ḴUSRAW Ī KAWĀDĀN UD RĒDAK-ĒW (Ḵosrow son of Kavād and the Page), a Pahlavi treatise of wisdom-literature genre. 

Contents. The treatise of Ḵusraw ī Kawādān ud rēdak-ēw is the story of an orphan of a priestly family who presents himself to the king of kings (Ḵosrow I, r. 531-579, or more probably Ḵosrow II, r. 590-628; see Monchi-Zadeh, 1982, p. 63). He first describes his lineage and his education, which includes memorizing the Avesta and Zand, courses in calligraphy, philosophy, history, and rhetoric, as well as skillful riding, the use of different weapons, musical education, knowledge of astrology and various games such as chess and backgammon (secs. 1-18; see also BOARD GAMES). He then asks the king to be tested about the extent of his knowledge on different aspects of life. The page answers all thirteen questions of the king as to the best in various foods (20-54), wines (55-59; 65-66), musical instruments (60-64), scents of different flowers (68-94), beautiful women (95-97), and horses (98-100). 

The king also assigned the page with the task of capturing two lions that had caused fear among the kings’ herds of horses.  The page on his way to fulfill his task meets a very beautiful woman who, trying to tempt him, suggests that they exchange favors, but he refuses to do. The page successfully catches both lions and brings them alive before the king, who gives him a high position in his court (110-120).  This part of the story does not seem original and was probably added to the main text in a later period as evidenced by its syntax containing newer grammatical features of language and thus distinct from the rest of the text. 

Ḵusraw ī Kawādān ud rēdak-ēw provides a lively picture of court life. Its report about the king’s table, recipes, and techniques of preserving and seasoning food, (for detail, see COOKING, ii. In Pahlavi literature), flowers, perfumes, musical instruments, games, animals, and other topics, is of great importance and enriches our knowledge about the Sasanian court as well as the ideal education that princes and nobles would receive at the court. 

The historian Ṯaʿālebi (961-1038) provides an Arabic translation (ed. and tr. Zotenberg, 1900, pp. 705-11), which is shorter than the Pahlavi text but in some instances has passages which are not found in the Pahlavi text, for instance, a passage on best waters (p. 710) and another on elegant and beautiful clothes (p. 710). The latter is mentioned by the king in the Pahlavi text (19) among the points of expertise of the page, but not elaborated. On the other hand, the passages in the Pahlavi version about the page’s family and the story about the capture of the two lions are not found in Ṯaʿālebi’s translation.

Manuscripts and editions. Ḵusraw ī Kawādān ud rēdak-ēw is preserved in the codex MK (formally codex J1) and was first mentioned by E. W. West (1895-1904, II, pp. 111 and 118).  The codex contains 38 short Pahlavi texts, of which folios 28r5-39r3 is Ḵusraw ī Kawādān ud rēdak-ēw. The codex originally contained 163 folios (Anklesaria, 1897, Introduction, p. 1) or 142 folios (West, ibid. p. 111). 

The manuscript MK, which belongs to the family collection of Dastur Dr. Kaikhusroo M. JamaspAsa, is the oldest extant Pahlavi codex; it was written in 1322 by the Zoroastrian priest and scribe Mihraban Kayhusraw. 

In 1897, based on manuscripts JJ (Dastur Jamshed Dastur Jamasp Asa Faredun, 1767), JU (Mobed Jamshedji Manekji Unwala, 1831), TD (Tehmuras Dinshajee) and W (E. W. West, 1875) J. M. Jamasp-Asana, published the critical edition of the text in the collection Pahlavi Texts, with an Introduction by B. T. Anklesaria (Bombay, 1897-1913, pp. 27-38). A new edition of the abovementioned Pahlavi Codex MK was published in 2013 as The Pahlavi Codex MK. Facsimile Edition (ed. Kaikhusroo M. JamaspAsa and Almut Hintze, Wiesbaden, 2013). 

