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

David W. Anthony
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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  • Longueur : 568 pages
  • Langue : Anglais
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Descriptions du produit

From Publishers Weekly

In this study of language, archeology and culture, Hartwick College anthropology professor Anthony hypothesizes that a proto-Indo-European culture emerged in the Ponto-Caspian steppes 4,000 years ago, speaking an ur-language ancestor to the Romance, German and Slavic family of languages, Sanskrit and modern English. Citing discoveries in the Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan made possible only after the fall of the Iron Curtain brought together Soviet and western scientists, Anthony combines evidence from radioactive dating, demographic analysis of migration patterns, linguistic analysis and the study of epics such as the Iliad and the Rig Veda to substantiate his contention. Central to his thesis is the role of the horse, originally domesticated for food and first ridden to manage herds; only later, with the development of the chariot, were they ridden during combat. Anthony provides a comprehensive, in-depth analysis of his subject, complete with a history of relevant research over the past two centuries (including evidence and opinion that counter his own, such as the now-discredited Aryan race hypothesis). A thorough look at the cutting edge of anthropology, Anthony's book is a fascinating look into the origins of modern man.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Présentation de l'éditeur

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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Commentaires client les plus utiles
Par Amanda
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This book is a must have for anyone interested in human migration and the developments that became instrumental in the formation of our history. I LOVED it and will be reading again.
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1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brillant et Interessant 4 mai 2012
Format:Broché
J'avais lu ce livre en anglais il y a quelques temps et j'en garde toujours un tres bon souvenir.

Bien que l'auteur s'emporte souvent vers des descriptions sur les decouvertes archaeologiques, il n'en reste pas moins que ce livre reste clair et structure.

Bon schemas et plans.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  78 commentaires
333 internautes sur 353 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Devil's Advocacy Review 17 juin 2008
Par Chris Crawford - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I'll play the Bad Guy here, offering a more critical review than the others. Not that I disagree with the favorable reviews -- but I think that readers should realize that the book is not quite as advertised.

It starts off great with Part I, which is an excellent explanation of the linguistic questions associated with Proto-Indo-European. Anthony offers the latest results clearly and thoroughly. Unfortunately, Part I is only 120 pages long. Part II, 340 pages long, is the real meat of the book. And while Part II has lots of merit, it's not at all what the title or the subtitle suggest. Part II is best summarized as "A thorough summation of the archaeological results from the areas thought to be the homeland of the Proto Indo-European peoples". Here the author departs substantially from the subject matter as suggested by the title, subtitle, and Part I. We are subjected to endless detailed descriptions of archaeological digs all over southern Russia and Siberia. We are told (many times) what the percentage of sheep/goat bones, cattle bones, and horse bones were at every site. We are told the direction in which the bodies were placed in burial, how many flint tools of each type were found, and other details that are surely appropriate for a compendium of archaeological results, but not for the larger synthesis promised by the title and subtitle.

I will concede that the author does thread a larger narrative through the endless site reports. There's a section, for example, on "The Economic and Military Effects of Horseback Riding", which explains the impressive idea that the real impact of horseback riding was that it made it possible for nomads to travel further from the river valleys while grazing their animals. Another example: "The First Cities and Their Connection to the Steppes", which describes the trading patterns that arose once cities appeared in Mesopotamia.

But these delightful sections are lost in the numbing freshet of details. Here's a quote, from page 293:

"The bronze tools and weapons in other Novosvobodnaya-phase graves included cast flat axes, sleeved axes, hammer-axes, heavy tanged daggers with multiple midribs, chisels, and spearheads. The chisels and spearheads were mounted to their handles the same way, with round shafts hammered into four-sided contracting bases that fit into a V-shaped rectangular hole on the handle or spear. Ceremonial objects included bronze cauldrons, long-handled bronze dippers, and two-pronged bidents (perhaps forks for retrieving cooked meats from the cauldrons). Ornaments included beads of carnelian from western Pakistan, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, gold, rock crystal, and even a bead from Klady made from a human molar sheathed in gold (the first gold cap!)"

The author simply couldn't make up his mind what kind of book he wanted to write. Let me speculate on how this chimera of a book could have been written: the author, having spent years with Russian archaeologists accumulating a huge store of information about their work, approaches the publisher with a great idea for a book. "These Russians have been digging up all sorts of wonderful things", he says, "but here in the West we don't know much about their work. I'd like to write a book putting all their results together into a coherent story."

To which the publisher replies, "Sounds great, but what's the hook? We can't call this book 'A Summary of Results of Russian Archaeological Field Work Over the Period 1980 - 2000'. We need something sexier."

Anthony: "Well, their research certainly sheds a lot of light upon the beginnings of the Indo-European peoples."

Publisher: "Perfect! Let's make the book about how the Indo-European languages got started! That's always a good topic!"

So Anthony writes some extra chapters to slap up front, and we get two books for the price of one:

1. "Beginnings of the Indo-European Languages"
and
2. "A Summary of Results of Russian Archaeological Field Work Over the Period 1980 - 2000".

