Avesta: Frahang-i Oim (English)

Avesta fragments in the Avesta-Pahlavi Frahang.

Tr. by James Darmesteter, SBE V, New York, 1898

The oldest Avestan dictionary in existence, the so-called Avesta-Pahlavi Frahang or Frahang-i Oim [1], contains a number of Avestan sentences or fragments of sentences, which are adduced as instances of the Avestan words. They amount to the number of seventy, of which forty-eight are new. We thought it necessary to give the translation of these forty-eight fragments only. The indications of pages refer to the printed edition.

1 a (pp. 6-7). aêdha. The skin on the head.

There are two, one greater and one lesser, as it is said in the Nigadum:

Which is the greater aêdha? -- That one which is on the posterior part of the skull.

Which is the lesser one? -- That one which is on the anterior part of the skull.

1 b (p.7). The head (vaghdhanem) of a man.

One bone of the skull.

All the strokes that [have pierced] the skull are counted [tanâfûhr] [3].

The others shall pay the hvara [4] penalty.

2 a (p. 9) With victorious eloquence.

2 b. A fine, well considered, well balanced, obedient [5] speech.

2 c. An honest man who knows how to speak, for instance, a wise man who makes intercession [6].

2 d. One whose words are accepted.

3 (p. 11). Sovereign, unopposed.

4 (p. 11). Good renown here below, and long bliss to the soul [7].

5 (p. 11). All the bodily world shall become free frorn old age and death, from corruption and rot, forever and ever [8].

6 (p. 12). A horse of first value, amongst the finest of the country, is as much as four oxen and our cows three years old.

7 (p. 12). As much as this earth.

8 (p. 12). The smallest of those stars is as large as the head of a man of middle size [9].

9 (p.12). An ashti in front, as much in depth [10]

10 (p.13). There where the sun rises.

11 (p. 13). There where Ahura Mazda will give you prosperity.

12 (p.14) [11]. He who to a plaintiff does not proffer place, ordeal, and time of appointment [12];

and all the operations of justice, conformable to the law and the rule, worked out by the Ahu and the Ratu, according to the laws of Asha Vahishta...

13 (p.14). He who says to a man: Make amends unto me.

14 (p.14). When two men appoint a time [13]...

15 (pp. 14-15). As long as he has life.

16. And the young Gayo-Maratan [Gayomard][14].

17. In the time when those men were, O Zarathushtra!

18 (p. 15). To the lesser man labor, to the greater one, commandment (?).

19. On went Pourusaspa, on go these sons of Thraetaona's (?).

20. He makes himself guilty of the yâta sin [15].

21 a (p. 16). A year's delay for a vîrô-mazô contract [16].

21 b. They [17] a boiled up, they fell back.

22. yaêtush zaêmanô (?)

23. yaoshchina surahê (?)

24. Let one pluck stems, three stems [18].

25. The edge of a razor.

26. If they have come [or have not come].

27. The progeny and son of Ahura Mazda.

28 (p. 17). The several sorts of corn [[grain]].

29. I offer up the sacrifice to the Frazdânava waters [19].

30. Who is the judge who knows the law?

It is the one who sees the due decision [20].

31 (p. 18). And clothes magnificently wrought.

32. Lands fit for tillage.

33 (p. 19). All the agreements in the world.

34 (p. 23). ... happiness with his eyes [21].

35 (p. 30). Goods carried by force.

36 (p. 31). gathwô-shtachad

37. thwãm khratush (?)

38. Which, recited to Mazda, protects the end [22].

39 (p. 38). The fire of Ahura Mazda receives food three times in summer, twice in winter [23]; thus does the fire of the faithful man [24].

40 (p. 39). Fifteen sheep, their hind-feet.

41 (p. 40). Anywhere in this world. -- Whosoever in the bodily world. -- Whatsoever of the world of the good principle.

42 (p. 41). Chvaiti aêtshaya (K'. aêtashaya).

43. As much as twelve steps antare thwãm (?)

44. Twice a Dakhshmaiti is a Yujyashti [25].

Twice as much as a Hâthra is a Tachara [26].

45 (p. 42). From the coming of the light [27]...

46 (p. 43). The longest day is the day of twelve Hâthras [28].

47. The shortest Hâthra is of three words [29].

48. Three steps of that sort of steps [30].

Here is for the judge, here is for the witness [31].

