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The Murder of the Magi

  • W. B. Henning
Extract

When the Persians, led by Darius, had slain Gaumāta the Magian and a great number of his colleagues (. . . ἔκτεινον κου τιν μάγον εὕρισκον), they instituted an annual feast to remind the Magians of their humiliation: it was called τά μαγοϕόνια (Herodotus, iii, 79), or μαϒοϕονία (Ctesias, epit. Photii 15, § 46 ed. Gilmore). Gilmore (p. 149 n.) wisely remarked that “the agreement of Herodotus and Ctesias makes it impossible to doubt the existence of this strange custom”. Ctesias. after having stayed at the Persian court for seventeen years, could not help knowing whether or not such a feast existed, and he would never have foregone the opportunity of correcting his predecessor.

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page 133 note 1 Untersuchungen zur Geschichte, von Eran, i, 64; ii, 132, 135–6.

page 133 note 2 Old Iranian Calendars, 39 sq., 44 sq.

page 134 note 1 On the other hand, the double feast of Mihrgān may owe its origin merely to the mistake made when the epagomense were shifted from the end of the to the end of the first month, at the occasion of the first intercalation (cf. the Lesser and Greater Naurōz). The mistake would make itself felt after epagomenæ were placed at the end of (or, at any rate, after) the month of Mihr, i.e. after the seventh intercalation, about a.d. 400. This, therefore, should be earliest date for the division of the Mihrgān. Beruni, , Chron., 2242, mentions Hormizd I in this connection (not Honmizd IV, Taqizadeh, loc. cit., 45, To speak of a “five-day feast of Magophonia” as Marquart did (i, 64), is incorrect. Herodotus clearly says that the feast occupied a single day.—A different case presented by the Lesser and Greater Tīragān (Beruni, , Chron., 22020). Cf. Manichæan fragment M 16 in which (verso, line 2) we have to restore 'wd n'm ['y tyr] rwc 'y wzrg “And N∂bīyā in his book has mentioned the name of the ‘Great Tīr-rōz’ for this reason that a great and mighty work is performed on fourteenth day”.

page 134 note 2 Not counting θāigrči (of uncertain etymology), Bāgayādi would be the case of vṛddhi in an Old Persian month-name. A form from √yaz corresponding to -yādi is unknown elsewhere in Iranian. A parallel is often drawn between Bāgayādi and Āθτiyādiya although the endings differ. In no case could the later mean “(month) of fire-worship”: there is no such word as *āθri- “fire”. According to Meillet-Benveniste, , Gramm., 65, 154, the original form was *āθτ-yādiya; this would represent pre-Iranian *ātr-yāziya which, however, could appear in OPers. only as *āt(a)ryādiya: -tr- becomes -θr- in Iranian only where a vowel follows. Bartholomæ more correctly assumed *āθriya as first part of the compound (pre-Iranian *ātriya). But this means “ashes”, not “fire”: who would worship ashes?

page 134 note 3 With this in view one might prefer to find Old Iranian bāga “lot; allotment; cultivated land” (Sogdian βāϒ, Persian bāγ, etc.) in the first part of the compound. -yādi may be connected with Vedic yādamāna, Skt. yādas, etc. Thus, bāgayādi possibly = “fertilizing the farmland”, or even “irrigation of the gardens”.

page 134 note 4 For Bagay-aṙič (Bagay-aṙinǰ) see Marquart's own remarks, loc. cit., ii, 133 n.

page 135 note 1 βαϒακān = Mihrmāh. In what way βαϒpūr = devaputra = t'ien-tstŭ point to the equation of βαϒ = Miθra (Marquart, loc. eit., ii, 134), escapes me.

page 135 note 2 βiϒ = Mihrrōz (Taqizadeh, loc. cit., 38, n. 2).

page 135 note 3 At the time of the introduction of the “Young Avestan” calendar in those provinces.

page 135 note 4 Hence also applicable to Mithra. For the A vesta see Benveniste, , Les Mages dans l'Ancien Iran, 22 sq.

page 135 note 5 Athenæŭs, , Dipnosoph., x, 434e (“on a single day”).

page 135 note 6 As S. H. Taqizadeh rightly stresses, loc. cit., 45.

page 135 note 7 The correctly transliterated form should have been *mwγzδ, but the translator may have Sogdianized it. The Sogdian script does not distinguish between -z- and -ž-.

