is the language of ancient Persia
, surviving only in the sacred Zoroastrian
scriptures known as the Zend Avesta
. In the past the language was known as 'Zend', but this was later considered a misuse of this word. The oldest form of Avestan, spoken by Zoroaster
himself, is found in the Gathas. This is a dialect variant of Vedic
, the oldest known form of the Sanskrit
Western study of Vedic and Avestan at the end of the 18th century was responsible for the discovery of the Indo-European language group, and thus to the creation of modern linguistics and philology.