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Sumerian, Ugur (Hurrian), Hatti, Siberian / Eurasian Steppe, Anatolian Indo-European founders of Ancient Greek civilization: Minoan, Mycenaean, Archaic and Classical Greece

By Mehmet Kurtkaya. First published in 2016, updated with new info and links on September 22, 2018

That's a lot of founding people and civilizations one might be tempted to say. However, we should keep in mind that Ancient Greek civilization had a 3500 years of history span, starting around 2900 BC with Minoan Greece.

Sumer civilization was established in Mesopotamia, between Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in modern Iraq which neighbors Turkey just like Greece. Hatti and Hurrian were the first major indigenous people/civilizations in Turkey (Anatolia). They spoke SOV, addititve (agglutinative), non Indo-European languages. Anatolian Indo-European speakers are known from written cuneiform records of the Hittites starting with the 1650 BC Anitta text and the so-called Luwian hieroglyphs. These were ancient civilizations established in neighboring lands, Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The clear exception is Siberia / Eurasian Steppe which is far from Greece.

The May 2017 genetic study which revealed the existence of people from Siberia / the Eurasian Steppe among ancient Mycenaean Greeks (1700-1200BC) (Sciencemag article, and the original article from Nature) must have shocked many but not the readers of Sumerian Turks: Civilization's Journey from Siberia to Mesopotamia first published in 2016.

From the abstract of this groundbreaking genetic research paper published in May 2017.

"...Here we show that Minoans and Mycenaeans were genetically similar, having at least three-quarters of their ancestry from the first Neolithic farmers of western Anatolia and the Aegean, and most of the remainder from ancient populations related to those of the Caucasus and Iran.

However, the Mycenaeans differed from Minoans in deriving additional ancestry from an ultimate source related to the hunter-gatherers of eastern Europe and Siberia, introduced via a proximal source related to the inhabitants of either the Eurasian steppe or Armenia. Modern Greeks resemble the Mycenaeans, but with some additional dilution of the Early Neolithic ancestry.

Our results support the idea of continuity but not isolation in the history of populations of the Aegean, before and after the time of its earliest civilizations..."

The above study (2017) was done on ancient genomes found in grave remains. In 2007, a genetic study that involved populations of Crete and the Near East showed that the country’s neolithic population migrated to Greece by sea from Anatolia/Turkey – with ancestry from modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria – and not from Africa as maintained by US scholar Martin Bernal. Read more about the study at: Minoan DNA results and discussion (Study link: Differential Y‐chromosome Anatolian Influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic)

Hence the study on ancient genomes (2017) confirmed the results of genetic studies made on modern populations a decade earlier (2008).

This means that the Greek civilization was not indigenous (autochthonous). It was founded by migrants from Anatolia/Turkey!

Nothing short of ground-breaking and a major shock for the Classics departments of universities around the world. This also means that there is a new task at hand, identification of these civilization founding migrant people.

At the time of the founding of Minoan Greece, in the 3rd Millenium BC, there were only two major civilizations in Turkey: Ugur (Hurrian) and Ugat (Hatti). In addition to these two, Sumerians had colonies in Southeast Turkey where Hurrians lived. Hence we can easily deduct the identity of the founders of Ancient Minoan Greece, a combination of these three people: Hurrian, Sumerian and Hatti. The composition of the people and their effect on founding Minoan Greece can be found using both archaeological records as well as linguistic data from Cretan hieroglyphs and Minoan Linear A.

Mycenaeans had Siberian/Eurasian Steppe ancestry (4% to 16% of DNA) in addition to Hurrian/Sumerian/Hatti ancestry. The authors indicate that these Eurasian Steppe people migrated to Greece either through Eastern Turkey/Caucusus/Armenia or Eastern Europe. This question can be resolved by analyzing the people/civilizations in and around Turkey at the time of the founding of Mukanei (Mycenaean in Greek) civilization in 1700BC.

Let's leave this major discovery aside for the moment to concentrate on the already known major Western Asian / Near Eastern civilizations. Even when the influence of Ancient Near East (Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt) on Greece had been observed by academics starting with the research of German linguist Paul Kretschmer in the 1890s, hardly anyone spoke of migrations as the cause of this influence. Western Academics almost unanimously mentioned exchange of ideas as the reason behind this influence. In fact, those who spoke about ancient migrations were dismissed as fringe by Western scholars who depicted ancient civilizations as isolated occurences, with the sole exception of Greece and Rome which were correctly established as intrinsically linked. But others, not so much.

