Two New courses for Fall 2018

Kaveh Farrokh is offering two new courses for the of Fall 2018 at the Paris-based Methodologica Universitas at the Départment de Méthodologie des Sciences Historiques.  See also the Institution’s Encyclopedic project:

Analytica Iranica: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Iranian Studies … Kaveh Farrokh is one of the Academic Advisors of this Encyclopedia project …

The first of these is the first course offered on the military history of ancient Iran or Persia:

Course HIS/CP/202: The Military History of Ancient Iran: 559 BCE-651 CE [Fall 2018, Methodologica Universitas, Départment de Méthodologie des Sciences Historiques]Click here for Registration Information

The course description for the above is as follows (HIS/SP/202):

This course examines Iran’s pre-Islamic military history with respect to political relations, wars, battles with Greece, Rome, Central Asia. These topics are examined in the Achaemenid (559-333 BCE), Parthian (250 BCE-224 CE) and Sassanian (224-651 CE) epochs. Methodology of the course utilizes scientific methodology in archival analysis (primary and secondary sources), numismatics (study of coins), archaeological analysis (analysis of equipment and technology), and statistical methodology (e.g. compiling data for analysis, factor analysis, etc.). The strengths and weaknesses (military, political and social) of each dynasty is examined up to the downfall of ancient Iran to the Arab conquests of Iran (637-651 CE). Detailed analysis is made of developments from the early Achaemenid era to the end of the Sassanian era with respect to equipment, technology, military architecture, military doctrine, and martial culture. Influences upon and from Greece, Rome, Central Asia and Eastern Europe are also examined. The course concludes with a survey of post-Islamic sources reporting of the extensive military literature pertaining to Sassanian weapons and tactics (battlefield tactics, siege craft, etc.) and its influence upon Islamic warfare.

Kaveh Farrokh meeting the late Professor Ehsan Yarshater (1920-2018) during the Honoring ceremony for the late Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson Frye (1920-2014) in the Greater San Francisco area in 2008.

The second is a comprehensive course on the History of ancient Iran or Persia, which will incorporate modern research and academic methodologies incorporating anthropology, archaeology, the study of sources, numismatics, etc:

Course HIS/CP/203: The History of Ancient Iran: 559 BCE-651 CE [Fall 2018, Methodologica Universitas, Départment de Méthodologie des Sciences Historiques]Click here for Registration Information

Three Books published in 2017-2018 on the military history of Ancient Iran or Persia (from left to right): The Armies of Ancient Persia: the Sassanians (2017; see book review by the Military History Journal in 2018); A Synopsis of Sassanian Military Organization and Combat Units (Kaveh Farrokh, Katarzyna Maksymiuk & Gholamreza Karamian, 2018); and The Siege of Amida (Kaveh Farrokh, Katarzyna Maksymiuk & Javier Sánchez-Gracia, 2018).

The course description for the above is as follows (HIS/CP/203):

Course begins with the pre Indo-European era of ancient Iran and the rise of proto-Iranian peoples and arrivals onto the Iranian plateau. Recent archaeological works and research of pre Indo-European Iran, such as the Burnt City and Elam are surveyed. This is followed by detailed historical surveys of the three epochs of ancient Iran: Achaemenids (559-333 BCE), Parthians (250 BCE-224 CE) and Sassanians (224-651 CE). Course material is integrated with methodology utilizing scientific methodology in archival analysis (primary and secondary sources), numismatics (study of coins), archaeological analysis (analysis of equipment and technology), and statistical methodology (e.g. compiling data for analysis, factor analysis, etc.). The political relations and cultural exchanges of the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanian dynasties with the Greco-Roman, Central Asian, Indian subcontinent, Caucasian, European and Chinese realms are examined. Each epoch is also examined with respect to developments in legal systems, societal development and the role of women, the arts, architecture, learning, medicine, technology, theology and religious philosophy, communications, shipping, commerce and the Silk Route.

[Above] Kaveh Farrokh’s second textShadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا-” cited by the BBC-Persian service as theBest History Book of 2007(November 5, 2008), as well as the by Kayhan News Service of London (November 12, 2008). The text was nominated by the Independent Book Publishers’ Association (Benjamin Franklin Award) among the top finalists for the Best textbooks of 2008. The book has been recognized by world-class scholars such as the late Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson Frye (1920-2014), Harvard University, Dr. Geoffrey Greatrex, Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, Dr. Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, School of HistoryUniversity of Edinburgh and Dr. Patrick Hunt. The book was reviewed in the world-class academic (peer-reviewed by top Iranian Studies scholars) Iranshenasi journal in 2010: Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War, by Dr. Kaveh Farrokh. Iranshenasi, Volume XXII, No.1, Spring 2010, pp.1-5 (see document in pdf). [Below] Translations of Shadows in the Desert [A] Persian translation by Taghe Bostan Publishers (2009) [B] Persian translation by Qoqnoos Publishers (2009) [C] the original textbook (2008) and [D] Russian translation by EXMO Publishers.

Theory of Iranian origin of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table

The posting below is from a segment of the article by Mark Adderley entitled “Theories about the Origins of the Arthurian Legend” – this was originally posted in the Mark Adderley website (the link is no longer operational). Kindly note that the pictures and accompanying descriptions do not appear in the original article by Adderley.

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As proposed by Nickel, Littleton, and Malcor,  the inspiration for Arthur was Lucius Artorius Castus, the prefect of the 6th Legion, stationed in York.  Artorius led the 6th Legion overseas to Armorica (Brittany) on a successful punitive raid, and many of the soldiers he led were Sarmatians.

There are a number of striking resemblances between the Sarmatians and their beliefs and legends, and elements in the Arthurian legend.  The Sarmatians:

[1] were cavalry, unlike most Roman soldiers, protected by jointed armor, just like Arthur’s knights.

Russian reconstruction of King Arthur and his Sarmatian cavalry (Source: Our Russia); note Iranian dragon standards of the cavalrymen also seen in the armies of the Parthians and Sassanians.

[2] used a dragon standard in battle, as Arthur is in some medieval illustrations.

A depiction of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae and Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d”Arthur. Note the windsock carried by the horseman (Farrokh, page 171, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا) – this item was bought from the wider Iranian realm (Partho-Sassanian Persia, Sarmatians, etc.) into Europe by the Iranian-speaking Alans. The inset depicts a reconstruction of a 3rd century CE Partho-Sassanian banner by Peter Wilcox (1986).

[3] venerated a naked sword set in the ground or a platform, resembling the story of the sword in the stone.

A reconstruction by Brzezinski and Mielczarek (2002 ) of Iranian-speaking Sarmatian warriors paying their respects to a fallen comrade in Europe (circa 1st century CE) – note the ritual of thrusting the fallen comrade’s sword  into the earth. At right is a screenshot of the Excalibur sword of King Arthur thrust into the stone (Movie “Excalibur“, 1981, John Boorman). This is one of many parallels between the Arthurian legends and the mythologies of the ancient Iranians  (Pictures used in Kaveh Farrokh’s lectures at the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Division).

[4] used a cauldron full of hashish in their religious ceremonies, a bit like the Grail.

[5] told the story of Batradz, a hero whose life was bound up in his sword.  Dying, he asked his last companion to cast it into the sea.  The companion’s failure to report the sign demanded by Batradz indicates that he has not done so.  When he finally throws the sword in, the sea turns blood red.  This story certainly resembles the story of Arthur, Excalibur, and Bedivere.

