Proto-Elamite, c. 3200 - 2700 BC
The Proto-Elamite city of Susa was founded around 4000 BC in the watershed of the river Karun. It is considered to be the site of Proto-Elamite cultural formation. During its early history, it fluctuated between submission to Mesopotamian and Elamite power. The earliest levels (22-17 in the excavations conducted by Le Brun, 1978) exhibit pottery that has no equivalent in Mesopotamia, but for the succeeding period, the excavated material allows identification with the culture of Sumer of the Uruk period. Proto-Elamite influence from the Mesopotamia in Susa becomes visible from about 3200 BC, and texts in the still undeciphered Proto-Elamite writing system continue to be present until about 2700 BC. The Proto-Elamite period ends with the establishment of the Awan dynasty. The earliest known historical figure connected with Elam is the king Enmebaragesi of Kish (c. 2650 BC?), who subdued it, according to the Sumerian king list.
Susa III (3100–2700 BCE) is also known as the 'Proto-Elamite' period. At this time, Banesh period pottery is predominant. This is also when the Proto-Elamite tablets first appear in the record. Subsequently, Susa became the centre of Elam civilization.
Ambiguous reference to Elam appear also in this period in Sumerian records. Susa enters history during the Early Dynastic period of Sumer. A battle between Kish and Susa is recorded in 2700 BCE
Elam, c. 2700 BC
Elam is one of the first civilizations on record based in the far west and south-west of what is modern-day Iran (in the Ilam Province and the lowlands of Khuzestan). It lasted from around 2700 BC to 539 BC, coming after what is known as the Proto-Elamite period, which began around 3200 BC when Susa, the later capital of the Elamites began to receive influence from the cultures of the Iranian plateau to the east.
Ancient Elam lay to the east of Sumer and Akkad (modern-day Iraq). In the Old Elamite period, it consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role in the Persian Empire, especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it, when the Elamite language remained in official use. The Elamite period is considered a starting point for the history of Iran (although there were older civilizations in Iranian plateau like Mani civilization in Azarbaijan and Shar-e sookhteh in Zabol and other indigenous civilizations who lived in Iranian plateau but weren't as established as Elamites).
The Elamite language was not related to any Iranian languages, but may be part of a larger group known as Elamo-Dravidian.
The Elamites called their country Haltamti (in later Elamite, Atamti), which the neighboring Akkadians rendered as Elam. Additionally, the Haltamti are known as Elam in the Hebrew Old Testament, where they are called the offspring of Elam, eldest son of Shem (see Elam (Hebrew Bible)).
The high country of Elam was increasingly identified by its low-lying later capital, Susa. Geographers after Ptolemy called it Susiana. The Elamite civilization was primarily centered in the province of what is modern-day Khuzestan, however it did extended into the later province of Fars in prehistoric times. In fact, the modern provincial name Khuzestan is derived from the Old Persian root Hujiya, meaning "Elam".
Knowledge of Elamite history remains largely fragmentary, reconstruction being based on mainly Mesopotamian sources. The city of Susa was founded around 4000 BC, and during its early history, fluctuated between submission to Mesopotamian and Elamite power. The earliest levels (22-17 in the excavations conducted by Le Brun, 1978) exhibit pottery that has no equivalent in Mesopotamia, but for the succeeding period, the excavated material allows identification with the culture of Sumer of the Uruk period.
Proto-Elamite influence from the Persian plateau in Susa becomes visible from about 3200 BC, and texts in the still undeciphered Proto-Elamite script continue to be present until about 2700 BC. The Proto-Elamite period ends with the establishment of the Awan dynasty. The earliest known historical figure connected with Elam is the king Enmebaragesi of Kish (c. 2650 BC?), who subdued it, according to the Sumerian king list. However, real Elamite history can only be traced from records dating to beginning of the Akkadian Empire in around 2300 BC onwards.