Now, there's nothing wrong with this. However, buyers should be aware of the fact that three quarters of the book consists of site reports and only one-quarter deals with Indo-European languages.
124 internautes sur 129 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Horse, the Wheel, and Language 30 juillet 2008
Par Dr. Elaine O. Chaika - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Well, I do have a doctorate in linguistics and do have a background in reconstructing Proto-In do-European, the mother language to most European languages as well as Farsi, spoken in Iran, and several languages in India and Pakistan. The author of this book is an archaeologist who is competent as well in historical linguistics. I found the book fascinating, thoughtful, terrifically well researched and well-written, although it rather went on and on about burial sites, and the names for the motley prehistoric cultures got confusing. I suspect that non-scholars would find this daunting. Even scholars who aren't in the thick of archaelogical disputes might find it too technical and nit-picking. I solved the problem once I realized you could skip over the myriad descriptions of kurgans and pottery, and just go to his conclusions at the end of the chapter, occasionally skipping backwards to check on an assertion or two. Since I've just retired from teaching, I'm truly sorry I won't have a class to share some of Anthony's insights with, such as his convincing explanation of why Proto-Indo-Europrean developed gender marking on nouns -- and why it introduced patriarchal gods to replace older goddess religions. In sum, for the intellectually curious and the brave, a very enlightening and (dare I use the cliche) thought-provoking tome.
61 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good in many respects, but it's not quite what it claims to be 14 janvier 2010
Par Aphotog - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Contrary to its subtitle, the book does not explain "How bronze-age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world" unless your idea of the modern world is the Late Bronze Age, circa 1200 BC, which is roughly where the book ends.

"Shaping the modern world" is largely limited to asserting that the occupants of the steppes spoke a Proto-Indo-European language and that subsequent speakers of Indo-European languages, like English, Latin, Russian and Hindi, have shaped the modern world. Also, they probably domesticated the horse. The book is definitely not a sweeping analysis of influences from the late Neolithic or Bronze Age to the present day.

What it is, as other reviewers have pointed out, is really two works in one--an introduction to Indo-European historical linguistics and also a review of archaeology in southern Russia from the Neolithic through the Late Bronze Age. Naturally, the link is that the theorized homeland of the Proto-Indo-European speakers is the steppes of southern Russia between the Black and Caspian Seas, the Pontic-Caspian steppes.

Like most reviewers, I think it does cover its two main topics well, and it makes a plausible case for the location of the homeland. Although trained as an archaeologist, Anthony provides a readable account of the development of early Indo-European languages and their theorized source, Proto-Indo-European. That is the first quarter of the book. The remainder is devoted to a detailed survey of current archaeological knowledge of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in the Pontic-Caspian steppes and surrounding areas. It's pretty dense reading at times. On the other hand, the numerous illustrations of grave goods offer a fascinating progression from simple tools and fetishes to later ornate gold statues and bronze spear points.

Although I read a library copy, I just might buy the book for the first few chapters on Indo-European historical linguistics, but I am disappointed that the subtitle is misleading.
26 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Significant, well written work 21 janvier 2009
Par Christopher R. Travers - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
In this work, David Anthony seeks to demonstrate that the original homeland of the Indo-European language family was in the Pontic-Caspian Steppes. In the process, he shows how the culture developed. This represents a significant contribution to the field and I would highly recommend it to all interested in the topic.

Anthony argues that persistent material culture frontiers tend to coincide with linguistic frontiers. This suggests that a well-bordered material culture horizon ("horizon" being an identifiable pattern regarding archaeological finds) would be home to one or more languages which would be, for the most part, contained within it (or at least it would be bounded on all sides by other languages). However, since this methodology is not fully accepted yet, and since even if accepted it does not provide a 1:1 correlation of language and culture, this work should be read critically. Furthermore, a number of his conclusions appeared to me sufficiently tentative that they could not be accepted without question. This work thus needs to be read as a groundbreaking (and thus somewhat tentative) work rather than a fully authoritative account.

However, despite the above issues, his proposed mappings of Indo-European language groups to archaeological horizons work surprisingly well. In some cases, the mappings seem to be hard to dispute.

I am going to disagree with a number of other reviewers on the value of minutae in the book. While it is true that the book seems to get repetitive at times regarding goat to sheep ratios, horse to cattle ratios, burrial types, etc. there is a great deal of value in providing this information. Often times, it is helpful to be able to see the patterns the author is referring to, and in order to do so, one must read all of the details.

Despite my recommendation, I will however provide two caveats for those who would order this book. The first is that this is a heavy, scientific read. It is not intended to be useful to the general public, and he assumes a basic scientific knowledge of archaeology and biology. If you are looking for an easier read, start elsewhere.

The second caveat is that the subtitle is slightly misleading. The author does not fill in the effect of the Indo-European language spread on the modern world, and this is probably best left for other works anyway. This is, however, an excellent survey of archaeological candidates for the speakers of languages which are the ancestors of modern languages, however.

All in all, highly recommended for interested readers.
47 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Up to date 27 février 2008
Par Rick A. Riedlinger - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is currently _the_ book on IE studies.

In addition to the superlatives used by the other reviewers, I would add that this work is up to date (2007)and includes previously unavailable materials from Russia, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The author spent a great deal of time in these areas and understands the cultural differences in the archaeologal and anthropological methods used by those from the old Soviet block. He is careful to explain these differences.

An enthralling book which will certainly be updated by future finds, but the broad conclusions are quite convincing.
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 (Qu'est-ce que c'est ?)
&quote;
The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure: more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either; yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists. &quote;
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&quote;
The connection between animals, brothers, and power was the foundation on which new forms of male-centered ritual and politics developed among Indo-European-speaking societies. That is why the cow (and brothers) occupied such a central place in Indo-European myths relating to how the world began. &quote;
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&quote;
I believe with many others that the Proto-Indo-European homeland was located in the steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas in what is today southern Ukraine and Russia. &quote;
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