Roman tombstone from Chester (housed at Grosvenor Museum, item #: 8394907246), UK depicting Sarmatian horseman attired like other kindred Iranian  peoples such as the Parthians and Sassanians  (Source: Carole Raddato, uploaded by Marcus Cyron in Public Domain).

The tombstone fragments of a Sarmatian/Alanian standard bearer were found at Chester (Deva) in 1890. This is unique evidence of the presence of heavily armoured Sarmatian cavalry from the earliest third century A.D. The two fragments of the tombstone (now in the Grosvenor Museum in Chester) show a horseman wearing a cloak and turning to the right. He holds aloft, with both hands, a dragon standard of the Sarmatian/Alanian type, and his conical helmet, with a vertical metal frame, is of the same pattern. A sword hangs at his right. Both man and horse are shown clad in tightly fitting scale armour. This attire for man and mount was characteristic of Sarmatian/Alanian heavy cavalry.

Sarmatian armour discovered near Hadrian’s Wall in England (Source: Periklisdeligiannis); this most likely belonged to an Iranian-speaking Alan or related Ia-zyges cavalrymen serving as mercenaries in the Roman army in Britain. 

References

Note: Many of the extracts from chronicles cited above can be found in Chambers’ Arthur of Britain.

Alcock, Leslie.  Arthur’s Britain.  Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.
Ashe, Geoffrey.  “The Arthurian Fact.”  The Quest for Arthur’s Britain.  Ed. Geoffrey Ashe.  London: Paladin, 1968.  27-57.
– – – .  “A Certain Very Ancient Book: Traces of an Arthurian Source in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History.” Speculum 56 (1981): 301-23.
– – – .  The Discovery of King Arthur.  New York: Henry Holt, 1985.
– – – .  “The Origins of the Arthurian Legend.”  Arthuriana 5.3 (1995): 1-23.
Chambers, E. K.  Arthur of Britain. London: Sidgewick and Jackson, 1927.
Charles-Edwards, Thomas.  “The Arthur of History.”  The Arthur of the Welsh: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Welsh Literature.  Ed. Rachel Bromwich, A. O. H. Jarman, and Brynley F. Roberts.  Cardiff: U of Wales P, 1991.  15-32.
Dumville, David N.  “Sub-Roman Britain: History and Legend.”  History 62 (1977): 173-92.
Gildas.  The Ruin of Britain and Other Works.  Ed. and trans. Michael Winterbottom.  Chichester: Phillimore, 1978.
Green, Thomas.  Concepts of Arthur: Early Arthurian Tradition and the Origins of the Legend.  Stroud: Tempus, 2007.
Jackson, Kenneth Hurlstone. “The Arthur of History.” Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages: A Collaborative History. Ed. Roger Sherman Loomis.  Oxford: Clarendon, 1959. 1-11.
– – – .  “Gildas and the Names of the British Princes.”  Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies 3 (1982): 30-40.
Jordanes.  The Gothic History.  Trans. C. C. Mierow.  Princeton: Princeton UP, 1915.
Littleton, C. Scott, and Ann C. Thomas.  “The Sarmatian Connection: New Light on the Origin of the Arthurian and Holy Grail legends.”  Journal of American Folklore 91 (1978): 513-27.
– – – , and Linda A. Malcor.  From Scythia to Camelot: A Radical Reassessment of the Legends of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and the Holy Grail.  2nd ed.  London: Routledge, 2000.
Morris, John.  The Age of Arthur: A History of the British Isles from 350 to 650.  Vol. 1.  Roman Britain and the Empire of Arthur.  Chichester: Phillimore, 1973.
Nennius.  British History and The Welsh Annals.  Ed. and trans. John Morris.  London: Phillimore, 1980.
Nickel, Helmut.  “The Dawn of Chivalry.”  From the Lands of the Scythians.  New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975.  150-52.
Padel, O. J.  Arthur in Medieval Welsh Literature.  Cardiff: U of Wales P, 2000.
– – – .  “Recent Work on the Origins of the Arthurian Legend: A Comment.”  Arthuriana 5.3 (1995): 103-14.
Sidonius Apollinaris.  The Letters.  Trans. O. M. Dalton.  Oxford: Clarendon, 1915.

King Arthur [Part I]: Some Literary, Archaeological and Historical evidence

The article below King Arthur: Some Literary, Archaeological and Historical evidenceis written by Periklis Deligiannis and posted in Academia.edu. The posting below is Deligiannis’ first part of the article with the Sarmatian links with King Arthur to be further discussed in later reports in September 2018, September 2019 and September 2020. For more on the links between wider Iranian culture and Europe click this link …

Kindly note that a number of images and accompanying captions inserted below do not appear in Periklis Deligiannis’ original article.

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In 407 AD the Romans withdrew their last regular troops from the British provinces. The independent Romano-Britons had to fight hard against the Pict, Irish and Anglo-Saxon barbarians who were besieging their territory. Former Roman Britain was gradually divided into autonomous ‘principalities’ led by warlords. However they tried to keep united their “British kingdom” as they considered their common territory, and mainly to repel the invading Anglo-Saxons who had conquered the Southeast, advancing headlong. It seems that the Britons in order to maintain their unity, elected a military commander (Dux) as a senior politico-military leader, who led the operations against the invaders and took care on preventing infighting. A sequence of inspired Dukes (Voteporix, Vortigern, Ambrosius Aurelianus) led the British resistance. Those who accept Arthur’s historicity usually consider him as one of these Dukes (a theory consider him Aurelianus’ son).

A Late Roman helmet rather of Persian distant origin (design), decorated with semi-gemstones. The Romano-Britons inherited this type together with the rest of the Roman weaponry and military organization (Periklis Deligiannis).

The Briton literary tradition and the archaeological evidence, mainly the Saxon burials, denote that the Anglo-Saxon invasion was halted on the verge of the 5th-6th centuries AD. Many scholars believe that the military action of the legendary king Arthur was the main ‘factor’ for the repulse of the newcomers. However, his historicity is strongly and justifiably disputed. In this series of articles I will deal with some additional literary, archaeological and historical evidence concerning his historicity.

The literary sources on Arthur

The first literary reference to Arthur appears in the Northern Briton epic “Y Goddodin” (“the Votadini” around AD 600) which recounts an attempt of the Votadini people (Celtic Goddodin) of the modern Scottish Lowlands and their allies, to check the advance of the Angles. Some scholars believe that the mention of Arthur in this epic was added later. The first ‘secure’ reference to the legendary commander comes from Nennius in his “History of the Britons” (“Historia Britonnum”, end of 8th century). Nennius’ work was based mostly on the local Briton tradition. Nennius describes the legendary figure as a warlord who repelled the barbarians around the 5th-6th centuries. This was followed shortly after by another reference of Arthur in the “Annales Cambriae” (9th c.). But the author, who developed most of all Arthur’s renowned image as a just and powerful warrior-king, was the Archdeacon of Oxford Geoffrey of Monmouth in his largely mythical “History of the Kings of Britain” (“Historia Regum Britanniae”, AD 1133). Geoffrey relied heavily on the two aforementioned works, and possibly on the local oral tradition. In France, the late medieval chronicler Chretien de Troyes holds an analogous contribution to the Arthurian legend. The later writers of the Arthurian epic circle are based on the works of the last two authors (mostly on Geoffrey’s work and less on Chretien’s) going on to the enrichment of the epic with elements belonging mainly to the Late Middle Ages, such as the Round Table, the quest for the Holy Grail, etc.

