DEŽ-E SAFĪD (White fortress), Iranian fortress located near the border with Tūrān and conquered by Sohrāb, son of the Iranian hero Rostam by the Turanian princess Tahmīna. Sohrāb, searching for his father, advanced into Iran and arrived at this fortress, which was guarded by another Iranian hero, Hojīr. Hojīr came out alone to fight Sohrāb but was defeated and taken prisoner. Then Gordāfarīd, Goždaham’s daughter (see below), put on armor and advanced on Sohrāb, but she was defeated and captured. Sohrāb, however, realized that she was a woman and released her. He then took possession of the fortress and plundered it (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, II, pp. 130-37).
The guardianship of Dež-e Safīd seems to have been in the hands of the Goždaham family. According to some manuscripts of the Šāh-nāma, Goždaham was the castellan (kūtvāl) of this fortress during the above-mentioned episode (ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 130 n. 1). He seems to have held the same post (deždār) from as early as the reign of the Kayanian king Nōḏar (Šāh-nāma, ed. Mohl, I, p. 408 vv. 331-32; cf. ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 305 v. 306). After the murder of the Iranian prince Sīāvaš, on the order of Afrāsīāb, the Iranian hero Gīv, son of Gūdarz, was sent on a secret mission to Tūrān to find Kay Ḵosrow, son of Sīāvaš, and bring him to Iran. Gīv succeeded in locating the young prince and his mother, Farangīs. On the journey to Iran they crossed the river Oxus (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, II, pp. 419-50) and, according to one tradition, arrived at Dež-e Safīd, where Gostaham, son of Goždaham, lived, apparently also as castellan (Šahmardān, p. 325; cf. Sāh-nāma, ed. Moscow, II, p. 182 vv. 175-76; ed. Khaleghi, p. 130 n. 12).
(For citated works not given in detail, see “Short References.”) Šahmardān b. Abi’l-Ḵayr, Nozhat-nāma-ye ʿalāʾī, ed. F. Jahān-pūr, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.
Originally Published: December 15, 1995
Last Updated: November 22, 2011
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Vol. VII, Fasc. 4, p. 350