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Iranisches Personennamenbuch. Vol. V/5a: Iranische Personennamen in der griechischen Literatur vor Alexander d. Gr.

Iranisches Personermamenbuch. Vol. V/5a: Iranische Personennamen in der griechischen Literatur vor Alexander d. Gr. By RODIGER Saimm. osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philoso-phisch-historische Klasse. Sitzungsberichte, vol. 823. Vienna: VERLAG DER OSTERREICHISCHEN AKADEMIE DER WISSENSCHAFTEN, 2011. Pp. 431. C56 (paper).

This magnificent book contains, it would seem, in nuce all of Professor Schmitt's vast knowledge in any way connected with persons of alleged Iranian extraction mentioned in Greek sources until the end of the Achaemenid empire, including the works of the historians Herodotus, Ctesias, Xenophon, and Thucydides, the playwrights Aeschylus and Aristophanes, the philosophers Plato and Aristotle, and others.

The limitation to these sources, as well as the exclusion of later sources for the same persons, is explained and justified in the preface (p. 5, 7), where Schmitt also explains the way he conceived the entries, notably why he differs so strongly from Ferdinand Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch (Marburg: N. G. Elwert, 1895), and how the material in the book was accumulated over the last forty years (pp. 6-7).

Each entry contains three sections: B[elegstellen], P[rosopographie], and D[eutungl, i.e., where attested, prosopography, and linguistic (morphological-etymological) interpretation (pp. 7-8).

The size of the volume has been kept down by references to the author's many Vorarbeiten. The book is printed in a 12 point-size font, which is a boon to those of us whose eyesight is no longer what it was.

The lists of abbreviations (p. 16) are followed by a comprehensive bibliography (pp. 17-61). The onomastic corpus occupies pp. 63-401, followed by indexes of personal names: Old Iranian (attested and reconstructed), Middle Iranian, and New Iranian; in the Nebenuberlieferung: Greek, Elamite, Assyrian-Babylonian, Aramaic, Latin, Egyptian and Demotic, Lycian, others, and Armenian; non-Iranian: Greek names and names in Greek form, Old Indo-Aryan (Vedic), Semitic, others; theonyms, geographical names, and ethnonyms. These indexes give a good idea of the material explored.

The corpus includes quite a miscellany of names. Some are definitely not Iranian, but have been included because they have been thought to be Iranian at some time by some scholar; some look Iranian, but an Iranian original cannot be found or reconstructed; some are clearly, or at least probably, Iranian, although maybe only a part of the name can be explained; some just "make an Iranian impression" (e.g., no. 306), "can certainly be Iranian, but has found no interpretation" (no. 321); and so on.

In many cases the Greek forms have been adapted to Greek models, and the original can perhaps not be recovered. For example: names in Greek "datas regularly correspond to Iranian names in "data "given by"; the first part is usually an identifiable deity, but occasionally it has one stumped, as in the second entry Abradatas, where none of the proposed interpretations are otherwise supported: "given by the clouds" (cf. MPers, abr), "given by Ahura (Mazda)" (phonetically unlikely?); and "born later" with apara- "later" and "data for Old Persian "zata "born." For some names innumerable possibilities of reconstruction are provided, e.g., no. 146 Dfaiksis could render Old Iranian *D(I)y-IJ(I)y-a(u)-i-xs-I-and no. 294 Seisamas Old Iranian *S/Z/S/0/[THETA]/c-lima-s/z/s/[theta]/c-lima- "or similar"!

In spite of the large amount of information of historical and linguistic nature included in the entries, I found them surprisingly lucid and easy to read (with the exception of some rather long German sentences including lengthy parentheses and references that I had to read twice).

What I do wish that Schmitt had included is a short description of the well-established phonetic correspondences between the Iranian and Greek forms, as well as of the known "distortions" names could undergo, something I doubt anybody else could do as well as he. Instead, we have various statements to the effect that such and such is not possible or usual, e.g., p. 127, no. 87: Greek -0- representing Old Iranian "a" is without parallel; p. 335, no. 303: reflexes of OPers. "iya" and OIran. "r"; and many other instances.