There was widespread Western academic animosity against a handful of dissident Western academics who had advocated the so called hyperdiffusionism. These dissident academics who challenged the main stream narrative were called "pseudo" archaeologists by the Main Stream academics. The same attitude prevailed among linguists too, hence most ancient languages in Anatolia and the Near East were declared isolates including some of the first languages of the world with written records: Sumerian, Hurrian, Hatti, and Etruscan among others. Needless to say this meant the refusal of scientific skepticism and establishment of Western social academic dogmatism by the likes of Oxford, Harvard etc.

The issue at hand was real science versus Western social pseudo-science.

Luckily, 21st century genetics research on both modern populations and ancient genomes obtained from graves help researchers, enthusiasts, citizen scientists find the truth.

Who were these people from Siberia and how did they migrate to Greece ?

It is possible to answer this question only by analyzing all relevant information from different fields such as archaeology, linguistics, mythology and genetics together. And this should be done not only for Greece, but for Anatolian, Near Eastern, Mediterranean and Siberian / Eurasian civilizations.

First farmers of Europe migrated from Anatolia (Turkey) 8000-9000 years ago

From Daily Mail: The new findings suggest Anatolia acted as a hub from which the farming revolution then spread. Early European farmers migrated from Kumtepe near Troy (Troas). They were probably the founders of the legendary city of Troy, and the neolithic site Catalhoyuk in Central Anatolia.

Turkey was the cradle and the hub for the farming revolution. In fact, Anatolian farmers migrated East to Iran and brought farming culture there as well. See: The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia March 2018.

In the original article published in 2017 Early farmers from across Europe directly descended from Neolithic Aegeans the authors state that their study provides the coup de grâce to the notion that farming spread into and across Europe via the dissemination of ideas but without, or with only a limited, migration of people.

This statement is very important because Western take on Sumerian influence on Ancient Greece and Rome is similar: The foundational influence of Sumer and Hurrian on Graeco-Roman mythology is known but the West imagines/asserts that ideas spread without the people! Most recent ancient genome studies (2017) proved that the Founders of the Minoan (2900 BC) and the Myceneaen (1700BC) Greece migrated from Anatolia, hence the people arrived with their ideas, culture and founded the Greek civilization!

Collective names for Greeks in Homer's Iliad

Homer used Akhaioí, "the Achaeans", or Danaoi, "Danaans", or Argeoi "Argives", as collective names for Greeks. Panhellenes and Hellenes, the Classical names still in use, appear only once each. Ancient Greeks themselves noted that the founders of their civilization were Barbarians which then meant "Others".

The name Akhaoi or Achaeans, used the most as a collective name for Greeks in Iliad, was hypothetized to be the same first mentioned in Hittite records around 1450 BC as Ahhiyawa . Ahhiyawa's capital was located along the Aegean coast of Turkey and was called Milawanda, Milatawa, known as Miletus in the Classical period.

Now that we know from genetics studies that the founders of Greece migrated from Anatolia, we can confirm the association of the Achaeans with the Ahhiyawa!

Proto-Greeks or Pre-Greek

The founders of the Greek civilization are usually called Proto-Greeks and their language as Proto-Greek language which forms a substratum for the Greek language, called Pre-Greek.

From Mount Olympus and the Twelve Olympians to Iliad, Odysseus, Athena, Aegean and Europe

South Peaks of Mount Olympus from Wikimedia, Full size Image Wikimedia

The major deities of the Greek pantheon were Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus. Ancient Greeks believed these gods lived on Mount Olympus hence the name Twelve Olympians.

The origins of the names of the 12 Olympians headed by Zeus are either unknown or disputed, because they are not originally Greek names. These names are inherited from the so-called proto-Greeks.

In fact, you can check any etymology resource or even usually censored Wikipedia ( more on Wikipedia censorship) to confirm this fact.

The same applies to the origins (etymology) of the words Olympus and Odysseus and even Iliad which is said to be of Anatolian origin, related to Hittite name Wilusa.

The late Dutch scholar Robert Beekes had suggested that many Greek Gods have pre-Greek, non-Indo-European origins.

Even the word Europe is of uncertain origin!

Then isn't it reasonable to check the languages of the people who had migrated from Anatolia and founded Ancient Greece for finding word origins ? The languages spoken in Anatolia and Mesopotamia, in addition to the language of the people who came from Siberia/Central Asia.