In the 5th-6th centuries AD, the Anglo-Saxons brought to Britain many elements of the eastern Scandinavian Proto-Vendel and Vendel cultures, several of which are obvious on their arms and armor, i.e. on their helmets (Sutton Hoo burial, etc.), daggers, swords etc (reconstruction of an Anglo-Saxon warlord wearing a Sutton Hoo-type helmet, by the Historical Association Wulfheodenas) (Periklis Deligiannis). Note: segmented helmets fitted with metallic facemasks were very common in the Sassanian army (Spah), a topic that was addressed in detail in: Farrokh, K., Karamian, Gh., & Kubic, A. (2016). An Examination of Parthian and Sassanian Military Helmets 2nd century BCE – 7th century CE (2016). THE THIRD COLLOQUIA BALTICA-IRANICA, Nov 25-26, Siedlce University.

Modern scholars who do not accept Arthur’s historicity, rely mainly on the fact that he is not mentioned in the main chronicle of the sixth century AD, the chronicle of the Briton churchman Gildas “The Disaster and Conquest of Britain” (“De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae”, mid-6th century) which deals with the events of the Saxon invasion. They believe that if Arthur really existed and halted the Saxons, his name should be referred by Gildas and not just once or twice. But Gildas does not mention him at all.

In fact this argument is not particularly strong, because during the same period a surprisingly large number of princes and nobles named “Arthur” are witnessed across Great Britain. The preference in this personal name appears suddenly, without any prior, and indicates that these aristocrats and warlords received honorary as infants the name of a politico-military personality who achieved great deeds just a little time before their birth. Concerning the fact that the contemporary Latin-speaking Continental writers do not mention Arthur (another argument of those who do not accept his historicity), this is explained by the fact that after AD 407 Britain is lost from their “vision” and interests. It is rater natural that there is no mention of Arthur in the Continental sources, although some scholars believe that the Briton commander is none other than the British king Riothamus of the “History of the Goths” (6th c.) Riothamus is analyzed to Rigo-tamos according to Fleuriot, meaning “Supreme Ruler” which is indeed the title of the Dux Britanniarum of this age. But for what reasons would Gildas have concealed the achievements of his almost contemporary Arthur?

The Lives of the Briton saints suggest in their texts that Arthur was using the money of the Briton Church to financially support his wars, and he was not distracting them with the consent of the Church. It seems in general that his contemporary Christians did not particularly like him and this may explain why Gildas is silent concerning his hypothetical decisive contribution to repulse the Anglo-Saxons. Geoffrey of Monmouth presented Arthur as a pious Christian king, as he had to be in the 12th century, but this presentation has very little significance. The references to the Christian faith of Arthur’s knights and soldiers are of the same small value. If Arthur was a real person, it is very doubtful that he and most of his men followed orthodox (official Roman) Christianity that had not many followers in Britain. Most British of this era rather remained faithful to the ancient Celtic cults or to the heresy of Pelagianism which was significantly removed from orthodox Christianity. It seems that the Britons who were almost permanently under arms, like Arthur and his men, followed mainly the traditional Celtic religion or the cult of Mithras, i.e. the renowned Iranian and later Roman ‘god of the soldiers’.

Location of Tintagel in red (Periklis Deligiannis).

Archaeological and Historical Evidence

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Arthur was born in the fortress of Tintagel, on the north coast of Cornwall. There lived Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall together with his beautiful wife Ygraine (or Igraine). Another Briton warlord, Uther Pendragon was in love with her. Ygraine responded to the feelings of Uther, who despairing of his love for the beautiful duchess asked the help of Merlin the magician. The latter agreed to help Uther on his sexual intercourse with Ygraine in exchange for the surrendering of the child to be born from their commingling. Uther agreed and Merlin gave to him the form of Ygraine’s husband. Gorlois had reduced his wife to their summer dwelling in Tintagel in order to protect her from Uther. The latter managed to make love to Ygraine, her husband was killed, and the child born in Tintagel, namely Arthur, was delivered to Merlin who later established him to the British throne.

Until recently, scholars did not generally consider Geoffrey’s reference on Arthur’s birth in Tintagel as a worthy one. The ruins at the top of the modern island Tintagel (a coastal cliff of Cornwall) belong to a late medieval fortress that was built a century after the writing of Geoffrey’s History. However, probably the archdeacon knew that Tintagel was a fort of the British Dark Ages and followed the local tradition that placed Arthur’s birth there. The archaeological findings reinforce this view. In the summer of 1983 a series of fires extended on Tintagel, where after burning the vegetation, revealed the foundations of strong fortifications. Excavations in the area revealed several findings of ceramics, based on which, the History of the island was divided into two periods. The first historical phase coincides with the Roman period. The fact that no other pottery was excavated in the region, shows that the Roman government was using Tintagel as a commercial post. This is reinforced by the discovery of a harbor on the island, which continued to be used during the 5th-6th centuries. These centuries are concerning Tintagel’s second period, contemporary with Arthur’s wars. The pottery of the 5th-6th century that was discovered on the island was made in the East Roman Empire, Gaul and North Africa, which denotes that the movement of goods by the Celts of Tintagel increased compared to the Roman period. But the large amounts of the excavated pottery, assume that a strong central government controlled the trade. Due to the historical period, this rather corresponded to a monarch. The discovery of a ditch on the island (which considering its use almost always surrounded walls made of tree trunks in Celtic strongholds) denotes that Tintagel was a fortified trading location. After all it would be dangerous for the local Britons to leave defenseless a natural fortress like Tintagel, because it could be captured by overseas enemies or invaders.

‘Tristan and Isolde’ in a classic artwork by Edmund Blair Leighton. Tristan appears in the Arthurian Circle as a worthy knight and a romantic figure as well, but in reality he was a powerful Pict warlord. Dunstan, being his real name, was an historic figure, the champion of the Cruthni (Picts) against the Scottish invaders in Pictavia (Periklis Deligiannis).

During excavations in 1998 an important finding was discovered: a plate (a culvert cover) with a Latin inscription of the 5th century. The name of Arthur was read in it. During the Early Middle Ages, very few could write and the literate usually lived in monasteries or palaces. Some decades ago it was believed that Tintagel was a monastery, but archeology has shown that it was the residence of a prince, judging by the fortifications and the broken utensils of the 5th-6th centuries. Most of the broken pieces came from expensive cups and jugs: such utensils were usually used by rich Celtic and Romano-Briton kings to drink Mediterranean wines. It is believed that the ruler of Tintagel was quite wealthy and powerful, and that his “palace” was in the fort. There are no ruins of it today, because the British “palaces” of the time were mainly made of wood. In conclusion, it seems that Tintagel was a Roman and then a Briton royal fortress that controlled the mouth of the adjacent Camel River. The kings of the 5th-6th century used it only a period of time, generally because the Briton rulers were “itinerant kings.” They did not maintain courtyards or permanent capitals but moved from one fort of their territory to another. Tintagel was possibly the summer residence of the local warlord-king.

The Arthurian legend indicates the existence of two “magical” swords.

