a1 Trinity College, Cambridge
In an article on ‘The Name of the Euxine Pontus’ in C.Q.xxxiv (1940), pp. 123 ff., A. C. Moorhouse rejects the suggestion made by M. Vasmer and supported by Boisacq that the original Greek title ξε(ι)νος was a popular rendering of the Avestan adjective αχṦαệνα, ‘of dark colour’. Moorhouse raises the following objections to this theory:
i. There is no direct evidence of the Avestan adjective ever being applied to the Black Sea.
ii. In historical times ‘Avestan is a long way from Greek’ and in prehistorical times it is doubtful whether the speakers of Avestan had any close connexion with the Black Sea.
iii. Assuming πόντος to denote ‘way’, ‘the dark way’ would be a fantastic name for any sea.
iv. The early Greek form is ξενος, and only metri gratia ξεινος, whereas if the word is a loan from αχṧαēνα we should expect the phonetically closer form ξενος