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Hittite kursa- or gursa- is an Asianic cultural word, also appearing also in Kaneshite kursanwn / gursanwn and Akkadian [Cuneiform needed] kusinu, gusinu (skinbag).

Has been connected with Greek βύρσα (búrsa, (skin)bag, wineskin) and Czech, Slovene, Serbo-Croatian krzno[1], originally assumed to be cognate reflexes of Proto-Indo-European *gʷurso-, but that theory is not accepted today and is held untenable (the proper Greek reflex would be *γύρσα (gúrsa)). Nevertheless, the word eventually spread to Greek, and from there to the West (Latin bursa → French bourse → English purse and dis-burse).

A number of other theories have been proposed with Proto-Indo-European origin of this word, but all of them are held untenable today.

The talismanic usage likely underlies the primary meaning of the "(sheep)skin", and ties well in with Asianic and Pontic "Golden Fleece" myths.


𒆳𒊭𒀸 (kur-sa-asc (nominative singular)

  1. skin, hide, fleece
  2. skin-bag
  3. also divinized as a fetish or talisman

Usage notes[edit]

Often used with determinative 𒋢 (KUŠ, leather), rarely with 𒄑 (GIŠ, wood).


  • “kursa-” and “kursi-” in Jaan Puhvel, Hittite Etymological Dictionary (Berlin, New York, Amsterdam: Mouton Publishers), 1984
  • Notes:
  1. ^ Etymologický slovník jazyka českého, ČSAV, 1968, str. 298: odvozeno od nezachovaného slova, které bylo příbuzno s het. kurša