Monday, 17 July 2017

Kolac - Golac

In my post about Prokletija - the Cursing ceremony, I described a strange Serbian custom in which a stake was cursed and stoned in place of an unknown or missing offender. I explained that in South Slavic languages the word "klet, klijet" means curse and I wondered where could that word have come from. 

I then proposed that the word "klet, kliet" could have come into Slavic languages from Irish where we find a whole cluster of words based on the base word "cleath" meaning stick, pole. 

cleath, -eithe, -eatha, f., a goad, a wattle, pole, stake; a fishing-rod.
cleath thiomána, a goad.
cleath-ailpín, a short stick with a knob.
cleathach, -aighe, a., ribbed, composed of wattle-work (cage, basket, granary).
cleathar, -air, pl. id., m., a stake, a pole; a pile or post; fig., a prince, a chief.
cleatharáil, -ála, f., a severe beating, a dressing, a flogging.
cleath-chur, m., a planting of trees; hence the correlative or collateral branches of a pedigree 

When, after this post was published, someone asked me why I believe that this word has come from Irish into Serbian I replied: 

"Because I couldn't find the base word in South Slavic languages that could give the rise to the above word cluster. You find the root words, you find the origin of all the derived words."

Now this is a great example of what happens when one gets struck with a sudden onset of acute blindness, deafness and dumbness. 

Why?

Because there actually is a word in Serbian which can give the rise to the above cluster.

That word is "kolac" pronounced "kolats". The word means "stick, stake, pole". 



Serbian Kolac is the exact cognate of Irish "Cleath". The pronunciation is slightly different but the root is the same "klt".

The thing is Kolac is not the actual root word in Serbian. The root word is actually "kol". 

kol, kolj, kalj - stake
kolje - stakes
kolina - large stake.
kolinec, kolje - young forest.
koljenika - spindle

In Gaelic (Irish and Scots) we have these words for stake and pilar:


cuaille, g. id., pl. -acha (cuailne), f., a stake, a pole, a club, a baton; do bhuail sé an ch. comhraic, he brandished the battle-staff; cuaille fir, a tall, slender man;

gallan - pilar, standing stone (Originally people used standing wooden totem and demarcation poles which were only much later replaced with standing stones)


In Danish the word "Kølle" means hockey stick, golf club, baton, nightstick, (slang) penis

These words sound very much like kol, gol which are the root words for kolac, golac. I believe that these words have the same root.  

And that the root comes from Serbian.

Why?

This is why. What is the difference between a branch, a sapling and a stick, a stake, a pole? Well, stick, stake, pole are stripped of side branches and leaves. They are made bare, naked. 




Serbian word for naked, bare is "go, gol". This word is the root word of a whole cluster of words:

go, gol, golahan - naked
golać - naked
puž golać - slug
goleti - strip (of clothes, of branches, of vegetation)
ogoleti - make bare, make naked
golet - land stripped of vegetation
golja - poor person, someone who has nothing

If you take a branch and you strip it bare of branches and leaves, if you make it "gol" (bare, naked) you get "kol" (stick, stake, pole). 

I talked about this morphing of the "g" into "k" in my post "Koleno - goleno". There I talked about the Serbian word for knee = koljeno, koleno, kaljen, kalino, kolino, golino which comes from the word "goleno" meaning "naked, bared". 

In my post "Klet" I talked about another South Slavic word "klet, klijet" which means "wooden hut made from poles, logs, sticks". In other Slavic languages and in Baltic languages, this word means a shack, but also more narrowly granary, basket, cage...



Baskets (klet) are made from sticks (kolje) which are branches which were stripped of their leaves, which were made bare (gole) 


The early granaries were basically raised baskets made from sticks, like these primitive granaries from California. 


Which later developed into wattle granaries, like these ones from the Balkans:


And also houses made using wattle and daub technique. 


"Wattling" is a way of building walls by weaving sticks in and out of upright posts. "Daubing" is the method used to weather proof these stick walls using mud or mud mixed with hay. 


Wattle and daub technique was certainly used in Europe in Bronze Age, around 3000 years ago but it could be much older. And it continued to be the main house building technique in continental European villages until very recently.

