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Alexander NICOLAEV : Haecataspa and the Myth of the Divine Twins

Alexander NICOLAEV : Haecataspa and the Myth of the Divine Twins

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Divine (Thunder)twins.
A VERY, VERY, VERY fine work, which aims at a remote goal with uncommon force.
GT
Divine (Thunder)twins.
A VERY, VERY, VERY fine work, which aims at a remote goal with uncommon force.
GT

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1
Avestan
  
.aspa- 
, Rigveda
 
4.43, and the myth of the Divine Twins
 
Alexander NikolaevAvestan
 Ht  
.aspa-
, known from later Zoroastrian tradition as the name of an ancestor of Zara
θuštra
,
1
is twice
attested in the Gāthā
s. In Y. 46 the singer addresses several characters of theG
ā
thic world by name, beginning with Zara
θuštra himself and continuing in stanza 15 with
t  sp sptm
(voc. pl.), apparently a branch of Zara
θuštra‘s own clan
. Bartholomaeinterpreted the f 
orm as a genitival formation ‗descendants of H.‘
, derived from the name of thatindividual through accent shift,
2
but it seems likelier that
t  sp
here is simply the plural of 
the ancestor‘s name used to designate the entire family.
3
In addition, in Y. 53.3 we learn thatZara
θuštra‘s daughter Pourucistā had a propatronymic
t  spn
.
4
On the basis of thisevidence a personal name
*hai čt
-
au a
- can be safely posited.
5
 The first member of this compound is clearly derived from the root of Avestan
ṇ
-
ti
,Vedic
 siñcá-
ti
 
‗pour out‘.
6
This verb is used with different kinds of liquids and substances,including semen and urine; accordingly,
 Ht  
.aspa-
has been translated as ‗having stud
-
horses‘ (Justi
7
) or as
having horses that urinate
(Humbach, followed by Mayrhofer).
8
Both of these translations lack conviction.
Humbach‘s
reference to Yt. 5.120 for a myth about the urineof the heavenly steeds does not support his argument, because the critical form
mīšt
which he,
*
It is a pleasure to thank Timothy Barnes, Jay Jasanoff, Alexis Manaster Ramer, Jeremy Rau, MartinSchwartz, and Martin West, as well as Stephanie Jamison and two anonymous JAOS referees for their careful reading of an earlier version of this note and for their remarks. It goes without saying that theymay or may not agree with my conclusions and no one of them is to be blamed for what I have done inresponse to or despite their advice.
1
Haecat asp (Pāzand) was
 
Zara
θuštra‘s great
-great-
grandfather according to the Iranian Bundahišn 35.52
(ed. Pakzad =
 IndBund 
32
.1) and Dēnkard 7.2.70 (ed. Molé).
 
2
Bartholomae 1904: col. 1728.
3
Rau 2007: 60 n.27.
4
On the patronymic suffix -
n
- see Rau 2007: 60
 – 
65.
5
The accent is reconstructed based on the accentuation of Vedic compounds of the
bharád-
vj
-
type.
6
Schwartz 20
06: 55, 61 has shown that Pourucistā‘s patronymic
is compositionally connected with instr.sg.
ī
in Y 32.14b (see also Schwartz 2009: 431).
7
 
Justi 1895: 124: ―Springhengste besitzend‖.
 
8
 
Humbach 1973: 96: ―mit sich ergiessenden Rossen‖. This interpreta
tion was accepted by Mayrhofer 1979: 48
 – 
49 and Remmer 2006: 210 n. 210.
 
2
following Geldner,
9
 
translated as ‗with urine‘
is extremely unclear: the context and etymologyallow a plethora of other possibilities, including
with
seed‘
,
 by
care‘, ‗always‘
 
or
together 
.
10
 The alleged Vedic parallel cited by Humbach also fails, if RV 10.96.1
 r  t n  r ru st
 
means ―[
soma
] which flows like lovely butter in golden [drops]‖
,
11
and
not ―[soma]
,like lovely butter,
which is gushed out by the golden [steeds]‖
.
12
 In my opinion, the translation of 
 Ht  
.aspa-
to be preferred
is ‗having horses
that
splash‘
.
13
Importantly, the first member of the compound is synchronically associated with the
middle
stem:
14
even though *

-
t  
is not attested in Avestan, its absence is likely to befortuitous, since such a stem is the expected cognate of Vedic
 séca-
te
.
15
The translation of the
compound should therefore be ‗having horses that besprinkle/bathe themselves‘
(
uvrī
) and
not ‗sprinkling/bathing the horses‘.
16
 
9
Geldner 1881: 399; 1904: 1095. Geldner, apparently, assumed that
mīšt
-
was remade from *
mīžd
-
(Avestan
mz
-, Sanskrit
mih-
). According to de Vaan (2003: 238), Oettinger in his 1983 monographicstudy of Yt. 5 likewise translated
mīšt
 
as ‗mit Harnen‘.
 
