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INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGE AND

SOCIETY
b

EMILE BENVENISTE
Summaries, tabicand index by
JEAN LALLOT

Translated by
ELIZABETH PALMER

FABER AND FABER LIMITED 3 Queen Square, London

Civing mid Taking


which led to the formation <>r the lerm kllrontimos 'heir*. The other

Chapter 7
HOSPITALITY
In Latin 'guest' is called hostis and hospes < *ho.sti-pct-. What is the meaning of these elements? What is the meaning of the compound?

usages are easily explicable.1 Thus the Germanic niman has nothing to do with taut. Wc must postulate a Germanic root new- which, in the light of this inter pretation of its sense, links up with the group of Indo-European forms from the root *nern-, which arc also abundantly represented in Greek. To what result do we come if wc subject emu to like scrutiny? Correspondences with initial e- arc found in Old Slavonic imo, and in Baltic in the Lith. imii, imti 'take*. Latin helps to delimit the meaning of emo, which is 'to draw back, to take away*. Eximo is to 'take out of, while the meaning of eximius corresponds in sense to Gr. ixokhos 'outstanding, preeminent'. Further, wc have exemplum which, by a curious development, means 'an object set apart,

/) -pet-, which also appears in the forms pot-, Lat. polls (Gr. p6tis,
desp6tes, Skr. patih), and -pt- (Lat. -pic, i-psc?) originally meant

personal identity. In thefamilygroup (dem-) it is the master who is eminently


'hinuelf (ipsissimus, in Plautus, means the master); likewise, despite the morphological difference, Gr. desp6tcs, like dominus, designated the person
who personified thefamily group par excellence. 2) Theprimitive notion conveyed byhostis is thatofequality bycompensation: a hostis is one who repays my gift by a counlir-gifl. Thus, like its Gothic counterpart, gasts, Latin hostis at one period denoted llu guest. The classical meaning 'enemy' must have developed when reciprocal relations between clans

separated by itsvery marked characteristics', hence 'model, example'; promo means 'draw from (store)' and its verbal adjective promptus 'take out, drawn, ready to hand'. Per-imo (with the meaning of the prevcrb which wc find \\\per-do) means 'make disappear, annihilate';
sumo (from *subs-emo) 'take by lifting'. All this shows that the Latin sense 'take < draw, remove, seize' has no connexion with 'take <C receive, welcome' of Germanic.
Those arc quite different notions in origin, and they reveal their peculiarity if wc succeed in grasping their first sense. Each of them

were succeeded by the exclusive relations of civitas to civitas (cf. Gr. xinos
'guest' > 'stranger').

3) Because of this Latin coined a new namefor 'guest': *hosti-pct-, which may perhaps be interpreted as arisingfrom an abstract noun hosti 'hospitality' and consequently meant 'he who predominantly personifies hospitali/y', is
hospitality itself.

has its own domain and history. It is only at the end point of their
evolution and in the most watcrcd-down sense that Germanic
niman and Latin emo resemble each other.

The study of a certain number of expressions relating to exchange, especially those based on the root *mci-, like the Latin miinus 'an honorific post imply
ing an obligation toreciprocate', l.-Ir. Mitra, llu personification (fa reciprocal

Wc return to emo 'buy'. The manner in which emo develops a restricted sense in Latin suggests that the meaning 'buy' implies a quite different conception from that inherent in the terms belonging
to the Greek family of pirnimi, etc. It is clear that emo at first meant 'take to oneself, draw to oneself. The possession which it affirms is expressed by the gesture of the man who takes the object and draws it to himself. The sense of'buy' must first have evolved with reference

contract(as illustrated in Iliad VI, 120-246), *mci-t- in the Latin mutuus, Skt. mithu- 'changed (falsely)' > 'lie', Av. nuOwara 'pair' also leads us
to a wordfor 'guest': mehman in middle and modern Iranian.