Section D (interpretation) is obviously the focus of the descriptions. Here the forms are analyzed and possible (and not so possible) Iranian original forms discussed in great detail, but also with numerous (complete?) references to other secondary literature, and unlikely, impossible, and ridiculous proposals from the nineteenth century until now are dismissed (including three of mine that I noticed).

A particular pitfall for the unwary is the citing of previously assumed meanings especially of Avestan words that are no longer accepted. Examples include raeuua (nos. 30, 69), an epithet of the sun coupled with auruuataspa" "having fleet horses," which has been assumed to be synonymous with rae-uuaut- "wealthy," which is not at all certain; Bartholomae gave (at a guess) "reich; prachtig, prunkvoll." The meaning given for the common adjective sura-, rendered as "strong, heroic," is that of Classical Sanskrit sura-, but the older sense of the word is probably much closer to its etymological basis *cua-lcu-, which refers to swelling in nature, that is with the juices of fertility and fecundity (cf. below on no. 99); my own preference is for translating sura" as "possessing life-giving power/strength" (e.g., dawn in the Avesta, spring in Old Persian). The meaning "truth" for rta, asa is also highly problematic and controversial. See, e.g., Skjaervo, "Truth and Deception in Ancient Iran," in Jamshid Soroush Soroushian Commemorative Volume, vol. II: Atas-e dorun--The Fire Within, ed. Far-rox Vajifdar and Carlo G. Cereti (Bloomington, Ind.: 1st Books Library, 2003), 383-434.

Schmitt also adheres to the now surely outdated interpretation of Mazda in Ahura Mazda as a noun "wisdom," rather than as an adjective, Old Avestan (trisyllabic) mazcla'ah- (no. 375). The meaning of the noun vazdah- (and vazduuar-) assumed to be the origin of "bazos and rendered as "Gedeihen" (- "prosperity, thriving") is not certain (see p. 99 on no. 56). The only concrete evidence is found in Nirangestan 38, where *auuazdiia is glossed as an i nizeir ke pih vazdug nest "a meager one, who has no fat or vazdug," from which it would seem that vazduuara of body refers to fattiness.

Following are some remarks illustrating a variety of problems:

No. 5: 'Angares, name of a famous singer: I wonder why Avestan gar- (Old Indic gir-) "song" was not mentioned, even if only to be discarded, as a possible element of this name and of 0Ind. angiras- "singer."

No. 6: 'Aglaitadas: probably from *agra-lagrai-data "firstborn"; it should probably not be forgotten that Avestan ayra- and ayriia-refer mostly to rank and quality, so "born foremost" is another possible rendering.

No. 17: 'Amastris from *amii-strf-"powerful woman" (thus Justi): ama-adjective "strong" as opposed to the noun "strength" is found only in Hadoxt nask 2.9 (= Vistasp yast 56) in kainino kahrpa xsoi[theta]niia. aurusa. bazuuo sriraiia amaiia hurao[delta]aiia "in the shape of a young woman, radiant, with white arms, beautiful, strong, with good stature." For amaiia hurao[delta]aiia, however, we find as amaiia hurao[delta]aiid "having great strength, with good stature" in Yast 5.64, and the longer formula is found in Yak 13.107 as srira xsoi[theta]ni fracaraeta kainina kahrpa sriraiia as arnaiza hurao[delta]aiia "she would go forth, beautiful, radiant, in the shape ..." This suggests that the Hadavt nask passage is corrupt and that there is no adjective ama-.

No. 22: 'Amutis, perhaps from *hu-mati- "whose thoughts are good," but not from "amavati" "strong" because "ava" gives "o", not "u": a remark on why this is different from Amurgioi = OPers. Haumavarga would have been useful.

No. 42: 'Ariobarzanes for *Ariya-brz-ana- "die Arier gro[beta] werden lassend," i.e., "making the Iranians tall": It is not clear to me how *brz-ana-could have active verbal function. Why not "having the height of an Aryan" or "Aryan in height"? The form would be *barzana-parallel with masana-, vauhana, sraiiana- "length, goodness, beauty."

