Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Peoples and Languages shifting through Time

                                The Peoples of Three Deltas

      From the beginning of known history, mankind's civilizations have developed from humans living in three deltas. The Indus Valley to the east, the Mesopotamia Valley, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and the mighty civilization of the Nile river.
     The Mesopotamian valley produced mankind's first written language, which was from the Sumerians. The Sumerian language was distinct and to this date has no real association to any other language.Their style of writing was called cuneiform writing, and basically was the generally accepted style of writing, that lasted until finally disappearing in 1 AD. Their language was unique and so was their culture, and religion. From the Sumerians mankind has copied, and mirrored the Sumerian fundamental customs and beliefs.


Cuneiform text that lasted as the dominate written language for several thousand years. How was Sumerian cuneiform language deciphered? The key was the Akkadians as the following script (Sacred Text) testifies;

          First, the linguistic difficulties. Sumerian is neither a Semitic nor an Indo-European language. It belongs to the so-called agglutinative type of languages exemplified by Turkish, Hungarian, and Finnish. None of these languages, however, seems to have any closer affiliation to Sumerian, and the latter, therefore, as yet stands alone and unrelated to any known language living or dead. Its decipherment, therefore, would have been an impossible task, were it not for the fortunate fact already mentioned that the Semitic conquerors of Sumer not only adapted its script to their own Semitic tongue, but also retained it as their literary and religious language. As a consequence, the scribal schools in Babylonia and Assyria made the study of Sumerian their basic discipline. They therefore compiled what may be described as bilingual syllabaries or dictionaries in which the Sumerian words or phrases were translated into their own language, Accadian. In addition they also drew up interlinears of the Sumerian literary compositions in which each Sumerian line is followed by its Accadian translation. Accadian, being a Semitic tongue related to numerous known languages, was deciphered relatively early. And so these bilinguals became the basic material for the decipherment of Sumerian, for by comparing the known Accadian word or phrase with the corresponding Sumerian, the meaning of the latter could be deduced.

      Further to the North, along the Euphrates were the Akkadians, who were of the first ethnic group called Semitics. They had their own language, but not their own written language, so they just used, or borrowed the Sumerian written language. In many ways the Sumerian cuneiform text was unsuited for the Akkadian language, but served the region for several thousand years. The Akkadian language was the very first in a long line of language development that would much latter be called Hebrew.

      After both of these ethic peoples disappeared the Babylonians and Assyrians took centre stage in the Fertile Crescent. This was the fertile land marked in green on the map which formed a natural crescent shape. Both Babylon and Assyria spoke the same language, one step removed from the ancient Akkadian's Hebrew. The Babylonians and the Assyrians were also basically a Semitic people. The capital of Assyria was Nineveh on the upper Tigris, while Babylon was on the Euphrates. The Assyrians and Babylonians did something quite unique in history. After defeating their opponents in war, they would often force that entire nation with all it's people to migrate to a new distant land. Basically vacating the entire region. Their reason for doing this was very effective. It stopped rebellions. Once a people are moved to a new land they are forced to raise crops and build shelters, not raise rebellions. The Assyrians were the first to have a professional army, using road systems and base camps to control their empire. Their most daunting weapon was their war chariot, and it was't until the Greeks, that infantry was able to successfully stop the chariot.

      The last of the Semitic people were those that lived in the land of Canaan. Their language was another step closer to today's Hebrew, and with a lot of help someone today who understands Hebrew, would with some degree of difficulty, make out what a man from ancient Canaan would be saying.


     Modern Hebrew above, while ancient Semitic peoples used cuneiform text. It wasn't until the 15th Century BC that the Canaanites developed the first written language using an alphabet, as in the figure seen below. By the 10th Century BC there existed two distinct forms of written languages; Canaan and Aramaic. Aramaic being the forerunner of Hebrew. The short comings of these written languages is that they were both deficient of vowels. It wasn't until the Greek's written language that a true alphabetic language was used, that included vowels.

     The people from Elam, whose ancient city was Susa, lived to the east of the lower Tigris. Susa was sacked and burnt to the ground by the Assyrians, and later occupied by the Persians. The Meds (allies to the Babylonians) were to their north and the Persians to their east, and all these peoples were all not Semitic people, nor did not speak a form of Hebrew.

     The other great and powerful group in the area were the Hittites. They were a Indo-European ethnic group. The Hittites lived in Asia Minor, and were well documented in the Bible and in Egyptian writings. For most of our modern era they were denied to even have existed, but after the Rosetta stone, which finally allowed us to read Egyptian text, they appeared in our history. They were eventually conquered and destroyed by the Assyrians.

      The most famous peoples in the region were the Egyptians, who lived on the Nile River. Their people and their culture was protected by nature itself. The Red Sea to the east, and the Great desert of Africa to the west. This was the main reason Egypt lasted as an independent society to the time of the Romans. The Egyptians were also not a Semitic people. Their language, and written language were totally unique, using Hieroglyphs as their writings, unlike anything else written. Their written language was more regional, and was kept primarily inside Egyptian borders. When a King of Egypt wrote  to a subordinate territory, the text was often in cuneiform, and not in Hieroglyphs. Even though Egypt was a very early ancient world power, their written script, language, culture and religion, was kept primarily within their borders.