Elamite civilization grew up east of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in the watershed of the river Karun. In modern terms, Elam included more than Khuzestan; it was a combination of the lowlands and the immediate highland areas to the north and east. Some Elamite sites, however, are found well outside this area, spread out on the Iranian plateau; examples of Elamite remains farther north and east in Iran are Sialk in Isfahan Province and Jiroft in Kerman Province. Elamite strength was based on an ability to hold these various areas together under a coordinated government that permitted the maximum interchange of the natural resources unique to each region. Traditionally, this was done through a federated governmental structure.
Old Elamite period: c. 2700 BC 1600 BC (earliest documents until the Eparti dynasty)
The Old Elamite period began around 2700 BC. Historical records mention the conquest of Elam by Enmebaragesi of Kish. Three dynasties ruled during this period. We know of twelve kings of each of the first two dynasties, those of Avan (c. 24002100 BC) and Simash (c. 21001970 BC), from a list from Susa dating to the Old Babylonian period. Two Elamite dynasties said to have exercised brief control over Sumer in very early times include Avan and Hamazi, and likewise, several of the stronger Sumerian rulers, such as Eannatum of Lagash and Lugal-anne-mundu of Adab, are recorded as temporarily dominating Elam.
The Avan dynasty was partly contemporary with that of Sargon of Akkad, who not only subjected Elam, but attempted to make Akkadian the official language there. However, with the collapse of Akkad under Sargon's great-grandson, Shar-kali-sharri, Elam declared independence and threw off the Akkadian language.
The last Avan king, Kutik-Inshushinnak was roughly a contemporary of Ur-Nammu. From this time, Mesopotamian sources concerning Elam become more frequent, since the Mesopotamians had developed an interest in resources (such as wood, stone and metal) from the Iranian plateau, and military expeditions to the area became more common. Kutik-Inshushinnak conquered Susa and Anshan, and seems to have achieved some sort of political unity. A few years later, Shulgi of Ur retook the city of Susa and the surrounding region.
During the first part of the rule of the Simashki dynasty, Elam was under intermittent attack from Mesopotamians and Gutians, alternating with periods of peace and diplomatic approaches. Shu-Sin of Ur, for example, gave one of his daughters in marriage to a prince of Anshan. But the power of the Sumerians was waning; Ibbi-Sin in the 21st century did not manage to penetrate far into Elam, and in 2004 BC, the Elamites, allied with the people of Susa and led by king Kindattu, the sixth king of Simashk, managed to sack Ur and lead Ibbi-Sin into captivity -- thus ending the third dynasty of Ur.
However, the kings of Isin, successor state to Ur, did manage to drive the Elamites out of Ur, rebuild the city, and to return the statue of Nanna that the Elamites had plundered.The succeeding dynasty, the Elam (c. 19701770 BC), also called "of the sukkalmahs" because of the title borne by its members, was contemporary with the Old Babylonian period in Mesopotamia.
This period is confusing and difficult to reconstruct. It was apparently founded by Eparti I. During this time, Susa was under Elamite control, but Mesopotamian states such as Larsa continually tried to retake the city. Sirukdukh, the third ruler of this dynasty, entered various military coalitions to contain the rising power of Babylon. Kudur-mabug, apparently king of another Elamite state to the north of Susa, managed to install his son, Warad-Sin, on the throne of Larsa, and Warad-Sin's brother, Rim-Sin, succeeded him and conquered much of Mesopotamia for Larsa before being overthrown by Hammurabi of Babylon.
The first and most notable Babylonian dynasty ruler was Siwe-Palar-Khuppak, who for some time was the most powerful person in the area, respectfully addressed as "Father" by Mesopotamian kings such as Zimri-Lim of Mari, and even Hammurabi. But Elamite influence in Mesopotamia did not last, and after a few years, Hammurabi established Babylonian dominance in Mesopotamia. Little is known about the latter part of this dynasty, since sources become again more sparse with the Kassite rule of Babylon.
Elam - Mannaeans > Armenians
Mannaeans (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minni, מנּי) were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day northwestern Iran south of lake Urmia, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC. At that time they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta.
In the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) the Mannaeans are called Minni. In the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), Minni is identified with Armenia, but it could refer to one of the provinces in ancient Armenia; Minni, Ararat and Ashkenaz. According to examinations of the place and personal names found in Assyrian and Urartian texts, the Mannaeans, or at least their rulers, spoke Hurrian language.
