Monday, January 14, 2013

How Russia and Moscow got their names.

In my previous post, I had cited some Russian hydronyms (river names) that seem to have a Sanskrit origin. This time, I have a more intriguing finding that might seem hard to digest but difficult to refute.

Let's first take RUSSIA. Etymology online is of the view that either Russia derives its roots from the Finnish name for Sweden or it's derived from the Indo European word for 'Red' in reference to the hair colour.

I have a third theory. And in my theory, the etymology of Russia is intertwined to the origins of Moscow.
Ok, the picture to your left is that of the Siberian Musk Deer (image courtesy: Wikipedia). Largely found in the Russian Federation, Moschus moschiferus is the source for producing Musk (an aromatic substance used as a base for perfumes). The commonly known Sanskrit word for the Musk Deer is Kasturi Hiran. But there is another word. It's Rushya.

Now what does Rushya sound like? Russia, right? So is it possible that the place got its name as it was teeming with these musk deers? Hold that thought. Let's now jump to MOSCOW. Moscow derives its name from the Moskva river. And how did Moskva river get its name? Wikipedia maintains that 'origin is unknown although several theories exist'. What are these theories? The only theory I've come across is Moskva's roots lie in the Finno-Ugric word for 'dark water'.

Let me muddle the water further with a new theory. What if, the river ran through forests that reeked of musk? Plausible, right? But then if Russia is derived from Sanskrit, shouldn't Moscow have a similar linguistic origin? This is where, we have a strong piece of evidence. The word Musk is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Muska' which means 'testicle'!

So that leads us to the big question: did the Siberian Musk Deer or the Muska Rushya have a hand in giving Russia and Moscow their names?

5 comments:

  1. Doing research on subject of early Slavic settlement in Poland I met the small river called "Moskava" in Poland. Also Slavic names in Germany dictionary lists Muschwitz which are supposed to derive from Moskwice. This shows that name "Moskwa" has clearly Slavic origin and is in line with typical Slavic names describing physical attributes of the place.

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  2. There is also one where, because Russia in Russian is "Ra-sia," it derived from "Ram" and "Sita," which is also sometimes pronounced "Siya"

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  3. Russia was the land of the "Rishis" or sages in ancient Vedic times. Sages would go North from India to do penance and meditation there. So people in India and Asia (where there was civilization millennia ago) would call it the place of the sages, or Rishis. That's were the name comes from. All words and names ultimately come from Sanskrit.

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  4. An Altai ancien civilisation is called Ur-Asen, which is pronounced as Rash shortly. This People also migrated in Europe from north Asia. They called the country where they sette as Rasiya shortly.

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