1. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Is it now the prevailing view that ātar- is derived from PIE *hxehxtr- 'fire' and cognate to Latin ater, or are the Iranian scholars Boyce and Malandra correct in assigning it an unknown and uniquely Iranian origin?

    Also, is it now the prevailing view that there is no connection between ātar- and āθrauuan-/aθauruuan-(Skt. atharvan-) or do many still subscribe to the view that ātar- is the origin?

    If you have any links it would be helpful since I haven't seen these topics addressed in recent years.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  2. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The Iranian word for “fire” is ātar- (zero-grade ātṛ-, āϑr-), with long ā in the first syllable. It is in form similar to Latin āter “black, evil”, but it is difficult to see a semantic connection.

    The word for “priest” is Vedic atharvan-, with short a, and with th not t, so it cannot really be related to Iranian ātar-. In Avestan the “priest” word retains its initial short a in gen. sing. aϑaurunō and a few other forms, but has long ā in nom. sing. āϑrauua etc., evidently because the ancient Iranians connected it with the “fire” word, but by our perception this is a folk etymology.

    (This is a summary of K. Hoffmann, Avestische Laut- und Flexionslehre, 2nd ed., 2004, pp. 56, 145.)
     
  3. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    Isn't it related to heat or aether?
    Anyway, is it the right question to ask if an Iranian word is rooted in PIE? Because PIE is itself constructed in a way to accord with a number of languages including Iranian (though via some linguistic constraints and criteria).
     
  4. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Greek αἰθήρ belongs to the verb αἴθω “ignite” and to IE *ai-dh- (zero-grade *i-dh-); *dh cannot become t in Avestan, nor can *ai/i become ā. This IE root is in fact represented by Av. aēsma-, New Persian hēzum “firewood” (=Skt. idhma-).
     
  5. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Thank you!

    For the Latin āter 'black, evil', some (Pokorny, Mallory) believe that it originally may have meant *burnt/blackened by fire and so trace it to a PIE *hxehxtr- 'fire' along with the Avestan ātar-. Do you find this proposed etymology unconvincing?
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  6. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    If the word is considered to be of IE origin, then a PIE form could be reconstructed. It becomes easier to reconstruct the form if there are cognates in other languages. In the case of ātar-, it's either derived from a PIE word meaning "fire" or it's an Iranian innovation.
     
  7. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    I agree that the adjective āter, ātra, ātrum (also the noun ātrium for the main room in a Roman house) is phonologically a close match to ātar-, and yes, semantically one could imagine something like “fire” > “burnt” > “black”.
     

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