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Rgveda, avesta, and beyond--ex occidente lux?

It has puzzled scholars for a long time why Indian and Iranians who both seemingly started out with divine figures called *asura and *daiua went in opposite directions. In the Avesta Ahura Mazdah and his fellow ahuras are worshiped, while the daeuuas are considered as fallen gods or even demons, whereas in the later Vedic texts it is the devas that are worshiped and the asuras are the counter-gods or demons. An early explanation was an assumed hostility between Indians and Iranians (1) who mutually degraded their opponents' deities. But no such large-scale hostilities are recorded, and they would still not explain why two ethnic groups with similar groups of deities should degrade a part of their own pantheon. Current opinion has it that the two ethnicities simply moved apart, the Iranians developing their cult of the ahuras, the Indians that of the devas, essentially declaring it an accident. (2) Helmut Humbach (3) reopened the debate, with some hesitation, when he assumed "a synchrony between the later Vedic period and Zarathustra's reform in Iran," and he leaned towards the assumption "that the prophet received his religious inspiration from the east." I would like to take up this question again, since some major aspects in this controversy have not so far received proper attention.

Thomas Oberlies saw in the Rgveda an overthrow of the "old" religion of the asuras by the young devas. (4) But the word and concept of deva have old Indo-European roots, while asura, on the other hand, is limited to Indo-Iranian. (5) Oberlies (Die Religion, 391-92) found proof for his thesis, that the (younger) devas defeated the (older) asuras, in several late hymns of the Rgveda, primarily the obscure hymn RV X 124, where Agni supposedly changes sides, leaving the asuras and joining the devas. Joel Brereton and Stephanie Jamison have offered very different and more convincing translations and interpretations of this hymn (6) that would remove this hymn from Oberlies' argumentation.

Then there is RV X 53,4b yenasuram abhi deva asama "by which we gods (deva) will overcome the asuras," (7) where the asuras may well be human foes, and RV X 157,4ab hatvaya deva asuran yad ayan deva devatvam abhiraksamanah "The gods upon having smashed the Asuras when they came--the gods guarding their own godhood," where asuras might refer to non-human foes. (8) A few years earlier Wash Edward Hale (Asura- in Early Vedic Religion) had followed the development of the use of asura in Vedic texts, a study that Oberlies unfortunately dismissed summarily (Die Religion des Rgveda, vol. I: 391 n. 2) and that Humbach did not refer to. There are several instances where asura in the RV clearly refers to human "lords"--some shown in a positive light, others not. I give here the four occurrences from the Family Books:

Positive are V 27,1

anasvanta satpatir mamahe me gava cetistho asuro maghonah / traivrsno agne dasabhih sahasrair vaisvanara tryarunas ciketa

The lord of settlements has readied for me two oxen together with an ox-cart--he, the most illustrious lord, more (illustrious) than (any other) generous patron.

Tryaruna, son of Trivrsan, is illustrious through his tens of thousands (of cattle), o Agni Vaisvanara.

and VII 56,24ab

asme viro marutah susmy astu jananam yo asuro vidharta /

Beside us let there be a forceful hero, o Maruts, who is lord (asura) and apportioner for the people.

Negative are II 30,4

brhaspate tapusasneva vidhya vrkadvaraso asurasya viran / yatha jagantha dhrsata pura cid eva jahi satrum asmakam indra

O Brhaspati, with searing heat, as if with a stone, pierce the heroes of the (rival) lord (asura), with their wolfish gait.

Just as you also smote boldly before, so smite our rival, o Indra. and VII 99,5

indravisnu drmhitah sambarasya nava puro navatim ca snathistam / satam varcinah sahasram ca sakam hatho apraty asurasya viran

O Indra and Visnu, you pierced the nine and ninety fortified strongholds of Sambara.

At one blow you smite the one hundred and thousand heroes of the lord (asura) Varcin without opposition.

That asura refers to deities in the RV so much more often than to humans is easily accounted for by the fact that the hymns of the RV are more focused on the worship of gods than they are on men. As Hale has shown, asura does not denote a separate class of gods in the RV. (9) The Adityas, personified abstractions, are often called asuras, but so are others deities like Indra, Agni, etc. Varuna and Mitra together are often called "the two lords" (asurau), but they are occasionally also called devav asura (RV VIII 25,4), and in RV VII 65,2 they are called "the lords" (asurau) of the devas;10 in RV II 27,10 Varuna is called "the king of all, Varuna, both gods and mortals, o lord."9 10 11 Indra is called an asura-han "killer of asuras" in RV VI 22,4, Agni in RV VII 13,1, Surya in RV X 170,2, but they are never called enemies or killers of Varuna, Mitra, or Aryaman. We must also not overlook that Indra and Agni are often called asuras themselves (Indra RV I 54,3 and 174,1; Agni RV III 3,4, IV 2,5, V 12,1, etc.).

When most deities (12) can at different times (or even at the same time) be called both deva and asura, the question arises what distinguishes the terms. (13) The occurrences of asura, conveniently collected by Hale, show the gods in their divine glory and power (14) and, when applied to men, as powerful men in command of valiant fighters. (15) The occurrences of deva are much more frequent, so much so that Hermann Grassmann in his "Worterbuch zum Rigveda" more or less stopped quoting instances from the second half of the text. I checked over 380 occurrences of deva from the family books based on Grassmann's listings and found few references to a god's might. (16) Instead there are abundant references to a god's presence at ritual offerings and many appeals for generous favors. The devas are summoned to come to a yajna; (17) the asuras never are. What is the source of this distinction, which is not found in the mythology of the other branches of the Indo-European language family? I shall return to the question later in this paper.

Hale found that in the younger parts of the RV and in the AV the singular forms of asura became increasingly rare, while the plural forms became common--usually referring to human "lords." This change may be due to the different focus of many of these poems, which go beyond the traditional praise and invocation of the gods to treat speculative or secular matters--even though they may also have been employed in the ritual in some way. (18) These plural forms referring to humans predominantly were used with negative connotations. Eventually these evil human "lords" were transfigured into non-human or rather superhuman (but misguided) beings that we might call "counter-gods." At an even later stage the distinction between these asuras and the earlier demonic raksases, yatus, and pisacis (already found in the Rgveda) was diminished or effaced altogether; they became just demons.

In the Avesta, too, the corresponding word ahura occasionally refers to human lords (Gathas Y 29,219 and Y 31,10;20 Ardvl Sur Yast 85, Tistar Yast 36, Fravardin Yast 63, Bahiram Yast 37, Zamyad Yast 77)--and not always complimentary: the ahura in Bahiram Yast 37 is largely unsuccessful--he cannot kill the owner of the magic feather. The primary deity is called Ahura Mazdah (21) "Lord Wisdom" or "The Wise Lord" and his affiliated hypostases are sometimes referred to as ahuras. (22) In Y 32,5 the daeuuas are mentioned as divine beings that have been led astray by the evil will with evil thought (in stanza 3 they seem to be called more negatively "seed [sprung] from evil thought"), and "They do not at all discriminate between these two [wills] because delusion comes over them when they counsel, so that they choose the worst thought" (Y 30,6). In Y 44,20 Ahura Mazdah is asked if "there have ever been daeuuas of good rule." They are almost never referred to by individual names (though see below) in the Gathas and not at all in the Yasna Haptanhaiti, the other Old Avestan text.

The question has been raised if these daeuuas were in fact Iranian deities of the pre-Zarathustrian "heathen" religion. Thomas Burrow (23) suggested that they were deities of what he called "Proto-Indoaryans," forerunners of the Indo-Aryans, i.e., tribes that stayed in Iran when most of their brethren moved further on to India. The daeuuas would be the deities of a foreign tribe, not deities of a "heathen" Iranian past. The Iranians would have already lost the ancient deities of their Indo-European inheritance. If this were true, it would be hard to understand why the polemics were directed only against the gods of these, at most marginal, entities, while the cults of Elamite, Babylonian, etc., gods were allowed to continue without objection; neither Khumban nor Marduk nor Assur are listed among the daeuuas anywhere in the Avesta. The positive role of daeuua in Sogdian names like Aewastic and Diwdad son of Diwdast and an adjective Sywywn (i.e., daiwagauna) 'heavenly' suggests a survival of ancient reverence towards daeuuas (24) in this Eastern Iranian community, the area of modern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and the city of Samarkand. Clarisse Herrenschmidt and Jean Kellens,22 23 24 25 without accepting Burrow's "Proto-Indoaryan" theory, likewise doubted that daeuuas were part of the religious scene in Iran at the time when the Gathas were composed. They dismissed the argument that daeuuas enjoyed acceptance among the Sogdians, because the names, and the texts where they occur, date from a time when the Sogdians had converted to Buddhism, so that the names could show Indian influence. But devas did not play a prominent role in Buddhism, and names like Devadatta--in spite of Buddha's evil cousin and the ubiquitous king Devadatta of Jataka prose--are not common in Buddhists texts.

The Sogdian names are not the only indications of daeuua-worship in Iran. There are several references to the daeuuas of Mazanderan/Mazan (mazainya) (26) and one to the daeuuas of Varona (varenya) (27) in the Younger Avesta. The location of Varona is disputed: the Pehlevi commentary on V 1,17 (28) identifies it with Tabaristan/Gelan, the area south-west of the Caspian Sea, adjacent to Mazanderan, though it also refers to unnamed sources that want to identify Varana with Kerman in Central Iran. The identification with Tabaristan/Gelan would fit well with the statement in V 1,17 that it was cursed by Arjra Mainyu with non-aryan invasion or domination (anairiia ca dainhus.aiwistara). (29) Henning (30) proposed to identify it with Buner northeast of Peshawar, and H. Humbach instead with the Bactrian place name [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. (31) Herrenschmidt and Kellens also discounted Noldeke's (32) observation that the "white dev (dev-i-saped) of Mazanderan" who had defeated King Kaos but was then killed by the hero Rustam in Firdosi's Sahnameh (33) may indicate the memory of a strong positive role of a daeuua in Mazanderan. (34) They called this assumption "purely conjectural." But Noldeke had suggested that Mazanderan, sheltered by mountainous forests, was slow in adopting Zarathustra's reform, as they often throughout the Middle Ages resisted domination by the rulers of Iran and later, after the collapse of the Sassanian Empire, for a long time also the conversion to Islam. (Gherardo Gnoli questioned the relation of Avestan mazainya with Mazanderan, doubting that the adjective referred to a place name at all. (35)) Georges Dumezil (36) suggested that derivatives of daeuua survived also in two Ossetic dialects in the Greater Caucasus region: Iron cevdiv and Digor ceveu (< *apa-daiuua) 'evil spirit'. The Dinkart, a compilation of the tenth century but based on earlier material, refers to worshipers of the daeuuas who refused to abandon their gods. (37)

