Zahhāk or Zahāk (pronounced [zæhɒːk]) (Persian: ضحّاک) is an evil figure in Persian mythology, evident in ancient Persian folklore as Aži Dahāka (Persian: اژی دهاک), the name by which he also appears in the texts of the Avesta. In Middle Persian he is called Dahāg (Persian: دهاگ) or Bēvar Asp (Persian: بیور اسپ) the latter meaning "he who has 10,000 horses". In Zoroastrianism, Zahhak (going under the name Aži Dahāka) is considered the son of Angra Mainyu, the foe of Ahura Mazda. In the Shāhnāmah of Ferdowsi, Zahhāk is the son of a ruler named Merdās.
The original meaning of dahāka is uncertain. Among the meanings suggested are "stinging" (source uncertain), "burning" (cf. Sanskrit dahana), "man" or "manlike" (cf. Khotanese daha), "huge" or "foreign" (cf. the Dahae people and the Vedic dasas). In Persian mythology, Dahāka is treated as a proper noun, and is the source of the Ḍaḥḥāk (Zahhāk) of the Shāhnāme.
The Avestan term Aži Dahāka and the Middle Persian azdahāg are the source of the Middle Persian Manichaean demon of greed Az, Old Armenian mythological figure Aždahak, modern Persian aždehâ / aždahâ and Tajik Persian azhdahâ and Urdu Azhdahā (اژدها) as well as the Kurdish ejdîha (ئەژدیها) which usually mean "dragon".
Despite the negative aspect of Aži Dahāka in mythology, dragons have been used on some banners of war throughout the history of Iranian peoples.
Aži Dahāka is the most significant and long-lasting of the ažis of the Avesta, the earliest religious texts of Zoroastrianism. He is described as a monster with three mouths, six eyes, and three heads, cunning, strong, and demonic. In other respects Aži Dahāka has human qualities, and is never a mere animal.
Aži Dahāka appears in several of the Avestan myths and is mentioned parenthetically in many more places in Zoroastrian literature.
In a post-Avestan Zoroastrian text, the Dēnkard, Aži Dahāka is possessed of all possible sins and evil counsels, the opposite of the good king Jam (or Jamshid). The name Dahāg (Dahāka) is punningly interpreted as meaning "having ten (dah) sins". His mother is Wadag (or Ōdag), herself described as a great sinner, who committed incest with her son.
In the Avesta, Aži Dahāka is said to have lived in the inaccessible fortress of Kuuirinta in the land of Baβri, where he worshipped the yazatas Arədvī Sūrā (Anāhitā), divinity of the rivers, and Vayu, divinity of the storm-wind. Based on the similarity between Baβri and Old Persian Bābiru (Babylon), later Zoroastrians localized Aži Dahāka in Mesopotamia, though the identification is open to doubt. Aži Dahāka asked these two yazatas for power to depopulate the world. Being representatives of the Good, they refused.
In one Avestan text, Aži Dahāka has a brother named Spitiyura. Together they attack the hero Yima (Jamshid) and cut him in half with a saw, but are then beaten back by the yazata Ātar, the divine spirit of fire.
According to the post-Avestan texts, following the death of Jam ī Xšēd (Jamshid), Dahāg gained kingly rule. Another late Zoroastrian text, the Mēnog ī xrad, says this was ultimately good, because if Dahāg had not become king, the rule would have been taken by the immortal demon Xešm (Aēšma), and so evil would have ruled upon earth until the end of the world.
Dahāg is said to have ruled for a thousand years, starting from 100 years after Jam lost his Khvarenah, his royal glory (see Jamshid). He is described as a sorcerer who ruled with the aid of demons, the daevas (divs).
The Avesta identifies the person who finally disposed of Aži Dahāka as Θraētaona son of Aθβiya, in Middle Persian called Frēdōn. The Avesta has little to say about the nature of Θraētaona's defeat of Aži Dahāka, other than that it enabled him to liberate Arənavāci and Savaŋhavāci, the two most beautiful women in the world. Later sources, especially the Dēnkard, provide more detail. Feyredon is said to have been endowed with the divine radiance of kings (Khvarenah, New Persian farr) for life, and was able to defeat Dahāg, striking him with a mace. However, when he did so, vermin (snakes, insects and the like) emerged from the wounds, and the god Ormazd told him not to kill Dahāg, lest the world become infested with these creatures. Instead, Frēdōn chained Dahāg up and imprisoned him on the mythical Mt. Damāvand (later identified with Damāvand).
