hamsa, goose and swan
John C. Huntington
huntington.2 at OSU.EDU
Sun Feb 10 22:54:20 UTC 2002
Forgive me for entering into a private conversation but I think the
swan is a Central Asian Bird that was domesticated by Eastern
Europeans and others. It was certainly a game bird in the Kurgans at
Pazyryk in the trans Altai.
If there was a species of swan in early Indic regions it would be
interesting to know
John C. Huntington
>It does not help me much in my search for the
>link between praa.na and the sun, but: Yes,
>etymologically hamsa is indeed ghansa (cf.
>Mayrhofer) whereas swan, the singing bird (?),
>has perhaps something to do with sv·nati and
>latin sonare (at least acc. to Duden
>Herkunfstwoerterbuch s.v. Schwan; unfortunately
>the online indo-european dictionary is still only
>starting up and I could not find a suitable lemma
>for swan/zwaan/Schwan at
>Please, Dominik, request Julia to enlighten us on
>the overlap between hamsa and swan.
>--- Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK> wrote:
>> On Fri, 8 Feb 2002, Frits Staal wrote:
>> > I have not followed this discussion but only
>> a detail re. #6: hamsa does
>> > not mean swan but goose - obvious also for
>> semantic reasons unlike swan
>> > which is a typically European-Romantic
>> (Wordsworth?) bird.
>> Ahh, Frits. According to received Indological
>> opinion, you would be
>> absolutely right, but Julia has been
>> re-examining the identity of the
>> hamsa, and would not agree with what you say, I
>> think. I'll leave it to
>> her to state her view on this, if she wishes.
>> She has gone into a lot of
>> detail, and has sophisticated ornithological
>> knowledge as well as the
>> Indological background. As far as I can
>> gather, "swan" is correct *in
>> some circumstances*. But I must leave it to
>> Julia to say any more.
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