Young Arthur was proclaimed king of the Britons when he pulled with ease Uther’s royal sword, which was spiked on a rock. The other pretenders of the throne failed when they tried to pull it. Several British archaeologists believe that the theme of the sword stuck on a rock, originates from the technical construction of the Bronze Age swords. The molten brass was poured into a stone mold, consisting of two parts which were connected tightly together by rivets. The mold was heated to the same temperature as the brass and then it was allowed to return to its natural temperature. Then the coppersmith removed the nails that held the two parts of the stone cast and pulled (using muscular effort) the sword that had been formed, as did Arthur with Uther’s sword. However, in my opinion this explanation is not convincing. The Sarmatian origin of the legend of the sword spiked on a rock is more likely (This will be discussed in later reports in September 2018, September 2019 and September 2020). The Sarmatians were an important North Iranian people of the Eurasian steppe, whose branches were scattered and settled in various regions of Europe, including Britain (members of the Iazygae and Alani tribes, as mercenaries of the Romans). It is significant that their main deity was worshiped in the form of a sword spiked on the ground or on  a rock.

Concerning the second magical sword, according to legend when King Arthur needed a new sword, the Lady of the Lake emerged from the water and handed him the sword Excalibur. The links between King Arthur, the Lady of the lake and ancient Iran’s Goddess Anahita are discussed in the following:

Arctic Mummy from Civilization with Links to Persia

The article below by Richard Grey entitled Riddle of the medieval ‘mummy’ discovered in Siberia: Child from unknown Arctic civilization found wrapped in birch barkoriginally appeared in the Daily Mail on July 6, 2015.

The article is of interest as it pertains to the remains of a child or teenager from the 12th or 13th centuries CE. The Body was discovered at the medieval site near Salekhard in Russia, near Arctic Circle.

Five other bodies found previously at the site were covered in copper plates.These are thought to have been part of a civilization with links to Persia.

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The remains of a medieval ‘mummy’ wrapped in a cocoon of birch bark has been discovered at the site of a village that belonged to a mysterious arctic civilization.

Archaeologists discovered the remains, which they believe may be a child or teenager from the 12th or 13th century, while excavating near the town of Salekhard in Tyumen Oblast, Russia.

The site, which is 18 miles south of the Arctic Circle, is thought to be a medieval necropolis where several bodies have been buried in ways unlike anything else found in the region.

The Zeleny Yar necropolis was found just outside Salekhard in Russia, just 18 miles from the Arctic Circle (Source: Daily Mail Online).

Experts say bodies found at the site appear to have been naturally mummified in the permafrost as a result of being buried with sheets of copper in their shrouds and frozen conditions.

Archaeologists have now removed the latest body to be discovered from the sandy soil, which is now only frozen for part of the year – it is the first human remains to be found since 2002.

The remains, which are being kept in a special freezer in the Shemanovsky Museum in Salekhard, are due to be examined next week.

The birth bark cocoon is around 1.3 metres (4 feet) long and 30cm (12 inches) wide and initial examination has revealed there is metal beneath the birch bark.

The human remains, which were found wrapped in a birch bark ‘cocoon’ shown above, are thought to have been mummified by a combination of copper buried with the body and the freezing permafrost (Photo source: Vesti Yamal, The Siberian Times). Archaeologists have removed the body in its wrappings from the sandy soil so it can be examined at in Salekhard, Russia.

Experts say it is likely the body inside has been mummified much like others found at the site.

Alexander Gusev, a fellow of the Research Centre for the Study of the Arctic in Russia who led the excavation, told the Siberian Times the birch bark cocoon appeared to have been wrapped around the body. He said:

“It follows the contours of the human body. If there is really a mummy, the head and skull are likely to be in good condition. We think it is a child, maybe a teenager. The find is now in Salekhard, in the Shemanovsky Museum, in special freezer. We plan to return to Salekhard on 15 July and immediately start the opening of the ‘cocoon’ “.

The mummified remains are the first to be uncovered at the site since 2002 and were carefully removed so they could be preserved, as shown above. Scientists hope to open the bark cocoon soon (Photo source: Vesti Yamal, The Siberian Times).

The mummy was discovered at the site of a medieval necropolis called Zeleny Yar, which has baffled some archaeologists due to its closeness to the Arctic Circle.

These images captured by local television crews from broadcaster Vesti Yamal show archaeologists studying the bark wrapped remains before removing them so they can be preserved and examined in more detail (Photo source: Vesti Yamal, The Siberian Times).

Previously they found 34 shallow graves at the site and 11 bodies with shattered or missing skulls.

Five mummies were found to be shrouded in copper and elaborately covered in reindeer, beaver, wolverine or bear fur. Among them was a female child whose face was masked by copper plates.

The bark cocoon (above) appears to have been wrapped around the body of a child or teenager. Experts also used metal detectors and found there is metal – possibly copper – inside covering the well preserved body (Photo source: Vesti Yamal, The Siberian Times).

Three male infants, also shrouded in copper masks, were also found nearby. They were also bound in four or five copper hoops.

A red-haired man, protected from chest to foot with copper plating and buried with an iron hatchet, furs and a bronze head buckle depicting a bear was also found at the site.

Five other mummified bodies have been found at the mysterious Zeleny Yar site, including the red headed man above who was found covered in copper plating and buried with an iron hatchet and covered in furs (Photo source: The Siberian Times).

Geneticists who have used DNA from the bodies recovered from the site recently revealed that their mitochondrial DNA appeared to match those of modern populations living in West Siberia.

Natalia Fyodorova, from the Ural branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said previously about the discoveries:

“Nowhere in the world are there so many mummified remains found outside the permafrost or the marshes. It is a unique archaeological site. We are pioneers in everything from taking away the object of sandy soil (which has not been done previously) and ending with the possibility of further research.”

This copper facial mask was found on one of five other mummified bodies discovered at the Zeleny Yar site (Photo source: Natalya Fyodorova, The Siberian Times).

Artifacts found at the site, including bronze bowls, have led experts to conclude the people had links to Persia, some 3,700 miles to the south-west.

Samar Abbas: Common Origin of Croats, Serbs and Jats

The article “Common Origin of Croats, Serbs and Jats” has been written by Samar Abbas and published in the journal: Jat Jyoti, Vol.4 no.11 (Nov. 2003) p.13-18 (Magazine of the World Jat Aryan Foundation, 248, Ram Krishna Vihar, 29, IP Extension, Delhi-110 092).

Kindly note that the pictures/illustrations and accompanying descriptions do not appear on the original journal article by Samar Abbas.

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Abstract:

Croats as Hrvati, Haravaitii, Arachosians or Sarasvatians, descendants of the ancient inhabitants of the Harauti province & the Haravaiti or Sarasvati River. Their mention on legendary inscriptions of Darius the Great. Croatian flag based on the chessboard, Croatian religion derived from primordial Iranic Sun-worship. Common origin of Croats and Serbs. Their relations with the Sarmatians, Saura Matii or Surya Madas, the Solar Medes. False claims of The Indian Express refuted. Scythian or Saka origin of Jats. Consequent commmon origin of Jats, Croats and Serbs. Genetic proof for the same is presented.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Sahib Singh Verma, Union Labour Minister, was not allowed to attend the recent World Jat Conference in Belgrade (“Sahib Singh wanted to visit Serbia to meet fellow Jats, PM put his foot down and spiked his bonding-in-Belgrade plans”, Indian Express, 21/9/2003). Sad indeed, because there actually do exist strong connections between Jats, Serbs and Croats. Several historians view these communities as sharing a common ethnic origin as is evident from a study of the following submissions.

