Copyright Dr. L.
Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit,
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This map shows the regions
of the world where Avestan (Parsi) is still used in the religious
rites of Zoroastrianism (red circles). Avestan comes from the
Iranian sub-branch of the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European
languages. Avesta is most closely related to Baluchi,
and the extinct language of Sogdian.
It is somewhat more distantly related to Old
Persian and Persian.
The language's name comes
from the Avesta, the holy book in the Zoroastrian religion.
The Avesta consists of two sections: (1) the Avesta itself,
which contains a series of Zoroastrian laws, hymns, legends,
and prayers dating to perhaps 700 BCE; and (2) the Gathas, which
are the metrical sermons of Zoroaster dating to about 1000 BCE.
The two sections differ considerably in linguistics. They are
about as different as Middle English and Modern English.
Avestan is sometimes
called Zend, though technically Zend is only the language of
certain late commentaries on the Avesta. At one time, the Avestan
language was much more widespread, and in many ways it occupied
in the near-eastern portion of Eurasia a similar position to
that of Latin in western Europe; i.e., it was a widespread scholastic
and religious language used by an educated class of teachers
|Daniel M. Short originally created this
map and the other Indo-European language charts for his website at http://www.danshort.com/.
I reproduce these images here with the author's permission, but they are
copyrighted by Daniel Short as of 2002. These charts should not be reproduced
or reused without Mr. Short's approval. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information. These images are not public domain.