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Old July 13th, 2017, 12:27 AM   #1
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Meluhha


Does "Meluhha" ...a geographical name found in Mesopotamian texts...really refer to the Indus Valley Civilization? Or perhaps only to a specific Indus port city?
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Old July 16th, 2017, 09:45 PM   #2
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Here is an interesting link about Meluhha, which may have signified either the entire Indus Valley Civilization or at least that part which was known to the ancient Mesopotamian kingdoms:

https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/tag/meluhha/

I wonder if, in the case of commercial/cultural relations between Sumer, Akkad and India, the main influence was from west to east or rather from east to west? Was Mesopotamian art, architecture, urban planning and religion derived in any way from the IVC?
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Old July 16th, 2017, 10:59 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by reitia View Post
Does "Meluhha" ...a geographical name found in Mesopotamian texts...really refer to the Indus Valley Civilization? Or perhaps only to a specific Indus port city?
That's a fairly fine distinction. Given the nature of evidence from the IVC, in particular are current inability to read its text and thus reach any conclusions about nomenclature, would it be possible to determine this issue?

Even if we were able to make a fine distinction on the Mesopotamian end, unless we have corroboration about the name at the other end, wouldn't we be limited solely to Mesopotamian perception?

Also, it could have been both over time could it not? Perhaps trade began with a single city, later expanded to the political civilization as a whole. But we can't be certain unless we can isolate nomenclature within the IVC, can we?
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Old July 17th, 2017, 02:18 AM   #4

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The main question would be if in Indian history there is something [a city, a people, a kingdom] with a name which could recall "Meluhha" in some variant, may be. It happens that a population gives a name to a foreign city or country which is totally different from the native one, but not rarely the foreign name recalls in some way the original one [in Italy we call London "Londra", just to say, Beijing "Pechino" from romanized "Peking"...].

Of course, this research would be useless if in Sumer they gave a name to that trade partner without considering its own name.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 03:27 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tornada View Post
That's a fairly fine distinction. Given the nature of evidence from the IVC, in particular are current inability to read its text and thus reach any conclusions about nomenclature, would it be possible to determine this issue?

Even if we were able to make a fine distinction on the Mesopotamian end, unless we have corroboration about the name at the other end, wouldn't we be limited solely to Mesopotamian perception?

Also, it could have been both over time could it not? Perhaps trade began with a single city, later expanded to the political civilization as a whole. But we can't be certain unless we can isolate nomenclature within the IVC, can we?
Unfortunately, we have only several written accounts from Mesopotamia; and even these do not tell us a great deal.

The name Meluhha was apparently used to indicate different locations during different time periods. Thus, for the Akkadians, it probably indicated part of India: the port city of Lothal, perhaps. For the Assyrians, however, Meluhha might have referred to a coastal zone of Africa.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 03:33 AM   #6
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The main question would be if in Indian history there is something [a city, a people, a kingdom] with a name which could recall "Meluhha" in some variant, may be. It happens that a population gives a name to a foreign city or country which is totally different from the native one, but not rarely the foreign name recalls in some way the original one [in Italy we call London "Londra", just to say, Beijing "Pechino" from romanized "Peking"...].

Of course, this research would be useless if in Sumer they gave a name to that trade partner without considering its own name.
Indeed, this is always a spiny problem in archaeologists' attempts to discover the original names of geographical locations or of tribes.

"Meluhha": I wonder if it meant something in the ancient Semitic languages (I'm not an expert in these, but will do research to try to find an answer). Perhaps it was a descriptive term. On the other hand, it may have been an original or derivative name. I'll look also in my PIE dictionaries for roots which may be connected etymologically with the name Meluhha.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 04:07 AM   #7

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Indeed, this is always a spiny problem in archaeologists' attempts to discover the original names of geographical locations or of tribes.

"Meluhha": I wonder if it meant something in the ancient Semitic languages (I'm not an expert in these, but will do research to try to find an answer). Perhaps it was a descriptive term. On the other hand, it may have been an original or derivative name. I'll look also in my PIE dictionaries for roots which may be connected etymologically with the name Meluhha.
Yes, and "Meluhha" has to be in that area, since it's connected with Dilmun and Magan and the ships arriving from those lands navigated through the bitter sea [as they called the Persian Gulf].

I've found some details about what traders from Meluhha carried:

gold, cornelian, ivory, essences ...

Ivory means elephants and with essences, as we know, this is not definitive [it may mean Africa or India, and coming from Africa to reach Sumer, ships would have navigated through the Gulf as well], but there is that reference to gold.

India has got a long historical activity, with important gold mines since the age of the civilization of the Indus River.

And just in that area there were gold mines as well.
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Old July 17th, 2017, 04:20 AM   #8
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Yes, and "Meluhha" has to be in that area, since it's connected with Dilmun and Magan and the ships arriving from those lands navigated through the bitter sea [as they called the Persian Gulf].

I've found some details about what traders from Meluhha carried:

gold, cornelian, ivory, essences ...

Ivory means elephants and with essences, as we know, this is not definitive [it may mean Africa or India, and coming from Africa to reach Sumer, ships would have navigated through the Gulf as well], but there is that reference to gold.

India has got a long historical activity, with important gold mines since the age of the civilization of the Indus River.

And just in that area there were gold mines as well.
Good comments, AlpinLuke! Africa had its share of gold, but mostly in its southern part, and I think the Mesopotamians never arrived there nor did they trade with natives of that area.

Who knows, the Indus Valley Civilization may have grown so rich and splendid due to gold! Yet that shining metal has not frequently been discovered at the Indus Sites: did the Harappan merchants use gold primarily as a commercial commodity, destined for export?
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Old July 17th, 2017, 04:50 AM   #9

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Sure recent archaeological discoveries have demonstrated that at Harappa there was not a few gold [example: Harappan Jewelry - Archaeology Magazine Archive]. But I would underline a coincidence ...

Cornelian was actually used to make beads at Harappa [see History of India By Dr Malti Malik]. And regarding what they did with the precious materials, they exported them [Jewellery of the Indus Valley Civilisation unveils stories of the past | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis].
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Old July 17th, 2017, 05:07 AM   #10
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Sure recent archaeological discoveries have demonstrated that at Harappa there was not a few gold [example: Harappan Jewelry - Archaeology Magazine Archive]. But I would underline a coincidence ...

Cornelian was actually used to make beads at Harappa [see History of India By Dr Malti Malik]. And regarding what they did with the precious materials, they exported them [Jewellery of the Indus Valley Civilisation unveils stories of the past | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis].
Perhaps the gold beads were just waiting to be strung as necklaces, packed up and shipped abroad. The same for the bangles.

When all is said and done, the Harappans themselves seem to have preferred semi-precious stones for domestic jewellry use. Maybe gold was so abundant in the IVC that the inhabitants did not appreciate it as other nations did. They would, in that case, have used gold mainly to make a profit in trade.
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