By William Markiewicz
My inclination towards Anthropology makes me turn again to this blending of philosophy and history. The history of the Indo-European ethnie is exceptional enough to justify the title. The first enigma concerns origins. While other groups -- ethnic, cultural, racial -- can trace their origins into the far distant past, the Indo-Europeans, as far as I know, don't have this kind of tradition. They appeared as if from nowhere. The first information comes to us from India where they represented an immigrant population -- from where we don't know. Their language, Sanskrit, was already a highly developed old language. What was their archaic language? That is lost in the darkness of time.
The second enigma, perhaps linked to the first, concerns the values that the "Indos" brought or didn't bring to history. This ethnie brought dynamics to politics, military strategy, art, science and technology. But they did not bring their own culture, in other words, their own personality. The Indos conquered immense territories, afterwards merging with the conquered populations. They easily assimilated as if they represented a form of energy which integrated into the others' body and spirit. I will try to develop this but first a few words about their probable, most archaic traces. Ancient relics were discovered a few decades ago in Bulgaria. They were fascinating because they were older than anything discovered up to then. In brief, the oldest in the world. We distinguish history from prehistory by the fact that in prehistory, humanity's traces were dispersed and perishable, while in history, humans marked their environment in a permanent way. In other words they built or dug.
In Bulgaria, a well preserved metal mine was found. What struck the discoverers was the highly ambitious technical work for such a remote epoch. In addition, there were some rudimentary figures or statuettes, perhaps fertility goddesses because of their exaggerated forms. Generally, prehistoric humanity left cultural rather than technical testimony -- primitive tools, often very beautiful and well ornamented, drawing in caves -- here it was just the contrary. This is what suggested to scholars that these were Indo-European vestiges.
Coming back to India, the oldest of the known "Indos" cradles, we find a proverb there which can be applied not only to India: "Power comes from the North and spirit from the South." Power, meaning invasion, came from the North, while spirit -- folklore, mythology -- came from the South, from the Dravidian natives. The invaders became dominators, and members of superior castes while absorbing in their own way the Indian essence, originally Dravidian.
Greece, the best known Indo "sample" presents something similar: Relics considered to be archaic Greek belong in reality to the native populations conquered by the Greeks. We don't know which culture the "Barbarians" brought with them, or if they brought any. We only know with what great gourmandise they absorbed their discoveries and with what genius they developed them.
Furthermore, Greece gives a very interesting demonstration of what happens when the invaders accepted foreign influence and when they refused it. This particularly relates to Athens and Sparta.
Athens has always been very cosmopolitan. Plato travelled a lot in his youth; he perhaps reached India, certainly Egypt. Athens remains for us one of the most perfect political and cultural models of democracy.
Sparta's conception was purity and that is why Sparta, not Athens, was glorified by the Nazis. Iron discipline combined with the Spartans' equality in serving the country, pitiless disdain for the weak, foreigners and culture -- that is what characterised Sparta. History judged which of the systems was more viable. Life in Athens was not only more pleasant and more complete, but the power and spirit of Athens survived that of Sparta which slowly withered away.
It is curious that cosmopolitan Rome followed in the tracks of Sparta rather than Athens. Alexander the Great probably set the style which became the model: glorification of power. The Vikings left memories of their cult of power. And what about their culture?
We know the Viking jewellery, filigreed and ornate, so little corresponding to their robust nature. Their decorated ships, the oldest church in the world -- with a roof surprisingly similar to a Chinese pagoda. "Scandinavia" means, "the country of the Scands." The suffix "-avia" is Aryan and the prefix "Scandi" is not. The Vikings conquered the Scands of which we know nothing other than that they were not Aryans. Could the Vikings have inherited Scandian art?
The Greeks and the Romans called the tribes from Northern Europe, "Barbarians", not because they had a foreign culture but because they perhaps had an unelaborated culture. The Egyptians and the Phoenicians were never called Barbarians in the pejorative sense of the word.
When the Northerners conquered Rome they didn't assimilate the local culture as was usual in the Indos tradition. Instead they almost completely destroyed it. The Greco Roman heritage survived principally thanks to the Arabs. Europe fell into a black night lasting around 1,000 years. The Crusades, the contacts with foreign cultures, woke Europe from its lethargy.
The preceding may show how Western culture and civilization consists, in fact, of the conquest and the assimilation of those conquered. The Indos, by developing scientific method and technology, also brought the concept of domination of nature. For practically all mankind, time had a cyclic motion almost entirely linked to the influence of the Sun and the Moon. The Indos brought the notion of time -- calendar and clock -- to the dimension of human affairs. Simultaneously they absorbed in gourmand style, introspection, which was alien to them. Nietzsche's "magnificent blond beast" brought to the people the dynamic notion of human affairs and drew from them a sense of humanity.
As the Indos brought into history undefeated power, the only thing that inspired universal respect, it must have had an impact on political thought. Gobineau was the true father of racism. Nazism brought adoration of Sparta, which hadn't received much attention up to then, with its 'anticulture' (Goering's expression "When I hear the word 'culture,' I pull out my revolver.") and disdain for the weak. The Jews paid the price.
What can we foresee for the flow of history in its ethnic perspective? In case of some cataclysm -- nuclear, economic, ecological -- all could begin again in the sense of ferocious ethnic competition. If things continue smoothly, technology may lead to a totally different universe: we will belong either to the group which directs the machines or the mass, more or less passive, of consumers. All will depend on our individual preparation and not on our origins. Technology, naturally, will also put its mark on culture. How it will happen, exactly, we cannot foresee; in any case it will be the end of the ethnic sagas.