(“week”), history of the calendar week in Iran.


HAFTA “week.”

The Sumerians and the Babylonians apparently were the first people to observe the relation of time with the movements of the stars and planets, and to divinize some of them and associate time divisions with them. The major Babylonian astronomical groupings of seven and twelve were well known in pre-Islamic Iran (see ASTROLOGY AND ASTRONOMY, and ZODIAC), but it is generally believed that the notion of the seven-day week did not exist there, or at least is not attested in any remaining texts. The Zoroastrian calendar (see CALENDARS i.), which is based on twelve months of thirty days, all named after divinities, does not use weeks. The internal structure of the month is divided into four parts, each starting with the name or a title of Ahura Mazdā. The first two are groups of seven days, and the last two are groups of eight days. This division does not fit with the Babylonian seven-day week, which is still used in modern times.

Although the week was not officially recognized in Sasanian Iran, because of the use of the Zoroastrian calendar, there are hints that the notion of the seven-day week was well known. Sasanian music is described in Islamic sources as comprised of seven ḵosrowāni “royal modes,” each played on its particular day of the week; a ḵoswrowāni comprised 30 melodies, and each melody 360 notes (Christensen, Iran. Sass.²., p. 485; cf. BĀRBAD). Thus week divisions are attributed to the sixth-century reigns. Another evidence comes from the game of nard, a form of backgammon credited to the Sasanian sage Bozorgmehr-e Boḵtagān, which expressed the movements of the heavens (see ZODIAC; Panaino, 1999). The board game is comprised of 30 game pieces representing 30 days: 30 black pieces for night, 30 white pieces for day. The board itself is divided into 24 holes, the holes are the place of the pieces representing in this way 24 hours of the day. There are two dice. Each die is a cube, with each side representing a number from 1 to 6 and the sum of any two opposite sides equaling seven.

The Sogdian calendar. Text evidence from Central Asia indicates that the seven-day week was observed by the Manicheans and the Christian Iranians in pre-Islamic time and supports Biruni’s testimony (see BIRUNI iii. and vi.) about the Sogdian calendar. The latter consisted of twelve months of thirty days each; the name of the days corresponded clearly to those of the Zoroastrian calendar, but the names of the months did not, except for the seventh month βγkʾnc (βaγakānč), the month of baga/Miθra (reminiscent of OPers. Bāgayādiš) and the eighth month ʾʾpʾnc (āpānč), reserved to the water divinity. The seven-day week was used. The day names occur in Western Middle Iranian form in Parthian šmbd (šambad) and dwšmbd (dušambad) (M5569; Boyce, 1975, p. 47), ʾywšmbd (ēwšambad) and dwšmbd (dušambad; M4573; Sundermann 1981, pp. 74-75.1.1055 and 1105). They also occur with the names of the seven planets (Henning, 1936, p. 85; 1945; Chavannes and Pelliot, 1911-13).

The Manicheans used a solar and lunar calendar, as shown in the Parthian text dating the death of Mani (see below). Mani was of Iranian origin, born and raised in Mesopotamia, i.e., Asuristān (see ĀSŌRISTĀN), the southwestern province of the Sasanian Empire. In this region many different sects of Christians, Judeo-Christians, and gnostics intermingled with the practitioners of ancient Babylonian worship of the stars. In Mani’s time (3rd century CE) the Sabeans were the heirs of the ancient Babylonian practice. They used the seven-day week and named the days after the planets, attributing their attributes to the corresponding days. Mani and his followers likewise used the seven-day week and planetary day names.

The weekdays of the Manichean Sogdians are as follows:

1. myr, myhr jmnw, (ʿ)yw šmbyd (Sunday):

1.1. /mīr/ is the name of the god Miθra/Mehr, in a form not originally Sogdian, borrowed from another neighboring Eastern Middle Iranian language, probably Bactrian.

1.2. /mihr jam(a)nu/ or /mehr žamanu/ “time (i.e., day) of Mehr.” The name Mehr is borrowed from a Western Middle Iranian language, most probably Parthian.

Mithra/mehr was considered as the sun because of some of their common attributes, although they were originally distinct (see MITHRA). This was especially conspicuous in Eastern Iranian texts, where mīr and xwar were both used for the eleventh day of the month attested in Biruni’s account and in Sogdian texts. This usage contrasts with the Zoroastrian calendar, in which xwar/xīr is the eleventh day and mehr the sixteenth day of the month. In Sogdian the sixteenth day of the month was called myš(y), nom. /miši/, the originally Sogdian form of “Miθra” (with the change of *θr > š). Bīrūnī has maxš, corrected by Henning (1939, p. 94).