Another wordfor 'guest' in modern Iranian, erman < a.ryam;\.n,"links up with a very special kind of'hospitality' within a group of the Arya, one of the
form* of which is reception by marriage.

to human beings whom one 'takes' after having fixed a price. The notion of'purchase' had its origin in the gesture which concluded the purchase (emo) and not in the fact of paying a price, handing over the value of the object.2
1 For the meaning of nimb we may refer to our analysis ol'nc'mesis in Noms d'agent el noms d''action en indo-europien, Paris, 194JI, p. 79.
2 On Gr. pernemi and Lat. emo, sec below p. 109.
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The vocabulary of Indo-European institutions throws up some important problems, the terms of which have, in some cases, not yet been posed. We become aware of their existence and even partly
create the object of our study by examining words which reveal the

existence ofan institution, the traces ofwhich we can barely glimpse


in the vocabulary of this or that language.
7<

Giving and 'Taking

Hospitality

One groupof words refers to a well established social phenomenon,


hospitality, the concept of.,lhe 'guest'. The basic term, the Latin hospes,
is an ancient compound. An analysis of its component elements
illuminates two distinct notions which finally link up: hospes goes

back to *hosti-pcl-s. The second component alternates withpot- which

signifies 'master', so that the literal sense ofhospes is'the guest-master*. This is a rather peculiar designation. In order to understand it better
wc must analyse the. two elementspolls and hostis separately and study their etymological connexions. The term *polis first merits a brief explanation in its own right. It

All this is clear and there would be no problem, the sense being constant and the forms superimposablc, had not *polis at two points of the Indo-European world developed a very different sense. In Lithuanian it provides the adjective pals 'himself and also the substantive pals 'master' (in composition vll-pals). Parallel to this, wc find in Iranian the compound adjective xvai-paiOya 'one's own', 'of oneself, and used without distinction of person 'mine, yours, his'; one's own. xvae is an Iranian form of the ancient reflexive pronoun *swe, *se, literally 'of oneself and -paiOya derived from the ancient

*poli-. These facts are well known, but they deserve careful scrutiny
because of the singularity of the problem which they pose. Under what conditions can a word denoting 'master' end up by signifying identity? The primary sense of *polis is well defined, and it had a strong force; 'master', whence in marriage 'husband', or in social terminology the 'chief of some unit, whether house, clan, or tribe.
But the sense 'oneself is also well attested. Here Hittite makes an

presents itself in its simple aspect in Sanskrit pdlih 'master' and


'husband' and in Greek p6sis 'husband', or in composition as in
despdtes. In Sanskrit the distinct senses 'master' and 'husband' correspond

to different declensions of one and the same stem; but this is a

development peculiar to Sanskrit. As for Gr. pdsis, a poetical word


for 'husband', it is distinct from despoils, where the sense 'master of

the house' is no longer felt; despdtls is solely an expression of power, whereas the feminine dispoina conveys the idea of 'mistress', a title
of majesty.

important new contribution. It offers no form corresponding to *potis, whether as adjective or substantive. Despite the early date at which it appears, Hittite has a vocabulary which lias already been
transformed to a considerable extent. Many notions now arc conveyed by. new terms. The interesting point in the present connexion is that Hittite presents an enclitic particle, -pel (-pit), the sense of which is 'precisely (liim)self, a particle of identity referring to the object under discussion. An example is the following:
'If a slave flees, takku IR-is huwai

The Greek term despdtls, like the Sanskrit correspondent ddm

pdtih, belongs with a group of ancient compound words, each of


which had as its first element the name of a social unit of variable
extension:

dam pdlih (master of the house) vis" (master of the clan) jds ,, (master of the'lineage')

and if he goes to an enemy country, the one who brings him back,
he is the one who takes him.'

Apart from despdtls and dam pdlih, theonlyone attested in a number of languages is the compound which is in Sanskrit vii-pdlih and in
Lithuanian vli-pals 'clan chief. In Latin an extensive word family is organized around the word

naS kururi KURc paizzi kuisan EGIR-pa uwatczzi nauzan a p a p i t dai.

