Serbi and Albani of the Caucasus
In Greco-Roman geography, Iberia was a kingdom of the Southern Caucasus, centered on present-day Eastern Georgia. Its southern neighbor was the kingdom of Albania. To the north, lied the territory of Sarmatia Asiatica. One of the Sarmatian tribes were the Serbi.
This map, printed in Leipzig in 1706, is based on Ptolemy’s map from the second century AD. Wikipedia link here.
As shown in my previous articles, “Albania” could be a Latin word for the country of people who called themselves Aryans and gave the name to modern-day Iran. But what are Serbi and Albani doing on Balkans?
Serbi and Albani of the Balkans
In modern-day Balkans, there are countries of Serbia and Albania. However, even in the time of Ptolemy, there was a tribe of Albani in what is now Albania and a city of Serbinum in what is now the Republic of Srpska. In other words, these Iberian toponyms mirror with the Balkan ones at least since the dawn of the first millennia.
Is it strange then, that we also see a river called Ibar in the Balkans? On its course of 276km, this river flows through the territory of Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia. (Until a few decades ago this was all a territory of Serbia.)
As a curiosity, I have circled a town of Arilje (one of many on Balkans). Its etymology could mean two things: 1. A city of Aryans or 2. A white city, as in Belgrade. Albania of the Balkans owes its name to Albanopolis, meaning “white city”, the same as Serbian Belgrade.
A flow of Ibar through Serbia
Serbi and Albani of the Iberian peninsula
And now let us have another jump, this time to the Iberian peninsula. It is known that this peninsula owes its name to Ebro river, which was called Iberos in ancient Greek and Iberus or Hiberus in Latin. The same name again? It gets even stranger if you know that amongst the pre-Roman population of Iberia there were the tribes of Seurbi and Albiones. (click to enlarge)
In fact, the idea that the Kingdom of Iberia relates to Iberian peninsula is at least a thousand years old. The prominent Georgian religious writer Giorgi Mtatsmindeli (George of Mt. Athos, 1009–1065) wrote about the wish of certain Georgian nobles to travel to the Iberian peninsula and visit the local “Georgians of the West”, as he called them.
In conclusion, the same names “Iber”, “Serbi” and “Albani” appear at three quite remote places and around the same time. A coincidence?
Serbi and Albani of the UK and Ireland
But it doesn’t stop here. As we saw, the Latin word for river Ebro was Hiberus. And Latin name for Ireland was Hibernia. The etymology of Hibernia is uncertain. Apparently, it comes from the word “hiver” – winter. But what if it is related to the word Ibar instead? The word “Ireland” could also mean “Land of Aryans”, which translated to Latin would be “Albania”
Is this theory too far-fetched? Not really, if you know that the whole island of Great Britain was once called Albion / Albania. It is actually the oldest name of Great Britain!
In later centuries the name of Alba became associated only with Scotland. Why Scotland? Because that was the part of the island that Romans did not conquer. So could it be that the people who lived there were called Albanians by Romans, while on Ireland, which was virtually untouched by Roman legions, they simply preserved their original name – Arya?
Who were the Aryans?
According to one theory, Gaul also means “white”, a milk-white to be more precise, this time in Greek. (gala – milk). Greek traders had contact with Gauls before the Romans. It is possible that Romans simply borrowed a name, used by darker-skinned Mediterraneans to describe the fair-skinned people of the North.
Another plausible etymology may be related to milk itself. We know that people who brought lactose tolerant genes to Europe were the first milk drinkers. See the following article from Daily mail: Modern Europe was formed by milk-drinking Russians
According to the Irish legend Lebor Gabála Érenn, the ancestors of the Gaels were originally living in the Iberian peninsula. Two brothers, both called Eibhar – Éibhear Dunn (dark) and Éibhear Finn (blonde), were the first of the Gaels to conquer Ireland. But that is not all. This same text traces their origins all the way to Babel and a Scythian prince as the first ancestor. According to some researchers, this is due to a similarity of the words “Scyth” and “Scot”. But what if that similarity is not really a coincidence? What if Scotland is indeed the land of the Scythians?
So Aryan, Alban, and Gaul could indeed be the same thing in three different languages. The same parallel exists in German. The name of Wends comes from Germanic Vento – white (as in English “winter”) But Wends are Slavs, and a small surviving population of Wends calls themselves Sorbs to this date. Their territory around Berlin has been drastically reduced through centuries. According to some authors “Serb” was one of the oldest ethnonyms for Slavs.
If Gauls indeed had some Slavic elements, that would explain why the name of Old Sarum, England was Sorbio-dunum in Latin. Or why the Roman castrum on Hadrian’s wall, looking on the planes of Scotland was called Vindo-landa. (The same goes for Vindo-bona, the ancient name of Vienna) Vindobona literally means “white city”.
It would also explain why the most important hill of Ireland, the hill of Tara mirrors in Tara, Serbia. And the Irish river Boyne that flows underneath Tara finds its match in river Bojana. These are just a few examples, but important ones.
Aryans, the masters of Iron
According to the official history, European Iron age began in the region of Caucasus, roughly around 11th century BC. Now, we can never be sure how these people called themselves. But in the case of the Iron age, I would put my two pennies on “Aryans”. It seems that even the word “iron” is etymologically connected to them.
Since there is no tribe of “Indo-Europeans” in history books, our best candidate for IE influence are Scythians / Sarmatians. They were the only group of people who occupied this vast geographical area for a long period of time. Also, their nomadic lifestyle on a saddle would allow them to cover great distances.
But like any great nation, Scythians were not all of the same stock. It seems that amongst others, two large groups existed in their ranks, one Slavic, represented by R1a and the other one being Germanic R1b. These two groups had claimed pretty much all of Europe millennia before the arrival of the Romans, often living side by side, sometimes in war and sometimes in peace.
But first, they conquered the local populations of Balkans, people we know today as Thracians. Herodotus writes in the 5th century BC that nomadic Scythians had learned agriculture from the Thracians. This means that the first contact had to happen before Herodotus. A few centuries after him, Sarmatians and Thracians joined their ranks to fight the Romans, as we know it was the case in the famous battle of Hadrianopolis. And during this long period of coexistence, these Aryans may have left the names Serbs, Croats, and Albanians (Aryans), amongst many other toponyms.
It is worth a mention that these migrations happened in the astrological age of Aries. The myth that marked this age is the Odyssey. In this story, Jason and his Argonauts went on a search for the golden fleece, probably allegorical story related to the celestial mythology. But it is indicative that their destination was Colchis, meaning that this myth could actually be of Aryan origin.
Bagpipes originated in Colchis, but today they are strongly associated with Ireland and Scotland. It is less known that they are native to Balkans as well. Also, Georgia is a cradle of a rich megalithic culture that mirrors in Ireland. It left its trace on the coasts of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean too. In fact, the recent genetical research proved that the builders of Stonehenge were of Mediterranean origin. And lastly, “agricultural Scyths”, those who presumably did not lead the nomadic lifestyle, were known as Georgi to ancient authors.
In conclusion, Romans simply didn’t bother to discriminate further than Celt / Gaul / German. And while nobody disputes that Germanic tribes strongly influenced Western Europe, it is very likely that Slavic influence is strongly underrated. Some of these ancient tribes simply had to be Slavic and they had played a very important role in the early prehistory of Europe. According to Mavro Orbini, an XVI century Slavic chronicler, that role was important enough to lead the whole nation to identify as Slavs – meaning “glorious”.