Origin of the word Ghola

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Kensai
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Origin of the word Ghola

Postby Kensai » 29 Jun 2010 16:22

Anyone know where the word Ghola is derived from? I'm not too familier with Arabic. I know its not Arabic, but the first thing that comes to mind is Golem from Jewish folklore. Seems pretty fitting, as it is an artificial being created in the image of a deceased inuvidual and is essentially a tool?

Anyone know if Ghola is derived from Arabic?
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby A Thing of Eternity » 29 Jun 2010 16:57

I think we've discussed it possibly being from "ghoul" before.
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby SandChigger » 29 Jun 2010 19:05

ghola < ghûl (aghwâl, ghîlân)

a desert demon appearing in ever-varying shapes; demon, jinni, goblin, sprite, ogre, cannibal (Wehr p. 688)

Used in books: M C G H CH

"Sound change": û > o (-a suffixed)


http://resources.hairyticksofdune.net/fremen.php :)

Note that English "ghoul" is also derived from the Arabic word.

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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby MrFlibble » 30 Jun 2010 06:31

My dictionary of world mythology says ghul is actually a female demon, its male counterpart being called kutrub. Is that correct?
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby Kensai » 30 Jun 2010 08:14

MrFlibble wrote:My dictionary of world mythology says ghul is actually a female demon, its male counterpart being called kutrub. Is that correct?


Think I'm going to get that book. Where did Frank get all this info? Was he really prescient? LOL
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby SandChigger » 30 Jun 2010 09:05

MrFlibble, is that dictionary in Russian, by any chance? When I googled kutrub, there were Polish and Russian sites. There's even an entry for it on the Polish Wikipedia, but not the English.

There's an old(?) Arabic-English lexicon comes up in Google Books that gives a primary meaning of "a certain bird", and "a species of owl". (The Arabic spelling is quṭrûb .) The word isn't in Wehr, and it appears the more common modern word for "owl" is bûm.

It would be interesting to know where the author of the mythology dictionary got that information. There doesn't seem to have been that sort of gender distinction in the original Arabic, but maybe it didn't end up in all the dictionaries; or maybe it was a regional variant of the myth.

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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby MrFlibble » 02 Jul 2010 06:36

SandChigger wrote:MrFlibble, is that dictionary in Russian, by any chance? When I googled kutrub, there were Polish and Russian sites. There's even an entry for it on the Polish Wikipedia, but not the English.

Right, I got this from the Russian Dictionary of Mythology (Мифологический словарь) published in 1991. The author of the article about the ghûl is Mikhail Piotrovsky.

I googled "kutrub" too, just before posting the above question, and only got the Polish Wikipedia result (along with lots of irrelevant stuff); I didn't check "qutrub" though. I think I've read about ghûl being specifically female somewhere else too though, but then again, the source could be the same.
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby SandChigger » 02 Jul 2010 07:56

Doctorate in Arabic Linguistics, eh? I would assume that means he consulted original sources, then. Was there anything interesting referred to in notes or the bibliography? ;)

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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby MrFlibble » 03 Jul 2010 06:28

The article is quite short, and unfortunately sources for individual articles are not listed. Piotrovsky states that one of the earliest mentions of the ghûl is in a 6th century A.D. poem by Taʾabbaṭa Sharran (the title of that poem is not given though), and later ghûl characters have become very popular in Arabic folklore.
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby SandChigger » 03 Jul 2010 08:35

"Taʾabbaṭa Sharran (“He Who Has Put Evil in His Armpit”)" :shock:

My gawd... "Dances With Wolves" pales into insignificance before a monicker like that! :lol:

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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby MrFlibble » 05 Jul 2010 06:26

Is that what it really says? :lol: Does that make any sense?