That brings us finally to the so-called daiva inscription of Xerxes, of which two copies with an Akkadian and an Elamite translation were found in Persepolis in 1935 and one in Pasargadae in 1963. (38) In this inscription Xerxes narrates how he put down a rebellion in one province of his empire and continued: "Und unter diesen Landem war eines, wo zuvor (die) Daivas verehrt wurden. Da(raufhin) habe nach dem Willen Ahuramazdas ich diese Daiva-Statte zerstort und angeordnet: '(Die) Daivas sollen nicht (langer) verehrt werden!' Wo auch immer zuvor (die) Daivas verehrt worden sind, da habe ich Ahuramazda verehrt zur rechten Zeit und mit rechtem Zeremoniell." (39) This passage has given rise to much speculation about whether the destruction of the daivadanam (40) could refer to the destruction of temples of rebellious subjects in Babylon (41) or Athens. (42) But these theories have to be abandoned: the alleged destruction of the Marduk temples is based on a "careless misreading of Herodotos," (43) and Xerxes ordered the Athenians after the fire on the Acropolis (which the Persian troops allegedly started) to resume their customary rituals (Her. VIII 54). In none of these places has Xerxes abolished the cults of local gods (whom he would have called baga not daiva) or replaced them with the worship of Ahuramazda. There is no indication that the cult of Ahura Mazdah was imposed on the inhabitants of non-Iranian provinces. That leaves only the assumption that Xerxes purged the worship of daivas by Iranians who still worshiped these daivas along with Ahura Mazda, Miora, etc., in the old way common before Zarathustra. (44) Little is known of the earlier religious circumstances in Iran. From Herodotus' description we get the impression that a cult of various gods, not unlike the Vedic religion, was current. (45) A man called Masdakku is named in an inscription of the Assyrian king Sargon (ruled 722-705 B.C.), which may or may not refer to a worshiper of Ahura Mazda; (46) even less certain is the alleged reference to Ahura Mazda in the name DAssara DMazas occurring on tablets of the Assyrian king Assurbanipal (685-627 b.c.). (47)

The daeuuas are considered simply as demons in the later Avestan texts--sometimes mentioned by name: Indra, NanhaiGya, and Saurva (V 10,19 and 19,43) corresponding to Vedic Indra, Nasatya (RV +), and Sarva (AV +). (48) Others are Aesma (49) "Fury," Aosa "Destruction," Akatas, Apaosa "drying heat" (?), Kasvis "a disease" (?), Kunda/Kundl (?), Daiuui "a disability," Driuui "skin blemish," Buti "ghost" (?), Paitisa "Hostile," Vatya "Storm," Vizaresa (who tortures the souls of the deceased). (50) The further devaluation of the daeuuas in the later Avestan texts is parallel to the development in late Vedic and post-Vedic India.

Hale disposed of the theory that in Indo-Iranian prehistory or in the Rgveda an asura-religion contrasted with a daiva-religion. And yet, the contrast we find between the Iranian ahura versus daeuua compared with the late Vedic struggle of the devas against the asuras remains too striking to suggest an accidental development. But we must also acknowledge a crucial difference. None of the Vedic gods, whether called asura or devd in the RV, is ever listed among the bad asuras of the later Vedic tradition: Varuna and Mitra were still worshiped along with Indra, Rudra, and Savitr. In fact, very little changed in Vedic ritual and worship. The late Vedic asuras fighting the gods are mostly an anonymous group; only occasionally Virocana, son of Prahlada, is mentioned (AV VIII 10,22; TB. I 5,9,1; ChU VIII 7,2). They have no role in the s'rauta or grhya ritual. (51) While various demons (raksas, etc.) occasionally receive pacifying offerings (52) and their share in animal sacrifice is the victim's blood, (53) there are no such offerings to asuras, nor rituals of condemnation. Late Vedic texts refer to some rites that ward off evil spirits, including raksases, pisacas, and asuras, (54) Asuras are prominent mostly in mythological tales and later in the epics (e.g., in the Adivamsavatarana-parvan of the Mahabharata, especially I 59-61) and the Puranas. In the Avesta the old daeuuas that were once worshipped as a class are degraded; it was meritorious for a follower of Zarathustra to be a daeuua-tbis 'daeuua hater' (Yt 12,98) and to assert this stand in his credo. (55)

There has been some scholarly dispute about the role of Miora and Airyaman, who are not mentioned in Zarathustra's Gathas but are prominent in the Younger Avesta. Did the cult of these once popular (56) gods revive and force itself into the religion founded by Zarathustra after Zarathustra's death, or did Zarathustra simply concentrate his devotion on Ahura Mazdah to the exclusion of others? When the Vedic poet Vasistha composed his hymns to Varuna (RV VII86-89), he barely mentioned in passing Agni and Aditi (VII 88,2 and 7), but that does not imply that he denied the existence of other gods. (57) Both views of Zarathustra's attitude have had their supporters in modern scholarship. I would agree with Mary Boyce, who found it unbelievable that Zarathustra's followers would have adopted into their cult a deity, i.e., Miora, that their founder had deliberately rejected. (58) Miora 'God Contract' and Airyaman belong to the same type of deities, personifications of abstract ideas, as Ahura Mazdah himself.

A closer investigation shows an even larger dimension of parallel structures in Avestan and late Vedic beliefs. Towards the end of the Rgvedic period, or most likely a bit later, i.e., at just about the time when the demonic asuras came on the scene as the rivals of the devas, a deity rose to prominence that had only a minor role in the hymns of the Rgveda, mostly in the latest hymns. (59) Prajapati "Lord of Generation/Offspring" mainly bestowed semen (X 184,1) and offspring (X 85,43) as well as cows (X 169,4) on his devotees. Though he was sometimes identified with the ritual or separate elements of the srauta ritual, he is only occasionally mentioned as the recipient of the offerings, (60) and his dominance did not continue beyond the late Vedic period. Even in the Vedic texts "the relevant mantras or references to Prajapati do not always occur in all the texts available. This points to a variable and heterogeneous tradition." (61) As far as the oldest texts are concerned, only one stanza attached to a late hymn of the Rgveda (X 121,10)--not analyzed in the padapatha, i.e., considered as spurious by the author of this earliest treatise (62) on the Rgveda--mentioned him as the creator of the world. (63) But in later Vedic texts like the Atharvaveda, the Yajurveda, the Brahmanas, and the Upanisads, he is frequently mentioned as the highest deity (64) (to whom gods [deva] and countergods [asura] turn for enlightenment). (65) He is "the Father of the gods, the begetter of people," (66) and "From his mouth (i.e., with his breath) he created the gods (deva) ... then with downward breath (i.e., breaking wind) he created the countergods/demons (asura)." (67) These gods (devas) are no longer the secure denizens of heaven but have to struggle greatly to reach heaven and fight off the countergods/demons (asura), who pursue the same goal. Often the gods are precariously close to defeat, though they win out in the end. In the later Vedic texts gods and countergods/demons alike oifer sacrifices to achieve their goal. Prajapati created both gods and countergods/demons, though his sympathies were clearly with the gods. In Zarathustra's teaching we see under Ahura Mazdah the struggle of the Good Will and the Evil Will, though we are assured that good eventually will triumph over evil. (68)

The character of the change in India and Iran was very different. The Iranian reform degraded a large section of traditional divinities, the inherited daeuuas, whereas in India a new class of quasi-gods arose in mythological tales, added to the many scary spirits found already in the earliest texts. They were denoted by a name ("Lords") that was originally value-neutral, applied to gods and men, i.e., only the term was degraded; (69) these quasi-gods were assigned a cosmic importance as counterparts of the gods--a role that did not exist before at all. In the Gathas of Zarathustra the daeuuas are by no means typical devils. (70)

Y 30,6: "The Daevas do not at all discriminate rightly between these two [spirits]. Because delusion comes over them when they take counsel, so that they choose the worst thought, therefore they gather with Wrath, with which the mortals sicken existence." (71)

Y 44,20: "Have there ever been Daevas of good rule, O Wise One?" (72)

In Y 32,3 Zarathustra scolds the daeuuas: "But you, O you Daevas all, are seed [sprung] from evil thought, and [so is that alleged] master who worships both, you as well as the activities of deceit and contempt, for which you again and again have become notorious in [this] seventh [of the seven climes] of the world." (73)

Y 32,5 "... because the evil spirit along with evil thought [had lured] you, the Daevas, [away from them], ..." (74)

There are some striking similarities in late Vedic texts, except that here it is the devas that represent goodness, the asuras misguided actions or even evil. The battle could take different turns as in TS II 3,7,1 "The gods and the Asuras were in conflict: the Asuras conquered the gods, the gods being defeated became the servants of the Asuras; from them power and strength departed; Indra perceived this; he departed in pursuit of it; he could not win it. Then he departed from it, he had recourse to Prajapati; he made him sacrifice with this (offering) with all the Prsthas (Stotras); verily with it he bestowed upon him power and strength." (75)

SB IX 5,1,12-17 "The gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Prajapati, entered upon their father Prajapati's inheritance, to wit, speech--truth and untruth, both truth and untruth: they, both of them, spake the truth, and both spake untruth; and, indeed, speaking alike, they were alike.

The gods relinquished untruth, and held fast to truth, and the Asuras relinquished truth, and held fast to untruth.

The truth which was in the Asuras beheld this, and said, 'Verily, the gods have relinquished untruth, and held fast to truth: well, then I will go thither!' Thus it went over to the gods.

And the untruth which was in the gods beheld this, and said, 'Verily the Asuras have relinquished truth, and held fast to untruth: well, then, I will go thither!' Thus it went over to the Asuras.

The gods spake nothing but truth, and the Asuras nothing but untruth." (76)

In the end, the gods were victorious.

In ChUp VIII 7,2-12,6 Prajapati declared that the knowledge of the "Self" is the key to all success. Gods and Asuras want to acquire this knowledge, and Indra became Prajapati's disciple on behalf of the gods, Virocana on behalf of the Asuras. Both studied together with Prajapati for many years. But while Virocana was satisfied with Prajapati's misleading and superficial first answer and went home, Indra saw through this ruse and persisted until he received the true teaching of Prajapati, gaining supremacy for the gods.

