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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

19th century reconstruction of a map of the world by Eratosthenes, c.194 BC. The name Ariana can be seen on this map.

Aria'na, the Latinized form of (Greek: ἡ 'Αρειανή/Arianē),[1] inhabitants: Ariani (Greek: Αρειανοί/Arianoi),[2] was a region of the eastern countries of ancient Persia, next to the Indian subcontinent,[3] included in present-day Iran, Afghanistan, and northwest Pakistan.[4] At various times, the region was in possession of the Persians, the Macedonians, and partly the South Asians.[5] Its exact limits are laid down with little accuracy in classical sources, and it seems to have been often confused (as in Pliny, Naturalis Historia, book vi, page 23) with the small province of Aria.[6]

As a geographical term, Ariana was introduced by Eratosthenes,[7] and as such its borders were defined by the Indus river in the east, the sea in the south, a line from Carmania to the Caspian Gates in the west, and the so-called Taurus Mountains in the north. This large region included almost all of the countries east of Media and Persia and south of the great mountain ranges up to the deserts of Gedrosia and Carmania,[8] i.e. the provinces of Carmania, Gedrosia, Drangiana, Arachosia,[9] Aria, the Paropamisadae; also Bactria was reckoned to Ariana and was called "the ornament of Ariana as a whole" by Apollodorus of Artemita.[10] After having described the boundaries of Ariana, Strabo writes that the name Αρειανή could also be extended to part of the Persians and the Medes and also northwards to the Bactrians and the Sogdians.[11] A detailed description of that region is to be found in Strabo's Geographica, Book XV – "Persia, Ariana, the Indian subcontinent", chapter 2, sections 1-9.[12]

Rüdiger Schmitt, the German scholar of Iranian Studies, writes in the Encyclopædia Iranica:

Eratosthenes’ use of this term (followed by Diodorus 2.37.6) is obviously due to a mistake, since, firstly, not all inhabitants of these lands belonged to the same tribe and, secondly, the term "Aryan" originally was an ethnical one and only later a political one as the name of the Iranian empire (for all Indians and Iranians designated themselves as "Aryan"), thus comprising still other Iranian tribes outside of Ariana proper, like Medes, Persians or Sogdians (so possibly in Diodorus 1.94.2, where Zarathushtra is said to have preached Ahura Mazdā's laws "among the Arianoi").
Encyclopædia Iranica, Aria (2. Ariane), R. Schmitt

The Greek term is based upon Old Iranian Āryana- (Avestan: Airiiana-, esp. in Airiianəm vaēǰō, the name of the Aryans’ mother country, whose localization is disputed),[13] which is connected with the Avestan term Airya-, the Old Persian term Ariya- and the Sanskrit term Arya-, "noble", "excellent" and "honourable" (esp. in Āryāvarta, Sanskrit: आर्यावर्त, "abode of the Aryans").[14]

See also


  1. ^ Strabo
  2. ^ Pliny, Naturalis Historia, book vi., page 23
  3. ^ Geographica, Strabo, Book XV – "Persia, Ariana, the Indian subcontinent", chapter 2, sections 1-9
  4. ^ The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2008
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica, ARIA (2. Ariane), Rüdiger Schmitt
  6. ^ [Dictionary of Greek and Roman geography, William Smith, 1870, pp. 210, Aria'na]
  7. ^ Strabo 2.1.22f
  8. ^ Strabo 2.5.32
  9. ^ especially Strabo 11.10.1
  10. ^ Strabo 11.11.1
  11. ^ The "Aryan" Language, Gherardo Gnoli, Instituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente, Roma, 2002, page 86
  12. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica, ARIA (2. Ariane), R. Schmitt
  13. ^ Encyclopædia Iranica, Aria (2. Ariane), R. Schmitt
  14. ^ Dictionary of Greek and Roman geography, William Smith, 1870, pp. 210, Aria'na
  • Horace Hayman Wilson, Charles Masson, Ariana Antiqua: a Descriptive Account of the Antiquities and Coins of Afghanistan, 1841
  • Henry Walter Bellew, An inquiry into the ethnography of Afghanistan, 1891
  • Tomaschek in Pauly-Wissowa, II/1, cols. 619f., and 813f.
  • G. Gnoli, Postilla ad Ariyō šayana, RSO 41, 1966, pp. 329–34.
  • P. Calmeyer, AMI 15, 1982, pp. 135ff.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Modern simplification of Arianna, Ariane and Arianne, all forms of the Greek name Ariadne ("most holy"; Cretan Greek αρι (ari) "most" and αδνος (adnos) "holy").[1] There has been some confusion with the similar sounding and equally fashionable Adriana and Adrienne. Derivation from Welsh arian "silver" is a folk etymology.

Proper noun




  1. A female given name.


  • Notes:
  1. ^ *Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges: A Concise Dictionary of First Names. Oxford University Press 2001.


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