No. 58: The rendering of */Rta-pata-as "von Rta geschutzt" ("protected by Rta") with the parenthesis "als Genius des 3. Tages" and similar throughout the book puzzled me for a while, until I realized that Schmitt is referring to the naming of children after the name of the day on which they were born.

No. 62: 'Artakamas for *Rta-kama- "Verlangen nach Rta habend," is a common notion in Pahlavi texts, where Zardust is the one ahlayih-kamagtar "having more wish for Righteousness" in the two worlds.

No. 99: 'Aspandas: this "completely isolated" type of name brings to mind Old Avestan aspan "devoid or lack of 'swelling power' (= "regenerative power")," though it may no longer have been understood that way, of course, but rather, for instance, simply as a bad word; could one of the last Median kings as reported to Ctesias have been given the name "making aspan"?

No. 130: Gergis for OIran. *Kark-i-is surprisingly labeled "formally irreproachable," since, in no. 131 on the same page, Gigge is called "suspect of being non-lranian" because of the lack of palatalization of the velar before "i" (also no. 328).

Na. 134: Gobruas (p. 172): it is not clear to me why Middle Persian bar, New Persian bur "reddish-brown color (ha)' of horses)" is not mentioned; note the name Bor-gaw in Bundahisn 35.8.

No. 156: Helitikos: if, indeed, Iranian, might contain an original Iranian -/-, which seems to have existed in certain words, among them the word for lick; although NPers. has lis-from "laik", the velar varied, and the European languages have forms from *leigh- (from *leigh-); this name might then, for instance, conceivably, have been "aha-li(n)ga" "licking his mouth."

No. 167: 'Itamdnes for *Hita-manah-, cf. Pahlavi menisn bastan "tie one's mind (to)."

No. 267: Patiramphes (p. 300): for Khot. pariph- read parimph-, the older form.

No. 324: The form dws'lm is Pahlavi; dws'rm is Manichean Middle Persian.

No. 328: Taiksakis: I do not quite see why Pahlavi tuxsag "diligent" is not mentioned (one way or another).

No. 338: P is repeated; the second should be D.

No. 346: Hudarnes for Vidrna-: I doubt Bartholomae's meaning of "zuteilen, verleihen" of Avestan vi-dar-in Yast 14, where the direct object is "feathers," as the regular meaning "to hold out (and apart)" also makes sense. Why cannot "Vidrna" be "the ripper-apart" from *vi-drna- (= present stem)?

No. 352: HustEines for *Vistana-: a plausible explanation for this would be "setting apart," that is, standing with one's feet apart to gain stability when shooting or throwing arrows or, indeed, on the chariot; cf. Old Avestan vidata ranaiia "at the setting apart of the thighs/legs" (Yasna 31.19; cf. the use of [delta]t[alpha][beta][alpha][zeta] in Iliad 12.457-8). Note also Videvdad 7.52 noit zi ahmi paiti nairi duua mainiiu rana auuasta[eta]hat "for not shall over this man the two spirits set down their legs (fight)"; cf. Pahlavi ham-ranih "wrestling(?)."

No. 369: Phraortes: the meaning "guardian spirit, Schutzgeist" forfrauuasi is commonly assumed, but baseless. See Skjwrv[empty set], "Shapur, King of Kings of Iranians and Non-Iranians," in Des Indo-Grecs aux Sassanides: Donnees pour l'histoire et la geographic historique, ed. Michael Alram, Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, and Prods Oktor Skjwrvo, Res Orientales 17 (Paris, 2007), Appendix 1.

No. 372: Khrusantas: note that in Manichean Middle Persian and Parthian the verb xroh/xros (xros) is a more neutral "call," and the xrahxwan is the preacher. We may therefore be dealing with a town crier rather than a "Schlachtrufer" ("battle crier").

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Author:Skjaervo, Prods Oktor
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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