Yamnaya

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Monotheism and polytheism – West Asian religion

By | 2018-04-15T12:06:29+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar or Inanna The earliest people in West Asia were all polytheistic: they all worshipped many gods. From 3000 BC to 539 BC, the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Assyrians and the Babylonians all worshipped pretty much the same set of gods, despite their cultural differences. The most important of these gods was Ea. Ishtar was the most important goddess. Like the [...]

Vis and Ramin – Iran – West Asian stories

By | 2018-04-25T23:57:31+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

A Parthian noblewoman This is a story from the Parthian Empire, but the earliest written version that we still have is by the Islamic poet Gorgani, about 1050 AD: King Mobad of Marv saw the beautiful Queen Shahru, and asked her to marry him, but she was already married. Instead, Queen Shahru promised to send King Mobad her daughter to marry, [...]

Sohrab and Rustem – Iran – West Asian stories

By | 2018-04-07T17:04:55+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

The death of Sohrab (Iranian painting) This story is probably an old Indo-European story that Persian people told even before they moved south into Iran about 2000 BC. It's probably related to the German story of Hildebrand and the Greek story of Achilles and Penthesileia, though sometimes Rustem is also a trickster like Odysseus, or like the Indian Krishna (you may want to compare [...]

Third Dynasty of Ur – Mesopotamia – West Asian history

By | 2018-04-25T23:49:52+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Standard of Ur This is the Middle Bronze Age in West Asia, about 2100 BC to 1700 BC. It corresponds roughly to the First Intermediate Period in Egypt, and just as in Egypt this was a time when West Asia was broken up into a lot of little kingdoms instead of being one big empire. In Greece, [...]

Who were the Trojans? – West Asian history

By | 2018-04-07T17:04:51+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

A reconstruction of what Troy VI might have looked like. For thousands of years, people read Homer's Iliad and learned the story of the Trojan War. But nobody knew if it had really happened, or if there really even was a city of Troy. In the 1800s, a German man named Heinrich Schliemann decided to look for [...]

Who were the Persians? Persian Empire – Iran – history

By | 2018-04-25T23:56:36+00:00 September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia, Where|

The Persians came from the Central Asian steppe The Persians and the Medes Around 1200 BC, some Indo-European people from Central Asia moved south into West Asia. These people were the Persians and the Medes. Nomads and cattle-herders in Central Asia The Persians and the Medes were distantly related to the Scythians, the Hittites, the Greeks and the Romans, and they spoke [...]

Who were the Scythians? Central Asian history

By | 2018-04-24T11:39:59+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Scythian history: A Scythian milking a sheep (Tolstaja Mogila kurgan, Ukraine, 400 BC) Scythians lived in Central Asia The Scythians were a large group of loosely connected people who lived in Russia. They also lived further south around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.  Like the Hittites, the Greeks and the Germans, they were Indo-Europeans. Powerful in the Iron Age We [...]

Black Sea – West Asian Environment

By | 2018-04-25T23:35:41+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Environment, West Asia|

Black Sea coast (from Turkey) The Black Sea was originally a fresh-water lake. In the Stone Age, many people lived around the edge of this lake. But around 7000 BC, as the world came out of the last Ice Age and all the glaciers melted, sea level rose. The Mediterranean Sea spilled over the little bit of land that separated it [...]

The First Native Americans

By | 2018-04-08T11:23:12+00:00 August 9th, 2017|History, Native American|

A glacier The history of North America up to 1500 AD is a story of a continent that started out empty and gradually got more and more crowded. Probably the first people to come to North America came from East Asia, about 20,000 BC, and then small groups of people kept crossing from time to time. DNA [...]

The Yamnaya and the Indo-European language family

By | 2018-04-21T13:20:00+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Yamnaya get around: Map of the spread of Indo-European languages Who were the Yamnaya? People we call the Yamnaya (Ukrainian for "People who lived in pits") seem to have been speaking an early version of the Indo-European language at least as early as 5000 BC in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian [...]