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Basic Ethnic and Linguistic Guidelines for Mystara

by Giulio Caroletti

1. Introduction

These guidelines are based on the Earth's own languages, linguistic theories and ethnic theories.

Some references used in my work are:

Manuel Barbera, "Introduzione alla Linguistica Generale", 2002, revised January 2004
Luigi Luca Cavalli Sforza, "Geni, popoli e lingue", Adelphi, Milano, 1996
Francisco Villar, "Los Indoeuropeos y los origines de Europa", II edition, Editorial Gredos, Madrid, 1996 Cavalli Sforza/Menozzi/Piazza, "The History and Geography of Human Genes", Princeton University Press, 1994

I have tried, where Mystaran countries, ethnicities and languages resemble Earth ones, to apply a 1:1 correspondence, as much as possible. I have based myself on the evolution of human language on Earth.

Where there are still doubts and uncertainties regarding some real world issues (like the origin of Japanese language) among scholars of the field, I have chosen, when possible, theories that seem at least reasonable to the scientific community, and that are so difficult to prove, that their solution will (if ever) appear so far in the future that I don't fear I will soon (if ever) have to change this work...

2. Ethnicities, cultures and languages

(note: if you are not interested in the reasons and explanation of HOW I developed this Mystaran Ethnography, jump to the next chapter, the first of the second mail of this document)

The first thing we must remember when dealing with ethnography and linguistics is that there is not always a true correspondence between ethnicity and language. There are many simple examples to this.

Probably most of those who are reading this are Americans. Probably most of their mother tongue is English. However, many of them are not of English ethnicity (the obvious ones, the Afro-Americans and Native Americans - note: I am Italian and therefore I apologise in advance if I referred to them in a non-politically correct way - just in case I did, forgive me!).

This said, we must for the first thing deal with the Mystaran main ethnic groups. According to the "Hollow World Boxed Set", there are three main human ethnicities: Neathar, Oltecs, and Tanagoro. A rough terrestrial equivalent for these ethnicities are "White Men", "Almond-shaped eyes" and "Black Men".

This table shows the ethnical evolution theory I have based my revised Mystaran Ethnography on:

1. "Black Men"

2. "Others"
-->2.1. Native Australians
-->2.2. Southeastern Asians
-->2.3. Eurasians
------------>2.3.1. Asians
---------------------> Orientals ("Yellow Men")
---------------------> Native Americans ("Red Men")
------------>2.3.2. Caucasoids ("White Men")

The following table shows which linguistic groups belong to which ethnicity (note: I have deliberately omitted some of the most obscure linguistic groups that don't seem to have a Mystaran equivalent), the one on which I based my work, looks like this:

1. "Black Men"
--->1.1 Nile-Saharans
--->1.2 Khoisan (eg: Bushmen)
--->1.3 Niger-Kordofanian (eg: Bantu, Swahili)

2.1. Native Australians = Australian languages

2.2. Southeastern Asians
------>x) Austric groups (eg: Viet, Thai, Mon-Khmer, Polynesian languages, some Southern Chines languages)
------>y) Indo-Pacific group (eg: Papua) Oriental Asians
--->a) Sino-Caucasian group
------->a1) Sino-Tibetan (Chinese, Tibetan)
------->a2) Nadene (Apache, Navajo)
--->b) Ural-Altaic (eg: Finnish, Hungarian, Turkish, Mongolian) Amerindians = most Native American languages

2.3.2. Caucasoids
---> A) Indo-Europeans (eg: Latins, Greek, Celts, Germans, Indians)
---> B) Afro-Asians
------->B1) Semites (eg: Arabians, Jews)
------->B2) Camites (eg: Egyptians)

In most cases, the correspondences between Mystara and Earth are evident. However, as I said above, sometimes a population belonging ethnically to one group, speaks a language that developed in (and thus "belongs to") a different ethnic group from that of the languages generally associated to it. And sometimes two populations cross themselves, but then retain only the language of one of the two (probably more or less influenced from the other).

