Re: [cybalist] River names

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 2271
Date: 2000-04-29

----- Original Message -----
From: S. Kalyanaraman
Sent: Saturday, April 29, 2000 3:07 PM
Subject: Re: [cybalist] River names

Dr Kalyanaraman asks (Re: *da:nu-):
Can this etymon also explain the Vedic 'dAnava' as opposed to the 'daitya'?

I think so. They are not so much opposed as parallel, both being derived by similar means: dAnava- (with f. or m. inflections) is 'child of a Danu'; daitya is 'child of Diti'. In both cases the derivative is formed by adding a thematic ending (-a-) and 'strengthening' the vocalism of the base with an infixed full vowel. This kind of formation accounts for many IE adjectives (e.g. *deiw-o- 'divine'). Note that dAnava- (<*da:neu-o-) is only minimally different from *da:neu-j-o-, another adjectival derivative, which seems to underly the name of the Danube and some other European river names. I'm not sure if there is any direct evidence of the Danus as water demons, but I'd be surprised if the name were not related to the common noun dAnu-. In the Avesta, ("the goodly") Daitya (*de:iti-o-) is a sacred river in Airyanem Vaejah, or maybe a place in the valley of such a river, sometimes identified with the Aras (Araxes). Iranian benevolent spirits sometimes correspond to Indic monsters and vice versa.
It seems we are dealing here with traces of an Indo-Iranian cult of water spirits or deities.