Here is for the suit, here is for the suitors.


1. Haug-Hoshangji, An Old Zend-Pahlavi Glossary, Bombay, 1867.

2. The Nigadum is the fifteenth Nask, the first of the seven Legal Nasks. It contained thirty Fargards, the third of which, named Reshistan (a treatise on the wounds), gave an enumeration of the divers members of the body, numbering seventy-six. The fragments 1 a-1 b are very likely taken from that Fargard. -- For an analysis of the Nigadum, see Denkard Book 8, ch. 16-20 (in West, Pahlavi Texts, IV).

3. Which implies a punishment of two hundred Sraosho-Charana strokes. The words in brackets are wanting in the text: they are supplied from the Pahlavi translation.

4. The hvara or khor penalty: thirty strokes with the Sraosho-Charana (Vd4.30, 31).

5. In accordance with the instructions of the Ratu or Dastur.

6. Who makes Jadangoi: see Tahmuras' Fragments, 47, note.

7. Good renown in this world and bliss in the other. See Y62.6; Yt17.22, and Tansar's letter to the King of Tabanstan: 'He may be called a great king wno takes more to heart the weal of the future than the present time, in order to deserve a good name in this world and a good seat in the next.' (Journal Asiatique, 1894. I, 512-513)

8. Cf. Yt19.11, 23, 89; Yt24.45.

9. 'Amongst the stars (says the Greater Bundahish), the larger ones are as large as a chachai-house (?) ; the middle stars are as large as a caharakan naptishu(?); the lesser ones are as large as the head of a domestic ox. The moon is as large as a riding-ground, two hasars long the sun is as large as Eranwej (thus in Anaxagoras' astronomy the sun has the dimensions of Peloponnesus). -- From a comparison between the Greater Bundahish and the Avestan passage quoted in the Farhang it appears that the measurement of the stars was discussed several times and not without slight variations in the Avesta (most likely in the cosmological Damdad Nask).

10. Cf. Vd13.30.

11. This fragment and the two following seem to be taken from the Nigadum Nask.

12. The defendant, if conscious of his innocence, will propose that he should go through the whole process of one of the judicial ordeals.

13. For an ordeal.

14. Gayo-Maratan, Gayomard, the first man. Cf. Yt13.87.

15. Yata, yat: the sin of breaking a man's leg.

16. A contract to the amount of a man (valued 150 istirs=500 dirhems).

17. The waters.

18. For the Baresman (Y57.6).

19. A river or lake in Saistan, where Vishtaspa sacrificed to the Goddess of Waters (Yt5.108).

20. He sees the right and legal decision which results from the facts of the case. -- Cf. West, Pahlavi Texts, IV, 64, note.

21. This refers to the good eye, to some beneficent being who sends luck with his look: cf. Yt19.94, and reversely Yasna 9.29.

22. This refers perhaps to the Ashem Vohu, which, heing recited by a man with his dying breath, saves his soul (Yt21.15).

23. The fire is fed three times a day in summer, at the thrce Gahs of the day; only twice in winter, as in winter there are only two Gahs, the Rapithwin being included in Hawan.

24. There will be two meals in winter, one in the morning, another in the evening. In summer there is a third meal, at noon (cf. Y9.11). -- The passage thirty-nine is taken from the Sagadum Nask Cf. West, Pahlavi Texts, IV, 480).

25. A Yujyasti being 16,000 paces, a Dakhshmaiti is 8000 paces (cf. West, ibid. 56, note).

26. A Hathra being 1000 paces, a Tachara is as much as 2000 paces.

27. The coming of the light (raochangham fragati) is the name of the last watch of the night.

28. Hathra is a measure for time as well as for space. A summer day (says the Bundahishn, 25.5) is of twelve hasars; a winter day is of six hasars.'

29. The uses and values of the Hathra are most diverse: as a measure for short intervals of time, it is the time needed to pronounce three words.

30. The complete meaning of the sentence would seem to be: 'The judge and the witness stand in a circle of three steps' (Farhang).

31. The Farhang has: 'All the speeches of the suit ought to he held within three steps; and both pleaders -- both defendant and plaintiff -- should stand within a circle of three steps;' so that everybody may hear distinctly the whole of the debate.