Aryan warriors.

The True Aryans: Who Were They Really and How Were Their Origins Corrupted?


Today, the word ‘Aryan’ is loaded with all sorts of negative connotation, largely due to Nazi ideology, Aryans have become associated with racial hierarchies that consider white, blonde, blue-eyed peoples superior. This served as a very useful propaganda tool for couching racist sentiments in seeming historic realities. However, it is not factual.

Only in the late 19th early 20th centuries did Aryan become equated with Germanic or Nordic peoples. Prior to this corruption, Aryan referred to an archaic language whose speakers are thought to have spread and influenced languages throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Rigveda in Sanskrit, India early 19th century. (Public Domain) Sanskrit is a standardized dialect of Old Indo-Aryan.

Rigveda in Sanskrit, India early 19th century. ( Public Domain ) Sanskrit is a standardized dialect of Old Indo-Aryan.

The Real Aryans

To quickly put any Nazi suppositions to rest, the earliest known Aryans lived in prehistoric Iran. These people migrated to northern India sometime around 1,500 BC. Previous inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent called these newcomers ārya. The English ‘Aryan’ comes from this Sanskrit word. Interestingly, the term has a cognate in the Persian language, ērān. This word is the source of the modern country name, Iran.

 The Indus Valley Civilization was highly developed before the Aryans arrived. Some evidence “suggests that the Indus Valley Civilization had social conditions comparable to Sumeria and even superior to the contemporary Babylonians and Egyptians” (Violatti, 2013).  Religions had arisen around 5500 BC, farming communities around 4000 BC, and urban living around 2500 BC. The area reached its peak in 2000 BC.

Diorama of everyday life in Indus Valley Civilization. (National Science Centre, Delhi, India)

Diorama of everyday life in Indus Valley Civilization. (National Science Centre, Delhi, India) (Biswarup Ganguly/ CC BY 3.0 )

Starting in approximately 1500 BC, nomadic cattle herders from Central Asia began to cross the Hindu Kush Mountains and to settle in the verdant Indus Valley. These nomads were, of course, the Aryans. Popular myth has it that the Aryans were unstoppable invaders, proto-Mongols, who took over the Indian subcontinent and led the Indus Valley Civilization to collapse. There is not much evidence to support this theory. Rather, it seems that over time the Aryans filled the void left by the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization.

An Aryan general.

An Aryan general. (Justin Gauraqv Murgai/ CC BY NC ND 2.0 )

Archaeological evidence shows that the societies were decaying in 1800 BC, most likely due to changes in river patterns. Some researchers argue that the Saraswati River dried up; others say it became prone to catastrophic flooding. Students of environmental science will know that these scenarios are not mutually exclusive. Whether by floods, droughts, or invasion, the agricultural practices that originally enabled the Indus people to flourish were disrupted. Thereafter, the economies and societal orders built on that agriculture also crumbled. “The evidence supporting the decline of the Indus River Civilization is compelling: writing started to disappear, standardized weights and measures used for trade and taxation purposes fell out of use, the connections with the Near East were interrupted, and some cities were gradually abandoned.” (Violetti, 2013) Shortly thereafter, the Aryans entered the scene. Soon, their language, agricultural, and animal husbandry practices became ascendant.

Illustration said to depict an Indo-Aryan person.

Illustration said to depict an Indo-Aryan person. ( No Known Copyright )

The Kingdom of Aryan

There is little evidence to speak of what the Kingdom of Aryan was like. Ancient sources only reference Aryans in passing and there is no way of knowing how accurate any of the statements are. For example, the Greek historian Herodotus, describing the people of Media, writes, “The Medes were called anciently by all people Aryans; but when Medea, the Colchian, came to them from Athens, they changed their name. Such is the account which they themselves give.” (Herodotus, 2013)

Head of Herodotus; Greek inscription. Roman copy of the Imperial era (2nd century AD) after a Greek bronze original of the first half of the 4th century BC. From Benha (ancient Athribis), Lower Egypt.

Head of Herodotus; Greek inscription. Roman copy of the Imperial era (2nd century AD) after a Greek bronze original of the first half of the 4th century BC. From Benha (ancient Athribis), Lower Egypt. ( Public Domain ) Herodotus mentions Aryan people, but doesn’t go into much detail.

