DEŽ-E GONBADĀN (Fortress of Gonbadān), a fortress where the Iranian hero Esfandīār, son of the Kayānian king Goštāsb, was imprisoned. At the instigation of Gorazm (Ṭabarī, I, p. 677: Qorazm) Goštāsb began to mistrust Esfandīār and finally accused him of laying claim to the throne of Iran; he ordered Esfandīār put in chains and sent to Dež-e Gonbadān, while he himself left Balḵ for Sīstān. When Arjāsb, king of Tūrān and Goštāsb’s adversary, learned of Goštāsb’s absence and Esfandīār’s captivity he attacked Balḵ, capturing Goštāsb’s two daughters and killing his father, Lohrāsb. Goštāsb returned to Balḵ, but Arjāsb repelled his attacks. Finally, Goštāsb’s vizier, Jāmāsb, released Esfandīār, who defeated Arjāsb and sent him fleeing to Tūrān (Šāh-nāma, ed. Moscow, VI, pp. 124-32, 141-52, 157-63; Ṭabarī, I, pp. 678-79; Ṯaʿālebī, Ḡorar, pp. 282-98).
Because Ṭabarī (I, p. 680) and Meskawayh (Tajāreb, p. 55) both translated the name of this fortress as “Women’s fortress” and Ṯaʿālebī (Ḡorar, p. 280) recorded it as kamīḏān (a misspelling of kamanḏān), Reinhold von Stackelberg (pp. 103-04) concluded that Gonbadān is a misspelling of kanbadān, an abbreviation of *kanbandān (< *kanibandān < kanī, Av. kainī- “woman” + band- “to fasten”). This view was accepted by Josef Markwart (p. 156 n. 3). In geographical sources of the Islamic period Dež-e Gonbadān was identified with Gerdkūh, which is approximately 3 farsangs west of Dāmḡān (Mojmal, ed. Bahār, p. 52; Nozhat al-qolūb, ed. Le Strange, p. 161; Tārīḵ-e gozīda, ed. Browne, p. 97; Bondārī, I, p. 335). On the other hand, Qewām-al-Dīn Fatḥ Bondārī recorded the name of the fortress as Šabdez, according to Dāwūd Monchi-Zadeh a misrepresentation of *sepaddez < *spand-dez, which he equates with Sepadkōh (Šāh-nāma, ed. Moscow, IV, pp. 72 v. 1002, 88 v. 1235, etc.) in the region of Kalāt(-e nāderī) or Kabūd Gonbad; he compares the latter with Pahlavi Spandādkōh (Bundahišn, TD2, p. 79 ll. 9-10; Monchi-Zadeh, pp. 191-92). This identification requires further evidence, however.
(For citated works not given in detail, see “Short References.”) Balʿamī, ed. Bahār, pp. 661-62.
Qewām-al-Dīn Fatḥ Bondārī, tr., Šāh-nāma, ed. ʿA. ʿAzzām, 2 vols. in 1, Tehran, 1349 Š./1970.
Ebn al-Balḵī, p. 51 (with mistaken identification of the fortress as Eṣṭaḵr). Gardīzī, ed. Ḥabībī, p. 14.
J. Markwart, Wehrot und Arang, Leiden, 1938.
D. Monchi-Zadeh, Topograpisch-historische Studien zum iranischen Nationalepos, Wiesbaden, 1975.
R. von Stackelberg, “Persica,” ZDMG 54, 1900, pp. 103-04.
Originally Published: December 15, 1995
Last Updated: November 22, 2011
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