Specializations > Historical Linguistics
What is the etymology of the Scythian word “hezios” meaning “covered”?
Pliny the Elder claimed, in the 6th book in the 19th chapter of "Naturalis Historia", that the name "Causasus" comes from Scythian "kroi hezios" meaning "snow-covered". The word "kroi" (presumably meaning "snow") is probably cognate to Greek κρυος (ice). But where would the Scythian word "hezios" meaning "covered" come from?
Of course, I am not implying Pliny's etymology was right. But I think it is relatively reasonable to believe "kroi hezios" really did mean "snow-covered" in Scythian.
I have started this thread on a few Internet forums, and the most interesting responde I've got thus far is this:
--- Quote from: https://www.reddit.com/r/OssetiaAlania/comments/l3y07t/what_is_the_etymology_of_the_scythian_word_hezios/gkl12r4/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3 ---I think that Pliny's kroi "snow" is misinterpretation of χrohu "ice" in that context btw. Like, they sound similar, and I have no info on what it could be else. I also have no information on anything resembling "hezios" in any other Iranic languages. Maybe he is just no the best source on that particular matter?
In the source thread another user mentioned this:
--- Quote ---Well, looking at it, hezios probably meant something more like "shining" or "white", being related to the proto indo European *ḱweyt-. It is believed that Scythian was a indo-iranian language, and in this branch the root evolved into *Háćwaytˢt. This feels similar enough to hezios for me to feel comfortable with
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So in that case it is literally χrohu-kāsi being mistranslated and miswritten by Pliny. Which is "shiny with ice".
P.S. Funnily, Ossetian does not have any words even remotely resembling those. Ossetian for "ice" is Ix, which is cognate of, say, Germanic "ice" (You can see s>x thingy which is widespread in Iranic languages here, compare it to similarity between Xor and Sol) and shiny would be ærttivæg.
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