Like the daevas of the Avesta, the asuras of the later Vedic texts are deluded by misconceptions that ultimately lead to their defeat; rather than simple "demons" they are more properly called "counter-gods," who often strive for the same goals as the gods: to go to heaven, to gain immortality, to gain the world. But they lack deeper insight, are hasty and superficial. (77) While the similarities are striking (78) and accidental convergence improbable, there is no underlying force in the older Vedic tradition that would have had the strength to produce this development that always remained at the fringe of Vedic religion. Attempts to see a gradual devaluation of the term asura are mistaken: the term was always ambivalent, it is just that there were in late Vedic texts more frequent references to hostile human "bosses." But there is ample motivation on the Iranian side. (79) Zarathustra chose (or probably followed the lead of predecessors) to make Ahura Mazdah, the upholder of truth, the center of his religion in a way that Varuna never was in Vedic religion, perhaps coming close to monotheism. We cannot be quite sure about this "monotheism," if his religion, beside Ahura Mazdah's emanations like Asa, Vohu Manah, and Armaiti, also included Miora and Airyaman. (80) Darius, for all his devotion to Ahuramazda, spoke of "Ahuramazda and the other gods that exist" (81) and "Ahuramazda, the greatest of the gods." (82) Mary Boyce has suggested a motive for this elevation of Ahura Mazdah, called "the god of the Iranians": the close contact of Iran with the powerful civilizations of Babylonia, Assyria, Elam, and Urartu, where religion had developed monotheistic tendencies. (83) Zarathustra stressed the exalted position of Ahura Mazdah as "Lord" (ahura) versus the devalued daeuuas of the traditional Iranian religion, and Zoroastrian ritual in the younger Avesta included frequent denunciations of the evil daeuuas-, in contrast Indians continued their practice of Vedic ritual and the worship of the many devas, protecting, as it were, the term deva, whereas the ambiguous term asura was available to denote the counter-gods who threatened to overturn the moral order of the world, replacing truth with untruth--all under the watchful eye of the creator Prajapati. I suggest therefore that the dominant role of the Iranian Ahura Mazdah and the disgraced daeuuas (whether we credit this development exclusively to Zarathustra or not) were the model for the late Vedic role of Prajapati and the misguided Asuras, who were raised to a level at which they became serious rivals of the gods in mythological tales. We do not know the channels by which these ideas travelled from Iran to India. But that there were intimate contacts follows from the growing familiarity of the Vedic Indians with Mesopotamian astronomy. After occasional references to naksatras in the Rgveda and to a year of twelve months and an intercalary month, there are numerous and systematic parallels of astronomical knowledge in later Vedic texts, such as the Atharvaveda, Taittirlya Samhita, and several Brahmanas, that closely follow the patterns laid out in the MUL.APIN, a Babylonian text written in about 1000 B.C. (84)

What was the inspiration to call some gods in their majestic role 'Lords' in contrast to mere gods as courted guests and donors of desired goods? And what was the inspiration for divine guardians or personifications of ethical principles in India and Iran, or rather among the common ancestors of both traditions? The Adityas of the Vedic religion, most frequently called 'Lords', and the 'Wise Lord' or 'Lord Wisdom' together with 'Lord Contract/Alliance' (Miora) and 'Lord Hospitality/Civility/Custom' (Airyaman) in Iran are unique among the Indo-European ethnicities. In Greece, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'Victory', [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'Right' are personified abstractions, but of a minor rank. None of them is inherited or shared with other Indo-European traditions, and they are found first in Hesiod's work; in Rome Fides "Faith," Ops "Plenty," and Salus "Health" are first found in "the very first strata which are available to investigation" (85)--but they too are innovations found in one branch of Indo-European only (though based on inherited linguistic material). The question has been raised therefore, what caused this special position of the Indo-Iranians. It is very improbable that we are dealing here with a survival of an Indo-European feature; we should rather consider innovation, including possible outside sources of inspiration. Oldenberg suggested influence of the advanced Semitic civilizations and their astral deities: sun, moon, and the planets. (86) Bernhard Geiger (87) contributed some valuable observations. His primary objective, viz., to prove the close relationship and common origin of the Avestan Amesa Spentas and the Adityas of the Rgveda, has now generally been rejected. (88) But in his attempt to derive these concepts and deities from the Babylonian/Assyrian civilization he noticed remarkable similarities between Indo-Iranian and Babylonian/Assyrian religious and ethical concepts and deities, especially the moon god Sin and the sun god Samas linked with the concepts of kittu ("Recht; Wahrheit") and misaru ("'Gerechtigkeit', eigentlich 'Geradheit'"). At the same time he rejected Oldenberg's (89) idea of linking the Adityas and the Amesa Spentas with the seven planets of Babylonian astronomy. (90)

A. J. Carnoy (91) independently proposed elaborate identifications of Babylonian and Indo-Iranian deities, often involving secondary developments like the seven Adityas of the Veda and the six Amasa Spantas (plus Ahura Mazdah) of the Younger Avesta in an attempt to link them to Babylonian symbolism regarding the number seven. He also was mistaken in using the late development of Miora as a sun-god to link him with the Babylonian god Samas. Influence of the Neo-Assyrian cult of Assur was assumed by K. R. V. Raja, (92) R. G. Bhandarkar, (93) and J. Przyluski; (94) they even suggested that the term asura might have been chosen for its assonance with Assur. But then we would expect an Indian * asura and an Iranian * asura. (95) Their theories were summarized and critically reviewed by W. E. Hale. (96)

Sten Konow (97) and Michael Witzel (98) suggested that the ancestors of the Indo-Iranians developed a belief in deities called asura "lords" in the steppes of Central Asia before entering Iran. Witzel (p. 591) saw evidence of this in apparent loan words in Uralic languages, both east and west of the Urals: Mordvinian azor(o) "lord," Wotyak uzir, uzer "rich," Syryenian ozir "rich," Wogul ater, oter "chieftain." Even if we concede that these words may have been borrowed from prehistoric Indo-Iranians (or Aryans), this does not prove anything about religious content. And assuming that these Aryans developed the idea of abstract deities in the wideness of the steppes does not answer the question: why? And did not all Indo-Europeans, according to now prevailing opinion, come from this area--yet do not have a cult of this type of deities? In a later publication Sten Konow (99) assumed that Babylonian/Assyrian gods like the moon god Sin and the sun god Samas who guard unassailable rules and are all-seeing guardians of justice influenced the thought of the Aryas' concept of kingship and indirectly their deities--but without leading to a cult of the sun, the moon, and the stars. Asko Parpola in two recent papers (100) put the contact in the time of circa 1800 B.C., again wanting to link asura with the name Assur. He assumed "that the Proto-Indo-Aryans ruling the BMAC (i.e., "Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex," H.S.) at this time adopted from the Assyrians the concept of abstract divinities representing social powers."

A bold new theory was proposed by the Assyriologist Simo Parpola, (101) who assumed that Zarathustra was one of the many prisoners or hostages taken by the Neo-Assyrian kings in the course of their campaigns in Media and Persia, taken to Assyria, and educated in the Assyrian ways before being sent back to represent the Assyrian empire among his people. He argued that Yasna 44 is a unique string of questions that Zarathustra put to his god, Ahura Mazdah. They all begin: "This I ask Thee, tell me plainly, O Ahura." Zarathustra asks how he can succeed in spreading the doctrine. It is a cry for enlightenment and for help; no answer is recorded. S. Parpola noted the similar line of questions in Assyrian extispicy, dealing with cultic and religious reforms and also with military and political matters, e.g., "O Sun, great lord, what I ask you, true yes answer to me. Will Sin-tabni-usur, son of Nikkal-iddina, be reliable?" The answer is always a "Yes" or "No" based on the inspection of the intestines of the sacrificed animal. But the parallel between Yasna 44 and the Assyrian oracle texts is not all that close, whereas the parallels adduced from the Edda by several scholars (102) are closer in character to the Avestan poem. S. Parpola's attempt (103) to derive the name Zarathustra from Assyrian Zar-Issar [*Zara'-Issar] "seed of Istar" cannot measure up to the explanation either as a compound of zarat "old" and ustra "camel," hence "having old camels" (104) or as "who hurries one's camel(s)" with the first member equivalent to Indie jara-, (105)

This attempt by Simo Parpola to derive Ahura Mazdah from the Neo-Assyrian cult of Assur (ca. 800-700 B.C.) neglects the fact that Varuna and Mitra, two deities very similar to Ahura Mazdah, are already mentioned in the treaties (written in cuneiform Akkadian) between the Mitanni and the Hittites that are dated about 1380 B.C. (106) We have to distinguish two separate issues: a tendency towards monotheism and a belief in deities that are personifications of abstract ideas, corresponding to two different time frames: the former to the time of Zarathustra, the latter to the much earlier era of the Mitanni treaty. These treaties in which the king of the troubled Mitanni Empire acknowledged fealty to the king of the Hittite empire were solemnized with the invocation of a great number of gods (mostly Hittite and Hurrian gods), among them Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and the two N as at y as. There are several indications that these gods were the gods of Indian (107) rather than Iranian tribes, though the possibility cannot be ruled out completely that we are dealing with representatives of the still undivided Indo-Iranians (drya). (108) Varuna is attested only in Indian texts, and only in India do we find two Nasatyas, whereas the Avesta mentions just a single Naqhaioya. It seems, though, that in the latter case the Avesta is more archaic. RV IV 3,6 once has the name in the singular (nasatyaya) and once (RV VIII 26,8) in a dual form indra-nasatya "O Indra and Nasatya," implying a single Nasatya. (109) In the Brhaddevata VII 6cd (similar Mahabharata XII 201,17ab) we find a tradition that Nasatya and Dasra (110) are known as the two Asvins. (111) The dual nasatya (RV I 173,4) refers to Nasatya and his twin. This type of elliptic dual is common as in pitarau (RV I 121,5) "father and mother" or mitrn (RV I 14,3) "Mitra and Varuna." The twins can also be called asvina "the two [individuals] possessing [in a characteristic way] (112) horses, horsemen," or nasatya alternating with asvina even in the same hymn (RV I 34). In the Indian tradition they ride in a chariot, presumably one as fighter (rathesthalsavyastha) (113) and the other as charioteer (sarathi). Since the name Nasatya is the oldest attested (in the Mitanni treatises) and is found both in the Rgveda and Avesta, I assume that it is the older name for the pair, Asvinau an Indian innovation. (114) The Nasatyas of the Mitanni treatises are enforcers of a treaty, the NarjhaiGya of the Avesta is paired with powerful gods; I conclude therefore that the name refers to the chariot fighter; his twin would be the charioteer. Still, Miora, Indra, and NaijhaiGya are attested in the Avesta, and we can have no doubt that they were part of the ancient Iranian pantheon. Varuna is a stern but also benevolent god who guards the truth by punishing the perjurer. (115) That image matches closely that painted of Ahura Mazdah by an Old Avestan text--not so much the Gathas of Zarathustra, but "The Seven Chapters" (Yasna Haptanhaiti) that are embedded within the Gathas. There are minor dialectal differences between the "Seven Chapters" and the Gathas, (116) suggesting to some scholars a different author. (117) Kellens (118) has pointed out the more positive aspect of the Yasna Haptanhaiti: while the worship of Ahura Mazdah and the value of truth figure prominently in it, there is in the Yasna Haptanhaiti no railing against the Lie or the Evil Spirit. Is this difference due to the character of the Yasna Haptanhaiti as a text of worship of Ahura Mazdah? (119) The concept of Deceit or Lie {Drug) as a personalized outside force, the Evil Spirit or the Evil Will (anra mainyu or aka mainyu) that challenges Ahura Mazdah and the rule of Truth may be conscious innovations by Zarathustra.

We should not look for an inspiration for monotheism, since the Vedic religion clearly was not monotheistic (neither were the signers of the Mitanni treaty or the Iranian religion before Zarathustra), and it is even doubtful whether Zarathustra himself could be called a monotheist: some have called his belief a form of dualism, (120) while Kellens called Old Avestan Mazdaism tentatively "an unstable polytheism." (121) There are "the other ahuras" (122) and the daeuuas who were still regarded as divinities, even if misguided, in the Gathas. (123) What both traditions have in common (and share with the Mitanni treaties) is the belief in some gods that are personified abstractions with a clearly defined function as guardians of an ethical principle: Varuna and Ahura Mazdah as guardians of Truth, Mitra/Miora as guardian of contracts or treaties. It is conceivable, if unlikely, that the prehistoric Indo-Iranians developed these concepts spontaneously. Even in those early times of human history ethnicities did not live in isolation. Indo-Iranian words were borrowed by speakers of Finno-Ugric languages, and the concept and even some names of the zodiac spread from Mesopotamia to India and Europe. Some cosmological concepts (124) are shared by Mesopotamia, Iran, and India--the source in all these cases being ancient Mesopotamia. Assyrian artifacts were found in sites of the so-called Bactria Margiana Archaeological Complex, (125) suggesting the presence of Assyrian traders in an area north and east of the Caspian Sea inhabited at that time by the ancestors of the Indo-Iranians. The invocation of Varuna and Mitra in the Mitanni treaty forces us to think not of the god Assur of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (eighth and seventh century B.C.), but of the Babylonian and Assyrian religion earlier than the fourteenth century B.C. Did the Babylonian or Assyrian religion of that time offer a possible model for gods like Varuna, Ahura Mazdah, and Mitra?

