Things you learn…
This picture is of “Tocharians” from the 6th Century:
“Graphical analysis reveals that the third donor from left is performing a Buddhist Vitarka Mudra gesture. These frescoes are associated with annotations in Tocharian and Sanskrit made by their painters.”
You will notice the red hair and light eye color…
So I was looking at one thing ( North East China) and that lead to a brief excursion in Tokarian A and B as two distinct languages spoken in the area back when it was not China…
The Tocharians were the Tocharian-speaking inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, making them the easternmost speakers of Indo-European languages in antiquity. After wars against the northern Xiongnu Empire, the Tocharians migrated out of the Tarim Basin, and the Indo-European language of the Tocharians became supplanted by the languages of the Xiongnu. The Takhar province of Afghanistan is named after Tocharians. Tocharian languages would remain in the region until replaced in 800 AD by the Altaic languages, with the arrival of Turkic migration from modern day Mongolia.
This is the place where they have found red headed mummies wearing tartan cloth…
The Tarim mummies suggest that precursors of these easternmost speakers of an Indo-European language may have lived in the region of the Tarim Basin from around 1800 BC until 2nd century BC, when they were largely driven out by the proto-Turkic Xiongnu Empire. Any Tocharian speakers that remained were assimilated by the arrival of the Uyghur Turks in the 9th century AD. This is evidenced by both the mummies and Chinese writings on the exodus.
A later group of Tocharians were the Kushans and maybe some Iranian tribes of the Hephthalites whose Iranian population also settled in modern Afghanistan, North-Eastern Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkestan, whereas the nomadic Turkic tribes were defeated by Bahram Gur and the Gokturks, who pushed them over the Hindukush mountains to Pakistan and North-West India.
OK, a whole lot of moving parts here… but the ‘bottom line’ of it is that there were a couple of lineages of Tocharians, some in what is now western China and some from Iran, and these folks were kind of all over the “ickystan” area and some may even have gotten pushed into bits of Pakistan and North-West India. They also seemed at home in the Buddhist religion…
And other than the usual tendency for asian artists to make Europeans look a bit “overdone” this picture of some Buddhist Monks makes it pretty clear some were blue eyed redheads… Somehow I’m feeling a much deeper “taproot” to my Buddhist leanings…
The Tarim Basin mummies (1800 BC) and the Tocharian texts and frescoes from the Tarim Basin (AD 800) have been found in the same general geographical area, and are both connected to an Indo-European origin. The mummies and the frescoes both point to Caucasoid types with light eyes and hair color. However it is unknown if the frescos and mummies are directly connected.
I find that truthful, but awfully cautious. Like maybe it was some OTHER group of redheads who were wandering by to be painted…
From a later period, the genetics suggest that the slow transition to a mixed type was underway, with Asian mothers and “Eurasian” dads.
In 2008, the remains of another male were discovered near Turpan, China. Thought by researchers to be a member of the Gushi culture, the man was buried with a number of practical and ceremonial objects, including archery equipment and a harp, and 789 grams of marijuana. Through genetic analysis and carbon dating, the burial has been dated to roughly 700 BC. Only two of the 500 graves at the site contain marijuana, leading researchers to suggest shamanic roles for the two individuals.
In 2009, the remains of individuals found at a site in Xiaohe were analyzed for Y-DNA and mtDNA markers. They suggest that an admixed population of both west and east origin lived in the Tarim basin since the early Bronze Age. The maternal lineages were predominantly East Asian haplogroup C with smaller numbers of H and K, while the paternal lines were all West Eurasian R1a1a. The geographic location of where this admixing took place is unknown, although south Siberia is likely
Gee, sounds like a party to me ;-) I find the Harp interesting as it’s a pretty Celtic symbol, at least today. I also note that only an archaeologist could find marijuana and attribute it to religion (even if “shamanic” in character). How about they just liked to party?
At any rate, these were the people that domesticated the horse and invented the saddle. So, let me get this straight, you had Redhead Cowboys playing music and partying and with Asian Babes too? Golly, who knew being a Tocharian was so much fun? And they say things never change…
We know that later a batch of darker Arabic types ran up this way as part of the Muslim invasions (and before that the Greeks wandered by with Alexander The Great) so there has been a fair amount of “mixing” going on. But this does raise the question of “Can some residual of these folks be found in the populations of the various ‘-istans’ of the area?” Were there, for example, red headed Kazaks?
