has been more extensive, it has also never been considered to include the Hungarians.

    The hypothesis that there was already a pre-Árpádian Uralic intrusion into Pannonia is not entirely implausible. In that case though I would think that it was this substrate who were the Ungari of medieval sources, not the Magyars of 895 (which would add up, interestingly enough, to an entirely parallel situation as with Finns / suomalaiset).

    It is regardless certain that also Árpád’s people at least included speakers of Hungarian among themselves: a small number of Hungarian words have been recorded already in early medieval sources, before the Pannonian conquest, most prominently the ethnonym “Magyar” itself: mjɣriyyah reported by Arabic travellers as a people living on the Volga, Μεγέρη as one of the “Turkic” tribes living within the Byzanthine Empire.

  38. Trond Engen says

    I read that the Pechenegs pushed the Magyars westwards several times. First in the early or mid-9th century from their homes in the Don-Volga plain (after having been thrown out of Central Asia by the Oghuz), then west of the Dniepr in 892 (as allies of Byzantium), and finally into the Pannonian basin (on behalf of the Bulgarian tsar). Barbarian hordes can’t even enter a timeline without turning it into a mess.

  39. Dmitry Pruss says

    Barbarian hordes can’t even enter a timeline without turning it into a mess
    Very often the few Y-chromosomal markers deemed informative today may help today’s researchers identify some distant ancestors of the “hordes” – whose members were in fact fairly genetically quite distant from those ancestors (because the nomads had a habit of mixing with the local population wherever they stayed for a while). Didn’t we already discuss last year’s Nature whole-genomes publication on Scythians and Hunns, among others? Who showed that the Scythians, while culturally quite homogenous, were heavily admixed with Siberian peoples in the Eastern range of their domains near Altai, and equally heavily admixed with European populations to the West in Pannonia?

    The same Hunns, about whom the recent paper from Szeged says that they were clear-cut descendants of Xiongnu, turned out to be mostly Saka Irianians by DNA in last year’s paper, although with a sizeable chunk of Xiongnu-like heritage too.

    The Cumans / Hung. Kuns who in turn kept chasing the Pechenegs further and further West, in alliance with the Russian, Bulgarian and ultimately the Hungarian and Georgian rulers (and inspired a crusade against Hungarian King Ladislas IV “the Kun”, as well as famous onomatopoeic line of Russian poetry, “в пяток пътопташа поганые пълки половецкие в поле) may illustrate another classic complication of nomadic identity: that people may argue without an end if group X was an offshot of group Y or a later-years ally of group Y. It’s usually claimed that Cumans are a part of Kipchak, and the later split off Kimak. But last year’s Nature article suggests that the Kimak were Yeniseian, Kipchak Turkic, and Cuman also Turkic but merely allied to the Kipchak.

  40. Didn’t we already discuss last year’s Nature whole-genomes publication on Scythians and Hunns, among others?
    Not sure if we discussed THIS 2018 Damgaard paper (we did discuss another one, about the Botai)
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0094-2
    but it is often hard to find old links here…

  41. David Marjanović says

    That one is news to me.

  42. That one is news to me

    I was surprised not to find it here, too. Surely discussed it before. Was it on facebook, or in some more “genetic-centered” places online? Of course it barely samples all these groups spread from Hungary to Manchuria and over 3 millennia, and tribal / genetic heterogeneity of the Steppe peoples may mean that some of their important components remain missing. But the pattern of repeated migration punctuated by short-term stasis with inevitable population mixing is impossible to miss. The thread on plague is equally fascinating.

    Reading on archaeological riddles like Pereshchepina Grave I start wondering if the “partial” archaeological or history clues often lead to questionable attributions just like “partial” DNA data from mtDNA or Y-chromosomes. Like Pereshchepina’s coin hoard dates leave no doubts that it belonged to the Avars, but other components are poorly compatible with the Avar context and lead to a semi-official conclusion that it belonged to Bulgars who appropriated Avar’s treasure. Yet there is also IV-VI c. Iranian silver and gold which are so out of context in this Dnieper river region location. Some of the silver vessels would be more in place on Kama, a part of the Sassanid fur trade pattern as I recall. But gold vessels are totally unique and some researchers insist that they could only have come from the Khazars who allied with Emperor Heraclius in 627 and routed the Persians, taking troves of treasure. So was it the Khazars taking Avar coin treasure from the Bulgars? What would we conclude from finding only a few of the many clues in this collection?

    And then it seems that the old historians were too bewildered by the ever-changing array of the barbarians, trying to make sense and see patterns in their names and habits, like lumping together all possible Ogurs or Magyars? Just before the Avars there were the Antes who are often described the by the Greeks and the Goths as being of the same kind as Sclavenes or Veneds, either culturally or physically or even linguistically. But it seems like the Antes’ archaeological finds can’t ne reconciled with them being just another group of Slavs? Did the old historians just behave as the language-lumpers of today??

  43. The most obvious explanation of Pereshchepina treasure.

    In 630s, Avar Khaganate experienced civil war and collapse – several peoples previously subordinate to Avars revolted and established their own states (including first Slav empire of Samo)

    In 635 AD, Kubrat, chief of Onogur Bulgars decided to join the fun, revolted against Avars and apparently captured the treasure of Avar Khagans (he also might have been related to the dynasty of Bayan himself).

    He established alliance with the Byzantine emperor and left the Carpathian plain for the steppes of the Ukraine. He died there circa 650 AD and his treasure was buried in the sands of Pereshchepina.

    Byzantine coins found there are the emperor Heraclius’ payment to Kubrat for the alliance. Persian gold vessels are also part of that payment. Heraclius sacked Shah Khosrau’s great palace after the battle of Nineveh in 627 AD, that’s where this Persian gold comes from.

    After 636 AD, Heraclius was fighting for his life facing the Arab threat, he needed alliance with Bulgars and peace on the Balkan front more than he needed Persian gold, so he gave it all to Kubrat.

    Mystery solved.

  44. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: Not sure if we discussed THIS 2018 Damgaard paper

    New to me too. I still haven’t had time to read it, but it seems that it should be compared to another paper (which we did discuss recently): Krzewińska et al (2018): Ancient genomes suggest the eastern Pontic-Caspian steppe as the source of western Iron Age nomads

    What would we conclude from finding only a few of the many clues in this collection?

    It’s in the nature of treasures to consist almost entirely of objects taken out of their natural context. The treasure itself tells very little of who dug it down, but a lot of who they met in trade and war. Without any extrathesaurial clues to the owner, the attribution and interpretation will always be open to reinterpretation. It makes for a lot of fun triangulation, though (and SFR does a nice job at it).

  45. Trond Engen says
  46. I would argue that one may also search for clues about Avar origins among the Dulebs (historically described as being under the Avar yoke around the Carpathians), and maybe other Medieval and contemporary Westerly Slavs, since they may have experienced the last pulse of the nomadic admixture in the Avar era (and when multiple waves of admixture from similar sources have occurred, it becomes hard to see the earlier events behind the more recent ones). According to Yunusbaev 2015, North-Central Asian admixture in the typical Eastern Slavs dates back to the Khazar / Bulgar era and postdates the Avar times. So the Eastern Slavs / Russians (with a possible exception of the Westernmost Russians studied in the very recent publication of Zhernakova et al.) may have the hypothetical Avar traces obscured by the later events.

  47. Ultimately, all Slavs had warrior elite originating in the Avar Khaganate.

    Of course, Avar military was mostly non-Avar and composed of various Germanic, Slavic, nomadic and even formerly provincial Roman elements.

    After the Khaganate collapsed for the first time in the 7th century, the non-Avar military elite who revolted against the Khaganate went on to form the elite of the successor nations – some Slavic, some not (all four types of Bulgars, for example).

    They kept the memory of their origins for quite long time. For example, the Polish nobility believed that it is descended from nomadic conquerors (and thus had a right to lord over Polish serfs).

    The Tale of Bygone Years by Nestor describes how Slavs came to inhabit the lands they live now:

    After a long time, the Slavs sat down on the Danube, where the land is now Hungarian and Bulgarian. From those Slavs, the Slavs dispersed to other lands and were called by their names from the places they sat down on. So some came and sat on the river by the name of Morava and were called Moravans, while others called themselves Czechs. And here are the same Slavs: white Croats, and Serbs, and Khorutans. When Volokhs attacked the Slavs of the Danube, and settled among them, and oppressed them, then these Slavs went and sat on the Vistula and were called Lyakhs, and from those Lyakhs originate the Poles and others are Lyutichi and others are Mazovians and others are Pomorians.

    Similarly, these Slavs went and sat down along the Dnieper and called themselves Polians, and others came to be called Drevlians, because they dwelled in the forests, while others sat between Pripyat and Dvina and called themselves Dregovichi, others sat along the Dvina and called themselves Polochane after the river Polota that flows into Dvina. The same Slavs, who sat down near the lake of Ilmen, called themselves Slovene, and built the city, and called it Novgorod. And others sat down along the Desna, along the Seim, and along Sula, and called themselves Severiane. And so did the Slavic people disperse.

    This is pretty good description, but it must be stressed that this “dispersal of Slavs” from the Danubian basin was actually migration of the rebel military elite who split from the Avar Khaganate in the 7th century civil war.

    They apparently spoke Slavic which was lingua franca of the Avar military, but their ethnic (or racial, for that matter) origins were likely to be very diverse.

  48. The idea which intrigues me a lot – as I mentioned, the Bulgars were originally part of the Avar Khaganate and lived in the Carpathian basin and were an important part of the Avar military.

    So, the question is what language did they speak?

    It is believed they spoke some form of Turkic (Oguric Turkic, Chuvash is the only extant language of this branch).

    No doubt they did speak it originally, but did they keep it after living in the Avar Khaganate for several decades where the Slavic was lingua franca?

    Could Asparukh’s Bulgars have been Slavic speakers all along? And the supposedly Slavic Balkan population they subjugated – how Slavic they actually were?

    Maybe, it was the Bulgars who imposed Slavic language on the settled population of provincial Roman origin (and speaking some form of late Latin no doubt), not vice versa.

    This would explain a lot about early Bulgarian history.

  49. David Marjanović says

    all four types of Bulgars

    Four?

    This would explain a lot about early Bulgarian history.

    I’m intrigued.

  50. Four?

    OK, five.

    Danubian Bulgars of Asparukh, Volga Bulgars, Bulgars of Khazaria, Kuber’s Bulgars in Sirmium and even Italian Bulgars of Alcek.

    I’m intrigued.

    Supposedly Turkic Danubian Bulgars left no documents written in Turkic language.

    A few phrases or words found in Slavic documents (or in archaeological finds) can’t be reliably read as Turkic.

    To me this strange situation suggests that perhaps the Danubian Bulgars weren’t as Turkic as we were led to believe.

  51. John Cowan says

    No doubt they did speak it originally, but did they keep it after living in the Avar Khaganate for several decades where the Slavic was lingua franca?

    Why not? English is a lingua franca, and at least 90% of the people in the Netherlands speak it, but there is not the slightest trace (or chance) of losing Dutch.

  52. If 10 thousand Dutch warriors (all bilingual in English) went to conquer a Romance-speaking country and used English to communicate with the natives, they well might lose it.

  53. John Cowan says

    If they didn’t bring Dutch women with them, then probably yes. But nomads took women and children with them: that’s almost the definition of “nomadic”.

  54. Supposedly Turkic Danubian Bulgars left no documents written in Turkic language
    But Turkic Volga Bulgars didn’t leave documents written in Oghur Turkic until centuries after the emergence of Volga Bulgaria either – yet Chuvash is extant so no one doubts that the language was spoken there even though no early inscriptions survived?

    Danubian Bulgar inscriptions are typically in Greek (not in Slavic or Latin-related languages), with a few fragmentary Turkic words inscribed either using Greek letters or Orkhon runes. So while these early inscriptions leave open a possibility that the Danube Bulgars were losing their Turkic language already (if they didn’t merely rely on pre-existing use of Greek in administrative purposes), they give no reason to believe that the lingua franca of the land was Slavic at this early point.

    Conversely, there are strong reasons to believe that much of the Southern Balkans already spoke Slavic before the Bulgars. The empire’s struggle to ward off Slavic threats is well documented, and it appears that almost all inland Balkans effectively moved out of Byzantine control, having been overrun by the Slavs. The massive infusion of Steppe DNA into the peninsula Greeks is also well attested in the contemporary DNA studies, and without a question attributed to the wide-scale migration of the Slavs as far South as today’s Greece.

  55. More on supposed incomprehensibility and/or Slavic content of Danube Bulgar inscriptions. We need to ask our resident Altaic expert Christopher Culver, of course. Perhaps it has been discussed even here. But on his blog, it has been discussed for sure. Like this entry about an 870s-890s seal reading something like “Ivan bagatur khana irtkitkuno” which lead some linguists to conclude that the last word is indecipherable and may be a surname or a location (and could have misled me even into believing that the first three words were Slavic) (please pardon my transliteration simplifications!)

    Instead, Christopher Culver deconstructs the expression as “John the Warrior, khan’s customs tax overseer” (Bulgar Turkic throughout), in full agreement with the known role of similar lead seals in taxation of transported goods.
    https://www.christopherculver.com/languages/pritsak-bulgarian-turkic-inscription-varna.html

  56. David Marjanović says

    A few phrases or words found in Slavic documents (or in archaeological finds) can’t be reliably read as Turkic.

    There’s that annotated list of rulers, written in OCS except for one or two words after each name. Some of these words end in consonants, not in ъ. They all make sense as ordinal numbers once they’re compared to Chuvash.

  57. I also gave an example of an inscription analyzed by Cristopher Culver, but it’s marooned in moderation queue for now. It’s in Greek letters but an official’s title is Turkic

  58. Also some people argue that the runic addendum at the final line of the Kievan Letter of the Cairo Geniza (6 symbols in total) is an approval mark of a Danube Bulgar official, who then would turn out to have used Orkhon runes (not just Greek). Although others argue the letter dates no earlier than XI c. and therefore the runic line may only be Khazar. Since a couple of given names of the Jewish signers of the letter are Turkic, it makes at least some Khazar connection inevitable. One given name, GWSTT, is explained as Slavic “Gostyata” (it is well attested in Novgorod in the following centuries, but may have had a wider geographic spread in the merchant class in other areas too … Novgorod is just lucky to have so many birch bark letters preserved). The first letter of name of the city, Kiev, isn’t 100% legible, but a combination of Turkic, Rus’, and Hebrew personal names makes the attribution to Kiev of the Khazar age quite convincing.

  59. yet Chuvash is extant

    The problem with Chuvash, we don’t know if the Volga Bulgars spoke it.

    Historical evidence suggests that the Chuvash are not descendants of Volga Bulgars.

    E.g, Ibn Fadlan says that the Bulgars were Muslim since 10th century while at the time of Russian conquest the Chuvash were still pagans.

  60. Ivan bagatur khana irtkitkuno

    It can be read in Mongolian, you know

    Ivan warrior of the khan and man of “irtkit” (with some inventiveness, one could even claim “irtkit” meant “customs” in 9th century Mongolian).

  61. A very tangential question about Turkic etymologies and West Europe. Our hills are awash with dogtooth violets now. The scientific name of the European sister species means the same in Latin, “denis-canis”.
    The Russian name “kandyk” кандык means the same but in Turkic languages, according to Vasmer. Is it an independent invention of the same unusual name in Europe and Asia, or a calque of some sort? And if it isn’t independent, then what is the borrowing direction?

    (Incidentally the “recently commented posts” tool seems to have a bug, JC!)

  62. He’s aware of the bug and working hard to fix it!

  63. Ibn Fadlan says that the Bulgars were Muslim since 10th century while at the time of Russian conquest the Chuvash were still pagans.

    I would assume that the Muslim influences started in the urban core of Volga Bulgaria and didn’t yet spread far into the remote countryside. But the inscriptions of the Bulgars are Muslim / Arabic script throughout and they show evidence of two local languages, an Oghuric one (related to Chuvash) and a Kipchak one (related to Tatar). So there is little doubt that a language linked to the later Chuvash has been spoken by Volga Muslims.

  64. Trond Engen says

    I’ve been thinking for a while that the Balkan Slavs may have been the commoners who settled in Pannonia and environs under the Huns, but the Sarmatians of the 3rd-4th centuries may be a better suggestion. The organization of Sarmatian society in two sharply delined classes, mounted aristocrats and settled farmers, seems old and well-established. When the Sarmatians fled for the Goths, their subjects moved with them into Pannonia, where they settled for a few generations. Under the later Germanic and Hunnic invasions of Pannonia they crossed the Danube into the Roman Empire, and when the Sarmatian aristocrats were crushed by the Huns, or maybe by the Goths fleeing the Hunns, the Slavs appeared to the eyes of the world.

  65. Since the topic touches on Slavic expansion, it may be a right place to add a link to a paper on the population trajectory of the North-Western Russia (first attested by chronicles in Novgorod in IX c. and in Pskov in early X c.)
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0888754318307419

    The DNA is consistent with with IX c. split between the Slavs of these two regions, followed by a rapid expansion from a founder effective population size of mere hundreds

  66. John Cowan says

    Incidentally the “recently commented posts” tool seems to have a bug, JC!

    It wasn’t a bug so much as data corruption, and the design of the system (which runs once a minute) trades off the easy ability to recover from such corruption for speed.

    In the new version, now up and running, the process that re-creates the page from scratch (which involves downloading almost everything on the site) is now formalized in code rather than done ad hoc by me. That means recovery from future data corruption will be easier and quicker.

    Unfortunately, while this was going on, all comment updates were missed, as I learn about them by scraping the home page, and while the system was down the scraper wasn’t running (another defect of the design). So some links aren’t to the last comment, and some pages may appear in the wrong order. To fix this, I’ll rerun the full re-creation tonight, probably around midnight New York time (UTC-4); comments made in the following three hours or so will be scraped, saved and applied when the re-creation is complete.

    If you continue to see other bugs after that, in particular if the last link on the page is not as expected, please notify me at cowan@ccil.org. Thanks to ktschwarz for doing so this time, and my apologies to all for blowing off his initial complaint until things got much worse.

    As a benefit, I do now have a nearly full backup copy of the site and can easily create new ones as we go.

  67. Trond Engen says

    my apologies to all

    Rarely have apologies been less called for. Heartfelt thanks for what you’re doing.

  68. What Trond said.

  69. John Cowan says

    Test comment to see if everything’s in order now.

    Update: Lookin’ good. I’ll start the rebuild in about 3 hours.

  70. @John Cowan: I’ve refreshed it a few times, as new comments have shown up since your 9:05 post, and it seems to be working without a hitch.

    And, of course, we are all extremely grateful for the purely voluntary work you put into this project. It does so much to keep the Language Hat community operating smoothly—as, of course, do your frequent and knowledgeable comments. Dankon!

  71. Dmitry Pruss says

    Lookin’ good

    Thank you!!

    I guess with so much of “accumulated wealth” of LH threads, the what-happened-lately tool has become even more valuable than before, because so many discussions may be advancing – by quite a few messages each – on any given day now. One more possibility to make it more visible may also be to increase the number of recent comments displayed at LH’s own widget.

    Otherwise things like google-searching for “site:languagehat.com “April 19, 2019 at” ” seem to give one a comprehensive list of threads advanced on a given day (and it is usually a fairly short list since it goes by thread rather than by message)

  72. John Cowan says

    The Recently Commented Posts rebuild failed last night, so I’m going to kick it off again now. The hold-all-updates feature should make this safe to do even during active commenting periods, although it hasn’t been really tested yet. Expect a certain amount of instability on the page today as I work out bugs.

  73. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: The DNA is consistent with with IX c. split between the Slavs of these two regions, followed by a rapid expansion from a founder effective population size of mere hundreds

    I don’t have access to the paper, but does this mean that there was a total replacement of the presumably Finnic peoples who lived there before, or (as I suspect) that a certain genetic component arrived and split at that date.

  74. John Cowan says

    Okay, the rebuild is complete; it ran for just short of three hours. Hopefully everything should be correct now, modulo issues from the conversion to WordPress that occasionally garbled the order of comments on a post (you can sometimes see responses before the comments they are responding to), and as a result some posts may still appear out of order on the page because the physically last comment (which is what I look at) is not the latest comment temporally. Nothing much I can do about that.

    But do report any other issues either here or directly to cowan@ccil.org. The oldest comment in the system does in fact appear on the post listed last on the page, which is a good sign.

    UPDATE: Damn, broken again (different issue). Rerunning just the last part of the rebuild, which should be quick.

    UPDATE 2: Working again. A few updates may have been lost.

  75. Not sure if the Huns belong with the Avar discussion, or have a better place at the LH, but:

    Dr. Bryan Kristopher Miller posted his brand new book “Xiongnu Archaeology” on his webpage
    https://www.shh.mpg.de/1166424/dr-bryan-kristopher-miller

  76. does this mean that there was a total replacement of the presumably Finnic peoples who lived there before, or (as I suspect) that a certain genetic component arrived and split at that date.

    They see Finnic component in the Russian populations further North and East from previous publications of the others, but fairly little in their Pskov and Novgorod samples. It could be partly by design since they avoided adding more classic Finnic sets to their Admixture run, and stuck with a low K value which maximized the appearance of homogeneity in their Russians. But even these Russians are better described as more substantially Finnic, the population size and trajectories estimates should still be close.

    I was excited by the manuscript claim that they are making the data available, but the link.said that the access has been withdrawn. Arrgh. Maybe when its actually published they will get it going? For now it is an accepted but not formally pubd

  77. Trond Engen says

    Dr. Bryan Kristopher Miller posted his brand new book “Xiongnu Archaeology” on his webpage

    I think you mean Xiongnu Archaeology – Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the First Steppe Empire in Central Asia. 2011. Ursula Brosseder and Bryan K. Miller (Eds.), Bonn Contributions to Asian Archaeology, vol.5. Bonn: VFG-Arch Press. Pdf here (650 pages, 50 MB). Not his new book, but still very interesting.

  78. Trond Engen says

    But even these Russians are better described as more substantially Finnic, the population size and trajectories estimates should still be close.

    I understand that. Of course, a full population replacement needn’t have been brutal, if the two populations just didn’t interbreed and the Finns gradually retracted from the area. I believe they were slash-and-burn farmers at the time, so they might not have bothered fighting for land when there was plenty of it further north and east.

  79. Dmitry Pruss says

    a full population replacement needn’t have been brutal, if the two populations just didn’t interbreed and the Finns gradually retracted from the area. I believe they were slash-and-burn farmers at the time, so they might not have bothered fighting for land when there was plenty of it further north and east.
    But it goes w/o saying that the Russians carry plenty of linguistic, cultural, and genetic baggage from the Finno-Ugric tribes, so much so that most consumer genetics labs conflate contemporary Russian and Finnish ancestry to a substantial degree. In the 2018 Ethnicity Estimate White Paper, Ancestry.com goes as far as to explain that they determine “Finnish and North-Western Russian” ancestry as one combined bin (as opposed to less accurately identified combined bin for Eastern Europe and Russia). In the most recent incarnation of 23andMe’s ethnic composition analysis, my own DNA is described as 3.5% “Finnish” in long chunks, no doubt through my Russian great grandmother who hailed from the area of Arkhangelsk. It may be only nominally “closer to Finnish than to Eastern European” yet sufficiently distinct from Finland proper, but as you can see, one can draw the lines differently.

    I always worry that Russia’s research is vulnerable to Polish-Ukrainian trolling painting them as “real Slavs” and heirs to the grand Kingdoms of yore, while Russia is a Finno-Tatar impostor which should properly be called Muscovy. The “proud Novgorodian vs. Chud'” chauvinism was common even in the Northern Russia until recently; for example, Summer Coast Pomors taunted fellow Pomors from Kandalaksha Coast as “closet Karelians”. Or in the free peasant communities of Arkhangel, village celebration dances were to be led by the “best maidens” selected according to limpieza-de-sangre kind of conventions. But I don’t think the Russians (except maybe a crazy few) look down at the assimilated Finnic minorities among them anymore. Yet the population geneticists are curiously apprehensive. A previous large scale nation-wide DNA survey of the Russians peculiarly avoided sampling Oka and Middle Volga regions, I could only guess because that’s where Finno-Ugric and Turkic minorities still live alongside with the Russians. And the new paper tiptoes around in a similarly careful fashion…

    I wondered what the amateur population genetics community of Russia has to say about it, but didn’t find any mentions of the new paper. On the “Genome Russian Project” website BTW, they do pledge to release all the data in accordance with the international standards, but not before publication.

  80. and the Finns gradually retracted from the area. I believe they were slash-and-burn farmers at the time

    Incoming Russians also adopted slash and burn agriculture – well the natural conditions in the region hardly allow anything else.

    So whatever accounts for Russification of the North, it can’t have been demographic advantage of a more intensive agriculture.

    As usual, I have a pet theory here.

    There was an interesting phenomenon called “monastery colonization”.

    Russian monks lacking real deserts which Syrian monks used, have chosen to go into the northern wilderness for spiritual advancement and they founded literally hundreds of monasteries all over the region.

    Being celibate monks they are unlikely to have contributed to the genetic pool of the local population, but they certainly changed the character of the land, making it an integral part of “Holy Russia”.

    http://bugaeff.ru/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/21.jpg

    Map of the monastery colonization of the Russian North in 13-15th centuries.

    The result was not only an influx of Russian settlers, but also raising of the prestige of Russian language and culture and of course religion among the local Finnish population.

    By 16th century, the population of the region was already Russian-speaking and identified itself as Russian (without any real population displacement).

  81. Trond Engen says

    Nice map, That would help explain russification with little genetic replacement, which I think is true for most of the northern regions, but not full replacement, which may or may not be the case for Novgorod and Pskov.

  82. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: Yet the population geneticists are curiously apprehensive. A previous large scale nation-wide DNA survey of the Russians peculiarly avoided sampling Oka and Middle Volga regions, I could only guess because that’s where Finno-Ugric and Turkic minorities still live alongside with the Russians. And the new paper tiptoes around in a similarly careful fashion…

    The identification of a common genetic strand across Russia from Pskov to Yakutia seems curious when presented as a main finding. It looks more like an attempt to support a claim of unity than to explain the population history of Russia. I don’t doubt there is such a strand, but I’d think it’s a trivial North Eurasian element (like e.g. West Siberian HG), or maybe a combination of North Eurasian elements, spread widely in the Taiga belt with Seima-Turbino and in the Steppe corridor with just about everybody. It doesn’t explain anything about the rest of the contributors to the genome.

  83. It looks more like an attempt to support a claim of unity than to explain the population history of Russia

    Or a general claim of doing deep scientific interpretation. The grand achievement of the paper is sequencing of the genomes itself, in a very interesting part of the world’s genetic diversity which has yielded far too little data to date (and the founder of the projects said exactly the same when it was being launched 4 years ago, https://academic.oup.com/gigascience/article/4/1/s13742-015-0095-0/2707784 , and expressed hope that more will be gleaned about the past expansions and interinfluences of the Slavic, Turkic and Finno-Ugric groups which yielded the contemporary population of much of Russia). Another not-so-subtle point has been to mitigate the research stagnation and isolation from the global community which continues to permeate Russia’s sciences. Indeed, the leaders of the projects returned from the West with PhD degrees, are supporting their endeavor with various Western grants in other fields of genomics not limited to human population history, and actively train the new generation of researchers.

    Of course they need publications as they move down on their path, and I can only guess that the project is lagging behind and they set out to publish the first handful of genomes, which don’t really provide enough data for any major conclusions … yet one has to conclude something, anything in order to publish a paper?

    Specifically about the “hidden Finnic DNA elements in the Pskov / Novgorod Slavs, I can also hypothesize that there has been reported substantial divergence between Western and Eastern Finno-Ugric populations of European Russia. So depending on the composition of analysis data sets, it may very well be possible to see those Russians in the same cluster as the Finns, but separate from Komi or Mari…

  84. Wait a minute, why there would be any Finns in Pskov or Novgorod?

    I thought the area was populated by Balts before the Slavs came, not Finns.

  85. Dmitry Pruss says

    I thought the area was populated by Balts before the Slavs came, not Finns.

    I would love to see the references, but I also think that it may not matter from today’s DNA viewpoint. For one thing, Baltic and Slavic ancestral peoples were much closer to one another genetically, and it may be impossible to separate their contributions to modern DNA. 2ndly, there was an abundance of Finno-Ugric tribes in and around Novgorod / Pskov lands in later centuries – Ingrians, Vepsians, Karelians, Estonians, Livonians – who could have contributed to the population makeup even at much later time than the initial settlement of Novgorod (including Orthodox Christian refugees from Swedish wars in much later centuries).

    And then there were the Norse, possibly even before Slavs or at least at about the same time (but Germanic peoples are in general also too genetically similar to Balts and Slavs to tell apart a millennium later).

    Attempting to return closer to the Avar topic from there 🙂 doesn’t the earliest mention of the Rus’ in Annales Bertiniani describe the 832 CE “Rhos” emissaries returning from Constantinople as people whose origin is Swedish and who are the subjects of Khagan?

  86. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: Or a general claim of doing deep scientific interpretation. The grand achievement of the paper is sequencing of the genomes itself, in a very interesting part of the world’s genetic diversity which has yielded far too little data to date

    Good point..

    (and the founder of the projects said exactly the same when it was being launched 4 years ago, https://academic.oup.com/gigascience/article/4/1/s13742-015-0095-0/2707784 , and expressed hope that more will be gleaned about the past expansions and interinfluences of the Slavic, Turkic and Finno-Ugric groups which yielded the contemporary population of much of Russia).

    Very good.

    Another not-so-subtle point has been to mitigate the research stagnation and isolation from the global community which continues to permeate Russia’s sciences. Indeed, the leaders of the projects returned from the West with PhD degrees, are supporting their endeavor with various Western grants in other fields of genomics not limited to human population history, and actively train the new generation of researchers.

    Also very good.

    Of course they need publications as they move down on their path, and I can only guess that the project is lagging behind and they set out to publish the first handful of genomes, which don’t really provide enough data for any major conclusions … yet one has to conclude something, anything in order to publish a paper?

    … and we arrive at my speculation about the Hungarian paper above: That the project of the scientists is wide in scope, but the questions asked in the early papers are taylored to increase public interest and political goodwill at home.

    SFR: I thought the area was populated by Balts before the Slavs came, not Finns.

    I’ve read more than one paper pointing to the Lake Ilmen region as a buildup area for Finnic or Finno-Mordvinic. The latter grouping is simpler to imagine if the Finnic areas filled the forest zone and approached the southern Dvina. In travelling distance and waterways both Pskov and Novgorod naturally gravitate towards the Finnic territories just north of them. But I don’t know. That’s why I wrote “presumably Finnish” in my first reply,

  87. Of course they need publications as they move down on their path, and I can only guess that the project is lagging behind and they set out to publish the first handful of genomes, which don’t really provide enough data for any major conclusions.

    There are a variety of skills, distinct from doing research, that are useful for an academic scientist. The most important is convincing the funding agencies to provide money for one’s research, and I have not proven to be very good at that. On the other hand, there is also the skill of convincing the editors and referees at the best journals to publish one’s work, and that I am really, really good at. I have sometimes wondered whether I could make better money selling my skills to other scientists, helping them get published, than I make as a mid-career faculty member; however, even if I could, I suspect it would be a miserable existence.

  88. I would love to see the references,

    Here http://issuesinlinguistics.ru/pubfiles/2008-3_76-94.pdf

    Pskov and Novgorod regions fall almost entirely in the zone of Baltic hydronymy. Only the northern part of Novgorod land can be regarded as Finnish.

    The most densely populated part of Novgorod land – around lake Ilmen – has most Balt hydronyms (starting with river Volkhov itself)

  89. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: Attempting to return closer to the Avar topic from there ???? doesn’t the earliest mention of the Rus’ in Annales Bertiniani describe the 832 CE “Rhos” emissaries returning from Constantinople as people whose origin is Swedish and who are the subjects of Khagan?

    A few days ago Bulbul posted this link: Thorir Jónsson Hraundal: New Perspectives on Eastern Vikings/Rus in Arabic Sources, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 2014. I quote from the article:

    [T]he identification of the people named ‘Rus’ or ‘Rusiyyah’ in the medieval Arabic geographical and historical literature has long been disputed, especially whether they are to be regarded as Scandinavian or Slavic. Their name bears an obvious resemblance to that of the predominantly Slavic state that emerged in and around Kiev in the tenth century, known as Rus, which ultimately converted to Orthodox Christianity and became the embryo of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. A perusal of the Arabic sources, however, demonstrates that they mostly concern not the Kievan Rus but rather a distinctively different yet homonymous group (or groups) of people in a much more easterly region. In this article I will outline my position that Rus as a historical entity may be dealt with, broadly speaking, as two distinguishable groups: on the one hand, Kievan Rus; and on the other, what I will term here ‘Volga-Caspian Rus’. In very general terms, I suggest that the Rus in Kiev should be regarded as predominantly Slavic, although incorporating a significant Scandinavian element which gradually diminished in the course of the tenth century. By contrast, the ‘Volga-Caspian Rus’ were predominantly Scandinavian, or Viking, merchants and warriors who eventually disappeared or integrated with local peoples beyond the point of being a distinguishable entity by the early eleventh century.

