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The Road of Byc (Bic, Bac): ‘Yperboreon daumaue odos.' The Wonderful Road of the Hyperboreans. From Carpathian Mountains to Prut River to Asia - Trade Routes, Migration Routes.

Location of Hyperborea

Herodotus World Map 

Location of Hyperborea

The Hyperboreans were believed to live beyond the snowy Riphean Mountains which Homer first referenced in his Iliad (15. 171; 19. 358)[7] or beyond the home of Boreas.

According to Pausanias:

...“The land of the Hyperboreans, men living beyond the home of Boreas.”[8]

Homer placed Boreas in Thrace, and therefore Hyperborea in his opinion dwelled somewhere to the north of Thracian territory, perhaps Dacia.[9] Sophocles (Antigone, 980-987), Aeschylus (Agamemnon, 193; 651), Simonides of Ceos (Schol. on Apollonius Rhodius, 1. 121) and Callimachus (Delian, [IV] 65) also placed Boreas in Thrace.[10] Other ancient writers however believed the home of Boreas or the Rhipean Mountains sat in a different location. For example, Hecataeus of Miletus believed that the Rhipean Mountains sat adjacent to the Black Sea.[11] Alternatively Pindar placed the home of Boreas, the Rhipean Mountains and Hyperborea all near the Danube.[12] Heraclides Ponticus and Antimachus in contrast identified the Rhipean Mountains with the Alps, and the Hyperboreans as a Celtic tribe (perhaps the Helvetii) who sat just beyond them.[13] Aristotle placed the Rhipean mountains on the borders of Scythia, and Hyperborea further north.[14] Hecataeus of Abdera and others believed Hyperborea was Britain (see below).

Later Roman and Greek sources continued to change the location of the Rhipean mountains, the home of Boreas, as well as Hyperborea which supposedly dwelled beyond them. However all these sources agreed these all dwelled to the far north of Greece or southern Europe.[15] The ancient grammarian Simmias of Rhodes in the 3rd century BC connected the Hyperboreans to the Massagetae[16] and Posidonius in the 1st century BC to the Western Celts, but Pomponius Mela placed them even further north in the vicinity of the Arctic.[17]

In maps based on reference points and descriptions given by Strabo,[18] Hyperborea, shown variously as a peninsula or island, is located beyond France and has a greater latitudinal than longitudinal extent.[19] Other descriptions put it in the general area of the Ural Mountains.

[edit] Later Classical Sources

Plutarch, writing in the 1st century AD connected the Hyperboreans with the Gauls who had sacked Rome in the 4th century BC (see Battle of the Allia).[20]

Aelian, Diodorus Siculus and Stephen of Byzantium all recorded important ancient Greek sources on Hyperborea, but added no new descriptions.[21]

The 2nd century AD Stoic philosopher Hierocles equated the Hyperboreans to the Scythians, and the Rhipean Mountains to the Ural Mountains.[22] Clement of Alexandria and other early Christian writers also made this same Scythian equation.[23]

[edit] Ancient identification with Britain

Hyperborea was identified with Britain first by Hecataeus of Abdera in the 4th century BC, as preserved in fragment by Diodorus Siculus:

In the regions beyond the land of the Celts there lies in the ocean an island no smaller than Sicily. This island, the account continues, is situated in the north and is inhabited by the Hyperboreans, who are called by that name because their home is beyond the point whence the north wind (Boreas) blows; and the island is both fertile and productive of every crop, and has an unusually temperate climate.[24]

Hecateaus of Abdera also wrote that the Hyperboreans had a 'circular temple' on their Island, which some scholars have identified with Stonehenge.[21] This is further supported by the fact that Stonehenge has been known as Apollo's Temple[25] since classical antiquity, and Hyperborea in Greek legend was related to Apollo (see Legends below).

Pseudo-Scymnus around 90BC wrote that Boreas dwelled at the extremity of Gaulish territory, and that he had a pillar erected in his name on the edge of the sea (Periegesis, 183). Some have claimed this is a geographical reference to northern France, and Hyperborea as the British Isles which lay just beyond the English Channel.[26]

Ptolemy (Geographia, 2. 21) and Marcian of Heraclea (Periplus, 2. 42) both placed Hyperborea in the North Sea which they called the 'Hyperborean Ocean'.[27]

[edit] Legends

Alone among the Twelve Olympians, Apollo was venerated among the Hyperboreans, the Hellenes thought: he spent his winter amongst them.[28] For their part the Hyperboreans sent mysterious gifts, packed in straw, which came first to Dodona and then were passed from tribe to tribe until they came to Apollo's temple on Delos (Pausanias). Abaris, Hyperborean priest of Apollo, was a legendary wandering healer and seer. Theseus visited the Hyperboreans, and Pindar transferred Perseus's encounter with Medusa there from its traditional site in Libya, to the dissatisfaction of his Alexandrian editors.[29]

Along with Thule, Hyperborea was one of several terrae incognitae to the Greeks and Romans, where Pliny, Pindar and Herodotus, as well as Virgil and Cicero, reported that people lived to the age of one thousand and enjoyed lives of complete happiness. Hecataeus of Abdera collated all the stories about the Hyperboreans current in the fourth century BC and published a lengthy treatise on them, lost to us, but noted by Diodorus Siculus (ii.47.1-2).[30] Also, the sun was supposed to rise and set only once a year in Hyperborea; which would place it above or upon the Arctic Circle, or, more generally, in the arctic polar regions.

The ancient Greek writer Theopompus in his work Philippica claimed Hyperborea was once planned to be conquered by a large race of soldiers from another island (some have claimed this was Atlantis), the plan though was abandoned because the soldiers from Meropis realized the Hyperboreans were too strong for them and the most blessed of people, this unusual tale, which some believe was satire or comedy, was preserved by Aelian (Varia Historia, 3. 18).

Apollonius wrote that the Argonauts sighted Hyperborea, when they sailed through Eridanos.

[edit] Physical Appearance

Greek legend asserts that the Boreades, who were the descendants of Boreas and the snow-nymph Khoine or Choine founded the first theocratic-monarchy on Hyperborea. This legend is found preserved in the writings of Aelian:

...This god [Apollon] has as priests the sons of Boreas (North Wind) and Khione (Snow), three in number, brothers by birth, and six cubits in height [approximately 3 metres tall].[31]

Diodorus Siculus added to this account:

...And the kings of this (Hyperborean) city and the supervisors of the sacred precinct are called Boreadae, since they are descendants of Boreas, and the succession to these positions is always kept in their family.[32]

The Boreades were thus believed to be giant kings, around 3 metres tall who ruled Hyperborea.

No other descriptions of the physiognomy of the Hyperboreans are provided in classical sources.[33] However Aelius Herodianus a grammarian in the 3rd century wrote the mythical Arimaspi were identical to the Hyperboreans in physical appearance (De Prosodia Catholica, 1. 114) and Stephanus of Byzantium in the 6th century also wrote the same (Ethnica, 118. 16). The ancient poet Callimachus described the Arimasi as having fair hair[34] but it is disputed as to whether the Arimaspi were Hyperboreans.[35]

[edit] From east to west: Celts as Hyperboreans

Six classical Greek authors also came to identify these mythical people at the back of the North Wind with their Celtic neighbours in the north: Antimachus of Colophon, Protarchus, Heraclides Ponticus, Hecataeus of Abdera, Apollonius of Rhodes and Posidonius of Apamea. The way the Greeks understood their relationship with non-Greek peoples was significantly moulded by the way myths of the Golden Age were transplanted unto the contemporary scene, especially in the context of Greek colonisation and trade. As the Rhipean mountains of the mythical past were identified with the Alps of northern Italy, there was at least a geographic rationale for identifying the Hyperboreans with the Celts living in and beyond the Alps, or at least the Hyperborean lands with the lands inhabited by the Celts. A reputation for feasting and a love of gold may have reinforced the connection.[36]

Map by Abraham Ortelius, Amsterdam 1572: at the top left Oceanvs Hyperborevs separates Iceland from Greenland

[edit] Abaris the Hyperborean

A particular Hyperborean legendary healer was known as “Abaris” or “Abaris the Healer” whom Herodotus first described in his works. Plato (Charmides, 158C) regarded Abaris as a physician from the far north, while Strabo reported Abaris was Scythian like the early philosopher Anacharsis (Geographica, 7. 3. 8).

[edit] Modern interpretations

As with other legends of this sort, selected details can be reconciled with modern knowledge. Above the Arctic Circle, from the time of the vernal equinox to the time of the autumnal equinox, the sun can shine for twenty-four hours a day; at the extremes (that is, the Poles), it rises and sets only once a year, possibly leading to the erroneous conclusion that a "day" for such persons is a year long, and therefore that living a thousand days would be the same as living a thousand years.

Since Herodotus places the Hyperboreans beyond the Massagetae and Issedones, both Central Asian peoples, it appears that his Hyperboreans may have lived in Siberia. Heracles sought the golden-antlered hind of Artemis in Hyperborea. As the reindeer is the only deer species of which females bear antlers, this would suggest an arctic or subarctic region. Following J.D.P. Bolton's location of the Issedones on the south-western slopes of the Altay mountains, Carl P.Ruck places Hyperborea beyond the Dzungarian Gate into northern Xinjiang, noting that the Hyperboreans were probably Chinese.[37]

Amber arrived in Greek hands from some place known to be far to the north. Avram Davidson[38] proposed the theory that Hyperborea was derived from a logical (though erroneous) explanation by the Greeks for the fact that embedded inside the amber arriving in their cities by trade with northern, cold countries were insects which obviously originated in a warm climate.

Not aware of the explanation offered by modern science (i.e. that these insects had lived in times when the climate of northern Europe was much warmer, their bodies preserved unchanged in the amber) the Greeks came up with the idea that north countries being cold was due to the cold breath of Boreas, the North Wind. Therefore, should one be able to get "beyond Boreas" one would find a warm and sunny land.

[edit] Identification as Hyperboreans

Northern Europeans (Scandinavians), when confronted with classical Greco-Roman culture in the Mediterranean, identified themselves with the Hyperboreans by neglecting the traditional aspect of a perpetually sunny land beyond the north. This idea was especially strong during the 17th century in Sweden, where the later representatives of the ideology of Gothicism declared the Scandinavian peninsula both the lost Atlantis and the Hyperborean land. The north of the Scandinavian peninsula is crossed by the Arctic Circle, north of which there are sunless days during the winter and sunlit nights during the summer. Western European culture equally self-identified as Hyperborean; thus Washington Irving, in elaborating on Astoria in the Pacific Northwest, was of the opinion that,

While the fiery and magnificent Spaniard, inflamed with the mania for gold, has extended his discoveries and conquests over those brilliant countries scorched by the ardent sun of the tropics, the adroit and buoyant Frenchman, and the cool and calculating Briton, have pursued the less splendid, but no less lucrative, traffic in furs amidst the hyperborean regions of the Canadas, until they have advanced even within the Arctic Circle. [39]

In this vein the self-described "Hyperborean Company" (Hyperboreisch-römische Gesellschaft) were a group of northern European scholars who were studying classical ruins in Rome, founded in 1824 by Theodor Panofka, Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, August Kestner and Eduard Gerhard. Friedrich Nietzsche referred to his sympathetic readers as Hyperboreans in The Antichrist (written 1888, published 1895) "Let us look each other in the face. We are Hyperboreans — we know well enough how remote our place is." He quoted Pindar and added "Beyond the North, beyond the ice, beyond death — our life, our happiness."