Anyhoo, I think there's at least one tale in the One Thousand and One Nights that features a female ghûl (who, in the guise of a beautiful young woman tries to lure and then kill the protagonist), although I also recall an Indian tale with a female rākṣasi playing a similar role (in both stories, IIRC, the protagonist discovers the true nature of his female companion when he sees her feasting on corpses in a cemetery).
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby lotek » 05 Jul 2010 08:28

MrFlibble wrote:IIRC, the protagonist discovers the true nature of his female companion when he sees her feasting on corpses in a cemetery).


yeah that's kind of a give away :)
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby Serkanner » 05 Jul 2010 09:59

lotek wrote:
MrFlibble wrote:IIRC, the protagonist discovers the true nature of his female companion when he sees her feasting on corpses in a cemetery).


yeah that's kind of a give away :)


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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby MrFlibble » 08 Jul 2010 10:36

lotek wrote:
MrFlibble wrote:IIRC, the protagonist discovers the true nature of his female companion when he sees her feasting on corpses in a cemetery).


yeah that's kind of a give away :)

The rākṣasi posed as a young widow who wanted to bid farewell to her deceased husband. She asked the protagonist to help her reach the body (which was placed on some kind of a high elevation - BTW, this seems like a Zoroastric tradition) by allowing her to stand on his shoulders. I guess she hoped he'd not look up and see what she was actually doing.

[Edit] I've refreshed my memory concerning that Indian story, it's from Kathāsaritsāgara; the story begins with the incident of a man being falsely accused and executed by impalement. Miraculously, he remains alive and asks a passing king for water to quell his thirst, The king, in turn orders his assistant, Asokadatta, to bring the water.

When the king heard it, out of pity he said to his personal
attendant Asokadatta: "Send that man some water."
Then Asokadatta said: "Who would go there at night?
So I had better go myself." Accordingly he took the water
and set off.

After the king had proceeded on his way to his capital,
the hero entered that cemetery, the interior of which was
difficult to penetrate, as it was filled with dense darkness
within; in it there were awful evening oblations offered
with the human flesh scattered about by the jackals; in
places the cemetery was lighted up by the flaming beacons
of the blazing funeral pyres, and in it the Vetalas made
terrible music with the clapping of their hands, so that it
seemed as if it were the palace of black night. Then he
cried aloud: " Who asked the king for water? " And he
heard from one quarter an answer: "I asked for it." Follow-
ing the voice he went to a funeral pyre near, and beheld a
man impaled on the top of a stake, and underneath it he saw
a woman that he had never seen before, weeping, adorned
with beautiful ornaments, lovely in every limb like the
night adorned with the rays of the moon, now that the moon
itself had set, its splendour having waned in the dark fort-
night, come to worship the funeral pyre. He asked the
woman: "Who are you, mother, and why are you standing
weeping here?" She answered him: "I am the ill-fated
wife of him who is here impaled, and I am waiting here with
the firm intention of ascending the funeral pyre with him.
And I am waiting some time for his life to leave his body,
for though it is the third day of his impalement his breath
does not depart. And he often asks for that water which I
have brought here, but I cannot reach his mouth, my friend,
as the stake is high." When he heard that speech of hers, the
mighty hero said to her: "But here is water in my hand sent
to him by the king, so place your foot on my back and lift it
to his mouth, for the mere touching of another man in sore need
does not disgrace a woman." When she heard that, she con-
sented, and, taking the water, she climbed up so as to plant her
two feet on the back of Asokadatta, who bent down at the foot
of the stake. Soon after, as drops of blood unexpectedly began
to fall upon the earth and on his back, the hero lifted up his face
and looked. Then he saw that woman cutting off slice after
slice of that impaled man's flesh with a knife and eating it.
Then, perceiving that she was some horrible demon, he
dragged her down in a rage, and took hold of her foot with
its tinkling anklets in order to dash her to pieces on the
earth. She for her part dragged away from him that foot,
and by her deluding power quickly flew up into the heaven
and became invisible. And the jewelled anklet, which had
fallen from her foot while she was dragging it away, re-
mained in one of Asokadatta's hands. Then he, reflecting
that she had disappeared after showing herself mild at first,
and evil-working in the middle, and at the end horror-
striking by assuming a terrible form, like association with
wicked men, and seeing that heavenly anklet in his hand,
was astonished, grieved and delighted at the same time ;
and then he left that cemetery, taking the anklet with him,
and went to his own house, and in the morning, after bathing,
to the palace of the king.
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Re: Origin of the word Ghola

Postby Kojiro » 09 Jul 2010 23:39

A Thing of Eternity wrote:I think we've discussed it possibly being from "ghoul" before.


Yeah, I always thought this.
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