Sunday, 23 March 2014


The Ionians were one of the four major ancient tribes of Greece, the other being the Dorians, Aeolians and Achaeans. Ionia was a district of ancient Greece inhabited by the Ionians. Etymological dictionaries say that the name 'Ionia' is pre-Greek, and is perhaps related to Sanskrit 'yoni' (योनी) meaning 'womb' and refers to a 'Goddess-worshipping people'. There is no known accepted source of the word 'Ionia' in the Greek language.

The Ionian Sea located between Greece and Italy.
The word 'Ionian' is traced to the
Sanskrit 'Yoni' and 'Yavana'.

Epirus (see map below) is a geographical and historical region in south-eastern Europe, shared between Greece and Albania. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea. It is said that the name Epirus is derived from the Greek 'Epeiros' meaning 'mainland' or 'terra firma' however its root is traced to Indo-European (which really is Sanskrit in disguise). The Indo-European word is 'apero' meaning 'coast'. In Sanskrit 'apara' (अपार) means 'bank on this side', 'unbounded', 'without shore', and so on.

Names of Sanskrit origins abound in Greece and it is therefore important to look at Edward Pococke's view put forth in his book, 'India in Greece'. His view was that in antiquity tribes of Indian origin moved westward and left their trail in the names of rivers and mountains and cities and towns, across Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Greece and Italy. For example Pococke traced the name of 'Macedonia' or Makedonia to the 'Maghadan' tribe of India. 

According to Count M. Bjornstjena as stated in his book 'The Theogony of the Hindoos' published in 1844, there is at least an indirect link between the Vedic god Shiva and Dodona via the Temple of Ammon in Egypt. He says,"... several names of the Hindoo mythology are recognized in Egypt; thus Ammon the Supreme God of the Egyptians corresponds to the Aum of the Hindus; and the Brahmanical Siva is found in the temple to which Alexander the Great made his pilgrimage from Egypt which yet bears his name...". He adds, "According to the accounts of the priests in Sais to Herodotus, two priestesses were sent from the great temple of Ammon in Thebes to select spots in which sacredotal temple be erected, the one pointed out Siva in the Libyan desert, the other to Dodona in Epirus....".  

The site of the Dodona Oracle in Greece.
The Oracle was dedicated to Goddess Dione,
the word originates from Sanskrit 'Devi' meaning 'deity',
and to God Zeus, whose name originates
from Sanskrit 'Deva' meaning 'god'.

Pococke also decodes the name Dodon, the centre of an Oracle dedicated to a 'Goddess Mother' by the name Dione. He was of the view that the origin of the name 'Dione', which means 'deity' lies in the Sanskrit 'devi' (देवी) meaning 'goddess'. The Oracle at Dodon was also shared by the Greek God 'Zeus' whose name originates in Proto Indo- European as 'Dieus', which as mentioned above is simply Sanskrit in disguise - 'Dieus' too is a corruption of Sanskrit 'deva' (देव) which is 'god'.

Edward Pococke states that 'Doda' in Kashmir, India
gets its name from the Sanskrit 'Deva-deva',
which with time corrupted into 'Deo-deo' and
then to Doda from which Dodon in Greece gets its name

Pococke links the name of the town Dodon in Greece to the ancient Brahmins of Doda in Kashmir who he says emigrated out of India in antiquity. Pococke traces the name of Doda in Kashmir to 'Deva-deva' (देवदेव) which means 'God of gods' and is another name of the god 'Brahma'. 'Doda' in Kashmir is regarded by some as an 'oracle-site' and link its name to deva-vani (देववानी)  or (देववाणी) - 'the voice of God' or 'the voice of Heaven'.

Notice the names Trikala, Arta, Pramanda, Parga, Kalamata,
Andritsena, Kranidi, Patra, Thiva, Timavos,
Lamia and Domokos on the map of Greece

Pococke had put forth the view that there was an exodus of many tribes that moved westwards and settled all along the path from India to Greece. Notice the following place names in Greece and their Sanskrit meanings. 

1. Trikala: Trikala (त्रिकाल) in Sanskrit is 'the triad of 'past, present and future'. The city of Trikala is built on the ancient site by the name Trikka. In Sanskrit 'trika' (त्रिक)  also means a 'triad'. Though the ancient city of 'Trikka' is said to have been named after a Greek mythology nymph, her name 'Trikka' has no meaning in Greek.

2. Arta:  'Arta (आर्त) or 'Artha' (आर्थ) means 'significant' in Sanskrit. 

3. Pramanda:  'Pramanda' is probably a distortion of the sanskrit 'pramanya' (प्रामान्य) which means 'authority'. 
4. Paraga: 'Paraga' (पारग) means 'learned'. 

5. Andritsena: 'Andritsena' is a compound Sanskrit word where 'anidrit' (अनिद्रित) means 'watchful' and 'senA' (सेना) means an 'army', though 'sena'  (सेन) is also often used as an ending syllable in a name of a person. 

6. Krandidi: 'Kranidi'  may be a corruption of 'krandas' (क्रन्दस्) that is 'battle cry'.

7. Patra:  Patra (पात्र ) means a command, though the name of 'Patra' in Greece and 'Petra' in Jordon have been linked to the meaning 'stone' and could therefore be derived from Sanskrit 'prastar' (प्रस्तर) also meaning 'stone'. 

8. Thebes: The present day Thiva was known as 'Thebes' in antiquity, its name a distortion of Khiva that Pococke traces to 'Kubera'.

9. Kalamata: Kalamata in Sanskrit simply means 'Goddess of Time' which is the 'Kali-mata' of the Vedic tradition. Though the Greek 'Kala' means 'good', similar to Sanskrit 'kalayan', the Greek city 'Kalamata' is said to get its name from Greek 'kalamia' meaning 'reed'. But whether it is the true source of 'kala' remains uncertain.

The word 'kala' appears in other Greek city names such as 'Kalabaka' and 'Kalamaki'. 'Kalabaka' is said  to have Turkish origins where it means 'Strong Fort'. 'Kalamaki' is translated as 'Little reed' and is the also the Greek name of a Turkish town by the name 'Kalkan'. 

A simpler explanation one might think is that the word 'kala' may have to do with the Sanskrit 'kala' (काल) meaning 'time'. 

10. Then there was 'Damastium' located 5 miles away from the Oracle of Dodon. Pococke states that 'dama' and 'damma' are distortions of the Sanskrit 'dharma' (धर्मं) meaning 'duty'. The 'astium' in Damastium says Pococke is a distortion of the Sanskrit 'asti' (अस्ति) that is 'to be'. Damastium in Greece was a place for the 'residing priests'.
11. Domoskos: Domokos is probably a distortion of 'Dharma-desh' (धर्म-देश) meaning 'Land of Dharma'. 

Update: See comment below for more insight on 'Damastium' as the equivalent of Sanskrit 'dhAma + asti + ayaM' meaning 'this is the place'.

Ionians appear in Indic literature and documents as Yavana and Yona as well as in the documentation of the 'Edicts of Ashoka', dated to 250 BC. Before then, the Yavanas appear in the Vedas. In the Vedas, the Yavanas are a kingdom of Mlechhas, or barbarians, to the far west, out of the line of descent of Indic culture and in general refer to the Greeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive