Jayasree has sent further links:
Post: Who were Yavanas? (from Raja Tarangini)
Post: Who were Yavanas? (Another view by Kota Venkata Chelam)
For me however the matter is just cut and dried.
Yavanas were described to be beyond Gandhara. There was another country mentioned in the epic as Parama Yona, in the far west of Yavana. This could be the Ionia of Greece, somehow related to Indian Ionians or Yavanas. The name Yavana could be the Sanskritized form of the name Ionia. Yavanas, Sakas, Pahlavas and Hunas were sometimes described as Mlechhas. Sometimes along with them, the Madras, Kambojas, Kekeyas, Sindhus and Gandharas were included. This name was used to indicate their cultural differences with the Vedic culture, prevailed in the Kuru-Panchala Kingdoms.
"... in the ports of southern India, where the early Tamil poems of uncertain date speak of a settlement of the Yavanas."(1) The same author (2) does not follow the assumption that Yavanas were Roman traders, although she points out that between the first-second cent BC up to and included the third-fourth cent AD, rightly or wrongly "the term yavana denoted an Ionian Greek".(3) On pages 83–5 she makes mention of early Indian literature where foreigners were dubbed "yavana", and points to an Asokan inscription where a border-people is given this appellation. In central and western India, she says, Yavana "figure prominently as donors to the Buddhist Sangha".(4)
(1) H.P.Ray, The Winds of Change, Delhi, 1994:49, 84; (2) ibid p. 52; (3) ibid p. 54; (4) ibid p. 84
Integration with the Vedic culture
Thus the Vedic society acknowledged their extra ordinary skills, but kept them as outcasts. An account in the epic depicts Yavanas as the descendants of Turvasu, one of the cursed sons of king Yayati. Only the fifth son Puru's line was considered to be the successors of Yayati's throne, as he cursed the other four sons and denied them kingship. Pauravas inherited the Yayati's original empire and stayed in the Gangatic plain who later created the Kuru and Panchala Kingdoms. They were the followers of proper Vedic culture.
- Yavana was the name of one of the sons of Maharaja Yayati who was given the part of the world known as Turkey to rule. Therefore the Turks are Yavanas due to being descendants of Maharaja Yavana. The Yavanas were therefore kshatriyas, and later on, by giving up the brahminical culture, they became mleccha-yavanas. Descriptions of the Yavanas are in the Mahabharata (Adi-parva 85.34). Another prince called Turvasu was also known as Yavana, and his country was conquered by Sahadeva, one of the Pandavas. The western Yavana joined with Duryodhana in the Battle of Kurukshetra under the pressure of Karna. It is also foretold that these Yavanas also would invade India in the Kaliyuga which later proved to be true in 326 BC afterwards. (Srimad Bhagavatam 2.4.18 )
[The name as it turns out is one normally used in standard versions of the Bible to denote one of the grandsons of Noah and a founder of nations in the period of recovery after Noah's Flood]
JavanFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJavan (Hebrew יָוָן, Standard Hebrew Yavan, Tiberian Hebrew Yāwān) was the fourth son of Noah's son Japheth according to the "Table of Nations" (Genesis chapter 10) in the Hebrew Bible. Flavius Josephus states the traditional belief that this individual was the ancestor of the Greek people.[Yavana is another reading for Yavan]Also serving as the Hebrew name for Greece or Greeks in general, יָוָן Yavan or Yāwān has long been considered cognate with the name of the eastern Greeks, the Ionians (Greek Ἴωνες Iōnes, Homeric Greek Ἰάονες Iáones; earlier *Ιαϝονες Iawones). The Greek race has been known by cognate names throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East and beyond—even in Sanskrit (yavana). In Greek mythology, the eponymous forefather of the Ionians is similarly called Ion, a son of Apollo. The opinion that Javan is synonymous with Greek Ion and thus fathered the Ionians is common to numerous writers of the early modern period including Sir Walter Raleigh, Samuel Bochart, John Mill and Jonathan Edwards, and is still frequently encountered today.Javan is also found in apocalyptic literature in the Book of Daniel, 8:21-22 and 11:2, in reference to the King of Greece (יון)—most commonly interpreted as a reference to Alexander the Great.While Javan is generally associated with the ancient Greeks and Greece (cf. Gen. 10:2, Dan. 8:21, Zech. 9:13, etc.), his sons (as listed in Genesis 10) are usually associated with other locations in the Mediterranean Sea and Anatolia: Elishah (modern Cyprus[?Sicily]
[?Sardinia]), Tarshish ([?]modern southern Turkey[?Southern Spain]), Kittim (modern Cyprus), and Dodanim (alt. 1 Chron. 1:7 'Rodanim,' the island of Rhodes, west of modern Turkey between Cyprus and the mainland of Greece).
- The /v/ of Hebrew yavan supports the generally accepted reconstruction of the early form of the name of the Ionians. See: Jewish Language Review, Volume 3, Association for the Study of Jewish Languages, 1983, p. 89.
- See the classic reference commentary of Matthew Henry: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc4.Dan.ix.html
- Anson F. Rainey, The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical Word, Carta: Jerusalem, 2006, 27; and Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze’ev Safrai, The Macmillan Bible Atlas, Macmillan Publishing: New York, 1993, p. 21.
[Thus it would also seem that Tarshish is denoted by Turvasu and several of the geographical references scrambled around by the movements of the Peoples of the Sea circa 1000 BC: hence the people of Tarshish are also associated with Turkey. This is not unusual because the Philistines or Pelishtim are also Peoples of the Sea, identified with Pelasgians in Greece and eventually so identified with the area of ancient Israel that the very name was changed to recognise their presence, as Palestine. And the Vedic perspective saw the Greeks and Romans arising out of Turvasu, but the Hebrew version of the spread of humanity from Mount Ararat reversed the arrow. Best Wishes, Dale D.]