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Pahlavi Texts, Part IV (SBE37), E.W. West, tr. [1892], at


1. The beginning of the law is the Nîkâdûm 2 of thirty fargard3. 2. The section Patkâr-radistân ('magistrate code') 4 is about this, that the ruin and misery (ayôyakîh) from the destroyer, for mankind and animals, occurring really apart from the spiritual existence, have arisen through the sinfulness even of

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mankind; and the progress of ruin and misery in the world is owing to unauthorisedly assaulting one another. 3. Advice. to mankind about abstaining therefrom, with an estimate of an authorised assault, and, again, for a slight assault and no assault. 4. To stand magisterially, even opposed to the unmagisterial, with freedom from hurt and loss to oneself; and to abstain altogether, likewise, from the most innocuous (anakhrûgûnôtam) assault even upon an unmagisterial person.

5. In all magisterial investigation (patkâr-radîh)—of which, when the custom that exists is established judicially, the substance is two statements, which are verbal and demonstrable, that subsist in different combinations—there are four species: the verbal and demonstrable, the verbal which is not demonstrable, the demonstrable which is not verbal, and that which is neither verbal nor yet demonstrable. 6. In the arguments (sâmân) which are allotted as verbal are four species, the dispute having different arguments and different assertions which are for unmagisterial investigation, for one's own priestly authority (radŏ), for another good man—three of such being requisite 1—and also for other evidence 2. 7. And in those which are allotted as demonstrable are six species, and for an unmagisterial person the assertions, like the previous species which are on the same subject, are twelve 3. 8. Of

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all unmagisterial proceedings—which, though it be a custom, is to proceed unauthorisedly—the species are five 1, which consist in having demonstrated, getting upon, striking 2, having caused a wound, and having slain.

9: Of those subject to the magistrate (patkâr-radŏ-hômônd) the twelve species are divided into four sections of three each. 10. One section are the hearing who are seeing, they to whom a dispute which is verbal [is demonstrable; the hearing who are not seeing, they to whom a dispute which is verbal 3] is not demonstrable; and the seeing who are not hearing, they to whom even a dispute which is demonstrable is not verbal. 11. And with these three, who are in one section, there is magisterial investigation; and the magistrate, unless (barâ hat) 4 risk for the body be certain, is then irresistible; which is as though it be said that to restrain by

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wounding (rêsh) is not justifiable, but the decision therein is this, that, when they do not change through lawful litigation, and they cannot hold back without wounding, it is justifiable to keep them back even by wounding. 12. One section are the not hearing who are also not seeing, the women, and the children; and with these three, who are in one section, there is no magisterial investigation; and the decision as to the bodies thereof is this, that, unless risk for the body be certain from their complete change, they are then to be completely changed (barâ vardisnŏ). 13. One section are the foreigner and him worthy of death, certain of thereby producing a sentence for being executed from the judges; also the highwayman, when he stays on the highway and his destruction is proclaimed, but it is not possible to effect it. 14. With these three, likewise, who are in one section, there is no magisterial investigation, but the decision about them is even this, that when one is utterly destroying their life, one is thereby possessing merit. 15. One section are they who are walking, or coming upon one, unseasonably, or retreating confused into a rugged place, and, when people ask them to speak, they are giving no answer, and they are not suspicious as foreigners. 16. With these three, likewise, who are in one section, there is no magisterial investigation, and the decision about them is this, that when one kills them outright, one does not become sinful thereby.

17. As to whatever is on the same subject it introduces many opinions, and also this, that a counter-assault (avâz-zatam) is that which becomes a blow and wound, and is to be so committed when it

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is possible to produce them again exactly in every single particular.


35:2 Corresponding to the fifteenth word, khshathremkâ, in the Ahunavair, according to B. P. Riv.; but it is the sixteenth Nask in other Rivâyats. This name should probably be Vîk-aît-tûm, meaning 'the most separate concerns,' as the Nask refers chiefly to public law; but it is called Niyâram, or Niyâdâm, in the Rivâyats.

35:3 The Rivâyats say fifty-four kardah, which number may have been obtained by adding the 'twenty-four particulars,' mentioned in Chap. XX, 1, to the thirty fargards stated here.

35:4 The patkâr-rad, or settler of disputes, appears to have held a position somewhere between an arbitrator and a judge, and which may be approximately defined as that of a magistrate.

36:1 Evidently referring to arbitrators with an umpire.

36:2 Reading hanŏ gôkâyîh, but hanŏ is an unusual form. Perhaps agôkâyîh, 'want of evidence,' would be more suitable to the context.

36:3 So the MS., but 'four' would suit the context better, and the two Pahlavi ciphers do not differ much in shape.

37:1 These five grades of unauthorised retribution are analogous to the five grades of personal outrage mentioned in Vend. IV, 17.

37:2 Pahl. zatam, 'a blow, assault, striking,' is used throughout, instead of zâkham (Pers. za‘hm), which latter word does not occur in these two books of the Dinkard, except in the form zakhamî-hastanŏ in Bk. IX, Chap. VIII, 6. The Farhang-î Oîm-aêvak also uses zatôm in the same sense, in its oldest MSS.; and Dd. V, 1 has zatam. Darmesteter suggests that zatam and zâkham are both traceable to an original zathma, or zathema.

37:3 The words in brackets are omitted by mistake in the MS.

37:4 The ambiguity, mentioned in the latter clause of this section, appears to lie in these words, which mean either 'but if' or 'only if.' Such ambiguity must have existed in the original Pahlavi text of the Nask, and probably indicates that the earlier part of this section is a summary of the Pahlavi version of the original Avesta text, while the latter part is a summary of the Pahlavi commentary upon that version. As the same ambiguity occurs, without comment, in § 12, where the meaning seems tolerably certain, it is doubtful if the commentator's opinion can be adopted.

Next: Chapter XVII