Re: [tied] Ancient Greek name for Volga River

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 48025
Date: 2007-03-21

On 2007-03-21 02:29, Rick McCallister wrote:

> I've seen claims in various places that it's from
> *sreu- "to flow" (vel sim)
> Our brilliant colleagues can sort that out but I'm
> also interested in where Volga is from. Is it related
> to a word for "turn" or what?
> --- "C. Darwin Goranson" <cdog_squirrel@...>
> wrote:
>> I read that the Ancient Greeks called the Volga
>> river "Rha". Would this
>> be an older nae than Volga? Is it etymologically
>> traceable?

It's probably the same as the Indo-Iranian hydronym *(H)rasá: (> Iranian
*rahá:, hence the Greek version). Cf. Ved. rasá:, Av. raNha:, names of a
mythical river at the world's edge. It looks like the collective
counterpart of IIr. rása- 'sap, liquid, juice, essence' (thus, perhaps,
'a lot of nourishing liquid'), often equated with OCS rosa, Lith. rasa`,
Lat. ro:s/ro:ris m. 'dew' (cf. also Iranian *raha-ka- 'blood vessel').
The reconstruction is usually given as *(h1)ros-áh2 (besode *(h1)rós-o-
and the root-noun *(h1)ro:s-, as in Latin), but it can hardly be as
simple as that, given the complete absence of Brugmannian lengthening in
Indo-Iranian. There could also be a connection with Gk ero:e: 'rush' (<
*ro:s-á:) and ero:éo: 'flow, rush forth', PGmc. *rE:s-a-, *rE:s-o: 'run,
race' (*h1reh1s-?). Pokorny rounds them all up into a single etymon, but
that's probably stretching it. If one has to choose, the first
connection is a safer bet, but the reconstruction has to be corrected
(perhaps *rosH-áh2).