Philology: Croats as Hrvatis

Let us commence our investigation with the Croats. The science of linguistics provides several connections with Iran. Thus, the Croats of Croatia call themselves “Hrvati” and their country “Hrvatska”, whence the Croatian domain name on the internet is .hr. The name “Hrvati” is derived from the Avestan province “Harahvaiti” (Greek: “Arachosia”). The scientific philological argument for the identification of the Croats with the Haravatis is given in (Sakac 1955, pp. 33-36; Sakac 1949, 1937)

1-Oton Ivekovic HrvataThe Arrival of the Croats to the Adriatic (painting by Oton Iveković) (Source: Public Domain).

As Dvornik notes:

P.S. Sakac thinks that he discovered the name ‘Croats’ in Darius’ inscriptions from the sixth century B.C. There an old Persian province and people are mentioned, called Harahvaitai, Harahvatis, Horohoati...” (Dvornik 1956, p.26).

7-horoath

After an earlier Persian citation of the Croats cited by Dvornik, there is another ancient mention of the “Horovathos”  on two stone inscriptions written in the Greek language and script; this is dated to approximately the year 200 CE (housed in the St. Petersburg Archaeological Museum) (Source: Croatian History). This was discovered at the Black Sea region, in the ancient seaport of Tanais on the Sea of Azov in the Crimea. 

Further, the Roman leader Ammanius Marcellinus mentioned that two cities arose in ancient Persia called Habroatis and Chroates. In this regard, Prof. Mandic writes:

The Croats of the Don, then had to come in ancient times from Iran. On a stone inscription of the King Darius (522-486 B.C.) the nation of the Haruavat-is appears among the 23 subject nations. The Persian sacred books of the Avesti (Vendidad) call that nation the Harahvaiti. The provinces settled by that nation encompassed in those times the southern half of modern south Afghanistan, the whole of Baluchistan and the eastern part of modern Iran. In that ancient province ought we to look for the paleo-fatherland of the modern Croats.” (Mandic 1970, Chapter 1)

Furthermore, the name of the Croatian capital, Zagreb, is related to the Zagros mountain range of Iran. The Dinara mountains in Dalmatia and the Dinar currency may be connected to Mount Dinar (Dene) of Iran. The name Serbia is similar to the Seropi or Surappi River in Elam. Moreover, certain authorities note that the name of the Carpathian mountains is derived from Croatia:

Here the Iranian Croats mingled with the numerous local Slavic tribes and adopted the Slavic language from them. Meanwhile after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire the Croats organized the local Slavs into a state and gave them their national name. Before the invasion of the Avars ca. 560 the White or Western Croats created along with the Antes a great state extending north of the Carpathians from the upper Elbe to the upper Dniester.” (35: Niederle, 263-266; Dvornik, The Slavs, 277-297) R. Heinzel is of the opinion that the Carpathians of the old Germanic Hervarsaga took their name from the Croats who called them the Harvate mountains i.e. Croatian mountains. (36: Heinzel, 499; Dvornik, op. cit., 284, sq.)” (Mandic 1970, Ch.1)

Indeed, philologists trace the migration of the Croats from Harahvati (Arachosia, Sarasvati) in the following manner using fossil place-names along the path of migration:

  • Harahvaiti and Harauvati in Iran and Afghanistan
  • Hurravat and Hurrvuhe in Armenia and Georgia
  • Horoouathos in Azova and the Black Sea
  • Present day Croats Horvati and Hrvati along the Adriatic

It is important to note that the Avesta – the sacred scriptures of the ancient Aryan Zoroastrians – mentions the lands settled by the Iranic peoples. Hapta-Hindawa (ie. the Punjab, “Sapta-Sindhu” in Prakrit) is mentioned in the Avesta amongst the Irano-Aryan lands. Even today, the Punjab is the primary home of the Jats. Since the Croats are named after the Harahvaiti or Sarasvati River, and the Jats are the present-day inhabitants of the lost Harahvaiti, it would appear that Jats and Croats would be very closely related indeed.

Vexillology

Further compelling evidence comes from vexillology (the scientific study of flags). Thus, the Croatian flag is based on the chessboard, whence many Croatian historians consider Croats as eponymic descendants of the Sassanid chess master and minister Bozorgmehr, just as the Kambojas are eponymic descendants of Cambyses and Georgians are viewed as the eponymic descendants of King George II. In this regard, Prof. Mandic notes:

Ancient Croatian folk art bears eastern and Iranian traces, particularly the Croatian “troplets”. The Croats also brought over from Iran their national coat of arms with its 64 red and white checkers” (11: Strzycowskyi, 15-63, 156-181; Dado-Peranic, op.cit., 21-24; Mandic Hrvatski kockasti grb, 639-652)” (Mandic 1970, Ch.1).

Furthermore:

The organization of the state among the southern Croats with the king, bans and zupans at its head similar to that of the northern Croats; in addition the religion, national customs, dress and arts of the southern Croats bear Iranian traces, just like the Croats in the north” (Mandic 1970, ch.3).

Indeed, a total of 120 Croat and non-Croat university professors and several academics have published 249 research works elaborating the Old Iranic origin of Croats (Tomicic 1998).

Folklore

A researcher notes similarities in folklore as well:

There are old Croatian customs and national poems that have been cited as evidencing lingering traces of the fire and sun worship of the Iranians. Fire, the essence of human origin, the sun, and the great boiling cauldron around which the warriors spring in the age old kolo or circle dance, all these are ingredients in the national lore of the Croatian nation. The Croat vilas or fairy witches resemble the peris of Iranian mythology. Then there is the legendary Sviato zov, the personification of strength, a being almost too huge for the earth to bear. He is strongly reminiscent of the “elephant-bodied” Rustum of Persian legend” (Guldescu 1964, pt.1.II).

3-Cheshmeh AliThe circle dance partly seen on c.5000 BCE (?) ceramic piece (Louvre museum) from Cheshmeh Ali in the ancient Rayy region (near modern-Tehran, Iran) (Source: Iran Atlas). Other ceramic pieces like the above can are also housed at the Iran Bastan Museum. The Kurds in general have retained this ancient dance form. Despite vast geographical distances and the passage of thousands of years, variations of this dance can still be seen not only among the Croats but also among several eastern European, Anatolian and Caucasian regions.

Research studies on Croatian clothing reveals similarities with Sassanian and other Iranic styles both in terms of male and female clothing.

2-Khorvat-Ancient Eire-an(Left) Traditional Croat attire (Source: Folk Costume) and (Right) Mede nobleman at Persepolis (Source: Photo by Moradi, 1971). The lady’s embroidery is almost identical to that seen among tribal elements in Iran, notably Kurds and Lurs. Her shirt nbears striking parallels to those produced by the Kurds of Khorasan in NE Iran and the front panel of her skirt also found among Iran’s tribal elements.  Her cap features a peacock feather; the peacock is a sacred entity in ancient Iranian mythology, as seen among present-day Yezidi Kurds.  The gentleman’s attire has stylistic parallels among Iran’s nomadic tribes, with his boots reminiscent of ancient soft Iranian riding boots. What of interest however is the man’s ancient Iranian Kandys slung over his shoulder: the Kandys was a sign of nobility in ancient Persia as seen among the Perso-Mede nobility of Persepolis of the Achaemenid Empire thousands of years ago in 6th – 5th Cent. BCE. The kandys is also seen among Gothic nobles from the 5th century CE.

