KAYĀNIĀN iv. “Minor” Kayanids



iv. “Minor” Kayanids

The names. The names of the five minor kauuis in the Avesta and the Bundahišn are as follows: 

Yašts 13.132, 19.71 Bundahišn 35.29-31
Aipi.vahu Kay Abīweh
Usan/Usaδan Kay Arš
Pisinah Kay Pisīn
Biiaršan Kay Kāyus (Kay-Us)

The Avesta contains no information on Aipi.vahu, Aršan, Pisinah, and Biiaršan, but, according to the Pahlavi tradition, Abīweh was the son of Kawād and the father of Arš, Biyarš (spelled <byʾlš>), Pisīn, and Kāyus.

In the Pahlavi texts. The Bundahišn (35.37-40) contains a story about Abīweh’s birth. His mother was Frānag, daughter of Vaδargā [spelled variously], a descendant of Manuščihr. Vaδargā, a sorcerer, tried to capture Frēdōn’s xwarrah, which was in a reed stalk in the Frāxkard Sea (q.v.), to give to his three sons, but the xwarrah went to Frānag instead. When her father threatened to kill her, she said she would rather give her child to Ušībām “radiance of dawn.” Ušībām saved her from her father, and the son, once born, was given to Ušībām to be his collaborator during the period of the Mixture (see GUMĒZIŠN). The story is also alluded to in the Dādestān ī dēnīg (47.33; TD4a, p. 312) dealing with the symbolism of the yasna, where the xwarrah in the milk offering is said to symbolize the xwarrah that came to Ōšnar through his mother and that which came to Kay-Kawād from Frānag, daughter of Vaδraġā. This is probably either a mistake, or, less likely, perhaps, the xwarrah came from Frānag to Kawād (and his semen?) as the future father of Abīweh. Christensen (1932, p. 72) suggested that Yašt 13.140 “Frə̄ nī wife of Usinəmah” referred to this story (see also Mayrhofer, I, p. 85, no. 324).

A myth based on his name appears to be preserved in the description of dawn in the Bundahišn (26.88-89 [90]), where the deities and their collaborators are described. Here it is said that dawn is the time when men are most likely to reach (ayābag-tar, cf. Pers. yāftan) ōš (dawn, consciousness?) and something good (weh) arrives and is learned. In Yasna 19.8, ayābagīh renders Av. ape, which makes it possible that what we have in the Bundahišn is an exegesis of the name aipi-wahu, interpreted as “reaching good (things).”

Kay Abīweh is listed together with Kay Husrōy in the Sūdgar nask (Dēnkard 9.23.2; see sudgar nask and warštmānsr nask, online) as one of the immortals who will be awakened at the end of time (cf. Christensen, 1932, p. 153).

These stories are clearly related to the cosmic and ritual regeneration of dawn and, in particular, the eschatological dawn introducing the eternal day (see FRAŠŌ.KƎRƎTI).

Kay Arš is mentioned in the exegesis on Yasna 43.12 in Warštmānsr nask (Dēnkard 9.23) together with Jam (cf. Y. 43.12 jimaṯ “shall come”!) and Karsāsp as not having accepted (cf. Y. 43.12, asruštā “un-listened-to”) the dēn (Molé, 1963, p. 522).

Kay Pisīn is said to be the father of Manuš and grandfather of Kay Luhrāsp (Bundahišn 35.34).

In the Perso-Arabic traditions. According to Ṭabari (I/2, pp. 533-34; tr., III, p. 116; Balʿami, I, p. 523; Zotenberg, p. 407), Kay Qobād married the daughter of a Turkish chieftain and with her had six children. Her name is unpointed in the manuscripts of Ṭabari (Balʿami does not mention her), but can be read as Ferīk, Ferang, etc. (Brinner has Qartak; cf. the form Frānag, above). Her father’s name is spelled <bdrsʾ> (no pointing) in Ṭabari, which, curiously, reflects the Avestan form Vaδraġā spelled with <‑ġ‑>, similar to <‑s‑>.

In the Perso-Arabic traditions, the names of his six descendants have been considerably altered, and the manuscripts tend to differ on the forms or leave them undotted (here: •) or arbitrarily dotted. In the list of the sons of Kay Qobād, de Goeje (Ṭabari, p. 534) cites the readings <ky ʾfyh> and <ky wʾfyʾ>, while, for Balʿami, Bahār (p. 523) has <ʾfnh> with no variants, and Biruni has <kynyh>, but ms. Ayasofia 2947 (unpublished, unstudied) has <ky••h> for the expected <ky ʾβywh, ky ʾβyh>.

