Airyanem Vaejah

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Airyanem Vaejah[needs IPA] (Airyanəm Vaējah, approximately "expanse of the Aryans", i.e. Iranians[1]) is the homeland of early Iranians and a reference in the Zoroastrian Avesta (Vendidad, Farg. 1) to one of Ahura Mazda's "sixteen perfect lands."[2]

Etymology and related words[edit]

The Old Iranian term airyanəm vaējah (in Avestan) is formed from the plural genitive case of airya and the word vaējah (whose oft-used nominative case is vaējō). The meaning of vaējah is uncertain. It may be related to the old Indic vej/vij (in Vedic), suggesting the region of a fast-flowing river.[3] it has also been interpreted by some as "seed" or "germ". Avestan airya is etymologically related to the Old Persian ariya.

The related OIr. term *aryānām xšaθra- generated the name of "Iran" (through Middle Iranian renderings, such as the Middle Persian term Ērān-shahr and ultimately Ērān during Sassanian empire).

Historical concepts[edit]

The historical location of Airyanem Vaejah is still uncertain. In the first chapter of the Vendidad is a listing of sixteen countries, and some scholars believe that Airyanem Vaejah lies to the north of all of these.[4] But according to the Harvard University scholar Michael Witzel, Airyanem Vaejah lies at the center of these lands, in the central Afghan highlands[5] (around Bamyan Province). Bahram Farahvashi and Nasser Takmil Homayoun suggest that Airyanem Vaejah was probably centered around Khwarazm,[6] a region that is now split between several Central Asian republics. The University of Hawaii historian Elton L. Daniel likewise believes Khwarazm to be the "most likely locale" corresponding to the original home of the Avestan people,[7] and Dehkhoda once called Khwarazm "the cradle of the Aryan tribe". Shrikant G. Talageri, in his book "The Rigveda: A Historical Analysis", proposes Airyam Vaejah to be located in Kashmir.[8]

Recent information, to be related in Anthony, David W. (2007). The Horse, the Wheel, and Language. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-05887-0., indicates that Airynem Vaejah is to be be found along the lower and middle Volga river, with the Poltavka Culture of 2700 - 2100 BCE, and the Abashevo Culture of 2500 - 1900 BCE, which would lead to the Sintashta Culture of 2200 - 1600 BCE, and eventually to the Andronovo Culture of 2000 - 900 BCE both of which latter cultures were in modern-day Kazakhstan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ see p. 164 in: P.O. Skjaervo, The Avesta as source for the early history of the Iranians. In: G. Erdosy (ed.), The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia. (Indian Philology and South Asian Studies, A. Wezler and M. Witzel, eds.), vol. 1, Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 1995, pp.155-176.
  2. ^ Darmesteter, James. Sacred Books of the East (1898). Peterson, Joseph H., Avesta - Zoroastrian Archives: VENDIDAD (English): Fargard 1. [1]
  3. ^ see Edwin Bryant, The Quest for the origins of Vedic culture, 2001: 327
  4. ^ Zoroaster’s Time and Homeland: A Study on the Origins of Mazdeism and Related Problems by Gherardo Gnoli, Instituto Universitario Orientale, Seminario di Studi Asiatici, (Series Minor VII), Naples, 1980
  5. ^ M. Witzel, "The Vīdẽvdaδ list obviously was composed or redacted by someone who regarded Afghanistan and the lands surrounding it as the home of all Aryans (airiia), that is of all (eastern) Iranians, with Airiianem Vaẽjah as their center." page 48, "The Home Of The Aryans", Festschrift J. Narten = Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft, Beihefte NF 19, Dettelbach: J.H. Röll 2000, 283-338. Also published online, at Harvard University (LINK)
  6. ^ Nasser Takmil Homayoun, Kharazm: What do I know about Iran?. 2004. ISBN 964-379-023-1
  7. ^ Elton L. Daniel, The History of Iran. 2001. ISBN 0-313-30731-8
  8. ^ [2]

External links[edit]