10
The text of Yt. 5.120 is:
   ϑβr ršn
/
m tšt  ur mzd
/
vtəm vrəm mγəm fum
/
mīši 
(v. l.
mūšt
)
 
 zī m īm
/
 sptm zrϑuštr
/
vrəṇt snžṇt
/
 srsṇt
/
 fuṇt
/
   uuuut  nnm
/
nuu stš zrəm
 
―for whom Ahura Mazdâ fashioned
together four males: the wind, the rain, the fog, and the hail. For 
by
mīši 
, O Spitama Zarathustra, theyrain, snow, drip, an
d hail on her for me, who has as many armies as nine hundred and a thousand.‖The translation ‗seed‘ is based on a comparison with Khotanese
mäṣṣ
-
‗field‘, Lithuanian
mẽž
‗barley‘ (Bailey 1956: 38). However, ‗care‘ has been proposed as well, this tim
e on the basis of OldAvestan
mnš 
,
mzə n
(Kellens 1984: 166). Next, the problematic
mīšt
could be the same word as
mšt
(Yt. 7.2; Ny 3.6) ‗together‘, ‗l‘un avec l‘autre‘, viz. ‗in mixture‘ (Kellens 1974: 302). Lastly, Bartholomae
also analyzed
mī   št
as derived from the root of Sanskrit
mkṣ
-
ti
 
‗mix‘ (1904: col. 1187; 1906: 207– 
8),
 but attributed to it the rather different meaning ‗always‘ on the basis of the Armenian borrowing
mšt 
.
11
 
Gotō 1987: 327.
 
12
 
Geldner 1951: 3, 304: ―Oder ist gemeint daß
 
die Falben den Soma als Harn herabgießen?‖
 
13
 
Cf. Bartholomae‘s ―Rosse mit Wasser besprengend, badend‖ (1904: col. 1728).
 
14
For a first member in -
at 
made from a stem with intransitive meaning, compare Vedic
 svanád-ratha-
,Avestan
 vnt  
.caxra-
‗having rattling chariot / wheels‘.
 
15
The stem
 séca-
te
 
is only attested in the Rigveda once (RV 10.96.1, cited above in the main text), butnevertheless seems quite secure: the pair 
 séca-
te
 
(intrans.) :
 siñcá-
ti
(trans.) corresponds to a pattern that iswell establi
shed in the language; moreover, the full grade *sei 
w
e/o
-
is also reflected in Germanic*sei h
w
a-
‗sieve‘ (trans.), see Joachim 1978: 166– 
67.
16
This was seen by Kellens, who had originally followed Bartholomae (above n.13), translating
 Ht  
.aspa-
as ―celui qui asperge les chevaux‖ (Kellens–Pirart 1988: 8), but later changed this to ―celuidont les chevaux s‘éclaboussent‖ (Kellens 1991: 68; 1995:
72).
 
3
But what is such a name actually supposed to mean? It looks like a reference to amythological narrative of some sort. The first step towards a solution was made by Kellens, whonoted
en passant 
that both
members of *hai t
-
au a
- corresponded exactly to the Vedic phrase
 sñd vn
(RV 4.43.6).
17
Kellens did not attempt to build on this important observation, andthis Vedic parallel has been overlooked by nearly all later scholarship.
18
It behoves us thereforeto examine the context in which
 sñd vn
is attested.RV 4.43 is a hymn to the
Aśvi
ns. In it we learn first
that Sūryā had chosen the chariot of 
the divine twins (2cd:
rt   sū 
i
 s dut vr  ṇīt
), that this chariot comes from the sea(5ab:
rtḥ
 t smudr d  vrtt vm
), and finally (in stanza 6) that the
Aśvi
nsobtained
Sūryā on a trip during which their horses
were bathed in the water:
 sndur  v rs sñd vn
 
 r  ṇ vo ruṣ  sḥ pr mn
 
td ū ṣ vm jr t  n
 
 n ptī vtḥ sūr  ḥ
Sindhu sprinkled your horses together with
Rasā
;
19
 the red birds (viz. horses
 — 
 
 A. N.
) have escaped the heat.
20
 This rapid vehicle of yours has just appeared splendid,through which you become the masters of S
ū
ry
ā
.There is no consensus among the commentators regarding this passage. Bergaigne thought that
vn
here is a metaphor for streams poured forth by both Sindhu and
Rasā.
21
Pirart saw here a
17
Kellens 1977: 663 n.5; the Vedic-Avestan correspondence is mentioned in Kellens
 – 
Pirart 1988: 8.
18
 
It is missing from Mayrhofer‘s standard handbook of Iranian onomastics (1979: 49) and his Sanskrit
etymological dictionary.
19
Or:
―with moisture / water‖, see below n. 
28. 
20
The second pada has a few problems which, while not insurmountable, are significant enough to besignaled here. First, the padap
āha has instr 
. sg.
 r  ṇ 
, for which acc. pl.
 r  ṇ (ḥ)
is usually accepted
(Oldenberg 1909: 303). Secondly, the meaning ‗to avoid‘ is not attested for 
 pári-gam-
and is positedsolely on the strength of the usage of 
 pári-
 
-
(e.g. RV 2.33.14b
 pr tvṣs durmtr mī  t 
 
‗maythe great hatred of the boisterous one pass (us) by‘, cited by
Lüders 1951: 139). While Geldner apparently
considered both difficulties negligible and translated ―Sindhu mit der Rasa benetzte eure Pfer 
de; die
rötlichen Vogelrosse entgingen den Gluten‖, Renou with some hesitation offered an alternativetranslation: ―ils ont fait le tour (du ciel) sous la chaleur 
-
torride‖ (1967: 35).
 
21
Bergaigne 1878: 258.

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