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The Question of Indo-European Fatherland in Modern Linguistics and Hittito-Luwian
Burak TAMER*

One can state that the 20th century is the Age of Philosophy. The first half of the century has seen the decipherments and rediscovery of a number of forgotten and lost languages and this fact has in succeeding years the way to many new arguments in the other related fields, especially in philosophy. A similar situation was observed after the decipherment of the Hittite and other Anatolian languages. From the early years of these decipherments to the 1980’s up until a new level of debating which began with the work of C. Renfrew and extended into 1990’s, the Anatolian peoples of Indo-European (IE) origin have been considered as nomads.

This article evaluates the “Kurgan Theory” which took its root from the works of Kossina and Childe and for a long time provided the basis for the arguments over the IE fatherland, and the criticisms that started to develop in recent times over the slippery aspects of this theory.

Renfrew has proposed a new solution for IE question. What he has actually done was to push the dating of the progenitors’ back to the 7th millennium B.C., and by considering that these peoples were first farmers who over generations spread agriculture and the proto-IE language into Europe, and gave life to an “Ur-folk” living in an “Ur-homeland” named Anatolia, which was previously unthought of. This thesis is subject to some changes, although it seems considerably more impressive when compared to the traditional viewpoint which holds that the IE languages were spread at a much later date around the 4th millennium B.C., by the warrior-nomadic shepherds. Zvelebil justly criticizes the new proposal, because non-IE peoples were in fact still living in a large part of Europe and the first agricultural colonization had not yet reached these regions about 3000 B.C., the date at which Renfrew proposed that whole Europe was Indo-Europeanized. At this point, Renfrew seems to be impatient to completely reject the “kurgan theory” for the dispersion of kurgans were successful in revealing through excavations the cultural influences over a network of commercial lines together with such concepts of the “domination by the priviledged”. As a matter of fact, the dispersion processes of the IE languages in sub-optimal are to be found to be due to other causes.

While one of these was revolution in secondary production that influenced the spread of IE languages in the 5th and 4th millennium, the second cause was the “elite’s ruling” within the economy of animal husbandry. On the Black Sea steppe-land, which is considered as the originating grounds for the IE languages spreading to the east and the west, are insufficient un explaining the whole IE context.

In conclusion, the spread of the IE languages from a hypothetical fatherland called Anatolia might have contained some or all of the above mentioned mechanisms, and as such, the shortage of historical and archaeological data on the IE people’s nomadic character may be replaced by the probability of these people’s being indigenous to Anatolia.

*Burak Tamer. Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Eskiçağ Dilleri ve Kültürleri Bölümü, Antalya

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