i. MYTH OF JAMŠID
In the Avesta (q.v.), several myths are associated with Yima. He ruled the world in a golden age; he saved living beings from a natural catastrophe by preserving specimens in his var- (fortress); he possessed the most Fortune (xᵛarənah-, Mid. Pers. xwarrah) among mortals, but lost it and his kingship as a consequence of lying; and he was “cut” (in half?) by an evil being. The Middle Persian literature has preserved additional myths: Jam and the New Year’s Day festival (Nowruz), Jam and his sister, Jam’s hybris, Jam and Dahāg (New Pers. Żaḥḥāk), and others; the Zoroastrian and Muslim Persian literature contains the stories about Jamšid and Tahmuraṯ and the discovery of the healing property of bull’s urine (gōmēz, q.v., where the story is not mentioned), Jamšid as cultural hero, and others. Among the early Muslim historians, the stories about Jam and Jamšid were popular at all times, from Abu Ḥanifa Dinavari (d. betw. 894-903, q.v.), Ṭabari (839-923), Abu ʿAli Amirak Balʿami (d. betw. 992-97, q.v.), etc. to Mirḵᵛānd (1433-98).
The Yima/Jamšid story as known in the West at the time was frequently described by authors who wrote on Iranian religion in the 19th and early 20th centuries (e.g., Stuhr; Windischmann, 1852; idem, 1859; idem, 1863, pp. 19-44; Darmesteter, 1877, pp. 94, 154, 185, etc.; Lindner; Carnoy; Güntert, 1923; Geldner, 1926, pp. 28-31; etc.). Arthur Christensen (q.v., 1918-34, II) collected all sources for Yima and Jamšēd that were known to him, including Vedic, Avestan, Middle Persian, and New Persian Zoroastrian texts, as well as the Muslim historians and miscellaneous others; all the information found in the sources of the Islamic period has been collected by Mahšid Ṣediqiān (on the myths, see also Darmesteter, 1893, II, pp. 19-31, 623-25, with notes; Wesendonk, p. 160 n. 2; on the interpretations of the Yima myths, see Zaehner, 1961, chap. 5; on the sources, Yarshater, pp. 359-66; Boyce, 1975-82, I, pp. 92-96 and n. 54 on literature; Dehḵodā, Loḡat-nāma., ss.v. “Jam” and “Jamšid”; Humbach and Ichaporia, 1998, pp. 103-13 [Av. passages with Pahl. versions]; for early studies on the Indic Yama, see Macdonell, pp. 171-74, for recent thoughts, see Bodewitz, with further references).
It has always been recognized that the Yima story and its later elaborations have parallels in both Indic and Mesopotamian (incl. Biblical) mythology, although the significance of these facts has been much disputed. This is also true for the question of Indo-European origins.
Yima xšaēta as solar figure. Yima’s standing epithet xšaēta has received no obviously correct explanation (see Kellens, 1999-2000, p. 727 n. 7). The word is also the epithet of huuar- “sun” (huuar- xšaēta- and huuardxša-ēta-, Mid. Pers. xwaršēd, New Pers. ḵᵛoršid), the heavenly lights, Tištriia, Apąm Napāt (q.v.), and the Life-giving Immortals (aməṧa spəṇtas, q.v.), and the feminine form xšōiθnī (cf. paiti “master,” fem. paθnī) is used with the goddesses Aṧi and Anāhitā (qq.v.), as well as dawn, all of them presumably luminous celestial phenomena. Since Yima is said to be like the sun to look at among men (huuarə.darəsō maṧiiānąm; Yasna 9.4) and his life is immortal and “sun-filled” (xᵛanuuaṇt, Yasna 9.1), xšaēta would seem to refer to the color of the sun (golden or reddish). It could then be the same term that is used to denote the color of horses, as in the proper name šēd-asp (see Benveniste, 1966, pp. 21-22), the name of Jamšid’s grandson (son of Ṭur, see below on Dahāg and the “cutting” of Yima) in the Garšāsb/Garšāsp-nāma (ed. Huart, pp. 90-91).
The Indian Yama and Iranian Yima are both the sons of a solar figure, Old Ind. Vivasvant, Av. Vīuuaŋᵛhant, “the one who shines far and wide” (Gathic genitive Vīuuaŋ-hušō from Vīuuaŋᵛhah-, cf. Old Ind. vi-vas-, present stem vi-uchá-, Av. vī.usa- “light up, shine far and wide”). The Old Indic verb is commonly used of dawn and the Avestan verb in the description of dawn on the third morning after death (θritiiå xšapō vī.usaiti “as the third night turns into bright [dawn]”; Vd. 19.28).
Yima possessed the divine Fortune in the highest degree (xᵛarənaŋᵛhastəma) among those born, like Zarathustra and like Miθra, Ahura Mazdā (q.v.), and his Word, among gods (Y. 9.4; Yt. 19.35).
The Muslim authors routinely state that šid means “shine, radiance, some comparing ḵᵛor-šid. Ebn al-Aṯir (I, p. 64) adds that jam means “moon” (cf. Abu’l-Fedā, ed. Fleischer, pp. 66-69, Cairo ed., p. 40: jam-šid means “brightness of the moon” [šoʿāʿ al-qamar] versus ḵᵛor-šid “brightness of the sun” [šoʿāʿ al-šams]).
Friedrich Carl Andreas (q.v.) and Walter B. Henning (q.v.) suggested that the word meant “ruler” (I, p. 15  n. 6: xwar-šēd “sun-lord”; presumably from xšay- “rule”; see Benveniste, 1966, p. 21: “chief”), but the evidence is slim and complicated by Sogdian axšēδ “ruler” (Manichean smān/βaγān axšēδ “ruler of the heavens/ the gods”), also mentioned by Muslim authors as a title of the rulers of Sogdiana (see EḴŠĪD; see also the discussion in Benveniste, 1966, pp. 20-22 with refs; Skjærvø, 1995, p. 205, suggested the word is simply a borrowed Mid. Pers. xšēd).
In the Kushan empire, Yam-šēd achieved divine status and appears as the god Iamšo on coins (see Grenet, pp. 253-58) and in personal names, such as Iamšo-lado “given by Yamšo” (Sims-Williams, 1997-98, pp. 196-97; idem, 2000, p. 194). François Grenet suggests -šo may be a byform of šao “king” (or could it be an abbreviation for Yam-šēd?). In the coin representations, Iamšo holds a bird, which has been identified as the Avestan Vārəγna (see below on Yima’s sin).
Yima and the heroes of origins. In Yasna 9.1-13, the praise-hymn to Haoma (q.v.), Haoma tells Zarathustra that the births of the four most important human beings in history were gifts given as rewards when their fathers pressed the haoma for the benefit of the world of the living: Vīuuanvhant begot Yima (who made the world immortal); Āθβiia (Mid. Pers. Āspī, New Pers. Ābtin, q.v.) got Θraētaona (Mid. Pers. Frēdōn; see AŽDAHĀ, FERĒDŪN), who overcame and chained Aži Dahāka to Mount Damāvand (q.v.); Θrita of the Sāmas begot Kərəsāspa (New Pers. Garšāsp, see AŽDAHĀ, GARŠĀSP-NĀMA), who will kill Aži Dahāka (New Pers. Żaḥḥāk) at the end of time; and Pourušaspa begot Zarathustra, who will initiate the return to the state of immortality (see Kellens, 2001).
In the Avesta, these heroes are only four in a relatively stable list of hero-sacrificers who sacrifice to various deties in order to be permitted to fulfill specific functions in upholding the cosmic order. The first three in the sequence are Haošiiaŋha (Mid. Pers. Hōšang, New Pers. Hušang), Taxma Urupi (Mid. Pers. Tahmōraf, New Pers. Tahmuraṯ), and Yima, who all three fight evil in their own ways. Yima is followed by Aži Dahāka, the giant dragon who wishes to do evil, but is overcome by Θraētaona. Last in the sequence is a succession of kauuis, which concludes with Kauui Vištāspa, who is associated with Zarathustra. Each of the heroes sacrifices in different locations (see Kellens, 1999-2000, pp. 736-39): Haošiiaŋha on the skirts or top of Mount Harā and Yima from High Hukairiia, the high peak of Mount Harā, via which the Heavenly River comes down at Ahura Mazdā’s request (Yt. 5.3, 85).
In the later tradition, the list has become a chronological sequence of two dynasties. The first is that of the (Mid. Pers.) Pēšdādīs, or Peshdadids, named after Haošiiaŋha’s standing epithet paraδāta “established before (others),” Mid. Pers. pēš-dād, but is expanded to include Gayōmart/d (q.v.) as its first member (Av. Gaiiō Marəta, New Pers. Gayumarṯ, the first to listen to Ahura Mazdā; Yt. 13.87). The second is that of the Kāwīs, or Kayanids, named after the title kauui (Mid. and New Pers. kay), which must originally have referred to poet-sacrificers with special powers (cf. OInd. kaví).
The Avesta does not suggest any family relationships between the heroes, but, in the Middle and New Persian epic tradition, they have become members of royal dynasties, and Jamšid has become Tahmōraf/Tahmuraṯ’s brother (Bundahišn 35.3; brother or brother’s brother, e.g., in Banākati, p. 28). There is also no explicit link between Yima and Aži Dahāka in the Avesta.
In the Middle Persian literature, we find several examples that Jam(šēd) was considered to be linked with Zarathustra (the first and last of the four born as a result of their fathers’ haoma sacrifices). In the Dēnkard (q.v.), Zarathustra is said to be of human lineage (tōhmag) through Jam and of the lineage of the Life-giving Immortals through Nēryōsang (Dk. 7.2.21). Zādspram, remarkably, states that Zarathustra’s lineage connects him back to Ohrmazd himself (Wizīdagīhā 7: abāz-paywandišnīh ī Zardušt ō Ohrmazd, ed. Gignoux and Tafazzoli, pp. 62-63). According to Zādspram, Zarathustra was descended from Nēryōsang through Pōrušasp and from Frēdōn son of Āspīy through Pōrušasp’s mother Wēzag and from Jam through the Āspīyān family (cf. Bundahišn 35.52, on Frēdōn’s descent). Another passage of the Dēnkard, however, appears to say that Zarathustra’s luminosity made him resemble Jam’s lineage (Dk. 5.2.2, ed. Amouzgar and Tafazzoli, pp. 24-25). The Bundahišn (35.8) also records that Pōrušasp was descended from Manuščihr, a tradition found later as well (Ṭabari, I/2, pp. 681-82, tr., IV, p. 77; see the genealogical tables in Justi, pp. 390-93).
Yima and the golden age. In Vidēvdād (chap. 2), Zarathustra asks Ahura Mazdā who he spoke with first among mortals, upon which Ahura Mazdā tells Zarathustra the story of Yima. He originally offered Yima the task of carrying (forth) and memorizing (for practicing and proclaiming) his daēnā (i.e., Ahura Mazdā’s thoughts, words, and deeds; see DĒN), which Yima declines (Kellens, 1997-98, p. 760 with n. 39, is overly skeptical about the possibility of establishing the meaning of the verbs). Ahura Mazdā then offers him, as an alternative, the role of protector and furtherer of living beings, which Yima accepts, promising that, as long as he is in command, the world will be perfect, there being no excesses of heat and cold and no sickness or death. Ahura Mazdā then gives him two tools, a cattle goad (aštrā) and a suβrā, either some kind of pick (cf. Pers. sumb- “pierce”) or a shepherd’s flute (cf. nāḷīˊ in RV. 10.1235.7) or horn (Duchesne-Guillemin, 1980; cf. Kellens, 1994-95, p. 702; see Sims-Williams, 2001, with further references).
Although it is not said explicitly, it may have been Yima’s xᵛarənah that enabled him to maintain the world in this state, and one reason that it did not last may have been his refusal to accept the promotion of Ahura Mazdā’s daēnā. Had he done so, then, according to the Pahlavi Dēnkard, by the coming together in him of the royal Fortune (xwarrah ī xwadāyīh) and that of the good dēn, the Foul Spirit would have been destroyed, as he would have been, had Zarathustra also possessed the royal Fortune (Dk. 3.129, tr. Menasce, p. 133). In the Dēnkard (7.1.20), however, it is said that it was by the strength of the paymān (see below) that he maintained the creation immortal, etc.
As described in the Avesta (Vd. 2; Y. 9.4, Yt. 9.9-10, 15.16, 19.32-33), under Yima’s rule the world prospered and the number of people, cattle, and fires increased, while the daēuuas (see DAIVA, DĒW) were deprived of their desires and *yearning (išti and saokā, which are kept in the moon, Yt. 7.5), their cattle (fšaoni, vąθβa), and their fame (frasasti, Yt. 5.26, 19.32). According to the Bundahišn (18.8-10), Jam achieved this with the help of the three major fires, Ādur Farrōbay (Farnbay), Ādur Gušnasp, and Ādur Burzēnmihr (qq.v.), which Ohrmazd had lit as xwarrahs for the protection of living beings. According to Yašt 9.10, this state lasted 1000 winters, while the total duration described in the Vidēvdād is 3 x 300 winters.
Reasons why humanity was immortal are given in the Middle Persian translation of Yasna 9.1, where people are said to have become immortal by eating the meat Jam offered them, and in a story in the Persian Rivāyats (see below). Some Middle Persian texts specify that “immortality” did not imply “forever,” only a very long time; the Mēnōy ī xrad (61.18) has 300 years and the Pahlavi Vidēvdād (2.41), 150 years.
