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By: Rahim M. Shayegan


(Hazâruft), title of a high state official in Sasanian Iran, from OPers. *hazârapati- "chiliarch" attested in Greek as azarapateîs [plur.] in a Hesychian gloss which defines it as eisaggeleîs "ushers, announcers" (Hinz, 1975, p. 120). 

The title occurs in the trilingual inscription of Šâpûr (Šâbuhr) I on the Ka'be-ye Zardošt, as well as in the bilingual inscription of Narseh at Paikuli, as Mid. Pers. hz'lwpt (ŠKZ, Mid. Pers., lines 29, 31; NPi, Mid. Pers., lines 7, 15), Parthian hzrwpt (ŠKZ, Parth., lines 23, 25; NPi, Parth., lines 14), and Greek AZAROPT, AZARIPTOU (ŠKZ, Greek, lines 56, 61). It is attested as a loanword in Bactrian uazaroxto (Henning, 1977, p. 637; Humbach, 1966, pp. 73, 74; Mancini, 1988, p. 84) and in Armenian as hazarapet and hazarwuxt (Hübschmann, 1897, p. 174, n. 328). The epigraphic material suggests the word should be read as hazâruft rather than hazârbed, paralleled by the doublet dibîruft/dibîrbed "chief secretary" (= ARCHIGRAMMATEOÚC; ŠKZ, Greek, line 65) with the spellings Parthian/Middle Persian dpyrwpt and Greek DIBIROUPT (ŠKZ, Parth., line 24; Mid. Pers., line 29; Greek, line 57), as well as Parthian dpyrpty (ŠKZ, Parth., line 28) and Middle Persian dpyrpt (ŠKZ, Mid. Pers., line 34). Probably the forms in -uft were the original ones, to which the doublets in -bed were forged in analogy to other titles in -bed (differently Mancini, 1988, pp. 82-84, who considers the the -w- in hz'lwpt and dpyrwpt as only orthographical and their Greek counterparts as mere transcriptions). Alternately, it has been suggested that Armenian hazarwuxt and hazarapet reflect a Parthian hazârbed from *hazâ´ra-pa‚ti- and a Middle Persian ha-zâruft from *hazâra‚-pati- (Szemere‚nyi, 1975, pp. 357-58), but there is no evidence that Armenian hazarapet goes back to Parthian times, since its earliest attestations are in the fifth-century Armenian translation of the Bible (Hübschmann, 1897, p. 174, n. 328; Russell, 1985, p. 116) and the fifth- and sixth-century historiographical writings, such as the Epic Histories attributed to P`awstos Buzand (Faustus, tr. Garsoïan, p. 108), the History of Vardan by Elišê (Elišê, tr. Thomson, pp. 76, 82, 180), and the History of Armenia by Lazar Parp`ec`i (Elišê, tr. Thomson, 1982, pp. 252, 256, 277-78, 294, 302, 314, 324).

Albeit widely assumed, there is however, no evidence that the office of hazârbed existed under the Arsacids (Chaumont, 1973, pp. 142-43). The evidence of the ŠKZ suggests that the office was first established in the Sasanian period under Ardašêr I, when it was held by a certain Pâbag, who occupied this position under Šâpûr I, as well (ŠKZ, Parthian, lines 23, 25). The office is mentioned in Ardašêr's and Šâpûr's lists of dignitaries immediately after the names of the members of the royal house and the office of bidaxš "vice-roy" (ŠKZ, Parthian, lines 23, 25). In the inscription of Narseh at Paikuli, however, a new official, Šâpûr the hargbed "?" is listed at the head of the nobles and grandees (âzâd ud wazurg) followed by the bidaxš and hazârbed (NPi, Mid. Pers., lines 6-8). Depending on the preferred etymology, the hargbed has been variously described as "fortress commander" and, more recently, as "tax collector, chief of finances" (Frye, 1984, pp. 223-24, 306; Gignoux, 1993, p. 35; idem, 1972, p. 23; Henning, "Mitteliranisch," p. 41; Lukonin, 1983, pp. 735-38; Szemere‚nyi, 1975, pp. 366-75; Skjœrvø, 1983, p. 95, does not express an opinion). According to Petrus Patricius (Müller, Fragmenta IV, p. 189, frag. 14), king Narseh kept only two officials at his side when he received the Roman envoy to settle a peace treaty in 298-99: a certain Affarban introduced as praetorian prefect (hy´parkhos ên praitôríôn) and the arkhape‚tês Barsabô´rsos, who, depending on how the passage is read, either was in charge of Symios (tên toû Symíou eîkhen arkhê´n; Chaumont, 1962, p. 15; undecided Winter, 1988, 167, n. 3) or had command of written language (tên toû sêmeíou arkhê´n; Peeters, 1931, p. 27; Enlin, 1942, p. 51; Felix, 1985, p. 124). Probably the praetorian prefect represents the hazârbed and the arkhape‚tês the hargbed. The name of the hargbed Barsabôrsos if read as *Burz-Šâbuhr (Justi, Namenbuch, p. 64; Chaumont, 1962, p. 15) may reflect that of the hargbed Šâpûr known from the Paikuli inscription. A recently published Manichean Coptic text mentions a certain Sapôrês, who was Narseh's hyparch (Sapôrês p-hyparkhos) until the king's death in 302 (Pedersen, 1997, p. 198, l. 25; p. 200, n. 23). Thus, the hyparch Sapôrês, the arkhape‚tês Barsabôrsos and the hargbed Šâpûr may all have been one and the same person (Skjœrvø apud Pedersen, 1997, p. 200, n. 23). The description of the hargbed Šâpûr as hyparch in the Coptic fragment taken together with Tabari's definition of the hargbed's office as being above the offices of the artêštârân-sâlâr "master of warriors" and the spâh-bed (Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser, pp. 110-11) suggests that the office of hargbed was also a military one (Chaumont, 1986, pp. 400-401; Winter, 1988, p. 167).

