Veneti between Europe and India

By: JoŇĺe Ň kulj

In his study ‚ÄėVindia: Veneti between Europe and India‚Äô Prof. Dr. Jozko Savli, proposes a novel hypothesis that the ancestors of the historic Veneti constituted or were a part of the Aryan migration that entered the Indian sub-continent in the prehistoric times. Savli summarizes the various theories about the Aryans, their arrival, their mythologies and the caste system. Furthermore, he suggests that the present day appellations such as Hindi and India have their origin in Vindi which in turn comes from Veneti.

In February 2006, Sengupta et al. published the paper ‚ÄėPolarity and Temporality of High-Resolution Y-Chromosome Distributions in India Identify Both Indigenous and Exogenous Expansions and Reveal Minor Genetic Influence of Central Asian Pastoralists‚Äô. Based on the analyses of R1a1 and R2 haplogroups and the demographic complexities that they represent, they conclude that:

  1. the data that they obtain are inconsistent with a recent single history of India
  2. high frequency R1a1 haplogroup chromosomes indicate independent recent histories of the Indus Valley and peninsular Indian region
  3. origin of Dravidian speakers is peninsular

It does appear that the R2 is autochthonous Indian, despite its association with farming (Cordaux 2004), based on its high frequency on the Indian sub-continent and relatively limited geographic distribution outside. Considerably more enigmatic is the wide distribution of R1a1 (Semino 2000, Rosser 2000, Qamar 2002, Behar 2003, Cordaux 2004, Sengupta 2006), which stretches like an arc, north and west of the Caspian Sea, from Atlantic Ocean to the Bay of Bengal.

In Europe, the highest frequencies have been detected amongst the Slavic populations, for example:
63 % in Sorbs living on the border of Germany, Poland and Czech
54 % in Poles
47 % in Russians and Slovaks
37 % in Slovenians
35 % in Macedonians
16 % in Yugoslavs

In contrast to the Slavic speakers, R1a1 frequency in non-Slavic populations of Europe is considerably lower, for instance:
1 % in Irish
2 % in Italians of Rome
5 % and French of Paris

In Central Asia, frequency varies widely and is at 63 % in the eastern Kyrgyz and Tajiks.

In Sangupta et al., Table 6, the frequency or R1a1on the Indian sub-continent is at:
45 % in Indo-European (IE) Upper Caste
29 % in Dravidian (D) Upper Caste
26 % in IE Lower Caste
19 % in IE speaking tribal population
12 % in D Middle Caste
10 % in IE Middle Caste
0 % in Austro-Asiatic population

From genetic comparisons, it can be seen that in Europe, where ~40 % of the population speak Slavic languages, HG R1a1 frequency is at its highest in the Slavic speakers, but Rosser et al. show that it is also common in Germans and Scandinavians, which would indicate a genetic admixture. In this case, the direction of the gene flow can be deduced; in all likelihood, from the highest frequencies and the largest population numbers, in this case Slavs, to the neighboring population.

There is still a question-how and from where did HG R1a1 reach Slavs of Europe, people of central Asia and those of India. Sangupta et al., suggest that peoples carrying R1a1 could have entered the Indian sub-continent from the northwest during late Pleistocene (more than 10 000 years ago) and then expanded since then-14 000 +/- 3100 years ago

In the paper, Skulj et al., ‚ÄúLexical self-dating‚Äô evidence for a common agro-pastoral origin of Sanskrit ‚Äėgopati‚Äô, ‚Äėgospati‚Äô and Slavic ‚Äėgospod‚Äô, ‚Äėgospodin‚Äô meaning lord / master/ gentleman more than 8000 years ago‚ÄĚ, the linguistic relationship between Slavs and Indo-Aryans can be seen. Although in this paper, we address the relationship primarily from a lexical perspective--from pastoral terminology, there is also an affinity in grammar, which we demonstrated in previous papers. This affinity with the Slavic languages is particularly noticeable in the Vedic Sanskrit and less so in the Classical Sanskrit, where more Dravidian influence is apparent (Burrow 1955). Particularly Slovenian language still preserves many grammatical and lexical similarities with Sanskrit, but no longer present in Germanic, Celtic and Romance languages including Latin. With such extensive similarities in Vedic Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, and the modern Slavic languages and also the present day genetic affinities between Slavs and Indian populations, it is apparent that a large percentage of Indians and Slavs have a common linguistic and genetic source in the ancient past. This linguistic information is in line with genetic data and indicates that Vedic Sanskrit and Slavic languages still shared a common history, during the period of pastoral society more than 8000 years ago, while other Indo-European languages, had already split off from the common Slavic and Indo-Aryan base.

In the paper, Skulj 2005 ‚ÄúEtruscans, Veneti and Slovenians: A Genetic Perspective‚ÄĚ, it can be seen that many extant Slovenians have common mtDNA lineages with the 2500 year old Etruscan/Veneti skeletal remains, which confirms a genetic continuity and direct relationship.

With this in mind, Savli’s hypothesis regarding the relationship between Sindi/ Hindi and Vindi/ Veneti should be given a serious consideration. Furthermore, 8000-10000 years would have given Veneti ample time to spread to many parts of the world, where Veneti are attested by ancient historians. However, the frequency and distribution of indigenous Indian haplogroups such as H1-M052, which are found primarily on the Indian sub-continent indicates that Slavs did not come from India. This would be also true for Veneti.

By: J. Skulj (P.Eng.) 2006


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©2005 Igor H. Pirnovar
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