According to the Middle Persian texts, Ohrmazd/Ahura Mazdā had made Jam, Frēdōn, and Kay-Us immortal (MX. 7.27), but Jam and Kay-Us lost their immortality for their sins (Pahlavi Vd. 2.5). Yima’s immortality and youth (15 years old), which he inherited from his father (Y. 9.5) and passed on to the inhabitants of the golden age, are frequently mentioned in the Avesta. In the Persian Rivāyats it is said that nobody could distinguish father from son (tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 69).
The Vidēvdād goes on to tell that, since living beings were eternally young and immortal, after 300 winters the earth became too crowded, and Ahura Mazdā told Yima to use the two tools he had received to expand the earth by one-third its original size. Yima did so three times, after three periods of 300 winters, upon which the earth was presumably twice its original size.
The story in Vidēvdād 2 is also in the Dēnkard. Here, Jamšēd is also said to have accepted all four “limbs” (pēšag) of the dēn, the classes of priests, warriors, farmers, and artisans (āsrōnīh ud artēštārīh ud wāstryōšīh ud hutuxšīh; see CLASS SYSTEM i. In the Avesta), by which he made the world prosper (Dk. 7.1.20-24). Afterward, Frēdōn was assigned a share of Jam’s wāstryōšīh (Dk. 7.1.25-27) and Karišāsp a share of his artēštārīh (Dk. 7.1.32). The āsrōnīh, although not said, may have gone to Zarathustra, and Yima may have reserved the hutuxšīh for himself (see below on Yima, culture hero).
Most of the Islamic sources mention his division of society (see below on King Jamšid), but few mention the story of his enlargement of the world. It is reported by Maqdesi, however, according to whom God told Jam to go up on Mount Alborz and, from there, command the earth to expand by 300,000 farsaḵs in circumference (Badʾ III, pp. 140-42, tr. pp. 145-46, tr. Šafiʿi Kadkani, I, p. 501), and by Abu Rayḥān Biruni (q.v.), who ascribes to God himself the action of enlarging the earth three times (Biruni, ed. Sachau, p. 217, tr. p. 202).
According to the Fravardin yašt (q.v.), Yima’s fravaṧi (q.v.) is invoked against natural plagues opposite of the perfect conditions during Yima’s rule (Yt. 13.130: ainišti “lack of obtaining one’s wishes” daēuuō.karštā “dragged forth by the daēuuas”; haēcah auuāstra “watering without grass,” i.e., waterlogged earth[?]; and the iθiiajah maršaonō “the *danger of the maršauuan"[?], in Mid. Pers. explained as sēǰ ī nihān-rawišn “the sēǰ that moves in secret”). According to Manuščihr’s Dādestān ī dēnīg (q.v.), it was Jam’s fravaṧi that kept sēǰ and terror (sahm) away from the creatures (DD. 36.67). In book 7 of the Dēnkard, a part of Jam’s speech to the dēws is preserved, which may be from the above story. Here, Jam eplains to the dēws that Zarathustra will give them back the non-desire (a-xwāhišnīh) they made (cf. Yt. 13.130).
King Jamšid and Nowruz. More elaborate stories are told in the Middle and New Persian tradition about Jamšid as king. According to the Persian Rivāyats (tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 60-67), Jamšid was summoned before God himself and given kingship over the world with its insignia: the signet ring, the throne, and the diadem. Returning to earth, he came down from Mount Alborz, and people who looked in that direction are said to have seen two suns, one of which was Jamšēd (cf. Biruni, ed. Sachau, p. 217, tr. p. 202, ed. Aḏkāʾi, p. 268; see below). Instead of this story, the Šāh-nāma explains how he had a throne made for himself, encrusted with jewels (gowhar), which the demons (divs) then lifted up to the sky at his command, and thus the king sat in the middle of the air, shining like the sun, with the whole world gathered to look at him and scattering jewels on him (ed. Mohl, I, p. 52, ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 44; cf. his house on Hariburz, see below on Yima and the vara). According to Abu Manṣur Ṯaʿālebi (p. 13) and Ṭabari (I, p. 180, tr. I, p. 350), Jamšid was thus able to travel from Damāvand to Babylon in one day (cf. Biruni, ed. Sachau, p. 216, tr. p. 111, ed. Aḏkāʾi, p. 266).
A modern version of the story is reported by the Capuchin missionary to Persia and Armenia, Gabriel du Chinon (1668), according to which Gemechid (Jamšid) went into the heaven of the sun every day and brought back the science of the stars, but Chinon ascribed the golden age to Peridon (Ferēdun; Chinon, 1671, pp. 478-79; cf. Darmesteter, 1893, I, p. 13 n. 3). The day on which this took place was the day of Hormoz (the first) of the month of Farvardin, later called the New Day, on which Jamšid gave a party with wine, song, and music. In the Pahlavi Māh ī frawardīn rōz ī xordad, it is stated that it was on the day of Xordad (the 6th), after Jam had made ossuaries and ordered people to do likewise that they made the day a new day and called it New (Year’s) Day (Jamasp-Asana, ed., p. 103; also Persian Rivāyats, tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 69).
The tradition connecting Nowruz with Jamšid is probably older, as it shows up in a Manichean text, which describes how all the lords of the world would come to Yam on New (Year’s) Day (see below, Yima in Manicheism). Moreover, under the Achaemenids, the New Year’s Day celebration included a procession of rulers of the various provinces of the empire bringing gifts to the king, as depicted in reliefs at Persepolis. The connection with the legend of Jamšid, whether ancient or more recent, is seen in the name of Taḵt-e Jamšid (the Throne of Jamshid) for the palace ruins. Mirḵᵛānd (1959-72, I, p. 519; ed. Kayānfar, II, p. 597) reports that Jamšid moved his residence from Sejestān (Sistān) to Fārs at the beginning of his reign and that he built the palace now called Čehel Menār (i.e., Persepolis), where the day he ascended the throne in celebration was called Nowruz.
In this connection, the Persian Rivāyats, differently from almost all other texts, also describe how Jamšid made humans immortal (tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 65-70). Before he proclaimed himself universal monarch on New Year’s Day, at the creator’s command, he went to the Činwad bridge (q.v.), closed the door to Hell, and locked it so that Ahrimen and the divs could not enter, and so no one died during his reign. All this took place on the day of Ḵordād of the month of Farvardin. The myth may well be old, as Jamšid is here acting, like the Achaemenid king, as both supreme secular and supreme religious authority, who bars evil from the world on New Year’s Day, thus rejuvenating the world. Among the Muslim historians, only Biruni has the story, but abbreviated (ed. Sachau, p. 217, tr. p. 202; ed. Aḏkāʾi, pp. 267-68): Because Eblis had stopped the benediction on the Great Nowruz (6 Farvardin), God told Jamšid to go to the land of Eblis and his companions. He was there until he had dealt with the problem, then came back and restored order, upon which he appeared as the sun, and people thought they saw two suns in the sky. He also told people to destroy the ancient temples and to build no new ones on that day. Later, Mirḵᵛānd reported that Jamšid had ordered people to destroy the idols (bothā) on that day (1959-72, I, p. 516; ed. Kayānfar, II, p. 595).
A story that may be related to this is told in Māh ī frawardīn rōz ī xordad (Jamasp-Asana, ed., p. 103). It was on this day that Jam brought the paymānag “right measure” out of Hell, so that it became visible in the world and which, according to the Dēnkard, was needed to make the creation immortal, etc. (Dk. 7.1.20; see below, Jam and the paymān).
Yima as culture hero. In the Pahlavi and later literature, all the early heroes are credited with certain inventions promoting civilization. The only one mentioned in the Avesta is that Ahura Mazdā, in addition to telling him how to build the vara (Vd. 2.25-26), taught Yima how to make and use brick from mud (Vd. 2.31-32), a task that, in the later Persian tradition, King Jamšid is said to have assigned to the divs, who then made all kinds of constructions with brick (Persian Rivāyats, tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 68). The later tradition, however, ascribes to the rule of Jam most aspects of civilization. For instance, Ebn al-Nadim quotes a source according to which the time of Jam was a time of general civilizing of the world that continued until the reign of Ẓaḥḥāk (ed. Tajaddod, p. 299, tr. pp. 572-73). Mirḵᵛānd even places Pythagoras (Fiṯāḡuraṯ) in attendance on Jamšid at this time (1959-72, I, p. 519).
Among religious practices that Jam(šēd) taught men was the wearing of the kusti. This tradition is reported in the Dādestān ī dēnīg (38.21, 25-26, 30), in the Persian Rivāyats (tr. Dhabhar, p. 24), and in the prose Ṣad dar-e naṯr (pp. 9-10), where the hamāzōr (q.v.) is also ascribed to him. In addition, the metrical Ṣad dar-e naẓm (tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 64-65) attributes to him the institution of the seasonal gāhānbār festivals (q.v.; see also Persian Rivāyats, tr. Dhabhar, tr., pp. 323-24), to which Māh ī frawardīn rōz ī xordad (Jamasp-Asana, ed., p. 103) and the Persian Rivayats add the use of ossuaries or daxmas (see CORPSE; tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 69).
Masʿudi (sec. 1372) also refers to a tradition according to which Jam established the fire cult and taught that the fire was the image of the light of the sun and the stars. This may well be an old tradition, since fires feature prominently among the inhabitants of Yima’s realm (Vd. 2.8, etc.: small and large animals and men, dogs, and birds, and red burning fires), which also brings to mind Vivasvant as the one who sent the sacrificial fire to mankind (RV. 6.8.4, cf. 4.7.4, 8.39.3), while Vīuuaŋᵛhan was the first to perform a haoma sacrifice, as Haoma tells Zarathustra while he is preparing the sacrificial fire (Y. 9.1). Balʿami’s report that Jam, taking the advice of Eblis, threw all those who refused to adore him into the fire might, conceivably, be a version of the same story (1962, p. 132; 2000, p. 89).
According to the Šāh-nāma (ed. Mohl, I, pp. 48-52; ed. Khaleghi, I, pp. 41-43), the Persian Rivāyats (tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 66-68), and the Fārs-nāma (Ebn Balḵi, pp. 30-32), Jamšid also taught men weaving and how to make fabrics (cotton, silk, wool, linen), and clothes and how to wash them; he made weapons and other necessities of warfare, and taught people sowing; and he divided society into the four classes and defined the various tasks of each. He also invented ships built of wood and used them to fetch pearls for jewelry. He extracted precious stones from the rocks and gold and silver from the earth. He invented the use of furs and selected his favorite perfumes and laid out gardens and parks with trees and flowers. Finally, he taught men medicine. According to Ṭabari, Jamšīd charged the divs with producing depilatories, perfumes, and medicines (ed., I, p. 179-81, tr. I, pp. 349-50; see also Faḵr-e Modabber, pp. 7-8, 257-58).
Biruni reports a story told by the mowbed Ādurbād of Baghdad, according to which Jamšid also discovered sugar (ed. Sachau, p. 216, tr. p. 200; ed. Aḏkāʾi, p. 266), and Mirḵᵛānd adds the discovery of wine (1959-72, I, p. 518, ed. Kayānfar, II, pp. 596-97; which in the Jewish tradition was ascribed to Noah, contemporary with Jamšid in the Muslim tradition; see also Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 123 with n. 1). Ebn al-Nadim reports that Jamšid had imposed corvee on Eblis and that he ordered him to teach him how to write (ed. Flügel, I, p. 12, ed. Tajaddod, p. 15, tr. I, p. 23).
Ḥamza Eṣfahāni (ed. p. 31, tr. pp 19-20), Mojmal al-tawāriḵ (p. 40), and Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (1915-19, I, p. 44, II, tr., p. 50) also report that Jam founded Ctesiphon and made a bridge across the Tigris that was destroyed by Alexander, but the ruins of which could still be seen (see also Ebn al-Aṯir, I, p. 65). According to Mostawfi, he also finished the construction of Eṣṭaḵr (begun by Kayumarṯ and Hušang) and Hamadān, as well as the bridge over the Tigris (1910-13, p. 87; idem, 1915-19, pp. 71, 120, II, pp. 74, 119). Ebn Balḵi (p. 32) reports that he made Eṣṭaḵr his capital, turned it into a metropolis, and had three fortresses, called Seh Gonbadān, built in the city, and Faḵr-al-Din Banākati says that he built Eṣṭaḵr and a big palace there, which at Banākati’s time was called Čehel Menāra (p. 29). The Šahrestānīhā ī Ērān-šahr has a note that “Babylon (Bābēl) was made during the reign of Jam” (ed. Daryaee, pp. 14, 18; on the story of Jamšid’s seven wonders destroyed by Alexander, see Christensen, 1918-34, pp. 77, 164-65; Persian Rivāyats, pp. 436-37).
Ebn Esfandiār tells from the local history of Ṭabarestān that, in ancient days, the area was inhabitable and in the possession of the divs until Jamšid came, who overcame the divs and had them level the mountains and fill in the lakes, drain the fens, etc. (pp. 56-57; tr. Browne, pp. 14-15). Faḵr-e Modabber (p. 185) ranks Jamšid’s horse, a black one according to him, along with Raḵš (the celebrated steed of Rostam) among the best horses of all-time.
Yima and the vara. After the third enlargement of the earth, any further expansion being apparently impossible, Ahura Mazdā and Yima called a meeting of gods and men, respectively, in which it was decided that the population of the earth must be reduced. This was to be achieved by severe winters, one particularly harsh one, followed by flooding when the snow melted. In order that living beings should not perish completely, Ahura Mazdā described for Yima how to make a kind of fortress (Av. vara-, Mid. Pers. war, war ī ǰamkerd), in which to keep samples of all creatures of Ahura Mazdā alive during the winter. He specified the architectural features of the building and explained how to use clay. He also explained about the two kinds of lights in the vara: those established of themselves (xᵛaδāta, probably the eternal lights, cf. Y. 1.16), and those established for the duration of the worlds of thought and/or of living beings (stiδāta). Yima then brought pairs of all living things into the vara, excluding those with bodily defects, and, every forty winters, two children would be born from a human couple.