1.3. (ʿy)w šmbyd, /ēw šambē∂/, i šmbyd, with different spellings [roman numerals indicate a numeric sign], used in the Manichean Fasts (Henning, 1945, p. 149, 4.13; p. 151, 8, 21; p. 153.2). This word also occurs in the Christian Chinese stele inscription at Ch'ang-ngan (Si-ngan-fu) rendered yao-sen-wen in the formula for Sunday, 4 February 781 (Chavannes and Pelliot, 1913, p. 164).

2. mʾx jmnw, ii šmbyd (Monday):

2.1. /māx/ is the Sogdian word for “moon” (also “month,” as in other Iranian languages). /māx žam(a)nu/ “time [i.e., day] of the moon.” This world is attested in locative case mʾx jmnwyʾ /māxžam(a)nuyā/ “on Monday” (Henning, 1945, p. 155, no. 6) and as an adjective mʾx jmncyk /māx žamančīk/ (Henning, 1936, p. 85.724). Sunday and Monday are both present in a text (Henning, 1945, p. 154, No. 5): pr myhr mʾx jmnw mrsysn ymsqyy βwt /par mihr māx žamanu marsīsin yimki βōt/ “On Sunday and Monday, the yamki [see FESTIVALS ii, s.v. Yimki] of Mar Sīsinus is.”

2.2. /∂wā šambē∂/ is a borrowed word, probably from Parthian (Henning, 1945, p. 149.9). “Two” is written as a number (Gharib, 1998, p. 23).

In Sogdian the twelfth day of the month was called / māx rōč/.

3. wnxʾn, iii šmybd, wšγnyy (Tuesday):

3.l. Sogdian /wanxān/ corresponding to Middle Persian *wahrān /warhrān/. Henning (1936, p. 85; and 1945, p. 154, No. 3; Gershevitch, 1954, p. 257) derived it from Old Iranian wṛθraγna, Avesta vərəθraγna, name of the ancient Indo-Iranian god of victory (see BAHRĀM), corresponding to Pers. Bahrām, the name of the planet Mars in Iranian literature.

3.2. The planet Mars is also called wšγnyy /wəšaγni/ in Sogdian, a direct descendent of vr…θraγna (with *θr > š). The name wšγnyy βγyy /wəšaγnī βaγi/ is used for a god who in Manichean texts is the third son of Mehryazd (Spritus Vivens). He is the Adamas of Light, the warrior god fighting with the cosmic ocean’s monster, reflecting the role of the Indian Vr…trahan. Biruni’s wxšγr is corrected by Henning to wxšγn and wšγn /wəšaγn/ (Henning, 1936, p. 86). The name wšγny rwc /wəšaγnī rōč/ designates the twentieth day of the month. Thus also wšγnʾʾ rwcyy /wəšaγnā rōčī/, with the prior word from the genitive case form, Av. vərəθraγnahe (Gershevitch, 1954, pp. 404, 409).

3.3. /še šambē∂/, sometimes spelled šmbd(yy) /šambad(i)/ (Gharib, 1998, pp. 23-24). “Three” is written as a number (Henning, 1945a, pp. 149.2, 151.18, 153.1).

4. *tyr, iiii šmbyd (Wednesday):

4.1. /tīr/ is the name of the planet Mercury. Although not seen in Sogdian texts for “Wednesday,” we can find its trace as a loan in Uighur and Chinese texts (see below). 4.2. /čar∂a-šambē∂/ is attested in Sogdian texts for Wednesday. The spelling is sometimes šmby∂. “Four” is written as a number (Henning, 1945, p. 149.6, 18, 20). The reading of čar∂a is confirmed by comparison with other compounds, such as čar∂(a)pā∂u “quadupēds.

It is interesting that the name of the thirteenth day of the month in Sogdian is tyš /tīš/ derived from Av. tištrya, which is the constellation Sirius. A. Panaino (1995, II, pp. 49-59) discusses the function and etymology of tištrya, and the importance of its cult since antiquity, comparing Sumerian KAK-SI-SA´ “the star of archer’s weapon.” It seems that tištrya was associated with “arrow” in many Near Eastern cults. The shooting of the arrow of Āraš (tīr-e Āraš), the most skillful archer of the Aryans, is also compared with the movement of tištṛya. According to Biruni, the day of tīr (13th day of the month of the same name) called tīragān was celebrated in Iran in memory of the heroic act of Āraš. The confusion of tīr/Mercury and tištṛya/Sirius derives from this background (Gharib, 1998, pp. 24-27).