The second main house, barn building technique in continental European villages was a log cabin, a shack made from interwoven logs, like this Latvian klēts:



These logs are tree trunks which were stripped of the branches and leaves (gol). In Serbian, apart from the word "kol" meaning stick, stake, pole, we also have a word "klada" which means log. This word also comes from the word "gol" meaning "naked, bare". Klada (log) is what bearing, stripping of a tree of its branches and leaves gives us. In Serbian this is "gol + da" = bear, naked + gives...

What happens when you strip branch, sapling of its branches and leaves is that you turn a bushy branch into a smooth stick, stake pole. In Serbian the word for smooth is "gladak".  This word has its cognate in all Slavic languages, but also in Baltic languages, Germanic languages and Latin. But not in Celtic languages. I believe that this word comes from the same root "gol" meaning bare, naked and not from Proto-Indo-European *gʰelh₂- (“to shine”). Shininess is a consequence of smoothness which is a consequence of bareness, nakedness. Incidentally the Serbian word "gol" (naked) comes from Proto-Indo-European *galw- (*kalw- ) meaning naked, bare. There are words in Indoiranian, Baltic, Slavic, Italic and Germanic languages based on this root. But not in Celtic...

In my post "Klet" I pointed at the fact that Latvian klēts, Lithuanian klė́tis, Old Prussian clenan are basically raised log cabins. I mentioned that I have already written in my post "Log cabin" that this type of house construction was brought to Baltic by Slavs. So I concluded the name for these structures must also have been brought to Baltic by Slavs. 

Now that we know about the "kol" (stake) and "gol" (naked) root there is no doubt any more that these words are indeed of Slavic origin. 

But then I said that before Slavs the log cabins were in central Europe built by Celts. Which means that the original name for these structures was Celtic "cleathach" based on the root "cleath" meaning a goad, a wattle, pole, stake, which I already mentioned above.

Well, was it? Or was it the other way round? :) Are these Irish words based on Serbian (Slavic) words "kol" (stick, stake, pole) and "kolje" (sticks, stakes, poles)?

I am glad the attack of blindness, deafness and dumbness was just temporary...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Klet

In my post about Prokletija - the Cursing ceremony, I described a strange Serbian custom in which a stake was cursed and stoned in place of an unknown or missing offender. I explained that in South Slavic languages the word "klet, klijet" means curse and I wondered where could that word have come from. 

I then proposed that the word "klet, kliet" could have come into Slavic languages from Irish where we find a whole cluster of words based on the base word "cleath" meaning stick, pole. 

cleath, -eithe, -eatha, f., a goad, a wattle, pole, stake; a fishing-rod;

That this is indeed a possibility can be seen from the fact that in South Slavic languages the word "klet, klijet" has another meaning: wooden hut made from poles, logs, sticks. Like this one from Rudno in Serbia:



This word is also present in other Slavic languages with the same meaning. 

Old Church Slavonic клѣть ‎(klětǐ), Russian клеть ‎(klet'), Belarusian клець ‎(klec'), Ukrainian кліть ‎(klit'), Bulgarian клет ‎(klet), Czech klec, Polish kleć. This is kleć (shack) from Kudricze in Polesia in Belarus.



In Baltic languages (Latvian klēts, Lithuanian klė́tis, Old Prussian clenan) and in some Slavic languages the word is found with narrower meaning of granary, cage, crate, basket, container. 

Baltic granaries are made from interwoven logs, like this Latvian klēts:



You can see that this is basically a raises log cabin. I have already written in my post "Log cabin" that this type of house construction was brought to Baltic by Slavs. So the name for these structures must also have been brought to Baltic by Slavs and that Latvian klēts, Lithuanian klė́tis, Old Prussian clenan have Slavic origin. And guess what. Before Slavs the log cabins were in central Europe built by Celts. 

And in Irish, a Celtic language, we find a whole cluster of words based on the base word "cleath" meaning stick, pole. 

cleath, -eithe, -eatha, f., a goad, a wattle, pole, stake; a fishing-rod.
cleath thiomána, a goad.
cleath-ailpín, a short stick with a knob.
cleathach, -aighe, a., ribbed, composed of wattle-work (cage, basket, granary).
cleathar, -air, pl. id., m., a stake, a pole; a pile or post; fig., a prince, a chief.
cleatharáil, -ála, f., a severe beating, a dressing, a flogging.
cleath-chur, m., a planting of trees; hence the correlative or collateral branches of a pedigree 

Which means that the original name for these structures was Celtic cleathach based on the root cleath meaning a goad, a wattle, pole, stake, the building material used for making wooden shacks, both log cabins and wattle and daub ones.

