AZDĀKARA (from Old Persian azdā- “announcement” and kara- “maker”), officials of the Achaemenid chancery, the heralds, who made known, for example, the government edicts and  court sentences. The word is first attested in the form ʾzdkr(y)ʾ in an Aramaic letter, sent in 428 B.C. to Aršāma, satrap of Egypt (Cowley, no. 17.5, 7). The corresponding verbal expression is attested in Cowley no. 27.8-9 as ʾzdʾ yṭʿbd “it is made known, it is announced.” In Old Persian we have (DNb 50) azdā kušuvā corresponding to hwḍʿ in the Aramaic version (N. Sims-Williams, BSOAS 44/1, 1981, p. 4); and (DB 1.32, DNa 43, 45) azdā bav- “to become known.” In later Iranian we find Christian Sogdian ʾzdʾqryʾ “announcing” (F. W. K. Müller and W. Lentz, Soghdische Texte II, SPAW, 1934, p. 526, text 3.42) and Khotanese āysda (i.e., /āzda/) yan- “to protect, look after” with the noun āysdagaraa- “protector” (H. W. Bailey, Dictionary of Khotanese Saka, Cambridge etc., 1979, pp. 204).



A. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C., Oxford, 1923.

W. Eilers, “Iranisches Lehngut im arabischen Lexikon,” IIJ 5, 1962, p. 225.

P. Grelot, Documents araméens d’Ēgypte, Paris, 1972, p. 282.

W. Hinz, Altiranisches Sprachgut der Nebenüberlieferungen, Wiesbaden, 1975, p. 52.

B. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, Berkeley, 1968, p. 52.

H. H. Schaeder, Iranische Beiträge I, Halle, 1930, p. 264.

O. Szemerényi, “Iranica II,” Die Sprache 12, 1966, p. 204.

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(M. Dandamayev)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 2, p. 205