The Middle Persian sources also prophesy that at the end of the world, Dahāg will at last burst his bonds and ravage the world, consuming one in three humans and livestock. Kirsāsp, the ancient hero who had killed the Az ī Srūwar, returns to life to kill Dahāg.
In Ferdowsi's epic poem, the Shāhnāmah, written c. 1000 AD and part of Iranian folklore the legend is retold with the main character given the name of Zahhāk and changed from a supernatural monster into an evil human being.
According to Ferdowsi, Zahhāk was born as the son of a ruler named Merdās (Persian: مرداس). Because of his lineage, he is sometimes called Zahhāk-e Tāzī (Persian: ضحاکِ تازی), meaning "Zahhāk the Tayyi". He was handsome and clever, but had no stability of character and was easily influenced by evil counsellors. Ahriman therefore chose him as the tool for his plans for world domination.
When Zahhāk was a young man, Ahriman first appeared to him as a glib, flattering companion, and by degrees convinced him that he ought to kill his own father and take over his territories. He taught him to dig a deep pit covered over with leaves in a place where Merdās was accustomed to walk; Merdās fell in and was killed. Zahhāk thus became both parricide and king at the same time.
Ahriman now took another guise, and presented himself to Zahhāk as a marvellous cook. After he had presented Zahhāk with many days of sumptuous feasts (introducing meat to the formerly vegetarian human cuisine), Zahhāk was willing to give Ahriman whatever he wanted. Ahriman merely asked to kiss Zahhāk on his two shoulders. Zahhāk permitted this; but when Ahriman had touched his lips to Zahhāk's shoulders, he immediately vanished. At once, two black snakes grew out of Zahhāk's shoulders. They could not be surgically removed, for as soon as one snake-head had been cut off, another took its place.
Ahriman now appeared to Zahhāk in the form of a skilled physician. He counselled Zahhāk that the only remedy was to let the snakes remain on his shoulders, and sate their hunger by supplying them with human brains for food every day otherwise the snakes will feed on his own.
About this time, Jamshid, who was then the ruler of the world, through his arrogance lost his divine right to rule. Zahhāk presented himself as a savior to those discontented Iranians who wanted a new ruler. Collecting a great army, he marched against Jamshid, who fled when he saw that he could not resist Zahhāk. Zahhāk hunted Jamshid for many years, and at last caught him and subjected him to a miserable death—he had Jamshid sawn in half. Zahhāk now became the ruler of the entire world. Among his slaves were two of Jamshid's daughters, Arnavāz and Shahrnāz (the Avestan Arənavāci and Savaŋhavāci).
Zahhāk's two snake heads still craved human brains for food, so every day Zahhāk's spies would seize two men, and execute them so their brains could feed the snakes. Two men, called Armayel and Garmayel, wanted to find a way to rescue people from being killed from the snakes. So they learned cookery and after mastering how to cook great meals, they went to Zahhāk's palace and managed to become the chefs of the palace. Every day, they saved one of the two men and put the brain of a sheep instead of his into the food, but they could not save the lives of both men. Those who were saved were told to flee to the mountains and to faraway plains.
Zahhāk's tyranny over the world lasted for centuries. But one day Zahhāk had a terrible dream – he thought that three warriors were attacking him, and that the youngest knocked him down with his mace, tied him up, and dragged him off toward a tall mountain. When Zahhāk woke he was in a panic. Following the counsel of Arnavāz, he summoned wise men and dream-readers to explain his dream. They were reluctant to say anything, but one finally said that it was a vision of the end of Zahhāk's reign, that rebels would arise and dispossess Zahhāk of his throne. He even named the man who would take Zahhāk's place: Fereydun.
Zahhāk now became obsessed with finding this "Fereydun" and destroying him, though he did not know where he lived or who his family was. His spies went everywhere looking for Fereydun, and finally heard that he was but a boy, being nourished on the milk of the marvelous cow Barmāyeh. The spies traced Barmāyeh to the highland meadows where it grazed, but Fereydun had already fled before them. They killed the cow, but had to return to Zahhāk with their mission unfulfilled.
