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THE INTERPRETATION OF THE SCYTHIAN NAME OKTAMASADOS

by Sergei V. Rjabchikov

Let us study the name of the Scythian ruler Oktamasados (The History of Herodotus: Book IV). I divide it into the three parts, Ok tama sad. The word sad is a key to this name. It is a version of the name of the Scythian sea god Thagimasados. The word tama 'darkness' is comparable with Proto-Slavonic *tema, Old Indian tamas, Old Russian tma, t'ma 'darkness'. The word ok is comparable with Old Church Slavonic oko 'eye' and Old Indian aksan 'having eyes'. So there is the construction 'Eyes/Darkness' here; it is in my opinion a prototype of the names of Tmutarakan and Tamatarha.

On the other hand, the component ok may be connected with Iranian (Scythian) axsaina 'dark' (Trubachev 1978: 36), and in this case the name Oktamasados means 'The god of the Black (Sea)', cf. the name of the Russian fairy-tale character Zmiy chernomorskiy 'The Serpent of the Black Sea' as well.

REFERENCE

Trubachev, O.N., 1978. Nekotorye dannye ob indoariyskom yazykovom substrate Severnogo Kavkaza v antichnoe vremya. Vestnik drevney istorii, No 4: 34-42.


Copyright © 1999 by Sergei V. Rjabchikov. All Rights Reserved.

Published 24 November 1999.

Sergei V. Rjabchikov, Krasnodar, RUSSIA.


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