Answering THAT led to this interesting graphic:
And here I didn’t even know a “Cumania” existed…
Cumania is a name formerly used to designate several distinct lands in Central and Eastern Europe inhabited by and under the military dominance of the Cumans, a nomadic tribe who, with the Kipchaks, created a confederation. The Cumans were also known as the Polovtsians, or Folban. Besides this Latin term, Cumania was also known as Dasht-i Qipchaq (Kipchak Plain) in Muslim sources and Zemlja Poloveckaja (Polovtsian Land) or Pole Poloveckoe (Polovcian Plain) in Russian sources
By the 11th and 12th century, the nomadic confederacy of the Cumans and (Eastern) Kipchaks (who were a distinct tribe with whom the Cumans created a confederacy) were the dominant force over the vast territories stretching from the present-day Kazakhstan, southern Russia, Ukraine, to southern Moldavia and western Wallachia.
It is to no surprise that while the general view of the Cumans is that they are Turanid, many historic sources describe the Cumans as strikingly handsome physically, having blond or red hair, and blue eyes, thus possibly being an Iranian people.
Well, gee… Again with that Iranian root and that would drag in the Tocharians again…
If you look at the Kipchak part of it:
The Cumans of the confederation invaded the territory later known as Moldavia, Wallachia, and part of Transylvania in the 11th century. From there they continued their plundering of the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary.
In the late 11th and early 12th centuries, the Cumans and Kipchaks became involved in various conflicts with the Byzantines, Kievan Rus, the Hungarians (Cuman involvement only), and the Pechenegs(Cuman involvement only), allying themselves with one or the other side at different times. In 1089, they were defeated by Ladislaus I of Hungary, again by Knyaz Vladimir Monomakh of the Rus in the 12th century. They sacked Kiev in 1203. They were finally crushed by the Mongols in 1241. During the Mongol empire, Kipchaks constituted a majority of the khanate comprising present-day Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, called the Golden Horde, the westernmost division of the Mongol empire. After the fall of the Mongol Empire, the Golden Horde rulers continued to hold Saraj until 1502.
The Kuman fled to Hungary, and some of their warriors became mercenaries for the Latin crusaders and the Byzantines. Members of the Bahri dynasty, the first dynasty of Mamluks in Egypt, were Kipchaks/Cumans; one of the most prominent examples was Sultan Baybars, born in Solhat, Crimea. Some Kipchaks served in the Yuan dynasty and became the Kharchins.
So now I’m beginning to wonder how much of that “Golden” was skin color and how much was hair color…
His reign marked the start of an age of Mamluk dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean and solidified the durability of their military system. He managed to pave the way for the end of the Crusader presence in Syria and to unite Egypt and Syria into one powerful state that was able to fend off threats from both Crusaders and Mongols. As Sultan, Baibars also engaged in a combination of diplomacy and military action which allowed the Mamluks to greatly expand their empire
His first master, the Turkish emir (prince) of Hama, was suspicious of Baibars because of his unusual appearance (he was fair-skinned, very tall and had a cataract in one of his bluish eyes)
Makes you wanna say “hmmmm”…
But there is something about that “Wallachia”… like Wales and Wallis and…
Gaul and Welsh
Main article: Walha
Further information: Etymology of Vlach
The English name Gaul is unrelated to the Latin name Galli. It comes from the French Gaule and Gaulois, which is the traditional rendering of Latin Gallia and Gallus, -icus respectively. However, the diphthong au points to a different origin, namely a Romance adaptation of the Germanic *walha- (see Gaul: Name).
The word Welsh originates from word wælisc, which is Old English for “foreigner”, also from the Proto-Germanic *Walh- “foreigner of the Roman lands”.
The Germanic term may ultimately have a Celtic source: It is possibly the result of a loan of the Celtic tribal name Volcae into pre-Germanic, *wolk- changing according to Grimm’s Law to yield proto-Germanic *walh-. The Volcae were one of the Celtic peoples who for two centuries barred the southward expansion of the Germanic tribes (in what is now central Germany) on the line of the Harz mountains and into Saxony and Silesia.
