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Pre-Indo-European

Pre-Indo-European

Overview
Not to be confused is the term "Old European" as used by Hans Krahe
Hans Krahe
Hans Krahe was a German philologist and linguist, specializing over many decades in the Illyrian languages. He was born at Gelsenkirchen....

 in connection with hydronymy
Old European hydronymy
Old European is the term used by Hans Krahe for the language of the oldest reconstructed stratum of European hydronymy in Central and Western Europe...

.


Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas , was a Lithuanian-American archeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological...

 to describe what she perceives as a relatively homogeneous and widespread pre-Indo-European
Pre-Indo-European
Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas to describe what she perceives as a relatively homogeneous and widespread pre-Indo-European Neolithic culture in Europe, particularly in Malta and the Balkans....

Neolithic
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

 culture in Europe, particularly in Malta
Megalithic Temples of Malta
The Megalithic Temples of Malta are a series of prehistoric monuments in Malta of which seven are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Archaeologists believe that these megalithic complexes are the result of local innovations in a process of cultural evolution...

 and the Balkans
Prehistoric Balkans
The prehistory of Southeastern Europe , defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkans peninsula covers the period from the Upper Paleolithic, beginning with the presence of Homo sapiens in the area some 44,000 years ago, until the...

.

In her major work, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500–3500 B.C. (1982), she refers to these Neolithic cultures as Old Europe. Archaeologists and ethnographers working within her framework believe that the evidence points to migrations of the peoples who spoke Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 at the beginning of the Bronze age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 (the Kurgan hypothesis
Kurgan hypothesis
The Kurgan hypothesis is one of the proposals about early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the people of an archaeological "Kurgan culture" in the Pontic steppe were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language...

).
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Encyclopedia
Not to be confused is the term "Old European" as used by Hans Krahe
Hans Krahe
Hans Krahe was a German philologist and linguist, specializing over many decades in the Illyrian languages. He was born at Gelsenkirchen....

 in connection with hydronymy
Old European hydronymy
Old European is the term used by Hans Krahe for the language of the oldest reconstructed stratum of European hydronymy in Central and Western Europe...

.


Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas , was a Lithuanian-American archeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological...

 to describe what she perceives as a relatively homogeneous and widespread pre-Indo-European
Pre-Indo-European
Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas to describe what she perceives as a relatively homogeneous and widespread pre-Indo-European Neolithic culture in Europe, particularly in Malta and the Balkans....

Neolithic
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

 culture in Europe, particularly in Malta
Megalithic Temples of Malta
The Megalithic Temples of Malta are a series of prehistoric monuments in Malta of which seven are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Archaeologists believe that these megalithic complexes are the result of local innovations in a process of cultural evolution...

 and the Balkans
Prehistoric Balkans
The prehistory of Southeastern Europe , defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkans peninsula covers the period from the Upper Paleolithic, beginning with the presence of Homo sapiens in the area some 44,000 years ago, until the...

.

In her major work, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500–3500 B.C. (1982), she refers to these Neolithic cultures as Old Europe. Archaeologists and ethnographers working within her framework believe that the evidence points to migrations of the peoples who spoke Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 at the beginning of the Bronze age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 (the Kurgan hypothesis
Kurgan hypothesis
The Kurgan hypothesis is one of the proposals about early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the people of an archaeological "Kurgan culture" in the Pontic steppe were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language...

). For this reason, Gimbutas and her associates regard the terms Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

, Old Europe, and Pre-Indo-European as synonymous.

Old Europe



Old Europe, or Neolithic Europe, refers to the time between the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 and Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 periods in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, roughly from 7000 BC (the approximate time of the first farming societies in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

) to ca. 1700 BC (the beginning of the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 in northwest Europe). The duration of the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 varies from place to place: in southeast Europe
Southeast Europe
Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe is a relatively recent political designation for the states of the Balkans. Writers such as Maria Todorova and Vesna Goldsworthy have suggested the use of the term Southeastern Europe to replace the word Balkans for the region, to minimize potential...

 it is approximately 4000 years (i.e., 7000–3000 BC); in North-West Europe
North-West Europe
North-West Europe is a term that refers to a northern area of Western Europe, although the exact area or countries it comprises varies.-Geographic definition:...

 it is just under 3000 years (ca. 4500–1700 BC).

Regardless of specific chronology, many European Neolithic groups share basic characteristics, such as living in small-scale, family-based communities, more egalitarian than the city-states and Chiefdoms of the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

, subsisting on domestic plants and animals supplemented with the collection of wild plant foods and hunting, and producing hand-made pottery, without the aid of the potter's wheel
Potter's wheel
In pottery, a potter's wheel is a machine used in asma of round ceramic ware. The wheel may also be used during process of trimming the excess body from dried ware and for applying incised decoration or rings of color...