In this demonstrative apds-pil, 'that one precisely, that very one',

the particle -pit establishes a relation of identity. It has, incidentally,


the same function whether attached to a demonstrative, a noun, or even a verb. It is evident that the use of this particle corre sponds to the sense of identity of *polis found in Lithuanian and in
Iranian.

*polls either as a free form or in composition. Apart from hospes it forms the adjectives impos, compos 'who is not . . .' or 'who is master of himself, of his senses' and the verb *potere, the perfect of which, polui, survives incorporated into the conjugation of the verb meaning 'be able', possum, which itself is formed from the adjectivepolis in a predicative use: polis sum. pole est, an expression which is simplified to
possum, potest.
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Once the sense, the form and the use is established in these

languages, wc discover elsewhere other forms which can be linked with them in all probability. The Lithuanian particle pat signifies 'exactly, precisely', like the Hittite -pel. With this may be compared
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etymologically 'as is possible' (with the pole ofpole est) b^phatically


in as much', with pole marking the identity. Utpott {Jic person

Hiring and taking p;)l : _. n Lat. ulpote, the analysis ofwhich must be rectified. It do 'precisely

mm

compared thc Latin verb posside're, 'possess', stemming from *potsedere, which describes thc 'possessor' as somebody who is established

on something. Thc same figurative expression has passed into the


German word 'besitzen'. Again, in Latin we have the adjective

who assumes it. We may also add the Latin postpo9'' ^gs tothat suopte (Festus: suopte pro suo ipsius) 'his very own, what bc ^ the mysvery person'. Afurther example, but this is less certain (0 the two

identifies the action with its agent, the predicate wi^^pn -pti n

compos 'he who is master, who has command ofhimself. The notion of'power* (theoretical) is thus constituted and it receives its verbal
form from thc predicative expression pole est, contracted to potest, which gives rise lo thcconjugation/><mu//z,/>('/<w/ 'I am capable, I can*.1 It is worthwhile pausing for a moment toconsider a peculiarfact:

tcrious -pse ofipse. In any case, if we confine oursclve5 j,c survival


the possession of a predicate affirmed in the sentence
indication and revealsto us the proper signification ofp'

ofause of*pot- to designate the person himself, and to ^cordingly,

Latin facts and to the Lithuanian pat, we can establish jgn lo him important
become so

as against Skt. dam pali and Gr. despdlls, Latin has formed from thc
same root an equivalent expression, but by a diifcrcnt procedure: this is dominus, a secondary derivative which belongs to a series of

what was considered as an isolated use becomes & While itis

expressions for 'chief. Thus tribunus 'chief of thc tribe', in Gothic kindins (<*genli-nos) 'chief of thc gens'; *druhlins (OHG Iruhtin)
'chiefof the body'; piudans < *Uula-nos 'king', 'chief of the people*.

difficult to see how a word meaning 'the master* c.oul ^tandhow weakened inforce as to signify 'himself, it is easy to un** 'himself,

This morphological process whereby *-nos is suffixed to thc name ofa


social unit, has furnished in Latin and Germanic expressions for

an adjective denoting the identity of a person, signify* .^strates the


could acquire the sense ofmaster. This process, which , elsewhere:

chiefs ofpolitical and military groups. Thus, by independent paths,


thc two scries link up: on the one hand by means of a suffix, on thc

formation ofan institutional concept, canbccorroborate hy a term several languages have come to designate 'the mast* $ indicates

other by a compound word, the term for the master has been coined
from thc social unit which he represents.

