ADUKANAIŠA (a-du-u-k-n-i-š-), name of the first month (March-April) of the Old Persian calendar (see Kent, Old Persian, p. 161a), equivalent to Akkadian Nisannu and Elamite Zikli (several attestations in the Persepolis tablets; see R. T. Hallock, Persepolis Fortification Tablets, Chicago, 1969, pp. 74, 774b). The Old Persian name, whose reading cannot be assured until an undisputed and fully convincing etymological interpretation is found, occurs once in DB II.69. But it is attested frequently in the Persepolis tablets in the Elamite rendering Hadukannaš, with numerous variants (ibid., p. 686), which lead to Old Persian forms in °na, °nya, °niš. As to etymology, one proposal (e.g., Kent, Old Persian, p. 167b; and W. Hinz, Neue Wege im Altpersischen, Wiesbaden, 1973, pp. 65f.) combines Iranian *adu- (Avestan aδu-) “watercourse, canal” (with or without vriddhi: ā- or ă-) with the root kan- “dig” (hence “[month of] qanāt-cleaning” (see Qanāt]; this can be supported by a semantic parallel in Sumerian). A competing etymology (proposed by R. E. Emmerick, Transactions of the Philological Society 1966 [1967], p. 4) joins Iranian *ādu- “grain” (cf. Avestan āδu-, Buddhist Sogdian ʾʾδwk-) with the homonymous root kan- “throw, sow” (hence “[month of] grain-sowing”). Both interpretations are mere root etymologies, that suffer from the morphological aspect, so that they can not be taken as convincing in every respect.

Bibliography: Given in the text.

(R. Schmitt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 5, p. 471

Cite this entry:

R.Schmitt, “ADUKANAIŠA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/5, p. 471; an updated version is available online at (accessed on 28 February 2014).