A leading Babylonian and Assyrian deity was the sun god Samas (compare Arabic sams "sun"), who was the guardian of justice. He was called bel dini "Lord of judgement." (126) Already the Sumerian king Ur-Engur (also known as Ur-Namma) wrote (ca. 2100 B.C.) that he rendered decisions "according to the just laws of UTU." (127) King Hammurabi (ruled 1792-1750 B.C. or 1728-1686 B.C.) declared in the prologue to his code of law: "I am a prudent king, who listens obediently to Samas" (prologue, section 7), "I made the land speak with justice and truth (kittam u misaram)" (prologue, section 22), and "By the command of Samas, the almighty judge in heaven and earth, let my justice shine over the land!" (epilogue, section 10). Samas was worshipped as the sun-god: "It was then that Anu and Enlil ordained Hammurabi ... to rise like Samas over the mass of humanity, illuminating the land; they ordained me, to improve the welfare of the people" (prologue, section 3). (128)

In some texts Kittu (129) "Truth, Justice" and Misara (130) "Redress, Forgiveness" were called Samas' daughters, who together with Dajanu (131) "Judge" served as his divine assistants. There exists an undeniable homology with Ahura Mazdah, the father of Asa "Truth" (132) and Vohu Manah "Good Thought," (133) and of his daughter Armaiti "Right, Pious Thinking." (134) We should also note the many names beginning with Arta- in the Mitanni area such as Ar-tata-ma (= rta-dhaman in Vajasaneyi-samhita V 22 and XVIII 38), (135) considering the prominent role of "truth" in India (Vedic rta) and Iran (Old Persian arta, Avestan asa).

Samas is called "wise" (136) and could well have been the inspiration for Vanina and Mitra of the Mitanni treaties, Varuna and Mitra of the Rgveda, and Ahura Mazdah and Miora of the Iranian tradition (both in the Avestan and the Persian form). Miora acquired later in Iran the role of a sun god (which had a great further development in Mioraism), but in the Miora Yast of the Avesta he was merely the morning light before the rise of the sun:

Miora Yast stanza 13
   yo paoiryo mainyavo yazato
   taro haram asnaoiti
   paurva.naemat amesahe
   hu yat aurvat.aspahe

"who is the first supernatural god to approach across the Hara, in front of the immortal swifthorsed sun" (137) and stanza 142

Mioram ... yo paoiris vaeisis surem fradaiti spentahe mainyeus daman husato mazisto yazato yaoa tanum raocayeiti yaoa manho hvaraoxsno "Miora ... who in the morning brings into evidence the many shapes, the creatures of the Incremental Spirit, as he lights up his body, being endowed with his own light like the moon." F. Spiegel (138) translated the end of this stanza ... wenn er den Korper erleuchtet wie der von selbst leuchtende Mond leuchtet," Ch. Bartholomae (139) "wie (den Leib) des eigenlichtigen Mondes," H. Lommel (140) "sobald er leuchten lasst seinen Leib gleich dem des selbstleuchtenden Mondes," Gershevitch (141) "as he lights up his body, being endowed with own light like the moon," Thieme (142) "... as he (Contract) makes his body shine like [the body] of the self-luminous moon." All five miss the point, I think, that the moon just does not have light of his own--a fact known by the Greek since the fifth century B.C. (143) Miora lights up at dawn; his splendor is bright and cool like that of the moon but it is not reflected. He has his own light as a forerunner of "the sun, the splendid eye of Ahura Mazdah." (144) One might thus translate with an added comma: "... he lights up his body, being endowed with his own light, like the moon." Can we assume an earlier solar imagery for Ahura Mazdah? (145) Is there a link to the word urmaysde "belonging to Ahura Mazda" as an adjective qualifying the sun in Khotanese and ormozd "sun" in Sanglechi, two Eastern Iranian dialects? (146)

If the Babylonian Samas was the inspiration that gave rise to an Indo-Iranian abstract deity, it might still not be correct to say that the Indo-Iranians simply adopted the Babylonian deity. They did not copy the name, and the process remains unclear by which the Indo-Iranians ultimately worshipped with Varuna, Mitra, and Aryaman in the Indian tradition or Ahura Mazdah, Miora, and Airyaman in the Iranian tradition a triad of such deities representing abstract notions. But note in comparison that early Islam, in spite of well-attested influences of Hebrew and Christian traditions, did not adopt their name for god, the divinity and resurrection of Christ, and some other prominent features. Exclusively Vedic deities such as Bhaga "Prosperity" and Amsa "Share," etc., could be later accretions. Scholars have been tempted to trace the Vedic god Varuna and the Avestan supreme god Ahura Mazdah back to an Indo-Iranian deity *Varuna, Ahura Mazdah being a reinterpretation of the inherited deity; that is a speculative thought, though a common origin of some sort for both is likely. (147) If the ancient Indo-Iranians showed such profound influence of ancient Near Eastern culture, as is here suggested, why did they not adopt cuneiform writing, sculpture, and stone architecture along with religious and astronomical concepts? The semi-nomadic herders clearly had no use for libraries of clay tablets, large statues, or massive stone buildings. But they were spiritually and poetically sophisticated enough to appreciate ethical principles that seemingly correspond to cosmic forces and realities, and they relied on the stars to guide them at nightly passages and to follow the ritual calendar throughout the year.

While in the Avesta Ahura Mazdah is the father of asa "truth" (Old Persian arta), as Samas is the father of Kittu "Truth," in India Varuna and Mitra, especially the former, are the guardians of rta "truth"; they strengthen it and are in turn strengthened by it. (148) If Babylonian concepts were indeed the inspiration for Indian and Iranian beliefs, the Iranians would have stayed closer to their source. That should not come as a surprise, since the Iranian (Avestan) tradition has in many instances shown itself to be more conservative than the Indian. (149) Though truthfulness is probably an appreciated virtue in every culture, the supreme role it plays in India and Iran and the word rta have no parallel in the other Indo-European ethnicities. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], veritas, etc., are developments in the separate language groups, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "What is-allowed-by-right" as second wife of Zeus with the daughters [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Good Order," [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Right," and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Peace" in Hesiod's Theogony (150) are a striking parallel to ancient Near Eastern concepts and are possibly inspired by them. (151) Even when the Vedic gods faded away and a new religiosity evolved in India, rta reconfigured as dharma or satya continued to play a prominent role. A long debate has been carried on in the last century, whether rta should be translated as "truth" or as "order." In reality, the answer should be "both," but "truth" is a better basic notion to comprise both. (152) Already Babylonian kittu embraced both notions: "it [the stone] reports to Samas whether it [what comes forth from his mouth] is true (kit-tu) or not" or "are these words true or not?" (153) on the one hand, and "let justice (kit-ta) be established upon your [Samas'] command" on the other. (154)

The Babylonian god Samas is frequently called bel "lord" rather than ilu "god"; the title bel was reserved for the major deities, ilu was a generic term for gods. (155) Such a distinction is absent in the ancient Greek, (156) Roman, and Germanic religions, bel, like Hebrew ba'al and Arabic ba'l, in secular contexts refers to a "king, lord, master, owner, husband." Occasionally, the reference to a human bel is unflattering: "that head (bel) of household will be put to death," "the owner (bel) of the stolen goods," (157) and "the man (bel) who gave the lamb (for the extispicy) will practice sodomy." (158) These are significant parallels to Indian asura, Iranian ahura "lord, god at the pinnacle of power" besides generic deva/daeuua "heavenly" or "god" in India and Iran, where asura/ahura "lord" also may refer to a human, good or evil. Most likely the relation of bel and ilu established the pattern that *asura and *daiva followed. Note that in one of the Aramaic inscriptions from Arebsun in Cappadocia (from the late Achaemenid or early Arsakid period) Ahuramazda's name appears "translated" in Aramaic as Bel. (159)

Babylonian or rather Assyrian influence is further suggested by a development throughout Mesopotamia, but mostly in the north, i.e., Assyria and Syria, a distinct feature in diplomatic exchanges and treaties and in inscriptions: the explicit assurances that the statements are true; lies are condemned in the strongest terms and "lie is often a synonym for 'rebellion'." (160) This development can be traced at least from the beginning of the second millennium B.C. (161) down to the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian period, i.e., the time of the Median and Persian empires. In fact, Darius' frequent assertions in the Behistun inscription, that the report on his struggles for empire is true, follow closely Babylonian/Assyrian patterns. While Iranists have tended to credit Zarathustra's teaching for Darius' dramatic affirmations of truth, for the Assyriologist Beate Pongratz-Leisten they differ little from earlier Near Eastern documents.

Hartmut Scharfe

University of California, Los Angeles

(1.) P. von Bradke, Dyaus Asura, Ahura Mazda und die Asuras (Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1885), 108-9, with reference to unnamed forerunners. Johannes Hertel ("Das Brahman," Indogermanische Forschungen 41 [1923]: 199-200) identified the deva-nid 'deva slanderers' of RV I 152,2; II 23,8; VI 61,3 with late Avestan naismi daeuuo "I slander the daeva" of Yasna 12,1 and argued that in Afghanistan "hat das Vedavolk mit dem Awestavolk gekampft." The Vedic expression more likely refers to non-Aryan neighbors in northwestern India. Such ideas of Indo- Iranian hostilities had already been rejected by Hermann Oldenberg (Die Religion des Veda [Berlin: W. Hertz, 1894], 162-63. Paul Horsch (Die vedische Gatha- und Sloka-Literatur [Bern: Francke, 1966], 234-42) summarized the history of the scholarly discussion.

(2.) Jean Kellens, "Pole indien, pole iranien," in Language, Ritual and Poetics in Ancient India and Iran (Fs. Shaul Migron), ed. David Shulman (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 2010), 187-91. Louis Renou ("L'ambiguite du vocabulaire du Rgveda," Journal asiatique 231 [1939]: 161-235 [235]) was the first to use the word "accident" for this development. Wash Edward Hale (Asura- in Early Vedic Religion [Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986], 182) and emphatically Johanna Narten ("Zarathustra und die Gottheiten des alten Iran: Uberlegungen zur Ahura-Theory," Miinchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft 56 [1996]: 61-89 [82-83]) essentially agreed with this position. In Narten's words, "Die Entwicklung des avestischen Wortes daeva- zur Damonenbezeichnung steht also in keinem wie auch immer gearteten Zusammenhang mit derjenigen des vedischen Wortes asura-."

(3.) Humbach, "Methodologische Variationen zur arischen Religionsgeschichte," in Antiquitates Indogermanicae: Gedenkschrift fur Hermann Giintert, ed. Manfred Mayrhofer et al. (Innsbruck: Inst. f. Sprachwissenschaft d. Univ. Innsbruck, 1974), 193-94, and The Gdthas of Zarathushtra, 2nd ed. (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1991), vol. I: 22-23.

