Thread Rating:
  • 3 Vote(s) - 4.33 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Origin of the Alans
Iranian Magi in the Shang Court: The Final Connection.

In the above posts we have discussed multiple connections between the Minusinsk Karasuk and the findings in the Shang and Zhou polities. The list is impressive:

1) Shang chariots and chariot drivers also attested from petroglyphs in Mongolia.
2) The rendered chariot in the petroglyphs and on Oracle Bone Inscriptions (OBIs) are identical.
3) Chariot rein-holders ("bow-shaped objects") are found in Karasuk graves, on Deer Stones,  and in Yinxu (Anyang).
4) A bad-ass, martial-arts, proto-Iranian Queen emerges in the reign of King Wuding, c. 1250 BC.
5) Shang and Zhou bronze daggers and knives are identical to Karasuk versions.
6) Mongolian prostrate burials, c. 1300 BC, arrive in Shang and Zhou China in 1250 to 1000 BC.

But there are more "eye-openers" if we look at the Shang OBIs and a couple of Zhou bone carvings. 

       
Above at Left: on the lower central portion of the above oracle bone, we find a character shaped like a "+" sign. However, it's embellished by a "partial circle" to represent what is known as the "Cross Empowered." Above at Right: the same Empowered Cross as the sign of an Iranian Magus.

       
Where did this symbol come from? And was there anything like it in the Karasuk Culture? Here is a ring-pommel dagger of Karasuk origin, taken from a photo in Mikhail Gryaznov's The Ancient Civilization of Southern Sibera (1969, Nagel Pub., plate 17). In this earliest version, the cross is inside the circle; and has been identified as an astrological device, (Miller, The Golden Thread of Time, 2001). To me, astrological predictions would be the forte of a Magus.

What we have then, is a sign of the Magus incorporated into Shag OBIs and also a Karasuk dagger pommel. In at least two cases, the Shang examples relate to divination (usually only performed by the king) and transcribed as "the Myag says..." We turn to eminent sinologist Victor Mair, "The phonological and semantic similarity between Old Persian magus and Old Sinitic myag alone stands as convincing evidence for the identity of the preeminent Shang-Zhou religious specialists and the Magi. When we add to this evidence the discovery at Zhou-yuan [the Zhou capital] of the two Caucasoid/Europoid figurines, the equation between magus and myag becomes difficult to deny."

       
Mair illustrated his paper with both c. 1000 BC bone figurines found in the Western Zhou capital.  The Europoid individual (at left) wears a distinctive hat, not worn by the Chinese, and the Magus symbol is carved atop his hat; plus the second Myag (shown at right) wears the same non-Chinese hat. Mair continues, "Myag was borrowed into Sinitic from an old Iranian language and not from some other member of the Indo-European family [such as Tocharian]... What is more, the services the Magi performed overlap with the known activities of the Myag. They interpreted dreams, practiced divination, explained omens, chanted hymns and prayers, made astrological calculations, and sacrificed on sacred altars."

I will continue this early Iranian intrusion into Bronze age China in a subsequent post. What's important, I believe, is the presence of exceedingly high-ranking Magi within the Shang polity, and obviously living in the capital of Yinxu itself. The Magi continued advising the Shang and Zhou kings, and they were recorded well into the Warring States Period. When actual people, and people with power, are added to the chariots and bronze artifacts found in Anyang and Zhouyuan royal precincts, we need to reevaluate the role in Chinese society played by these Iranian-speaking intruders.

Here are a few final words by Mair, "The Ossetes, now living on the northern slopes of the Caucasus... are definitely descendants of the medieval Alans and perhaps of the ancient Scythians, the one group of Iranians most likely to have reached the borders of China by circa 1200 BC."
(Victor H. Mair, Old Sinitic Myag, Old Persian Magus, and English Magician, Early China, Vol. 15 (1990), pp. 27-47)
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
OK, I was sceptical at first, but his might not be total bunk. The cross is an extremely ubiquitous symbol, even the wheel variant represents the sun or something else in clearly unrelated cultures.

