The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World

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Princeton University Press, Aug 15, 2010 - History - 568 pages
6 Reviews

Roughly half the world's population speaks languages derived from a shared linguistic source known as Proto-Indo-European. But who were the early speakers of this ancient mother tongue, and how did they manage to spread it around the globe? Until now their identity has remained a tantalizing mystery to linguists, archaeologists, and even Nazis seeking the roots of the Aryan race. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language lifts the veil that has long shrouded these original Indo-European speakers, and reveals how their domestication of horses and use of the wheel spread language and transformed civilization.

Linking prehistoric archaeological remains with the development of language, David Anthony identifies the prehistoric peoples of central Eurasia's steppe grasslands as the original speakers of Proto-Indo-European, and shows how their innovative use of the ox wagon, horseback riding, and the warrior's chariot turned the Eurasian steppes into a thriving transcontinental corridor of communication, commerce, and cultural exchange. He explains how they spread their traditions and gave rise to important advances in copper mining, warfare, and patron-client political institutions, thereby ushering in an era of vibrant social change. Anthony also describes his fascinating discovery of how the wear from bits on ancient horse teeth reveals the origins of horseback riding.

The Horse, the Wheel, and Language solves a puzzle that has vexed scholars for two centuries--the source of the Indo-European languages and English--and recovers a magnificent and influential civilization from the past.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fist - LibraryThing

In short, this is the prequel to Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond (to which the author refers in the text and in the title trifecta). Maybe this book is a bit more technical in its archeological ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ritaer - LibraryThing

This is a fairly technical book with many archeological details and discussion of linguistic theory. Not a light read, but interesting for those who care about language and cultural change. One ... Read full review

Contents

Chapter
21
Chapter Three
39
Chapter Five
83
Chapter
102
Chapter Seven
123
Chapter Eight
134
Chapter Nine
160
Chapter
193
the Yamnaya Horizon Begin?
317
Chapter Fourteen
340
The Yamnaya Migration up the Danube Valley
361
Yamnaya Contacts with the Corded Ware Horizon
367
PreSintashta Cultures of the Eastern Steppes
385
Chapter Sixteen
412
The BactriaMargiana Archaeological Complex
421
Herding and Gathering in the Western Steppes
437

Horses and Rituals from the East
239
Chapter Twelve
263
The First Cities and Their Connection to the Steppes
282
Chapter Thirteen
300
The Afanasievo Migration to the Altai
307
The SeimaTurbino Horizon in the ForestSteppe Zone
443
Chapter Seventeen
458
Authors Note on Radiocarbon Dates
467
References
507
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About the author (2010)

David W. Anthony is professor of anthropology at Hartwick College. He is the editor of "The Lost World of Old Europe" (Princeton). He has conducted extensive archaeological fieldwork in Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

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