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Royal Splendour in the Waters

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Vedic Śrī́- and Avestan Xvarənah-

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The article explores, from an Indo-Iranian comparative perspective, the concept of ‘royal splendour’ and its role in myth, ritual and political discourse, in ancient Indian and Iranian texts. It argues that there are similarities both on the level of details (terminology, imagery, motifs) and on a broader level (ruler ideology), some of which likely go back to Proto-Indo-Iranian culture. The article relates the Avestan xvarənah- to the Vedic śrī́- and várcas-, as well as their Avestan counterparts srī- and varǝcah-. It looks at how the Vedic/Avestan epithet apā́ṃ nápāt-/apąm napāt- is connected to the motif of aquatic and royal splendour. The Avestan concept of royal splendour, it is argued, also shares key characteristics with the late Vedic and early epic goddess Śrī. As the fickle and mobile consort of successive kings, whom she approaches or abandons depending on their virtues, the epic Śrī is reminiscent of xvarənah-.

Affiliations: 1: Stockholm University kristoffer.edholm@rel.su.se

10.1163/15728536-06001002
/content/journals/10.1163/15728536-06001002
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/content/journals/10.1163/15728536-06001002
2017-01-01
2017-11-21

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