SV: method of dating RV, III

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Sun Nov 1 00:05:55 UTC 1998

"Yaroslav V. Vassilkov" <yavass at YV1041.SPB.EDU> wrote:

>I hope that now I could offer some suggestions of my own, not just repeat
>old etymologies. For example, I would suggest now that the name vRddhAzva
>does not mean "Having big horses" (as is commonly held) - but both
>vRddhAzva "One whose horses are old" and tuzratta / duSratha "One whose
>chariot is bad" (usually scholars add: "for his enemies") are specific
>Indo-Iranian names with "magical function"

Would you have the cuneiform (or possibly hieroglyphic, if from the
Amarna archives) transcription of these names at hand? I would (for
reasons outside Indological scope) be interested in knowing how /s'/
in <Azva> is actually written.

>Such scholars
>as V.Toporov, V.Ivanov, T.Elizarenkova, G.M.Bongard-Levin, V.Livshits and
>others consider still the Mitanni names and terms to be the trustworthy
>evidence on the language of Proto-Indo-Aryans.

Well, I don't think Igor' Mixajlovich is denying that.  He is merely
asserting that this vocabulary layer embedded in Mitanni Hurrian was
quite possibly fossilized, and that it was no longer in living use by
the time the Mitanni state was established c. 1500.  He might also be
denying that the vocabulary is specifically (Proto-)Indo-Aryan, but
that it should rather be regarded as Proto-Indo-Iranian.  That at
least is my own preferred interpretation, if only because it would
considerably simplify the picture of Indo-Iranian movements up to the
2nd millennium.  (I might add here that T. Gamq'relidze and V.V.
Ivanov, in "Indoevropejskij jazyk i indoevropejcy", reach the rather
surprising conclusion that the "Mitanni Aryan" dialect is closer to
Iranian than to Indo-Aryan).

>First Russian princes of
>Scandinavian origin - Ruerick, Oleg (Helgi), Igor (Ingvar),
>Vladimir (Voldemar) were the Northmen by names and by their language/culture,
>but the Kievan prince Yaroslav, my namesake and saint-patron, son of
>Vladimir, not only bore a typical Russiav (Slavic) name but definitely
>spoke and wrote good Old Russian - in spite of the fact that noble Vikings
>from the West were still welcomed at his court. But since that time
>Scandinavian names of courtiers and warriors in old Russian chronicles become
>more and more rare, and soon disappear completely.

Quite so.  But this isn't always the case.  The Visigothic rulers of
Spain were still called Wamba, Witiza and Roderick (Rodrigo), long
after the Gothic language was quite forgotten.  And the Catalan names
for "fox" (<guineu> and <guilla>) derive from two countesses called
Winidhild and Wisila, whose mother tongue certainly wasn't Frankish.
And there are still an awful lot of Russians called Oleg, Ol'ga or

>        Lastly, one more objection to Kammenhuber and Diakonov's critique
>of "Mitanni Aryan". The Indo-Iranian etymology of marianna/mariannu is not
>to be discarded just because there is a related word mari- in Urartian.
>One must add to it an Ingush (i.e., North Caucasian) word mar- 'man'
>(traced to marya- by J.Harmatta) or Mari (Tcheremis) mari-, marij-
>"man; noble" used by a small Finno-Ugric people in the Volga basin as their
>ethnic name (now the Marij-El republic in Russia; the Indo-Iranian ethymology
>of the word is generally accepted, see Joki 1974: 280). All these words
>seem to point to the root of the supposed Proto-Indo-Aryan migration from
>Volga and South Ural via Caucausus to Northern Iran. Urartu is just one more
>link in the chain.

Mari is (Indo-)Iranian without doubt.  I reserve judgment on the
Ingush word (Is it just Ingush or Chechen / Dagestanian as well?
Does *mari- occur in Scytho-Ossetic?).  I frankly prefer the
Indo-Iranians going round the other side of the Caspian, from the
Volga/Urals through the Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan steppe (where we
have the Proto-(Indo-)Iranian Andronovo culture in the 2nd and
attested East Iranians in the 1st millennium) and making contact with
the outposts of Near Eastern and Harappan cultures just south of the
Amu Darya river maybe as early as 3000 BC.  I can't exclude the
Caucasus route, of course, but I think it rather less likely (and
gorazdo goristee -- rather more mountainous).

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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