Adam at hmmlorientalia reminds me that I’ve always loved the exotic-sounding Manzikert, now more usually known as Malazgirt (though Adam uses the Armenian form Manazkert), famous for the Battle of Manzikert of 1071, which while not directly responsible for the destruction of Byzantine authority in Anatolia and the subsequent Turkification certainly opened the door for it. Wikipedia says:

The suffix –girt, found in many toponyms in Eastern Anatolia, comes from the Armenian –kert which means, “built by”. A popular Armenian folk tradition, tied to the writings of Armenia’s early medieval historian Movses Khorenatsi, holds that Manzikert was founded by Manaz, one of the sons of Hayk, the legendary and eponymous patriarch and progenitor of the Armenians. The name of the town was originally Manavazkert (Armenian: Մանավազկերտ) but over time its name was shortened to simply Manzikert.

You can see various forms of the name here.


  1. tetri_tolia says:

    and thus “Stepanakert”, nice.

  2. Trond Engen says:

    What’s the etymology of the suffix? Is it (technically) a suffix?

  3. Yeah, Trond. I have the same question.

  4. Good question. I don’t have time to look into it now, but here‘s Hübschmann’s “Iranisch-armenische Namen auf karta, kert, gird” (1876) if anyone wants to start investigating.

  5. Heinrich Hübschmann (1897). Armenische Grammatik. 1. Theil: Armenische Etymologie. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, p. 168 [I. Theil, Die persischen Lehnwörter im Armenischen, 2. Abschnitt: Persische Wörter]

    314. կերտ kert als 2. Glied von Comp. bedeutet ursprünglich ‘gemacht’ = np. -gird, phl. kert, ap. krta-, zd. kərəta-, skr. krta- ‘gemacht’, […]

  6. A compound-forming element borrowed from Iranian: X-(a-)kert ‘made, built [out of X or by X]’ ← Iranian *kr̥ta- (cf. Old Persian karta-, etc.); etymologically a verbal adjective (*kʷr̥-tó-) derived from PIE *kʷer- ‘cut, form’ (> Indo-Iranian ‘do, make, perform, construct’). It is not restricted to place-names in Armenian, cf. astuacakert ‘made by God’, kawakert ‘made of clay’, etc.

  7. Beautiful! Thanks to you both.

  8. David Marjanović says:

    Tigranocerta (Greek: Τιγρανόκερτα Tigranόkerta); Tigranakert (Armenian: Տիգրանակերտ) was the capital of the Armenian Kingdom. It bore the name of Tigranes the Great, who founded the city in the first century BC. The name of the city means “made by Tigran”, and was possibly located near […]”

  9. There’s a nice Encyclopaedia Iranica article about Iranian influences in Armenian (-kert is also discussed there):

    When I first realised where -(a)kert came from, I was quite surprised. When you see a pattern like this, the first guess that forms in the mind is that the compound must be endocentric and the second member means something like ‘city’. Inevitably, you think of Germanic -gard and the related IE forms, and/or Aramaic qarta and its Semitic relatives… Well, it just goes to show how easy it is to be led astray by tantalising similarity.

  10. To return to Malazgirt/Manzikert/Manavaz(a)kert — its non-legendary founder was Monobazus, the ruler of Adiabene, a client kingdom of the Parthian empire. In Old Iranian terms, his name was presumably something like *Manu(š)-vazdah.

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