    And:

    The Arabic sources thus clearly delineate a special relationship between the Rus and the Khazars on the one hand and the Volga Bulghars on the other. This relationship appears to have rested mainly on trade and diplomatic conventions that were lucrative for all three of them. Several sources from a later period may also be seen to reflect this situation, with some classifying the Rus as ‘Turks’, perhaps on account of their close contacts and prolonged sojourns in Khazaria and Bulghar. An example of this is the Mujmal al-Tawarikh, which refers to the Khazars and the Rus as brothers (Bahar 1939). The famous geographer Al-Idrisi, writing in the twelfth century, claims that Kiev (Kuyabah) is the city of the Turks called Rus ( Jaubert 1836–40, ii, 401), and in the following cen-tury Al-Qazwini similarly writes that the Rus are a large grouping of the Turks (Wüstenfeld 1849, 393–94). The renowned historian Ibn Khaldun mentions Rus along with the Volga Bulghars and several other peoples, stating that they are all Turkish tribes. This association between the two ethnonyms seems to have persisted for some time, as evidenced by the writings of Ibn Iyas from the late fifteenth century or early sixteenth century, where it is asserted that the Rus are a large grouping of the Turks.

    Such references may also be aligned with information found in several different sources, such as the Annals of St Bertin (s.a. 839), the writings of Ibn Rustah c. 900 (Goeje 1892, 145), and the anonymous Persian geographical work Hudud Al-Alam from the late tenth century (Minorsky 1970, 159), to the effect that the leader of the Rus bears the title khaqan, or ‘kaghan’. ‘Kaghan’ is in fact a well attested title among the Turkic peoples, including the Khazars (Golden 1992). This particular issue has been widely commented on and, by extension, has raised the question whether a Rus Kaghanate in fact existed, a topic which I shall address in a separate article.

    It makes me wonder if the name Hákon might actually be a folk-etymological Scandinavian form of the title khaqan. The literal meaning of Hákon certainly fits, and so does the timeline — barely. As far as I know, the name first appears in Scandinavia on runestones from the Viking Age, and there are persons in the sagas named Hákon born in the 9th century.

  90. Very interesting — thanks for the quotes!

  91. Nestor explained pretty well who the Rus were:

    And they expelled the Varyags to over the sea, and did not give them tribute, and began to own themselves, and there was no order among them, and the clans rose against each other, and they were quarrelsome and fought each other. And they said to themselves: “Let us look for a prince who would own us and judge according to the law”. And they went overseas to the Varyags, to the Rus. Those Varyags were called Rus, as others are called Swedes, and others Normans and Angles, and still others Gotlanders, and so are these called Rus. The Chud, Slovenes, Krivichi said to the Rus: “Our land is great and rich, but there is no order in it. Come to reign and own us.” And three brothers were elected with their families, and they took all of Rus with them, and they came, and the eldest, Rurik, sat in Novgorod, and the other, Sineus, in Beloozero, and the third, Truvor, – in Izborsk. And from those Varyags was named the Russian land.

    We learn from this that the Rus were Germanic (possibly Scandinavian) people related to Swedes, Norwegians, Anglo-Saxons or Gutes (from Gotland island).

    I note that one Scandinavian nation is conspicuously absent from this list.

    I am talking about the Danes, obviously.

    This suggests that the Rus was just another name for Danes (or a group of Danes).

    Rorik of Jutland, well known Danish Viking, is a good candidate for being Rurik the founder of Russia.

  92. Trond Engen says

    Interesting may be, but I edited it right back to you, All for a misbegotten capital S in “sagas”.

  93. Is it controversial that the Rus (narrowly construed) were Norsemen?

  94. Trond Engen says

    If I may also narrowly construe ‘Norsemen’ as Western Scandinavians, so yes. The standard tale is that they were mostly Swedes, and that the region of Roslagen (another “Danelaw” parallel) on the Swedish coast is somehow named for them.

  95. Re: Rus Khaganate.

    It definitely existed later on.

    One of the earliest Russian texts (precedes Nestor’s chronicle by half a century) the Sermon on Law and Grace has quite a lot to say about Khagans:

    “praised be our Khagan Vladimir by whom we received baptism”

    “let us praise our teacher and mentor, great Khagan of our land Vladimir, son of great Svyatoslav, son of old Igor”

    “And the glorious born from the glorious, and the noble born from the noble ones, our Khagan Vladimir”

    “And let’s pray for your son, our faithful Khagan George”

    “Written in the year 6559 (1051 AD), during the rule of our noble Khagan Yaroslav, son of Vladimir. Amen.”

  96. Pskov and Novgorod regions fall almost entirely in the zone of Baltic hydronymy. Only the northern part of Novgorod land can be regarded as Finnish.

    Cool, thanks. It isn’t as clear-cut in the paper, IMO. The question of quantitative comparison of Finnic vs. Baltic hydronyms isn’t settled there, although the author notes that many Finnic hydronyms North of Novgorod may date only to the 1600s migrations. There remains little doubt that the Baltic influences extended to Lake Ilmen (considerably North of where the earlier researchers expected them to peter out), but the absence of Finno-Ugric toponymic substrate isn’t by any means suggested.

  97. The previous major study of the Slavic DNA did find that while Poles, Belarusians, Ukrainians and non-Northern Russians were extremely close to each other, they also shared a lot of DNA with the Baltic and Finnic groups. And so did Mordvins.
    Other Western Slavs were twice as distant, but the Russians from the North were 10 times as distant (and shared more DNA with Finns)
    doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135820

  98. Spotted another (crazy?) interpretation of Avar / Khazar era runes (interpreted by others as Turkic). Oleg Mudrak suggests that the language is Alan. To my layman’s eye, the resulting texts don’t make much sense, and the opinions of the author don’t sound professional, but – here you are
    http://xn--c1acc6aafa1c.xn--p1ai/?page_id=6242

  99. David Marjanović says

    IIRC, Mudrak is a Turkologist, so he should notice if a text is not Turkic.

  100. J.W. Brewer says

    One internet source speculatively traces the name of Rurik’s brother given by Nestor as Truvor/Трувор to the nicely-Nordic sounding Þórvar[ð]r, but I prefer to think of it as echoing the unthreateningly modern British Trevor. Had there been a fourth brother he could have been Nigel.

  101. PlasticPaddy says

    Whatever about Trevor, Nigel is a good Scandinavian name, although we had it first: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel

  102. January First-of-May says

    The third (well, second) brother, incidentally, is Sineus/Синеус, which is apparently thought to be Signjótr, but to my untrained eye looks like a Slavic translation of a nickname.
    Now if I could only figure out why or how would someone end up called the Blue Moustache…

     
    EDIT:
    Whatever about Trevor

    Wikipedia says it’s Welsh.

  103. Trond Engen says

    Me: the southern Dvina

    From my zapadosevere perspective the twain Dvinas are southern and eastern.

    More me: As far as I know, the name [Hákon] first appears in Scandinavia on runestones from the Viking Age

    I originally had this supported by a link toNordiskt runnamnslexicon, but i removed it because I counted to two, and because the lexicon doesn’t say Viking Age explicitly. The forms look the age, but I’m no specialist at all, and I didn’t bother to try to track down the lexicon’s sources in the absence of a handy annex with supplementary information on each inscription.

  104. ‘Volga-Caspian Rus’
    Byzantine sources place the early Rus somewhere on the Don too. The Dnieper as a trading road seems to have had too many disadvantages. Maybe portages around the cataracts were to susceptible to hostile raids, or maybe the political situation on the Western end of the Steppe was always more fluid and precarious.

    because the lexicon doesn’t say Viking Age explicitly.
    The full inscriptions can be looked up e.g. here, but I don’t know how reliably they can be dated…
    https://skaldic.abdn.ac.uk/db.php?table=mss&id=15676&if=srdb

  105. Trond Engen says

    Thanks. I meant the secondary sources, the literary references inbetween the catalogue numbers of the runestones, to see drawings of the runes and some scholarly evaluation, but this is still av very good resource that adds context to each of the attestations. I’ve just had a brief look at a few of them, but that did nothing to challenge the dating to the Viking Age. The texts are post-syncope and (impressionistically) post-rhoticization and on the road to denasalization, which does mean Viking Age on linguistic grounds. Judging by the orthography in transcription, they are all wrtten in the younger fuþark, which also means Viking Age (or later).

  106. Trond Engen says

    somewhere on the Don too

    One Arabic source seems to say that the Azov Sea was dominated by the Rus at some point. The Don is the link between the Volga and the Black Sea. But I guess a route along the upper Don might explain the position of Ryazan on the Oka-Moskva waterway.

  107. Whatever about Trevor, Nigel is a good Scandinavian name, although we had it first: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel

    The frequency table for Nigel is fascinating. As a child of that era in England, I grew up with many Nigels, but it appears that the Age of Nigel was brief and has passed into history.

  108. Mudrak is a Turkologist

    AFAIK, he is the Turkologist who discovered that Eskimo-Aleut languages are Turkic too.

    Perhaps second opinion from a somewhat less enthusiastic Turkologist is in order.

  109. Byzantine sources place the early Rus somewhere on the Don too.

    From Arabic sources it is clear that at least one group of the Rus served the Khazar Khagan as mercenary warriors and river fleet.

    I suppose that accounts for all these Don, Volga and Caspian Rus.

    Kiev Rus might have been part of Khaganate too at some point.

  110. I think of Nigel as the most common in the UK—uncommon in the US name there is.

    Simon too, but not as much, I may have met an American-born Simon.

    I don’t know what the opposite would be. Maybe Wayne?

  111. John Cowan says

    Other than a few Jewish Simons and some born abroad, the only American Simon that WP lists is Simon Cameron, Abraham Lincoln’s first Secretary of War.

  112. David Marjanović says

    Simon was a common name when and where I grew up, but likewise only a brief fashion.

    AFAIK, he is the Turkologist who discovered that Eskimo-Aleut languages are Turkic too.

    No, he found that Proto-Eskimo (Aleut continues to be a mystery) can almost entirely be derived from Proto-Altaic as reconstructed by S. Starostin, A. Dybo and himself. That’s pretty far removed from Turkology.

  113. I don’t know what the opposite would be. Maybe Wayne?

    In England “Wayne” is a stereotypical name for chavs (the uneducated white urban poor for whom American popular culture is aspirational; the equivalent stereotypical in much of mainland Europe seems to be “Kevin”). There was a 1990s TV comedy chav couple called “Wayne and Waynetta Slob” — the feminine Waynetta is hyperbolic but Wayne is real enough, and footballer Wayne Rooney has prolonged its popularity.

    Instead I nominate “Skyler”, “Dwayne”, or “Chad” (despite the Anglo-Saxon Saint Chad).

  114. John Cowan says

    Skyler/Skylar is a phonetic spelling of Schuyler, a perfectly cromulent Dutch surname that, like so many surnames, got recycled as a first name (cf. Scott, Graham, Marshall). This is either borrowed from, or cognate to, Schüer.

    As for Dwayne, it too is a respelling, this time of Duane < Dubhán, a 5C Welsh saint who established an abbey in Ireland (I don’t know what his Welsh name was). The spelling of Dwayne is likely influenced by Wayne, but also, I think, its blend of pronounceability and exoticism, what with only three words in /dw-/ in English (dwarf, dwindle, dwell). The same effect may exist for dweeb.

  115. Previous discussion of the Americanness of surname > maleGivenName > femaleGivenName ; Dutchness of surname adds extra Americanosity.

    “Dwane” is a recognised if uncommon Irish surname, but Irish names ending -ane have the PALM vowel, not the FACE vowel. (Hardboiled American Mickey Spillane and Kerry football legend Pat Spillane don’t rhyme.) The variant “Dwan” rhymes with “swan” (at least in the former soft drinks firm Dwan’s). I’ve never seen Dwan[e] as a given name.

  116. J.W. Brewer says

    I’m pretty sure Duane (the standard or at least earlier spelling, with the variant Dwayne arising later and peaking later*) as a 20th century American given name for boys came from the (mostly Irish) surname Duane, as suggested. Whether the surname in turn ultimately came from the given name of the antique Welsh saint is a different question.

    Perhaps the most prominent American bearer of the surname Duane is the 18th century New York politician/judge/powerbroker James Duane, namesake of Duanesburg upstate and of Duane Street in lower Manhattan (and, via the latter, of the Duane Reade drugstore chain). He was the son of an immigrant from Co. Galway.

    *It turns out per the SSA’s massive baby name database that by my own year of birth (1965) the trendlines had crossed, and Dwayne (126th most common) had edged slightly ahead of Duane (135th most common) among names given to US-born baby boys. But I still think of Duane as the standard and Dwayne as the variant. It is possible that differences in the ethnic and/or geographical distribution of the variants in my own generational cohort skewed my perceptions. OTOH, back when the legendary guitarist Duane Allman (1946-1971) was born, “Duane” was still more than 5x as common for newborn American boys as “Dwayne.” Although the picky will note that the guitarist’s birth certificate apparently read “Howard Duane Allman,” and the SSA database doesn’t include middle name usage.

  117. John Cowan says

    But surname recycling began in England, where Scots surnames became English first names.

    I suppose Pat Spillane has initial stress, too; Mickey Spillane has final stress.

  118. No, according to the videos I googled up it’s end-stressed.

  119. The name Skylar and variants tends to come in for mockery even in America. The wife of the protagonist in Breaking Bad (played by Anna Gunn) being named that is one of the subtle signals that the audience is supposed to dislike her. (This is toyed with, of course. The show made a great deal out of encouraging viewed to identify with Walter White, until even long after he was an out-and-out villain. Unsubtle viewers would not notice how far he had fallen until all his sins had come due for payment. The third-to-last episode was famously named “Ozymandius,” and the promos for it showed scenes from the episode, with actor Bryan Cranston reciting Shelly’s poem.)

  120. BTW on the topic of Getica‘s reported tripartite division of the Slavs into Veneds, Antes, and Sclavins or Slavs in the narrow sense.

    In an older thread ( http://languagehat.com/the-indo-european-controversy-an-interview/ ) we discussed the Veneti of Northern Italy, the Veneds of (supposedly) Poland, and the Venelainen ( ~ Vene people) as Finns and Estonians call the Russians.

    But nobody clarified anything about the genesis of the Finnic word, where did their ancestors encounter Veneds and how did they transfer the name to Novgorod Slavs (Slovenes and Krivichi). I already read somewhere an opinion that the Slovenes of Novgorod, with their distinct and only recently characterized language, were migrants from the West, unlike the Kiev area Drevlyan Slavs).

    And now I read that there is hardly any basis in the universally repeated identification of Veneds with the area of Poland. It may partly be due to the report by Tacitus that Vistula flowed from the Venedian Mountains, and partly due to the Soviet archaelogy’s anti-Germanic streak and refusal to accept Chenyakhov culture as Gotic rather than Slavic?

    Schukin’s 1997 piece, recently reprinted here: http://xn--c1acc6aafa1c.xn--p1ai/?page_id=26267 , comes to conclusion that there were Veneds North and South-East of today’s Poland, but not “in” Poland. His best guess is that the Veneds, like the later Rus, was a professional class, perhaps associated with the resurgence of Baltic amber trade, rather than a specific ethnicity. In fact Antes and Slavs, both frequently mentioned in Byzantine chronicles, are also described as “components of Veneds”. Schukin also points out the unsophisticated archaeological footprint of the earliest definitely known Slavs – simple pottery, little metal, no burials – which can be juxtaposed with Getica’s description of the Veneds as “shamelessly lacking quality weapons”. Since it is unlikely that the earlier, materially cultures lost their technologies and traditions so radically, it seems to draw a picture of the earliest Slavs (or maybe Veneds) as technologically backward woodcraft folk, gradually overtaking desolated areas East of the Carpathians before dramatically expanding out.

  121. John Cowan says

    My name isn’t exactly mocked, but when my wife met me she did have to make a conscious effort to suppress her lifelong use of john ‘toilet’. On the other hand, I was just reassuring someone on Quora that the AmE uses of wang and dong were not anti-Chinese slurs (“it’s rude to call someone a penis in any language”).

    Schüer

    Oops. Schüler, of course.

  122. J.W. Brewer says

    The US is a varied place with varied naming practices, and there are usually some given names at any given point in time that are stereotypically viewed as not distributed through the population evenly but instead as markers of race, ethnicity, region and/or social class. Making jokes about given names stereotypically given to black children has become notably more socially and professionally hazardous over the course of my lifetime but jokes about given names stereotypically given to low-social-status white children (our equivalents to “Kevin,” although “Kevin” doesn’t fit in that set in the US) remain safe, for tv scriptwriters and others. The extent to which any stereotype about the demographics of the holders of a given name is accurate (and/or remains accurate, since things can and do shift over time) is a different question.

    The rise of “Skylar” (given to 4,706 US-born baby girls in 2017) is a phenomenon of the last few decades. The name is absent from the most complete dataset (covering all names given to five or more babies) for the year of my birth, which admittedly does include 6 girls named “Skyla” and 9 boys named “Skyler” (as well as 15 boys named “Schuyler,” presumably born to parents who had paid more attention to their American history lessons in school than the average student had).

    The Breaking Bad character is apparently named “Skyler,” but with either spelling it’s simply not a empirically plausible name for the character (plausibly born circa 1969 based on the internal timeline of the TV show and played by an actress born 1968) to have had. It’s presumably an artifact of bad scriptwriting retrojecting newer stereotypes onto an older generational cohort.

  123. jokes about given names stereotypically given to low-social-status white children

    E.g., Cletus. (Note the aspirational names of his kids.)

  124. Tina Fey seems to like jokes about how “Dong” and “Wang” are really perfectly respectable names. In the first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kimmy’s love interest was a Vietnamese immigrant named “Dong.” When she laughs at his name, he tells her that “kimmy” is also slang for “penis” in Vietnamese. Earlier, on 30 Rock, Liz Lemon calls her boss Jack Donaghy a “wang,” and although he knows perfectly well she means it as an insult, he says it’s an honor to be compared with entrepreneur An Want.

  125. John Cowan says

    The Veneds of Poland, or more precisely the Republic of the Two Crowns (AJP and the other one, presumably), a glacis state between the West and SNORist Russia.

  126. But how did the Finnic languages came to be the only ones using the Vene-words now? Wiktionary describes it as “borrowed from Proto-Germanic *winidaz (“Slav”)”, and quotes a 1555 letter by the Swedish king, but the Germanic languages didn’t use it by then, did they? And it’s used in the Finno-Ugric languages which were generally outside of the Swedish spheres of control, like Veps and Votic.

  127. David Marjanović says

    the uneducated white urban poor for whom American popular culture is aspirational; the equivalent stereotypical in much of mainland Europe seems to be “Kevin”

    Totally is in Germany; the female version, interestingly enough, is stereotypically Chantal, though Jacqueline is much more common.

  128. David Marjanović says

    but the Germanic languages didn’t use it by then, did they?

    You can still occasionally find it in use in German for the speakers of Sorbian (wendisch) in eastern Germany and Slovene (windisch) in southern Austria.

  129. You can still occasionally find it in use in German for the speakers of Sorbian (wendisch) in eastern Germany and Slovene (windisch) in southern Austria.
    Thanks! I don’t why I hoped that in Finnic languages it would have dated back to “before the Goths crossed the Baltic Sea en masse”, hinting at the Veneds’ peri-Baltic locations before they became known to history. Looking at research at Germanic borrowings in Finnish, you can’t help realizing that these borrowings date to a lot of different eras… some very early, some Medieval…
    A recent dissertation may be a great catalog:
    https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/135714/bidragti.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

  130. January First-of-May says

    But nobody clarified anything about the genesis of the Finnic word

    For what it’s worth, the late Zaliznyak, in an introductory linguistics lecture, attributed the origin of this word to the Vyatichi (Old East Slavic Вѧтичи, apparently < Proto-Slavic *vętitji). Not sure if that makes any geographical sense, admittedly.

  131. January First-of-May says

    Perhaps the most prominent American bearer of the surname Duane is the 18th century New York politician/judge/powerbroker James Duane, namesake of Duanesburg upstate and of Duane Street in lower Manhattan (and, via the latter, of the Duane Reade drugstore chain). He was the son of an immigrant from Co. Galway.

    Perhaps the most historically prominent, but surely those days more people would have heard of the author Diane Duane (of Young Wizards and Rihannsu fame).

    as well as 15 boys named “Schuyler,” presumably born to parents who had paid more attention to their American history lessons in school than the average student had

    At least one of them had to have been named for Ulysses S. Grant’s vice-president Schuyler Colfax.

  132. I always assumed that Finnish Venäjä and Estonian Vene were just an attempt to pronounce Old Norse term “Vindr”.

    Historical context: In 753 AD, Scandinavians founded a settlement in Ladoga. It was destroyed by incoming Slavs in about 770 AD, who then built their Lyubsha fort nearby. This is likely was the first contact between Scandinavians, Slavs and Finns in the region.

    The prolonged contest over Ladoga between Slavs and Scandinavians lasted three more centuries (invitation of Rurik and founding of Russia being just episodes in this struggle).

    Now, let’s recall what happened at Ladoga in 770 AD.

    The Slavs (Slovene from lake Ilmen) advanced from the south and simultaneously came into contact with both the Scandinavian settlement in Ladoga and the surrounding Finnish tribes.

    What term the Norse would use for people who looked like West Slavs, fought like West Slavs and spoke their West Slav language?

    Vindr (Wends), obviously, what else?

    And that’s what they told their Finnish neighbours when they inquired who are these strange invaders from the south.

  133. AJP Crown says

    “Republic of the Two Crowns” – really? Is there a Kingdom of the Two Anarchies somewhere?

  134. AJP Crown says

    In England “Wayne” is a stereotypical name for chavs (the uneducated white urban poor…Instead I nominate “Skyler”

    My cousin, currently living in a remote part of NZ, has a three year old named Skyler. He and his wife (they design engines for British Aerospace, we think they may be spies) will be interested that they’re seen in Ireland as the uneducated urban poor. It must be Brexit. There’s another 3 yr-old relative name o’ Basil, after my grandfather. Is he on the chavs list?

    Breaking Bad “Skyler,” …is presumably an artifact of bad scriptwriting retrojecting…

    Bad writing, really? My favourite Breaking Bad name is Lydia Rodarte-Quayle.

  135. The Breaking Bad character is apparently named “Skyler,” but with either spelling it’s simply not a empirically plausible name for the character

    As an East Coaster a few years older than the actress, Skyler always struck me as the kind of name California/West Coast women my age might well have, and was an excellent shortcut to convey a certain kind of shallowness, even if unfairly.

  136. AJP Crown says

    not empirically plausible [if] born circa 1969

    There’s a real Skyler White, b.1967:
    White grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[1] The child of two college professors, she attended a performing arts high school, originally intending to pursue a career in ballet.[2][3] She graduated from Franklin and Marshall College, where she studied English and drama.[1] She has earned a master’s degree in theatre.

  137. In 753 AD, Scandinavians founded a settlement in Ladoga. It was destroyed by incoming Slavs in about 770 AD, who then built their Lyubsha fort nearby. This is likely was the first contact between Scandinavians, Slavs and Finns in the region.

    Honestly, I’m kind of struggling with the degree of discontinuity of Old Ladoga around 770, and especially with the involvement of Slav warfare in it. It’s clear that early in the history of this nascent Norse outpost, its inhabitants were uprooted, and the replacement log houses look more Slavic by floorplan. But much of the material culture shows signs of continuity. Also new are cheap high tin-content bronze decorations, which are trumpeted as Slavic because they are occasionally found in Long Mound Culture traditionally associated with the Krivichi tribe of the Slavs. But in fact the area of high-tin decorations is much wider, spanning from Latgalia and Estonia in the West to Mologa and Moscow rivers in the North and East (and they are first attested before the end of VI century, so their makers are a lot more likely to have been Balts). Besides, the Long Mound people didn’t even live along the lake-river corridor connecting Lake Ilmen, Old Ladoga, and Ladoga Lake where the hypothesized warlike Slavs were supposed to have advanced to Ladoga.

    Украшения из легкоплавких сплавов в культуре псковских длинных курганов: основные формы и поиск аналогий

  138. Besides, the Long Mound people didn’t even live along the lake-river corridor

    Both Lyubsha and Ladoga were simply trading outposts, why would they live along the river route?

    It’s like expecting Swedes settling all of the Baltic coast from Gotland to Ladoga.

    No, they didn’t need it, that’s why they had boats.

  139. Dmitry Pruss says

    simply trading outposts
    Yes, trading posts don’t have to be connected to the main ethnic areas. And in the sparsely populated forest zone of today’s Russia it was common for the roving traders to have fusion cultures and mixed origins, from Seima to Rus…

    But that’s why I doubt the hypothesis of 100% Slavic takeover in 770. As to the tin trinkets, their Slav connection may be even more tenuous because the Slovenes of Lake Ilmen aren’t known to have had them, yet they are the hypothesized invaders of Ladoga

  140. One internet source speculatively traces the name of Rurik’s brother given by Nestor as Truvor/Трувор to the nicely-Nordic sounding Þórvar[ð]r, but I prefer to think of it

    One theory on Truvor which I believe a bit better 🙂 is that the story of Rurik’s brother supposedly getting control of Izborsk is a later Novgorodian invention justifying Novgorod’s takeover of Izborsk and Pskov. Unlike Novgorod, these locations conspicuously lack Norse origin material goods.

    The story is partly relevant to the just-discussed Krivichi Slavs who are placed, by the same pro-Rurikid chronicles, around Izborsk (perhaps just as questionably, if the powers-that-be wanted Pskov and Izborsk appear to be a domain of “junior brother” tribe to the Slovenes of Novgorod). And that, in turn, is in the main argument in favor of identifying Long Mound people as Krivichi Slavs.

    But the Long Mounds are spread quite a bit wider, as far East as Mologa river; and they appear a bit too early with their earliest graves showing an array of late Roman-era goods, including round belt buckles which disappear after the late 400s CE in other European locations, and polychromic glass and gemstone beads. The initial pulse of the European goods like these doesn’t last, so it may have been the items brought during migrations, rather than acquired continuously through trade. Later Long Mounds are remarkably unsophisticated in terms of goods, especially imports, but some of them are mass burials, many with horse bones underneath the human ones, so it seems to be chiefly / warrior burials, yet of a society which wasn’t “rich” overall. The typical locations indicate agriculture rather than trade activities (not near any major waterways).

    All in all it’s natural that the researchers find it hard to prove the Slavic / Krivichi identity of the Long Mounds. E.g. here (with lots of nice illustrations):
    https://www.e-anthropology.com/DownloadFreeFile.aspx?DwID=2369

    On the other hand, one of the arguments in favor of the Baltic origins of the Long Mounds – the reported ash layer underlying the mounds, as in reportedly fire-cleansed Baltic sites – turned out to be an error of interpretation (it’s a paleo-soil after all, rather than a trace of burning). And the Long Mounds, even in the most Easterly locations, had some temple ring decorations, which are in subsequent centuries known as the hallmark of Eastern Slavs.

  141. Finnish V/venäjä, Estonian vene and their other cognates go back to an already Proto-Finnic *venät (which is one of the only two reconstructible *At-stems; the other is the native *kevät ‘spring’). Actually, what really identifies this as an old pre-Proto-Germanic loan is Finnic *e versus Germanic *i…i < *e…e (seemingly predating even general unstressed *e > *i). Veps and Ludian point just to *venä, which seems to be loaned from old Karelian *venää (generalized from the oblique stem *venää- < *venäe- < *venäde-). Usually this setup would suggest a bit later loaning maybe from Proto-Scandinavian into Old Finnish and only from there into rest of Finnic altogether.

    Michael Weiss discusses recently this whole complex including Finnic, which may shed some light on the questions here.

    On Pskov: this looks Baltic and not Slavic even at first sight. It’s from *Plьskovъ, where if native the *s could only be from either Balto-Slavic *ś > PIE *ḱ or from progressive palatalization of *k, both impossible in a consonant cluster *sk. (Or is there some third potential source entirely for *-isk- in Slavic that I don’t know of?) However within Baltic we could easily trace a Latvian-type *-isk- back to Balto-Slavic *-išk- > PIE *-isk-. This *-išk- stage appears to be confirmed by the city’s name in Finnic: Pihkova ~ Pihkva < *Piškova.

  142. I note that the Liv name for the Russian is Krīevõ, because like the Latvians they encountered the Krivichi first. But their Estonian and Finnish cousins first met the Ilmen Slovene (of clearly West Slavic origin) and so they called them Wends.

  143. David Marjanović says

    Germanic *i…i < *e…e (seemingly predating even general unstressed *e > *i)

    …Progressive dissimilation followed by regressive assimilation followed by an unconditioned shift to the same effect? *galaxy brain meme*

    Pihkova ~ Pihkva < *Piškova

    I suppose the o is reborrowed from Russian?

  144. Heh. I mean of course that the *e…e stage seemingly reflected in Finnic would be even older than *e…i as predating reconstructible *i…i. Weiss also suggests a lengthened-grade athematic *wenēd-, which would work too.

    Although, as long as we’re on one of the LanguageHat histling megathreads, this could be a good point to mention a very interesting result from another recent PhD: North Germanic *i/u-umlaut distinguishes unstressed or stressed prenasal *e and *i — with a chainshift, so that *e gives *i, which is umlaut-triggering and labializable-to-/y/, while *i in general gives *ɨ, which is umlaut-non-triggering and non-labializable (also with some further conditioning where *i > *i after all). E.g. *sengwan- > *singwan- > ONo. syngva ‘to sing’, *farezi > *fariz > ONo. ferr ‘travel.2PS’, versus *liduz > *lɨðuz > ONo. liðr ‘joint’, *stadiz > *staðɨz > ONo. staðr ‘place’. And I wonder if this chainshift should be then reconstructed for Proto-Germanic already, or maybe only for NGmc versus no change to *i in WGmc and Gothic, in which case it would still be the *sengwan- and also *wened- stage that comes out for Proto-Germanic.

    (I should do a blog post of my own on this at some point as this seems like an important new result, plus I have some related observations in mind that might point towards dating the chainshift as post-Proto-Germanic.)

    I suppose the o is reborrowed from Russian?

    Oh, good call, probably. Estonian dialects seem to also show Pihkõva, Pihkeva < *piškëva which could be more original.

  145. I should do a blog post of my own on this at some point

    If you do, please add a link here — this is interesting stuff.

  146. I would also appreciate it If you tacked on the etymology—provided that there is one—of (Lake) Peipus /Peipsijärvi. Odotan korvat höröllään!

  147. Estonian vene and their other cognates go back to an already Proto-Finnic *venät (which is one of the only two reconstructible *At-stems; the other is the native *kevät ‘spring’). Actually, what really identifies this as an old pre-Proto-Germanic loan is Finnic *e versus Germanic *i…i *i). Veps and Ludian point just to *venä, which seems to be loaned from old Karelian *venää (generalized from the oblique stem *venää- < *venäe- < *venäde-). Usually this setup would suggest a bit later loaning maybe from Proto-Scandinavian into Old Finnish and only from there into rest of Finnic altogether.

    the Liv name for the Russian is Krīevõ, because like the Latvians they encountered the Krivichi first

    There were also Veneds right in the middle of Liv lands, albeit possibly later, in XI and even XII c. ? And their Estonian name is different?

    Judging by the fact that Latvian town Cesis is Venden in Livonian, after a tribe which fortified it before the Baltic Crusades (likely connected to river Venta) – and the Estonian name for the same place is Võnnu?

    On a surface if it, it would have been hard for the German knights to use a widespread German word for a non-Slavic population. But of course it isn’t exactly a location known to have Slavic population. A whole assortment of related tidbits and quotes can be found here:
    https://www.jassa.org/?p=546

  148. David Marjanović says

    I mean of course that the *e…e stage seemingly reflected in Finnic would be even older than *e…i as predating reconstructible *i…i.

    Sure. Everyone agrees on this sequence – it’s the new interpretation that is so different.

    Time passing from top to bottom:

    Old interpretation (e.g. Ringe 2006):
    *e…e
    unconditioned *e > *i except in the first/stressed syllable
    *e…i
    umlaut
    *i…i
    Proto-Germanic

    My attempt to wrap my mind around what you said:
    *e…e
    some kinda dissimilation
    *e…i
    umlaut
    *i…i
    then unconditioned shift of every remaining *e outside the first/stressed syllable to *i
    Proto-Germanic

    *stadiz > *staðɨz > ONo. staðr ‘place’

    A while ago I stumbled into Google Books and came across a decades-long handwringing discussion on seeming exceptions to North Germanic umlaut, including this example. Two hypotheses I remember were: there were two phases of umlaut, with words formed between them losing the umlaut trigger before the second phase began; and a distinction between *i and *j as umlaut triggers. The new Duke of York gambit seems much less convoluted; I’ve downloaded the thesis and hope to read the relevant chapters later tonight. 🙂

    From the English abstract (strangely, the Finnish and Swedish abstracts are quite different from the English one and from each other):

    In the last section of the summary chapter, results attained in the papers are selectively compared and synthesised and some of their implications are highlighted. Topics discussed in further detail are the phonologisation of umlaut vowels and the features of the pre-documentary Scandinavian ‘palatal r’ (*z > z/ʀ > r). Implications that the theoretical analysis of papers [P4] and [P5] may have for the prehistory of Scandinavian dialect geography are illustrated and the close relation between East and West Scandinavian, seemingly leaving out Gutnish and Övdalian, is explained. An apparent plunge in the intensity of Scandinavian-Finnic lexical borrowing is placed in the same spatial and chronological context, which may be interpreted as examples of linguistic consequences of the climate disaster in the decade beginning in 536 CE.

