Altogether some sixty names of women and female figures are attested in the Indian Rigveda and the Iranian Avesta, including relatives of the religious founder Zoroaster. What do these - linguistically often obscure - word forms of these two closely related languages tell us about the naming of women? And how can they contribute to our knowledge of the social position of women in prehistoric Indo-European society? A general survey of Old Indo-Iranian onomastics is followed by individual analyses of the meaning, attestation and etymology of the different name forms. Names of real people are distinguished from those of mythological figures, since in mythology expressive names that refer to personal characteristics are more common. New interpretations are offered for a few names whose etymology has as yet not been satisfactorily explained. In other cases the focus is on the context in which the names occur. The work is comparatively based, and often solutions are found in another branch of the language or in male names. The small number of female names turns out to be onomastically significant. In addition, the female names help to explain contested masculine forms. The various individual results suggest that the naming of women and girls followed pragmatic considerations: women, for instance, frequently bore names derived from their husbands' names or those of their families of origin, or they bore shortened names. Also the names of female mythological figures can often be interpreted as matrimonial names, derived from the name of their mythological partner.
|Publisher:||Austrian Academy of Sciences Press|
|Series:||Sitzungsberichte der philosophisch-historischen Klasse Series , #745|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|