aryan

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This Iranian necklace was excavated from Gilan, Iran, first millennium BCE, National Museum of Iran. The original Indo-Iranian meaning of good luck, good fortune or well being is linked to it.


Aryan is an English language word derived from Sanskrit and Avestan term ārya- meaning "noble" or "spiritual".[1] It is widely held to have been used as an ethnic self-designation of the Proto-Indo-Iranians. Since, in the 19th century, the Indo-Iranians were the most ancient known speakers of Indo-European languages, the word Aryan was adopted to refer not only to the Indo-Iranian people, but also to Indo-European speakers as a whole.

In Europe, the concept of an Aryan race became influential in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as linguists and ethnologists argued that speakers of these Indo-European languages constitute a distinctive race, descended from an ancient people, who were referred to as the "primitive Aryans", but are now known as Proto-Indo-Europeans.

In today's linguistics, Aryan, is merely synonymous to Indo-Iranian, the eastern extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages.[2][3][4][5]

Etymology

Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *ar-yo-, a yo-adjective to a root *ar "to assemble skillfully", present in Greek harma "chariot", Greek aristos, (as in "aristocracy"), Latin ars "art", etc. Proto-Indo-Iranian *ar-ta- was a related concept of "properly joined" expressing a religious concept of cosmic order.

The adjective *aryo- was suggested as ascending to Proto-Indo-European times as the self-designation of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language itself. It was suggested that other words such as Éire, the Irish name of Ireland, and Ehre (German for "honour") were related to it, but these are now widely regarded as untenable,[6] and while *ar-yo- is certainly a well-formed PIE adjective, there is no evidence that it was used as an ethnic self-designation outside the Indo-Iranian branch. In the 1850s Max Müller theorized that the word originated as a denotation of farming populations, since he thought it likely that it was related to the root *arh3, meaning "to plough". Other 19th century writers, such as Charles Morris, repeated this idea, linking the expansion of PIE speakers to the spread of agriculturalists. Most linguists now consider *arh3 to be unrelated.

In ancient and medieval India, the Sanskrit term aryaputra, literally, 'son of nobility' was a title conferred to kings and princes. In the epic Mahabharata, king Dhritarashtra’s wife, Gandhari addresses her husband as aryaputra more often than she uses his name, or any other title of respect.

The Old Persian form of *Aryāna- appears as Æryānam Väejāh "Aryan Root-land" in Avestan, in Middle Persian as Ērān, and in Modern Persian as Īrān. Similarly, Northern India was referred to by the tatpurusha Aryavarta "Arya-abode" in ancient times.

Semantics of Sanskrit arya

Main article: Arya
According to Paul Thieme (1938), the Vedic term arya- in its earliest attestations has a meaning of "stranger", but "stranger" in the sense of "potential guest" as opposed to "barbarian" (mleccha, dasa), taking this to indicate that arya was originally the ethnic self-designation of the Indo-Iranians. Arya directly contrasts with Dasa or Dasyu in the Rigveda (e.g. RV 1.51.8, ví jānīhy âryān yé ca dásyavaḥ "Discern thou well Aryas and Dasyus"). This situation is directly comparable to the term Hellene in Ancient Greece. The Middle Indic interjection arē!, rē! "you there!" is derived from the vocative arí! "stranger!".

The Sanskrit lexicon Amarakosha (c. AD 450) defines Arya as mahākula kulīnārya "being of a noble family", sabhya "having gentle or refined behavior and demeanor", sajjana "being well-born and respectable", and sādhava "being virtuous, honourable, or righteous". In Hinduism, the religiously initiated Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishyas were arya, a title of honor and respect given to certain people for noble behaviour. This word is used by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians to mean noble or spiritual.[7], for example, Four Noble Truths (Pali: Cattāri ariyasaccāni, Sanskrit: Catvāri āryasatyāni), and Noble Eightfold Path (Pāli: Ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo; Sanskrit: Ārya 'ṣṭāṅga mārgaḥ).

Indo-European

Max Müller and other 19th century linguists theorized that the term *arya was used as the self-description of the Proto-Indo-Europeans, who were often referred to at this time as the "primitive Aryans". By extension, the word came to be used in the West for the Indo-European speaking peoples as a whole. Besides Müller for example H. Chavée in 1867 uses the term in this sense (aryaque), but this never saw frequent use in linguistics, precisely for being reserved for "Indo-Iranian" already. G. I. Ascoli in 1854 used arioeuropeo, viz. a compound "Aryo-European" with the same rationale as "Indo-European", the term now current, which has been in frequent use since the 1830s. Nevertheless, the use of Aryan as a synonym for Indo-European became widespread in non-linguistic and popular usage by the end of the nineteenth century.

