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HomeAbstracta IranicaVolume 442. Linguistique2.0. GénéralitésHrach Martirosyan. Iranisches Per...

2. Linguistique
2.0. Généralités

Hrach Martirosyan. Iranisches Personennamenbuch.V/3: Iranian personal names in Armenian collateral tradition

Daniel Kölligan
Bibliographical reference

Hrach Martirosyan. Iranisches Personennamenbuch.V/3: Iranian personal names in Armenian collateral tradition. Vienne: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2021, 453 p. (Iranische Onomastik 17 ; Sitzungsberichte der philosophisch-historischen Klasse 912)

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1Within the series on Iranian personal names (PN) attested in direct and indirect transmission, running since Manfred Mayrhofer's volume from 1979 on Avestan and Old Persian onomastics, this book is another impressive collection of Iranian data in one of the most important “Nebenüberlieferungen”, viz. Armenian, which was in contact with Iranian languages at least since the invasion of the Assyrian empire by the Medes in the 7th c. BC. Especially Parthian and Middle Persian have left their mark on Armenian in the form of numerous borrowed words, affixes, and semantic and phraseological calques. For roughly 400 years a branch of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty ruled the kingdom of Armenia, and Armenian sources are replete with Iranian names. Martirosyan's book lists 872 personal names attested in Armenian texts from the earliest sources up to ca. 1300 CE.

2In the introduction M. gives a brief outline of modern research from Justi’s Iranisches Namenbuch (1895) and Hübschmann’s Armenische Grammatik: Etymologie (1897), which includes 217 PN, via Ačaryan’s monumental dictionary of Armenian PN (Hayocc anjnanunneri baṙaran, 1942-1962) up to modern studies on Iranian and Armenian names by, e. g., Ph. Gignoux, R. Schmitt, and N. Sims-Williams. He discusses the inflexional properties of PN, including the fact that Armenian has a special a-stem declension exclusive to them – which implies two different declension patterns if the same lexeme is used both as an appellative and as PN –, and that it allows plural marking on PN to denote "associative plurals" meaning 'x and her/his companions', e. g. John 11.45 aṙ Maremans 'to Mary and her companions'. A list of Iranian suffixes as reflected in Armenian PN is followed by an extensive bibliography (31–75). The main part of the book, the lexicon of PN, comprises more than 300 pages (77-389). Indices of lemmas and words in all languages treated in the main part round up the volume.

3The lemmas are structured consistently by first indicating whether the name may refer to a male or a female person (or both), followed by its main attestations, prosopography and etymological interpretations. M. usually gives a good overview of the current state of research, and, where appropriate, includes rich material from modern Armenian dialects. Few are the instances in which one might wish to add a reference or further discussion, e. g. s. v. Kambiwsēs Remmer 2012 („‚Wie erfreulich!‘ Kamadyú-, Καμβύσης und die indo-iranische Präfigierung *ka(m)-“. In Iranistische und indogermanistische Beiträge in Memoriam Jochem Schindler (1944-1994), hrg. V. Sadovski et al. Vienna, 311–330), s. v. Vštasp García Ramón 2005 („Av. Yuxtāspa- und av.ap. Vīštāspa-, griech. Ζεύξιππος, Ἱππόλυτος bzw. Λύσιππος“. In Hrdā́ Mánasā. Studies presented to Professor Leonard G. Herzenberg (...), ed. N. N. Kazanskii. Sankt Petersburg, 323–331). For Margarē only the traditional interpretation with Ir. *manθra- is mentioned, not Gippert's explanation („Armeno-Albanica“. In Indogermanica. Indische, iranische und indogermanische Studiem dem verehrten Jubilar dargebracht zu seinem fünfundsechzigsten Geburtstag, ed. G. Schweiger 2005, 155–165) as Ir. *mr̥ga-dai̯a- 'bird-watcher' beside *mr̥ga-u̯ai̯na- attested in Caucasian Albanian marġaven, cf. Lat. auspex. M. also presents many proposals of his own which are worth considering, e. g., Arm. Vrtcanēs as reflecting an Old Iranian form *Vīra-tanū- 'having the body of a man/hero' (cf. Parth. Wīrtanūk), or Ampak as going back to *Amapaka- which would be a hypocoristic in -aka- of a shortened form of *Ama-pāda- (Parth. ʼmpd) 'having power in feet' – one wonders if *ama-pā(ka)- 'protecting with power/protected by power' might also be possible (cf. Porpēs, for which M. suggests as one possible interpretation *Paru-- 'protecting much'). For some names starting with V- one might additionally consider the prefix vi- 'apart, in many directions', e. g., Vroyr, explained by M. as *Vīra-rau̯da- 'of manly appearance' (Av. vīrō.raoδa- 'in human form') with haplology, may be *vi-rau̯da- 'brilliant' (cf. Vruž, for which M. also considers an equation with ManParth. wirōž 'lightning'; cf. also Vedic Uṣas vi-bhātī), and Vriw might be related to Ved. ribh 'to sing; shine' ('singing/shining all around').

4Due to the structure as a lexicon, more general discussions appear under single lemmas, e. g., valuable remarks on PN based on appellatives with negative meaning s. v. Apirat 'unlawful, wicked'. It would probably have overburdened this already very rich and insightful collection of data to provide onomasiological indices. Maybe further indices could be added in subsequent editions or fascicles of the series, such as an index of the first and second members of compound names and an inverse index to facilitate the identification of suffixes or compound members and their distribution.

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Electronic reference

Daniel Kölligan, “Hrach Martirosyan. Iranisches Personennamenbuch.V/3: Iranian personal names in Armenian collateral traditionAbstracta Iranica [Online], Volume 44 | 2022, document 1, Online since 30 July 2022, connection on 01 December 2023. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Daniel Kölligan

Université de Würzburg

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