Early on, the hazârbed probably was in charge of the king's safety, like his Achaemenid predecessor, and the commander of the guards-regiment (Frye, 1983, pp. 249-50; Wiesehöfer, 1994, p. 251). His duties probably did not include that of the (Parth.) niwê’bed "chief introducer" (= Mid. Pers. *âyênîg?) as has been suggested on the basis of the Coptic Homilies (Chaumont, 1973, p. 146), for this office was clearly a separate one (Gignoux, 1991, p. 423). The duties of the hazârbed were also distinct from those of the spâhbed "commander of the army," although it is possible that under Šâpûr I, the hazârbed temporarily took over the responsibilities of the spâhbed, as this office is not listed in the list of dignitaries under Šâpûr I, where instead we find an aspbed "commander of the cavalry" (ŠKZ, Parthian, line 25; differently Frye, 1956, pp. 315-16). A spâhbed is, however, listed again in the inscription of Narseh at Paikuli, once following the hargbed, bidaxš, and hazârbed, and once further on in the list (NPi, Mid. Pers., lines 7, 16), whereas the office of the aspbed is missing (Gignoux, 1990, pp. 2-3).

Later on, judging by the Armenian evidence, the office of the hazârbed became equal to that of the wuzurg framâdâr (Arm. vzurk hramatar) "grand intendant" (Chaumont, 1973, pp. 147-57; Gignoux, 1991, p. 424). Mihr-Narseh, a high official under king Yazdegerd I (r. 399-421), in his brief inscription at Fîruzâbâd, calls himself wuzurg framâdâr (MNFd, lines 1-2). The same Mihr-Narseh is designated indiscriminately by Elišê as "wuzurg framâdâr of Iran and non-Iran" (Hübschmann, 1897, pp. 182-83, n. 354; Elišê, tr. Thomson, p. 77, nn. 3-4) and "great hazârbed of Iranians and non-Iranians" (Hübschmann, 1897, p. 174, n. 328; Elišê, tr. Thomson, p. 82). Moreover, a passage of the Syriac Synodicon Orientale mentions that the officials who were sent by king Yazdegerd I to proclaim the king's approval of the decisions of the Council of Seleucia in 410, were the wuzurg framâdâr (hrmdr ) Husraw-Yazdgerd and Mihr-Šâpûr from the "house of Argbed" (byt Chabot, 1902, p. 21, l. 21 and 22; Chaumont, 1962, 16; Labourt, 1904, p. 97). Mihr-Šâpûr is presumably the hargbed, whose charge had become hereditary by the fifth century and was therefore taken as a surname, whereas the wuzurg framâdâr probably reflects the evolution of the office of the hazârbed in the later empire, as suggested by the parallelism between Mihr-Šâpûr (hargbed) and Husraw-Yazdgerd (wuzurg framâdâr) and Petrus Patricius's *Burz-Šâbuhr (hargbed) and Affarban (hazârbed; Chaumont, 1973, pp. 147-52; idem, 1962, pp. 16-17; Gignoux, 1991, p. 423).



M. Back, Die sassanidischen Staatsinschriften. J.-B. Chabot, Synodicon orientale ou recueil de synodes nestoriens, Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits de la Bibliotheàque Nationale, XXXVII, Paris, 1902. 