meaning 'himself. In spoken Latin, in Plautus, ip^Jfy thc onlY

the 'master (mistress), thc patron', the (personage) hU^^n 'himself

We must return now to thc compound which provoked this

one who is important. In Russian, in peasant speech, ^ity,among refers to the 'lord'. In a restricted but important comn^ ^*a said it',

the Pythagoreans, aulds iph& (auTO<; &pa) 'he himself.**, and thc

with autds referred to thc 'master* par excellence, Pythag panish, han formula was used to specify a dictum as authentic. ***

analysis, hospes, this time in order to study thc initial term, hoslis. Among thcexpressions common to thc prehistoric vocabulary ofthc European languages itis ofspecial interest: hostis in Latin corresponds togasts of Gothic and to gosti of Old Slavonic, which also presents
gos-podl 'master', formed like hospes. But die meaning of Gothicgasts and OS1. gostl is 'guest*, whereas
that of Latin hoslis is 'enemy*. To explain thc connexion between

sjelv and in German crselbsl have thc same meaning.

'master* there ia one necessary condition: there must funics thc persons subordinated to a central personage who extent that

For an adjective meaning 'himself to develop "xi^o a circle of

^jc meaning

'guest' and 'enemy' it is usually supposed that both derived their meaning from 'stranger', a sense which is still attested in Latin. The
notion 'favourable stranger' developed to 'guest'; that of 'hostile
stranger' to 'enemy'.

personality and complete identity of the group to such *^n.

he is its summation: in his own person he is its incarna -ound *dem-

This is exactly thc development we find in thc cO**1 amed is not


pol(i)- 'master of the house'. The role of the person so ^ gives him

In fact, 'stranger, enemy, guest' arc global notions of a sorne\yhat

vague character, and they demand precision by interpretation in their


historical and social contexts. In die first place, thc signification of
1 For thc semantic study of/>o/(')-> reference may be made to our article 'Problemes semanliques dc la reconstruction', Word X, Nos. 2-3, 1954, and ProbUmes de linguistiqiie ginirak, Gallimard 1966, pp. 301ft".
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to give orders but to assume a representation whl ntified. authority over thc family as a whole with which he is i ifor 'to have
A verb derived from *poti-, like Skt. pdtyale, Lat. ' ^al', already

power over something, have something at one's disP this may be marks thc appearance ofa sense of'to be able to'. W

Hospitality

Giving and Taking

hoslis must be narrowed down. Here we are helped by the Latin

:ullhors themselves who furnish a scries of words of .he same hum y and also some instructive examples of the use oi the term hosUsU

How does testis itself fit in with this? This emerges from the' definition of I'Vxtus already cited: 'quod cranl pari iurc cum populo Romano'. This defines the relation of hoslis and hostire,'.'Ahc,testes

Tables cg :adversus hostem aeterna auclorilas csl(o), no word of which, with the exception of die verb 'to be', is employed in die same sense

preserved its ancient value of 'stranger* in the law of the lvvclvc

general. Incontrast to the peregrinus, who lived outside the boundaries


of the territory, testis is 'the stranger in so far as he is recognized as

had thc same rights as the Romans'. A testis is not a stranger in

claim for property persists forever', it never lapses when it is against a

as in classical Latin: It must be understood as 'vis-d-vis a stranger, a

enjoying equal rights to those ofthc Roman citizens'. This recognition of rights implies a certain relation of reciprocity and supposes an

foreigner that thc claim is introduced. Of thc word hoslis itself, lestus says ems emm generis ab antiquis hostes appellabanlur quod cranl pari mrc

agreement or compact. Not all non-Romans arc called testis. A


bond ofequality and reciprocity is established between this particular notion of hospitality. From this point ofview testis will signify 'he who stands in a compensatory relationship' and this is precisely thc
foundation of thc institution of hospitality. This type of relationship

Jn 'populo Romano, atque hostire ponebatur pro acquare in ancient times they were called testes because they had the same rights as the Roman people, and one said hostire for a.quan\ It follows from this
note that testis is neither the stranger nor the enemy We have to

stranger and thc citizens of Rome, afact which may lead to a precise

proceed from the equivalence ofhostire = aequare, while the derivative redhostire is glossed as 'refcrrc gratiam' ('repay a kindness in lestus

potlach, so well described and interpreted by Marcel Mauss in his

between individuals or groups cannot fail to invoke thc notion of

This sense ofhostire is still attested in Plautus: Promitto hostire contra ut

meruerispromise you areciprocal service as you deserve {Asm S77>.

