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Thread: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

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    Default Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    What were the reasons why they did not try to go to those lands in case they knew they existed?

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    conon394's Avatar hoi polloi
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by twgamer20197 View Post
    What were the reasons why they did not try to go to those lands in case they knew they existed?
    Odd question. They went to India in mass via merchants using large durable sailing ships the monsoon season leaving from the red sea. They obviously did not have a great ideal of the geography of SE Asia or China but they knew it was there but their merchants made it their as well. The knew of the steppes because you know they owned the Crimea. They sailed around Ireland and probably Iceland. But if you mean map paint like a game why would they? India was too far - any General who marched through Parthia and won great victories in India would just declare a separate Empire or state. Places in far Northern Europe were more or less cold and lacked economic value or population centers to control. The steppe just ask Darius what happened when he tried to impose his will the Scythians they simply moved away. They you could sail around Africa but economically nobody really got much out of the effort. The same ships that went to India traded well down east of Africa past what is now Tanzania. But sea conditions and weather made the east eastern cost difficult and there was not really good wealthy civilizations to trade with or overrun at the time
    Last edited by conon394; June 09, 2019 at 11:20 AM.
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    To reinforce what Conan has said, the Romans knew about India even before they took over Ptolemaic Egypt from Cleopatra VII, because of the legendary lucrative trade spanning from the Red Sea ports of Egypt all the way to Southeast Asia. Roman merchants constantly visited India from Egypt, bypassing their Parthian rivals in Mesopotamia and Persia by sailing through the Indian Ocean. The ancient Roman guidebook Periplus of the Erythraean Sea from the 1st century AD intricately explains trade routes and ports of call stretching as far as Burma and Thailand, arguably even Vietnam and southern China considering the mysterious "Cattigara" in Ptolemy's Geography that now seems to be the modern site of Oc Eo. Considering the Antonine-period Roman artifacts founds there, this was most likely the site where ancient Chinese historians describe the Romans arriving in an embassy in 166 AD.

    However, the Romans only vaguely knew about China. They called it Serica, the far eastern country where all the silk came from, while the historian Florus claimed that the Seres were among the foreign diplomats who visited Rome during the reign of Augustus (along with Sarmatians, Scythians, and Indians). Later Byzantine/Eastern Roman authors like Cosmas Indicopleustes and Theophylact Simocatta seem to have had a much firmer understanding about how to reach China, while Simocatta was even able to relay decent information about its politics and recent history of division and reunification under the Sui and Tang emperors. The Romans knew nothing about Mongolia and it wasn't until medieval Europeans in the 13th century interacting with the Mongol Empire and the Yuan dynasty that they visited the region of Mongolia and wrote about it (and yes, this involved a lot more people than just Marco Polo, the stereotypical guy you think about instead of others like French royal diplomats and Catholic missionaries).

    As for southern Africa, there weren't any great cities or ports to visit, unlike Punt in Somalia and of course Aksumite Ethiopia & Eritrea further north along the Horn of Africa. The Romans were perhaps most familiar with the Kingdom of Kush in Sudan considering Nubia's proximity, sharing a border with Roman Egypt to the south. The Romans knew about the exploits of previous Carthaginians like Hanno the Navigator in the Pacific and West African coast, while the Roman client ruler Juba II of Mauretania sent an expedition to the Canary Islands. In 19 BC the sub-Saharan expedition of Cornelius Balbus allegedly made it as far as the River Niger and also conquered the Garamantes in the deep Libyan interior. The explorers under Suetonius Paulinus probably reached the Senegal River in 41 AD. In 50 AD Septimius Flaccus reached Lake Chad, which the Romans called the "lake of hippopotamus and rhinoceros", and even left a small garrison there for a while. He also called the territory the land of "Aethiopioi", comparing their very dark-skinned physical features to Ethiopians & Nubians.

    As for the Pontic Steppe of Russia & Ukraine, the Romans were very familiar with the northern shores of the Black Sea. This was the land of the Scythians as well as Pontic Greeks who had colonized the region centuries earlier and built port cities. The Romans eventually directly controlled the Bulgarian shores of the Black Sea after annexing their client state of the Odrysian Kingdom of Thrace, while they maintained a client state in the Crimean Peninsula, the Bosporan Kingdom, which had previously flourished during the Hellenistic period.