5. wrmzd jmnw, pnc/žšmbyd (Thursday):

5.1. Sogdian urmazd is the name of the planet Jupiter; followed by jmnw, it is used for Thursday: /urmazd žamnu/ “day of Jupiter”; followed by rwc, xwrmztʾrwc /xurmazdā rōč/ represents the first day of the month (as in the Zoroastrian calendar); followed by βγ, xwrmztʾʾ βγyy /xurmaztā βaγi/ is the name of the god “Primal Man” corresponding to Mid. Pers. hormizd bay.

5.2. /panj šambē∂/ panj šamba∂/ is a loanword from Middle Persian used in the Sogdian text of Manichean Fasts (Henning, 1945, written pncšmbyd, no. 1, p. 149.2, 11, 17, 18, 20; pncšmb∂y, no. 3, p. 153.31; no. 4, p. 154.14; written pnžšmb∂(yy) /panžšamba∂/ in p. 151, no. 2.5; p. 152.24; p. 153. no. 4.14 (Henning, 1936, p. 84; Gharib, 1995, nos. 10165, 10166, 10754, 10755, 6901 and 1998, pp. 27-28).

6. nʾxy∂, ʾʾdyng (Friday):

6.1 /nāxī∂/ is the name of the planet Venus. It is not seen for “Friday” in Sogdian texts, but its existence can be proved from the loanword in Uighur and in Chinese text (see below). Sogdian /nāxī∂/ is probably a loanword from Middle Persian, as Old Iranian anāhīta (see ANĀHID) would give a Sogdian /nāxīt/ with final /t/ (Gharib, 1995, no. 5836). Khwarazmian has /nāhīč/.

6.2 /ā∂ēnē/ also is a loanword from Middle Persian, used in the Manichean Fasts (Henning, 1945) written with different spellings (ʾʾdynʾh: p. 141, no. 1.4.14; ʾʾdyng: p. 151.153, also ʾʾddyng in Kundara et al., 1997, p. 197).

The Sogdian calendar has conserved Venus for the name of a weekday, but not for the name of a month (like the Zoroastrian calendar).

7. kywʾn jmnw, šmbyd (Saturday):

7.1 /kēwān/ of Akkadian kaiwānu (Mackenzie, 1964, p. 512) is the name of the planet Saturn. It is also observed in a non-Manichean Sogdian text in relation with the eclipse of the sun (Benveniste, 1940, p. 234). Kēwān followed by jmnw is used for Saturday: /kēwān žamnu/ (the day of Saturn). In a Manichean text noticed by Henning (1945, p. 484), it is used in locative case: xww kywʾn jmnyʾ pr my∂∂ zʾy šnyy... xwʾc rʾf frwy∂∂t (xō kēwān žamnyā par meθ, zāy šane... xwāč rāf frāwē∂) “when there is an earthquake on a Saturday during the day, illness and sickness will attack.” Some other examples given by Sims-Williams (1996, p. 79) demonstrate the influence of the Babylonian astrology.

7.2 Šmbyd /šambē∂/ is attested in the text of Manichean Fasts with different spellings (Henning, 1945, p. 149.3, 8 and p. 151.6.7, 16). It is also found in Christian Sogdian with the spelling šbt /šaβat/ and šmbd /šamβa∂/ (Gharib, 1995, nos. 9191, 9283).

A notable feature of the nomenclature is that, to indicate a weekday’s relation to a planet, the planetary name was used followed by jmnw /žamnau/ “time” (see nos. 1, 2, and 5, above), while for a day of the month, the name was followed by rwc /rōč/ “day” (cf. OPers. raučah-, Av. raočah-, Mid. Pers. rōz). However, the common Sogdian word for “day” is my∂ /meθ/.