(4.) Oberlies (Die Religion des Rgveda [Vienna: Inst. f. Indologie d. Universitat Wien, 1998], vol.l: 345 and 391, and Der Rigveda und seine Religion [Berlin: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2012], 94-101) contrasted Indra und Varuna "als Fuhrer der Devas, der jetzt herrschenden Gotter, und der Asuras, der ehemals herrschenden Gotten" (Rel. Rg, I, 345). Oberlies here echoes suggestions by F. B. J. Kuiper, "Ahura Mazda 'Lord Wisdom'?" Indo-Iranian Journal 18 (1976): 25-42 [34].

(5.) For a detailed discussion see Bernfried Schlerath, "Altindisch asu-, awestisch ahu and ahnlich klingende Worter," in Pratidanam: Indian, Iranian and Indo-European Studies Presented to Franciscus Bemardus Jacobus Kuiper, ed. J. C. Heesterman et al. (The Hague: Mouton, 1968), 142-53 = Kleine Schriften (Dettelbach: J. H. Roll, 2000), 483-96.

(6.) Joel P. Brereton, "Reconstructing Rgvedic Religion: Devas, Asuras, and Rites of Kingship," to appear in the Proceedings of the 12th World Sanskrit Conference (Helsinki, July 2003), and Stephanie W. Jamison, "The Divine Revolution of Rgveda X. 124: A New Interpretation" (paper read at the American Oriental Society annual conference, March 2014, to appear in Ged. Staal).

(7.) The translations of Rgveda passages are adapted from The Rigveda: The Earliest Religious Poetry of India, tr. Stephanie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).

(8.) Note that in the two preceding stanzas of X 157 (vss. 2-3) Indra, the typical deva, rescues the world together with the Adityas! So Indra's fight cannot be against Varuna, Mitra, etc.

(9.) See also Narten, "Zarathustra und die Gottheiten."

(10.) RV VII 65,2a ta hi devanam asura lav arya.

(11.) RV II 27,10ab tvam vis'vesam varunasi raja ye ca deva asura ye ca martah /

(12.) The Asvins are never called asura, and Usas is only once linked with asuratva (RV X 55,4)--all of them minor deities.

(13.) One might also think of the sanctus deus dominus sabaoth of the Tridentine Mass, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] of the Greek Orthodox service, George Rawson's hymn "God the Lord is King," and German "Herrgott."

(14.) E.g., RV V 85,5 imam u sv asurasya srutasya mahim mayam varunasya pra vocam / maneneva tasthivam antarikse vi yo mame prthivim suryena

I proclaim this great cunning (maya) of the lordly, famed Varuna, who, standing in the midspace as if with a measuring rod, measured out earth with the sun.

(15.) RV II 30,4; V 27,1; VII 56,24 and 99,5. Hale (Asura-, 98) counted twenty-nine occurrences of asura- in the Family Books, twenty-six of compounds and derivatives, forty-one and thirteen respectively in the other books of the Rgveda.

(16.) I might also point out that devas can occasionally be troublesome (note also some moody gods and goddesses in the Iliad and Odyssey!), and rituals were employed to render them harmless:

RV II 7,2 ma no dratir isata devasya martyasya ca parsi tasya uta dvisah

Let hostility of god and mortal not gain mastery over us. Rescue us from it and from hatred.

Note also AV(P) IV 18,4 and V 26,9.

(17.) RV III 56,8 trir uttamd dunasa rocanani trayo rajanty asurasya viruh / rtavana isira dulabhasas trir a divo vidathe santu devah

Threefold are the highest realms of light, difficult to reach; (there?) rule/shine three heroes of the Lord.

Truthful, vigorous, difficult to deceive--three times a day let the gods (deva) be at the rite.

RV VII 30,3cd ny agnih sidad asuro na hota huvano atra subhagaya devan Agni has sat down as Hotar, like a lord, calling the gods here for the one of good portion.

RV II 36,4a a vaksi devam iha vipra

Convey the gods hither, you inspired poet.

RV III 13,1 pra vo devayngnaye barhistham arcasmai / gamad devebhir a sa no yajistho barhir a sadat

Chant forth for you all the loftiest (chant) to him, the god Agni.

He will come to us with the gods, and as the best sacrificer he will sit here upon the ritual grass.

RV IV 46,6 indravayu ayam sutas tam devebhih sajosasa pibatam dasuso grhe

O Indra and Vayu, here is the pressed [soma]: in concert with the gods drink it in the house of the pious man.

Devas are easy to invoke: V 42,16c devo-devah suhavo bhutu mahyam "Let every god be easy for me to invoke."

(18.) I counted only about twenty-four occurrences of Varuna in mandala X against sixty-six in the shorter maridala VII.

(19.) Y 29,2 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [The fashioner of the cow asks Truth:] whom do You wish [to be] her Ahura, one who might break through the wrath [caused] by the deceitful?" Text and translations of the Gathas are quoted from Humbach, The Gathas of Zarathushtra, pt. I.

(20.) Y 31,10 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "Of these two, she (the cow) chose for herself the cattle-breeding herdsman [as] truthful lord, the bondsman of good thought."

(21.) Sometimes the word order is inverted: mazda ahuro (Y 27,15 and 51,22, etc.). Occasionally only mazda is used (Y 30.11; 34,8, etc.)

(22.) Y 30,9 and 31,4 mazdasca ahuranho "Mazdah and the [other] ahuras." "Mightiest ahura" (seuuisto ahuro in Y 33,11), said of Ahura Mazdah, implies the existence of other ahuras.

(23.) "The Proto-Indoaryans," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1973): 123-40. Burrow claimed that the so-called "daivic" words, i.e., words that in Zoroastrian literature are used when referring to things or actions in the "evil creation" of the Agra Mainyu, are relics of a proto-Indian dialect. Hermann Guntert ("Uber die ahurischen und daevischen Ausdrucke im Awesta," Sitzungsberichte der heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1914 nr. 13 [Heidelberg 1914]) and Louis H. Gray ("The 'Ahurian' and 'Daevian' Vocabularies in the Avesta," JRAS 1927: 427-41) had suggested instead that they reflect different registers of speech. See most recently Elizabeth Tucker, "A Textual Perspective on the 'Ahuric and Daevic Vocabularies' of the Avesta," paper delivered at the American Oriental Society annual meeting (New Orleans 2014).

(24.) Theodor Noldeke, "Deva," Zeitschrift fur Indologie und Iranistik 2 (1923): 318, and W. B. Henning, "A Sogdian God," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 1965: 253-54.

(25.) In Encyclopaedia Iranica (1993), vol. VI: 599-602.

(26.) Yt 5,22; 9,4; 13,137; Y 27,1; 57,17; V 10,16; 17, 9+10.

(27.) V 10,14.

(28.) James Darmesteter, Etudes iraniennes, pt. 2: Melanges (Paris 1883), 81-82; Arthur Christensen, Le premier chapitre du Vendidad et la histoire primitive des tribus iraniennes (Copenhagen 1943), 50. The Pehlevi commentary by Dastoor Hoshang Jamasp is quoted and translated in A Catalogue of the Provincial Capitals of Eranshahr (Pahlavi Text, Version and Commentary), by Joseph Markwart, ed. by G. Messina (Rome 1931), 78-79.

(29.) Christensen, Le premier chapitre, 49-52. It is remarkable that in three instances (Yt 5, 22 and 13,17, Y 27,1) the reference to the daeuuas of Mazenderan is followed by one to the "deceivers, liars" of Varana, probably an indication that the "lie" in Darius' inscription is virtually a synonym of insurrection. There are five more references to the daeuuas of Mazenderan (Yt 9,4, Y 57,17, V 10,16, 17,9-10), two more to the "liars" of Varana (Yt 10,97, 13,71), and only one reference to the daeuuas of Varana (V 10,14). It appears that Mazenderan was more suspect for its heretical worship of the daeuuas, Varana for its rebelliousness.

(30.) W. B. Henning, "Two Manichtean Magical Texts," BSOAS 12 (1947): 39-66 [52-53].

(31.) "Die awestische Landerliste," Wiener Zeitschrift fiir die Kunde Sud- und Ostasiens 4 (1960): 36-46 [37].

(32.) "Der weisse Dev von Mazandaran," Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft 18(1915): 597-600.

(33.) Abu 'l'Qasem Ferdowsi, The Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), ed. Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh (New York 1990), vol. II: 41-45, lines 550-615. I am obliged to my colleague Rahim Shayegan for this reference.

(34.) It is odd that Ahura Mazdah wants to strike down only two-thirds of the daeuuas in Mazandaran and the deceivers (i.e., rebels) in Varana: Yt 5,22; 15,8; 19,26: ... yaoa azem nijanani duua orisuua mazaniianam daeuuanam vareniianam ca druuatam, while in Y 27,1 the goal is to strike them all down.

(35.) Zoroaster's Time and Homeland (Naples 1980), 44-50, cited with approval by Prods O. Skjaervo, "The Avesta as Source for the Early History of the Iranians," in The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia, ed. George Erdosy (Berlin 1995), 155-76 [165]. But if varaniia refers to a place in a clearly parallel formula, should not mazaniia refer to a place also? In Yt 10,97 "all spiritual daeuuas" (vispe mainiiauua daeuua) are followed by "the deceivers from Varana" (varsniia druuanto).

(36.) "A propos de quelques representations folkloriques des Ossetes," in Festgabe fur Herman Lommel, ed. Bernfried Schlerath (Wiesbaden 1960), 38-46 [39-40]; cf. also Johnny Cheung, Studies in the Historical Development of the Ossetic Vocalism (Wiesbaden 2002), 165-66.

(37.) Dinkart 634.15-17, quoted by M. Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism, 2nd ed., vol. I (Leiden 1989), 251- 52.

(38.) Manfred Mayrhofer, "Supplement zur Sammlung der altpersischen Inschriften" (Vienna 1978), 20; Rudiger Schmitt, Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, pt. I, vol I (London 2000), 88.

(39.) Rudiger Schmitt, Die altpersischen Inschriften der Achaimeniden (Wiesbaden: 2009), 167: uta atar aita dahyava aha yadataya paruvam daiva ayadiya; pasava vasna A.uramazdaha adam avam daivadanam viyakanam uta patiyazbayam: "daiva ma yadiyaisa " yadayada paruvam daiva ayadiya avada adam A.uramazdam ayadai rtaca brazmaniya. Herrenschmidt ("Notes de vieux perse III," Indo-Iranian Journal 36 [1993]: 45-50) translated the difficult final phrase: "moi j'ai sacrifie a Ahura Mazda (avec) un brazman selon le bon agencement."

(40.) Since Vedic ritual did not involve temples, the destruction of a "sanctuary of the daivas" (daivadanam) could not refer to the worship of Vedic gods, as Michael Witzel ("Gandhara and the Formation of the Vedic and Zoroastrian Canons," in Traveaux de symposium international: Le Livre. La Roumanie. L'Europe, vol. Ill [Bucharest 2011), 490-532 [509]) has pointed out. His suggestion to emend the text of the inscription (in all three copies!) to daivayadana 'a [place of] offering to Daivas' must be rejected, because the Babylonian version (bit limnu pi "house of the demons") refers to a building. In the Elamite version only the first two letters are preserved; the next three letters are broken off.[-watana-]ku, the reconstructed reading, was probably just a transliteration of daivadanam: see Ernst Herzfeld, Altpersische Inschriften (Berlin 1938), 29 and 33 and Tafel X-XI.

