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Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. [1880], at


1. On the nature of rivers it says in revelation, that these two rivers flow forth from the north, part from Albûrz and part from the Albûrz of

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[paragraph continues] Aûharmazd 1; one towards the west, that is the Arag 2, and one towards the east, that is the Vêh river. 2. After them eighteen rivers flowed forth from the same source, just as the remaining waters have flowed forth from them in great multitude; as they say that they flowed out so very fast, one from the other, as when a man recites one Ashem-vohû 3 of a series (padîsâr). All of those, with the same water, are again mingled with these rivers, that is, the Arag river and Vêh river. 4. Both of them continually circulate through the two extremities of the earth, and pass into the sea; and all the regions feast owing to the discharge (zahâk) of both, which, after both arrive together at the wide-formed ocean, returns to the sources whence they flowed out; as it says in revelation, that just as the light comes in through Albûrz and goes out through Albûrz 4, the

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water also comes out through Albûrz and goes away through Albûrz. 5. This, too, it says, that the spirit of the Arag begged of Aûharmazd thus: 'O first omniscient creative power 1! from whom the Vêh river begged for the welfare that thou mightest grant, do thou then grant it in my quantity!' 6. The spirit of the Vêh river similarly begged of Aûharmazd for the Arag river; and on account of loving assistance, one towards the other, they flowed forth with equal strength, as before the coming of the destroyer they proceeded without rapids, and when the fiend shall be destroyed 2 they will again be without rapids.

7. Of those eighteen principal rivers, distinct from the Arag river and Vêh river, and the other rivers which flow out from them, I will mention the more famous 3: the Arag river, the Vêh river, the Diglat 4 river they call also again the Vêh river 5, the Frât river, the Dâîtîk river, the Dargâm river, the Zôndak river, the Harôî river, the Marv river, the Hêtûmand river, the Akhôshir river, the Nâvadâ 6 river, the Zîsmand river, the Khvegand river, the Balkh river, the Mehrvâ river they call the Hendvâ river, the Spêd 7 river, the Rad 8 river which they call also the Koir, the Khvaraê river which they call

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also the Mesrgân, the Harhaz 1 river, the Teremet river, the Khvanaîdis 2 river, the Dâraga river, the Kâsîk river, the Sêd 3 ('shining') river Pêdâ-meyan or Katru-meyan river of Mokarstân.

8. I will mention them also a second time: the Arag 4 river is that of which it is said that it comes out from Albûrz in the land of Sûrâk 5, in which they call it also the Âmi; it passes on through the land of Spêtos, which they also call Mesr, and they call it there the river Niv 6. 9. The Vêh 7 river

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passes on in the east, goes through the land of Sînd 1, and flows to the sea in Hindûstân, and they call it there the Mehrâ 2 river. 10. The sources of the Frât 3 river are from the frontier of Arûm, they feed upon it in Sûristân, and it flows to the Diglat river; and of this Frât it is 4 that they produce irrigation over the land. 11. It is declared that Mânûskîhar excavated the sources, and cast back the water all to one place, as it says thus 'I reverence the Frât, full of fish, which Mânûskîhar excavated for the benefit of his own soul, and he seized the water and gave to drink 5,' 12. The Diglat 6 river comes out from Salmân 7, and flows to the sea in Khûgîstân. 13. The Dâîtîk 8 river is the river

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which comes out from Aîrân-vêg, and goes out through the hill-country 1; of all rivers the noxious creatures in it are most, as it says, that the Dâîtîk river is full of noxious creatures. 14. The Dargâm river is in Sûde. 15. The Zend 2 river passes through the mountains of Pangistân, and flows away to the Haro river. 16. The Haro 3 river flows out from the Apârsên range 4. 17. The Hêtûmand 5 river is in Sagastân, and its sources are from the Apârsên range; this is distinct from that which Frâsîyâv conducted away 6. 18. The river Akhôshir is in Kûmîs 7. 19. The Zîsmand 8 river, in the direction

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of Soghd, flows away towards the Khvegand river. 20. The Khvegand 1 river goes on through the midst of Samarkand and Pargâna, and they call it also the river Ashârd. 21. The Marv 2 river, a glorious river in the east 3, flows out from the Apârsên range. 22. The Balkh river comes out from the Apârsên mountain of Bâmîkân 4, and flows on to the Vêh 5 river. 23. The Spêd 6 river is in Âtarô-pâtakân; they say that Dahâk begged a favour 7 here from Aharman and the demons. 24. The Tort 8 river, which they call also the Koir, comes out from