The Karšipta bird brought the daēnā of Ahura Mazdā into the vara, and its ahu and ratu (i.e., the first new beings and models for subsequent beings?) were Zarathustra and his son Uruuataṱ.nara (Mid. Pers. Urwatadnar; cf. Bdh. 29.6; specifically, Urwatadnar is said to be the ratu of the farmers; Bdh. 35.56).
According to the Middle Persian Mēnōy ī xrad (61.15), the war was underground in Ērān-wēz (q.v.), while, according to the Bundahišn (29.14), it was beneath Mount Čamagān (?) in Pārs. It was lit miraculously, unaffected by summer and winter, and contained all things in the world of the living (Bundahišn 32.7). Jam also had a house on Hariburz (high Harā, Alborz, q.v.), made of diamonds (Bdh. 32.1, 14: *gōhrēn, cf. his crystal throne, see above on King Jamšid) and another in Pārs, called Jamkerd (Bdh. 32.7).
The vara had a further purpose, which is only explained in the post-Avestan texts. Toward the end of the millennium of Ušēdar, the first of Zarathustra’s three eschatological sons, when men and beasts are decimated by the terrible (sahmgen) winter or rain of the sorcerer Malkūs (sēǰ-čihr “of the lineage of sēǰ, Bdh. 33.30), the world is repopulated from the war (Bdh. 33.1, Dādestān ī dēnīg 36.80-81; Dk. 7.1.24, 7.9.3-4; Mēnōy ī xrad 26.24; Pahlavi Rivāyat 48.17; Zand ī Wahman Yasn 9.14).
The term vara (Pahlavi war) has been thought to refer to some kind of enclosure (related to English wall from Latin vallum), or, more precisely, a cavern (Geldner, 1926, p. 30, cited by Hauschild, p. 25 n. 40; Gershevitch, 1974, pp. 66-69; Kellens, 1999-2000, p. 732). It is the same word as Old Indic valá, which Indra breaks or splits open to free the imprisoned cows. According to Johannes Hertel, the term refers to the celestial vault; see Keith’s critique (pp. 621-23).
In the Pahlavi Rivāyat, war is explained as “lake” (Pahlavi Rivāyat 8e), but Mid. Pers. war “lake” is from Avestan vairi, a different word. A similar connection, however, appears to have been made in the description of Pahlavi Mount Hugar (= Hukairiia, where Yima sacrificed, see above on Yima and the heroes of origins) in the Bundahišn, where the springs and canals of Ardwīsūr are described (Bdh. 10.5-6). Here, one canal (nāwīčag) is said to go up on high Hugar, where there is a lake (war), into which the water pours and is purified. The direct connection is with the Avestan description of Arəduuī Sūrā, who has 1000 vairis (e.g., Y. 65.4 = Yt. 5.4; see ANĀHĪD), but, in the Bundahišn, Hukairiia’s epithets “containing all poems, golden” (vīspō.vahma zaranaēna; Yt. 5.96, 12.24, 15.15) are rendered as “containing all sūrags, golden” (hamag-sūrag zarrēn), which appears to be influenced by Vidēvdād 2.6 “golden pick” (suβrąm zaranaēnīm), Mid. Pers. “containing holes, golden” (sūrāgōmand ī zarrēn; in the Yasna, vahma is usually rendered by niyāyišn “song”).
Yima and the divine Fortune (xᵛarənah-). Yašt 19, the Zamyād yašt, is devoted to a myth of the xᵛarənah that is not at all understood, but involves three kinds of xᵛarənah (cf. Y. 1.14): that of the Aryans (airiianəm xᵛarənō), the *unseizable xᵛarənah (axᵛarətəm xᵛarənō), and that of the kauuis (kauuaēm xᵛarənō). The exact meaning of the word and its precise mythical reference are also not known, except that it appears to possess some luminous quality. It is associated with išti “desire,” both in the Gāθās (Y. 51.18 ištōiš xᵛarənå “the xᵛarənahs of [his] išti) and later (Yt. 18.1 airiianəm xᵛarənō pouru.vąθβəm *pouru.ištim), which occurs frequently in the Yima myth (see above on Yima and the golden age). Middle Persian Yasna 9.4, where Yima is said to possess the most xᵛarənah among those born, has the commentary: xwarrah is partly one’s duty (xwēškārīh), partly in a man’s body, and that in Jam’s body; according to Yt. 17.22, it was placed in Zarathustra’s body (see also Bdh. 14.7-10, 18.16). The xᵛarənah is associated with water (Yt. 8.34 aβždātəm xᵛarənō “the xᵛarənah placed in the water”), specifically the heavenly ocean (the Vourukaṧa Sea: the axᵛarətem xᵛarənō, Yt.19.45-53); it is distributed over the earth by the gods (yazatas) when the sun shines (Niyāyišn 1.11) and by the Life-giving Immortals when the moon shines (Niyāyišn 3.5); and it is associated with the mountains and their births (Y. 1.14, Yt. 18 and beginning of Yt. 19; Persian Rivāyats 46.5, see Skjærvø, 1994, p. 218 n. 29a).
Yima’s sin and loss of the divine Fortune. As ruler of the world, Yima was endowed with the divine Fortune of the kauuis. According to the Avesta, the Fortune left him, however, on account of a particular sin, and, according to the later sources, he had to relinquish his throne and go into exile. Being no longer immortal, he was killed by being cut apart.
In the Gāθās (see GATHAS), Yima is mentioned once only (Y. 32.8, see below on the Gathic myth): “Yima, in particular, has been renowned (as guilty) of these sins.” This statement is followed by a text that has been much discussed, although its exact meaning still escapes us, but, which, in the Pahlavi tradition, is said to mean that Yima taught people to eat meat.
In Yašt 19.30-34, the wanderings of the Fortune of the kauuis are described and, in particular, how it left Yima in the shape of the Vārəγna bird when he uttered a “deceiving word” (draogəm vācim). The passage contains further details about the actual lie, but the text has not yet been satisfactorily eplained (see Kellens, 1999-2000, p. 727). It appears that someone, referred to as “this one” (aēm), caused Yima to desire (? cinmāne) something that was not real and true (aŋhaiθiia = a-haiθiia). The context provides no reference for “this one,” but, not mentioned by name, he could be the great seducer, the Evil Spirit (Aŋra Maniiu, New Pers. Ahrimen, q.v.) himself, who wanted Yima’s Fortune (Yt. 19.46). The word cinmāne is derived from can- “desire” by Eric V. Pirart (p. 46; Hintze, pp. 189-90, Humbach and Ichaporia, 1998, p. 110); earlier interpretations include “assembly place” (Windischmann, 1863, p. 28: possible connection with the Činwad bridge), infinitive “to think” (Bartholomae, AirWb., col. 596), and “in (his) mind” (Lommel, p. 179). With a-haiθiia, cf. also Darius’s assertion (Bisotun 4.44-45) that his statements about his deeds are “true” (hašiya = Av. haiθiia), not “said to deceive” (naiy duruxtam, cf. draogəm vācim), which would imply that, if he knew the Yima story, Darius disavowed the fault of his mythical prototype.
According to the Zamyād yašt, the Fortune left Yima three times and was seized by Miθra, who possessed the most Fortune among gods; the son of Āθβiia (i.e., Θraētaona), the most valorous of all (except Zarathustra); and Kərəsāspa, the strongest of all (except Zarathustra). Here, we have again the four sons of Yasna 9. According to a later Persian version, when God had taken the light from Jamšid, he gave one-third to Mehr, one-third to Zarathustra, and one-third to Zarathustra’s three eschatological sons, Ušēdar, Ušēdarmāh, and Sōšāns (Bartholomae, 1915, p. 88; Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 76). Friedrich Windischmann (1863, p. 28) had suggested that the three Fortunes represented the three fires of the Sasanian ritual, which, according to the Bundahišn had been lit as three xwarrahs for the protection of living beings (Bdh. 18.8, see, above, Yima ruler of the golden age; also Darmesteter, 1883, II, pp. 615-16).
Yima’s lie is mentioned only once in Yašt 19, before the description of the three departures of the Fortune, and it is not clear whether it left each time on account of a new lie (as assumed by Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 52-54; Kellens, 1997-1998, p. 746, 1999-2000, p. 727), whether it departed three times (thus Christensen, 1931, p. 103; Humbach and Ichaporia, 1998; also Kellens, 1997-1998, p. 746), or whether it departed in three portions (thus Bartholomae, AirWb., col. 964; Pirart, 1992). Almut Hintze proposes that the text simply stresses the finality of the departure of the Fortune (pp. 197-98; see also Kellens, 1997-1998, on the whole myth in Yašt 19). The suggestion that the triple departure is related to the triple enlargement of the earth (Panaino, p. 70) has no basis in the texts and explains nothing (see Kellens, 1997-1998, p. 746; less negative: Kellens, 1999-2000, p. 731). What happened after this is also unclear because of difficulties in the Avestan text (Yt. 19. 34): Yima “erred” (? brāsa-), “devoid of happiness” (a-š´āiti) and despondent, and, “stunned” (starəta), he “lay down” (? ni-dāra-) upon the earth.
The length of Jamšid’s life and reign varies in the sources. For instance, according to the Bundahišn, he lived 616 years and six months before the Fortune left him, then spent a hundred years in exile (wirēg; Bdh. 36.5); according to the Mid. Pers. Aogəmadāecā, he kept the world immortal for 616 years, 6 months, and 13 (or 16) days (Aog. 95); and, according to the Pazand Ayādgār ī Zāmāspīg (q.v.), he ruled for 717 years, 7 months, and then went away with Jamī (ed. Messina, pp. 40-42). In Ẓahir-al-Din Marʿaši’s Tāriḵ-e Ṭabarestān (p. 107), Jamšid’s reign is said to have lasted 1000 years, which may reflect the old tradition seen in Yašt 9.10 (see above on Yima and the golden age).
According to the Pahlavi Rivāyat (31, cf. Dādestān ī dēnīg 38.19-21), Jam’s sin was to have refused Ohrmazd’s offer of the dēn (also Persian Rivāyats 47.8) and done the bidding of Ahrimen and the dēws, and his lie was to have proclaimed himself creator of the world. For this sin, he was confined to Hell. When Zarathustra questioned him about the worst sinner, Ohrmazd summoned the soul of Jam and showed it to him. Jam had done some good things, however, among them the best was to have prevented men from killing good animals in return for getting the elephant from the dēws (also MX. 26.33a; see Shaked, 1987b, p. 243 n. 15, with refs.). Fighting with the dēws, he also made them mortal, so they could be punished. At this, the soul of Jam repented and told Zarathustra not to listen to the dēws, but to accept the dēn. For this it was forgiven and was allowed to go to the hamēstagān (q.v.; the place of those whose good and evil deeds were of equal weight), where he became the ruler (for later versions of this story, see Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 76).
The motive of Yima’s hybris continues into the post-Sasanian literature, for instance, the Šāh-nāma and the Fārs-nāma, according to which he assembled the nobles, mowbeds, and the leaders of the army and told them that the world was his and that he had discovered all its properties, concluding with a call for them to hail him as the maker of the world (ed. Mohl, I, pp. 52-54; ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 45; cf. Ebn al-Balḵi, p. 33, “all people and divs”). In one Persian Rivāyat, Jamšid’s hybris is attributed to Ahrimen, who managed to exit from Hell after being confined for seventy years, went to Jamšid, and somehow made him demented, causing him to proclaim himself creator of the world. Having lost his divine Fortune, Jamšid was deposed by Żaḥḥāk and took to the mountains and deserts (tr. Dhabhar, pp. 581-82; tr. Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 69-70; cf. Ebn Balḵi, ibid.). According to Balʿami (ed. Bahār, 1962, p. 132, ed. Gonābādi, p. 89), Jamšid was at Damāvand when Bivarasp (Dahāg) came looking for him.
Similarly, according to Balʿami, it was the devil himself who deceived Jamšid into believing that he was the creator of the world. After this, Jamšid required people to adore him as God and arranged to have images of himself adored as those of God; and whoever did not believe in him was thrown into the fire. He also reports that, once Jamšid had organized society into four classes, he asked those of the first class what to do in order not to lose his throne. He was told that he should be just, and so Jamšid began practicing justice (Balʿami, 1962, pp. 130-32). A modernized version is found in Ebn Meskuya/Meskawayh, who attributes Jamšid’s fall to pride and tyrannical behavior and his preferring sensual pleasures to governing (ed. Caetani, I, pp. 8-10, ed. Emāmi, p. 7).
The motif of transferring worship from God as creator to another is also found in the story of Mašī and Mašyānī, who first worshiped Ohrmazd as the creator, then Ahriman, thereby committing the sin of uttering a lie (drō-gōwišnīh), which sent them to hell (Bdh. 14.11-16).