According to the Archaeological Institute of America, 1964:
The Mannaeans, a little known people related linguistically to the Urartians and the Hurrians of northern Mesopotamia, were settled on the southeastern shore of Lake Urmia and southward into the mountain area of Urmia.
The Mannaean kingdom began to flourish around 850 BC. The Mannaeans were mainly a settled people, practicing irrigation and breeding cattle and horses. The capital was another fortified city, Izirtu (Zirta).
By the 820s BC they had expanded to become the first large state to occupy this region since the Gutians, later followed by the unrelated Iranian peoples, the Medes and the Persians. By this time they had a prominent aristocracy as a ruling class, which somewhat limited the power of the king.
Beginning around 800 BC, the region became contested ground between Urartu, who built several forts on the territory of Mannae, and Assyria. During the open conflict between the two, c. 750–730 BC, Mannae seized the opportunity to enlarge its holdings. The Mannaean kingdom reached the pinnacle of its power during the reign of Iranzu (c. 725–720 BC).
In 716 BC, king Sargon II of Assyria moved against Mannae, where the ruler Aza, son of Iranzu, had been deposed by Ullusunu with the help of the Urartians. Sargon took Izirtu, and stationed troops in Parsua. Parsua was distinct from Parsumash located further southeast in what is today known as Fars province in Iran. The Assyrians thereafter used the area to breed, train and trade horses.
According to one Assyrian inscription, the Cimmerians (Gimirru) originally went forth from their homeland of Gamir or Uishdish on the shores of the Black Sea in "the midst of Mannai" around this time. The Cimmerians first appear in the annals in the year 714 BC, when they apparently helped the Assyrians to defeat Urartu. Urartu chose to submit to the Assyrians, and together the two defeated the Cimmerians and thus kept them out of the Fertile Crescent. At any rate, the Cimmerians had again rebelled against Sargon by 705, and he was killed whilst driving them out. By 679 they had instead migrated to the east and west of Mannae.
The Mannaeans are recorded as rebelling against Esarhaddon of Assyria in 676 BC, when they attempted to interrupt the horse trade between Assyria and its colony of Parsuash.
The king Ahsheri, who ruled until the 650s BC, continued to enlarge the territory of Mannae, although paying tribute to Assyria. However, Mannae suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Assyrians around 660 BC, and subsequently an internal revolt broke out, continuing until Ahsheri's death. Also in the 7th century BC, Mannae was defeated by the advancing Scythians, who had already raided Urartu and been repelled by the Assyrians. This defeat contributed to the further break-up of the Mannaean kingdom.
King Ahsheri's successor, Ualli, as an ally of Assyria, took the side of the Assyrians against the Iranian Medes (Madai), who were at this point still based to the east along the southwest shore of the Caspian Sea and revolting against Assyrian domination. The Medes and Persians were subjugated by Assyria. However, the Neo-Assyrian Empire, which had dominated the region for three hundred years, began to unravel, consumed by civil war after the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC. The upheavals in Assyria allowed the Medes to free themselves from Assyrian vassalage and make themselves the major power in ancient Iran at the expense of the Persians, Mannaeans and the remnants of the indigenous Elamites whose kingdom had been destroyed by the Assyrians. At the battle of Qablin in ca. 616 BC the Assyrian and Mannaean forces were defeated by Nabopolassar's troops. This defeat laid open the frontiers of the Land of the Manneans which fell under the control of Media between 615 BC and 611 BC.
Minni - D'lmno - Delminium
Lioness-woman - Elam
Inanna - Lion goddess
Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. She was originally worshipped in Sumer and was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar. She was known as the "Queen of Heaven" and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center. She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star. Her husband was the god Dumuzid (later known as Tammuz) and her sukkal, or personal attendant, was the goddess Ninshubur (who later became the male deity Papsukkal).
The cult of Inanna-Ishtar also heavily influenced the cult of the Phoenician goddess Astarte. The Phoenicians introduced Astarte to the Greek islands of Cyprus and Cythera, where she either gave rise to or heavily influenced the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite took on Inanna-Ishtar's associations with sexuality and procreation. Furthermore, she was known as Ourania (Οὐρανία), which means "heavenly", a title corresponding to Inanna's role as the Queen of Heaven.
