Sunday, 24 December 2017 11:01


Oleksandr Palii, A History of Ukraine, 24.12.2017 




In the middle of the 4th millennium BC, the Serednii Stih culture (named after a site in Zaporizhia) emerged on the outskirts of the Trypilian Culture between the Lower Dnipro and the Lower Don. The local population switched from agriculture to transhumance. Groups of herdsmen would drive flocks to remote pastures in the spring and return to the villages in the fall. 


Cattle breeders initially found it difficult to compete with the Trypilians as they had worse tools and weapons. Archaeologists found a settlement in southern Ukraine in which all men were Trypilians and all women came from the Serednii Stih culture. 


At the time, a farmer could provide for a family of several people, while a herdsman could feed several dozens or even hundreds of tribesmen. 


Pitcher of Indo-Europeans, the 4th-3rd millennium BC. 


Several dozen thousands of Serednii Stih Culture people were among the ancestors of a third branch of humanity — the group of peoples now called Indo-European because they inhabited a huge territory stretching from Europe to North India and the lands they colonized overseas. Indo-European languages are now spoken by more than half of the world’s population. 


Indo-Europeans had typical hominid idols (known in Ukrainian steppes as ‘stone baba’), burial mounds and maces used as weapons. Indo-Europeans worshiped weapons, the sun and fire. They buried stone axes in graves—even long after metals were invented. Red is the color of rebirth in the Indo-European tradition. Indo-Europeans put red ocher into the graves and people in India color their hands and feet with red paint until today. 



Bronze axes, the 3rd millennium BC 


The Indo-European tribes were more or less closely related. The closest relatives of the Slavs were the Balts (modern Lithuanians and Latvians), northern Indo- Iranians (the Ossetes today speak an Indo-Iranian language) and the Germanic peoples (Germans, Danes, Swedes, British, Norwegians, Dutch etc.). 


The Indo-European peoples embarked on migrations of gigantic proportions in the 4th to 2nd millennium BC, populating territories from Ireland to India. Indo-European tribes moved from the territory of Ukraine across the steppes to Asia and the West, settling in new lands. This was possible because the horse was domesticated on the territory of Ukraine in the 4th millennium BC. 


The remains of the world’s first domesticated horses were found in the village of Deriivka on the right bank of the Dnipro. The teeth of these horses were uniformly damaged by bone bridles. Horses were domesticated later than other animals because of their resistance to control. 


Cavalry and the use of wagons gave the ancestors of Indo-European peoples a decisive advantage over other tribes. Even two millennia later, armies in ancient Egypt feared horses, considering them the spirits of the desert. 


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