Abstract. The author offers
a new approach to the study of the Proto-Indian script. The corpus of the
signs includes ideograms (determinatives) and syllables. The texts are
written down in the Proto-Indo-Aryan language.
The Indus Valley civilisation (2900 – 1300 B.C.) existed
in territories of Pakistan and India. The towns Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro
were its most important centres. Some thousands of different artefacts –
seals, pottery, axes, amulets and so on – decorated with records were
discovered by archaeologists. But what do these texts mean?
1. A Dravidian Key
H. Heras (1953) reads the combination of the Proto-Indian
signs ‘fish’ and ‘six lines’ (the number six) as the Proto-Dravidian name
of the Pleiades (Aru-min). Taking into account this finding, the
team of Y.V. Knorozov (Knorozov 1965; 1981; Albedil 1991; 1993) and the
team of A. Parpola (Parpola, Koskenniemi, Parpola and Aalto 1969a, 1969b)
offer two variants of the decipherment of the Proto-Indian records in the
2. An Alternative
On the other hand, the Dravidian conception ‘six
fish’/‘six stars’ could be borrowed from an unknown culture. The Old
Iranian religious book, Avesta (Yasht XIV.29), tells of sharp eyes of the
fish Kara. One can stress that in the Indo-European beliefs
‘eye’, ‘the sun’, ‘light’ are similar ideas. For instance, Old Indian
(Sanskrit) go means ‘arrow; thunderbolt; the sun; solar beam; eye; ox;
cow; cattle’. Russian oko ‘eye’ can be compared with Russian
okno ‘window’ (a source of light). Thus, in some archaic
Indo-European cultures the terms ‘fish’ and ‘shine’ could be synonyms.
Hence, the language of the Proto-Indian records may be
3. A Mediterranean Key
G.V. Alexeev (1976: 496) from Y.V. Knorozov’s team
compares some Proto-Indian signs with signs of Linear A of Crete. However,
he believes that it is an accidental coincidence. In my opinion, such
parallels are noteworthy. It is apparent that variants of the syllables of
Linear B/A were widespread in records of different civilisations at vast
4. My Own Decipherment
My method is based on the structural linguistics. So, I
offer readings of some syllables and ideograms of this writing system. The
language of these records is Proto-Indo-European (Proto-Indo-Aryan). Some
signs of Linear B (A) resemble corresponding signs of the Proto-Indian
script. It is safe to assume that the first homeland of the Indo-Aryans
was the Old India. I prefer to denote the Proto-Indian syllables by the
numbers of corresponding signs of Linear B (A). The shapes of
Scythian/Sarmatian signs are considered in this classification. Four
Proto-Indian records are investigated below.
Let us examine the first inscription, see figure 1.
An ox (aurochs) stands near an altar. A blue colour-coded
segment contains sign 77 ga (its decorative variant) and sign 33 ra together with three lines (‘the number three’). One
can offer Old Indian go ‘arrow; thunderbolt; the sun; solar beam; eye;
ox; cow; cattle’, Proto-Indo-Aryan *ra ‘the sun’ (cf.
Old Indian ravi ‘the sun’, surja ‘the sun’, vi
‘horse; bird’, su ‘to produce’). To the right of this group there
are two signs which denote two years. Really, each rectangle consists of
12 small parts. The following drawing is presented below this text: it is
the point of an arrow with three accompanying thunder signs. Each symbol
of the thunderstorm and the sun is a six-pointed star located in a round.
So, the picture correlates with the record quite exactly. An analogous
Slavonic symbol of the pagan (Indo-Aryan, Indo-European) religion is a
basic symbol of the god thunderer (Rybakov 1981: 305, 325, 336, 419,
451-459). The two signs 72 be connected together
are attached to the head of the ox. Besides, seven signs of the sun are
shown on the altar. I believe that the ox is an image of the Indo-Aryan
god thunderer Indra. According to the Rig-Veda (I.7.8; I.10.10),
the sacred hymns of the Indo-Aryans, Indra is a bull. It is known from
this source (Rig-Veda I.62.3; X.68.3-12) that his companion,
Brhaspati, forced bulls and cows from the rock of the demon
Vala. Brhaspati also looks like a bull, and this hero is
connected with the thunder, too (Rig-Veda X.92.10; IV.50.1). The name
Brhaspati can be associated with Old Indian brh ‘to be
strong; to increase’, brhat ‘abundant’, cf. also
Scythian/Sarmatian be ‘to beat; to reproduce; to increase’,
Russian bit’ ‘to beat’, peret’ (< *pe-r-)
‘to push; to press’, English beat. Two signs
72 be represented on the head of the ox
demonstrate that here Brhaspati plays the role of the procreant
power of Indra (cf. the name of the god thunderer Perun
in the Slavonic mythology). Moreover, it is known that seven rays
decorate Brhaspati (Rig-Veda IV.50.4).