Everything fits perfectly.

Well almost. But more about this in my next post :)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Koleno - Goleno

It is very interesting is that in Serbian the words for knee, shin (bone), ankle all come from the same "kln, gln" root:

knee = koljeno, koleno, kaljen, kalino, kolino, golino
shin bone, tibia =  golijen, golin, goujeno, koljeno
ankle = gležanj




Basically we have two angles, knee (koleno, goleno) and ankle (gležanj) both made by the same bone shin bone (golijen, golin, goujeno, koljeno) and the bones connecting to it, all having names coming from the same root. And I believe that this root is "gol" meaning "naked".

Why?

Well have a look at these pictures:

Mesolithic clothing


Neolithic clothing

Bronze age clothing
 Iron age clothing


Basically during all this time, when our languages were developing, the working and fighting clothes remained the same length: they ended somewhere around the knees. There is a purely practical reason for this. A tunic or a kilt of that length allows full range of movement while providing enough cover to keep the body worm. Anything longer and you will not be able to spread your legs and walk normally or bend. Anything shorter and your balls will shrink from the cold :)

The part of the leg which was uncovered, naked (goljen in South Slavic languages) is exactly the part from knee (koleno, goleno in Serbian) to ankle (g(o)ležanj in Serbian) which are connected by the same bone, shin bone, (golijen, golin, goujeno, koljeno in Serbian), all the words based on the root "gol" meaning naked.

In "Etimologijski rjecnik Hrvatskog ili Srpskog jezika" (Croatian and Serbian etymological dictionary) by Petar Skok we read:

"Prema Sobolevskom se denominacija odnosi na dohistorijsku nošnju bez rukava i nogavica. Na to upućuje i orfološka činjenica da je golijen apstraktum deklinacije í. Znači dakle »golotinja, ono što je golo«"

"According to Sobolevski this word comes from prehistoric clothing without sleeves and legs. This is indicated by the fact that the word goljen means naked, bare"

Now if the word "gol" meaning naked is indeed the root of the word "goleno, koleno" meaing knee, then this raises an interesting question. 

In my post "From knee to knee" I wrote about the strange fact that while in almost all other Indoeuropean languages the word for knee comes from the root "gn, kn" and means knee, angle, in Celtic and Slavic languages the words for knee come from the root "gln, kln". 
The word knee also has additional meanings in Irish and Serbian which are not found in other languages:

Serbian (koleno, koljeno, kaljen, kalino, kolino, golino): knee, angle, generation, step in descent, offspring, family, clan, race, house

Gaelic (glúin): knee, angle, generation, step in descent, step in pedigree

Now if the Serbian word for knee koleno, goleno (kln, gln) comes from the Serbian (Proto Slavic) word for naked gol (gl), then where does the Gaelic word for knee gluin come from? The same Proto Slavic root?

Well actually, the Proto Slavic word "gol" (naked) comes from Proto-Indo-European *galw- (*kalw- ) meaning naked, bare. There are words in Indoiranian, Baltic, Slavic, Italic and Germanic languages based on this root. But not in Celtic...So where does the Gaelic word for knee come from? Slavic languages? Germanic languages? Latin? However only in Slavic languages the words for the bare, naked parts of the leg from knee (koleno, goleno in Serbian) to ankle (g(o)ležanj in Serbian) are based on the root "gol" meaning bare, naked. So...

What do you think?

Monday, 3 July 2017

Winter solstice goat from Macedon

This is silver stater from Aigai (today's Vergina), the first capital of Macedon, depicting an ibex goat, late 6th century BC, currently kept in Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.




Please note the sun disc above the goat. Remember the link between the ibex goat, the Capricorn zodiac sign and the winter solstice that I explained in my post "Goat"?

Here is the important bit:

Alpine ibex mating season starts in December, and ends in January typically lasting around six weeks. 

Right in the middle of the mating periods of both Alpine and Bezoar ibex is Winter Solstice, 21st of December. And the day after the winter solstice is the beginning of the Capricorn (goat) period, which last from December 22 – January 20...

The solar disc on the coin is placed right above the middle of the goat, symbolizing the winter solstice which falls in the middle of the ibex mating season. 