Indo-European languages and civilizations are influenced by a prior language/civilization(s)

This idea was first suggested by the German linguist Paul Kretschmer in his 1896 book "Einleitung in die Geschichte der griechischen Sprache (Introduction to the History of the Greek Language)" where he suggested that Indo-European languages were influenced by non-Indo-European languages, such as Etruscan. By analyzing place names in Greece, he showed that a non-Indo-European civilization preceded the Greeks.

About 20 years before Kretschmer's book, in 1874, English scholar Isaac Taylor had shown that Etruscans were Ugric, Ugur Turkish. See the Origins of the Etruscans!

And another 20 years before Isaac Taylor, in the 1850s, European scholars including British Edward Hincks who had deciphered Sumerian cuneiform had shown that Sumerian was a Turkic language. See 160 years of Sumerian Language Turkish comparisons and analysis

None of the genetic study results of the 2000s and 2010s comes as a shock if one studies great European scholars of the 1800s.

The continuity of Ancient Pre-Greek city names from Turkey / East to Greece / West

An important expose on Pre-Greek city names published by Hungarian researcher Andras Zene dated to 2010 shows the continuity of toponyms (place and city names) from Eastern and Southeastern Turkey to Greece and even to the Balkans. His very informative maps are based on studies published starting with the major Blegen and Hailey analysis in 1928 until the research papers of the 2000s:

Place/City Names ending with -ndos, -nthos/-ntha, -(s)sos/-(s)sa, and -na in Greece and Turkey are considered pre-Greek. Athena, Ephesos, Knossos, Assos, Smyrna, Adana, Korinthos, Mylasa etc. are not Greek names, they are pre-Greek! See More info on pre-Greek .

Maps based on non-Greek city name endings: pre-Greek .

Ancient Greek is largely based on a Pre-Greek language

This fact is not discussed enough. It is well known since Furnee's 1972 work and then late Indo-European scholar Robert Beekes' work in the 2000s, especially since the publication of his book "Pre-Greek: Phonology, Morphology, Lexicon" that ancient Greek language has a considerable non-Indo-European subtratum. Since we know that the founders of Ancient Greece migrated from Anatolia to Greece 5000-3000 years ago, this language must have been spoken in Anatolia (Turkey)!

There were only two non-Indo-European languages spoken in Anatolia some 5000 years ago: the languages of the Gat (Hatti) and Gur (Hurrian). Moreover it has been reported in the past that pre-Greek has similarities to some Caucasian languages as well as Turuk (eTursci, Etruscan) and other Turuk / Tyrrhenian languages such as Lemnian, Raetic and Camunic. This is well in line with known Eurasian migrations.

Pre-Greek substrate is the term used for Greek words deriving from a non-Indo European Pre-Greek language. A good wrap-up of current and previous studies as well as some suggestions on potential research about Pre-Greek by Gianpolo Tardivo.

Sumerian Influence on Ancient Greek Civilization

Sumerian influence on Ancient Greece is seldom mentioned but there are books and articles covering this subject. And even books and articles citing Sumerian civilization among the foundations of "the West" such as: Greek and Mesopotamian States

German mathematician Franz Lemmermeyer's Sumerian traces in Archimedes' Cattle Problem is interesting not only for its content but also for the ridiculous referee rejection letter it was met with. The article mentions mathematics related lines from a song dedicated to Sumerian Moon God Nanna and shows major similarities to the lines from Homer's Odyssey and Archimedes' cattle problem.

Sumerian Mythology influenced Greek Mythology

Lemmermeyer also mentions a book on Babylonian mythological influences on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey that "needs to be read from cover to cover": Die Griechen und der Orient Von Homer bis zu den Magiern (English: Babylon, Memphis, Persepolis Eastern Contexts of Greek Culture ) published in 2004 by the late German professor Walter Burkert.

As early as 1966, Martin Litchfield observed that “Greek literature is a Near Eastern literature” and wrote books along this line: Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (1971) and The East Face of Helicon (1997).