The seven-day week is noted in Manichean texts written in Western Middle Iranian (Parthian and Middle Persian), but the planetary week is not. We have ēw šambad “Sunday” and du šambad “Monday” in Parthian texts (Sundermann 1981, p. 75). Du šambad and šambad are also observed in the Parthian text commemorating Mani’s death: cfʾr sxt šhryywr mʾh, šhrywr rwc, dw šmbt ʾwd ʾywnds jmʾn (čafār saxt šahrēwar māh šahrēwar rōč dušambad ud ēwavdas žamān) “four days past the month of Šahrēwar, the day of Šahrēwar, Monday at eleven hour” (Boyce, 1975, p. 47, text P). M. Boyce thinks that Monday the fourth of Addaru in the Babylonian calendar was mechanically rendered as Šahrēwar, which corresponded to Addaru in 274/277 CE. In the same text, part 4, šb ce šmbt šab čē šambad “the night of Saturday” can be seen.

The planetary week was introduced in China by the Manichean Sogdians with the original Iranian names of the planets (Chavannes and Pelliot, 1913, pp. 100-302). The oldest recorded document was written in 764 by Yan-king-fu, where the weekdays are named in Iranian—in the language of Hu as called by the Chinese, which later M. F. K. Müller proved to be Sogdian (Müller, 1907; Chavannes and Pelliot, 1913, p. 166). In the Chinese calendar of the ninth and tenth centuries the names of the seven planets are noted as corresponding to the seven days of the week, Sunday is marked in red. This shows clearly the cultural influence of the Sogdian immigrants in Chinese astronomical documents, starting from the T’ang dynasty and continuing later. Müller’s reconstruction of these words indicates a dating prior to the time evidenced in written texts; that is, the borrowing occurred before the eighth century. Thus Chin. mi < *m’it/m’ir reflects Sogdian mīr for Sunday; mo < *mak, Sogdian māx for Monday; Yun-han < * ’wnx’n, Sogdian wanxān for Tuesday; Tie < *t’et, t’er, Sogdian tīr for Wednesday; Wen-mosseu < *’ywn-mwyt/mwyr-sy, hu-mu-si, Sogdian urmazd for Thursday; Na-hie < *na-h’et, Sogdian nāxī∂ for Friday; Ki’-huan < *ke’-γuan, Sogdian kēwān for Saturday (Müller, 1907; Chavannes-Pelliot, 1913, p. 166).

The Uighurs borrowed the planetary week from the Sogdians, as well as the Sogdian writing system; their planetary week was: mīr, māx, wanxān, tir, urmüzd, naxid and kiwan.

The seven-day week in the West. Thus we can see how the notion of the week, and especially the planetary week, was transferred eastward from its birthplace in Mesopotamia, with Iranian-speaking peoples as intermediaries. To the west, the planetary week spread with its use in the Mithras cult, each day with the name of the planet and having its own function and its proper metal. Mithraism was an originally Iranian cult (see MITHRA i. on the importance of the Zoroastrian yazata, with reference to his yašt hymn in the Avesta); it became mixed with many Mesopotamian, Anatolian, and Greek concepts and rituals and was introduced in the Roman Empire by way of east-west commerce, cultural exchange, and warfare. It is generally assumed that the cult of Mithras made its influence felt mainly in the towns adjoining the military camps, where many soldiers and slaves of Oriental origin lived (Cumont, 1956).

The seven planets also protected the seven grades of Mithraic initiation. (1) The grade of Raven (Corax) plays the role of the messenger who comes to entrust Mithras with his mission. He was protected by Mercury/Hermes, the messenger of Zeus/Jupiter. (2) The grade of Bride (Nymphus) was protected by Venus. According to Vermaseren (1963, p. 143) the nymphus represents the elements of water reflecting the symbol of Av. Arədvī Sūrā Anāhītā. (3) The grade of Soldier (Miles) was under the particular patronage of Mars, the god of war, reflecting the title of Mithras “deus invictus,” corresponding to the Iranian role of Miθra who secures victory to his followers. (4) The grade of Lion (Leo) was protected by Jupiter/Zeus; one of his symbols is the thunderbolt of Jupiter. (5) The grade of Persian (Persica) was protected by the moon (where the semen of the slain bull is purified). His symbol shows the crescent moon. (6) The grade of Courier of the Sun (Heliodromus) is protected by Sun/Helios. His symbol shows the sun daily traversing the heavens in his chariot. (7) The grade of Father (Pater) is protected by Saturn/Kronos. His main symbol is the Phrygian cap of Mithras (Vermaseren, 1963, p. 153).