The term "Hyperborean" still sees some jocular contemporary use in reference to groups of people who live in a cold climate. Under the Library of Congress Classification System, the letter subclass PM includes "Hyperborean Languages", a catch-all category that refers to all the linguistically unrelated languages of peoples living in Arctic regions, such as the Inuit.

[edit] Hyperborean Indo-European Hypothesis

John G. Bennett wrote a research paper entitled "The Hyperborean Origin of the Indo-European Culture" (Journal Systematics, Vol. 1, No. 3, December 1963) in which he claimed the Indo-European homeland was in the far north, which he considered the Hyperborea of classical antiquity.[40] This idea was earlier proposed by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (whom Bennett credits) in his The Arctic Home in the Vedas (1903) as well as the German ethnologist Karl Penka (Origins of the Aryans, 1883).[41]

[edit] Hyperborea in modern esoteric thought

H.P. Blavatsky, Rene Guenon and Julius Evola all shared the belief in the Hyperborean, polar origins of humankind and a subsequent solidification and devolution.[42] According to these esoterists, Hyperborea was the Golden Age polar center of civilization and spirituality; mankind does not rise from the ape, but progressively devolves into the apelike condition as it strays physically and spiritually from its mystical otherworldly homeland in the Far North, succumbing to the demonic energies of the South Pole, the greatest point of materialization (see Joscelyn Godwin, Arktos: The Polar Myth).

Robert Charroux first related the Hyperboreans to an ancient astronaut race of “reputedly very large, very white people” who had chosen “the least warm area on the earth because it corresponded more closely to their own climate on the planet from which they originated”.[43] Miguel Serrano was influenced by Charroux's writings on the Hyperboreans.[44]

[edit] Cultural references

  • George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind features a feminine version of Boreas, named "North Wind", who takes a sickly boy, "Diamond", to "the back of the North Wind", which she herself cannot enter. More than two chapters are devoted to a description of MacDonald's Hyperborea and how Diamond got there.
  • Dante's Paradise, in his Divine Comedy, is the subject of Hyperborean allusions: it is figured geographically north of Purgatory; and, great and little bears (symbols of the polar north) appear above the summit of Mount Purgatorio.
  • In Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Ishmael suggest that, among other things, the painting in the Spouter Inn in Chapter 3 could be "a Hyperborean winter scene."
  • Clark Ashton Smith authored a series of short stories known as the Hyperborean cycle (1931–58). Some elements were borrowed by H. P. Lovecraft into what later became known as the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan stories (1932–36), Hyperborea is a land to the north-east of Conan's native Cimmeria.
  • The "Hyperboreans" (Hyperboreisch-römische Gesellschaft) was a group of northern European scholars who studied classical ruins in Rome, founded in 1824 by Theodor Panofka, Otto Magnus von Stackelberg, August Kestner and Eduard Gerhard.
  • Australian artist Norman Lindsay in July 1923 first exhibited his etching Hyperborea in Sydney. A month later he published two essays about Hyperborea, the first in Vision, No. 2, in which he said that only a picture or a poem could describe Hyperborea. The essays were later combined as Hyperborea: Two Fantastic Travel Essays by Fanfrolico Press in 1928.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche referred to those who followed his philosophy as "Hyperboreans" in The Antichrist (translated by Anthony M. Ludovici.)
  • German electronic music pioneers Tangerine Dream released an album with the title Hyperborea in 1983.
  • Hyperborea and its inhabitants are referenced on occasion in the Hellboy comic book universe, particularly in the miniseries Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus.
  • In Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, Calvin Tower calls Jake Chambers "Hyperborean Wanderer."
  • Ruins of the Hyperborean civilization play a role in the plot of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
  • In The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan Hyperborean Giants are fighting for Kronos and, with Prometheus, give Percy Jackson Pandora's Box, containing hope. In Rick Riordan's subsequent book "The Son of Neptune", Percy Jackson and his friends also encounter the giants in Alaska on their quest to free the god of death, Thanatos.
  • The Hyperboreans are subject of the album Hyperboreans by Jackie Oates, an English folk music singer/songwriter.
  • The Hyperboreans are subject of the many songs by Bal-Sagoth, an English symphonic black metal band.
  • The 1977 film Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, wove a number of related references into the plot. Hyperborea was the name given to an island far in the North Sea, described in the film by the witch Zenobia as being "past the Celtic Isles". The island had been home to the Arimaspi and contained a pyramid structure called The Shrine of the Four Elements, located in a temperate valley hidden amongst the ice of the Arctic Circle.



The Road of Byc (Bic): ‘Yperboreon daumaue odos.' The wonderful road of the Hyperboreans. Posts of Liberi Patris. 



PART 1  -  Ch.X-Termini Liberi Patris

 Full text at:

  X. 1. ‘Yperboreon daumaue odos. The wonderful road of the Hyperboreans.

 In the history of megalithic monuments of Dacia, an important place has a long uninterrupted series of several thousand boulders, or huge slabs, which stretched, until the 18th century, from Basarabia, through southern Russia, towards Crimea, out of which a few remains still exist today close to Chisineu.

Bîc (Bâc or Byk) is a river in Moldova, a right tributary of Dniester.

The upper flow of Bîc cuts a deep canyon in Codri Hills.

The learned Domn of Moldova, Dimitrie Cantermir, wrote around 1716 the following, regarding this (Descriptio Moldaviae, ed. 1872, p.15):

“Not far from Chisineu, a little town near the river Byc, can be seen a series of very large slabs, arranged in a straight line in such a way, as if they might have been placed there by man’s hand. But what makes us doubt is, on the one hand, the great size of these slabs, and on the other hand, the length of the terrain on which they stand. In truth, some of these boulders cover a space of 3-4 ells (TN – approx. 3.5 to 4.6m) in width and length, and their line crosses the Nistru and stretches as far as Crimea. In peasant language this series of rocks is called the Keys of Byc (TN - or Straits), and the peasants, in their simplicity, say that this construction was made by smei (dragons), who had conspired to close the course of the river Bac. (The river Bic or Bac is a tributary of the Dniester.Interesant este şi faptul că spre est de Ceahlău pornea aşa-numita Cale Sacră, ce ajungea la Cheile Bicului, în sud-estul oraşului Chişinău, de unde continua spre est şi era marcată printr-o linie de megaliţi amintită şi de Dimitrie Cantemir în Descrierea Moldovei, linie ce corespunde cu Exampeos-ul menţionat de Herodot.)

 The poet Constantin Stamati, who lived at Chisineu, in a note written in Russian about the antiquities of Basarabia and published around 1850, communicates also the following important data regarding this megalithic construction: “About three versts (TN – cca 3.2km) south of Chisineu, can be seen a row of very large stone slabs, half stuck in the ground in a right line, which the locals call the Keys of the river Bac. This row of stones starts at the river Prut, built as a wall, passes through the woods of Capriana, and cuts across the whole of Basarabia. But the locals dig up these stones from time to time, so that the ancient wall is destroyed” (Hasdeu, Dictionarul limbei istorice si poporane, Tom. III. v. Bac, p.2795).



And captain Zascuk, in the best statistical – geographical description of Basarabia, which he had done at the request of the Russian government, tells us the following: “From Chisineu, in the direction of Prut, through the woods of Capriana, a row of stone slabs half buried in the ground once stretched. Those slabs are still preserved in some places, and about others the peasants still tell that they’ve taken from them a few times, for their needs. I don’t think that somebody will ever try to prove that those stones once formed a compact wall, from behind which the ancient inhabitants have defended themselves against their neighbors’ invasions. Those stones followed a continuous uninterrupted route through woods, swamps and gullies. In all probability they served, like the earth walls, as boundary signs” Captain Zascuk also adds in a note: “In late surveys of some monastery estates in Basarabia, especially of those from the woody zone of the districts Chisineu, Orheiu and Iasi, rows of stone slabs, thrust in the ground and left there from ancient times are mentioned” (Ibid. III. p.2795-6).

Finally, in a manuscript note, the Romanian patriot Alesandru Hasdeu from Basarabia, also states that he saw those “blocks of stone thrust into the ground” close to Chisineu on the estates Petricani and Ghidighis (Ibid. III. p. 2796).

 From this positive data, transmitted by various authors and eye witnesses, it results that this monumental row of slabs thrust vertically into the ground, was nothing else than what in prehistoric archaeology is called an alignment, but of an extraordinary length, which stretched from Moldova along the valley of Bac, to far away towards east … towards Crimea, according to Cantemir.

We have to state something else here, regarding the aspect and technical system of this megalithic construction. This gigantic series of several tens of thousands of blocks had not the character of a wall or of a defensive construction. Neither Prince Cantemir, nor the others who saw, examined and described this astonishing monument of antiquity, affirm that the slabs or monoliths which composed this megalithic line, had been arranged and tied together, so as to form a compact and impenetrable wall. Prince Cantemir calls them only “series maximorum lapidum”. Constantin Stamati calls them “a row in a straight line of very large slabs” and captain Zascuk, quite competent in knowing the character of defensive fortifications, declares very precisely: “I don’t think that somebody will ever try to prove that those stones once formed a compact wall; in all probability they served … as boundary signs”.

By the nature of the terrain which it crossed, as well as by its direction from west to east, this long series of rough stone slabs, thrust into the ground of the wild deserted places of ancient Scythia, was not made in order to prevent an invasion.  We are now presented with the important question, which was the origin and which was the destination of this marvelous megalithic work?


   Sarmatia Europea in map of Scythia, 1697.


We find a very precious mention of this incomparable monument of prehistoric antiquity with Quintus Curtius Rufus, one of the Roman historians, who probably lived at the time of Vespasian (lib. VII. Cap.7).

Based on Greek sources, a large part of which we don’t have any more today, Quintus Curtius Rufus had composed a work in ten books “De gestis Alexandri Magni”, in which he tells us that king Alexander, encouraged by his successes in Asia, after defeating the Persians, Bactrians and other barbarian populations from near the Caspian Sea, decided to expand his expedition also to the Scythians of Europe; namely king Alexander believed that until the Macedonians defeated the Scythians of Europe, considered in those times as undefeatable, their Macedonian empire in Asia will have just a transitory existence. The defeated populations of Asia, some of which had already started to rebel, will despise the Macedonians; only if they also defeated and subjected the Scythians of Europe, the Macedonians will appear everywhere as the strongest.


So, king Alexander arrived with his army at Tanais (Don), the great river which separated in those times the Bactrians from the European Scythians, and Europe from Asia. After Alexander founded a new city, called “Alexandria”, and made all the necessary preparations for war with the Scythians, he ordered his army to cross into Europe. The Scythians tried to oppose him from the other bank of the river Tanais. But Alexander and his army, despite the raining arrows of the Scythians and the great rush of the waters of the river Tanais, crossed with boats to the European bank. The Macedonian foot soldiers, leaving the boats, started the battle with lances against the riding bands of the Scythians, who occupied the bank, and the Macedonian cavalry, seeing that the Scythians began to turn their horses, threw themselves on them and broke their ranks. The Scythians, being unable to sustain the attack of the Macedonians, gave free reins to the horses and started to run away, while the Macedonian cavalry, on the order of Alexander, chased them for the rest of the day and passed even beyond the Posts of Liber Pater.

These Posts of Liber Pater, Quintus Curtius tells us, “were some monuments, which consisted of blocks or large slabs arranged in a regular row, at small intervals one from the other”.

So we have therefore a precise and positive text from the history of Alexander the Great; text which directly refers to this megalithic alignment from European Scythia [1].

