ĀDUR-ANĀHĪD, 3rd century A.D. Sasanian “queen of queens.” The name is probably a compound of two associated deities, Fire and Anāhitā, and so falls into a category of proper names well documented from Sasanian times, but clarified only recently. Previously it was taken to mean “Fire of Anāhitā.” The name appears in two passages of Šāpūr I’s inscription at the Kaʿba of Zoroaster (Mid. Pers. lines 23, 25; Parth., 18, 20; Gr., 39, 47). In the first, the king declares to have instituted fires for his daughter Ādur-Anāhīd and for three of his sons. The names given these fires simply reflect the names of their beneficiaries. The second passage is part of a list of the princes and dignitaries of the court to whom Šāpūr I granted gifts in kind for the sacrifices. It has been proposed by W. Hinz that Ādur-Anāhīd was the wife of her father Šāpūr I, in conformity with the then widespread practice of xwēdōdah (consanguineous marriage). But this is very likely a misinterpretation of her title. As A. Maricq has shown, and more recently J. Harmatta as well, such lists more often indicate social rank than family status. True, the queen of queens, who is not the king’s wife, is only listed after the “queen of the empire” (the titular spouse). But during the reign of Ardašīr, his sister Dēnak (q.v.) bore the supreme title queen of queens, as we know from a famous gem in the Hermitage Museum. It is therefore their origin by blood which confers primacy on these women; there is no indication that they practiced xwēdōdah.


Ph. Gignoux, Les noms propres en moyen-perse épigraphique (Travaux de l’Institut d’Études Iraniennes 9), Paris, 1978, p. 78.

A. Maricq, “Res Gestae Divi Saporis,” Syria 35, 1958, pp. 295-359.

J. Harmatta, “Sino-Iranica,” Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 19, 1971, pp. 127-31.

W. Hinz, Altiranische Funde und Forschungen, Berlin, 1969, pp. 124, 126.

(Ph. Gignoux)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 5, p. 472

Cite this entry:

Ph. Gignoux, “ĀDUR-ANĀHĪD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/5, p. 472; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/adur-anahid-3rd-century-a (accessed on 6 March 2014).