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Parthisch uzbar(i) und georgisch zvari

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

This paper shows that Georgian zvari, Old Georgian zwari "large vineyard, wine-growing estate" is a direct loan, without Armenian transmission, from Sasanian Parthian *(i)zßar going back to Arsacid Parthian uzbar(i) with the meaning "subject to taxation, profitable" and denoting a certain category of vineyard of an estate in the Parthian Economic Documents from Nisa of the 1st century B.C. Its Old Persian correspondence was also current as a loan in Late Babylonian with the meaning "crown land". The Georgian form is documented twice in the Old Testament: 1 Samuel 22,7 showing that a zwari consisted of several venaq'i "vineyard"; and in 1 Samuel 8,12 mezware "guard or keeper of a zwari", misread in the Mc'xet'a Bible but correct in the Oški Bible. A further mistake in the Mc'xet'a Bible shows that its Georgian translator misinterpreted the Armenian model. Again, the differring text in the Oški Bible is correct. The word is mentioned by Sulxan-Saba Orbeliani in the 17th century and was explained by Niko Č'ubinašvili and his nephew Davit' Č'ubinašvili by a folk etymology connecting it with mzvare "sunny place", an erroneous explanation, which has also crept into modern publications.

Affiliations: 1: Universität Bern


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