 [1. In Greek antiquity, some authors thought that the stela (columns), or the legendary Termini of Liber Pater, were situated in the extreme parts of India (Apollodorus Bibl. III. 5.2). To them Strabo answers (III.5.6) that in India nobody saw either the columns of Hercules, or of Dionysius (Liber Pater)].

 It results then from this important historical document that this monumental series of stone blocks, whose eastern end reached almost to the Don, was the same megalithic construction as series maximorum lapidum, which according to Cantemir stretched from Basarabia through southern Russia towards Crimea.

In ancient historical literature therefore this grandiose monument from the north of the Black Sea, composed of an extraordinary long series of rough monoliths thrust into the ground, had the name Termini Liberi Patris.

And this Liber Pater of the Romans, as we saw in the last chapter, was the same legendary personality of Dionysos of the Greeks, and Osiris of the Egyptians (Herodotus, lib. II. c. 144; In a Roman inscription from Dalmatia, Isis and Serapis /Osiris, the universal Egyptian divinities, appear in Latin language as Libera and Liber (

We find the same perfect identity between Liber Pater and Osiris in prehistoric traditions of the Romanian people. According to some of these legends, the huge plough furrow, which cuts from west to east the plains of Romania, Basarabia and southern Russia as far as the Don, had been made by the emperor of the Jidovs, Ostrea-Novac (Osiris), and according to other traditions, this furrow is attributed to Ler emperor (Liber Pater), who had come with countless, evil armies against the inhabitants of this country [2].

 [2. In our folk incantations, Ler emperor (TN – Ler imparat) appears as a plundering, detested hero. “Ler emperor” (Osiris) of Romanian folk traditions is only a warlike figure, who wanders through the world, but totally distinct from “Ler Domnul”, the son of the holy Mother, or Apollo, of our religious carols. About the origin and archaic meaning of the word “ler” see the chapters referring to the first Pelasgian empire. We also note here that Liber Pater of the Romans appears also in an inscription discovered at Narona in Dalmatia under the form Leiber Patrus (, name very close to the Romanian one, Ler imparat].

 Image:Tara Rumaneasca map.png

During Wallachian rule, of Southern Bessarabia acquired its name. (1390 map)

 But which was the primitive destination of these famous monoliths arranged in a row, which stretched from Prut over Basarabia and southern Russia, towards Don, close to the point where one passed from Europe to Asia?

In prehistoric antiquity the columns of rough stone also had a purpose of public use. They served in those remote times to indicate to travelers the direction through the less populated lands, and where other orienting signs were missing (Cartailhac, La France prehistorique, p.315)[3].

 [3. Near Tanais (Don) also existed, until the Roman epoch, the Altars consecrated to Alexander the Great, as monuments of his expedition in those parts. Those altars were situated, according to Ptolemy (III.5.12), lower than the turns of the river Tanais. Orosius mentions also near Tanais the altars and posts of Alexander the Great (Historiarum adversus paganos, I. 2)].

 The entire vast area of southern Scythia formed until late, in historical times, a pastoral region, deserted spaces of limitless pastures, without cities, villages or forests, on which continuously wandered countless tribes of shepherds, transporting their households and families in carts, from one place to the other (Herodotus, lib. IV. 47, 61).

“We have neither towns, nor cultivated fields, to be afraid that our enemies will lay them bare”, answers Idanthyrsus, the king of the Scythians, to Darius, the king of the Persians, when the latter asked him to either accept to fight, or bring him gifts, earth and water, as signs of surrender (Herodotus, lib. IV. 127).

The Greeks, Curtius tells us, called the entire geographical region of European Sarmatia, the “solitudes of the Scythians”, and the part between the mouths of the Danube, Nistru and the Pontos, or the lands of lower Basarabia, had especially the name of the “desert of the Getae” (Strabo, Geogr. lib. VII. 3.14).

Ammianus Marcellinus (1. XXII c.8) also calls the lands of Scythia solitudines vastas; and in “Divisio orbis terrarium”, antedating the 4th century ad, we read: Dacia. Finitur ab oriente deserto Sarmatiae (Riese, Geographi latini minores, p.17). On Tabula Peutingeriana, the region between the rivers Agalingus (Cogalnic in Basarabia) and Hypanis (Bug) is designated with the words sors desertus.

Through these solitudes, north of the Black Sea, Darius had lost his way, with his entire army; even the warring bands of the Scythians, who were chasing Darius, had lost their way (Herodotus, lib. IV. c.136).

In those remote historical times, the only road which presented fewer difficulties for the communication between the Carpathians and the lands near the Meotic lake, was on the valley of Bac (Byc, Bic) in today Basarabia, which then continued from the Nistru towards the Don. But even this road was only a simple road “per deserta”.

On this way the invasion of the Neolithic tribes into Europe had taken place. Here was until late the great line of communication between east and west, between Asia, always poor, and opulent Europe. “Termini Liberi Patris”, these monuments of the ancient world, which stretched in a right line from Prut, along the valley of Bac towards Tanais, appear therefore as simple itinerary columns in the deserted wilderness of Scythia, with the purpose of indicating to the travelers and merchants the line of the great road between Asia and Europe [4].

 [4. We find an important note with Pliny, who tells us (Hist. Nat. IV.17.6) that the Macedonians, in this expedition of theirs, had followed into the steps of Liber Pater and Hercules, or in other words, on the roads and guided by the remains of the monuments of those heroes. The Romans still had ancient traditions about the famous war deeds of Liber Pater, as results from another passage of Pliny (Hist. Hat. Lib. VII.1) regarding Pompei the Great].

 Osiris, the king of the Egyptians, or Liber Pater, as the Romans called him, by defeating Typhon, had also conquered the lands from the north of the Black Sea. The ancient traditions and legends attributed to Osiris the building of this astonishing row of blocks thrust into the ground, between Asia and the Carpathians of Dacia.

In the old prayers of the Egyptians, worded by the priests of Thebes and Memphis, for the divinization of Osiris, is mentioned as an eternal blessing, as one of the great achievements of this monarch, the opening of the roads in the region of the north, and the geography of antique times understood par excellence the country of the Scythians as the “region of the north” (Pierret, Le livre des morts des anciens Egyptiens, ch. CXLII).

Even Herodotus tells us that the pillars or columns of Sesostris (the same with Osiris) still existed in the lands of Scythia even during his times (lib. II. 103). And the poet Ovid also mentions the triumphal roads of Bachus or Liber Pater, through Scythia (Fast. III. 714 seqq) [5].

 [5. Erecting triumphal pillars or columns has been in use with the Romanians until the 14th century. The Polish chronicler Strykowski writes the following: The Hungarian king Carolus (Robert), starting a sudden war against the Valahian (TN – or Muntean, from Muntenia, another name for Valahia, or the Romanian-country) Domn Basaraba, was thoroughly defeated by the Munteni and Moldoveni by a stratagem, so that he and a few of his men could barely escape by running to Hungary. On the place of the battle the Valahian Domni built a church and erected three stone pillars, as I myself saw in 1574 when returning from Turkey, beyond the little market town Gherghita, two days of travel from the Transilvanian city of Sibiu, in the mountains (Hasdeu, Archiva istorica, tom.II.p.7)].

 This monumental glorious road of Liber Pater had become legendary in Greek lands even much earlier than the times of Herodotus.

The poet Pindar mentions in two odes of his this marvelous monument from the country of the Hyperboreans, settled at the north of the Lower Danube and the Black Sea even from the time of the Neolithic migration. In one of these odes the text referring to this long series of itinerary columns sounds like this: “Beyond the sources of the Nile, as well as in the country of the Hyperboreans, countless numbers of itinerary pillars exist, made of cut rock, 100 feet tall and arranged in a row, like monuments commemorating some glorious deeds” (Isthmia, V. 20)[6].

 16. Pindar uses the word cheleudoi (sing. cheleudos), which is not a synonym of odoi, but has the meaning of itinerary pillars (posts). From a point of view of its origin and form, cheleudos is identical with Romanian “calauz” or “calauza”, word which in Romanian language is applied to persons as well as things, particularly to the posts which indicate the roads. In this text Pindar still tells us that the itinerary posts from the country of the Hyperboreans were 100 feet high. Taking as a basis for this unit of measurement the ancient Greek or Olympic foot of 0,382m, the height of these columns was 30,82m. In France, the menhir from Locmariaker at Morbihan, is 21m long. That some of the stone slabs or boulders, which formed the megalithic row near the river Bac, had colossal dimensions, results from the communication of the Russian traveler Sviniin, who had visited Basarabia around 1822. According to him, these stones had an extraordinary height, looking at some places like the crest of a mountain (Hasdeu, Dict. III. p.2796)].

 This countless number or itinerary pillars mentioned by  Pindar, assembled in a row through the country of the Hyperboreans, appear therefore to be the same megalithic alignment as the “series maximorum lapidum” about which Cantemir talks, and as “lapides crebris intervallis dispositi”, or “Termini Liberi Patris” of Quintus Curtius.

In another ode of his, the poet Pindar praises once more this extraordinary monument form the country of the Hyperboreans. The following are his words (Pythia, X.29):

“One would not find the road, worthy of admiration, which leads to the main place of assembly of the Hyperboreans, even if one traveled on sea or on land” [7].

 [7. Pindar presents here the real fact of the triumphal road of the Hyperboreans, in a moral sense. He wants to say in these verses: the road to eternal glory and true happiness cannot be found, either traveling on sea, or on land. They Hyperboreans appear in ancient legends as the most just, the happiest and with a zest for life which went beyond the limits of old age (Pliny, lib. IV. 26. 11) ].

 It results therefore, from these words of Pindar, that in the country of the Hyperboreans at the north of the Danube and the Black Sea, a monumental road existed even in his times; an astonishing road, due to the great number and colossal size of its itinerary pillars arranged in a row. The origin of this road, says Pindar, went back to some glorious deeds. So, it was a triumphal road as well, identical with “Scythici triumphi” of Liber Pater, mentioned by Ovid. Both poets, Pindar and Ovid, referred to the same war events, the same legendary monuments.

 This marvelous sacred road from the north of the Lower Danube and the Black Sea, led, as Pindar tells us, to the common place of assembly of the Hyperboreans. It crossed therefore a large part of the vast territory of this people.

As we know, the magnificent temple of Apollo the Hyperborean was located in the island called Leuce or Alba (TN – White) near the mouths of the Danube.

 And on the lower parts of the river Prut, close to this religious metropolis of the Hyperboreans, a city called Piroboridava still existed even during the Roman epoch, doubtless the same capital, the same political center which Pindar calls Hyperboreon agon. The geographical location of Piroboridava, mentioned by Ptolemy (III.10.6.8) was almost identical with that of later Noviodunum, today Isaccea).

Still on the eastern parts of Dacia, between the rivers Agalingus (today Cogalnic) and Hypanis (Bug), an extended population called “Dac(i) Petoporiani” appears settled during the Roman epoch, its evidently altered name of Daci Piroboriani, meaning Hyperborean (Tab. Peut., Ed. Miller, Segm.VIII.3.4).

 We recapitulate:

The marvelous (miraculous) road of the Hyperboreans”, about which speaks Pindar, and along which were aligned a countless number of itinerary posts, appears to have been, on the basis of the geographical location of the Hyperboreans, as well as on the character and destination of these monuments, one and the same megalithic construction as the long line of stone boulders thrust into the ground mentioned by Cantemir and Quintus Curtius.