Jam, Tahmuraṯ, and gōmēz. The Persian Rivāyats and a few other Zoroastrian Persian manuscripts contain a story explaining the origin of the beneficent effect of bull’s urine (gōmēz, q.v., where the story in not mentioned; see also Christensen, 1918-34, I, pp. 184-89, and König, forthcoming, for all details of this story and further references). The story continues an old story alluded to in the Avesta, which included the detail that Taxma Urupi had ridden the Evil Spirit turned into a horse around the world for thirty years (Yt. 15.12, 19.29). According to the later story, Ahriman then thought of a ruse to get rid of Tahmuraṯ and swallowed him. Eventually, Jamšid was able to recapture his dead brother from Ahriman’s belly by attracting him with a song and an offer to sodomize him (which Soruš told Jamšid were the two things the demon loved the most), and, when Ahriman turned around, Jamšid reached in and pulled Tahmuraṯ out. As a result, however, his hand caught leprosy (baraṣ) and driness (qaḥal), which made people avoid him because of the foul smell the illness caused. Jamšid therefore took to the mountains, erring like a madman and complaining to God. Exhausted, he fell asleep near a herd of cattle, and a cow/bull happened to urinate on his hand, which was immediately healed. Père Gabriel du Chinon summarizes the story without specifying the names (pp. 457-58).
Yima’s sisters and Θraētaona. Θraētaona’s regular request to the deities to whom he sacrificed was to overcome Aži Dahāka and to carry off the two most beautiful women in the world, Saŋhauuācī and Arənauuācī “she who speaks solemn announcements” and “she who speaks faults” (Yt. 5.34, 9.14, 15.24; see Hoffmann, 1954, for the correct analysis of the text, and Mayrhofer, nos. 24, 275 for the names). In the later tradition, they are Jamshid’s sisters (Šahrnāz and Arnvāz), captured by Dahāg and liberated and married by Ferēdun (Šāh-nāma, ed. Mohl, I, pp. 98-102; ed. Khaleghi, I, pp. 75-78; Mojmal al-tawāriḵ, p. 27).
Jam and the paymān. Typical of Yima/Jamšid’s rule was lack of excess, either too much or too little. This state of “right measure” (paymān) is characteristic of Zoroastrian ethics and is discussed at length in the Middle Persian texts, where it is associated in particular with Jam. In the Dēnkard, for instance, it is said that it was by the strength (ōz) of the paymān that Jam maintained the creation immortal, etc. (Dk. 7.1.20). Once the paymān was lost, immortality also became impossible. In two discussions about paymān and frāybūd and aibībūd “too much and too little” in book 3 of the Dēnkard, a myth is reported that people in Jam’s perfect world were seduced by the dēws and perverted to the extent that they could no longer be immortal. Jam convoked the dēws and asked them who created the world, to which they answered that they created it and would now destroy it. Jam pointed out that it is not possible to be both creator and destroyer, and the lie of the dēws was thus revealed and destroyed, ensuring the immortality of humans (Dk. 3.227, tr. Menasce, pp. 239-40, 281-83). According to this story, the āsn(ō)xrad (the wisdom one is born with) had been stolen (appurd) by the dēws, but brought back to mankind together with the paymān by Jam, who spent thirteen winters in Hell in the shape of a dēw, thereby overcoming the dēws and returning to mankind their “desire and profit” (har dō īšt ud sūd; Dk. 3.286, tr. Zaehner, 1955, pp. 250-51; tr. Menasce, pp. 281-83). In a list of benefits from Jamšēd in the Mēnōy ī xrad (26.33), the third benefit was that “he brought the paymān of the world of the living out of the belly of the evil one (druwand) who had swallowed it” (on the two stories, see Windischmann, 1863, pp. 202-3; Zaehner, 1955, pp. 250-52; Shaked, 1987; König, forthcoming).
The story appears to be connected with an exegesis of Yasna 32.9 apō mā īštīm [apa]iiaṇtā “he robs me of my desire,” whose Pahlavi rendering is not clear, but apaiiaṇtā is rendered by appurd “stole,” and īštīm is explained by paymān; išti, however, was what Yima had taken from the daēuuas (see above Yima and the golden age). Moreover, Mid. Pers. paymān is routinely used to render words in ma- or mā-, including mā/ăiiā (Y. 10.12, 33.9, 43.2, the paymān of Wahman), which the exegetes can have linked with maiiah “(sexual) pleasure,” which was praticed by the daēuuas before Zarathustra drove them underground (Yt. 19.80; the Mid. Pers. version in Dk. 7.4.44 has māyišn “sexual pleasure,” not paymān).
Yima, the dead, and Hell. Yima’s connection with the dead is mainly restricted to late narratives, in which he ordered the making of ossuaries and daxmas (see above on King Jamšid and Yima as culture hero). There are three references in the narratives above to Yima going to Hell: for his sins, in order to close the door to Hell so that death would be kept out, and in order to bring the paymān(ag) out of Hell. In addition, Mary Boyce has suggested that Herodotus’ mention (7.114) of a god dwelling underground and ruling over spirits that did not make it to paradise might refer to Yima, since his Indic counterpart Yama was “lord of death” (Boyce, 1975-82, I, pp. 83-84). The description would fit the story of Jamšēd in the hamēstagān better, but it also involves burying people (children) alive to this god (which Boyce does not mention), and so is perhaps more likely to refer to the Evil Spirit. Sacrifice of young people is otherwise associated with Dahāg, who needed them as food for the snakes that grew out of his shoulders (see AŽDAHĀ).
In later Indic, for instance, Buddhist, literature, Yama is the ruler of the underworld, the frightening lord of death. In the Sanskrit translations of the Avesta, he is equated with Astō.vīδātu, Astwihād (q.v.; e.g., Aogəma-daēca, p. 107).
The myths of the Indo-Iranian inhabitants of Nuristān (q.v., formerly Kafirestān) and Dardestān contain a figure Im-rō (Imra), known since the 1890s and identified with the Indic King Yama (yama rāja), king of the dead (see Parkes, with literature).
The “cutting” of Yima. In Yašt 19.46, a story about the contest between the two Spirits (maniiu) over the axᵛarəta xᵛarəna “the unseizable (?) Fortune,” both send emissaries (ašta). Those of the Beneficent Spirit were Good Thought (see BAHMAN), Best Order (see ARDWAHIŠT), and the fire (see ĀTAŠ), son of Ahura Mazdā; those of the Evil Spirit were Bad Thought (see AKŌMAN), Wrath with the bloody club (see AĒŠMA), Aži Dahāka, and Spitiiura, the Yima-cutter (spitiiurəmca yimō.kərəṇtəm). The Avesta contains no other reference to this event, but the Middle Persian texts refer to it in various ways, although the details of it had, apparently, been long forgotten. According to the Bundahišn (35.3), Jam, Tahmōraf, Spitūr, and Narseh were all brothers, and Dahāg and Spitūr collaborated on cutting Jam apart (kirrēnīd; Bdh. 35.5; on the use of this verb, see also Lincoln, 1997). Elsewhere, Jam is said to have been cut apart by the dēws at the end of the first millennium of the world of the living (Bdh. 33.1) but, when he was cut apart, the Farrōbay fire, which he had enthroned on Mount Xwarrahōmand in Xwārazm, saved him from Dahāg (Bdh. 18.9-10).
In the Pahlavi Rivāyat, the cutting is presented as the result of Jam’s refusal to promote Ohrmazd’s dēn. Instead of accepting, Jam despised (tar menīd) Ohrmazd, confident that he could not die (thinking: “Astwihād will not come to me”), and he was then cut apart by dēws and men (PR. 47.8). In the Sūdgar nask commentary on the Vohuxšaθrā Gāθā (Y. 51) in the Dēnkard (Dk. 9.21.2-10; Vevaina, 2007, pp. 297-99, 303-4), people complain to Dahāg that the world has become corrupted after the cutting up of Jam, and all the good things of Jam’s rule have been replaced by bad things. They go on to point out that (different from Jam), Dahāg is subject to death. In turn, Ohrmazd warns Frēdōn not to cut up Dahāg so that the world does not become full of the harmful animals emerging from his body. In this version of the myth, one of the consequences of the cutting of Jam was also the “mingling of dēws with people” (Dk. 9.21.2), a theme seen in the Avesta in the Zarathustra myth. Before Zarathustra, the daēuuas walked on earth in the shapes of men and would abduct human women and have their way with them publicly, but Zarathustra sent them underground, depriving them of their desires (e.g., Yt. 19.80, see above on Yima and the golden age). This activity is specifically assigned to the reign of Dahāg in the Bundahišn (14B.2), where Dahāg is said to have watched copulation between humans and dēws.
The Persian tradition provides a few further details of this story. In the Šāh-nāma, after a hundred years of hiding, Jamšid appeared one day in Čin on the shore of the ocean (cf. Ṯaʿālebi, p. 16, “on some shore,”). Here Żaḥḥāk found him and sawed him apart (ed. Mohl, I, p. 64; ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 52). According to the Fārs-nāma and a poem on Jamšid among the Persian Rivāyats, he was killed in China, in a forest, where he had hidden inside a tree according to the Rivāyat, by the ocean according to the Fārs-nāma (Persian Rivāyats, p. 581; Ebn Balḵi, p. 34; see Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 73-75, on this motif, also in Mirḵᵛānd, 1959-72, I, pp. 526-27, ed. Kayānfar, II, pp. 605-6). Satan then told Bivarasp (Żoḥḥāk) where Jamšid was hidden, and he began sawing the tree. When he sawed through Jamšid’s body, the sun disappeared, but when they returned the next day, he was again whole. This happened once more before they were able to kill him. There then follows the story of how Jamšid was sent to Hell, but repented, and was sent to hamēstagān, where he remained for a thousand years before being admitted into Garōdmān (q.v.).
Additional details include the following: The saw had a thousand edges (hazār-tēγ, Ayādgār ī Zāmāspīg, p. 42); it was or resembled a fish bone (Mojmal al-tawāriḵ, p. 40; Ebn Balḵi, p. 34; Mirḵᵛānd, 1959-72, I, p. 526, ed. Kayānfar, II, p. 604). Spitur was Jamšid’s brother (cf. Bundahišn, see above), who rebelled and made an attempt on his life, causing him to go into hiding (Ṭabari, ed. I, p. 181, tr. I, p. 350; Ebn al-Balḵi, pp. 33-34). Bivarasp tore out his intestines and swallowed them before sawing him (Ṭabari, ibid.). Dahāg threw him to wild beasts, which tore him apart (Ṯaʿālebi, p. 16). He was burnt at Babylon so that no trace of him remained (Mojmal al-tawāriḵ, pp. 40, 462).
Asadi Ṭusi’s Garšāsp-nāma (qq.v.) contains a long elaboration on the conflict with Dahāg and Jamšid’s time in hiding, which is also found in the Mojmal al-tawāriḵ. Having escaped from a terrific man-to-man fight with Dahāg, Jamšid came to Zābolestān, where he stayed for twenty years. There, the king’s daughter tricked him into marrying her (ed. Huart, pp. 54-71, ed. Yaḡmāʾi, pp. 22-38). The princess bore the son Ṯur (ancestor of Rostam, according to Mojmal al-tawāriḵ, p. 25; Tur, in Asadi, p. 42, v. 4). The son, however, looked so much like his father that he generated suspicion that Jamšid himself was there, and the king therefore advised him to leave (Asadi, ed. Huart, pp. 86-87; ed. Yaḡmāʾi, p. 43). He traveled to India (where he ruled a hundred years according to Mojmal al-tawāriḵ), and on to China, where he was killed (Asadi, ed. Huart, pp. 88-89, ed. Yaḡmāʾi, p. 43, v. 22; Šāh-nāma, ed. Macan, pp. 2125-27; Mojmal al-tawārikò, pp. 39-40). The Mojmal al-tawāriḵ (p. 25) gives the name of the princess as Paričehra, as well as that of another wife as Māhang, daughter of the king of Māčin, with whom he had two sons, Batuʾāl and Homāyun, who was Ābtin’s father. According to Tāriḵ-e Sistān (p. 2, tr. Gold, p. 1), Sistan (Sejestān) was founded by Garšāsp (also Mirḵᵛānd), descendant of Tur, son of Jamšid, etc., while Mirḵᵛānd has Jamšid as ancestor of both Garšāsp and Rostam (1959-72, I, pp. 526-27, ed. Kayānfar, II, pp. 605-6, tr. p. 118).
A passage in the Dēnkard suggests a completely different meaning of the allusion to “cutting.” In the Sūdgar nask exegesis of the Vohuxšaθrā Gāθā (Dk. 9.21.5), Dahāg’s mother, Ōdag (see Jackson, p. 92; AŽDAHĀ), is alluded to as having harmed Jamšēd’s genitals (kēr ud gund), making him a eunuch (šābestān) and depriving him of offspring (bē az ābusīh) and making him exposed to sēǰ (a-bē-kerd-sēǰ), for which there was no remedy, so that nothing grew from his body and no lineage (paywand) went from him (Vevaina, pp. 298, 304; Skjærvø, 2008, p. 540). If this refers to the “cutting,” we have a myth very different from those that ascribed to him and his twin sister offspring (see below).
Jam and Jamī (Jamag). In the Rigveda, Yama has a twin sister Yamī, while, in Iran, only Pahlavi Jam has a twin sister Jamī (Jamag). The form Jam-ī for Av. *Yam-ī is formed like Pah. ahurān-ī (spelled with -ydy) for Av. ahurān-ī (Y. 66.1) and Jam-ag is formed like Rudāb-a, etc.