Mithraism was spread to the Latin- and Germanic-speaking regions of the empire where the planetary week was first adopted in the West. The Latin-speaking nations adopted the seven-day week with the names of the planet/god, except for the holy days—thus Latin lunae dies, Martis dies, Mercurii dies, Jovis dies, and Veneris dies (whence, e.g., French lundi, mardi, mercredi, jeudi, vendredi). The nations of Germanic-speakers replaced the names of Roman gods with those of their own divinities, which accordingly became the names of the weekdays. Thus English has Sunday (the day of the Sun); Monday (the day of the Moon); Tuesday attributed to the German god Tiwas (a god of the sky); Wednesday attributed to Wodan, Scandinavian Odin (a god of hunting); Thursday (German Donnerstag) attributed to Donar, representing the thunder, symbol of Jupiter; and Saturday attributed to Saturn (exception of Friday). It may be assumed that the changing of the names of the days was followed by the adaptation of the Mithraic cult by these peoples (Davidson, 1978, pp. 99, 110).

Islamic period. After the adoption of Islam and the introduction of the Arabic lunar year and seven-day week in the official Iranian calendar, the planetary week was revived in astrological texts written either in Arabic or Persian, mainly by Iranian writers. Among Persian writings, the most important work is the Ketāb al-tafhim of Biruni (973). Among the Arabic writings, the work of Abū Maʿšar Balḵi, Ketāb al-madḵal al-kabir “A great introduction” (comp. 850), is of great importance (D. Pingree, EIr. I/4, 1983, p. 337). He was influenced by the astronomical conception of the Sabeans of Harrān, in which individual stars have particular power, each over a certain quality, humor, color, taste, etc. Abu Maʿšar expanded the astrological theory of the Harranians, and his work became the basic handbook of astrology not only for Islam, but also, through various translations, for Byzantium and Western Europe (ibid., pp. 337-38). He also wrote about talismans used in the planetary temples. The astral magic of the Sabeans of Harrān seems to have a mythical connection with old Iranian sagas. H. Corbin (1980, p. 144 and 1983, p. 20) remarks on the influence of Sabean astral magic on early Arab and Persian writers (cited in Vessel, 1995, pp. 7-12), and M. Moʿin (1959) mentions the influence of Sabeans and Babylonian astrology on Neẓāmi’s Haft Peykar (see below).

Astral beliefs introduced the planetary week into the astronomical and astrological writings, and Persian literary works also were affected. Three poets mention the planetary week in their poems. Masʿud Saʿd-e-Salman (1046-1121 CE) was probably the first poet to notice the relation of each day with its planet (Gharib, 1998, p. 11).

Neẓāmī Ganjavī (1141-1209) in his masterpiece Haft Peykar “Seven portraits” (ed. V. Dastgerdi, Tehran, 1962, pp. 600-835) depicted a romantic period of the Sasanian King Bahrām Gōr (r. 420-38), who decided to build seven cupolas (haft gonbad) for seven princesses, his wives. Bahrām wanted to revive the memory of the seven portraits he had seen in a palace when living as a young boy under tutorship of the Lakhmid ruler (see HIRA), Noʿmān; and by doing this he hoped to conquer seven countries, a destiny accorded to him by the auspicious symbolism of the seven planets. In the beginning of the romance Neẓāmi gives the identities of the princesses (ed., pp. 683-84; Gharib, 1998, p. 12, no. 12), who were from India, China, Byzantium (Rome), Ḵʷārazm, the Slavic countries, Maghreb, and Iran—that is, the “seven climes” thought to comprise the whole civilized world. Seven residences are also mentioned in a Pahlavi text (Šahristānhā ī Ērān 6) in relation with seven mythic kings of Sogdiana (Soḡda haft ašiyān: Kia, 1975).

Bahrām asked his architect, who was also an astronomer, to build the seven cupolas (pp. 684-90). The latter built seven cupolas which reflected the natures of the seven planets: a black cupola in harmony with Saturn; a yellow one in harmony with the Sun; a green one in harmony with the Moon; a red one in harmony with Mars; a blue one in harmony with Mercury; a sandal-color one in harmony with Jupiter; and a white one in harmony with Venus. The princesses were free to choose their own color cupola (Gharib, 1998, pp. 13-14). Each day of the week Bahrām went to see one of the princesses and asked her to tell a story.

1. On Saturday Bahrām went to the black cupola to salute the Indian princess (ed., p. 691). The color of the cupola is indicated by comparison with the black tunic of the deacon or the flag of the Abbasids (Gharib, 1998, p. 14). The name of the planet is mentioned in preceding verses (p. 690; Gharib, 1998, p. 13), where Saturn (keyvān) is compared to the black musk.