Bic River, Legendele Raului  Bic

Bîc River

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bîc (Bâc)
Basin countriesMoldova
Length155 km
Avg. discharge1 m³/s (annual mean)
220 m³/s (springtime)
Basin area2,150 km²

Bîc (Bâc or Byk) is a river in Moldova, a right tributary of Dniester.

The upper flow of Bîc cuts a deep canyon in Codri Hills. The capital of Moldova, Chişinău, is situated by Bîc. A dam at Bîc by Chişinău holds the Chişinău Sea reservoir of area about 10 km². In summer Bîc often dries out and turns into a chain of lakes. Bîc is heavily polluted.

Coordinates: 46°54′42″N 29°27′59″E / 46.91167°N 29.46639°E / 46.91167; 29.46639


Legends of the River Bic (in Romanian only) 

Legenda Bîcului

Potrivit legendei, cu mult timp în urmă, pe pământ, alături de oameni, trăiau uriaşii. De la o vreme însă, uriaşii au început să dispară. În schimb oamenii deveneau din ce în ce mai mulţi. Într-o zi, o fată de uriaş, care încă nu ştia de existenţa oamenilor, a văzut un om mânând o căruţă trasă de doi boi. Fata a mers la părinţi să-i întrebe despre creatura ciudată. Aceştia i-au povestit despre oameni şi despre faptul că în curând uriaşii vor dispărea cu totul, iar oamenii vor pune stăpânire pe întreg pământul.

Râul Bîc. Imagine din 1889

Plină de ură, fata de uriaş a hotărât sa-l găsească pe omul în căruţă pe care-l văzuse mai devreme şi să-l omoare. Dupa lungi căutări fără rezultat, fata de uriaş a început să plângă. Lacrimile fetei au inundat teritorii mari, ajungându-l din urmă pe omul în căruţă, înecându-i un bou. Se spune că prima lacrimă pe care a vărsat-o fata de uriaş s-a transformat în izvor, care apoi a crescut în râu. Iar râul a fost numit Bîc, deoarece aşa numeau boul neamurile vecine. De atunci curge râul Bîc, trăgându-şi numele de la acel bou înecat în lacrimile uriaşei.[1]

 Cheile Bîcului

În preajma satului Vatra, râul Bîc curge printr-un defileu stâncos denumit Cheile Bîcului.

Zona respectivă a suscitat interesul multor cercetători. Astfel, Zamfir C. Arbore, în Basarabia în secolul al XIX-lea scrie:

Colaboraţi la Wikicitat Cel mai vechi monument istoric, cea mai antică rămăşiţă istorică, al cărei nume s-a mai păstrat pe aici pe colea până în zilele noastre dincolo de Prut, sunt incontestabil Cheile Bîcului.”
Zamfir C. Arbore, Basarabia în secolul al XIX-lea


Pe de altă parte, B.P. Hasdeu, în Magnum Etymologicum Romaniae, spune:

Colaboraţi la Wikicitat „Nu prin nume Bîcul are o importanţă, ci printr-un monument dintr-o epocă imemorabilă, cu multe secole mai veche decât prima apariţie a slavilor pe ţărmurile Dunării. Acel monument se cheamă în popor Cheile Bîcului.”
B.P. Hasdeu, Magnum Etymologicum Romaniae, t.III, fasc. 3-a


În aceeaşi lucrare, Hasdeu emite ipoteza, susţinută şi de alţi cercetători, că pietrele din Cheile Bîcului nu sunt o curiozitate a naturii, fiind mai degrabă amplasate de oameni. Hasdeu dă pietrelor o vechime de 2000 de ani, susţinând ca acestea au fost aşezate de bastarni, cu 200 de ani înaintea erei noastre. Conform lui Hasdeu, iniţial pietrele secţionau Basarabia pe orizontală, formând un zid de apărare, acesta străbătând codrii şi ajungând până la Prut. De-a lungul timpului, însă, oamenii au folosit pietrele în gospodarie, astfel încât în prezent din zidul străvechi s-a păstrat doar zona Cheilor Bîcului. [4]

Dimitrie Cantemir aminteşte şi el de Cheile Bîcului în Descrierea Moldovei, spunând că şirul pietrelor se întinde peste Nistru până în Crimeea. Cantemir face referire şi la legenda acestor pietre.[5]

Legenda Cheilor Bîcului

Legenda spune că într-o noapte dracii s-au gândit să bareze apa Bîcului cu bolovani, pentru ca râul să se reverse şi să înece oamenii care locuiau în satele din împrejurime. Toată noaptea necuraţii au adus pietroaie la râu, dar când erau pe cale să-şi termine treaba, cocoşii din satul din apropiere, dându-şi seama de intenţia dracilor, au cântat mult mai devreme de răsăritul soarelui. Dracii, speriaţi că-i apucă dimineaţa, au fugit, fără a se mai întoarce altă dată. [6]

Colaboraţi la Wikicitat „Nu departe de aci se vede un şir de pietre foarte mari, aşezate în linie dreaptă, ca şi cum ar fi puse într-adins de mână de om. [...] În limba ţării se cheamă Cheile Bîcului şi prostimea crede ca este o lucrare a celor necuraţi, care i-ar fi conjurat să astupe apa Bîcului.”
Dimitrie Cantemir, Descrierea Moldovei


  1. ^ Legendele geografice şi istorice ale poporului român, alese şi povestite de Boris Crăciun, Iaşi, Ed. Portile Orientului, 2004, pag. 74-75
  2. ^ Z. Arbore,"Basarabia în secolul al XIX-lea"
  3. ^ Arbore,"Basarabia în secolul al XIX-lea"
  4. ^ Z. Arbore,"Basarabia în secolul al XIX-lea"
  5. ^ Dimitrie Cantemir, Descrierea Moldovei, Bucureşti, Ed. Librăriei SOCEC & Co., 1909, pag. 49
  6. ^ "File din istoria mai puţin cunoscută a Basarabiei"
  7. ^ Dimitrie Cantemir, Descrierea Moldovei, Bucureşti, Ed. Librăriei SOCEC & Co., 1909, pag. 49
Ultima modificare 21:41, 6 decembrie 2009.




Din Galia pina la Krasnodar, pe drumul lui Ler Imparat

Din Galia pina la Krasnodar, pe drumul lui Ler Imparat

de Venera Dumitrescu, Bucuresti, Romania


Dimitrie Cantemir, în Descriptio Moldaviae, aminteşte de brazda în câmpia ungurească. De aici trecerea de-a lungul Ţării Româneşti, iar în Moldova, de-a lungul Prutului. "Acest mare drum era străjuit de menhire între Prut şi Nistru". Traversa Prutul prin Lăpuşna, pe cheile Bicului, lângă Chişinău. A fost considerat mult timp acest drum ca val de pământ împotriva migratorilor.

Nu s-a ştiut că Aurelius Sextus Victor, în jurul anilor 360, scria: "între timp s-a făcut printre neamurile de nord un drum, pe care se mergea uşor de la Marea Neagră până în Galia" (Fontes, II, 23-25), un drum strategic european. Brazda a mai fost atribuită, din lipsă de dovezi, lui Atanarich, principele Goţilor, la 376 d.H., de neam germanic, nevoit să construiască acest drum pentru a se apăra de invazia popoarelor migratoare.

Istoricii susţin că Brazda lui Novac trece prin Severin - Craiova - Resca - Bucureşti - Urziceni - Slobozia- Giurgiu - Brăila. Aceste date mi-au permis să pot alcătui harta Drumului lui Ler împărat pe teritoriul României.

Victor Cirimpei culege un cântec cu refrenul "Ler, Ler, oi, Doamni" din localitatea Adler, ţinutul Krasnodar. În vecinătatea aeroportului din Adler se află casele câtorva sute de români, care alcătuiau, până la mijlocul acestui secol, satul Moldovka. Aceasta reprezintă o atestare a vechii localităţi Ad-Ler, aflată pe traseul drumului lui Ler Împărat. Aceasta reprezintă marea noutate pentru istoriografie, care mi-a permis alcătuirea unei hărţi a drumului lui Ler până la Krasnodar, la ADLER, şi în continuare, pe teritoriul asiatic. 




În Dacia preistorică exista o Cale Sacră care, plecând din sudul Daciei, mergea - după cum indica Pindar - până la locul comun de adunare al hiperboreilor. Enigmatica Hyperboreea - raiul nordic al antichitătii (Shamballa popoarelor europene antice) - era pentru vechii traci, locul de permanentă reîntoarcere. Acea cale initiatică, numită de Herodot Exampaeos, era marcată de vechi sanctuare si de monumente megalitice , sau trecea prin impresionante chei naturale cu stânci special amplasate, asa cum sunt Cheile Bacului din Carpatii orientali care încep dincolo de Prut si continuă peste Nistru până la Don, ca o cale triumfală de tipul aliniamentului megalitic. Multe dintre aceste monumente megalitice mai pot fi încă văzute, dar Nicolae Densusianu, Dacia preistorică. Numele coloanei ceresti, după N. Densusianu, este consemnat de mai toti mitografii Greciei antice: Eschil, Homer, Hesiod, Dionisie Periegetul, Pausanias si altii, care socotesc în lucrările lor acest monument mitic ca o minune a timpurilor preantice, drept cel mai "maiestos monument al lumii pelasge" (după grecii antici, Pelasgii ar fi fost o populatie primordială a neamului omenesc, născuti pe un vârf de munte din Pelasgos, fiul lui Zeus).

Insemnarile despre ele sunt practic necunoscute, cei ce le cunosc nepublicând decât arareori. Altele sunt astăzi distruse. Asa este cazul complexului megalitic cu statuia menhir ce o reprezenta pe Dochia (Dacia). Acest monument se afla înăltat pe cel mai înalt munte al Moldovei, Ceahlăul. Despre acest monument scria pe la 1700 domnitorul Moldovei, spunând că în vârful muntelui se vede o "statuie foarte veche", înaltă de 11 metri si reprezentând o femeie bătrână, de la baza căreia izvorăste un izvor nesecat de apă. Pe dealurile din jurul muntelui se văd "urme de cai, de câini si păsări imprimate pe stânci", care sunt numite de popor "La sămne" . 