. There are also many differences, with some Neolithic communities in southeastern Europe living in heavily fortified settlements of 3,000–4,000 people (e.g., Sesklo
Sesklo
Sesklo is a village nearby the city of Volos, in Thessaly , in the prefecture of Magnesia. It is part of the municipality Aisonia...

 in Greece) whereas Neolithic groups in Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 were small (possibly 50–100 people) and highly mobile cattle-herders.

Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas , was a Lithuanian-American archeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological...

 investigated the Neolithic period in order to understand cultural developments in settled village culture in the southern Balkans, which she characterized as peaceful, matrilineal
Matrilineality
Matrilineality is a system in which descent is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. Matrilineality is also a societal system in which one belongs to one's matriline or mother's lineage, which can involve the inheritance of property and/or titles.A matriline is a line of descent from a...

, and possessing a goddess-centered religion. In contrast, she characterizes the later Indo-European influences as warlike, nomadic, and patrilineal. Using evidence from pottery and sculpture, and combining the tools of archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

, comparative mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, linguistics
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

, and, most controversially, folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

, Gimbutas invented a new interdisciplinary field, archaeomythology
Archaeomythology
Archaeomythology refers to the study of mythology through the discipline of archaeology. An example is the discovery of the city of Troy when, in 1870, Heinrich Schliemann used Homer's epic Iliad to locate it...

.

In historical times, some ethnonym
Ethnonym
An ethnonym is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms or endonyms .As an example, the ethnonym for...

s are believed to correspond to Pre-Indo-European peoples, assumed to be the descendants of the earlier Old European cultures: the Pelasgians, Minoans, Leleges
Leleges
The Leleges were one of the aboriginal peoples of southwest Anatolia , who were already there when the Indo-European Hellenes emerged. The distinction between the Leleges and the Carians is unclear. According to Homer the Leleges were a distinct Anatolian tribe Homer...

, Iberians
Iberian language
The Iberian language was the language of a people identified by Greek and Roman sources who lived in the eastern and southeastern regions of the Iberian peninsula. The ancient Iberians can be identified as a rather nebulous local culture between the 7th and 1st century BC...

, Etruscans and Basques
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

. Two of the three pre-Greek peoples of Sicily, the Sicans
Sicani
The Sicani or Sicanians were one of three ancient peoples of Sicily present at the time of Phoenician and Greek colonization.-History:The Sicani are thought to be the oldest inhabitants of Sicily with a recorded name...

 and the Elymians
Elymians
The Elymians were an ancient people who inhabited the western part of Sicily during the Bronze Age and Classical antiquity.-Origins:...

, may also have been pre-Indo-European. The term "Pre-Indo-European" is sometimes extended to refer to Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, in which case the Hurrians
Hurrians
The Hurrians were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age.The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and...

 and Urartians
Urartu
Urartu , corresponding to Ararat or Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age kingdom centered around Lake Van in the Armenian Highland....

, Dravidians may also be counted among them.

How many Pre-Indo-European languages existed is not known, nor whether the ancient names of peoples believed, in ancient times or now, to have descended from the pre-ancient population, referred to speakers of distinct languages. Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas , was a Lithuanian-American archeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological...

 (1989), observing a unity of symbols marked especially on pots, but also on other objects, concluded that there may have been a single language spoken in Old Europe. She thought that decipherment would have to wait for the discovery of bilingual texts.

The idea of a Pre-Indo-European language in the region precedes Gimbutas. It went by other names, such as "Pelasgian
Pelasgians
The name Pelasgians was used by some ancient Greek writers to refer to populations that were either the ancestors of the Greeks or who preceded the Greeks in Greece, "a hold-all term for any ancient, primitive and presumably indigenous people in the Greek world." In general, "Pelasgian" has come...

", "Mediterranean", or "Aegean". Apart from marks on artifacts, the main evidence concerning Pre-Indo-European language is in names: toponyms, ethnonym
Ethnonym
An ethnonym is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms or endonyms .As an example, the ethnonym for...

s, etc., and in roots in other languages believed to be derived from one or more prior languages, possibly unrelated. Reconstruction from the evidence is an accepted, though somewhat speculative, field of study. Suggestions of possible Old European languages include Urbian
Urbian
Urbian or Urian is a possible Old European or Pre-Indo-European language defined by Sorin Paliga. The Proto-Indo-European language, the descendants of which have replaced the Pre-IE language, ought not to include a root corresponding to Latin urbs, as the Proto-IE were nomadic or semi-nomadic...

 by Sorin Paliga, the Vasconic substratum hypothesis of Theo Vennemann
Theo Vennemann
Theo Vennemann is a German linguist known best for his work on historical linguistics, especially for his disputed theories of a Vasconic substratum and an Atlantic superstratum of European languages. He also suggests that the High German consonant shift was already completed in the early 1st...

 (also see Sigmund Feist
Sigmund Feist
Sigmund Feist was a German Jewish pedagogue and historical linguist. He was the author of the Germanic substrate hypothesis as well as a number of important works concerning Jewish ethnic and racial identity. Feist served as the director of the Jewish Reichenheim Orphanage in Berlin from 1906 to...