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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    The Romans knew about the exploits of previous Carthaginians like Hanno the Navigator in the Pacific and West African coast, while the Roman client ruler Juba II of Mauretania sent an expedition to the Canary Islands.
    Did Hanno reached the Pacific beneath the Marsmoon?
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Hanno the Navigator in the Pacific and West African coast
    in the Pacific... I see, Magalhães and Hanno were best friends.
    ---
    In the west Africa, Hanno reached a country of elephants,than another of crocodiles and hippopotamuses. In a land where lava streams from a volcanic mountain, he hunted beasts "with shaggy bodies, whom our interpreters called gorillas". If these any of these details are reliable, Hanno must have got as far as Sierra Leone and perhaps saw Mount Cameroon.
    ----
    Let's hear P.E.H. Hair, The Periplus of Hanono in the History and Historiography of Black Africa

    "The brief text is of doubtful and at best partial historical authenticity...At least as far as black Africa is concerned, it must be questioned whether the Periplus is worth a fraction of the intensive scholarly effort that has been spent on it during the four hundred years..it is wholly fiction?..for whether based on fact the Periplus is patently a piece of literature of a kind which does not afford precise historical information..:"

    --
    The Chinese in the Roman Empire,Roman Views of the Chinese in Antiquity - Sino-Platonic Papers

    In the third century AD, the chronicler Solinus said,
    "When we returned from the Ocean Sythique and the Caspian Sea, we headed toward the Eastern Ocean. From the beginning of the coast, we found deep snows, long deserts, cruel people and places, cannibals and the most terrible wild beasts, whichmake this half of the road practically impassable. Whoever reaches the end of this road will find a mountain that dominates the sea, which the barbarians call “Tabis.”Passing through it, we continued to traverse immense deserts. After arriving on the coast in the northeast, and crossing vast uninhabited regions, the first people we hear about are the “Seres”; they sprinkle water on the leaves of certain trees, to make them humid so to produce a substance that will turn into skeins similar to cotton. This is called “sericum” [silk], which we know and use, which awakens a passion in women for luxury, and with which even our men dress now, leaving their bodies on display.The “Seres” are civilized and peaceful people, but avoid contact with other people,refusing to trade with other nations. Every time they cross the river and out of their country to do business, they do not use their language, or talk; they make an estimate with a look, and stipulate a price. They prefer, by the way, only to sell their products,but do not like to buy our goods"
    ----
    Maecenas, a Trump's ancestor, was always worrying about what the Chinese were up to,"anxious for the city, you fear what the Chinese are planning" (Horace)
    Last edited by Ludicus; June 10, 2019 at 05:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Obviously Russia only became a toponym in the last few centuries of the East Roman Empire (c. 1000?). We know East Roman missionaries travelled in those parts in fierce competition with the much braver Irish monks who saved civilisation by inventing whiskey and other lies. Its unlikely many Romans travelled into the region now known as Russia until the evolution of the Atlantic economy, bu some feisty Roman merchant may have toiled across the portages to the source of European amber.

    I think the word China came into use in the 1500's, later even than Russia. I was taught decades ago it was related to the Ch'in or Qin dynasty but the Oxford says its derived from Persian. Its possible the Romans never heard the word China, although Romans going back to the Principate and even the late Republic knew of the place.

    The Republican Romans knew of Africa as a province of Libya, a wealthy agricultural region and home of their arch enemy Carthage. I doubt they visited sub Saharan Libya (that is Africa) and there was little in Libya (outside Africa, or rather in Africa outside Libya) to interest them.

    The Romans knew "Indos" as a river and an ethonym from our friends the Hellenes. India is the Latin toponym, ripped straight from the Hellenic India or Indica. The Romans, whether East, West, Republican, Early High and Late Classical all knew of and visited India.

    The Mongols were an Altaic group that appear in history only eight hundred years ago: the late East Romans knew of them, but its unlikely many Romans visited the central Asian steppes, forests or deserts that were their abode. perhaps some earnest Orthodox missionaries visited the Great Khan? I don't think the legions ever travelled there, outside the pages of cheap Italian AH novels.
    Last edited by Cyclops; June 10, 2019 at 06:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Oops! I meant to say the Atlantic Ocean, guys. Nice catch. That was definitely a brain fart in written form.