Ramura migratoare nordica a carpato-dunarenilor desprinsa in faza timpurie a formarii acesteia, se va imparti la randul ei in doua brate: unul german si altul slav, fiecare cu caracteristicile lui distincte, dar si multe comune. Ramura sud-vestica europeana continua sa aiba relatii stranse cu carpato-dunarenii si vor avea mult mai multe lucruri in comun, in special LIMBA.
Spiritualitatea carpato-dunarenilor atinge apogeul dezvoltarii prin realizarea a ceea ce ei puteau VEDEA si intelege: VEDEAU zei si noi reguli de viata – iar cine le vedea cu adevarat, cine le intelegea si practica, era socotit a se fi nascut de doua ori – aparuse SPIRITUALITATEA VEDICA . Aici, pe cursul inferior al Dunarii, se naste spiritualitatea a ceea ce a dominat si inca mai domina lumea: de aici isi trage radacinile cultura VEDE , din care se vor inspira caldeenii si egiptenii, iar mai tarziu iudaismul si crestinismul.
Aici va apare societatea PASTORALA: carpato-dunarenii se vor deplasa de aceasta data cu cirezile lor inspre rasaritul Europei si Asia, din ce in ce mai departe de CASA, cautand pasuni bogate pentru cirezi, campuri cu fan, izvoare, cautand sa se intoarca, insa, in fiecare an, ACASA. Dar drumurile deveneau din ce in ce mai lungi, acumulau cantitati mari de bogatii alimentare, pe care vecinii mai putin harnici si le doreau fara munca – astfel a aparut prima clasa a luptatorilor care pazeau CASA si care mai tarziu vor deveni aparatorii tarii: KSHA-ATRI-YA.
Pentru cei care plecau primavara, pentru a se intoarce acasa toamna, spatiul carpatic a inceput sa aiba un caracter sacru – astfel au aparut serbarile (sarbatorile). Ei se intorceau acasa, la marea zeita DANU, mama ploilor si a pajistilor bogate, de unde vine si numele fluviului Dunarea – DANUBIU. Traditiile si denumirile locale vor fi luate cu ei de acesti carpato-dunareni-istrieni, arieni, pelasgi (sau cum vreti sa-i numiti) si purtate peste tot, reprezentand caracteristica lor principala.
Nicolae Miulescu, in lucrarea “Dacia-Tara Zeilor”, face un calcul foarte simplu: considerand distanta parcursa zilnic in timpul pasunatului de aproximativ 15 km, pentru a se putea intoarce iarna acasa, pastorii puteau ajunge usor pana la nord de Muntii Caucaz. O dovada a expansiunii estice si a stabilizarii lor in perimetrul caucazian se regaseste si in binecunoscutul DRUM AL ZEILOR , marcat cu pietre uriase fixe si mentionat de KAUSHI-TAKI in UPANISHADA ce-i poarta numele (Cartea I, 3).
Despre acest drum al zeilor, cunoscut in antichitate ca fiind misterios, poetul PINDAR in ISTHIA v. 20 spunea: Nici daca vei calatori pe mare sau pe uscat nu vei afla calea cea demna de admiratie care duce la locul principal al hiperboreilor – cum ne denumea el.
Dupa Pindar, la nord de Dunare si Marea Neagra exista, inca dinaintea timpurilor sale, o cale monumentala si totodata miraculoasa prin multimea si marimea colosala a stalpilor sai interiori care, spunea el, erau inalti de peste 100 de picioare (peste 30 de metri).
Herodot vorbeste despre acesti stalpi ca despre Columnele lui SESOSTRIS (OSIRIS) care existau si in timpurile sale in tinuturile Scitiei.
Poetul Ovidiu in cartea a treia a FASTELOR sale aminteste de caile triumfale ale lui Bach sau Liber Pater prin Scitia.
In cantecele eroice populare mai gasim si azi amintiri despre Bacul Viteazul, Bacul Haiducul – care instituise un serviciu de straji pe drumul cel lung dintre ODRIU si DIU:

Imparatul imparat
Ca el mare, mi-a aflat
De numele Bacului,
Bacului, haiducului,
Bacului, viteazului,
Ce-a pus streaja drumului,
Din dealul Odriului,
Pana-n preajma Diului.
(Teodorescu, Poezii populare, p. 605.)

Herodot, in descrierea Sci tiei, face referire la un tinut in nordul Marii Negre pe care scitii, pe limba lor, il numeau EXAMPAEOS, cuvant ce in traducere din greaca inseamna CAILE SACRE. Aceste locuri numite EXAMPEE erau, dupa Herodot, situate la o departare de patru zile de navigare in sus pe raul Hypanis (Bug); aceasta cale sfanta se afla asadar aproape pe aceeasi paralela cu Chisinaul de azi, avand directia de la apus la rasarit. Despre originea si destinatia acestei cai sfinte a scitilor, Herodot insa nu ne mai spune nimic, afirma cel mai mare cunoscator al preistoriei romanilor, N. Desusianu.
Sirul cel lung de lespezi enorme (implantate in pamant) ce se intindea din Basarabia spre Crimeea si Don, de la Prut la marea de Azov, reprezenta una din MINUNILE LUMII PREISTORICE, reprezenta calea sfanta a carpato-dunarenilor din Europa in Asia, reprezenta si reprezinta ISTORIA NOASTRA – neglijata, uitata, parasita si politic inconfortabila pentru vecinii nostri.
Apa Bacului pe langa care trecea, pana in secolul al XVIII-lea, aceasta faimoasa linie de monumente monolitice, se varsa in vechiul Tyros (NISTRU), in apropierea satului romanesc Gura-Bacului. Spre nord, la mica distanta de acest punct, se afla si astazi doua sate: unul pe malul drept si altul pe cel stang alNistrului, purtand amandoua acelasi nume: SPEIA . Din punct de vedere filologic, SPEIA este identic cu termenul scit EXAMPE-OS, unde ultima silaba a fost probabil vulgarizata ori grecizata.
Incepem astfel sa gasim caile sacre ale arienilor, carpato-dunarenilor. Iar daca azi englezii se mandresc cu misterioasele lor pietre de la SALISBURY ori STONEHENGE, sau francezii cu CARNAC, noi romanii nici nu le mai pomenim in car tile noastre de istorie iar istoricii nostri par nu ca le-au uitat, dar nici macar n-au auzit de ele!
Citeam de curand Lost Civilizations – Early Europe: Mysteries in stone , Time-Life Books, si nu puteam in telege de ce Pindar, Herodot, Ovidiu vorbeau despre acest drum al megalitilor cu respect iar cei de mai sus nici nu-l amintesc!!! Tarile din jurul nostru se mandresc cu cate o buca tica de dinte sau de os – si isi scriu istorii frumoase…Noi avem de milenii drumuri construite in piatra si nici nu ne pasa!
In antichitatea preistorica columnele de piatra bruta au avut probabil si o utilitate publica, indicand calatorilor directiile drumurilor prin tinuturile pastorale acolo unde nu erau semne de orientare. Dar sa ridici lespezi, bolovani, stanci de circa 30 metri inaltime si sa marchezi cu ele asa o mare distanta – pare o munca ciclopica chiar si pentru un modern al vremurilor noastre. Cine au fost EI, STRABUNII NOSTRI, si cum de au fost capabili de o astfel de lucrare?!! Explicatii, in prezent, nu exista…ori nu vrem sa le auzim. Sa nu uitam ca in traditiile preistorice ale poporului roman exista o brazda uriasa care taia campiile Romaniei si ale Ucrainei de azi, pana la Don, de la apus la rasarit – Brazda lui NOVAC . Dupa alte traditii, aceasta brazda este atribuita lui LER IMPARAT (Liber-Pater), figura razboinica ce cutreiera lumea, erou jefuitor – persoana cu caracter negativ si detestat in descantecele noastre populare:

Iar voi, Strigoaie,
Voi Moroaie,
Va duceti
La Ler Imparat,
La al vostru palat,
Acolo sa mergeti,
Acolo sa sedeti,
Acolo sa pieriti
(Marion, Descantece – p. 134)

De mentionat ca Ler Imparatul nu trebuie confundat cu Ler Domnul – fiul hiperboreanului Aplo (Apollo) – din colindele noastre pre-crestine, transformat la crestinizare in fiul Maicei Sfinte.
Dar sa revenim din preistorie la anul 1716 cand invatatul Domn al Moldovei Dimitrie Cantemir scria: nu departe de Chisinau, intr-un orasel langa raul Bac, se vad o serie de lespezi foarte mari dispuse in linie dreapta, in asa fel ca si cum ar fi fost asezate acolo prin activitatea omului. Insa ceea ce ne impiedica a crede aceasta este, pe de-o parte marimea lespezilor, iar pe de alta parte, distanta pe care se intind: trec peste Nistru pana in Crimeea. In limba poporului acest sir de pietroaie poarta numele de CHEILE BACULUI; taranii, in simplitatea lor spun ca aceasta constructie a fost facuta de zmei care se conjurasera sa inchida cursul raului Bacul. (Cantemirii – Descriptio Moldaviae, ed.1872).
Pastorii carpato-dunareni, dupa o lunga sedere in zona Caucazului, isi vor continua drumul lor spre Est. 

The Iron Gates of Caucasus. Gate of Alexander. Derbent. The Caspian Gates. Pylae Caspite.

Often identified with the legendary Gates of Alexander, Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia. Since antiquity the value of the area as the gate to the Caucasus has been understood and Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old.

As a result of this geographic particularity the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world. Over the years different nations gave the city different names, but all connected to the word 'gate'.

Derbent (Russian: Дербе́нт; Azerbaijani: Dərbənd; Lezgian: Кьвевар; Avar: Дербенд; Lak: Чурул, Churul; Persian: دربند; Judæo-Tat: דארבּאנד/Дэрбэнд/Dərbənd[4]) is a city in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia, close to the Azerbaijani border. It is the southernmost city in Russia, and it is the second most important city of Dagestan.

To the south lies the seaward extremity of the Caucasian wall (fifty metres long), otherwise known as Alexander's Wall, blocking the narrow pass of the Iron Gate or Caspian Gates (Portae Athanae or Portae Caspiae). This, when entire, had a height of 29 ft (9 m) and a thickness of about 10 ft (3 m), and with its iron gates and numerous watch-towers formed a valuable defence of the Persian frontier.

Derbent has an important strategic location in the Caucasus: the city is situated on a narrow, three-kilometer strip of land between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus mountains. Historically, this position allowed the rulers of Derbent to control land traffic between the Eurasian Steppe and the Middle East. The only other practicable crossing of the Caucasus ridge was over the Darial Gorge


Dariel pass 

The Gates of Alexander was a legendary barrier supposedly built by Alexander the Great in the Caucasus to keep the uncivilized barbarians of the north (typically associated with Gog and Magog) Scythians, from invading the land to the south. The gates were a popular subject in medieval travel literature, starting with the Alexander Romance in a version from perhaps the 6th century. The wall has been frequently identified with the Caspian Gates of Derbent, Russia (see below) and with the Pass of Dariel or Darial.

An alternative theory links it to the so-called "Alexander's Wall" (the Great Wall of Gorgan) on the south-eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, 180 km of which is still preserved today, albeit in a very poor state of repair.[1]

In reality both structures were built by the Persian monarchs. Derbent (in Persian دربند Darband, meaning "closed gates"), was established in the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 6th century, when the city was refounded by Kavadh I of the Sassanid dynasty of Persia.

The Great Wall of Gorgan was built during the Parthian dynasty simultaneously with the construction of the Great Wall of China and it was restored during the Sassanid era (3-7th century)[2] 

The Caspian Gates Pass lies south of the Caspian Sea near the Elburz Mountains. With desert to the south and mountains to the north, control of the Gates was vital for armies seeking to traverse ancient Persia (Iran). As historian George Rawlinson wrote: "The latter [pass], now known as the Girduni Sudurrah Pass, constitutes the famous ' Pylae Caspite. '

Through this pass alone can armies proceed from Armenia, Media, and Persia eastward, or from Turkestan, Khorasan, and Afghanistan into the more western parts of Asia. 

Trade Routes by Mel Copeland

 Etruscan Phrases "F"(continued) by Mel Copeland
(from a work published in 1981)

Trade Routes

Trade routes tend to reflect migratory paths. From 10,000 years ago until today, the geography of the region from China to the Black Sea and the entry of the Danube river (above the Crimea) encourages certain paths for cattle and people to follow and discourages other routes. The Silk Road from China to Tehran or Damascus reflects not only the best travelled route to China but also the most practical route. Caravans required provisions and pasture. Provisions could be traded for in towns along the way for both man and beast.

