SV: method of dating RV, III

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal mcv at WXS.NL
Sat Oct 31 13:25:31 UTC 1998

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

>      It is not the first time that participants of the discussion refer to a
>concept according to which Indo-Aryan words in Mitanni Hurrian were just
>very old loan words from a forgotten language which had already been dead
>for centuries, and that old notion that there were Aryans among Mitanni
>ruling elite is wrong. Unfortunately I don't know the source of the concept
>and how seriously it was argumented. All that I see is that it is, of course,
>politically correct.

My source is Michalowski, based primarily on Kammenhuber and
D'jakonov.  Here are two of Piotr's postings on sci.archaeology
regarding the matter:

Subject:      marianna-  Hurrian or IE?
From:         piotrm at (Piotr Michalowski)
Date:         1996/12/05
Message-ID:   <piotrm.418.00152BF9 at>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology

Since there has been much discussion of the supposed "Aryan
aristocracy" in second millennium Western Asia, I thought it might be
useful to provide a very brief discussion of the matter.  The main
basis for this hypothesis is the word marianna, supposedly IE and
supposedly meaning "aristocrat," or the like. The word appears
primarily in texts from the Hitttite capital, from Ugarit and Alalakh
in Syria, in Nuzi in northern Mesopotamia.  Already in 1910 it had
been proposed that this word derived from Indic marya-, "young man,"
with the Hurrian ending -anne.  This has been repeated many times,
although there have been those who have not accepted this etymology.
A full discussion with references can be found in Annelies
Kammenhuber, Die Arier im Vorderen Asien (Heidelberg, 1968).
Kammenhuber was also against this and cited Igor Diakonoff's private
correspondence to her in which he proposed that the word was not a
loan in Hurrian, but a native word, as demonstrated by Urartian mari-
(Urartian and Hurrian are cognate languages from the same linguistic
stock, according to Diakonoff and Starostin, East Caucasian).  The
fact that this was not a loan in Hurrian solved many morphological
problems.   Etymology aside, there is no evidence that marianna were
the "aristocracy," and, indeed, the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary v. M
defines the word simply as "chariot driver."   It is also clear from
personnel lists from Alalakh that m. were not at the top of the heap.
In his Pre-history of the Armenian People (NY 1984) p. 37 Diakonoff
writes: "It seems, though, that it is a mistake to assign the
marianna (charioteers) to the aristocracy.  And there is no evidence
to suggest that the marianna were Indo-Iranians, as some scholars
suggest."  N. B. Jankowka also notes that the word is Hurro-Urartian,
and adds, "Note also that the marianna were not a "feudal
aristocracy"; they were palace personnel..." (Diakonoff, ed, Early
Antiquity (Chicago, 1991) 244.  For a full argumentation see
Diakonoff, Die Arier im Vorderen Orient--Ende eines Mythos,"
Orientalia 41 (1972).

<end quote>

Author: Piotr Michalowski
Date:   1996/09/28
Forums: sci.archaeology

In article <52jqhc$3dr at> S.NEMETH at IX.NETCOM.COM
(Stella Nemeth) writes:

>I have a question.  If Mitanni Indo-Aryan was a dead language by the
>time of the Hittites, what did the Mitanni who fought the Hittites
>speak at the time of their war?

I think that there is a bit of terminological confusion here.  There
were no people called Mitanni; that was the name of a state.  It
would appear from their writings that they were primarily Hurrian
speaking.  In fact, the longest Hurrian text that we have is a letter
sent by Tushratta, the king of Mitanni, to the pharoah and found at
Tell el-Amarna in Egypt.  Some of the rulers of Mitanni had
Indo-European names.  There was a long discussion on the nature of
these names and of IE loan words in Hurrian and the main agreement
these days seems to be that this was not a living language at the
time, but only remnants of previous contacts that certain Hurrian
groups had with IE dialects elsewhere.  The analysis of these words
seems to indicate that this had nothing to do with the Anatolian
branch of IE ("Hittite"), but with eastern dialects.  I believe that
I noted this before, but I will again.  The classic statement of all
of this is by I. Diakonoff, "Die Arier im Vorderen Asien--Ende eines
Mythos," Orientalia 41, 1972.  In English one can read his The
Prehistory of the Armenian Peoples, Caravan Books, 1984. [...]

<end quote>

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

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