Use of "Aryan" for "Indo-European" in academia was obsolete by the 1910s: B. W. Leist in 1888 still titles Alt-Arisches Jus Gentium ("Old Aryan [meaning Indo-European, not Indo-Iranian] Ius Gentium"). P. v. Bradke in 1890 titles Methode und Ergebnisse der arischen (indogermanischen) Altterthumswissenschaft, still using "Aryan", but inserting an explanatory bracket. Otto Schrader in 1918 in his Reallexikon der indogermanischen Altertumskunde under the entry Arier matter-of-factly discusses the Indo-Iranians, without any reference to a possible wider meaning of the term.

According to Michael Witzel in his paper Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts, "the use of the word Arya or Aryan to designate the speakers of all Indo-European (IE) languages or as the designation of a particular race is an aberration of many writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and should be avoided."[8]

Indo-Iranian

Main article: Indo-Iranians


The most probable date for Proto-Indo-Iranian unity is roughly around 2500 BC. In this sense of the word Aryan, the Aryans were an ancient culture preceding both the Vedic and Avestan cultures. Candidates for an archeological identification of this Indo-Iranian culture are the Andronovo and/or Srubnaya Archeological Complexes. India, Anatolia and Central Asia have also been suggested as possible homelands for this culture.

In linguistics, the term Aryan currently may be used to refer to the Indo-Iranian language family. To prevent confusion because of its several meanings, the linguistic term is often avoided today. It has been replaced by the unambiguous terms Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Indo-Iranian, Indo-Iranian, Iranian and Indo-Aryan.

The Proto-Indo-Iranian language evolved into the family of Indo-Iranian languages, of which the oldest-known members are Vedic Sanskrit, Avestan and another Indo-Iranian language, known only from loan-words found in the Mitanni language.

Indo-Aryan

See also:
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Indus Valley Seals. The first one appears to show a Swastika.


There is evidence of speakers of Indo-Aryan in Mesopotamia around 1500 BC in the form of loanwords in the Mitanni dialect of Hurrian, the speakers of which, it is speculated, may have once had an Indo-Aryan ruling class. At around the same time, the Indo-Aryans associated with the Vedic civilization, which dates back to the same period. They are sometimes called Vedic Aryans because it is believed that they brought Vedas to the Indian Subcontinent after the Aryans migrated into that region (this theory is countered by the Out of India Theory). In ancient India, the term Aryavarta, meaning "abode of the Aryans", was used to refer to the northern Indian subcontinent.

Contemporary speakers of Indo-Aryan languages are spread over most of the northern Indian Subcontinent. Indo-Aryan speakers exist outside the Indian Subcontinent including Romani, the language of the Roma people, often known as "Gypsies". In addition to Romani, Parya is spoken in Tajikistan, Jataki in Ukraine, and Domari throughout the Middle East.

Iranian

Since ancient times, Persians have used the term Aryan as a racial designation in an ethnic sense to describe their lineage and their language, and this tradition has continued into the present day amongst modern Iranians (Encyclopedia Iranica, p. 681, Arya). In fact, the name Iran is a cognate of Aryan and means "Land of the Aryans." [9] [10] [11] However, many of these usages are also intelligible if we understand the word Aryan in its sense of "noble" or "Spiritual".
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Darius the Great
Darius the Great, King of Persia (521486 BC), in an inscription in Naqsh-e Rustam (near Shiraz in present-day Iran), proclaims: "I am Darius the great King… A Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage...". He also calls his language the "Aryan language," commonly known today as Old Persian. According to the Encyclopedia Iranica, "the same ethnic concept was held in the later centuries" and was associated with "nobility and lordship." (p. 681)

The word has become a technical term in the theologies of Zoroastrianism, but has always been used by Iranians in the ethnic sense as well. In 1967, Iran's Pahlavi dynasty (overthrown in the 1979 Iranian revolution) added the title Āryāmehr "Light of the Aryans" to those of the monarch, known at the time as the Shahanshah (King of Kings).

The term "Airya-shayana" (abode of the Aryans) has also been used in the Avesta referring to all the lands where the Aryans dwell.

"Iranian Glory" (Airyana Khvarenah) occurs in the Avesta 23 times.

