ĒWĒNBED (master of manners; ʾdwynpty: KKZ 8, KNRm 25; cf. Gignoux, 1972, p. 15; also read āyēnbed), Pahlavi title attested from the 3rd century C.E. It was conferred by Bahrām II (274-93, q.v.) upon the magus Kirdēr (Gignoux, 1991, pp. 49, 69 n. 132) in connection with the charge of the fire temple of Anāhīd-Ardašīr and the lady Anāhīd at Eṣṭaḵr. As the title is rarely mentioned, the function it represented is difficult to define. It occurs on two bullae in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (Gignoux, 1978, pp. 84 no. 4.2, 85 no. 4.5), where, according to Rika Gyselen (pp. 34-35), the legend, unaccompanied by representations, suggests an administrative seal from the city of Susa (Ērān-Xwarrah-Šābuhr, q.v.), rather than the personal seal of an official.

The title is also known from Syriac sources, in the form ʾynbd/ʾynwd. In the account of Mar Pethion the ainbed is associated with horsemen, which seems to bespeak a military or police function (cf. Hoffmann, pp. 64, 68). In the account of the martyrdom of Mar Abā (Bedjan, p. 228) an ēwēnbed called Kardag is also designated “magus and judge of the empire” (šahr-dādwar). These three functions are apparently those that Kirdēr exercised as hamšahr mowbeduddādwar and ēwēnbed. The function of ēwēnbed has also been connected with the ēwēn-nāmag (book of manners, see ĀʾĪN-NĀMA), which is well attested in the late Pahlavi and Arabic- Persian literature (cf. Dēnkard, ed. Madan, p. 144). Although Gyselen found it impossible to decide between a financial function suggested by the term āyēn, referring to gifts presented on Nowrūz (Christensen, Iran sass., p. 125) and that of archivist, the Syriac sources indicate a religious function, probably involving the safeguarding of traditions.


Bibliography (for works not cited in detail see “Short References”):

P. Bedjan, ed., Histoire de Mar-Jabalaha, de trois autres patriarches, d’un prêtre et de deux laïques nestoriens, Paris, 1895.

P. Gignoux, Glossaire des inscriptions pehlevies et parthes, London, 1972.

Idem, Catalogue des sceaux, camées et bulles sassanides, Paris, 1978.

Idem, “Pour une esquisse des fonctions religieuses sous les Sasanides,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 7, 1986, pp. 93-108.

Idem, Les quatre inscriptions du mage Kirdīr, Studia Iranica, cahier 9, Paris, 1991.

R. Gyselen, La géographie administrative de l’empire sassanide, Paris, 1989.

G. Hoffmann, Auszüge aus Syrischen Akten Persicher Märtyrer, Leipzig, 1880.

(Philippe Gignoux)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: January 20, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 1, pp. 87-88