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Thread: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

  1. #21
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Treaty View Post
    I just checked all "pir"s in Hafiz's book. All of them are used as "elder"/"guru" or "old": none is used as "temple". Pir-e-Moghan means "The elder of Magi". Moghan is mogh (Magus) + an (pluraliser).
    I don't see why the source would have been making up that Hafiz called firetemples Pirs. What book did you look in? It may actually have been Pir meant "elder" and then "temple," but Nabarz, the author of the Mithras book, seems to imply that Pir meant "Firepriest" or "Firetemple"

    See this: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pir_(Zoroastrianism)>


    Quote Originally Posted by Treaty View Post
    I found another usage of pir in Zoroasterian texts. It seems not referring to the temple but to holy trees near temples (e.g. Pir Chakchak in Yazd). My first guess is that old trees have souls and can grant prayers in Iranian culture (even believed by some Muslims). However, I need to do more research about it.
    The Zoroastrians venerated trees because they believed they offered immortality. Persians still venerate trees today in the Shab-e-Yalda festival. They use a cyprus tree which is a pine tree. They write their wishes down on cloth and ornament the tree with the cloths. They also place gifts at the bottom of the tree. Martin Luther saw this and introduced the Christmas Tree to the Germans.
    Last edited by mojobadshah; 28th May 2013 at 7:23 AM.

  2. #22
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Here we go: according to the mysteries of Mithras by Payam Nabarz "Pir means 'elder,' and it can also mean 'fire.'" (Nabarz, 100)

    <http://books.google.com/books?id=OltMzIU1ae0C&q=Pir#v=snippet&q=Pir&f=false>

  3. #23
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by mojobadshah View Post
    I don't see why the source would have been making up that Hafiz called firetemples Pirs. What book did you look in?

    See this: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pir_(Zoroastrianism)>
    I search it in ganjoor.net where you can search poems online.

    Anyway, based on what I search about individual "Pir"s of Iran, I think they are more shrine-like pilgrimage sites rather than "fire"-temples (three of them are not firetemples at all). They all have stories like "someone disappeared there and a tree or fountain emerged".

    Quote Originally Posted by mojobadshah View Post
    The Zoroastrians venerated trees because they believed they offered immortality. Persians still venerate trees today in the Shab-e-Yalda festival. They use a cyprus tree which is a pine tree. They write their wishes down on cloth and ornament the tree with the cloths. They also place gifts at the bottom of the tree. Martin Luther saw this and introduced the Christmas Tree to the Germans.
    This is a huge claim, especially the part of Luther! I'd never seen or heard about using trees on Yalda day since recently in Persian blogs. It seems another example of the common Iranocentric claims about the world. Of course, as I said, a few Iranians still venerate trees. They put ribbons on the branches as the sign of the prayer.

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    To tie up some loose ends:

    afrōxtan, present stem afrōz, means “ignite, set on fire”. It comes from apa + rawčah-, as has already been stated.

    “Purifier” is an English noun from the verb “purify” < French < Latin purus + facere “to make pure”.

    Pīr means “old man” or “old woman”. The etymology is obscure, but there is certainly no reason to attach it to any word for “fire”.

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    “Purifier” is an English noun from the verb “purify” < French < Latin purus + facere “to make pure”.
    We were wondering if fire and pure were from the same PIE base *peu-, and if fire was the derivative form signifying a purifier.

    Pīr means “old man” or “old woman”. The etymology is obscure, but there is certainly no reason to attach it to any word for “fire”.
    Could pīr be connected to pidar "father"?

    EDIT: Upon further reflection, a connection to Skt. purāṇa "ancient, old" appears plausible due to the phonetic and semantic similarity.
    Last edited by Wolverine9; 29th May 2013 at 7:14 AM.

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    The closest words to "pir" in Persian are prefixes related to "past" like pari, pār, pirār. However, I don't know their roots.
    I always thought that pir is related to either vir (~wise) or pish (~fore).

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    pār comes from OP paruviya- Avestan paouruya- "former, preceding, first", but pīr is problematic.

    If PIE *peh₂ur were an agent noun derived from *peu-, shouldn't it be *peu-tōr? Sanskrit does use a couple of words derived from the verbal root "to purify" for "fire", pāvaka and pāvana, but these are secondary derivations that bear little resemblance to *peh₂ur. Sanskrit also has the rare words pāru and peru for fire, but the former derives from "to drink" (PIE *peh₃-), the latter from pṝ "to swell, to blow, to fill" (PIE *pelh₁-).

