Linking prehistoric archaeological remains with the development of language, David Anthony identifies the prehistoric peoples of central Eurasia's steppe grasslands as the original speakers of Proto-Indo-European, and shows how their innovative use of the ox wagon, horseback riding, and the warrior's chariot turned the Eurasian steppes into a thriving transcontinental corridor of communication, commerce, and cultural exchange. He explains how they spread their traditions and gave rise to important advances in copper mining, warfare, and patron-client political institutions, thereby ushering in an era of vibrant social change. Anthony also describes his fascinating discovery of how the wear from bits on ancient horse teeth reveals the origins of horseback riding.
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language solves a puzzle that has vexed scholars for two centuries--the source of the Indo-European languages and English--and recovers a magnificent and influential civilization from the past.
This book examines what happened when humans took the horse from the wild and domesticated it for their own use. This focus was taken as it was felt that the understanding of the huge role which the horse played in human history can only be improved by gaining an understanding of the equally huge role which humans played when they took horses from the wild and, through many hundreds of years of daily interaction, cross-breeding, and training, facilitated the development and spread of many breeds across the ancient world.
This book takes as its chronological focus the Greco-Persian world of the second and first millennia BC. This time period was selected for examination as it was during these two millennia that the vital role which the horse was to play in human history became fully apparent. The second millennium BC saw the development of the vast chariot forces which were to form an important part of the armed forces of numerous lands, from Mycenaean Greece in the West to India and China in the far East, while the following millennium saw the gradual replacement of chariots with cavalry forces, which continued to play a vital role in military warfare right up until the beginnings of the twentieth century AD.
Part One traces the history of the horse from its evolution to the development and spread of chariot and cavalry forces. Parts Two and Three examine the famous horse-breeding regions of the ancient world and, through an analysis of archaeological, iconographical, and literary evidence, attempts to determine why these regions were famed for horse breeding and what were the physical characteristics and given attributes of the various breeds.
He questions the belief that on the Eurasian steppes men were riding in battle as early as 4000 BC, and suggests that it was not until around 900 BC that men anywhere - whether in the Near East and the Aegean or on the steppes of Asia - were proficient enough to handle a bow, sword or spear while on horseback. After establishing when, where, and most importantly why good riding began, Drews goes on to show how riding raiders terrorized the civilized world in the seventh century BC, and how central cavalry was to the success of the Median and Persian empires.
Drawing on archaeological, iconographic and textual evidence, this is the first book devoted to the question of when horseback riders became important in combat. Comprehensively illustrated, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the origins of civilization in Eurasia, and the development of man's military relationship with the horse.
Battlefield warfare and militarism, Robert Drews contends, were novelties ca. 1600 BC and were a consequence of the military employment of chariots. Current opinion is that militarism and battlefield warfare are as old as formal states, going back before 3000 BC.
Another current opinion is that the Indo-Europeanizing of Europe happened long before 1600 BC. The "Kurgan theory" of Marija Gimbutas and David Anthony dates it from late in the fifth to early in the third millennium BC and explains it as the result of horse-riding conquerors or raiders coming to Europe from the steppe. Colin Renfrew’s Archaeology and Language dates the Indo-Europeanizing of Europe to the seventh and sixth millennia BC, and explains it as a consequence of the spread of agriculture in a "wave of advance" from Anatolia through Europe. Pairing linguistic with archaeological evidence Drews concludes that in Greece and Italy, at least, no Indo-European language could have arrived before the second millennium BC.
Language is mankind's greatest invention-except, of course, that it was never invented." So begins linguist Guy Deutscher's enthralling investigation into the genesis and evolution of language. If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of "man throw spear," how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced degrees of meaning?
Drawing on recent groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication, giving us fresh insight into how language emerges, evolves, and decays. He traces the evolution of linguistic complexity from an early "Me Tarzan" stage to such elaborate single-word constructions as the Turkish sehirlilestiremediklerimizdensiniz ("you are one of those whom we couldn't turn into a town dweller"). Arguing that destruction and creation in language are intimately entwined, Deutscher shows how these processes are continuously in operation, generating new words, new structures, and new meanings.
As entertaining as it is erudite, The Unfolding of Language moves nimbly from ancient Babylonian to American idiom, from the central role of metaphor to the staggering triumph of design that is the Semitic verb, to tell the dramatic story and explain the genius behind a uniquely human faculty.