monograph on 'le Don, forme primitive dc l'cchangc', Annie sociologique, 1924. This system which is known from thc Indians of
Northwest America consists of a scries of giftsand counter-girts, each

'compensation ofabenefit' and also >aequamentum\ 'equalization To nmoVc specialised technique belongs test*, an archaic: term of the language of agriculture, cited and explained by Varro, R.R. i, *4> 3hJtum vacant quod ex unofacto olei rcficUur 'one calls hoslus the amount of oil obtained in one single: pressing operation'. In soMe way the product is considered as a counterpart. Another tcchjlfcal term is hostorium, aslick for use with abushel measure so as to 1|W constant

It recurs; in thc noun hoslimentum, explained as bemjicu pensatio,

gift always creating an obligation ofa superior gift from thc partner,
in virtue of a sort of compelling force. It is at the same time a feast
connected with certain dales and cults. It is also an economic

phenomenon, in so far'as it secures circulation ofwealth; and il is

also a bond between families, tribes and even their descendants.

Thc notion of'hospitality' is illuminated byreference to potlach, of


which it is a weakened form. It is founded on thc idea that a man is

level The old Roman pantheon, according to S. AuguMje, knew a

bound to another (hoslis always involves the notion of reciprocity) by

Dea Hoslilina, who had as her task to equalize thc ears Hcorn or to ensure that the work accomplished was exactly competed by the harvest Finally, a very Well-known word, hostia, is connected with

the obligation lo compensate a gift or service from which he has


benefited.

The same institution exists in the Greek world under a different

thc same family: its real sense is 'the victim which serves to appease

the anger of the gods'', hence il denotes acompensatory Offering, and


Roman ritual.

name: xinos (evoc;) indicates relations of the same type between men bound by a pact which implies precise obligations that also
devolve on their descendants. Thc xenta (sva), placed under the

herein lies thc distinction which distinguishes hostia from mclima in It is a striking fact that in none of these words, apart from hoslis, docs thc notion of hostility appear. Primary or derived nouns verbs
vocabulary, all attest or confirm that thc first sense is acquare com
pensate, equalize'.
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protection ofZeus Xcnios, consists of thc exchange of gifts between


the contracting parties, who declare their intention of binding their descendants by this pact. Kings :is well as private people act in this way: '(Polycrates) had concluded a .wtfii (with Amasis) and they sent each other presents' ^evujv auveO/jKaxo (verb of making a compact)

or adjectives, ancient expressions of thc religious language or ofrural

7t|i.7ov Scopa kou &K6pxvo<; &XXa 7tap' Ikcivou (Herodotus III, 39).
77

Giving and Taking

custom among the Thracians. Kcnophon wanted to conclude


more in return (Anabasis VII, 3; X, to). Thucydides (II, 97 g-e

Mauss (Revue des Eludes grecques, 1921) finds an example of the same

hospes as the incarnation of hospitality. In this way wc link up with


thc above definition of polis.

arrangements for thc food supplies of his army. Aroyal councillor tells him that ifhe wants to remain in Thrace and enjoy great wealth, he has only to give presents to King Seuthcs and he would give him
much the same testimony apropos ofanother Thracian king Sua kes. for him it is more shameful not to give when one is asked to do so than not to receive when one has asked. Inthe civilization olhracc, which seems to have been rather archaic, this system of obligation
was still preserved in its full force.

Thus thc history ofhoslis recapitulates thc change brought about

as 'guest' in Homer, later becamr. simply the 'stranger', the nonnational. In Attic law there is a graph* xenias, a lawsuit against a

in Roman institutions. In thc same way x.inos, so well characterized

'stranger' who tries to pass for a citizen. But xinos did not evolve the

senseof'enemy' as did testis in Latin.