(41.) Hans Hartmann, "Zur neuen Inschrift des Xerxes von Persepolis," Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 40 (1937): 145-60 [158-60]; H. S. Nyberg, Die Religionen des alten Iran, tr. H. H. Schaeder (Leipzig 1938), 365-66.

(42.) Isidore Levy, "L'inscription triomphale de Xerxes," Revue historique 185 (1939): 105-22. Herodotus II 183 reported that Xerxes supposedly took a golden pillar from a major temple in Babylon; VIII 53 claims that the Persians burned down the Acropolis of Athens.

(43.) Susan Sherwin-White, "Seleucid Babylonia," in Hellenism in the East, ed. Amelie Kuhrt and Susan Sherwin-White (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1987), 1-31 [8-9], and Kuhrt and Sherwin-White, "Xerxes' Destruction of Babylonian Temples," in Achaemenid History Workshop II: The Greek Sources, ed. Amelie Kuhrt and Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg (Leiden 1987), 69-78. Cf. also Gregor Ahn, Religiose Herrscherlegitimation im achamenidischen Iran (=Acta Iranica 31) (Leiden 1992), 111-17, and Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, tr. Peter T. Daniels (Winona Lake, Ind. 2002), 550-53.

(44.) Herman Lommel, Die Religion Zarathustras (Tubingen 1930), 90-91, and Gregor Ahn, Religiose Herrscher-legitimation, 108-10. That would explain how Zarathustra's reform eventually covered virtually the whole area of ethnic Iranians--an apparent fact that made Herrenschmidt and Kellens wonder how a reform movement could achieve such perfect congruence. A striking exception that seems to rebuff the argument of Herrenschmidt and Kellens are the western Sakas or Scythians of the Black Sea steppes--they were Iranians who did not accept Zoroastrianism (according to the Greek sources) and lived outside the area dominated by the Achaemenids (Mary Boyce, "Review of Bailey, The Culture of the Sakas," JRAS 1983: 305-6). That daiva in the inscription referred to Iranian deities was asserted also by Boyce, Encyclopedia Iranica, vol. I, pt. 1: 429 with reference to Ugo Bianchi, "L'inscription <<des daivas>> et le Zoroastrisme des Achemenides," Revue de Thistoire des religions 192 (1977): 3-30. Cf. also G. Ahn, Religiose Herrscherlegitimation, 111-22.

(45.) Emile Benveniste, The Persian Religion according to the Chief Greek Texts (Paris: 1929). Heidemarie Koch ("Zu Religion und Kulten im achamenidischen Kemland," in La religion iranieme a l'epoche achemenide, ed. Jean Kellens [Gent 1991], 87-109 [91-95]) reported finding several names of Iranian deities in the Elamite tablets in Persepolis; see also her Die religiosen Verhaltnisse der Dareioszeit (Wiesbaden 1977), 85-95.

(46.) Eduard Meyer, "Die altesten datierten Zeugnisse der iranischen Sprache und der zoroastrischen Religion," Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung 42/1 (1908): 1-27 [15]; Benveniste, Persian Religion, 41. Cf. Manfred Mayrhofer, "Eduard Meyer und die alteste indo-iranische Onomastik," Die Sprache 36 (1994): 175-80, and Rudiger Schmitt, Iranisches Personennamenbuch VII: Iranische Namen in semitische Nebenuberlieferungen, fasc. IA: Iranische Personennamen in der neuassyrischen Nebenuberlieferung (Vienna: 2009), 111-12. The name occurs in the inscriptions in several variant forms, all representing an Iranian *mazda-ka.

(47.) Arthur Ungnad, "Ahura-Mazdah und Mithra in assyrischen Texten?" Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 46 (1943): 193-201. and Manfred Mayrhofer, "Neuere Forschungen zum Altpersischen," in Donum Indogermanicum: Festgabe fur A. Scherer, ed. Robert Schmitt-Brandt (Heidelberg 1971), 41-66 [51-52], and "Die bisher vorgeschlagenen Etymologien und die altesten Bezeugungen des Mithra-Namens," in Etudes mithriaques (Teheran and Leiden 1978): 317-25 [324], According to R[intje] Frankena, Takultu: De sacrale maaltijd in het assyrische ritueel (Leiden 1954), 2-3, the text containing Das-sa-ra Dma-za-as (p. 8) is a copy of an older Middle Assyrian text, moving the alleged reference to Ahura Mazdah into the latter half of the second millennium B.C. See also Almut Hintze, "The Migrations of the Indo-Iranians and the Iranian Sound-Change s>h," in Sprache und Kultur der Indogermanen, ed. Wolfgang Meid (Innsbruck 1998), 139-49 [147]. For reservations regarding the proposed identifications of Masdakku and DAssara DMazas, see Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin, Zoroastre (Paris 1948), 107-8.

(48.) Oberlies (Der Rigveda und seine Religion, 362 n. 34) doubts that these three deities were part of the Iranian tradition; he suspects that they were an "Import" from neighboring India. But why would the Iranian author refer to the Indian Nasatya in a perfectly transposed Iranian form--but in the singular, when the most common references in India are in the dual?

(49.) In Y 30,6 "aesama- stands for the ritual of the Daeva-worshippers": H. Humbach, The Gathas, pt. II, 52. It is the only demon mentioned by name in the Gathas: Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. I: 87.

(50.) Christian Bartholomae, Altiranisches Worterbuch (Strassburg 1904), 669.

(51.) In SB IV 2,1,4-6 ritual offerings are prepared for the two asura-raksas Sanda and Marka as a ruse to capture them; they do not receive the offerings.

(52.) AV(S) VI 20 (fever), BaudhDS II 1,31 (Nirrti and raksas).

(53.) TB III 6,6,3 asna raksah samsrjatat; SB III 8,2,14 raksasam hy esa bhago yad asrk.

(54.) E.g., Vajasaneyi-samhita II 29, Sankhayanagrhyasutra I 10,9, Jaiminiyagrhyasutra II 2.

(55.) Y 12,1 naismi daeuuo frauuarane mazdaiiasno zaradustris vidaeuuo ahura.tkaeso "I scorn the evil gods! I shall choose to sacrifice to Ahura Mazda, like Zarathustra, discarding the evil gods and with Ahura Mazda as my guide": tr. P. O. Skjaervo, The Spirit of Zoroastrianism (New Haven 2011), 218.

(56.) The popularity of Miora is attested by the many personal names that incorporate his name, such as Mioradata, etc., in early Achaemenid or even Median times: Rudiger Schmitt ("Die theophoren Eigennamen mit altiranisch *Miora-," in Etudes Mithriaques [Teheran and Leiden 1978]: 395-455 [418]) gives examples from Herodotus, the Book of Ezra, and the Persepolis tablets (also Heidemarie Koch, Die religiosen Verhaltnisse, 178-180, who noted, on the other hand, that the tablets make no mention of offerings to Miora).

(57.) Boyce ("On Mithra's Part in Zoroastrianism," BSOAS 32 [1969]: 10-34 [18-19]) referred to the "nature of the Gathas, and of the Indo-Iranian tradition of sacred hymns in which they were composed. In this tradition a priest addressed his worship to a single deity, mentioning in it as well usually only those other gods most closely associated with him."

(58.) F. B. J. Kuiper (Encyclopcedia Ironica, vol. I, pt. 2: 684) concluded from the name Mesorromasdes (Plutarch, Ad principem ineruditum 3) < Mica-Auramazda that Miora was worshiped all the time alongside the (pre-Zoroastrian) Auramazda. Hanns-Peter Schmidt argued that Zarathustra's use of miora "contract" in Yasna 46,5 shows that he did not shy from the word, when he could have used a synonym instead (Encyclopaedia Iranica, online edition under "Mithra").

(59.) In Rgveda IV 53,2 Prajapati is identified with Savitr,' in IX 5,9 with the soma in the process of purification.

(60.) Sylvain Levi, La doctrine du sacrifice dans les Brahmanas, 2nd ed. (Paris 1966), 134, with ref. to SB VI 2,1,39; Jan Gonda, Prajapati's Rise to Higher Rank (Leiden 1986), 119-94.

(61.) Gonda, Prajapati's Rise, 126.

(62.) Thus Jamison and Brereton, The Rigveda, vol. I: 18.

(63.) The hymn asks for the unnamed creator god, the only god among the gods (X 121,8c deve'sv adhi deva eka[h]); only the last stanza, possibly a later addition, answers the question: it is Prajapati.

(64.) AitB VII 16,3; TB III 8,11; SB XIII 1,8,2.

(65.) See below. The material was collected by Gonda (Prajapati's Rise, 1-118).

(66.) TB II 8,1,3 devanam pita janita prajanam.

(67.) SB XI 1,6,7 sa asyenaiva devan asrjata. te deva divam abhipadyasrjyanta. tad devanam devatvam "With his mouth he released/created the gods (deva). The devas were created on entering the sky (div): that is why the gods (deva) are devas." XI 1,6,8 atha ya 'yam avan prartah. tenasuran asrjata. ta imam eva prthivim abhipadyasrjyanta. "And by the downward breathing he released/created the Asuras. They were created on entering this earth." See also SB IX 5,1,12.

(68.) In the Zurvanite heresy the god Zurvan "Time" created the twins (yema), Ohrmazd and Ahriman (from older Ahura Mazdah and Arjra Mainyu), making the parallel with late Vedic beliefs even more striking: M. Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. I: 193-94 and vol. II (Leiden 1982), 232-40. But Zurvanism is presumed to be relatively late by most scholars, viz., arising in Achaemenid times.

(69.) That was first declared by Darmesteter, Ormazd et Ahriman (Paris 1876), 269; see also Hale, Asura-, 12.

(70.) Benveniste, "Hommes et dieux dans l'Avesta," in Festschrift fur Wilhelm Eilers, ed. Gemot Wiessner (Wiesbaden 1967): 144-47 [146].

(71.) Y 30,6 aiia noit eres visiiata daeuuacina hiiat is a dabaoma peresm<a>neng upa.jasat hiiat verenata acistem mano at aesemem henduuarenta ya banaiien ahum maretano

(72.) Y 44,20 civana mazda huxsavra daeuua anhare

(73.) Y 32,3 at yus daeva vispanho akat mananho sta civram yasca va mas yazaite drujasca pairimaioisca siiaomam aipi daibitand yais asrudum bumiia haptave

(74.) Y 32,5 ... hiiat va aka manarjha yang daeuueng akasca mainiius ...

(75.) devasurah samyatta asan, tan devan asura ajayan. te devah parajigyana asuranam vaisyam upayan. tebhya indriyam viryam apakramat. tad indro 'cayat. tad anvapakramat. tad avarudham nasaknot. tad asmad abhyardho 'carat, sa prajapatim upadhavat. tam etaya sarvaprsthaya 'yajayat, tayaivasminn indriyam viryam adadhat. Translations of the Taittiriya Samhita are taken from A. B. Keith, The Veda of the Black Yajus School (Cambridge, Mass 1914).