M.-L. Chaumont, "Argbed," EIr. II, 1986, pp. 400-401. 

Idem, "Chiliarque et curopalate aà la cour des Sassanides," Iranica Antiqua 10, 1973, pp. 139-65. 

Idem, "Recherches sur les institutions de l'Iran et de l'Arme‚nie II: Le titre et la fonction d'argapat et de dizpat," JA 250, 1962, pp. 11-22. 

A. Christensen, L'Iran sous les Sassanides. W. En£lin, "Zur Ostpolitik des Kaisers Diokletian," Sitzungsberichte der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil.-hist. Abt., Heft 1, 1942, pp. 3-83; 

W. Felix, Antike literarische Quellen zur Aussenpolitik des Sâsânidenstaates: Erster Band (224-309), Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, phil-hist. Kl., Veröffentlichungen der Iranischen Kommission 18, Wien, 1985. 

R. N. Frye, The History of Ancient Iran, München, 1984. Idem, "Achaemenid Echoes in Sasanian Times," in Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte der Achämenidenzeit und ihr Fortleben, AMI, Ergänzungsband 10, Berlin, 1983, pp. 247-52. 

Idem, "Some Early Sasanian Titles," Oriens, 15, 1962, pp. 352-59. 

Idem, "Notes on Early Sassanian State and Church," in Studi orientalistici in onore di Giorgio Levi della Vida I, Pubblicazioni dell'Istituto per l'Oriente 52, Roma, 1956, pp. 314-35. 

Ph. Gignoux, "Chiliarch," EIr. V, 1990-92, pp. 423-24. 

Idem, "Le Spâhbed des Sassanides aà l'Islam," Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 13, 1990, pp. 1-14. 

W. Hinz, Altiranisches Sprachgut der Nebenüberlieferungen, Wiesbaden, 1975. 

W. B. Henning, "Surkh-Kotal and Kanisáka," in W. B. Henning Selected Papers, Tehran and Lieàge, 1977, pp. 632-43 (= ZDMG 115, no 1, 1965, pp. 75-87). 

Idem, "Mitteliranisch." H. Hübsch-mann, Armenische Grammatik. H. Humbach and P. O. Skjœrvø, The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli I: Supplement to Herzfeld's Paikuli; II: Synoptic Tables; III/1: Restored Text and Translation; III/2: Commentary, Wiesbaden, 1978-83. 

H. Humbach, Baktrische Sprachdenkmäler, 2 vols., Wiesbaden, 1966. 

N. G. Garsoïan, ed., The Epic Histories Attributed to P'awstos Buzand (Buzandaran Patmut'iwnk'), Cambridge, Mass., 1989. 

J. Labourt, Le christianisme dans l'Empire perse sous la dynastie des Sassanides, Paris, 1904. 

V. G. Luko-nin, "Political, Social and Adminstrative Institutions: Taxes and Trade," in Camb. Hist. Iran III/2, pp. 681-46. 

M. Mancini, "Bilingui greco-iraniche in epoca sasanide: Il testo di Šâhpuhr alla Ka'ba-yi Zardušt," in Atti del colloquio interdisciplinare tenuto a Pisa il 28 e 29 settembre 1987: Bilinguismo e biculturismo nel mondo antico, Pisa, 1988, pp. 75-99. 

Müller, Fragmenta. Th. Nöldeke, Geschichte der Perser. N. A. Pedersen, "A Manichaean Historical Text," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 119, 1997, pp. 193-201. 

P. Peeters, "L'intervention politique de Constance II dans la grande Arme‚nie en 338," Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Sciences Morales et Politiques de l'Acade‚mie Royale de Belgique 5/17, 1931, pp. 10-47. 

R. Russell, "Hazârabad," in Dictionary of the Middle Ages VI, 1985, pp. 116-17. 

O. Szemere‚nyi, "Iranica V (nos 59-70)," in Monumentum H. S. Nyberg II, Acta Iranica 5, Tehran and Lieàge, 1975. 

R. Thomson, ed., Eláishê: History of Varadan and the Armenian War. J. Wiesehöfer, Das antike Persien von 550 v. Chr. bis 650 n. Chr, München and Zürich, 1994. 

E. Winter, Die sâsânidisch-römischen Friedensverträge des 3. Jahrhunderts n. Chr., Europäische Hochschulschriften, Reihe III, Geschichte und ihre Hilfswissenschaften, Bd. 350, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1988.


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Page Keywords: Aryans, Sasanians, Sassanians, Sassanids, Sasanids, Persians,




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