The Greek evidence

More than one individual in Greek mythology is said to be a daughter of Helios. There is Minos' wife Pasiphae 'Shining for all', whose name at least 107 Mannhardt (1875), 82 no. 72, cf. no. 73. Note that although the Sons of God may appear as plural suitors of Saules meita, when a marriage is spoken of there is either only one Son of God or plural Daughters of the Sun. No menage a trois is countenanced as in the Asvins' joint possession of Surya. 109 F. S. Krauss, Sitte und Brauch der S dslaven...

Gods and Goddesses

The Indo-Europeans, it is clear, spoke both about 'the gods' collectively and about gods as individuals. They perhaps had their different words for different categories of supernatural being. But the most important term, one that has left representatives in nearly all branches of the Indo-European family, was based on the root *diw dyu, which denoted the bright sky or the light of day. In MIE it took the form *deiwos, plural *deiwos. From this come Vedic deva-, Avestan dacva-, Old Phrygian...

Behaghels Law the Augmented Triad

The priamel is an end-weighted structure, the final component forming a climax. To this extent, at least, it fits a pattern widely attested for Indo-European. The principle underlies what is known as Behaghel's Law, or the 'Gesetz der wachsenden Glieder'. This is the rule that shorter phrases tend to be placed before longer ones, both in prose and in verse, so that the sentence gains rather than loses weight as it develops.132 A special case of Behaghel's Law that is distinct and easily...

Poetry as recall

More universal among Indo-European peoples than any of the above designations is the use, in relation to poetic activity, of words based on the root *men 'think (of), call to mind'.26 In composing a new poem or reciting an old one, the poet must call to mind things that he knows. When someone who is speaking or singing calls something to mind, it is at once expressed in words, so that *men may also refer to utterance, as in Vedic m nyate 'think mention', Lithuanian menu, mi ti, or Latin...

Trisiras Ullikummi Hrungnir

In post-Rigvedic myth Visvarupa appears under the name Trisiras, 'Three-head'. His father Tvastr created him out of resentment towards Indra. He grew so great that Indra was afraid he would ingest the whole universe. In an attempt to undo him Indra told the Nymphs (Apsarases) to dance before him, display their charms, and try to seduce him. But he proved too austere to be moved by the exhibition. So Indra hurled his fiery bolt and struck him dead. He fell like a mountaintop, but still blazed...

Graeco Aryan metre

It is still Greek and Vedic that show the clearest relationship. This may be because they are two of the oldest attested and bear the best witness to an original system that had become deformed by the time the evidence from other branches comes into view. Or it may be because Graeco-Aryan had developed a particular system that never existed in the same form in other parts of the Indo-European area. In any case the best procedure will be first to see what can be established about Graeco-Aryan...

Juxtaposition of like terms polyptoton

Common as such antithetical combinations are, they are less abundant than collocations of like terms. In the great majority of cases it is a noun or adjective that is juxtaposed with the same word in a different case (governed perhaps by a preposition). But there are also instances with verb forms, especially with an opposition of active and passive action, as in RV 8. 84. 9 n kir y m ghn nti, h nti y h, 'whom none slay, (but) who slays' Il. 4. 451 OAAVvtwv Te Kal oAAvpevwv, 'killing and being...

Vocabulary And Phraseology

The first intimation of Indo-European poetry as a possible object of study came from Adalbert Kuhn's discovery in 1853 of a phrase common to Vedic and Homeric poetry aksiti sr vah or sr vas . aksitam, KA os a dtrov. The constituent words were cognate, and the concept they expressed, 'unfading glory', was clearly not so much at home in everyday speech as in poetry, or at any rate in elevated discourse. It seemed a reasonable hypothesis that this collocation of words was traditional both in Indic...

Oaths by the

The Sun's capacity for seeing everything that people do qualifies him as a supervisor of justice, or at least gives him a valuable role as the god of justice's eye and as a trusty witness. His credentials are reinforced by his own strict observance of cosmic law disah Slryo na minati pradistah, 'Surya does not infringe the directions prescribed' (RV 3. 30. 12), where dis- is cognate with Greek sik 'justice, right' and Latin con-dicio. The verse might be converted 14 Carmichael (1928-59), iii....

The Sun as a deity

There is extensive evidence for the recognition of the Sun as a deity among Indo-European peoples. The solar gods mentioned in Hittite texts include one or more of probably non-Indo-European pedigree, such as the Sun-goddess of Arinna, but others, like the above-mentioned Sius-summi and Tiwat Tiyat, are securely Indo-European. It is also worth noting that in taking over the name of the Hattic Sun-goddess Estan, the Hittites applied it to a male god. 'The goddess took on the personality of an...

