Studies in the History and Language of the Sarmatians
J. Harmatta


3. The Sarmatian Dialects of the North Pontic Region

Old Iranian r before an i has also a twofold development: 1. -l-, 2. -r-.

Old Iranian ri > l.

Tanais,  No. 364 (175 — 211 and 220 A. D.). The interpretations hitherto attempted are as follows: in Miller's view the word is a compound meaning 'aufhaltend, beseitigend'; the elements in the compound ( and  correspond to Ossetian fäl ~ Avestan pairi and to Avestan darəna- 'haltend, tragend' respectively. Justi tried to explain the word from Avestan ϑra- while Vasmer suggested a possible connection with the Ossetian word fäldar (the correct form is faldär) 'weiter' (see Vasmer, op. cit., 54). None of these explanations is, however, acceptable. Vasmer's interpretation is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of semantics, while that of Justi (besides phonetic difficulties) leaves the ending  unexplained. Miller's solution is open to grave semantic objections, quite apart from the legitimate doubt whether the compound with the sense given by him may be used as a person's name. The meaning of the Avestan word darəna- is not 'haltend, tragend' (as Miller suggests) but 'Befestigung; Aufenthalt; Aufenthaltsort. Wohnsitz, Schlupfwinkel' (Bartholomae, AirWb. 692–3). True, the corresponding Old Indian word dharan
̣a- does mean 'tragend, erhaltend'; but even if one were to assume a similar meaning in Old Iranian, the sense of the compound could at best be only 'erhaltend, aufrechterhaltend'.


Thus the solution must be sought on other lines. Phonetically, the name : faldaran- may be traced back not only to the form pari-darana- but also to *pari-tarana-. The element -där in the Ossetian word faldär quoted by Vasmer also goes back to an Old Iranian form *-tara- (see Miller,  III. 156 and Hübschmann, op. cit., 35). This Old Iranian *pari-tara-(na)- may be regarded as having been obtained by suffixation (by means of the comparative suffix -tara-) from the adverb and preposition *pari ~ Avestan pairi meaning 'vorne; zuvor, früher' and 'um – herum, über-, über – hin'. Similar suffixed forms of adverbs and prepositions are very frequent in the language of the Avesta: an-tara- 'der innere, innen befindlich' (an- = Greek ); aiwi-tara- 'außen (um das Land) herum gelegen, fremd' (aiwi 'zu, gegen — hin, gegen", etc.): apāχ-tara- 'rückwärts, hinten gelegen' (apānk- 'nach hinten, rückwärts gewendet'); fra-tara- 'der räumlich vordere, weiter vorn befindliche' (fra 'vorwärts, voran'): niš-tara- 'der äußere' (niš 'hinaus, weg'); vī-tara- 'der seitlichere: der weitere: ( 'auseinander, abseits, getrennt von —'); see Bartholomae, AirWb. 132: 90, 87; 79, 82; 979, 974; 1087; 1439, 1435. Thus new words may be formed from nearly every adverb and preposition by means of the comparative suffix -tara-. The from *pari-tara-, conjectured on the basis of the name  fits well into this series, and probably means 'one in front, first'. Thus, semantically, the name  is the exact equivalent of the Alanic name Paria < Old Iranian +-*parvya- 'erster'. It only remains to remark that the Ossetian word faldär 'weiter' cannot be a development from this conjectured Old Iranian form *pari-tara-, since the regular development in Ossetian would be *faldär; the first element in faldär — as Miller has pointed out correctly — corresponds to the Avestan word para 'fort, weg, zur Seite', so that the word must be traced back ultimately to the Old Iranian form *para-tara-.

Old Iranian *ri- > r.

Olbia. In Miller's view, this name is a compound of the words corresponding to Avestan pairi and Old Indian sphāna- 'fett' (see in Vasmer, op. cit., 48). But as Vasmer has already pointed out, the word corresponding to Old Indian sphāna- is missing from Iranian, so that some other interpretation must be sought for the second part of the name. This element  in the name  ( is a wellknown suffix) may be compared with the Sogdian word spn: span. This word occurs in the compound spnčyr-spn (F. W. K. Müller, Soghdische Texte I. 40, 42, 43) which appears in the Greek text as . Hence the meaning of the word spnčyr must be 'household' while that of spn must be 'manager, administrator'. Thus the compound *par-span-ak > *pari-spana-ka- must have meant approximately 'manager, inspector, administrator of a household'.

Additional Notes

To p. 91. Abaev interprets the name  as *pars-panak = Ossetian fäjnäg-fars 'whose side is (strong as) a board'. I see no reason to abandon my interpretation. The etymology of Ossetian fäjnäg is unclear (the proposal of Abaev cannot be accepted) and it is doubtful whether it can be presumed in Sarmatian. Beside the interpretation proposed by me previously, the explanation *pars-pānak 'side-guard, body-guard' is also possible (cf. Middle Persian puštg-pān 'body-guard', literally 'back-guard') and perhaps it is even better.

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