Bastet or Bast "She of the Ointment Jar", was a goddess of ancient Egyptian religion, worshiped as early as the Second Dynasty (2890 BCE). As Bast, she was the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt, the Nile Delta.
The uniting Egyptian cultures had deities that shared similar roles, and usually the same imagery. In Upper Egypt, Sekhmet was the parallel warrior lioness deity. Often similar deities merged into one with the unification, but this did not occur with those deities having particularly strong roots in their cultures.
Bast first appears in the third millennium BC, where she is depicted as either a fierce lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness.
The description offered by Herodotus and several Egyptian texts suggest that water surrounded the temple on three (out of four) sides, forming a type of lake known as isheru, not too dissimilar from that surrounding the temple of the mother goddess Mut in Karnak at Thebes. These lakes were typical of temples devoted to a number of lioness goddesses who are said to represent one original goddess, daughter of the Sun-God Ra / Eye of Ra: Bast, Mut, Tefnut, Hathor, and Sakhmet. Each of them had to be appeased by a specific set of rituals. One myth relates that a lioness, fiery and wrathful, was once cooled down by the water of the lake, transformed into a gentle cat, and settled in the temple.
Wadjet later became identified with the war goddess of Lower Egypt, Bast, who acted as another figure symbolic of the nation, consequently becoming Wadjet-Bast. In this role, since Bast was a lioness, Wadjet-Bast was often depicted with a lioness head.
Sekhmet is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath formed the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare.
Sekhmet is also a solar deity, sometimes called the daughter of Ra and often associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bastet. She bears the Uraeus, which associates her with Wadjet and royalty, and the solar disk.
Sekhmet's name comes from the Ancient Egyptian word sekhem, which means "power or might". Sekhmet's name is thus translated as "the (one who is) powerful or mighty". She also was given titles such as the "(One) Before Whom Evil Trembles", "Mistress of Dread", "Lady of Slaughter" and "She Who Mauls".
She was envisioned as a fierce lioness, and in art, was depicted as such, or as a woman with the head of a lioness, who was dressed in red, the color of blood. Sometimes the dress she wears exhibits a rosetta pattern over each breast, an ancient leonine motif, which can be traced to observation of the shoulder-knot hairs on lions.
To pacify Sekhmet, festivals were celebrated at the end of battle, so that the destruction would come to an end. During an annual festival held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, the Egyptians danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess and drank great quantities of wine ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the wrath of the goddess-when she almost destroyed humanity. This may relate to averting excessive flooding during the inundation at the beginning of each year as well, when the Nile ran blood-red with the silt from up-stream and Sekhmet had to swallow the overflow to save humankind.
In a myth about the end of Ra's rule on the earth, Ra sends Hathor as Sekhmet to destroy mortals who conspired against him. In the myth, Sekhmet's blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra poured out beer dyed with red ochre or hematite so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, she became so drunk that she gave up the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra.
Repyt was an ancient Egyptian goddess. She was normally portrayed as a lioness goddess of Egypt.
Shesmetet is an ancient Egyptian goddess. She was mentioned in the Pyramid Texts and was usually referred to as the deceased's mother. She was depicted as a lion or a woman with a lion's head, and thus was sometimes considered a form of Sekhmet or Bastet, but one of her epithets – "Lady of Punt" – differentiates her from them and may refer to a possible African origin. Her name comes from shesmet, a sash decorated with beads, which appears on the depictions of Old Kingdom rulers and the god Sopdu.
Menhit was originally a Nubian war goddess in Egyptian mythology. Her name depicts a warrior status, as it means (she who) massacres.
Due to the aggressive attributes possessed by and hunting methods used by lionesses, most things connected to warfare in Egypt were depicted as leonine, and Menhit was no exception, being depicted as a lioness-goddess.
Rujm el-Hiri, c. 3000 - 2700 BC
Rujm el-Hiri is an ancient megalithic monument consisting of concentric circles of stone with a tumulus at center. It is located in the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights, some 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) east of the coast of the Sea of Galilee, in the middle of a large plateau covered with hundreds of dolmens.