According to the Pāzand Ayādgār ī Zāmāspīg, Wīwanghān had a pair of twins, Jam and Jamī, and Jam took Jamī with him when he went into exile (see above on Yima’s sin; also the Persian Rivāyats, tr. Dhabhar, pp. 580-81). Similarly, according to the Pahlavi Rivāyat (8e), after the loss of his kingship, Jam and his sister Jamag went into the war in order to escape from humans and dēws. When he was nowhere to be found in the world or in Hell, Ahriman suggested he might be in the war, and a dēw and a parīg (a male and female demon) went looking for him. They presented themselves to Jam and Jamag as fleeing from the dēws and suggested the four of them be united in marriage, which they were. In the Bundahišn (14B1) the background story is omitted and it is only said that, out of fear for the dēws, Jam took a female dēw as his wife and gave Jamī to a male dēw. According to both accounts, it was from these unions that monkeys, bears, and other harmful creatures were born (including the Gandarw, Pahlavi Rivāyat (8e9), Żoḥḥāk’s evil counselor Kandrow in the Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 78). Interestingly, Zādspram has a parallel story about Manuščihr and his othewise unknown sister Manušag, who has the daughter (?) Koxred (Av. kaxᵛarəiδī, a kind of sorceress) with Wrath (hešm) (Zātspram 9.1, ed. Gignoux and Tafazzoli, pp. 64-65; see also Christensen, 1916-34, I, p. 68).
The Pahlavi Rivāyat goes on to tell the story of how, one time Jam and the dēw were on a drinking spree, Jamag switched clothes with the parīg and took her drunken brother to bed, thus performing xwēdōdah (next-of-kin marriage), by the virtue of which the two demons fell back into Hell. The Bundahišn also reports that Jam and Jamag had twins, a man named Āspī(g)ān and a woman named *Zrēšom, who married and so continued the lineage (Bdh. 35.4). The story is reminiscent of the story of Lot and his daughters, who have intercourse with him when he is drunk, in order to continue the family (Genesis 19:31-38).
A later version of this story, perhaps influenced by the story of Yima’s sisters, is reported by Ebn Meskawayh, according to whom Jamšid had married his sister to a relative, whom he then made king of Yemen, and she gave birth to Dahāg (ed. Caetani, I, p. 11, ed. Emāmi, p. 8). Biruni, too, mentions that Bivarasp was the son of Jamšid’s sister (ed. Sachau, pp. 217-18, ed. Aḏkāʾi, p. 268, tr. p. 202).
Jam’s twin sister shows up only in the Pahlavi books and later, but it has been speculated whether this part of the myth is related to the “twins” (yəˊmā) of Yasna 30.3 “who have ben renowned as the twin ‘sleeps’.” Since the “twins” in this passage are the two “spirits” (maniius), any direct connection with Yima seems to be excluded, although an indirect allusion (typical of the style of the Gāθās) can not be ruled out, but discussions have produced nothing convincing (cf. Duchesne-Guillemin, 1962, p. 209). Wolfgang Lentz (1962, pp. 133), for instance, suggested that the passage meant “the twins (Yima and his sister), who have become known by their sleep(ing together),” for which Helmut Humbach (1974, p. 200) suggested “who, because of Yima, have become renowned as the two (kinds of) sleep(ing together),” that is, with the dēw and the parīg. It is unlikely that the passage in its context has this literal meaning (cf. Skjærvø, 1997, p. 111; idem, 2008), but it is not impossible that the poets expected the listener to make these connections if the myths existed at the time.
The “cutting apart” of Yima, although reminiscent of Plato’s myth in the Symposium (XIV-XV, 189e-191d), that the primordial androgynes were cut in two to produce men and women, also leads to no futher insight on the matter of the twins. The same is true if the “cutting” was castration, which brings to mind the myth of Uranus and Cronus, where Cronus castrates his father with a sickle with jagged teeth (Hesiod, Theogony 178-82; see also Lincoln, 1981b). On the other hand, the story of the incest connects the Iranian myth with the Old Indic myth, in which Yamī tries to seduce here brother.
Yam in Manicheism. The Manichean Book of Giants contains two Sogdian fragments of a story about Yam, one in which Yam is presented with five diadems, which he accepts, and one in which he is described as lord of the world, before whom all the lords of the world would assemble on New Year’s Day (Sogd. nawí m[ēθ] = now ruz; Henning, 1943, p. 74, who read nwy m[ʾx ?]; see Skjærvø, 1995, p. 204; the term is found in a Manichean letter with New Year’s greetings, Yoshida, 2000, p. 147, line 70), all of which echoes closely Ferdousi’s account of the beginning of Jamšid’s reign (ed. Mohl, I, p. 48; ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 41). Prods O. Skjærvø (1995) has argued that numerous features of the mythical Yima, Jam(šēd) agree with those of the Manichean Rex Honoris, the second son of the five sons of the Living Spirit, who sits on a throne in the seventh heaven, is the ruler (smān-xšēδ) of all ten heavens, and watches over the heavens and the earths, and further with the description of God in 1 Enoch 14:18, who sits on a throne of crystal with wheels like the shining sun, recalling the description of Jamšid’s throne as a glass chariot. The Rex Honoris is also in charge of a wheel that is like a big mirror and allows him to see everything (Kephalaia 88.30-33, tr. Gardner, p. 92), which is reminiscent of Jamšid’s Cup (see ii, below), which allows him to see everything that goes on in the entire world. According to 1 Enoch 7-8, the 200 angels, led by Semyaz, taught people medicine, decorations, ornamentation, etc., crafts that, according to the Sogdian fragment, the 200 δēws had seen in the heavens among the gods, etc. This may indicate that Mani correlated the Iranian mythical characters with his own in his narrative of the origins of the world in his book Pragmateia, deeds of heroes.
Jam in the medieval chronography. The Arab historians, who, following earlier traditions, try to establish synchronisms between the Iranian and Biblical legends, place Jam variously. Ebn Qotayba (q.v.; ed. Wüstenfeld, p. 320; ed. ʿOkāša, p. 652) makes him the Persian Solomon, a tradition also reported by Dinavari (ed. Guirgass, p. 9, ed. ʿĀmer and Šayyāl, p. 6), Maqdesi (text III, pp. 46, 106, tr. pp. 48, 109, tr. Šafiʿi Kadkani, I, pp. 438, 474), Ebn Hawqal (p. 278, tr. p. 273), and Ṯaʿālebi (p. 10). Maqdesi also points out that the Persians assign to Jamšid all the miracles assigned to Solomon (p. 106, tr. p. 109, tr. Šafiʿi Kadkani, I, p. 474); Eṣṭaḵri (pp. 123, 150, tr. pp. 109, 141) and Ebn Ḥawqal (p. 278) refer to Persepolis as the mosque of Solomon (cf. Malʿab Solaymān “Solomon’s playground” in Moqaddasi, p. 444) and that Jam was Solaymān; and Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi reports that, in the Ṣowar al-aqālim (apparently of Abu Zayd Balḵi, [q.v.], lost), the columns in Persepolis were said to be of the Mosque of Solomon and suggests that perhaps Solaymān had turned Jamšid’s house into a mosque (Mostawfi, p. 121, tr., p. 120). Ebn al-Nadim simply points out that some say Solaymān was the first to make the demons his subjects, others say it was Jamšid (ed. Flügel, p. 309, ed. Tajaddod, p. 370, tr. p. 727). Several of the Muslim authors criticize the notion that Jamšid was Solomon by referring to the great time span separating them, including Dinavari (ed. Guirgass, p. 9, ed. ʿĀmer and Šayyāl, p. 6: more than 3000 years of difference) and Mirḵᵛānd (1959-72, I, p. 515-16, ed. Kayānfar, II, p. 595, tr. p. 100: more than 2000 years), who produces additional arguments why they cannot have been the same person.
Masʿudi adds that it was also said that the Flood occurred during his reign (ed. Barbier de Meynard and Courteille II, pp. 112-13, ed. and tr. Pellat, sec. 536), which agrees with Maqdesi, who says that Jamšid lived at the time of Noah (III, pp. 23-24, tr. p. 25, tr. Šafiʿi Kadkani, I, p. 425), while Dinavari has Jam descended from Noah (ed. Guirgass, p. 4, ed. ʿĀmer and Šayyāl, p. 1: son of Vivanjhan son of Arfaḵšaḏ brother of Šāleḵ son of Sām = Šem, son of Noah). Dinavari (ed. ʿĀmer and Šayyāl, pp. 2-3) adds that Jam became king in Babylonia after Sām and that it was during his reign that their language was confused and the sons of Sām settled in various places in the Middle East (arż Bābel), including Iranian territories. He also reports that Nimrod was descended from Jam and that all the Arabs are descended from Arfaḵšaḏ (ed. Guirgass, p. 9, ed. ʿĀmer and Šayyāl, p. 6).
Note also Mary Boyce’s suggestion that the mention in the Tansar-nāma of agriculture in the time of Noah belongs to this tradition (1968, p. 45, n. 2; further on Jamšid’s genealogy, see also Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 109-11; Wesendonk, 1924, p. 157 with references).
The Iranian Yima and the Indic Yama. The Vedic and Zoroastrian myths agree and differ in crucial details. The one clearly Indo-Iranian element is the shared father, whose functions, however, differ in detail, although they both refer to first sacrifices: Vivasvant sent the sacrificial fire to mankind, while Vīuuaŋᵛhan was the first to perform a haoma sacrifice (cf. Keith, pp. 112-13).
Two linguistic formulas in the same Rigvedic hymn make the two myths inseparable, gātu- “place to go” + vinda- “find” and “assembly of people/mortals”: Yama was the first to go along the path into the distance of the great slopes for the sake of the many; he found the way to go (RV. 10.14.1, 2: gātúm viveda). Yima expanded the earth for the sake of those who did not find a way to go (Vd. 2.8 nōiṱ gātuuō viṇdən). Yama is the one who assembled people (RV. 10.14.1 saṃgámanaṃ jánānāṃ), and Yima organized an assembly together with the best men (Vd. 2.20: haṇjamanəm frabarata . . . haθra vahiš-taēibiiō maṧiiākaēibiiō).
Other, less precise, correspondences in the same hymn include the following: Yama presumably acted as a shepherd-king, whose “grazing ground” (gávyūti = Av. gaoiiaoiti, Miθra’s heavenly grazing grounds) can not be taken away (RV. 10.14.2). Yima has good flocks (huuąθβa), but only the fourth of the first sacrificers, Pōrušāsp, also has a gaoiiaoiti (Dk. 7.2.29 gāwyūd ī spitāmān “the grazing grounds of the Spitāmas”), father of Zarathustra, who will initiate the return of the world to its state of immortality. All mortals will go to this place, where they will no longer see the sun (RV. 10.14.12 dṛśáye sṹryāya “give us to see the sun!”; cf. Yima’s epithet huuarə.darəsō). And Yama guides us among the gods for us to live a long life (RV. 10.14.14 dīrghám āˊyuḥ prá jīváse, cf. Y. 9.19 [request to Haoma] darəγō.jītīm).
Yama’s mother (daughter of the divine carpenter, Tvaṣṭar), or a substitute (since she disappeared at the wedding), bore the twin Aśvins and left behind a pair (RV. 10.17.1-2), perhaps Yama and Manu/Manuṣ, who are both sons of Vivasvant. According to late traditions, Jamšid has a pair of twin sisters (see above) and is, according to the Pahlavi traditions, one of four brothers (see above).
Yama’s birth was immortal/among the immortals(?) (RV. 1.83.5: yamásya jātám amṛˊtamṟ), and he became a king “at the barrier of the sky” (RV. 9.113.8). His realm of the dead, the abode of the “fathers,” was originally in highest heaven (RV. 10.14.8: paramé vyòman), only later underground. Yima, as king of the golden age, was presumably at first immortal, like his subjects, but it is never suggested he was originally among gods or divine, the hamēstagān, of which Jam became king, being located only between earth and the star-level (Dk. 5.8.5-6, ed. Amouzgar and Tafazzoli, pp. 40-41). Ṭabari is the only one to state explicitly, that Jamšid was tricked by the Devil (Eblis) to believe himself to be a god and call on people to worship him (I, p. 182, tr. I, 351), on which Balʿami’s Devil elaborates: “You are the god of the heavens and earth, but you are not aware of it; you were in heavens, you created this earth, you put the heavens in order and came to the earth to straighten the buisness of the earth, dispense justice, and return to the heavens” (ed. Bahār, p. 131, ed. Gonābādi, p. 89, tr., I, p. 104).
Yama chose death for the sake of(?) the gods (deva) or, for the sake of progeny, did not seek immortality (RV. 10.13.4, riddle hymn). Yima was killed and went to hell. Yama built a dwelling place (sāˊdanā) for the dead (RV. 10.18.13), called “the house of devas” (RV. 10.135.7: yamásya sāˊdanaṃ deva-mānáṃ). Yima ruled over men and daēuuas and is closely associated with dēws in the later tradition.
In the Mahābhārata (book 2 section 8), Yama’s assembly house is described in terms similar to the vara: It was built by Viśvakarman, bright as gold, covered an area of more than a hundred yojanas (a meaure of distance), and possessed the splendor of the sun. It was neither very cool nor very hot, there was no grief or weakness of old age, hunger or thirst. Everything one might desire was to be found there, all kinds of enjoyable things and delicious edibles in abundance, fragrant floral wreaths and fruit trees, and cold and hot waters. All the great heroes of old were there. Also, the house moved wherever Yama wished (Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 8-9; Mahābhārata, tr. Buitenen, II, pp. 47-48).