Still, the etymology might have something to it. I'm not sure I'd call them Iranians, as that typically refers to people either actually living in Iran and or quite close to it, or generally living in later periods. Proto-Iranian? Indo-Aryan?

Anyway, here's some more etymology concerning the Sino-Tibetan word for wheel:

http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp047..._wheel.pdf

I'm surprised how close that is to IE languages, the wheel is still "kolo" in Czech.

BTW, is there a way to get full text of that Mair paper?
Jan Pospisil - fantasy/historical/archaeology illustration
*-------------*
My Portfolio:
http://merlkir.deviantart.com
My Blog: 
http://janpospisil.blogspot.com
Reply
Hi, Jan

I searched for Mair's paper for almost a year. Due to the high number of sinologists that agreed with him, I kept up the search even though all I had was the usual, "Mair 1990." If you Google the full title of his thesis, the date, and ad his name, you should find it.

Yes, it's amazing. The number of borrowings for wheel, chariot, and even metal yoke ring, among a few, all point to an Early Iranian infusion into Old Chinese. These two terms (Early Iranian and Old Chinese) were not used by Mair... perhaps because they were not coined in 1990. The important factors, as far as I'm concerned, are the origins. They are Early Iranian or Old Iranian, not Tocharian. This pinpoints the direction in which they arrived in China, the North to Northeast and not from Xinjiang in the west. Thus the language itself can be traced back through Mongolia, up through the Western Sayan, to finally reach the Karasuk culture, the replacement of the Andronovo culture which originated the chariot and a Proto-Iranian language.

What is really important is the presence of these intruders in "high places;" we have Magi, a Shang Queen, and the Duke of Peng, in the highest civil and military positions in both Shang and Zhou courts, and then we have a substantial Old Iranian vocabulary.

The studies go back to 1936 when Carl Karstien held the opinion that, "Chinese corresponds most ideally to the hypothetic prototype of Indo-European." In 1967, Jan Ulenbrook claimed 57 words were related. Shortly afterwards, Tor Ulving produced a thesis in which 238 Chinese words were similar to Indo-European. He stated, "the dominance of Indo-European vocabulary in Chinese was already consolidated in the second half of the second millennium B.C."

Wheel:
OC    kulu/kolo       PIE    kwelos        Toch.    kuka

Chariot's metal yoke ring:
OC    ?rek        PIE    hreg        Toch.    rak

Chariot:
OC    sheng        PIE    kleng        Toch.A    klank   

Other studies have been done by Alexander Lubotsky, Zhou Jixu, Tsung-tung Chang, Robert S. Bauer (whom you mentioned), and many others, all of which point to a significant intrusion of IE into OC. According to Mair, the split beween PIE and Proto-Iranian occurred before the split between PIE and Tocharian. In the above examples, we can see that spoken OC is closer to PIE than to Tocharian. In this respect, I agree that Old Iranian reached interior China prior to Tocharian and created a heavier influence on terminology, particularly in wheeled technology.

John C. Didier notes, "...groups to the north and east of the Shang... were of Indo-Iranian Caucasoid or mixed Indo-Iranian and indigenous Siberian/Manchurian Mongoloid descent." (In and Outside the Square, Sino-Platonic Papers, No. 192, Vol 2, Sept. 2009)


We receive something similar from Christine Lee speaking of the pre-Xiongnu period , "Populations within the Northern Zone and Manchuria experienced a higher degree of migration and admixture than did the populations of the Central Plains and the Western Regions. The introduction of the horse and subsequent technologies to the Northern Zone and Manchuria may have been a casual factor in the homogenization of the populations within these two regions."

Some of these scholars may have "overshot the mark," if you get my drift, making the influence of IE in China greater than it was. But we are still looking at quite the phenomenon... and one that has not yet been fully explored, particularly in relation to Old Iranian, Proto-Iranian, or whatever you want to call it. Big Grin
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
I found the paper on JSTor and downloaded the PDF via SciHub.