Thc semantic mechanism described for testis has a parallel in another order ofideas and another series ofwords. It concerns those which come from thc root *mei-, 'exchange', Skt. m-mayate he

gosbodi. In historical times thc custom had lost its force in the Roman world: it presupposes a type of relationship which was no longer compatible with thc established regime. When an ancient society
are abolished. All that persists is thc distinction between what is inside and outside the civitas. By a development of which we do not
know thc exact conditions, thc word hoslis assumed a hostile flavour
and henceforward it is only applied to thc 'enemy*.

One ofthe Indo-European expressions ofthis institution is precisely the Latin term testis, with its Gothic correspondent^, and Slavic

...

. ,

exchanges' and especially thc Latin term munus (<*moi-nos, cf. thc vol XVII) in pignus,/acinusJunusjinus, all words which, like munus,

archaic form moenus). This word is characterized by the suffix -nes, the value of which was determined by Meillct (Mem. Soc. Ling.,

becomes anation, the relations between man and man, clan and clan,

refer to notions ofa social character; cf also Skt. rck-nah 'heritage', clc. In fact munus has the sense of'duty, a public office'. From it are

derived several adjectives: munis, immilnis, communis. The last has a

parallel in Gothic: ga-mains, German genuin 'common'.

different term in which the ancient hoslis nevertheless persists, but 1.1

As a consequence, thc notion of hospitality was expressed by a

expressed by milnus be associated with that of 'exchange' ind.catcd by thc root? Festus shows us the way by defining munm as 'donum quod officii causa dalur' (a gift made for thc sake ofan oflicium). In fact,
among thc dudes ofa magistrate munus denotes spectacles and games.
Thc notion of'exchange' is implied by this. In nominating somebody

But how can thc notion of'charge, responsibility, public office'

acomposition with +Pol(i)s: this is hospes < *hoslipcjot-s. In Greek, the guest (the one received) is the xinos and he who receives is the xenod6khos (fcvo86Xoc). In Sanskrit, atilhi 'guest' has as its correlate atithi-pali 'he who receives'. Thc formation is parallel to that oi Lat.ll hospes. The one who receives is not thc 'maslcr' of Ins guest. As wc have seen, -pot- did not have originally thc meaning of master . Another proof of this is thc Gothic br&p-faps 'newly married man, voucW thc German equivalent ofwhich is Briluttgam bridegroom . From brub 'newly married woman' was created the corresponding designation for the 'newly married man', either with >* as in Gothic brup-faps, or with gam* 'man', like in the GermanfrSuttgam
an abstract word in -ti which has become a personal qualification.

as a magistrate one confers on him honour and certain advantages. This obliges him in return to counter-service in thc form of expendi

ture, especially for games and spectacles. In this way wc can better

understand thc affinity betweengrains and munis (Plautus, Merc. J05), and thc archaic sense ofimmunis as 'ingrains' (that is to say one who fails to make return for a benefit). If minus is a gift carrying the

The formation of *ghosli- (hoslis) deserves attention. It looks like

obligation of an exchange, immunis is hi: who docs not fulfil his obligation to make due return. This is confirmed in Celtic by Irl. moin (main) 'precious objects', dag-moini 'presents, benefits'. Con sequently communis docs not mean 'he who shares the duties' but

jds-pati. Wc thus understand better the literal sense of *ghosli-pcts,


78

All thc ancient compounds in -pod- have in effect as their first clement a general word designating a group: thus *dems-poli,

really 'he who has munia in common'. Now if the system of compensation is active within one and thc same circle, this
determines a 'community', a group of persons united by this bond
of reciprocity.
79

Ihospitality

Thus thc complex ineelmnit.ni of gifts which provoke countergifts by a kind of compelling force finds one more expression among

force, as the personified contract. But both 'friendship' and 'contract' may be given further precision by siting them in their context: what
is concerned is not sentimental friendship but a contract in so far as it

the terms derived from thc root *mei-, like munus. Ifwc did not have the model ofthis institution, ifwould be difficult to grasp thc meaning ofthe terms which refer to it, for it is within this precise and technical framework lhat these terms find their unity and proper relations.