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the sea of Gîklân 1, and flows to the sea of Vergân 2. 25. The Zahâvayi 3 is the river which comes out from Âtarô-pâtakân, and flows to the sea in Pârs. 26. The sources of the Khvaraê 4 river are from Spâhân 5; it passes on through Khûgîstân, flows forth to the Diglat 6 river, and in Spâhân they call it the Mesrkân 7 river. 27. The Harhaz 8 river is in Taparîstân, and its sources are from Mount Dimâvand. 28. The Teremet 9 river flows away to the Vêh river. 29. The Vendeses 10 river is in that part of Pârs which they call Sagastân. 30. The Kâsak 11 river comes out through a ravine (kâf) in the province of Tûs 12, and they call it there the Kasp river; moreover,

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the river, which is there the Vêh, they call the Kâsak 1; even in Sînd they call it the Kâsak. 31. The Pêdâk-mîyân 2, which is the river Katru-mîyân, is that which is in Kangdez 3. 32. The Dâraga river is in Aîrân-vêg, on the bank (bâr) of which was the dwelling of Pôrûshasp, the father of Zaratûs4. 33. The other innumerable waters and rivers, springs and channels are one in origin with those 5; so in various districts and various places they call them by various names.

34. Regarding Frâsîyâv 6 they say, that a thousand springs were conducted away by him into the sea Kyânsîh 7, suitable for horses, suitable for camels, suitable for oxen, suitable for asses, both great and small 8; and he conducted the spring Zarînmand (or golden source), which is the Hêtûmand 9 river they say, into the same sea; and he conducted the seven navigable waters of the source of the Vakaêni 10 river into the same sea, and made men settle there.


75:1 So in K20, and if correct (being only partially confirmed by the fragment of this chapter found in all MSS. between Chaps. XIII and XIV) this reading implies that the rivers are derived partly from the mountains of Albûrz, and partly from the celestial Albûrz, or the clouds in the sky. M6 has 'flow forth from the north part of the eastern Albûrz.'

75:2 For further details regarding these two semi-mythical rivers see §§ 8, 9.

75:3 The sacred formula most frequently recited by the Parsis, and often several times in succession, like the Pater-noster of some Christians; it is not, however, a prayer, but a declaratory formula in 'praise of righteousness' (which phrase is often used as its name in Pahlavi). It consists of twelve Avesta words, as follows:

Ashem vohû vahistem astî,
ustâ astî; ustâ ahmâi
hyad ashâi vahistâi ashem.

[paragraph continues] And it may be translated in the following manner: 'Righteousness is the best good, a blessing it is; a blessing be to that which is righteousness to perfect rectitude' (Asha-vahista the archangel).

75:4 See Chap. V, 5.

76:1 So in M6, but K20 has, 'First is the propitiation of all kinds.'

76:2 Literally, 'when they shall destroy the fiend.'

76:3 For details regarding these rivers see the sequel.

76:4 The Pâz. Deyrid is evidently a misreading of Pahl. Diglat or Digrat, which occurs in § 12.

76:5 So in K20, but M6 (omitting two words) has, 'they call also the Didgar.'

76:6 No further details are given, in this chapter, about this river, but it seems to be the river Nâhvtâk of Chap. XXI, 6, the Nâîvtâk of Chap. XXIX, 4. 5.

76:7 K20 has 'Spend.'

76:8 Called Tort in § 24.

77:1 Miswritten Araz in Pâzand, both here and in § 27.

77:2 M6 has Khvanaînidis, but in K20 it is doubtful whether the extra syllable (which is interlined) is intended to be inserted or substituted; the shorter form is, however, more reconcilable with the Pahlavi form of Vendeses in § 29.

77:3 As there is no description of any Sêd river it is probably only an epithet of the Pêdâ-meyan or Katru-meyan (pêdâk being the usual Pahlavi equivalent of Av. kithrô). Justi suggests that Mokarstân (Mokarsta rûd in M6) stands for Pers. Moghulstân, 'the country of the Moghuls,' but this is doubtful.