The solar disc is the symbol found all over the world and in Egypt it was the symbol of the sun, Ra. 

I wrote about this symbol in my post "Bogovo gumno - God's threshing floor". 

I proposed that this symbol represents a stylized threshing floor. 



There are thousands of these stone circles all over the Balkans. Every village and sometimes every house had one. Sometimes they are made of stone, where stone was plentiful, but sometimes they were just a flat piece of land with a stick stack into the middle of it.

In 1950, Serbian ethnographer Nenad Janković published a book on folk astronomy called "Astronomija u predanjima, obicajima i umotvorinama Srba" (Astronomy in legends, customs and oral and written tradition of the Serbs). In it he expressed his great surprise at the ability of ordinary illiterate peasants to tell exact date and time without calendars and clocks. Professor Jankovic states that one of the main instruments used for these calendar and time calculations was the threshing floor. By looking at the shadow cast by the stožer, the central pole at sunrise, they were able to tell the date. And by looking at the shadow cast by the stožer, the central pole during the day they were able to tell the time. Threshing floor is a universal solar observatory, which at the same time can tell the date and the time. The main parts of this solar observatory were solar circle and its center, solar pole, stožer. Or if viewed from above, from heaven, the way Sun God would see it, a circle and a dot representing its center, solar pole, stožer. 


The aboe symbol is usually interpreted to mean sun disc, but I believe that it actually means sun circle, threshing floor and sun cycle observed from the threshing floor.

Greeks called the central solar pole, stožer of the sundial "gnomon" meaning the one which knows. This was because the central stake "new" the time and date.







Sunday, 25 June 2017

Chimera

This is an electrum stater from the ancient city of Kyzikos, Mysia, circa 550-500 BC. It has a chimera above a tuna fish which was the civic badge of Kyzikos. The reverse is a quadripartite incuse square, an abstract representation of swastika, the symbol of sun's fire. 



Chimera is a monster of which a brief description in Homer’s Iliad is the earliest surviving literary reference. Homer, who wrote during late 8th, early 7th century BC, depicts it as "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". It was the offspring of Typhon (last son of Gaia, fathered by Tartarus)

This Etruscan (Rascian) bronze, dated to 400 BC, is known as "Chimera of Arezzo". 


You can find high resolution image here.

The sculpture has an inscription reading "Tinia" on its front right leg. Tinia (also Tin, Tinh, Tins or Tina) was the god of the sky and the highest god in Etruscan mythology, equivalent to the Roman Jupiter and the Greek Zeus.

Interestingly in Irish the word "tine" means "fire", and in Serbian the word "tinja" means "smoldering"...

What does this have to do with Chimera? Well Chimera "snorts out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". And she does it through the mouth of a lion. Now, as I already explained in my post "Two crosses",  the hottest part of the year in the northern Europe falls at the end of Summer and the Beginning of Autumn. In South Slavic tradition this period is called Kresovi meaning Fires. These are the days of wild fires and droughts. And interestingly this period is on the Zodiac circle represented by the symbol Leo, Lion. Lion which "snorts out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire". 

Now in my last post "You will trample the great lion and the serpent" I talked about the solar symbolism hidden in Psalm 91 (Greek numbering: Psalm 90), also known as the Psalm of Protection, and the image known as "Christ treading on the beasts" which is based on this psalm. In this post I explained why snake is a symbol of the beginning of the summer and why lion is the symbol of the end of the summer. 

Summer starts on the 6th of May, Day of Jarilo, Beltine. Jarilo represents the sun's heat, symbolized by the snake and the dragon. Funnily Jarilo was Christianized into St George, the Dragon killer :) In Serbia, St Jeremija who is celebrated at the beginning of May is known as the Snake Saint. His day (1st of May according to the Julian calendar, 14th of May according to the Gregorian calendar) is the time when people perform magic ceremonies for protection from snakes...Interesting both names Jarilo and J(a)eremija have the root "jar" meaning "bright heat".

Summer ends on the 2nd of August, Day of Perun, Lughnasadh. Day of Perun falls in the middle of the Leo (Lion) zodiac sign






Knowing this it is easy to understand why Chimera has a snake tail and a fire breathing lion head. Summer starts in the sign of Snake and ends in the sign of Lion. The heat increases during this period until it turns into "terrible flame of bright fire". 