If one were not able to get through Derbent, one would have to go north of the Caspian Sea through the Kirghiz Steppes of Kazakhstan (which would have required the permission of the Khazar Khan, another problem). Prior to the Khazars, the territory was held by the Scythians: from the Dneister river along the northern side of the Carpathian mountains, and the Crimea, northward to the Don river and southward to the Caucaus Mountains and the Caspian Sea. These horsed nomads were so powerful from about 700 B.C. nations feared their raids, for they made much of their livelihood in capturing towns and peoples. They traded in slaves through the Black Sea ports with the Greeks, and those slaves whom they kept for themselves they blinded.

They grew grain and shipped wheat, flocks and cheese to Greece. They are known for their excellence in working gold and silver and the hordes they left in tombs (barrows) of their heroes. They also scalped their enemies and used the dressed scalps as napkins, leaving them to hang from their belt. The men did not cut their hair or beards, wore pointed helmuts and though they made bits for their horses they did not have saddles. A group of the Scythians, identified as the Amazons, were known for their womens' ability to fight and ride. Their women are said to have had their right breasts cauterized in youth, to prevent growth, so that they would make fine archers. Related to them were the Sarmatians who occupied the Russian steps northward to the Ural Mountains. Another group of Scythians, the Royal Scythians, roamed the Asian steppes to the Altai Mountains, which may have been their homeland sanctuary, north of the junction of the Kazakhstan / Chinese / Mongolian borders. The site at Pazyrk suggests that their origins were in Western Siberia before f the western Siberian republic of Tuva, revealed almost 5,000 decorative gold pieces that adorned the bodies of a man and woman dating from about 600 to 500 B.C. What is remarkable about the 44 pound treasure is the fact that the design of the pieces predates Greek influence. Scythian jewelry in the West is influenced with Greek designs. This find was reported January 9, 2002 and may be seen at:

The Western branch of the Scythians turned back Darius by the Caspian Sea. Herodotus reports the incident, how the Scythians pointed out that Darius, about 513 B.C., was wasting his time fighting them, since they had no cities to conquer. While the frustrated Persian army hoped to enjoin battle the bored Scythian warriors happened to see a hare and broke ranks, giving chase to it. Darius gave up the effort. Herodotus may be read in Greek and English at the following link: Most of what we know about the ancient Scythians is from Herodotus.

While it is commonly believed that the Scythian language was Indo-European, related to Ossetic — a Persian language close to Avestan — Mirfatykh Z. Zakiev argues at that the Scythians were Tartars. He offers an impressive, detailed discussion on Turkish roots, but loses credibility with me when he suggests that the Etruscans spoke a Tatar language. Good links through which to explore the Scythians are: (now a dead link); – the Nova report on the Tocharian mummy; –the key to the Scythians is their horsemanship. (now a dead link)

The Cimmerians, who resided in the Crimea and north of the Black Sea, and are believed to be related to the Thracians, were disbursed by the Scythians. Some reports suggest that the remnants of the Cimmerians ended up in Britain. Cappadocia, a region in the center of Turkey, is called Gimer in the Armenian language, and this may be the final residence of the Cimmerians. A western branch of the Cimmerians, pressured by the Scythians, moved into the Hungarian plain and survived there until 500 B.C.

Perhaps the only ones who took the route between the Black and Caspian seas, besides armies like Alexander's and Darius' — both of whom were blocked at the Iron Gates — were people who would trade for Scythian goods. But the main route to Asia was from Aleppo to the Oxus river, south of the Aral Sea and following the Oxus river east would take you to India, according to Herodotus. The Silk Road by and large led from Tehran or Damascus to Mirv,and from Mirv one could proceed northeast to Bukhara and then to Samarkand. From Samarkand there seems to have been two parallel routes into China. The northern route would lead to Turfan and Hami and then southeast to Dunhuang. The southern route would go through Yarkand, Khoian, Cherchen and northeast to Dunhuang. From Dunhuang the road led southeast to Lanzhou and Chang'an (the name we now know as China). The northern route is the one Marco Polo is believed to have taken. But he began his journey from the Crimea, to which he sailed. He traveled into Tartar (Tatar) territory to the Volga above the Caspian Sea and passed between the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea to the Oxus River, crossing it and entering Bukhara.

A passage north of the Aral Sea would lead into swamps called the Maeotic Swamps. The Aral Sea and the Swamps were like guide-posts (to avoid) along the route, and Chinese geographers suggest that the end of the Western World is at those swamps. Herodotus reports that the Scythians reported that there was nothing north of them and that anyone going north towards the Urals would be blinded by "feathers."

Chinese accounts from 91 B.C. to 1643 A.D. can be read at the Medieval Sourcebook: A map of Marco Polo's route, which led from the Volga to the Oxus river and beyond can be seen at: Mountain passes, swamps and deserts pretty well constrain one's passage from Asia to Europe. The routes of the Silk Road can also be viewed at the Silk Road Foundation site.

10,000 years ago the areas which are now desert were more temperate, and this is not only evident in the Sahara and Middle East but also near the Iron Gates of the Caspian Sea. South of the gates, a few miles south of Baku at a place called Gobustan, are rock engravings dating from 10,000 to 8,000 years ago. Some of the engravings are reliefs and they show cattle, two-wheeled carts, lions, and other animals of a more temperate climate. The region is now arid. Many of these engravings can be viewed at Ancestors of the Indo-Europeans may have been growing crops and raising cattle in this once luscious place, and it may very well have been the entry to a passage south of the Caucus Mountains to the ancient town of Colchis on the Black Sea (The passage south, between the Caspian and Black Seas, may have been facilitated at that time by the presence of a waterway, from an expanded sea environment – could they have travelled from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea by boat?). Colchis is the ancient place in the story of Jason and the Argonauts where Jason took the Golden Fleece, and it is also near the place in the Caucus Mountains where Prometheus was bound and tormented. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica Prometheus was

"one of the Titans, the supreme trickster, and a god of fire. His intellectual side was emphasized by the apparent meaning of his name, Forethinker. In common belief he developed into a master craftsman, and in this connection he was associated with fire and the creation of man.

"The Greek poet Hesiod related two principal legends concerning Prometheus. The first is that Zeus, the chief god, who had been tricked by Prometheus into accepting the bones and fat of sacrifice instead of the meat, hid fire from man. Prometheus, however, stole it and returned it to Earth once again. As the price of fire, and as punishment for mankind in general, Zeus created the woman Pandora and sent her down to Epimetheus (Hindsight), who, though warned by Prometheus, married her. Pandora took the great lid off the jar she carried, and evils, hard work, and disease flew out to wander among mankind. Hope alone remained within.

"Hesiod relates in his other tale that, as vengeance on Prometheus, Zeus had him chained and sent an eagle to eat his immortal liver, which constantly replenished itself."

The Black Sea region played a central role in the creation myths of the Greeks. Also, it played a special role in the heroic myths of the Greeks and many other peoples, particularly with regard to the almost universal hero, Hercules. His role is also prominent in the Etruscan mythology. To view the entire Black Sea and Caspian Sea region from space, as well as other areas, go to Visibleearth/— Caspian Satellite image.

An informative study on how people choose sites from an agricultural point of view is offered by T. H. van Andel and C. N. Runnels in their article, "The Earliest farmers in Europe," River valleys offer perfect places of habitation for settlements — usually on top of river banks – in their floodplains, and another place to locate is on lake shores. Lakes formed by rivers or natural springs offer ideal places in which to grow crops, as well as to fish. The Balkans, as pointed out by van Andel and Runnels, offer great resources for immigrants. It was a great place, in the neolithic and continues to be treasured to this day.

Settlements become market places for the inhabitants of a region and the larger settlements, being wealthier as it were, became centers of international trade, places where trade routes led. Gobustun offered a good place to settle, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and we can see that those who settled in that place were maritime, using long boats, no doubt engaged for fishing, but serving as well for military applications. Other sites from the tell — a tell is a mound built up from the deposits of a city building atop its own refuse of thousands of years — of Jericho to Thebes, Egypt, to Babylon and the tell of Vinca were located along river banks, risking the floods but reaping the benefits of the alluvial deposits.

Rivers, of course, were the main courses through which people moved, and as a people move into a territory, conquering an indigenous group, the names of the rivers are changed by the new occupiers of a region. For instance the region north of the Black Sea encompassing the rivers (from east to west) Don, Donets, Dnieper and the lower reaches of the Dniester are believed to be Iranian names.


Distribution of Baltic river names versus Persian river names, Don, Donets, Dneiper, from Mallory, "In Search of the Indo-Europeans."
The names are built from the Iranian word danu, 'river,' whence come Dnieper 'the river to the rear,' *danu apara, and Dniester 'river to the front,' danu nazdya. The same Indo-European root underlies Celtic Danuvius, Danube. ["In Search of the Indo-Europeans" J. P. Mallory, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 1989, p.78]. Mallory says that the Baltic and Slavic language groups have not substantially moved from their homeland location. Baltic Lithuanian is . P. Mallory, "an astounding retention of the Proto-Indo-European forms...It shows roughly the same general retention of the Proto-Indo-European forms (naturally mitigated by minor sound shifts) as does Sanskrit, despite the fact that the latter language is attested nearly 3,000 years earlier than Lithuanian." ["In Search of the Indo-Europeans" pp. 157, 158]. important in measuring the distribution of the early Indo-Europeans since it retains, according to J


The Silk Road

The Silk Road

Todd B. Krause and Jonathan Slocum

The Silk Road

The Silk Road refers to a complex of ancient trade routes extending roughly from eastern Europe to the heart of China. The term itself dates only to the 19th century and refers to what was merely one of the many goods transported over land via this web of mercantile passages. Though many of our ancient sources concerning these trade routes contain information either difficult to correlate with specific modern-day geographic and ethnographic knowledge or simply difficult to believe precisely because of modern-day knowledge, we nevertheless are certain of the important place in history the Silk Road holds, as a medium not only for the exchange of goods but also for the exchange of information and technology.



File:Transasia trade routes 1stC CE gr2.png

The route cuts through the heart of Central Asia, through the so-called "Stans" --- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, as well as the northernmost reaches of Afghanistan and Pakistan --- a region known from time immemorial to be home to a wide variety of peoples from varied linguistic, ethnic and religious backgrounds. It is precisely where this trade route hits the westernmost extent of present-day China that we find the archaeological sites that provide us with Tocharian documents. To properly put the Tocharian documents and the people who wrote them in their cultural context, an admittedly cursory overview of some of the major ancient settlements and peoples of the region merits our attention.


The geographic setting is a striking mix of extremes. In the land surrounding the Aral Sea we find the southernmost extension of the great Siberian steppes. Into the western shore of the Aral Sea flows the Syr Darya, while into the southern shore flows the Amu Darya, feeding into the sea via a fertile delta suitable for cultivation. The plains continue to sweep south and east into the foothills of the so-called "Roof of the World." Here rise the Pamirs, sweeping southeast into the Hindu Kush. As one pushes farther east there loom the Qurum Mountains, to their east the Qaraqurum, and to the northeast of these the Altun. This provides the northern extent of Tibet, and if we return to the Pamirs and instead follow the southerly line to the east, we encounter the familiar and majestic Himalayas. If we backtrack once again to the Pamirs, we may this time push northeast and follow the line of the Tian Shan mountains, which provide the natural border between China's Xinjiang province to the south and Kyrgyzstan to the north.

The Tian Shan to the north and the Qurum, Qaraqurum and Altun to the south bracket with their claw the basin into which the Tarim river carries mountain waters until they finally dissipate into the sand. In the middle of all this is a forbidding, impassable desert called the Taklamakan (Turkic T�klimakan), all contained within the present borders of China. Such settlements as we find all line the rim of the desert, hovering close to the foothills of the looming mountain ranges.


