Anthropology, Biology, Central Asia, Genetics, Haplogroup G1, India, Indo-European, Iran, Iranian, Tajikistan
Republication from PLOS One
Fig 1. Ancient migrations of Iranic-speaking populations.
A) Area populated by Iranic speakers in the middle of the first millennium BC. States whose languages belonged to the Iranic and Armenian linguistic groups are shown in red (modified from ). B) Homeland and migration of Iranic speakers according to the major competing theories (modified from ). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122968.g001
Y-chromosomal haplogroup G1 is a minor component of the overall gene pool of South-West and Central Asia but reaches up to 80% frequency in some populations scattered within this area. We have genotyped the G1-defining marker M285 in 27 Eurasian populations (n= 5,346), analyzed 367 M285-positive samples using 17 Y-STRs, and sequenced ~11 Mb of the Y-chromosome in 20 of these samples to an average coverage of 67X. This allowed detailed phylogenetic reconstruction. We identified five branches, all with high geographical specificity: G1-L1323 in Kazakhs, the closely related G1-GG1 in Mongols, G1-GG265 in Armenians and its distant brother clade G1-GG162 in Bashkirs, and G1-GG362 in West Indians.
Ancient warfare, Avar, Cavalry, Central Asia, China, Hephthalite, horse-archers, Huns, Iran, medieval warfare, Mongolia, Wusun, Xianbei, Yuezhi
(photo found at Pinterest, Copyright: The Bulgarian School of horseback archery)
By Periklis Deligiannis
The vast Asiatic steppes from Manchuria to the Ural River had always been the cradle of nomadic peoples of intense mobility and warlike character. Dashing from this cradle, they used to debouche in order to gradually form nomadic “empires” (sometimes as far as the Hungarian plains) and invade the territories of sedentary peoples such as China, India, Iran, the Greco-Roman regions of the Mediterranean and later the Christian countries of Europe. The European World was equally exposed to the lethal hordes of these horseback warriors of the steppes, as well as the Chinese, the Indian and the Iranian World, paying a heavy toll in human lives and material damage, from the Early Antiquity to the Late Middle Ages. The Iranian Saka (Eastern Scythians) were perhaps the first nomadic people who formed a powerful tribal union (rather a confederation) in Central Asia, the “Great Horde of the Saka” (Ma-Saka-ta), whose name the ancient Greeks linguistically Hellenized and quoted in their writings as Massagetae. This tribal union was followed by other nomadic confederations of Tocharian, Turkic, Mongol, Tungusic, Yeniseic and other origins, such as the Wu Sun (Wusun), the Hsiung Nu (Xiongnu, the Huns?), the Yue Chih (Yuezhi), the Hsien-pi (Xianbei), until the emergence of the Juan Juan (Rouran, Avars).
Ancient warfare, Asia, Central Asia, Hephthalite, Hun, India, Iran, medieval warfare, Military topics, Sassanid, Sassanid Empire
By Periklis Deligiannis
an Avar horseman, armed with a composite bow and a nomad cavalry spear (copyright: V. Vuksic).
The first European mention of the Hephthalites or White Huns comes from the Byzantine chronicler Procopius, a contemporary of Emperor Justinian. Procopius recorded related comments of a Byzantine envoy to the Sassanids, who traveled to eastern Iran. The Chinese chronicles mention the Hephthalites as “Ye-ti-i-li-do” or simpler as “Ye-ta”. It seems that the Hephthalites were originally a Hunnic tribe, which was mixed deeply with the Iranians and Tocharians of central Asia, concluding as a mixed hunnic-iranian-tocharian people. This explains the possibility of adopting around 500 AD the Iranian language and several Iranian personal names.
The powerful Hephthalites managed to establish two nomadic “empires” in central Asia, eastern Iran and India. In 390, their relatives, the Khionite Huns (known to the Romans as “Kidarites”) paved the way for their expansion, when they defeated the Sassanid Persians and settled in Bactria and Sogdiana (roughly modern Uzbekistan and northern Afghanistan). In 420-427 AD, the Hephthalites unleashed from their Central Asian cradle, murderous raids in Persia reaching the city of Ragai (modern Tehran), until they were defeated overwhelmingly by the Sassanids (427). But they came back and in 454 managed to defeat the Sassanids, intensifying again their raids in Iran. In 464, new Hephthalite raids forced the Sassanian King Phiruz to deal with them in a series of wars. The wars ended in 475 with a peace treaty, which provided for an annual payment of ransom by the Sassanids to the Hephthalites. Meanwhile, in 468 the Sassanids attacked the Khionite/Kidarite Huns slaying them en masse. The Hephthalites took advantage of the destruction of the threatening Khionites and expelled their remnants from Bactria-Sogdiana, which they annexed (473-475). Continue reading