DUŽYĀIRYA (Av.; OPers. dušiyāra; AirWb., col. 759; Kent, Old Persian, p. 192), a compound (Duchesne-Guillemin, 1936, pp. 145, 192) meaning basically “bad year” or “bad harvest,” attested only in Tištar Yašt (Yt. 8), a hymn dedicated to the star Sirius (Tištriia) that incorporates the myth of the liberation of the waters. The compound occurs both as a neuter noun (8.36) and as a feminine adjective (here bahuvrihi, lit., “whose year is bad”) applied to a pairikā “witch” (8.51, 8.54-55) and is conceived as the antithesis to huiiāiriia- “good year” (Duchesne-Guillemin, 1936, p. 189). This opposition is explicit in Yašt 8.36 and 8.51: After a description of the battle between Tištriia and the demon Apaoša there is an account of the astral combat between the fixed stars, guided by Sirius, and the shooting stars (pairikā or stārō kərəmå) led by Pairikā Dužiiāiriiā, sent by Aŋra Mainyu (see AHRIMAN) to overthrow the cosmic order and bring drought (Panaino, 1986b). The opposition is further confirmed by the expression yā dužiiāiriia yąm maṧiiāka auui dužuuacaŋhō huiiāiriiąm nąma aojaite “the bad-year witch, whom, contrarily, evil-speaking men call by the name good-year.” This formula, which has also been interpreted differently (Benveniste, 1938; Panaino, 1986a; idem, 1990b, pp. 139, 141), must nevertheless imply an apotropaic usage in which the witch of the bad year is referred to as “that of the good year” (cf. Christensen, pp. 14-15). According to Yašt 8.54-55, the earthly havoc wreaked by the Pairikā Dužiiāiriiā would have been substantial if Tištriia had not defeated her (on “the linking god” and the symbolism of the nodes in this episode, see Éliade, p. 18).

In the inscription DPd (13-24) three calamities are mentioned: hāinā- (a hostile army), dušiyāra-, and drauga- (a lie), in order to avoid which Darius invokes Ahura Mazdā. In Yašts 8.56-61 and 14.48-53 the god is invoked to prevent his Aryan countries from being stricken by any of the following calamities (Panaino, 1987; 1991): hāena “hostile forces,” vōiγna “famine,” pąma “leprosy,” kapastiš “plague,” haēniiōraθō, “enemy chariot,” and uzgərəptō drafšō “the banner (of war) fluttering on high” (cf. Yt. 8.54-56). This type of formula, which has been explained by Georges Dumézil and Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin (1972, pp. 59-60) as reflecting the tripartite ideology, has been connected by Gherardo Gnoli (pp. 67-68) instead with several supplication formulas characteristic of the Meso-potamian tradition (e.g., in the Assyrian and Mari inscriptions).

As for Middle Persian Manichean dwšyʾryy (Šābuhragān M477 V14), compared by Duchesne-Guillemin (1936, p. 40) to Old Persian dušiyāra-, W. B. Henning (p. 171) preferred the interpretation dwšwʾryy “misfortune.” Mary Boyce (Reader, p. 79 n. to par. 11) accepted, though with doubts, the original reading dwšyʾryy (dušyārī; cf. Boyce, 1977, p. 37) and translated the passage in question (ʾwd dwšyʾryy ʾwd nyxrwst cnʾnd) “and they (i.e., surviving humanity) will shake-off famine (?) and reproaches. . . .” D. N. MacKenzie (1979, p. 508 l. 134) also read dwšy(ʾryy) as “famine” (1980, p. 304).


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

E. Benveniste, “Une différenciation de vocabulaire dans l’Avesta,” in W. Wüst, ed., Studia Indo-Iranica. Ehrengabe für Wilhelm Geiger zur Vollendung des 75. Lebens-jahres 1856-21. Juli-1931, Leipzig, 1931, pp. 219-26.

Idem, “Traditions indo-iraniennes sur les classes sociales,” JA 230, 1938, pp. 529-49.

M. Boyce, A Word-List of Manichaean Middle Persian and Parthian, Acta Iranica 9a, Tehran and Liège, 1977.

W. Brandenstein and M. Mayrhofer, Handbuch des Altpersischen, Wiesbaden, 1964.

A. Christensen, Essai sur la démonologie iranienne, Copenhagen, 1941.

J. Duschesne-Guillemin, Études de morphologie iranienne. Les composés de l’Avesta, Liège and Paris, 1936.

Idem, “La religion des Achéménides,” in G. Walser, Beiträge zur Achämenidengeschichte, Wiesbaden, 1972, pp. 59-82.

G. Dumézil, “Les ‘trois fonctions’ dans le ṚgVeda et les dieux indiens de Mitani,” Bulletin de l’Académie Royale de Belgique, 5th sér., 47, 1961, pp. 265-98.

M. Éliade, “Le ‘dieu lieur’ et le symbolisme des noeuds,” RHR 134, 1947-48, pp. 5-36.

G. Gnoli, “Politica religiosa e concezione della regalità sotto gli Achemenidi,” in Guru-rājamañjarikā. Studi in onore di Giuseppe Tucci I, Naples, 1975, pp. 23-88; tr. as “Politique religieuse et conception de la royauté sous les Achéménides,” in Commémoration Cyrus. Hommage universel II, Acta Iranica 2, Tehran and Liège, 1974, pp. 117-90.

L. H. Gray, “The ‘Ahurian’ and ‘Daevian’ Vocabularies in the Avesta,” JRAS, 1927, pp. 427-41.

Idem, The Foundations of the Iranian Religions, Bombay, 1929, p. 205.

W. B. Henning, “Das Verbum des Mittelpersischen der Turfanfrag-mente,” ZII, 1933, pp. 158-253; repr. in W. B. Henning, Selected Papers I, Acta Iranica 14, Tehran and Liège, 1977, pp. 65-160.

W. Hinz, Neue Wege im Altpersischen, Wiesbaden, 1973.

D. N. MacKenzie, “Mani’s Šābuhragān,” BSOAS 42/3, 1979, pp. 500-34; 43/2, 1980, pp. 288-310.

A. Panaino, “Un’espressione avestica per indicare il doppio linguaggio degli adoratori dei daēva,” Atti del Sodalizio Glottologico Milanese 26, 1986a, pp. 20-24.

Idem, “Tištrya e la stagione delle piogge,” ACME, Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell’Università degli Studi di Milano 39/1, January-April 1986b, pp. 125-33.

Idem, “hāinā-, dušiyāra-, drauga-. Un confronto antico-persiano avestico,” Atti del Sodalizio Glottologico Milanese 27, 1987, pp. 95-102.

Idem, “Sulla supposta dipendenza di Yašt VIII da Yašt XIV,” in G. Gnoli and A. Panaino, eds., Proceedings of the First European Conference of Iranian Studies I. Old and Middle-Iranian Studies, Rome, 1990a, pp. 239-51.

Idem, Tištrya I. The Avestan Hymn to Sirius, Rome, 1990b.

Idem, “Ancora sulle tre calamitá,” Atti del Sodalizio Glottologico Milanese 32, 1991, pp. 70-83.

O. G. von Wesendonk, Das Weltbild der Iranier, Munich, 1933, p. 131.

(Antonio Panaino)

Originally Published: December 15, 1996

Last Updated: December 2, 2011

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