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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    Let's hear P.E.H. Hair, The Periplus of Hanono in the History and Historiography of Black Africa
    Wait, what? Why is he doubting its authenticity exactly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    The Mongols were an Altaic group that appear in history only eight hundred years ago: the late East Romans knew of them, but its unlikely many Romans visited the central Asian steppes, forests or deserts that were their abode. perhaps some earnest Orthodox missionaries visited the Great Khan? I don't think the legions ever travelled there, outside the pages of cheap Italian AH novels.
    True, but the proto-Mongolic peoples preceding the Mongols of Genghis Khan would have spoken earlier languages that were at least very similar the Mongolian that evolved by the 13th century. These were the mainly the Xiongnu and Xianbei, early Imperial China's greatest nomadic enemies living along Tianshan range in the Tarim Basin, the northern steppe, the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, and parts of nearby Manchuria. In either case the Roman concept of China was cloudy to begin with so obviously they wouldn't have the foggiest clue about the size, location, or significance of Mongolia.

    As for late Eastern Roman interactions with the Mongols of the High Middle Ages, the Byzantines actually intermarried with the Mongol royal families. LOL. Not kidding. They kept up a regular correspondence, actually, so when Kublai Khan in Beijing (Khanbaliq) wrote to the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople, he was basically sending text messages to his in-laws. The Chinese silk trade was clearly penetrated with a bit of espionage and stealth by Nestorian Christian monks working on behalf of emperor Justinian, as written about by the Eastern Roman historian Procopius in the 6th century. That was perhaps the beginning of the Eastern Roman interactions with China. Chinese records indicate that Constans II Pogonatos and Michael VII Doukas sent diplomats to Imperial China during the Tang and Song dynasties, respectively.

    It wasn't until the 13th century that a diplomat from China came to Byzantium and the royal courts in Europe. That guy was Rabban Bar Sauma, a Nestorian Christian Uyghur Turk born in Zhongdu under Jurchen-led Jin-dynasty rule (a city soon to be known as Khanbaliq under the Mongols, and later Beijing under the native Ming dynasty). Bar Sauma didn't just arrive at the court of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos, though, he also paid a little visit to Pope Nicholas IV, Philip IV of France, and Edward I of England, yes, that Edward, the Longshanks one in Braveheart who went on a Crusade in the Holy Land before attempting to hammer the Scots.

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    Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ's Avatar Yeah science!
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    This 15th Century copy of a map originally made by 2nd Century Claudius Ptolemy showcases the extent of roman knowledge:



    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    True, but the proto-Mongolic peoples preceding the Mongols of Genghis Khan would have spoken earlier languages that were at least very similar the Mongolian that evolved by the 13th century. These were the mainly the Xiongnu and Xianbei, early Imperial China's greatest nomadic enemies living along Tianshan range in the Tarim Basin, the northern steppe, the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, and parts of nearby Manchuria. In either case the Roman concept of China was cloudy to begin with so obviously they wouldn't have the foggiest clue about the size, location, or significance of Mongolia.
    Were they proto-Mongolic? The Khitans are considered para-Mongolic (linguistically at least) and even they appear much later in the region following the Turks. To my knowledge the Mongols originated further North.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    ----
    Maecenas, a Trump's ancestor, was always worrying about what the Chinese were up to,"anxious for the city, you fear what the Chinese are planning" (Horace)
    Strange, I thought Maecenas had a refined taste in Arts and decent administrative and diplomatic skills.
    Last edited by Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σω June 12, 2019 at 02:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ View Post
    This 15th Century copy of a map originally made by 2nd Century Claudius Ptolemy showcases the extent of roman knowledge:
    Yep, pretty much, and like I mentioned before, Ptolemy demonstrated that he knew a great deal about trade and commerce in southeast Asia. Beyond that he clearly charted the outlines of the South China Sea. His story of a Greek sailor named Alexandros visiting some port named Cattigara in that region nearly validates Chinese histories like the Book of Later Han that talked about Romans (people of the far western empire of "Daqin") arriving in Vietnam before visiting China in the 2nd century AD.

    Were they proto-Mongolic? The Khitans are considered para-Mongolic (linguistically at least) and even they appear much later in the region following the Turks. To my knowledge the Mongols originated further North.
    This is still a matter of debate, one without a clear consensus, especially for the murky origins and fate of the Xiongnu. However, whether you classify the ancient Xianbei language as proto-Mongolic or an older sister language as para-Mongolic, we at least know that the Xianbei tongue evolved from that of the Donghu people, the other branch splitting apart to form the Wuhuan nomads. Claus Schönig theorizes that Khitan was a descendant of Xianbei, while Paul Pelliot believed the Wuhuan and Xianbei were both proto-Mongolic peoples. Like the Donghu before them, the Xianbei inhabited Inner Mongolia, so admittedly further south than the territory of Mongolia proper where Genghis Khan unified Mongol tribes. The Xianbei also conquered parts of northern China, of course, since their ethnic group assimilated and their Tuoba clan established the Northern Wei dynasty in the period of division before the Sui reunification.