    Brackets in the original.

  149. John Cowan says

    A little touch of Harry Turtledove, from his story “Islands in the Stream” (not to be confused with the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton song, the Hemingway novel, or Turtledove’s other story “Cayos in the Stream”, in which Hemingway becomes a WWII war hero for throwing a bomb down the open hatch of a U-boat off the Cuban coast). The scene is one in which an Arab delegation from Constantinople (which fell in the 7C in this AU) and another from Rome have come to Pliska to convince the khan of the Bulgars to adopt their respective religions:

    Telerikh gnawed on his mustaches. He looked from one delegation to the other, back again. “Tell me,” he said slowly, “is it the same god both groups of you worship, or do you follow different ones?”

    “That is an excellent question,” Jalal ad-Din said; no, Telerikh was no fool. “It is the same god: there is no God but God. But the Christians worship him incorrectly, saying he is Three, not One.”

    “It is the same God,” Paul agreed, once more apparently overriding Theodore. “Muhammad is not a true prophet and many of his preachings are lies, but it is the same God, who gave his only begotten Son to save mankind.”

    “Stop!” Telerikh held up a hand. “If it is the same God, what difference does it make how I and my people worship him? No matter what the prayers we send up to him, surely he will know what we mean.”

    Jalal ad-Din glanced toward Paul. The Christian was also looking at him. Paul smiled. Jalal ad-Din found himself smiling back. He too felt the irony of the situation: he and Paul had more in common with each other than either of them did with the naive Bulgar khan. Paul raised an eyebrow. Jalal ad-Din dipped his head, granting the Christian permission to answer Telerikh’s question.

    “Sadly, excellent khan, it is not so simple,” Paul said. “Just as there is only one true God, so there can be only one true way to worship him, for while he is merciful, he is also just, and will not tolerate errors in the reverence paid him. To use a homely example, sir, would it please you if we called you ‘khan of the Avars’?”

    “It would please me right well, were it true,” Telerikh said with a grim chuckle. “Worse luck for me, though, the Avars have a khan of their own. Very well, priest, I see what you are saying.”

    Interestingly, the leader of the Christian delegation is Niketas, the grandson of Emperor Leo III (the son of his daughter Anna), and the characters speculate whether he might perhaps have become Emperor if the Queen of Cities had not fallen. (His father Artabasdos did become anti-Emperor for a while, and Niketas was one of his generals.)

    In the end, jvgu gur pnyvcu’f nezvrf nyy nybat uvf fbhgurea obeqre, Gryrevxu npprcgf Vfynz sbe uvzfrys naq uvf crbcyr (nsgre orvat nffherq gung ol qbvat fb ibyhagnevyl ur jvyy abg pbzr haqre gur pnyvcu’f ehyr), fnlvat gung ur zvtug unir qbar bgurejvfr vs Pbafgnagvabcyr unq erznvarq Puevfgvna. Va gur raq, vg vf gur Puevfgvna pbhagevrf va gur abegujrfg bs gur jbeyq gung orpbzr “vfynaqf va gur fgernz”. See rot13.com.

  150. A catch-all kind of a genetics paper (finding great correlations with linguistics and geography) showing that previously commonly defined “Eastern Siberian / NE Asian ancestry” in the Uralic and Turkic speakers (and Russians) can be neatly subdivied into two substantially disticnt sources.

    The Uralic and some other Northern boreal woods / tundra belt people draw their NE Asian ancestry from a source similar to the contemporary Nganasan, and showing continuity with Mesolithic and Upper Paleolithic North Eurasians.

    In contrast, Turkic people derive their NE Asian ancestry from a source similar to Manchu people NE China – Far East Russia, such as the Ulchi. These ancestors were later-comers to this corner of Asia’s North-East.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-019-0878-2

    One of the few exceptions in the linguistic correlations patterns are Zabolot’ye Tatars (living in the area generally occupied by Finnic Speakers, and genetically more close to them). Up until last fall, I didn’t know that Zabolot’ye Tatars, living in the roadless swampland near the historic capital of the Siberia Khanate, were a distinct group. But nowadays, with a better-enforced ban on poaching Siberian sturgeon, having connections with Zabolot’ye Tatars is about the only way one can still enjoy the region’s traditional stroganina, a sashimi-like raw sturgeon dish. Behind their roadless swamps, these folks don’t heed the laws. There are so few of them that I really don’t think the endangered fish is threatened any more, as the vast majority of the population now are the urban, oil-processing Russians and Kazan Tatars. Anyway I got my stroganina and don’t feel pangs of regret.

  151. David Marjanović says

    In contrast, Turkic people derive their NE Asian ancestry from a source similar to Manchu people NE China – Far East Russia, such as the Ulchi. These ancestors were later-comers to this corner of Asia’s North-East.

    Seems to fit perfectly with Robbeets’s hypotheses on the origin of the Altaic languages and their speakers.

  152. David Marjanović says

    I’ve finished reading Schalin’s thesis (well, the English parts, plus skimming through the Swedish extended summary).

    Except not. The five papers of which the thesis theoretically consists are not included in the pdf. I’ve never seen that before. They’re not even all in open access.

    The pdf is basically a detailed review of five of the author’s papers, and quite promising in several ways.

  153. At least in the Finnish/Estonian case, we know quite well that the Proto-Finnic homeland was in northern Baltia, and that Finns have partial Sami ancestry. Shame that Ingrians proper / Votes / Livonians were not sampled here
    Since this thread is also a de-facto discussion of Proto-Finnic ethnogenesis… there is a new ancient DNA study in Estonian / Ingrian areas which shows that Siberian autosomal DNA (a relatively little of it) and Siberian Y-chromosomes (a lot of them) appear in these parts – and continue to increase in frequency – during the Iron age, already by about 500 BCE. The others had only a handful of earlier Bronze Age samples, so they can’t pinpoint with a better precision the date of arrival of this component, typical for the Finnic speakers today. (It may have remained undetected if it was present a low frequencies before the Iron Age). However, the fraction of autosomal Siberian DNA during the Iron Age fluctuates widely, indicating that the population wasn’t thoroughly mixed yet, and therefore the influx of Siberian DNA has occurred relatively recently. Since this timeframe corresponds to the hypothesized chronology of early splits between Finnic languages, it is natural to conclude that Proto-Finnic has been brought into the Northern Baltics by 500 BCE through a male-mediated migration.

    (Earlier on, in late Bronze age, just like elsewhere in Northern Europe, there has been a resurgence of Western Hunter-Gatherer ancestry, previously swept away by the consecutive waves of Neolithic farmers (in the Southern Baltic area) and Bronze age migrations (everywhere across the region, including the Northern Baltic area where the Neolithic farming didn’t reach into))

    The Iron Age remains are from the tarand-style graves which have long been thought to belong to the earliest Finnic speakers, owing both to their timing and to similarities with other Finno-Ugric burial traditions further East. The DNA concurs.

    https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30424-5

  154. Trond Engen says

    This is almost straight out of Parpola 2017, so in clear support of the already emerging consensus. The paper even say the Finnic speakers arrived “by the southwestern route”, Parpola’s term to distinguish the Daugava waterway from “the northern route” through the Ladoga purportedly taken by speakers of Proto-Saami. I don’t know what archaeological or genetic evidence there is for this, though. I do know that haplogroup N-something is as common in Latvia and Lithuania as in Estonia. As for archaeology, Parpola has a nice map of the distribution of Akozina-Mälar type axes, but not with dates, and none of tarand graves and associated hillforts. I haven’t been able to track one down elsewhere either,

    And should we assume that the Ante-Finnic Eastern Baltic shore was linguistically Baltic or Para-Germanic or something inbetween?

  155. David Marjanović says

    I’d say Baltic, because the Baltic loans in Finnic tend to be closer to basic or substrate vocabulary than the Germanic ones.

  156. Alex Komar has put 300-page 2018 manuscript on Magyar antiquities and antedecents on academia. Lots of beautiful illustrations too.

  157. Incidentally they also equate Oghurs (better known from the times of Bulgars and Avars) with Hungarians (better known 2 centuries later) in the same as did Nestor the Russian chronicler in the opening post (who mentioned “two kinds of Hungarians” right around the Avars (Avar’s contemporaries “white Hungarians” in early VII c. and Oleg’s contemporaries “black Hungarians” in late IX c.): придоша угре бѣлии и наслѣдиша землю словѣньскую, прогнавше волохы, иже бѣша приялѣ землю словеньску. Си бо угри почаша быти пр-Ираклии цесари, иже ходиша на Хоздроя, цесаря пѣрьскаго… then Avars and then: По сихъ бо придоша печенизѣ, и пакы идоша угри чернии мимо Киевъ послѣже при Ользѣ.

    Komar shows that it is a translation problem. The original Greek sources about the nomads helping Heraclius against the Persians in the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 named them Turks, even more specifically “Eastern Turks aka Khazars”, not “Hungarians”: Τούρκους έκ της έώας ούς Χάζαρεις όνμάζουσιν. But afterwards, the Greek sources started equating Turks and Hungarians, and so did the Russian translation.

  158. A little mysterious tidbit about the Avars and the Huns / Gepids / Goths who immediately preceded them on the Pannonian Plain.

    A Vth c. grave of 3 male adolescents (with dismembered and partly missing mashed-up skeletons, and added animal bones and objects) seems to represent a ritual sacrifice. All three boys display signs of nutritional deprivations and hardships, likely because they were commoners; the diets are described as heavy on millet and low on animal protein.The trio represents 3 distinct races – an East Asian, a Mediterranean, and a Western European by ancestry – and the different appearance of the three is further accentuated by different types of cranial deformation (flat-board compression, circular binding, and none, resp.). The three groups obviously lived side-by-side and were subordinated to the same entity.

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216366

  159. John Cowan says

    Or perhaps they didn’t, and the sacrifice was to bind a truce or peace: each group contributed a victim.

  160. Trond Engen says

    I’ve finally read the article. It’s an interesting paper with great potential for further research into the ethnography of the Migration Era. Unfortunately, the resolution of the genetic test is so bad that it’s just possible to point in the general directions of “East Asia”, “Europe/Caucasus” and “Middle East”, and the two latter can’t be discerned with much confidence, but the authors hope this will be remedied with future research on a larger sample of skeletons.

    I thought they might be hostages from three different populations conquered by a new overlord, but hostages would have been from elite families and probably not have experienced periods of severe malnutrition in childhood. Maybe they were slaves ritually executed or sacrificed in place of the important hostages.

  161. Not really sure if this is even close to the proper place for posting about the Slavs half a millennium after the Avars, but since we touched on Slavo-Finno-Ugric interactions here before:

    A large number of skeletons from the 1238 sacking of Yaroslavl by the Mongols, in Northern Russia, were turned over to DNA researchers. The lab technology isn’t really up to date, but the study turned up some intriguing details. The victims largely belong to the Balto-Slavic and Scandinavian male lineages (Y-haplogroups R1a and a singleton of I1 whom they are tempted to describe as a descendant of Varangian warriors), one or two R1b (including one jewlry trader, perhaps of Iranian / Kwarezmian extraction), and one E (whom they are eager to describe as a priest from the Balkans)

    But no N1a whatsoever! (Yes, Mustafin says N1a in the clip, even though he probably meant N1c…. Today, the “Ugro-Finnic” haplogoroup accounts for over 30% of the city population)

    So the grand Slavo-Ugro-Finnic mixing hasn’t yet occurred by XIII c., at least not in the city.

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/09/archaeologists-unearth-mass-graves-from-mongol-invasion-of-russia/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z64qBnObMqY

  162. A number of Khazar warrior-class burials yielded DNA as well. They turned out to be a diverse population with various degree of local and East-Central Asian heritage. No sign of relation to the Jews of the latter era, in case if anyone still wonders. But one their DNA lineages turned up in Medieval Hungary, perhaps a vestige of Khazar-Avar invasions, which may be one good reason to post here
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2019.12.15.876912v1

  163. It is regardless certain that also Árpád’s people at least included speakers of Hungarian among themselves: a small number of Hungarian words have been recorded already in early medieval sources, before the Pannonian conquest, most prominently the ethnonym “Magyar” itself

    An interesting ancient-DNA development with tracing the origins of the House of Arpad using their Y-chromosome lineage: they turned out to be related to the modern Bashkir clans (having been separated by about 2,000 years) and more distantly related to some Turkic and Iranian peoples of South Central Asia (Pashtun, Tadjik, Turkmen, Uzbek) (with a separation timed to about 4,500 years ago). Of course the common ancestors of all these peoples moved quite a bit in the last 4 millennia; the authors don’t go too deep into other ancient DNA studies, but this Y-chromosome branch (Z2123) was first seen about 4,000 years ago in Potapovka and Sintashta (Bronze age cultures of the Middle Volga – Ural region whose descendants spread across Siberia and Central-South Asia).
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41431-020-0683-z

    There is no strong reason to think that the Arpad ancestors stayed put in the Volga-Ural region for two millennia before starting legendary trek West (or, indeed, that they came all the way from Afghanistan). So the trajectory of the pre-Arpad line between 2,500 BC and the beginning of the 1st millennium AD is still anyone’s guess. But the later Hungarian-Turkic migration from today’s Bashkir lands to Volga, Pontic Steppes and on to Pannonia is a widely acceptable hypothesis, and the DNA-derived timing and geography make sense.

  164. Wow, we’re learning some interesting stuff from DNA analysis.

  165. Trond Engen says

    Wow, indeed. And another finding here.

  166. Trond Engen says

    I’ve read the article. One reason for some caution regarding the Árpád dynasty: They sequenced several genomes thought to belong to the dynasty, and only two (one apparently securely ascribed to king Béla III) contained the “Árpád chromosome”. Still, a clear link between the early Hungarian nobilty and Bashkirs in the Ural, where they:

    […] live in close proximity with Finno-Ugric speaking populations with the N-B539 haplogroup. A recent study shows that this haplogroup is also found in modern Hungarians. Intriguingly, the most recent separation of the N-B539 derived lineages found in Hungarians and Bashkirs is estimated to have occurred ~2000 years before present. This would suggest that a group of people consisting of a Turkic (R-SUR51) component and a Finno-Ugric (N-B539) component left the Volga Ural region about 2000 years ago and started a migration that eventually culminated in settlement in the Carpathian Basin.

  167. One more preprint by the Hungarians (read: weak on genomic technology, strong on speculation about the prehistoric paths of the Hungarians) summarizing the IX-XI c. CE elite burial complex of Uyelgi near Chelyabinsk (first excavated 10 years ago). The papers have beautiful pictures of the burial goods: the original 2011 publication here
    https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/pogrebalnyy-kompleks-mogilnika-uelgi-novyy-srednevekovyy-pamyatnik-v-yuzhnom-zauralie
    the new preprint here
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.13.200154v1.full.pdf

    The new paper tentatively assigns it to the contemporaneous Strostki culture (Сросткинская культура), better knows for the sites hundreds kilometers to the East, closer to Altai mountains that to Ural mountains. Apparently Uyelgi has already become an almost household name in Hungary, the best footprint of the proto-Hungarians or more likely their close kin East of the Ural mountains and the ones with the proper grandeur of the steppe chiefs.

  168. David Marjanović says

    Apparently Uyelgi has already become an almost household name in Hungary

    Given how common új “new” is in Hungarian place names, I wondered if there’s some convenient folk etymology going on. But Google Translate doesn’t know any Hungarian elgi, and elg is translated directly as “warp”, but through German as “chain”…

  169. I wondered if there’s some convenient folk etymology going on

    but I did wonder about the real etymology too. Kunashak district, where Lake Uyelgi and a myriad other lakes, almost all with Turkic hydronyms, are located, is primarily a Bashkir area (and it belonged to various Bashkir ethnic autonomies over the years, even to Bashkortostan as a non-contiguous ethnic canton), but it also has Tatar population.

    But Uyelgi is said to be non-transparent in the Turkic languages, possibly a remnant of the pre-Turkic toponyms
    http://toposural.ru/index.php/ozjora-yuzhnogo-urala/ozerau

  170. In Mari the closest I can think of on short notice would be u elɣe ‘with the new lands’ (first part indeed cognate to új), but this does not sound like an especially lakey name; plus the Mari presence in eastern Bashkortostan is too recent to be pre-Turkic anyway.

  171. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: So the trajectory of the pre-Arpad line between 2,500 BC and the beginning of the 1st millennium AD is still anyone’s guess.

    It seems quite clear from the other samples that the Hungarian nobilty (“conquerors”) were as diverse as one might expect from a group coming in from the steppe in the late 1st millennium. The purported royal line looks to me as it originated among the Indo-Iranians of the steppe and followed the Iranians into South Central Asia. Rather than branching off with the Scythians into the western steppe (and eventually Caucasus), it was among the groups that were later assimilated into the Turkic peoples. When they settled as conquerors in the Volga-Ural region, this specific clan ended up somewhere on the southern or western fringe, where they may have lost their language (again).

    But the later Hungarian-Turkic migration from today’s Bashkir lands to Volga, Pontic Steppes and on to Pannonia is a widely acceptable hypothesis, and the DNA-derived timing and geography make sense.

    Yes. Though in absence of broader data, the timing of the genetic admixture events in relation to the different steps of migration is still uncertain at best. I wonder why the Hungarians won’t do whole-genome analysis.

  172. followed the Iranians into South Central Asia

    I don’t think so. The separation in time is far too deep. The common ancestors of the Arpad line and the South Central Asia are from long before all these migrations South. Actually from the times when the ancestors of the South Asians and Iranians were still in the Volga-Ural area.

    The Uyelgi paper tries to connect the proto-Hungarian culture with the Srostki culture. If true, then it will only strengthen the idea that we should be looking at the Siberian / Altai region instead of anything more southerly.

    I wonder why the Hungarians won’t do whole-genome analysis

    We might have discussed during the “Reich lab supremacy” discussion. The local ancient DNA gurus are no pros. They used to be academic researchers in other areas of molecular biology, and, as the grants dried out, they discovered that there is some money to be had from the government as long as they help the ruling party exploit the nationalistic vibes of the population. So they can’t give away samples to the more proficient labs (the funding may be lost, and the results would no longer be controlled in such a way as to please the ruling nationalists). So they have to use so-so labs and less experienced researchers, and they get less data from their old bones. And then the publication bias adds to the problem (no glorious Steppe warlords = no interest in publishing it).

  173. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry; I don’t think so. The separation in time is far too deep. The common ancestors of the Arpad line and the South Central Asia are from long before all these migrations South. Actually from the times when the ancestors of the South Asians and Iranians were still in the Volga-Ural area.

    If I read this tree correctly, the “Árpád” line fits within a Volga-Ural sub-branch of a South Central Steppe branch. Since these are estimates for Y-chromosomes alone, the dating of the branching should be pretty independent of the date of the population split, but in the case of strictly endogamous populations (or strictly patrilocal, when we discuss the Y-chromosome), always older. On that note, 4500 years seems as a rather good fit for a common male ancestor of lines dispersed with the Iranian expansions.

    The Uyelgi paper tries to connect the proto-Hungarian culture with the Srostki culture.

    I’ll have to read about the Srostki culture.

    there is some money to be had from the government as long as they help the ruling party exploit the nationalistic vibes of the population

    In this case I failed to see how an incomplete analysis is any better even for that purpose. But it may of course be in the circular reasoning leading to the selection of the “Árpád” chromosome and how they chose to focus on that rather than the whole set of extracted genomes.

  174. If I read this tree correctly, the “Árpád” line fits within a Volga-Ural sub-branch of a South Central Steppe branch.

    That’s the impression the authors are trying to make, but of course the modern populations aren’t in the locations where their male ancestors used to live millennia ago – and the authors neither included ancient DNA from other studies, nor shared their data with the others who work with ancient DNAs. They also included an artificially narrowed subset of contemporary DNAs.

    As I already mentioned above, the earliest R-Z2123 DNAs (sharing the root of their tree) come from Potapovka and Sintashta, and both the timing and the location are right for the hypothetical common ancestors of the Iranians and royal Hungarians. There is a more recent ancient DNA which they also neglect to mention, from the Tian Shan Iron Age Sakas (sample DA129 in Damgaard et al https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0094-2) which maps near the junction of their “Volga-Ural and Southern” branches, with TMRCA about 3200 years ago (of course, the other Scythians further West and all the way to Pannonia also shared R1a Y-chromosomes, of which this subtype is a more recent branch)

    On the public Yfull tree with their larger number and variety of samples, the splits with the ancestors of today’s Bashkirs vs. Middle Easterners also maps considerably later, 3700-3200 years before present
    https://www.yfull.com/tree/R-Y2633/
    A couple samples from Hungary/Serbia map with the Bashkirs, while the Iron Age Tian Shan sample (labeled id:ERS2374372 here) is next to a Pashtun sample and close to a diverse subset of Y-chromosomes from the Arab countries.

    So the Scythians / Saka in East Central Asia (later assimilated by the Huns) seem to be the more likely conduit of this Y-DNA lineage

  175. Trond Engen says

    I was thinking of the de Barros Damgaard paper (but didn’t take the time to reread it) when I outlined an eastern route and assimilation toTurkic groups after the early split with western Scythians.

    Do we disagree at all? Maybe in my adoption of “South Central Steppe”, but I think it’s vague enough to cover the roaming ground of the Iranians. Even if the Hungarians omitted published data from the analysis, that general outline accomodates both the Tian Shan sample and what seems as early incursions into the Middle East — as well as later(?) settlements in and around Afghanistan.

    I see that the Srostki Culture arose in the Eastern Steppe around 1000 CE. If its elite skeletons are closely related genetically to those of the “Hungarian conquerors”, it would quite likely mean that they are descendants of the same Turkic/turkified Iranian population. But interestingly the peprint claims this relation only for mitochondrial DNA. Were different parts of the conquered land settled by men from different patrilineal clans, while daughters of the elite were married out across the whole realm?

  176. Do we disagree at all? Maybe in my adoption of “South Central Steppe”, but I think it’s vague enough to cover the roaming ground of the Iranians.

    Right, I don’t think the direct link to the ancestors of the specifically Iranians exists (but instead, the links go to the earlier times, and to the shared ancestors of many peoples who probably were still in the North, in the Ural-Siberian belt). Of course eventually the branches in the North went extinct or nearly extinct (as in, not yet found). But by then, the branches in the South weren’t confined to the Steppe either, having spread around Middle East and even South Asia.

    If its elite skeletons are closely related genetically to those of the “Hungarian conquerors”, it would quite likely mean that they are descendants of the same Turkic/turkified Iranian population. But interestingly the peprint claims this relation only for mitochondrial DNA

    As I understand, nobody studied Srostki bones. The DNA connection is extremely indirect. Botalov identifies Srostski with the Kimak Khaganate at least since 2013 (see strting from pg. 139 here https://www.bulgari-istoria-2010.com/booksRu/Magiar_Simpoz_2013.pdf ) and indeed both Srostki sites and the Uyelgi mounds are within what’s thought to be the Kimak (Kimek) lands. But at their height, the Kimak ruled over an array of tribes, some local, many more dispaced from the East in the breakup of Uyghur Khagante in 840 (the best known of which, the Kipchak, eventually reached Pannonia as well). Of course the Kimak themselves were inevitably carried more and more to the West, and their DNA data are from a much later burial in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. The genetic makeup of the supposed Kimak male shows a more Easterly origin, but it may be hard to project it 5 centuries back into the formative period of the Kimak Khaganate (but this may be why the one known Kimak Y-chromosome isn’t being discussed). And any association with Srostki may be even more far-fetched since it hasn’t been convincingly identified with any member tribe of the Greater Kimaks.

    Anyway, it’s either Altai and the Kimak (or their local subordinates) or the more easterly Turkic tribes on their way West through the gaps South of Altai, who got some of their Y-chromosomes from the descendants of the Saka somewhere in the Altai – Tian Shan region?

  177. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: Right, I don’t think the direct link to the ancestors of the specifically Iranians exists (but instead, the links go to the earlier times, and to the shared ancestors of many peoples who probably were still in the North, in the Ural-Siberian belt). Of course eventually the branches in the North went extinct or nearly extinct (as in, not yet found). But by then, the branches in the South weren’t confined to the Steppe either, having spread around Middle East and even South Asia.

    Potapovka is on the way from Corded Ware to Sintashta. The future Indo-Iranians seem** to have picked up their dominantly R1a male ancestry somewhere around where Globular Amphora gave way to Corded Ware. They brought it with them as they spread east through Central Volga and Russia, consolidated in the Abashevo, and established themselves as masters of the Steppe with Sintashta and Andronovo. Given the later dispersal of its sister branches, it’s reasonable that the “Árpád” R1a was part of this*. More uncertain but still reasonable with current evidence: It wasn’t present in the subgroup that went south early and became the Indo-Aryans. That means that it is at least Para-Iranian.

    These (Para-)Iranians ruled the Steppe for a long time. There seems** to have been an early branching between a Western and a Southern/Eastern group. The “Árpád” line is not found in the Western “Scythian” group, but it fits well among those lines that settled in the south or entered the Middle East. In the first centuries CE the Steppe was increasingly under influence from new groups from the east. Some Iranians went south and settled, some even as far as the Indus Valley. Those who stayed on the Steppe eventually got assimilated to Xiongnu/Hunnic groups and were turkified.

    As Steppe dynamics go, faster and faster as we approach the Modern Era, these new Easterners pushed the Westerners out of the Steppe and into the Balkans, Caucasus and the Volga Basin before being pushed the same way themselves. The Hungarian conquest is part of one of those waves, and the “Árpád” line is one element in a very diverse male ancestry, a result of centuries of shifting alliances, locations and forms of settlement, at least since turkification.

    *) Other stories are possible: It might be that just the “Árpáds” stayed behind in the Abashevo homeland, got assimilated to the emerging Uralic groups, and only entered the Steppe with the Hungarian migration, Or they could have been among eastern Andronovo (Para-)Iranians who settled in the Altai region and were turkified much earlier.

    **) “Seem” is a keyword throughout. A better picture will obviously emerge with more evidence.

  178. Trond Engen says

    Forgot:

    As I understand, nobody studied Srostki bones. The DNA connection is extremely indirect.

    That makes the claim of a mitogenetic relationship weirdly specific.

  179. The future Indo-Iranians seem** to have picked up their dominantly R1a male ancestry somewhere around where Globular Amphora gave way to Corded Ware. They brought it with them as they spread east through Central Volga and Russia, consolidated in the Abashevo

    BTW you’ve seen Saag 2020 preprint on the DNA of Fatyanovo culture? The supposed predecessor of Abashevo in today’s Russian heartland? (Although in Russia, there is a popular viewpoint that Fatyanovo were the original Slavs, never mind a couple millennia time gap )
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.02.184507v1

    They are like ALL R1a-Z93, the ancestral group of both the Arpads and the Bashkirs but also of the South Asians. (In Russia there may be another cluster in the Altai). https://www.yfull.com/tree/R-Z93/

    Saag 2020 also happened across the oldest R1a known to date, a 10,000 years old hunter gatherer from the Northern Russian plain.

  180. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: BTW you’ve seen Saag 2020 preprint on the DNA of Fatyanovo culture?

    No, I haven’t, so thanks! I remember you said there was more to come when you linked to their previous paper.

    I realised after my last comment that my understanding of the Steppe dynamic was somewhat off. In my recent understanding, R1a1 etc. (Para-)Iranians replaced the “original” Yamnaya-derived R1b clans in the western Steppe quite early, but the fact is that a substantial element within the Scytho-Sarmatian sphere retained R1b. One might question if they were Andronovo at all, or if they developed in parallel somewhere out of view.

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Steppe for a long time was dominated by related but very distinct and surprisingly stable groups consisting of patrilinear family units. They did trade genes with other groups, but almost entirely by exchange of brides — occasionally accross the entire Steppe. It strikes me that in such a situation, Y-chromosome tracking (which is a very small part of the history of a population — and also utterly androcentric) will be especially useful as a good proxy for movements, splits and mergers of whole populations. Some defence of the Hungarians, maybe. But only some. Y-chromosomes are interesting until the 4D map is drawn, but as the temporal ethno-geography becomes better understood and the solution of the genetic model improves, the non-constancy of the mitogenomic makeup becomes more important. The occurence of new mitochondria in the population can be used to locate the exact origins of the female ancestry thruugh time and, by extension, the origin of all genetic contributions that are not uniparentally transmitted — which amounts to a picture of cultural and economic relations through time.

  181. very distinct and surprisingly stable groups consisting of patrilinear family units

    but it is just as important to remember that some mixing of paternal lines of descent still took place, both on a clan- or tribe-level inclusion so typical for the later-era Steppe peoples, and perhaps also on a more individual cultural-amalgamation level (documented in DNA in the places like Sintashta, or at a technological level in the phenomena such as Seima-Turbino).

    Whenever there is joining together followed by migration and expansion, especially whenever smaller founder groups are involved, the effective net result may be the loss of some of the original patrilines, which to some extent undercuts the notion of stability.

  182. Trond Engen says

    Certainly, And some lines will die out by natural drift, but the lines that do survive can be followed, and the inherent stabilty should make the leaps easier to spot. And the changes should be useful in the same way as changes in mitochondrial DNA.

  183. Trond Engen: Y-chromosomes are interesting until the 4D map is drawn,….

    Were there a lot of steppe dwellers living in apartment houses?

  184. Trond Engen says

    Huh. That paragraph is unreadable. I’m impressed you got that far.

  185. Silent partners: archaeological insights on mobility, interaction and civilization in Central Asia’s past

    http://www.academia.edu/download/63909333/Rouse_2020_SilentPartnersArchaeologicalInsightsCentralAsiaCivilization.pdf

  186. Trond Engen says

    @Dmitry: Saag 2020 preprint on the DNA of Fatyanovo culture

    I didn’t know the Fatyanovo culture extended far into the Taiga belt. Also, they got there in a surprisingly short time. It’s not just the distance, but they couldn’t take over existing settlements, and would have had to adapt their own lifestyle and technology to the Taiga environment. Maybe the new combined Yamnaya – Corded Ware package was especially flexible.

    The plot about R1a thickens. The source is probably more western, since it’s universal in Fatyanovo, but Russian Hunter-Gatherers being R1a means that it could well be outside the farming culture. And the Yamnaya R1b of the Scythians et al is a real riddle,

    Juha: Silent partners: archaeological insights on mobility, interaction and civilization in Central Asia’s past

    Lynne M. Rouse Silent partners: archaeological insights on mobility, interaction and civilization in Central Asia’s past, Eurasia Department, German Archaeological Institute, Berlin

    ABSTRACT
    Civilizations are as complex as the human relationships that engendered them, and outlining these relational qualities within open notions of mobility and interaction frames a reconceptualization of Central Asia’s past. Recent Eurasian archaeological research deconstructs deterministic politicaleconomic or hierarchical typologies of civilization and the overly simplified narrative that roots it in urban centres perpetually juxtaposed with nomadic groups. Archaeological evidence from the Oxus Civilization, Central Asia’s earliest complex polity (ca. 2500–1400 BCE), reveals the deep roots of sedentary–mobile interactions. I argue that Oxus–steppe relationships helped maintain the long-term structural cohesion of the Oxus Civilization as a multicultural entity, with implications for subsequent Central Asian polities. As we begin to balance the lopsided conversations about the social formations of Central Asia’s past and present, the silent partnership that characterized the Oxus Civilization is given a voice that forces us to reconsider who, exactly, belongs inside our notions of civilization.

    Introduction
    In Christopher Beckwith’s Empires of the Silk Road (2009), a history of central Eurasia written for an educated general audience, the first chapter presents the ‘Chariot Warriors’ of the prehistoric steppe (29–57). Beckwith’s narrative draws heavily on controversial linguistic reconstructions and paints interactions between sedentary farming and mobile steppe cultures during the second millennium BCE as largely confrontational, enabled by the chariot as the world’s first war machine. Yet in an expansive epilogue, Beckwith demonstrates his understanding of the problems with this narrative, and pushes back against the misconception of steppe groups as warlike and antagonistic to settled agriculture and civilization (320–362). The dissonance here between the main text and the epilogue is striking, because it highlights a tension between telling a simple, easily digestible version of the past and the more complicated reality of human interactions. The perspective that pits a civilized, urban-centred agricultural world against an antithetical realm of an uncultured, mobile ‘other’ (e.g. Khazanov and Wink 2001) stands in contrast to a wealth of research across disciplines revealing that distinctions between ‘civilized’ agriculturalists and mobile ‘barbarian’ groups are strategically constructed and maintained for practical, political and ideological purposes (Brite 2016; Di Cosmo 2009; Gorshenina 2014; Holt 2005; Michalowski 1999). Archaeological evidence, for its part, makes clear that sedentary and mobile lifeways have coexisted in southern Central Asia since at least the early second millennium BCE. In interpreting these prehistoric interactions, researchers must be especially conscious of the dangers of applying anachronistic analogies and reifying historically specific circumstances into generalized dichotomies (Arbuckle and Hammer 2019; Pulleyblank 1974, 508).

