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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xxxvi ] In c. 5000 bce there were groups of peoples living (probably) in eastern Europe which began to fragment, with groups migrating in different directions. Over two millennia or more, some travelled east and eventually settled in India ( c. 2000–1500 bce ), where they overpowered the civilization of the I ndus valley. En route a few apparently settled in Iran, and a later ‘wave’ of these nomadic peoples colonized that country. They spoke of themselves as the ‘Aryans’, the noble ones. Scholars generally refer to the ‘proto-Indo-Iranians’ (the ancestors, on the south Russian steppes, of the Iranians) and the ‘Indo-Aryans’ (the Aryans who invaded India). These invaders brought with them a rich oral tradition, much of which is preserved in the H indu Rig -V eda and the A vesta of Z oroastrianism. Some Indo-Europeans, the Tocharians, travelled further east. Other Indo-Europeans travelled south, settling in Greece and Rome, while others migrated west and settled in various north European areas, e.g. Scandinavia. The existence of the parent groups of peoples can be established by the similarity of the respective descendent languages (e.g. Sanskrit, Greek and Latin). Certain rituals are similar in the religions of the countries in which the Indo-Europeans settled, which suggests an original common practice (e.g. the veneration of fire). The Indo-Europeans considered certain ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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