DRIYŌŠĀNJĀDAG-GŌW UD DĀDWAR, Middle Persian title of a Sasanian official, “intercessor and judge of the poor.” The first word is the source of Persian dervish (see DARVIŠ), which has the meaning “worthy poor, one who lives in holy indigence.” The terms jādag-gōw and dādwar belong to the legal vocabulary and are variously understood; for de Menasce (1963, pp. 1-5), the first is not an “intercessor” nor a professional lawyer, but an aide (ayār) for the needy, those who are “deprived of prestige and influence.” He is a protector of the poor. The second term (see DĀDWAR) means a judge, probably of a secondary order (in ŠKZ 35, he is far down in the list of dignitaries); the dādwār is attested only late in the Sasanian period, being represented in the sigillographic sources by a single seal.

Although Pahlavi literature provides numerous contexts for the meaning of the three terms in this title, it is only through the Sasanian seals that we know that the office of driyōšān jādag-gōw ud dādwar existed in numerous provinces: on the bullae of the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale we find Abaršahr, Ādurbādagān, Ahmadān (Hamadan), Gēlān, Gurgān, Māsabadān, Ray, and Vālaxšfarr. R. Gyselen (1989, pp. 31-33) has pointed out fourteen districts. To the latter we must add Ardaxšīr-Xwarrah, Bišābuhr, Ērān-Xwarrah-Šābuhr, Husrō-šād-Kavād, Staxr, and Veh-Ardaxšīr. The seals show that a personal name is never connected with this office, also that it is not a simple honorific title added to that of the mowbed of Fārs, as had been presumed by S. Shaked. But this institution was maintained by the Mazdean clergy, for, associated with occurrences of the seals for this function, there are also impressions of seals of mages (Pahl. mgw mōγ). This is not surprising, because judicial affairs were normally overseen by the clergy, as was witnessed by the Byzantine historian Agathias. The office of driyōšān jādag-gōw ud dādwar was far from being reserved to the mowbeds of Fārs, in the manner which appears to be indicated in Mādayān ī hazār dādestān, and it is attested in numerous provinces; the mowbed in charge of this wide-reaching office in Fārs may have had to omit mention his mowbed title (Gyselen, 1989, p. 32). On two new bullae of the Saeedi collection, the co-signatories are mages, who are routinely associated with offices of a judicial-religious nature. In Armenian the jatagov amenayn zrkelocδ is, according to Russell (1986, p. 136), an “intercessor for all the needy,” but this is a hapax and a loan/translation of the Iranian title (Garsoïan, 1989, p. 534).



N. G. Garsoïan, The Epic Histories Attributed to P’awstos Buzand, Cambridge, 1989.

Idem, “Sur le titre de protecteur des pauvres,” REArm., N.S. 15, 1981, pp. 21-32.

Ph. Gignoux, “Problèmes d’interprétation historique et philologique des titres et noms propres sassanides,” AAASH 24, 1976, pp. 104-6.

Idem, Catalogue des sceaux, camées et bulles sasanides II. Les sceaux et bulles inscrits, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, 1978.

R. Gyselen, La géographie administrative de l’empire sassanide. Les témoignages sigillographiques, Res orientales I, Bures-sur-Yvette, 1989, pp. 31-33.

Idem, Nouveaux matériaux pour la géographie historique de l’empire sassanide: Sceaux administratifs de la collection Ahmad Saeedi, Studia Iranica. Cahier 24, Paris, 2002, pp. 57-59.

Jean de Menasce, “Le protecteur des pauvres dans l’Iran Sassanide,” Mélanges Henri Massé, Tehran, 1963, pp. 1-5.

J. R. Russell, Zoroastrianism as the State Religion in Ancient Iran, Journal of the K.R. Cama Oriental Institute No. 53, Bombay, 1986, pp. 123-141.

S. Shaked, “Some Legal and Administrative Terms of the Sasanian Period,” Monumentum H. S. Nyberg II, Acta Iranica 5, 1975, pp. 213-216.

W. Sundermann, “Commendatio pauperum,” Altorientalische Forschungen 4, 1976, pp. 167-94.

(Philippe Gignoux)

Originally Published: July 20, 2005

Last Updated: July 20, 2005