I want to point out three important examples that I have studied with attention because they present features that are interesting for Earth's history and for Mystara's ethnography.

1) A clear example of this are the European populations. Among the Europeans, between 90 and 100% of the genes indicate a "Caucasoid" origin, and according to which area of Europe, between 10 and 0% indicate a Finnic (and thus "Asiatic"!) origin. It is also to be noted that the features of blonde hair and blue eyes originated among the Finnic populations (of Asiatic origin) that lived around the Balt Sea before the arrival of Indo-European populations. Finland is the only place where these features have remained tied to the language - about 10% of the population's genes are Finnic, and their language belongs to the Ural-Altaic group (thus, the group of their Finnic ancestors). The other Europeans that most prominently feature these somatic traits (Balts, Norwegians and Swedes) speak Indo-European languages.

2) The linguists and geneticists are generally oriented toward thinking that:
a) there has been a common origin of the modern human race (probably Africa)
b) there have been several different origins of the human languages - probably there isn't a "original" human language, but there have been several ones

Trying to push the borders of languages as far back as possible, we find:

i) the three African groups (separated from each other)
ii) the Nostratic supergroup
iii) the Sino-Caucasic supergroup
iv) the Amerindian group (includes most Native American tongues)
v) the Austric supergroup
vi) the Australian and Indo-Pacific groups (probably related)

The Nostratic group includes: Semite, Camite, Indo-European, Ural-Altaic, among others.

This means that, while the Ural-Altaic populations are of Asiatic ethnicity, they speak languages related to the Caucasoid populations, and NOT to the Sino-Tibetan and Amerindian languages, thus NOT to their "ethnicity". And moreover, Sino-Tibetan and Amerindian languages are NOT related either!

Thus, I thought of this correspondence between Mystara and Earth:

1. Tanagoro
The Tanagoro are the equivalent of the "Black Men".
All Mystaran populations that speak languages equivalent to those belonging to the three African linguistic groups belong to the Tanagoro ethnicity.
Thus, we have these Canonical populations: Tanagoro, Tangor Men, Nuari, Yavi.

2. Oltecs
The Oltecs are ethnically the equivalent of the "Asians". They separated in two groups BEFORE the development of language:
a) the first group includes the ancestors of Imperial Oltecs, Azcans and Atruaghin, and is the equivalent of the Earth's Amerindians
b) the second group includes the ancestors of the Ethengarians, and is the equivalent of the Earth's Ural-Altaic

3. The Ochaleans, the only Canon human population on Mystara that speaks a Sino-Tibetan language, are not Oltecs but Alphatians. This leaves us with the question what origin the Sino-Tibetan languages may have. Especially since we know that there is a Rakasta culture on Skothar, the Tagh, that seems the equivalent of the Earth's Tibetans. I'll return to this later.

4. Neathar
The "true" Neathar ethnicities are the equivalent of Indo-Europeans, Semites and Camites, thus the ancestors of Antalians, Alasiyans and Nithians. Two facts must be noted:

a) At some point in Mystaran history, the Indo-Europeans interacted with a Finnic population (thus belonging to the Ural-Altaic Oltecs), probably in Norwold, and from this the blue eyes/blonde hair became a somatic trait associated also to the Indo-Europeans cultures. Like on Earth, the more the populations lived near the place of origin of those somatic trait, the more they became present among the population. Thus, the Antalians and their descendants are the Neathar populations with more of these features.

b) The original Neathar language was spoken both by the Neathar populations, and both by their neighbours, the Ural-Altaic Oltecs that are ancestors of the Ethengarians.

5. There are only two Canon cultures that belong to the Austric linguistic group: the Makai, and the Harimau-Beng Rakastas of Skothar. The Makai are ethnically Neathar, but their language is in no way related to the Nostratic ones; thus, I thought that they could have been conquered, in very ancient times, by a Rakasta population related to the Harimau-Belang. More on this later.

