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“Wherever You Are”: Near Eastern Influence and Indo-European Heritage in Greek and Hittite Prayer

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In a few Greek and Hittite prayers, the call for the deity to come or to listen goes together with a catalogue of places under his power, formulated in a similar way: “whether you are in A or in B or in C.” Near Eastern influence, as has been suggested, may be discarded, for there are striking parallels in Avestan and Rig Vedic documents with the same phraseology. Regarding this diction in particular, and owing to the absence of clear comparanda drawn from Near Eastern sources, it is not unreasonable to say that a common Indo-European origin is the right explanation. This contradicts the view that Hittite prayers show no trace of Indo-European phrasing, and reveals a fourfold poetical isogloss linking Greek, Hittite, Vedic, and Avestan. Moreover, it suggests the need for further studies in order to ascertain what in them may be certainly taken as deriving from the influence of neighboring peoples, what can be regarded as an innovation, and what is inherited from Indo-European times.

Affiliations: 1: University of São Paulo


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