Zahhāk now tried to consolidate his rule by coercing an assembly of the leading men of the kingdom into signing a document testifying to Zahhāk's righteousness, so that no one could have any excuse for rebellion. One man spoke out against this charade, a blacksmith named Kāva (Kaveh). Before the whole assembly, Kāva told how Zahhāk's minions had murdered seventeen of his eighteen sons so that Zahhāk might feed his snakes' lust for human brains – the last son had been imprisoned, but still lived.
In front of the assembly Zahhāk had to pretend to be merciful, and so released Kāva's son. But when he tried to get Kāva to sign the document attesting to Zahhāk's justice, Kāva tore up the document, left the court, and raised his blacksmith's apron as a standard of rebellion – the Kāviyāni Banner, derafsh-e Kāviyānī (درفش کاویانی). He proclaimed himself in support of Fereydun as ruler.
Soon many people followed Kāva to the Alborz mountains, where Fereydun was now living. He was now a young man and agreed to lead the people against Zahhāk. He had a mace made for him with a head like that of an ox, and with his brothers and followers, went forth to fight against Zahhāk. Zahhāk had already left his capital, and it fell to Fereydun with small resistance. Fereydun freed all of Zahhāk's prisoners, including Arnavāz and Shahrnāz.
Kondrow, Zahhāk's treasurer, pretended to submit to Fereydun, but when he had a chance he escaped to Zahhāk and told him what had happened. Zahhāk at first dismissed the matter, but when he heard that Fereydun had seated Jamshid's daughters on thrones beside him like his queens, he was incensed and immediately hastened back to his city to attack Fereydun.
When he got there, Zahhāk found his capital held strongly against him, and his army was in peril from the defense of the city. Seeing that he could not reduce the city, he snuck into his own palace as a spy, and attempted to assassinate Arnavāz and Shahrnāz. Fereydun struck Zahhāk down with his ox-headed mace, but did not kill him; on the advice of an angel, he bound Zahhāk and imprisoned him in a cave underneath Mount Damāvand, binding him with a lion's pelt tied to great nails fixed into the walls of the cavern, where he will remain until the end of the world. Thus, after a thousand years' tyranny, ended the reign of Zahhāk.
"Zahhak Castle" is the name of an ancient ruin in Hashtroud East Azarbaijan, Iran which according to various experts, was inhabited from the second millennia BC until the Timurid era. First excavated in the 19th century by British archeologists, Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization has been studying the structure in 6 phases.
Besides Aži Dahāka, several other dragons and dragon-like creatures are mentioned in Zoroastrian scripture:
Stories of monstrous serpents who are killed or imprisoned by heroes or divine beings may date back to prehistory, and are found in the myths of many Indo-European peoples, including those of the Indo-Iranians, that is, the common ancestors of both the Iranians and Vedic Indians.
The most obvious point of comparison is that in Vedic Sanskrit ahi is a cognate of Avestan aži. However, In Vedic tradition, the only dragon of importance is Vrtra, but "there is no Iranian tradition of a dragon such as Indian Vrtra" (Boyce, 1975:91-92) Moreover, while Iranian tradition has numerous dragons, all of which are malevolent, Vedic tradition has only one other dragon besides Vṛtra - ahi budhnya, the benevolent 'dragon of the deep.' In the Vedas, gods battle dragons, but in Iranian tradition, this is a function of mortal heroes.
