History of the study and linguistic analysis of the Tocharian languages

(Note from editor: BEHPS begins publishing a series of works about the Tocharians written by great orientalist - Sverchkov Leonid Mikhailovich. This researcher has done a excellent work and analysis of linguistic, archaeological and historical materials on the Tocharians. Not everyone is familiar with the researchers of this orientalist, who, by the way, now beginning to be confirmed by the data of DNA-genealogy and DNA-archeology...)

 

L.M. Sverchkov

 

The Researchers drew attention to the particularly close ties uniting Tocharian with the Thracian-Phrygian, Germanic and Balto-Slavic languages (R. Kellogg, E. Schwentner, W. Krause, W. Porzig, E. Benveniste).

In the determination of the place of Tocharian language in relation to the Indo-European family of languages D. Adams used a single statistical method (which has already been tested before), but Adams is a little upgraded this method. In addition to the phonetic and morphological characteristics were used in the calculation and in the lexical correspondences. The result show the proximity the Proto-Tocharian language with the Proto-Germanic language at the stage of common proto-unity; the next contact matches is Greek language; then Baltic-Slavic languages, Latin language, Indian language, and other dialects.
 
Greek-Tocharian contacts were on the same stage when both of them had contact at least with a single representative from a not indoeuropean language. The time of separation Proto-Tocharian language by the opinion D. Adams refers to the second half of the fourth Millennium BC, when the speakers of Tocharian language were the so-called “the North-Western group”, which occupied the territory between the Elbe and the Dniester, North of the Carpathians. This dialect community, according to the author, corresponds to the archaeological Globular Amphora culture, common in Eastern Germany, Poland, Galicia and Volhynia, as well as Romania and Moldova. After leaving this region Proto-Tocharians in the first half of the III Millennium BC had contact native speakers of Greek, perhaps somewhere in Moldavia. This migration to the East was a through the territory of Black Sea and then through Asian steppes, where Proto-Tocharians met with the representatives of indo-aryans. And then, after the representatives of Indo-Aryans were incorporated in the Tocharians, they all together migrated to East, parallely on the way to the Tarim (Chinese Turkestan) including the new tribes in the Tocharians.

 

Note from editor BEHPS: The opinion of R. Kellogg, E. Schwentner, W. Krause, W. Porzig, E. Benveniste about the particularly close ties uniting Tocharian with the Thracian-Phrygian, Germanic and Balto-Slavic languages is confirmed by the data of DNA-genealogy (according by B.A. Muratov). See scheme 1.

 

 

Scheme 1. Ancestors of Tocharians by the data of DNA-genealogy (B.A. Muratov).

According to this scheme, the representatives of Proto-Tocharian languages with the representatives of Proto-Celtic, Proto-Baltic-Slavic and Proto-Germanic languages

were the descendants of the R1a-Z282 subclade

 

As always, absolutely original idea about the origin of the Tocharians was offered in 1962 amazing scholar W.B. Henning (1908–1967). Initially, Proto-Tocharians were a great and numerous people consisting of many tribes who spoke differing dialects among themselves. As archaic Tocharian languages separated from the Indo-European community relatively early, they had to get into the middle Eastern sphere of influence and therefore leave traces in the written traditions of Mesopotamia. If Indo-Aryans after the breakup of Indo-Iranian unity were found in the sources about 1500 BC, so we can expect a mention of the Tocharians in 2000 BC or even earlier. In this context, the author draws attention to the name of the country and people of Guti (Kuti), or Gutian people (Kutium) for the first time in the cuneiform documents Dating to the late early dynastic period (XXIII century BC), the Akkadian dynasty during the reign of Naram-sin — one of the greatest conquerors in the history of Babylon. W.B. Henning quotes an excerpt from “Weidner Chronicle”, which describes the fury of the God Marduk, turned against Naram-sin, the tool of which are the hordes of Gutian people. Under the blows of the Gutian people collapsed Akkadian Kingdom, in Mesopotamia and began the era of Gutian dynasty (about 2100 BC), which lasted, according to various estimates, 91 or 124–125 years. To control all territories, Gutian people chose the place of his stay - the mountains of Western Iran, somewhere in the valley of the Lower Zab, and they migrated back relatively recently, during the life of Naram-sin. W.B. Henning pays tribute to a version of German scientist A. Ungnad about migration of Gutian people coming from the East, specifically from “Russian Turkestan" but W.B. Henning regards as the probable point of the outcome - the steppes of Southern Russia, where also Gutian people migrated into Mesopotamia through Derbent [10] (Henning, 1978, p. 217-219).

After leaving Gutian people from Mesopotamia some part of Gutian people remained on the northern borders, and from time to time mention of them and can be found in subsequent periods. Often in ancient texts, for example, in the inscriptions of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) Is indicated on the physical and ethnic difference frontier peoples, "whose hills far away and whose languages were strange". 

The inscription of Hammurabi, along with Gutian people contains the name of the country - Tukriš, whose lands were situated somewhere east or northeast of Gutian people. Also Tukriš (together with Gutian people) and their king - Kiklipatalli mentioned in the story of Boğazköy of prehistoric king of Elam. Constantly territorial and chronological relationship Gutian people and Tukri gave an opportunity to put forward the version from W.B. Henning about that Tukri and Gutian people were two closely allied brother nations that came together to Western Persia and who left it together shortly before the end of the third millennium (Henning, 1978 , pp. 220-221).

At the end of the third millennium BC the part of these peoples migrated from western Iran to China, where were scattered over a wide area from Chinese Turkestan to the west of Gansu province, p. Yellow River [11]. Part of the population began to lead a farmer life, and another part - nomadic, that over time, along with the geographical factor, resulted in linguistic isolation. From West Gansu more mobile nomads migrated more to the east, where in the II century BC their history were written in the ancient Chinese chronicles.

In chinese annals were recorded by names of Guti with two hieroglyphs, sounding like modern Chinese - Yüe-chih (Yuezhi). Thus, Guti (hence Kuči) and Yüe-chih absolutely equivalent, while the name is identical to the later Tukri Tuγri and Tuχār. In later times as a Tuγri, and Kuči could serve as political and geographical indication throughout the country, stretching from Kucha to Turfan, and known as the "Land of the four Tuγri»: Kuči (Turk Küsän) to the west, Argi / Qarašahr the east, Turfan at north-east and the area north of Turfan - Bišbalik (Henning, 1978, pp. 221-226).

In chinese annals were recorded by names of Guti with two hieroglyphs, sounding like modern Chinese - Yüe-chih. Thus, Guti (hence Kuči) and Yüe-chih absolutely equivalent, while the name is identical to the later - Tukri, Tuγri and Tuχār. In later times as a Tuγri, and Kuči could serve as political and geographical indication throughout the country, stretching from Kucha to Turfan, and known as the "Land of the four Tuγri»: Kuči (Turk Küsän) to the west, Argi / Qarašahr the east, Turfan at north-east and the area north of Turfan - Bišbalik (Henning, 1978, pp 221-226.).


10. By analogy with the situation of Middle East at the end of III thousand BC we have data of Herodotus, about the invasion of the Cimmerians and Scythians in the late eighth century BC.

11. In the confirmation of the idea W.B. Henning also were found materials, which when comparing the prehistoric archaeological materials from ancient China (published by E. Hertzfeld) and Iran gave characteristics of a single archeological culture. Their the similarities are so identical, that excludes any possibility of an independent autochthon origin.

 

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