ĀŠTĀD

Old Iranian female deity of rectitude and justice.

 

AŠTĀD (Mid. Pers.), Av. arštāt-, Old Iranian female deity of rectitude and justice.

Arštāt in Avestan may be “justice” (I. Gershevitch, The Avestan Hymn to Mithra, Cambridge, 1959, pp. 197, 286f., 327), rather than “honesty” or “sincerity” (F. Justi, Namenbuch, p. 47; AirWb., col. 205; H. Lommel, Die Yäšt’s des Awesta, Göttingen, 1927, p. 166; F. Windischmann, Mithra.Ein Beitrag zur Mythengeschichte des Orients [Abhandlungen der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, vol. I], Leipzig, 1859, p. 17). The name is a feminine substantive designating the yazata of Justice. It derives by haplology from *arštatāt-, like amərətāt- from *amərətatāt-, or haurvāt from haurvatāt-. Similarly Old Persian arštā- is probably from *aršatā (Gershevitch, op. cit., p. 286). In the inscription of Darius at Behistun we read: upariy arštām upariyāyam “I walked according to arštā-” (DB 4.64).

Arštāt is one of the abstract personifications of Zoroastrianism, along with Daēnā “Religion,” or Aši “Recompense”. In the Mihr Yašt she appears in company with Miθra, Dāta “Law,” Rašnu “Judge,” and is defined as frādaṱ.gaēθā “world-furthering,” and varədaṱ.gaēθā- “world-promoting” (Yt. 10.139). She is identified with Daēnā in Vispered 7.2, which is also defined as fradāṱ.gaēθā. As the hypostasis of “Justice,” Arštāt is a companion of Miθra, together with Rašnu and Sraoša “Obedience.” As such, it has an important position in the liturgy after death: an āfrīnagān is dedicated to both it and Rašnu, one of the three judges of the soul, along with Miθra and Sraoša, on the third day after death (Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, p. 330).

In Pahlavi, Aštād is a helper and companion, ayār and hamkār, of Amurdād (Amərətāt-); together, Amurdād, Aštād, and Zāmyād reckon the good and bad deeds of the souls of men arriving at the Činwad bridge at the end of time (Bundahišn, p. 37.10-14; tr. p. 43). In Pahlavi texts Aštād is associated with Mihr, Rašn, Dēn, and also with Wāy. Together with Nēryōsang, Srōš, Mihr, Rašn, Wahrām and Xwarrah, Aštād assists the hero Pēšyōtan, son of Kay Wištāsp (Zand ī Wahman Yasn 7. 19-20, 28; ed. B. T. Anklesaria, Zand î Vohûman Yasn . . ., Bombay, 1957, pp. 60-61, 65). In the Ardā Wīrāz-nāmag 5.3, Aštād is mentioned as standing next to the Činwad bridge, together with Mihr, Rašn, Way, and Wahrām, and with the Xwarrah ī Dēn, the Frawahrs of the ahlawān, the other mēnōg being; here its epithet frēh-dādār ī gēhān reflects the Avestan frādaṱ.gaēθā- of Yt. 10.139 (rather than varədaṱ.gaēθā- and savō.gaēθā- as Ph. Gignoux, Le livre d’Ardā Vīrāz, Paris, 1984, p. 158 n. 3), elsewhere rendered in Pahlavi as frāz-dādār ī gēhān (see AirWb., col. 1014).

Arštāt-/Aštād is the deity of the 26th day of the month.

See also Aštād Yašt.

 

Bibliography:

See also Avesta, tr. Darmesteter, II, pp. 611ff.

Gray, Foundations, pp. 136-37.

(G. Gnoli)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 17, 2011

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