The theme of the overpopulation of the earth is also found in India, as well as elsewhere in Indo-European literature. In the Mahābhārata, one story is told in the first book (ādi-parvan) that, during a golden age populated by immortals, the Asuras were born and multiplied and soon the earth sagged under her burden and, fearful, sought refuge with Brahmā, upon which the gods (devas) descended to earth to destroy their enemies (tr. van Buitenen, I, pp. 136-38). Another story is found in the third book (vana-parvan, sec. 141, tr. Chandra Roy, pp. 423-25; cited by Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 6-8). Here, during the terrible times of the kṛta-yuga, the supreme god (ādi-deva) took on “Yama-hood” (yamatva) and created a world in which there was immortality, which led to overpopulation. Having sunk 1000 yojanas, the earth complained to Nārāyaṇa (= Viṣṇu), who increased his size to enable him to lift the earth back up 1000 yojanas on one of his tusks. In the Greek tradition, according to the poem Cypria of the Epic Cycle, Zeus devised the Trojan war to rid the earth of the myriad of heroes weighing her down (Hesiod, 1977, pp. 496-97; on further parallels to the story of the overpopulation and expansion of the earth, see Hertel, pp. 23-33, and Keith’s critique, pp. 621-23; Mahābhārata, tr. Buitenen, II, pp. 203-5; on Flood stories, see Hertel, pp. 26-33).
The Rigvedic dialogue hymn featuring Yama and Yamī has numerous details in common with the Pahlavi stories about Jam and Jamī: Yamī tries to convince Yama to sleep with her, arguing that the immortals wish the one mortal to have offspring (RV. 10.10.3); already in the womb, they were made by their engenderer, Tvaṣṭar, to be husband and wife (RV. 10.10.5). Yama resists, acknowledging that it may yet happen in coming generations that those closely related (jāmí) will perform that which is not proper for them (ájāmi; RV. 10). They tell one another that they expect the other to be embraced by someone else (RV. 13-14).
The Gathic myth of Yima. Numerous attempts have been made to interpret the reference to Yima’s sin in Yasna 32.8: yəˊ maṧiiəˊṇg cixšnušō ahmākəˊṇg gāuš bagā xᵛārəmnō. Early scholars simply followed the Pahlavi interpretation: kē-š ō mardōmān čāšīd kū amāgān gōšt pad bazišn xwarēd “who taught people: eat the meat and distribute(?) it to ours(?)!” In the Warštmānsr nask commentary on this strophe in the Dēnkard, Av. cixšnušō is understood (correctly) as being related to the verb “satisfy (with gifts), make favorable” and the passage as being about how Jam satisfied people by giving them meat to eat (Dk. 9.32.12; cf. Pahl. Y. 9.1). The Pahlavi rendering is based on several pseudo-etymological interpretations: gāuš = gōšt “meat,” bagā = bazišn “sharing,” and xᵛārəmnō = xwarēd “eat!"
Early scholars usually followed this indigenous tradition; Christian Bartholomae (q.v.), for instance, rendered the line as “he who, in order to satisfy humans, gave our (men) pieces of meat to eat” and maintained it expressed Zarathustra’s rejection of Yima and his institutions of the bloody sacrifice and the orgiastic festivals connected with it (AirWb., cols. 1866-67 n. 2; 1905, pp. 32-33). Bartholomae, however, assumed that gāuš “the bull” (nominative) is for gaoš “of bull” (genitive), that is, “of meat” (a meaning gao- has nowhere else); bagā (instrumental of baga- “god”) is the same as bāga- “share”; and xᵛārəmnō (unknown meaning) is the causative of of xᵛara- “eat” (which would be *xᵛāraiia-, but is not attested).
Most translations of the passage in the first half of the 20th century followed this interpretation, for instance, Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin (1962, p. 209), Geo Widengren (pp. 53-54, 66), who also followed Henrik Samuel Nyberg (q.v.; pp. 92-94) in regarding the cult of Yima and the use of haoma as typical of the Männerbund and therefore proscribed by Zarathustra, a notion that has no basis in the sources (see Boyce, 1987). From the 1950s on, when Bartholomae’s (and the Pahlavi translations’) arbitrary grammatical analysis of the passage began to be rejected, new attempts to interpret the strophe were made. In 1957, Helmut Humbach returned to the literal interpretation of gāuš as “cattle,” and, in 1962, Wolfgang Lentz interpreted bagā as a form of baga- “god,” referring to the Zoroastrian tradition that Jam regarded himself as god, while also rejecting the notion that the strophe expressed Zarathustra’s disapproval; rather, he used the myths to illustrate his preaching. Then, in a survey of the sources for bloody sacrifices in Zoroastrianism, Mary Boyce questioned the assumption that Zarathustra rejected the bloody sacrifice (or the haoma), which was practiced by Zoroastrians till recent times (Boyce, 1966, esp. p. 110; idem, 1975-82, I, pp. 214-18).
Helmut Humbach then suggested gāuš could be the verb missing in this phrase and a form of *gau- “to be deficient, sin,” with relatives in Sogdian and Chorasmian meaning “need.” He also quoted Karl Hoffmann to the effect that xᵛāra- could be connected with the Germanic words for swear and oath (Ger. Schwur) and simply mean “swear (an oath),” as in New Pers. sowgand ḵᵛordan, also comparing the legal Pahlavi term xwārestān (Humbach, 1974, p. 199; Bartholomae, 1922, pp. 35, 38: “high court”; Macuch, pp. 108-9: “place of swearing an oath”). In his later translation of the Gāθās, Humbach added that gāuš could also be from the verb meaning “increase” (1991, I, p. 133, II, p. 82).
Stanley Insler in his Gāθā translation (1975) rendered the phrase as “he who wanted to satisfy our men (by) swearing: ‘The cow is goddess’,” taking bagā as an otherwise unknown feminine of baga (Insler, p. 47, with comments, pp. 204, 331; note that there is also no feminine of yazata or of daēuua in Avestan, daēuuī- [AirWb., cols. 667-70] probably being a misspelling for daiuuī- < daiβī- “deceptive”). In 1987, Ilya Gershevitch, building on Humbach and Insler’s proposals, suggested that the strophe contained “direct speech uttered by Yima at his trial,” and that bagā was used by default by “poor pagan Yima” “to address his divine judge” (Gershevitch, 1985-88, pp. 489-90) and proposed various solutions to the problems of Yašt 19.30-34, as well. Kellens and Pirart in their edition (1988-91) pointed out the impossibility of finding a convincing interpretation and did not translate.
Yima’s time. In the Pahlavi world chronology, the first heroes, Hōšang, Tahmōraf, and Jam, belong to the first millennium after the new-born world of the living was attacked by Ahriman and death was introduced by the killing of Gayōmard and the first Bull (Bdh. 1.59 and chap. 4). The story in Vidēvdād 2, however, seems to take place before the attack, since, under Yima’s reign, there is, as yet, no old age, sickness, or death, nor any of the other evils that were introduced by Ahrimen. When Yima expands the earth, he goes forth “at noon on the road of the sun,” which also suggests a time before the attack, when the sun had not yet started to move (Bdh. 2.17), that is, in the Pahlavi scheme of things, while the world of the living (gētīy) was still in the world of thought (mēnōy) or in Ohrmazd’s womb (Bdh. 1.59).
Moreover, in the Avesta, the first three heroes are typically said to have “had command over men and daēuuas on the seven-fold earth” (Yt. 19.26-31; cf. Benveniste, 1967; Kellens, 2005) or ask for “command over men and daēuuas of all the lands” (Yt. 5.21-25), which appears to describe a time not covered by the Pahlavi world chronology, the time when the daēuuas walked on earth among men (Y. 9.15, Yt. 19.80, see above on Yima and the golden age). The coexistence of men and daēuuas is clear in the Gāθās, as well, and the actual presence of daēuuas on earth is suggested by Yasna 32.3 (“you, dāeuuas, have become renowned on one-seventh of the earth”), and a formerly different status is suggested by Yasna 44.20, where the poet asks whether daēuuas really once had good rule.
Since Zarathustra was the one who drove the daēuuas underground and so put an end to the time of man-daēuua mixture and since he is also featured in the vara, the Zarathustra myth belongs to this early stage of the world, as well, but he was also the first to sacrifice to Ahura Mazdā and first representative of the three classes in the world of the living (Yt. 13.88-90). The myth of the early heroes may therefore reflect a stage of the mythical prehistory before the daēuuas were demoted with the sharpening of cosmological dualism (after this, they, like everybody else, had to make a choice, but made the wrong choice, Y. 30.6). The Yima/Jam myths even suggest the demotion was connected with Yima. The Vidēvdād story may then describe the world after the disappearance of the daēuuas. The “chronological” scheme of the Young Avesta, although different from that of the later tradition, does not contradict such a possibility, since it is demonstrably the transformation of several older myths (see., e.g., Skjærvø, 1998, on the kauuis and the war against Fraŋrasiian). That the chronological indications in the Avesta puzzled the Sasanian priests, however, is clear from the Pahlavi commentary on Vidēvdād 2.19, where some commentator found it necessary to spell out the standard teaching of the twelve trimillennia adducing an otherwise lost Avestan passage on the duration of the world of thought and that of living beings (see also Kellens, 1999-2000, pp. 733-34, on the evolution of the old myth under the influence of the millenary scheme).
A different interpretation of Yasna 32 may be attempted if we compare the succession of ages in the Iranian mythoepic tradition with the Greek myth of the ages of the world described by Hesiod in his Works and Days (lines 110-55). Hesiod’s age of gold was, like that of Yima, free from all kinds of worries, including old age. The earth bore abundant and inexhaustible (áphthonon) fruits (cf. Y. 9.4 = Yt. 15.16, 19.32), and people dwelt in peace with abundant flocks (cf. Yima’s epithet “having good flocks” huuąθβa-). The similarity with Yima’s age of gold is obvious, including waters and plants not drying out with inexhaustible (ajiiamna) tasty foods (see Skjærvø’s review of Humbach and Ichaporia, 1998, pp. 186-87). After this age came to an end, its inhabitants became spirits roaming all over the earth. The men of the silver age were short-lived and characterized by hybris, which led them to sin by refusing to sacrifice and give honor to the gods. As this age, too, came to an end, its inhabitants became spirits (daimones) dwelling beneath the earth.
The third age, that of bronze, saw hybris and violence. Men enjoyed war and, killing one another, had to go to Hades, leaving the bright light of the Sun. In Yasna 32.6-7, the strophes preceding Yasna 32.8, the poet first mentions “the many sins for which he is seeking renown in lack of peace(?)” and then states, “of these sins I declare in *honesty I know none at all, the ones that are renowned as (tales?) of *violence (jōiiā), for which (one/he?) is renowned by (his) *shining metal (weapon).” In light of Hesiod’s description, the mythoepic references (*srauuahiieitī “he is seeking renown,” srāuuī “was renowned”) may be to weapon-wielding heroes of great strength, whose violent bent betrayed them into the sin of hybris. The “*shining metal” (xᵛaēnā aiiaŋhā) is also what the sky is made of (Yt.13.2; Bdh. 34.5; MX. 8.7) and may well refer to (bronze) weapons. There is no evidence that the term refers to the ordeal by fire, as assumed from Bartholomae to Insler and Humbach. Kellens and Pirart, however, suggested the etymology *hu-waina- “good to look at,” which would fit, for intance, mirrors made of shiny bronze.
Hesiod’s fourth age, that of iron, was inhabited by a nobler divine race of heroes. This age saw the battles before Thebe and at Troy, which would correspond to the battle of the Kauuis with Fraŋrasiian and the great battle in the Mahābhārata (see Skjærvø, 1998). After the wars, the heroes lived in a place free from worries ruled by Cronus, who had become king after castrating his father (Works and Days 168-71; cf. Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 41).
Hesiod’s fifth and last age, that of iron, was one of war and good mingled with evil (line 179). Apparently, this was caused by Zeus as a revenge for the theft of the fire by Prometheus (cf. Vivasvant, above on Yima as solar figure), by fashioning Pandora, whose box contained all evils that afterward befell men (the story is told before that of the five ages, Works and Days 50-89). This age would correspond to the period of the “mixture” in the Pahlavi scheme.
It is therefore likely, that the Avestan and pre-Avestan myths of the first ages were considerably more archaic than their Pahlavi versions, which explains why it is difficult to reconcile the two. The subsequent fall of Yima, however, is not clarified by these mythical chronologies, but depends on the myth of the Fortune (xᵛarənah), which is not yet understood.
Yima as first man and the cosmogonic sacrifice. Since the 19th century, the Vidēvdād Yima myth has been taken to be that of the mythical “first man” as well as “first king.” That we are dealing with a first king is clear from the terms xšaθra “royal command” and xšaiia- “rule, be in command” (on Kellens’ objection see below), but the claims that Yima is also the “first man,” mainly based on the Indic Yama, are more doubtful and poorly supported by the Iranian sources (cf. Shaked, 1987, p. 238; Christensen adduces only Bdh. 35.4 about the lineage from Jam and Jamī through Āspīgān and *Zrēšom, presumably the ancestors of Frēdōn). According to the Avesta, Yima’s father, Vīuuaŋᵛhant, was the first mortal to press the haoma and thereby obtained a son, Yima, while, in Vidēvdād 2, Yima is only the first mortal to be addressed by Ahura Mazdā. As the Iranian Yima had no obvious features of the first man in the Iranian myths, early scholars thought this was an Indo-Iranian part of the myth that had been kept in India but been modified in Iran by Zarathustra, leading to the replacement or displacement of Yima by Gaiia Martān/Gayōmard (cf. Carnoy, 1917, pp. 313-14).
By the turn of the century, it had also been suggested that the Indic Yama and Manu were mythological complementary dublets of the first man (e.g., Macdonell, p. 139; see also, e.g., Lincoln, 1981a, p. 82), an idea that was taken up and applied to the Iranian myth, as well (for a personal interpretation of Yima as originally prophet and Messiah, see Blochet, p. 127.) Christensen also suggested that the Indians had the Flood story from the Babylonians (1916, p. 64; idem, 1918-34, II, pp. 61-62 with n. 1).
