Indo-Aryan words in Hurrian

Vidhyanath Rao rao.3 at OSU.EDU
Thu Nov 9 17:10:03 EST 2000

Dear Mr. Kaldhol,

I have two questions regarding the names of gods in the Hittite-Mittani
treaty. These have to do with differences between how the names were
interpreted by Thieme (JAOS 1960, followed by all Indologists) and by
Diakonoff (AFAIK, latest in ``When worlds collide''). I have not been
able to get sufficient information to decide between them. Perhaps you
can clarify how experts in ANE texts view them today.

The lesser point has to do with the meaning of the suffix -ssi/e.
Thieme states that the meaning is unclear, but may be adjective
forming. Diakonoff takes this meaning as certain. Its purpose
then is obscure from Vedic viewpoint. Thus the first question:
what is the meaning/purpose of this suffix?

The more serious point has to do with how to read the second name.
Theime says that `varuna-' is as possible as `urvana-', but then
in a footnote, records A. G"otze's disagreement with this. The variant
`aruna-' is explained as a scribal error or as due the Hittite knowing
scribe using the Hittite word for ocean because Varuna is, among other
things, in control of the waters. (Did scribes take such liberties in
those days? Is is even plausible that they had such detailed

Diakonoff rejects this completely: He does not even note the possibility
of reading `varuna' instead of `urvana-' and rejects aruna < varuna
because *w > zero is not possible in any of the languages involved.
[He suggests `urvana' from PIIr word `urwan', soul, and connects the
Mittani to ancestors of the Nuristanis. He does not explain aruna from
this viewpoint.].

Thus the second question: Can the cuniform text be read as `varuna-'
instead of `urvana-', and how to reconcile the two variant readings?

Thanks in advance for your help.


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