Let us examine the second inscription, see figure
M.F. Albedil (1993: 97-98) thinks that here the sacral
wedding of the goddess of the Earth with a gavial is represented. She is
sure that the language of the Proto-Indian texts is Dravidian. On the
other hand, she stresses that the gavial is a certain symbol of the
Indo-Aryan god Varuna, a mark of the season of rains (ibid., p.
78). Now I read the Proto-Indo-Aryan text: 08 27 01 33 54
60 Are dara Vara ‘(The goddess) Are is holding
(the god) Vara’, cf. Old Indian dhar ‘to hold; to keep’.
I suppose that the Indo-Aryan characters Vala and Varuna
have a common origin. The name Are is comparable with Old Indian
arci ‘ray; flame; fire’, arka ‘the sun; ray; lightning;
fire’, aruna ‘red; reddish; scarlet’. According to the Rig-Veda (X.67.12), Indra killed the watery monster, Arbuda.
Here I distinguish two Proto-Indo-Aryan words, *ar- (cf. Old
Indian arci, arka, aruna) and *buda
(cf. Old Indian budh ‘to wake’). I suppose that the Proto-Indian
goddess of the Earth is the symbol of the connection of the sun with the
chthonic world. The goddess describes the transition of the nature from
winter to summer .
Let us examine the third inscription, see figure 3.
Animals surround a horned god. It is the king of beasts.
Sign 33 ra and the combination of another sign
33 ra with two lines denote three fires or three
positions of the sun in heavens. I suppose that here the god Indra
is represented again. The sign ‘fish’ is the symbol of the sun,
light, and shine. The text has the following final segment: 45
45 MAN [a determinative], i.e. de-de ‘the great god’,
cf. Old Indian deva ‘god’, da ‘giving’, va
‘residence; dwelling’. On this basis I reconstruct Proto-Indo-Aryan
Let us examine the fourth inscription (the fragment of an
original record), see figure 4.
I read the text as follows: 13 33
MOUNTAIN [a determinative/ideogram] 33 04 39
MOUNTAIN [the same determinative/ideogram] 33,
i.e. Mera MOUNTAIN ra, Tepi MOUNTAIN
ra ‘the solar mountain (called) Mera, the solar mountain
(called) Tepi’. The name Mera is comparable with
Sumerian Meluhha ‘a country situated to the east of the
Mesopotamia’, Old Indian Meru ‘a sacred mountain where deities
live’ (this term is presented in the Old Indian epic Mahabharata). The
morpheme mer- corresponds to Old Indian marici ‘solar
beam’, mar ‘to die’, and the morpheme tep- corresponds
to Old Indian taapa ‘heat’. In the Rig-Veda (I.20.5)
Maruts, companions of Indra, are mentioned. In their
names I distinguish the morpheme mer-/mar-, too.
 Cf. the name of the Scythian/Sarmatian snaky goddess
Albedil, M.F., 1991. Zabytaya tsivilizatsiya v doline
Albedil, M.F., 1993. Protoindiyskoe “koleso vremeni”. In:
N.L. Zhukovskaya and S.Y. Sedov (eds.) Kalendar’ v kul’ture narodov
mira. Moscow , pp. 70-101.
Alexeev, G.V., 1976. Kommentary. In: I.M. Diakonoff (ed.)
Tayny drevnikh pis’men: Problemy deshifrovki. Moscow , pp.
Heras, H., 1953. Studies in the
Proto-Indo-Mediterranean Culture. Vol. 1. Bombay.
Knorozov, Y.V. (ed.), 1965. Predvaritel’noe
soobshchenie ob issledovanii protoindiyskikh textov. Moscow.
Knorozov, Y.V., 1981. Protoindiyskie nadpisi (k probleme
deshifrovki). Sovetskaya etnografiya, 5, pp. 47-71.
Parpola, A., Koskenniemi, S., Parpola, S., and P. Aalto,
1969a. Progress in the Decipherment of the Proto-Dravidian Indus
Parpola, A., Koskenniemi, S., Parpola, S., and P. Aalto,
1969b. Decipherment of the Proto-Dravidian Inscriptions of the Indus
Rybakov, B.A., 1981. Yazychestvo drevnikh slavyan.