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Āpapāta (Qūmis commentaries no. 2)

  • A. D. H. Bivar

In a recent issue of this journal the writer essayed a reading of the fragmentary Parthian ostracon from the 1967 excavations by John Hansman and D. B. Stronach at Shahr-i Qūmis, near Dāmghān, Irān. The tentative reading in line 4 was as follows:

The round brackets at this point indicate the editor's hesitation between similar letter-forms, rather than actual defacement of the lettering. So far as they go, the traces are reasonably clear.

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1 Bivar, A. D. H., “The first Parthian ostracon from Iran”, JRAS, 1970, 65. That article is treated as the first of the series to be sub-titled “Qūmis commentaries”, and it is hoped that other short notes will follow in due course on topics of interest emerging from the finds of these excavations.

I am grateful to Professor Mary Boyce, and Professor Martin Schwartz, who each read this note in an earlier draft, and made helpful criticisms, though neither, of course, necessarily endorses the final version.

2 Diakonov, I. M. and Livshits, V. A., Dokumenty iz Nisy I v. do n.e., Moscow, 1960, 24.

3 For example in the name of the satrap Tiribazus, written Trybzw on satrapal coins of Tarsus, British Museum catalogue of Greek coins, Lycaonia etc., 164, no. 12. Also in the name *Tiriphernes, recorded in the Aramaic spelling Tryprn on the silver vessel discussed by the late Professor Henning, W. B. in the writer's article in BSOAS, XXIV, 1961, 191. The reading is to be upheld, pace Professor H. S. Nyberg (“An Old Persian name on a silver bowl in Dr. Kempe's collection”, Festskrift Carl Kempe, 753), who, in throwing doubt on the possible existence of that form, did not, it seems, notice that it is already attested in the Kharoṣṭhī spelling Tiravharna, as is indeed noted in a footnote elsewhere in the earlier article.

4 Sznycer, M., “Nouveaux ostraca de Nisa”, Semitica XII, 1962, 112 and 126.

5 Diakonov, I. M. and Livshits, V. A., Dokumenty iz Nisy, Moscow, 1960, 41.

6 Chaumont, M-L., “Les ostraca de Nisa: nouvelle contribution à l'histoire des Arsacides”, JA, CCLVI, 1968, 16.

7 JRAS, 1970, 65.

8 Best attested from the spelling in local script upon the coins of Lycia, for which recent references will be found in N. OIçay and O. Morkholm, “The coin hoard from Podalia”, Numismatic Chronicle, 1971, 7.

9 Perhaps identical with Varhraγnpāt, cf. E. Benveniste, Titres et noms propres en Iranien ancien, Paris, 1966, 106: “Cependant la composition avec -φατης -πατης, c'est à dire -pāta ‘protegé’, nous fera plutôt chercher dans Ορθανο- un nom divin”. We follow a similar process of reasoning with the present problem.

10 Le Rider, G., Suse sous les Séleucides et les Parthes, Paris, 1965, 81.

11 Balkan, Kemal, “Inscribed bullae from Daskyleion-Ergili”, Anatolia IV, 1959, 129 (fig. 3, no. 27, and PI. XXXIVa). The inscription has recently been noted, though not read, in the helpful list of Father F. Vattioni, “I sigilli, le monete e gli avori aramaici”, Augustinianum, XI, 1971, 63, no. 148.1 am obliged to Mr. A. R. Millard for bringing this reference to my attention.

12 Gershevitch, I., “Amber at Persepolis”, Studia classica et orientalia Antonino Pagliaro oblata, Rome, 1969, 182.

13 Benveniste, E., Titres et noms propres en Iranien ancien, Paris, 1966, 144, who preferred to the traditional explanation “obtaining salvation through … ” a derivation which would signify “object of enjoyment (for the deity?)”, while Gershevitch further suggested the meaning “who serves (the deity)”.

14 Nyberg, H. S., Le Monde Orientate, XVII, 1923, no. 187, 1. 5, and p. 206.

15 On the Sasanian gem of the 4th century a.d. at the coin-cabinet of the Hague, reproduced by Lajard, Felix, Recherches sur le culte, les symboles, les attributs et les monuments figurés de Venus, Paris, 1849, Pl. XXI a, 26. For the reading'b'y ZY'pyny BRH see the writer's Catalogue of the Western Asiatic seals in the British Museum. Stamp seals II. The Sassanian dynasty, 1969, 17.

16 I, 131.

17 “Ātaš-zohr and Āb-zohr”, JRAS, 1966, 110–118.

18 For example, on p. 111, where the rite is described as being performed in particular by young girls, or as part of the marriage-ceremony; or on p. 112, where the ceremony is described as being performed by women of the Parsī community in India at the Ābān Ardvisūr Jašn.

19 As in Yasht, 5. 30, where the divinity is praised, in the words of Darmesteter's translation (The Zend-Avesta, SBE, XXIII, II, 82–3), as “Ardvi Sûra Anǎhita, who stands carried forth in the shape of a maid, fair of body, most strong, tall-formed, high-girded, pure, nobly born of a glorious race …”.

20 n. 15 above.

21 For the illustration, see A. U. Pope (ed.), A survey of Persian art, IV, 160 b.

22 The identification of the deities is given already by Sarre, F., L'art de la Perse ancienne, Paris, 1921, 39.

23 “Ǎtaš-zohr and āb-zohr”, p. 116. (The ritual concerned is part of the celebration of the yasna, the Zoroastrian equivalent, as it were, of the Christian mass.)

24 Perhaps it is possible to explain the Greek as a rendering of Iranian *Āpāmmāh, deriving from the month-name āpān-māh-; or (on the lines of Justi's explanation of Spitama, Iranisches Namenbuch, 309, as a hypochoristic of Spitamenes) as a shortened form from a hypothetical *Apa- + manah. Though the somewhat similar form Μιὑραμανο is now attested in Bactrian from Surkh Kotal, that form seems hardly to be regarded as a straightforward theophoric compound in view of the fact that mithra has also the meaning “friend”, so that a similar formation with Āp- seems scarcely plausible. This is perhaps an argument against the second hypothesis. Against the first, it must be admitted that the proper-name formation of the “noun + adjective” type (e.g. Aršāma, A. H. M. Stonecipher, Graeco-Persian Names, 22 and R. G. Kent, Old Persian, 171) would be more typical of the Achaemenid period than such later use of month-names as Mihrmāh and Farvardinmāh.

25 Frye, Richard N., Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum, Part 3, Vol. III, Dura-Europos, Pl XXVII, 22.

26 Minns, E. H., “Parchments of the Parthian period from Avroman”, JHS, XXXV, 1915, Pl III; Cowley, A., “Pahlavi documents from Avroman”, JRAS, 1919, 147154 and Pl. I (facing p. 147); Colledge, M. A. R., The Parthians, 1967, Pl 5.

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Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
  • ISSN: 1356-1863
  • EISSN: 1474-0591
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-royal-asiatic-society
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