    This analysis brings archaeological data from the Oxus Civilization (late third to midsecond millennium BCE), Central Asia’s first regionally unified urban society, into the discussion of the region’s long history of sedentary mobile interactions. Within Oxus Civilization contexts, characteristic archaeological features of both sedentary farmers and steppe mobile pastoralists coexist, intermingled, for several centuries – suggesting that the multicultural Oxus Civilization was bolstered by contact with the steppe world rather than undermined or threatened by it. The example of the Oxus Civilization and its evidence of intercultural interactions, examined here in a summary of published archaeological data from two different scalar perspectives, offers a significant challenge to the simplistic antagonism of civilization/barbarian, sown/steppe, farmer/pastoralist. In particular, by recognizing the structure of the Oxus Civilization as defined by relationships, rather than through political-economic or hierarchical typologies, we can characterize sedentary–mobile contact as a stabilizing rather than destructive force in long-term trajectories. This alternate interpretation of Oxus–steppe1 relationships integrates with recent archaeological and anthropological discussion of regional polities and cultural networks across Eurasian (pre)history (Christian 2000; Hanks and Linduff 2009; Manz 2003). Beneath the din of sedentary–mobile clashes that dominate over-generalized narratives of Central Asia’s past, the coexistence of different lifeways and early systems of diversity forged a silent partnership in the Oxus Civilization that have echoed through later regional cultures and into the social politics of the present day.

    That’s a timely take on a very interesting period. I’ll read it eagerly.

  187. It certainly is; please report back on any interesting stuff you learn!

  188. I didn’t know the Fatyanovo culture extended far into the Taiga belt. Also, they got there in a surprisingly short time. It’s not just the distance, but they couldn’t take over existing settlements, and would have had to adapt their own lifestyle and technology to the Taiga environment

    I don’t agree with characterization of West-Central Russia as “Taiga belt”, and the authors never make such a claim either. In fact they explain the CWC expansion into Eastern Baltic and Southern Fennoscandia was similarly fast and roughly contemporaneous (pg.8 of the preprint), and in all three directions, it was an expansion North through the forested areas. The economic mainstay of the Fatyanovo is known to have been animal husbandry, and there were abundant riparian meadows along the river valleys of the forest belt of Russia, so it just doesn’t look like the Fatyanovo ancestors (who probably moved from the similarly forested lands of the upper reaches of the Dnieper basin) needed to reinvent their farming toolkit (I don’t know exactly how all of these farming cultures of Northern Europe went about feeding their animals in winter, but I have no doubt that they all stored hay, and flint-inlaid scythes have been used in the region millennia earlier, starting from Tripolye already). They were far removed from the copper and tin mines, but relatively soon they or their close kin found good sources further East in the Ural mountains.

  189. Trond Engen says

    OK, “Taiga belt” was an overstatement, but we are at least past the familar environments of the forest steppe and the broadleaf forests. I’m surprised of the speed because in Scandinavia it took agriculture (defined as “an economy with the farm as the structuring unit”, in Frode Iversen’s recent formulation) about 1500 years to cross that line. I don’t know if it was for geological, climatological or technological reasons,

    Megalithic Funnel Beaker affiliates settled in Southern Sweden and in a few spots along the southern coast of Norway, from around 4000 BCE. They seem to have given up on the attempt, maybe after being decimated by the first plague. From around 2900 BCE (tentatively) Indo-European Corded Ware/Battle Axe people came in and settled on the Southern coast. In Sweden Battle Axe settlements — few and far between — didn’t reach much north of the great lakes. That’s essentially the same region as Funnel Beaker settled a millennium before. It should take some 300-500 years until the almost explosive spread of agriculture deep inland and north along the coast with the Bell Beaker affiliated Dagger Culture around 2500 BCE

    As for the Battle Axe Culture, few Battle Axes (and related cultural objects) are actually from “Battle Axe Contexts”, so they were clearly traded goods. The traces of agriculture are very general in nature. Pollen, but no fields or farmhouses. It seems that in the period 2900-2500 BCE or so, the Corded Ware affiliated settlements in the Scandinavian peninsula are more like trading posts, maybe equipped with a few grazing animals and a garden. These may in the end have served as spearheads and experimental fields laying the ground for the Late Neolithic settlement, but that could also be an entirely new (but related) people with a new agricultural technology.

  190. Trond Engen says

    Also, the test specimens here are almost all from north and east of Moscow, and many of them have calibrated carbon dates centering on 2750 BCE, quite early in the timespan of the culture.

  191. David Marjanović says

    Fascinating.

  192. Trond Engen says

    The Rouse article essentially says that one shouldn’t interpret the relationship between the Oxus Civilization (BMAC) and the Andronovo nomads as one of war and destruction. They were long time partners in trade and cultural exchange, and both cultures kept adapting to and learning from the other while remaining distinct. The Oxus farmers did abandon some sites, but at the same time they established new ones closer to water sources and in the eastern valleys, so this (my interpretation) may have had more to do with the climate or with increasingly effective irrigation using up all the water closer to the source. When the Oxus culture finally stops maintaining a conspicuous elite culture, it’s because the monopolized trade with southern neighbours dries up and with it the source of uneven wealth and power. The local farming culture continues to flourish for centuries, but now based on a decentralized relatiionship with the nomads. She does not go into the final phase of the civilization.

  193. I think that the Funnel Beaker may have relied too much on their traditional crops. They already cultivated hardy barley but grew less climate-approriate wheat as well. Oats and rye didn’t get into the picture until much later, in the II millennium BC. We don’t know if tubers like field mustard were cultivated because they don’t preserve well in the archaeological record.

    Fatyanovo people started settling along the rivers with meadows; eventually their locations shift to hillsides overlooking meadows, and, by the end of their distinctive period, to the river divides. The geographic area is initially fairly small, then expands, especially to the East (where Balanovo culture of Middle Volga and Kama is considered to be an extension of Fatyanovo, and where even more to the East, Fatyanovo-style axes and graves are located in Bashkortostan). More Westerly finds look transitory in nature. Random finds of Fatyanovo drilled stone axes (outside of burial group contexts) are found almost exclusively along the banks of the largest rivers, confirming the importance of the river corridors in their spread.

    Fatyanovo graves contain sheep and pig bones, but no cattle until the later stages. Occasionally, lambs and goat-kids are found in separate ritual graves. Lots of bear-tooth decorations and occasional ritual burials of whole bears. Pigs are especially abundant in the earlier / more Westerly burials; Krainov hypothesizes that pigs could be grazed in the forests, and fed bark and acorns in winter. Many more game and fish bones are found, indicating reliance on hunting and fishing. In contrast, there are no tools associated with crop-cultivation.

    Metal is used only for weapons and decoration, not for any “productive” tools. Graves of metal-workers and chemical analysis of bronze both prove that Fatyanovo practiced metallurgy. Their copper came from sandstone ores of Middle Volga, from Vyatka-Vetluga river divide, and eventually from Bashkortostan.

    Ref. 20 of the preprint has been scanned and OCRd (although the quality of the OCR is so-so). It needs to be understood that Krainin operated with the considerably younger radiocarbon dates available then, and within the popular framework identifying Fatyanovo lands with the Baltic-like hydronyms and consequently identifying Fatyanovo with the proto-Balts (although I was surprised to see that the core Fatyanovo country South of Yaroslavl is quite distinct from the Baltic hydronym clusters, but is famous in Russian history as the Opolye, “Open-field country” (deforested and plowed) between Rostov and Vladimir. Krainin actually wondered if it were the Fatyanovans who burned the woods there!
    https://arheologija.ru/fatyanovskaya-kultura-2/

  194. David Marjanović says

    Plot twist: what if Fatyanovo spoke Proto-Uralic.

  195. Trond Engen says

    That is not out of the question. Carlos Queiros of indoeuropean.net is strongly advocating a Proto-Uralic spreading eastwards with Corded Ware.

  196. David Marjanović says

    indoeuropean.net is an ad in Japanese that looks like the domain is for sale; googling “carlos queiros” indo(-)european doesn’t bring anything interesting up, at least on the first page.

    Edit: …or do you mean Carlos Quiles?

  197. Trond Engen says

    Yes. I’m outside in the sun again and don’t have the links ready on my phone. I’m probably confusing names — or my phone decided to change it to that of a football manager.

  198. do you mean Carlos Quiles?

    The lack of R1a in the original Yamnaya yields many more conspiracy theories in addition to Carlos’s (especially in South Asia, of course). I am a bit surprised that there aren’t equally vehement theories about the lack of some of the main, deep-rooted lineages of R1b in the same Yamnaya … these Y-chromosomes also appear prominently in the later Europeans, but they couldn’t be found in the Yamnaya graves. The gist of the R1b story is the same as with R1a (while these Y-chromosome subclades are fairly closely related to the Yamnaya’s, and were associated with the same ancestral makeup as the Yamnaya’s, they emerged long before the times of Yamnaya culture and must have existed in different tribes of the similar Steppe origins … but nothing has yet been found). Maybe the names of the non-Yamnaya subclades of R1b simply sound too technical and too long to inspire a good conspiracy theory? The three-character limit?

    The post-CWC-pre-Uralic interactions are quite likely, on the other hand, given what we know about the multiethnic genetic makeup of places like Sintashta or multi-cultural Steppe-Taiga amalgamations such as Seima-Turbino.

  199. PS: about proto-Uralic predecessors on the European side of the Urals. Volosovo culture (with textile-ceramics and, a later stage, some Fatyanovo wares) is sometimes suggested to be a candidate. Sometimes an even earlier, 3rd millennum BC Lyalovo culture, with its pitted and comb ceramics. Without going into the details about reasoning …
    the same Saag 2020 preprint has two hunter-gatherer males from North-Central Russia. One is R1a, like several previously analyzed Eastern hunters-gatheres (EHG) (but more ancient than any others known to date) (Baltic Combed Ceramic Culture peoples are similar in the overall genetic makeup, with their Y-chromosomes being R1’s and I’s).

    The other Saag 2020 hunter-gatherer, a Lyalovo man, may be more interesting with respect to Proto-Uralic hypotheses since his Y-chromosome is Q1 (Q-L54) which hasn’t been observed in ancient Europe yet. The earlier finds are in Eastern Siberia (Afontovo Gora) and in the Americas. The modern distribution covers Native American tribes, Russia’s North, and Fennoscandia. Too much guesswork IMHO, but if you want to entertain a wild hypothesis…

    BTW the PDF supplement of Saag 2020 contains a very detailed description of these cultures and sites.

  200. David Marjanović says

    So, Q1 is simply Ancient North Eurasian?

  201. Q1 is simply Ancient North Eurasian?

    Quite likely. It’s also in a Paleosiberian 10,000 years ago (Sikora 2018) and it predominates in the most-ANE-like of the contemporary peoples, the Ket (Huang 2017). Two Sintashta males have it, too, and their autosomes are loaded with hunter-gatherer Eastern/Siberian DNA, indicating that the two belonged to a minority ethnic group there. But it seems to be absent in the Finno-Ugric peoples (only common in the Samoyedic branch). And conversely, the very Ugro-Finnic N haplotypes couldn’t be found in the ancient Northern Eurasians or in the Sintashta “ethnic minorities”. But the numbers of the ancient samples are very small, of course.

    Q1 has not been, until Saag’s Lyalovo sample, identified in Eastern European hunters-gatherers (who are generally quite rich on ANE ancestry), only R’s, but the numbers are minuscule, too.

    Another relevant paper may be Wong 2017 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5204334/ and it posits that the haplogroups N,Q, and R were a part of the same Ancient Northern Eurasian wave (with N splitting off about 45 thousand years ago, followed by a Q-R split 33,000 years ago)

  202. Trond Engen says

    Yes, the conspiracy theorism against Kristiansen et al. is annoying, but A song of sheep and Horses is a good read and a useful reminder that the questions aren’t settled, and several hypotheses can (and should) be entertained. Your suggestion from a couple of years ago that Yamnaya might have been Basque is a good example.

    It’s likely that at least some of the lacking strands of both R1a and R1b, as well as lacking non-R1 Y DNA, are due to sampling bias. We mainly get data from prestige graves, representing elite clans especially on the male side, and the underlying variation only rarely comes to light. But that means that the rare and sudden wholesale replacements of elites are very interesting and must be understood.

    And of course there’s a lot of fun to be had with a multi-ethnic polity like Sintashta, which seemingly takes three distinct cultures in and sends three different distinct cultures out a couple of centuries later.

  203. David Marjanović says

    Your suggestion from a couple of years ago that Yamnaya might have been Basque is a good example.

    Whose suggestion? I can’t remember making it. I have long thought that Basque is the last living descendant of the Early European Farmer languages.

  204. Trond Engen says

    No, sorry. Dmitry’s.

  205. Another interesting reconstruction of Ugro-Finnic DNA hinting at the Eastern Siberian roots has been posted at the Eurogenes blog. The author attempted to find the best proxies for the three streams of genetic ancestry which joined together in the genomes of the contemporary Europeans – the hunters-gatherers, the Neolithic farmers, and the Steppe pastoralists. (the technical problem is that the DNA many known representatives of these ancestral streams is close in composition to the average components of today’s Europeans, but the similarity is far enough from perfect, and the genomes any three “arbitrarily selected” ancient groups of hunters-gatherers, Neolithic farmers, and Steppe pastoralists would typically explain less than 100% of today’s DNA. But the author claims that he found a very good combination of the three ancient populations which, when their DNA is combined, explained all major European populations. Except, and here is a catch, the Finno-Ugric peoples of Europe (not the Hungarians, of course … their genomes are too local to fall of the European ordinary.
    Adding a 4th DNA to the mix saved the goodness of fit, though. (Spreadsheet here:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19fU2C2cdSdTYwvWFL2bMuIv5r6zmh5Nw7SbDYqOO4fE/edit#gid=1933045266 and the discussion, at https://eurogenes.blogspot.com/2020/07/ancient-ancestry-proportions-in-present.html )

    Notably, this 4th stream was well represented by a Bronze age population from around Lake Baikal. One of these skeletons, GLZ003 from Glazovo (Irkutsk, 2500 BC), is a male with a Q1a Y-chromosome, by the way. Several are from two Eneolithic sites near Kachug on Lena River, and three more from Zhigalovo and Stepno-Baltay districts. Several from They are from the just published Yu 2020 ancient Siberians/ Native Americans paper https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009286742030502X

    The contribution of the Siberian-like ancestral stream ranged from 8-9% in the average Finnish or Karelian genomes (and even less in Estonian) to over a quarter in Sami and Udmurts. Although the goodness of the statistical fit still wasn’t the best, so the “Eastern Siberian” hint remains just that, a good but imperfect hint, for the lack of any better fitting source population among the ones studied to date.

  206. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: Ref. 20 of the preprint has been scanned and OCRd

    Thanks. Very useful background. The older dates are gamechangers, of course, but the ethnographic interpretations seem to hold quite well anyway. That the eastern and northern Fatyanovo groups became Uralic is very likely, What I don’t see yet is how these groups of small-scale farmers could become a movement with the force to transform the Southern Urals and the Steppe. Was their main occupation really trade along the rivers? Shouldn’t we see that in accumulated traded goods and boat symbolism? Or is the “battle axe” the one unifying boat symbol?

    Another interesting reconstruction of Ugro-Finnic DNA

    Hey, I hadn’t even finished the last batch! The “fourth population” could reasonably be the northern coast movement from the Baikal region that we’ve discussed a couple of times before. New chance to say Ymyyakhtakh!

    We shouldn’t expect a perfect fit with any set of source populations. Any source population is a simplified model, as are the clear demarcations between them, and discrete admixture events. Conversely, with enough source populations you can get anything to fit.

  207. David Marjanović says

    and the discussion, at https://eurogenes.blogspot.com/2020/07/ancient-ancestry-proportions-in-present.html

    I didn’t invest the time to understand the post, but the comments are quite illuminating.

  208. There aren’t too many thriving blogs in 2020. Paleogenetics discussions are unusual because they mix a lot of invective with bona fide statistical analyses.

    Analyzing admixture using the very limited ancient datasets is as much of an art as of science. One takes a set of ancient DNAs and tries to predict how likely a target DNA may have contained a certain percent of it, given that inheritance is more likely to transfer the whole ensemble of genetic variability in a more or less one piece, and progressively less likely to pass on only smaller subsets of the original variability, leaving too much of it behind.

    If the proposed source population was already a mix of some of the same components that made up the target, then it may be easier to get a good fit (but of course people hope to drill down to independent components, rather than to stop at a level of the later mixes). Conversely, if a proposed source population contained a true source component, but in a mixed state with other components which were unique to this ancient DNA and not shared with the target, then the quality of a fit may suffer.

    In the analysis discussed on Eurogenes yesterday, one peculiar result is that the Eastern or Western Siberian hunters-gatherers do not contribute appreciable DNA to any modern populations in the study. Perhaps it is true and they were displaced rather than assimilated. Or perhaps their DNA was less detectable as a separate stream because some of it was already contained within the “Steppe” stream. But it is clear that a more easterly Siberian DNA was a better proxy for the “4th stream of ancestry” of the Ugro-Finns (and Northern Russians). These Bronze Age Siberian samples are from too late an era, and partly mixed with dissimilar East Asian DNA, to be the real ancestor or even a reliable proxy, but they still worked better than anything else known to date. So it’s reasonable to hypothesize that the Lake Baikal area Bronze age peoples were close cousins of the Proto-Uralic population, and that the latter spread West in a classic intrusive / displacement fashion.

  209. David Marjanović says

    In b4 Uralic-Yukaghir.

  210. If the Yukaghir link is due to borrowing from various Uralic sources, and if Uralic itself isn’t older than the Bronze age (given that the terms for copper-tin metallurgy are well reconstructed in it), then of course, MUCH before. From what we know about Yymyyakhtyakh, it may be also a bit too recent, although perhaps the ores of Taymyr have been exploited earlier than we know. Just like Seima-Turbino, Yymyyakhtyakh barely predates the peak of Sintashta, and we keep hypothesizing that it was in Sintashta times when the early Uralic has been influenced by early Indo-European?

    On the other hand, there aren’t any N-haplotype Y-chromosomes in Sintashta, so it is possible that some other language stratum has been co-mingling with the Sintashta Indo-Europeans, while the Uralic speakers were culturally but not residentially linked?

    There is no copper in the flatlands of Western Siberia, so we have almost to posit some degree of connection of the Proto-Uralic speakers to one of the region’s ore belts where copper could be mined (Ural, Altay-Sayan, or Taymyr).

  211. David Marjanović says

    the terms for copper-tin metallurgy are well reconstructed in it

    Are they? Last I read, the “bronze” word *wäćkä is a Wanderwort and can’t be properly reconstructed further than Proto-West Uralic.

    we keep hypothesizing that it was in Sintashta times when the early Uralic has been influenced by early Indo-European?

    That would make sense because the youngest loanwords in Proto-Uralic are from a late Pre-Proto-Indo-Iranian stage.

  212. Trond Engen says

    I imagined the Ymyyakhtakh wave as the source of the East Asian admixture in Northeast Europe. That could include Y-haplotype N without having to include the ancestor of Proto-Uralic.

    The language of Seima-Turbino traders could have become the language of the Taiga Belt in several ways. Maybe the bronze traders allied themselves with Ymyyakhtakh peoples sometime shorly after Sintashta, e.g. around the copper mines in Ural. Maybe Proto-Uralic became the lingua franca of the region where (the Uralic part of) the trade network operated. In either case, the population that took over the old Fatyanovo settlements and formed the Textile Ware Culture were (Western) Uralic speakers. But aren’t the oldest loanwords in Uralic too early for Sintashta? Maybe the Proto-Uralics and Proto-Indo-Iranians started their multi-ethnic enterprise already on the Volga-Kama and expanded together towards the Steppe and a further partnership with the Turks of Altai?

    As for Taymyr, the copper mines seem to have been exploited at the height of Seima-Turbino, at the same time as Ymyyakhtakh objects spread across Northern Siberia. This is too late for PIE borrowings in Uralic and too early for the arrival of Sami in the Kola. I’d say that the Ymyyakhtakh people did their own thing up north, while Seima-Turbino went on in the steppe and forest belts. One scenario is that those who maintained the link between Sintashta or Altai and Taimyr became the Samoyedic peoples. There are two distinct cultures present in the Taymyr copper mining era, one with “southwestern” affinities and one with “eastern”, so this could also be the Samoyedic-Proto-Yukaghir contact zone.

  213. Häkkinen makes this point about wäśka “copper/bronze” and especially äsa-wäśka “tin/lead”, and as I understand claims that is also found in Mansi, but I am not in a position to critically evaluate this claim. But I understand that sometimes semantics may shift, or borrowings between related languages muddy waters, so with so few relevant languages in hand, no reconstruction can be totally persuasive.

  214. Trond Engen says

    Me: “an economy with the farm as the structuring unit”, in Frode Iversen’s recent formulation)

    That was not Frode Iversen (who I recently read on a related subject), but Christopher Prescott: Chapter 18 Interpreting Complex Diachronic “Neolithic”-Period Data In Norway (Final Draft for Gron, Sørensen & Rowley-Conwy: Farmers at the Frontier – A Pan European Perspective on Neolithisation. Oxbow Books, 2020). The formulation is my extract from:

    Although the narrative of the slow march towards adopting agriculture still has its advocates, there is consensus that with the transition to the Nordic LN around 2350 BC agriculture and stockholding became the economic base throughout southerly Norway. This is not “an introduction of agriculture”, but the establishment of the farm as the dominant and fundamental form of settlement, production and economy that structures human relations and patterns of human use of the landscape. Before this watershed moment, the structuring mode of production was hunting and gathering.

  215. Trond Engen says

    I finally opened the spreadsheet. It’s very suggestive, but it has its limits. With only European Uralic populations included, and only two groups of Russians among the non-Uralic peoples of Russia, we don’t really see what’s geographic independent of the distribution of Uralic languages. Still, the two spikes — in Udmurts and Sami — are interesting, especially together. Without the Udmurt spike, I’d say that it’s just a north-south cline from the Ymyyakhtakh people. Without the Sami spike, it could be a sign that the Uralic homeland was near to Udmurtia. With two spikes, it could actually be both, even if the Eastern origin of the Uralic languages may become less likely: If the Ymyyakhtakh people spread both west along the arctic coast to northern Scandinavia (as archaeology and archeo-genetics suggest) and south along the Ural or the Ob-Irtysh system, they could have contributed to both Proto-Uralic ethnogenesis (demogenesis?) in the Kama-Ural region and to the Ante-Sami substrate. There could also be two different waves from the Lake Baikal region, with a more southern route for the people causing the Udmurt spike, but I haven’t seen any archaeology supporting that — unless it turns out to have been brought in by the Tatars.

    I don’t have access to the Yu paper in Cell, but the summary is promising. I love that archaeo-genetics of Bronze Age Eurasians now seems to include Yersinia pestis as a matter of course. I can’t wait for other pathogens to be included as well.

  216. Trond Engen says

    I got the Yu paper (thanks!) and just finishen reading it. Not much time to digest, but my takeout is that it’s a complementation to what we already knew about Eastern Siberia. On the ancient and basal level, it fills out the picture of the North Asian population that is ancestral to Non-Arctic Native Americans. Additionally it starts to untangle the movements and admixtures of the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age that eventually would lead to the formation of the ethnic and linguistic groups we know today. The plague is part of that. Intriguingly it’s found in two individuals without Steppe ancestry. They were from the same site, but one of them had migrated in his early childhood. The date and the strain of Yersinia pestis are practically identical to those of a Corded Ware individual from the Baltic. This fits well with the population crisis in Scandinavia before the arrival of the Bell Beakers.

  217. With only European Uralic populations included, and only two groups of Russians among the non-Uralic peoples of Russia, we don’t really see what’s geographic independent of the distribution of Uralic languages.

    As I understand, they failed deconstruction into these 3 or 4 ancestral sources. BTW we are making a full circle in this discussion 🙂 Over a year ago, I’ve been mentioning Yunusbaev’s study of why the population of Central and Southern Russian Plain (both Slavic and not) can’t be genomically reduced to the 3 main source streams of European ancestry. The reason is an admixture from Khazars / Bulgars (and maybe a lesser amount of a related Eastern admixtures from different invasions, from the Avars to the Mongols). Behar 2010 is another great source of quantitative data on the Turkic-type admixture in Eastern Europe.

    one may also search for clues about Avar origins among the Dulebs (historically described as being under the Avar yoke around the Carpathians), and maybe other Medieval and contemporary Westerly Slavs, since they may have experienced the last pulse of the nomadic admixture in the Avar era (and when multiple waves of admixture from similar sources have occurred, it becomes hard to see the earlier events behind the more recent ones). According to Yunusbaev 2015, North-Central Asian admixture in the typical Eastern Slavs dates back to the Khazar / Bulgar era and postdates the Avar times. So the Eastern Slavs / Russians (with a possible exception of the Westernmost Russians studied in the very recent publication of Zhernakova et al.) may have the hypothetical Avar traces obscured by the later events.

  218. Trond Engen says

    Yes, we’re circling back to the origin. It seems quite likely that an Eastern source population would explain much of the rest, since all the Turkic peoples are excluded from the table, but wouldn’t the Turkic element have to be quite large? Much of the Turkic ancestry would also be derived from the sources that were used.

  219. Right, I don’t know how large an Eastern admixture would have to be to throw qpAdm into disarray. It isn’t just about the percentage of added DNA, but also about the dissimilarity of this DNA to the other admixture sources. The simplest and widely used metric of genetic dissimilarity, Fst, is about 3 times higher between East Asians and either of the 3 primary ancestry sources of the Europeans than between these three sources (but the effective difference may be even stronger if the composition of East Asian DNA is “shifted in the same direction” from the 3 major European sources, making it even harder to model this admixture as a combination of the other 3).

    It looks like 7-8% of a putative proto-Uralic admixture was enough to make qpAdm’s prediction implausible without it. The putative Turkic admixture in the Central Russians stands at 4-5% according to Behar 2013 (Fig. 3 https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1040&context=humbiol_preprints ) and is even lower in Ukrainians. Would it be enough to cause problems? (Of course the “orange/yellow” components of Behar 2013 Fig. 3 are much more abundant in Tatars, Chuvash and Mordva)

  220. Trond Engen says

    Behar 2013

    If I squint and look at the table at page 46, I’d say that the Chuvash and Tatar samples are half and half “Russian” and “Altaian”. The Mordovians are half and half that and “Russian” again.

    But I know it’s more complicated than that. Neither of the pure colours are actual populations but idealized contributions that are hypothetical approximations of populations at some distant time in the past. The Eurogenes simulation started from the other end. It took four actual (but obviously incomplete) populations of the past as input and found that all the European Uralic peoples (and more) could be derived from them alone. But held together, and squinting again, I’d say that the ultimately lacking admixture is a little bit of the South Asian greyish green and dark green, and the more recent contributing population that brought them into Europe could.well be something near the average of the Central Asian Turkic populations.

  221. Trond Engen says

    Me. We mainly get data from prestige graves, representing elite clans especially on the male side, and the underlying variation only rarely comes to light.

    Chelsea Budd et al: All things bright: copper grave goods and diet at the Neolithic site of Osłonki, Poland, Antiquity, Volume 94, August 2020.

    An interesting new turn to isotopic analysis. Using gravegoods as identificators of wealth, they find a significant difference in the isotopic makeup of “wealthy” and “common” people in a late 5th millennium BCE Lengyel settlement in central Poland. Interestingly, since the difference is significant only for δ13C and not for δ15N, it doesn’t seem to be a result of differently composed diets but may instead be due to unequal access to high-quality fields and thereby to the most efficient carbon-uptake in both animals and plants. They also speculate on a relation to observed genetic differences in Lengyel settlements but don’t progress to compare genetics with social status for this specific settlement. That’s probably another paper. But we’ll soon get there. Social stratification and inherited power structures are important aspects of a society.

    I love that archaeo-genetics of Bronze Age Eurasians now seems to include Yersinia pestis as a matter of course. I can’t wait for other pathogens to be included as well.

    Barbara Mühlemann et al: Diverse variola virus (smallpox) strains were widespread in northern Europe in the Viking Age. Science, Vol. 369, 24 July 2020

    The full paper is paywalled, so I’ll just quote the “structured abstract”:

    INTRODUCTION
    Variola virus (VARV), the causative agent of smallpox, is estimated to have killed between 300 million and 500 million people in the 20​th century and was responsible for widespread mortality and suffering for at least several preceding centuries. Humans are the only known host of VARV, and smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980. The timeline of the emergence of smallpox in humans is unclear. Based on sequence data up to 360 years old, the most recent common ancestor of VARV has been dated to the 16th or 17th century. This contrasts with written records of possible smallpox infections dating back at least 3000 years and mummified remains suggestive of smallpox dating to 3570 years ago.

    RATIONALE
    Ancient virus sequences recovered from archaeological remains provide direct molecular evidence of past infections, give detail of genetic changes that have occurred during the evolution of the virus, and can reveal viable virus sequence diversity not currently present in modern viruses. In the case of VARV, ancient sequences may also reduce the gap between the written historical record of possible early smallpox infections and the dating of the oldest available VARV sequences. We therefore screened high-throughput shotgun sequencing data from skeletal and dental remains of 1867 humans living in Eurasia and the Americas between ~31,630 and ~150 years ago for the presence of sequences matching VARV.

    RESULTS
    VARV sequences were recovered from 13 northern European individuals, including 11 dated to ~600–1050 CE, overlapping the Viking Age, and we reconstructed near-complete VARV genomes for four of them. The samples predate the earliest confirmed smallpox cases by ~1000 years. Eleven of the recovered sequences fall into a now-extinct sister clade of the modern VARVs in circulation prior to the eradication of smallpox, while two sequences from the 19th century group with modern VARV. The inferred date of the most recent common ancestor of VARV is ~1700 years ago.

    The number of functional genes is generally reduced in orthopoxviruses with narrow host ranges. A comparison of the gene content of the Viking Age sequences shows great contrast with that of modern VARV. Three genes that are active in all modern VARV sequences were inactive over 1000 years ago in some or all ancient VARV. Among 10 genes inactive in modern and Viking Age VARV, the mutations causing the inactivations are different and the genes are predicted to be active in the ancestor of both clades, suggesting parallel evolution. Fourteen genes inactivated in modern VARV are active in some or all of the ancient sequences, eight of which encode known virulence factors or immunomodulators. The active gene counts of the four higher-coverage Viking Age viral genomes provide snapshots from an ~350-year period, showing the reduction of gene content during the evolution of VARV. These genomes support suggestions that orthopoxvirus species derive from a common ancestor containing all genes present in orthopoxviruses today, with the reduction in active gene count conjectured to be the result of long-term adaptation within host species.

    CONCLUSION
    The Viking Age sequences reported here push the definitive date of the earliest VARV infection in humans back by ~1000 years. These sequences, combined with early written records of VARV epidemics in southern and western Europe, suggest a pan-European presence of smallpox from the late 6th century. The ancient viruses are part of a previously unknown, now-extinct virus clade and were following a genotypic evolutionary path that differs from modern VARV. The reduction in gene content shows that multiple combinations of active genes have led to variola viruses capable of circulating widely within the human population.

    (The use of “Viking Age” is somewhat misleading, since the oldest finds of the virus predate the conventional beginning of the Viking Age with 200 years. “Late Iron Age Scandinavia” would be better.)

  222. Closer to the topic, both the Avars and the king Bela lineage are mentioned in the new paper on the DNA and burial customs of the turn-of-the-common era Iron Age Xiongnu. The French group studied a multi-generational extended family cemetery in the Khangai highlands of West-Central Mongolia, dating to 1st c. BC – 1st c. AD. A familiar gripe: the research wasn’t done by one of the major ancient DNA labs, and of course it only focused on selected genetic markers (NOT getting into the whole genomic data).

    This particular extended family of the Huns was of a combined “European” (Andronovo / Scythian-like) and “Asian” descent (on both patrilines and matrilines) and, perhaps, even of a variegated appearance. R1a and Q1a Y-chromosomes predominated, and the latter mapped to the same branch as King Bela’s. One more individual (presumably not a member of the immediate family, although without the autosomal data, the authors’ family reconstructions may be incomplete) had an N-haplogroup Y chromosome similar to a one known from Pannonian Avars.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00439-020-02209-4

  223. Trond Engen says

    Thanks. Very on the point — and a little disconcerting. It’s a Good Thing that more labs and a broader field of scientists get involved in archaeo-genetics, but it’s a Bad Thing when they have to settle for incomplete results for lack of expertice or equipment. I’d expect I hope it’s a Temporary Inconvenience while new countries and universities start working on ancient DNA.

  224. settle for incomplete results for lack of expertice or equipment

    It may be worse than that given that only the minute amounts of ancient DNA can be extracted, and then they are often expended for protocols which use inordinate amounts of the scarce DNA and, often, produce nearly-irrelevant data (but politically expedient or “useful” for the marketing campaigns of their corporate sponsors).