A god of ways and byways

A longer-standing equation that many philologists have looked on with favour is that of the Vedic god Pusan with the Greek Pan.5 Pan is absent from Homer and other early poetry he became famous only in the fifth century, his cult having previously, as it seems, been confined to Arcadia. There, 3 Mannhardt (1936), 356, 371, 402 Usener (1896), 95. 4 A. Mayer, Glotta 31 (1951), 238-43, cf. id. (1957-9), ii. 125 f. F. M. Heichelheim, RE viiiA. 2095 f. On Vi arr cf. de Vries (1956), ii. 275-7. 5 P....

Phrase and Figure

'So with the Soma-offering I bring to birth for you, Indra and Agni, a new praise-poem' (RV 1. 109. 2). This is one of nearly sixty places in the Rigveda where the Rishi refers to his song as new or the newest.1 Zarathushtra sings 'I who will hymn You, Truth, and Good Thought as never before' (apaourvim, Y. 28. 3). In the Odyssey Telemachus justifies the bard Phemius' singing of a recent event on the ground that 'men set in higher repute that song which falls newest on the listeners' ears'....

The divine Twins

Scholars were long ago struck by the similarities between the Vedic Asvins, the Greek Dioskouroi, and the 'Sons of God' who often appear in the Lithuanian 71 It is applied to her and Night as sisters at 10. 70. 6, and to Night alone at AV 19. 47. 5. Cf. Schmitt (1967), 169-75. 72 Rhesa (1825), no. 78 G. H. F. Nesselmann, Litauische Volkslieder (Berlin 1853), no. 1 cf. W. Euler in Meid (1987), 44 f. 73 G. E. Dunkel, Die Sprache 34 (1988-90), 8 f. If Dawn could still be called AiFos BvyiiT p in...

Sky And Earth As A Pair

In the lengthy lists of deities invoked as witnesses to Hittite treaties, 'Heaven and Earth' regularly appear as a pair. They do not, to be sure, stand in a position of any prominence but in the middle of the closing sequence of cosmic entities 'Mountains, Rivers, Springs, the Great Sea, Heaven and Earth, Winds and Clouds'.61 The Vedic evidence is of much greater mythological interest. Here Dyaus the father is frequently paired with Prthivi the mother. O Heaven (our) father, Earth (our)...

Mother Earth

The Earth-goddess is widely celebrated with the title of 'mother'. In Hittite we find Mother Earth(-spirit) (annas Daganzipas) paired with the Storm-god of 35 Hertzenberg (as n. 31). For Damia cf. Hdt. 5. 82 f. O. Kern, RE iv. 2054. 36 Detschew (1957), 429 U. Dukova, Orpheus 4 (1994), 7 f. The formation resembles the Phrygian zemelo-. The dialect variations in the first element of Dionysus' name (Aim-, Aio-, Aeo-, Zo-) resemble the variants in Thracian personal names (Aio-, Aeo-, Zi-, Zov-,...

The Water Dragon

The thunder-god is not after you and me. His wrath is directed against devils, demons, giants. Their identity varies from one country to another. But there is an adversary of a different order who lurks in Vedic, Greek, and Norse mythology and who seems to represent an Indo-European concept a monstrous reptile associated with water, lying in it or blocking its flow. It is perhaps a cosmic version of the common mythical motif of the serpent who guards a spring, or some other desirable thing, and...

Other Indo European metre

We have now reconstructed the outlines of a Graeco-Aryan metrical system, characterized by quantitative prosody and lines of determinate length. There were shorter lines of seven or eight syllables, ending in the cadences u - II or u u II, and longer lines made by prefixing these with a four- or five-syllable element, X u X u I or X u u u X I. Simple strophes were built, usually from three or four similar lines, but sometimes by alternating lines of different length. This summary account, it...

The solar wheel

In the Rigveda there are eleven references to the wheel (cakram) of Surya or Suvar.23 In Greek tragedy Aiov kvkAos is something of a formulaic phrase (Aesch. Pers. 504, Aesch. Prom. 91 Soph. Ant. 416 Eur. Hec. 412, El. 465), and Empedocles (B 47) has avaKTos . ayea kvkAov 'the lord's pure wheel' in the same sense. We also find Aiov Tpoxos (Ar. Thesm. 17). But kvkAos is evidently the traditional word. It corresponds etymologically to the Vedic word (which is usually neuter, but occasionally...

Polar expressions merisms

Especially characteristic is the use of polar expressions, that is, pairings of contrasted terms, as an emphatic expression of the totality that they make 80 Od. 23. 233-9 MBh. 7. 116. 12. 81 Acallam na Senorach 3733-6 Stokes, trs. Dooley-Roe (1999), 113. 82 Sappho fr. 30. 7-9 Grottas ngr 7. 3-4 Gylf. 27, cf. Lorenz (1984), 374. up.83 One may say that bipolarity (not trifunctionality) is the fundamental structuring principle of Indo-European thought. For example, the concept of 'all intelligent...

The food of the gods

Our mortal life and death, our health and sickness, are bound up with what we eat and drink. If the gods are exempt from death and disease, it is because they are nourished by special aliments not available to us. That they do not eat or drink human food is stated explicitly in Greek and Indian texts. 'For they do not eat cereals, they do not drink red wine that is why they are without blood, and known as the Deathless Ones' (Il. 5. 341 f.). 'The gods, of course, neither eat nor drink. They...