's Germanic substrate hypothesis
Germanic substrate hypothesis
The Germanic substrate hypothesis is an attempt to explain the distinctive nature of the Germanic languages within the context of the Indo-European language family...

), and Tyrsenian languages
Tyrsenian languages
Tyrsenian , named after the Tyrrhenians , is a closely related ancient language family proposed by Helmut Rix , that consists of the extinct Etruscan language of central Italy, the extinct Raetic language of the Alps, and the extinct Lemnian language of the Aegean Sea.-The...

 of Helmut Rix.

Indo-European origins



According to Gimbutas' version of the Kurgan hypothesis
Kurgan hypothesis
The Kurgan hypothesis is one of the proposals about early Indo-European origins, which postulates that the people of an archaeological "Kurgan culture" in the Pontic steppe were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language...

, Old Europe was invaded and destroyed by horse-riding pastoral nomads
Nomadic pastoralism
Nomadic pastoralism is a form of agriculture where livestock are herded in order to find fresh pastures on which to graze following an irregular pattern of movement - in contrast with transhumance where seasonal pastures are fix. The herded livestock may include cattle, yaks, sheep, goats,...

 from the Pontic-Caspian steppe
Pontic-Caspian steppe
The Pontic-Caspian steppe is the vast steppeland stretching from the north of the Black Sea as far as the east of the Caspian Sea, from western Ukraine across the Southern Federal District and the Volga Federal District of Russia to western Kazakhstan,...

 (the "Kurgan
Kurgan
Kurgan is the Turkic term for a tumulus; mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves, originating with its use in Soviet archaeology, now widely used for tumuli in the context of Eastern European and Central Asian archaeology....

 culture") who brought with them violence, patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

 and Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

. More recent proponents of the Kurgan hypothesis agree that the cultures of Old Europe spoke pre-Indo-European languages but include a less dramatic transition, with a prolonged migration of Proto-Indo-European speakers after Old Europe's collapse because of other factors.

Colin Renfrew's competing Anatolian hypothesis
Anatolian hypothesis
The Anatolian hypothesis is also called Renfrew's Neolithic Discontinuity Theory ; it proposes that the dispersal of Proto-Indo-Europeans originated in Neolithic Anatolia...

 suggests that the Indo-European languages were spread across Europe by the first farmers from Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

. In the hypothesis' original formulation, the languages of Old Europe belonged to the Indo-European family but played no special role in its transmission. According to Renfrew's most recent revision of the theory however Old Europe was a "secondary urheimat
Urheimat
Urheimat is a linguistic term denoting the original homeland of the speakers of a proto-language...

" where the Greek
Hellenic languages
Hellenic, as a technical term in historical linguistics, is the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes Greek . According to most traditional classifications, Hellenic contains only Greek as a single language alone in its branch, and is as such co-extensive with "Greek"...

, Armenian
Armenian language
The Armenian language is an Indo-European language spoken by the Armenian people. It is the official language of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The language is also widely spoken by Armenian communities in the Armenian diaspora...

 and Balto-Slavic
Balto-Slavic languages
The Balto-Slavic language group traditionally comprises Baltic and Slavic languages, belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. Baltic and Slavic languages share several linguistic traits not found in any other Indo-European branch, which points to the period of common development...

 language families diverged around 5000 BC.

See also


  • Germanic substrate hypothesis
    Germanic substrate hypothesis
    The Germanic substrate hypothesis is an attempt to explain the distinctive nature of the Germanic languages within the context of the Indo-European language family...

  • Indo-Iranian migration
  • Prehistoric Balkans
    Prehistoric Balkans
    The prehistory of Southeastern Europe , defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkans peninsula covers the period from the Upper Paleolithic, beginning with the presence of Homo sapiens in the area some 44,000 years ago, until the...

  • Proto-Indo-European language
    Proto-Indo-European language
    The Proto-Indo-European language is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans...

  • Proto-Indo-Europeans
    Proto-Indo-Europeans
    The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

  • Vasconic languages
    Vasconic languages
    The Vasconic substratum theory is a proposal that many western European languages contain remnants of an old language family of Vasconic languages, of which Basque is the only surviving member. The proposal was made by the German linguist Theo Vennemann, but has been rejected by other linguists...

  • Vinca script


Further reading

  • Bellwood, Peter. (2004). First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies. Blackwell Publishers. ISBN 0-631-20566-7
  • Childe, V. Gordon. (1926). The Aryans: A Study of Indo-European Origins. London: Paul, Trench, Trubner.
  • Gimbutas, Marija (1982). The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500–3500 B.C.: Myths, and Cult Images Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04655-2
  • Gimbutas, Marija (1989). The Language of the Goddess. Harper & Row, Publishers. ISBN 0-06-250356-1.
  • Gimbutas, Marija (1991). The Civilization of the Goddess. SanFrancisco: Harper. ISBN 0-06-250337-5.

External links