What could the Tocharians do early to survive today as a large nation/empire in Asia?

Oct 2018
62
Bangalore,India
#1
Hello all, Tocharians were an ancient Indo-European people who formed one of the first wave of migrations out of the Proto Indo-European homeland in Ukraine and were dominant in parts of Tarim Basin and surroundings. What do you think they could have done early(after diverging from PIE) to have survived into today as an Eastern Indo-Europeans today with a sufficiently large nation on greener and habitable lands and good number of population. You can have them follow either Buddhism or Tocharian religion or even Christianity. Point to any alternate migrations and settlements. Have them East of Ukraine. Rest is your wish.
 
Last edited:

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,000
Lisbon, Portugal
#2
Minor correction: The Tocharians are not the first wave of Indo-European migrations in Central Asia. Most scholars consider that the Tarim mummies (the earliest examples of the so-called Tocharians) were part of the Andronovo culture complex. It is speculated that a second wave of Indo-Europeans - mostly Corded Ware people from central and eastern Europe - migrated to Central Asia and replaced the earlier Indo-European cultures that lived there.
It is highly possible that the Tocharians - as they first appeared in the manuscripts from the 6th to 8th centuries AD - are related to those Corded Ware cultures, not Proto Indo-European.
 
Oct 2018
62
Bangalore,India
#3
Minor correction: The Tocharians are not the first wave of Indo-European migrations in Central Asia. Most scholars consider that the Tarim mummies (the earliest examples of the so-called Tocharians) were part of the Andronovo culture complex. It is speculated that a second wave of Indo-Europeans - mostly Corded Ware people from central and eastern Europe - migrated to Central Asia and replaced the earlier Indo-European cultures that lived there.
It is highly possible that the Tocharians - as they first appeared in the manuscripts from the 6th to 8th centuries AD - are related to those Corded Ware cultures, not Proto Indo-European.
Is it so? From many sources, Afanasevo was the first Tocharian Cultural complex that seems to predate the Andronavo but some or many dates seem to overlap. Afanasevo is dated to have begun by around 3000BCE or so and Andronavo began by 2500-2000BCE or so. Andronavo cultural complex was Indo-Iranian. They were all Centum speakers and were said to be similar to Celtic peoples so I don't rule out a Corded ware connection as it lies to the West.
 
Aug 2017
156
USA
#4
The Afanasievo culture is dated from around 3700-3400 BCE lasted until about 2400 BCE. The available archaeological evidence (material culture and mortuary practices/remains) suggests there were prolonged interactions between this culture and others throughout the Eurasian steppes well into the Yamnaya period. I think it is generally agreed the Afanasievo culture is the likeliest archaeological manifestation of the splitting of (proto) Tocharian speakers from other PIE ones and I know connections have been made with this culture and the later Tarim Basin Tocharians via the Late Bronze Age mummies found in the Taklamakan Desert (dated from 1800-1200 BCE). There are some similarities in funerary rituals and iconography between the Late Afanasievo culture and those relating to the aforementioned mummies (for instance, solar imagery and headdresses in Late Afanasievo culture graves like those painted much later on the cheek of one of the Tarim basin mummies dated to 1200 BCE). As such, I never heard of a proposed connection with the Andronovo complex which is typically associated with the Indo-Iranian branch. I have likewise never heard of later migrations of peoples from the Corded Ware culture (2900 BCE - 2350 BCE) into the relevant region of Central Asia as it is commonly associated with the "western" branch of the Indo-European languages (Germanic, Baltic, Slavic). I'm also not sure by what mechanism the Corded Ware peoples could have migrated into Central Asia as to "supplant" older PIE peoples as they were broadly contemporary with the Yamnaya cultural horizon (3300-2600 BCE), which linked both the Corded Ware and Afansievo cultures. Such a movement would have left a mark on the Tocharian language and I'm not sure if such an impact is accepted to have occurred.
 
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Jul 2014
1,584
world
#5
Hello all, Tocharians were an ancient Indo-European people who formed one of the first wave of migrations out of the Proto Indo-European homeland in Ukraine and were dominant in parts of Tarim Basin and surroundings. What do you think they could have done early(after diverging from PIE) to have survived into today as an Eastern Indo-Europeans today with a sufficiently large nation on greener and habitable lands and good number of population. You can have them follow either Buddhism or Tocharian religion or even Christianity. Point to any alternate migrations and settlements. Have them East of Ukraine. Rest is your wish.
I believe the tocharians still exist but in the shape of uighur people. The real uyghur (Yughur) people look very asiatic compared to the Uighurs of Xinjiang who are Eurasian looking. To survive as a distinct people Tocharians should migrate into China proper before the Zhou dynasty where they could multiply easily as compared to the harsh geography of the Xinjiang.

There were many indo europeans in central asia before the Turkish/mongol invasions but they got assimilated after defeats in battle. To resist assimilation Tocharians would have to be in huge numbers which can only be possible in fertile plains of China.
 

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