Norse AEsir and Vedic Asura.

P.Magnone at P.Magnone at
Thu Oct 26 16:35:19 UTC 1995

 _Asura_ as a-sura is believed to be a false etymology dating from the
 upanishadic period, when it accordingly led to the creation of a new
 word for "gods", _sura_, not attested in older texts.

 The word stems in all probability from _asu_ "vital breath" + _ra_,
 meaning something like "master of vital breath", and as such it is
 indeed cognate to Norse _ass_ (pl. aesir) (as well as to Avestic

Paolo Magnone
Catholic University of Milan
P.Magnone at

On 26-Ott-95 Anshuman Pandey wrote:

 > Members,

 > Is the Norse word for god, AEsir, a cognate of the Vedic, Asura?
 > Does the AE in AEsir represent a negation of the word sir, as the
 > a does for asura? I am wondering this because asura and AEsir are
 > names for the older generation of deities in the Vedic writings
 > and Eddic and other Norse writing, and am curious to know whether
 > there is any common ground between the two.

 > Thanks.

 > Anshuman Pandey


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