6. The Australian group is represented on Mystara by the non-human Wallaras (from the Savage Coast/Orc's Head Peninsula setting).

Basic Human Ethnographic Table

1. Tanagoro (1)
---> 1.1 Tanagoro (2)
--------->1.1.1 Tangor
--------->1.1.2 Nuari
---------> (+ Sheyallia Elves) ---> 1.1.3 Yavi
---> [1.2 M-Khoisanid/Bushmen]

Little to say about the Tanagoro, the equivalent of black African. All the Tanagoro-descended human cultures seem to be the equivalent of Niger-Kordofanians, especially Bantu or Swahili like. There is plenty of room for detailing the Tangor Men of Skothar (nearly nothing has been written about them), and even Nuari don't have so many things written about them, apart from their naturalistic philosophy. The Yavi are much more detailed, and they share an elven ancestry, coming from the Sheyallia elves that lived in the Serpent Peninsula. I have included a reference to M-Khoisanid/Bushmen, because if someone wants to detail such a culture, it could fit in this place of the Ethnographic Table.

2. Oltecs (1)
---> 2.1 Oltecs (2)
---------> *
---------> 2.1.1 Imperial Oltecs (3)
---> Savage Coast Oltecs
---------> 2.1.2 Azcans
---> Atruaghin

---> [2.2 Yali]
---------> [2.2.1 M-Turk/Mongol]
--------------------------------> Ethengarians
--------------------------------> Huleans [& Azar]
--------------------------------> [ Kazmen]
--------------------------------> [ Tunguski]
--------------------------------> [ Douzbaki]
--------------------------------> [ Monzagians & Visi]
---------> [2.2.2 M-Uralo/Altaic]
-----------------------> [ M-Finns]
--------------------------------> [ Saamari]
-----------------------> []
--------------------------------> [ Vaarana]
--------------------------------> [ Sendarians]

---> [2.3 M-Sino-Tibetan/Proto-Chinese]
---------> [2.3.1 Proto-Ochalese]

The Oltecs have been chosen as the ancestors of all Asian cultures (except those of Austric origin, as explained in the first instalment). I have divided them in three groups, of which only two are canonical.

The first group is that of the "true" Oltecs, equivalent to the Native Americans. They are ancestors of Imperial Oltecs, Azcans, Atruaghin, and of the Oltec population of the Savage Coast (that provides the "Indio" background of South America natives invaded by the Spanish/Portuguese).

The second group has been called the "Yali" (more on the source for the name later). They are the ancestors of canonical Ethengarians and Huleans, and of non-canonical Saamari and Vaarana (Laplanders and similar, created by James Mishler). I'll return on the Ethengarians later, in the session dedicated to Mystaran linguistics.

Kazmen (M-Kazaki), Douzbaki (M-Uzbeki), Azar (M-Azeri), Tunguski (M-Tungusi), Monzagians (M-Hungarians), Sendarians (M-Samoieds) are part of the non-canonical "Great Hule" and "Western Brun" setting written by Christian Constantin and Adrian Mattias. Visi, related to Monzagians, have been invented by Giulio Caroletti for the "Mystaran Almanac" project.

The M-Finns are the equivalent of the Finnic populations that, living around the Balt Sea, developed the blue eyes and blonde hair features that now are common among people of European (and thus mostly Indo-European) ancestry. Probably they developed these features in the area that linked Skothar to Brun (see Hollow World Map), where they were in the position to transmit these features to the Neathar populations of east (Valemen) and west (Antalians), thus accounting for the presence of blue eyes and blonde hair in the "Known World" setting and in the "Blackmoor d20" setting.

Note also that the Saamari (M-Suomi, Finlanders) and the Vaarana (M-Sami, Laplanders) (non-canonical populations created by James Mishler) both speak a M-Ural-Altaic language (and thus have been collocated at this point of the table), but the interaction with Antalians and M-Indo-Europeans has resulted in the fact that Saamari have a 90% of Neathar blood (and only 10% of original Oltec), while the Vaarana have a 50% Neathar 50% Oltec.

