Framework project and publication projects
The Iranisches Personennamenbuch (IPNB), a large-scale and long-term philological project on Iranian names, was established and developed since the 1970s by Manfred Mayrhofer, Rüdiger Schmitt and Heiner Eichner. Structurally, the project is taking a special approach to comparative cultural history, above all to the historically related aspects of onomastics.
From the outset, the IPNB was designed as a “historical book of names”. Its goal is a comprehensive collection of personal names originating from Iranian languages, as well as a lexicon of the people who bore these names. The goal is to examine Iranian sources from the 9th century BCE to the present day. Also to be included are names mentioned (in literature, inscriptions, etc.) by people who came into contact with the Iranians, or who refer to people bearing Iranian names. The articles in the IPNB have a standardized format (testimonies, prosopography and etymology). They thus provide answers to both philological-linguistic and historical questions.
Equally important is the inclusion of secondary onomastic records (Nebenüberlieferung) from the ancient and modern non-Iranian languages used in neighboring regions: in the west, from Latin and Greek and Slavic languages, to Egyptian, Arabic and other Semitic languages, to languages in the east such as those of India, as well as Turkish, Tibetan and Chinese.
The “Namenbuch” is not only a useful tool and reference work for philologists, linguists and onomasiologists. The volumes of the IPNB are indispensable for many kinds of work on the history of the region in question, as well as for biographies of individual persons, for demography and social histories, for the history of settlements and tribes, for the history of religion, and for archaeological work.
Through its long involvement with the IPNB, the Institute of Iranian Studies has a high degree of expertise in research on names. Work on the IPNB will continue under focal point Iranian Onomastics. A monograph series curated at the Institute of Iranian Studies and published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences Press under the series title "Iranische Onomastik", is dedicated to specialized studies in Iranian onomastics.