    Avestan and Vedic Sanskrit don't just lack a shared word for "fire" from PIE *peh₂ur, but their main words for fire, ater- and agni are from 2 different PIE roots (although Sanskrit does have atharvan). Considering the importance of fire to both religions, and how much of their religious vocabulary was shared, I find this very surprising.

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by asanga View Post
    but their main words for fire, ater- and agni are from 2 different PIE roots (although Sanskrit does have atharvan).
    The Avestan word for “fire” is ātar- in the full grade, and various reflexes of *ātṛ- (ātərə-, āϑr-, ātrə-) in the zero grade, in all instances with long ā.

    The prevalent view among Indo-Iranists is that Ved. átharvan- is not related to Ir. *ātar-.

  9. #29
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    But what root did pir develop from. If it also means "fire" its the best candidate so far for a Persian word akin to Eng. fire

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by mojobadshah View Post
    .....If it also means "fire" ....
    What we are trying to tell you is that it doesn't mean fire. It means "old person".

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    But what is its PIE root and why does Nabarz say it means fire too and why is it used for zoroastrian holy sites.

    Could Pir be a Persian rendering of Greek Pyrethrean "Fire Priest" and Pyrethrea "Fire Temple"?
    Last edited by mojobadshah; 28th May 2013 at 7:06 PM.

  12. #32
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    The root is not clear, but the meaning is known to all speakers of Persian and can be found in any Persian dictionary. I do not see where Nabarz says this. If he does say it is wrong. His book is in any case not a scholarly study but a compendium of junk from the internet.

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    The root is not clear, but the meaning is known to all speakers of Persian and can be found in any Persian dictionary. I do not see where Nabarz says this. If he does say it is wrong. His book is in any case not a scholarly study but a compendium of junk from the internet.
    I've read his book and a lot of books about Mithraism. His take on Mithraism is not that much different than more authoritative studies, apart from the fact that he tries to link Mithraism more definitively to Persia and the East. He may not be a philologist, but I don't think we should discount his definition of Pir. He seems to be more informed on the root than the rest of us. But I think that Pir was probably a Persian rendering of Greek word for "Zoroastrian fire priest and temple" pyraitheion. Is there any linguistic evidence to suggest that this was not the case?
    Last edited by mojobadshah; 28th May 2013 at 7:32 PM.

  14. #34
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by mojobadshah View Post
    Is there any linguistic evidence to suggest that this was not the case?
    It is not helpful to set up a wild theory and ask others to prove that it is not the case. It is for you to adduce just a couple of facts that support your case.

  15. #35
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by fdb View Post
    It is not helpful to set up a wild theory and ask others to prove that it is not the case. It is for you to adduce just a couple of facts that support your case.
    A question was posed. I'm just trying to be helpful. To the best of my knowledge there is no Iranic equivalent of the Eng. fire. So far only one person has offered any suggestions as to the PIE root of the NPer. Pir, but the question seems to still be open. Historically the term Pir appears to have been used originally by the Zoroastrians in order to designate holy sites or shrines, I imagine where the sacred hearths are venerated. The term Pir probably came into use in later Zoroastrian times e.g. Sassanian. The Sassanians were both Greek and Persian speakers. Ancient Greek authors like strabo referred to the Zoroastrian fire temples as pyraitheion, and if I'm not mistaken the term was also used to designate the Zoroastrian fire priests themselves. I have this notion because I'm pretty sure I read this in a book about Zoroastrianism, but its also logical too that the misnomer in calling the Zoroastrian priests "Firepriests" developed from the Greek notion that they worshipped in pyraitheion. This explains why the term Pir is used for both elder firepriests and holy sites where the sacred pyr "hearth" burns. I don't, however, know enough about Greek > Persian sound changes to show that y > i. Everything after pyr- I imagine just eroded or maybe it was simpler than that. Maybe Pir is merely derived from Greek pyr with y > i. Also I think maybe the fact that there's a shrine called Pir Baba shows that Pir either didn't originally mean elder or the term came to mean something along the lines of "shrine" because if Pir did mean elder originally Pir Baba would translate to "Elder Father" which is redundant. Pir Baba must mean "Shrine of the Father" and therefore Pir must not only mean "Elder."
    Last edited by mojobadshah; 29th May 2013 at 4:30 AM.

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by mojobadshah View Post
    Historically the term Pir appears to have been used originally by the Zoroastrians in order to designate holy sites or shrines, I imagine where the sacred hearths are venerated. The term Pir probably came into use in later Zoroastrian times e.g. Sassanian.
    I think a problem is the assumption of pir as an original Zoroastrian concept that leads to other assumptions like the connection of pir and fire.