    In contrast to the Xianbei, the Xiongnu originated even further north, inhabiting Mongolia and parts of Siberia before expanding to control Gansu and Xinjiang in the early 2nd century BC with the flight of the Yuezhi further west into Central Asia. It stands to reason the Xiongnu were proto-Mongolic given their original homeland, although they likely evolved into an amalgamation of different linguistic groups and tribes from various regions as they continued to migrate and morph into something else. That's especially the case after the Chinese Han dynasty subjugated the southern branch and forced the northern branch to flee into Central Asia (hence all the theories, still rather shaky and not entirely proven, about their connection to the Huns that invaded the Eastern & Western Roman Empire).

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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Related to the discussion about the Xiongnu...

    Quoted from 137 ancient human genomes from across the Eurasian steppes (2018):

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Xiongnu and the Hunnic expansions

    Turkic language elements arguably first emerged among the Xiongnu nomads15, a confederation of several nomadic tribes who occupied the eastern steppe from the third century BC. They are believed to be of East Asian ancestry16,17, although ancient Y-chromosomal data have indicated a possibly heterogeneous population admixed with central steppe nomads18. Huns (third–fifth century AD) have previously been argued to derive directly from the Xiongnu19, although others have claimed that there is no evidence connecting the two groups20. It is commonly believed that the Huns spread westward, disseminating Turkic languages throughout Central Asia at the cost of Iranian languages. It is known that the expansion of the Xiongnu nomads affected the movements of other cultural groups from the south-eastern side of the Tian Shan Mountains, such as the Wusun and Kangju, whose genetic ancestries have so far remained unknown. It has tentatively been suggested on the basis of the archaeological record that they belonged to the Iranian-speaking branch of the Indo-European language family21.

    Principal component analyses and D-statistics suggest that the Xiongnu individuals belong to two distinct groups, one being of East Asian origin and the other presenting considerable admixture levels with West Eurasian sources (Fig. 2 and Extended Data Figs. 1, 5; in Fig. 2 these are labelled ‘Xiongnu’ and ‘western Xiongnu’, respectively). We find that Central Sakas are accepted as a source for these ‘western-admixed’ Xiongnu in a single-wave model. Consistent with this finding, no East Asian gene flow is detected compared to Central Sakas as these form a clade with respect to the East Asian Xiongnu in a D-statistic, and cluster closely together in the PCA (Fig. 2).

    We used D-statistics (Supplementary Information section 3.7) to investigate the genetic relationship between Iron Age nomads, the East Asian Xiongnu and the early Huns of the Tian Shan. We find that the Huns have increased shared drift with West Eurasians compared to the Xiongnu (Extended Data Fig. 6). We tested for patterns of shared drift between the Xiongnu and the Wusun, the preceding Sakas and the slightly later Huns (second century AD). We find that both the earlier Sakas and the later Huns have more East Asian ancestry than the Wusun. This is also apparent from model-based clustering and PCA (Extended Data Fig. 7). Similar results are seen with the contemporaneous and later Kangju groups that—as did the Wusun—re-emerged into the central steppe from south-east of the Tian Shan mountains. In addition, both groups require a Neolithic Iranian-related source for modelling ancestral proportions in the qpAdm framework (Supplementary Table 7), together with Late Bronze Age pastoralists and the southern Siberian hunter-gatherers. We therefore suspect that the Wusun and Kangju groups are descendants of Bronze Age pastoralists that interacted with the civilization of the Bactria–Margiana archaeological complex in southern Uzbekistan and eastern Turkmenistan, yet remained much less admixed with East Asians than did the Iron Age steppe Sakas.

    Overall, our data show that the Xiongnu confederation was genetically heterogeneous, and that the Huns emerged following minor male-driven East Asian gene flow into the preceding Sakas that they invaded (see Supplementary Information section 3.6 for sex-biased admixture rates). As such our results support the contention that the disappearance of the Inner Asian Scythians and Sakas around two thousand years ago was a cultural transition that coincided with the westward migration of the Xiongnu. This Xiongnu invasion also led to the displacement of isolated remnant groups—related to Late Bronze Age pastoralists—that had remained on the south-eastern side of the Tian Shan mountains.

