First Appearance of Arian in Holland's Translation of Pliny

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages, and Linguistics (EHL)' started by mojobadshah, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. mojobadshah Senior Member

    infra haec omnia planiora. ab Indo Ariana regio, ambusta fervoribus desertisque circumdata, multa tamen interfusa opacitate cultores congregat circa duos maxime fluvios, Touberon et Arosapen. oppidum Artacoana, Arius amnis, qui praefluit Alexandriam ab Alexandro conditam. patet oppidum stadia XXX multoque pulchrius sicut antiquius Artacabene, iterum ab Antiocho munitum, stadia quinquaginta.

    Below all these Regions lieth the Coast of the Indus. The Region of the Arians, scorched with parching Heats, and environed with Deserts : but many shadowy Places lie between. Cultivators are assembled especially about the two Rivers, Tonderos and Arosapes. The Town Artaccana. The River Arius, which runneth by Alexandria, built by Alexander. The Town con- taineth in Compass 30 Stadia. - Holland's translation

    My etymology dictionary says the form Aryan first appears in the west as Arian in Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History. I'm trying to figure out if the Arians here are the Arians of Ariana or the Arians of Aria (Herat). It would appear that considering Arian is a translation of Ariana that these are the Arians of Ariana and not Aria. But if you read on the form Arianae appears as a place-name with Ariana as a translation. Is Ariana (which Holland translates to Arians) a genitive plural rendering of Arianae? Why would it make sense to translate Ariana as Arians? Or is Ariana Aria and Arianae Ariana?
  2. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ^What language is your query for?
  3. mojobadshah Senior Member

    I would appreciate a response in English.
  4. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    I think it is very likely that Pliny confused Aryans (arya-) with the inhabitants of the region around Herat (Haraywa-). h- is lost in Ionian Greek.
  5. mojobadshah Senior Member

    In the quotes I provided it shows that Arian is a translation for Ariana and Ariana for Arianae. Is Ariana a genitive plural and that's why Holland translates it as Arian or Ariana and Arianae two separate place-names?

    BEYOND those Nations which border nearest on the River Indus, the Mountain Portions of Capisssene possess the City Capissa, which Cyrus destroyed. Arachosia, with a City, and a River also of that Name ; which City some have called Cophe, founded by Queen Semiramis. The River Her- mandus, which runneth by Abest, of the Arachosians. The next, which confront Arachosia southward, toward part of the Arachotae, are the Gedrosi ; and on the North side the Paro- pamisadae. The Town Cartana, named afterwards Tetra- gonis, is at the foot of Caucasus. This Region lieth over against the Bactriani : then its principal Town Alexandria, named from its Founder: Syndraci, Dangulae, Parapiani, Cantaces, and Maci. At the Hill Caucasus standeth the Town Cadrusi, built likewise by Alexander. Below all these Regions lieth the Coast of the Indus. The Region of the Arians [L. Ariana], scorched with parching Heats, and environed with Deserts : but many shadowy Places lie between. Cultivators are assembled especially about the two Rivers, Tonderos and Arosapes. The Town Artaccana. The River Arms, which runneth by Alexandria, built by Alexander. The Town con- taineth in Compass 30 Stadia. Artacabane, as much more ancient as it is more beautiful, which by Antiochus the King was walled the second time, and enlarged to 50 Stadia. The Nation of the Dorisci. The Rivers Pharnacotis and Ophradus. Prophtasia, a Town of the Zarasparae. The Drangse, Argetae, Zarangae, and Gedrusi. Towns Peucolais and Lymphorta ; the Desert of the Methoricori ; the River Manais ; the Nation of the Augutturi. The River Borru ; the People Urbi ; the Navigable River Ponamus, in the Borders of the Pandse. Also, the River Ceberon, in the Country of the Sorarse; with many Harbours in its Mouth. The Town of Condigramma ; the River Cophes ; into which run the Navigable Rivers, Sadarus, Parosphus, and Sodinus. Some will have the Country Daritus to be a part of Ariana [L. Arianae], and they set down the Measure of them both to be in Length 1950 Miles, and in Breadth less by half than India.
  6. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Ariana is a feminine adjective agreeing with regio.
  7. mojobadshah Senior Member

