Herodot, Historien I, 139

Bei Herodot (I, 139) gibt es eine Stelle, wo man sich an gewisse onomastische Verhältnisse bei Asterix erinnert fühlt:

Auch folgendes hat sich bei den Persern so ergeben, was ihnen selbst gar nicht klar ist, mir aber schon: Ihre Eigennamen, die körperliche Eigenschaften oder gesellschaftlichen Rang bezeichnen, enden alle auf denselben Buchstaben, den die Dorer „San“, die Ionier „Sigma“ nennen; wenn man diese Sache untersucht, stellt man fest, daß alle Namen der Perser so enden, nicht die einen so und die anderen anders, sondern alle gleichermaßen.

καὶ τόδε ἄλλο σφι ὧδε συμπέπτωκε γίνεσθαι, τὸ Πέρσας μὲν αὐτοὺς λέληθε, ἡμέας μέντοι οὔ• τὰ οὐνόματά σφι ἐόντα ὅμοια τοῖσι σώμασι καὶ τῇ μεγαλοπρεπείῃ τελευτῶσι πάντα ἐς τὠυτὸ γράμμα, τὸ Δωριέες μὲν σὰν καλέουσι, Ἴωνες δὲ σίγμα• ἐς τοῦτο διζήμενος εὑρήσεις τελευτῶντα τῶν Περσέων τὰ οὐνόματα, οὐ τὰ μὲν τὰ δ’ οὔ, ἀλλὰ πάντα ὁμοίως.

Dazu schreiben W. W. How & J. Wells (A Commentary on Herodotus, Oxford 1912):

Herodotus is at his weakest as a linguist (cf. explanation of royal names, vi. 98. 3 n.); yet he seems to have valued himself on this score. He makes two remarks on Persian names, which are both inaccurate:
(1) That they all have a certain meaning. σῶμα is variously taken (a) by Stein, in ageneral sense, „individuals (32. 8) and their honourable nature“; (b) by Macaulay, „their bodily shape“ (which is simpler). Whichever sense be given, Herodotus is too absolute; nor is he consistent; cf. vi. 98. Some Persian names referred to deities (cf. Mithradates, „given by Mithra“); others to personal appearance (Otanes, „fair of body“); others (e.g., Darius, „possessor“) to position, etc.
(2) That all names end in S. This, in the first place, ignores all feminine names. Even of men’s names, it is only true of the Greek forms; in Persian, s (sh) was retained after i or u, e.g., Darayavaush = Darius, but not otherwise, e.g., Vistâçha (Hystaspes), where, however, the final a was not written. For the interesting statement as to the Greek alphabet cf. Roberts, Gk. Epig. p. 8seq. The Phoenicians had four signs for sibilants, each of which was borrowed in part by Greece:
(1) The hard Samech (No. 15 in the Phoenician alphabet), probably = „Sigma“ Others, however, make „σίγμα“ („the hissing letter”) a genuine Greekword (from σίζω).
(2) The lingual Tsade.
(3) The palatal Shin.
(4) There was also the soft Zazin.
Of these the name Tsade survives in Zeta, while „Samech“ was transferred to the place of „Shin“ The sign of Samech and its place in the alphabet after Nun, were left to the later Xi.

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