    Zoroastrianism is a new phenomenon in Iranian history of religion. However, association of special natural phenomena with spirits of elders and ancestors (i.e. pir = spiritual guide*) is a common feature in most primitive religions. The spirit-place (genius loci) mediates between the living and God-nature, unlike the direct communication with God-commander in temple. Most pirs (either Zoroastrian or Islamic) are actually related to the spiritual presence of a holy person (usu. descendants of patriarchs) by the belief that the saint passed, disappeared or was buried there.

    Quote Originally Posted by mojobadshah View Post
    Also I think maybe the fact that there's a shrine called Pir Baba shows that Pir either didn't originally mean elder or the term came to mean something along the lines of "shrine" because if Pir did mean elder originally Pir Baba would translate to "Elder Father" which is redundant. Pir Baba must mean "Shrine of the Father" and therefore Pir must not only mean "Elder."
    Not necessarily. It is common that the person's title becomes the place identifier in this very context of religious sites. The Persian word emāmzādeh (= offspring of Imam) refers also to the place or building where the holy person is buried (or disappeared). Interestingly, many emāmzādehs are followed by the word pir.In a few cases these words are interchangeable.

    * In religious context, pir mainly refers to spiritual guide or leader, not just "elder".

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by Treaty View Post
    * In religious context, pir mainly refers to spiritual guide or leader, not just "elder".
    This is true. It's pretty much why earlier I defined Pir as "[Priestly] Elder." I don't want to kill a dead horse here, but I don't think this question can be settled unless two things are answered. 1.) Pir's PIE root 2.) Greek > Persian vowel shifts. I would assume that during Sassanian Zoroastrian times the sacred pyr or fire was venerated in this so-called spirit-place, and then came to be associated with the so-called spirit guide analogous to how Atar means "fire" and Atravan means "Firepriest." Otherwise I'm all out of ideas. Should I start another post on Greek > Persian sound changes or can we discuss this here?

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    So I got in touch with Payam Nabarz. He said he's not a linguist, but he seemed to imply that Pir was derived from Pir-e-Moghan "Master of the Holy Fire." So according to convention Pir would correspond to "master," but why would Moghan correspond to "Holy Fire." The term Moghan is derived from Magu(sh) "Priest of the Maga." On the otherhand is pir corresponds to "Holy Fire" then Pir-e-Moghan could mean "Magus of the Holy Fire" which I think is the same deduction Nabarz was making. So I stand with the simplest answer and that is that Pir developed from Greek pyr and if this is correct its the closet thing to a cognate of the Eng. fire that the Persians have.
    Last edited by mojobadshah; 30th May 2013 at 3:43 AM.

  19. #39
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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Quote Originally Posted by mojobadshah View Post
    This is true. It's pretty much why earlier I defined Pir as "[Priestly] Elder." I don't want to kill a dead horse here, but I don't think this question can be settled unless two things are answered. 1.) Pir's PIE root 2.) Greek > Persian vowel shifts. I would assume that during Sassanian Zoroastrian times the sacred pyr or fire was venerated in this so-called spirit-place, and then came to be associated with the so-called spirit guide analogous to how Atar means "fire" and Atravan means "Firepriest." Otherwise I'm all out of ideas. Should I start another post on Greek > Persian sound changes or can we discuss this here?
    Of course, these two questions are worth answering. However, their connection is another question. For assuming that sacred fire was venerated in those places we need to have at least two types of evidence:

    - these "popular"-based places were officially recognised by strict Sassanid priests
    - a place other than official firetemples or chahārtāghis (allegedly) was associated with fire

    I don't know any evidence. Anyway, then you can go for the next series of debate:

    - why Sassanids used a Greek word for their very own ancient elements? (especially as they rigorously denounced "hellenophile" Parthians).
    - why pir is not fit within the similar naming trend of similar sacred sites within a conceptually similar belief system (I mean emāmzāde and pir itself). This sounds a much stronger hypothesis even if there were evidence for the first two questions.

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    Re: Indo-Iranian cognate of fire

    Good point. Maybe pir is actually a Parthian word. Firetemples were established in Parthian times. Secondly they were hellenophiles. So they probably adopted Greek pyr for the sacred fires and firepriests.

    As far as naming Muslim sacred sites by originally what was Zoroastrian terminology: Shia Islam is a fusion of Persian tradition and Islam. Nowroze for example is the most venerated day of the year in Persia, and its not a Muslim festival. Its not unlikely that some Muslim holy sites in Iran were supplanted over earlier Zoroastrian holy sites.
    Last edited by mojobadshah; 30th May 2013 at 4:29 AM.

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