Aryan race

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The Aryan race is a concept historically influential in Western culture in the period of the late 19th century and early 20th century. It derives from the idea that the original speakers of the Indo-European languages and their descendants up to the present day constitute a distinctive race or subrace of the larger Caucasian race.[1] Belief in the existence of an Aryan race is sometimes referred to as Aryanism.

While originally meant simply as a neutral ethno-linguistic classification, it was later used for ideologically motivated racism in Nazi and neo-Nazi doctrine and hence also in other currents such as occultism and white supremacism.

Contents

Origin of the term

The term Aryan originates from the Sanskrit word ārya, in origin an ethnic self-designation, in Classical Sanskrit meaning "honourable, respectable, noble".[3][4]

In the 18th century, the most ancient known Indo-European languages were those of the Indo-Iranians' ancestors. The word Aryan was adopted to refer not only to the Indo-Iranian people, but also to native Indo-European speakers as a whole, including the Armenians, Greeks, Latins, and Germans. It was soon recognised that Balts, Celts, and Slavs also belonged to the same group. It was argued that all of these languages originated from a common root—now known as Proto-Indo-European—spoken by an ancient people who must have been the original ancestors of the Europe and Indo-Aryan peoples. The ethnic group composed of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and their modern descendants was termed the Aryans.

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