Airyanem Vaejah

Airyanem Vaejah

Airyanəm Vaējah, which approximately means "expanse of the Aryans," [ see p. 164 in: P.O. Skjaervo, The Avesta as source for the early history of the Iranians. In: G. Erdosy (ed.), The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia. (Indian Philology and South Asian Studies, A. Wezler and M. Witzel, eds.), vol. 1, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 1995, pp.155-176. ] is a reference in the Zoroastrian Avesta (Vendidad, Farg. 1) to one of Ahura Mazda's "sixteen perfect lands." [Darmesteter, James. "Sacred Books of the East" (1898). Peterson, Joseph H., Avesta - Zoroastrian Archives: VENDIDAD (English): Fargard 1. [] ] It is considered the best of places, but on the other hand the Vendidad/Vīdēvdād 1 claims that there are two months of summer there and ten of winter. It suffers from flooding at the end of winter.

Etymology and related words

In the Avestan language, "airyanəm vaējah" is formed from the plural genitive case of "airya" and the word "vaējah" (whose oft-used nominative case is "vaējō"). The meaning of "vaējah" is uncertain. It may be related to the Vedic "vej/vij", suggesting the region of a fast-flowing river. [see Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the origins of Vedic culture, 2001: 327] it has also been interpreted by some as "seed" or "germ". Avestan "airya" is etymologically related to the Sanskrit "ārya" and the Old Persian "ariya" (see Aryans).

The term generated the Middle Persian term "Ērānwēz" (which occurs during the rule of the Sassanian emperor Ardashir I [D.N. Mackenzie, "Ērān", Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, ( [ LINK] )] ), and the Persian term "Iran-vez" (forming the modern name of Iran). It also occurs in a Sogdian phrase based on the Avesta.

Historical concepts

The historical location of Airyanem Vaejah is still uncertain. In the first chapter of the Vendidad is a listing of sixteen countries, and some scholars believe that Airyanem Vaejah lies to the north of all of these. [Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland: A Study on the Origins of Mazdeism and Related Problems by Gherardo Gnoli, Instituto Universitario Orientale, Seminario di Studi Asiatici, (Series Minor VII), Naples, 1980] Some experts (Bahram Farahvashi and Nasser Takmil Homayoun [Nasser Takmil Homayoun, "Kharazm: What do I know about Iran?". 2004. ISBN 964-379-023-1] among others) suggest that Airyanem Vaejah was probably centered around Khwarazm, a region that is now split between several Central Asian republics. The University of Hawaii historian Elton L. Daniel likewise believes Khwarazm to be the "most likely locale" corresponding to the original home of the Avestan people, [Elton L. Daniel, "The History of Iran". 2001. ISBN 0-313-30731-8] and Dehkhoda once called Khwarazm "the cradle of the Aryan tribe. However, Michael Witzel believes that Airyanem Vaejah was located, as summer pasture, in what are now the cool highlands of central Afghanistan "with ten months of winter"." [M. Witzel, "The Home Of The Aryans", Festschrift J. Narten = Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft, Beihefte NF 19, Dettelbach: J.H. Röll 2000, 283-338. Also published online, at Harvard University ( [ LINK] )]


ee also

*Ahura Mazda

External links

* [ Avesta terminology: Eranvej]

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