This is not very helpful in understanding the character of Aryan people. An equally sketchy account of ancient Aryan legitimacy is the Zoroastrian religion. The term Airyana Vaejah , which translates as ‘Aryan expanse,’ refers to the mythical homeland of the Iranian people and is supposed to be the center of the world. This engenders the term with a certain amount of respectability, but still does not really give any racial or hierarchical meaning to it.

Zoroastrian devotional art.

Zoroastrian devotional art. ( Public Domain )

Elsewhere, Persian kings like Darius the Great and Xerxes are described as ‘Aryans of Aryan stock.’ This most likely refers to the original Aryans coming from Central Asia. Possibly due to Zoroastrian influences on Vedic religions, the terms arya and anarya are used in a moral sense, as to distinguish proper behavior from improper behavior. An Aryan thus was one who lived according to his or her dharma. It is not clear if this word derives from a tribal name. But it is clear as to how this designation could begin to take on connotations of nobility and superiority.

Illustration of Darius with his Parasol Bearers. 1904.

Illustration of Darius with his Parasol Bearers. 1904. ( Public Domain )

‘Aryan’ Becomes Distorted

In the Indian epic the Ramayana, Ravana refers to himself as arya. This could be because he is part of the highest caste or because he acts honorably.

Whatever the confused linguistic legacy of Aryan may be, it is certain that by the dawn of the 20th century, Aryan had become equated with nobility and superiority. Somewhere in the mists of time, this Indo-Iranian term came to be used for Indo-European peoples. The thinking went that ancient European peoples spread out from the frigid north to conqueror all of Eurasia. These ancient peoples were the Aryans.

West Aryan types of eastern and northern Europe. On the picture: Georgians, Ossette, Albanian, Woman of Iceland, Russian woman of Rjasan, Roumanian woman, Poles of Radom.

West Aryan types of eastern and northern Europe. On the picture: Georgians, Ossette, Albanian, Woman of Iceland, Russian woman of Rjasan, Roumanian woman, Poles of Radom. ( Public Domain )

Moreover, the more ancient something was, the more legitimate and more superior it was thought to be. Thus, the Germans declared themselves the descendants of the ancient, noble Aryan race, the most superior race in the racial hierarchy, who once ruled all of Eurasia. This pseudo-science served as a propaganda for the Nazis to achieve their political ends.

Please note that today, the appropriate term is Proto-Indo-European (PIE) languages, and it implies not that one language conquered and influenced all the others, but rather that many ancient languages in Eurasia seem to share common origins. PIE subcategories include Proto-Celtic, Proto-Baltic-Slavic, Proto-Greek, and Proto-Indo-Iranian (the Indo-Aryan language can be found under this last category). Certain neo-Nazi groups still posit that the Aryan race is Germanic or Nordic - but this is not supported by any historical or archaeological evidence.

Top Image: Aryan warriors. Source: Justin Gauraqv Murgai/ CC BY NC ND 2.0

By Kerry Sullivan


The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Aryan.”  Encyclopædia Britannica , Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Jan. 2017,

Herodotus. Histories of Herodotus . The Classics Us, 2013.


I'm sorry but the idea that the original 'aryans' came to India from Iran is amateur conjecture. There is a good amount of analysis by Indian Indologists that the Zoarastrian text is a mirror representation of the later parts of the Vedas. This means they are a provincial offshoot of the Indian religion. Western analysis of 'Aryan' history is getting more and more obsolete because westerners either totally ignore the writings of Indian scholars by lumping all of them in one category under the rubric 'right-wing Hindus' or they are outdated because they have not keep themselves abreast with the latest research-based writing coming out of India and elsewhere.

I agree with Mr. Rakshit. I would like to add that Aryans came from the west and were Europeans from the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea...Their most advanced human civilizationat Hemus peninsula dates back to 6000 BC.

False, out of Africa has been debunked already many times. True aryans are also white indo Europeans.


There is no evidence of an Aryan migration, the ancient India DNA samples have not been tested in IVC sites and published so far, infact not all of the India/South Asia region has been tested due to difficulties with population sampling in the region; it was actually illegal to take genetic samples in the South Asia region until recently. Also when geneticists are publishing these sort of moronic research articles, they don't take into account that Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal etc etc were all originally part of Indian civilization; infact the Indus Valley civilization stretched from parts of Iran and Afghanistan to all the way to near Central India.

