Kabul - vijtAzva - svayambhU

Raoul Martens raoul at MARTENS.PP.SE
Thu Oct 22 20:46:49 UTC 1998

George Thompson wrote:
> In response to Erik Seldeslachts's first question:
> >What is the etymology of the name of Kabul (Afghanistan)? Is it
> >Iranian, or might it be Indo-Aryan?
> >
> Kabul = Vedic ku'bhA, a river name. I don't think that there is a
> successful etyomology for it, so that we cannot say that it is either
> Indo-Aryan or Iranian [where it does not appear to be attested]. Kuiper
> [*Aryans in the Rgveda*, p.89] suggests that it is "a local river name > that was adopted by the Indo-Aryans." Similarly, see Witzel's articles > in the Erdosy volume. The river is cited by Greek authors as kOphEs,
> kOphEn, in Latin as Cophes.

Does anyone kow what the river Kabul and the ter-
rain near and around the city of Kabul look like?

A reason for asking this question is that there
are in Europe place- and rivernames similar to
Kabul. See Hans Bahlow: Deutschlands geograph-
ische Namenwelt, Frankfurt am Main, 1965: Kabel,
in 839 'Cavila' and Kobel, in 890 'silva Cobolo'.
Acc. to Bahlow these names are "Bezeichnungen fuer
Wasser, Sumpf" and suffixes -ul, -ol mean "swamp".

In southern Sweden near the Baltic there is a pla-
ce called Kabusa at a swampy/dirty creek also cal-
led Kabusa. Acc. to a heretic but plausible etymo-
logy Kabusa equals Kab- "dirty" and -usa "water".
Cfr European rivers: the Usa in Germany, the Ouse,
780 Usa, in England and the Ousse in France. The
Oxford Concise Dict-y of Engl. Placenames, 1936,
Ouse, has: "A Brit rivername from the root ved-,
ud- 'water', found in Sanskrit udan- 'water', udra
'a water animal' Engl. otter, OIr usce 'water' &c."

If the characteristics of the river and/or place
Kabul do fit Bahlow's definitions could not that
name be an "Ur-Aryan" combined water-/place-name
referring to swamp/'dirty' water analogous with
such old names in Europe, acc. to Balow. RSVP

Sincerely Raoul Martens

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