Thus, although it seems clear that dragon-slaying heroes (and gods in the case of the Vedas) "were a part of Indo-Iranian tradition and folklore, it is also apparent that Iran and India developed distinct myths early." (Skjaervø, 1989:192)
| Legendary Kings of the Shāhnāma
800-1800 (after Keyumars)
Arnavāz (Persian: اَرْنَواز) (Arənauuāčī in Avestā) is one of the two daughters (or possibly sisters) of Jamshid, the mythological king of parsia. Arnavāz and her sister, Shahrnāz first married Zahhāk, but later married Fereydun, after he had defeated Zahhāk and imprisoned him in mount Damāvand. In some versions of Shahname, including the Moscow version and that of Ṯaʿālebī, Arnavaz and Shahrnāz are the daughters of Jamshid, but in others, they are his sisters.According to the Shahname, she lived with Zahhak in harmony and Zahhak "taught her how to commit crime". Nonetheless, Arnavāz was the advisor of Zahhak. When Fereydun finally defeated Zahhak, he made Arnavāz and her sister repent, cleansed them of their sins and took both of them as his consorts. Shahrnaz bore him two sons Tur and Salam, while Arnavāz bore him his youngest son, Iraj. Fereydun then divided the world between his sons, giving Rum (Roman) to Salm, Turan to Tur, and Iran to Iraj. Because Iran was the best part of the world, this aroused the jealousy of Salm and Tur, leading them to kill Iraj. However, Iraj had an (unnamed) daughter who married Pashang (not to be confused with Turanian Pashang), and bore him a son, Manuchehr, who avenged his grandfather's murder.Dahak
Dahak may refer to:
PlacesDehak, Isfahan or Dahak, Isfahan
Dehak, Tehran or Dahak, TehranPeopleDriss Dahak (born 1939), Moroccan diplomatMythologyZahhak, an evil figure from Persian mythology
Dahak, a demon in Zoroastrianism, see List of theological demonsFictional charactersDahak, a character from the Xena/Hercules fictional universe
Dahak, a character from David Weber's Dahak-series/Empire from the AshesGarshasp
Garshāsp (Persian: (گرشاسپ) pronounced [gæɹ'ʃɒːsp]) is the name of a monster-slaying hero in Iranian mythology. The Avestan form of his name is Kərəsāspa and in Middle Persian his name is Kirsāsp.Garshaspname
Garshāspnāme (Persian: گرشاسپنامه) is an epic poem by Asadi Tusi. It has been described as one of the best epic poems in Persian literature, comparable to Shahname, by Jalal Khaleqi-e Motlaq, and the most important work of Asadi Tusi. Asadi Tusi completed the poem in 1066 AD and dedicated it to a certain Abū Dolaf, the ruler of Nakjavān (nothing is known about him). The poem is also translated to other languages such as French and German. It seems that Asadi Tusi wrote this poem based on a written source. Like Shahname, it contains few Arabic loan-words and consists of some 9,000 verses. The main hero of this epic poem is Garshasp, the son of Etret, and grandson of Šam. The poem begins with the story of Jamshid and Zahhak. Jamshid is overthrown by Zahhak and flees to Zabolistan. In Zabolistan, Jamshid falls in love with an unnamed daughter of Kurang, the king of Zabolistan, and she bore a child for Jamshid, named Tur (not to be confused with Tur, the son of Freydun). Jamshid flees again to China. Garshasp is actually the grandson of Tur's grandson.Hashtrud
Hashtrud (Persian: هشترود; also Romanized as Hashtrūd; also known as Āz̄arān, Sarāskand, Sar Eskand, Sar Eskandar, and Sar Eskand Khān) is a city and capital of Hashtrud County, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. Hashtrud is located 140 km from Tabriz, the capital of the East-Azerbaijan province of Iran. During the 2006 census, the population was 18,418, with 4,493 families. Hashtrud is also bordered with the Sahand mountains toward the west of the city, and is surrounded by several rivers, such as the Qranqvchay, and Ozan river.Homestuck
Homestuck is a webcomic written, illustrated, and animated by American author and artist Andrew Hussie, and is the fourth overall webcomic published on MS Paint Adventures (MSPA). The webcomic centers on a group of teenagers who unwittingly bring about the end of the world through the installation of a beta copy of an upcoming computer game.