I understand your allergic reaction to all things Tocharian. And I'm certainly not saying we should cling to Tocharians as an explanation for everything.

In fact, it's impossible - the split of proto-Tocharian itself is (hard as it is) very roughly dated to the later centuries of the 1st millenium BCE. (so way too late for your Sheng charioteers/shamans, even if we assume it was spoken for centuries before that) A quote I remember from a Tocharian dictionary: "any dating of proto-Tocharian will be roughly contemporary with Old-Iranian."

That said, I think it's important not to leave the Tocharians to themselves as an inconvenient thorn in a shoe - while they may not have been the people you're looking for, they have to play SOME role in their story.

I'm reading Elizabeth Wayland Barber's "The Mummies of Ürümchi" and while a bit old, it does raise some interesting points about climate and location of the Tarim basin and Xinjiang in general. It talks about dating of the mummies and the oasis cultures and how the dating of 2000 BCE for the earliest ones is probably correct, since the land wouldn't have sustained any newcomers before that date. (a whole lot of stuff about little ice ages, glaciers and how the entire basin is fed by the Kunlun melt-waters. There is still some confusion, because carbon dating places some of these finds to 4000 BC.)

It's incredibly frustrating to me, that even with the recent (2015, was it?) DNA breakthroughs, we're still not much closer to identifying where these people came from and why Tocharian is so weirdly isolated from the other IE languages.

This book is also pretty interesting, because it has more photo material on the mummies than I've seen in the past. There's some definite cultural overlap with the Pazyryk textiles, let me tell you. There's even a single piece of pretty clear animal style. Whoever these people were, they were not at all far, culturally, from the Scytho-Siberian family.

These are still people living in the places trading all that Jade to China (supposedly Yuezhi) and where you placed the supposed Yuezhi "empire".
Jan Pospisil - fantasy/historical/archaeology illustration
*-------------*
My Portfolio:
http://merlkir.deviantart.com
My Blog: 
http://janpospisil.blogspot.com
Reply
Jan,

This is just a short note to let you know your last post was not ignored. I bought Elizabeth Barber's book when it first came out, and since then I've "lost" it in the pile. Agreed, the Tocharian connection to the Yuezhi was perhaps a substantial one. My point has always favored the elite as Northern Iranian speakers, mainly because the personal names of the Kushan kings were Iranian... and that the final language of the Yuezhi/Saka/Sarmatian ethnos of the Ossetes was also Northern Iranian as still spoken today. Nobody knows how many tribes were contained in the Yuezhi confederation, but it appears to be something like 21 to 31 prior to the break between the Lesser and Da Yuezhi. That said, it could well be the Tarim city states were a Tocharian-speaking portion of the greater union.

Right now, I'm trying to connect the final links in the earliest (eastern) portion prior to the southern advancement of the Xiongnu (the earlier or Type 1 graves in the Northern Zone). I believe the c. 1250 BC intrusion into Hebei, Shanxi, and northeastern Shaanxi in the Shang period has not been truly evaluated. Just discovered that 28.8 % of all the burials in Yinxu-Anyang were prostrate. That is a significant "foreign" element, and it had to influence the Shang-era polity. It bolsters Victor Mair's hypothesis. This intrusive culture arrived from mid to southeastern Mongolia and Manchuria, yet long before the genesis of the Xiongnu. The highest number of Karasuk-style knives, rein-holders, and jingle-items, come from this sector... while they are absent in Gansu and the west.

So, I'll add more as I filter through a stack of PDFs, hopefully with something that clarifies what might be called a mystery. Basically, the "Tocharian problem" sits on the back burner. Wink
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
 Just on the language of the region Di Cosmo in his paper The Tarim city-states wrote that military leaders and “interpreters” were especially important in the Tarim region. Multilingualism was an important feature, in a society where a complex linguistic picture is far from having been clarified, but it is certain that lndo-European languages were spoken, such as Tocharian and ancient Iranian. Given the presence of Altaic nomadic groups coming from the east like the Hsiung-nu, and of the relations with Sinitic speakers from China and merchants from Greek-speaking communities in Central Asia and possibly merchants from India the interpreters occupied a prominent position in the governments of the various city-states of the Tarim Basin at least from around the time of the Han. Speaking of Mair Di Cosmo points to a 2 Volume book comprising a series of papers contributed by a number of authors and edited by Mair "The Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Peoples of Eastern Central Asia". At 912 pages it is pretty extensive.

