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The Iranians did use the form Airya as a designation for the "Aryans," but Prichard had mistaken Aria (deriving from OPer.Haravia) as a designation of the "Aryans" and associated the Aria with the place-name Ariana (Av. The form Aria as a designation of the "Aryans" was, however, only preserved in the language of the Indo-Aryans.The Bactrian language (a Middle Iranian language) inscription of Kanishka the Great, the founder of the Kushan Empire at Rabatak, which was discovered in 1993 in an unexcavated site in the Afghanistan province of Baghlan, clearly refers to this Eastern Iranian language as Arya.In the post-Islamic era one can still see a clear usage of the term Aryan (Iran) in the work of the 10th-century historian Hamzah al-Isfahani.The languages used are Parthian, Middle Persian and Greek. tou Arianon ethnous despotes eimi" which translates to "I am the king of the Aryans".In the Middle Persian Shapour says: "I am the Lord of the Eran Shahr" and in Parthian he says: "I am the Lord of Aryan Shahr".This was the first use of the form Arian verbatim in the English language.

Various Indian religions, chiefly Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, use the term ārya as an epithet of honour; a similar usage is found in the name of Arya Samaj.

While in Anatolia, the base word has come to emphasize personal relationship, in Indo-Iranian the word has taken a more ethnic meaning.

In Sanskrit and related Indic languages, ārya means "one who does noble deeds; a noble one".

The earliest epigraphically attested reference to the word arya occurs in the 6th-century B. Behistun inscription, which describes itself as having been composed "in arya [language or script]" (§ 70). Mallory argues that "As an ethnic designation, the word [Aryan] is most properly limited to the Indo-Iranians, and most justly to the latter where it still gives its name to the country Iran.

As is also the case for all other Old Iranian language usage, the arya of the inscription does not signify anything but "Iranian". In early Vedic literature, the term Āryāvarta (Sanskrit: आर्यावर्त, abode of the Aryans) was the name given to northern India, where the Indo-Aryan culture was based.

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