ANŌŠAG-RUWĀN, Mid. Pers. term of “immortal soul,” originally a respectful euphemism, becoming in the Islamic period an aristocratic proper name. (For the latter use, see Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 17-18; Zambaur, Manuel, p. 326.) The word anaoša, “immortal,” occurs only once in the extant Avesta (Yt. 10.125), but it must have become more common as eschatological doctrines were elaborated in Zoroastrianism. Anōšag in Pahlavi texts indicates the state of people after the Renovation (Bundahišn, p. 39.4; Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg 17.14, 16, ed. G. Messina, Ayātkār i Zāmāspīg: Libro apocalittico persiano, Rome, 1939). The beverage of immortality, which will be prepared from the white Hōm plant and the fat of the bull Hadayōš, is itself simply called anōš (Bundahišn, pp. 116.5, 153,11, 166.3, 226.5; cf. NPers. nūš). Anōšag occurs as a proper name in Šāpūr I’s Kaʿbe-ye Zardošt inscription (Mid. Pers. 26, Parth. 21, Gr. 50). Probably, already in the 3rd century, the word was part of the salutation addressed to kings: “May you be immortal” (Mid. Pers. Persepolis inscription II.5; Kārnāmag, ed. Antia, 4.24 and passim; Xusraw ud rēdag-ē, in Jamasp-Asana, Pahl. Texts I, p. 27f., passim).
The complement to wishing a person immortality while alive was to recall, after his death, that his soul was yet alive. Thus the term “of immortal soul” is used in Pahlavi literature to refer reverentially to Zardošt himself (Bundahišn, p.125.10; Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg 1.10) and to other notable persons: the priest Ādurbād Mahrspandān (e.g., in ArdāWirāz-Nāmag 1.16, ed. E. W. West and M. Haug, Bombay-London, 1872; and Pahl. Texts II, pp. 58, 144); the compiler of the Bundahišn (p. 1.9). Post-Sasanian funerary inscriptions may indicate that the term had a broad public use in the sense of “deceased.” For the Sian bilingual inscription, see J. Harmata, “Sino-Iranica,” Acta Antiqua Acad. Scient. Hung. 19, 1971, pp. 113-47. For the Bāḡ-e Lardī pillar inscription (with the phrase anoš ruwān būd “died”) see J. de Menasce, “Inscriptions pehlevies en écriture cursive,” JA 244, 1956, pp. 428-30; R. Frye, “Funerary Inscriptions in Pahlavi from Fars,” in M. Boyce and I. Gershevitch, eds., W. B. Henning Memorial Volume, London, 1970, p. 156.
The term “of immortal soul” is especially familiar as anōšīravān, the distinguishing epithet of Ḵosrow I in Arabic and Persian literature. The Mid. Pers. term is likewise so used: Bundahišn, p. 215.13; Dēnkard VII.7.26, 28 (ed. M. Molé, La légende de Zoroastre, Paris, 1967); Andarz īXusraw ī Kawādān (Pahl. Texts II, p. 55.1); Wizārišn čatrang (ibid., p. 115.1). Presumably, as a stock term, it was used regularly to distinguish the late king from his living grandson, Ḵosrow II, and so became the former’s standard epithet. This assumes that it would be inauspicious to attach such a term to the name of a living person.
Parallel to anōšag-ruwān developed the compound bōxt-ruwān, “of saved soul.” In the reign of Wahrām II (276-93 A.D.), the Zoroastrian priest Kirdēr received the honorific name Bōxt-ruwān Wahrām, “Of saved Soul [is] Wahrām;” presumably this is a pious commemoration of Wahrām I. (Cf. Ph. Gignoux, “L’inscription de Kartir à Sar Mašhad,” JA 256, 1968, pp. 394, 413.) The very same honorific is found on a seal in the Foroughi collection (Corp. Inscr. Iran. Part III, Vol. VI, Plates, portfolio II, London, 1971, no. 80). Cf. the honorific Bōxt-Šāpūr, “Saved [is] Šāpūr,” on another Sasanian seal (A. D. H. Bivar, Catalogue of Western Asiatic Seals in the British Museum ... The Sassanian Dynasty, London, 1969, no. CA 1). Parallel to Anōšag as a proper name is found Bōštag, the name of Kirdēr’s scribe (in the Naqš-e Raǰab inscription, Corp. Inscr. Iran. III, Vol. II, Plates, portfolio III, London, 1963, pl. lxxx and f., line 31); for other examples, see Justi, Namenbuch, p. 72a.
See also Ḵosrow I.
Bibliography: Given in the text.
(C. J. Brunner)
Originally Published: December 15, 1985
Last Updated: August 5, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 1, pp. 98-99
C. J. Brunner, “ANŌŠAG-RUWĀN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/1, pp. 98-99, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/anosag-ruwan-of-immortal-soul- (accessed on 30 December 2012).