Made up of more than 42,000 basalt rocks arranged in concentric circles, it has a mound 15 feet (4.6 m) tall at its center. Some circles are complete, others incomplete. The outermost wall is 520 feet (160 m) in diameter and 8 feet (2.4 m) high. The establishment of the site, and other nearby ancient settlements, is dated by archaeologists to the Early Bronze Age II period (3000–2700 BCE).
Since excavations have yielded very few material remains, Israeli archeologists theorize that the site was not a defensive position or a residential quarter but most likely a ritual center, possibly linked to the cult of the dead.
Hebrew name used for the site is Gilgal Refā'īm or Galgal Refā'īm, "Wheel of Spirits" or "Wheel of Ghosts" as Refa'im means "ghosts" or "spirits".
The site was cataloged during an archaeological survey carried out in 1967-1968 by Shmarya Gutman and Claire Epstein. The site is probably the source of the legends about "a remnant of the giants" or Rephaim for Og. The surveyors used Syrian maps, and a Syrian triangulation post was found on top of its cairn.
The site's size and location, on a wide plateau which is also scattered with hundreds of dolmens, means that an aerial perspective is necessary to see the complete layout. The site was made from Basalt rocks, common in the Golan Heights due to the region's history of volcanic activity. It is made from 37,500 - 40,000 tons of partly worked stone stacked up to 2 meters (6.6 ft) high. It was estimated by Freikman that the transportation and building of the massive monument would have required more than 25,000 working days. The site is often referred to as the "Stonehenge of the Levant."
The remains consist of a large circle (slightly oval) of basalt rocks, containing four smaller concentric circles, each getting progressively thinner; some are complete, others incomplete. The walls of the circles are connected by irregularly placed smaller stone walls perpendicular to the circles.
The central tumulus is built from smaller rocks, and is thought to have been constructed after the surrounding walls were constructed. Connecting to it are four main stone walls. The first wall, shaped like a semicircle, is 50m in diameter and 1.5m wide. That wall is connected to a second one, an almost complete circle 90m in diameter. The third wall is a full circle, 110m in diameter and 2.6m wide. The fourth and outermost wall is the largest: 150m in diameter and 3.2m wide.
A central tumulus 65 feet (20 m) in diameter and 15 feet (4.6 m) high is surrounded by concentric circles, the outermost of which is 520 feet (160 m) in diameter and 8 feet (2.4 m) high. Two entrances to the site face the northeast (29 meters (95 ft) wide) and southeast (26 meters (85 ft) wide). The northeast entrance leads to an accessway 20 feet (6.1 m) long leading to the center of the circle which seems to point in the general direction of the June solstice sunrise. The axis of the tomb discovered at the site's center is similarly aligned. Mount Hermon is almost due north and Mount Tabor is close to December solstice sunrise. Geometry and astronomy are visually connected by the temple's design.
Mehrgarh Periods VI, 3000 BC
Indus Valley Civilisation, c. 2600 - 1800 BC
The Indus Valley civilisation (2,600-1,900 BCE) located both in Pakistan and India is often identified as having been Dravidian. Cultural and linguistic similarities have been cited by researchers Henry Heras, Kamil Zvelebil, Asko Parpola and Iravatham Mahadevan as being strong evidence for a proto-Dravidian origin of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation. The discovery in Tamil Nadu of a late Neolithic (early 2nd millennium BCE, i.e. post-dating Harappan decline) stone celt allegedly marked with Indus signs has been considered by some to be significant for the Dravidian identification.
According to David McAlpin, the Dravidian languages were brought to India by immigration into India from Elam. According to Renfrew and Cavalli-Sforza, proto-Dravidian was brought to India by farmers from the Iranian part of the Fertile Crescent. According to Mikhail Andronov, Dravidian languages were brought to India at the beginning of the third millennium BCE.
