hindu once again

jacob.baltuch at euronet.be jacob.baltuch at euronet.be
Sun Jun 15 15:53:49 UTC 1997

>A few remarks on the word Hindu = Sindhu etc.
>Hindu is not a Persian *misspelling* of Sindhu. It represents the natural
>phonetic development in ancient Iranian of the original *sindhu. In Awestan,
>initial *s becomes h in front of vowels.
>The words "indus, indikus (Latin) / indos, indikos (Greek)" must have come
>to Western Europe via Greek in the Hellenistic period. That is when the
>Greeks "drop their h'es". (I assume that if the word had entered Greek at an
>earlier stage, the Latin version might have been hindus, although this is
>strictly speaking not absolutely necessary). Consequently, Persian hindu-
>(the change from dh > d is also typical of Iranian) would become indo- in a
>Greek mouth. In this shape the word also got into Latin from Greek.

[Later corrected to: it *did* enter Greek at an early time but through
the Ionian dialect which lost its initial hs much earlier on than Attic]

In the same vein, can anyone explain the Hebrew name of India, "hodu"?
(That's the modern pronunciation. Originally it should be "hoddu" or "hodhu",
I don't remember which but I suspect it should be the latter; it can be found
in the Bible, in the first verse of the Book of Esther, for example)

And what about the origin of "sindhu" itself? (Meaning? Is it IA?)

Also, in a translation of one of the ashokan edicts (I don't remember
which one) I've seen the word "India" used (in translation; I haven't
seen the text) I was kind of surprised. Unfortunately the translator
who otherwise provided numerous notes, didn't deem this particular
item to be worth one.

Does anyone know by any chance what word that was and how its meaning
should be understood?

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