The term also remains a frequent element in modern Persian personal names, including Arya and Aryan (boy's and girl's name), Aryana (a common surname), Iran-Dokht (Aryan daughter, a girl's name),Aryanpour (or Aryanpur, a surname), Aryamane, Ary among many others. The terms "Aryan" and "Iranian" are sometimes used interchangeably, as in the Iranian bank chain, Aryan Bank.

Racial connotations

Main article: Aryan race


Because of ethnolinguistic arguments about connections between peoples and cultural values, "Aryan" peoples were often considered to be distinct from Semitic peoples. By the end of the nineteenth century this usage was so common that "Aryan" was often used as a synonym for "gentile", and this popular usage persisted even after academic authors had ceased to use the term in any other meaning than "Indo-Iranian". Among White supremacists the term still sometimes functions as a synonym for "non-Jewish white person."

The Aryan race was a term used in the early 20th century by European racial theorists who believed strongly in the division of humanity into biologically distinct races with differing characteristics. Such writers believed that the Proto-Indo-Europeans constituted a specific race that had expanded across Europe, Iran and India. This meaning was, and still is, common in theories of racial superiority which were embraced by Nazi Germany. This usage tends to merge the Sanskrit meaning of "noble" or "elevated" with the idea of distinctive behavioral and ancestral ethnicity marked by language distribution. In this interpretation, the Aryan Race is both the highest representative of mankind and the purest descendent of the Proto-Indo-European population.

From the late 19th century, a number of writers had argued that the Proto-Indo-Europeans had originated in Europe. Their opinion was received critically at first, but was widely accepted by the end of the nineteenth century. By 1905 Hermann Hirt in his Die Indogermanen (incidentally consistently using Indogermanen, not Arier to refer to the Indo-Europeans) claimed that the scales had tilted in favour of the hypothesis, in particular claiming the plains of northern Germany as the Urheimat (p. 197) and connecting the "blond type" (p. 192) with the core population of the early, "pure" Indo-Europeans. This argument developed in tandem with Nordicism, the theory that the "Nordic race" of fair-haired north Europeans were innately superior to other peoples. The identification of the Proto-Indo-Europeans with the north German Corded Ware culture bolstered this position. This was first proposed by Gustaf Kossinna in 1902, and gained in currency over the following two decades, until V. Gordon Childe who in his 1926 The Aryans: a study of Indo-European origins concluded that "the Nordics' superiority in physique fitted them to be the vehicles of a superior language" (a belief which he later regretted having expressed).

The idea became a matter of national pride in learned circles of Germany, and was taken up by the Nazis. According to Alfred Rosenberg's ideology the "Aryan-Nordic" (arisch-nordisch) or "Nordic-Atlantean" (nordisch-atlantisch) race was thus a master race, at the top of a racial hierarchy, pitted against a "Jewish-Semitic" (jüdisch-semitisch) race, deemed to be a racial threat to Germany's homogeneous Aryan civilization, thus rationalizing Nazi anti-Semitism. Nazism portrayed their interpretation of an "Aryan race" as the only race capable of, or with an interest in, creating and maintaining culture and civilizations, while other races are merely capable of conversion, or destruction of culture. These arguments derived from late nineteenth century racial hierarchies. Some Nazis were also influenced by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine (1888) where she postulates "Aryans" as the fifth of her "Root Races", dating them to about a million years ago, tracing them to Atlantis, an idea also repeated by Rosenberg, and held as doctrine by the Thule Society. Such theories were used to justify the introduction of the so-called "Aryan laws" by the Nazis, depriving "non-Aryans" of citizenship and employment rights, and prohibiting marriage between Aryans and non-Aryans. Though Mussolini's fascism was not originally characterised by explicit anti-Semitism, he too eventually introduced laws pressed upon him by Hitler, prohibiting mixed-race marriages between "Aryans" and Jews.

Nazi use of the term "Aryan" was wildly inconsistent with the claimed meaning. Roma, of Indian descent and language, were classified non-Aryan, while the Japanese were made honorary Aryans during World War II. In effect, "non-Aryan" ended up very nearly meaning, "insufficiently nationalistic".

Because of historical racist use of Aryan, and especially use of Aryan race in connection with the propaganda of Nazism, the word is sometimes avoided in the West as being tainted, in the same manner as the swastika symbol. In the English language, the word "Aryan" is no longer in technical use to refer to an ethnic group or race, and the popular use of the term to mean "white person" fell out of favour during the 1930s when the obvious obsession of the Nazis with the word became a matter of ridicule in Britain and North America. In the USA, the established and less contentious term "Caucasian" became dominant in official usage. Currently, India and Iran are the only countries to use the word Aryan in a demographic denomination. This usage, however, carries no racist connotations. Aryan is also a common male name in India, Afghanistan, and Iran.