Those countries DNA results and lineages are not counted when these genetic reports are published regarding subject matter like these. So when the genetic reports state steppe DNA, this really doesn't make sense because for one the steppe region populations TODAY are not the SAME as the ones from the Neolithic or ancient time periods, just like modern White Europeans are not the same population as Neolithic Europeans, which basically backfires and leads to the opposite conclusion that Aryan invasion proponents come to; secondly India/South Asia has the highest genetic diversity of populations of the Eurasian continent outside of Africa and was one of the first places that Out of Africa migrants stopped to before peopling the rest of Eurasia.

This means that the "steppe DNA" would in all likelihood originated IN INDIA BEFORE TRAVELLING TO EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA AND PART PARCEL OF THE WIDE GENOMIC VARIETY OF THE INDIA REGION! This is proved by the fact that genetic haplogroup R1a, the genetic haplogroup associated with the spread of IE/Turkic steppe peoples, also originated in the India/South Asia region BEFORE TRAVELLING TO EUROPE!

There is more R1a in the India/South Asia region then the entirety of the Europe region combined; not to mention the fact that European versions of R1a ARE NOT FOUND IN INDIA/SOUTH ASIA, HOWEVER INDIAN VERSIONS OF R1a ALONG WITH INDIAN MATERNAL GENES ARE FOUND WITHIN EUROPEAN POPULATIONS AS WELL AS CENTRAL ASIAN POPULATIONS AND IN THE TARIM MUMMIES!

Then there is the fact that there is virtually zero evidence of Vedic Indian culture outside of the India/South Asia region during the Indus Valley civilization period and even during its decline phase; there is no evidence of sanskritic, or Indic style monuments or artifacts or Vedic fire altars found in Europe or Central Asia or Siberia before the decline of the Indus Valley period or even during the supposed Aryan migration period; on the otherhand THERE IS EVIDENCE OF CULTURE CONTINUITY AND AN INDIGENOUS ORIGIN OF VEDIC ARYAN INDIAN CULTURE, IN THE FORM OF VEDIC STYLE FIRE ALTARS, SWASTIKA SYMBOLISM, VEDIC STYLE WHEEL AND CHARIOT REMAINS FOUND IN THE INDUS VALLEY REGION PREDATING THE SUPPOSED ARYAN MIGRATION PERIOD!

There is also no actual physical archaeological evidence of an Aryan migration happening, there is no corded ware pottery, no remains of actual eurasian steppe horses found within the IVC area during it's decline phase, no battle axes or weapons caches, no large scale horse and chariot burials, no Kurgan burial mounds or large burial mounds of any kind as would be expected from a steppe Androvono type presence, no actual skeletons of Aryan peoples and fossil evidence of battles between supposed Aryans and Dravidians (but which we find plenty in Europe) and in the archaeological record.

Indeed there is no actual PHYSICAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF THIS EVENT EVER HAPPENING! The dearth of actual archaeological evidence of this occurring MEANS IT NEVER HAPPENED! I mean there is so much more evidence that easily refutes AMT/AIT, but you white nationalist eurocentric morons aren't interested in the truth or even logic, but simply subscribing to your stupid idiotic contrived and artificial fantasy pseudo-scientific world view and religions of eurocentrism!

I would add that the article follows an ancient thinking that the Aryans, whoever they were, had entered northern India from Iran. This theory is disproved now. Linguistic evidence is very clear about this. The language of the incoming Aryans to India did NOT come from Iran, but rather from a previous precursor language common to both Iranians and Indian Aryans. From a cultural perspective, Iranian culture did not come into India with the Aryans; Indian Aryans had a completely different culture, folklore, legends and philosophy. None of it can be thought of coming from Iran. Iranian culture did indeed come to India, but that happened MANY years later - thousands of years - with the Muslim rulers which came to India - in large numbers after the 12th century AD. So the claim that Indian Aryans came from Iran is a discredited theory and it should be put to rest now. It is not known where they really came from; certainly they traversed central Asia; may have originated in the southern Caucasian mountain region. But they carried into India, a completely unique culture that is of neither Iranian, nor central Asian origin. There are people in India (a rather large number) who do not think the Aryans came into India from anywhere; they were indigenous, and had fanned outward from India than inward migration. Even that theory has been proven wrong by recent genetic studies; unquestionably, a group of outsiders with a distinctly different gene pool did indeed enter India from the outside around 1,500 BC; they were presumably the Aryan that the ancient Indian literature speaks of.


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