HOJIR, Iranian hero who guarded the Dež-e Sapid “White Fort” on the border of Iran and Turān. He was a son of Gōdarz and a leading member of his clan (see GŌDARZIĀN). When Sohrāb attacked Iran at the head of a Turanian army guided by Hōmān (q.v.), he first met Hojir in single combat and overpowered him but gave him quarter (Šāh-nāma [all references are to Khaleghi ed.] II, pp. 130-34, 138). Shortly afterwards, the Iranian army marched to meet the invaders; and Sohrāb, wishing to recognize his own father Rostam among the Iranian commanders, asked Hojir to identify them for him from the device on their family banners (see DERAFŠ). Fearing that if Sohrāb knew Rostam he would overpower and kill him, Hojir did not reveal his identity to Sohrāb and thereby contributed to the tragedy of the slaying of Sohrāb by his own father (Šāh-nāma II, pp. 157-66). Hojir participated in a number of the battles between Iranians and Turanians, and acted as a messenger between Gōdarz and Kay Ḵosrow (Šāh-nāma II, pp. 61-71, 394; III, pp. 23, 96-97, 179, 232). His major exploit came during the “battle of the Eleven Paladins” (see DAVĀZDAH ROḴ), when in single combat he killed Sepahram, a relative of Afrāsiāb (Šāh-nāma II, pp. 123-24). Hojir is also celebrated in other sources. According to the Momjalal-tawāriḵ (ed. Bahār, p. 91), Hojir was the chief companion of Kay Ḵosrow.

The name Hojir goes back to the Old Iranian *Hu-čiθra (attested in the feminine name Hu-čiθrā (Yt. 13.141; see Justi, Namenbuch, p. 131) and the adjective hu-čiθra (Y. 58.1) with a primary meaning “of good origins” (Mayrhofer, p. 51), translated into Pahlavi as “hutōxmak” (Aiw.Wb., col. 1821). These developed into Middle Persian hu-čihr and New Persian Hožir/Hojir “beautiful, fair” (Gignoux, p. 98; MacKenzie, p. 44). Ferdowsi seems to have regarded the name Hojir entirely independent of the adjective hožir, for he rhymes them, taking hožir to mean “handsome” (Šāh-nāma IV, pp. 63, v. 986; 123, v. 1926) and “properly” (IV, p. 124, v. 1935; see further Wolff, Glossar, p. 849). In later times, the name came to be pronounced, incorrectly, as Hajir (see HAŽIR).



Philippe Gignoux, Noms propres sassanides en moyen-perse épigraphique, Iranisches Personennamenbuch II/2, p. 143.

D. N. MacKenzie, A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, Oxford, 1971.

Manfred Mayrhofer, Die avestische Namen, Iranisches Personennamenbuch I/1, Vienna, 1977.

(A. Shapur Shahbazi)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 22, 2012

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Vol. XII, Fasc. 4, pp. 423-424