DAIVADĀNA (lit., “temple of the daivas,”), Old Persian term that appears in the “daiva inscrip­tion” of Xerxes (486-65 b.c.e.) at Persepolis (XPh 37­-38; Kent, Old Persian, p. 151): pasāva vašnā Auramazdāha adam avam daivadānam viyakanam “Afterwards, by the favor of Ahura-mazdā, I destroyed that temple of the daivas.” The name is composed of daiva- “god” (but with a negative connotation, as in Av. daēuua-, reflecting Zoroaster’s condemnation of polytheism) and dāna- (IE. *dṃHno-) “building, house, structure,” as explained by Ilya Gershevitch (p. 35). Xerxes’ destruction of a temple dedicated to the daivas is evidence of the king’s Zoroastrian faith: The daivadāna mentioned in his inscription must have been a place for worshiping several deities that were no longer accepted in the theological revisions docu­mented in the Younger Avesta (Gnoli, p. 58). The daivadāna of XPh was probably Iranian, perhaps Per­sian, as relevant religious-political conflicts are known to have occurred in Persia beginning with Darius I (522-486 b.c.e.): the Gaumāta episode and the destruction of the āyadanas “places of worship” ordered by the magus (DB 1.63-64). It is significant, however, that after the order to destroy the daivas’ temple the cult of Ahura Mazdā was reinstated in the same place (XPh 39-41). It seems, therefore, very unlikely that the daivadāna destroyed by Xerxes was Marduk’s temple at Babylon (Hartmann, pp. 158-60; Nyberg, pp. 365-66), the Parthenon in Athens (Levy), or some other sanctuary in a foreign country (Boyce, Zoroastrianism II, pp. 174-75).

The results of archeological research do not yet permit reconstruction of the typology of the daivadāna, despite Roman Ghirshman’s attempt to do so (cf. Boyce, Zoroastrianism II, p. 37 n. 136). It is possible that a demolished religious building next to the south­western corner of the terrace at Persepolis may be related to the daivadāna mentioned in XPh 35-41 (cf. Tilia, pp. 241ff.; Dandamaev and Lukonin, p. 354).



V. I. Abaev, “Pyatyĭ stolbez Behistunskoĭ nadpisi Darija I i Antidevovskaya nadpis’ Kserksa” (The fifth column of the Behistun inscription of Darius I and the anti-daiva inscription of Xerxes), VDI 1963/3, pp. 113-18.

U. Bianchi, “L’inscription "des daivas" et le zoroastrisme des Achéménides,” RHR 192, 1977, pp. 3-30.

W. Brandenstein and M. Mayrhofer, Handbuch des Altpersischen, Wiesbaden, 1964, pp. 88-89, 114.

A. Christensen, Essai sur la démonologie iranienne, Copenhagen, 1941, pp. 39-46; review H. H. Schaeder, ZDMG 95, 1941, pp. 445-50.

M. Dandamaev and V. G. Lukonin, The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran, Cambridge, 1989.

J. Duchesne-­Guillemin, “La religion des Achéménides,” in G. Walser, ed., Beiträge zur Achämenidengeschichte, Historia, Einzelschriften 18, Wiesbaden, 1972, pp. 59-82.

R. N. Frye, The History of Ancient Iran, Munich, 1984, pp. 121-22.

I. Gershevitch, “Zoroaster’s Own Contribution,” JNES 23, 1964, pp. 12-38.

R. Ghirshman, “Les daivadâna,” AAASH 24, 1976, pp. 3-14.

G. Gnoli, De Zoroastre à Mani. Quatre leçons au Collège de France, Paris, 1985, pp. 58-59.

H. Hartmann, “Zur neuen Inschrift des Xerxes von Persepolis,” OLZ 40, 1937, cols. 145-60.

E. Herzfeld, Altpersische Inschriften, Berlin, 1938, pp. 126-31.

I. Lévy, “L’inscription triomphale de Xerxès,” Revue historique 185, 1939, pp. 105-22.

M. Mayrhofer, “Xerxes, König der Könige,” Almanach der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 119, 1970, pp. 158-70.

J. de Menasce, “Observations sur l’inscription de Xerxès à Persepolis,” Vivre et penser (= Revue biblique), 1941, pp. 124-32.

H. S. Nyberg, Die Religionen des alten Iran, Leipzig, 1938.

M. Schwartz, “The Reli­gion of Achaemenian Iran,” Camb. Hist. Iran II, 1985, pp. 664-97.

A. B. Tilia, Studies and Restora­tions at Persepolis and Other Sites of Fārs, Rome, 1972.

G. Widengren, Die Religionen Irans, Stuttgart, 1965, pp. 131 n. 1, 138.

R. C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, London, 1961, pp. 159, 331.

(Gherardo Gnoli)

Originally Published: December 15, 1993

Last Updated: November 11, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VI, Fasc. 6, pp. 602-603