This blogger discusses about similarities between Mesopotamian hymns and Vedic hymns. And rejects any borrowings in Astrology and Mathematics. Well, I too reject any borrowings because I believe Haplogroups J2a and G2 people were already part of South Asia by the time Indo-Aryans migrated to the subcontinent. If we compare other Indo-European societies in Europe who did not develop such advanced(relatively speaking ...exception, of course, are the Asians in Europe, Greeks) society around that time, I believe it was undoubtedly the Semitic influence.
IE society and classes:
It has been observed the early RigVedic society had two divisions. Warriors(rAjanya) and Common men(vaizya) but the later society shows four fold varNa system with Brahmins occupying the highest position with a strict hereditary structure. In my opinion, this was brought about by elite priests of West Asian traditions and from population genetics we can identify them as belonging to clans Haplogroup J2a and G2.
Now consider classes/castes of three IE societies:
Division ------------- Colour-------- Occupation
brAhmaNa----------- White--------- Priests
kSatriya (rAjanya) ---Red ----------Warriors
vaizya--------------- Yellow-------- Common men(occupational groups)
zUdra---------------- Black--------- Slaves/serfs
However, here we have to observe that only traders remained as vaizya in the later period and the rest became part of zUdras. Common sense tells us, considering the nomadic nature of Indo-Aryans and trading nature of IVC, traders could have been the least Aryans among those divisions. And considering the pastoral nature of Indo-Aryan society, ie. farmers and herdsmen and occupational groups, a big chunk of Aryans became part of zUdras in the later period.
Note: A recent study of South Indian golla(Telugu herders) show some clans having higher frequency of R1a1(resembling North West Indian population).Now consider Norse society:
According to Norse mythology, there are there classes.
Division------ Colour------ Occupation
Rig----------- White------- Warriors
Smith-------- Red--------- Common people
Thrall*------- Black--------- Slaves/Serfs
The Wikipedia article tries to connect Rig to both Brahmins and Ksatriyas. Anyway, I will go by the etymological similarities. Rig and rAajan are cognates. And considering the early RigVedic society divisions, Rig can only be warriors. As expected Common people were herdsmen and farmers. Thrall is an interesting case. If you consider Scandinavian society R1a1 forms 20-30% of the population. The rest being R1b and I, the natives. Were these Slaves/Serfs part of IE society or were they natives? If they were part of IE society what about Sudras? Were they also part of original IA society that moved to South Asia? Let us consider the second case. They were the natives. Then the question is whether colour black was just a metaphor or Central/Western Europeans were black until they came into contact with Eastern Europeans? Probably, both lactase persistence and light colour appeared first in Eastern Europe or Steppe and then spread North-Westward quickly.
Now consider Celtic society;
According to Wikipedia article on Druids:
Nobles ----- ? ----------?
By population Genetics, Celtic society has the lowest frequency of R1a1(at present responsible for the spread of IE languages). Therefore, IE-isation of these people could be similar to IA-isation of Marathis in India(who closely resemble their southern, Dravidian, neighbours in Haplogroup frequencies). That is a section of population of language X, coming into contact with a population of language Y, adopting that language and spreading that language to remaining section of language X without any gene mixing from language Y population. Probably, in Central Europe?
Considering such a low R1a1, I don't believe the society showed marked IE culture like that in North Europe and India. First of all, the classes were not comparable to Indian castes. Consider this sentence from Caeser's accounts;
Druids were not a hereditary casteThat I feel very important along with Strabo's second hand account(which does not contradict any of Caeser's accounts, I believe);
By comparing these three societies we can conclude that, in the original IE society priest's(if he could be called so... as he could be Shaman too ... as in the case of all Steppe people) position was not the highest and one IE society which apparently showed such a setup was not even culturally IE in true sense(Celtic).
* Thrall was 'svartan'(dark/black colour) according to Norse mythology. There is no IA equivalent for this word. Curiously, till date zUdra etymology has not been found out. I found the following etymology at StarLing Database at Germanic section;
Proto-Germanic: *swarta-, *surtōn, -ēn
Gothic: swart-s (a) `black'
Old Norse: svart-r `schwarz'; sorta f. `schwarze Farbe', sorti m. `dunkel, dichter Nebel'
Latin: sordēre `schmutzig sein', sordidus, -a `schmutzig, gering, geizig', sordēs, gen. -is f. `Schmutz, Unflat; Unglück, Erniedrigung'
Consider Old Norse and Latin words for black. I wonder if that can tell us whether 'sudra' and 'swarta' are cognates and essentially meant 'black'.
I found something here.
schwarz, adj. (8. Jh.), < mhd. swarz < ahd. swarz < urgerm. *swarta (> got. swarts, anord. sorta) < urindoeur. *sortə < urural. *surtə „grau, blau, Schmutz, Rauch, Scheisse, verstecken” (> ursam. *sire, urugr. *surna, urfinn. *ʃar „grau”; ursam. *suðraχ, urugr. *sur, urfinn. *ðsor „blau”; urugr. *sar, urfinn. *saro „Schmutz”; ursam. *suðo, urugr. *siχ, urfinn. *swit „Rauch”; urugr. *sart, urfinn. *ʃort „Scheisse”; urugr. *tsawajt, urfinn. *tʃart „verstecken”) → nhd. schwärzen; nschw. svart; nisl. svartur; urind. *sakrt „Schmutz”.I wonder about the pronunciation of the word in red.
Razib at Gene Expression has this entry on Turkish analogy for Indo-Europeans. I too believe the scenario where nomadic tribes from Eurasian Steppe spreading their languages(by whatever means) but taking up the West Asian/Semitic culture. In India, I propose, this could be found in uneven distribution of Y-Hg-J2a and G2 but, almost uniform distribution of Steppe marker R1a1 among North-West Indian castes.
An interesting point is the word 'Sudra'. One of the members at Quetzalcoatl Anthropology forum informed me that hypothetical construction(see above) of the word 'black' which is close to Sudra is in fact Proto-Samoyedic, part of Uralic family. It has been argued that IE words in Finno-Ugric/Uralic family in fact belong to Indo-Iranian family. I still do not know if these Indo-Iranians are primary or secondary of tertiary IE people. However, this proto-word for black can still be considered one of the borrowed words between Indo-Iranians and Uralic languages, probably, from Uralic to Indo-Iranian.