page 135 note 8 “to kill” is ōzadan in Middle Persian (beside kuštan); in Sogdian, žan-, žit- is hardly used, except for “striking” string instruments.—I take this opportunity to correct the reading of the Middle Persian fragment M 177 (Mueller, , H.R., ii, 89) where 'wzy'n (recto, line 11) is written as a single word: “There are nine varieties of slaughtering. Firstly, he who himself kills. Secondly, he who attempts it. Thirdly, he who impels (others to it), etc.” 'wzy'n = Parthian 'wjy'n “slaughter” (thus to be corrected, BSOS., ix, 80) = Sogd. 'wzy'n ('wžy'n), from ava-žaya- (ghṇio-?).

page 136 note 1 Cf. Markwart, , Suedarmenien, 536 sqq., Bailey, , Zor. Problems, 151 sqq.

page 136 note 2 Agathias complains that they were all too successful in this (Hist., ii, pp. 122 sq.).

page 136 note 3 In Greek sources Alexander is a model of toleration. Cf. especially the Syriac Hist, of Alex., ed. , Budge, ii, 13 (transl. 82–3).

page 137 note 1 The name given by Zātspram, xxiii, 8 (xxv, 2, ed. Anklesaria), cf. Jackson, , Zoroaster, 94, can hardly be compared. This goes also for Agonaces(?), Pliny, , Hist, nat., xxx, 1 (2), 4. The name of Kōγan-ābād (capital of Bādghēs, Marquart, , Ērāšahr, 150; Wehrot, 40) is scarcely pertinent.

page 137 note 2 See my Sogdica, p. 7. Cf. Hist. of Alexander, ed. , Budge, 2047 (transl. p. 115). δβ' mbn recalls MPers. bānūk as epithet of Anāhitā; cf. Hoffmann, , Märtyrer, 155; Greek Agathangelus, 1475, 15100, 3059.

page 137 note 3 This is also the name of the eleventh Sogdian month.

page 137 note 4 See Watters, i, 113 sq.

page 137 note 5 379, in the tax-list of ‘Abdullāh b. Ṭākir. SeeMarquart, , Ērānšahr, p. 227.

page 137 note 6 [restored], (damaged or uncertain) letters, see BS0S., xi, p. 56.

page 137 note 7 An interesting sentence from that “discourse” may be quoted here: rtnwkr ZK wyspy rw'n ZY prwrty s't cym'yδ mrδ'sp'nt βγyšty βrkst'k γnt rtšn, γwty γypδ tγmy βnt “All souls and Fravashis are cut from those element-gods; they are their own seed”.

page 138 note 1 ōpatsθ shortened from ōpastsθ.

page 138 note 2 Not sufficient space for ZY ZKh.

page 138 note 3yw. Cf. P 2, 149; P 12, 62, etc.

page 138 note 4 δ[: δ rather doubtful.

page 138 note 5 mδk'.

page 138 note 6 mδky.

page 139 note 1 The first part of the text is an imaginary address to sinners upon their arrival in hell (lines 1–15). It was inserted in a lecture on sin and sinners given (supposedly) by Mani to an assembly of auditores (see the caption). The main section (lines 16–45), concluding the lecture, gives a list of the greatest sinners of history. With line 46 a new chapter begins: its few remaining words show that the fragment formed part of a collection of addresses similar in style to the Kephalaia. Cf. also the Sogdian, text in BS0S., xi, 69 sq.

page 139 note 2 Lit. “while you were in that body as arrogant ones, you took . . . ”.

page 139 note 3 The signification of prγš is not known. An older form, prγrš, occurs twice in the colophon of P 8. The man who ordered the manuscript, Čurak the son of N'pt'yr, of the Xan (γ'n) family, invokes the blessings of heaven on the members of his family, beginning with his grandfather (ny”k 'BY') and his grandmother (ny'k m'th). After having dealt with the living ones (172–6), he enumerates his deceased relations (178–186, a long list), amongst them his wife Māx-δāy (185). At the end, after friends, etc, and only before the “five classes of living beings of the Triloka”, the 'sp'γštk prγrš appear = “servants (and) slave-girls” (or “respectful slave-girls” ?). But later on (191) the prγrš occupy the first place: “may I, this slave Čurak, express the wish that together with the prγrš and the children and the whole family we all may be well, free from disease, pious, meritorious, etc.”

page 139 note 4 γwtγywyšt'kw, lit. “self-wished”, presumably = “friend”. For the compound, cf. Skt. sveṣṭa. The word occurs in P 2,151 (γwtyγwšt'k), P 6, 91 (γwtyγwštk), and P 8, 186 (γwtyγwštyt, pl.), twice combined with šyrγwz'k.

page 139 note 5 Sogdian γrāme compares with Parthian gr'mg “possessions” (thus read in Mir.Man., iii, a 13, p. 850, instead of gr”g) and Pahlavi gl'mk = grāmag which renders the Gathic gr∂hma-. The Pahlavi word which clearly cannot be regarded as a transliteration (that would be gl'hm), is explained as χwāstag (Y. 3212, p. 141) = “possessions, wealth” (Neryosengh lakṣmī), and also as pārag “presents, bribe”. Indeed, it would seem that gr∂hma is merely an older form of grāmag etc.). There is no reason for deviating from the Pahlavi version and taking gr∂hma for a personal name or translating as “opferfresser”. The stem is gr∂hma-, n., in Y. 3212 (gr∂hma acc. pl., “the karpan preferred money, possessions to Right”), but gr∂hmah- n. in 3213 (“they shall get that wealth in hell . . . ”), and in 3214 (“even the Kavis have had an eye on his money”). Cf. also MPers. grāmīg, Pers. girāmī “treasured, valued, beloved”.

page 139 note 6 Sogdian sārvaγ (see BBB., p. 104) which translates Syr. magdlā (πύργ;ος), Matthew xxi, 33, Luke, xxiii, 4, links up with Pers. sārūy(e), Arab, sārūq, the name of several labyrinthine castles of great antiquity of which the most famous was the citadel, of Gay (see Marquart, , Érānišahr, 135; Christensen, , Premier Homme, i, 196 sq., 201,208 sq., 212 sq.; Fārmāme, p. 29). The Sogdian would seem to support Marquart's proposal (loc. cit., p. 21, and UGE., ii, 62 sq.) to find an older form of this Iranian word in the mysterious srbwg = sārbūg in the “Hymn of the Soul” (Acta Thomsæ), whose Greek equivalent is λαβύρινθος. Cf. also λαβύρινθος in a similar passage in the Acts of Cyriacus and Julitta (restored byCrum, W. E., Journal of Theological Studies, xliv, 1943, p. 123, n. 1). Arab, šarbūkah, mentioned by Dr. Crum, belongs to modern Syrian Arabic (thus Belot s.v.), the “root” šarbaka being merely a development from Classical Arabic šabbka (see Dozy).

page 140 note 1 zēn = weapons, P 7, 152; P 13, 15; Man. zyyn M 133 V ii, 1; M 500m 10. Hardly here = saddle (as Pers. zïn) which in Sogd. is pyrδn-, P 13, 6, from *parid(h)āna- = Persian pālān “packsaddle”, cf. Pers. pālād (also, wrongly, bālād) “a (paok-)horse” from *parid(h)āta-. The reduction of -δān to -δan is normal in Sogdian; cf. also Wakhi peden, pöδn “saddle”, Morgenstierne, , IIFL., ii, 533 (from *pōrδen?). Note that syrh VJ. 770, Dhuta 15, P 6, 138, is “wheel”, not “saddle” (the remark on syrh is struck out in the copy of his paper in J.A., 1936, i [p. 228], M. E. Benveniste very kindly sent me).

page 140 note 2 This line is incomprehensible. There should be cnn before wyspn'cw (cf. Gershevitch, , JRAS., 1942, 99). There ought to be a pronoun referring to the sinners (viz. -βn, instead of -šn). Finally, yw'r, usually = “but, only”, also “except” (e.g. P 6, 67: yw'r ZY nykyr'n cnn), is troublesome. Probably there were two different words: 1. “but”, etc., 2. “sad(ness)” or “mourning” (hence comparable to Parthian ww'r = wiwār). See VJ., 1110: rtyβn pr L' wγš'm p'rwty . . . yw'r 'krt'ym” (Not only) have I no joy in you, but I am rather mourning (you)” (on 'nw'nty ? 'nw'zty ? 'zw'nty? see BBB., p. 66; “mourning for the living” = mourning although you are still alive ?). The clearest passage is in, M 178 i V 17: pr jwky' pw r'f oo prw wγšyy kw 'ṯyyšn 'ndwxc nyysṯ oo prw fry'wyyẖ pww jyšṯ'wc oo prw fryy'nw'z kw 'ṯyšn yw'r nyysṯ” in health without sickness, in joy where they have no sorrow; in love without hatred, in groups of friends where they have no mourning”.