The third group has been indicated as "M-Sino-Tibetan-proto-Chinese". There are no human canonical cultures belonging to this group (the Ochaleans are alien), but if someone wants to create such a culture (or detail a Proto-Ochalese culture that mixed with the Alphatian invaders), this would be its position in the chart.

I'll return on the history and geographical collocation of the original Oltecs and their possible migrations in a following article, called "Notes on Oltecs and a possible M-Orient".

Note: * refers to the influence of Oltec blood in the Sindhi population; however, the Sindhi has been placed in the Neathar group because of their language (M-Indo-European, and not M-Asiatic)

3. Neathar
---> [3.1 Lhomarr --> 3.1. Lhomarrians]

---> 3.2 Thonians (1)
-------> 3.2.1 Blackmoorians
-------> 3.2.2 Thonians (2)

---> [3.3 Aharians] see later for more details
-------> [3.3.1 Valharians]---> eg: Valemen, [Littonians]
-------> [3.3.2 Daharians] ---> eg: Antalians, Skandaharians
-------> [3.3.3 Dunharians] --> eg: [Dunael], [Carnuilh], Thratians
-------> [3.3.4 Dulharians] --> eg: Traldar, Milenians, Minaeans
-------> [3.3.5 Dravharians] -> eg: Dravi, Urduk, Sindhi

---> 3.4 [M-Camites]
-------> 3.4.1 Afridhi
-------> 3.4.2 Nithians (1)
-----------------------> Nithians (2)
-----------------------> Thothians
-----------------------> **
-------> 3.4.3 Makai

---> 3.5 [M-Semites]
-------> 3.5.1 Taymora (A)
-------> 3.5.2 Alasiyans

The Neathar (M- Caucasoid Nostratics) have been divided into five groups.

The first group is that of the Lhomarr/Lhomarrians, created by Geoff Gander. They would have been the first Neathar group to develop an autonomous culture, language and identity - and probably the first true human civilisation on Mystara.

The second group is that of the Thonians and their spin-off, the Blackmoorians. As it is impossible to understand how Mystara was like during the Nuclear Era (4000-3000 BC), and given the description of Blackmoor and Thonia from Blackmoor d20, I suggest that the best thing is to include them in a separated Neathar group, with no particular link to a Real World culture and language.

The third group is that of the M-Indo-Europeans, that I called the Aharians. The Aharians are the Mystaran equivalent of Indo-Europeans, and like their real world counterpart they have a complicated history. I'll return to them in a later article, called "Notes on the Antalians and other M-Indo-Europeans".

The fourth group is that of the M-Camites. The ancient Egyptians were Camites, and the Afridhi are quite similar to Nithians in the Blackmoor d20 description (red hair, dark skinned), so they fit perfectly in this group, where I have also put the Makai. Note that the Afridhi may have some Tanagoro blood in their veins, if you prefer to have them more similar to them (thus they could be M-Somalis, as Somalis are a Camitic population that have heavy Niger-Kordofanian genetic contribution, or some sort of M-Camitic population with no real world counterpart). Note also that the Nithians have in their veins some Oltec blood, but I included the Nithians in the Neathar group because of their language (M-Egyptian, thus a Camitic language). Last but not least, the Makai have developed an original language, different from that of all others. I'll return to the issue of Makai language in following articles.

The fifth group is that of the M-Semites. The only canonical Semitic population is that of the Alasiyans, but I have included a reference to the Taymora, because of Giampaolo Agosta's work, that presents the Taymora as M-Phoenicians. There is another interesting hypothesis on the Taymora, that presents them as M-Proto-Greek, but I'll return on that when discussing in detail the M-Indo-Europeans.

Final Note: I have omitted all human alien cultures and populations, like Flaemish, Alphatian, Ochalean, Emerondian, Klantyrian, Averoignian.