Ḵusraw ī Kawādān ud rēdak-ēw has been studied and translated by several authors (for a complete bibliography of the studies published before 1974, see Monchi-Zadeh, pp. 47-49). The first attempts were made by J. M. Unvala, who published the text with a transcription in Latin characters with a German translation, entitled Der Pahlavi-Text ‘Der König Husraw und sein Knabe’ (1917), which was the subject of his dissertation supervised by C. Bartholomae.  He later published a second edition of the text with an English translation (1921). 

In Persian, M. Mo’in (1918-1971; see FARHANG-E MOʿIN), published a series of articles, titled “Ḵosro Qobādān va rēdag-e vey” in Māhnāme-ye Āmuzeš va parvareš (Tehran, 1944). These were reprinted in the collection of Mo’in’s articles, Majmu’e-ye maqālāt (I, Tehran, 1989, pp. 80-102]). 

Among more recent studies, Davoud Monchi-Zadeh (1982) published an edition of the text, which contains the Pahlavi text of the Bombay edition with transcription, translation, and commentary. In 2001 Olga M. Chunakova published a transcription and translation of the text in Russian. In 2013 Samra Azarnouche published an edition and commentary of the text in French. Her edition, which is based on the manuscript MK, corrects some erroneous readings (e.g., in §§  11, dad “wild animal” for did “the other”; 31 afsard “cold dishes” for avsart[?]; 48 dānēnag “grains and dried fruits” for šawēnak[ ?]; 70 husraw sprahm “sarsaparilla” for  ḵosrow-flower). 




Editions and translations.

S. Azarnouche, Husraw ī Kawādān ud Rēdag-ē. Khosrow Fils De Kawād Et Un Page: texte pehlevi édité et traduit, Paris, Association pour l'Avancement des Études Iraniennes, 2013.

O. M. Chunakova, Pekhleviĭskaya Bozhestvennaya Komediya: Kniga o pravednom Viraze (ArdaViraznanag) i drugie tekcsy (The Pahlavi Divina Commedia. The Book of the Righteous Wiraz (Ardā Wirāz nāmaq) and other texts),  Pamyatniki pismennosti Vostoka CXXVI, Moscow, 2001.

J. Duchesne-Guillemin, “Le Texte Pahlavi  ‘Xosrow et son page’ et les origines de l’amour courtois,” in Monumentum H.S. Nyberg I, Acta Iranica 4, Leiden, 1975, pp. 209-14. 

S. Kia, “Sur Quelques Termes de ‘Xosrow et son Page,” in Hommage Universel III, Acta Iranica 3, Leiden, 1974, pp. 209-19.

I. Maleki, Ḵosrow va rēdag, Tehran, 1965.

D. Monchi-Zadeh, “Xusrōv ī Kavātān ut Rētak,” in Monumentum Georg Morgenstierne II,  Acta Iranica 22, Leiden, 1982, pp. 47-91.

M. Navabi, “Nokteyi čand … Ḵosrow ud rēdag”, in Našriyya-ye dāneškada-ye adabiyāt-e Tabriz, 7, 1 (Tabriz, 1951, pp. 97-112). 

S. ‘Oryān, Motun-e Pahlavi, Tehran, 1992, pp. 72-82. 

J. M. Unvala, Der Pahlavi-Text ‘Der König Husraw und sein Knabe’, Wien, 1917.

Idem, The Pahlavi Text “King Husrav and his Boy”,  Paris, n.d. [1921].


A. D. Anklesaria, Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamaspji Dastur Minochehrji Jamasp-Asana, Bombay, 1897.

Ṯaʿālebi, Ḡorar aḵbār moluk al-fors, ed. and tr. H. Zotenberg, as Histoire des rois des perses, Paris, 1900.

E. W. West, “The Pahlavi Literature,” in Grundriss der Iranischen Philologie Strassburg, 1896-1904, II, pp. 75-129.

(Mahnaz Moazami)

Originally Published: October 7, 2014

Last Updated: October 7, 2014

Cite this entry:

Mahnaz Moazami, "ḴUSRAW Ī KAWĀDĀN UD RĒDAK-ĒW, " Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2014, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/kusraw-kawadan-ud-redak-ew (accessed on 07 October 2014).