DŪRĀSRAW, according to the Pahlavi tradition the name of two legendary personages in the history of Zoroastrianism. The Pahlavi spelling dwlʾ- or dwlyd-slwbˈ is ambiguous (despite Pazand Durāsro) and points to an Avestan original, either *Dūrā- or, more likely, *Dūraēsrauuah-, literally “far-famed” (cf. Av. Dūraēsrūta-).

1. One of the three sons of Mānuščihr (Av. Manuščiθra-), king of Ērān. In the Bundahišn (TD2, pp. 230-37; tr. Anklesaria, chaps. 35.15, 35.37, 35.52, 35A.3-4, pp. 294-303) his brothers are named as *Fraš and Nōdar (Av. *Naotara-). Through his son Raǰan and his grandson Ayazim, he was the ancestor of Spitāma and thus in the thirteenth generation of Zoroaster; through his grandson *Frašn of *Frānag (Av. *Frə̄ni-), who married Kay Kawād, he was the begetter of the Kayanian dynasty and of Waxš, ancestor of the family of mobeds including Ādurbād ī Māraspandān (see ĀDURBĀD Ī MAHRSPANDĀN). In Ṭabarī (I, p. 533) the name appears as Dwrsrw b. Manūšihr but is also corrupted as Xwrʾsrw (I, p. 681; tr., IV, p. 77), probably via *Jūrāsraw, based on a misreading of the Pahlavi form as *ywl-. In Bīrūnī (Āṯār, p. 104) it is reduced to Dwrsr and in Masʿūdī (Morūj II, p. 124) augmented to Dwrwsrwr. In some redactions of the Šāh-nama (e.g., ed. Mohl, I, p. 178; ed. Vullers, I, pp. 141, 215) his place as son of Manūčihr is taken by Zarā/ăsp.

2. According to the Zoroaster legend in Book 7 of the Dēnkard (ed. Madan, pp. 614-22; ed. Dresden, pp. 345-37; Molé, pp. 26-37), the name of an evil karb priest (Av. karapan-) famed as a sorcerer and dēw worshiper, consulted by Zoroaster’s father, Pōrušasp, about the miracles occurring at his son’s birth. Dūrāsraw conceived a bitter hatred for the future prophet and persuaded Pōrušasp to kill the baby, first by cremating him, then by having him trampled by oxen and afterward by horses, and finally by having him thrown into the lair of a she-wolf whose cubs had been killed. Each time Zoroaster was miraculously saved. When the boy was seven years old Dūrāsraw came to his home, with another karb named Brādrōrēš, intending to damage the mind of the lad but was again foiled. When about to render sacrifice to the dēws, Dūrāsraw was three times stupefied by the prophet. He then fled, but, after covering some leagues, died, apparently as a result of his semen’s bursting through his skin and his side’s breaking open and becoming detached from his thighs. In the late, apocryphal Wizīrkard ī dēnīg (31-40; Molé, pp. 124-31) this legend is corrupted.


Bibliography: (For cited works not found in this bibliography and abbreviations found here, see “Short References.”)

Ferdawsī, Šāh-nāma, ed. J. A. Vullers as Firdusii Liber Regum..., 3 vols., Leiden, 1877-84.

Justi, Namenbuch, p. 87.

M. Molé, La légende de Zoroastre, Paris, 1967.

(D. N. MacKenzie)

Originally Published: December 15, 1996

Last Updated: December 2, 2011

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Vol. VII, Fasc. 6, p. 596