Kivisild et al. (1999) note that "a small fraction of the West Eurasian mtDNA lineages found in Indian populations can be ascribed to a relatively recent admixture." at ca. 9,300 ± 3,000 years before present, which coincides with "the arrival to India of cereals domesticated in the Fertile Crescent" and "lends credence to the suggested linguistic connection between the Elamite and Dravidic populations."
According to Gallego Romero et al. (2011), their research on lactose tolerance in India suggests that "the west Eurasian genetic contribution identified by Reich et al. (2009) principally reflects gene flow from Iran and the Middle East." Gallego Romero notes that Indians who are lactose-tolerant show a genetic pattern regarding this tolerance which is "characteristic of the common European mutation." According to Romero, this suggests that "the most common lactose tolerance mutation made a two-way migration out of the Middle East less than 10,000 years ago. While the mutation spread across Europe, another explorer must have brought the mutation eastward to India – likely traveling along the coast of the Persian Gulf where other pockets of the same mutation have been found."
According to Palanichamy et al. (2015), "The presence of mtDNA haplogroups (HV14 and U1a) and Y-chromosome haplogroup (L1) in Dravidian populations indicates the spread of the Dravidian language into India from west Asia."
Asko Parpola, who regards the Harappans to have been Dravidian, notes that Mehrgarh (7000 BCE to c. 2500 BCE), to the west of the Indus River valley, is a precursor of the Indus Valley Civilisation, whose inhabitants migrated into the Indus Valley and became the Indus Valley Civilisation. It is one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia.
Yuri Knorozov surmised that the symbols represent a logosyllabic script and suggested, based on computer analysis, an underlying agglutinative Dravidian language as the most likely candidate for the underlying language. Knorozov's suggestion was preceded by the work of Henry Heras, who suggested several readings of signs based on a proto-Dravidian assumption.
Linguist Asko Parpola writes that the Indus script and Harappan language are "most likely to have belonged to the Dravidian family". Parpola led a Finnish team in investigating the inscriptions using computer analysis. Based on a proto-Dravidian assumption, they proposed readings of many signs, some agreeing with the suggested readings of Heras and Knorozov (such as equating the "fish" sign with the Dravidian word for fish, "min") but disagreeing on several other readings. A comprehensive description of Parpola's work until 1994 is given in his book Deciphering the Indus Script.
The 2,700 year old skeletal remains of an ancient yogi sitting in samadhi have been found in an Indus valley civilization archeological site located at Balathal, Rajasthan.
Many Indus Valley seals represent pictures of yogis sitting in a lotus position. If we see the skeletal remains of the yogi above, we can note that his fingers are in gyana mudra (with thumb touching index finger), resting on his knees as well.
Harappa, c. 2600 - 1900 BC
Mohendžo Daro - Kukkutarma, c. 2600 - 1800 BC
Mohendžo Daro (engleski: Moenjodaro) je povijesni grad na donjem toku Inda u današnjem Pakistanu, koji je u razdoblju od 2600. pr. Kr. do 1800. pr. Kr. bio dio indske kulture. U cijelom gradu nisu nađeni tragovi arhitekture svjetovnih niti duhovnih vladara. Odnosno, ništa takvog se nije moglo potvrditi dovoljno utemeljenim indicijama i činjenicama. No upravo je to, misli Michael Jansen, profesor povijesti urbanizma u Aachenu i German University of Technology u Omanu te savjetnik UNESCO-a za svjetsku kulturnu baštinu, senzacionalno u tom gradu: iako su morali biti vrlo bogati, stanovnici su se odrekli monumentalne arhitekture. Nema palača, nema hramova. Zaštitni je znak Mohenja Dara izostanak bilo kakva graditeljskog samoveličanja.
Iravatham Mahadevan presented a paper called “Akam and Puram: ‘Address’ Signs of the Indus Script” in 2010 at the International Tamil Conference. In his paper, amongst many things, Iravatham Mahadevan discusses the original name of Mohenjo Daro.
After reading and understanding his paper, in my own words, here is a summary of what and how he found out the original name of Mohenjo Daro…
Many seals with cock inscriptions were discovered in Mohenjo Daro. Because of the repeated occurrence of cocks in the seals, it is fair to assume that cocks played an important role in the city and its culture. One of the seals found in Mohenjo Daro is shown below in this post.