The comic consists of a combination of static images, animated GIFs and instant message logs, as well as animations and games made with Adobe Flash. It has been noted for its complex plot and considerable length: over 8000 pages and 800,000 words.Kurdish mythology
Kurdish mythology is the collective term for the beliefs and practices of the culturally, ethnically or linguistically related group of ancient peoples who inhabited the Kurdistan mountains of northwestern Zagros, northern Mesopotamia and southeastern Anatolia. This includes their Indo-European pagan religion prior to them converting to Islam, as well the local myths, legends and folklore that they produced after becoming Muslims.List of Homestuck characters
Homestuck is a webcomic written, illustrated, and animated by Andrew Hussie as part of MS Paint Adventures (MSPA). The webcomic centers on a group of teenagers who unwittingly bring about the end of the world through the installation of a beta copy of an upcoming computer game. Homestuck features a complex story and a large cast of characters, starring the four children John Egbert, Rose Lalonde, Dave Strider, and Jade Harley. Hussie invented an alien species, called trolls, that have a unique culture. Homestuck characters are particularly popular to cosplay at anime conventions.According to Lauren Rae Orsini writing for The Daily Dot, there existed 128 named characters in Homestuck in September 2012, with more still being introduced. The cast of Homestuck features a large quantity of LGBT characters, and a major theme of the webcomic is the multitude of characters that die throughout the story.List of castles in Iran
This is a list of castles in Iran.
Aghcheh Castle, Meshkinshahr
Arg e Tabriz, Tabriz
Arg of Karim Khan, Shiraz
Arus Castle, Bandar Gaz
Arzhang Castle, Minavand, Taleghan
Bahramjerd Castle, Kerman
Baladeh Castle, Mazandaran
Bastam Castle, Urmia
Bastani Castle, Bandar Gaz
Bazman Castle on the Iran Shahr - Bazman Road
Behestan Castle, Zanjan
Castle of Ardashir I (See also Ardashir I of Persia
Castle of Shush
Chanof and Bampour Castles
Chogha Zanbil, which is in fact a tomb, not a castle
Chehel Dokhtaran Castle, Nikshahr
Daman Castle, Sistan and Baluchestan
Div Castle, Meshkinshahr
Doost Mohammad Khan Castle, north east of Zabol
Espidej Castle, Sistan and Baluchestan
Falak-ol-Aflak Castle, Luristan
Firuzabad Castle, Rasak
Gazorkhan Castle, Qazvin
Ghamchegha Castle, Bijar
Girl Castle, Fasa
Girl Castle, Gonabad
Girl Castle, Kerman
Girl Castle, Khanaman, Kerman
Girl Castle, Khorasan
Girl Castle, Mianeh
Girl Castle, Naeen
Girl Castle, Shushtar
Girl Castle, Amol
Girl Castle, Sirjan
Haridook castle, 130 km. of Iranshahr
Hassan Castle, Qazvin
Heydarabad Castle, Khash
Hezareh Castle, Minab
Iranshahr Old Castle
Jalal Khan Hakem castle, Dayyer, Bushehr
Kangelo Castle, Savadkuh County
Kati Dinsar Castle, Babol
Lashtan Castle, Bandar Lengeh
Malek Castle, Rayshahr
Mansour Castle, Haranj, Taleghan
Mar Castle, Bandar Gaz
Malek Bahman Castle, Amol
Mian Kolangi Castle, Zabol
Mahaneh Sar Castle, Mazandaran
Namrud Castle in south of Zabol
Narenj Castle, Yazd
Narin Qal'eh, Nain
Old Castle of Bijar
Old Castle (Kohneh Qaleh) of Meshkinshahr
Palace of Ardashir, Fars
Pip Castle, near Iranshahr
Pishin Castle, Sistan and Baluchestan
Fort of Our Lady of the Conception in Hormoz Island and another one in Qeshm
Qadami Castle, near Chabahar - Nikshahr
Qhal'eh Dokhtar, Firouzabad
Rudkhan Castle, Fouman
Saam Castle, Zahedan
Saeidabad Castle, Sistan and Baluchestan
Sarbaz Castle, Iranshahr
Sardar As'ad Bakhtriari's Castle
Sefidabad hunting castle
Seh Kooheh Castle in the district of Shibb Ab, Zabol
Shush Castle, Khuzestan
Sib Castle, Saravan
Teimoor Castle, Zahedan
Zaboli Castle, near Saravan
Zahak Castle, Saravan
Zahhak Castle, East Azarbaijan ProvincePishdadian dynasty
Pishdadian (Persian: پیشدادیان) is the first dynasty of Iranian people in the Shahnameh, Avesta and Iranian mythology.
