GOSTAHAM (< OI.*Vistaxma, "wielder of far-reaching power"; New. Pers. Gostaham, BestÂām; see Justi, Nāmenbuch, pp. 371-72), name of two heroes in the Šāh-nāma.
1. Son of Nōḏar and younger brother of Ṭōs (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 302). Gostaham is first mentioned in the Šāh-nāma in the reign of his father, but his major adventures are in the episodes performed in the reign of Kay Ḵosrow. He is installed by Kay Ḵosrow as the ruler of a part of Turān after its conquest (ibid., IV, p. 306). He is one of the five heroes who accompany Kay Ḵosrow into wilderness until Kay Ḵosrow meets the angel Sorōš and disappears (according to the local tradition, in a cave called Ḡār-e Kay Ḵosrow in Kohgiluya; Enjavi, II, pp. 278, 293-95). They all die in a snow storm on their return journey (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, IV, pp. 365-69). A mountain pass called Molla-ye Bižan in the Kohgiluya district is believed by the local people to be the place where they died (Fārs-nāma, ed. Rastgār, p. 1472; Enjavi, II, p. 174). According to Mojmal al-tawārikò (ed. Bahār, pp. 27, 91), Gostaham had the titles rāst-andāz (sharpshooter) and saḵt-kamān varāz (sharp-shooting paladin). He is probably identical with the Avestan Vistarav (Yt. 5.76, 13.102), descendent of Naotara, i.e., Nōḏar (Darmesteter, II, p. 385).
2. Son of Gaždaham, and brother of Gordāfarid (qq.v.), and one of the paladins of the reign of Kay Ḵosrow (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, III, pp. 11, 35). In the Šāh-nāma, he is presented as the friend of Bižan (q.v.; III, pp. 50-51). Since Gōdarz (q.v.) does not choose him for single combat in the battle of the Dawāzdah Roḵ (q.v.), Gostaham, to purge his name of this disgrace, pursues the two brothers of Pirān, Lahhāk and Faršēd, on his own and kills them. He himself suffers, however, serious injuries and is taken by Bižan to Kay Ḵosrow, who saves his life by tying a panacean bead around his arm (ibid., IV, pp. 135-65).
James Darmesteter, Le Zend-Avesta, 2 vols. in 3, Paris, 1960.
Abu’l-Qāsem Enjavi Širāzi, Mardom wa qahramānān-e Šāh-nāma, n.p., n.d.; repr. as Ferdowsi-nāma: Mardom wa Šāh-nāma, 3 vols., Tehran, 1369 Š./1980.
Ḏabiḥ-Allāh Ṣafā, Ḥamasa-sarāʾi dar Irān, 4th ed., Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, pp. 41, 209, 295, 479-80, 591-92.
Originally Published: December 15, 2002
Last Updated: February 17, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 2, p. 171