Quoting Matz from An Interview with the creator of Ruby (2001):
I wanted a scripting language that was more powerful than Perl, and more object-oriented than Python.
What bits of Perl did you incorporate in Ruby? A lot. Ruby's class library is an object-oriented reorganization of Perl functionality--plus some Smalltalk and Lisp stuff. I used too much I guess. I shouldn't have inherited $_, $&, and the other, ugly style variables.
How about Python? What aspects of that language did you try to reuse in Ruby?
Far less than Perl. But I stole a few things, like exception names. Plus I learned a lot from its code.
From the same article:
Ruby is two parts Perl, one part Python, and one part Smalltalk, says Colin Steele