77:4 Sometimes written Arang or Arêng, but the nasal is usually omitted; it is the Av. Rangha of Âbân Yt. 63, Rashnu Yt. 18, Râm Yt. 27, which is described more like a lake or sea in Vend. I, 77, Bahrâm Yt. 29. This semi-mythical river is supposed to encompass a great part of the known world (see Chap. VII, 16), and the Bundahis probably means to trace its course down the Âmû (Oxus) from Sogdiana, across the Caspian, up the Aras (Araxes) or the Kur (Cyrus), through the Euxine and Mediterranean, and up the Nile to the Indian Ocean. The Âmû (Oxus) is also sometimes considered a part of the Vêh river or Indus (see §§ 22, 28).

77:5 Sogdiana (see Chap. XV, 29), the country of the Âmû river.

77:6 The combination of the three names in this clause, as Justi observes, renders it probable that we should read, 'the land of Egypt,' which is called Misr, and where the river is the Nile. The letter S in Pâz. Spêtos is very like an obsolete form of Av. g, or it may be read as Pahl. îk or îg, so the name may originally have been Gpêtos or Ikpêtos; and the Pâz. Niv, if transcribed into Pahlavi, can also be read Nîl.

77:7 The 'good' river, which, with the Arag and the ocean, completes p. 78 the circuit of the known world, and is evidently identified with the Indus; sometimes it seems also to include the Âmû (Oxus), as Bactria was considered a part of India; thus we find the Balkh and Teremet rivers flowing into the Vêh (see §§ 22, 28).

78:1 See § 30.

78:2 No doubt the Mehrvâ or Hendvâ river of § 7, and the Mihrân of Ouseley's Oriental Geography of the pseudo Ibn ‘Haûqal, pp. 148-155, which appears to combine the Satlig and lower Indus. The final n is usually omitted by the Bundahis after â in Pâzand words. This river is also called Kâsak (see § 30).

78:3 The Euphrates, which rises in Armenia (part of the eastern empire of the Romans), traverses Syria, and joins the Tigris.

78:4 Or, 'and its convenience is this;' a play upon the words farhat and Frât, which are identical in Pahlavi.

78:5 Referring probably to canals for irrigation along the course of the Euphrates.

78:6 The Tigris (Arabic Diglat), Hiddekel of Gen. ii. 14, Dan. x. 4, and perhaps the Av. tighris of Tîstar Yt. 6, 37; misread Dêîrid in Pâzand.

78:7 The country of Salm (see Chap. XV, 29), son of Frêdûn (see Chap. XXXI, 9, 10). The name can also be read Dîlmân, which is the name of a place in the same neighbourhood.

78:8 The Av. Dâitya of Vend. XIX, 5, Aûharmazd Yt. 21, Âbân Yt. 112, Gôs Yt. 29. The 'good dâitya of Airyana-vaêgô' is also p. 79 mentioned in Vend. I, 6, II, 42, 43, Âbân Yt. 17, 104, Râm Yt. 2, but this may not be a river, though the phrase has, no doubt, led to locating the river Dâîtîk in Aîrân-vêg.

79:1 Pâz. gopestân in K20, which is evidently Pahl. kôfistân, but not the Kôhistân of southern Persia. M6 has 'the mountain of Pangistân,' which must be incorrect, as according to §§ 15, 16, this is in north-east Khurâsân, and too far from Aîrân-vêg in Âtarô-pâtakân (Âdar-bîgân), see Chap. XXIX, 12. Justi proposes to read Gurgistân (Georgia), and identifies the Dâîtîk with the Araxes, but, adhering to the text of K20, the Dâîtîk rises in Âdar-bîgân and departs through a hill-country, a description applicable, not only to the Araxes, but also more particularly to the Safêd Rûd or white river; although this river seems to be mentioned again as the Spêd or Spend river in § 23.

79:2 Written Zôndak in § 7. This can hardly be the Zendah river of Ispahan, but is probably the Tegend river, which flows past Meshhed into the Heri river.

79:3 This is the Heri, which flows past Herat.

79:4 See Chap. XII, 9.

79:5 The Etymander of classical writers, now the Hêlmand in Afghânistân. The Av. Haêtumat of Vend. I, 50, XIX, 130, Zamyâd Yt. 66, is the name of the country through which it flows.

79:6 See § 34 and Chap. XXI, 6.

79:7 The district about Dâmaghân.

79:8 Perhaps the Zarafsân.