    The Xiongnu research was sponsored by the infamous Verogen (a law-enforcement DNA contractor which is busy trying to convince the cops that it can tell everything about the physical appearance and ethnic origins of the sources of forensic DNA samples … and which in the meantime exposed millions of DNA records and personal details of genealogy hobbyists to the prying eyes of the law enforcement agencies in a feat of stunning incompetence). So the French researchers used their ancient DNA to “find out” what eye, skin nd hair color the Huns were most likely to have, and what kind of an Amerian ethnic minority they resembled the most. Arrgh. The ethnic roots of the ancient tribes are obviously nothing like any extant populations, so the ethnicity guesswork is plain stupid. But the appearance guesswork is also so far fetched. We just don’t know if today’s genetic correlates of eye/skin/hair color were as strongly correlated millennia ago (the links aren’t super strong even today, and often not direct, and the statistics mostly comes from the white people, so in the peoples of very different epochs and roots, the known associations between the genetic variants and the “phenotypes” are expected to be more fuzzy). We also don’t know if the ancient people had other, additional genetic factors defining their appearances which may have been lost since then (or preserved in the less-studied populations but largely lost in the Europeans). So predicting ancient looks by ancient DNA isn’t very scientific or precise … just an interesting guess with many “ifs”. Normally, it’s a byproduct of a complete genome study, anyway. Not much gained, nothing lost from it.

    But these guys actually made the appearance-analysis a whole separate analysis, because they were donated Verogen kits. Expended their ancient DNA … for what? (For what scientific rationale, I mean… I understand the marketing rationale here)

  225. Trond Engen says

    Ouch. I should say that I haven’t read the paper yet, only requested it through ResearchGate,

    “Phenotype prediction” was also done in the Saag et al paper, and some of the results were quite surprising.

  226. Something genuinely Avar for a change. Despite the pandemic restrictions, Croatian archaeologists had to work on two VII-VIII c. Avar graves in Vinkovci in Slavonia, on the Southern fringes of the Pannonian Plain. The graves were disturbed by an ongoing modern cemetery expansion and couldn’t wait. 5 more Avar graves discovered at the location are awaiting their time.
    https://www.croatiaweek.com/rare-archaeological-find-from-avar-period-unearthed-in-vinkovci/

    The elite-burial artifacts include first-ever Avar saddle to be found in the region. The architectural design of the tombs is quite interesting in a way, too, using bricks, tiles and marble slabs from some kind of on opulent Roman villa, still available two centuries after the end of Roman power there.

    “Phenotype prediction” was also done in the Saag et al paper

    the full-genome papers get their phenotype predictions as a byproduct of a complete-genome scan, using highly efficient ways to use literally every strand of still-readable DNA. In contrast, methods like Verogen’s use only DNA pieces overlapping with the genome locations playing role in appearances, and only the longer intact pieces of DNA there. Anything shorter, or the vast majority of the DNA fragments which came from elsewhere in the genomes, is simply wasted.

    The genotype-phenotype correlations known from today’s people (mostly Europeans) are expected to be still valid for the ancient peoples more distantly related to today’s Europeans. But the quantitative strength of these associations is expected to be weaker in the ancient samples, and they may have possessed additional genomic variations which also impacted their appearance, but which couldn’t be evaluated today due to their diminished frequency. So the phenotype predictions aren’t completely bogus. Just far less exact than they would have been today (and it isn’t super exact even today).

  227. Looked up that Xiongnu cemetery in Mongolia (Tamiryn Ulaan Khoshuu cemetery in Ugiinuur soum, Arkhangai province).

    It turns out they found something interesting – an undeciphered seal.

    Here it is

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D-yRfPFX4AAhz_W?format=jpg&name=small

    Can anyone recognize the script?

  228. Looked up that Xiongnu cemetery in Mongolia (Tamiryn Ulaan Khoshuu cemetery in Ugiinuur soum, Arkhangai province).

    It turns out they found something interesting – an undeciphered Xiongnu seal.

    Here it is

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D-yRfPFX4AAhz_W?format=jpg&name=small

    Can anyone recognize the script?

  229. David Marjanović says

    Illiterate imitation of Chinese.

  230. @David Marjanović: I agree. It looks to me like a purely geometric imitation of the appearance of a Chinese stamp seal.

  231. They sequenced several genomes thought to belong to the dynasty, and only two (one apparently securely ascribed to king Béla III) contained the “Árpád chromosome”.

    BTW it just has been reported that the remains of Bela III’s son, king Andrew, have been founded in excavations of the XIII c. Cistercian abby of Egres (where he’s known to have been buried). No word about DNA study plans 🙂
    https://balkaninsight.com/2020/09/02/archeologists-in-romania-discover-revered-hungarian-kings-tomb/

  232. Trond Engen says

    Choongwon Jeong et al (2020): A Dynamic 6,000-Year Genetic History of Eurasia’s Eastern Steppe, Cell 183, 1–15

    The genetic history of Mongolia in open access, uncovering the processes leading up to the formation of the Xiongnu.

    Summary

    The Eastern Eurasian Steppe was home to historic empires of nomadic pastoralists, including the Xiongnu and the Mongols. However, little is known about the region’s population history. Here, we reveal its dynamic genetic history by analyzing new genome-wide data for 214 ancient individuals spanning 6,000 years. We identify a pastoralist expansion into Mongolia ca. 3000 BCE, and by the Late Bronze Age, Mongolian populations were biogeographically structured into three distinct groups, all practicing dairy pastoralism regardless of ancestry. The Xiongnu emerged from the mixing of these populations and those from surrounding regions. By comparison, the Mongols exhibit much higher eastern Eurasian ancestry, resembling present-day Mongolic-speaking populations. Our results illuminate the complex interplay between genetic, sociopolitical, and cultural changes on the Eastern Steppe.

    My summary:

    They identify a population they dub Ancient North Asians, inhabiting the steppe or forest steppe from the Botai to the Pacific, and distinct from both the Siberians further north and the Chinese down south, though there’s a cline of ANE admixture from “some” in the west to “none” in the east.

    The Afanasievo introduce dairy pastoralism, which becomes widespread on the steppe, but leave little genetic impact in Mongolia.

    In the western part of the ANA belt, intrusions from Shintashta (Andronovo?) peoples and admixture from both north and south lead to the formation of a hybrid Bronze Age population of partly North Asian, partly Iranian/BMAC, and mostly Western Steppe origin. Up through the early Iron Age they ruled the western parts of modern-day Mongolia. These are the Saka or peoples generally related to them.

    Meantime in the eastern parts, a population of ANAs lived happily for 4000 years without significant admixture from any side. Suddenly, with the Xiongnu empire, the wall came down, and the two populations started moving into eachothers territory, producing a hybrid culture and offspring with all degrees of genetic admixture. Towards the end of the Xiongnu era, there’s also some genetic “Sarmatians” from the central steppe. These seem to live between the Xiongnu but don’t mix with them.

    This is the situation into the Medieval period, when the Türkics and Uyghurs arrive with a mix of fresh “Eastern” ANA genes mixed half and half with “Alans”. Another fresh stream of eastern ANA arrives with the Khitans, who also mix with more western groups, but the sample size is too small tp say much.

    The final batch of unspoiled Eastern genes comes with the Mongols, who nevertheless end up with roughly a fourth of their genes from “Alans” and and a sixth from Han Chinese.

    Gender-biased admixture is suggestive of the power dynamics. Before the Xiongnu, the increase in various forms of Western Steppe ancestry is male-biased. After the Xiongnu, the new waves of unmixed ANA are male-biased. No surprises there. But in the Xiongnu period different local clans acquire male-biased admixture from different sources. It seems to be a matri-local clan society of stable marriage alliances or something. This is supported by an overweight of females among close relatives found in the same graveyards.

    Finally, there’s a lot of evidence for milk consumption but none whatsoever for selection for lactase persistence. They suggest that Mongolian milk digestion is outsourced (insourced? intrasourced?) to the gut microbe Bifidobacterium.

  233. Trond Engen says

    John Emerson and me in another thread (a few cross-references edited out):

    JE: Has anyone read Benjamin’s “The Yuezhi”? He traces a lineage from the Tokharians in Xinjiang ca. 700 AD back to the shadowy Kushans ca. 1 AD to the Yuezhi to China’s north ca. 300 BC to the much earlier Afanisievo. It all makes sense and I am tremendously impressed, but I haven’t seen any criticism and there are a lot of huge leaps in there.

    TE: I have not, but I have read a recent paper on the formation of the Xiongnu and other peoples of Mongolia. The Yuezhi are not mentioned, but I think it’s likely that they belong to the Saka-related Sagly/Uyuk segment, which are roughly half and half “Shintashta” and Baikal EBA. The Afanasievans don’t seem to have left genetic descendants on the Mongolian plateau..

    JE: Benjamin does not deal with genetics at all, but just linguistic, archeological, and historical evidence. In his story the Yuezhi were Tokharian speakers who came down from the north and supplanted the Saka (presumably absorbing some of them) to form the Kushan kingdom/empire.

    JE: If the Afanasievans became Yuezhi and then migrated south, and if they didn’t intermarry much, their lack of a genetic footprint in Mongolia would not be surprising.

    The “Afanasievo” and “Shintashta” genetic components are different, the latter incorporating elements from Central/Eastern Europe, so if the Yuezhi were descended from Afanasievo, they can’t have been sampled in the LBA/EIA Saka related cultures. According to the paper, the Afanasievans entered the Mongolian Plateau early and brought dairy pastoralism with them. This economy was soon adopted by indigenous peoples, and the Afanasievan genetic component disappeared almost completely.

    One possibilty might be that the Afanasievans stayed at the plateau for a very short time. Instead they moved into the Dzungarian Basin (still under-sampled and not represented in the study), and the few stray finds are either from the migration period itself or from random travellers.

    Another possibility could be that the Yuezhi are cultural descendants of Afanasievo but not genetic. The 3000 BCE Chemurchek culture in western Mongolia and eastern Kazakhstan shows what could be mixed ancestry of indigenous Botai/Baikal and BMAC (but this balance may change when or if the actual source populations are found). Perhaps the local Altaians threw off their Afanasievo overlords and took up trade with the Central Asian oases themselves.

    A third possibility is that the Afanasievo element was culturally significant in the formation of the Yuezhi but got swamped out genetically with the arrival of the new westerners of Sintashta affinity. There are some outliers in the prelude to Sagly-Uyuk with partial Chemurchek or Afanasievo ancestry.

    I can come up with more, but without genes from the presumed descendants, or from Benjamin’s series of material cultures, it’s really no way to tell.

    [I suggested that my comment from Nov. 10 can be moved to the archaeo-genetics thread. It can still be done with quick action.]

  234. John Emerson says

    I recommend Benjamin’s book for everyone’s consideration. He makes sense of a very dimly known era and answers a lot of questions, for example “Where did the Xinjiang Tokharians come from?” But how valid his conclusions are I can’t tell. I believe that he’s working on a second volume on the Kushans, who were very important in Buddhist history, for example, but about whom we can’t even be sure about the royal succession, mich less anything else. (The eternal Afghan war isn’t helping.

    I believe that the Yuezhi and their ancestors are central to Mair’s theories about very early proto-Chinese contact with Indo-Europeans (whatever you may think of these theories).

    Social units of this era were historical / geographical political-social-military entities and usually not uniform in descent, language, or culture, and they tend to be called by the names of their

  235. John Emerson says

    ….. by the name of their ruling group.

  236. (I’m still hoping you’ll write your book on the topic.)

  237. There is a guy in Russia who studied the Chemurchek culture of Western Mongolia, he claims that it’s a result of a (very) long range migration in the early 3rd millennium BC.

    From the Atlantic coast of France, of all places.

  238. Trond Engen says

    John E: I believe that the Yuezhi and their ancestors are central to Mair’s theories about very early proto-Chinese contact with Indo-Europeans (whatever you may think of these theories).

    In another recent study, Huang et al 2020, the authors identify a gene flow from “European” into “Inland South Asian” (likely including the group speaking Proto-Sino-Tibetan) at ~5800 kA. That’s incredibly early — essentially the same time as the trek of the Afanasievans to the Altai, if not before. Maybe the true date of the arrival in China of a partly Western population could be masked by the partial ancestry in a population that already had conctributed to the “Inland South Asian” gene pool for a long time. Intuitively I’d think that would work the other way, but that’s something only Dmitry can tell. Or it could simply be that the molecular clock is off by a couple of millennia. It’s not a precision instrument.

    Social units of this era were historical / geographical political-social-military entities and usually not uniform in descent, language, or culture, and they tend to be called by the names of their […] ruling group.

    Clear. But the people we find are mostly elite, so their genes should reflect elite background.

    From other recent studies it seems that the steppe clans were fiercely patrilineal*, showing increasing genetic diversity with time mediated almost exclusively through the female side. So even if the alliances between clans changed, the clans themselves were pretty much closed for male newcomers. That should mean that if the Afanasievans were the culturally dominant clans of an early alliance culturally ancestral to the Yuezhi, and they later became extinct on the male side, their genes should still be found in the descendants of their daughters married into allied clans. And so on for each regrouping, unless you regroup into homeopathic dilusion, but that’s not exactly a recipe for cultural continuity.

    *) The emerging Xiongnu, as explained above, look like a strange outlier with the opposite pattern. But they weren’t a fullfledged steppe society. Yet.

    @SFR: Well, he won’t find much support from the genetic evidence.

  239. Trond Engen says

    Me (on Choongwon Jeong et al (2020): A Dynamic 6,000-Year Genetic History of Eurasia’s Eastern Steppe): In the western part of the ANA belt, intrusions from Shintashta (Andronovo?) peoples and admixture from both north and south lead to the formation of a hybrid Bronze Age population of partly North Asian, partly Iranian/BMAC, and mostly Western Steppe origin. Up through the early Iron Age they ruled the western parts of modern-day Mongolia. These are the Saka or peoples generally related to them.

    Meantime in the eastern parts, a population of ANAs lived happily for 4000 years without significant admixture from any side. Suddenly, with the Xiongnu empire, the wall came down, and the two populations started moving into eachothers territory, producing a hybrid culture and offspring with all degrees of genetic admixture. Towards the end of the Xiongnu era, there’s also some genetic “Sarmatians” from the central steppe. These seem to live between the Xiongnu but don’t mix with them.

    Dmitry linked to a new paper with more on the Scythians (Saka and Sarmatians), their formation and their absorption by the Xiongnu and Xianbei:

    Gnecchi-Ruscone et al (2021): Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians, Science Advances, Vol. 7, no. 13, eabe4414

    Abstract

    The Scythians were a multitude of horse-warrior nomad cultures dwelling in the Eurasian steppe during the first millennium BCE. Because of the lack of first-hand written records, little is known about the origins and relations among the different cultures. To address these questions, we produced genome-wide data for 111 ancient individuals retrieved from 39 archaeological sites from the first millennia BCE and CE across the Central Asian Steppe. We uncovered major admixture events in the Late Bronze Age forming the genetic substratum for two main Iron Age gene-pools emerging around the Altai and the Urals respectively. Their demise was mirrored by new genetic turnovers, linked to the spread of the eastern nomad empires in the first centuries CE. Compared to the high genetic heterogeneity of the past, the homogenization of the present-day Kazakhs gene pool is notable, likely a result of 400 years of strict exogamous social rules.

    My summary:

    1. The Sarmatians and the Saka (with or without scarequotes) formed at the end of the Bronze Age as clearly separate populations in different regions of the steppe, Sarmatians in the southern Ural and Saka in the Altai/Tian-Shan.

    2. The Saka formed when local Sintashta-related steppe-dwellers mixed with a neigbouring population of eastern origin. The Sarmatians grew out of a different Sintashta-related population, reflecting a more western localization on the steppe cline. Both populations had — and slowly acquired more — genes from their neighbours east, west and south.

    3. Both populations spread westwards and southwards, no doubt reflecting trade with and between rich settled cultures. The Saka also spawned the Sargat culture in the Ob basin forest steppe, with some contribution from the local forest zone population.

    4. This situation was remarkably stable in the central-eastern steppe until the sudden expansion of the Xiongnu around the start of the CE, and the consolidation of the Persian empire(s) in the south in the same period. The Xiongnu empire turned the steppe into a melting pot, with very diverse populations united in a common culture. The later Xianbei Hunns came out of this amalgamation.

    5. The modern population in the region, the Kazakhs, show the same genetic diversity but remarkably evenly distributed in the population. This reflects a deliberate policy of clan rearrangement and intermarriage since the establishment of the Kazakh Khanate.

    A couple of remarks:

    Uniparental markers would have been interesting for assessing the organization and stability of clans and the mechanisms for genetic exchange, but they aren’t discussed in the main text of the paper. I haven’t looked at the supplements yet.

    There were more Iranian peoples on the steppe than the Sarmatians and the Saka. One of those is presumably represented by the Sargat culture. I think we’ll learn much more about the formation and movement of many of them very soon.

    Yet again I’m struck by the vasteness of the Iranian language area. I wonder if there are deep splits that we fail to see.

  240. Yet again I’m struck by the vasteness of the Iranian language area. I wonder if there are deep splits that we fail to see.
    Define “deep” 🙂
    This looks like it’s comparable to the vastness of the Turkic language area, which historically also is spread from Yakutia and Western Mongolia into Iran, the Middle East, Anatolia, and the Pontic steppes. Similar nomadic life style, similar routes of expansion. And despite that spread, except for a few outliers like Chuvash or Yakut, the languages are similar enough that one immediately notes that they are related and, knowing one of them, recognises a lot of words and grammar when learning another.
    (Iranian is more diverse, but it had a couple of millennia more time to diverge.)

  241. Dmitry Pruss says

    They have a detailed uniparental marker layout in the Supplements. Mostly an R1a + Q populations as one can anticipate from the autosomal analysis. The Sargats are also N

  242. Trond Engen says

    I’ve read the supplementary text file. Interesting that what is handled together as the Sargat Culture in the main paper seems to be classified as two different cultures by the archaeologists, the Sargat Culture and the Gorokhov Culture. There may be a hint in the descriptions that perhaps the Sargat graves are the elite and Gorokhov the commoners, and the latter is presumed to be Uralic.

    I had to read the Excel files for the haplogroup information. With the above in mind, it was a surprise that it’s mostly graves from Sargat proper that have haplogroup N. Since there also is no N anywhere else in the material, this seems to be where that ancestry is introduced to the steppe sphere. I don’t know which later peoples that came out of this blend, but it’s hardly a wild guess that some of it became Hungarian.

  243. Trond Engen says

    Looking at it again in daylight I see that there are four individuals with Y-haplogroup N. Three are from the “Sargat proper” site of Bitiya (of a total of nine), one from the Gorokhov site of Shmakovo (of a total of two). Not a significant difference, especially since the concentration in two cemeteries makes it seem to be more about the ancestry of the local clan. Two individuals are attributed to the more basal haplogroup NO, probably because of insufficient data. One is from Bitiya, the other from Bogdanovka, also Sargat proper according to the archaeological supplement.

  244. Dmitry Pruss says

    The Sargat Culture is sometimes hypothesized to be the direct ancestor of Kushnarenkovo-Karayakupovo cultures of the Southern Urals, and the latter, identified with the ancestral Magyars. But IMHO these cultures may be merely “located in the broadly correct region and formed by the broadly similar demographic processes” in the interface area of the Steppe and the Taiga where the respective populations and cultural traditions interacted.

    Seima-Turbino spans similar areas and similar fusions, but still in the Bronze age, and even Sintashta already had some residents whose genetic make-up was from the forest-zone. All of the fusion phenomena had a potential to combine R1a with N Y-chromosomes, and probably to result in proto-Iranian language borrowing, too? So I don’t think that an Occam razor is applicable here, making a plausible hit the right one. One might need a lot more data than the uniparental markers to conclude that the Sargat isn’t merely a “similar steppe-forest melting pot” but “the” fusion which progressed to become the Ugric peoples.

  245. Trond Engen says

    @Dmitry: Of course there were earlier interaction and intermixture between steppe and forest populations, and both Sintashta and Seima-Turbina pretty much must have included both Uralic and Indo-Iranian elements — and Siberians too, of some flavour or other. What I meant was simply that there’s no trace of N paternal lines in the Scyth-oid steppe cultures before this, and AFAIK, not after this either, until it’s found in the Pannonian Avars. This population would be a likely source for that element. I don’t necessarily think Sargat is the origin of the Ugric branch. I have no strong opinion on whether it was Ugric or Iranian speaking or mixed. But it’s highly likely that the element that brought Y-haplogroup N was Uralic and, if so, for geographic reasons probably of the Ugric branch. I also find it likely for geographic reasons that some of these peoples eventually ended up as Magyars, If they are the direct liguistic ancestors is another matter.

  246. John Emerson says

    Coming in late, but the steppe is a long-standing interest of mine, though mostly in the East. I think when thinking of steppe peoples, their difference from sedentary peoples has to be kept in mind, especially their fluidity.

    For example, Japan is inhabited by Japanese speakers who are descended from earlier Japanese speakers who lived in Japan a millennium ago, and almost all Japanese love in
    Japan. That’s the closest real world example of the ideal sedentary nation.

    None of these things are true of nomad nations, which are not really kin groups, are aggressive and opportunistic with weak territorial attachments (eg the Mughals, who fled C.Asia to rule India) and are usually multilingual, and whose dominant language sometimes changes (eg from Mongol to Tatar in Russia.)

    Steppe peoples are mobile cultural-political-military entities called by the name of their ruling lineage. They are genetically diverse in the female line, and initially also often in the male line (eg the motley pickup army which founded the Qaraqitai), but they are dominated by the ruling lineage which through polygamy makes the nation less diverse in the male line (Genghis Khan supposedly had 800 wives, and his senior sons probably roughly matched him, and he has tens of millions of descendants today.)

    When the Avars disappeared they disappeared as a political military unit, their elite lineage might have been exterminated, their territory of the moment was lost, and the survivors regrouped elsewhere, but probably not under Avar leadership.

    Perhaps all this is obvious today, but I’ve spent awhile figuring it out.

  247. nomad nations, which are not really kin groups

    probably some of the mobile nations, but not all of them. In the Avar era, the Langobards or the Huns seem to be recent ethnic agglomerations, but the Goths or the Slavs might be more homogenous. In the earlier Iron Age era of the Scythian paper, it appears that the core Sarmatian and Saka groups were rather homogenous and long-term stable in terms of population genetics. In the recent presentation of David Anthony (which is probably more in place in a Yamnaya discussion here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhlzOj8ouaw ), he juxtaposes the closely related Khvalynsk and Yamnaya cultures, the first one looking like mixing-in-progress, the second one remarkably homogenous despite its vast, Slovakia-to-the-Altai range.

  248. John Emerson says

    A successful long lived nomad nation could become a kin group in the way I said. And the Goths were “barbarians” like the Huns, but originally sedentary. Even the Scythians were. Partly sedentary and important wheat producers.

    The ideal steppe pastoral areas are often also ideal wheat growing areas, as in the Ukraine (or the Dakota lands). Even the Mongols practiced some agriculture, but for them it was a better deal just to extort tribute. In some areas agriculture probably isn’t practiced mostly because the area is preempted by nomads.

  249. Trond Engen says

    It seems more like a punctuated equilibrium with long periods of stability broken by sudden reshuffles. But maybe what we se is that the steppe dynamics isn’t the same through time. The reshuffles happen more often and the empires grow larger with time.

    It looks like newly formed steppe polities may have put in place deliberate policies for amalgamation. The Kazakh Khanate is a recent and well documented example, and the policy has turned into culture. After reading the Mongolian paper, I speculated that the budding Xiongnu Empire had a policy of matrilocal long-distance exogamy. Between the Xiongnu and the Kazakhs, I would be surprised if the various waves of Turks and the Mongols didn’t make similar arrangements. Long before any of those, these Scythian peoples become uniformly blended, each within its realm, on everything but the Y-chromosome, as their patrilocal clans traded brides also with foreign lands.

    We may come to see different patterns in the settled and the more mobile parts of the Scythian societies. I think most of the genetic samples so far are from the mobile class. The Sargat Culture is an exception.

  250. John Emerson says

    When you say”Scythian”, how broad a sense do you mean? Northern Iranians generally, or the earlier non-Sarmatians / non-Alans.

  251. David Marjanović says

    Genghis Khan supposedly had 800 wives, and his senior sons probably roughly matched him, and he has tens of millions of descendants today.

    That’s most of Y haplogroup C3.

  252. Trond Engen says

    Here I use ‘Scythian’ like the new paper does, for “Iranian peoples with broadly shared culture forming locally in different parts of the steppe in the Late Bronze Age” — i.e. the Scyhians proper, the Sarmatians, the Saka, the first Alans, the Massagetae, and probably a couple more. I know it’s problematic, both using it as a common name and assigning names to local cultures with full certainty. That’s why I said “with or without scarequotes” in my comment yesterday.

  253. John Emerson says

    Everything I know about the steppe comes from studies of literature and (non-genetic) archaeology, and I am looking forward to seeing the genetic information. (I recently read the Reich book recommended here.) Unfortunately I have very limited library access during COVID, and from what’s being said here it seems that steppe historical genetics is pretty much in process. But if you could recommend some accessible links summarizing what is known I would appreciate it greatly.

  254. In the Avar era, the Langobards or the Huns seem to be recent ethnic agglomerations, but the Goths or the Slavs might be more homogenous.

    We still need some caution when saying “Langobards were…”.

  255. Well, at least we know they had long beards.

  256. Bathrobe says
  257. SFReader says

    almost all Japanese love in Japan.

    Very profound statement.

  258. Dmitry Pruss says

    If I am not lazy I will try to find the Langobard paper I had in mind. It’s a study of a cemetery of the phase when they were abandoning the Danube for Italy, notable for the cranial deformations of only some of the buried, and even more than of one type. As I recall the isotopes and DNA confirmed that it was a Germanic Balkan post-Hun amalgamation, people who grew up far apart and in very different customs. It isn’t any of the topic of specific interest for me, but the extreme multiethnic nature of a supposedly German warlike tribe stunned me enough to remember.

  259. It sounds like recollection was relatively close & I cited one paper which surprised me in this very thread two years ago:
    A little mysterious tidbit about the Avars and the Huns / Gepids / Goths who immediately preceded them on the Pannonian Plain.

    A Vth c. grave of 3 male adolescents (with dismembered and partly missing mashed-up skeletons, and added animal bones and objects) seems to represent a ritual sacrifice. All three boys display signs of nutritional deprivations and hardships, likely because they were commoners; the diets are described as heavy on millet and low on animal protein.The trio represents 3 distinct races – an East Asian, a Mediterranean, and a Western European by ancestry – and the different appearance of the three is further accentuated by different types of cranial deformation (flat-board compression, circular binding, and none, resp.). The three groups obviously lived side-by-side and were subordinated to the same entity.

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0216366

    Possibly this one from 2018 is more relevant for the Germanic tribes:
    Population genomic analysis of elongated skulls reveals extensive female-biased immigration in Early Medieval Bavaria
    https://www.pnas.org/content/115/13/3494

    But I still have a feeling that one paper was specifically on the Langobard cemetery – maybe without the emphasis on the deformed crania?

  260. Whole-sequence analysis indicates that the Y chromosome C2*-Star Cluster traces back to ordinary Mongols, rather than Genghis Khan

    Hard to say … their main argument is that “the cluster” may be too old in origin to be Genghis’s descendants. And the consensus remains that the C-M407 clade studied in the 2018 paper is indeed over 2 millennia old, but the star-like explosion within it is primarily restricted to its C-Y4541 subclade which is “of the right age” of some 900 years.

    Perhaps all what the 2018 paper has really shown is that the consumer genomic companies with their “cheap but exciting” tests have told too many people that they are potential Genghisids, including some whose common ancestors with the Khan may have lived millennia earlier. Kind of like the same story with the “modal Cohen haplotype” predicted on the cheap, right?

    https://www.yfull.com/tree/C-M407/

  261. John Emerson says

    My interest is mostly in the eastern steppe, so somewhat outside this discussion, but I’ve read a fair amount about the west too, in terms of what I said above, I think that you can say that there was a general Scythian gene pool (broad sense) but that it might be misleading to try to distinguish the various specific Scythian subgroups genetically, since they were mostly subsets of the greater Scythian people, and were essentially pick-up armies formed at a particular place and time to fight a particular war. Though I guess you could say that one group had more Goths or more eastern genes than another, even if the bulk of each group was similar.

    I’m just contrasting Goths and Scythians to, notably, the E African peoples Reich described as castes based on centuries of endogamy, or the Japanese. Their boundaries were porous.

    Something I read about the Crimean Goths claimed that at the time they established themselves in the Crimea there were at least 7 other Gothic groups in existence, all of them politico-military groups (as were the Crimean Goths at first).

  262. It isn’t any of the topic of specific interest for me, but the extreme multiethnic nature of a supposedly German warlike tribe stunned me enough to remember.

    That is interesting.
    I know that there is a lot of new material about Langobards (for political reason I assume), but I did not follow it.

    —-
    When I said about caution, I meant. we are in danger to create a genetically-motivated phantom..
    And identify it with another phantom entity, gens.

    Who did the names of the Migration Period “gentes” refer to specifically, how they were organized and interacted (language too) and what else they were apart of names is a problem.
    Armies could be (or not) quite diverse. Vandals could have with them some Slavs when they sailed to Africa.

    Goths invited slaves to join their army – I would expect these to be excluded from “Goths” here, but maybe included there.

    Then there were (differently structured) women, children, property.
    Then social and cultural groups.
    Then alliances and other relations.

    Maybe there were clear-cut “tribes” aminds this all, but clearly not just this. Now we want to clarify how this all was structured, but excavating something and then assigning a “tribal” label may exactly obscure the complexity.

  263. aminds
    amidst

    as I remember from classics:

    – the name is attested in that exact form since BC, when Romans advance towards Elbe. It is rather unusual, seeing in a Roman text something as modern as “langobardi” (rather than something like “Chatti”), this is why I remember. They are said to be gens etiam Germana feritate ferocior, “fiercier in ferocity (savager in savagery) than even Germans”, whoever those “Germans” are in this case. Дичее немцев дикостью.

    I do not know about the manuscript history of Velleius Paterculus and Strabo (Λαγγόβαρδοι / Λαγκόβαρδοι) though. Is the fragment present in any of Strabo’s papiri? How likely a later emendation is?

    There is archaelogy assigned to those “Langobards” too.

    – then people with this name annoy Marcus Aurelius on Danube some 150 years later.

    – they arrived with “Saxons” (and left their land to “Huns”*, who were supposed to return it if L. fail) according to Paul the Deacon. That is, they are not said to be a single people.


    * also: “entered into a perpetual treaty with the Avars, who were first called Huns, and afterwards Avars, from the name of their own king. “

  264. John Emerson says

    Speaking now of the Mongols, the dominance of the Great Khan was more or less absolute, and his sons by his primary wife unquestionably shared his power, though only one inherited it, and his lesser descendants were in some sense noble but that didn’t necessarily amount to a lot, and his cousins and their descendants had some status. So here there is a definite kin group, and over generations it became huge. But the body of the army was increasingly Turkish, and the administration was basically technocratic and unrelated to descent, including mostly non-Mongols (eg Marco Polo).

    In Mongol China Mongols as a group ranked first, other steppe peoples next, Khitans, Jurchens, and N Chinese next, and Song Chinese (southern) last.

    But these Mongols were no longer a steppe people, though only a generation or two away from it, but the military and dominant elite of a sedentary society.

  265. With Huns, Langobards, etc., compare “Franks.”

  266. I have always wondered what Tolkien’s motivation was for naming the eldest house of the dwarves (Durin’s folk; Thorin’s people) the “Longbeards.” The similarity to the Lombards is impossible to miss, and there have since been further allusions to some combination of Tolkien and real-world history, most notably in Warhammer.

  267. Brett.
    Origo Gentis Langobardorum:

    There is an island 1 that is called Scadanan, 2 which is interpreted “destruction,” 3 in the regions of the north, where many people dwell. Among these there was a small people that was called the Winniles. And with them was a woman , Gambara by name , and she had two sons. Ybor was the name of one and Agio the name of the other. They, with their mother, Gambara by name, held the sovereignty over the Winniles. Then the leaders of the Wandals, that is, Ambri and Assi, moved with their army, and said to the Win- niles : ” Either pay us tributes or prepare yourselves for battle and fight with us.” Then answered Ybor and Agio, with their mother Gambara : ” It is better for us to make ready the bat- tle than to pay tributes to the Wandals.” Then Ambri and Assi, that is, the leaders of the Wandals, asked Godan that he should give them the victory over the Winniles. Godan answered, saying : “Whom I shall first see when at sunrise, to them will I give the victory.” At that time Gambara with her two sons, that is, Ybor and Agio, who were chiefs over the Winniles, besought Frea, the wife of Godan, to be propitious to the Winnilis. Then Frea gave counsel that at sunrise the Winniles should come, and that their women, with their hair let down around the face in the likeness of a beard , should also come with their husbands. Then when it became bright, while the sun was rising, Frea, the wife of Godan, turned around the bed where her husband was lying and put his face toward the east and awakened him. And he , looking at them , saw the Winniles and their women having their hair let down around the face. And he says, “Who are those Long- beards?” And Frea said to Godan, “As you have given them a name, give them also the victory.” And he gave them the victory, so that they should defend themselves according to his counsel and obtain the victory. From that time the Winniles were called Langobards

  268. I mean, this is somehow Tolkien-like.

    And when you read medieval descriptions of ugly Huns it is hard not to think about him too.