    Repeated conquests and waves of East Asian impact

    In the sixth century AD, the Hunnic Empire had been broken up and dispersed as the Turkic Khaganate assumed the military and political domination of the steppes22,23. Khaganates were steppe nomad political organizations that varied in size and became dominant during this period; they can be contrasted to the previous stateless organizations of the Iron Age24. The Turkic Khaganate was eventually replaced by a number of short-lived steppe cultures25. These included the Kipchak and the Tungusic Kimak populations, which spread southwards towards the Tian Shan mountains and westward towards the Ural mountains to form the Kimak Khaganate of the central steppe during the eighth to eleventh centuries AD26. During the eleventh century, the Kimak Khaganate was overthrown by local Kipchak groups, who in turn allied themselves with the Cuman of West Eurasia. Eventually the short-lived khaganates were overtaken by the Mongol Empire, which emerged through the unification of East Mongolian and Transbaikalian tribes and which expanded considerably during the rule of Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century AD26,27 (Supplementary Information section 1).

    We find evidence that elite soldiers associated with the Turkic Khaganate are genetically closer to East Asians than are the preceding Huns of the Tian Shan mountains (Supplementary Information section 3.7). We also find that one Turkic Khaganate-period nomad was a genetic outlier with pronounced European ancestries, indicating the presence of ongoing contact with Europe. Only one sample here represents Kimak nomads, and it does not show elevated East Asian ancestry (Supplementary Information section 3.7). During the Kipchak period in the eleventh century AD, the domination of the central steppe was allegedly assumed by another group originating from the geographical area of Tuva. We present genomic data from two individuals from this period, one of whom shows increased East Asian ancestry, whereas the other has pronounced European ancestry (samples DA23 and DA179, respectively, in Supplementary Information section 4). These individuals date to the Cuman–Kipchak alliance, which incorporated both the western and eastern steppe. For the period in which the region became incorporated into the Karakhanid Khanate—which encompassed present-day regions of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan—D-statistics identify a small influx of East Asian ancestry compared to the earlier Turk period. Consistent with this, nomads in the Karakhanid period are shifted towards East Asians compared to earlier Turks in the PCA plot (Fig. 2 and Extended Data Fig. 8). Additionally, we analysed ten culturally unaffiliated Medieval-period nomads, most of whom showed pronounced East Asian ancestry, albeit in very different proportions (Extended Data Fig. 8). We also find the presence of an individual of West Eurasian descent buried together with members of Jochi Khan’s Golden Horde army from the Ulytau mountains (see Supplementary Information section 4: DA28 is East Asian and DA29 is European). This could suggest assimilation of distinct groups into the Medieval Golden Horde, but this individual may also represent a slave or a servant of West Eurasian descent attached to the service of the Golden Horde members.

    These results suggest that Turkic cultural customs were imposed by an East Asian minority elite onto central steppe nomad populations, resulting in a small detectable increase in East Asian ancestry. However, we also find that steppe nomad ancestry in this period was extremely heterogeneous, with several individuals being genetically distributed at the extremes of the first principal component (Fig. 2) separating Eastern and Western descent. On the basis of this notable heterogeneity, we suggest that during the Medieval period steppe populations were exposed to gradual admixture from the east, while interacting with incoming West Eurasians. The strong variation is a direct window into ongoing admixture processes and the multi-ethnic cultural organization of this period.