Thomas Burrow was an Indologist at the University of Oxford. He had published various books and papers in the field of linguistics and Indology. ‘Armaka’ is a Sanskrit word which means ‘ruined city’. In one of his papers, Thomas Burrow published a list of ruined cities mentioned in ancient Sanskrit literature – he did this by identifying all the cities ending with ‘armaka’ in the ancient Sanskrit literature.
It is safe to assume that most of the ruined cities mention in ancient sanskrit literature must have belonged to the Indus Valley Civilization – because at the time of writing these ancient texts, most of the Indus Valley Cities must have been in a ruined state – and also at the time of writing these texts there were no Vedic cities in such ruined state.
One of the cities mentioned in the list of ruined cities composed by Thomas Burrow is ‘Kukkutarmaka’. ‘Kukkut’ in the Proto Dravidian language means ‘cock’. Hence ‘Kukkutarmaka’ mentioned in the list means ‘ruined city of cocks’.
In the seal shown in this blog post, the diamond shape inscription in the front of the two cocks, is the ideogram for ‘city’ (in the Indus Valley Script). And we already know that the word for cocks in Proto Dravidian language is ‘Kukkut’. And so Mohenjo Daro, during the Indus Valley Civilization times, was probably called ‘Kukkutarma’ i.e. ‘city of cocks’.
Kukkutarma = City of Cocks = Mohenjo Daro (in Indus Valley Civilization times)
Mortimer Wheeler interpreted the presence of many unburied corpses found in the top levels of Mohenjo-daro as the victims of a warlike conquest, and famously stated that "Indra stands accused" of the destruction of the IVC. The assumed timeframe of the first Indo-Aryan migration into India corresponds neatly with the period of decline of the IVC seen in the archaeological record. The discovery of the advanced, urban IVC however changed the 19th-century view of early Indo-Aryan migration as an "invasion" of an advanced culture at the expense of a "primitive" aboriginal population to a gradual acculturation of nomadic "barbarians" on an advanced urban civilisation.
Aspects of Indra as a deity are cognate to other Indo-European gods; they are either thunder gods such as Thor, Perun, and Zeus who share parts of his heroic mythologies, act as king of gods, and all are linked to "rain and thunder". The similarities between Indra of Hindu mythologies and of Thor of Nordic and Germanic mythologies are significant, states Max Muller. Both Indra and Thor are storm gods, with powers over lightning and thunder, both carry hammer or equivalent, for both the weapon returns to their hand after they hurl it, both are associated with bulls in the earliest layer of respective texts, both use thunder as a battle-cry, both are heroic leaders, both protectors of mankind, both are described with legends about "milking the cloud-cows", both are benevolent giants, gods of strength, of life, of marriage and the healing gods, both are worshipped in respective texts on mountains and in forests.
Brave and heroic Innara or Inra, which sounds like Indra, is mentioned among the gods of the Mitanni, a Hurrian-speaking people of Hittite region.
Indra is praised as the highest god in 250 hymns of the Rigveda. He is co-praised as the supreme in another 50 hymns, thus making him one of the most celebrated Vedic deities. He is also mentioned in ancient Indo-Iranian literature, but with a major inconsistency when contrasted with the Vedas. In the Vedic literature, Indra is a heroic god. In the Avestan (ancient, pre-Islamic Iranian) texts such as Vd. 10.9, Dk. 9.3 and Gbd 27.6-34.27, Indra – or accurately Andra – is a gigantic demon who opposes truth. In the Vedic texts, Indra kills the archenemy and demon Vritra who threatens mankind. In the Avestan texts, Vritra is not found.
