Renfrew and IE Overlords

X99Lynx at X99Lynx at
Wed Dec 22 05:55:54 UTC 1999

I wrote:

<<But Latin's prestige didn't come from a bunch of headbashing riders off the
steppes.  The advantages of Latin had to do with access to trade, crafts,
technology and much personal advancement that no profile of a pastoralist IE
speaking barbarian could appear to offer.>>

JoatSimeon at cogently replied:

<<-- No, headbashing armies from Italy.  You know, the "Roman Empire"?>>

Latin was spoken among the Celts before the Roman Army ever arrived.  Latin's
main attraction was the badge of Roman citizenship.  Mallory has something to
say about all this in ISIE and given the subtle nature of your argument, I
think something is worth repeating:

<<This business about a few IE speakers being able to come in and convert the
language of an entire people seems to be a vestige of19th Century jingoism
more than it seems to reflect any hard evidence.  If anything, we could just
as easily see any steppe "invaders" of central or southern or even western
Europe turning around and adopting the language of the folk who were already

I wrote with regard to IE possibly assimilating non-IE speakers from the
steppes, by analogy:

<<And Slavic has consumed a long list of "dominant elite" languages like they
were just popcorn at the ballpark.>>

JoatSimeon at replied:

<<Slavic reached its present dimensions through a series of well-attested
folk migrations and conquests starting in the 5th century AD.>>

I don't know what this has to do with anything.  The point was that there
have been many cases where the "dominant elite" disappear in the pre-existing

The point was, e.g., the Russians do not speak Mongul, Turkic, Gothic, Greek
or Scandinavian - although all of these arguably represented the languages of
various "dominant elite" - these speakers all seem to have been assimilated
by Russian.

With regard to IE Overlords finding their superiority in the horse, I wrote

<<It certainly wasn't the horse, which shows no sign of being a
factor in seige or decisive war before 1000BC.>>

JoatSimeon at replied:

<<-- an absurd statement, seeing as every major Middle Eastern power depended
on a chariot corps in the 2nd millenium BCE.>>

Be assured I find your reply not absurd but very confusing.  "Every major
Middle Eastern power" were NOT steppe invaders nor IE speakers.  But perhaps
that is unfair.  In what battle or seige specifically was the horse

I wrote:

<<And the chariot was just a platform for conveying war leaders around in

JoatSimeon at replied with regard to Homer:

<<I suggest you study the data from the period when the chariot was an
actual factor.  It was primiarily used as a mobile platform for archers.>>

By the "period when the chariot was an actual factor", you say you mean when
it was being used by archers.  I took your suggestion to heart and discovered
that by all accounts the use of the chariot by archers was innovated by the
Eygptians about 1200BC.

I take it therefore that it is your well thought-out contention that the
IndoEuropeans borrowed this idea from the Egyptians to conquer many lands and
force IE languages upon them?  I will further "study the data" from the
period and let you know what I turn up.

BTW, does it occur to you that any of your responses above may be missing the
point in a big way?

Steve Long

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