The MEDIAN LANGUAGE (also MEDEAN or MEDIC) was the language of the
Medes . It is an Old
Iranian language and classified as belonging to
the Northwestern Iranian subfamily, which includes many other
languages such as Azari , Gilaki , Mazandarani , Kurdish (Zazaki,
Gorani, Sorani, Kurmanji) , and Baluchi .
* 1 Attestation
* 2 Identity
* 3 Predecessor of modern
* 4 References
Median is attested only by numerous loanwords in
Old Persian .
Nothing is known of its grammar, "but it shares important phonological
Avestan , rather than Old Persian. Under the Median
Median must to some extent have been the official Iranian
language in western Iran".
No documents dating to
Median times have been preserved, and it is
not known what script these texts might have been in. "So far only one
inscription of pre-
Achaemenid times (a bronze plaque) has been found
on the territory of Media . This is a cuneiform inscription composed
in Akkadian , perhaps in the 8th century BCE, but no
Median names are
mentioned in it."
Some modern research suggests that the so-called
Linear Elamite ,
which still has not been deciphered, may have been written in the
language of Medes, by assuming
Kutik-Inshushinak was the original
Iranian name of
Cyaxares the Great and not a much earlier Elamite
A distinction from other ethnolinguistic groups (in Herodotus, ethnos
means 'people') such as the Persians is evident primarily in foreign
sources, such as from mid-9th century BCE Assyrian cuneiform sources
and from Herodotus\' mid-5th century BCE secondhand account of the
Median conflict. It is not known what the native name of the
Median language was (just like for all other Old Iranian languages) or
Medes themselves nominally distinguished it from the
languages of other
Iranian peoples .
Median is "presumably" a substrate of
Old Persian . The Median
element is readily identifiable because it did not share in the
developments that were particular to Old Persian.
Median forms "are
found only in personal or geographical names... and some are typically
from religious vocabulary and so could in principle also be influenced
Avestan .... Sometimes, both
Old Persian forms are
found, which gave
Old Persian a somewhat confusing and inconsistent
look: 'horse,' for instance, is both asa (OPers.) and aspa (Med.)."
Using comparative phonology of proper names attested in Old Persian,
Roland Kent notes several other
Old Persian words that appear to be
borrowings from Median: for example, taxma, 'brave', as in the proper
name Taxmaspada. Diakonoff includes paridaiza, 'paradise'; vazraka,
'great' and xshayathiya, 'royal'. In the mid-5th century BCE,
Herodotus (Histories 1.110 ) noted that spaka is the
Median word for a
female dog. This term and meaning are preserved in living Iranian
languages such as Talyshi .
In the 1st century BCE,
Strabo (c. 64 BCE–24 CE) would note a
relationship between the various
Iranian peoples and their languages:
" beyond the
Indus ... Ariana is extended so as to include some part
Persia , Media , and the north of
Sogdiana ; for these
nations speak nearly the same language." (Geography , 15.2.1-15.2.8 )
Traces of the (later) dialects of Media (not to be confused with the
Median language) are preserved in the compositions of the fahlaviyat
genre, verse composed in the old dialects of the Pahla/Fahla regions
of Iran's northwest. Consequently, these compositions have "certain
linguistic affinities" with Parthian , but the surviving specimens
(which are from the 9th to 18th centuries CE) are much influenced by
Persian . For an enumeration of linguistic characteristics and
vocabulary "deserving mention," see Tafazzoli 1999 . The use of fahla
Middle Persian pahlaw) to denote Media is attested from late
Arsacid times so it reflects the pre-Sassanid use of the word to
denote "Parthia", which, during Arsacid times, included most of Media.
PREDECESSOR OF MODERN IRANIAN LANGUAGES
A number of modern
Iranian languages spoken today have had medieval
stages with evidences found from citations in Classical and Early
Modern Persian sources. G. Windfuhr believes, "The modern languages
of Azarbaijan and Central Iran, located in ancient Media Atropatene
and Media proper, are 'Median' dialects" and those languages "continue
lost local and regional language" of Old Median, which is mainly known
as "Medisms in Old Persian." The term comes from the regional name
Pahlav/Fahlav (see fahlaviyat ) in traditional medieval Persian
sources and is used to call "dialect poetry and other samples of
locales in western
Iran reflects the Parthian period" of those regions
and their languages "being survivals of the
Median dialects have
certain linguistic affinities with Parthian".
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* ^ "Ancient Iran::Language". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
2007. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
* ^ Schmitt, Rüdiger (1989). Compendium Linguarum Iranicarum.
* ^ A B C Skjærvø, Prods Oktor (2005). An Introduction to Old
Persian (PDF) (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Harvard.
* ^ Dandamayev, Muhammad & I. Medvedskaya (2006). "Media".
Encyclopaedia Iranica (OT 10 ed.). Costa Mesa: Mazda.
* ^ Cyaxares: Media's Great King in Egypt, Assyria & Iran, by:
Professor Gunnar Heinsohn, University of Bremen, May 2006
* ^ "Ancient Iran::The coming of the Iranians". Encyclopædia
Britannica Online. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-28.
* ^ Kent, Roland G. (1953). Old Persian. Grammar, Texts, Lexicon
(2nd ed.). New Haven: American Oriental Society. pp. 8-9.
* ^ Diakonoff, Igor M. (1985). "Media". In Ilya Gershevitch.
Cambridge History of Iran, Vol 2. London: Cambridge UP. pp. 36–148.
* ^ Godley, A. D. (ed.) (1920). Herodotus, with an English
translation. Cambridge: Harvard UP. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors
list (link ) (Histories 1.110)
* ^ Hamilton, H. C. & W. Falconer (1903). The Geography of Strabo.
Literally translated, with notes. 3. London: George Bell & Sons. p.
125. (Geography 15.2)
* ^ Tafazzoli, Ahmad (1999). "Fahlavīyāt". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
9.2. New York: iranicaonline.org.
* ^ A B Page 15 from Windfuhr, Gernot (2009), "Dialectology and
Topics", in Windfuhr, Gernot, The Iranian Languages, London and
Newyork: Routledge, pp. 5–42, ISBN 978-0-7007-1131-4
* ^ Tafazzoli 1999
OLD / MIDDLE
* Dramatic Prakrits
* Caribbean Hindi
* Sansi Boli
Rekhta (early form)
* Bishnupriya Manipuri
* Kharia Thar
* Mal Paharia
* Dhatki (sociolect)
* Parkari Koli
OLD / MIDDLE
* Old Scythian
* Sakan (Sacian)
* Old Azari
* Zoroastrian Dari
* Southern group
* Caucasian Tat
OTHER INDO-IRANIAN LANGUAGES
Italics indicate extinct languages .
Rhagae (Shahre Rey, Tehran)
* Laodicea (Nahavand)
BATTLES INVOLVING LYDIA
Eclipse of Thales
BATTLES INVOLVING PERSIA
Battle of Hyrba
Battle of the Persian Border
* Siege of
* Battle of
* Fall of Ecbatana
Amytis of Media