rests onanexchange. To make clearthese notions astheywere practised


and lived in ancient society, we may recall a Homeric seem: which

gives what might be called a 'sociological' illustration. It is the


celebrated episode of thc sixth book of the Iliad, lines 1-0-236.
Glaueus and Dioiucdcs, face 10 face, are Hying lo identify each other and discover lhat their fathers arc bound by the bonds of

Afurther question now arises: is there no simple expression for

VilV which docs not call for a return ? The answer is already given.

lT emerges from a previous study: there exists an Indo-European


root that ofLatin do, donum, Greek dSron. It is true, as wc have seen
facts. ...... i

hospitality (174). Diomcdcs defines his own position vis-d-vis


Glaueus:

above (p. 54), that the etymological prehistory ol *do- is by no means straightforward but is acriss-cross ofapparently contradictory
attached precisely to the form of *do-, and in each of thc languages
Nevertheless, in historical times thc notion of give is everywhere

'Yes, yon are for me an hereditary guest (xcinos) and lhat for a long

lime (215) . . . thus 1 am your host in the heart ofthe Argolid and
you are mine in Lycia, the day when I shall go to lhat country.
From now on we shall both avoid each other's javelin (224-226). . . .

(except Hitiite) it gives rise to parallel formations. IfmGreek the

Let us rather exchange our weapons so lhat everyone may know


here lhat wc declare ourselves to be hereditary guests' (230-231).

torn dSron does not indicate in itselfand unequivocally 'gift* without

reciprocity, the meaning of the adverb doredn 'gratuitously, for nothing' is sufficient guarantee that thc 'gift' is really a disinterested
one. We must dirther mention forms stemming Irom another mot which is little known and represented but which must be re-established

This situation gives each of the contracting parlies rights of

greater force than the common national interest. These rights arc in
principle hereditary, but should be periodically renewed by means of gifts and exchanges so lhat ihey remain personal: il is for this
reason that the participants propose to exchange arms. 'Having

in its importance and antiquity: this is thc root *ai-. From it is


derived the verb ai-lsi 'give' in Tokharian, as well as the IlittilC

hai- (formed by attachment of the proverb /- lo at-) 'give.'. Greek has preserved a nominal form aisa (aloa) 'lot, share'. In Osean an

abstract *ai-ti- 'part* is attested by the genitive singular aelcis, which

thus spoken, ihey leap from their chariots, lake each other by the hand and pledge their faith. Hut at thai moment Zeus . . . stole awayGlaueos'reason because inexchanging armswithDiomcdcs . . . he gives him gold in exchange for bronze, thc value of one hundred
oxen in exchange for nine' (232-236). Thus thc bard sees here a fool's deal. In reality thc inequality of

corresponds in meaning to thc Latin genitive partis. Finally, Illynan onomaslics presents us with thc proper name Actor, which is thc agent noun from this same root ai-. Here wc have evidence lor a new expression for 'give' conceived as 'assigning a portion'. Returning now to thc words belonging to the etymological family represented in Latin by munus, immunis, communis, wc can pick out in

value between thc gifts is intentional: one offers bronze arms, thc other gives back arms of gold; one offers the value of nine oxen, the
other feels himself bound lo render the value of one hundred head
of cattle.

Indo-Iranian a derivative ol considerable importance and peculiar formation. This is a divine personification, thc Indo-Iranian god

This episode serves lo throw light on the manifestations which in


this society accompany thc type of engagement which wc call a 'contract', and lo restore its proper value to a term like Skt. mitra-.
Such is the mitra- between Diomcdcs and Glaueus, an exchange which