The “cutting” of Yima has also been connected with myths about the cutting up of a primordial man or giant to make the world, such as the Rigvedic Puruṣa (RV. 10.90) and the Old Norse Ymir. The idea was developed by Hermann Güntert (1923, esp. pp. 333-39), who, to strengthen his case, provided an etymological connection between Yama and Ymir, explaining Ymir as a derivative of *yemo-/yomo-: Germanic *yum(i)yaz from Indo-European *yəm(i)yós (pp. 337-38) with “schwa secundum,” a reduced vowel Güntert posited in 1916 in consonant groups that were difficult to pronounce, but on a rather arbitrary basis (Yima/Ymir is not discussed there). He did not, however, explain the function of the suffix, which, at least, ought to mean “belonging to, related to,” or, in the case of a proper name, “son of” (another question is whether Indo-European had -iya-/-īya- derivatives with zero grade from this type of nouns). It should be noted that the surface similarity between the two names is deceptive, since the only letter they have in common is -m-; the initial y- of the Indo-Iranian forms is a consonant (as in year), while the initial y- of Ymir is a vowel (German ü-). There is also no guarantee that the original initial was y-, as “*yəm(i)yós, *wəm(i)yós, and *Həm(i)yós” would all become Old Norse ymir by Güntert’s rule.
Puruṣa, Ymir, and Gayōmard (first man in the Iranian myth) are also not twins, and Yama and Gayōmard are not dismembered to form the parts of the world. Güntert circumvented these problems variously. He interpreted the name of Tacitus’ Tuisto, father of Mannus and first ancestor of the Germanic people, as related to German Zwitter “hermaphrodite” and Zwilling “twin,” then compared Ymir, whom he regarded as the factual equivalent of Tuisto (Güntert, 1923, pp. 324-33). The twin nature of Ymir, however, was only preserved in a myth according to which, when Yimir fell asleep, a boy and a girl were born from under his arm, while his two feet engendered a son with six heads (p. 336). From the fact that Gayōmard’s offspring were the first two humans (male and female), he concluded that Gayōmard was not yet sexually differentiated (nor was the First Bull), but a hermaphrodite, male-female (pp. 347, 362). The lack of dismembering of Indic Yama was explained by early confusion of Puruṣa “Man,” who was really Manuṣ, with Manuṣ’s step-brother Yama, which also made Puruṣa a “twin” (pp. 322-24). The (unattested) dismembering of Gayōmard to make the world was replaced by the transformation of his body parts into metals at his death (Bdh. 14.3; cf. MX. 26.18; Schaeder, p. 228, suggested that this transformation provided a bridge between the legend of the first man and speculations about man as microcosmos).
There are two Pahlavi texts that present the world as consisting of the parts of the human body, but, in neither, the identity of the body is mentioned. The Pahlavi Rivāyat contains the cosmogonic part, in which the world is made from a body the creator contains in his own body (PR. 46; Güntert, 1923, pp. 330-31), and the Bundahišn contains the eschatological part, in which Ohrmazd says he will call back from the world the elements it received in the beginning: the bones from the earth, the blood from the water, the hair from the plants, the soul from the wind (Bdh. 34.5).
The myth of Yima in scholarship. Most late-19th- and 20th-century discussions of Old Iranian mythology were based on the axiom of the prophet Zarathustra’s reform, in which earlier “pagan” concepts were abandoned in exchange for a modern “ethical” religion. From this point of view, the apparent criticism and rejection of Yima and his sins were part of the prophet’s personal doctrine. The appearance of the Yima myth in the Young Avestan and later literature, in spite of the prophet’s condemnation, was, like all mythical elements, regarded as a return to pre-Zoroastrian beliefs and a disintegration of the new religion. As there is wide disagreement about the contents of Zarathustra’s reform, scholars have used it relatively freely to support their theories.
In the 19th century, a concensus also developed that, based on contents, style, and language, the Vidēvdād was a “late” composition, and not to be ascribed to the prophet. For instance, Peter Stuhr (p. 342) found the Vidēvdād to be so “pale” and lacking in the “original vivacity of spirit” that it must be a late composition (cited by Wilson, p. 297), echoed over a century later by Ilya Gershevitch (1968, p. 27), to whom “the enjoyment in reading” the Vidēvdād was marred by “deadly pedantery” and “dreary repetitions.” As for the language, Karl Geldner, for instance, thought that Vidēvdād 2 was based on the Iranian epic, but expanded with prose texts by someone with a poor command of the language (Geldner, 1926, p. 28 n. 170); Robert C. Zaehner (1961, p. 162) and Gershevitch (1968, p. 27) both complained about the authors’ grammatical confusion and negligence. The notion of the “lateness” of the Vidēvdād and its presumed non- or post-Zoroastrian contents, remained throughout the 19th-20th centuries, leading several authors to ascribe the text to the Median Magi (see below). In 1943, Walter Bruno Henning (q.v.) argued that it was post-Alexander, because the units of measure used in it were, he thought, the Greco-Roman ones (Henning, 1943b, pp. 235-36), an argument cited by Boyce (Boyce and Grenet, p. 68). Despite such opinions, which did not take into account the oral and written transmission of the text, the style and language of the Vidēvdād do not prove that it is later than the rest of the Young Avesta (see Skjærvø, 2006, pp. 112-16), but the common opinion has seriously influenced scholars’ study of the Yima myths.
A passage that featured relatively prominently in the early discussions was Vidēvdād 2.22 (auui ahūm astuuaṇtəm aγəm zimō jaŋhəṇti, twice), first discussed by Bruno Lindner (p. 214) and frequently cited in 19th- and 20th-century scholarship, but rarely questioned (Bartholomae, AirWb., col. 47; Geldner, 1926, p. 28; Christensen, 1918-34, II, p. 59; Boyce, 1975-82, I, p. 94). The adjective aγəm “evil,” which begins the second octosyllable, agrees in case and number with the preceding “upon the world with bones” rather than with the following “winters,” to which it obviously belongs, leading to translations such as “upon the bad corporeal world winters will come” instead of “upon the corporeal world bad winters will come,” which is the way the Pahlavi rendering has it. The traditional translation makes it sound as if the winters are a punishment for a humanity gone bad, “sinful humanity” (Lindner, p. 215; Lommel, p. 199), providing an obvious parallel with flood stories such as the one in the Bible. The Avestan adjective is never applied to Ahura Mazdā’s creations, however, only those of the Evil Spirit, among them natural disasters (cf. Y. 57.14 with aγå . . . vōiγnå yeiṇti “evil *floods will come”), and in Vidēvdād 7.27, the synonymous adjective aγauuatō is applied to “winter” (among the evils characterizing Airiiana Vaējah are the winter and the excess of vōiγnās, Vd. 1.3). Lommel suggested that the phrase referred to the imperfect humans who were not admitted into the vara, but the Avestan adjective is not applied to bodily defects. In view of the poor transmission of the Vidēvdād, it is not problematic to assume that aγəm has its ending from the previous two words and should be emended to *aγa to agree with zimō (in the manuscript E10, the ending has also been extended to the verb: zaŋhəṇtəm). Abraham Anquetil-Duperron, whose translation was based on the Parsi tradition, has “the evil winter,” and Martin Haug, realizing the grammatical problem, has the grammatically legitimate translation as “the evil of winter” (Haug, 1862, p. 204 “evils,” 1878, p. 233 “evil”).
This narrative of a flood released by God to punish a humanity gone bad early on provoked speculations that there might have been at least knowledge of, if not direct borrowings from, Mesopotamian traditions; already in 1871, Alexander Kohut opined that the similarities in the stories about Adam and the flood in the Jewish Talmudic and Midrashic tradition with the Iranian ones were due to interaction between the two peoples when the Jews lived under Iranian government (i.e., in Babylon; Kohut, pp. 59-61, 94). He also suggested that the Yima and the “Meshia” (Mašī) legends were developments of one original legend (p. 68).
Early attempts to interpret the Yima myth include those by the Indologist Rudolph Roth in 1850, who regarded Yama and Yamī as the children of heaven and the thundercloud. Yama was the first man and the first to die and go to the realm of the dead, whose king he became. Yama’s paradise was in heaven, that of Yima on earth. Yima’s sin was a late development. Yama corresponds to the Indic first man Manu, who gradually replaced him and delegated him to the realm of the dead (see Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 32-35 for this and later 19th-century scholarship).
Friedrich Windischmann, building on Roth’s study, in his first study (1852) of the Indic Flood story, compared the couple Manuṣ - Yama with Greek Minos and Rhadamanthys, an idea that is occasionally mentioned in subsequent literature (e.g., Lincoln, 1981b, pp. 237-38). In his next study, Windischmann suggested that Gayōmard with his further devolpment into “Meschia” (Mašī) was the first man in the “theosophic form” of the Zoroastrian system, and that Yima was the first man of the old Aryan legend but had to be moved to another place in the system, in spite of the paradisiacal nature of the myth (Windischmann, 1859, p. 76 n. 1). In his later work (1863, p. 27), he suggested that Yima’s gift of meat to mankind corresponded to Noah’s sacrifice, by which mankind was allowed to eat meat (Genesis 8:20, 9:3), and that Jam’s marriage with the parīg corresponded to that of Adam with Lilith, (from which union demons, etc. were born) and to the similar union between Eve and a male devil (pp. 31-32).
James Darmesteter, in his early essays on (Indo-)Iranian mythology (1877), interpreted the ancient Indic and Iranian myths in terms of the three battles between the representatives of light and those of darkness, whose weapon is the lightning bolt: in the morning, at new year, and after the storm. In this scenario, the heroes were the agents of the light and came from above, were “men from above.” Yima combined the “man from above” and “first man,” who, “like all others of his kind,” became the king of a legendary kingdom on earth, but was “fatally limited, with a sinister end”: he was torn apart by the Serpent with the lightning bolt, an element of the storm myth (Darmesteter, 1877, p. 232). The vara, a celestial abode like Yama’s deva-sādana (correct: deva-mānam, see above on the Indic Yama) was originally identical with Garōdmāna, paradise, but the two were separated when Gayōmard became first man and Yima’s true title was forgotten (p. 233). The eschatological myth of the destructive winter (not flood!), was the myth of the year, transferred to the life of the universe, but conflicted with the myth of rejuvenation after the storm (p. 234). The replacement of the winter by the rain was one of the rare borrowings from Semitic myth, and “Malkosh” is Hebrew “Malqosh,” late-season rain (p. 234 n. 1). Later, in his Le Zend-Avesta (1893), Darmesteter relinquished his interpretation of Malkūs, which he had by now connected with Avestan mahrka “destruction,” and thought the legend was borrowed and the function of Noah transferred to Yima with the necessary adaptations (Darmesteter, 1893, II, pp. 19-20). In the chapter on foreign elements in Zoroastrianism (ibid., III), he devoted a lengthy section to parallels between the Old Testament and Zoroastrian texts; among other things, he suggested that the chronologization of the early history originated in the Bible, which the Avesta used as its model, though the Iranians may have used a Chaldean version of Genesis as model (1893, III, pp. lix-lx). The story of the Flood belonged completely to Noah, whereas it is totally unexpected and incongruous in the story of Yima, so much so that the popular tradition simply dropped it (III, p. lx). The context in which the borrowings could take place was Babylonia and other Jewish diaspora in the Middle East (III, p. lxii).
Bruno Lindner (1893, pp. 215-16) recommended caution in assuming that the Flood story was borrowed in view of the universal existence of Flood stories; rather, one should investigate the Indo-Iranian antecedents of the story. To Zarathustra, the story meant nothing, but he was unable to eradicate it from popular beliefs, and he therefore incorporated the story by putting Yima in charge of furthering the divine creation. The popular development helped out by transposing the Flood story to the eschatological narrative and by recasting it in a framework more suited to Iranian climate and geography. Borrowings or external influence he considered excluded (Lindner, p. 216).
James Hope Moulton, a Wesleyan minister and Methodist missionary in India, focused on the parallels between the Old Testament and the Avestan stories about how sin, death, and misery entered the world (1913, pp. 148-50). Citing Yasna 32.8 and the Pahlavi translation of Yasna 9.1 (from Bartholomae, AirWb., cols. 1866-67), he concluded that Yima, deceived by the daēuuas, who deprive man of good life and immortality, had made his subjects immortal by giving them forbidden food to eat. He pointed out the similarities in the two stories: the spirit of evil was materialized as a serpent and the consequence of the Fall was the loss of the divine Glory; but also the differences: Yima, a man, gave forbidden food (meat) to his subjects, while Eve, a woman, gave a fruit to her husband; Yima was of the fifth, not the first, generation of the world, making him the contemorary of Mahalalel (Genesis 5:12); and his brother killed him like Cain killed Abel (Moulton, pp. 307-8). Moreover, the story of the vara was similar to that of Noah’s ark as well as to the description of the New Jerusalem. Since the Old Testament and its Babylonian parallel stories were older than the Iranian ones, the Iranian ones must have been borrowed, implying that Yima contained elements from Adam, Eve, Abel, Mahalalel, and Noah (p. 308). Moulton also dismissed the Vidēvdād as a late work and assigned it to the Magi, whose practices differed from those of the Prophet (pp. 183, 225).
Albert J. Carnoy pointed out that Yima’s solar epithets would be incomprehensible if Yima were simply the first man and, instead, suggested that the Yima legend must originally have been that of the setting sun, the perfect image of human life (1917, pp. 313-14).