The Pishdadian Dynasty is said to have produced the first kings who ruled over the land of Persia. Some of the Pishdadian kings are thought to have ruled for thousands of years.Rudaba
Rūdāba or Roodabeh (Persian: رودابه) is a Persian mythological female figure in Ferdowsi's epic Shahnameh. She is the princess of Kabul, daughter of Mehrab Kaboli and Sindukht, and later she becomes married to Zal, as they become lovers. They had two children, including Rostam, the main hero of the Shahnameh.Shahrasb (Shahnameh)
Shahrasb (Persian: شهراسب), also known as Shahrasp, is one of the mythical characters in Shahnameh who was a pious and reliable advisor for Tahmuras.
According to Shahnameh, Shahrasp benevolently taught king Tahmuras the right (moral) way to handle the problems. As the king followed Shahrasb's guidance, became cleansed of any sin and found Khvarenah.Shahrnāz
Shahrnāz (Persian: شَهرناز) (Saŋhauuāčī in Avestā) is one of the two daughters (or possibly sisters) of Jamshid, the mythological king of Iran.
In some versions of Shahnameh, including the Moscow version and that of Ṯaʿālebī, Shahrnāz and her sister, Arnavāz are the daughters of Jamshid, but in others, they are his sisters.According to the Shahnameh, when Jamshid became proud of himself and lost his Khvarenah, Zahhak made the war upon Jamshid, and he was welcomed by many of Jamshid's dissatisfied subjects.
Jamshid fled from his capital, but Shahrnāz and Arnavāz were captured and forced to consort Zahhak.
After Fereydun finally defeated Zahhak and imprisoned him in mount Damāvand, he married both sisters. Shahrnaz bore him two sons Tur and Salm, while Arnavāz bore him his youngest son, Iraj. Fereydun then divided the world between his sons, giving Rum (Roman) to Salm, Turan to Tur, and Iran to Iraj.Suikoden V
Suikoden V (Japanese: 幻想水滸伝V, Hepburn: Gensō Suikoden Faibu, (listen) ) is a role-playing video game developed by Konami and Hudson Soft and published by Konami for the Sony PlayStation 2 video game console and the fifth main installment of the Suikoden video game series. It was released in 2006, and has sold around 200,000 copies in Japan.Loosely based on a classical Chinese novel, Shui Hu Zhuan by Shi Nai'an, Suikoden V centers on the political struggles of the Queendom of Falena, and takes place 6 in-universe years before the events of the first Suikoden. The player controls the Prince of Falena and travels the world, acquiring allies and dealing with the problems of the nation. The game features a vast array of characters, with over sixty characters usable in combat and many more able to help or hinder the Prince in a variety of ways.The Legend of Mardoush
The Legend of Mardoush, (Persian: افسانه ماردوش), is a long animated Persian trilogy based on the mythical stories of Shahnameh.
The metaphor mardoush, literally meaning snake-shoulder, refers to Zahhak, as two snakes grew on his shoulders after they were kissed by Ahriman.
The production of this movie started in 2002 and finished in 2005 and it is one of the longest clay animation projects done in Iran.Zahhak Castle
Zahhak Castle (or citadel) is a castle in Hashtrud, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. It is named after Zahhak, a figure in Persian mythology. According to various experts, it was inhabited from the second millennium BC until the Timurid era. It was first excavated in the 19th century by British archeologists. Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization has been studying the structure in 6 phases.Zam
Zam (Zām) is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian concept of "earth", in both the sense of land and soil and in the sense of the world. The earth is prototyped as a primordial element in Zoroastrian tradition, and represented by a minor divinity Zam who is the hypostasis of the "earth". The word itself is cognate to the Baltic 'Zemes', Slavic 'Zem', Greco-Thracian Semele, meaning the planet earth as well as soil.
The element zam exists with the same meaning in Middle Persian, which is the language of the texts of Zoroastrian tradition. The divinity Zam, however, appears in the later language as Zamyad, which is a contraction of "Zam Yazad", i.e. the yazata Zam.
Zam of the earth is not related to the Zam of the Shahnameh. That Zam—Zahhak-e-Maar-Doosh (Aži Dahāka in Avestan, Azhdshak in Middle Persian)—is the king of dragons that slew Jamshid.Zāl
Zāl /zɒl/ (Persian: زال), alternate spelling Zaul, is a legendary Iranian king from Sistan, and is recognized as one of the greatest warriors of the Shahnameh epic. He is the father of the equally legendary Iranian hero, Rostam.