Saturday, September 11, 2010

Our Possible Origins: Sarmatians and the King Arthur Legend

collected notes by Nadene Goldfoot

Our haplogroup R1b1b2 (M269) also known as HT35 because of our allele 393=12 was found in greater amounts around the Sea of Azov where the Lazyges Sarmatians lived. These people in 200 BC were swept westward from Central Asia on the the steppes of what is now the Ukraine. Their langauge was on of the Iranian languages.

Sarmatian tribes migrated from Cental Asia to the Ural Mountains around the 5th century BC and finally settled in most of southern European Russia, Ukraine and the eastern Balkans. They even extended themselves to China in the east and the Roman empire in the west.

Sarmatia went from the Caspian Sea in the East to the Vistula River in the West and south to the Danube. It was a collection of independent tribes. They were a blend of Iranian nomadic horse tribes most likely related to the Scythians. The Sauromatae could be the original Sarmatians. They were descended from the Scythians and the Amazons. The Scythians also spoke an Iranian language and lived in the area north of the Black Sea. Their warfare was different from Sarmatians. The Scythians were noted mounted archers. Sarmatian warriors and their horses wore armor, metal plates of bronze or iron sewn onto leather garments. They also were skillful horse riders and archers. They used 15' long lances. They were probably the originator of the armored knights of medieval Europe.

The Greek legend and later Romans thought they were Amazons because the women had a higher social standing than their Mediterranean counterparts. They moved west from the Central Asian steppes and into Europe from the 5th and 3rd centeruries BC.

By the 1st century BC Sarmatians came into contact with Rome through Mithridates VI of Pontus.

To the ancient Greeks and Romans, the layzges first appeared as Maeotis. Ptolemy referred to them as the lazyges Metanastae. Then they moved west along the shores of the Black Sea to Moldova in SW Ukraine.

Our R1b1b2 (M269) dates back to 5,000-8,000 years ago and seems to be the first to enter Europe of the R1b. Of the people of the Russian steppes, some tribes were dominated by R1a1a while others were R1b1b2.

The Sarmatians adopted the dragon motif from the Han Empire of China. They fought the Romans near the mouth of the Danube River on the Black Sea but were overcome. The Romans were very impressed with their fighting abilities so the peace agreement included taking 6,000 Sarmatian warriors and their horses and join the Roman army. In the 3rd century AD this image was brought to Britain when Marcus Aureleus, Roman Emperor, sent 5,500 Sarmatian warrior to Britain to guard against attacks by the Celts of northern Britain. They even built their own retirement villages.

This may have started the legends of King Arthur, whose father was Uther Pendragon. Pendragon means dragon head which he carried on his shield.

The altar in the Sarmatian’s religion seems to have been a sword embedded in a stone. That’s another part of King Arthur’s legend, to be able to pull out the sword Excalibur in the stone and that only Arthur could do it.

One suggestion is that the original historical Arthur was Lucius Artorius Castus, commander of Sarmatian warrior for 2 years in Britain around 182. He died in Dalmatia. They may have told their own stories with a new hero, Artorius, or Arthur.

Julius Caesar first invaded Britain in 55 BC. By 43 AD, the Romans, under Aulus Plautius, landed at Richborough (Kent) for a full-scale invasion of the island. By 184 AD Lucius Artorius Castus, commander of a detachment of Sarmatian conscripts stationed in Britain, led his troops to Gaul to quell a rebellion.

Added 2:30pm :The questions then become "How did R1b3 (aka subclade M269 and Ht 35), come to exist in what may be relatively high proportions along the Anglo-Scottish Border"? Possible vectors include: 1) the 5,500 Sarmatian troops stationed in Cumbria and Lancashire during the Roman period. These troops were armored cavalry, eventually settled in Northwest England, and were presumably assimilated by the native populace. Some scholars have speculated that the King Arthur legend sprang from tales of the Sarmatian cavalrymen and one of their leaders, Lucius Artorius Castus. The Sarmatians - like the Alani, who colonized parts of France and Spain - were an Indo-Iranic or Turkic tribe originally from the Caucasus, and some of their direct descendants still live in the Caucasus under the name Ossetians.
Reference: Robert Leigh: Sarmatians-lazyges II set 1 1/2 pages

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