BAAT , Middle Iranian personal name, borrowed in Armenian as Bat.

i. Baat in Iranian sources.

ii. Armenian Bat.

i. Baat in Iranian Sources

Baat is the name of a disciple of Mani mentioned several times in the Coptic “crucifixion narrative,” where it is spelt Baat and (perhaps) Badia (H. J. Polotsky, Manichäische Homilien, Stuttgart, 1934, pp. 44.22, 45.5, 46.13), and in Parthian fragments of the Manichean missionary history, where he is called Bʾt (W. B. Henning, “Mani’s Last Journey,” BSOAS 10, 1942, pp. 941-53; W. Sundermann, Mitteliranische manichäische Texte kirchengeschichtlichen Inhalts, Berliner Turfantexte XI, Berlin, 1981, pp. 79-81). According to these sources, Baat was a man of high rank, who was converted from Zoroastrianism and became a close associate of Mani during the last three years of the latter’s life. Mani’s conversion of Baat aroused the anger of Bahrām I, who summoned them both to Bēlāpāt; Baat accompanied the prophet for part of the way, but failed to appear before the king.

Although the name Bāt or Baʾāt (from *Baga-dāta “God-given,” cf. Arm. Bat beside Bagrat, see Henning, BSOAS 14, 1952, p. 511, and BAGA ii) is found elsewhere, there are no other certain references to the same historical personage. According to O. Klíma, “Baat the Manichee,” Archív orientální 26, 1958, pp. 342-46, he may be identified with the ruler of this name (Mid. Pers. Bgdt, Parth. Bʾty) mentioned in the Paikuli inscription (Henning, loc. cit.), and even with a certain Bāṭī bar Ṭōbī mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud as a contemporary of Šāpūr I. If the “Lord Ptw” mentioned in the Sogd. Manichean fragment L83a is the Baat of the Coptic homily, the fragment must be taken to recount the events leading up to his conversion (see N. Sims-Williams, BSOAS 44, 1981, pp. 238-39).

(N. Sims-Williams)

ii. Armenian Bat

In Armenian Bat is the name of the nahapet “family head” of the Šaharuni dynastic house in the fourth century A.D., according to the fifth-century historian Pʿawstos Buzand, 5.35. The name may be attested in Gk. Batis (Arrian) and Latin Betis (Quintus Curtius), but this is unlikely; according to W. B. Henning, Parthian bʾty, Bat, is merely an allegro form of Bagdāt, via an intermediate Baʾāt—the Gk. form Baat is attested where in Middle Iranian parallel texts the name Bat is found. From the title of Bʾt, šhrdʾr (Bat the šahrdār), who accompanied Mani on his final journey it is apparent that he was a petty king or nobleman. Mani’s mother belonged to the Kāmsarakān family, a branch of the noble Parthian house of Kārēn which had become established in Armenia. It is possible that Bat may have been a family friend as a fellow nobleman, as well as a disciple, and an Armenian. In a Sogdian text, we are informed that Mani had written an epistle to the Armenians. The name Bat in Arm., would appear to be a loan of the Sasanian period, for an earlier, Parthian, form of Bag(a)dāt, Bagarat, is found as the name of the progenitor of the Bagratuni naxarardom; Armenian intervocalic -r- is from Iranian -d-, which remained in Parthian but was lost or became -y- in Middle Persian, as in Baʾat > Bāt.


M. Boyce, A Reader in Manichean Middle Persian and Parthian, Acta Iranica 9, Leiden, 1975, p. 43.

W. B. Henning, “A Farewell to the Khagan of the Aq-Aqatärān,” BSOAS 14/3, 1952, p. 511 and n. 3.

Idem, “Mani’s Last Journey,” BSOAS 10/4, 1942, p. 944.

Idem, “The Book of the Giants,” BSOAS 11/1, 1943, p. 52 n. 4.

H. Hübschmann, Armen. Etymologie, p. 32.

F. Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 65-66.

Pʿawstos Buzand(acʿi), Patmuṭʿiwn Hayocʿ (History of the Armenians), Venice, 1933, pp. 239ff.

(N. Sims-Williams, J. Russell)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 3, p. 277

Cite this entry:

N. Sims-Williams, J. Russell, “BAAT,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, III/3, p. 277, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).