The Great Silk Road Map.
1] The Early Indo-Hellenistic people i.e. early Indo-Greeks & Archaic Roman Empire were people who early came to Europe via various routes such as via seafaring trade routes during the Bronze Age. Indo-Greeks likely were the first major migrations from the East to North Africa, Africa, Middle East and southern Europe (Greece and Rome). Some of these ancient people and cultures later spread to the rest of Europe. The Greek Minoan is a good example of Asian - European cultures of the archaic era. The new people mixed in part with the original populations and the exchanges of culture must have been mutual. The first Indo-European peoples settled in the vast areas which belonged to the archaic Roman Empire (i.e. pre-Christian and governed from Rome). Possibly the archaic Greek & Roman cultures are associated with the spread of cultures since the era of Alexander the Great and before that the early Persian Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BCE). There were many different people involved in these cultural exchanges. Many people with oriental origin came to Europe during the period of the great ancient empires.
Some pictures of the archaic art are shown in this blog. The art of the archaic peoples were generally different from the art of the later Indo-Scythians, and the subsequent era of the Byzantine Empire.
While the Indo-Greek cultures date back to the Bronze Age, the Indo-Scythian (see the previous blog) is much younger and to Western Europe they mass invaded during the medieval period.
2] Much later during the early Medieval Age: The Indo-Scythians (e.g. Huns and Turks) & Eastern Christian Roman Empire, i.e governed from Byzantine. See previous blog post about the Scythian people. The Scythian people arrived via migration paths of the grassland steppes of Central Asia and later merged with the old people (i.e. indigenous people and the early settled archaic Romans) around the Black Sea, Eastern Europe and Caucasus. Some of the Scythians became part the cultural areas where Christianity later developed. They were part of the peoples of the Christianized Roman Empire that was governed from Byzantium (it is a different and later Roman Empire compared to the early Western European archaic Roman Empire governed from Rome). The Indo-Scythians were probably very good soldiers and the Eastern Romans of Byzantium attacked, robbed and took charge over the older Western European Roman Empire. The people of Western Europe were forced to adopt an early form of Christianity or they were killed. However, the earlier archaic pagan Roman Empire had also been established in the areas of the later Christian Eastern Romans including in the areas around the Black Sea, therefore some cultural continuity likely had persisted there with pagan elements. The Scythian people arrived much later westwards in Europe than the Indo-Greeks. They mainly came to Western Europe when Islam established in the areas where they had settled around the Black Sea.
BODY IMAGES: I have already mentioned that the body images expressed in the art of the archaic Indo-Greeks and the people of the Archaic Roman Empire are noticeably different from the body images that are expressed in the art in the subsequent era of Indo-Scythian and Eastern Roman Empire influence. The Indo-Scythian body image have generally remained an ideal in European art, the people who came to Europe mainly since the Middle Ages still have strong definitional power in our culture. I have not added photos of this Scythian art: You can look at the photos of white marble statues of "ancient history" frequently used in Wikipedia. There were entire villages e.g. in Italy until the 19th century who reproduced old art, often with new ethnic expressions.
Aquileia.Photo by Sailko, 2010
Aquileia. Photo by Sailko, 2010
Mosaic of Medusa (Detail, Perseus and Andromeda) 2-3 century CE.