V.A.Piskarev,
A.S.Timoschuk

Aryans, Slavs - kinship or neighborhood?

 

These days Russia goes through not only the economic crisis, but also succumbs to the identity crisis. While many hail to the idea of Orthodox Christian Russia, others are not happy with the cultural consequences it brings and therefore delve into the pre-Christian past, trying to find there roots of Russian identity. Some of these scholars are researching the possibility of the Aryan ancestry of the Slavs. They insist on the cultural and linguistic unity of both families. Academic Rybakov B.A. is of the opinion due to the facts, concerning Tripolskaya culture, which was situated near the Northern Black Sea coast. While close connection of Slavs with Tripol culture is generally not disputed, Rybakov makes a point, that Tripol murals are the illustrative material to the 10 hymn of Rg Veda (Gornung B.V. From prehistoryP.218) He also sees Slavic-Aryan common roots in the names of the pagan gods (compare: Svarog - name of the god of heaven and Skt. svarga, sky; then Slavic Indrik, Indrok and Skt. indra; Slavic god of the wind Stribog and Skt. verb strI) and also the symbols of the two communities:

 

 

On the left you may see Slavic god of Sun (Dajbog ?) and on the right Indian folk picture of the Sun god. Two-headed horse represents the Sun. There are more symbols, both characteristic to both communities, that Rybakov brings:

 

Half-maiden half-bird. Left: Slavs, right: India

Water maiden. Left: Slavs, right: India.

 

Another feature, which Rybakov mentions is the likeliness of the phallic cult and the cult of the fertility goddess. Its known, that almost all archaic tribes had these cults, yet in Slavic Rus it had some very interesting features. In the chronic its mentioned, that Slavs used to worship sramniye udy, phallus, which received offerings during the wedding ceremony (see on the right phallus from Staraya Russa, XI c.)

Worship of the fertility Gods and goddesses was also very prominent in Rus. Main fertility god was Rod (compare Rudra). Rybakov mentions one of the zivas name is ziznadeva, zizna corresponds to male organ and in Russian one of the meanings of the word shish is the same. In the fertility rituals, rhombic patterns, beautifying images of the goddesses are also wide spread both in Rus and AryAvarta.

 

There are some other similar rituals, like enthroning of the silver head with the golden moustache (ritual, that Slavs used to do for their god Perun; author says its practiced in Maharastra on the shrines of the saints).

Cosmological views are often also similar. Thus, its known that Indo-Iranians believed in the beginning of the universe from the cosmic egg. In the Slavic Russia egg still symbolizes the beginning of life (on the Easter, for example). Polar star is identified with the pivot of the universe in the Indo-Iranian community, as for the Slavs, it used to be called Stojar, which also means a poll in the middle of the stack stog of hay.

Scholar N.Guseva conducted a linguistic research of the neighborhood (or kinship?) of Aryans and Slavs. Common words, ritualistic terminology and names of gods often have clear Sanskrit derivatives. She offers about a hundred words in evidence. Here are some of the examples that she brings out:

Russian

meaning

Sanskrit

Kogda

When

kadA

Oba

Both

ubhA

Tot

That

tat

Vsegda

Always

sadA

Togda

Then

tadA

Putnik

Traveler

pathika

Estestvo

Being

astitva

Dom

House

dham

Jena

Wife

jani

Mat

Mother

mAtR

Syn

Son

sUnu, sUna

Snoha

Daughter-in-law

snuSa

Svoystvo

Property

svatva

Dever

Brother-in-law

devar

Zyat

Son-in-law

jata, jati

Brat

Brother

bhrAtaH

Tata, tyatya father (voc.)

tAta my darling, my brother, my uncle (voc.)