What is interesting is that in Serbian mythology the 2nd of August, the point on the solar circle which marks the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn, the hottest part of the year, is also the day of Perun, the Slavic Thunder god. In Irish mythology this day is known as Lughnasadh, the day of Lugh, the Celtic thunder god. Why is the day of the thunder god in the middle of the hottest period of the year? Because right after the 2nd of August, the day of the maximum heat, the sun starts cooling down. The first Autumn thunderstorms arrive. Thunder god defeats the dragon. As I already explained in my post "Three suns", dragon is in Slavic mythology, with snake, symbol of sun's heat. The sun's heat which causes drought. The sun's heat that steals the "waters of heaven", rain. Once the Thunder god kills the dragon, once the sun's heat starts dissipating, the waters of heaven which the dragon stole are released, and the rains return...This is why the name of the sky god is inscribed on the Chimera's front right leg. 

But what about the goat's head that protrudes from the lion's back?

In my post "Goat" I talked about the symbolism of ibex goat and why is the Capricorn zodiac sign where it is on the solar circle. 

Now here is the important bit:

Alpine ibex mating season starts in December, and ends in January typically lasting around six weeks. 

Bezoar Ibex mating season starts in November and ends in January. 

Right in the middle of the mating periods of both Alpine and Bezoar ibex is Winter Solstice, 21st of December. And the day after the winter solstice is the beginning of the Capricorn (goat) period, which last from December 22 – January 20...






Have a look at this image. This is solar circle, with the beginning (snake), the middle (summer solstice) and the end (lion) of summer marked at the bottom of the Zodiac circle, and the middle of winter (winter solstice) marked at the top of the circle.



This is our Chimera. 



Chimera with the body with snake tail (beginning of summer), lion head (the end of summer) which all together represents summer. And with the ibex goat head on it's back, which represents the winter solstice.

And so it turns out that Chimera is not a monster, but a symbol of the sun. More precisely Chimera is the symbol of the solar yearly cycle. 

Interesting don't you think?

Friday, 23 June 2017

You will trample the great lion and the serpent

Have you ever heard of the Psalm 91 (Greek numbering: Psalm 90), also known as the Psalm of Protection?

The psalm starts with:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...

And goes on to proclaim:

...If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling...
...you will trample the great lion and the serpent...


This last bit, the verse 13, interpreted as a reference to Christ defeating and triumphing over Satan, was the origin of the iconography of "Christ treading on the beasts", seen in the Late Antique period, and revived in Carolingian and Anglo-Saxon art. The earliest and one of the most beautiful example of the depiction of the "Christ treading on the beasts" scene can be found in the "Basilica of San Vitale" in Ravenna.


The "Basilica of San Vitale" in Ravenna, Italy is one of the most important examples of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture in Europe. The church was begun by Bishop Ecclesius in 526, when Ravenna was under the rule of the Ostrogoths and completed by the 27th Bishop of Ravenna, Maximian, in 547 preceding the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna. The church is famous for its mosaics.

What is the meaning of the above image? 

Christian doctrine says that Jesus is trampling on the lion and the snake because "these animals are symbol of the Devil". Hence he is trampling the Devil. But I believe that there is another, hidden meaning.  

In my post "Three suns" I talked about the symbolic link between Snakes and the light and heat of the sun. This link was clearly preserved in Slavic mythology. Snakes come out of hibernation just before the the Spring Equinox. Snakes go back to hibernation just after the Autumn Equinox. So snakes are out during the period between Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, during the brightest and hottest part of the year. Slavs believed that once out, snakes constantly "suck the heat out of the sun" and that this is why sun eventually looses it's light and heat and days get shorter and shorter and colder and colder. 




Right in the middle of this period is summer. 

Summer starts on the 6th of May, Day of Jarilo, Beltine. Jarilo represents the sun's heat, symbolized by the snake and the dragon. Funnily Jarilo was Christianized into St George, the Dragon killer :) In Serbia, St Jeremija who is celebrated at the beginning of May is known as the Snake Saint. His day (1st of May according to the Julian calendar, 14th of May according to the Gregorian calendar) is the time when people perform magic ceremonies for protection from snakes...Interesting both names Jarilo and J(a)eremija have the root "jar" meaning "bright heat".

