Aryan is a term used to denote “peoples speaking Indo-European (or specifically Indo-Iranian) languages, or ancient peoples thought to have spoken Proto-Indo-European, the hypothetical language from which Indo-European languages are believed to derive.”
An Aryan Atlantis was proposed by Ignatius Donnelly in his famous 1882 book(a), selectively employing biblical texts and a variety of mythologies to support his view.>However, he did not use the term in the racist manner it came to be employed just four decades later.<
Donnelly also promoted the popular 19th-century idea that India was subjected to an invasion by Aryans from the northwest. This idea is still debated today with opponents of the idea, such as the American-born Vedic scholar, David Frawley, who see the Aryans, not as invaders but indigenous Indians. Graham Hancock quotes Frawley extensively in support of his ancient civilisation views.
The term ‘Aryan’ was also used to describe one of Blavatsky’s imaginary ‘root races’, however, some argue that it was used in a ‘spiritual’ sense, but this is debated.
>The World History Encyclopedia offers an excellent overview of the origins of the Aryans(b) as well as the etymology of the name itself. It explains how “it was first applied as a self-identifying term by a migratory group of people from Central Asia (Kazakhstan) later known as Indo-Iranians (who settled on the Iranian Plateau) and, later, applied to Indo-Aryans (who traveled south to settle northern India).” It seems that this group integrated with the people of the Indus Valley. When, in the 2nd millennium BC, the Indus Valley civilisation declined, supposedly due to climate change, its people moved south. This may also have been exacerbated by a decline in trade, due to internal strife in two of their principal trading partners, Mesopotamia and Egypt.<
Today the term is primarily used to describe the family of languages known as Indo-European. Unfortunately, the word has also a dark side to its history, with its arrogation by the Nazis to describe their ‘master race’.