Volume 1 covers Archaeology, Migration and Nomadism Linguistics

Volume 2 covers Genetics, Physical Anthropology, Metallurgy, Textiles, Geography, Climatology, History, Mythology and Ethnology

 A tad pricy though, the cheapest I can see is $99 US at Amazon for a used copy but a lot more  expensive at other sites. Smile

Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
Reply
Hello, Michael

Thanks for the tip on the BIG book. It's also for sale (a single copy, used) on Ebay for $260!! I think I'll wait for a better price, maybe a beaten example. Recently, I acquired Mikhail Gryaznov's, The Ancient Civilization of Southern Siberia, for $34... so books do come along at good prices.

Agreed, the Tarim city states must have needed interpreters, probably several in each state when you consider the high number of languages meeting in an important trade area. We generally think of the Tarim as an "out of the way" location, but it was central-- precisely where East met West.

I recently discovered the papers of William Taylor. Go to www.academia.edu and type his name into the Search window. Two William Taylor pics pop up, and he's the guy standing next to a Deer Stone. You'll find 8 PDFs written by him, one being his doctorial thesis (with William Fitzhugh on the review board). Taylor has made a great break-through, examining horse skulls taken from the Deer Stone/Khirigsuur sites. The skulls indicate stress from horse riding and pulling (as in chariots and wagons), and dated to 1300 to 1200 BC. He mentions the Tevsh Uul site as an example. When you think about it, the DSK sites may document the earliest practice of "horse-power" in Central Asia.

Well, I'm still stuck in the far East until I can solve the "prostrate problem." Then, hopefully, we can move to Gansu and the Tarim region... especially with your aid. Rolleyes
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
Exclamation 
"Prostrate burials" in the Northern Zone and at Anyang (the Shang capital).
Dodgy Updated 4/24/17 to Remove Contextural Errors.

In previous posts, we have discussed face-down burials at Tevsh Uul in the Gobi Altai. At the time, there seemed to be a relation between the Tevsh site and the intrusion of a steppe culture into China's Northern Zone, especially within the Lijiaya Culture along the southern flow of the Yellow River just west of the Taihang Mountains. To date, I have been unable to find info on Lijiaya burial practices.

The vast majority of PDFs and books on Shang and Zhou China discuss burial contents, especially large bronze containers, and even speculate about gender "definition" and social status according to the number of valued articles within each tomb. However, 99.9 % of all academic descriptions fail to mention the actual burial position of the interred person. I find this omission rather odd. Wouldn't someone (like me) wish to know whether the deceased was placed in a flexed, supine, or face-down position... BECAUSE-- just possibly-- this fact might indicate a cultural abnormality?


   
Fortunately, Yan Sun, a professor at Gettysburg College, came to my rescue. She did not mention burial positions of the Lijiaya Culture, but provided us with some great tidbits about the Baifu area. You will recall Baifu M2 and M3, the graves of two "northern culture" individuals discussed in previous posts. At least one of these military personages, the male in B-M3, was interred face-down. Baifu was located (almost centrally) in the Zhangjiayuan Culture... "the deceased, rich or poor, were buried in a prone position. Also, the deceased was exclusively oriented to the east [a steppe feature]. Similar to the burials at Baifu, most of the Zhangjiayuan burials featured a bronze ding and gui assemblage as well. The shape and décor of these vessels is typical Shang and early Zhou style. Furthermore, short inscriptions and clan emblems... suggest their cultural connection with the Zhou." The above map pinpoints Baifu and other military or trading posts with a black pyramid, while major Zhangjiayuan sites are shown with a black square.