Summer ends on the 2nd of August, Day of Perun, Lughnasadh. Day of Perun falls in the middle of the Leo (Lion) zodiac sign. 



So summer is the period between the Day of Jarilo (Snake) and the Day of Perun (Lion). And in the middle of the summer is Day of Svetovid, the Summer solstice. The point when Sun in the northern hemisphere reaches its highest point above the horizon. 

Now have a look at "Christ treading on the beasts" scene again: 

Christ standing with his legs spread, with one leg on the snake (the beginning of the summer) and the other leg on the lion (the end of the summer). His head, with the solar halo is right at the point of the summer solstice, when Sun god is the most high...

If you make the Most High your dwelling...you will trample the great lion and the serpent...

You will be in the summer on the northern hemisphere...



Is this the meaning of this psalm and this image? I believe so. What do you think?



Saturday, 17 June 2017

Sun, Thunder, Fire

Do you remember the riddle from the Book of Veles which I mentioned in my post "Triglav , Trojan, Trinity, Trimurti, Agni":

"Jer tajna je velika, kako to Svarog biva u isto vreme i Perun i Svetovid.

Translated into English this means: 

"Because it is a great secret how come Svarog (hevenly and earthly fire) is at the same time Perun (thunder and lightning) and Svetovid (Sun)."

The answer to this riddle is Triglav (three headed), Trojan (triple, trinity). 

Svetovid, Perun and Svarog are just three heads, three faces, three manifestations of the one and only god, Triglav.  



Now have a look at this:

This article in magazine "Nature" states that "Lightning is triggered by solar winds":

"Lightning has been around since the dawn of time, but what triggers it is still an enigma. Now, researchers propose that the answer could lie in solar particles that penetrate the atmosphere and ionize the air, releasing free electrons and leading to a massive discharge.

Thunderclouds become electrically charged from the collisions of microscopic ice particles in their midst, and from air currents that push the negative and positive charges apart. The air is a good insulator, keeping electrons from jumping back and equilibrating the electrostatic charges. But if a pathway of ionized air molecules forms that can act as a conductor between different parts of a cloud, or between the cloud and the ground, the result is a lightning bolt.

However scientists are still not sure of what initiates the formation of such a pathway. In the presence of strong enough electric fields, insulators spontaneously break down and become conductors, but experts believe that the atmosphere simply cannot reach the hundreds of thousands of volts or more required to produce a lightning. So they have been searching for alternative explanations. Researchers at the University of Reading, UK, now say that solar wind has a role.

As high-speed solar-wind particles travel through space, they can lead to localized strengthening of the magnetic field, which pushes some of the particles to even higher speeds. These so-called solar energetic particles (SEPs) — unlike other those that travel at slower speeds — have enough energy to penetrate Earth’s magnetic field and to travel through the atmosphere, down to the altitudes where thunderclouds form. There, researchers say, they could collide with atoms in the air, generating a cascade of high-energy particles. This ‘runaway breakdown’ would be sufficient to trigger lightning, says Christopher Scott, a space scientist who led the latest study."

Basically without solar winds there would be no lightning. 

And without lightning there would be no Earthly fire. At least before people "stole the secret of making fire from the sky god". Originally earthly fires were a product of lightning strikes during the periods of intense sun's heat. And as we see from the above "Nature" article, lightning is a direct product of solar winds which means that Sun creates Thunder and Lightning which creates Fire. 


And this is why Svetovid (Sun), Perun (Thunder and Lightning) and Svarog (fire) are One:Triglav (Three headed) one and only God.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Two equilibriums

Many years ago, my kung fu teacher tried to explain to me the difference between Yang (Fire) and Yin (Water) method in Taoism. 

Taoism teaches the way to achieve balance, equilibrium. There are two ways to achieve this balance, equilibrium: the fire method and the water method. 

People who practice the fire method, arrive to the point of balance, equilibrium, by pushing upwards and burning their ego. This way of achieving balance is fast, hard, dangerous, and the balance achieved is short lived.

People who practice the water way, arrive to the point of balance, equilibrium, by letting go of, dissolving their ego. This way of achieving balance is slow, soft, not dangerous, and the balance achieved is long lived. 

Interestingly, physics also teaches us that there are two types of equilibrium points. 