    So Ariana in the original text really means" the Ariana region," but Holland has transformed Ariana into a noun, "Arian," correct? By the way Pliny mentions the Arii and these have been identified as the inhabitants of Aria. So I figure it would be safe to say that the Arians Holland mentions are associated with Ariana and these names are distinguished from Aria. Is Arianae also the noun form of Ariana indicating a place-name?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  8. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    This post belongs in a Latin forum if there is one. Not here.
  9. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    Yes, there is a Latin forum but I believe it belongs to the Etymology and History of Languages forum, since the Latin quotation is not the subject of the query per se, it is translated to be honest. The subject of the query appears to be connected with the instances when ancient historians mentioned the word ''aarya'' or those related to it. I believe there are many people interested in those things because of racist or fascist streams of thought.
  10. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    From Wikipedia:

    In 1601 Philemon Holland substituted the phrase "region of the Arians" for Ariana the Latin rendering of the Iranic place-name, in his translation of Pliny's Natural History. This was the first known usage of the form Arian/Aryan in the west. [34]

    Ariana, the Latinized form of (Greek: ἡ 'Αρειανή/Arianē),[1] inhabitants: Ariani (Greek: Αρειανοί/Arianoi),[2] was a general geographical term used by some Greek and Roman authors of the ancient period for a district of wide extent between Central Asia[3] and the Indus River,[4] comprehending the eastern provinces of the Achaemenid Empire[5] that covered entire modern-day Afghanistan, east and southeast of Iran, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

    The seven great monarchies of the eastern world: or the history ..., Volume 2 by George Rawlinson, p. 626

    "According to Herodotus the Medes of his day were known as 'Arians' by all the surrounding nations."
    "The sculptor whom Darius Hystaspis employed..explained..,that Ahura Mazda...was 'the God of the Arians'"
    "Darius himself,... boasted that he was 'a Persian, the son of a Persian, an Arian of Arian decent'"
    "Strabo introduced the term 'Ariana' into geography, and gave it a sense corresponding to the modern Iran"
    "Finally the term Iran [Arian] remains to the present day the only designation by which the modern Persian knows his country" (Information within brackets mine)

    From Wikipedia:
    Strabo[1] (pron.: /ˈstreɪboʊ/; Greek: Στράβων Strabōn; 64/63 BC – ca. 24 AD), was a Greek geographer, philosopher and historian.

    It seems Hitler was proud of being Iranian. I wonder which of his parents was from Iran. Poor chap.
  11. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    No comment.
  12. mojobadshah Senior Member

    There's no need to trash talk. Not everybody interested in the origin of the Aryan designation because of racist or fascist streams of thought. Some people are interested in the origin of the Aryan designation because it has a lot to do with a people's national identity. Not everyone is a Nazi. Some people are actually Aryan by their national ancestry. The ancient Afghans, Iranians, and Ossettes, etc.. all used the designation "Aryan" as a national self-designation. I've gone ahead and reposted this thread on the other languages forum. Hope your happy.
  13. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    So I am an Aryan by ancestry, according to the history but I am not pround of being so, it is just a fact so the comparison with Hitler who should have been proud of it is unsavoury to me. You are right, no need for thrash talk. I said I believed there were many people interested in those matters because of racist or fascist streams of thought and it is true. But I haven't invoked Nazis and so on. Just have a look on Youtube and watch the videos when you type the name Arya, Aryan, Airana, ..... It was a good idea to repost the thread but I had requested the moderators to place this thread there already, before this skirmish begon. I hope these messages will be deleted.

    The reason I commented on the intention of eventual future contributors to this thread was to prevent such kind of evolution.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  14. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    In any case, it seems Holland was defining Ariana for his readers as the term Ariana is a Latin term, therefore likely to be not understood at all. Not that "land of the Arians" really helps much either unless you know the Arians are the Medes and the Persians.
  15. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I agree.
  16. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    @tonyspeed: it seems that I was quicker writing than you fixing! If you wish I shall delete the post.
  17. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    He used Aryan in a different sense, not in an Iranian or Indic sense.