The Zhangjiayuan Culture (1,300 to 700 B.C.) appears to be an "indigenous" steppe polity, then becoming a core of the Yan state during the Zhou era. Yan Sun notes that elite Zhangjiayuan graves contain gold fan-shaped bracelets and trumpet earrings, also found within Lijiaya Culture burials, both items not worn by the Shang but pleasing to "northern" tastes. Interestingly, the earliest Zhangjiayuan burials show up around 1,300 B.C., just before the chariot's introduction into the Shang military.

Let us move to "downtown" Anyang, capital of the late Shang dynasty. Over 950 burials have been excavated in this area, most of them at Yinxu. The eastern area contained royal interments, large and with accessing ramps. The smaller graves-- those of the elite, commoners, and slaves-- are located in the western zone. Once again, we find vital information from Yan Sun-- the actual percentage of prostrate burials within the entire Shang polity:

"In 284 or 28.8% of the 986 burials at Anyang, the deceased was placed in a prone position. The deceased include nobles and commoners, males and females. More tombs in the western section of Anyang included burials of the deceased in this position than those of other areas of the site, and more males than females were buried in the prone position." (I thank Professor Sun for sending me this update. Material Culture and Social Identity in the Western Zhou Frontier, Asian Archaeology, Vol. 1, Beijing, 2013)

For comparison, here are the statistics of the burials of the Peng Clan, Hengbei, Shanxi Province, also courtesy of Yan Sun:
Peng Clan Prone Burial with bronzes (noble, elite): 28.6 %
Peng Clan Prone Burial with pottery (commoners): 33.6 %
Peng Clan Prone Burial with no artifacts (slaves): 33.3 %


   
Above illustration: Yinxu "commoner" burial in prostrate position, orientation toward the north. (Scytho-Siberian burials at Pazyryk, Ukok, and Berel K 11, are east-oriented.) This is one Big Eye-Opener, a "proto-Scythian" buried is his own cultural style yet oriented as if he were Chinese. We are looking at the symbiosis of two cultures within a single grave.

I find it strange that hundreds of PDFs and books have been written about Anyang and the late Shang culture, yet only Professor Sun has had the insight to mention a very important fact-- the significant number of prone or "prostrate" burials within a purportedly "Chinese" culture which normally buried its dead in a supine position. The same applies to the early Western Zhou clan cemetery of Peng Bo, which at first thought seems to continue the late Shang practice. However, we should refer back to Tevsh Uul, Gobi Altai, where males were buried face-down while the known woman was interred in a supine position.

This burial style denotes a steppe migration into the core Shang polity. Archaeologists can diminutize, even dismiss, the "northern" influence on the Shang and Zhou cultures. But we cannot conveniently "tuck away" so obvious a steppe burial-rite within the capital city of the Shang Dynasty. Face-down burials are beyond "a steppe influence," beyond the oft-dismissed notion of "diffusion," and archaeologically prove that the introducers of the chariot were not "outsiders." This is not a case of "trade" but a first-hand intrusion. A significant number of probable Indo-Iranians lived, worked, and fought for the Shang within the hierarchy of a dynastic polity.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
This could be interesting:

http://www.pbs.org/video/3000314388/#

edit: Having watched it, it was indeed quite interesting. Would recommend.
Jan Pospisil - fantasy/historical/archaeology illustration
*-------------*
My Portfolio:
http://merlkir.deviantart.com
My Blog: 
http://janpospisil.blogspot.com
Reply
The Berel Horses.: Confirmation, Height, & Relationship to Modern Breeds. Part 1

Here is an update on the Berel Horses, southwestern Altai, c. 300 to 275BC, a breed developed by the Arimaspi. Hopefully, this post might answer a few questions. How large and tall were they? What was their physical conformation? And where did the breed originally come from?

