DARIUS i. The Name

the common Latin form of Greek Dareîos, itself a shortened rendering of Old Persian five-syllable Dārayavauš, the throne name of Darius the Great and two other kings of the Achaemenid dynasty, which thus enjoyed considerable popularity among noblemen in later periods

 

DARIUS

i. The Name

Dārīus (or Dārēus) is the common Latin form of Greek Dareîos, itself a shortened rendering of Old Persian five-syllable Dārayavauš (spelled d-a-r-y-v-u-š), the throne name of Darius the Great and two other kings of the Achaemenid dynasty (see iii-v, below), which thus enjoyed considerable popularity among noblemen in later periods (see vi-viii, below). The original Old Persian form was also reflected in Elamite Da-ri-(y)a-ma-u-iš (cf. Hinz and Koch, pp. 289, 291), Babylonian Da-(a-)ri-ia-(a-)muš and so on, Aramaic dryhwš and archaizingdrywhwš, and perhaps the longer Greek form Dareiaîos (attested only in Ctesias, Jacoby, Fragmente IIIC, pp. 462, 464 frags. 13-14 pars. 24, 33-34; and Xenophon, Hellenica 2.1.8-9). On the other hand, the shorter forms Elamite Da-ri-ya-(h)u-(ú-)iš (cf. Hinz and Koch, pp. 290-91), Babylonian Da-(a-)ri-muš and so on, Aramaic drwš, drywš (cf. Schmitt, 1987, pp. 150-51), Egyptian tr(w)š, trjwš, intr(w)š, intrjwš (cf. Posener, pp. 161-63), Lycian Ñtarijeus-, Greek Dareîos (the standard form from Aeschylus onward), and Latin Dārīus, Dārēus are renderings of a haplologically shortened allegro form Old Persian *Dārayauš (replacing normal Dārayavauš), for which further indirect evidence may be found (Schmitt, 1990, pp. 197-98) in *Dariaus, the basis of the toponym Dariāsa (Ptolemy, Geography 6.2.12). The proposal by Chlodwig Werba (p. 148) that Greek Dareîos reflects a two-stem hypocoristic form *Dāraya-v-a- does not take into account the other forms mentioned. Old Persian Dāraya-vauš, which is composed of the present stem dāraya- “hold” and the adjective vau- “good,” must be translated as “holding firm the good” (cf. analogous expressions in Vedic texts) or the like. All attempts to explain it as shortened from a three-part compound name like *Dāraya-vau-manah-, *Dāraya-vau-xšaça-, or *Dāraya-vau-dāta- (cf. Werba, pp. 149-50) are erroneous, however. The ancient etymologies given by both Greek and Persian “authorities” may be passed over in silence.

 

Bibliography:

W. Hinz and H. Koch, Elamisches Wörterbuch, 2 parts, Berlin, 1987.

M. Mayrhofer, Iranisches Personennamenbuch I/2, pp. 18-19 no. 26.

G. Posener, La première domination perse en Égypte. Recueil d’inscriptions hiéroglyphiques, Cairo, 1936.

R. Schmitt, Die Iranier-Namen bei Aischylos, Vienna, 1978.

Idem, “Review of Segal,” Kratylos 32, 1987, pp. 145-54.

Idem, “The Name of Darius,” Acta Iranica 30, 1990, pp. 194-99.

C. Werba, Die arischen Personennamen und ihre Träger bei den Alexanderhistorikern, Ph.D. diss., Vienna, 1982, pp. 141-53.

(Rudiger Schmitt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 17, 2011

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