PART I

THE DON EVIDENCE

I shall begin with the Don rivers. Perhaps you are familiar with this evidence, but a review is necessary to obtain a broader picture.
 

The famous Don river of Russia is prominent in the minds of most western people. It originates near Moscow and flows approximately 1200 miles southward into the Sea of Azov.
 

The Danube flows out of the mountains of Germany, through Austria and Hungary, between Rumania and Bulgaria, and on into the Black Sea. It is known as the Donau to Germans, and Duna to Hungarians. These are transparent "Don" forms. On its lower end it was known as the Ister since ancient times.
 

The combination of the Don-Ister name is found in the Dniester of the Ukraine. If Don is married with Ister we obtain Don-Ister, and this is the Dniester name with a contraction of the Don name. The name may be contracted from of an earlier Danastris, but this name is merely a phonetic variation of Don and Ister.

(The Dnieper may also carry a contraction of the Don name.)
 

The Donets in the Ukraine flows southeast into the Don. Donets is a local phonetic variation of Don.
 

Many believe these Don names derive from the Kimmerians, since the Kimmerians occupied the regions of southern Russia and the Ukraine in ancient times, circa 600 BCE. The usual etymology assigns the names to an ancient IE word for "water."
 

Unfortunately, those suggested origins, while appealing in their simplicity, are conditioned by other evidence.
 

Not so well known is the Don river which originates near Sheffield, England and flows eastward into the river Humber.
 

Another Don river originates in the Grampian mountains of Scotland and flows eastward into the North Sea near Aberdeen.
 

Still another Don river in western France flows into the Vilaine.
 

A Don Dara river in Spain flows into the Segre.
 

Yet another Don river in India flows into the Krishna.
 

India also has the Dhan and Dhansiri rivers.
 

Far away in Laos a Don river flows into the Mekong.
 

We also find the Dyfrdonwy and TryIdonwy rivers in Wales. Dyfr in Old Welsh meant "water." If the don form in the old IE root system also means "water" we then have a doublet from different linguistic origins.
 

As Eilert Ekwall expressed it, "Don is an old river name, Brittanic Dana, which is related to the name Danube and is really an old word for 'water,' found in Sanskrit danu for rain or moisture."
 

Without question, the Don name was associated by the ancients with flowing water. But is this truly the origin of the river names? The widespread use of the "Don" form suggests an influence that stretches beyond the native IE languages, whether Keltic, Kimmerian, Hindi, or other, to a more ancient common origin. The Laos river name may take our investigations even beyond commonly recognized IE boundaries. If our cultural horizons limit our views, then we may miss important evidence that goes beyond the Sanskrit danu or other native "water" origins.
 

Could it be that "flowing water" reflects an even more remote ancient concept, a common cultural idea that existed over these regions much farther removed in time? Would we then begin to understand the origin of the IE root words in a broader light?
 

I believe so.
 

Note that I do not survey the abundant "Don" land names. The river names are more striking because of their unique geographical definition which might carry through many generations and movements of people, while land names might be more transient, dependent upon temporal settlements, changing more readily with time.
 

However, if we are to maintain integrity in our research we must objectively examine pervasive "Don" forms that exist beyond river names.
 

TITLES OF NOBILITY

 

A very important element in this examination are the "Don" titles of nobility from the Iberian peninsula, with their "Dona" counterpart, male and female, Lords and Ladies. Are they unrelated to the Don river names?
 

(Portuguese has a phonetic variation in "Dom." This "n-to-m" phonetic shift is found many places.)
 

Traditionally the Don and Dona social honorifics are assigned to origin in the Roman "Dominus" and "Domina" social titles, Lord and Lady. But the clear, uninflected Don and Dona makes this derivation suspect. Perhaps the Portuguese Dom leads many to believe the origins were from the Roman Dominus, but why are the Portuguese Dom and Roman Dominus not phonetic variations on Don?
 

The leads to the question of origins. How far back do the titles go? If there was an influence which affected the Iberian people separately from the Romans, that is, a source common to both, from whence did it derive?
 