    Discussion

    The overall population history that formed the genetic composition of present-day steppe populations is illustrated in Fig. 3, in which we model the entire known ancient and present-day diversity of Inner Asia using the key ancestral groups. We also identify sex-specific admixture proportions in the Iron Age (Extended Data Fig. 10 and Supplementary Information section 3.6). In Fig. 4, we present the main migratory patterns. Our findings fit well with current insights from the historical linguistics of this region (Supplementary Information section 2). The steppes were probably largely Iranian-speaking in the first and second millennia BC. This is supported by the split of the Indo-Iranian linguistic branch into Iranian and Indian33, the distribution of the Iranian languages, and the preservation of Old Iranian loanwords in Tocharian34. The wide distribution of the Turkic languages from Northwest China, Mongolia and Siberia in the east to Turkey and Bulgaria in the west implies large-scale migrations out of the homeland in Mongolia since about 2,000 years ago35. The diversification within the Turkic languages suggests that several waves of migration occurred36 and, on the basis of the effect of local languages, gradual assimilation to local populations had previously been assumed37. The East Asian migration starting with the Xiongnu accords well with the hypothesis that early Turkic was the major language of Xiongnu groups38. Further migrations of East Asians westwards find a good linguistic correlate in the influence of Mongolian on Turkic and Iranian in the last millennium39. As such, the genomic history of the Eurasian steppes is the story of a gradual transition from Bronze Age pastoralists of West Eurasian ancestry towards mounted warriors of increased East Asian ancestry—a process that continued well into historical times.
    I haven't checked the credentials of all the authors, but considering there are 77 of them, I assume there are linguists among them. I mention that because I have seen interdisciplinary aspects of genetics papers poorly covered on occasion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Overall, our data show that the Xiongnu confederation was genetically heterogeneous, and that the Huns emerged following minor male-driven East Asian gene flow into the preceding Sakas that they invaded.
    Could you just cut and paste this statement into the genetic history of almost every group that came to dominate the steppes?
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Could you just cut and paste this statement into the genetic history of almost every group that came to dominate the steppes?
    Seems like it! Thanks for sharing, Sumskilz. It seems obvious enough to me that the Northern Xiongnu who fled Han China into Central Asia gradually morphed into something else, especially as they gobbled up other nomadic confederations, like those of the Saka Scythians.

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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Could you just cut and paste this statement into the genetic history of almost every group that came to dominate the steppes?
    Yeah, except the first Indo-European expansions. The Yamnaya Culture had developed from two constituent populations but were a pretty homogeneous blend of the two by the time they expanded across the steppe. They developed pastoralism and lactase persistence, which meant they could support a population density many times greater than the hunter-gathers whose territory they were expanding into. The lactase persistence is key, because it meant others couldn't just emulate their means of subsistence and be as successful at it. Which is probably part of the reason why all steppe cultures after the fact had some ancestry from that original expansion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Yeah, except the first Indo-European expansions. The Yamnaya Culture had developed from two constituent populations but were a pretty homogeneous blend of the two by the time they expanded across the steppe. They developed pastoralism and lactase persistence, which meant they could support a population density many times greater than the hunter-gathers whose territory they were expanding into. The lactase persistence is key, because it meant others couldn't just emulate their means of subsistence and be as successful at it. Which is probably part of the reason why all steppe cultures after the fact had some ancestry from that original expansion.
    Genghis Khan centuries after that: "Got milk?"

    The Chinese definitely have a hard time consuming milk and dairy based products, although they are becoming less lactose intolerant in modern times due to changing global diets and mass production of cheap, easy fast food (which unsurprisingly contains lots of freaking cheese). For centuries, hell, for millennia, they considered drinking milk or eating dairy products like cheese to be a northern steppe nomadic barbarian thing unfit for their civilization. It did, however, give the nomads that edge they needed and ability to survive in harsh environments, so they could continue surprising nearby settled peoples with raiding and pillaging. I was unaware that the Indo-Europeans of the Bronze Age were the first to be lactase persistent, so cheers to you for teaching me that! I'd rep you for it but I can't, since I rep you too much. Could somebody rep this guy for me?

  16. #16
    Praefectus
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Yeah, except the first Indo-European expansions. The Yamnaya Culture had developed from two constituent populations but were a pretty homogeneous blend of the two by the time they expanded across the steppe. They developed pastoralism and lactase persistence, which meant they could support a population density many times greater than the hunter-gathers whose territory they were expanding into. The lactase persistence is key, because it meant others couldn't just emulate their means of subsistence and be as successful at it. Which is probably part of the reason why all steppe cultures after the fact had some ancestry from that original expansion.
    Is their a less pronounced carbohydrate digestion enzyme/gut flora/tolerance issue with the Mesopotamian/Anatolian farmer wave? I imagine the "barrier" to eating a cereal diet for HGs is lower as it were, but still something. The experience for naive Austra;lian Aboriginal populations is poor dental and digestive health, not just from sugar and alcohol but even from flour.