Toponymy is especially ancient lexicological layer; names of the rivers, lakes, hills often can say more, then archeological findings. That is probably why, search of the universal roots of the world civilizations make many scholars turn to the toponymy. N.O.Trubachev brings a list of 150 toponyms of the Crimea proving their Indo-Iranian origin:

S.Jarnikova cites in her works 80 hydronyms of the Russian Murmansk, Arhangelsk and Vologda regions with their Sanskrit roots. If the phenomena was wide spread, it must have the occurrence in other regions, we thought. With this supposition in our minds we decided to analyze hydronyms of the Vladimir region, which is situated to a North-East from Moscow. Founded in the Xth century, it used to be a Northern Russian capital up to XIVth century. First we made a list of all hydronyms and sorted them according their visually Slavic or Ugro-Finnish origin. About 30 % of the hydronyms of Vladimir region are Slavic. These are rivers and lakes like Uvod, Suvod, Gus, Karaslitsa, Ponyhar, Kolp and dozens of others. You can often find their derivation by using Dals and Fasmers dictionaries.

About 60 % of the hydronyms happened to be Ugro-Finnish, which is no surprise, since Vladimir region used to be an areal for these tribes. They are, for example: Vyazma, Nerehta, Podoksa, Sudogda, Klyazma and others. Most of the Sanskrit related hydronyms are likely to be in the Ugro-Finnish group. Below is the list of the rivers and lakes in capital letters and their possible derivation.

ANJA

aJj to purify

aJjas swift

ARGA

arc to glow, emanate

argha price, gift

arS to flow

arNava flow

arNas river

INDRUS

indriya strength, might

(There is a river Indraja in Lithuania)

URDA

urda sportful , cheerful

Urdhvas high

USHNA

uSNa

Meaning

mf(%{A} , rarely %{I})n. (Un2. iii , 2) hot , warm ; ardent , passionate , impetuous RV. x , 4 , 2 AV. vi , 68 , 1 ; viii , 9 , 17 S3Br. ChUp. Sus3r. Mn. &c. ; pungent , acrid ; sharp , active L. ; m. onion L. [220,2] ; N. of a man VP. ; (%{as} , %{am}) m. n. heat , warmth , the hot season (June , July) Mn. xi , 113 S3ak. Das3. &c. ; any hot object MBh.

 

KSHARA

kSara melting, disappearing; water

kSAra caustic , biting , corrosive , acrid , pungent

SENTUR

setu bridge, dam

SURA

sura god, divinity, deity

surA to distil, spirituous liquor , wine (in ancient times `" a kind of beer "') ; spirituous liquor (personified as a daughter of Varun2a produced at the churning of the ocean) RV. &c. &c. ; water Naigh. i , 12 ; a drinking vessel L.

sUra m. (fr. 3. %{su}) the Soma-juice flowing from the Soma press RV. AV.

GARAVA

gar to splash

ghar to water

ghar-ghara thundering, gurgling

gara drink

garala poison

NARMA

narma amusement, play

MOKSHUR

mokSa liberation

mekSanam to mix

DANDUR

dAnu to flow; flowing liquid

TARA

tara river crossing

taraGga wave

taraGgiNI river

tari boat

taraNi flowing, fast

TRAMA

traANa, trAman protection, guard

TOYMIGA

toya water

There are many complex words in Sanskrit, beginning with water

toya-ja born in water

toyadhara containing water

toyamaya consisting of water

mIna fish

VISHA

viSa poison

Although some other names stirred our attention Siverka (Skt. ziv), Snoved (Skt. ved), Ramenka (Skt. rAma), Kura (Skt.kuru), Charmus (Skt. cAru), Yada (Skt. yada), Luh (Skt. luh-lubh-lohati), Lamna (Skt. lamna, loman), Nasmur (Skt. nAsA) since their possible Sanskrit derivation didnt happen to be concerned with water we disregarded them as faux amis.

You may notice, that most of hydronyms, that are likely to have some connection with Sanskrit are Ugro-Finnish by the ending, so it may be also so, that these names were brought by the Ugro-Finnish groups, that were once prominent in the Russian territory. We may conclude then, that Sanskrit rooted hydronyms indicate of the early Ugro-Finnish contacts with Indo-Iranians rather then the contacts of the Slavs with them.

 

Bibliography.

  1. Drevnost: Aryans, Slavs. Moscow, 1996.
  2. Dal Dictionary.
  3. Fasmer Dictionary
  4. Kochergina V.A. Sanskrit-Russian Dictionary.
  5. Capeller's Sanskrit-English Dictionary
  6. http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/indologie/tamil/cap_search.html
  7. Maps of the Vladimir region.