Mitra, formed from *mei-, in a reduced form, with thc suffix -Ira-, which generally serves to form the neuter nouns for instruments. In Vcdic, mitra- has two genders, masculine as the name of the god

is binding and contractual. It also makes clear the formal analysis of


the term. This suffix -Ira- may form an agent noun as well as an instrumental one, the grammatical gender varying according to
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and neuter in thc sense of'friendship, contract*. Mcillcl, in a famous article {Journal Asialique, 1907) defined Mitra as a divinized social
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Giving and Taking


whether the action is thc work of an instrument or a man: hence we

Hospitality
nominal form), the name of thc god Aryaman is connected with the
term arya. We shall see later in this work that aiya is the common and

have along with thc neuter milram, thc masculine milras. Wc might examine mythology and try to discover in the role of Mitra the DUrvivala of its etymological origin. But fint wo must extend the inventory of notions which were formed from the same root and
which arc related to those which wc have been studying. Closely related lo *mci- is a form *mei-l- with thc suffix -1-, which appears in

reciprocal term used by members of a community to designate


thcmuclvcs. It is thc name for a man ol' thc same language and thc
same race. This explains why one of Aryuman's functions was to admit

individuals into an exogamic communiiy, called 'Aryan', through a


marriage ceremony: it is a kind of internal hospitality, a tribal
alliance. Aryaman intervenes when a woman taken from outside thc

thc Latin verb mOld 'change', 'exchange*. Thc signification may be more precisely delimited if it is compared with thc adjective mQluus 'reciprocal, mutual'. We must also consider a particular use of thc adjective: millua pecunia 'money lent or borrowed', as well as thc verb derived from the adjective as thus used, mUtudre 'borrow*, i.e. to take money with ihe obligation to repay it. Thus 'loan' and 'borrowing' enter in their turn into tin: cycle of exchange. This is not. thc end of the mailer. 'Exchange' here has a close affinity with thc 'gift'. The Gothic correspondent of thc Latin from miito, mUluus is maidjan 'exchange'. Now thc derived noun maipms (from *mail-mo-) translates thc Greek dbron 'gift', but in a passage where it implies 'recovery' and
to a certain extent 'exchange'.
The other derivatives arc divided into:

clan is introduced for thc first time as a wife into her newfamily.
Aryaman later came to be used in a number ofdiffcrcut senses. The*

Persian ermdn 'guest' has been quoted above. In thc language of the
Ossctcs, an Iranian people occupying an enclave in thc Caucasus

with institutions and vocabulary of great antiquity, the word linuin means 'friend', and this is thc regular phonetic development of aryaman. Thc bonds of relationship, of family and tribal friendship, arc redefined in each language according as ihe terminology remains fixed or evolves. These terms, far removed from one another, came back to thc same problem; that of institutions of welcoming and reciprocity, thanks to which thc menofa given people find hospitality

i) one group with a specialized sense, e.g. Skt. milhu- 'false, lie", as with Latin mulo, thc idea of'changing' leads to that of'altering'. When we say of somebody that he has altered, this is rarely lo his
advantage.

in another, and whereby societies enter into alliances and exchanges.


Wc have found a profound relationship between these institutional

forms and a recurrence of thc same notions behind a terminology


which is sometimes refashioned.

2) A scries of other derivatives, however, preserve thc proper sense. This is particularly so in Iranian: e.g. Avcstan miOwara-

'paircd'; mucOman- < *mei-l-men 'pairing*. A development of a social


character gives to maeOman the sense of'mutuality', and this leads to thc designation of the 'guest' in Middle and Modern Iranian by
mehmdn < *maeOmdnam (accusative), which by a long detour brings us

back to our starting point. Once again wc end up by defining the 'guest' by the notion of mutuality and thc bonds of reciprocity.1
There is another term for thc 'guest' in modern Iranian: ermdn, the ancient form of which is attested as aryaman 'intimate friend', a term
well known in Indo-Iranian. This is also thc name of a mythological

figure, thc name of a god. Aryaman is the god of hospitality. In the Rig Veda, as in thc Atharva, he isespecially associated with marriage.
In whatever way wc interpret thc formative -man (this must be a
1 On the. root mei- sec our article 'Don et cchangc . . .' quoted above.
u

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