One is the point on top of the curve, the top of the hill. To reach this equilibrium point, we have to push upwards, work hard against gravity. Once we reach this point, even the smallest knock will push us off the equilibrium point, and we will tumble down into the state of unbalance. From there we have to push upwards again and work hard to reach the equilibrium point. 

The other is the point at the bottom of the curve, the bottom of the valley. To reach this equilibrium point, we have to make the initial small push "in the right direction" towards the edge of the curve. From there on we just have to let go and let the gravity do its work. We will roll down the curve and after a series of oscillations we will eventually settle in the equilibrium point at the bottom. Once  we reach this point, a knock, even a strong knock will push us off the equilibrium point, but only for a short period of time. After a series of smaller and smaller oscillations, we will naturally settle back into the equilibrium point.

I think this is quite interesting...

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The woman with blue eyes

This is a bone figurine with lapis lazuli eyes, from Egypt, Early Predynastic period, Naqada I, 4000-3600 BCE.


The choice of material used for this figurine suggests that the artist specifically wanted to depict a white woman with blues eyes. That this is a depiction of a real woman and not a goddess of any kind can be seen from the fact that this is just one of many similar figurines found in Naqada sites, all depicting white women of various shapes and sizes and different eye colors. 


But who would be portraying white women in Egypt 6000 years ago? 

Well maybe the redhead people who lived in Egypt at that time. They buried their their dead in the sand, where their bodies were naturally mummified. The oldest known group of such mummies is known as Gebelein predynastic mummies. They date to approximately 3400 BC from the Late Predynastic period of Ancient Egypt. The first excavated body is on display in the British Museum. This body was originally nicknamed 'Ginger' due to his red hair...



The depictions of people with blue eyes as well as mummies with blond, red and brown straight and wavy (Caucasian) hair continue to be found through out the Ancient Egypt's history. 

What is going on here? 

Have a look at this map from Eupedia:


This map shows distribution of the the R1b haplogroup across the world. 

R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching over 80% of the population in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, western Wales, the Atlantic fringe of France, the Basque country and Catalonia. It is also common in Anatolia and around the Caucasus, in parts of Russia and in Central and South Asia.

Besides the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Europe, hotspots include the Po valley in north-central Italy (over 70%), Armenia (35%), the Bashkirs of the Urals region of Russia (50%), Turkmenistan (over 35%), the Hazara people of Afghanistan (35%), the Uyghurs of North-West China (20%) and the Newars of Nepal (11%). 

A small percentages (1 to 4%) of R1b-V88 is found in almost every country in  Africa north of the equator. Higher frequency in Egypt (5%) along the Nile, among Berbers from the Egypt-Libya border (23%), among the Sudanese Copts (15%), the Hausa people of Sudan (40%), the the Fulani people of the Sahel (54% in Niger and Cameroon), and Chadic tribes of northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon (especially among the Kirdi), where it is observed at a frequency ranging from 30% to 95% of men.

Is it possible that the people who made a statuette of a white woman with blue eyes in Egipt 6000 years ago, were themselves white people with blue eyes who belonged to the R1b haplogroup? 

I believe so. 

But how and when did these R1b people arrive to Africa? I recently found an interesting article about this on "Cradle of civilization" blog. The article is entitled "The origin and development of the African haplogroup R1b" and here is the important bit: 

Haplogroup R* originated in North Asia just before the Last Glacial Maximum (26,500-19,000 years ago). This haplogroup has been identified in the remains of a 24,000 year-old boy from the Altai region, in south-central Siberia. This individual belonged to a tribe of mammoth hunters that may have roamed across Siberia and parts of Europe during the Paleolithic.

Autosomally this Paleolithic population appears to have contributed mostly to the ancestry of modern Europeans and South Asians, the two regions where haplogroup R also happens to be the most common nowadays (R1b in Western Europe, R1a in Eastern Europe, Central and South Asia, and R2 in South Asia).

The oldest forms of R1b (M343, P25, L389) are found dispersed at very low frequencies from Western Europe to India, a vast region where the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers could have roamed during the Ice Age. The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to have stemmed from the Middle East.

The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa. The northern branch, R1b1a (P297), seems to have originated around the Caucasus, eastern Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia, then to have crossed over the Caucasus, from where they would have invaded Europe and Central Asia. R1b1b (M335) has only been found in Anatolia.

It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs.

With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals.

The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars and goats led to their progressive taming. Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence.

The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains.