    Anyway, I think the Wikipedia info answers the OP's queries.
  18. mojobadshah Senior Member

    I thought you were joking. Adolf Hitler did use "Aryan" in a different sense. From what I understand Aryan meant "white race" to Hitler. Before that "Aryan" meant Indo-European. It came to mean "white race" because the common ancestors of the Indo-Europeans or Aryans in the extended sense were thought to be white. The Vedas testify to this. Before the term was extended to all the Indo-Europeans it extended to both the Iranians and Indians or their common ancestors the Proto-Indo-Iranians. Before that its sort of a mystery. All my etymology dictionaries claim that the word Aryan/Arian was derived from Sanskrit Arya (Vedic Aria). But as you can see the word was used to designate the inhabitants of Ariana which is a Latin rendering of the reconstructed Old Iranian Aryana (Av. airyana) as early as 1601. I think these etymologies could be wrong. The term Arya was probably used to designate the Indian languages by the late 1800's, but I don't think its accurate to say that the form Aryan was derived from Arya, especially as a designation for both the Indians and Iranians. I think what happened was Arian was consistently used to designate the Iranians from 1601 through the 19th century. The only time Arian is used to refer to the Indians is when its also used to refer to the Iranians otherwise the form Arya is used exclusively to designate the Indians. It's seems only logical to me that the word Arian came into use as a linguistic designation via the reconstructed Proto-Indo-Iranian from *arya after it was discovered that both the Iranians and the Indians used similar designations. I think that when the etymology dictionaries say that Aryan is derived from Skr. arya what they really mean is that the Skr. aria was used to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-Iranian form *aria which applied to both Indians and Iranians or their common ancestors, and this is where the form Arian ultimately derives. By WII the -i- was replaced with -y- to distinguish from Arius' sect. Doesn't that sound more logical?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  19. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    This is my point exactly. The European "historians" (word can only be used in a tongue-in-cheek way here) mistook Arian for a race that had further significance than Persian. No such race ever existed. The fact that the Persian language and Sanskrit have a common linguistic ancestor have nothing to do with the historical term Arian which means the ethnic group centered in Persia.

    In other words, European conception of history was/is based on a mistake and/or an intense desire to possess the Sanskrit culture which never belonged to them and has no relationship to them.

    Linguistic similarity does not equate with ethnic similarity by any means.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  20. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    I think Aryan as used in English is from Sanskrit, but the Latin form Ariana/Arian is from Iranian. Your etymological dictionaries are likely giving the origin for the English usage not the Latin one.
  21. mojobadshah Senior Member

    The Proto-Indo-Europeans probably never called themselves Arya "Aryans." I think the concept of race has been refuted entirely. But there is no doubt that the Aryans in national sense did exist. They came from Aryana. Even the Indians claim that the early Vedic people used Arya as a national designation. Hitler didn't believe he was an Iranian, but he certainly believed that the German people and the Iranian people shared a common kinship. From what I understand he believed the Iranians were the true Aryans. It was a German who suggested the Persians change their national designation to Iran because they knew it was connected to the "Aryans" of Zarathushtras day and the days of the Persian Empire.
  22. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    This, I beleive, is a complete fallacy. There is no proof for it. Nor will there ever be. Once again, we are linking linguistic similarities to a group of people of common origin. India and Persia have historical links. Anything further by linguists or "historians" is merely speculation masquerading as truth.
  23. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Actually, there likely was such a race or ethnicity at one time. The Vedic people and the early Iranians used the term as a self-designator, so it had an ethnic sense to it. However, it probably wasn't used like the racial concepts of modern times.
  24. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    He only considered himself and his fellow Germans to be "true Aryans". According to him, all other IE/Aryan peoples (Iranians included) were corrupted in some way by racial mixing, but still superior to those who were "non-Aryan".
  25. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    ^ Never heard about that. What's the source? Was this for the Iranian immigrants living in Germany? Wouldn't surprise me, though. The Indian independence leader, Bose, was also exempt and married an Austrian woman while living in Germany.

    Keep in mind, though, that considering someone a pure blooded Aryan wouldn't necessarily mean they were as pure as a German from the Nazi perspective.
  26. tonyspeed Senior Member

    English & Creole - Jamaica
    If you look at the sources, Medes and Persians considered themselves the Arian race. It is entirely plausible in my mind that those that spoke Sanskrit migrated from Iran. Iran is the next-door neighbour. It doesn't take much effort to ride over to the subcontinent. There are no border crossings and passports in ancient times. However, this is not provable either. But we do know Sanskrit and Avestan are fairly close relatives. It is also possible that Aryan to the sub-continent peoples only had a linguistic meaning of "shaariif" (a meaning that disappeared completely in Persian) and had no ethnic meaning what-so-ever (as it came to have to the Persian peoples).

    But then to extend this idea to all of Europe requires a preposterous leap of faith. Now we are talking about an idea now we have no real evidence for.

