ASFĀD JOŠNAS (Arabicized form of Middle Persian *Aspād-gušnasp), a native of Ardašīr-ḵorra (Gūr, Fīrūzābād) who commanded the supporters of Šērōya (Šērōē; r. ca. 628 A.D.), whom he helped remove his father Ḵosrow II Parvēz from the throne (Ṭabarī, I, p.1046; Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 362ff.). After the imprisonment of the deposed king in the house of a certain Mehr Sepand (Nöldeke: Mâraspand), Asfād Jošnas was commanded by Šērōya to go to the king and set forth the accusations against him; but Ḵosrow rejected them all, one by one. He is probably identical with the commander who, according to Theophanes, was a foster brother of Šērōya and who led the peace negotiations with the emperor Heraclius (Christensen, Iran Sass., p. 493).
The name and title of Asfād Jošnas is variously recorded: Ṭabarī has Asfād Jošnas, raʾīs al-katība (the head of an army division); in Ebn al-Aṯīr (repr., I, pp. 494, 497) the name is given as Astāḏ Ḵošnaš; Dīnavarī (p. 112) has Yazdān Jošnas, raʾīs kottāb al-rasāʾel (chief of secretaries); Baḷʿamī (Tārīḵ, p. 1160) has Asfād Jošnas (unpointed Ḥosnas), one of the mehtarān-e dabīrān (chief secretaries); and Ṯaʿālebī (Ḡorar, p. 719) has Asfāḏ Gošnasb. In the Greek sources he is called Gousdanaspa (or Gourdanaspa), Goundabounas, and similar (Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 45, 120). His title is given variously as leader (exarchos) or chiliarch of the Persian army (Nöldeke, op. cit., p. 363 n.), which agrees with that given by Ṭabarī. The etymology of Asfād/Aspād is not known. It is not likely to be from Parthian aspād “army” (Pers. s(e)pāh). Cf. perhaps Elamite ha-ši-ba-da (M. Mayrhofer, Onomastica Persepolitana, Vienna, 1973, p. 157; W. Hinz, Altiranisches Sprachgut der Nebenüberliferungen, Wiesbaden, 1975, p. 118)?
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 16, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 7, p. 743