Порекло речи мазија ʼчеликʼ

Author(s): Aleksandar Loma
Subject(s): Lexis, Semantics, Historical Linguistics
Published by: Институт за српски језик Српске академије наука и уметности
Keywords: Serbian language; metallurgical terms; Graecisms

Summary/Abstract: The word mazija ‘steel; forging ingot; a kind of ordeal which required plucking red-hot iron from a cauldron of boiling water’ is common in the western part of the Shtokavian dialect continuum. Its area includes the Zeta-Raška, the Eastern Herzegovinian and the Younger Ikavian dialect, the fi rst of the Old Shtokavian and the other two of the Neo-Shtokavian type. There are no attestations of this word earlier than the fi rst half of the 18th century. So far, it has been mainly believed to share a common origin with the homonymous mazija ‘oak gall’ from Turkish mazı id. This stance is hardly acceptable in view of the fact that not only the meanings of the two words but also their geographical distributions strongly diverge, mazija in the oak gall sense being limited to the Kosovo-Resava and Timok-Prizren dialect areas of southern Serbia. The comparison with French mazée ‘refi ned iron’, is even more doubtful, because this term has been attested only since 1824 and with no known etymology, The true origin of màzija < mazȉja (gvožđa) should be sought in the late Greek (5th century AD) μαζί(ο)ν τοῦ σιδήρου ‘iron mass shaped by a blacksmith’; the plural form μαζία σιδήρου occurs in a Greek charter issued in 1347 by the Serbian tsar Dušan to the Great Lavra on Mt Athos. Curiously enough, in two Serbian founding charters of the same epoch there is a parallel passage where among other yearly incomes granted to the monastery iron ingots are mentioned, designated here by the gen. pl. nadь(ь), with complements gvozd(i)ja ‘of iron’ and měr’nyhь ‘of a standard weight’. The term is Slavic nada or nado, derivative from *naděti ‘add onto’, properly ‘iron or steel overlay used as a cover plate in re-tempering a blade’, hence ‘steel’. It has been preserved by a number of Serbian vernaculars, in some of them coexisting with the Graecism mazija. How and when the latter made its way to the western part of the Old Serbian territory, leaving no traces in its eastern parts, remains an open question.

  • Issue Year: 77/2021
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 9-27
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Serbian