    The literature about Migration period was his major inspiration. (there was also some saga about Goths and Huns at Dnieper)

  269. gens etiam Germana feritate ferocior, “fiercier in ferocity (savager in savagery) than even Germans”, whoever those “Germans” are in this case. Дичее немцев дикостью.
    I’d rather translate that “a race fiercer even than the Germanic wildness” / род дичее даже германской дикости”.

  270. Hans, you are right. Or not, but at least it is how I understand it.

    Moreover, it is why I chose to post it in Latin and supply it with a translation:/ It is somewhat illogical (and differs from this translation.)

    Then somehow I followed the translation as found in the link:)

  271. David Marjanović says

    They are said to be gens etiam Germana feritate ferocior, “fiercier in ferocity (savager in savagery) than even Germans”, whoever those “Germans” are in this case.

    Most likely the Suebi, as explained in the “Franks” thread.

    There is an island 1 that is called Scadanan, 2 which is interpreted “destruction,”

    Schaden “damage”, because if your ship crashes into the cliffs of Norway, it’s going to be damaged. TRUFAX!

  272. Trond Engen says

    Hat: Well, at least we know they had long beards.

    That, or they were from the Long Coast. That could be the southern shore of the Baltic. Their legends told that they got their name after migrating south and beating the Vandals in a battle.

    Dmitry Pruss: Population genomic analysis of elongated skulls reveals extensive female-biased immigration in Early Medieval Bavaria

    From a Science article on the PNAS paper:

    In a handful of medieval Bavarian farming hamlets populated mostly by blue-eyed blondes, more than a dozen women with dark hair, dark eyes, and unusual elongated skulls would have stood out. A new DNA study suggests that these women, whose striking skulls have been unearthed from nearby grave sites, were high-ranking “treaty brides” from Romania and Bulgaria, married off to cement political alliances. Yet others are skeptical.

    “This is one of the strangest things I’ve ever read,” says Israel Hershkovitz, an anthropologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel, who specializes in ancient human anatomy. “I don’t buy it.”

    […]

    Hershkovitz doesn’t dispute the genetics, but he says the story doesn’t add up. For one thing, he isn’t convinced that the skulls were deformed intentionally. Babies’ skulls can accidentally be elongated by resting on hard wooden surfaces or being strapped into carrying packs. For another, he says that when ancient tribes intermarried for political reasons, usually only one or two individuals at a time did so. It would be extremely unusual to send more than a dozen women in a single generation, Hershkovitz says.

    Burger counters that no individual village in the study had more than a few women with elongated skulls. If each village were a distinct political entity with its own alliances, the political theory holds up. As for whether the skulls were deformed intentionally, Burger says it would be an extreme coincidence if all the women with elongated skulls just so happened to also have a different ancestry from the rest of the population.

    I’d say that the number of foreign women from the same region could be an indication of a policy of systematic long-distance exogamy in an amalgamating society.

    John E.: I think that you can say that there was a general Scythian gene pool (broad sense) but that it might be misleading to try to distinguish the various specific Scythian subgroups genetically, since they were mostly subsets of the greater Scythian people, and were essentially pick-up armies formed at a particular place and time to fight a particular war.

    You know vastly more about the steppe than me, but still: That’s what I used to think about the Scythians until quite recently. Now I think there were long periods of stability when different “tribes” shared the steppe between them and ruled over well-run settled societies. I believe there was a mobile ruling class who sold protection to farmers and local leaders and moved the surplus from the taxes and tibutes east, west and south where it was sold or exchanged for other goods. In peaceful periods these steppe polities had some sort of agreement between them and didn’t destroy eachother by infighting. I’m sure this involved seasonal meetings for trade, or even sharing of dividend, and regular exchange of brides between the leading families. The latter would account for the slow but steady geneflow across the steppe. Still, there were wars, but mostly locally. But when the great empires started to encroach on the steppe, becoming the overlords of the former client states of the Scythians, and (at least the Romans and the Chinese) started to pay steppe peoples to attack eachother, things became increasingly unstable, with peoples moving about and alliances forming and falling apart again at a swift pace across the whole region.

    drasvi: When I said about caution, I meant. we are in danger to create a genetically-motivated phantom..
    And identify it with another phantom entity, gens.

    Who did the names of the Migration Period “gentes” refer to specifically, how they were organized and interacted (language too) and what else they were apart of names is a problem.
    Armies could be (or not) quite diverse. Vandals could have with them some Slavs when they sailed to Africa.

    Yes, all of that. But if done carefully, genetics is just another (but extremely powerful) tool to see movements of people or whole populations, and to watch societies form, last for a few decades or a millennium, and dissolve. We can see societies take up new elements or spawn new societies in other places. Pots famously aren’t people, but genes are. Genes aren’t languages, though, or material culture, or historically documented named entities. It all has to be seen together and tried, and retried, against new evidence.

    In the case of the “Scythians” of the last millennium BCE, this study was a surprise in how stable the “Saka” and “Sarmatian” populations were throughout the period. That means that we can guess something about life in the steppe societies. But it also means that there are historically documented movements of related peoples, with splits and mergers and new splits, that probably still lurk in unsampled genes from the southern and western steppe.

  273. Trond Engen says

    The godess/giantess/Njörðs estranged wifeSkaði could be an eponymic land godess for the Scandinavian peninsula.

  274. David Marjanović says

    In a handful of medieval Bavarian farming hamlets populated mostly by blue-eyed blondes

    Uh, sure they’d have stood out, but this description strikes me as quite exaggerated. Today, most people around that area have some shade of brown hair, and maybe half have brown eyes.

    could be an eponymic land godess for the Scandinavian peninsula.

    Yes, or maybe it’s the other way around, as is so common in Greek mythology and the Bible. (Why is the Aegean Sea called that? Because King Aegaeus drowned himself in it. Why are the Macedons called that? Because they were founded by a dude named Macedon. And so on.)

    Skaði isn’t a n-stem, is she? …Actually, I don’t think I’d notice…

  275. Trond Engen says

    Now that you ask, Skaði must be a weak masculine. It could look like the pet name for a longer man’s name starting in Skað-. That reminds me that I’ve seen a suggestion that the pair Skaði and Njördr swapped genders at some point.

  276. PlasticPaddy says

    scadán means “herring” in Irish (related with English “shad”, which Wiktionary derives either from Celtic or from dialectal Norwegian skadd (“small whitefish”). ). A good name for a North Sea goddess–Scandinavia = “herring land”.

  277. Herringia.

  278. John Emerson says

    Trond: My steppe knowledge is mostly about the Mongolian steppe, and I am basically ignorant of what genetics tells us about steppe history, so I’m grateful for what you can tell me.

    One thing to think about is that many of the names of peoples we get from history are not only exonyms, but the names of enemy peoples, and they tend to attach to those peoples who pose military threats. I think Avar and Pecheneg are of this type, and disappeared when the specific threat did. And these names were used carelessly or allusively — I’ve seen Huns called Scythians and Turks called Huns, not exactly inaccurately if you define these words functionally as “peoples of a certain type living in a certain area”.

    “Avar” and “Pecheneg” might have been the self-designations of the dominant clan or ethnicity of heterogenous invading armies, though.

  279. David Eddyshaw says

    Scandinavia = “herring land”

    It is possible even for a Scandinavian to have too much of herring, however:

    Ketill [flatnefur] svarar: “Í þá veiðistöð kem eg aldregi á gamals aldri.”

    https://www.snerpa.is/net/isl/laxdal.htm

  280. David Marjanović says

    Now that you ask, Skaði must be a weak masculine.

    Just like Schaden, then.

    (But “shad-land” isn’t too shabby either. Even if it’s right across the sea from Shetland.)

    That reminds me that I’ve seen a suggestion that the pair Skaði and Njördr swapped genders at some point.

    Tacitus did say Nerthus was of the female persuasion.

  281. John Emerson says

    I used to bring pickled herring to potlucks. In most cases no one would eat any and I’d eat it all myself, but someone convinced me that was unethical so I had to quit. In one case the host looked at it quizzically and then hid it on the back of his refrigerator where it could harm no one. The problem is that while pickled herring is an exotic food, the Norse themselves are sensible and not at all exotic.

    I had Canadian pickled herring the other day but it was too salty. The secret of Norse pickled herring is sugar.

  282. gens etiam Germana feritate ferocior

    All their fierce children are above average.

  283. Trond Engen says

    PlasticPaddy: scadán means “herring” in Irish (related with English “shad”, which Wiktionary derives either from Celtic or from dialectal Norwegian skadd (“small whitefish”). ). A good name for a North Sea goddess–Scandinavia = “herring land”.

    I wasn’t aware of the skadd, but you’re right that it’s a local name for a small variety of sik or the European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus). For the name of the fish, this is a semantic slam dunk. A close relative of the whitefish, Coregonus albula, is known in Norwegian as lagesildLågen herring”, showing that the names were transferable from saltwater to freshwater species. The lagesild and many other species and/or populations of Coregonus live most of their lives in big lakes and migrate in shoals up into rivers to spawn. The shads proper, e.g. the allis shad (Alosa alosa), are shoaling saltwater fish that migrates up into the rivers to spawn, thus sharing properties with both herring and whitefish, Note also how similar the species of whitefish, shad, and herring are in the layout of the fins.

    As for the name of Scandinavia, the Sound and especially the old market town of Skanør, which has a claim on having named the whole of Scandinavia, were known for the rich herring fisheries. What’s more, the brackish water of the Baltic Sea may well have supported populations of Coregonus in the past even this far south.

    But I don’t think it’s easy to reconcile the forms with -ð- and those with -dd, and I have no obvious idea of what to make of the latter etymologically. It could be s-mobile to a stem also found in haddr m. “women’s hair; naming element (e.g. Þórhaddr m.). Maybe these could be from *(s)kas-d- and be related to Lat, cassis “helmet”. But that’s a lot of maybe, and what’s the semantic bridge to the fish? “Shining”?

    @David E.: Only an Icelandic saga hero will give up a life supply of herring for a good comeback line.

    David M.: Tacitus did say Nerthus was of the female persuasion.

    Yes, I suppose that’s half the argument.

    Another fanciful suggestion (my own, I think) is that the name Njörðr meant “Un-Earth”, a fitting match for an earth godess Jörð. When the Óðinn cult came and the earth godess became his consort Friggr, the role of Earth in the stories of Njörðr was played under an epithet or taken over by a lesser deity for the local land. Note that also Skaði ends up being married to Óðinn. But who doesn’t?

    John E.: One thing to think about is that many of the names of peoples we get from history are not only exonyms, but the names of enemy peoples, and they tend to attach to those peoples who pose military threats. I think Avar and Pecheneg are of this type, and disappeared when the specific threat did. And these names were used carelessly or allusively — I’ve seen Huns called Scythians and Turks called Huns, not exactly inaccurately if you define these words functionally as “peoples of a certain type living in a certain area”.

    Yes, The names are notoriously unreliable. But if we understand how the groups were formed and how they moved, we might also understand better what people meant by a certain name at a certain place at a certain time.

    @Roger C.: Appreciation but no reply.

  284. David Eddyshaw says

    Only an Icelandic saga hero will give up a life supply of herring for a good comeback line.

    True, true. And Laxdæla Saga has always struck me as lacking psychological plausibility when it comes right down to it. Too much continental influence, I dare say. I mean, there’s heroic, but then there’s downright ludicrous.

  285. As for names:

    Lombard law applied to Lombards solely. The Roman population ruled by Lombard aristocracy expected to live under long-codified Roman law. The Edict stipulated that foreigners who came to settle in Lombard territories were expected to live according to the laws of the Lombards unless they obtained from the king the right to live according to some other law.

    Later, by the reign of King Liutprand (712–743), most inhabitants of Lombard Italy were considered Lombards regardless of their ancestry and followed Lombard Law

    If I designate the phrases in bold as 1, 2, 3:

    (1) hints at some external definition of Lombards.
    (3) makes the definition recursive:/
    (2) leaves unclear, who are “foreigners”.
    (2) even contradicts the implication from (1), unless we accept the recursive definition.

    Then earlier in the text:
    (4) Unlike the 6th century Breviarium Alaricianum of Visigoth king Alaric II, the Edict was mostly Germanic tribal law dealing with weregilds, inheritance, and duels, not a code of Roman law.

  286. Trond Engen says

    I can’t see any contradictions. Law was an arrangement of mutual agreement on rules and a system for enforcement. When the Lombards came in, they brought their law with them, and how couldn’t they, when that’s how the relationship between them was regulated? But they also knew that other people had other agreements. When they arrived in Italy, they met an established system. Hence, Lombards were those who were subjects to Lombard law, and Romans were those who were subjects to Roman law. Up north the Frisians were just forming around a similar definition: Frisians are those who follow Frisian law. I don’t know if it’s common Germanic legal thinking or a common adaptation to dynamic societies.

    Later immigrants were supposed to follow Lombard law, i.e. become Lombards, unless the king granted them the right to their own law. This latter provision was there to accomodate groups with established legal systems rather than individuals, and is how e.g. Jews got to have their own legal institutions in medieval Europe.

    There may have been advantages to being under Lombard law in Lombardy. Anyway, as time passed and people moved and intermarried, more and more people took Lombard law and were by definition Lombards.

  287. Trond Engen says

    @John E.: I meant to say something about this. As you understand, archaeo-genetics is a field in development, and, especially on a detailed level, consensus is outdated before it’s summed up in writing. I have no competence at all. I’m just trying to keep up on a general level, and I’m (ab)using the patience of our host and the intellectual atmosphere of the Hattery to calibrate my understanding. As in historical linguistics there are some good specialist blogs around. I read them sometimes, but I don’t hang there. Too little time, I suppose.

  288. David Marjanović says

    But I don’t think it’s easy to reconcile the forms with -ð- and those with -dd, and I have no obvious idea of what to make of the latter etymologically.

    I don’t think dd has any regular origin. It comes from changes of n-stem paradigms like this

    *-ð-ō nom. sg.
    *-tt-az gen. sg.
    *-ð-en-i dat. sg.

    (straight out of Kluge’s law) to this

    *-ð-ō nom. sg.
    *-dd-az gen. sg.
    *-ð-en-i dat. sg.

    or from nicknames (themselves n-stems).

    Does that help…?

  289. John Emerson says

    Trond: well, keep on posting.

  290. Trond Engen says

    David M.: I don’t think dd has any regular origin. It comes from changes of n-stem paradigms […] (straight out of Kluge’s law) […] or from nicknames (themselves n-stems).

    Does that help…?

    Yes. It tells me that I should go through other -dd words and try to reinterpret them in light of Kluge’s law. But there’s at least one other origin. The parallel I had in mind was ON gaddr m., Goth, gazds m. “point, sting” < *gazda- < an unanalysable WIE *ghasdh-. As for skaddr and Skaði, It doesn’t help that the “Schade” word is just as unanalysable beyond a possible cognate in Celtic *katu- “fight, warband, strength” and semantically better but phonetically more puzzling in Greek *skḗthos “damage”.

  291. Trond Engen says

    Me: I’d say that the number of foreign women from the same region could be an indication of a policy of systematic long-distance exogamy in an amalgamating society.

    No, that’s not quite it. In male-centered societies, systematic patrilocal long-distance exogamy is alliance-building, and alliances can be broken. Systematic matrilocal long-distance exogamy is amalgamation,

    In this case, though, we should perhaps be able to be more specific in our speculation. My best guess is that this isn’t long-distance exogamy at all, but local brides acquired at the lower Danube by the leaders of a Germanic people in Attila’s coaiition, a people that settled in Bavaria after Attila’s death and the defeat of his sons. These are the people who brought Greek Christian terminology to Bavaria.

  292. John Cowan says

    Exactly the same thing happened in England after 1066: Normans were ruled by Norman law, English by English law. And there too the situation eventually broke down with one hybrid law for all.

  293. I did not name the source. It was Edictum Rothari to which later Origo G.L. mentioned above was added.

  294. David Marjanović says

    The parallel I had in mind was ON gaddr m., Goth, gazds m. “point, sting” < *gazda- < an unanalysable WIE *ghasdh-.

    Ah, so there is a regular origin – and *s-ghasdh- could actually give us the shad. Is there anything pointy about that fish…?

    Edictum Rothari

    Let’s do the gravewarp again!!!

  295. Trond Engen says

    David M.: Ah, so there is a regular origin – and *s-ghasdh- could actually give us the shad. Is there anything pointy about that fish…?

    All fishes are pointy in some way or another. Gaddr has given gjedde “pike”, but formerly also “young cod”.

    But are there examples with s-mobile operating on original voiced aspirates? I can’t think of any and I don’t think there can be many on voiced stops either. That has to be important for the understanding of s-mobile. At the very least it makes it seem like a phonological rather than a morphological process.

  296. “It was Edictum Rothari”

    Oups. ‘It was the Wikipedia article “Edictum Rothari” ‘

    . But if done carefully, genetics is just another (but extremely powerful) tool to see movements of people or whole populations, and to watch societies form, last for a few decades or a millennium, and dissolve.

    @Trond Engen, yes, of course. I did not mean to disagree with anything. I felt that we are making our first steps down the all-too-familiar road and commented on that. It was a reminder, but I did not mean to make a big deal of this. I quoted the article just to show how easily a word “Langobards” shifts meanings.

  297. David Marjanović says

    But are there examples with s-mobile operating on original voiced aspirates? I can’t think of any and I don’t think there can be many on voiced stops either.

    There aren’t many of either, but there are enough of each to tell that *s devoiced following voiced aspirates (Siebs’s law; so there were voiceless aspirates in PIE – but only as allophones of the voiced ones), while it was instead voiced to [z] by following plain-voiced stops.

  298. Trond Engen says

    I should have remembered Siebs. But I was really just thinking about Germanic, and I still can’t find any examples there.

    So, what would happen when s-mobile is put through Siebs’s law and the Germanic sound shifts? For dentals before vowels we have:

    1. Siebs:
    *tV- > *tV-
    *dV- > *dV-
    *dʰV- > *dʰV-
    *stV- > *stV-
    *sdV- > *stV-
    *sdʰV- > *stʰV-

    2. Grimm:
    *tV- > *tʰV- > *þV-
    *dV- > *tV-
    *dʰV- > *dV-
    *stV- > *stV-
    *stʰV- > ?

    Suggestions:
    a. *stV- (deaspiration)
    b. *sþV- > *stV- (dissimilation)
    c. *sþV- (> *ssV-) > *sV- (assimilation and degemination)
    d. *sþV- (> *þþV-) > *þV- (assimilation and degemination)
    e- *sþV- > e.g. *sjV- (sandhi or dissimilation/assimilation to the vowel, immediately recognizable with *sf- > *sw-)

  299. David Marjanović says

    1. Siebs:
    […]
    *sdV- > *stV-

    No, > *zdV-, which Grimm then turned into Germanic *stV-.

    Of your suggestions, a) or b) seem to have operated; there are a few examples, but of course I forgot them all.

    In Greek, BTW, b) has happened; we can tell because it has exceptions.

  300. A Russian group described Y- and mt haplotypes of several elite-burial Khazar skeletons dating back to VII-IX c. As it often happens with the ancient DNA studies conducted by local labs, they only characterized a few locations in DNA, and the overall DNA makeup remained unknown, and it remains impossible to look for the descendants (or ancestors) of the Khazars. But, as already suspected, the Khazar elites must have had ancestors all over Eurasia. Three Scythian-like R1a’s and one R1b. One Q. One largely Northern N1a1. Two largely East Asian C2b1a1b1. One G2a2.

    https://www.elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=44810642

  301. I don’t necessarily think Sargat is the origin of the Ugric branch. I have no strong opinion on whether it was Ugric or Iranian speaking or mixed. But it’s highly likely that the element that brought Y-haplogroup N was Uralic and, if so, for geographic reasons probably of the Ugric branch.

    If we assume that the forest-dwellers were less mobile than the Steppe people, then the geographic argument makes perfect sense. But in all recent paleogenomic observations in Central and Eastern Siberia, it appears that the forest zone experienced fast, drastic populations turnovers throughout prehistory. So perhaps the South-Western Siberian forest zone, too? And haplogroups N of different flavors historically appear quite close in the region, like in a Bronze Age sample kra001 from near Krasnoyarsk from the Siberian ancient DNA paper published earlier this year https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/2/eabc4587
    Autosomally kra001 was more related to the contemporary NE Asia, and its N haplogroup stands aside in the phylogenetic tree but kind of next to the NE Asian branch, too (some of these recently published ancient DNAs, but not Sargat ones, are already mapped at https://www.yfull.com/tree/N-L1026/ ).
    At the same Yfull tree there is a III/IV c. CE DNA from Pannonia from Damgaard 2018 paper on the Scythian+ genomes ( https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0094-2 ) (the sample is DA95 in the paper vs. ERS2374350 on the Yfull tree), and it belongs to a branch represented mostly by today’s Turkic peoples, and also separated by over 4,000 years from the Finnish branch.

    Now I hear some people indicating that the Sargats were actually right in the Finno-Ugric branch Z1936, and others questioning it as wishful thinking. Maybe we’ll get more clarity soon.

  302. By the way the samples from the Scythian paper are gradually showing up on Yfull
    https://www.yfull.com/samples-from-paper/515/

    But so far they are all R1a’s, no N’s yet.

    A 1,600 years old Y-chromosome from Kyrgyzstan, related to both todays Bashkirs and to the South Asians, and several samples which are about a millennium older, and belong to the same branch as several ancient Y’s from Damgaard 2018, but with the modern samples still generally restricted to the Tian Shan – Altai region

  303. Davidski of the Eurogenes blog tried modeling the Sargat genomes as a mixture of Sintashta and the Bronze Age sample from the Yenisei river area, kra001, which I mentioned two posts earlier. Not sure if the approximation is good enough, but it came close after adding some West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer enriched DNA material from Middle Bronze Age Western-most Kazakhstan, just over 100 miles from Volga river ( Mereke mounds, Narasimhan 2019, https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/suppl/2019/09/04/365.6457.eaat7487.DC1/aat7487_Narasimhan_SM.pdf pg. 237 ; in the main article they estimate the WSHG component as only about 9% of the Mereke group). More Easterly Middle Bronze Age groups on the Central Steppes had a similar genetic makeup.

    Mereke-like ancestry is detectable in Ugric peoples, especially in Siberia. It’s encouraging that it is also useful to model the Sargat genomes (which may be approximated as something like half-Sintashta, a third of kra001, and the rest mostly Mereke)

  304. This seems a good place as any to ask, what do people here think of Korotayev’s Genes and Myths: Which Genes and Myths did the Different Waves of the Peopling of Americas Bring to the New World? (here)? The study uses large databases of folkloric themes, and uses principal component analysis to associate groups of themes with particular settlement waves of the Americas, correlating them with various genetic signatures as well. I haven’t read it in detail yet, but the maps are fascinating (while badly produced). Short story, North America is like mainland Asia, South America is like the western Pacific Rim, and Beringia stands apart from both.

  305. We discussed Berezkin’s approach to global dispersal of folkloric themes a few times. Marie-lucie, I think, met him on some conference.

    Korotayev’s background was in ancient and medieval history of Yemen, but since then he branched out into applying various mathematical models to explain historical processes.

    He currently writes about everything – from deep history to causes of the Arab Spring revolutions.

    Usually writing on such wide variety of topics is doomed to failure, but he is pretty careful in choosing subject matter experts as co-authors.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrey_Korotayev#Select_publications

  306. Yeah, I saw his publication list and thought he was veering toward blind pundit territory. I didn’t want to hold it against him, especially since the paper was written with others, some of whom I know to have done good work. How does this paper compare to Berezkin’s work?

  307. SFReader, oh, thanks.

    It never occured to me to look up Korotayev in Wikipedia.

  308. And it is a cozy page, because somene has decorated it with nice pictures (but not conversations)

  309. I don’t think Wiki should allow people write their own pages or, if they do, at least it should be said up front.

  310. They don’t allow it, and they try to prevent it, but people get around the restrictions.

  311. D.O., I am not sure about their own. I once found a page of a girl I knew that looked like an extreme case of narcissism, or even narcissim sensu strictu. As my eyebrows kept undulating, I spent quite a while philosophising about possible first signs of this in her student years and thinking about the boababs in the Little Prince.

    …it turned out that she is a rock star, and the page was made by a fan of hers:)

  312. On linguistic note, Korotayev’s page at the Higher School of Economics website lists his language proficiency as follows:

    English
    Arab
    French
    German
    Sabaean
    Qatabanian
    Masaba
    and Ḥaḍramawtian

    Sabaean, Qatabanian and Ḥaḍramawtian are extinct Old South Semitic languages attested only in ancient inscriptions, Masaba–Luhya (J.30) is a Great Lakes Bantu language spoken in western Kenya and eastern Uganda

    What a show off…

  313. David Marjanović says

    attested only in ancient inscriptions

    Notably without any trace of vowels, so while Korotayev may be able to fluently read and perhaps even write them, speaking them is impossible.

  314. Glancing periodically at the Recent Comments box for several months it slowly seeps in that there’s always someone somewhere in the world perishing like an Avar.

  315. I got mistaken. The language Korotayev meant is not Bantu Masaba, but another Old South Semitic language – the Minaean language (also Minaic, Madhabaic or Madhābic).

    Regarding fluency, Korotayev and Kogan wrote the chapter on Epigraphic South Arabian in Routledge Handbook ‘Semitic languages’, Routledge, London, 1997.

    So I guess there isn’t anyone else on this planet who could assess his fluency in Qatabanian or Madhabaic.

  316. “Masaba” is someone’s translation of мазабский which is Minaean_language.


    P.S. Oops. Sorry. I should have refreshed the page first.

  317. I don’t think it is “showing off’. The guy filled some stupid application form.

  318. but he is pretty careful in choosing subject matter experts as co-authors.

    Victor Sadovnichiy and Askar Akayev:) It seems he takes PR seriously. (but what historian would refuse to co-author a paper with Cleopatra?)

  319. Well, I am starting to respect the guy. 100 publications a year (except laughable 33 in 2020 and mere 60 in 18).

    And the few articles by him that I read before, it seems he actually wrote them (or some paragraphs). But those are old. I barely can read at this rate: I can read several times faster, but when I need to think about what I read, it takes time.

    I also wonder if he has anything to do with our government. HSE does have to do with our government. His laboratory of “monitoring of risks of socio-political destabillization”, that is, its name, directly refers to The Ultimate Fear of Putin (and not only: it is not that anyone wants a civil war).

    But his interpretation of events in Egypt deviate from the party line as conveyed by propaganda: “it is provocators from the west, using Facebook and Twitter, organized Arab spring”, states the propaganda. Arabs are entirely absent in this model – and Putin when he speaks, he does not really sees self-organization of people as a factor. Korotayev-Zinkina, in turn (like many) search for the answer in demography:

    Of course, the administration had a sort of reliable information on the presence of certain groups of dissident “bloggers”, but how could one expect that they would be able to inspire to go to the Tahrir any great masses of people? It was even more difficult to figure out that Mubarak’s regime would be painfully struck by its own modernization successes of the 1980s, which led to the sharp decline of crude death rate and especially of infant and child mortality in 1975–1990.


    The guy also appeared in a volume “Social Structure of Early Nomads in Eurasia.” (which is the topic of recent discussions here), and together with one our fashionable popularizers of evolution, wrote about paleontology.

  320. He even got Jack Goldstone to work for the Russian government as head of another laboratory at Higher School of Economics.

    If Goldstone’s structural-demographic theory is right, Russia has nothing to fear.

    Basically, SDT says that revolutions are caused by
    a) rampant population growth outstripping available resources which leads to people’s impoverishment and discontent
    b) rapid elite overproduction which causes lack of available elite positions for the aspiring elite members who will then join the unhappy masses and provide them with leadership.

    This is exactly what happened to the late imperial Russia, but no one of this applies to modern Russia.

    PS. Peter Turchin (another co-author of Korotayev) predicted ten years ago that the United States will enter a period of social unrest and political instability in 2020 based on these factors. And boy was he right!

  321. Well, it is the opposite to what Korotaev-Zinkina say. I will quote the abstract fully:

    It is not surprising that Mubarak’s administration “overlooked” the social explosion. Indeed, statistical data righteously claimed that the country was developing very successfully. Economic growth rates were high (even in the crisis years). Poverty and inequality levels were among the lowest in the Third World. Global food prices were rising, but the government was taking serious measures to mitigate their effect on the poorest layers of the population. Unemployment level (in per cent) was less than in many developed countries of the world and, moreover, was declining, and so were population growth rates. What would be the grounds to expect a full-scale social explosion? Of course, the administration had a sort of reliable information on the presence of certain groups of dissident “bloggers”, but how could one expect that they would be able to inspire to go to the Tahrir any great masses of people? It was even more difficult to figure out that Mubarak’s regime would be painfully struck by its own modernization successes of the 1980s, which led to the sharp decline of crude death rate and especially of infant and child mortality in 1975–1990. Without these successes many young Egyptians vehemently demanding Mubarak’s resignation (or even death) would have been destined to die in early childhood and simply would not have survived to come out to the Tahrir Square.

    (Egyptian Revolution: A Demographic Structural Analysis, here )

    They quote a paper that I remember (but not from Korotaev), by the way.

    Because it is a rare case when someone’s Bachelor of Arts thesis is seriously discussed. For some reason (hm) it is not as extensively quoted as Korotaev’s works.

    This one

    1 Introduction
    And so, that is how we shut down Black September and eliminated terrorism.”- Former commander of al-Fatah

    Gaza City, 2001: in a hot, dusty office, an anonymous former commander of al-Fatah related a surprising story to Bruce Hoffman, then Director of the RAND Corporation’s Wash-ington DC site. The tale was of the demise of Black September, a Palestinian militant group widely regarded as one of the most feared terrorist organizations in the world. Formed as a special-operations unit of the Palestinian faction al-Fatah by Yasir Arafat in 1970, the primary aim of Black September was to combat Israeli occupation and the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from Jordan, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to garner worldwide media attention for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The group suc-ceeded; it assassinated Jordan’s Prime Minister in 1971 and seized Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. However, by that time the PLO had no more political or strategic need for a group of determined extremists, and so Arafat gave to the senior officials of al-Fatah the task of eliminating Black September. After much deliberation they arrived upon a rather unorthodox solution: marriage. Several hundred young, attractive Palestinian women were brought to Beirut and introduced to the members of Black September in a sort of speed-dating extravaganza. In exchange for their membership in the organization, the men of Black September were offered not only love and the promise of a family but a small stipend, an apartment, and employment in a nonviolent capacity through the PLO. No one refused the offer. Years later, when offered financially attractive assignments far from home,all men adamantly refused to leave their families. ….

  322. David Marjanović says

    PS. Peter Turchin (another co-author of Korotayev) predicted ten years ago that the United States will enter a period of social unrest and political instability in 2020 based on these factors. And boy was he right!

    Rampant population growth in the US? It’s actually been slowing down.

    Underproduction of jobs for university graduates, if that’s what he means? Sure, but not to the extent seen in Tunisia…

    Why 2020 and not 2016?

  323. Trond Engen says

    @Dmitry: [On Sargat N-chromosomes] Thanks. I’ll recalibrate and keep the question open until further evidence. But whatever that might be, the Sargat culture appears (suddenly, to me) as a key piece in the Steppe population puzzle.

  324. Underproduction of jobs for university graduates, if that’s what he means?

    Turchin is whiffing badly. The US continues to import „elites“ from other countries, which should seem to imply there is no domestic „overproduction.“ There isn’t even all that much real unrest by historical standards, more a post-modern simulacrum of unrest for people who are both materially comfortable but suffer from status anxiety (and many of whom are aging boomers projecting fear of their own impending mortality onto politics).

  325. whatever that might be, the Sargat culture appears (suddenly, to me) as a key piece in the Steppe population puzzle

    There turns out to be our favorite Ymyyakhtakh / Ymyakhtakh in this story too, buried from sight for a while because of hard-to-spell-consistently Yakut placename. The DNA is quite similar to the Central Siberian ancestry stream in the Sargat, exemplified by kra001 sample from Kılınç 2021, but a little older. The spelling in the archaeological paper detailing excavation of Kyordyughen site in Yakutia, cited in Kılınç paper supplements, is Ymyiakhtakh *see also there Suppl table 1 :

    A. N. Alekseyev, E. K. Zhirkov, A. D. Stepanov, A. K. Sharaborin, L. L. Alekseeva, Burial of an
    Ymyiakhtakh Warrior in Kyordyughen, Yakutia. Archaeol. Ethnol. Anthropol. Eurasia 26, 45–52
    (2006).
    A. D. Stepanov, Y. V. Kuzmin, G. W. L. Hodgins, A. J. T. Jall, Kyordyugen site, Ymyiakhtakh
    culture, Yakutia: An interpretation of burial rite. Archaeol. Ethnol. Anthropol. Eurasia N40, 51–61
    (2012).

