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Old August 29th, 2017, 02:27 AM   #1

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The Word Afghan Possibly Mentioned in Bactrian Documents?

The name “Afghan” itself does not appear to be a genuine, inherited Pashtoformation. But would it be possible to provide an explanation or analysis of thisformation in the first place? It has a very Iranian “appearance,”
anyway. It doesnot resemble to any of the geographical references (ethnicity, place name etc.) inthe earlier Hellenistic geographical manuals (such as Ptolemy, Strabo) that describethis region and the surroundings. This suggests that the name could have been an
ad hoc
term that was coined locally, i.e. by another Iranian-speaking people, pos-sibly as a “nick-name” or provisional appellative, to their neighbours. In this case,arguably the best candidate to have “coined” the appellative would have been theBactrians, the most powerful and culturally most advanced people of the region.In a recent discovery, a similar name has indeed been found in four small Bactrianfragmentary documents, αβαγανο(4x), αβγανο(1x)

From the perspective of the Bactrians the designation is quite apt, if weassume that at this stage the αβαγανο as ‘People from a distant land (behind Bac-tria)’ would already have settled in the south western corner of the Bactrian do-main, near the Sulaymān mountain range.
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Old August 29th, 2017, 02:28 AM   #2

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Sorry guys it would not past properly.

Here is the link to the whole article:
Cheung2017-On the Origin of the Terms ?Afghan? & ?Pashtun? (Again) - Gnoli Memorial Volume.pdf | Johnny Cheung - Academia.edu
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Old August 30th, 2017, 06:58 AM   #3

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"In the 3rd century, the Sassanids mentioned an eastern tribe called Abgn, which is attested in its Arabic form Afġān in the 10th century Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam. Through the nineteenth century, the term "Afghan" was used by various writers as a synonym for "Pashtun", but such usage now is rare in English."

Many scholars relate it to Kambojas, Ashvakas, Ashvakayanas, Ashvayana, Aspasioi (or Aspasii, Hippasii) and Assakenoi (or Assaceni/Assacani, Asscenus) etc. (Though I do not understand how 'ashva' could change in to 'af').

"The former Aspins of Chitral and Ashkuns (Yashkuns) of Gilgit are identified as the modern representatives of the Pāṇinian Aśvakayanas (Greek: Assakenoi); and the Asip/Isap (cf. Aspa-zai > Yusufzai) in the Kabul valley (between the rivers Kabul and Indus) are believed to be modern representatives of the Pāṇinian Aśvayanas (Greek: Aspasioi) respectively."

Other possibilities mentioned in the Wikipedia article:

- Samuel G. Benjamin (1887) derived the name Afghan from a term for 'wailing', which the Persians are said to have contemptuously used for their plaintive eastern neighbors.
- H. W. Bellew, in his 1891 An Inquiry into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, believes that the name Afghan comes from Alban which derives from the Latin term albus, meaning "white", or "mountain", as mountains are often white-capped with snow (cf. Alps); used by Armenians as Alvan or Alwan, which refers to mountaineers, and in the case of transliterated Armenian characters, would be pronounced as Aghvan or Aghwan. To the Persians, this would further be altered to Aoghan, Avghan, and Afghan as a reference to the eastern highlanders or "mountaineers".
- Michanovsky suggests the name Afghan derives from Sanskrit Avagana, which in turn derives from the ancient Sumerian word for Badakhshan - Ab-bar-Gan, or "high country".
- There are also a few people[who?] who have attempted to link "Afghan" to an Uzbek word "Avagan" said to mean "original".

Last edited by Aupmanyav; August 30th, 2017 at 07:03 AM.
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