Mitanni Aryans- A forgotten race or a Syrian legacy?
Which one of you can prove yourselves to be Aryans? Who were Mitanni Aryans? What’s the Aryan identity? Do you know that the Sanskrit word ‘Arya’ does not really relate to a race but is a linguistic and cultural identity? These questions are not just confusing but also amusing. Aryans are the bequest of India but almost 3500 years ago from today, there was a massive kingdom in Syria where the legacy of the Mitanni Aryans held witnessed to! So, if you have ever been curious as per what the Aryans really were and the journey of Mitanni Aryans from rise to downfall, then read this article till the end and satisfy your curiosities.
The Sanskrit speaking Mitanni Aryans
Mitanni was a famous kingdom of Syria back in 14th -15th century BCE in the regions of north Mesopotamia. It was famous especially because of the proof of ‘Aryan’ of the Indo-Iranian nature by its kings and deities speaking oldest Indian language- Sanskrit. The more usual theory about them is that they were accurately the one from Indo-Aryans, and it is told everywhere in the scripts, although Kammenhüber maintained that the language is still Indo-Iranian and thus Diakonoff has put forth a link with Dardo-Nuristani society. Mayrhofer also wrote Indo-Iranisches Sprachgut aus Alalah and suggested that the letters used, except aika are not specific of Indic language, but instead is from common Indo-Iranian language. According to the documents found from 14th century it is clear that the Mitanni Aryans spoke Sanskrit language. It is also said that the name of king and deities of this kingdom were also put under the name of Hindu gods which were translated in Sanskrit for example ‘Dashrat’ and ‘Indar’. But the question is how does this language managed to cross the borders that too in 14th -15th century?
For this we need to dig the history of the Aryan Samaj, many scholars suggest that the Aryans are the oldest and original inhabitants of India which is also mentioned in the Rig Vedas however the dates keep pushing back. Similarly, by the other set of Archeologist put forth that the Dravidian, South Indians and people from lower castes are the actual sons of this soil. However, no one can probably deny that DNA lineages are not really race! But a study also found that between the period of 2000-500 BCE there was more mobility in India rather than the uniformity. So it becomes unclear to actually give evidence to the above statements. Apart from it the Indo Aryan language is used to date the Rig Veda which is believed to be dated at the time of Mitanni Aryans or after it that translates that the language appears more obsolete than the Rig Vedic language. This roughly means that the origin of Indo- Aryan language cannot be traced back before the Mitanni Aryans.
The legacy of Mitanni Aryans
The land of Mitanni dynasty was spread from Taurus Mountains to its west and as far east as Kirkuk and the river Tigris of the east. Initially Mitanni is Syria was a rival of Iran but later for their mutual benefits, a peace treaty was signed and simultaneously they start working together against the Hittite. Mitanni came to be a power after the Hittite destruction of Amorite Babylon and a series of ineffectual Assyrian kings created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia. Whereas if we talk about the ethnicity of the people of Mitanni, it remained difficult to ascertain. It is widely believed that the kings after the battle of Mahabharata (Hindu mythology) migrated from India to Syria to hide in shelter and thus turned into Mitanni kings. Whereas the other believes that these people were just the Maitriyaan Branch of the Veds. The names of Mitanni states were all in the Indo- Aryan language like the capital Washukanni, which is said to be located somewhere near the Headwaters of Khabur River. The Washukanni is derived from two words ‘Washu’ which means ‘good’ and ‘Kanni’ which means the ‘source’ which together means Good source. Also the chief festival of Mitanni was Solstice which was known as Vishuva and was the most common culture of ancient times. The Mitanni warriors were too known as ‘the Maryas’, a term closely linked to Sanskrit language. So, history has the evidence that the massive Syrian empire somewhere has the legacy of Sanskrit language of India.
Just pass a few centuries the fall began from Washukanni to Assyria, the Mitanni’s became fully Assyrianize. The Linguistic of the place also compromised and later was widely influenced by the Urartu. In 2010, almost 3,400 year old remains of Kemune, which is a Bronze Age Mitanni palace on the banks of the Tigris which is the modern Iraqi Kurdistan, were discovered. It became possible to excavate the ruins in 2019 when a drought caused water levels to drop considerably. So just like that once thriving Mitanni’s Kingdom suffered its downfall, this cannot end the legacy of Mitanni’s which is well proven by people writing over it!