    In the 2021 ancient DNA paper, these Kyordyughen samples, as well as a few later, and related, Kamenka site samples, occupy a rather peripheral position, being far too recent for their main narrative of the human prehistory in the North-Eastern Asia (Kamenka bones are discussed in more details because they identified Yersinia pestis there). Kyordyughen is in Central Yakutia between Lena and Aldan rivers, and Kamenka is even further North-East in the Kolyma basin. But of course now they turn out to be of great interest for the later developments much further West. kra001 is from a site rather unsexily named Nefteprovod (Oil Pipeline) on the outskirts of Kansk in the Northern Sayan foothills, and the same genetic ancestry is found admixed in the late-period Altai Scythians of Pazyryk. But in all this Siberian continuum, only kra001 and the Sargat yeilded Ugric-style N-haplogroups to date.

  326. > I wasn’t aware of the skadd, but you’re right that it’s a local name for a small variety of sik or the European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus).

    Starting to look for the origins of Scyths and Saka in ‘whitefish clans’ sick of mutton and horsemeat and yearning for the piscine diets of their Baltic shore-dwelling ancestors.

  327. Dmitry Pruss says

    Archaeol. Ethnol. Anthropol. Eurasia

    Couldn’t resist checking the two papers (the 2012 one is on Academia btw). The warrior was a giant man for the Neolithic / Bronze Age transition era in Siberia, 192 cm, clad toe to neck in antler-and-bone armor, all pecked by arrowheads. Interestingly, one of the armor plates carbon-dated to 30,000 years ago (the shield-maker must have an ancient antler piece! ). The discussion dwells on a possible human sacrifice of the other set of bones heaped at the feet of this warrior, on a possibility that the grave may have been robbed, and on the peculiar observation that the weapons in this grave were all broken. I posted a few pictures on fb just in case if someone finds it hard to access the papers.

  328. John Cowan says

    Just in case anyone is wondering, the U.S. is not in a state of political instability in 2021. No guarantees for 2022 when Congress probably becomes Republican again, but even that leads to stagnation, not instability.

  329. January First-of-May says

    hard-to-spell-consistently Yakut placename

    On my own end I’m sometimes forgetting if it’s Ymyyakhtakh or Ymyyakhtyakh. (The latter looks ridiculous in transliteration, which helps me remember that it’s not right, but feels more plausible in the original Cyrillic.)

    A few months ago, during a hobby project that partly-coincidentally involved a lot of Yakut placenames, I happened to stumble on Быйыттах, which I couldn’t even transliterate properly. (Byyyttakh?)

  330. Dmitry Pruss says

    Russian Wikipedia adds that the village of Ymyyakhtakh got this name only in 1998. In case if you wondered how did the Late Neolithic / Eneolithic / Chalcolithic culture get named after a still-not-named village, the answer is, both were named after a nearby lake. And the lake is named after a supposedly-medicinal creeping Rosaceous plant, Sanguisorbus officinalis, which was apparently used by the area Yakuts as food, after the roots froze.

  331. Just in case anyone is wondering, the U.S. is not in a state of political instability in 2021.

    I am pretty sure it was by anyone’s definition in January 2021.

  332. Быйыттах — Byjyttakh?

    I am pretty sure it was by anyone’s definition in January 2021.

    Nah. Don’t mistake a large level of noise for political instability. That said, I wanted to deny the political instability two days ago and now 2 people came out to do so and it makes me worry. Maybe there is a bit of it, after all?

  333. “Just in case anyone is wondering, the U.S. is not in a state of political instability in 2021.”

    Neither is North Korea

    In case anyone is wondering.

    😉

  334. Всё идёт по плану.

    P.S. I did not realize that when posting it (it is maybe the song I heard most often in my life – and almost each time from teenagers with guitars in подворотни etc. and mostly in 90), but one of its recognizable lines is “я купил журнал “Корея”, там тоже хорошо.” I honestly thought that I am referring to the general idea of the song instead. I think my subconscious suggested it.

    P.P.S. “Korea”, the magasine, was better than the song though. It was better than anything:)

  335. Biden is illegitimate president, because the election was stolen.

    And Trump too, because of, you know, Russia (and he was impeached twice anyway).

    And Obama faked his birth certificate.

    And Bush Jr. falsified the count in Florida.

    I wonder how the United States can not be politically unstable when all of this is believed by a large proportion of the US population.

  336. This is an interesting question. The answer that I favor at the moment is that opinion polls measure not true beliefs, but the knowledge of the “party line” (scare quotes because the “party line” is often implied, the real parties don’t push most of them). In other words, people hear the question “Do you think Biden stole the election?” and answer “Do you support Trump?”. Partial evidence for this explanation is that knowledgeable partisans have the most outlandish opinions.

  337. David Marjanović says

    And Bush Jr. falsified the count in Florida.

    That is the one thing nobody seems to believe, if perhaps only because of Dumbya’s image as stupid. Rather, a few other Republicans (several of whom resurfaced in the news late in Trump’s term) staged the “Brooks Brothers Riot” that stopped the count, then the Supreme Court said the count really had to be stopped (in a decision it oddly declared not to set any precedent for anything whatsoever), and Gore felt all options had been exhausted. Bush Jr. just stood by and smirked.

    By any possible interpretation of the legal standard for how to count the ballots (1, 2), Gore won. But deadlines trump objective facts under Florida law and apparently under federal law.

  338. John Emerson says

    The number of active-duty policemen involved in the Capitol riot suggests that we might be headed toward one kind of instability. They have enormous discretionary life and death powers already and seem determined to keep them, and it is my belief that the civilian governments of liberal cities rarely have full control of the police (certainly not Portland here).

    The exact amount of police support for Derek Chauvin is unknown, but there seems to be a lot of it.

    This would be a Germany 1932 type of instability not a Russia 1917 type. I am as worried as I’ve ever been.

  339. John Emerson says

    My theory is that opinion polls measure people’s self-placement on the map of what they think everyone else believes, “the consensus”, and miss doubts about the consensus by people who are not yet willing to put themselves in opposition, even privately in their own minds.

    The internet has enabled anonymous communication between widely separated strangers, making it possible for people to find that some of their unexpressed, inarticulate doubts are widely shared. It has also enabled instantaneous rumor-spreading on a national and international scale. Both ways the Political Unconscious bubbles up in areas like gender and race. And there really is no consensus at the moment, though a new consensus might still be formed.

  340. John Cowan says

    The number of active-duty policemen involved in the Capitol riot

    Is about 30, compared to about 800,000 cops in the country as a whole. I agree with D.O.: don’t mistake a lot of noise for political instability. The storming of the Capitol is mostly about what didn’t happen afterwards.

    On the Fragile States Index for 2020, the U.S. has a score of about 38 out of a maximum of 120, almost the same as the U.K., a drop of about 4 points since 2005 when the index began. This index reflects both actual and potential instability, thus North Korea’s score is about 90. I have not found a breakdown of scores across factors, nor how the factors are weighted, but here are the factors themselves:

    Social:
    Mounting demographic pressures and tribal, ethnic and/or religious conflicts.
    Massive internal and external displacement of refugees, creating severe humanitarian emergencies.
    Widespread vengeance-seeking group grievances.
    Chronic and sustained human flight.

    Economic:
    Widespread corruption.
    High economic inequality.
    Uneven economic development along group lines.
    Severe economic decline.

    Political:
    Delegitimization of the state.
    Deterioration of public services.
    Suspension or arbitrary application of law; widespread human rights abuses.
    Security forces operating as a “state within a state” often with impunity.
    Rise of factionalized elites.
    Intervention of external political agents and foreign states

  341. John Emerson says

    I don’t think that the low percentage of policemen at the riot is an important indicator. There’s no American demographic which sent a majority of its members to the riot. And as I said, my judgement was based on my belief that our urban police have been murderous and out of control for decades. And as I also said, I don’t know what proportion of the police back Chaivin, but I suspect it’s high, based on the fact that the various earlier Chauvins elsewhere have usually gotten police support. And among the general populace, support for Chauvin, and also for the riot, is also frighteningly high. You can say “only 20%” or whatever it is, but that’s very high. These things don’t happen by majority vote.

    I don’t say we’re doomed or that we are already a failed state, but I think that the potential for an escalation is very real. (A lot depends on which way the big money people of the Koch type end up falling. They don’t like our present brownshirts, but seem willing to use them).

  342. John Emerson says

    I confess that my definition of instability isn’t limited to third world populist / radical instability, but includes the extra institutional imposition of an authoritarian regime with the support of volunteer goon squads. Such an event might be relatively bloodless.

  343. >the civilian governments of liberal cities rarely have full control of the police

    It might be worth consulting this so-called “secret recording” of a meeting between Chicago Mayor Lightfoot, an African American, and the City Council, also majority black and Hispanic. It may adjust your priors on what it is that black, Hispanic and liberal leaders actually ask of police.
    https://news.wttw.com/2020/06/05/what-are-we-going-have-left-our-community-aldermen-react-panic-sorrow-unrest

    If you listen, you discover that few white alders even speak. The debate involves black and Hispanic aldermen demanding more police in their neighborhoods, and the mayor saying she is deploying every bit of force she can.

    I would submit that police strategy is in fact dictated by elected liberal city governments who are in return responsive to voters, in Chicago’s case, mostly black and Hispanic voters, who want more police. In Chicago, this is true right down to assignment decisions. The city’s white neighborhoods have far fewer police per capita, fewer than many residents want, because aldermen in other neighborhoods insist, understandably, that their needs for police are more pressing.

    The strength of our system is that the loudest voice doesn’t settle the debate. That’s true whether the loudest are dipshits at the capitol or “black bloc” assholes trying to overrun a courthouse.

    The only referendum I know of on defunding police took place in wildly liberal Oak Park, IL a few weeks ago.

    It lost by a 2 to 1 margin.

  344. John Cowan says

    It may adjust your priors

    Not mine, certainly. The NYC inner-city neighborhood where I’ve been living for forty years is now two-thirds white (which shocks me), but at the time I was active in neighborhood politics it was 70% Hispanic and mostly working poor. More police protection was an issue then and it’s one now. But we remain overpoliced and underprotected, which is what people (especially milllennials) are realizing. Wanting more police does not mean wanting more incompetent police, arrogant police, racist police, murderous police. So that’s why I saw my neighbors marching right along with me last year.

    Another factor is that elected representatives tend to be in bed with various organs of government, the police not excluded. Poll after poll shows that even the solidly red parts of the U.S. are much less red than the people they elect.

    Defund the police is such a poorly chosen slogan that I wonder if it wasn’t invented by an agent provocateur. Back in October, a poll showed that some 77% of the U.S. population, whether they supported it or not, understood the phrase to mean ‘redirecting part of the police budget to other agencies and shifting to them the responsibility of handling those types of calls’. Traffic stops and mental-health emergencies are often mentioned. Granted, there are a few crazies who want to reduce the police budget to $0, but in at least one case where a municipality abolished its police department, they hired about 40% of the former officers back to work in the new Department of Public Safety.

    For those in the U.S. who are not living in Philadelphia, I recommend the PBS series Philly D.A., now airing under the Independent Lens umbrella. At first I thought it was one of those fictional documentaries with historical material, but no, it’s all true. The Fuluffya PBS station will not air it until November to try to avoid affecting the D.A. election this year, but I’m sure it’s available in the City of Siblingly Love in a variety of other ways.

    And when I hear police officers calling themselves gladiators, I always want to point out that gladiators were slaves whose job was to try to kill each other for public lulz. Somehow I don’t think that’s what that kind of cop has in mind.

  345. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: There turns out to be our favorite Ymyyakhtakh / Ymyakhtakh in this story too, buried from sight for a while because of hard-to-spell-consistently Yakut placename. The DNA is quite similar to the Central Siberian ancestry stream in the Sargat, exemplified by kra001 sample from Kılınç 2021, but a little older.

    We should recall the discussion upthread from last July. I still think Ymyyakhtakh from the north could have contributed to the formation of Proto-Uralic culture in the Volga-Kama region. Which language the Ymyyaktakhs spoke by then is anyone’s guess.

    The Kyordyughen grave (Thanks!) is extremely interesting, since it’s obviously the grave of a specialized warrior with extremely expensive protective gear in what’s supposed to be a hunter-gatherer culture on the Siberian Taiga. I don’t think it’s coincidental that the Ymyyakhtakh also spread rapidly. I’ll suggest that the long distance raw material trade of the early Eurasian metal age led to the development of a protection industry and brutal competition for control of trade routes and ores. The Ymyyakhtakh culture was one of those that managed to transform itself into such a system, eventually monopolizing the East Siberian rivers and the Arctic Coast.

  346. Ymyyaktakh makes me think of Aniakchak. I’ve always wanted to go there.

  347. Re political stability:

    France – Is this for real, or fake news??
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56899765

  348. , a drop of about 4 points since 2005 when the index began.

    Egypt:
    2006 89.6
    2011 86.8 (pre-revolution minimum)
    2014 91.0 (maximum)
    2020 86.0 (absolute minumum)

  349. Again, “всё идёт по плану”

    (there is also попадись мне кто всё так придумал, я бы сам его здесь придушил, but it is a different song)

  350. Хотели как лучше, а получилось как всегда.

  351. He also said:
    “Да мы с вами ещё так будем жить, что наши дети и внуки нам завидовать будут.”

    —-
    a drop of about 4 points since 2005 when the index began.” – the lower the more stable.
    —–

    Turchin’s original letter to Nature (link):

    And we should not expand our system of higher education beyond the ability of the economy to absorb university graduates. An excess of young people with advanced degrees has been one of the chief causes of instability in the past.

    I am beginning to like this magazine.

  352. SFReader says

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a bright, ambitious young woman who graduated from Boston university with degree in international relations.

    But there weren’t any jobs in international relations available for her, so she went to work as barista and waitress.

    She got a lucky break and managed to join the ranks of rulers of America, but there are hundreds of thousands of ambitious young men and women just like her who weren’t so lucky and are forced to work for pennies while straddled with unbearable student debt.

    They want to rule America too and regard their current station in life a result of deep social injustice.

    That’s what elite overproduction looks like.

  353. There are a lot of dissatisfied young people in the US facing financial difficulties which their parents didn’t have. My impression is that they vote more progressive, rather than start uprisings.

    An excess of young people with advanced degrees has been one of the chief causes of instability in the past.

    I might say that he thinks the working classes shouldn’t fill up their heads with education at the expense of the upper ones, when it doesn’t help them with their work.

  354. But there weren’t any jobs in international relations available for her, so she went to work as barista and waitress.

    As have hundreds of thousands of men and women before her and after her, including myself. Most of whom generally end up with some sort of better paying job within a few years. It is not unusual in the US for people to bounce around for a few years before finding a career path. What Europeans don’t seem to understand is that America is a much less structured, less regimented society. That has advantages as well as disadvantages.

    The US economy is still absorbing college graduates into decent paying jobs at a much better rate than Spain, Italy or Russia. And we are certainly not Egypt.

    The student debt problem is serious, but I don’t see it as leading to the collapse of the United States. One small bout of inflation would wipe that off the books pretty quickly.

  355. langaugehat is too educated (=overqualified, =knows too much) and contributed in instability in 1960s. What a pity.

  356. But I think the prediction as such is accurate. Turchin in an interview (2012, here):

    “My model suggests that the next [peak in violence] will be worse than the one in 1970 because demographic variables such as wages, standards of living and a number of measures of intra-elite confrontation are all much worse this time,” said Peter Turchin, an ecologist, evolutionary biologist and mathematician at the University of Connecticut.

    In Ryan’s link somoene said “far worse than it was in 1968.”

  357. SFReader says

    collapse of the United States

    United States of America is a country which already once collapsed and then got together again by military force.

    IIRC, the last time collapse happened, because a radical Republican candidate won the election, but southern states ruled by the Democratic party refused to acknowledge defeat and seceded from the Union.

    This provides ready template for American collapse.

    Perhaps next time it will be caused a radical (“progressive”) Democrat candidate winning the election which will not be recognized by Republican ruled states leading to secession and new civil war.

  358. Well, old Soviet jokes never failed me before. “Capitalism [read: US] stands on the edge of the abyss and looks at what we are doing down there”.

  359. SFReader says

    Well, Russia is a post-collapse society.

    Been there, done that.

  360. It would be not bad if the word “collapse” meant anything other than just “change”.

    And we are certainly not Egypt.

    I just meant, evaluating stability of a country you know well by this “Index” is like asking Google about your own views.

    Lebabon, “Refugees and IDPs”:

    4.* (2006)
    8.* (2007)
    9.* (2008-9)
    8.* (2010-14)
    9.* (2015-18)
    8.* (2019-20)

    ? Lebanon (~4 million) received more Syrians than Europe (~500 million). Why the f… I see improvement of the situation after 2009 in their indicator?

    It shows a positive trend, then a revolution happens. And it barely registers it. And then even more impressive positive trend again! Public services are getting better (are they getting better like refugee situation in Lebanon?)

  361. January First-of-May says

    Well, Russia is a post-collapse society.

    …as in post-1917, post-1991, or post-1998?

    (More realistically it’s post-somewhere-between-1991-and-1998, which exact date I can’t provide because I don’t know all that much about the history of this period.)

    It would be not bad if the word “collapse” meant anything other than just “change”.

    “At the end of the day, ‘revolution’ means ‘to go round in circles’.”

    (Thomas “Thande” Anderson, Look to the West)

  362. Thomas “Thande” Anderson, Look to the West
    A pity he stopped continuing that TL.

  363. Look to the West (obligatory TV Tropes warning).

  364. David Marjanović says

    Defund the police is such a poorly chosen slogan that I wonder if it wasn’t invented by an agent provocateur.

    No. I recently read how it came about: as a compromise (!) in an actual discussion with people who wanted the slogan to be Abolish the police. Somewhere out there there’s a buble with a very different Overton window.

    Somehow I don’t think that’s what that kind of cop has in mind.

    What they have in mind may better fit the fact that so many police unions in the US call themselves “Fraternal Order of Police”. I think those organizations haven’t even understood they’re unions – they believe they’re orders of highly romanticized crusaders or something. Knights Templar in the TV Tropes sense.

    France – Is this for real, or fake news??

    Oh, it’s real. What it’s not is political instability. The people who signed that ridiculous letter live in a very thick bubble and have no idea of the world around them.

    I was immediately reminded of a few years ago, when a bunch of elite soldiers in Germany were apparently caught actually planning a coup, not just vaguely wondering about the possibility. The general reaction was: “lolwut? Who did these nincompoops think was going to support them?”

    And we should not expand our system of higher education beyond the ability of the economy to absorb university graduates

    Make the pie higher.

    I’m completely serious. Create more jobs for university graduates. Now that we have people who could help us answer all sorts of interesting questions, shouldn’t we begin to think about what we could do with the answers to those questions?

    This provides ready template for American collapse.

    Perhaps next time it will be caused a radical (“progressive”) Democrat candidate winning the election which will not be recognized by Republican ruled states leading to secession and new civil war.

    This scenario is very, very often talked about, and yet it’s impossible.

    That’s because the states are much less monolithic than they were in the 1860s. The cities are blue (now including the suburbs since 2018), the countryside is red (with the exception of Vermont, the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, and almost nothing else). Any attempt by a state to secede, in either direction, would immediately trigger a civil war within that state (except Vermont).

  365. The general reaction was: “lolwut? Who did these nincompoops think was going to support them?”

    “The honor and dignity of the Soviet man must be restored.”

  366. Rodger C says

    the countryside is red (with the exception of Vermont, the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, and almost nothing else

    And the Black Belt.

  367. David Marjanović says

    “The honor and dignity of the Soviet man must be restored.”

    That was the tragedy. The attempt in Germany was the farce.

    And the Black Belt.

    Yes, thank you.

  368. That was the tragedy. The attempt in Germany was the farce.

    All Russian farces have a dose of tragedy. I don’t think many Russians remember the GKChP as anything but a farce (except those who still believe the honor and dignity of the Soviet man must be restored).

  369. Dmitry Pruss says

    So. LH, should we start a new Ymyyakhtakh / Kyordyughen thread now that this one is totally overtaken by the discussion of the Western Civilisation going the way of the Avars 😉

  370. SFReader says

    As the Chinese saying goes “they came roaring like a tiger and crawled back like a snake’s tail”.

  371. January First-of-May says

    A pity he stopped continuing that TL.

    Since when? The (currently) most recent chapter was posted last week.

  372. P.S. SFReader, barista in the US is a fancy word for someone who makes coffee drinks (did Starbucks popularize this?) AOC was a bartender, i.e. made / sold / served alcoholic drinks. Different worlds.

  373. It exists in Russian too. Also in names like “Nescafe gold barista” that you spot on shop shelves, these create the necessary associations.

  374. the countryside is red (with the exception of Vermont, the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, and almost nothing else

    Also the hippie/wine/pot belt of the West Coast.

  375. I remember reading a work of a female athropology professor who mixed business with pleasure and worked as a striper while researching patrons.

    But I was more impressed by an PhD thesis in anthropology by a guy who spent half a year in Tunis medina, hanging with locals and drinking coffee.

    It is a much lazier way to do a PhD than what stripers do. When a friend of mine tried to learn pole dance, one day she counted bruises on her body, and found 57. One of them in the pit below the clavicle (“infraclavicular fossa”).

  376. PlasticPaddy says

    Also less dangerous. If the owner of a strip club you work in finds out you are writing about him, his staff or his clients, he may become ANGRY. This is less likely to occur (or to have serious consequences) in the case of a coffee bar owner.

  377. the countryside is red (with the exception of Vermont, the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation, and almost nothing else

    The Northeast Kingdom in Vermont is rural and conservative. „Countryside“ in the US also doesn‘t mean what it does in Europe, especially in New England. My home state of New Hampshire has small towns like Peterborough or Tamworth (which would be rural Dörfer in Austria) that went for Biden next to similar towns like Wolfeboro or Ossipee that went Trump. Education level is a far more salient factor than rural vs. urban at the moment in the US and while rural correlates with „less educated“ in large parts of the US it is not true in New England. That of course makes an 1861 style split impossible. A Pol Pot style uprising would be more likely.

  378. Vanya, but speaking about “Russian graduates who find a decent paying job” is also nonsensical.

    The whole idea of what education is for is different. Most of people have degrees here. If “decent paying jobs” means “better than others”, oops. You can not have everyone richier than others.

    From my perspective, I precisely hear this:
    “In country X not all literate people can get a decent job. Let us close elementary schools”.

  379. (I do not mean that our people are educated.:))

  380. David Marjanović says

    A Pol Pot style uprising would be more likely.

    And so, to bed. To sleep, perchance not to dream. 🙂

  381. “Decent-paying jobs” means that you can be reasonably fed, housed, etc., not that you’d be richer than everyone else. Some say that jobs that are not decent-paying by that measure should not exist, and refer to that phenomenon as wage-slavery.

  382. I think decent is always relative. It is not “food and shelter” for peopel with degrees. And we are speaking about happiness rather than wages.

  383. People drunk quite heavily in USSR of 70s and 80s, and at least 80s was a very depressive time.

    “Stability”, when it means that you know that 20 years later you will find yourself in the very same shit you are fed up with is not a good thing.

    But my Muscovite freinds today mostly like their situation. What it means is: feeling secure is not necessary bad either. We need to learn how to tell ‘good’ security from ‘bad’ stability. I do not know:-/

  384. Dmitry Bykov:

    Получается, что вообще человеческая природа гораздо больше приспособлена к лжи, к конформизму и имитации, чем к научному поиску и какому-либо служению. Получается, что состояние сна для всех гораздо удобнее, чем состояние бессонницы. […]
    И тогда выясняются две вещи: сначала, что советская власть чрезвычайно далеко отошла от изначальных образцов, а потом, что людям того и надо, потому что людям не нужны ни революции, ни радикальные реформы, людям нужна рутинная жизнь, в которой они могут комфортно побыть ничтожествами, и им очень от этого хорошо.

  385. John Cowan says

    She got a lucky break and managed to join the ranks of rulers of America

    AOC is not a ruler of America, and when the Democrats lose control of Congress she will be even less so. Note how much of Biden’s speech supported her agenda and how much did not.

    contributed in instability in 1960s

    I don’t know if this is jest or earnest, but certainly the people who talk about instability tend to be the reactionaries.

    United States of America is a country which already once collapsed and then got together again by military force

    1865: country is reassembled by force

    1872: force is withdrawn from the rebellious area

    1968: rebel control of the area begins to end

    2020: the area has shrunk, but rebel control is still intact

    What they have in mind may better fit the fact that so many police unions in the US call themselves “Fraternal Order of Police”.

    It’s just one nationwide organization with about 335,000 members, but not all are rank and file police officers (who total about 800,000): many are supervisors, many are retired, and some “lodges” are unions, whereas others are fraternal societies. ObHat: their slogan is “Jus, Fidus, Libertatum”.

    But about 80% of police unions are unaffiliated with any larger organization.

    I think those organizations haven’t even understood they’re unions – they believe they’re orders of highly romanticized crusaders or something. Knights Templar in the TV Tropes sense.

    Yes. But what they really are, are mediaeval guilds. This is clearly illustrated in NYC, where there are three groups for rank and file, detectives, and sergeants. The last group are ow openly proclaiming themselves at war with the NYC government.

    the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Nation

    I think that with those leading the way, the indigenous nations in Oklahoma, California, and Alaska will begin to vote, and to vote blue.

    My home state of New Hampshire

    Which is the reddest part of N.E., as Vermont is the bluest. Not that that’s very red.

  386. David Eddyshaw says

    Jus, Fidus, Libertatum

    OK. The US is doomed.

    those organizations haven’t even understood they’re unions

    The British Medical Association, now unequivocally a trade union, arrogated to itself a different status until compelled to come to heel by the Tories. It’s got rather better at actually being a trade union since, though still deviates from what I myself would regard as the One True Path.

    https://www.sochealth.co.uk/socialism/medicine-labour/medicine-labour-chapter-14-bma-trade-union/

  387. I found the R1b assholes from the neighbouring thread. I was googling a word I only heard in elementary school. It was used on a forum by someone who was discussing an anime. I googled and watched it at random without reading what it will be about. It is based on a series of novels written by a former soldier. And it is wonderfully shameless!
    Japanese army kills men and… no, not rapes women, women offer themselves voluntarily.

  388. >that’s why I saw my neighbors marching right along with me last year.

    That’s cool. I suspect you believe me to be someone different from who I am. Black lives matter to me. Among the few things get me as rankled as people who say that the slogan “black lives matter” is somehow a slight to everyone else… are those who say that “all lives matter” is a slight to black people.

    It ought to be a call and response refrain in a gospel song, Black Lives Matter! All Lives Matter! Black Lives Matter! All Lives Matter!

    Instead, two opposing thirds of the country are intent on a cosmic-level mutual gaslighting, intentionally misunderstanding each others’ good will.

    I support the police *because* black lives matter. The primary responsibility of police in Chicago is attempting to diminish violence in black communities. That’s why they’re deployed where they are, when they are, in the numbers they are.

    It’s not a matter of white fear. The violence rarely targets white people. It’s not a matter of racism. It’s driven by the demands of minority aldermen. Who are responsive to minority voters. Deployment in Chicago actually runs counter to the demands of white aldermen, who would love to have more police to investigate bike thefts and the catalytic converter black market.

    The attempt to deny this basic legitimacy of police in black neighborhoods by saying that black elected officials are themselves illegitimate, that they’re “in bed with various organs of government”, and marchers are more legitimate is frankly ridiculous, right down to the word “organs”.

    Police do need to change and improve. There are some racist police and far more arrogant police. But the people in Chicago who demand more police in their neighborhoods know that they will only get the police we have. That they still make the demand can only mean that on balance, they believe the police they have, right now, are not racist and murderous at their core, but are instead a net benefit in their neighborhoods.

  389. This: “According to an August 2015 telephone poll, 78% of likely American voters said that the statement “all lives matter” was closest to their own personal views when compared to “black lives matter” or neither. Only 11% said that the statement “black lives matter” was closest. ” (Wikipedia) is crazy, of course.

    The slogan as such does not sound bad. It does have a flaw – I saw on youtube chats (news channels, and I do not frequent those news channles and chats especially) dozens or hundreds parodies maybe, “black flies matter” etc. Yet as allergic as I am to anti-…ism that smells …ism too (reverse …ism, patronizing, anything), no response from my immune system to “black lives matter”.

    Economist Glenn Loury, while supportive of the fundamentals of the movement, has criticized public retribution against “White politicians who state All Lives Matter” and the apparent polarizing effects of the movement

    And this is crap of coruse. Confrontational use of “ALM”.
    Attacking users of “ALM”, because even though I am fine with “BLM” I can imagine someone wanting to emphasize that “ALM” after hearing “BLM”. This is why I wrote the above, that it is not bad.

  390. Trond Engen says

    I’m a member (and local representative) of what used to be the Norwegian Association of Engineers, now more generally defined as an association of masters of technology and science, Taking the role as a trade union in negotiation with the employers and in collaboration/competition with unions for other employees was a long process in the making, and the role as a trade union is still just one of three branches of the organization. The others are the local districts, which mainly do social gatherings for members around the country, and the “pofessional” wing, which is divided into subgroups by sub-profession and provides courses and conferences. The evolvement of the role as a union is of course connected to the increased number of engineering jobs and the changed role of engineers. From being a small group of independent professionals and high-skilled staff operating close to business leaders, engineers now comprise a large part of the workforce, and in many businesses (like mine) we are the workforce Politically the organization now support welfare programs that would have been of very little interest to the members a couple of generations ago.

  391. Trond Engen says

    Me: business leaders

    Read “company management”. Disappointingly unidiomatic when in a hurry, I am.

  392. David Eddyshaw says

    “All Lives Matter” is to be understood in the context of its violation of Grice’s Maxim of Quantity. Those deploying the slogan are perfectly aware of this, and are exploiting the fact that an implicature is different from an implication. This has become a favoured gambit of right-wing arseholes with media access. There is no need for the rest of us to attempt to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  393. David Marjanović says

    I think that with those leading the way, the indigenous nations in Oklahoma, California, and Alaska will begin to vote, and to vote blue.

    Most of Alaska, by area, votes blue. It’s just different population-wise. But in Minnesota it has actually made a difference (I can’t find my source right now). Voter suppression has been in full swing in the Dakotas.

  394. Since when? The (currently) most recent chapter was posted last week.
    Huh. I haven’t been on AH.com for some time, and when I last was, it didn’t update.

  395. Among the few things get me as rankled as people who say that the slogan “black lives matter” is somehow a slight to everyone else… are those who say that “all lives matter” is a slight to black people.

    This is nonsense. As DE says, whatever the theoretical possibilities, in practice it is used by racist assholes. If you doubt me, try chanting it as call-and-response next time you’re at an anti-racist march. This is not gaslighting, it is simple fact. And the fact that people in black neighborhoods want police protection does not mean they don’t understand that the police are, by and large, racist thugs prone to unnecessary violence. The policing system desperately needs overhauling, and it doesn’t help to sweep the problem under the rug.

  396. Rodger C says

    Jus, Fidus, Libertatum

    Surely this should be Jus fidus libertatum, law is the faithful companion of freedoms? If only.

  397. DM, you once suggested you wanted to carry out one of these conversations on a private channel. I don’t want to wear out our host’s patience. My frustration sometimes makes me vitriolic. And perhaps more personally important, I don’t want by giving too many details in a public forum to out myself into a feverish national debate where what I have to say might be seized on by ugly right-wing partisans bending it out of context.

    But I can tell you from deep experience and research, I believe deeper than anyone in the country, that the most honest statement on vote suppression was the recent one by Sec. of State Brad Raffensberger of GA, (who you may remember from his November/December role as the person who saved the Republic and democracy), that we don’t have an epidemic of vote suppression, and we don’t have an epidemic of vote fraud. What we have is an epidemic of lying about these things for political gain.

    I’ve worked in election management (not campaigns, but elections) for 30 years. I got my start running voter registration campaigns. I got to work personally with a politician who later became quite prominent, who was also working on voter registration then, one of things I’m most proud of in my life. But I’ve also investigated vote fraud. I’ve had confessions and stone-cold cases nol prossed. On this forum, it’s just an idle assertion, and I don’t blame folks who dismiss it. But on a private channel I’m willing to give details that I think will be convincing beyond reasonable doubt.

    Presidential elections don’t inspire vote fraud. We all know Trump lies. Vote fraud happens in small local jurisdictions where a few votes predictably make a difference, and give lucrative decision-making ability to specific people who can then reward supporters. It has an ugly affect on the poor communities where it happens.

    And I’ve done very deep dives into how voter registration lists compare to driver’s license/state ID lists. Long statistical analysis. The original plaintiff in the Georgia voter ID law had to remove herself because the defense pointed out she had acceptable ID. The star of the 2019 GA campaign against “voter caging”, registered in GA a decade ago and then purged in 2018, had lived for several years in North Carolina and registered to vote there in the interim before moving back to his parents’ home. The star of last week’s North Carolina press conference on the disparate impact of that state’s voter ID is a man who has a driver’s license, but left it at home when he went to vote.

    (These are not the fruits of my research, which is analytical and statistical. These are just some anecdotes that people can check if they like.)

    There’s a reason the vote suppression legal community has such difficulty finding plaintiffs whose circumstances match the nature of their allegations.

    This is not to say voters without IDs don’t exist. Nor that some Republican efforts don’t overreach. There is vote fraud, there are voters without ID, and there are ways to write laws to address both with justice and respect for the right to vote. Instead, both evils are exacerbated by the political dynamic in the country. As Raffensberger said, we don’t have an epidemic of suppression, nor an epidemic of fraud. Just an epidemic of lying.

