ČIHRDĀD NASK, one of the lost nasks of the Avesta. In the first chapter of book VIII of the Pahlavi Dēnkard it is listed as one of the legal (dādīg) nasks, possibly in error because of the second element of its name, but said to be “made for the Law with different propitiation” (pad ǰud-šnūmanīh). This seems to be an evasion, as the list of its contents in chapter 13 of the same book shows it to have been a history of mankind, with genealogies of the leaders of Iran from the beginning down to the revelation of Zoroaster and beyond. Its name was thus probably originally *čiθrō.dāti- “the establishment of the origins.”
The full contents of the Čihrdād nask, as listed, were as follows: “Mankind; how Ohrmazd created Gayōmard, the First Man, in visible form, and of what kind the first couple, Mašī and Mašānī, were and about their offspring until the filling of the middle (of the earth), the continent (kišwar) Xwanirah, by men and their distribution over the six continents surrounding Xwanirah, each race being specifically accounted for, by the order of the Creator sending messengers to each separate race, allotting them to the places where they had gone, to live there; and (how) the glory (xwarrah) was distributed from there (Xwanirah?); and their migration to the different continents and to the regions of Xwanirah, and those who dwelt in the middle. An explanation (xīr-wizārdagīh) of the nature of the individual parts (sraxtag) of man, as they were created in the primal race. The establishment (bunnihišn) of the Law and of customs: that of farming (dahigānīh), for the tilling and fostering of the world, (laid) on Waykərət the “first-appointed” (pēšdād), and that of ruling (dahibedīh), for the protection and organization of the creation, on the family of Hōšang the “first-appointed.” An account of Hōšang the first and Taxmōrup the second ruler of the seven continents, and an account of (their) family from the primal creation until Jam, and of the family of Jam, the third ruler of the seven continents, and knowledge about his time, and about the passing of time from the primal creation until the end of the reign of Jam. An account of the ignorant, evil ruler of the seven continents Dahāk and his ancestors from Tāǰ, the brother of Hōšang, the (fore)father of the Arabs, and knowledge about him and his time, and about the passing of time from the end of the good reign of Jam until the end of the evil reign of Dahāk, and the offspring of Jam until Frēdōn. An account of the conquest of Dahāk by Frēdōn, ruler of Xwanirah, of his smiting the province Māzandarān and his division of Xwanirah between his three sons Salm and Tōǰ and Ēriǰ; their uniting with the daughters of Pādisraw, king of the Arabs. The lineage of Tōǰ and an account of the lineage of these separately: of Manuščihr, ruler of Ērān, of the family of Ēriǰ; of Frāsyāb the Tōǰian, ruler of Tūrān; Uzaw, son of Tumāsp, ruler of Ērān, of the family of Manuščihr; Kay Kawād, ancestor of the Kayanids, ruler of Ērān, and the Tōǰian lord Karsāsp; Kay Us, (of the family) of Kawād, ruler of the seven continents; Kay Husraw, son of Syāwaxš, ruler of Xwanirah; and several chapters (mādagān) on families, specifically an account of Ērān, Tūrān, and Salmān until the lord (xwadāy) Kay Luhrāsp and the ruler (dahibed) Kay Wištāsp; the prophet of the Mazdayasnian religion, Spitāmān Zarduxšt and the passing of time from the beginning of the reign of Frēdōn until the coming of Zarduxšt to the consultation (with Ohrmazd).”
There are further said to have been several accounts of families “in the same nask, who count as having existed or whose being has been arranged (for the future), such as the reign of the Sasanians, who count as blessed (hu-āfrīd), and in (the family of) Manuščihr, Nōdar; *Yōšt (descendant) of Friyān; and of the family of Spandyād, Auuarəθrabā, (fore)father of Ādurbād, son of Māraspand. And there are those which then too will come into existence, for the many kinds of virtue and glory, and the rulership connected with the Restoration (frašgird), have been distributed among (different) families and will later flow to (each) family, and bring it to the Restoration. About the primal creation of crafts (pēšag), arts (kirrōgīh), and the proper functions (xwēškārīh) of the ages (āwām); the several kinds of knowledge of mankind for warding off the harm arising from the Adversary (petyārag) and for preserving the body and saving the soul, necessary for arranging the world, came—"even before the coming of Zarduxšt"—at the command of the Creator through the transmission of the word by the gods (yazadān) to the leaders (pēšōbāy) of the different times; and more on the same subject.”
Avesta, tr. Darmesteter, III, p. xiv. A. Christensen, Les types du premier homme et du premier roi dans l’histoire légendaire des Iraniens I, Stockholm, 1917.
M. Molé, Culte, mythe et cosmologie dans l’Iran ancien, Paris, 1963.
(D. N. MacKenzie)
Originally Published: December 15, 1991
Last Updated: October 20, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. V, Fasc. 5, p. 560 and Vol. 5, Fasc. 6, p. 561