New information ties the Berel individuals to Sintashta horses. Estimates place domestication at roughly a thousand years prior to Sintashta. "Given the rapid increase of coat color variation within ancient horses, this study agrees with apriori thesis (Outram et al., 2009) that horse domestication occurred on the Eurasian steppe at the latest by c. 3000BC."  (M. Cieslak, 2011) Originally, Sintashta horses were bred for pulling chariots, stocky of build, muscular, and with strong-bones. Remains of similar horses are found buried along the eastern edges of Deer Stone Khirigsuur complexes in western Mongolia, as archaeologists link the DSK to a Bronze Age culture that developed into the Scytho-Siberians (the Pazyryk-Berel culture). While DSK horses were not large, they were no smaller than today's Mongolian breed which stands at 13-13.5 hands high, "pony" sized.

   
Illustration of preferred coat colors of the Arzhan and Berel horses. We see a predominance of chestnut and bay, dark coats, and typical of horses with hard hooves.

Overall, we are looking at horses smaller than the impression given by Sergei Rudenko in 1953. When he discovered the Pazyryk horses, Rudenko was impressed by their "modern" appearance, likening them to the Akhal teke. He envisioned a long-legged breed, refined, originating in Persia, and imported by the Altai chieftains. I have no idea why Rudenko chose the Akhal teke, other than the fact it was an ancient breed. However, he was looking at dehydrated remains which gave the illusion of "race-horse" refinement. In actuality, the Pazyryk horses were not tall or leggy... even though countless contemporaneous illustrations depict them as near Thoroughbreds.

   
A modern reconstruction of the Berel horse's conformation, not a race horse but with elegance and power (courtesy of Gala Argent). I believe these horses represent an actual breed, locally refined in the Altai and in the Mongolian and Dzungarian steppes, and had no close connection to Persian examples.

To place Pazyryk horses in true perspective, we turn to skull measurements of Arimaspi examples. "Osteometric study of the burial mounds #11 and #18 helped give the provisional description of the animals. Comparison of measurements of the single skull from Mound #18 (standard length: 490mm) with skulls from burial mounds in neighboring districts of Altai shows the Berel skull length was greater than the average skulls length from the Ak-Alaka -1 memorials (475mm), Ulandryk (468mm), and Pazyryk (485mm). The same situation is with the average length of metacarpal and metatarsal bones: Pazyryk horses appear to be smaller."  (Samashev & Serikov, 2015)

Surprisingly, the Berel horses stood an average of 14.2 to 14.3 hands high at the withers. Their size corresponds to the minimum height accepted for a "horse-sized" Welch Cob. Other than the Cob, we have the Morgan, a similar breed which was initially used for pulling and riding. Both breeds are powerful for their size, corresponding well with the ancient Berel examples; and incidentally, look nothing like an Akhal teke.

In the following post, I will try to upload HD photos of Misty, a 20-year-old Morgan mare. She stands to a perfect Berel size-- 14.2 hands high-- weighs 850 pounds, and is the closest horse I could find to duplicate the build and conformation of the original Berel horse. Incidentally, studies of mt and Y-haplogroups of the Berel horses show they were related to almost all modern breeds. More to come in Part 2. Big Grin
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
Good - I thought the thread had died!
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
'Good - I thought the thread had died!'

Ditto, glad to see you again Alanus
Rodger Williams
Reply
The Berel Horses: Confirmation, Height, & Relationship to Modern Breeds. Part 2

Thank you, Robert and Rodger. Wink
I have resized the photos, and hopefully they will fit in this post. The photos were taken by my friend Andy Illes, and she specializes in equestrian photography. I apologize for the costume and horse tack, which can only be described as "generic Eurasian." Various parts of the recreation range from brand new, to 30 or 40 years old, to 700 years old. What is important is a "warrior" of average Pazyryk/Berel height (5 feet, 9 1/2 inches) and a sufficiently confirmed horse at Pazyryk/Berel size (rugged, and 14.2 hands high at the withers). It is a matter of comfort, my advanced age, and what works when in the saddle. Right-click on the photos, then click again to enlarge.