White Croatia, Red Croatia, Green Croatia

The Iranic origin of Croats is in fact the only way one can comprehend the traditional distinction existing between White Croatia, Red Croatia and Green Croatia:

After the Iranian fashion the ancient Croats ascribed a specific colour to each of the four cardinal points of the compass in the territory which they inhabited. The colour white designated the west, red the south, green the east, and black the north” (10: Saussure, Le Systeme 235-297; idem, L’origine des noms 23; Sakac, op. cit., 37-40) Hence White or West Croatia, Red or South Croatia and Green or East Croatia.” (Mandic 1970, Ch.1)

Further, Dobrovich notes:

It should be noted that only the thesis of the Iranian origin of the Croats can explain the name “Horvath”, the title of a Croat dignitary Banus, the names “White” and “Red Croatian”, and the Bogumile phenomenon. According to this theory, the Croats were a branch of the Caucasian Iranians, who lived somewhere in the western Caucasus during the era of the Roman Emperors. The Caucasian Anten were another branch of this group.” (Dobrovich 1963)

Let us conclude this section on Croats with the words of the learned Prof. Mandic:

The oldest historical evidence, the ancient Croatian social organization, religion, national customs and art indicate that the Croats are of Iranian origin.” (Mandic 1970, Concl.)

Sarmatians, Sauro Matii, Surya Madras or Solar Medes

Now, the exact path of migration of the Croats from Iran to the Balkans is still disputed. Some hold that they migrated via Anatolia, others that they migrated via Central Asia and the Pontic region. Some of the latter historians link the Sarmatians with the Croats and Jats. Thus, Dvornik traces both Serbs and Croats back to the Sarmatians of Southern Russia (Dvornik 1956). The Sarmatians were generally identified as Scythians. Thus, Sulimirski, author of “The Sarmatians” also makes mention of the referral of the Emperor’s to the Belochrobati or White Croats who “exhibited certain Sarmatian characteristics … [they were] of Iranian origin” (Sulimirski 1970, p.190-1) Their interest to history stems from the fact that their matriarchial Scythian society probably formed the basis of the Greek legends of the Amazon female warriors. In this connection, it is interesting to note numerous reference to the fighting ability, combat skills, bravery and great freedom of Jat women – the Jat amazons.

female-scythian-warrior

A reconstruction by Cernenko and Gorelik of the north-Iranian Saka or Scythians in battle (Cernenko & Gorelik, 1989, Plate F). The ancient Iranians (those in ancient Persia and the ones in ancient Eastern Europe) often had women warriors and chieftains, a practice not unlike those of the contemporary ancient Celts in ancient Central and Western Europe. What is also notable is the costume of the Iranian female warrior – this type of dress continues to appear in parts of Luristan in Western Iran (for more on this topic see – Fezana article on Ancient Iranian Women).

The name Sarmatian is an Anglicization of the original Sauro Matii, the Latin form of the Prakrit Surya Madra or Surya Mada. The name means “Solar Medes”, in English, another testimony to the worship of Surya, or Cyrus, the Ashur of Assyria, the Ahura Mazda of the Zoroastrians, the splendid Sun-god of the Iranic peoples. In this regard, Mandic notes:

Indeed from the end of the I to III century A.D. in the city-state of Tanais, in the region of the Don, lived various Iranian tribes of Samatians as well as Croats who must have been Iranians” (4: Concerning the Iranian tribes in present-day southeastern Russia around the Don and the Iranian origin of the Croats, see: Niederle, I, 321-434; Rostovtzeff; Vasmer, I; Hauptmann; Nartical; Sakac, 313-340; Dabo-Peranic.

For a summary of the theories on the Croatian name see: Sisic, Povijest Hrvata 238-240) Furthermore the national name “Croat” is of Iranian origin. According to the Russian Vselod Miller the name “Croat” comes from the Iranian word Hor-va (t)u meaning: the sun’s bed or path. (5. Miller, 259 sq.) M. Vasmer derives the Croatian name from Hu-urvata meaning, “friend”. (6. Vasmer, op. cit., 56) And the terms used to designate the high officials among the Croats, “kral, ban, zupan”, are of Iranian origin. (7 Sakac, The Iranian origins of the Croats, 30-46; RP 195-201) (Mandic 1970, Chapter 1)

Slovaks & Jats

Prof. Mandic notes:

The great resemblance between the Croatian and Slovak languages tell us that the Croats for the most part moved south from northern Slovakia. For they are far nearer to each other in affinity than to any other Slavic language.” (Mandic 1970, Ch.1) Thus, the Slovaks would also share the same Saka origins as the Croats and Jats.

Bosnia

Regarding the roots of Bosnians, Dodan notes that Bosnia is historically a Croatian land, that Bosnia belonged to Croatia in the early mediaeval times, that the majority of Bosnian population used to be and are still Croats, and that mediaeval Bosnian kings were ethnic Croats. Even their surnames end in “-an”. Dodan quotes Draganovic’s and Mandic’s research according to which 95 % of Muslims and 30% of Serbs are actually Croats. He also elucidates the Iranian roots of the Croatian people (Dodan 1994).

Serbs

Now, we turn to the connection with the Serbs. Several historians maintain that the Serbian ruling caste shared the same origin as the Croats. Prof. Malcolm recently wrote a book “Bosnia” (Malcolm 1996), in which he clearly elucidates the Iranic origin of both Serbs and Croats. For instance, Prof. Salzman notes while reviewing Malcolm’s first chapter:

The Croats and Serbs (who were either Slavic tribes with Iranian ruling castes or Iranian tribes with Slavic subjects) arrived in the Balkans in the 620s, a land already occupied by the Slavs.” (Salzman 1999)

The view of Prof. Malcolm is thus that the Croats and Serbs were originally Iranic speakers who adopted a Slavic language (Malcolm 1996). Examples of a conquering immigrant group adopting the language of its surrounding subjects abound in history. For example, the Scandinavian Normans adopted the Romance French language in Normandy, while their ruling kinsmen in England adopted Anglo-Saxon; the Germanic Franks, Merovingians and Carolingians adopted the Romance French language; the Nordic Visigoths adopted the Romance Spanish language; the Germanic Lombards adopted the Romance Italian language, and the Tungus Manchu adopted the Chinese language of their subjects. Likewise, the Jats were originally speakers of Scythian or East Iranic languages, who subsequently adopted an Indo-Aryan language. Hence, that the Iranic Croats and Serbs should adopt a Slavic language would not be unusual in any way.

Saka paradraya-European ScythiansScythians on the steppes of the ancient Ukraine. Scholars are virtually unanimous that the Scythians were an Iranian people related to the Medes and Persians of ancient Iran or Persia (Painting by the late Angus McBride).