These titles for nobility find reflection in the "Don" titles of senior scholars of English Universities. The medieval Dan (Don) Chaucer carried this title. Importantly, they denote senior academic positions. Linguistic scholars are not agreed on the origin of the English titles. Although the phonetic and social affinities with the Iberian Don are recognized, a common origin is rejected.
 

(Note also the "Don" titles of the Sicilian and Italian underworlds.)
 

For the moment I shall include here without discussion the title of "Dean," used for high administrative position in colleges and universities throughout English speaking countries, as well as the head of a large cathedral. It is used today for anyone senior in a profession or field of expertise. It has a phonetic similarity to "Don," but its origins are traditionally assigned to the Latin "decanum" and Greek "dekanos," as one set over a group of ten, or chief to a division of ten. Again, the assignment is assumed from a cultural horizon which misses the farther origin.
 

Important to our understanding is the fact that the "Don" titles denote social position, or social respect. They are used to distinguish individuals who are differentiated from the common lot. But the titles in Spain and Portugal go beyond mere social superiority. They connote noble blood, blood that is different from the commoners. In former times, commoners were not allowed to use those titles. Then we are back to the question of ultimate origins. If only "noble" people were allowed to use the titles, how was the line of descent carried from the ultimate origins? A noble son received it from his father, he received it from his father, and on back into the mists of the past. Who was the first Don?
 

Thus we are faced with a biological element in these traditions. What would cause a differentiation of "noble" blood from the common lot? Is it more than mere social evolution differentiating a natural drift into more powerful community positions? Was there a biological element of blood origin recognized by the ancients as different from the common lot? Who started the tradition? How far back does it go? How is it related to the European marriage traditions of nobility selecting mates only among nobility?
 

This line of thought then throws us back to the river names. Were the titles assigned because of respect for some ancient personality with the "Don" name? Did flowing water symbolize a powerful genetic source which flowed through the generations? Were the ancients capable of such sophisticated concept? Did they attempt to honor that ancient noble by association with flowing water?
 

 

THE DON MYTH TRADITIONS

 

In 1971 I discovered a book called, "The Key." That book triggered my personal research. It was written by John Philip Cohane, an Irish layman, who discussed "linguistic fossils," Semitic names which showed pervasively around the planet, and which he assigned to the influence of Abraham, Sarah, or other biblical personalities. Unfortunately, his cultural horizon was limited to 2,000 BCE, thus to prevent him from perceiving the more ancient and more universal origins of the Semitic influence. In that book he quotes a Scandinavian folklore source, but does not provide a citation for it. Hence I do not know how he discovered it. He quoted the biological importance of an original Don personality as follows:
 

". . . from whom, so saith antiquity, the pedigree of our kings have flowed in glorious series, like channels from some parent spring."
 

From this citation it appears that a "Don" influence may be far more than a mere word for "flowing water," or unguided social caste evolution.
 

A review of folk tales and myth quickly confirmed this conclusion.
 

For example, how did Denmark get its name? The "Danes" were known to the Romans as "Dani." They were the people of Scandinavia, including modern Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Old Norse was their common language. Not until 800 CE did they diverge into separate national identities.
 

Perhaps the "Dani" were the source of Cohane's quote. Perhaps they were "Dani" because they were descended from that original Don.
 

KELTIC EVIDENCE

 

According to Welsh mythology, the people of Wales were the "Children of Don." "Dana" was the mother of Aranrhod, the progenitor of the royal house of Wales.
 

In Ireland the royal house of Munster was called the "House of Donn." "Dana" (or "Danu") was the mother of the Irish gods. In Irish folk tradition the "Tuatha de Danaan" were the people of the goddess "Dana." Artists among the Tuatha were known as gods.
 

It seems reasonable to assume that the Welsh and Irish folk tales came from some common origin, but was it Keltic? Does it go back beyond identifiable Keltic traditions and languages? Were these tales borrowed by the people of the Keltic migrations from an earlier and much older tradition?
 

The clear "Don" and "Dana" names from Keltic gods are unequivocal in phonetics and semantics to the "Don" and "Dona" titles of Iberia. In Ireland and Wales the tradition came down in ancestral identification, while in Spain and Portugal they were retained in titles of social respect.
 