    To illustrate, I will use a slightly flawed example. The Norman conquest of England introduced French as the language of the elite, from which English became full of French words. Looking at this evidence thousands of years from now, can we then state that the French and British populations must have been one common group of people? If we did we would be wrong. We assumed that French words were introduced into English were because of very close family ties when in truth it was because of conquest. Even more does this theory fall apart when we look at Swahili. Swahili contains many Arabic words. Looking at this thousands of years from now, will we conclude the people who spoke Swahili must have been ethincially linked with the Arabs? If we did, we would be wrong. The Arabic words spread primarily through religious contact, not blood lines.

    In short, we have no idea the vector of transmission that created word commonalities between these languages. So we cannot assume a common people.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  27. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    It was an ethnic self-designator in Vedic literature, meaning there was a cultural link among those who identified with that term. It may not have been used as such in later times. Whether there was a racial basis to the self-designation is disputable. It's unknown whether the Vedic people were racially homogenous or if there was a racial link between the Vedic and Avestan peoples or between any Indo-Iranian and other Indo-European peoples. Race and ethnicity are different, which is why I mentioned both possibilities in my original statement. Ethnic designations can be adopted or transferred. If French language and culture had completely replaced English in England, then you may have a situation similar to Egyptians calling themselves Arabs, or Anatolians calling themselves Turks though racially distinct from many of their ethnic brethren in Central Asia.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  28. mojobadshah Senior Member

    So yeah, the Iranians were immune to the racial Nuremberg Laws on the grounds that they were pure blooded Aryans. All you have to do is type in Iranians + Nuremberg Laws + pure blooded Aryans on google books and several sources cite this. I wouldn't be surprised that despite this fact, the Nazis still believed they were purer Aryans. I have notions that calling the Iranians pure blooded Aryans was a political move. But just out of curiosity is it your opinion that the Germans believed they were purer Aryans or can you support this? From what I understand the Nazis were actually more embracive of other ethnicities than we care to give them credit for.
  29. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    I believe I read it somewhere, perhaps in excerpts from Hitler's autobiography or in comments by historians. Given your last sentence, I think we should discontinue this discussion, though. It's heading down a controversial path.
  30. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    This needs to be clarified a bit. The Sasanian Empire (3rd to 7th century AD) called itself ērānšahr, that is “kingdom of the Aryans” (ēr = Old Iranian arya; -ān = plural; šahr = kingdom), and the emperor gave himself the even grander title šāhānšāh ī ērān ud anērān “king of kings of the Aryans and the non-Aryans”; in effect: king of the whole world. In the early Islamic period ērān (īrān) is a historical/poetic term without any real political or geographic content. But in the 13th or 14th century the historic name ērān (īrān) was revived by the Ilkhanid (Mongol) rulers to designate their realm, and it remained the usual name by which Persians refer to their own country WHEN SPEAKING PERSIAN until the present. In the 1930s Reza Shah’s regime officially changed the name to be used WHEN SPEAKING EUROPEAN LANGUAGES from “Persia/Perse/Persien” etc. to “Iran”, apparently after being encouraged/bribed to do so by the Nazis. In the Persian language, however, “Iran” has been the usual designation since the Mongol period.
  31. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I've been worrying about this since the beginning, Wolverine9!
  32. mojobadshah Senior Member

    We can discontinue the discussion of Hitler and all. I initially posted this question to get some answers on the origin and development of the word Aryan. That's really all I'm concerned with. This is the question I'd like to answer:

    A lot of etymology dictionaries state that the word Arian/Aryan is derived directly from the Skr. arya. What I don't get is why linguists would use a term like Aryan to refer to both the Iranians and the Indians unless the word Aryan was really derived from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-Iranian form *arya, the common ancestor of both the Iranians and Indians.