Archaeological excavations show signs of habitation in Central Asia dating back at least to paleolithic times. This is evidenced by stone tools as well as cave dwellings that seem to have been seasonally inhabited along migration routes. We find a shift, some 10,000 years ago, from a typical hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one centered around agriculture and livestock. With this came a change to more permanent settlements, with roughly 30 houses built from clay grouped together in a community.

Agriculture was greatly facilitated in the sixth millenium BC by the advent of irrigation, at this early date mostly in the form of heaped up mounds of earth designed to divert flood water from the rivers. Naturally the fertile deltas of rivers such as the Amu Darya (historically known also as the Oxus), where it empties into the Aral Sea, were among the earliest sites of agriculture. Through the use of irrigation, agriculture was able to move to the upper banks of the river and then farther into the countryside in a region occasionally referred to as Transoxonia. Constructing such irrigation systems was of course a labor-intensive activity, and therefore required larger permanent populations (Frye, 1996; Roudik, 2007).

Not all inhabitants of the region chose to remain tied to a permanent settlement. In the third millenium BC we encounter evidence of northern tribes from parts of modern Kazakhstan that maintained a nomadic lifestyle while shifting from hunting to more pastoral pursuits of grazing livestock. At roughly the same time we find the appearance of copper and bronze tools, and only in the first millenium do we finally see the emergence of iron tools. Herdsmen seem early to have domesticated sheep and goats, but in the third and second millenia we also find domestication of camels and horses for pulling carts (Roudik, 2007; Kuzmina, 2008).

In connection with this southward expansion, certain specific archaeological sites are worth mentioning. In particular, archaeological finds identify three groups known as Afanasievo, Andronovo and Karasuk, which range over southern Siberia and Kazakhstan and appear to display a continuity supporting the notion of a spreading population characterized by warriors on chariots. The material finds of the Karasuk culture ultimately find their way to the Ferghana valley by roughly 1500 BC, and further evidence points to possible expansion beyond into Xinjiang (Frye, 1996; Roudik, 2007; Kuzmina, 2008).

As prehistory gives way to history at the beginning of the first millenium BC, we find the area in question encompassed by Parthia. By this time stable settlements had arisen in the river deltas near the Aral Sea, for example Khwarazm (or Khorezm, Gk. Chorasmia) at the mouth of the Amu Darya, and a Sogdian settlement along the Syr Darya. The Sogdians also appear to have established an oasis in Ferghana. We still however find a coexisting nomadic population, and by the middle of the first millenium BC we encounter the nomadic Massegetae inhabiting the region between the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya. Persian and Greek accounts typically find little by which to distinguish the various populations and seem to consider them as a group, in particular with a generally similar mode of dress including a short tunic, wide belt, and trousers, with the same customs among nomadic and settled peoples alike (Roudik, 2007).

State formation in the region appears to have proceeded by way of tribal confederation. In this way the city of Khwarazm rose to prominence and extended its sway from the Aral Sea to the mountainous region to the south. Khwarazm maintained close ties with Bactria, a neighboring state centered upon the modern city of Balkh. Their political ties mirrored the many cultural and linguistic similarities the two states already shared. We also find the state of Margiana, centered at Merv, and the long-lived Sogdian state taking foothold in the region. These four major states occupied the areas of what is now Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.

Early Empires

The Persian king Cyrus, with a victory against the Medes to the east of Parthia in the mid-first millenium BC, finally managed to bring these areas under the dominion of what became the Achaemenid Empire. The Iranian-speaking influence that had entered Central Asia with the rise of Parthia now strengthened its hold, along with a more palpable presence of the Zoroastrian religion (Frye, 1996). Thus Khwarazm, Bactria, and Sogdiana all found new identities as satrapies within the new empire, under the purview of a central governor seated at Samarkand.

The loss of independence was not without its benefits. To be sure, taxes were now levied for the simple right to open irrigation canals feeding from the rivers which were now the emperor's property. But the imperial infrastructure also provided for construction of new irrigation canals. Moreover, the bureaucratic tendencies of the empire demanded skilled bookkeepers, and this in turn resulted in a generally higher level of education. And, finally, inclusion within the empire now brought a vast military might to bear when border provinces like Sogdiana felt the pressures of skirmishes along the trade routes leading out of the empire (Roudik, 2007).

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great turned his gaze toward Central Asia and launched a campaign with such force that it caused Darius III, the Persian emperor at the time, to flee to Bactria. There he was killed in an internal plot, and shortly thereafter Alexander took Samarkand, the principal city in Central Asia. Perhaps in any other region this would have ended Alexander's need for further campaigning; but as luck would have it, this only spurred the Sogdians to revolt, thereby extending Alexander's foray and fanning the flames of military ferocity. Another year of military operations finally brought an end to the resistance, but at the price of hundreds of thousands of Sogdian casualties and diminishing the prosperity of Sogdiana and Bactria. Nor could Alexander accomplish this victory by sheer military might, but rather through a strategy of winning over local leaders and accepting the Zoroastrian religion so pervasive in the region.

The consolidation of Alexander's rule in the region added to the religious diversity. Not only did the Iranian peoples maintain their Zoroastrian beliefs, but large numbers of Greek settlers imported their own religious practices to Bactria. At roughly this time we also see the first Buddhist monks entering the region from India.

Within a relatively short time after Alexander's death, his empire began to disintegrate. The governance of the Central Asian provinces fell to the Seleucids. In the middle of the third century BC, Bactria and Parthia again began a rise to prominence. These states maintained their hold through confederation until roughly the middle of the second century BC. At this time nomads from the region surrounding Syr Darya began to mint coins and construct fortifications (Roudik, 2007). China was of course ever watchful of the nomadic tribes along its borders, and at the beginning of the second century we find it extending its commercial contacts into the region of Sogdiana. From this time onward China maintained a presence in the region, a presence either greater or lesser depending on the degree to which conflicts with the nomadic tribes allowed them access to the major commercial centers. This opened the doors to the Far East and the regions that produced silk, which the Chinese often used as a means of payment in commerce. This era marks the rise of what we know as the Silk Road.

  Major Settlements

As trade along the Silk Road increased, the ensuing prosperity fueled the growth of several settlements in the area of the Tarim Basin. These stations provided a staging ground for the interaction of various empires with interests in the region. Moreover the harsh terrain meant that, as these centers fell into the hands of one power or another, contact between Central Asia and China could effectively be cut off. Their strategic and commercial value therefore converted them into focal points for imperial aspirations in the surrounding regions.

Many of the most detailed reports about the size and makeup of these settlements come from Chinese sources. Mallory and Mair (2000) have provided an insightful and engaging study of the sources, and our discussion here will mainly review some of the highlights of their work.

Kašghar (Qäshqär, Chinese Shule) forms the gate between Bactria and Ferghana to the west and the Tarim Basin to the east. It is at this outpost that a traveller from the west must make a decision to follow a northerly or southerly route as the Silk Road forks and passes to either side of the Taklamakan desert. Chinese accounts recorded during the Han dynasty list Kašghar as containing 1,510 households, comprising 18,647 individuals, of which 2,000 could bear arms. From roughly the beginning of the second century BC to the beginning of the first century AD Kašghar formed an important garrison town in the Western Han dynasty, but subsequently fell under the control of Khotan to the south. General Ban Chao later retook the city and it remained intermittently thereafter part of the Chinese empire. Around the 7th century AD Kašghar pertained to the Tibetan empire, and in the 9th the encroaching Uyghurs took control.

But during the early part of the first century Kašghar formed part of the Kushan empire, rising to prominence for a time in the area. Evidently it was during this period that Buddhism came to Kašghar, and accounts mention that the city retained the Buddha's stone spittoon (though it was not the only city to make this claim). References to sacrifices to the sky god suggest that Buddhism by no means took hold in all pockets within the region, but rather that Zoroastrianism and perhaps other religions managed to coexist in Kašghar. By the 10th century Islam had mostly driven out opposing religions. There was little land suitable for cultivation, but the city was a primary source of wool, or felt, and carpets.

Kučā (Kucha, Chinese Qiuci) lies along the northern rim of the Tarim Basin, perched along the northern route of the Silk Road that skirts the Tängri Tagh (Chinese Tian Shan) mountain range. As mentioned above the northerly and southerly routes of the Silk Road divide at Kašghar to pass on either side of the Taklamakan desert. They rejoin again at Lopnur, to the east of the desert. The oasis of Kučā lies roughly at the midpoint of the northerly route. The northerly route itself divided at Kučā, one direction taking the traveler on to Lopnur, the other passing farther to the north over the Tängri Tagh themselves. In the middle of the first century BC Kučā was already under Chinese control, and in fact it was the seat of the governor of the Han dynasty's protectorate, a region that included all the outposts of the Tarim Basin. That status and the strategic location provided Kučā with a pivotal role in Chinese efforts to stave off the Xiongnu bands that constantly threatened attack from the north. At the same time, it appears that Kučā felt no particular allegiance to China, and its constant efforts to free itself from the empire's grip proved a thorn in China's side. In the 9th century, Kučā like Kašghar fell under the sway of the Uyghurs.

Chinese sources for the first few centuries BC comment on how the population was essentially tied to a settled way of life and not given to the nomadic wanderings of the Xiongnu. The settlement contained 6,970 households comprising 81,317 people, and apparently another 21,076 able to bear arms. Kučā was therefore largest among the cities of eastern Central Asia and simply dwarfed the nearest arm of Chinese authority in Wulei. Later descriptions from the Jin dynasty (AD 265-419) describe a city with a walled inner citadel and a thousand Buddhist shrines and cloisters. The city's dimensions evidently rivaled those of the Chinese capital at Chang'an. Chinese sources record that the agricultural resources of Kučā comprised millet, wheat, rice, legumes, hemp, grapevines and pomegranates, as well as horses, cattle, sheep and camels. Kučā's proximity to the mountains also implied a wealth of mineral goods: copper, iron, lead, gold, and tin among others. Kučā produced felt and rugs, and it remained a central point for trading silk. Commerce was facilitated by the exchange of cotton goods or copper, silver, or gold coins.

It should be mentioned that accounts record a custom in both Kašghar and Kučā whereby the native population used boards to flatten the backs of children's skulls, much like what is found among native populations in North and Central America. In Kučā men and women wore hair down to the nape of their neck, and they employed wool garments and caps. From what can be ascertained from the historical accounts, Buddhism was the primary religion in Kučā in the earliest centuries AD and likely even earlier. In line with Buddhist practice, inhabitants of Kučā typically cremated the dead.

Khotan (Chinese Yutian) was a settlement along the southerly route of the Silk Road around the Tarim Basin. Contrary to some of the other large commercial centers in the region, Khotan enjoyed a wealth of natural resources. Chief among these fortuitous natural circumstances was its location between the Yurung-kāsh and the Qara-qāsh rivers, which stem from the Qurum (Chinese Kunlun) mountains and actually extend all the way to the Tarim river itself. With these two sources to draw from, Khotan possessed ample resources for agriculture through irrigation. Moreover, the mulberry tree was native to the area, so that with silkworms and Chinese know-how Khotan was able to turn itself into the center of silk production for the region. An added benefit was that the Chinese had also invented a process for turning the mulberry into pulp for paper, and so from Khotan the first paper found its way into the region. Khotan, in addition to cotton and wool, sent from its vast supplies large quantities of jade to China. Accounts from the Han dynasty report that the city contained 3,300 households, comprising 19,300 people, of which 2,400 could bear arms.