    Makes me think when I share my porridge with Cyclops Jnr every morning what I'm really doing is celebrating twin genocide-by-replacement events. "The oats represent the Borging of Mesolithic Europeans, the milk is for the Yamnaya rapist-warriors, and the salt is the tears of their victims. We add honey at the end because screw the bees, right?"
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Makes me think when I share my porridge with Cyclops Jnr every morning what I'm really doing is celebrating twin genocide-by-replacement events. "The oats represent the Borging of Mesolithic Europeans, the milk is for the Yamnaya rapist-warriors, and the salt is the tears of their victims. We add honey at the end because screw the bees, right?"
    You could eat raw Kangaroo meat, but I´m afraid this would count as cultural appropriation

    Thank god there`s no special enzym involved in digesting coffee... imagine Breakfast without coffee, except for Ethiopians of course.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    Is their a less pronounced carbohydrate digestion enzyme/gut flora/tolerance issue with the Mesopotamian/Anatolian farmer wave? I imagine the "barrier" to eating a cereal diet for HGs is lower as it were, but still something. The experience for naive Austra;lian Aboriginal populations is poor dental and digestive health, not just from sugar and alcohol but even from flour.

    Makes me think when I share my porridge with Cyclops Jnr every morning what I'm really doing is celebrating twin genocide-by-replacement events.
    Yeah, that. In general, hunter-gathers couldn't just switch to agriculture and be fine.

    Early adopters of agriculture themselves had a lot of health problems. It’s obvious in their skeletons. But where it initially developed it was more of a mixed subsistence at first, which gave some time for adaptations to develop. Among others, there were insulin adaptations. Populations who have had less time to adapt to a high carbohydrate diet have much higher incidence of type 2 diabetes. Adaptations to alcohol. Water borne pathogens are a lethal threat in higher density pre-modern societies, so being able to drink a beverage with a small amount of alcohol was an advantage, but not so much if it destroyed your health in other ways. What they initially drank had a much lower alcohol content than what is usual today. Population density and living in close proximity to other mammals also selected for various types of disease resistance. Pale complexion seems to be related partly to vitamin D deficiency in agricultural diet/lifestyle. Near Eastern farmers were paler than Northern European hunter-gatherers, obviously the degree of selection also depends on latitude, but that fact indicates diet and lifestyle were stronger selection pressures.

    There also seems to have been some gene-culture issues. All the usual scientific caveats about the degree of determinism in behavioral genetics apply, but whereas as it's advantageous for an agriculturalist to not easily get bored, it is advantageous for a hunter-gather to easily get bored. For this reason it seems to have been easier for hunter-gatherers to adapt to semi-nomadic pastoralism than to agriculture, though in both cases there were still population level advantages to being first. In this regard, it seems the ancestors of two major expansions benefited from initially being hunter-gathers along the fringes of where agriculture first developed. Those expansions involved the speakers of the Indo-European languages and the Afroasiatic languages. Though some of the Afroasiatic branches seem to have been first farmers, those that expanded out ahead of agriculture were largely lactose tolerant pastoralists.

    Southern Europe wasn’t so thoroughly overrun by step invaders as Northern Europe was. Even today, there is a higher incidence of lactose intolerance in Southern Europe, but with less time for selection to have taken place, Mediterranean people were certainly less well adapted to eating dairy in antiquity. The survival issue with lactose intolerance historically, that doesn’t matter today, is not only did lactase make people feel ill, they could only utilize about half the calories in the dairy.
    Last edited by sumskilz; June 18, 2019 at 03:10 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


  19. #19

    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Yeah, that. In general, hunter-gathers couldn't just switch to agriculture and be fine.

    Early adopters of agriculture themselves had a lot of health problems. It’s obvious in their skeletons. But where it initially developed it was more of a mixed subsistence at first, which gave some time for adaptations to develop. Among others, there were insulin adaptations. Populations who have had less time to adapt to a high carbohydrate diet have much higher incidence of type 2 diabetes. Adaptations to alcohol. Water borne pathogens are a lethal threat in higher density pre-modern societies, so being able to drink a beverage with a small amount of alcohol was an advantage, but not so much if it destroyed your health in other ways. What they initially drank had a much lower alcohol content than what is usual today. Population density and living in close proximity to other mammals also selected for various types of disease resistance. Pale complexion seems to be related partly to vitamin D deficiency in agricultural diet/lifestyle. Near Eastern farmers were paler than Northern European hunter-gatherers, obviously the degree of selection also depends on latitude, but that fact indicates diet and lifestyle were stronger selection pressures.

    There also seems to have been some gene-culture issues. All the usual scientific caveats about the degree of determinism in behavioral genetics apply, but whereas as it's advantageous for an agriculturalist to not easily get bored, it is advantageous for a hunter-gather to easily get bored. For this reason it seems to have been easier for hunter-gatherers to adapt to semi-nomadic pastoralism than to agriculture, though in both cases there were still population level advantages to being first. In this regard, it seems the ancestors of two major expansions benefited from initially being hunter-gathers along the fringes of where agriculture first developed. Those expansions involved the speakers of the Indo-European languages and the Afroasiatic languages. Though some of the Afroasiatic branches seem to have been first farmers, those that expanded out ahead of agriculture were largely lactose tolerant pastoralists.

