AHRIŠWANG, a learned transcription of the Avestan nominative Ašiš vaŋuhī, the goddess “Good Recompense.” In the Gathas the word aši- denotes “due recompense” as well as its personification. According to M. Boyce (Zoroastrianism I, p. 226) in YAv. Aši vaŋuhī the epithet vaŋuhī “good” underlines the Zoroastrian nature of the goddess “in distinction presumably to the amoral pagan concept.” But the existence of personifications of that type outside Zoroastrianism is a conclusion not supported directly by texts. The word aši- developed normally to Middle and New Persian Ard (cf. Man. Mid. Pers. ʾyrd). The goddess Ard exists beside the theological-philological Avestan loan Ahrišwang. The passages in the Pahlavi literature where Ahrišwang is mentioned (Gray, Foundations, p. 63) add some new traits and new epithets not known from the Avesta. Some of them may be old, especially those in Dēnkard 8 and 9, which go back to lost nasks of the Avesta. But on the whole they show no significant development or extension of the grandiose picture of the goddess given in the Ard Yašt of the Avesta (Yt. 17).
See also Aši.
Originally Published: December 15, 1984
Last Updated: July 29, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 7, pp. 673-674