Greek deities, the Sanskrit connection

Jul 2014
1,834
Yes
#1
Greek Gods - The Sanskrit Connection

The myths of Greece and Rome have inspired the people and literature of the West from time immemorial. Though the Gods are originally Greek, their latin (Roman) names have been used more frequently in art and poetry. For example:

Roman name Greek name
Jupiter Zeus
Juno Hera
Minerva Athena
Diana Artemis


Also it is now widely accepted that the classical languages Latin, Greek and Sanskrit have a common source in a much older language, which is extinct today. To illustrate this point it is customary to demonstrate the similarity of the most common words. For example, the word "father" is:

Sanskrit, pitri Latin, pater
Gothic, vader Greek, pätair


Thousands of such words are there.

Mythologies of ancient India and Greece have some similarities here and there. Some of the vedic gods have counterparts in Greek mythology. Thus Uranus in Greek mythology is Varuna in the vedic literature. Mars is Marut in Indian mythology. But what is not generally known is the astonishing fact that the names of Greek gods and heroes have in a great measure been found to correspond with Sanskrit names of physical things! It is important to emphasize the fact that some of these names are not related to gods or heroes in Indian mythology itself, but merely names of just physical things, though Dyaus is the Vedic creator and sky god and father of Surya the sun god and Agni the god of fire.

A simple list follows:

Greek God/Hero Sanskrit word meaning
---------------------------------------------------
Zeus dyu, Dyaus shine, sky, day; sky god
Hera soar bright sky
Uranus var conceal, cover
Daphne Dahana dawn
Ixion Akshanah one bound to a wheel
Paris Panis night demons
Athene ahana the light of daybreak
Prometheus Pramanthas Stick used to kindle Fire(Agni) (More)


These are some obvious connections. An expert in the field will be able to find many more.

Why this is not known?
Though many linguists have accepted the common origin of Indo-European Languages (Sanskrit, Greek, Latin) when it comes to Indo-European race we find less agreements (rightly so). Also Indo-Greek connection has been a less explored area than the general Indo-European language link. One reason the Greek-Sansrit connection was under-explored is because of the political prominence of the Roman Empire in the later European and Christian history. Even the Greek Gods were better known by their Roman names.

Once the Romans took political control, Greek Mythology never got the status which Vedic Mythology got in India. "The role of the Mysteries is hard to define since much of their ritual was secret, and at a later date information about them was suppressed by Roman and Christian alike, but we do know that the Mysteries proliferated and dominated Hellas spiritually for more than a millennium , and were the most effective mass religious cult in the Greco-Roman world."


The Greek Link to India, though accepted, has been sidelined by the later Western Researchers. Internet is giving valuable information in this regard. "Perhaps it was not there in the first place, perhaps a basic folk-memory encompassing historical data ranging back some thousands of years was recast in Greece in the mould of myths which had emanated from India along with a handful of the Indo-European sky god personalities. There may even have been other influences from India early in the first millennium BC. ,which we are not aware of, just as there were later influences from India bearing on the philosopher, and the appearance, in the generation of Socrates if not before, of "Aesopicß tales", which are obviously recast from the materials of the Sanskrit Hitopadeça and Pançatantra."

Some Proofs emerging
In this internet era, more information is out there for public eyes. It's impossible to hide anything now. So recently I came across (2002 Jan) some information underlying what I wrote almost five years ago. But the following was in fact written 125 years ago, though not known to many people!

Alexander Murray, Manual of Mythology (London, 1874), 326-40.
For example, many names unintelligible in Greek are at once explained by the meaning of their Sanscrit equivalents. Thus, the name of the chief Greek god, Zeus, conveys no meaning in itself. But the Greek sky-god Zeus evidently corresponds to the Hindu sky-god Dyaus, and this word is derived from a root dyu meaning "to shine." Zeus then, the Greek theos, and the Latin deus, meant originally "the glistening ether." Similarly other Greek names are explained by their counterparts, or cognate words in Sanscrit. Thus the name of Zeus's wife, Hera, belongs to a Sanscrit root svar, and originally meant the bright sky: the goddess herself being primarily the bright air. Athene is referred to Sanscrit names meaning the light of dawn, and Erinys is explained by the Sanscrit Saranyn.
 
Jul 2014
1,834
Yes
#2
DYAUS was, as we have already indicated, the god of the bright sky, his name being connected with that of Zeus through the root dyu. As such Dyaus was the Hindoo rain-god, i.e., primarily, the sky from which the rain fell. That the god-name and the sky-name were thus interchangeable is evident from such classical expressions as that "Zeus rains" (i.e., the sky rains), and meaning a damp atmosphere. In such expressions there is hardly any mythological suggestion: and the meaning of the name Dyaus, — like those of the names Ouranos and Kronos in Greek, — always remained too transparent for it to become the nucleus of a myth. Dyaus, however, was occasionally spoken of as an overruling spirit. The epithet, Dyaus pitar, is simply Zeus pater — Zeus the father; or, as it is spelled in Latin, Jupiter. Another of his names, Janita, is the Sanscrit for genetor, a title of Zeus as the father or producer. Dyaus finally gave place to his son Indra.
 
Jul 2014
1,834
Yes
#3
Meaning: Sanskrit Latin:
"three" trayas tres
"seven" sapta septem
"eight" ashta octo
"nine" nava novem
"snake" sarpa serpens
"king" raja regem
"god" devas divus ("divine")
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
#4
The connection between the Greek deities and Indian deities is well known. And I don't think anyone has been "hiding" it, nor is the proof only recently emerging, its been well known, and formed the basis of PIE theory.

