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Ancient Gods and Heroes of East and West

This book is a study of the people of nomadic groups or clans of Central Asia from about 6000 bce to the last millennium bce to explore why cultures and history developed the way they did in Central Asia by taking up the Indo-E below

About This Book

This book is a study of the people of nomadic groups or clans of Central Asia from about 6000 bce to the last millennium bce to explore why cultures and history developed the way they did in Central Asia by taking up the Indo-European and other settlements -- notably, the Greeks, the ancient Iranians and Indo-Aryans of the Indian subcontinent -- for in-depth study. It deals with the quest for knowledge which led to evolution of cultures from simple primitive life to a society complex in structure, from philosophy to religion. The study of gods and heroes examines stories relating to migration and settlements and the geography of ancient civilizations. It is in this setting that their unique philosophies and religious beliefs flourished, giving rise to belief in numerous gods and heroes. It discusses the myths and legends of the ancient cultures, highlighting names, deeds and events relating to honoured gods and much-praised heroes.

Dr Marta Vannucci significantly concludes that both Indo-Aryan and Indo-Iranian people had been able to maintain their traditional customs and habits backed by technical developments up to the last centuries bce. Throughout, she bases her observations on reliable information provided by archaeology substantiated by oral and written traditions of Central Asia, Greece and Rome.

The volume will be invaluable to scholars of history, anthropology and archaeology who are keen to systematically unravel the obscure origins of the great human civilizational march.

  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124604137
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124604134
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 2007
  • Pages : xxi, 468p.
  • Size : 23
  • Weight (approx.) : 850
  • Bibliographic Details : 3 folded coloured maps; 7 b/w photographs & maps;Bibliography; Index

List of Figures 
Transliteration Chart

Part I -- The Indo-Europeans of the Euro-Asian Steppes

(A) The Scenarioe

The Place
The People
Expansion of the Inhabited World
Urban Development
Cities and Language
Nomadism and Settlements
Indo-European Settlements in East and West 

(B) The Problem and the very Ancient Past 

Indo-European cultures 
Evolution from the heroic times 

(C) Proto-history and Pre-history 

Oral and written tradition  
Fossil, archaeological and cultural remains 
The quest for knowledge 
From philosophy to religion 
Expansion of the Indo-Europeans 

(D) Evolution of Cultures and Ancient Historical Times

Sources and the passage from proto-history and pre-history to history 
Ancient historical cultures 
East and West 
City States and villages  
Increase of cultural diversification  
Geography and cultural syncretism 
In the East 
Gods and beliefs 
Oral tradition and factual findings 

Part II - Gods

(A) The Indelible Link Between Man and God 

Gods and Truth 
Nature Gods 
Homer and Hesiod  
Traditional Gods 
From Pre-history to History 
The Indian and Greek Sources 
Mythology in the East 
Mythology in the West 

(B) Dionysos -- The Forces and Vitality of all Nature

Nature Gods 
Dionysos, untamed Nature 
The young God Dionysos 
The archaic God  
Urbanization of Dionysos 
The mythical personalities of Dionysos 
Ancient poems about Dionysos and Dionysan rites 
Dionysism, Orphism and Vedism 
Evolution with time 
Nonnos and the Dionysiacs 
Homeric hymns to Dionysos and Nonnos' other writings  
Legends about Dionysos 
Dionysos, Summary and Conclusions

(C) Demeter -- The Domestication of Nature

Mythology and pre-historic evidence 
The personality of Demeter 
Kore, daughter of Demeter 
Demeter and her cult  
Demeter's acts and mission 
The rites, the kykeon 
The Mysteries  
Demeter -- Summary  
Dionysos and Demeter-Summary and Conclusions

(D) Gods of the Indo-Europeans of the East

Agni and Atar 
The Graeco-Roman tradition 
Rudra, the Maruts and the Vasus 
Maruts and Vasus 
Varuna, God 
Gods of the Indo-Iranians 
Avesta and Rigveda 
Aryan Gods 
Gods of the Indo-Iranians 
Vendidad II 
Rgvedic and Avestan traditions 
Summary and Conclusions

Part III - Heroes

(A) Heroes and Epic Poetry

Heroes, warriors and weapons 
Graeco-Roman culture and civilization 
Epic poetry

(B) Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneis 

The Iliad  
The Odyssey 
The Aeneis 
Graeco-Roman epics -- Summary

(C) The Thrust, Bagao and Balletys  
(D) Herakles and Other Ancient Greek Heroes 
(E) Heroes and Epics of the Indo-Aryans  
(F) Ancient Indo-European Heroic Traits 

1) Influence of non Indo-European cultures and the late Graeco-Roman civilization  
2) Ancient Indo-European characteristics common to the Indo-Europeans of East and West
Late Indo-European epics, ad age Dionysiacs and the Shah Namah  
Summary and Conclusions

Part IV - Summary and Conclusions

(A) People and Environments

Migrations: Indo-Arya and Indo-Iranians 
Migrations -- The Indo-Iranians 
Structured societies and architectural structures 
Indo-Europeans of the West 
Autochthonous people 
Relict Indo-European populations in East and West 

(B) Myths, Legends, History and Geography

The birth and use of myths 
The life and world of myths 
Mythologies of fire 
Archaic myths 
Archaic myths among relict societies 
Archaic myths of East and West 
The evolution of myths 
The dawn of history 
Evolution of knowledge and wisdom, pride and arrogance

(C) Destiny and Fate

Meaning of Fate and Destiny  
Free-will and will-power 
Fate and destiny among the Indo-Europeans of the West
Fate and destiny among the Indo-Europeans of the East
Summary and conclusions 

(D) Philosophies and Religions 

Philosophy and Religion 
Indo-Europeans of the West 
The Graeco-Roman religion 
Sunset over the Olympian Theocracy 
Religion and civil life in the West 
Religious vacuum and natural philosophy  
Survival of traditional knowledge and wisdom 
Nature Gods and Goddesses 
Philosophy and religion among Indo-Europeans of the East 
Indo-Arya and Indo-Iranians 
In conclusion

(E) Gods and Heroes 


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