Biyarš is spelled <bh ʾrš> in Ṭabari (I/2, pp. 534, 617; tr., III, p. 116, IV, p. 17; cf. Justi, 1895, p. 67b [Shaul Shaked’s suggestion, apud tr. IV, p. 17, n. 85, that the form might continue Vahu Aršiia in Yašt 13.108 is unlikely]. Bahār (ibid.) has Kay Āraš with no variants. Pasin, strangely, often appears as Fāšin (e.g., Ṭabari, I/2, pp. 534, 617). For the last name, Ṭabari has <ky••h> variously pointed as <kynth, ky•bh, kybyh>. For other manuscript readings in other works, see de Goeje (Ṭabari, I/2, p. 534, note d).

Ṭabari lists Kay-Abivah in the genealogy of Kay- Ḵosrow (I/2, p. 604; tr., IV, p. 8; not in Balʿami, I, pp. 616- 17) and his sons as having participated in the final battle against Afrāsiāb (Ṭabari, I/2, p. 617; tr., p. 17). Here he lists Kay-Arš, like his father in charge of Ḵuzestān and the contiguous part of Babylonia, and Kay-Beh-Arš, in charge of Kerman and surroundings; as well as Kay-Fāšin, grandfather of Kay-Uji (<ʾwjy> and father of Lohrāsf).

Ebn al-Balḵi has Kay-Kāvus b. <knʾbyh>, var. Kay- <ʾbnh/ʾnyh> (ed. Le Strange and Nicholson, pp. 14, 40). In the genealogy of Lohrāsb, son of <fnwḵy>, he lists Kay- Maneš son of Kay-Fāšin son of Kay-<ʾbnh> (var. <‑ʾbyh>; p. 14). Dinavari lists three sons of Kay Qobād (ed. Guirgass, p. 14; ed. Ṭabbāʿ, p. 16): Qābus, his successor; Kay- <ʾbnh>, Lohrāsb’s grandfather; and <qyws>, grandfather (ancestor) of the Ašḡānis (Arsacids, q.v.).

Ṭabari also mentions the minor Kays in a brief discussion of the identity of the Biblical Cyrus (I/2, pp. 691-92; tr., IV, pp. 85-86). Some, he says, think he was Beštāsb (Goštāsb), others that he was Kay Arš, the uncle of Beštāsb’s grandfather or the brother of Kay-Qāvus son of Kay-Abevah son of Kay-Qobāḏ, while Beštāsb was the son of Kay-Lohrāsb and great-great-grandson of Kay-Qāvus. He also comments that Kay Arš did not reign, but only governed Ḵuzestān and the contiguous part of Babylonia under Kay-Qāvus, Kay-Ḵosrow, and Lohrāsb (cf. the position of Hystaspes/Vištāspa, father of Darius, who is nowhere said to have been king). In the chapter on Kay- Lohrāsb (I/2, p. 645; tr., IV, p. 43), however, he has the same genealogy as in the Bundahišn: son of Kay-Uji, Kay- Manuš, son of Kay-Fāšin.

The Moǰmal al-tawāriḵ (p. 29) has the following sons of Kay Qobād: Kay Kāvus, Kay Pašin (ms. fol. 11a <•šyn>, grandfather [jadd] of Lohrāsb and brother of Jāmāsb), Kay-Aršeš, Kay-Āreš (ms. <ʾrš>, called Kay Bahmani “in the Tāriḵ,” who was the father of <Kyškn>). According to another tradition, Kay Kāvus was the son of Kay <ʾfrh> (= ms.) son of Kay Qobād; the author comments, however, that the truth is that he himself [i.e., Kay Kāvus] was the son of Kay Qobād.

Ferdowsi lists the sons at the end of the chapter on Kay Kavād as Kāʾus, Kay Āraš, and Kay Pašin (var. Našin), while the name of the fourth is highly doubtful; among the many variants are Kay Armin (q.v.) and Aršeš (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, I, p. 357 and n. 10, and the commentary in Notes I/1, p. 389; ed. Mohl, I, pp. 482-83; tr., II, p. 23). 

For additional details on Kay Āraš in Islamic-period sources, see  ĀRAŠ, KAY.



(Prods Oktor Skjærvø)

Originally Published: January 1, 2000

Last Updated: May 15, 2013