In the Middle Ages, territories with primarily Romance-speaking populations, such as France and Italy, were known in German as Welschland as opposed to Deutschland, and the word is cognate with Vlach and Walloon as well as with the “-wall” in “Cornwall”. Other examples are the surnames “Wallace” and “Walsh”. During the early Germanic period, the term seems to have been applied to the peasant population of the Roman Empire, most of whom were in the areas immediately settled by the Germanic people.
well, I’m thinking, is there some chance that there was a clearly Celtic group somewhere near this Macedonia to Ukraine to China band?
Just above that text in the article is the description of another word for Celt:
Galli and Galatai
Latin Galli might be from an originally Celtic ethnic or tribal name, perhaps borrowed into Latin during the early 5th century BC Celtic expansions into Italy. Its root may be the Common Celtic *galno-, meaning “power” or “strength”. The Greek Γαλάται Galatai (cf. Galatia in Anatolia) seems to be based on the same root, borrowed directly from the same hypothetical Celtic source which gave us Galli (the suffix -atai is simply an ethnic name indicator).
The French term for “Welsh” is gallois, also derived from the Latin Galli.
So in addition to Gaul, we also have Galatia in Anotolia… Turkish Celts? Well, as I went off to find Celts in Turkey, I also stumbled upon:
Galicia or Galizia (Polish: Galicja, Ukrainian: Галичина (Halychyna), German: Galizien; Russian: Галиция (Galitsiya), Yiddish: גאליציע (Galitsie), Czech: Halič, Hungarian: Halics / Gácsország) is a historical region in Eastern Europe, currently divided between Poland and West Ukraine, named after the medieval city of Halych, currently the village of Krylos near the modern city of Halych (Ukraine). The nucleus of historic Galicia is formed of three regions of western Ukraine: Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk.
The region has a turbulent history. In Roman times the region was populated by various tribes of Celto-Germanic admixture, including Celtic-based tribes – like the Galice or “Gaulics” and Bolihinii or “Volhynians” – the Lugians and Cotini of Celtic, Vandals and Goths of Germanic origins (the Przeworsk and Púchov cultures). Several ethnographers consider the local boiko people part of the Celtic tribes.
OK, so now I’m looking at this and what I’m seeing is a range for Celts that goes up from just a wee bit above Mesopotamia / Sumer / Babylon thru Iran and on over to the edge of China in one direction, then expands up to the lower edge of Russia and heads West through the middle of present day Germany and the top of Italy (that was Celtic at one time) and right on through Gaul / France and the Iberian Peninsula out to sea…
Yes, over time they got over run, intermarried, assimilated, and generally just blended in. But there is a Celtic Thread through those cultures. No denying it. And all through that turf we find redheads as markers of the passage.
Even, from the looks of the place names, Ukrainian and Polish Celts.
So now I’m going to be looking at some of those Redheaded Poles and Ukrainians and not thinking quite so much about the Vikings who wandered down the rivers in later years, but wondering just a bit about some of the folks who were already there.
Just for completion, here is a map of Iberia showing the Celts there, at one point in their history. The blue stuff is the Celtic language area:
And while I’m tempted to go off to that Iranian Tocharian line and see just who THEY were (and how were they related to the Persian Empires of old and were there any Redheaded Persian Emperors…) I’m going to try to not worry that thread tonight… I’m also going to try very hard not to find out if that 12000 year old megalithic monument in Turkey / Anatolia has animal markings on it with meanings to Celts… and another thing I’m not going to to think about tonight… ;-)
Oh, but if you are wondering about Tocharian A and B, they have a striking similarity to Sanskrit and have many cognates with English and Gaelic…
malk to milk
ñom name Sanskrit nāman-
ko or keu cow
tre or trai three Sanskirt tri
See the chart near the bottom of the wiki page for more of the sanskrit. Tocharian has a about as many cases as Sanskrit (i.e. 8 or 9…), which leaves me wondering how many of those Vedas in Sanskrit might have come from an older group from “up north” headed south into India long long ago…
For now I’ll just leave you with a picture of a child from what is the old Tocharian area of China. A Uygur child of today. The photo is “all rights reserved” so you will need to click the link to see this “redhead child”. Then you decide if there is a certain Celtic Thread still there…