ĀB-NĀHĪD “Nāhīd of the Water,” a Zoroastrian woman’s name, first attested in the poem Vis o Rāmīn (sec. 9, line. 5). This poem is held to be a composition of the late Parthian period, but was translated subsequently into Middle Persian, and finally into the classical Persian version which alone survives. Hence the exact form of the name in the Parthian period remains uncertain. In the poem its bearer is said to be a noble lady of Isfahan, the daughter of a scribe (debīr). The name is theophoric, being that of Anāhita, and it appears, by the epithet “of the water,” to emphasize the identification of this originally foreign mother goddess with the Zoroastrian Arədvī Sūra, the river yazata. (For another development in her cult see Ādur-Anāhīd.) The name is frequently attested, down to modern times, among the Zoroastrians of Yazd and Kermān in the form Āb-Nahīr, in Darī (with local variations) Ow-Nehir, Vow-Neir, Vo-Neir, Ow-Neir.


Vis o Rāmīn, ed. M. Mīnovī, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935, p. 31.

Idem, tr. G. Morrison, London and New York, 1972, p. 21.

J. S. Sorushian, Farhang-e behdīnān, Tehran, 1956, p. 201.

(Mary Boyce)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 13, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1, p. 48

Cite this entry:

Mary Boyce, “ĀB-NĀHĪD,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, I/1, p. 48, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ab-nahid.