Hieroglyphs were a colourful script depicting pictures

     Probably the most unusual and most misunderstood group would be the Hurrians. The Hurrians lived north of the Fertile Crescent near Van Lake, and their principle city was Nuzi. Notice the similarity to Nazi.They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language some say is related to early Northeaster Caucasian languages. The Hurrians were considered the original Aryans. Some would suggest that the word Hurrian should read Harrian, which is close to "aryian. They were a dominate people, and according to Sanskrit writings , moved against the Indus valley where they defeated these peoples. Even today the destruction of the civilization in the Indus valley has many questioning how such a complete destruction could occur. One point of interest, is the Hindu word "caste", actually means colour in Aryan. A "caste" is a way that society in India , segregates those of different class. Colour has long been one of these means to segregate people. The written language of the Indus has never been deciphered. One of the reasons for this is that not enough of their written language has been found.

File:Indus seal impression.jpg

An example of Indus script.

     An interesting side note on the written language of the Indus valley is that it has very similar characters to the written language of Easter Island, as seen above.With the discovery of Easter Island, came slave traders and missionaries. The Island was almost completely depopulated, and those few that were left were forbidden to read their language as it seemed to be connected to their pagan religion. Most of the wooden reliefs that contained their language were destroyed, and with it, the eventual ability to decipher  their language.

     On the very edge of the Great Sea as it was called in ancient times or now known as the Mediterranean, were a sea going people. Their language again was different, but what was most different was their written language. It was a form of early Greek.These people were the Sea People as the Egyptians called them, but they were later called the Phoenicians. With their sea trade the Phoenicians took their written language, throughout the Sea's they traveled. The last of the Phoenician settlements was the Great Sea going city of Carthage.

Phoenician text
      As each national group dominated this ancient region so to their language and their written language would dominate. This was true of the Greeks. As they politically dominated the region so to did their language and the use of the \Greek alphabet. History follows winners, and the losers disappear. The simply reason for this is winners write history losers don't. Language and culture is spread and changed through war. History did not follow the Persians after their defeat at the hand of Alexander the Great, it followed Greece. By 200 BC the Greek language was dominating the known world. The New Testament was originally written in Greek.

Greek text

      Many people suspect that history follows the good, the righteous, since the good win the battles fought, but throughout history more than 1/2 the battles were won by the bad and the ugly. Only after winning does history report the eventual winner as good and upright. When you win, you get to write your own history, while losers are forced to accept the consequences of being deemed evil.

      Churchill told the President of the US an important historical point, "Why just be apart of history when you can write history". Winners get to write their own history.

      An example of this is the Treaty of Versailles signed at the conclusion of the 1st WW. Germany was forced to sign a document, that clearly stated Germany started the 1st WW. Why was this necessary? Simply because England and France clearly wanted to change history. They did not want anything other than the history that they chose to write to be the accepted recorded history. Prior to the Great War, France was itching for a chance to go to war with Germany after the period with Bismark. England had spent decades demonizing the Germans, after Germany grew in strength and importance under Bismark, to the chagrin of England, the World Power. England was waiting for an opportunity to go war against these upstarts, particularly after the death of Queen Victoria, since the Kaiser was the Queen's oldest grandson, subsequently Victoria being very pro German. Prior to the Queen's death, England was consolidating her world Empire and had no interests in the dealings of Europe. This all changed with the death of Victoria, and the embarrassment of the Boer War. Under General Kitchener the British were totally outmaneuvered by a bunch of Dutch Farmers, and similar to the American's military embarrassment in Vietnam, England's military was now looking for an opportunity to redeem themselves from the world's opinion. Kitchener's biggest debacle was the setting up of civilian concentration camps (1st ever in history) for the women and children of these Dutch farmers. The Canadian Strathcona Horse were given this unenviable job of burning homes and rounding up Dutch women and children, which resulted in many children dying of heat hydration and disease.

      France to this point had been isolated in Europe by the "magic man" Bismark, but after his death his many treaties to keep peace while at the same time allowing Germany to expand, were now expired. This resulted in both France and England signing numerous pacts. These war pacts had only one adversary in sight, and that was Germany.

      They finally got their opportunity when a Serb, killed a prince of the Austrian Hungarian empire, resulting in actions by the Germans to control this para military terrorists group. This was strictly an internal action which was of no concern to the rest of the world, but within months the whole world piled on the Germans declaring war against them. The awkward point of all of this is decades later NATO goes to war against Serbia for doing the exact same thing, Serbia having conflict with their neighbours. Did Germany go to war against NATO for NATO's action against the Serbs? Written history is very political and is often used by nations to support or hide the real truth. It should never be taken at face value.

      After the fall of Greece; Rome and it's language took centre stage. Latin became the dominate language through the known world. From Latin emerged English and French.


Latin text
Roman Latin uses the alphabet letters that are common to modern western languages.

      What is most noticeable is the shift of power and languages as it moved North and West. This all shifted to Europe, and the eventual result was the wars that would rage across most of Europe.

      There is 2 most noticeable differences, between WW1 and WW2 from Germany's point of view. The 1st WW required coal to generate steam power, and horses to produce horse power, both of which could be internally managed. In the 2nd WW petroleum products were required, along with various base metals, and petroleum products none of which Germany had. The 2nd WW would require Germany to rely on other nations to supply them with these necessary elements of war, or they would require planning.

      England and America winning both World Wars, is a reflection of English dominating the worlds languages, and German taking a rather diminutive position. Germany being loses in both wars contributed to their language and culture being supplanted by English. We study English because of wars, just as the ancient world wrote in Greek, because of wars.

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