BATRAKATAŠ, place name which appears on the Elamite fortification tablets found at Persepolis, apparently the same as Pasargadae.
The name is found in various spellings: h.bat-ra-qa-taš (PF 44, 62, 774, 908, 1134, 1942; Fort. 1016, 6575, 7090), h.ba-iš-ra-qa-da (PF 43), h.ba-iš-sir-qa-da (PF 42), h.bat-ra-qa-da (PF 63). These variants point to an original Old Persian form *Pāθra-gadā, for which various etymological interpretations have been suggested. Gershevitch (p. 168) suggested identifying *gadā with Old Iranian gadā- “club” (Av. gaδā-). For *pāθra- Hinz (1975, p. 190, cf. idem, Orientalia 39, 1970, p. 425, and ZDMG 120,1970, p. 376) preferred comparing Old Iranian pāθra- “protection,” rather than Vedic pajrá “solid, strong, stout,” as proposed by Gershevitch (loc. cit.). However, Hinz’s suggestion that the second part of the name may contain Old Iranian kata “house, home” is unlikely, since one would expect intervocalic -t- to be spelled with double -dd- or -tt- in at least some of the Elamite transcriptions, although a meaning “protective house” or the like would be more suitable for the name of a city than, e.g., “protective club, strong club,” etc.
The name strongly resembles Pasargadai, the Greek name of Cyrus the Great’s capital (Hallock, p. 676) and the Elamite tablets support the identification of the two names, as they show that there were a royal treasury and royal stores at Batrakataš. It was also the seat of a priest who received rations for divine sacrifices. There was no agricultural cultivation, as barley for rations was brought from a place called Ha-da-ráš (*Haδahra) and wine from Ha-in-da-ra-ti-iš (*Antarantīš), Ra-šá-nu-iz-za (*Rašnuča), and Ti-ra-iz-zí-iš (Shiraz?). Batrakataš was administered together with another place, called Ra-ut-ku-iš (*Ratguš).
I. Gershevitch, “Iranian Nouns and Names in Elamite Garb,” TPS, 1969 , pp. 165-200.
R. T. Hallock, Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Chicago, 1969.
W. Hinz, Altiranisches Sprachgut der Nebenüberlieferungen, Wiesbaden, 1975.
W. Hinz and H. Koch, Elamisches Wörterbuch, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, suppl. vol. no. 17, Berlin, 1987.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: December 15, 1988
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