(76.) SB IX 5,1,12-16 devas casurascobhaye prajapatyah prajapateh pitur dayarn upeyur. vacam eva satyanrte satyam caivanrtam ca. ta ubhaya eva satyam avadann ubhaye 'nrtam. te ha sadrsam vadantah sadrsa evasuh. te deva utsrjyanrtam satyam anvalebhire 'sura u hotsrjya satyam anrtam anvalebhire. tad dhedam satyam iksam cakre. yod asuresv asa deva va 'utsrjyanrtam satyam anvalapsata hanta tad ayaniti. tad devan ajagama. anrtam u heksam cakre. yad devesv asasura va utsrjya satyam anrtam anvalapsata hanta tad ayaniti tad asuran ajagama. te devah sarvam satyam avadant sarvam asura anrtam.

(77.) Their rituals often go awry: e.g., TB I 1,4,4. Later Indian literature tells us even of extremely observant asuras whose austerities and generosity were seen by the gods as a threat to their supremacy, e.g., Bali, Hiranyakasipu.

(78.) Bernfried Schlerath ("Gedanke, Wort und Werk im Veda und im Awesta," in Antiquitates Indogermanicae (see n. 2): 201-21 [204] = Kleine Schriften, 502) spoke of "brahmanischen 'Dualismus'."

(79.) We should also consider that the cultural drift in those times flowed from West to East: a title like maharaja (AitB VII 34,9, SB I 6.4,21) echoes Accadian sarru mbit, Iranian xsayaoiya vazrka; the lion capital and the thousand-pillar hall of the Mauryas are based on Western models. Further examples are listed in The Oxford History of India, 3rd ed. (Oxford 1958), 103. There are several words in Vedic texts that are likely of Iranian origin; no words of Indian origin are found in the Avesta: Xavier Tremblay, "Iranian Historical Linguistics in the Twentieth Century--Part One," Indo-European Studies Bulletin 11/1 (2005): 1-23 [14].

(80.) Boyce, "On Mithra's Part in Zoroastrianism" (above n. 57), 18. Johanna Narten (Die Amesa Spentas im Avesta [Wiesbaden 1982], 66) concluded from Yasna 30,9 and 31,4 mazdas ca ahuranho "Mazdah and the [other] ahura-s" that as an old formula it may indicate that Ahura Mazdah played a role already before Zarathustra.

(81.) Schmitt, Die altpersischen Inschriften, 82 [section]62 lines 460-61 (cf. Roland G. Kent, Old Persian [New Haven 1953], 129 and 132: Behistun inscription IV 60-61) A.uramazdamal upastam abara uta aniyaha bagaha, tayai handy "Ahuramazda bore me aid, and the other gods who are."

(82.) Schmitt, Die altpersischen Inschriften, 115 (Kent, Old Persian, 135-36): Persepolis inscription lines 1-2 (and often) Auramazda vazrka, haya modista baganam "Great Ahuramazda, the greatest of gods."

(83.) A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. II: 27-28: "Yet it would be strange if the Medes and Persians had managed to remain impervious to all religious influences from the ancient and splendid civilizations with which they had contact in their new lands. In the first millennium B.C. each of the major pantheons which they must have come to know was presided over by a dominant male divinity: Marduk in Babylon, in Assyria Assur, Humban in Elam, Khaldi in Urartu; and it may have been partly to confront these alien supreme gods that the greatest of the Ahuras, Ahuramazda, was exalted, it seems, to a supreme place in the western Iranian pantheon even before the coming of Zoroastrianism, so that he was known as 'the god of the Iranians'." This last remark is based on the (original) Elamite version of Darius' Behistun inscription (Schmitt, Die altpersischen Inschriften, 82, sections 62- 63); the phrase "god of the Iranians" was dropped from the (later) Old Persian and Akkadian versions: Franz Heinrich Weissbach, Die KeiUnschriften der Achameniden (Leipzig 1911), 64-65; tr. Walther Hinz, "Die Behistan- Inschrift des Darius," Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, Neue Folge, vol. 7: 132. The Elamite version was inscribed first, probably based on Darius' dictation in Old Persian; the existing Old Persian and Akkadian versions were inscribed later: Riidiger Schmitt, Encyclopaedia tronica, vol. IV: 300-301.

(84.) David Pingree, "MUL.APIN and Vedic Astronomy," in DUMU-E2-DUB-BA-A: Studies in Honor of Ake W. Sjoberg, ed. Hermann Behrens et al. (Philadephia 1989), 439-45, and Hartmut Scharfe, "Yama's Path in the Rgveda and the Avesta," in Proceedings of the 25th Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, ed. Stephanie W. Jamison, H. Craig Melchert, and Brent Vine (Bremen 2014), 203-13.

(85.) Walter Burkert, "Hesiod in Context," in Personification in the Greek World, ed. Emma Stafford and Judith Herrin (Aldershot 2005), 3-20 [16].

(86.) Die Religion des Veda, 194-95.

(87.) Bernhard Geiger, Die Amasa Spantas: Ihr Wesen und ihre ursprungliche Bedeutung (Vienna 1916), 142-63.

(88.) It would be more correct to speak of analogical thought processes and parallel tendencies rather than systematic correspondences: Thieme, "Die vedischen Aditya und die zarathustrischen Amasa Spanta," in Zarathustra, ed. Bernfried Schlerath (Darmstadt 1970), 397-412 [410-11].

(89.) "Varuna und die Adityas," ZDMG 50 (1896): 48-68 [62-68].

(90.) Geiger, Die Amasa Spantas, 159-60.

(91.) Carnoy, "The Moral Deities of Iran and India," American Journal of Theology 21 (1917): 58-78. He also referred to the Aryan gods of the Mitanni treaties that had recently been discovered (p. 70).

(92.) Raja, "Asura Maya," JRAS (1917): 131-32.

(93.) Bhandarkar, "The Aryans in the Land of the Assurs (Skr. Asura)," JRAS (Bombay Branch) 25 (1918): 76-81.

(94.) Przyluski, "Deva et asura," Rocznik Orientalistyczny 8 (1931/32): 25-29 [26].

(95.) Hannes Skold, "Were the Asuras Assyrians?" JRAS 1924: 265-67.

(96.) Asura-, 15-21.

(97.) Konow, "Die Inder," in Lehrbuch der Religionsgeschichte, ed. Chantepie de la Sausaye (Tubingen 1925), 4th ed., vol. II: 18-21 (quoted approvingly by Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. I: 52-53).

(98.) "The Rgvedic Religious System and Its Central Asian and Hindukush Antecedents," in The Vedas: Texts, Language & Ritual, ed. Arlo Griffith and Jan E. M. Houben (Groningen 2004), 581-636 [587-97].

(99.) Konow, "Zur Frage nach den Asuras," in Beitrage zur Literatunvissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte Indien: Festgabe Hermann Jacobi (Bonn 1926), 259-64 [262],

(100.) Asko Parpola, "Pre-proto-Iranians of Afghanistan as Initiators of Sakta Tantrism," Iranica Antiqua 37 (2002): 233-324 [244], and "From the Dialects of Old Indo-Aryan to Proto-Indo-Aryan and Proto-Iranian," in Indo-Iranian Languages and People, ed. Nicholas Sims-Williams (Oxford 2002), 43-102 [90].

(101.) Simo Parpola, "The Originality of the Teachings of Zarathustra in the Light of Yasna 44," in Sefer Moshe: The Moshe Weinfeld Jubilee Volume, ed. Chaim Cohen et al. (Winona Lake, Ind. 2004), 373-83.

(102.) Eduard Schwyzer, "Die Parenthese im engem und weitern Sinne," Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1936/6), 10-11; Hans Heinrich Schaeder, "Ein indogermanischer Liedtypus in den Gathas," ZDMG 94 (1940); 400-408 [404]; J. Duchesne-Guillemin, Hymns of Zarathustra (London 1951), 63, and Zoroastre, 199.

(103.) S. Parpola, "The Originality ...", 383 n. 35.

(104.) Ch. Bartholomae, AirW, 1676. That etymology has now been supported by M. Schwartz by reference to wordplay in the Gathas, in "How Zarathustra Generated the Gathic Corpus: Inner-textual and Intertextual Composition," Bulletin of the Asia Institute 16 (2002 [2006]): 53-64 [57] (also Schwartz/pages. pdf.).

(105.) H. W. Bailey, "Indo-Iranian Studies," Transactions of the Philological Society (1953): 21-42 [40-41]; Xavier Tremblay, "Iranian Historical Linguistics," 38-39.

(106.) There are two versions: Keilschrifttexte aus Boghazkbi I (1916) pt. 1 rev. 55-56 and pt. 3 rev. 41.

(107.) The Indian god Agni may be found in Hittite texts: H. Otten and M. Mayrhofer, "Der Gott Akni in den hethitischen Texten und seine indo-arische Herkunft," OLZ 60 (1965): 545-52 (also Mayrhofer, Kleine Schriften, 36 + 51). The form aika "one" in the horse text of Kikkuli (a Mitanni horse trainer) found in the Hittite archives, rather than aiva "one," likewise points to the Indian form of the numeral and thus to the presence of Indo-Aryans in that area--not necessarily migrants from India but rather a separate tribe of the Indo-Aryan family that branched off early.

(108.) M. Mayrhofer, Die Indo-Arier im alten Vorderasien (Wiesbaden 1966), 22-24, and "Die Arier im Vorderen Orient--ein Mythos?" SbOAW (vol. 294, pt. 3) (Vienna 1974), 11-12, and Narten, "Zarathustra und die Gottheiten ... " (above n. 2), 85-86.

(109.) Paul Thieme, "The 'Aryan' Gods of the Mitanni Treaties," JAOS 80 (1960): 301-16 = Kleine Schriften (Wiesbaden 1971), 396-411 [314-15 = 409-10]; Asko Parpola, "The Nasatyas," Journal of Indological Studies (Kyoto) 16/17 (2004-2005): 1-63, and "Gandhara Graves and the Gharma Pot, the Nasatyas and the Nose," Ancient Pakistan 16 (2005): 72-106 [88],

(110.) dasra "giving miraculous aid" is a frequent attribute of the Asvins (e.g., RV VIII 86,1).

(111.) Brhaddevata VII 6 Sghratamatrac chukrat tu kumarau sambabhuvatuh / nasatyas caiva dasras ca yau stutav asvinav iti /6/

"Now from the semen which had just been smelt there came into being two youths, Nasatya and Dasra, who are praised as 'Asvins'."

(112.) The suffix -in (in contrast to -mant/vant) denotes possession of some object in a special, characteristic way: Thieme, "Review of Wackernagel-Debrunner, Altindische Grammatik II 2," GGA 1955: 182-216 = Kleine Schriften, 661-95 [191=670]. The (winged) horses of the Asvins are special!

(113.) Corresponding to Avestan raoaestar/raoaesta (Bartholomae, AirW, 1506).

(114.) The helpful pair may well have Indo-European roots: George Dunkel, "Vater Himmels Gattin," Die Sprache 34/1 (1988-1990): 1-26 [11].

(115.) Thieme, "King Varuna," in German Scholars on India, vol. I (Delhi 1973), 333-49.

(116.) Kellens, Zoroastre et l'Avesta ancient (Louvain 1991), 20.

