The World of the Huns. Chapter IX. Language
O. Maenchen-Helfen

5. Iranian names

Αἰσχμάνος  —  Amazukes  —  Balas  —  Hormidac  —  Chorsomanos  —  Chorsomantis  —  Styrax, Glones  —  Zabergan   —  Zartir

"Massaget," doryphorus in the Byzantine army about 540. [129] -manos is Iranian -mani- or -manah-, which is also transcribed manus, manes, and menes. [130] No satisfactory etymology has been offered for the first element.

A Hun chieftain in the Caucasus about 500. [131] "Having arms with power," Old Iranian *ama-bāzuka. [132]


Together with Sinnion, commander of six hundred Massaget auxiliaries, all mounted archers, in Belisarius' army in 533. [133] Balas, transcribed , and , is a common Persian name. [134]


Leader of the preponderantly Hunnic hordes which in the winter 465/6 devastated Dacia ripensis and mediterranea. When one considers that poets often slightly changed foreign names to fit them in the meter — Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica VI, 96, has Batarna instead of Bastarna; in Dionysius, Periegesis 302,  became  — it seems quite probable that Hormidac is Hormizdak, a common Middle Persian name in Sasanian times.

"Massaget," bodyguard of Belisarius. [135] According to Abaev, Ossetic xorz-aman, "(having) good intentions." [136]


"Massaget," bodyguard of Belisarius. [137] Abaev takes it to be Ossetic xors-amond, "(having) good luck." [138]


The only source for the war between the Sabir and the Caucasian Huns, led by Styrax and Clones, is the Chronography of Malalas, preserved in a single manuscript, the codex Baroccianus, [139] which bristles with corrupt readings. [140] Some of them can be emended with the help of quotations in later works. Theophanes, in particular, often has the correct forms, confirmed by the Slavic translation of Malalas and, though to a very moderate degree, by John of Nikiu. In the codex Baroccianus the names of the two Huns are  and . Theophanes has  and ; the Slavic translation, Sturaks and Eglon; John of Nikiu, Astêrâ and 'Aglânôs. [141] These forms show that the original Malalas text had Styrax and Glones.

Glones is the Grecized form of a Persian name. The general , commander of the garrison of Amida in 503, was "a Persian man." [142]   was the mōbadhan mōbadh who "refuted" the Mazdakites in the great religious discussion which marked the beginning of the end of the heresy. [143] Although les formes iraniennes des noms de Glonazes and Boazanes [bishop of the Persian Christians] ne se distinguent pas avec certitude," [144] there can be no doubt that the name of the highest Zoroastrian priest was Persian.

As Professor W. B. Henning informed me, Glones may be compared with Gołon-Mihran, a Persian commander in Armenia mentioned by Sebeos; there is a variant in other Armenian sources — Włon-Mihran. Henning took Włon-Gołon- for a late form of Vthraghna (Varhrān, Bahrām, and so forth.)

Styrax is a common Greek name. [145] Malalas altered the barbarian name of the Hun into one which was familiar to him and sounded better to his ear. Styrax is, I believe, the same as , in an inscription


from Gorgippia, a transcription of *sturak, which V. Miller connected with Orgor stur-, "big." [146]


Leader of the Kutrigur Huns about 550-560. [147] Justi compared the name with  in two inscriptions from Tanais, assuming that -an was the patronymic -ana, -an. [148] Zabergan is a Persian name. In the inscription of Shapur I, 261, A.D., it occurs as Pahlavi zplk'n, Parthian zbrkn, and Greek . [149] Although , the general who in 586 defended the fortress Chlomaron against the Romans, [150] might have been the commander of barbarian auxiliaries and, therefore, a barbarian himself, , a minister of Chosroes I, [151] was certainly a Persian. [152]

"Massaget" in the Byzantine army about 549. [153] The etymology has been found by Professor Henning. [154] The second half is the Persian divinity Tīr. [155] Zar-tīr is a twin brother of Zar-mihr, a name of the same period.  stands to Zarmihr in the same relationship as  to .

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129. Moravcsik, BT 2, 58.

130. Justi 1895, 345-346. Lagarimanus, a Visigothic optimas (Ammianus XXXI, 3, 5), has an Iranian name with the same element.

131. Moravcsik, BT 2, 65.

132. I owe this etymology to my late friend Professor W. B. Henning.

133. Procopius V, 16, 1.

134. Justi 1895, 345-346; Abh. Göttingen, N.F. 15, 1, 1917, 27 (Balas, 449 A.D.).

135. Procopius V, 16, 1.

136. Abaev 1949, 169, 172. Herzfeld (1924, 186) compared the name with Khvaras-man, lord of Mokan, in the Paikuli inscription.

137. Procopius VI, 1, 21, 32-34.

138. Abaev 1949, 172.

139. Moravcsik, BT 1, 329-330.

140. For the best evaluation of Malalas, see Stein 1959, 2, 702-704 (vulgaire au plus degré et sous tous les rapports).

141. Moravcsik, BT 2, 114, 292.

142. Procopius I, 7, 33; I, 9, 4-19, 21, 23.

143. Theophanes, A.M. 6016, C. de Boor 1883, 17012.

144. Christensen 1944, 360, n. 4.

145. Moravcsik, BT 2, 293; Preisigke 1922, 397.

146. V. Miller, IAK 47, 1913, 89. Zgusta 1955, § 1148, referring to the Greek name , prefers a Greek etymology. He does not know the two Hun names.

147. Moravcsik, BT 2, 128. Menander has  (EL 17014,20) and  (17024); he would, thus, have written .

148. Justi 1895, 377, 523; Zgusta 1955, 109.

149. Honigmann and Maricq 1953, 59.

150. Theoph. Sim. II, 8, 7. For , read , cf. M. de Saint Martin in Lebeau 1820, 10, 242.

151. Procopius I, 23, 25-26; II, 8, 30; 26, 16-19; Anecd. II, 32.

152. Mutafčiev (1932, 67) maintains that Zabergan was a Hephthalite. He does not state his reasons; there are none.

153. Moravcsik, BT 2, 129.

154. I retract the etymology I suggested in Oriens 10, 1957, 281.

155. Ancient Tïrī; cf. W. B. Henning in a note to A. D. H. Bivar, "A Rosette Phialë Inscribed in Aramaic," BSOAS 24, 1961, 191.