American author Charles Penglase has a 1997 book on the same subject: Greek Myths and Mesopotamia: Parallels and Influence in the Homeric Hymns and Hesiod)

Most recently, in 2016, Mary Bachvarova has published From Hittite to Homer: The Anatolian Background of Ancient Greek Epic

While most of the current academic work involving Near Eastern influence on Ancient Greece show mostly Hittite / Hurrian and Akkadian/ Babylonian foundations, these civilizations owe at least major parts of their mythology to the Sumerians, including the Epic of Gilgamesh / Bilgemesh, their gods, and mythical stories. Sumerian predate other civilizations by hundreds, in some cases by thousands of years.

Sumerian Influence is not confined to Mythology!

There are more proofs showing the propagation of civilization from Sumer towards Anatolian (Turkey), Greek and Etruscan (Italian) lands, such as the liver consultation.

This was the practice of examining the liver of a sacrificied animal in order to receive messages from gods. These messages would be used by the rulers in decision making: before going to war, signing a peace treaty, or when selecting cultic personel.

This practice originated in Sumer, then was continued by the Babylonians and then propagated to Ancient Greece and Rome! See an important work on this subject by Nicholas Gill, supervised by Dr. Fabio Colivicci Liver Consultation in Babylonia, Greece and Etruria

See more on ancient Roman divination practices at Sumerian influence on Ancient Rome

Babylone is based on Sumer!

I should, at this point, add that everything Babylonian is based on Sumerians, and this is a universally known fact, though rarely mentioned in such clarity. Babylonians have built upon Sumerian civilization for the better, and sometimes for the worse, after Babylonian King Hammurabi's conquest of Sumer.

Akkadians (later named Babylonians) were originally hunter-gatherers and desert nomads, hence local people who, over more than a 1000 years' period, blended into Sumerian society and lived in their cities. In time, some Akkadians became Sumerian kings! Babylonia lasted only about 400 years. Compare that to over 2,200 years of Sumerian civilization before Babylon was formed over conquered Sumer lands.

Greek Star names, Zodiac signs are based on Sumerian!

Important article by G.Kurtik and Alexander Militarev (Moscow) From Mesopotamia to Greece: Origin of Semitic and Greek Star names Check your zodiac sign!

Mycenaean Greece

Long before Classical Greece there was Mycenaean Greece whose myths and folklore made the bulk of the Ancient Greek mythology.

Mycenaean Golden Bull Head (Similar to the Sumerian Golden bull head) is a symbol of the highest Sun/Sky god and the bull cult.

From Mycenae to Homer: A Study in Early Greek Literature and Art published in 1958 by T. B. L. Webster proves how Mycenean Greece is influenced by Sumerian, Babylonian, Hittite, Hurrian, Egyptian myths including the myths of Bilgemesh (Gilgamesh).

A recent Smithsonian article tells of a 2015 find, the most fascinating Greek archaeological dig in decades: Golden Warrior in Greek Tomb exposes roots of Western Civilization. This is a major article with a broader look in to Ancient Greece and its roots.

The only thing that is annoying in the article is the idea that "Mycenaean Greek civilization (1600-1100 BC) came out of nowhere".

Out of Nowhere

"Out of nowhere" is a leitmotiv in Western history books and academic circles. Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Gur (Hurrian), Etruscan, Indus Valley, and most other ancient civilizations supposedly all came out of nowhere!

Moreover, most of those great civilizations supposedly disappeared without leaving any trace! So, the Western take on history is full of neighboring civilizations especially in Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia (Iraq), Syria, and Iran, that all come and go like ghosts! Worst of all, supposedly they are all isolate. One probably can't sell all that as a Hollywood script, but it works for universities in the US (Harvard et al.) and EU (Oxford etc.).

In times of real Western fake news, one should not expect much!

Greek and Ugur/Gur (Hurrian) Mythology similarities

Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, as well as major Greek gods, are largely based on another, prior civilization. This is not new ground.

German scholar H.G. Guterbock revealed major similarities between Ancient Greek and Gur / Hurrian mythology from neighboring Turkey with Kumarbi in his book Mythen um Churritischen Kronos, published in 1946. And we know for sure that Ugur/Gur was an advanced civilization, at times on par with Sumer as Urkesh finds proved thanks to Bucellati's work. And we know that all copper related terms in Sumer comes from Gur (Hurrian) language!

Minoan Greece and Gur / Hurrian relations

camp stool fresco
Striking similarity to Sumerian and Egyptian art is not a coincidence (Image from Wikimedia, by Zde)

Bull cult Taru, similar to Cretean Minotaur, can be found in both Mesopotamia (Sumer) and Anatolia.

Case for Minoan as Greater Hurrian is an interesting article for the origins of Minoan Crete island civilization.