page 140 note 3 Cf. M 118 ii V 11: 'rsk yp'k . . . nfrywn 'ṯy psypw' βky' “envy and hatred (anger) . . . cursing and slandering”. Man. Letter, iii, 14: [p]syyp ny w'β'mk'm “I shall not slander”. Possibly connected with Buddh. 'βs'yp- P 2, 1168 (“to throw down”?) and the words given by Bailey, , BSOS., ix, p. 231.

page 140 note 4 Or Martēna. Cf. Khwarezmian Mardāna (Beruni, , Chron., 9914), Man.MPers. Murdyānag, etc. (see Christensen, , Premier Homme, i, 9 sq.; Bailey, , Zor. Probl., 179 sq.).

page 140 note 5 Lit.“pulled out, away”.—“Three times”: cf. Homilies, 6814.

page 140 note 6 The Sogdian gender endings show that the translator imagined that Cain was a woman! Cf. BBB., p. 101.

page 140 note 7 In the older Manichæan texts, those written in Babylonia, “East” connotes “India” (cf. e.g. Kephalaia, 1215,16; similarly “West” = “Syria”, Kephalaia, 719; Kessler, 34913; Beruni, , Chron., 20717, etc.), while in the later writings it implies “Chinese Turkestan” (see BBB., p. 10).

page 141 note 1 Had this name been preserved, it might have given a valuable pointer to the source from which this curious statement was derived (Buddhist ? Greek ?). As far as I can see there is no equivalent report in the accounts furnished by the companions of Alexander, or by Megasthenes (Strabo, xv, 59–60, C. 712–13, from Megasthenes, ibid., 66, C. 716–17, from Nearchos, ibid., 70, C. 719, from an unknown source, is hardly comparable; cf. Bevan, E. R., Cambr. Hist. Ind., i, 419 sqq.); cf. also Palladius (Pseudo-Callisthenes, iii, 7–16, ed. C. Müller) and Bardesanes, , Lois des Pays, p. 20, ed. , Nau (pp. 45–6 transl.). One can hardly ascribe the statement of the text to Mani who never included Brahmanism in the list of the inspired religions.

page 141 note 2 Corrupted from 'rksyntr. Note the ks (as in Pahlavi, etc.) against xs in MPers. 'lxsyndrgyrd, Mir.Man., ii, p. 302 (in the Sogdian version of the missionary history, cf. OLZ., 1939, 242, rγsynt'ykyrδ).

page 141 note 3 One would expect wpkwpt, or, if a Middle Indian form Upagutta had been used, wpkwt (wpkwtt, wpk'wt, wpk'wtt). Even wpk'tt, reproducing Middle Persian (?) 'wpgt, would be possible, in view of škmn for Sākyamuṇi. Now, wpk'tt, in an earlier Sogdian manuscript, could have been misread as wpr'tt: one often experiences some difficulty in distinguishing the letters k and r from each other in even carefully written Sogdian MSS.–In considering this restitution one must bear in mind that wpr'tt should represent the name of a man famous in the history of Buddhism, preferably of someone associated with Aśoka; cf. Thomas, F. W., Cambr. Hist. Ind., i, 498.

page 141 note 4 šwk' contrasts with the Central Asian forms given by Bailey, , BSOS., x, 919. While the indispensable initial A- is missing here, there is a more than superfluous A- in the Sogdian spelling of Kaniṣka's name (cf. Bailey, , JRAS., 1942, 15 sq.) which occurs in P 8, 29: 'knšk 'st'wp' βrγ'r = Kaniṣka-stūpa-vihāra; cf. 'kwc- = Kuc(i), BSOS., ix, 566; Sogdica, p. 61.

page 141 note 5 Cf. Mir.Man., iii, 8805 and n. 2.