80:1 This is evidently not the small affluent now called the Khugand, but the great Syr-darya or Iaxartes, which flows through the provinces of Farghânah and Samarkand, past Kokand, Khugand, and Tashkand, into the Aral. The Pâz. Ashârd represents Pahl. Khshârt, or Ashârt (Iaxartes).

80:2 The Murghâb.

80:3 Or, 'in Khûrâsân.'

80:4 Bâmian, near which the river of Balkh has its source.

80:5 Justi observes that it should be 'the Arag river;' but according to an Armenian writer of the seventh century the Persians called the Oxus the Vêh river, and considered it to be in India, because Buddhists occupied the country on its banks (see Garrez in Journal Asiatique for 1869, pp. 161-198). It would seem, therefore, that the Oxus was sometimes (or in early times) considered a part of the Arag (Araxes), and sometimes (or in later times) a part of the Vêh (Indus).

80:6 So in M6, but K20 has 'Spend,' both here and in § 7. The name of this river corresponds with that of the Safêd Rûd, although the position of that river agrees best with the account given of the Dâîtîk in § 13.

80:7 Compare Râm Yt. 19, 20. K20 has 'there,' instead of 'here.'

80:8 Called Rad in § 7 (by the loss of the first letter of the original Pahlavi name); by its alternative name, Koir, Justi identifies it as the Kûr in Georgia, flowing into the Caspian, or sea of Vergân, the Av. Vehrkâna (Hyrcania) of Vend. I, 42, which is Gûrgân in Pahlavi.

81:1 M6 has Pâz. Keyâseh, but this is in Sagastân (see Chap. XIII, 16).

81:2 The MSS. have Vergâ, but the final nasal after i is often omitted in Pâzand reading in the Bundahis.

81:3 Not mentioned in § 7. Possibly one of the rivers Zâb, which rise on the borders of Âdarbîgân, flow into the Tigris, and so reach the Persian Gulf, the sea on the coast of Pârs. Or it may be the Shirvân, another affluent of the Tigris, which flows through the district of Zohab.

81:4 The Kuran, upon which the town of Shûstar was founded by one of the early Sasanian kings, who also dug a canal, east of the town, so as to form a loop branch of the river; this canal was called Nahr-i Masrûqân by Oriental geographers (see Rawlinson, journal Roy. Geogr. Soc. vol. ix. pp. 73-75).

81:5 Ispahân in Persian.

81:6 Miswritten Dayrid in Pâzand (see § 12).

81:7 Written in Pâzand without the final n, as usual. This is the old name of the canal forming the eastern branch of the Kuran at Shûstar, it is now called Âb-i Gargar.

81:8 Flows into the Caspian near Amûl.

81:9 Probably the river which flows into the Âmû (Oxus) at Tarmaz; but, in that case, the Oxus is here again identified with the Vêh (Indus) as in § 22, instead of the Arag (Araxes) as in § 8.

81:10 Called Khvanaîdis, or Khvanaînidis, in § 7.

81:11 Called Kâsîk in § 7.

81:12 Close to Meshhed.

82:1 Or, 'this same Vêh river they call there the Kâsak; even in Sênî they call it the Kâsak;' Sênî is apt to be miswritten Sênd or Sînd (see Chap. XV, 29).

82:2 See § 7. The latter half of both names can also be read mâhan, mâhô, or mahân. Pêshyôtan, son of Vistâsp, seems to have taken a surname from this river (see Chap. XXIX, 5).

82:3 See Chap. XXIX, 10.

82:4 See Chaps. XXIV, 15, XXXII, 1, 2.

82:5 Or, 'are from those as a source.'

82:6 The MSS. have 'Pôrûshasp,' but compare § 17 and Chap. XXI, 6. The two names are somewhat alike in Pahlavi writing.

82:7 See Chap. XIII, 16.

82:8 Compare Chap. XIX, 6. K20 omits the words 'suitable for asses' here.

82:9 Another Hêtûmand according to § 17. Possibly a dried-up bed of that river.

82:10 K20 has Vataêni; k and t being much alike in Pâzand. The p. 83 'navigable (nâvtâk) waters' may be 'the Nâvadâ river' of § 7, 'the river Nâîvtâk' of Chap. XXI, 6, and Nâîvtâk of Chap. XXIX, 4, 5.

Next: Chapter XXI