(117.) Almut Hintze ("On the Literary Structure of the Older Avesta," BSOAS 65 [2002]: 31-51) suggested that the Yasna Haptanhaiti is so closely linked to the surrounding Gathas that common authorship is a strong possibility. Martin Schwartz, on the other hand, argued that the Yasna Haptanhaiti is later than the Gathas and not by the same author (La langue poetique indo-europeenne, ed. Georges-Jean Pinault et Daniel Petit [Louvain 2006], 483- 88). There are scholars who dispute Zarathustra's authorship of the Gathas and see in the Gathas the product of a school: e.g., M. Mold, "Response a M. Duchesne-Guillemin," Numen 8 (1961): 51-63; lean Kellens and Prods Oktor Skjaervo, Essays on Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism (Costa Mesa, Cal. 2000), xv-xvi and 85-94. But the intricate relationships between the Gathas discovered by Martin Schwartz ("How Zarathustra ...") make the acceptance of at least a common authorship of all Gathas all but unavoidable.

(118.) Kellens, Zoroastre et l'Avesta anden, 19-20, and Essays on Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism, 40-41. Kellens compared the Yasna Haptanhaiti with the Indian Brahmana texts, asserting the existence of Aryan prose literature. But the Yasna Haptanhaiti has nothing like the disputations found in the Brahmanas; it compares more, I think, to the nivids (Isidor Scheftelowitz, "Die Nividas und Praisas, die altesten vedischen Prosatexte," ZDMG 73 [1919]: 30-50; Theodor Proferes, "The Relative Chronology of the nivids and praisas and the Standardisation of Vedic Ritual," IIJ 57 [2014]: 199-221) and the ritual formulas found in the Yajurveda.

(119.) The Nicene Creed adopted at the Council at Nicaea in A.D. 325 has no reference to Satan in spite of his role in the scriptures.

(120.) W. B. Henning, Zoroaster--Politician or Witch Doctor? (London 1951), 45-48; some later developments among Zoroastrians had indeed more clearly dualistic features: Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. II: 160 and 232.

(121.) Kellens, Essays on Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism, 24. Cf. also the discussion by Schwartz, "Revelations, Theology, and Poetics in the Gathas," Bulletin of the Asia Institute 14 (2004): 13-16.

(122.) Humbach, The Gathas of Zarathushtra, part 1, 13-14.

(123.) Benveniste, "Hommes et dieux dans l'Avesta," 146.

(124.) Willibald Kirfel, Kosmographie der Inder (Bonn 1920), 15*, 28*-36*; Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. I: 134.

(125.) Asko Parpola, "Pre-proto-Iranians of Afghanistan," 244.

(126.) Simo Parpola, "The Assyrian Tree of Life: Tracing the Origins of Jewish Monotheism and Greek Philosophy," JNES 52 (1993): 161-208 [178 n. 72],

(127.) Martha T. Roth, Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, 2nd ed. (Atlanta 1997), 15. Also Lipit-Ishtar (ca. 1930 B.C.) referred to UTU as authority (ibid., 33). UTU was identified with the Semitic god Samas, and UTU served as ideogram for Samas.

(128.) The translations are taken from M. E. J. Richardson, Hammurabi's Laws'. Text, Translation and Glossary (Sheffield 2000). The passages correspond to II 22-31, V 14-24, and I 27-49 in the translation by Roth, Law Collections, 76-81.

(129.) Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (Chicago 1956-2009), vol. VIII: 468 and 471. I thank Professor Francesca Rochberg (UC Berkeley) for referring me to this (and other) resources.

(130.) CAD, vol. X, 2: 117.

(131.) CAD, vol. Ill: 28.

(132.) Y 47,2 huuo pta asahiia mazda.

(133.) Y 31,8 vanheus ptarem mananho and 45,4 ptarem vanheus varezaiianto mananho "the father of refreshing good thought."

(134.) Y 45,4 at hoi dugeda husiiaovana armaitis "also His daughter is Right-Mindedness of good works." Zarathustra could not call Asa "Truth" and Vohu Manah "Good Thought" Ahura Mazdah's son or daughter, because both words are grammatically neuter; but the word Armaiti "Right-Mindedness" is grammatically feminine. Ahura Mazdah is also called the father of Vohu Manah and Armaiti in Y 47,3. His paternity is put in the form of a question in Y 44,3 + 4 +7.

(135.) Rudiger Schmitt, "Name und Religion," in La religion iranienne a l'epoche achemenide (see n. 51), 119.

(136.) CAD, vol. X, 2: 164a (bottom) and 165b (bottom). He grants wishes according to the Samas hymn: lines 149 and 153 in Benjamin R. Foster, Before the Muses, vol. 2 (Bethesda, Md. 1993), 542. Some Vedic gods are called "wise": Varuna, Indra, Soma, but most frequently Agni. In Iran the supreme deity's wisdom is part of his name itself: Ahura Mazdah "Lord Wisdom" or "the Wise Lord." I would give less weight to the correspondence that both Samas and Varuna use fetters or snares to punish evildoers (Bernhard Geiger, Die Amasa Spantas, 149- 151; also in the Samas hymn line 90: Before the Muses, vol. 2: 540), which may merely reflect similar practices towards offenders like the cattle thief in RV VII 86,5.

(137.) Text and translation by Ilya Gershevitch, The Avestan Hymn to Mithra (Cambridge 1959), 78-79.

(138.) Spiegel, Avesta: Die heiligen Schriften der Parsen (Leipzig 1863), vol. II: 102.

(139.) Ch. Bartholomae, AirW, 1855.

(140.) Herman Lommel, Die Ydst's des Awesta (Gottingen 1927), 84.

(141.) The Avestan Hymn to Mithra, 145 and 288-89.

(142.) Mitra and Aryaman (New Haven 1957), 35.

(143.) While Parmenides' (512-450 B.C.) poetic reference to the "foreign light" of the moon is not conclusive, Plato's reference (Cratylos 409b) to Anaxagoras' (died 428 B.C.) "recent discovery" that the moon reflects the light of the sun is: Thomas Little Heath, Greek Astronomy (London 1932), 20; D. R. Dicks, Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle (London 1970), 52. The reference to a "self-luminous moon" in Miora Yast 142 makes sense only if the theory of the moon's reflected light was known; nobody refers to the "self-luminous sun"!

(144.) Yasna I 11 huuareca xsaetahe auruuat-aspahe doivrahe ahurahe mazda "of the shining sun with swift horses, the eye of Ahura Mazdah." Compare RV I 50, 6 yena ... caksasa ... tvam varuna pasyasi "with which eye you, Varuna, see." More commonly sun and moon are called "the eyes of Mitra and Varuna" (I 115,1; VI 51,1; VII 61,1; 63,1; X 37,1), and in VIII 41,9ab Varuna's "two white eyes" (svetu vicaksana) almost certainly refer to the sun and the moon.

(145.) Note also the deliberations of Bruno Jacobs, "Der Sonnengott im Pantheon der Achameniden," in La religion iranienne a l'epoche achemenide, 49-80 [65].

(146.) Bailey ("Saka ssandramata," in Festschrift Eilers [above n. 70], 136-43 [137]) and Boyce (JRAS 1983: 306) considered urmaysde and ssandramata (< spenta Armaiti as name for the Buddhist deity Sri) as relics from the Indo-Iranian past, R. E. Emmerick (Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum, ed. Rudiger Schmitt [Wiesbaden 1989], 228) as the influence of Zoroastrianism. Cf. also Bailey, Language of the Saka (Leiden 1958), 131-54, and A Dictionary of Khotan Saka (Cambridge 1979). "The sun is still named ormozd in the living Iranian dialects of Yidga and Munji": Boyce (Encyclopoedia Iranica, vol. I pt. 2: 687) (under Ahura Mazda).

(147.) For a discussion of this and similar suggestions see Boyce, A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. I: 37- 52, and Narten, "Zarathustra und die Gottheiten ...," 83-85.

(148.) Heinrich Luders, Varuna (Gottingen 1951), vol. I: 13.

(149.) Emile Benveniste and Louis Renou, Vrtra et Vroragna: Etude de mythologie indo-iranienne (Paris 1934), 182: "dans toute etude de mythologie indo-iranienne, le temoignage vedique vaut par sa richesse, le temoignage avestique par sa fidelite."

(150.) Hesiod, Theogony 901-2. Geiger (Die Amesa Spentas, 161) had wondered if the similarity with the Rgvedic data could point to common Indo-European inheritance, but none of the terms match.

(151.) See also Walter Burkert, "Hesiod in Context" (see n. 85), 6, and The Orientalizing Revolution, tr. M. E. Pinder and W. Burkert (Cambridge, Mass. 1992), for a wider overview of Near Eastern influence on Greek culture. Earlier M. Weinfeld had suggested that ancient Near Eastern treaty terminology influenced Greek and indirectly Roman terminology: "Covenant Terminology in the Ancient Near East and Its Influence on the West," JAOS 93 (1973): 190-99.

(152.) Bernfried Schlerath, Encyclopedia tronica, vol. II: 694-95. In his contribution to Antiquitates Indogermanicae (above n. 2), "Gedanke, Wort und Werk im Veda und im Awesta," 201-21 [221], Schlerath tried to define the content of Ahura Mazda's truth. Oberlies (Der Rigveda und seine Religion, 66) summarized: "So wird in der Vorstellung des rta die objective Wirklichkeit durch die subjective Wahrheit erganzt."

(153.) CAD, vol. VIII: 468.

(154.) CAD, vol. VIII: 469. Note also St. John XIV 6 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "I am the path and the truth and the life" and Arabic haqq "fact, truth, right; Divine, Spiritual Reality, one of the names of Allah" (The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. Ill, ed. B. Lewis et al. [Leiden 1971], 82-83), or German recht/Recht and richtig.

(155.) CAD, vol. II, 193-98, for belu and vol. VII: 91-101 for ilu.

(156.) Zeus could be called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Hesiod Theogony 886).

(157.) CAD, vol. II: 196 left column.

(158.) CAD, vol. II: 198.

(159.) Mark Lidzbarski, Ephemeris fur semitische Epigraphik, vol. I (Giessen 1902), 59-74 and 319-26, and Herbert Donner and Wolfgang Rollig, Kanaanaische und aramaische Inschriften, vol. I, 2nd ed. (Wiesbaden 1966), 51, and vol. II (1964), 311. See also Boyce, Encyclopcedia Iranica, vol. I, pt. 2: 686 (under Ahura Mazda). In the Hebrew Bible (e.g., 1 Kings 18) Ba'al may refer to the "false gods" of other ethnic groups (note also Beelzebub).

(160.) Beate Pongratz-Leisten, "'Lying King' and 'False Prophet'," in Ideologies as Intercultural Phenomena, ed. Antonio Panaino and Giovanni Pettinato (Milan 2002), 215-43 [237 on Darius], In the Amama letters (middle of the second millennium), a representative of the Pharaoh used similar language (ibid., 222). Gherardo Gnoli discussed Darius' inscription without reference to the Mesopotamian parallels: "L'evolution du dualisme iranien et le probleme zurvanite," Revue de l'histoire des religions 201 (1984): 115-38 [122].

(161.) The concept may even be older yet: "The motive of Tying' in the sense of 'rebellious' can already be found for the first time in an inscription of Sargon of Akkade in the second half of the third millennium B.C.": Pongratz-Leisten, Ideologies, 218.
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Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Essay
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Date:Jan 1, 2016
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