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Indo-Iranian origin of Parhasi (3rd millennium BC)

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Cyrus Shahmiri View Drop Down
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  Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Indo-Iranian origin of Parhasi (3rd millennium BC)
    Posted: 07-Aug-2019 at 10:34
The relation between the names of Parhasi (Barhasi/Marhasi/Warahsi) and Parsi (Persia) has been discussed in another thread, anyway we know from at least the 3rd millennium BC it was in the east of Elam, almost the same land of modern Pars (Persia).

But I think the names of Parhasi kings which have been mentioned in Sumero-Akkadian sources have also Indo-Iranian origins, for example in the second part of both Libanukshabash (Libanu-kshyapa) and Arwilukpi (Arya-lokapa), we see proto-Iranian suffix -pa "to rule, to govern" from proto-IE *peh₂- "to protect", compare to Old Persian xšaçapā "satrap", the first part is from Proto-Indo-Iranian *kšáya- "realm", in Sanskrit lokapa means "king" too.
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  Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Aug-2019 at 01:50
It seems Parhasi was an original Indo-European people, Arwi is more similar to Hittite Arawa than Arya, however both of them have an IE origin, and Parhasi is more similar to Hellenic Parrhasia and Parrhasius: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrhasius_(son_of_Lycaon): "Parrhasius was in Greek mythology the son of Lycaon or of Zeus. He was an Arcadian hero, and his son Arcas had the region named after him. He is said to have founded the Arcadian city of Parrhasia."

Strabo also talks about an ancient tribe named Parrhasii in the north of Iran (south of the Caspian sea) and Pliny talks about another ancient tribe named Parrhasini in Sogdia (Central Asia).

Of course this name can be also related to Parthia and Bhartia/Bharata, the native name of India.
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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Aug-2019 at 02:34
hi Cyrus, long time no see!!!   I don't think Parhasi has any relationship with Parsa (Persia).   For starters, the name of the kingdom is most commonly rendered in the Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions as Marhasi.   Its the Old Akkadian inscriptions which render it as Barahshum or Parahshum.  It's most ancient rendering was Warhasi.   The last time it was mentioned as a kingdom was during Ur III times (21st century BC) and as a name of a region before the reign of Hammurabi (before 1750 BC).    The next thing is that while we do know where Parsa was, we don't know where Marhasi was located.   Some scholars locate it north of Elam while others locate it east of Elam.  The rulers of Marhasi had either Semitic names such as Migir-Enlil, or Elamitic/Hurrian ones.  Indeed, an inscription refers to Marhashians as Elamites.  "Elamites of Marhashi" occur in an inscription during the time of King Shulgi of Ur under a Marhashi commander named Simmu.   And then, there is a gap of nearly an entire millennium between the last mention of Marhasi and the first mention of Parsa in the inscriptional record.   During this gap in time, we do have a comprehendable geography of western Iran from mainly Assyrian sources which don't mention either Marhasi or Parsa until much later (for Parsa).
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  Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2019 at 09:43
Originally posted by Sharrukin

hi Cyrus, long time no see!!!   I don't think Parhasi has any relationship with Parsa (Persia).   For starters, the name of the kingdom is most commonly rendered in the Sumerian cuneiform inscriptions as Marhasi.   Its the Old Akkadian inscriptions which render it as Barahshum or Parahshum.  It's most ancient rendering was Warhasi.   The last time it was mentioned as a kingdom was during Ur III times (21st century BC) and as a name of a region before the reign of Hammurabi (before 1750 BC).    The next thing is that while we do know where Parsa was, we don't know where Marhasi was located.   Some scholars locate it north of Elam while others locate it east of Elam.  The rulers of Marhasi had either Semitic names such as Migir-Enlil, or Elamitic/Hurrian ones.  Indeed, an inscription refers to Marhashians as Elamites.  "Elamites of Marhashi" occur in an inscription during the time of King Shulgi of Ur under a Marhashi commander named Simmu.   And then, there is a gap of nearly an entire millennium between the last mention of Marhasi and the first mention of Parsa in the inscriptional record.   During this gap in time, we do have a comprehendable geography of western Iran from mainly Assyrian sources which don't mention either Marhasi or Parsa until much later (for Parsa).

Hi Sharrukin, it is great that you are still here.
Labial consonants (m, p, b, w) can be certainly changed to each other in different languages, 2,000 years ago Strabo certainly knew nothing about ancient Parhasi but as you read here: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/11G*.html, he says about the north of Iran: "They say that some of the Parrhasii took up their abode with the Anariacae, who, they say, are now called Parsii." we know from the Akkadian sources that there was also a land with the name of Parsua in the northwest of Iran too. 
Elements of Indo-Iranian culture can be certainly seen in Mitanni and Kassite cultures from early 2nd millennium BC, I think it is possible that an Indo-Iranian, or even Proto-Indo-European, people lived in Iran from at least the 3rd millennium BC. Of course it is also possible that some of them migrated to another lands and came back. 
In the last few years I am working on deciphering Linear Elamite, there are enough reasons to say the language is certainly not Elamite, I have found some important things which show this language could be an Indo-European language. 
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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Aug-2019 at 00:11
Labial consonants (m, p, b, w) can be certainly changed to each other in different languages

That may be certainly true for Sumerian "w" and "m" to Akkadian "p" but nothing suggests that Sumerian "w" and "m" was rendered from Indo-European "p" or that Akkadian "p" was rendered from Indo-European "p" especially that early.   You will have to show that there was an IE presence that early near Elam.

2,000 years ago Strabo certainly knew nothing about ancient Parhasi but as you read here: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Strabo/11G*.html, he says about the north of Iran: "They say that some of the Parrhasii took up their abode with the Anariacae, who, they say, are now called Parsii."

Care must be taken when using classical sources to prove modern conclusions.   For starters who are "they" whom Strabo got his information from?  What makes them have such authority?  Classical sources are replete with popular etymologies which can be demonstrated as being false.   Deriving Parsii from Parrhasii can be one such misconstruction.  Strabo's work dating from about 50 BC is very late and the only one which mentions the Parrhasii.  All classical historiography prior to him doesn't mention this northern Iranian people. 

Elements of Indo-Iranian culture can be certainly seen in Mitanni and Kassite cultures from early 2nd millennium BC, I think it is possible that an Indo-Iranian, or even Proto-Indo-European, people lived in Iran from at least the 3rd millennium BC. Of course it is also possible that some of them migrated to another lands and came back.

For the Mitanni, quite certainly, but not so certainly with the Kassites.  For the Mitanni we can be even more specific, it was an Indic element.  This means that the aristocracy which ruled the Mitanni already split off from the Iranians centuries before.  The Indic culture was already formed and their religion and language was already distinct from Iranian.  Because we can already identify this Indic element it isn't necessary to postulate a proto-Indo-European element among the Mitanni.

In the last few years I am working on deciphering Linear Elamite, there are enough reasons to say the language is certainly not Elamite, I have found some important things which show this language could be an Indo-European language.

Then I would be interested in reading your research from a peer-reviewed journal.
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  Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Aug-2019 at 01:45
Originally posted by Sharrukin

That may be certainly true for Sumerian "w" and "m" to Akkadian "p" but nothing suggests that Sumerian "w" and "m" was rendered from Indo-European "p" or that Akkadian "p" was rendered from Indo-European "p" especially that early.   You will have to show that there was an IE presence that early near Elam.


I don't think that "w" existed in Sumerian phonology, p>w probably happened in an Indo-European dialect, like Armenian or proto-Celtic, the original IE word could be *perh₁ḱaen with the meaning of "mountain forest", the names of Hyrcanian and Hercynian forests could be also its Celtic version, we see *p>w in proto-Celtic, compare to Old Persian Warkana (land of wolves is clearly a folk etymology) and Akkadian Urqananu.

Originally posted by Sharrukin

Care must be taken when using classical sources to prove modern conclusions.   For starters who are "they" whom Strabo got his information from?  What makes them have such authority?  Classical sources are replete with popular etymologies which can be demonstrated as being false. Deriving Parsii from Parrhasii can be one such misconstruction.  Strabo's work dating from about 50 BC is very late and the only one which mentions the Parrhasii.  All classical historiography prior to him doesn't mention this northern Iranian people.


As I menioned, Pliny also talks about Parrhasini in the northeast of Iran, near Sogdia (Natural History, VI, 16). It could be the same Paresin/Aparsin in the Middle Persian sources which was also the name of a mountain forest, Avestan Upairi-saena (a region higher than an eagle can ever reach in flight).

Originally posted by Sharrukin

For the Mitanni, quite certainly, but not so certainly with the Kassites.  For the Mitanni we can be even more specific, it was an Indic element.  This means that the aristocracy which ruled the Mitanni already split off from the Iranians centuries before.  The Indic culture was already formed and their religion and language was already distinct from Iranian.  Because we can already identify this Indic element it isn't necessary to postulate a proto-Indo-European element among the Mitanni.


The most possible thing is that somewhere in the south or southeast of Iran was the source of both Indian and Mitanni cultures.

Originally posted by Sharrukin

Then I would be interested in reading your research from a peer-reviewed journal.


So you have to wait some more months .
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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2019 at 03:17
I don't think that "w" existed in Sumerian phonology, p>w probably happened in an Indo-European dialect, like Armenian or proto-Celtic, the original IE word could be *perh₁ḱaen with the meaning of "mountain forest", the names of Hyrcanian and Hercynian forests could be also its Celtic version, we see *p>w in proto-Celtic, compare to Old Persian Warkana (land of wolves is clearly a folk etymology) and Akkadian Urqananu.

And yet the form Warakhshe existed in the earliest form of the name Markhashe when there is no evidence of an IE presence from the time before the Akkadian Empire.

As I menioned, Pliny also talks about Parrhasini in the northeast of Iran, near Sogdia (Natural History, VI, 16). It could be the same Paresin/Aparsin in the Middle Persian sources which was also the name of a mountain forest, Avestan Upairi-saena (a region higher than an eagle can ever reach in flight).

You are referencing an even later work, Pliny, dating from between 77 and 79 AD, of a people living in northeastern Iran which may or may not even be connected with Strabo's Parhassi which lived south of the Caspian.  But, let's suppose that they are one and the same.   The same problem exists:  nothing suggests that they are either genetically or etymologically connected to Parsii or that Marhashe/Parakhsum is connected to them.   You will still have the prove against the inscriptional evidence that the Markhasheans were Indo-European or more specifically Iranic-speaking.

The most possible thing is that somewhere in the south or southeast of Iran was the source of both Indian and Mitanni cultures.

No, what linguists are seeing is a series of toponyms in eastern Iran which they don't consider Iranic but rather Indic in origin.   Hence, prior to entering India there was an Indic presence in eastern Iran.   The trajectory, then is that Indic-speaking tribes must have originated somewhere north of Iran.   The Mitanni separated from other Indic-speaking peoples about the time when they entered eastern Iran.   The Mitanni went west skirting the southern shores of the Caspian and entered northern Mesopotamia from the north.   

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