Also see Hurrian - Minoan Greece language comparisons :

Minoan Script, Hurrians and Hurrian Language A site dedicated to analyze Minoan A Linear script using Gur / Hurrian language and a book by Peter G. Van Soesbergen.

A comparative linguistic study about the Sumerian Influence on the creation of the Aegean Scripts Minoan Language, Linear A, Linear B and Cretan Hieroglyphs

Establishing the West-Ugric Language Family with Minoan, Hattic and Hungarian by a Decipherment of Linear A by Hungarian computer scientist Peter Z. Revesz. Results in harmony with Dutch scholar Peter van Soesbergen's identification of Minoan Linear A as Hurrian (=Ugur).

Greek researchers Ioannis K. Kenanidis and Evangelos C. Papakitsos establish relationship between Greek Minoan scripts , Cretan Protolinear script and Sumerian language.

Another interesting article published in 2016, linking Crete to Sumer and Cretan Hieroglyphs to Sumerian: Cretan Hieroglyphics, The Cretan Protolinear Script

Sumerian influence on Crete

Minoan Greece 2900 BC is of Gur (Hurrian), Sumerian and Hatti / Ugat origin. In fact, latest archaeological and genetics research confirms this. Minoan Greece as part of Sumerian Uruk Expansion and the subsequent Sumerian/Hurrian migration. See details, maps at: Sumerian Migrations, Sumerian Original Homeland Central Asia, Ancestral Homeland Siberia, Ugur (Hurrian), and Implications for the Indo-European Homeland

Connections between Ancient Greek and Etruscan civilizations

Etruscan and Greek civilizations are connected since the founders of both civilizations came from Turkey/Anatolia, and they brought Anatolian hence Hurrian and Hatti as well as Sumerian Mesopotamian culture with them.

It is not a case of influence, it is a case of migration and starting a new civilization together with local people who were farmers who had migrated from Turkey a few thousand years earlier. the Origins of the Etruscans!

Are Ugur/Gur (Hurrian) founders of Greek Civilization ?

They were a major component among the founding population. They carried the Mesopotamian Sumerian culture and the ethnonym Tur/Turus/Turuk appears in both Minoan and Mycenaean records.

In fact, even the sound Gr in the word Greek was probably originally Gur as follows: (Gur-uk or Gur-ak => Greek ?) !

The word Turuk/Turk has a very similar etymology.

Now, that's my hypothesis but there is one indisputable fact: all their artifacts, cities, and their mythology prove beyond any doubt that Hurrians are the most under-appreciated ancient civilization on earth along with the Sumerians. Luckily, at least the world's oldest notated song, hymn is Gur / Hurrian so at least this Hurrian work gets some attention on the internet.

Ugur/Gur (Hurrians) seem to be the go-between for the Sumerian civilization and Ancient Greece, as Gur people lived in Turkey for thousands of years and were contemporaries to both Sumer (Iraq) and Ancient Greece. And Turkey neighbors both Greece and Iraq. In short, Gur (Hurrians) may be the missing link between Sumer and Ancient Greek civilizations!

The late British archaeologist James Mellaart's important 1958 article The End of The Early Bronze Age in Anatolia and the Aegean also offers valuable information on the origins of the Greek language and the Ancient Greek civilization! (Special thanks to Dr. Metin Gunduz for the tip). Unfortunately, academicians rarely work on this subject.

Latest Updates - Sumerian /Hurrian Relationship and Genetics Study Results as of August 2018

The very latest genetic and archaeological research published in 2018, shows that Minoan Greece is most probably a result of Sumerian Uruk expansions and the subsequent Ugur (Hurrian)/Sumerian migrations: Sumerian Migrations, Sumerian Original Homeland Central Asia, Ancestral Homeland Siberia, Ugur (Hurrian), and Implications for the Indo-European Homeland

Sumerian Migrations
Sumerian Migrations on Eurasian Map click on the map for the article and full size image

Major genetic research on ancient DNA published in 2017 proved my theory that Gur (Hurrians), probably along with Gat (Hatti people who formed the substratum of the Hittite Empire), were the founders of the Greek civilization:

Hurrian > Etruscan > Latin relationship offers a major clue about how Indo-European languages may derive from Ugur Turkish/Ugor Hungarian/Ugric/Uralic languages.

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Ugur Turks / Hurrians founders of Ancient Greece

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