    This is an abridged history of the word Arian/Aryan as I know it. Wikipedia says the history of Arian as a loanword began in the 18th century where Arian/Aryan is derived from Skr. aria. But the word Arian was first used in the west when it is substituted for the Iranic place-name Ariana in Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History in 1601. If Arian was used to designate the Indians in the late 18th century then why in 1807 is the form Arya still being used to designate the Indians? (Sir William Jones, The works of Sir William Jones pg. 243) I can't find any sources that uses the form Arian in reference to the Indians until 1844, but by then the word is used to designate the Proto-Indo-Iranians or common ancestors of both the Indians and the Iranians. This appears to be because Prichard had assumed that the Bactrians and Iranians called themselves Aria (probably really related to Herat) and the Brahmans used the form Aria (Arya). (James Cowles Prichard, Researches Into the Physical History of Mankid, Vol. 4 pg. 33) Subsequently the form Arian is used exclusively in reference to the Iranians by in 1847 (Karl Otfried Müller Trans. John Leitch, Ancient art and its remains: or a manual of the archaeology of art pg. 219) and 1850 (Professor F. Bopp Trans. Lieutenant Eastwick, M.R.A.S., A comparative Grammar of the Sanskrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic, German, and Sclavonic Languages pg. 1215 uses Arian in reference to the Iranians). In 1857 the form Arian is used to designate the Indians, Iranians, and Indo-Europeans. But up until this time the word Arian/Aryan is not used exclusively for the Indians. The only term that is used exclusively for the Indians is Arya. So what is the possibility that the etymologists are basically just saying that the form Arian derives from Skr. arya because that's how we know the Proto-Indo-Iranian *arya (which is really where the from Arian derives) was used for the common ancestors of the Indians and Iranians?

    Or is it simply that the linguists appropriated the term Skr. aria (which developed into arian after adding -an) to the Iranians? Does anyone get my question?
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  33. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    I think the above statement answers your question. Europeans were first introduced to the term ārya- in India while studying Vedic/Skt. literature and coined Arian/Aryan using the Latin -an suffix. Then they noticed a similar term used in Parsi literature and in the country name Iran. They concluded it was the same ethnic name and applied it to both groups of people, and eventually to all Indo-Europeans. The reason its origin is attributed to Skt. is likely twofold: 1) Europeans were introduced to the Skt. term first, and 2) if it were of Iranian origin, the form in English would probably be Airyan/Airian, since the Avestan form airiia- was discovered earlier than the ariya- of the Old Persian inscriptions.

    Ariana was used in Roman/Latin contexts for a historic region and thus is not the direct origin of Aryan/Arian.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  34. mojobadshah Senior Member

    What your saying is what every other source says out there without any references. It would be a great help if you or anyone else could provide a quote from an actual source that shows the Indians were called Arians/Aryans verbatim before the 19th century. I could be wrong, but I think a lot of sources out there confuse the form arya with aryan. What they may mean to say, as some sources actually do seem to imply, is that the form arya appeared as a designation for the Indians in the late 18th century and after it was discovered that the Iranians used similar forms (or the Old Iranian *arya or sometimes forms like Aria mistaken for arya) the linguists began to apply the form Aryan (derived from IIr. *arya + -an) to both the Indians and Iranians. This is what Prichard's book seems to imply, that both the Indians and the Iranians used the forms Aria (though I think he was mistaken about the Iranian form) and therefore the term Arian (Aria + -an) was appropriated to both the Indians and Iranians. Prichard appears to have been the one who first appropriated the term Arian to both the Indians and Iranians.
  35. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    I'm not sure what you're trying to ask here. Are you trying to determine if the form Aryan is derived from Proto-IIR rather than Skt.? Or whether both groups were called Aryans simultaneously rather than one group first?
  36. mojobadshah Senior Member

    You got it. I'm questioning whether etymology dictionaries may have been trying to simplify things for the reader. I'd like to see a quote from a source that shows the form Arian/Aryan used exclusively in reference to the Indians before the 19th century. Because they were still being called Arya by Sir William Jones in the 19th century. There may actually be a source out there that can show this. Now that I think about it it's possible that both groups were first called Arians simultaneously. But Prichard confused the Arians of Aria (Av. Haruvia or Herat ) with the Arians of Ariana (Av. Airyana, OIran. *Aryana).
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  37. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    I don't know the answer to your second question, and I'm not sure why it even matters if it was simultaneous. As for your first question, I don't think comparative linguistics was at the stage where a reconstructed Proto-IIR form would've been known. Consequently, Aryan likely had to have been derived from an extant language. The only two candidates at that time would've been Sanskrit and Avestan, and I've already mentioned the reasons for the former. Unfortunately, I don't have any primary sources with quotes showing when the usage started.
  38. mojobadshah Senior Member

    But it would have been at a stage where Aria could have been confused with Ariana and thought to be equivalent to the Vedic aria, and based on this hypothesis Prichard simultaneously designated the Iranians and the Indians Arians right? If Prichard was calling them Arians would he have been aware of Philemon Holland's reference to the Arians of Ariana in his translation of Pliny's Natural History?

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