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Related to Avestan: Zoroastrianism


(əvĕs`tən), language belonging to the Iranian group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. One of the earliest forms of the Iranian languages to survive, Avestan is also the tongue of the Avesta, or scriptures of ZoroastrianismZoroastrianism
, religion founded by Zoroaster, but with many later accretions. Scriptures

Zoroastrianism's scriptures are the Avesta or the Zend Avesta [Pahlavi avesta=law, zend=commentary].
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. See Indo-IranianIndo-Iranian,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by more than a billion people, chiefly in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (see The Indo-European Family of Languages, table).
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See A. V. W. Jackson, An Avestan Grammar in Comparison with Sanskrit (1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



one of the ancient languages of the Iranic group, in which the Persian religious monument, the Avesta, was written.

Two Avestan dialects are distinguished: a more archaic dialect, Gathic, in which the prayers (Gathas) of the Persian religious reformer Zarathustra (Zoroaster) are written, and the Young Avestan dialect. The oldest portion of the Avesta dates to the first half of the first millenium B.C. Even then Avestan had ceased to be a spoken language, and it reflected the traditional canons of the spoken liturgical literature in its vocabulary, syntax, and style. Later, a complete break occurred between the Avestan language and the living Iranian languages; the Zoroastrian priesthood was the only repository of this dead language, which it used for liturgical purposes, as the Catholic clergy uses Latin. The Parsi Zoroastrians in India use Avestan texts in their religious services to this day.


Sokolov, S. N. Avestiiskii iazyk. Moscow, 1961.
Solokov, S. N. Iazyk Avesty (study guide). Leningrad, 1964
Bartholomae, C. Awestasprache und Altpersisch, vol. 1. Strasbourg, 1896.
Bartholomae, C. Altiranisches Wörterbuch, 2nd ed. Berlin, 1961.
Hoffmann, K. “Altiranisch.” In Iranistik, vol. 1: Abschnitt Linguistik. In Handbuch der Orientalistik, vol. 4, sec. 1. LeydenCologne, 1958.
Humbach, H. Die Gathas des Zarathustra, vols. 1–2. Heidelberg, 1959.
Reichelt, H. Awestisches Elementarbuch. Heidelberg, 1909.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
453) Srosart-yan: Pahlavi Sros ahlaw is a late substitution for Sros-ahliy (with the endings spelled unambiguously as -yd or, ambiguously, as -'y) from Avestan Sraosa- asiia- < *(a)rtiya-.The Manichean Middle Persian form Srosahray may have been influenced by (Inscriptional) Middle Persian arday, perhaps also ahlayih (attested only in Pahlavi).
Avestan, Parthian, Scythian, Old Persian, and Median were all Indo-European languages and the mythologies linked to these languages are also Indo-European.
Avestan is committed to attaining measurable and sustainable results by providing full-service procurement solutions to SME at a fraction of the cost of large service providers.
In the conclusion of his analysis of the original Avestan texts, shaul shaked is rather dubious about any attempt to find a coherent account of human nature.
"The problem of interpreting the Gathas," says Mary Boyce, "lies at the heart of the theological difficulties which confront modern Zoroastrians."(20) She then goes on to say that "The doctrines of the faith, adumbrated only in the Gathas, are made clear in the tradition, preserved in the surviving Avestan and Pahlavi books."(21) This latest critical estimate of the Zoroastrian scriptures by an expert in the field is a reversal of earlier scholarly assumptions that has not been realized yet by the Zoroastrian community at large.
This habitation pattern can be seen even among the proto-Iranians, whose Avestan scriptures refer to vis- 'village', vrzana- 'community, settled people', in addition to zantu- 'tribe' in social arrangements that linked nomadic and pastoral occupations with more favorable settled ones.
The recitals of penance (&lt;/patits/&gt;) are a good first step towards an intended edition of the &lt;/Xorde Avesta/&gt;, says Buyaner, because of their unique character as Zoroastrian prayers that, despite their great importance for everyday religious life, have no Avestan prototype.
Deity Mithra (Avestan: Mi[theta]ra, Pahlavi: Mihr, Latin: Mitras, Sanskrit: Mitra) is one of deities that not just for having his own specific religion in ancient Iran, but because of his influence and position that is the higher place in Zartoshti religious system after Ahoura Mazda, the most veneration is dedicated to him in Avestan texts [19].
The dictionary maintains that if tiine developed from earlier *teine-, it may a loan from Indo-European *dheinyah2- (> Lithuanian dieni'pregnant (of animals)') or *[d.sup.h]einus (> Sanskrit dhenu-'milking cow', Avestan daenu-'female animal').
The Avestan word for the sacred thread is aiwyaonghana, meaning "to gird", and it originates from the ritual in the Yasna ceremony where a strip of the date palm is used to tie the twigs for the sacred fire or barsam, in a ritual of uniting creation (Mueller 1977, Vol.
He spoke fluent Persian, Russian, German, Arabic, Pashto, French, Uzbek and Turkish, and had extensive knowledge of Avestan, Pahlavi, Sogdian, and other Iranian languages and dialects, both extinct and current.