FARĪBORZ, son of Key Kāvūs. Ṭabarī (I, p. 605) and Balʿamī (ed. Bahār, I, p. 603) have recorded his name as Borzāfarah, whereas Ebn al-Balḵī (pp. 44-45) has it as Zarāfah. The author of the Mojmal al-tawārīḵ (ed. Bahār, p. 29) refers to him as Borzfarī, which, according to him, Ferdowsī changed to Farīborz in order to fit the meter of the Šāh-nāma. The name Borzāfrah may be related to Barzapharnes, the name of a Parthian general under Pacorus (Debevoise, pp. 110, 112).

According to the Šāh-nāma, upon Kay Ḵosrow’s return to Iran from Tūrān, a conflict developed between Ṭōs, the commander of the army, and Gōdarz (q.v.) over whether Kay Ḵosrow or Farīborz, his uncle, should succeed Kay Kāvūs, his grandfather, as king. Ṭōs maintained that Kay Ḵosrow, as the son of Afrāsīāb’s daughter, was a dangerous choice for the Iranian throne, and together with his family supported Farīborz, while Gōdarz and his family favored Kay Ḵosrow. To settle the dispute, which was about to lead to civil war, Kay Kāvūs proposed that the succession should go to whichever of the two could conquer Dež-e Bahman (q.v.), a fortress near Ardabīl believed to be the abode of demons. Farīborz and Ṭōs failed to take the fortress, but Kay Ḵosrow was able to capture it (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, II, pp. 456-67; Mojmal, ed. Bahār, p. 47).

After Ṭōs disregarded Kay Ḵosrow’s order to avoid Dež-e Kalāt (see FORŪD) and the army of Iran under his command was defeated during the first campaign against Tūrān, Kay Ḵosrow replaced Ṭōs with Farīborz (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, III, pp. 77-102; Ṭabarī, pp. 605-08; Balʿamī, ed. Bahār,I, pp. 603-6). Despite making no progress against Tūrān, Farīborz remained with Kay Ḵosrow’s armies. Farīborz’s most important adventure was his killing of Golbād, the Turanian hero, in a single battle (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, IV, p. 118). Ṭabarī (I, p. 613) and Balʿamī (ed. Bahār, I, p. 613) also refer to this event, adding that Kay Ḵosrow rewarded Farīborz with many gifts and appointed him governor of Kermān and Makrān. According to a spurious account in the Šāh-nāma (Moscow, IV, pp. 315-18), upon Rostam’s encouragement, Farīborz married Kay Ḵosrow’s mother Farangīs (q.v.).

Farīborz is one of the heroes who accompanied Kay Ḵosrow into the desert as far as a spring (locally believed to be Čašma-ye Mešī in Kohgīlūya; Enjavī, II, pp. 292-93), where Kay Ḵosrow met the angel Soroš and disappeared; the heroes all perished in a snow storm on their return journey (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, IV, pp. 365-70). A mountain pass called Molla-ye Bīžan in the Kohgīlūya district is believed by the local population to be the place where the heroes died (Fārs-nāma, ed. Rastgār, p. 1472; Enjavī, II, p. 274).


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

N. C. Debevoise, A Political History of Parthia, New York, 1968.

A. Enjavī, Mardom wa qahramānān-e Šāh-nāma, n.p., n.d.; repr. as Ferdowsī-nāma: Mardom wa Šāh-nāma, 3 vols., Tehran, 1369 Š./1980, II, pp. 276-78, 283-85.

Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 65, 73, 99.

(Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999