    Southern Europe wasn’t so thoroughly overrun by step invaders as Northern Europe was. Even today, there is a higher incidence of lactose intolerance in Southern Europe, but with less time for selection to have taken place, Mediterranean people were certainly less well adapted to eating dairy in antiquity. The survival issue with lactose intolerance historically, that doesn’t matter today, is not only did lactase make people feel ill, they could only utilize about half the calories in the dairy.


    The ability to digest lactise as adults arose independently in different human populations, so lactose tolerance in northern Europe is not necessarily evidence the population was overrun by people from the stepped.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Did the Romans know there were other lands such as in China, Russia, India, Mongolia, Southern Africa, etc?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    The ability to digest lactise as adults arose independently in different human populations, so lactose tolerance in northern Europe is not necessarily evidence the population was overrun by people from the stepped.
    That Northern Europe was overrun by invaders from the steppe is well established by all lines of genetic evidence. The same people established themselves as ruling classes over much of Southern Europe as well. Lactase persistence in Europe is due to the derived T*13910 allele which is non-existent in non-steppe related European samples prior to the arrival of Yamnaya descended populations. The T*13910 allele frequency in Yamanya samples is 30%, which would have resulted in the lactase persistence phenotype in 51% of individuals (.3 + .3) - (.3 x .3) = .51. It was positively selected from there. The same allele occurs in Yamanya descended populations across the steppe and in South Asia.

    What you've no doubt read about independent origin is true however. Most Afroasiatic speaking pastoralists have adult lactase persistence due to the C*14010 alelle and/or the G*13907 allele which arose independently.

    Here are a couple of related papers:

    Abstract: From around 2750 to 2500 BC, Bell Beaker pottery became widespread across western and central Europe, before it disappeared between 2200 and 1800 BC. The forces that propelled its expansion are a matter of long-standing debate, and there is support for both cultural diffusion and migration having a role in this process. Here we present genome-wide data from 400 Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age Europeans, including 226 individuals associated with Beaker-complex artefacts. We detected limited genetic affinity between Beaker-complex-associated individuals from Iberia and central Europe, and thus exclude migration as an important mechanism of spread between these two regions. However, migration had a key role in the further dissemination of the Beaker complex. We document this phenomenon most clearly in Britain, where the spread of the Beaker complex introduced high levels of steppe-related ancestry and was associated with the replacement of approximately 90% of Britain’s gene pool within a few hundred years, continuing the east-to-west expansion that had brought steppe-related ancestry into central and northern Europe over the previous centuries.
    The Beaker phenomenon and the genomic transformation of northwest Europe

    Abstract: We generated genome-wide data from 69 Europeans who lived between 8,000–3,000 years ago by enriching ancient DNA libraries for a target set of almost 400,000 polymorphisms. Enrichment of these positions decreases the sequencing required for genome-wide ancient DNA analysis by a median of around 250-fold, allowing us to study an order of magnitude more individuals than previous studies1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and to obtain new insights about the past. We show that the populations of Western and Far Eastern Europe followed opposite trajectories between 8,000–5,000 years ago. At the beginning of the Neolithic period in Europe, ∼8,000–7,000 years ago, closely related groups of early farmers appeared in Germany, Hungary and Spain, different from indigenous hunter-gatherers, whereas Russia was inhabited by a distinctive population of hunter-gatherers with high affinity to a ∼24,000-year-old Siberian6. By ∼6,000–5,000 years ago, farmers throughout much of Europe had more hunter-gatherer ancestry than their predecessors, but in Russia, the Yamnaya steppe herders of this time were descended not only from the preceding eastern European hunter-gatherers, but also from a population of Near Eastern ancestry. Western and Eastern Europe came into contact ∼4,500 years ago, as the Late Neolithic Corded Ware people from Germany traced ∼75% of their ancestry to the Yamnaya, documenting a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery. This steppe ancestry persisted in all sampled central Europeans until at least ∼3,000 years ago, and is ubiquitous in present-day Europeans. These results provide support for a steppe origin9 of at least some of the Indo-European languages of Europe.
    Massive migration from the steppe was a source for Indo-European languages in Europe
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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