Clearly, something is going on here which modern scholarship is unwilling to credit. Conventional views are chained by assumptions of "natural" biological origins and "normal" social evolution. Those views are also chained by limited cultural horizons.
 

GREEK EVIDENCE

 

Ancient written records refer to the Greek people by two different names: Acheans and Danaans, or the Achae and Danae. The two names appear equally interchangeable.
 

Homer, in the "Illiad," tells of the battles between the Trojans and the Acheans, whom he also names the "Danaans," or "Danae."
 

The Greeks were explicit in their memory of their ancient ancestor.
 

According to their traditions "Danaus" was the god ancestor of the Danae. He shared the throne of Egypt with his half-brother, Aegyptus, but was driven out with his fifty daughters, the "Danaides." The fifty sons of Aegyptus followed Danuas and, in the guise of friendship, sought the hands of the fifty daughters in marriage. Danaus consented but on the wedding night he gave each daughter a dagger with which they were to kill their bridegrooms in revenge for the treatment he had received. All followed his instructions except one, Hypermnestra, who allowed her husband to escape. He later returned and killed Danaus and all the daughters except Hypermnestra, and then became king instead.
 

I shall not here engage in discussion of the symbolic significance of these folk tales. I will merely remark that they reflect distorted memory of very ancient traditions, now lost in the mists of time.
 

We can see that the "Don" influence certainly goes beyond our notions of Keltic, Iberian, or Roman origins in Don names, myths, and noble titles, although we find a common bond in Indo-European ancestry.
 

(Note that I have not discussed the common personal names we find in the IE traditions. For example, "Donald" means "Old Don." Many of these forms exist.)
 

THE EARTH MOTHER GODDESS

 

Other evidence for this common tradition is found in the names for a goddess from England to India.
 

"Dana" was a goddess of the ancient Britons. "Dana" (or "Tana") was an ancient Italian goddess, the earth mother who taught her people magic. "Danu" was the mother goddess of ancient India.
 

From these various forms, and degraded social memories, we find a common theme across IE regions of origins of noble blood from some common pair named Don and Dona. In Ireland and Wales they are remembered as a pair. In Greece Don was remembered, but memory of Dona was lost. Among the ancient Britons, Italians, and Indians the earth mother goddess Dona was remembered but memory of Don was lost.
 

COMMENTS

 

At this point I must decide on intellectual integrity. Do I follow the evidence where it leads me?
 

We see that assignment of ancestry to a god and goddess pair extends from the farthest shores of western Europe to the subcontinent, differentiating "noble" biological stock from common lines. Certainly the Indians did not invent such assignments independently of the Kelts of Ireland, but must have inherited traditions from a common source which goes beyond known historical horizons. At this point we do not know if those common myth elements began in the same geographical regions and temporal locales as the IE languages, but we strongly suspect so. The river names were later local assignments by different people who carried those common traditions. This fact illustrates my early remark about wide cultural dispersions which influence local social evolutions, just as the IE languages show local evolutions away from the mother tongue.
 

We should carefully regard the fact that these notions of a god and goddess pair did not derive out of some modern extraterrestrial invention. The traditions are as old as the hills. All the old IE people believed them. While modern social mania may defile and pervert such evidence, scholarly rigor demands that we examine the ancient traditions with a view to what the evidence is telling us. We should not precondition the evidence by our modern assumptions of "natural" biological evolution.
 

The Irish Keltic myths, and Indian Hindu traditions, go so far as to describe space transport. Among the old Irish scribes "was a diversity of opinion as to whether the Tuatha came in ships on in clouds through the air." The Rig Veda also speaks of the eight supreme Hindu gods known as Adityas as "crossing over the [space] waters in an amphibious chariot 'with seats where eight may sit.'"
 

Fortunately, this is not the end of the trail. Much other evidence conditions our views of the past. I shall consider the Iberi connection in Part II. In Part III I shall discuss the blood and color connections of the Semitic Iberi to red hair and skin.