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Who Were the Aryans?
Latin, Greek, Hittite, Sanskrit, French, German, Latvian, English, Spanish, Russian etc. are all Indo-European languages; Indo-European, or more properly Proto-Indo-European (PIE), is the lost ancestral language from which those languages ultimately derive. The "Proto" indicates that the grammar and vocabulary of this long extinct language, probably spoken up until 3000 BC, are a hypothetical reconstruction by modern philologists. Just as Romance languages like Italian and Spanish derive from Latin, so Latin derives from PIE.
Indo-European philology traditionally used "Aryan" both to denote a people, understood racially or ethnically, and the language group itself ("Aryan speech"), irrespective of the race or ethnicity of the people speaking its various branches. In the wake of National Socialist Germany's defeat, the term fell out of general scholarly use in both senses, and "Indo-European" (IE) became the preferred designation of the language group, "Indo-Europeans" of both the people who occupied the original Aryan homeland and their descendants, who gradually spread out across Europe, much of the Indian sub-continent, and parts of the Near East. Racial nationalists are not, of course, obliged to adopt the timid PC-lexicon of contemporary scholarship, but we should be aware of imprecision of "Aryan" as a racial or ethnic classification.
Arya, meaning "noble," appears in various Indo-European languages. Its plural form (Aryas="nobles") was probably the name the Aryans used to describe themselves prior to their dispersal, and it may survive in Eire (Ireland) and certainly survives in Iran (Airyanam vaejo="realm of the Aryans"). The discovery of thousands of such cognate words in widely separated languages, along with similar grammatical structures, led philologists to conclude, early in the nineteenth century, that most European languages had evolved from a common proto-language spoken millennia ago by a distinct people who gradually left their original homeland in a series of migrations, carrying their language with them.
Traditionally Greek, Latin and Sanskrit were considered the closest languages to PIE, and much of the reconstructed Aryan proto-language is based on them. Modern Lithuanian, however, is the most archaic living language, closer to the original Aryan speech than any other. There is even an IE language, Tocharian, attested in Chinese Turkestan, which indicates that Aryans must have made an appearance in the Far East, a long-standing piece of linguistic evidence which has been recently confirmed by the discovery of the physical remains of a blond-haired people in China.
One Model of Indo-European ("Aryan") Migration
Perhaps the most famous proof for the prehistoric existence of PIE is the word for king: rex in Latin, raja in Sanskrit, ri in Old Irish, along with a host of other cognates. All are obviously variants of a common word for king. Since none of the peoples speaking these various languages were in physical contact with one another during the historical period -- i.e. at a time for which written records exist -- comparative philologists inferred that their respective languages must have evolved from a single proto-language, which is the only way of explaining the presence of the same word for "king" among such widely dispersed peoples. The Romans clearly didn't borrow rex from the Irish or the Indo-Aryans; each had instead inherited their own word for "king" from a common ancestral language.
Philologists can also, moreover, safely conclude that the Aryans must have had kings prior to emigrating from their original homeland in southern Russia. In fact a fairly detailed body of evidence about prehistoric Aryan political organization, marriage practices, and religious beliefs can be reconstructed on the basis of the survival of common vocabulary in the various extant Indo-European languages: They worshiped a sky-god, they traced descent through the male line, they raised cattle, they drank meed, they used horse-drawn chariots (which they probably invented) as weapons of war, etc. Even the red, white and blue/green that appears in so many modern flags may have an Aryan pedigree. It is likely a survival from the Aryan tripartite social division of their communities into priests (white), warriors (red), and herders and cultivators (blue/green).
Aryans, or more specifically Indo-Aryans, make their first notable appearance in history around 2000-1500 BC as invaders of Northern India. The Sanskrit Rig Veda, a collection of religious texts still revered by modern Hindus, records (often enigmatically) their gradual subjugation of the dark-skinned inhabitants, the Dasyus: e.g. "Indra [=Norse Thor, Celtic Taranis] has torn open the fortresses of the Dasyus, which in their wombs hid the black people. He created land and water for Manu [=Aryan man]"; "lower than all besides, hast thou, O Indra, cast down the Dasyus, abject tribes of Dasas"; "after slaying the Dasyus, let Indra with his white friends win land, let him win the sun and water"; "Indra subdued the Dasyu color and drove it into hiding."
With all-outstripping chariot-wheel, O Indra,
The birth of a European culture, however, predates the arrival of the Indo-Europeans: The cave art of Lascaux, which some have identified as the first flowering of Western man's creative genius, was the work of Old Europeans, as were Stonehenge in the North and the Minoan Palace culture of Crete in the South. A pan-European religious symbolism had already evolved, much of which was later incorporated into IE mythologies, including various regional adaptations of the ubiquitous Old European reverence for the Mother Goddess. Many of the principal figures in Greek mythology predate the arrival of Aryans, and during the course of ancient history Old European religious beliefs and practices continually reasserted themselves. [Image: Minoan snake goddess, from the Palace of Minos, circa 1600 BC]
Europe is European because the conquerors and the conquered were members the same White race, different branches on the same family tree; India is a morass of poverty because the bulk of the conquered, with whom the Indo-Aryans eventually intermarried, were non-White Veddoids. The lesson is obvious. Even today high-caste Hindus can still be identified by their Caucasian features and light skin, and the poorest and most backward parts of India are generally the darkest.
As an aside, recent genetic studies have indicated that the Basques of Aquitaine and the Pyrenees are probably the purest form of Old Europeans as they existed prior to the arrival of Indo-European invaders. They evidently emerged from the invasions of Europe unconquered, and they remained sufficiently isolated to retain their own unique, non-IE language.