page 141 note 6 The stereotyped relative clauses seem to have been distributed at random among the “calumniators”.

page 141 note 7 Here again the translator has blundered, in mistaking the sex of Satan, cf. BBB., p. 101. Previously I had suggested that zwγš'nch belonged to zwγšk- (žwxšq-, δrγwšk-) “bhikṣu, disciple”, but that does not make sense. In view of the copyist's carelessness it may be permitted to ascribe another mistake to him and to read zwγm'nch instead = žoγmānč, fem. of žoγmāne, Luke, 1912,22 = Syr. qašyā (žoγ- from draγu- from the base of Av. drang-; here hardly belongs Saka dīra- which could better be derived from *dirγ- from Av. driγu-).—Satan and Iscariot: cf. Mir.Man., iii, pp. 880, 883. The translation of the first passage, i, 72 sqq., is to be corrected: “The cup of poison and death, hatred was poured (Pers. gusār-) over you, Boy, by Iscariot, etc.”

page 142 note 1 Cf. M 904, 17–19: mγum wjyδw'δyy β'rycyq[ṯ] δyn'βrṯ 'ṯy nγ[wš'kṯ] “All mounts of the Holy Ghost: the Elect and the Hearers”. Mir.Man., iii, k 40 (on the reading see below, p. 143, n. 6): “Satan made Iscariot his mount” (cf. Luke, 223, εἰσλθεν δ σατανς εἰς . . . Iσκαριώτην). Possibly also ibid., i 71, bāragān čē išmagīft. Cf. also the following somewhat confused Middle Persian passage (M 788, 2–8): h'n hm w'xš[ywjdhr] [gry](p)t b'rg 'w šymw[n . . . ] [y'] qwβ qyf' mry(m) mrt' (p)'wlys pytrws tykl'y bhyr [ . . . ](š)t' '(w)[d] (h) yrm' šwb'n [oo']wš'n qy[rd] w'xšwrsic pd šhr šhr 'wd d'št dyn pd p'qyẖ “The Holy Ghost also his mounts: Simon, . . . James, Cephas, Mariam, Martha, Paul, Peter, Thecla, BHYR (?), . . ., and Hennas the shepherd. They became apostles in the various lands and kept the religion in a state of purity”. (šymwn, at the head of the Simon Peter rather than Simon the Canaanite: Peter thus is represented three times, as šymwn, qyf', and pytrws. Cf. M 18, V 12, and Allberry, , Psalm-book, 142 sq., 192, 194. A gross mistake is “Hermas the shepherd”, instead of “the shepherd of Hermas ”).

page 141 note 2 Restore: [rty tym ZK 'ws'wγt']kw p'zny (but it should be 'ws'wγt-p'zn'y), or: [rty tym cnn, 'yw'rδ]kw p'zny (however, there should be ZK before δrm'ykw). Possibly δrm'ykw βwβw formed merely the end of a longer compound, “the . . . citta-dharma-rājā.” The introduction of such Buddhist terms may be due translator; cf. line 40, “the Buddhas and Arhants” = “the apostles”. In any case, the chapter beginning in line 46 need not have been joined originally with the preceding text.

Possibly 'n(w)r'.

page 143 note 1 Or ywkn' 'pšyyx. A letter may be missing at the end of the last word ('pšyyk[.], or 'pšyyx[.]). Cf. xwrny pšyncn', S.T., ii, 6, 9–10. As the past stem is pšγt-, we probably have a noun ∂pšēk here.

page 143 note 2 Possibly (m)ngr'nd. However, an imperfect is not wanted, the preceding and following finite forms being in the present. Probably 'ngr'nd is an infinitive, or rather a verbal noun, parallel to 'pšyyk and ptxwng and depending on βwt. This entails taking also ”s for a verbal noun, with the genitive (?) γwšyy depending on it. The latter may belong to γōš “ear” rather than to γōš “metal”; there was also γōše from γōšak “spy”.

page 143 note 3 Possibly γwδ(w). But cf. Chr. γwdy, Buddh. γwδ'k, BSOS., x, 91, γwδ'kh, P 8, 108 (cf. Av. gaoiδi). Different is γwδ-, P 2, 962 = Av. gūθa-.

