ĀZARMĪGDUXT (Pers. Āzarmīdoḵt, Arzmīdoḵt, Arzmīndoḵt, Āzarūmīddoḵt), Sasanian queen who according to Ṭabarī ruled for a few months in 630. She was the sister of Queen Pūrān (r. 630 or 631), daughter of King Ḵosrow II Parvēz. Her name, meaning “daughter of the respected one,” refers to her father (see Nöldeke, Geschichte, p. 393 n. 2). We know little about this figure, who belongs to the troubled period at the end of the Sasanian monarchy, but her existence is confirmed by the evidence of coins.
M. I. Moshiri discovered and published a coin of this queen (Ētudes I, pp. 11-16); it was struck in the year 1 at a mint called WYHC, which has been thought to be Veh-az-Amīd-Kavād (= Arrajān). The piece bears the effigy of a man. Moshiri explains this anomaly by suggesting that it is the figure of Farroḵ-Hormozd, who supposedly wished to seize power, and who actually obtained it under the name Hormozd VI (cf. Ētudes II, pp. 209-12). He was able to reign simultaneously with the queen for a little more than a year. There are no coins of Hormozd VI struck in the year 1, only examples dated in the years 2 and 3. Two other coins of the queen are in the Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), and the late M. Foroughi also possessed one. Only the mint WYHC is attested.
The Islamic sources give the length of her reign variously as six months (Ṭabarī, I, p. 1065; Yaʿqūbī, I, p. 198; Bīrūnī, Chronology, p. 123; Ḥamza, p. 28; Ebn Meskawayh, Tajāreb I, p. 270), four months (Maqdesī, Badʾ III, p. 173; Kasrawī, apud Ḥamza, p. 22 [cf. p. 28]), and sixteen months (Masʿūdī, Morūj [ed. Pellat] I, p. 322; Ḥamza, p. 16; Mojmal, p. 83).
Ṭabarī (I, pp. 1064-65) relates that Farroḵ-Hormozd, the military commander of Khorasan, asked for her in marriage. Not daring to refuse, the queen invited him to her private quarters, where she had him killed. To avenge him, his son Rostam apparently captured the capital Ctesiphon, then dethroned the queen and had her blinded and killed.
The Islamic sources describe the queen as a clever and very attractive woman. The Ketāb ṣowar molūk Banī Sāsān (The Sasanian picture book) depicted her as seated, wearing a red embroidered gown and sky-blue studded (mowaššaḥ) trousers, grasping a battle-axe in her right hand and leaning on a sword held in her left hand (Ḥamza, p. 62). She is also credited with the foundation of a fire temple in Abḵāz and a castle at Asadābād (Mojmal, p. 83). Her title was “the Just.” The Šāh-nāma, which calls her Āzarmdoḵt and reports her reign briefly, relates her throne speech saying that her power was broken in the fifth month of her reign; it is not specific about the manner of her death (ed. Mohl, VII, p. 422). The Christian sources mentioned below also record her reign, distorting her name in various ways.
For the numismatic source, see: Ph. Gignoux, “Noms propres sassanides en moyen-perse épigraphique,” in M. Mayrhofer and R. Schmitt, eds., Iranisches Personennamenbuch II/2, Vienna, 1986, no. 167.
M. I. Moshiri, Ētude[s] de numismatique iranienne sous les sassanides, Tehran, I, 1972; II, 1977.
Literary sources, Pre-Islamic: Eutychius, Annales II, ed. L. Cheikho et al., repr. Louvain, 1954, p. 9.
The Chronography of Bar Hebraeus, tr. E. A. Wallis Budge, Oxford, 1932, I, p. 93.
Chronique de Michel le Syrien, tr. J.-B. Chabot, Paris, 1901, II, p. 410.
Islamic: Baḷʿamī, Tārīḵ, pp. 1201-06. Dīnavarī, p. 125.
Ebn al-Aṯīr (repr.), I, pp. 497, 500; II, pp. 416, 434.
Ebn Meskawayh, Tajāreb I, ed. L. Caetani, London, 1901, pp. 269-70.
Abū ʿAbdallāh Moḥammad Ḵᵛārazmī, Mafātīḥ al-ʿolūm, ed. G. van Vloten, Leiden, 1895, p. 104.
Masʿūdī, Morūj (ed. Pellat) I, p. 326. Ṯaʿālebī, Ḡorar, pp. 736-37.
Ṭabarī, I, pp. 1061, 1064-66, 2119, 2121, 2163, 2165. Yaʿqūbī, I, pp. 198-99.
See also Camb. Hist. Iran III, p. 171. Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 499-500.
R. Gyselen. Studia Iranica 8, 1979, pp. 189-212.
Justi, Namenbuch, p. 54.
Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 286, 385, 390, 393-95, 398, 434.
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 18, 2011
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