   
Both horse and rider at normal stance. The eye height is equal. The bow (an asymmetrical "Hun") stands at 4 feet, 6 inches.

   
Face-on, showing the horse's breadth. Leg length of the horse is slightly longer than the rider's.

   
Front quarter view, mounted. The stirrups are either Kievan-Rus or Cuman (Polovtsi), late medieval. The first soft stirrups arrive attached to Pazyryk saddles, c. 400BC. The "hook stirrup," a solid metal version, arrives on c. AD50 Kushan coins.

   
3/4 rear view, "Parthian shot." (I'm trying to shoot a hare for supper.) The horse blanket is tribal Afghanistan, age indeterminate. Without stirrups, my toes would hang just below Misty's belly. 

   
Misty sniffs my bow. The bridle is similar to those found in Pazyryk and Berel kurgans, fitted with forehead and chin leathers; and the snaffle bit is plain, hardly unchanged for 2,500 years. (Modern end-rings toggle, while the oldest bronze ones were ridged.)
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply
Great pictures!!
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
The Berel Horses: Confirmation, Height, & Relationship to Modern Breeds. Part 3

Glad you enjoyed the pics, Robert.

Now we can look at the mtDNA of Berel horses. First, I should mention that the genetic makeup of modern breeds and ancient ones (including the Berel examples) has no relationship to the DNA of Przwewalski's horse (Equus przwalskii). Recently, Li Liu and Xingcan Chen have tried to connect this wild strain to various sites in Neolithic China, their premise being that E. przzwalskii was "probably" tamed, based on bones of this sub-species found in numerous graves. They dedicate five pages to their argument without showing archaeological proof of any artifacts connected to pulling or riding... during a period (I might add) prior to any evidence of solid or spoked wheels, horse bits, or cheekpieces. If the Chinese rode horses before the steppe people did, they accomplished it through their wild imagination. (see Liu and Chen; The Archaeology of China, Cambridge, 2012, pp 111-115)

We turn to Keyser et al. for real facts (as opposed to fake facts) about the horses discovered by Samashev and Francfort in Berel kurgan 11. The coat colors of the Chieftain's horses are as follows: 1 multi-colored, 1 tan, 2 chestnut, and 3 bays. The colors of his consort's horses were 1 black, 1 bay, and 4 chestnut.

Of the chieftain's 7 horses-- "BER10 [a bay], BER11 [a chestnut] and BER13 [another bay] were grouped in [mt]haplogroup C with horses from modern breeds (Lusitano, Cleveland Bay, Andalusian, Losino, Argentinean-Creole, Peruvian Paso, Shetland, Connemara, Lipizzan and Exmoor) as well as with ancient ones (Akhal-Teke, Swedish horse from the late Viking Age and Pleistocene specimens." 

They add, "...some complete matches were observed with Chinese Guanzhong and Tuva horses as well as the Anatolian horses." This follows a known prehistorical pattern linked to the Yamnaya Culture (and in turn, the Afanasievo and Andronovo Cultures).

For more, and somewhat enlightening info on two of the chieftain's geldings mentioned above, we turn to Librado et al., April 2017. "Only BER10 and BER11 were related. They showed the same mitochondrial haplotype but with different Y chromosomes. These two horses might represent appreciated members of valuable pedigrees... Inbreeding coefficieants were close to zero, as opposed to all present-day horses tested, which suggests that Scythian reproductive management did not disrupt natural herd structures, in contrast with current practice... and reveals a large diversity of domestic male founders taking part in early domestication."

Finally, Librado and asscociates stress that Scythian horses were far healthier than modern breeds, the unfortunate result of a limited stud-base imposed for purity, gait, height, and speed. As a result of limited Y DNA, modern breeds are prone to genetic diseases, including acute colic and dementia. In conclusion, it appears that the Berel and other Pazyryk breeders were doing something right.
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Alans Dateline & Maps for Arthes Comerus Gallus Romus 17 6,056 11-26-2005, 09:49 AM
Last Post: hoplite14gr

Forum Jump: