Are the words Dervish and Druid Cognates?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by mojobadshah, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. mojobadshah Senior Member

    Are the words Dervish and Druid Cognates?
  2. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    No, they're not. See here and here.
  3. mojobadshah Senior Member

    That doesn't prove very much. It doesn't say what the PIE root is. Originally Druid was pronounced Druvid which is almost like Dervish apart from sh > d. From what I understand Dervish is rooted in Avestan and also that the Celts never actually called themselves Druids. It was Ceasar who first called the Celts druids. You sure he didn't borrow it from the Dervishes?
  4. ireney

    ireney Modistra

    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
  5. Treaty Senior Member

    Dervish (Pahl. driyoš, NPers darvīš, also daryûzeh) originally meant "poor", "needy" and sometimes "beggar" (esp. daryûzeh). The current mystical terminology comes after that some religious people abstained from all terrestrial benefits and pleasures in favour of celestial rewards, thus became poor and needy "darvīš"es (cf. to monks, esp. of Franciscan order). This usage didn't probably exist before 10th century.
  6. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Yes, and in this meaning darwīš is a calque on Arabic faqīr “poor” > “beggar”.
  7. mojobadshah Senior Member

    To add to this list is Avestan drigu "poor" (see Ahunwar prayer). Anyone know what the PIE root of this Avestan form is? That would ultimately settle the question.
  8. popckorn

    popckorn Senior Member

    Borderlands - México
    Spanish - Mexican
    The "begger" meaning of Dervich is fitting.

    It is a common belief that illumination can render one mad. It would be not far fetched to suppose those mad beggers in the street are actually closer to the knowledge of Him.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  9. killerbee256 Senior Member

    American English
    That or it could refer the vow of poverty that many very religious individuals take in Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity etc. I can't remember the details but it's common cross culturally for some very religious folks to forgo material positions and live off the kindness and offering of others.
  10. sotos Senior Member

    The meaning "poor, needy" may be an indication that dervish is cognate to druid. The root dru- must be the one meaning "wood, forest". From this we have the Gr. drys (oak), duri or dory (lance), drymos (forest) and, according some Greek scholars, the Dorians. Some Greek scholars believe that this Greek "tribe" originally was a social class, i.e. a lower rural class myceneans who lived in mountainous and wooded areas. Their professions were relevant to forests (logging, charcoal making, etc) and the word "Dorian" came to mean "vulgar, uncivilized" and therefore "inferior" . The mythical "descent of Dorians" was a come-back of that class from the mountains to the plains and the cities that were dominated by the "Myceneans" (the bourgouasie of that time). This meaning of "inferior class" possibly survived somewhere in Asia Minor and was taken again by the islamo-neo-platonic sect of Sufis in late Byzantine era. The early Sufi masters where christian converts with good classical education. Plato was venerated as "Saint" till 19th c. in some places of Asia Minor and Middle East. Dervishes were the first muslims that spread Islam in the Balkans, and were very successful because their faith was close to christianity and Hellenic tradition.
    Bibliography available at request.
  11. asanga Member

    Beekes 'Etymological Dictionary of Greek doubts whether δωριεῖς is a reflex of PIE *doru- "tree", and it seems even the earliest reference to Dorians in Homer uses it exclusively as an ethnonym, not a social class.

    As Modobadshah has pointed out, NP darvīš is a reflex of Avestan drigu-. But what is drigu- derived from?

    Wiktionary gives the etymology of obsolete English tray "trouble, annoyance" as Proto-Germanic *tregô "mourning, grief" from PIE *dregʰ- “unwilling, sullen, slack”, which fits very well. But there's no reference to this meaning in Pokorny or LIV, only *dregʰ- "to hold fast, to fix". LIV does have *dreǵʰ- "to grieve", although it cautions that the proposed meaning is extremely uncertain. And shouldn't PIE ǵ yield Avestan z rather than g?

    Incidentally, PIE *dregʰ- is also suggested as a source for NP درخت "tree", through a ppp. "a fixed, unmoving thing = tree". Or is there another explanation for خت, if the word is a reflex of *doru-?

    The Etymological Dictionary of the Iranian Verb gives Parthian drxs- "to endure" from *dregʰ-. Combined with prefix ni- it yields nydrynj- "to keep down, subdue", prefix ham- handrynj- "to condemn, defeat". This is semantically quite close to "downtrodden, wretched", so perhaps Avestan drigu- is also related to this proto-Iranian *dra(n)ǰ- "to fix, fasten, hold".
  12. mojobadshah Senior Member

    According to Charles Vallencey the word druid is akin to the Persian Daru which is supposed to signify a priestly caste. I don't know of any priestly caste named Daru. Does anyone? This is why I thought maybe he was referring to the Dervish. Interestingly he gives the Persian darakht "tree" as a cognate of Druid too, which would explain the dental at the end of these cognates, but I don't see the Persian "t" hardening to a "d."
  13. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Keep in mind that book dates from 1804. Mallory, in the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, still connects Druid with *doru- "wood, tree," but makes no mention of dervish. I think a connection between dervish and Druid is unlikely. The Avestan derivative of *doru- is dāuru-, and drigu- doesn't appear to be related semantically or otherwise.
  14. aruniyan Senior Member

    There is a Tamil word Thuravi, from the root verb Thura(to renounce, to leave away).
    Thuravi are monks who rennounce the worldly pleasures and they come out of family life and travel to places, this way they achieve enlightenment.
  15. Dervish New Member

    English United States
    From Ira Friedlanders book, "Whirling Dervishesd" (quoted on the net on Cassiopaea): "The Persian word darwish (literally: the sill of the door) is accepted in Arabic and Turkish (dervish) to describe the Sufi who is the one who is at the DOOR to enlightenment." (My capitalization.) The door could well be oak. And there could be a connection of ideas between "dervish" and "Druids" (who were oak-knowers).
  16. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    After what we have discussed here this explanation is obviously wrong. See #5 and #6.
  17. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
  18. PersoLatin

    PersoLatin Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    Persian dârvâŝ/دارواش (mistletoe) is a compound: dâr/tree + vâŝ/weed
  19. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  20. Treaty Senior Member

    I think it was made clear that darvish simply meant 'poor' or 'beggar' and was not related to mysticism, spirituality, wisdom, etc. before the rise of Sufism. Any such connection whether to Sanskrit or to Celtic would be anachronic imagination based on etymological fallacy.
  21. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    No, it didn't mean simply 'poor' or 'beggar' but as you read here: DARVĪŠ – Encyclopaedia Iranica Mid. Pers. driyōš means one who lives in holy indigence, one who takes to poverty not out of necessity but because of excellence and the nobility (wehīh ud burzišn). So it related to mysticism, spirituality, wisdom in the ancient times too.
  22. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    I see no basic disagreement between Treaty's explanation in #5 and the EI article you quoted. It rejects other etymologies than poor as folk etymology and cites a 10th century primary source, the Dēnkart. This indeed means that the usage in spiritual contexts is pre-Islamic and possibly (probably?) older than the 10th century CE but as far as the basic question of the etymology of Dervish is concerned, it confirms Treaty's explanation.
  23. Treaty Senior Member

    The first paragraph of that Iranica article you linked says otherwise.
  24. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    This is the first paragraph:

    As you read here: Avestan Dictionary about the Avestan word driγu/drikhu, the first meaning is "pious" and the second meaning is "poor".
  25. Treaty Senior Member

    It's not "first" and "second" meanings (if you have implied a priority). The "pious" meaning comes from page 80 of the source "Kr" (which the author has forgot to mention it in the abbreviations). It would be nice if someone founds what "Kr" stood for.
    The "poor" meaning is not sourced. Dictionaries like Kanga or Bartholomae consider "poor", "needy" or "weak" as its meaning. Kanga doesn't list drigu for "pious". Bartholomae further connects it to Sanskrit daridri and durbala, both meanings are related to "weak" not "pious" (though I don't how credible this connection is). The source (Lommel) in the first paragraph of the Iranica article also considers "poor" not "pious" as its Avestan meaning.
    And by the way, this specific derivation (drigubyo) is used a few times in Yasna (e.g., yim drigubyo dadat vastarem, Y. 27) which is usually translated as "the poor/needy" not the "pious".
  26. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    I am not quite sure what your point is. This only means that the derived spiritual meaning is maybe a few hundred years older than Treaty surmised.
    I didn't find it either. I searched the scans he posted on his site and found only this (from Kanga): driɣu [my transcription] .. poorly-needy persion; a Dervish.
  27. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    Not just a few hundred years older but in the oldest Avestan text, Gathas, where Zarathustra calls himself a driγu (dervish). Yasna 34.5
  28. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    There are no Avestan texts that are more than a few hundred years older than the 10th century. Going further back we are entering the age of legend and we cannot talk of a primary sources any more. But even if we could go another 1000 years further back, it wouldn't matter to the question of this discussion as the derivation of the spiritual sense from the meaning poor, needy, dependent would still remain unshaken.
  29. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    This is true if you are talking about actual surviving manuscripts of the Avesta, which are not older than the 13th century. But the texts contained in them are a lot older. The date of Zoroaster is still debated, but there is a scholarly consensus that the Avestan texts, or the great majority of them, were composed before the Achaemenid period, i.e., they are not more recent than the 6th century BC, and handed done orally for centuries (like the Vedas), and eventually codified in writing during the Sasanian period. Not that this is of any relevance for the topic under discussion here.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  30. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    I really don't know what source other than Avesta I should use to explain an Avestan word!
  31. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Of course Avestan text are ultimately based on much older sources. But all texts that have survived are thought to be based on a common version of the Sassanid period. This would be as if 2000 years from now researchers wanted to reconstruct the German of Martin Luther and all surviving texts were based on the 1984 Luther bible edition. We could never know what was Luther's original language and what was 20th century language modernisation.
    Of course not.
  32. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    I think this is a misleading comparison. The creators of the 1984 “Luther” Bible took a text in early NHG and revised the spelling and grammar to make it agree with the norms of modern NHG. When the Sasanian Avesta was compiled Avestan was no longer a spoken language, nor were any of the then spoken Middle Iranian languages direct descendants of Avestan. The redactors did not transpose the old text into a more recent version of the same language; they left it in a for them largely incomprehensible language, which they recorded with a specially devised “phonetic” script. The basis of the redaction was a long tradition of memorisation.
  33. Treaty Senior Member

    It really depends on the translation. In most translations, he doesn't call himself "drigu" but the people whom he (i.e. a believer) should protect to gain Ahuramazda's grace. Translators have used either "votary/devotee" (Chatterji, Pourdawoud) or "poor/needy" (most others like Bartholomae, Irani and Kanga), or even both (Azargoshasb) for that verse. The term is used in Gathas only twice both of which accompanied by "protect/care". There is no context it had the "pious" meaning in Gathic times. In younger Avestan, it is frequently accompanied with "nourish", and a few times contrasted to "rich people". Again, to my knowledge, there is no context where "pious" is more plausible than "poor". It is only in Persian sources that the "dervish" notion emerges, though extensively (in Denkard). If the translator is inclined to believe in the continuity of the "dervish" meaning into MP, he is likely to interpret it as "votary/pious" in Avestan.
  34. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Perhaps I might be allowed two words of caution. First, that these online Avestan dictionaries are very old books, now completely out of date. The study of Avestan has made a lot of progress in the last 100 years. Second, the Gathas of Zoroaster are arguably the most obscure book ever produced by man. I would thus not base any conclusions on speculation about whether Zoroaster was “poor” in a material or a metaphorical sense. But if you are going to speculate, then you should at least consult the modern scholarly translations (Humbach, Insler etc.).

    To return to a purely linguistic plane: Old Avestan drigu-, young Avestan driγu- means “poor, needy, weak”. There is a sound law in Young Avestan that stipulates that /γ/ is lost before /u/ and /w/. This means that we have in YAv case forms like nom. sing. masc. driγaoš, but acc. sing. fem. drīuuīm.

    MP driyōš, early NP daryōš look to me like loanwords from the Avestan nom. sing. m., with the regular MP sound change γ > y but with preservation of the case ending (which does not happen with inherited MP words). It is the same situation as with the Avestan loanword ātaxš, vs. “genuine” MP ādur, both meaning “fire”. NP darwēš is perhaps influenced by the nom. sing. fem. *drīuuīš. The ultimate etymology of drigu- remains uncertain.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  35. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    Pure linguistics can't solve the issue, let's back to the topic, I believe the most important clue is Mistletoe, there is a Gilaki origin word for it in Persian: darvash.

    I think we already know that it is what was known as haoma in the ancient Persian sources: هوم - ویکی‌پدیا، دانشنامهٔ آزاد
    We read in Avesta: Haoma makes the dervish's thoughts as great as when mind reacheth culmination. (Yasna 10.13)

    Who is dervish? Just a poor man?

    Julius Caesar says in Gaul there are two classes of people: Druids and the rich people. (De bello gallico. VI.13–18.)
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  36. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    I am a bit confused as to what you think the topic is. Are you doubting that Dervish is derived from Avestan driγu-?
  37. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    No, the discussion here is that what driγu means.
  38. Treaty Senior Member

    You ignored the context (one sentence earlier). The contrast between driγa- and "richest" does suggest a "poor" meaning:
    Praise be to thee, O Haoma, (for he makes the poor man's thoughts as great as any of the richest whomsoever.).
  39. CyrusSH Senior Member

    Persian - Iran
    What is the relation between wealth and thoughts?!

    Julius Caesar explains that by the rich people he means nobles, knights and etc.

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