TIWAZ in Anatolian And Germanic Languages

Tiwaz Luwian
“Something I love about what we do, is how every so often we come across something like this. The script at the top of the image is Luwian Cuneiform [cuneiform, as we all know, means ‘wedge-shaped’, and was a Mesopotamian-developed writing system subsequently adopted by various of the Indo-European peoples who turned up to the north of those civilizations].

Luwian, or Luish, is an Indo-European language of the Anatolian family [the same grouping, although a different sub-branch of, as Hittite, etc.; the Anatolian family, due to its morphological features around verb-tense etc, likely either representing a very early branch of the Indo-European languages – or, according to some less widely supported theorizing, potentially even something of a *predecessor* to the rest of PIE’s descendents].

Luwian itself, may have been the language spoken in Homer’s Troy [indeed, the name of Homeric Troy’s ruler – ‘Priam’ – has been connected to Luwian ‘Pa-ri-a-mu-a’, meaning ‘exceptionally courageous’]; and was spoken in the regions of what would today be western Turkey, from perhaps as far back as five thousand years ago, through to the mid-first millennium B.C. .

Now, why do I find this word, in a hugely archaic and long-dead language from the southern fringes of the Indo-European expansion to be so thrilling?

Well, you see, “TIWAZ” is a shape-of-sound .. that is to say, a *word*, not only in ancient Luwian. It is *also* attested in (Proto-)Germanic. In Old Norse, it is “Tyr” – and in older English, we get Tiwesdaeg … or, as you’d be more familiar with it, today – “Tuesday”.

But is this merely a case of what the French call “false friends”? A homophone with mere coincidental shades of similar sounding, yet not actual, substantial coterminity of meaning?

Of course not.

“Tiwaz”, in Germanic derives from Proto-Indo-European “Deywos” … entirely uncoincidentally, the ancestor also of Latin “Deus”, and Sanskrit “Deva”. [And, because the Zoroastrians are heretics: “Daeva”/”Div” … which in their languages, means “demon”].

“Deywos” itself means “God”, although more figuratively, I would perhaps translate it as “Shining One” – as it itself descends from Proto-Indo-European “Dyew”, meaning ‘Bright’, ‘Sky,’ ‘Heaven’ [‘Celestial’ in its modern senses perhaps comes close to encapsulating some of it; or ‘The Heavens’ in both its literal and figurative senses. In any case, it should not be hard to see why The Sky and Light are so closely interconnected; and yes, yes this is also closely related to the even modern term “Day”]. [I render it as “Shining One”, as a point of interest, because of the rather good etymology of the *later* Sanskrit term “Asura”, which I have tended to write “A’sura”, for ease of comprehension on the part of the reader [and distinguishment from the *earlier* Sanskrit term “Asura”] – which would mean “the opposite [“A'”] of Shining [“Sura”], and refers to a demon, the opposite of The Gods].

“Tiwaz” in Luwian, meanwhile, *also* derives from “Deywos”, and refers to a ‘Sun God’, a ‘Solar Deity’ [as are many of the Devas of Vedic-era Hinduism], or even the Sun.

Now, D=>T is a reasonably attested sound-shift, so it should not seem surprising for “Tiwaz” to occur as a descendent of “Deywos” in both the Germanic and Luwian languages. Albeit with not exactly coterminous (although still stunningly recognizable) shades of meaning in both instances.

But what renders it all the more remarkable, is the fact that this has transpired, despite the fact that the heyday of these respective languages was perhaps some two to three thousand years apart, and [Odin in some sources coming from Anatolia, potentially notwithstanding] many thousands of kilometers also.

[-C.A.R.]

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