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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).



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.


References in periodicals archive ?
As we have already seen, this expression--especially its negative connotations-- was alien to the Avestan, Achaemenid, and Parthian worldview and also made little sense within the framework of Graeco-Roman culture.
Mazdapour provides information about twelve newly identified Avestan manuscripts in Iran, including a Vendidad from the Astan-Qods Library in Mashhad, which is described in more detail in a separate contribution by F.
In terms of the historical development of the religion, both the Avestan and the Pahlavi versions of the text are significant with regard to the information they provide about the cult status of each of the divine entities at each stage of transmission.
This paper concentrates on the evidence of Old Avestan exclusively.
Schmitt also adheres to the now surely outdated interpretation of Mazda in Ahura Mazda as a noun "wisdom," rather than as an adjective, Old Avestan (trisyllabic) mazcla'ah- (no.
magikos and mageia, from magos, a Greek rendition of Old Persian magu, noting that only one Avestan attestation (mogu-) exists, in Yasna 65.
Here he provides a succinct account of the principal Avestan texts about Yima (Yasna 9, Yast 19, Videvdad 2), the points on which they agree, and the larger number of points where they disagree.
The Avestan evidence confirms that this was an Indo-Iranian type.
1-11), beginning with an overview of the "concept and imagery of the Avestan daena, (2) the den of the Middle Persian and Pahlavi sources" (p.
Mycenaean Greek, Egyptian, Hittite, Ugaritic, Sumerian, Akkadian, and Indo-Iranian languages such as Vedic and Avestan, as well as reconstructed proto-Indo-European, to advance our understanding of ancient textiles.
The first member of this compound is clearly derived from the root of Avestan hinca-, Vedic sinca 'pour out'.
In the first chapter on warriors, following a short review of Middle Persian words, such as artegtar 'warrior' from Avestan raeaegtar-'charioteer', and hunar '(knightly) dexterity; valor', the author discusses the different designations of the 'army', among them: spah, gund, to-7-(zawar), karawan (i Erit'ngahr), lagkar, and hen 'hostile army', which the author derives as a mot savant from Avestan haena-, although it is also well attested in the Old Persian inscriptions as haina-.