Tuesday, May 21, 2013

of gods and the name

Sometimes in the Indo-European pantheons, gods would get special names. Many of these epithets are mysterious: they point out attributes of the deities that we otherwise would not have known of. Some of these epithets are funnier than others. Here are some of the stranger titles.

The deity: Hera
Known as: The wife of Zeus, goddess of women and marriage
Her title: βοῶπις
Meaning: Cow eyes. 

The deity: *Torh2nt- (Thor in Old Norse, Tarhunt- in Hittite, Torann in Old Iranian)

Known as: The thunderer.
His title: *perkwuno-
Meaning: Rocky.

The deity: Agni

Known as: God of fire
His title: Apām Napāt
Meaning: Descendant of the waters.

Why is the Hindu god Agni, a god of fire, described as the descendant of the waters in the ancient Sanskrit annals? Why is the Thunderer described as "the Rocky Thunderer?" Pretty ballin' title though. I won't even touch Hera - though judging by her epithet, I doubt many did.
Matasović, Ranko. A Reader in Comparative Indo-European Religion. University of Zagreb. 2010.
Greek reflex from: Robert Beekes. "βοῶπις" in: Etymological Dictionary of Greek. Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries Online. Edited by Alexander Lubotsky. Brill, 2013. Brill Online. May 22, 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Well about Agni here http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/concepts/agni.asp we see that he descends from the sky and the notion according to me is that lightnings accompany rainfall and this could be an explanation about his dwelling in the waters.