2. On Sunday Bahrām went to the yellow cupola dressed in yellow, wearing the golden crown of the Sun and bringing the golden cup of Jamšid. The identity of the princess is not indicated, but she must be Persian, according to the attributes of Jamšid, the mythical king of Iran and his comparison with the Sun (xoršid), recalling his old Indo-Iranian origin, and his cup Jām-e Jam, a very common motif in Persian literature. In previous verses she is described as of Kayanid blood or as daughter of Kasrā [Ḵosrow] (p. 683; Gharib, 1998, pp. 14-15).

3. On Monday Bahrām went to the green cupola dressed all in green like a garden angel, under a green parasol lifted toward the Moon. Here also the identity of the princess is not mentioned. She might be a Byzantine lady, as her story takes place in Rome (p. 730; Gharib 1998, p. 15).

4. On Tuesday Bahrām went to the red cupola, dressed in red, to see the rose-faced Slavic lady (p. 737; Gharib, 1998, p. 15). He uses the name of the day consecrated to the planet Mars (ruz-e Bahrām).

5. On Wednesday Bahrām went to the blue cupola, dressed in turquoise color (p. 737; Gharib, 1998, p. 15). The name of the planet Mercury (tir) is indicated in the preceding verse, in connection with its stone, turquoise (Gharib, 1998, p. 16). The identity of the princess is not mentioned. As her story takes place in Egypt and as one of Bahrām’s wives is from Maghreb, the princess might be from Egypt or another region in North Africa. We should not forget that Tištrya has an outstanding role in Egyptian astronomy.

6. On Thursday Bahrām went to the sandal-colored cupola to drink wine from the hand of the Chinese beauty and to ask her to tell a story. Thursday is a lucky day and its prosperity comes from Jupiter (Hormazd/Moštari; pp. 772-73; Gharib, 1998, pp. 16-17).

7. On Friday Bahrām dressed in white, went to the white cupola of Venus (Nāhid /Zohra), the “station of the fifth clime” (p. 789). Here also the identity of the princess is not mentioned. As one of the seven wives of Bahrām comes from Ḵʷārazm, the lady of the white cupola is probably from Eastern Iran, some Oriental or Central Asian region. She is described “as born at dawn” (sepīdehdam-zāda; Gharib, 1998, p. 17).

Corbin thought that the seven cupolas of Neẓāmi symbolized the seven Babylonian temples and that Bahrām’s visit to each cupola on the day consecrated to its planet is a reminiscence of the Sabean cult and its invocations of the planets (cited in Vessel, 1995, p. 8, n. 6). The seven colors could be a reminder of the seven colors of the ramparts of ancient Ecbatana (in Herodotus, 1.98); the latter have been interpreted in relationship with seven planets (in Rawlinson, 1841, p. 127).

The third poet to use the planetary week was Amir Ḵosrow Dehlavi (1253-1325), in his poetical romance Hašt behešt “the eight paradises,” which is an imitation of Neẓāmi’s work. He mentions the same relationship of the weekdays with the planets, but the color of the cupola connected to Mercury is violet and the lady is a Roman, while the princess of the red cupola is of Tātār origin (Gharib, 1998, p. 16).

Persian prose works of Neẓāmi’s time about the stars and planets include Nozhat-nāma-ye ʿAlaʾi by Šahmardān b. Abil-ḵeyr (ed. F. Jahānpur, Tehran, 1983) and Farroḵ-nāma by Jamāli Yazdi (ed. I. Afšār, Tehran, 1967). These all seem to attest a lively interest in the study of the planets in the twelfth century. Thirteenth- and fourteenth-century works in this vein include Navāder al-Tabādor of Šams-al-Din Donyāsari and Nafāyes-al-Fonūn of Šams-al-Din Āmoli.

Among early Persian poets, Ferdowsi in the Šāh-nāma used the Middle Persian form yek-šambad “Sunday,” but gave “Wednesday” as čār-šamba. Farroḵi and Manūčheri used Persian forms for Saturday and Friday, and Manūčheri likewise for Sunday and Wednesday. None of these poets noted any relation between these days and the planets. It is interesting to note that the three poets who described the planetary week passed most of their lives in the marginal regions of the Iranian plateau.


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(Badri Gharib)

Originally Published: July 20, 2009

Last Updated: March 1, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 5, p. 530