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Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. [1882], at

p. 188


1. As to the fifty-fifth question and reply, that which you ask is thus: What is this adopted-sonship and guardianship of the family, and what does it become; in what manner is it necessary to appoint it, whence is it necessary to provide food and clothing for it, and how is it necessary to be for it?

2. The reply is this, that the adopted-sonship is thus:--It is requisite whenever a man of the good religion is passing away, while he is a complete ruler of a numerous household 1, who has no wife and child that may be privileged 2 and acknowledged, nor associating brother, nor son by adoption, and his property is sixty stîrs 3 of income. 3. The controlling (khûdâyînag) of the property is to be publicly provided out of the kindred of the deceased, and is called the adopted-sonship; and he is to be appointed to it who is the nearest of the same lineage (min ham-nâfân), who will manage and keep the property united in its entirety.

p. 189

4. The guardianship of a family is that when a guardian has to be appointed in that manner over the family of a man whose wife 1, or daughter, or infant son is not fit for their own guardianship, so it is necessary to appoint some one. 5. And it is necessary to appoint the adopted son and the family, guardianship at such time as may be convenient to them; and when the man passes away as I have written it is necessary to appoint at such period as I have written, and to neglect it temporarily, even the length of a year, would not be authorised.

6. Fit for adoption is a grown-up sister who is not adopted in another family 2, then a brother's daughter, then a brother's son, and then the other nearest relatives. 7. Fit for the family guardianship is first the father of the serving wife (kagar) 3, then a brother, then a daughter, and then the other nearest relations; among brothers he who is the eldest (mas) among them is the fittest.

8. The food and clothing of a wife that may be privileged--who is the house-mistress of the family, and is one kind of adopted son--of a living infant son till he becomes grown up, and of a daughter of the family while she is in the guardianship of the family guardians 4, are out of the property of the family so long as it exists for the purpose.

9. It has become the custom that the lapfuls and 

p. 190

armfuls 1 of the family guardian are every month four stîrs of, it may be, sixteen 2, which is the disbursement (andâzisnŏ), for food, clothing, medicine, and shelter, out of the income (bar), or out of the capital (bûn), of the property which remains in the family, by a perfect 3 wife when she is capable--such as the former house-mistress--so as want of nourishment (atafdâdŏ) may not come nakedly and unlawfully upon them.


188:1 Reading vad marak khân shah bundakŏ, but the phrase can also be read vad malkâân shah bandakŏ, 'while he is a servant of the king of kings (that is, a subject of the Iranian sovereign),' which is evidently the reading adopted by M14 in Chap. LVII, 2, where it substitutes the Huz. synonym malkâ for shah, but here the word shah is uncertain. This ambiguous phrase can also be read vad mark-âhangihâ bundakŏ, 'while the agonies of death are complete.'

188:2 See Chap. LIV, 9.

188:3 About 84 rûpîs (see Chap. LII, 1 n); but the actual value of such an income depends upon the value of silver at that time, or, in other words, upon the prices of the necessaries of life.

189:1 Because she is not a privileged wife, but a serving one (see Chap. LIV, 9), as appears from § 7.

189:2 A woman or child cannot be adopted by more than one family (see Chap. LVII, 3). The case under consideration is that mentioned in § 2, when the deceased leaves no wife, child, or brother.

189:3 Referring to the case assumed in § 4.

189:4 That is, till she is married.

190:1 That is, an ample remuneration (see Chap. LIV, 10).

190:2 So the sentence may be literally translated, but it is not quite certain that this is the meaning intended, as the language used is very involved. This would imply that the family guardian is entitled to one-fourth of the family expenditure.

190:3 It is doubtful what noun is to be connected with the adjective pûr; perhaps we should read 'full disbursement' in the foregoing part of the sentence, and omit the word 'perfect' here.

Next: Chapter LVII