Johannes Hertel, in his 1924 study, reviewed the Yima myth in Vidēvdād 2, comparing Indic Flood myths and myths about the expansion of the earth (pp. 23-33). He concluded that the vara (Indic vala) must be the vault of heaven (see Keith’s critique, 1925, pp. 621-23). To him, the two stories of Yima’s golden age and the destructive winter were incompatible. He thought the author could only have been one of the Magi, whom Zarathustra fought, and that the extant story was the result of manipulation of the older myth to make it fit the new religion and make it dogmatically harmless (Hertel, pp. 15-17).
Hermann Güntert, too, who discussed in depth the relationship between Yama/Yima and other Indo-European first men, notably Old Norse Ymir (see above on Yima first man), in a chapter on the Aryan legends of the god-man (1923, Part II, II) was convinced that the name of Gaiia Marətan was the result of artificial speculation (p. 346) and, approving of Windischmann’s theory, himself speculated that it was Zarathustra himself who wanted to incorporate Yima into the system, but under the name of Gaiia Marətan, which led to Yima’s ouster from the popular traditions (p. 365). He also followed Windischmann in his reconstruction of a Narcissus-like myth, in which Gayōmard fell in love with his “double, alter ego” his fravaṧi, by which pederasty and sin entered the world (pp. 361-62).
Karl F. Geldner had studied Vidēvdād 2 in detail in 1881, pointing out the Mesopotamian connections (p. 181). In a much later publication (1926), he described the vara as preserving a micro-model of Yima’s golden age for the continuation of the Aryan race (p. 30, n. 178).
Arthur Christensen began his studies of Iranian “first men” in 1916 with Manu/Manu(š)čihr. The principal conclusion to be drawn from this study, however, is that the evidence for Christensen’s conclusion that Manuš.ciθra/Manuščihr replaced *Manuš = the Indic Manuṣ/Manu, first man and first sacrificer (p. 68), is slim at best. His assumption that Manuš.ciθra meant “son of Manuš” is doubtful, in view of the parallel gaociθra applied to the moon and meaning “which contains the appearance and/or seed of the bull.” Vague connections with Yima include Manu’s role in the Indic Flood story and the couple Manuščihr’s twin sister Manušag (see above on Yima first man). In the volume devoted to Yima (1934), Christensen relied on Yašt 9.10 to assume that Yima’s reign originally occupied the entire first millennium of the world of the living, which would include the Vidēvdād count of 900 years plus the one century in exile (Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 35-36; cf. Darmesteter, 1893, II, p. 18). On this assumption, the Avestan Haošiiaŋha (Hōšang) and Taxma Urupi (Tahmōraf), as well as the Pahlavi Gayōmard, would have been added to the myth from local traditions, which resulted in the new counts of the reign Jam. He proposed explanations of the various myths of the Yima myth complex in the light of comparative mythology, anthropology, and folklore, among them those of first men; the myths of Jam and Jamī and Mašī and Mašyānī; Yima’s immortality; lands of bliss reserved for heroes (Elysium, Valhalla; 1918-34, II, pp. 36-42); and of the vara as land of bliss and Yima, son of the sun and first man, as its first ruler (ibid., pp. 42-45). In Iran, the myth developed in two mutually exclusive directions; on the one hand (original myth), Yima as first man and ruler on earth, and, on the other hand (popular and priestly development), Yima as ruler of the non-terrestrial land of bliss. Subsequently, however, the first took on the characteristics of the second (ibid., pp. 45-46). Christensen cited Windischmann’s observation that Yima’s gift of meat to mankind corresponds to Noah’s sacrifice by which mankind was allowed to eat meat and pointed out that the loss of immortality due to mankind’s sins corresponds to Adam’s loss of paradise (Christensen, 1918-34, II, pp. 49-50). Following others (e.g., Darmesteter, 1893, p. 20), Christensen also considered the question of a connection between the myth of the vara and the winter of Malkūs and that of the Flood, adding the evidence of other Mesopotamian Flood stories, but also pointed out the differences and further compared the Old Norse apocalyptic narratives of a devastating winter (1918-34, II, pp. 58-61). Christensen summed up the development of the myth, beginning with the idea of an Elysium, in which the first man, having become a god, lives with other immortal heroes and gods. This myth was influenced by that of the subterraneous land of the dead and the apocalyptic winter and was moved to the eschatology. Finally, the legend was influenced by the Semitic Flood traditions, widespread in the Near East (ibid., pp. 61-62).
Among more recent discussion of the Yima myth is that by Robert C. Zaehner (1961, chapter 5), who shared Moulton’s opinion of the Vidēvdād (1961, p. 162). Zaehner gave a detailed description of the Yima myth and its parallels in Indic, but his chief purpose was to explore Yima’s relationship with Mithra (cf. Boyce, 1975-82, I, p. 93 n. 54), and his insightful assessments of the myths were evaluated in the light of what he regarded as Zarathustra’s teachings. He viewed the Yima legend in the light of Zarathustra’s condemnation of Yima as a sinner, who, for his sin, lost immortality for himself and all of humanity. He regarded it as strange that the sin for which Zarathustra denounced him, the animal sacrifice (based on Y. 32.8, see above on the Gathic myth of Yima), should not be mentioned in the later tradition and proposed that this reflected the popular tradition, which “developed independently of the Zoroastrian reform” and in which the story of Yima’s sin was the more popular. Similarly, the myth of the vara “must belong to a very old stratum of Iranian folklore wholly untouched by the teachings of Zoroaster,” and Yima was worshipped as a god by those “who had not accepted the Zoroastrian reform” (Zaehner, pp. 134-35).
Marijan Molé, in his discussion of Y. 32.8 and its commentary in the Warštmānsr nask (Dk. 9.32.12), insisted that Yima is presented as first king and that the “sin,” which the poet-sacrificer claims not to have committed and for which Yima was renowned, must have been a ritual fault (Molé, 1963, pp. 222-26).
Mary Boyce, too, relieved Zarathustra’s teachings of the myths of Yima by assigning them either to pre-Zoroastrian beliefs or to late scholastic speculations. She elaborated on a tradition that Yima dwelt in paradise succeeding that of Yima as the “god beneath earth” (1975-82, I, pp. 94, 116-17, 277-78; see above on Yima, the dead, and Hell), suggesting it developed as the result of Zarathustra’s demotion of the subterranean dwelling to Hell; but, since this was no longer a suitable dwelling for King Yima, he was transported into a new, paradisiacal, dwelling, the story of which is told in Vidēvdād 2 and, apparently survived in the Dēnkard myth of Nēryōsang and Jam bringing Zarathustra’s fravaṧi down to earth (ibid., pp. 94, 277). Boyce gives no reference for this last event, which appears to be based on a wrong reading of Dēnkard 7.2.21 on the descent of Zarathustra from Jam and Nēryōsang (see above on Yima and the heroes of the origins; correct tr. by West, see Dēnkard, tr. West, p. 23; Molé, 1967, pp. 6-7). Her statement (1975-82, I, p. 95) that, according to the Vidēvdād, Yima did not die but withdrew to a hidden place, is unclear, since it is not said explicitly in the Avesta that Yima hid in the vara, that he dwelt there with his chosen, or, indeed, that he did not die. Boyce followed Moulton and Zaehner (also Henning) in assigning a late date to the Vidēvdād and agreed that it is “perfectly possible” that this part of the legend was inspired by the Mesopotamian myth, where it was a punishment wreaked upon the “bad corporeal world,” a “wholly unZoroastrian conception,” but with the Flood changed into a natural disaster more appropriate for Iranian geography. Boyce regarded the eschatological role of the war as due to an apocalyptic tradition that developed later as part of Zoroastrian scholastic learning, but did not become popular, as opposed to Yima’s fall (echoing Zaehner). She also regarded Yima’s association with first man as “priestly speculation” (Boyce, 1975-82, I, p. 96; cf. Güntert, and Christensen, above).
Bruce Lincoln has written frequently about Yima in the context of “first men,” he, too, on the basis of the assumption that the myth was manipulated by Zarathustra (e.g., 1981b, p. 233). Thus, Lincoln believes Zarathustra “stripped” Yima “of his role as lord of paradise” and that the story of the vara was “in large measure influenced by the Mesopotamian flood legend” (ibid., p. 234). He aims to reconstruct an Indo-European myth of first sacrificer and first sacrificed man/king, who is dismembered to form the various parts of the world, typified by the Rigvedic Puruṣa “Man” and the Old Norse giant Ymir (Lincoln, 1981a, chap. IV; idem, 1986, p. 174 n. 3). In Indo-Iranian, Lincoln too finds the first sacrificed man/king in Yama, who was replaced by (Pahlavi) Gayōmard in Iran and (Rigvedic) Puruṣa in India (Lincoln, 1981a, pp. 76, 80), and the first sacrificer is Manuš, who is represented as Manušciθra/Manuščihr in Iran (p. 83). Lincoln suggests in conclusion (pp. 83-84) that, because *Manuš as first sacrificer was closely associated with the cattle sacrifice, which had been condemned by Zarathustra, he “was written out of the tradition.” He resurfaced, however, in Ahriman (“an original conception of Zarathustra”), first sacrificer [i.e., of Gayōmard, ibid., p. 75]; Spitiiura, as the brother who dismembered Yima [the gods, not Manu, dismembered Puruṣa]; Manuščihr, as the ancestor of the priestly line; and Zarathustra, as “priest par excellence.” In Germanic, Ymir was no longer either first man or king by internal developments (ibid., p. 80 n. 142). One of his principal pieces of evidence is the etymological relationship between Yama and Old Norse Ymir proposed by Herrmann Güntert (see above; Lincoln, 1981a, pp. 75-76). He also suggests that the original creative dismemberment of Yima was “transformed along royal lines” into the distribution of the Fortune among representatives of the three classes (Lincoln, 1975, p. 132, cf. 1981a, pp. 78-79). Lincon does not appear to cite the text in the Pahlavi Rivāyat about the making of the world from a person (PR. 46, cited by Güntert, 1923, pp. 330-31).
Kellens has written on Yima in several articles. In 1984, he developed the theory that the tools given to Yima endowed him with a creative magic that permitted him to perform several tasks received from the gods: make immortality, give the earth its permanent size, and prepare it for the universal cataclysm; thus, he occupied a place between gods and humans. The shared motif of the incest with his sister, however, suggests he was also a first man, ancestor of humanity (Kellens, 1984, pp. 280-81). In 1987 (p. 249, repr. p. 13) and 1988 (pp. 329-34), he suggested that the builder of the Cinuuant Bridge, who “piled” (ci-) it up, may have been Yima. In his recent discussions of the myths of Yima (1994-95; 1997-98; 1999-2000, pp. 727-34; 2002-3, pp. 819-26), he questions several of the traditional interpretations of the Avestan evidence. What is more significant, he disputes the interpretation of xšaθra as “royal command” and xšaiia- as “to rule, be in command” (see 1999-2000, p. 727; wrongly in the present author’s opinion), arguing that the two tools given to Yima are those of a magical power, although he points out they are the tools of a shepherd (ibid., p. 729). The notion of the shepherd king is ancient, however, and is found in Iran in the first strophe of the Gāθās, the Yaθā ahū vairiiō (Ahunwar, q.v.). Kellens sums up his comparison between the Indic Yama and Iranian Yima, by asserting that, while Yama was the first man, first to die, and the first to occupy paradise, Yima first construed a paradise (though not really a paradise, since its occupants had not previously died) and was immortal in the first (Pishdadid) period of the world, then mortal and, with his sister, became the “first man” in the sense that, by renewing the xwēdōdah, he became the ancestor of the people of the second (Kayanid) period. Thus, Yima provided two elements necessary for the eschatological renewal of immortality: the population that was to repopulate the world in the period of Ušēdar and the xwēdōdah, which would lead to the Renovation (fraškerd, see FRAŠŌ.KƎRƎTI; Kellens, 1999-2000, pp. 733-34). Yima’s was the first of three attempts at immortality, the second being Paradise, to which Zarathustra opened access, and the third the earth itself after the Renovation (cf. Kellens, 1997-98, pp. 759-64).
Shaul Shaked drew the balance of previous studies in an article in 1987. Yima may have been regarded as first mortal and the originator of humanity and civilization. If he was also the first human at some early stage, this was changed in Zoroastrianism when Gaya Marətan became first man and for various other reasons, but, in the extant sources, he is not (Shaked, 1987b, pp. 238. 240). Gaya Marətan/Gayōmard was a new concept introduced by Zoroastrianism, as strongly indicated by the binomial form of his name (like Ahura Mazdā, etc.). His original place in the mythical chronology is not clear (pp. 238-39), as opposed to his function as founder of civilization and first king, which are clear, perhaps also that of first sinner (pp. 240-41). Shaked speculates that “dualism may be inherent in the bright luminosity of the divinity itself,” which might explain Yima’s ambiguity (p. 244; cf. Carnoy’s suggestion that Yima was the setting sun). The pervasive ambiguities in the popular versions of the myths suggest a syncretism by which the different levels influenced one another and the ancient layers filtered up through the more recent ones, while the effects of a cultural syncretism is seen in the attempts at synchronizing Iranian, Biblical, and, later, Islamic characters (Shaked, 1987b, p. 245, cf. ibid., p. 252). In the later tradition, the figures of Yima and Gayōmard are fairly complementary, both being solar figures who received messages from God, but they belong to two different symbolic fields. In the priestly tradition (cf. Güntert, Christensen, Boyce, above), Yima is a semi-divine presence, active and heroic, while Gayōmard represents “humanity as a passive instrument in the cosmic battle.” In the popular tradition, they both became mythical first kings (Shaked, 1987b, pp. 251-52).
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(PRODS OKTOR SKJÆRVØ)
Originally Published: April 10, 2012
Last Updated: April 10, 2012
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