ARNAVĀZ, New Persian form of the name of one of the mythical king Jamšēd’s sisters. The Avestan name Arənauuāčī (AirWb., col. 197, s.v. arənavak- probably signifies “she who speaks (ouuāč-ī) the injustice (arəna-) [to denounce it]” (so M. Mayrhofer, Iranisches Personennamenbuch I: Die Avestischen Namen, Vienna, 1977, no. 24; differently Justi, Namenbuch, p. 89, who compares Av. ar- “to grant” and NPers. bāǰ, wāž “prayer,” and renders the name as “speaking words of promise, he whose prayers are answered”).

Arənauuāčī and her sister Saŋhauuāčī had “the most beautiful features” and “were the most desirable in the world.” According to the Avesta, Θraētaona (Ferēdūn) sacrificed to the gods to obtain their release from Ài Dahāka; succeeding, he made them his own wives (Yašt 5.34, 9.14, 15.24, 17.35; cf. the late Pahlavi Vištāsp Yašt [Geiger and Kuhn, Grundr. Ir. Phil. II, p. 86]). In the final redaction of the Iranian traditional history as attested in the Šāh-nāma of Ferdowsī (A.D. 1000), the two princesses are called Arnavāz and Šahrenāz (Moscow ed., I, 1960, p. 51.6-9; p. 70.332f.). The existing text makes them daughters (doḵtarān) of Jamšēd, as does Ṯaʿālebī (Ḡorar, p. 25); but the older British Museum manuscript of the Šāh-nāma twice has the word “sisters” (ḵᵛāharān, Šāh-nāma I, p. 69 n. 7; p. 73 n. 9). This reading is confirmed by the Moǰmal (p. 27), which is here dependent on Ferdowsī. According to the Šāh-nāma, Arnavāz lived with Żaḥḥāk in harmony and even advised him against losing heart in the face of his enemies, urging him to seek and destroy them (ibid., pp. 53f., w. 52-67). When Ferēdūn captured Żaḥḥāk’s palace, he made Arnavāz and Šahrenāz repent, and having cleansed them from previous sins, took them as his consorts (ibid., pp. 69f., vv. 307ff.; p.71.354; p. 73.387). Šahrenāz bore him two sons: Salm and Tūr; and Arnavāz gave him his youngest but wisest and noblest son, Ēreǰ (ibid., p. 82.52 and n. 7).



See also J. Darmesteter, Ētudes iraniennes II, Paris, 1883, pp. 213-16.

(A. Sh. Shahbazi)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 12, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 5, p. 517