I don't think however Athene has anything to do with the name suggested by you, since Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war, and has nothing to with the dawn. I don't think you can link Athena to the "light of dawn", since the light of dawn in Greece was Eos.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saranyu]Saranyu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] too I don't think can be linked to the Erinyes, better known as the Furies. I don't think the Vedic corpus has a direct counterpart to the Furies. Saranyu is often linked to Helen (of Troy) as well as Demeter.

However, I'm not entirely sure as to the purpose of the thread. Are you merely trying to establish a connection between Greek Culture and Sanskritic-Vedic culture or is there something else you're trying to get at?

Either way
Here is an interesting text on the subject.

The Transformations of Helen: Indo-European Myth and the Roots of the Trojan ... - Peter Jackson - Google Books
 

BenSt

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,565
Canada, originally Clwyd, N.Wales
#5
Greek deities for the most part emerged from Anatolian and Mediterranean gods. Again, you have to seperate language from ethnicity. Each god is different and has different origins, even if their name may have an indo-Aryan root... it does not mean that deity was originally Indo-Aryan neither does Indo-Aryan equate to Indian... I mean the chances of one specific Indo-Aryan ethnic group is absurd. The more likely scenario was a large group of similar speaking peoples who migrated, or traded, came into contact with, conquered/merged with other groups who adopted the language. The power of trade is quite incredible and can help to really boost a languages' usage.

As Tornada says, the linguistic connections have never been hidden, and it's a flight of fancy to suggest they were.
 

BenSt

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,565
Canada, originally Clwyd, N.Wales
#6
Vinnie you're falling into the same trap as those early linguistics, but approaching it from the other side. They believed that Vedic deities were imported from outside by peoples closely related to the Greeks. You're saying Greek gods were imported into Greece by Vedic peoples?

Apart from the name...you tell me, what is similar in mythology between Dyaus and Zeus ? Furthermore, Zeus was never a rain god. He was a sky god. He didn't have herds of cattle devoted to him...that was Poseidon, the God of the Sea.

Likewise, the classical Greek myth cycle of Titans versus Olympians is in no way similar to Asuras versus Devas.
 
Feb 2013
4,299
Coastal Florida
#7
Meaning: Sanskrit Latin:
"three" trayas tres
"seven" sapta septem
"eight" ashta octo
"nine" nava novem
"snake" sarpa serpens
"king" raja regem
"god" devas divus ("divine")
Yay! You've just demonstrated the existence of PIE! We'd be lost without your keen observations. Cookie for you... :zany:
 
Mar 2013
972
Breakdancing on the Moon.
#8
Vinnie you're falling into the same trap as those early linguistics, but approaching it from the other side. They believed that Vedic deities were imported from outside by peoples closely related to the Greeks. You're saying Greek gods were imported into Greece by Vedic peoples?

Apart from the name...you tell me, what is similar in mythology between Dyaus and Zeus ? Furthermore, Zeus was never a rain god. He was a sky god. He didn't have herds of cattle devoted to him...that was Poseidon, the God of the Sea.

Likewise, the classical Greek myth cycle of Titans versus Olympians is in no way similar to Asuras versus Devas.
Erm, no, Zeus was very much a rain god. That is basically the function of the original PIE deity. This is easily demonstrable both from actual ancient Greek religious practice and several wonderful pieces of folk lore recorded for us by Hellenistic authors.

That said: the OP's correspondences are beyond laughable and demonstrably incorrect. If anyone is interested in this sort of thing they'd be better off reading Meillet, Dumezil, West or Puhvel. You know actual scholars working within a logical and well evidenced framework.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
#9
Ironically enough, while the PIE ancestor of Dyaus Pitr was a big deal in Europe (Greece and Rome), he was a very minor god with little relevance in the Vedic Corpus. And the evolution of Greek mythology was radically different from the Vedic evolution. The relationship between the Greek variants of Dyaus Pitra and Varuna (Zeus/Jupiter and Ouranos/Uranus) was not seen at all in the Vedic tradition.

I'm not entirely sure if Indra as a deity was even featured in the Greek descendants of the IE, whereas Indra was a big deal for the Vedic Aryans, and merited some mention in the Persian descendants.

Plus there are plenty of deities without much of a connection. Agni for example has no parallel in Greek culture. Neither does Apollo, since the sun god was Helios. I think Hephaestus is supposed to be the Greek god of Fire, though I don't think there's any Vedic parallel for him. Apollo and Artemis too don't have any Vedic Parallel that I know of. Interestingly, the Vedic Varuna evolved to become a deity quite similar to Poseidon, who has no direct parallel in the Vedas that I know of. Pan doesn't either I think, though he's not olympian, so he may have been local. Hestia was however, but I cannot think of a parallel for her, though Saranyu perhaps come close.

Plus, AFAIK, Hera isn't a sky goddess in Greece, more a fertility/family goddess. I'm not entirely sure about the Marut connection to Ares/Mars. The Maruts aren't a single deity in the Rg Veda, but a family of minor deities.

On the Vedic side, I don't think the original Graeco-Roman mythology had any counterpart for Mithras. Rudra and Vishnu, mentioned in the later Vedas too are unique to India. Savitr and Vayu too have no direct Greek counterpart. I'm not entirely sure Soma has a direct counterpart either, though I don't know if one can link Dionysus to him. My understanding is that Dionysus cannot be linked to Soma, but I'm not fully certain of my ground on this issue
 

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