The Croats were also commonly named by the medieval chroniclers as “Goths”:

The old Croatian chronicle ‘The Kingdom of the Croats’ and the ‘Chronicle of Pop Dukljanin’, based on Croatian national tradition and on the ancient records, states that the Croats whom they misnamed the Goths arrived for the north through Pannonia and Templana (6) in Dalmatia, which they conquered and settled. (7)” (Mandic 1970, ch.3)

This is important because the ethnonym “Jat” is widely considered a variant of “Goth” and its Greco-Latin variant “Getae”. In this connection, Prof. Lozinski notes: (Lozinski 1964, Vernadsky 1952)

Professor Vernadsky [25. Vernadsky, G., Ancient Russia (New Haven, 1951), pp. 50-55; an older, less scholarly attempt in this direction: Cuno, J. G., Forschungen im Gebiete der alten Voelkerkunde. Die Skythen (Berlin, 1870), pp. 225-286] was the first, in modern times, to suggest that the Slavs had direct Iranian antecedents. The derivation of both names from religious designations, as suggested above, may be considered as additional evidence, especially as most of the Slavic gods bear purely Iranian, or Indian, names” [26. Vernadsky, G., Kievan Russia (New Haven, 1951), pp. 50-55; Krappe, A. N., “La chute du paganisme a Kiev,” Revue des eludes slaves, XVII (1937), 208. Rozwadowski, J., “Stosunki leksykalne miedzy jazykami slowianskimi a iranskiemi,” Rocznik orientalistyczny, I (1914/15), 95-110, esp. 110]

One of the Slavic groups, the Poles, called themselves Sarmatians; this name was recorded very early in Western Medieval chronicles [27. Ulewicz, T., “Okolo genealogii sarmatyzmu,” Pamietnik slowianski, I, (1949), 105-107], which lends credence to the traditions recorded in Polish chronicles edited at the waning of the Middle Ages, according to which they were in touch with the Iranians. [28. Bohomolec, F., Zbior dziejow polskich (Warszawa, 1767-68), III, Cromer M., Kronika, 5, 17, 19, 28; IV, Guagnino, A., Kronika Sarmucyey europeyskiey, 1 f., 7, 13, 16, 513.; Magistri Vincenti ep. Cracoviensis, Chronica Polonorum, ed. A. Przeidziecki (Krakow, 1862), 76 (cf. Paszkiewicz, op. cit., 360); Bielski, M., Kronika Polska (N. ed., Krakow, 1597), Introduction, passim., cf. Chrzanowski, I., Marcin Bielski (Lwow, 1926), 101-108, 504.]

Alan-Warrior

Iranian-speaking Alan warrior circa 5th century CE (Painting by the late Angus McBride). The descendants of the Alans are found in the Caucasus as well as in the old Iranian province of Ard-Alan (Royal House of Alan) in western Iran. The legends of the Alans are recalled in the Kurdish folklore  epic “Memi-Alan o Zhin e Bohtan”.

In Antiquity the Sarmatians, as is well known, were the Alans. [29. Vernadsky 1952] The meaning of the name “Sarmata” in Iranian is the “council.” [30. Vernadsky, G., and Dzanty, Dzambulant, “The Ossetian Tale of Iry Dada and Mstislav,” Journal of American Folklore, LXIX (1956), 234, n. 39.] It refers not to the nationality or language, but to the social organization of the Alans, ruled by a supreme council, appointing the king. [31. Strabo, XI, ix, 3.] The role of the council in early Slavic history is well known, especially among the Western Slavs. Thus the social, or political, organization of the Iranian Alans and Polish Slavs offers evidence of their affiliation.” (Lozinski 1964)

Bulgarians

It may also be stated that several scholars have noticed Iranic elements amongst the Proto-Bulgarians. (Beshevliev 1967, Schmitt 1985)

Surva-Zorvan-Bulgaria

The celebration of “Surva” in modern-day Bulgaria. Local lore traces this festival to the Iranian God Zurvan. This folklore system appears to be linked to the Bogomil movement. Interestingly, much of the Surva theology bears parallels with elements of Zurvanism and Zoroastrianism (Picture Source: Surva.org).

Anthropology

The Iranic or Irano-Aryan race as a whole is dolichocephalic (long-headed), leptorrhine (having long, narrow noses), tall, robust, dark-haired, large-boned and fair-skinned with straight hair. These features are found amongst the Jats, Pathans, Persians, Rajputs and Kurds.

4-Old talysh man in Gilan

Elderly Talysh man in Gilan relaxing with his flute as his sheep grazes next to him (Source: Fouman.com). Iran has been multi-faced in several ways since ancient times, with its Indo-European character linking her to both India and Europa. 

Due to the common features of Iranic skeletons with Nordics, some authorities consider the Nordics and Iranics as belonging to a common Nordic-Iranian macro-race. It is a further strong support for the Iranic origin of Croats and indeed, West Slavs in general, who display strong Iranic racial features.

Thus, the majority of Croatians today tend to be tall statured, with narrow facial features. Many historians consider these western Slavic features to be a trait passed on from the Iranic tribes mentioned above. The Alans in particular are thought to have had considerable impact on the Croatian racial “type”.

Now, there are three sub-types of Croats proper: Dinaric (Iranoid race), Mediterranean (Latinoid race) and Panonian (Slavoid race) The Dinaric type to which many Croats belong is often viewed as an Iranic sub-type:

In the central mountainous regions settled by the Croats upon their arrival on the Adriatic the Dinaric type of Croat developed. This type is quite remote from the general Slavic type. The Dinaric Croats are tall in stature (ca. 1.8 metres), long-headed but with a skull of short circumference (cephalic index of 80-85)” (Mandic 1970, ch.3).

The main feature of the Dinaric sub-type of Iranics is that the head is long when viewed from front, but the circumference is short, giving the illusion of brachcephaly when viewed from the top. It is common amongst Armenians as well, and is often viewed as a breeding isolate of the Iranoid race.

Refuting the view that the Croatians were of Illyrian or Roman stock, Mandic notes:

“…. Nevertheless one has to say that the contribution of the local Romanized remnants [Illyrian] of the prehistoric Dinaric folk, hardly amounted to more than 20% to 30% in forming the Dinaric Croat (Mandic 1970, ch.3). These Mediterranean Croats are “intermediary in stature, a little smaller than the Dinaric type. They have quite oval skulls, dark hair and eyes and an olive complexion.”

The Panonian Croats, however, are largely descendants of the Slavic populations. The Slavoid race in general (to be distinguished from the speakers of Slavic languages) is short-statured, brachycephalic (round-headed), with blond hair. Thus:

When the Croats conquered Lower Pannonia and Savia they at one began to assimilate with the Kaikavian Slavs of those areas. Out of that came the third type of Croat, the Pannonian, of intermediate stature, blond hair, ruddy complexion and of a rather sizeable cephalic index. …. [A] conspicuous type of Pannonian Croat was preserved up until this day. They of all the Croats are the closest to the general Slavic type in their physical and psychological make-up (88)” (Mandic 1970).

Thus, the round-headed blond Panonian Croats are not members of the Iranoid race, but instead are of the round-headed Slavoid race. They are, however, outnumbered by the Iranic or Dinaric Croats, who form the dominant element of Croatia

Genetics

A scholarly Croatian society called ZDPPH recently held a conference on the Iranic origin of Croats, where genetic evidence was presented. According to the society’s president Nedjeljko Kujundzic:

Swedish geneticists have confirmed, in 75 percent of cases, that Croats are of Iranian origin.” (Hina 2000)

Two days after the news conference, the book “Indo-Iranian Origin of Croats” by Mate Marcinko was released in which much additional proof was presented.

Croatia-Eire AnCroatian map providing an overview of the east-west links between the Croats and the ancient Iranian realms (Source: Croatia in English).

Croatian elements among Serbs

Furthermore, even if the Serbs represent primarily the descendants of round-headed Slavs, there has been much Croat infusion into the Serb genetic stock. Thus, Mandic estimates that one-third of Serbs are ethnically Croat:

Our investigations have led us to believe that of the Serbs presently in Bosnia and Herzegovina 32 to 35% are descended from Orthodox Croats, 50 to 52% are from non-Slavic Wallachs, 6 to 7% are from Serbianized Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians and Albanians and 8 to 10% from genuine ethnic Serbs who came there mainly during Austro-Hungarian rule and during the time of the two Yugoslavias” (Mandic 1970, ch.7).