The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b.

The early R1b cattle herders would have split in at least three groups. One branch (M335) remained in Anatolia, but judging from its extreme rarity today wasn’t very successful, perhaps due to the heavy competition with other Neolithic populations in Anatolia, or to the scarcity of pastures in this mountainous environment.

A second branch migrated south to the Levant, where it became the V88 branch. Some of them searched for new lands south in Africa, first in Egypt, then colonising most of northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahel.

The third branch (P297), crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle. They split into two factions: R1b1a1 (M73), which went east along the Caspian Sea to Central Asia, and R1b1a2 (M269), which at first remained in the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga.

It is not yet clear whether M73 actually migrated across the Caucasus and reached Central Asia via Kazakhstan, or if it went south through Iran and Turkmenistan. In the latter case, M73 might not be an Indo-European branch of R1b, just like V88 and M335.

R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, which comprised almost all Europe (except Finland, Sardinia and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, European Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably in Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, northern India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.

Like its northern counterpart (R1b-M269), R1b-V88 is associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia. Both branches of R1b probably split soon after cattle were domesticated, approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE). R1b-V88 migrated south towards the Levant and Egypt.

The migration of R1b people can be followed archaeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba).

Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.

Evidence of cow herding during the Neolithic has shown up at Uan Muhuggiag in central Libya around 5500 BCE, at the Capeletti Cave in northern Algeria and in Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria  around 4500 BCE.

After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders and native Maghreban E-M81 lineages. These Maghreban Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE.

R1b-V88 would have crossed the Sahara between 7,200 BCE and 3,600 BCE, and is most probably associated with the diffusion of Chadic languages, a branch of the Afroasiatic languages. R1b-V88 is not only present among Chadic speakers, but also among Senegambian speakers (Fula-Hausa) and Semitic speakers (Berbers, Arabs).

V88 would have migrated from Egypt to Sudan, then expanded along the Sahel until northern Cameroon and Nigeria. Another possibility is that R1b-V88 people migrated to central Africa straight down from central Sahara, escaping southward from the emerging desert. 

Today R1b-V88 is found among the native populations of Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau. The wide distribution of V88 in all parts of Africa, its incidence among herding tribes, and the coalescence age of the haplogroup all support a Neolithic dispersal. In any case, a later migration out of Egypt would be improbable since it would have brought haplogroups that came to Egypt during the Bronze Age, such as J1, J2, R1a or R1b-L23.

When the Sahara started turning into a desert, during the first part of the 4th millennium BC, people living in its eastern fringes started settling around the Nile valley. The concentration of large number of people in this relatively small area created the need for increasingly stronger organization in order to control and protect the access to limited resources. And the Egyptian culture was born...

Is it possible that the people who kick started this culture were R1b cattle herders? And that it was them who made the statuette of a white woman with blue eyes?

Interestingly only few days ago researchers from Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History had published a report which states that "Ancient Egyptians were more closely related to Europeans than modern Egyptians". 

The result was published after scientists managed, for the first time, to obtain full genome sequences of Ancient Egyptians. The mummies were taken from a single archaeological site on the River Nile, Abusir el-Meleq, which was inhabited from 3250 BC to 700AD and was home to a cult of Osiris, the god of the dead, making it a good place to be buried. 

A complete genome sequence was obtained for three mummies and mitochondrial DNA, which is passed through the female line, was obtained from 90 individuals. They were dated to between about 1,400BC and 400AD.

The researchers, writing in the journal Nature Communications, admitted their sample “may not be representative for all of ancient Egypt”. Nevertheless, they concluded the mummified people were “distinct from modern Egyptians, and closer towards Near Eastern and European samples”.

And they added: “We find that ancient Egyptians are most closely related to Neolithic and Bronze Age samples in the Levant, as well as to Neolithic Anatolian and modern and ancient European populations". 

In contrast to the changes between the ancient and modern period, the researchers, from Cambridge University and institutions in Germany, Poland and Australia, found the genetic make-up of the mummies was remarkably constant despite the arrival of the Romans and other foreign powers.

Dr Wolfgang Haak, group leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, said: “The genetics of the Abusir el-Meleq community did not undergo any major shifts during the 1,800-year timespan we studied, suggesting that the population remained genetically relatively unaffected by foreign conquest and rule.”

What do you think about all this?