The word Aryan is still used to refer to race within white power and white nationalist circles.

See also

Notes

1. ^ for the Sanskrit term, Monier-Williams has: "a respectable or honourable or faithful man, an inhabitant of Âryâvarta; one who is faithful to the religion of his country; name of the race which immigrated from Central Asia into Âryâvarta (opposed to an-arya, dasyu, daasa); in later times name of the first three castes (opposed to shudra); a man highly esteemed; a master; Âryan, favourable to the Âryan people; behaving like an Âryan, worthy of one, honourable, respectable, noble; of a good family; excellent; wise; suitable"
2. ^ [1]
3. ^ [2]
4. ^ [3] [4]
5. ^ [5]
6. ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica - Aryans
7. ^ [6]
8. ^ Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies
9. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000
10. ^ [7]
11. ^ [8]

References

  • Paul Thieme, Der Fremdling im Rigveda. Eine Studie über die Bedeutung der Worte ari, arya, aryaman und aarya, Leipzig (1938).
  • Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Thomas Gamkrelidze, The Early History of Indo-­European Languages, Scientific American, vol. 262, N3, 110­116, March, 1990
  • A. Kammenhuber, "Aryans in the Near East," Haidelberg, 1968

Further reading

  • Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Thomas Gamkrelidze, The Early History of Indo-­European Languages, Scientific American, vol. 262, N3, 110­116, March, 1990
  • A. Kammenhuber, "Aryans in the Near East," Haidelberg, 1968
  • Arvidsson, Stefan (2006), Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science, translated by Sonia Wichmann, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Poliakov, Leon (1974). The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalistic Ideas In Europe. Translation of Le mythe aryen, 1971.

External links

Ārya is a Sanskrit (आर्य) and Avestan word used by Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists. It has a variety of positive meanings, usually in spiritual contexts.
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Aryan (Hindi: आर्यन, Urdu: آریایی, translation: Noble or Fighter
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Aryan Khan

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Sanskrit}}}  | style="padding-left: 0.5em;" | Writing system: | colspan="2" style="padding-left: 0.5em;" | Devanāgarī and several other Brāhmī-based scripts  ! colspan="3" style="text-align: center; color: black; background-color: lawngreen;"|Official
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Aryan race" is a concept in European culture that was influential in the period of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendents up to the present day constitute a
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Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist.
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Ethnology (from the Greek ethnos, meaning "people") is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyses the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the racial or national divisions of humanity.
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Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, the northern Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau (Southwest Asia), and much of Central Asia.
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Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Although the existence of such a language has been accepted by linguists for a long time, there has been debate about many specific
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Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist.
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Indo-Iranian language group constitutes the easternmost extant branch of the Indo-European family of languages. It consists of four language groups: the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, Nuristani, and Dardic.
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Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Although the existence of such a language has been accepted by linguists for a long time, there has been debate about many specific
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aristocracy refers to a form of government where power is held by a small number of individuals from a social elite or from noble families. The transmission of power is often hereditary.
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Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. Although the existence of such a language has been accepted by linguists for a long time, there has been debate about many specific
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Éire (pronounced [ˈeːrʲə]) is the Irish (Gaeilge) name of the island called Ireland in the English language.
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Friedrich Max Müller (December 6, 1823 – October 28, 1900), more commonly known as Max Müller, was a German philologist and Orientalist, one of the founders of Indian studies, who virtually created the discipline of comparative religion.
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Airyanəm Vaējah is the Avestan name of the original homeland or the best land belonging to the Iranian peoples, referred to in the Avesta (Zoroastrian holy texts) and other legends of Persian mythology.
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Middle Persian is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times (224-654 CE) became a
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In Sanskrit grammar a tatpuruṣa
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Aryavarta (Sanskrit: आर्यावर्त, "abode of the Aryans") is the ancient name for northern and central India, where the culture of the Indo-Aryans was based.
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Ārya is a Sanskrit (आर्य) and Avestan word used by Hindus, Jains, Zoroastrians, and Buddhists. It has a variety of positive meanings, usually in spiritual contexts.
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Vedic Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language, the language of the Vedas, the oldest shruti texts of Hinduism. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian, attested during the period between roughly 1700 BCE (early Rigveda) and 600
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Mleccha (from Vedic Sanskrit म्लेच्छ mleccha
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