Parthian: The Word Aryan in Parthian Inscriptions

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by mojobadshah, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. mojobadshah Senior Member

    CAIS has rendered the Parthian MLKYN MLK` `ry`n W `n(y)`ry`n as šâhân šâh aryân ud anaryân "King of Kings of the Aryans and non-Aryans" (see online article eran_eranshahr)

    The form aryân here seems to resemble the English form aryan more closely than any form I have come across. But given that the vowels are absent in the original inscriptions how does the interpreter know to substitute "a" and "â" for the missing vowels?
     
  2. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    This is not Parthian language, but a kind of Semitic language (Aramaic, I think). The interpreter has probably complete the vowels by referring to original Pahlavi or Persian inscriptions of similar era.
     
  3. mojobadshah Senior Member

    The inscriptions were probably in Aramaic because Aramaic doesn't show vowels right? But the actual language of the inscriptions, not the writing system, is Parthian. The question is what original Iranian did the interpreter refer to to fill in the blanks.
     
  4. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    The actual language, as I see, is Aramaic. MLK is a semitic root for king. The Parthian (Pahlavi) and Persian words for king is kay, khotây or shâh.
     
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Two questions here:

    The text is Parthian, but some of the words are represented by “Ideograms” (better: Aramaeograms). They wrote m-l-k but read it as šāh. We try to simplify things by transliterating the Aramaeograms with upper case letters.

    Second question: Parthian ary, Old Persian ariya-, are cognate with Sanskrit ārya-. English “Aryan” is taken from Sanskrit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  6. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Just to add to fdb's post, Parthan aryān, meaning "of the Aryans", is the genetive plural of ary "Aryan".
     
  7. Treaty Senior Member

    Australia
    Persian
    Thanks fdb. I had really no idea why mojobadshah was insisting it was Parthian!
     
  8. mojobadshah Senior Member

    Isn't Old Persian "Aryan" spelled ariya? And so I see that Parthian "Aryan" is ary which would explain why Parthian -ry-n equates to aryân, but this begs the question how do you know that the Parthian "Aryan" is ary? And this still leaves -ân unexplained.
     
  9. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Yes, my typo. In Old Persian it is ariya-, in Avestan airiia-. The –ān is the Parthian plural suffix (etymologically genitive plural, as Wolverine correctly says). English “Aryan” is Sansrikt ārya- plus the English Latinate suffix –an (as in Roman, Anglican etc.). So there is no connection between the last syllable of aryān and “Aryan”.
     
  10. mojobadshah Senior Member

    Ah... that makes sense now. ary- is the root and –ān is the suffix. So where else apart from those Aramaic inscriptions did this form appear which shows us that the Parthians did indeed use the form aryān?
     
  11. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    This is the only evidence for Parthian, and it doesn't actually prove that the Parthian kings used it. It is the Parthian translation of a Sasanian trilingual
    inscription.
     
  12. mojobadshah Senior Member

    Your right. It appears to have been used by the Sassanians who were responsible for the trilingual inscriptions. Not to sound like I'm repeating myself, but if the inscriptions don't show any vowels then how do you know that -ry-n equates to aryān. How do we know for example that its not airyan? How did you derive Parth. ary-?
     
  13. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The vocalisation is based on a comparison with other Iranian languages. The development of Old Iranian arya- to Parthian ary is phonologically straightforward and consistent with the Parthian spelling.
     
  14. mojobadshah Senior Member

    Thank you that is more or less the answer I was looking for. Could you provide some examples of these phonological correlations?
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  15. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Just one very simple example. The word for “king” in Old Persian is xšāyaϑiya-; in New Persian it is šāh. In Pahlavi it is written šh or MLKʼ; in Manichaean Middle Persian it is written šʼh. A comparison of these forms suggests strongly that the Middle Persian pronunciation was /šāh/, just like New Persian.
     
  16. mojobadshah Senior Member

    I hope this isn't pushing it, but can you show how this vocalization was derived for the Parthian aryan, specifically? If not do you have any ideas as to how I can find out?
     
  17. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The reconstructed Old Iranian form is *arya-, represented by Old Persian ariya- and Avestan airiia-. The Parthian spelling ʼry suggests that the Old Iranian form survived in Parthian, apart from the regular loss of the final vowel. aryān is (as mentioned) the plural.
     
  18. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Isn't there also an Avestan form airiiana- as in airiianəm vaēǰō? I don't think it is the plural form, though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  19. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Yes, Avestan airiiana- is an adjective from the ethnic name airiia-. vaējah- is a neuter noun meaning “homeland” or the like (the exact meaning and etymology are contested). In the nominative singular you have airiianəm vaējō.
     
  20. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    What would be the Skt. equivalent of the Av. airiiana-?
     
  21. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    The Skt. equivalent is ārya-, which is a long-grade (vṛddhi) derivative of *arya-.
     
  22. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    So are the Av. airiia- and airiiana- both represented as ārya- in Skt. or is airiia- the equivalent of *arya-? I was under the impression that the Skt. ārya- is used as both a noun and adjective.
     
  23. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    It depends on what you mean by equivalent. Indo-Iranian *arya- is continued by Avestan airiia- (noun or adjective), and OP ariya- (attested only as an adjective, but Middle Persian ēr is both noun and adjective). In Skt one would expect *arya-, but this does not actually occur; instead you have the vṛddhi ārya-, both as an adjective and a noun.

    On this whole topic there is a somewhat old, but still very useful article by Bailey, “Iranian arya- and daha-“ in Transactions of the Philological Society, 1959. You should be able to find that journal in well-stocked libraries.
     
  24. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Since the -na- suffix is not present in Skt., the form airiiana- (used only as an adjective) must then be an Av. innovation, right?

    Thanks for clarifying this! I'll look for that journal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  25. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Let us say: an Iranian innovation (not specifically an Avestan one). *aryana- is represented also by the ethnic name Alan, with the specifically Alanic/Ossetic development of ry > l.
     

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