ARJĀSP (Av. Arəǰaṱ.aspa), a chief of the Iranian tribe of the Xyōns (Av. Hyaona-), and an enemy of Kay Goštāsp (Kavi Vištāspa), patron of Zoroaster (Yašt 9.30, 5.109). In the later tradition he is represented as a king of Tūrān and the son of Šavāsp, brother of Afrāsīāb (Ṭabarī, II, pp. 617, 677), or according to Moǰmal (p. 51) as Afrāsīāb’s grandson, or according to Baḷʿamī (Tārīḵ, p. 657) as his brother. War between the Iranians and Turanians broke out when Goštāsp accepted the religion of Zoroaster, while Arǰāsp retained the ancient faith. Some of Goštāsp’s family were killed but finally Esfandīār, Goštāsp’s son, repelled the enemy. In the Mid. Pers. text Ayādgār ī Zarērān (66, 67, 112, 113) Arǰāsp is captured, mutilated, and then released; in the Šāh-nāma he manages to flee ([Moscow] VI, pp. 93, 117). The defeat of Arǰāsp is said to have taken place in the mountain Mad-Frayād between Padešxwārgar and Kumiš (i.e., Qūmeṣ; Bundahišn, p. 80).
Some years later, when Goštāsp was in Sīstān and had imprisoned Esfandīār on suspicion, a second war broke out. Arǰāsp besieged Balḵ, killed Lohrāsp, Goštāsp’s father, and captured Homāy and Behāfrīd, his daughters. Through the mediation of Jāmāsp, Goštāsp’s minister and counselor, Esfandīār was released. He immediately set out to battle against the Turanians. Arǰāsp, put to flight, took refuge at his dwelling place Rōyēn Diž “the Brazen Castle,” later identified as Paykand near Bokhara (J. Markwart, Wehrot und Arang, Leiden, 1938, pp. 160ff.). Esfandīār penetrated the castle by a stratagem, killed Arǰāsp and his brothers, Gohram and Andarīmān, and set free his own sisters.
In most Arabic and Persian sources the name is recorded as Arǰāsp. Ṭabarī, Baḷʿamī, and the, Fārs-nāma of Ebn al-Balḵ (p.51) call him Ḵarzāsp, while Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh (apud Ṯaʿālebī, Ḡorar, p. 263) refers to him as Hazārasf (corrupt form of *Harzāsf). The two latter forms are misreadings of the Pahlavi word.
See also Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 21-22.
Ayādgār ī Zarērān in Pahlavi Texts I, pp. 1-17.
Dēnkard, p. 640.16ff.
Originally Published: December 15, 1986
Last Updated: August 12, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 4, p. 412