An Eastern Iranian Lunar Deity and Her Epithet

In: Iran and the Caucasus
Julian KreidlIndiana University, Bloomington, USA

Search for other papers by Julian Kreidl in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


In this paper, it is argued that in certain areas of pre-Islamic Eastern Iran the common lunar deity was not the male *māh- like in most regions of Western Iran, Bactria, and Sogdiana, but instead the feminine *māsti- with a prominent epithet, which may go back to *uxšma-kā-/*uxšma-kī- ‘the waxing one’ or, alternatively, *us-šma-kā-/*us-šma-kī- ‘the one who shines up’. In some parts of Badakhshan, her epithet even turned into the primary name of the goddess and the moon. This claim can be substantiated by the various names for ‘moon’ and ‘moonlight’ in Eastern Iranian languages for which I want to lay out a detailed historical development, as well as the Bactrian and Sogdian theophoric personal name ϸομογοβανδαγο/ʾxšwmβntk.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 59 59 11
Full Text Views 2 2 0
PDF Views & Downloads 12 12 2