ĀBTĪN (in poetry, ĀBETĪN), father of the mythical king Ferīdūn (q.v., Av. Thraētaona) of the Pīšdādī dynasty. The name appears in the Avesta (Y. 9.7) as āθwya-, equivalent to Skt. āptya-. From it is derived the adjective āθwyānay-, applied to the family of Ferīdūn. In Pahlavi literature the latter appears as the name of Ferīdūn’s father in the form Āswīān or Āsbīān (written ʾspydʾn or ʾspykʾn;Dēnkard, pp. 319.19, 438.15; Zātspram, p. 53.12). In Islamic texts the same form is rendered Āṯfīān (Ṭabarī, I, p. 205; Bīrūnī, Āṯār al-bāqīa, p. 104; Ḥamza Eṣfahānī, Senī molūk al-arż, Beirut, 1961, pp. 17, 27; Moǰmal, pp. 13, 26, 27). A Pahlavi variant, Ātbīn, is also recorded as the name of Ferīdūn’s father (Pahl. Texts, p. 23.8); and this, metathesized to Ābtīn, has come down in the Šāhnāma (Moscow, I, p. 57. 117f. ) and the Moǰmal (p. 25). In this latter work (pp. 25, 27) the name of Aṯfīān’s father is given as Homāyūn (variant: *Nunak, nwnk). However, this genealogy does not occur in the older sources.
The Bundahišn (Bd., p. 229.4; ms TD1, ed. P. Anklesaria, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, fol. 98r.3) states that there are ten generations from Jamšīd to Ferīdūn in addition to Asbīān-e Porgāv (the name given to Ferīdūn’s father); but it actually names only eight persons. According to this tradition, each of the ten ancestors lived for 100 years; and the span of their lives coincided with Żaḥḥāk’s thousand year reign. Zātspram (p. 54.1) also preserves the tradition of these ten generations, while the names of all ten ancestors are provided in the Dēnkard (p. 613.16), Ṭabarī (I, pp. 227f. ), and the Fārsnāma of Ebn al-Balḵī (p. 11). Bīrūnī’s Āṯār al-bāqīa (p. 104) names only eight. By a comparison of these various lists, Ferīdūn’s genealogy can be readily reconstructed. It follows, in reverse order, the forms in Ṭabarī coming first, those in the Dēnkard and Bundahišn in parenthesis. Each name is preceded by the patronymic Aṯfīān: 1. Aṯfīān Porgāv (Asbīān or Aswīān Porgāv), 2. Aṯfīān Nēkgāv or Nēvgāv (Nēkgāw Asbīān, only in the Dk.), 3. Aṯfīān Sōgāv (Asbīān Sōggāw), 4. Aṯfīān Bōrgāv (Asbīān Bōrgāw), 5. Aṯfīān Aḵšīngāv (Dk. only, Kerdārgāw Asbīān; Fārsnāma: Gōrgāv), 6. Aṯfīān Sīāhgāv (Asbīān Sīāgāw), 7. Aṯfīān Esbēdgāv, also written Esbādgāv and pronounced with the emāla (Asbīān Spēdgāw), 8. Aṯfīān Kabargāv, for Dabrgāv (Asbīān Dabrgāw), 9. Aṯfīān Ramēngāv, for Ramakgāv (Asbīān Ramakgāw), 10. Aṯfīān Banfrawešn (Asbīān Wanfrawišn), 11. Asbīān, son of Jamšīd. This last name occurs only in the Bundahišn, and is very likely a spurious, late addition to the traditional genealogy.
See also Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 49-50.
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 19, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 248
A. Tafazzoli, “ĀBTĪN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, p. 248; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abtin-father-of-the-mythical-king-feridun (accessed on 26 January 2014).