Several legends surround Khotan. One concerns the dual personalities that factor into its legendary founding. In particular a few documents suggest that Khotan was originally founded as two separate colonies. One came from northwest India and was supposedly led by the son of king Aśoka himself; the other came from the east, led by an exiled Chinese king. After a decisive battle between the two settlements, they eventually coalesced under the rule of one of the founders (stories disagree as to which one). If nothing else the story perhaps derives from a desire to reflect the coexistence of Prakrit-speaking Buddhists alongside Chinese speakers: we in fact find Chinese coins in the area that have Prakrit writing on the reverse side. Chinese accounts testify to a hundred Buddhist monasteries in Khotan, with some 5,000 monks; but here too we find references to a 'celestial god' that suggests the persistence of Zoroastrianism.

Further accounts show an expansion of Khotan's power in the early first century AD. Evidently with the assistance of the Xiongnu nomads, Khotan was able to extend its influence as far as Kašghar to its northwest. Thus control of the southerly route of the Silk Road fell under control of Khotan and Krorän. This situation did not appeal to the Chinese, and so the general Ban Chao likewise came and annexed Khotan to the empire. Not without efforts to the contrary, Khotan nevertheless remained under Chinese control for the succeeding several centuries. At times the Turks threatened to wrest Khotan from the grip of the Chinese, but in the 8th century it was actually Tibet that managed to annex Khotan and much of the Tarim region.

Krorän (Chinese Loulan) provides an antipode to Kašghar across the Tarim Basin: if Kašghar is where the Silk Road divides to bypass the Talkamakan desert, Krorän is where the routes again combine, lending Krorän great strategic importance from the point of view of the Chinese. Krorän lies near the salt marshes of Lopnur, in earlier times an area fed by the Tarim river but bracketed by harsh deserts. Sources from the Han dynasty put the population at 1,570 households, comprising 14,100 people, of which 2,912 could bear arms. The mixture of salt and sand prevented any hope of local agriculture, and the city survived on goods brought in by trade. This furnished a somewhat symbiotic relationship with nomadic peoples from the region, and we find there signs of numerous asses, horses and camels. Krorän for its part formed a center for trade in jade, rushes, tamarisk and balsam poplar.

Krorän appears to have been caught between warring states since its earliest history. In the early second century BC the nomadic Xiongnu of the north annexed the city and from there managed to harass the Han empire. The Chinese naturally found this situation intolerable, and at the end of the first century BC it fell to invading Chinese forces. Krorän nevertheless continued to vacillate between the two powers for the next two centuries. Finally Ban Chao's son, Ban Yong, sent a group of 500 colonists to the region in the first century AD to solidify China's hold. This militarized presence had the added benefit of managing against great odds to produce functional irrigation canals in a difficult river system. Documents uncovered on the site of the colony show that in the time leading up to its abandonment in the fourth century AD, Chinese was apparently spoken alongside Prakrit and another language native to its inhabitants.


Patria  de origine a proto-indo-europenilor şi căile lor de migrare

Nicu Bors, Germania
Patria  de origine a proto-indo-europenilor şi căile lor de migrare (Romanian only)

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În peste două secole de existenţă a lingvisticii istorice, două probleme cruciale, care au atras în mod deosebit atenţia specialiştilor: patria de origine a proto-indo-europenilor şi căile lor de migrare, nu au primit încă răspunsuri satisfăcătoare nici până în ziua de azi. Chiar şi teoriile mai recente cum sunt ipoteza culturii "Kurgan" sau a "Toporului de luptă" elaborată de Childe 1950 şi Gimbutas 1980 şi respectiv cea a împrăştierii agricultorilor neolitici din Anatolia (Renfrew 1987, 1992), în ciuda argumentaţiei lor solide au şi părţi atacabile şi nu explică convingător pe greci, pe albanezi şi pe armeni.

O limbă comună proto-indo-europeană aşa cum a fost ea reconstituită în prezent de lingvişti, este puţin probabil că a existat. În comparaţie cu ceea ce astăzi numim o limbă, idiomurile populaţiilor neolitice nu erau decât rudimente lingvistice şi acestea nu aveau caracterul unitar la care vor fi ajuns mai târziu limbile după inventarea scrisului şi formarea statelor. Este de presupus că proto-indo-europeana, PIE , a format mai întâi un grup de dialecte care erau, într-o măsură mai mare sau mai mică, reciproc inteligibile şi erau vorbite de triburi înrudite.

Teoria noastră consideră că PIE a apărut în neoliticul timpuriu o dată cu transformarea grupurilor de vânători şi culegători mezolitici în populaţii sedentare de agricultori şi de crescători de animale, iar locul de formare nu poate fi decât bazinul hidrografic al unui important fluviu european - Dunărea, având ca nucleu de iradiere arealul culturii Schela Cladovei. Surplusul de hrană adus de agricultură a produs un excedent de populaţie, care avea continuu nevoie de noi terenuri cultivabile, deci s-a produs şi o expansie teritorială. Împrăştierea s-a făcut de-a lungul văilor apelor şi a avut drept rezultat difuzarea populaţiilor neolitice în tot bazinul hidrografic al Dunării şi, de aici, prin sistemul adiacent de fluvii, în toată Europa.

Într-o primă etapă, fixată cronologic la neoliticul timpuriu (cca. 7000 - 4600 î.e.n.), răspândirea populaţiei vorbitoare a limbii PIE s-a făcut într-un areal care este aproximativ cel corespunzător culturii Criş - Starčevo-Karonovo II, (6800- 4600 î.e.n.): linia Dunării Mijlocii în vest, linia Nistrului în nord-est, a Mării Negre în est şi până în spaţiul egeean, la sud.

În neoliticul evoluat, cca. 4600 - 3700 î.e.n., apare prima expansiune a blocului ligvistic indo-european corespunzătoare culturii ceramicii liniare, şi pot fi localizate primele grupuri de limbi indo-europene: Cultura ceramicii liniare transdanubiene ? Gr. Lingv. Proto-Celti; Cultura ceramicii liniare =  Gr. Lingv. Nordic (germanico-balto-slavo-toharic; Cultura Tisa - Herpady = Grupul lingvistic Iliric; Cultura Vinča = Grupul lingvistic Italic; Cultura Vinča-Turdaş, Petreşti  ? Grupul lingvistic Proto-Arian I (Protovedic); Cultura Precucuteni = Grupul lingvistic Proto-Arian II (Protoavestan); Cultura Hamangia = Grupul. lingvisti. Anatolian; Cultura Dudeşti-Karanovo III şi Boian-Karanovo IV-V ? Grupul lingvistic Balcanic.

Grupul anatolian migrează către cca. 4000 î.e.n. din arealul culturii Hamangia şi din zonele învecinate acesteia către Anatolia fiind împinşi înspre sud de primul val de migratori veniţi din stepele din sudul Rusiei.

Între 4600 - 3700 î.e.n. (corespunzător arealului culturii Precucuteni) şi între 3700 - 2900 î.e.n., (corespunzător arealului culturii Cucuteni) are loc o expansiune a populaţiilor indoeuropene către est. Principalele schimbări care apar în structura arealelor lingvistice din eneoliticul timpuriu, 3700 - 2900 î.e.n., pot fi rezumate astfel: grupul lingvistic protoceltic se împarte în celtic situat din valea mijlocie a Dunării până în Boemia (arealul grupul Ludánice şi extensia acestuia) şi venetic situat pe văile mijlocii şi superioare ale Savei Dravei (arealul grupului cultural Balaton); grupul lingvistic italic se separă în două subgrupuri culturale (nu şi lingvistice), corespunzătoare culturilor Vinča şi respectiv culturii Sălcuţa-Bubanj (Italic-Vest situat la N de Dunăre în Banat şi la S de Dunăre între cursul inferior al Dravei până la est de Morava şi Italic-Est situat la N de Dunăre în Oltenia şi la S de Dunăre de la E de Morava până-n Valea Iscărului); arealul de răspândiere al grupul lingvistic Balcanic se identifică cu arealul culturii Gumelniţa + Karanovo VI.

Grupului lingvistic arian format în Transilvania şi în regiunea extracarpatică estică (argumentat prin asemănarea dintre numele unor toponime din interiorul arcului carpatic dar şi din afara acestuia cu nume de zeităţi şi eroi ai mitologiei indiene) a migrat, pe la 3000 î.e.n. spre est şi sud-est, trecând prin două patrii intermediare, Indo-Meotia situată în Kuban şi imperiul Mitanni situat în nordul Mesopotamiei. La cca 1750 î.e.n. arienii au atins Indusul, unde au distrus cultura Mohenjo-Daro, după care au ocupat întregul nord al Indiei. O altă ramură ariană a înfiinţat în podişurile sud-caspice puternicul regat al mezilor.

Din grupul lingvistic nordic format în arealul culturii ceramicii liniare germanicii au migrat prin coridorul dintre Oder şi Elba spre nord-vest, slavii şi balticii care au constituit pentru multă vreme un grup lingvistic comun au migrat spre nord prin coridorul cuprins între cursurile superioare ale Oderului şi Vistulei (mai târziu se produce o sciziune a celor două grupuri), iar toharicii au migrat destul de devreme către N-V până în Turchestanul chinez de astăzi.

Ilirii - un grup etnic şi lingvistic puţin numeros - au migrat din Câmpia Tisei şi vestul Munţilor Apuseni către vest şi s-au stabilit pe coasta dalmată. Veneţii care iniţial au ocupat vestul Peninsulei Balcanice au migrat spre vest, în Câmpia Padului.



Celţii au migrat din regiunea Dunării Mijlocii spre vest, unde vor ocupa sudul actualei Germanii şi, mai departe, în actuala Franţă (triburile galilor), apoi spre sud-vest în Peninsula Iberică (celtiberii) şi în Insulele Britanice (britanii şi irlandezii).

Grecii au venit în Elada în trei valuri succesive: aheii şi-a pornit migrarea din periferiile vestice grupului lingvistic anatolian, iar dorienii şi eolienii - un al doilea şi un al treilea val grec - au venit de la periferia sudică a lumii tracice. Armenii s-au desprins din periferiile estice ale grupului anatolian şi au migrat spre est până în arealul în care se găsesc şi astăzi.

Etruscii , posibili urmaşii ai Troiei învinse de ahei au ajuns în Italia central-vestică pe calea mării.

Italicii au migrat din Balcani (regiunea carpato-danubiană) în Italia în două valuri, urmând şi în primul şi în al doilea caz acelaşi traseu traversarea Mării Adriatice de pe coasta dinarică în sudul Italiei. În afară de cele două migraţii peste Adriatica (valul latino-faliscan - 2000 î.e.n. şi cel osco-umbrian - 1100 î.e.n.) au existat infiltraţii de populaţie italică provenită din arealul Italic-Vest (Banat etc.) în partea nordică a Italiei (către 1000 - 800 î.e.n.).

Sinteza geto-dacă s-a realizat prin expansiunea grupului lingvistic italic în direcţia est, pe două axe principale: pe Valea Dunării, şi respectiv pe Valea Mureşului, înspre Ardeal şi, mai departe, în Moldova. Italicii au asimilat resturile de populaţii ilirice de pe Valea Tisei şi din Bihor, de arieni din Ardeal şi Moldova, de traci din Muntenia şi de la nord de Munţii Balcani şi din acest imens mojar etnic a rezultat o nouă unitate de neam, de limbă şi bineînţeles şi de spirit, care a fost lumea geto-dacă.


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