Turkmenistan c. 2500 BC
The explorations in the foothills of the Kopetdag revealed well developed irrigation systems with water control arrangements which resulted in prosperous, well settled large regional centres. The largest of these settlements is Namazga-Tepe with an area of 50 ha. The excavations done at this site lead to the discovery of six distinct periods. Named Namazgadepe I to VI, the periods extended over the late 5th millennium to early 3rd millennium BC. In the process of development over these centuries, the transition observed was from Chalcolithic period to Early Bronze Age with urban characteristics in the settlements. Dwelling houses also emerged from chaotically planned one room houses to larger houses with many rooms with the interiors painted (lac paintings) and with a hearth. Defensive forts were part of the settlements. Chalcolithic stone amulets with geometric shapes, pottery traditions with two-tiered furnaces for firing ceramics, terracotta figurines, stamp seals of clay and stone, and centres of metallurgical production were uncovered. Rosette and zoomorphic patterns were unearthed, representing various periods, both at Namazga-Tepe and also at other settlements in the foothills of the Kopetdag mountains. These are clearly indicative of the village cultures of Central Asia.
Geoksyur Oasis, located in the foothills of the Kopetdag, to the east of Altyntepe, is in the center of a cluster of tepes in the desert region on the northern Iranian border. It extends over an area of 12 ha. It is 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the east of the city of Tedzhen. Even though in the Aneolithic Period (4th – early 3rd century BC), the space between houses was used for burials, the settlement was not a cemetery but rather a settlement which was affected by shifting sand dunes and scarcity of water. Geoksyr was revealed to contain "adobe multi-room houses and group burial chambers". Ceramics were also found with dichromatic paintings and many female terracotta figurines. The culture of Geoksyurtepe was correlated with an eastern Anau group of tribes linked to Elam and Mesopotamia.
According to the Greek-Russian archaeologist, Sarianidi, who explored the tepes, Gonurtepe was the "capital or the imperial city of a complex Bronze Age state, one that stretched at least a thousand square miles and encompassing hundreds of satellite settlements". He also called it the "world's fifth center of ancient civilization" with its refined society called the "Turkmenistan's Morghab River society", formally called the "Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex". It is said to be in league with the "cultural cradles of antiquity" of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and China. The meandering Morghab River along which the Morghab civilization developed by Gonurdepe and Merv, which was once an important place along the Silk Route. But the river flows through the regional capital city of Mary, about 40 miles away from the exploration site of Gonurtepe. The site is dated to late 3rd millennium BC. Excavations have taken place for more than 35 years and still continue at a slow pace due to a lack of adequate funding. The main findings of the excavations are that the site was "an agricultural and herding community who grew grain, raised sheep, built sophisticated irrigation and sewage systems, and produced ceramics in the many kilns that dot the landscape." A fort had been built with thick walls and the enclosed area within the fort had single storied houses, and also a palace, two observatories and cremation grounds. The excavation of the cemeteries revealed many objects, both local and imported (from Indus Valley and Egypt). Religious practices indicated that it was the birthplace of the Zoroastrian religion, a monolithic religion. The practices of sheep sacrifices, temples dedicated to fire and water, drinking of soma-haoma (a brew presumed to be made of opium, ephedra, and a local narcotic) have been deduced as practices followed by Zoroastrians.
The impressive size of the excavated remains of Gonur leads archaeologists to consider this the main city of the vast Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex. This is the ancient Bronze Age civilization known as the Oxus Civilization, after the great Central Asian river, the Oxus, also known as Amu Darya.
Gonur and other fortified towns and settlements are in a region now covering the modern states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, northern Afganistan, and north eastern Iran.
The late Greek born Russian archaeologist, Viktor Sarianidi is mainly credited with the discovery of these sites and the subsequent diggings that are now clubbed as the BMAC.
These archaeology digs that have been going on here since 1970, attests to an advanced civilization, with well fortified towns and palace and temple complexes within, water and drainage systems.
Zoroastrianism might have begun here, or at least it's forerunner.
BMAC or Oxus civilisation, c. 2300 - 1700 BC
The Bactrian-Margiana archeological complex, which thrived from 2300 to 1700 aec, was a culture of sedentary farmers living in fortified villages in the area between what is now Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. Their culture was related more to the cultures to the south than to the cultures of the steppes to their north, and they may have been of Dravidian stock.
It is possible that the Indo-Iranians raided the farmers of the area over centuries, eventually becoming a dominating group while adopting the farmers' culture (similar to the way that China succumbed to the "barbarians" from the steppes to the west).
Buddhas of Bamyan
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