Some Western goddesses

We have seen that the gods were celebrated as givers of good things, these being denoted in Indo-Iranian with the word vdsu-, vaghu- (*wesu-). Combined with *poti- it gives vdsupati- 'lord of good things', which occurs some fifteen times in the Rigveda as an attribute of Indra or other gods. There is also a class of deities, headed by Indra, known as the Vasus (Vdsavah), the Good Ones. One might say that just as certain neuter singulars turn into gods 79 Cf. von Schroeder (1914-16), i. 500-2 J....

Occasions And Genres Hymns and praise poetry

The Homeric singer existed to tell forth 'the doings of men and gods' (Od. 1. 338). Having listened to the bard Lomaharsana, the chieftain Saunaka knew 'the celestial tales, the tales of gods and Asuras, all the tales of men and snakes and Gandharvas' (MBh. 1. 4. 4). Whether or not these phrases represent a Graeco-Aryan formula, the celebration of gods and men is not a bad summary of the Indo-European poet's principal obligations. The gods had to be addressed and hymned in worthy style, and it...

Relations with mankind

Although certain individual deities are charged with the supervision of justice, contracts, and so on, in general the Indo-European gods do not have an ethical character. The essential thing about them is their power, which they can exercise at their pleasure. It is therefore important to have them as friends.35 In Hittite ritual the priest prayed 'May the Tabarna, the king, be dear to the gods '36 The Indian prayer priyo dev n m bh yasam, 'may I be the gods' friend' (AV 17. 1. 2), or priy m m...

Attributes of Earth

The commonest epithet applied to the earth in Indo-European poetic traditions is 'broad'.52 The Homeric evpeia finds its etymological counterpart in RV 6. 17. 7 ks amp m urvfm, while at 1. 67. 5 and 10. 31. 9 we have kseem . prth i vim, with the adjective that is related to Greek nXarvs. This is exactly paralleled in Avestan zgm porod im Y. 10. 4, Yt. 13. 9, cf. Vd. 9. 2 , and presumably reflects an old Indo-Iranian formula. As we have seen, prthivT or prthvi used as a feminine substantive, is...

The solar steeds

The solar wheel must be travelling at some speed, as it traverses the whole earth within a day. The idea that it is drawn by a horse became current at an early date. ud u eti prasavita jananam, I mahian ketur amavah Suriyasya, samanam cakram pariyavivrtsan I yad Etaso vahati dhursu yuktah. Up goes the arouser of peoples, the great waving banner of Surya, to set rolling forward the common Wheel that Etasa conveys, yoked in harness. Etasa 'Swift' is often mentioned as the steed who draws the sun...

Visvarupa and his cows

The waters imprisoned by Vrtra are likened to cows pent up in a stall, cows being a standard Vedic metaphor for anything capable of giving nourishment. 67 Vrtra and the Hydra have been compared by L. von Schroeder, Herakles und Indra as n. 38 , 32-8 F. R. Schroder as n. 45 , 8. 68 Greimas 1992 , 31 Vaiia 1992 , 72, 283 f. Lambertz 1973 , 471 f., 473 f., 486 f., 488 f. There is another Vedic myth in which a herd of cows is in the possession of a three-headed dragon ahi- the dragon is killed, his...

Various idioms

The sun had a prominent place in Indo-European poetry and myth, as we shall see in Chapter 5, and it plays a part in a number of traditional expressions. As it traverses and surveys the whole earth, the idea 'the world from end to end' can be expressed by 'as far as the sun looks about' AV 10. 10. 34 y vat s ryo vipasyati or some equivalent. So in Greek, II. 7. 451, 458 'its your fame shall be known oaov r mKiSvarai rjws, as far as the daylight spreads' in Welsh, hytyr etil he l, 'as far as the...

Further Mythical Motifs

Contemplating the Sun-god's daily round, poets embellished it with imaginative anthropomorphic and domestic detail. In Indic, Greek, and Baltic tradition its tireless continuity is remarked on. Everything else that moves rests, but the waters and Surya always keep coming forth RV 10. 37. 2 . The sun comes unceasing, aramati-, 2. 38. 4 unflagging, ajasra-, 10. 12. 7 atandrita-, MBh. 3. 160. 35 5. 29. 8. Similarly in Homer he is Kapas, unwearying. Mimnermus in the poem quoted above writes there's...

The Waters

A wide range of evidence attests the holy status of terrestrial potable waters among Indo-European peoples. Sometimes they are venerated collectively, as 'the Waters' or divided into 'Rivers and Springs' sometimes individual rivers or fountains are worshipped under their own names. The Indo-European animate word for water, p-, became assigned to the feminine gender, probably because of water's fostering properties. In the Indo-Iranian tradition we find it developed as an individualizing...