    Raffensperger is a hero because he spoke truth to party, which is the source of most corrupt power in this country. We need more like him in politics.

    Let me know your channel if you want details. I’ve been thinking I need to write this up in convincing detail, because I discovered that even some senior people in my own office were unaware of how much we had uncovered, and how it relates to the national debate.

  398. >“All Lives Matter” is to be understood in the context of its violation of Grice’s Maxim of Quantity. Those deploying the slogan are perfectly aware of this, and are exploiting the fact that an implicature is different from an implication.

    The logic of your statement seems to require that you evaluate Kelly Loeffler’s debate comment the same way. (Someone whose politics I don’t like at all, by the way.) You seem to believe the only possible implicature of not saying Black Lives Matter is that black lives do not matter, rather than that one doesn’t agree with the platform vaguely but nonetheless recognizably represented by the slogan Black Lives Matter.

    Or that the only possible intellectual outcome of honestly believing black lives matter is that you would subscribe to that broad set of policy recommendations, and that not believing in those policies inherently means you’re lying in pretending you believe black lives matter.

    Loeffler said “the life of every African American is important.”

    It was met in many quarters with the same guffaws you’ve expressed above, for the same reasons.

    This hardening of partisanship and ideology that requires one to ignore the obvious meaning of words is one of the ugliest features of modern American political life. It is a deep, horrid cynicism masquerading as idealism.

  399. There is no “obvious meaning of words,” there are only words and the ways people use them. As I say, if you want to believe and claim that “All Lives Matter” is not a racist slogan, that’s your privilege. It’s also deeply wrong.

  400. SFReader says

    If “All Lives Matter” is racist, then “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” also has to be racist?

  401. SFReader says

    From my point of view, “All Lives Matter” is perfectly normal slogan.

    You may protest its appropriation in a particular context by people you regard as racists, but the statement itself will not become racist because of that.

  402. If “All Lives Matter” is racist, then “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” also has to be racist?

    No, why would you think that?

    You may protest its appropriation in a particular context by people you regard as racists, but the statement itself will not become racist because of that.

    Does the same go for “Arbeit macht frei?”

  403. Or perhaps you think that because хохол means a lock of hair on a shaved head, Ukrainians shouldn’t take offense at it?

  404. Acknowledging that I’ve read Hat’s post after mine above, because it can be irritating writing something one feels strongly and wondering whether the person it’s intended for ever saw it.

    And then I’m signing out, since I don’t think he really wants this conversation here.

  405. I understand that when people disagree on the meaning of words, even of the culturally toxic words, then it may be a legit topic of a linguistic discussion. But I don’t understand what good THIS kind of a discussion brings to this site. There are plenty of political echo chambers on the Internet where one can express many of these points without infuriating other reasonable people. Why here? And it’s especially infuriating that this nonsense overtook a thread which wasn’t dead, and which used to have its on-topic content which is no longer possible to find in the deluge

  406. Trond Engen says

    The Avars have perished!

    They’ll be back. The Barbarians are never more than a steppe away.

  407. SFReader says

    Avar Lives Matter!

  408. But I don’t understand what good THIS kind of a discussion brings to this site. There are plenty of political echo chambers on the Internet where one can express many of these points without infuriating other reasonable people. Why here?

    I agree. But Ryan insisted on bringing it up, and I wasn’t going to let his comment go unanswered. Now that he’s checked out, we can all get back to the Avars.

  409. I’ll throw this in, and then I’m out as well. Just to make the point that ALM has indeed become a racist slogan, and is at this point tainted beyond any literal reading of it.

  410. John Cowan says

    The attempt to deny this basic legitimacy of police in black neighborhoods by saying that black elected officials are themselves illegitimate, that they’re “in bed with various organs of government”, and marchers are more legitimate is frankly ridiculous

    I’ve never lived in Chicago (or even visited for more that a few weeks), but born in NJ and living in NYC, I am intimately familiar with corruption in local government, a major form of which is local officials benefiting those who can afford to bribe them at the expense of those who cannot. I suppose there may be corrupt protestors too, but I’m not familiar with any.

    right down to the word “organs”.

    “Confound it, quit scorning my diction.” —Nero Wolfe. I talk the way I talk (and I write the way I talk, too).

    But the people in Chicago who demand more police in their neighborhoods know that they will only get the police we have.

    The point is to try to replace bad cops, who (like rotten apples) spoil the whole barrel, with better cops, and to break up the institutional structures that encourage bad cops.

    a net benefit in their neighborhoods

    A net benefit isn’t necessarily good. Jim Crow and the KKK was a net benefit for black people compared to slavery and the lash.

    Me: business leaders

    Read “company management”.

    Yes; business leaders in English means the heads of large and influential companies (where these adjectives are relative to the community under discussion). The CEO of Microsoft is a business leader nationally; the owner of Joe’s Dogwalkers is not (though he might be very important in his neighborhood). But you probably know all that.

    law is the faithful companion of freedoms? If only.

    “Thus we see that Law does not oppose Despite.”

    Vote fraud happens in small local jurisdictions where a few votes predictably make a difference, and give lucrative decision-making ability to specific people who can then reward supporters.

    Absolutely. See my remarks on corruption above. The question is whether there is enough voter identity fraud that the normal proof-of-identity mechanism in the U.S., namely a signature, is insufficient. When I go to vote in New York State, I sign a form which already has a facsimile of the signature on my original voter registration form, and that suffices. If the election is close enough to contest, the signatures will be checked by volunteers (I’ve been one of them); any discrepancies are considered further by what process I don’t know, though the Election Law probably spells it out.

    But if no extraordinary means of establishing identity is necessary, why are they being insisted on?

    Avar Lives Matter!

    Lives of Avartsy matter! Lives of Avary, who gives a shit!

  411. David Marjanović says

    …I actually have something calm, conciliatory and reasonably short to say, but today I’m too busy and (for unrelated reasons, namely the local weather) too tired.

    So, if anyone is curious, please find my e-mail address in Google Scholar, let me know, and be patient (it might be a week before I have time).

  412. Yeah, let’s let this thread get back to Avars, Thomas “Thande” Anderson, and the like.

  413. So then, here’s an Avar 101 question. How did Avar become a lingua franca in Daghestan?

  414. SFReader says

    As the Avars were always the strongest tribe in the mountains and always occupied the middle part of Daghestan, their language also became dominant among the inhabitants of the region. Almost all mountaineers know how to speak Avar and use this language in oral communication with each other.

    (c) Lt. Colonel Neverovsky, 1847.

  415. David Marjanović says

    By all evidence that’s not the same “Avar”, just another case of a name in the Caucasus sounding similar to a name from elsewhere (Iberia, Albania…).

  416. …just another case …

    Too many of them. Even if we do not count
    “Brittene igland is ehta hund mila lang. 7 twa hund brad. 7 her sind on þis iglande fif ge þeode. englisc. 7 brittisc. 7 wilsc. 7 scyttisc. 7 pyhtisc. 7 bocleden. Erest weron bugend þises landes brittes. þa coman of armenia. ….” 🙂


    P.S. (copied from somewhere, capitalization changed after the most popular photo of Peterborough MS.)
    P.P.S. it is crazy though that people who crossed the island many times kept using this “200×800” since the Roman conquest…. Not to say: in the time when there existed portolan charts for Mediterranean, barely distinguishable from modern maps:/

  417. David Marjanović says

    English & British (Cornish, Cumbrish?) & Welsh & Scottish & Pictish &… what? The Book People? And that makes six?

  418. SFReader says

    Book Latin people.

  419. Trond Engen says

    It looks more like an authorial change of mind from peoples to languages mid-sentence than a counting error of peoplea.

    Interesting spelling of ‘Latin’. It makes me wonder what it would have become in Modern English (and Modern Romance) if it hadn’t been — relatinazed, as it were.

  420. OED (not fully updated since 1902):

    leden, n.
    Forms: Old English léden, lǽden, lýden, léoden, Middle English leoden, ledene, Middle English–1500s leden, Middle English ledne, Middle English ledone, lidene, ledyn, lyd(e)ne, ludene, Middle English–1600s ledden, Middle English lydyn, 1600s leaden, 1600s, 1800s lidden. See also leed n.¹
    Etymology: Old English lǽden, representing a Celtic or early Romanic pronunciation of Latin Latīnum Latin adj. and n., was confused with the native léden, lýden, léoden language, < léode people, lede n.¹ (For the etymological sense compare geðéod language, < ðéod people.) The confusion seems to have originated with the compound bóc-léden ‘book-language’ (see bookleden n.), which was fashioned by popular etymology as a more intelligible synonym for lǽden.
    Obsolete exc. dialect.

    1. Latin. (See also bookleden n.) Only Old English.
    c897 K. Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care Pref. 3 Of Lædene on Englisc areccean.
    […]

    2.
    a. The language of a nation, people or race; a ‘tongue’. Obsolete.
    c1000 Sax. Leechd. III. 110 Þæt ys on ure leodene hneccan sar.
    […]

    b. The speech or utterance of a person or class of persons; form of speech; way of speaking. (Cf. leed n.¹ b) Obsolete.
    c1320 Cast. Love 32 No monnes mouþ ne be i-dut, Ne his ledene i-hud.
    […]
    c1540 (▸?a1400) Destr. Troy 13276 The songe of þo Syrens was selly to here! With a ledyn full lusty & likyng with-all.
    1595 E. Spenser Colin Clouts come Home Againe sig. D3 Those that do to Cynthia expound, The ledden of straunge languages in charge.
    1596 E. Spenser Second Pt. Faerie Queene iv. xi. sig. L He was expert in prophecies, And could the ledden of the Gods vnfold.

    c. poetic. Applied to the ‘language’ of birds. Obsolete.
    1340–70 Alisaunder 601 Þe ludene of þat language [sc. of birds] lelli þei knowe.
    c1386 G. Chaucer Squire’s Tale 427 She vnderstood wel euery thyng That any fowel may in his leden seyn.
    1393 W. Langland Piers Plowman C. xv. 186 Þe larke, þat is a lasse fowel is loueloker of lydene.
    […]
    1612 M. Drayton Poly-olbion xii. 206 The ledden of the Birds most perfectly shee knew.

    d. dialect. Noise, chatter.
    1674 J. Ray N. Countrey Words in Coll. Eng. Words 29 A Leaden or Lidden; a Noise or Din.
    1865 R. Hunt Pop. Romances W. Eng. 2nd Ser. 245 Hark to his lidden. Listen to his word or talk.

  421. Trond Engen says

    Thanks! So it’s not really a spelling of ‘Latin’, but from native leōd and cognate to German Leut and Scand. lyd/ljud/ljod

  422. +hljóð

  423. So it’s not really a spelling of ‘Latin’, but from native leōd

    Well, it’s a mix of the two.

  424. David Marjanović says

    German Leut

    Exclusively as a grammatically plural mass noun, like in Slavic next door: die Leute.

    Latein, lateinisch has not had its stressed vowel reset, unlike Paradies.

  425. Trond Engen says

    @juha: No, actually. this is not hljóð n. “sound” but the h-less Icel. lýður m. “people”. I couldn’t be bothered to check the spelling from my phone, so I let it out.

    I also couldnt be bothered to check the Swedish word, and I see that it now only exists as lyd- in compounds like lydkonung “vassal king”.

    I also couldn’t be bothered to check the German form, and I see that the old singular without -e is dead.

    I also couldn’t be bothered to check the Old English word, and I see that I put the macron on the wrong vowel. It’s lēod.

  426. Trond Engen says

    But now that I think about it, the semantics of OE lēod looks like the word with h- might have mixed into it.

  427. Dmitry Pruss says

    Of strange Avar-era DNA developments, there is a bunch of ancient DNA samples from Breclav-Pohansko in Southern Moravia on the Danube, spanning from Vth c. CE to the late pre-Christian period (~~ VIII c.), being uploaded in a piecemeal fashion to the European Nucleotide Archive without any accompanying publication (but of course it is assumed that it’s forthcoming). The project is desrcibed as, “Ancient DNA from pre-Slavic and Slavic individuals was extracted to compare human genetic diversity before and after a possible demographic event traditionally associated with Slavic ethnogenesis”. And judging by the hobbyist analysis attempts, there was a “demographic event” indeed, and a mixed-set of early mass-migrating populations is replaced by more or less uniformly Slav-like one. One of the pre-Slav seems to of Scandinavian origin, but others aren’t. The early Slav Pohansko samples are rich on R1a’s, as one would expect, but also on I-haplotypes. The general outline isn’t surprising so far, but there may be interesting details as the story fleshes up…

  428. Keep us informed!

  429. Pohansko has an active archaeology project and a museum, but all they talk about recently is the hypothesis of pre-Glagolitic literacy which we discussed here http://languagehat.com/older-futhark-bone/

    Nothing about DNA. But you can find several videos of skeletons on their website:
    http://pohansko.muni.cz/en/

  430. this is not hljóð n. “sound”

    Curiously, in ON and Icelandic, it can also mean ‘silence’, but not, it seems, in the other languages:

    silence, hearing
    Vǫluspá, verse 1, lines 1-2, in 1860, T. Möbius, Edda Sæmundar hins fróða: mit einem Anhang zum Theil bisher ungedruckter Gedichte. Leipzig, page 1:
    Hljóðs bið ek allar / helgar kindir, […]
    For silence I ask / all holy kindreds […]

    hljóð

  431. Slavic next door – today

    Russian has
    ljud (singular mass noun), since very recently falling out of use, and
    ljudi, “people” plural for “human, person”.

    Ukrainian also has singulative
    ljudýna “man, human, person”

    Polish has plural ludzie (as in Russian) “people” and sg. lud “people”. Wiktionary gives for the latter its own plural.

    It is still a common enough stem.

    A joke I heard from children in 1st grade used cheloveki as a jokular plural for “humans, persons” and ljud’ as singular:

    (a child):
    — В автобусе было очень много человеков…
    (an adult):
    — Не “человеков”, а “людей”!
    — …так вот, один людь мне на ногу наступил!


    P.S. no, it was not “…так вот”, it was “В таком случае, …”, more explicit guerilla warfare on the child’s part.

  432. David Marjanović says

    from Breclav-Pohansko in Southern Moravia on the Danube

    Moravia doesn’t reach the Danube, that’s Slovakia. Břeclav is in Moravia; by “Danube”, do you mean “Morava”?

    (March f. in German, BTW.)

    человеков

    Throughout the northern half of Germany or more, it seems, Leute has actually disappeared and is replaced by Menschen. To me it always sounds like it’s emphasizing there aren’t any chimpanzees included.

  433. SFReader says

    An Ukrainian joke.

    – O, sho ce za mashyna?
    – Cementovoz!
    – Yak cementovoz? Tam zhe lyudy!
    – Ce razi zh lyudy? Ce menty!

  434. Dmitry Pruss says

    Closest part to the Danube, I should have said.

  435. – Ce razi zh lyudy? Ce menty!

    Made me laugh!

    In English, “people” seems to be being replaced by “folks,” at least on radio and television. Drives me nuts.

  436. David Marjanović says

    folks

    I’ve noticed.

    Thanks, Obama!

  437. German Leut

    Exclusively as a grammatically plural mass noun, like in Slavic next door: die Leute
    The singular sometimes pops up in (semi-) jocular use. I remember a discussion on the radio about 40 years ago, when a show called Musik für Junge Leute (“Music for young people”) was discussed and someone asked Bis wann ist man ein junger Leut? “Until when is one a young folk?”.
    Throughout the northern half of Germany or more, it seems, Leute has actually disappeared and is replaced by Menschen.
    I can’t say I noticed that, but maybe I need to keep my ears open. I use it regularly, but I am not a trendy person 🙂

  438. David Marjanović says

    The singular sometimes pops up in (semi-) jocular use.

    It begs for it!

    I can’t say I noticed that

    Maybe the equator is out of alignment again. 🙂

  439. Rodger C says

    Thanks, Obama!

    Maybe you’re being ironic, but Dubya was widely criticized for using “folks” in solemn contexts.

  440. John Cowan says

    pyhtisc

    That looks very strange: the /x/ (written h) is grimmed, the /p/ is not.

    Curiously, in ON and Icelandic, [ hljóð] can also mean ‘silence’

    It seems a natural development to me. PIE *ḱlew- is ‘hear’; PGmc hleuþą (the noun) preserves the sense ‘hearing’ and adds ‘listening’. To listen, of course, one must be silent: the seeress may have originally asked for ‘listening’ rather than ‘silence’.

    To me it always sounds like it’s emphasizing there aren’t any chimpanzees included.

    Bertolt Brecht seems to have thought so too:

    Meine Herren, meine Mutter prägte
    Auf mich einst ein schlimmes Wort:
    Ich würde enden im Schauhaus
    Oder an einem noch schlimmern Ort.
    Ja, so ein Wort, das ist leicht gesagt,
    Aber ich sage euch: Daraus wird nichts!
    Das könnt ihr nicht machen mit mir!
    Was aus mir noch wird, das werdet ihr schon sehen!
    Ein Mensch ist kein Tier!

    (GT does its usual adorable mistranslation: “Gentlemen, my mother once coined a bad word for me”.)

    “people” seems to be being replaced by “folks,”

    I suspect the Frequency and/or Recency Illusion.

    Finally, what is strange about what the Russian kids say, and what is the point of using two synonyms in the proverb? Is there a fine shade of meaning between them?

  441. David Marjanović says

    Maybe you’re being ironic

    “Thanks, Obama” is always at least half ironic in my experience. Though I honestly couldn’t remember Dubya doing that, unsurprising as it is. 🙂

    That looks very strange: the /x/ (written h) is grimmed, the /p/ is not.

    It’s not grimmed; the cluster /kt/ was outlawed and automatically replaced by /xt/ in all the Old Germanic languages or at least their recent prehistory. The y is more surprising.

    Finally, what is strange about what the Russian kids say, and what is the point of using two synonyms in the proverb? Is there a fine shade of meaning between them?

    It’s basically “humans” vs. “people” (not quite as odd as “humans”, but apparently close).

  442. SFReader says

    There is also rebenok vs deti (“child” and “children”) difference.

    There has to be some semantic explanation, but it evades me.

  443. In Russian it is suppletive plural.

    sg. chelovek pl. lʲudi

    plural cheloveki is occasionaly used outside jokes and children speech, but is always funny. Why it was used in the saying and how it felt for those who used it in 19th century I do not know. Maybe it was not “funny”, just another synonym. They were not taught in school that words can be ‘wrong’.

    I think it is not a proverb, just common saying, and (sometimes formulaic) pairs of synonyms occur in folk poetry.

    Children always detect irregularities and often joke about them….

    It’s basically “humans” vs. “people” (not quite as odd as “humans”, but apparently close).

    one people stepped on my foot.:)

    I think close to “humans”, but the problem here is that in Russian:

    человек разумный (Homo)
    я вчера разговаривал с одним человеком (I spoke with someone / some man yesterday… [no direct indication that he was male, but if it was a woman, it would be one woman])
    ты — хороший человек (you are a good person [male or female])

    Also in 19 c. человек could mean garçon in a restaurant and some other things like this.

  444. And БГ “человек из Кемерова”, clearly inspired by phrases like “a man from MI6” who your charater will meet tomorrow ont he central sqaure to receive further instructions, “our man in Havana”, etc.

    “Man” in such phrases sounds very serious.

  445. David Marjanović says

    Obsolete German das Mensch “maid”; a plural best represented as Mentscher was how the little schoolboys of my grandparents’ generation talked about the little schoolgirls.

  446. After letting the water I’d roiled settle, I thought this deserved a brief answer, even if it’s not a good excuse for having pushed the forum off-track:

    >Why here?

    Here, when I overstate things, advance questionable thoughts and idiocy, the questionable will be challenged, and I’m be called crazy for the idiocy. I’m a (Bill) Clinton Dem on policing, but that position has no public home that I know, so anywhere else, I’d either be praised for the idiocy, or cast out for the questionable. There are things I wrote that people showed me were wrong. I won’t enumerate, because I’m not trying to re-open the discussion, and won’t reopen it again. Just to concede.

    Back to Avars.

  447. David Marjanović: Maybe the equator is out of alignment again.

    Whenever you write something like this now, I cannot help but envision a string of gigantic weisswurst chained across Germany.

  448. Etienne says

    Trond Engen: In answer to your 11:12 comment yesterday, there is no need to use one’s imagination when it comes to what the popular reflexes of “latinus” in Modern Romance might have been: The names of the Ladino language (AKA Judeo-Spanish or Judezmo) and of the Ladin language spoken in the Alps both preserve a non-learned reflex of the word in Romance.

  449. Trond Engen says

    Dmitry: Breclav-Pohansko

    I had no idea, but that was huge. It’s also contemporary with Bluetooth’s Jelling in Denmark. A new type of kingdoms being formed along the borders of the Empire.

  450. Trond Engen says

    @Etienne: I wasn’t sure if those were semi-learned. I’m still wondering about a French form. It must be attested somewhere.

  451. Lars Mathiesen says

    FWIW, ON had lýðr (Ic lýðir) and Nynorsk has lyd for ‘a people,’ but otherwise the cognate of Leute has been lost and not even reborrowed. Danish uses folk as a mass noun and mennesker as the count plural of person where English has people for both. (Singular is unmarked en person in profane prose, while et menneske is not wrong but sort of emphasizes the possesion of a mind — etymologically very appropriate if man and mental are in fact cognate — or indeed just en mand eller en dame if gender is relevant or obvious.

    (Danish doesn’t really have any unmarked way of referring to a woman — kvinde is supposed to be neutral but for many people it emphasizes sex, dame belongs to the older generations, and pige, while used by many grown-up women, does emphasize youth and smacks of immaturity. Each of them will offend a non-negligible part of the population. What do other languages do?)

  452. PlasticPaddy says

    In English I would say that lady is only offensive if you refer to someone present in the room as say, “the lady in the red dress”. To which she would be entitled to respond: “I am not a lady, I am Angela/Mrs. Smith!” ????

  453. David Marjanović says

    if man and mental are in fact cognate

    *mon-w-, *m(e)n-ti-… I like it! Poor Manu will feel excluded, though.

    it emphasizes sex

    As in “gender” or as in “intercourse”?

  454. Poor Manu will feel excluded, though.
    Why? I can’t check Mayrhofer now, but doesn’t that name come from the same root?

  455. David Marjanović says

    Oh, actually, if it’s *men-w-, it might!

  456. What does “grimmed” (“the /x/ is grimmed”) mean?

  457. January First-of-May says

    What does “grimmed” (“the /x/ is grimmed”) mean?

    “Subjected to Grimm’s Law”, IIRC.

    [EDIT: I suppose that’s an interesting case for whether it counts as an English word. Though admittedly there’s a more generally used homograph.]
    [EDIT 2: I’ve also seen the antonym “ungrimmed”, which is at least not on Wiktionary in any meaning; the first page of Google results mostly refers to a different RWBY-related meaning of *ungrimm, the second page also includes the LH meaning and a few cases of apparent derivations from *ungrim.]

  458. загриммированное and разгриммированное
    to be confused with
    загримированное and разгримированое

    (and гриммёрка is where linguists [or speakers?] grimm phonemes)

  459. John Cowan says

    Ungrimmed has to be un + grimmed, not the past tense of *ungrim, which would suggest either a reversal of Grimm’s law or an effort to lighten someone’s spirits.

  460. January First-of-May says

    Ungrimmed has to be un + grimmed, not the past tense of *ungrim, which would suggest either a reversal of Grimm’s law or an effort to lighten someone’s spirits.

    The RWBY-related examples were probably the past tense of *ungrimm [sic], which in the context suggested a reversal of a different meaning of Grimm. The auction-related examples were (now that I think about it) probably un + grimmed in the Wiktionary meaning of the latter; they seem to have meant something like “unexpectedly clean”.

    As for LH, I think I’ve seen both the “not subjected” and “reversed” meanings (the latter in reconstruction contexts), though I’m not confident that the latter wasn’t using some other derivation. (The google examples are all the former.)

  461. John Emerson says

    For me “Grimm” calls to mind the brother Grim and Glum in one of the sagas, who unsurprisingly come to a bad end.

  462. As a follow-up to last year’s King Bela III Y-chromosome study, the researchers checked his entire genome
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-98796-x

    Nothing really stands out there. The overall genetic composition is quite similar to present-day Hungarians and Croatians, but at least it tells us that mere 3 centuries after the Magyar invasion of Pannonia, even their ruling classes already resembled today’s populations.

  463. Trond Engen says

    From the introduction:

    Bayesian methods applied to date the root of Indo-European languages provide an age estimate of ~ 6,000 years before Common Era (BCE) and suggest Anatolia as the homeland of Proto-Indo-European. An alternative hypothesis proposes that Proto-Indo-European speakers were nomadic pastoralists of the Pontic–Caspian steppe and their languages spread into Europe after the invention of wheeled vehicles.

    It’s not wrong, but still.

  464. What fun is there in providing more evidence of the steppe hypothesis if you have to treat it like a foregone conclusion?

  465. David Eddyshaw says

    It’s not wrong, but still.

    Similarly, it would not be wrong (strictly speaking) to begin an article on chemistry with

    The process of combustion has been attributed to loss of phlogiston; an alternative hypothesis proposes that Joseph Priestley’s “dephlogisticated air” (so-called “oxygen”) plays a key role in the process.

    Presumably Nature hopes that if the nonsense on this topic that they are responsible for publishing is repeated often enough, it will become accepted wisdom. They may be right, alas …

  466. David Marjanović says

    Bayesian methods applied to date the root of Indo-European languages provide an age estimate of ~ 6,000 years

    …if the data are mistreated in what amounts to a really obvious blunder and a rather embarrassing failure of peer review. The method itself isn’t to blame.

  467. David Eddyshaw says

    True. Bayesian methods have their place of due honour, though this particular application was somewhat cargo-cult-y to begin with quite apart from the outright blunders.

    Mind you, the phlogiston theory was a pretty good theory. It made sense, was consistent with what was known up to that time, and made testable predictions. Which turned out to be wrong. Can’t ask for more than that …

  468. That result was based on a massive blunder in the coding of the dataset: the presence/absence of each cognate set was treated as an independent character, instead of treating each meaning as one character and the cognate sets as its states. This greatly increased the number of changes that had to be reconstructed for each branch, therefore made the branches longer, and therefore inflated all reconstructed ages.”
    (DM, the Semitic thread).

    In the Semitic paper they tried both approaches. Their trees looked similar…

    (A) If the resultant distortion is in average proportional, the problem won’t arise. They will just set a different rate for their clock… they must set some rate anyway.

    (B) If it is not (e.g. it makes closely related languages appear even more close and makes distantly related languages appear even farther, or vice versa), your trees will look very differently.

    The two “Semitic” trees look similar, which is consistent with (A). Having this said, I do not know the algorythm and even if true, it does not mean that the method is not bad a priori (captures underlying linguistic process worse) or practically (a worse fit for our observed data).

  469. @David Eddyshaw: No, the phlogiston theory was essentially never any good. It posited that combustion was a release of something, rather than combination with something. That meant the theory was never going to give consistent answers to anything but the most trivial questions.

  470. Stu Clayton says

    Can’t ask for more than that …

    Many people want much more than that. They want explanations that make sense and can’t be wrong. Thus they reject all that nonsense about “what is currently known” and “making testable predictions”.

    Such a cognitive disposition is energy-efficient (they don’t waste their time questioning what’s true) and environmentally responsible (they recycle the same beliefs from generation to generation). So they’re going with the flow in that respect. Also, that was the standard disposition before empirical science came a-knocking, and the species did not die out as a result of it.

    I think it’s here to stay, like disease. You win some, you lose some.

    That meant the [phlogiston] theory was never going to give consistent answers to anything but the most trivial questions.

    Thus it’s fine so long as only trivial questions are asked. Restraint is a traditional virtue.

  471. jack morava says

    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/316134/why-was-caloric-theory-accepted-despite-observations-that-heat-was-produced-by-f

    I don’t think Galileo, or Kepler, noticed that the arc of their urine was parabolic.

    `Is the Buddha-nature in that dung-heap over there, o Tathagata?’

    `Yes, best beloved’

    To that King Milinda made no reply.

    [From the Questions of King Milinda, from memory, surely wrong in detail]

  472. Stu Clayton says

    Shameful instance of mansplaining. Ladies don’t do parabolic, so their trajectories are ignored.

  473. jack morava says

    Quite so!

  474. January First-of-May says

    That meant the theory was never going to give consistent answers to anything but the most trivial questions.

    Well, after a while the experimenters would probably have realized that phlogiston consistently behaved as if it had negative mass, and then (in principle) might have considered the option that it might in fact have been some kind of gap in something else.

    (My take on it, from 2019.)

    [EDIT: Incidentally, my take on the parabolic arc of urine, also from 2019.]

  475. The female face of some branches of post-Soviet science: Genetic Heritage of the Balto-Slavic Speaking Populations: A Synthesis of Autosomal, Mitochondrial and Y-Chromosomal Data, The authors.

    (But also – habitually – someone D. Marjanović, and again a wrong Marjanović…The articles are always either “wrong Marjanović” or “wrong Mathiesen”)

  476. jack morava says

    @ January First-of-May,

    Congratulations, kudos & props.

    I occasionally used this as a (conceptual) audiovisual aid in vector calculus class, thought I was the first person in the history of personkind to have observed the phenomenon. [I don’t think it’s in Pynchon where it belongs. I believe Gilda Radner thought she had invented bulimia…]

    Thus I refute Bishop Berkeley says Sam Johnson as he kicks a stone; take that, Aristoteles.

  477. Dmitry Pruss says

    the parabolic arc

    but it is attached to the man on one side, and to the ground on another! Surely it couldn’t follow the same trajectory as a free-flying stone! ( Channeling my inner Aristotle )

  478. @January First-of-May: There were actually eighteenth-century experiments that reported that phlogiston had negative mass, but they were frequently dismissed as absurd. There were also claims to have measured a positive mass contribution from the phlogiston in various inflammable materials. I would surprised if any of the experiments of the period were actually well enough done to measure the mass changes involved in combustion, since measuring the masses of combustion gasses is highly nontrivial.

  479. but it is attached to the man on one side, and to the ground on another!
    well…

  480. Alll right.

    Why Indo-European speakers did not go east?

    Bouckaert 2012 is modelling their spread from their homeland with random walk on a land with obstacles. They do not have samples of Scythian and Saka, so in the steppe only Russian is spoken in their sample (and Kazakhstan in their map does not speak Russian:-/).

    Perhaps, if they populated the Pontic-Caspian steppes and Central Asia with something IE for the year 1000BC, it would not affect their results. Who knows. If this “something” was exclusively Indo-Iranian, then maybe not much, because, most likely, diversity matters.

    But then another objection comes from our… from my own stereotype: the Steppe is such a place where waves of invasions originate from. Indo-Europeans, Huns, Mongols, on wheels, on horses, in spaceships. So further east seeds of another people are already дают всходы, and fiercer people (many of them) are awating their hour(s). That is the stereotype. But for China it is different: invaders come from north. And for Mongolia it is different: if it has been invaded, then not from Mongolia.

    If IE were the most advanced people in the world why their known areal is limited with north-west China, and why they did not make Korea speak Indo-European, really?
    Why westwards?

  481. Bouckaert 2012: Mapping the origins and expansion of the Indo-European language family

    science (paywalled, but has supplements and corrected supplements)
    corrections and clarifications (a notice about an error).
    full text in pdf and on pubmed

  482. Bouckaert 2012:
    Mapping the origins and expansion of the Indo-European language family

    science (paywalled, but has supplements and corrected supplements)
    corrections and clarifications (a notice about an error).

  483. The full text in pdf. and pubmed

  484. There was a persistent steppe frontier running straight through the middle of Mongolia until the historical times.

    The western half of the country was inhabited by people of European extraction, presumably speaking some Indo-European languages.

    And eastern Mongolia was inhabited by local East Asian population (the Slab Grave culture), presumably speakers of Altaic languages.

    Why the Europeans didn’t overrun all of Mongolia is unknown, but I suspect these proto-proto-Mongols put up a good fight.

  485. David Marjanović says

    If IE were the most advanced people in the world

    Why would they be? What would that even mean?

    I mean, the wagon must have been an advantage in peaceful expansion and the chariot must have been a military advantage in some parts of the steppe, but the copyright on such things can’t be enforced for long.

  486. Stu Clayton says

    I figure you don’t mean it seriously, but “copyright” does not have the right connotations here, I would say. The way I heard it, it’s the techniques for making something (that is impressive and useful) that are kept secret – not so much the thing itself, especially when its usefulness requires public deployment, as in wars. A cat may look at a chariot, but it has no clue how to build one that works correctly.

    Books are far too easy to copy, that’s why copyright was introduced. Here it’s all about making money, not outmaneuvering the enemy.

  487. January First-of-May says

    I figure you don’t mean it seriously, but “copyright” does not have the right connotations here, I would say. The way I heard it, it’s the techniques for making something (that is impressive and useful) that are kept secret – not so much the thing itself, especially when its usefulness requires public deployment, as in wars. A cat may look at a chariot, but it has no clue how to build one that works correctly.

    I believe the usual modern term for that kind of thing is “trade secret”.

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