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Did Aryans really exist?


Sort of, but they’re not quite the way you’d expect. The name “Aryan” comes from the history of India. It means, basically, “noble.” It was used by a variety of Indo-Iranian speakers to refer to themselves. In the early years of the study of Indo-European languages, the theory arose that these “Aryans,” attested to as conquering peoples of Indian history, were the original Indo-European speakers, conquering large parts of the world and bringing their language with them. The Aryans, in this scheme, were the primal people of Europe as well, a racial group spreading their language in all directions.

It turns out that this isn’t true. Indo-European languages spread out from central or western Asia (probably from somewhere north of the Black and Caspian Seas), but it’s not clear that they represented any sort of genetic rather than linguistic grouping. Moreover, the Indo-European speakers who expanded west were likely an entirely different group from those who expanded east, and the people who called themselves Aryans were at any rate somewhat removed in time and likely in genetic heritage from whoever brought the Indo-European languages east.

So, then, there are Aryans, but they’re a bunch of people native to the vicinity of Afghanistan or northern India. They were almost certainly not blonde and blue-eyed, and they had absolutely nothing to do with Europe.
Saif Fazel

Library:

Saif Fazel

Author:

Matt Riggsby











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