Jats

Where do the Jats come into this? Now, the Jats are generally held to be of Scythian descent. The Jat-Sikhs are also of Saka descent, for indeed the very name “Sikh” is derived from “Saka” (Sara 1978). Noted historian Satya Shrava notes:

The Jats are none other than the Massagetae (Great Getae) mentioned in Diodorus as an off-spring of the ancient Saka tribe…. a fact now well-known” (Shrava 1981, p.2-3).

scythian_female_modernSikh girl dressed in the ancient attire of her ancient Saka/Scythian ancestors (Source: Sikh Archives). The ancient Iranic legacy is still seen in the word for “Punjab” (Panj-Ab: Five waters/Rivers) and other Punjabi words of Persian origin such as “asemana” (sky; aseman in Persian), etc.

Eminent scholars like Tod, Toynbee, Trevaskis, Keene, Kephart, Dhillon, Dahiya, Prakash and Bingley directly or indirectly connected Jat, Goths and Scythians. Thus, the famed Anglo-American historian Toynbee notes:

It may not be fantastic to conjecture that the Tuetonic-speaking Goths and Gauts of Scandinavia may have been descended from a fragment of the same Indo-European-speaking tribe as the homonymous Getae and Thyssagetae and Massagetae of the Eurasian Steppe who are represented today by the Jats of the Panjab.” (Toynbee 1934, p.435).

Furthermore, some scholars hold that the Scythians and Iranics originated in the Punjab and from thence migrated across the world. Whatever the details of the original home of the Iranoid race itself, all scholars agree that the Jats, Serbs and Croats predominantly belong to the same ethnic stock.

Conclusion

It is a pity that Dr. K.S. Singh, former DG, Anthropological Survey of India, erroneously asserted there was no Jat-Serb connection (Indian Express, 21/9/2003). Compounding this, he went further and wrongly bracketed Jats into what he called an “Indo-Pak stock”. This is a term non-existent in standard anthropology. Indeed, Pakistan was first created in 1947. How can the DG’s hypothetical “Indo-Pak stock” by any stretch of the imagination refer to ancient history? The length of this article has been necessitated in order to provide sufficient counterweight to the DG’s misleading statements. He is invited to read the references contained in this article and correct himself.

It is thus clear, Belgrade was indeed an appropriate choice for the location of the World Jat Congress. This article amply shows that close kinsmen of the Jats abound all across the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Now, given the tragic recent history of the Serb-Croat divide during the break-up of Yugoslavia, it might be more advisable to first establish Jatism in Croatia, for it is in Croatia that the Iranic connection has recently become official history. Sadly, Serbian historians are still split between the Slavic and Iranic theories. Once the first base has been established in Croatia, one may look beyond to the surrounding regions to develop further Jat connections in the Balkans.

References

Beshevliev 1967: “Iranian elements in the Proto-Bulgarians” by V. Beshevliev (in Bulgarian)(Antichnoe Obschestvo, Trudy Konferencii po izucheniyu problem antichnosti, str. 237-247, Izdatel’stvo “Nauka”, Moskva 1967, AN SSSR, Otdelenie Istorii) http://members.tripod.com/~Groznijat/fadlan/besh.html

Dobrovich 1963: “Volk an der Grenze – Schicksal und Auftrag. Zur Geschichte der burgenlaendischen Kroaten,” (People on the Border – History of the Burgenland Croats), by Johann Dobrovich, Burgenlaendische Forschungen, vol.47, Prov. Archive of Burgenland, Eisenstadt 1963, tr by Frank Teklits; http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/BURGENLAND-NEWSLETTER/1999-07/0931520170

Dodan 1994: “Bosna and Hercegovina, a Croatian land”, by Sime Dodan, Meditor, Zagreb, 1994.

Dvornik 1956: “The Slavs. Their Early History and Civilization.” by F. Dvornik, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston, USA., 1956.

Guldescu 1964: “History of Medieval Croatia”, by Stanko Guldescu, Mouton (pub), The Hague, 1964; http://www.raceandhistory.com/Science/croatia.htm

Hina 2000: “Scholars assert Croats are Descendants of Iranian Tribes”, Hina News Agency, Zagreb, Oct 15, 2000 (http://www.hina.hr)

Lozinksi 1964: “The Name Slav” by B. Philip Lozinski (Essays in Russian History, Archon Books,1964) http://members.tripod.com/~Groznijat/fadlan/lozinski.html

Malcolm 1996: “Bosnia: A Short History”, by Noel Malcolm, New York University Press, New York, 1994; 1996, new ed.

Mandic 1970: “Croats and Serbs – Two old and different nations,” by Dr. O. Dominik Mandic, Chicago 1970, Nakladni Zavod Matice Hrvatske, Zagreb, 1990; tr. Vicko Rendic & Jacques Perret, http://www.magma.ca/~rendic/

Sakac 1937: “Del origen caucaso-iranio de los croatas” (“Of the Caucasian-Iranian ancestry of the Croats”) by S. Sakac, Zagreb 1937.

Sakac 1949: “Iranisehe Herkunft des kroatischen Volksnamens”, (“Iranian origin of the Croatian Ethnonym”) S. Sakac, Orientalia Christiana Periodica. XV (1949), 813-340.

Sakac 1955: “The Iranian origin of the Croatians according to Constantine Porphyrogenitus”, by S. Sakac, in “The Croatian nation in its struggle for freedom and independence” (Chicago, 1955); for other works by

Sakac, cf. “Prof. Dr. Stjepan Krizin Sakac – In memoriam” by Milan Blazekovic, http://www.studiacroatica.com/revistas/050/0500501.htm

Salzman 1999: “Book Review: Noel Malcolm, Bosnia” by Todd Salzman, Creighton Univ.; J. Religion & Society, Vol.1 (1999), http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/1999/1999-r1.html

Sara 1978: “The Scythian Origin of the Jat-Sikh”, I.Sara, The Sikh Review, 1978, pp. 15-27 (pt.1), pp. 214-233 (pt.2) (http://www.sikhreview.org)

Schmitt 1985: “Iranica Proto-Bulgarica” (in German), Academie Bulgare des Sciences, Linguistique Balkanique, XXVIII (1985), l, p.13-38; http://members.tripod.com/~Groznijat/bulgar/schmitt.html

Shrava 1981: “The Sakas in India”, S.Shrava, Pranava Prakashan, New Delhi 1981.
Sulimirski 1970: “The Sarmatians,” by T.Sulimirski, Thames & Hudson, London, UK, 1970.

Tomicic 1998: “The old-Iranian origin of Croats”, Symposium proceedings, Zagreb 24.6.1998, ed. Prof. Zlatko Tomicic & Andrija-Zeljko Lovric, Cultural center of I.R. of Iran in Croatia, Zagreb, 1999, ISBN 953-6301-05-5, http://www.hindunet.org/saraswati/croats2.PDF

Toynbee 1934: “A Study of History,” by A. Toynbee, Vol. 2., Oxford University Press, London, 1939, 1st pubd in 1934; cited by Sunny Singh (pers. comm.)

Vernadsky 1952: “Der sarmatische Hintergrund der germanischen Voelkerwanderung,” (Sarmatian background of the Germanic Migrations), G. Vernadsky, Saeculum, II (1952), 340-347.