page 143 note 4 Or (p)ṯr-. Cf. 'pt'r- “to pluck (hairs)” SCE., 88, and Pers. fitar- “to pull to pieces” (probably borrowed from Sogdian).

page 143 note 5 pncmx'[. . .]δδ. The first word, pncmx', is apparently complete. It is written as a single word, hence possibly not pncm “fifth” + x' (cf.pncm, P2,1094,1120). The restoration of [qn]δδ on which the interpretation of jymṯ depends, is purely tentative; it is supported by qnδ in line 28, and by 'wrδ in line 25.

page 143 note 6 The signification of this term is not clear. It may refer to a religious service for the souls of the departed, a Manichæan Requiem. An allusion to the “soulwork” (MPers. rawānagān, Turk. üzütlüg iš), the alms and tithes given to monks by the laymen, is hardly intended (notwithstanding the title of the official who collects the alms: arwānagān ∂spasag = “soul-work servant”). In Sogdian those alms were called simply δβ'r “gifts”, or else the Middle Persian (δβ'r rw'ng'n, T i D, R 5), or the Parthian word ('rw'ng'n, M 858a 1) was employed.— The passage in Mir.Man., iii, k 42, p. 883, where I wrongly restored [rw]'ng'n, should read as follows (from line 39 onwards: based on the MSS. M 390, M 459e, and M 891b): kyrdwš b'rg 'škrywt'ẖ 'bzftg fryhstwm 'mwsṯ 'c 'bjyrw'ng'n oo nm'dyš pd dsṯhr”dyšg (var. lect. 'dyšg) 'w dwšmnyn 'bysprd (var. lect. 'byspwrd?) bgpwhr 'byst'w'd 'c r'štyft (?) pd p'db'rg cy d'd yhwd'n wxybyy xwd'y 'wṯ 'mwcg prčt. The strange looking last word probably means “he gave up, sacrificed”.

page 144 note 1 Cf. Gerahevitch, , JRAS., 1942,97 sq.

page 144 note 2 Or (perhaps better) “lacerate (their faces, etc.)”.

page 144 note 3 mand-āγāryā contains neither Buddh. ”γ'r “pace” (in Man. prob. ”x'r) nor ”γ'r “food, meal” (in Man. ''x'r and 'h'r), cf. BBB., p. 98. It is doubtful whether the word is connected with āγarte “muddy, juicy, etc.” (Sogdica, p. 30, cf. Pers. āγār), or with Buddh. ”γ'rt “indigestible” (P 8, 124, cf. Pashto aγēr, Morgenstierne, , EVP., p. 9, Charpentier, , AO., vii, 181). Perhaps the most likely candidate is the word ”γ'r in M 134 i V 7: p' 'ynyy jwndyy γryw mrδspndy z'wr oo wny zrw'βγyy npyyšn ['t]y xwrmzṯ'βγyy z'ṯyy oo m[γwn']fcmbδyy frn 'ṯy ”γ'r s'ṯ w'ṯδ'rṯyy.[.]'n rw'n kyy cn γrβ β[r]ywr srδytyy mrṯs'r oo pr z'y pr sm'n wysprδ[yy ] šyšṯyy δyβṯyy w(m)['ṯ = for the strength of the elements, this viva anima the grandson of Zrwan and son of Khormazda (Primus Homo), the fortune (glory) and āγār of the whole world, the life (? jw'n?) and soul of all laving beings, which (= viva anima) since many myriads of years (= since the beginning of the world) up to now has been scattered and dispersed (cf. S.T., i, 7518, and š'š δβ'n, O2 32) everywhere on the earth and in the skies. Similar passages will be found in Mir.Man., iii, p. 871, n. 4. The Parthian text translated there runs as follows: cy wxd 'st b'm 'wd frẖ [cy] hmg zmbwdyg bwm 'wd ”c'r cy hrwyn gy'n'n 'wd d'md'd'n z'jywhr br'zyšn 'wd hwcyhryft 'z kw z['ynd] jywynd 'wd pr'wšt bwynd wys[p] jyw'ng. The comparison of all passages indicates that Sogd. āγār corresponds either to Parth. bām, Turk, qïw “splendour”, or possibly to Parth. bun ud āčār, Turk. tōz yiltiz “root and basis”. Thus mand-āγāryā may mean “lustrelessness”, or “baselessness”, or even “absence of moisture”.

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