ACTS OF ĀDUR-HORMIZD AND OF ANĀHĪD, Syriac martyrological texts. Their events are set in the year 446 A.D., during the reign of Yazdegerd II; and they were apparently recorded not long afterward. Fragments of a Sogdian version are also known (Olaf Hansen, Berliner Sogdische Texte II [Abh. der Ak. der Wiss. und der Lit. in Mainz, Geistes- und sozialwissenschaftliche Kl., 1954, no. 15], pp. 31f.).

These Acts offer more detailed data on Zoroastrianism and Zurvanism, even though in a somewhat corrupted form, than is commonly found in the records of the Christian martyrs of the Sasanian empire. Other Acts tend to concentrate on repudiating the idea of cultic veneration of the sun (Syriac šemsā, fire (nūrā), and water (mayyā). The Acts of Ādur-Hormizd, however, mention a number of important terms: ʾbstg (Mid. Pers. abestāg “Avesta;” Bedjan, Acta, p. 576.12); the opposition between gtyh and bhšt (gētīh:wahišt, “the material world”: “paradise;” p. 576.16); drwsthyd (according to Nöldeke, a wrong rendering of ristāxēz “resurrection,” but possibly a word with drust “right, healthy;” p. 576.13); ʾhrmn (“Ahreman;” p. 578.1, etc.); snwmn (šnūman “propitiation;” p. 579.2); kwtwdwiyh (for xwēdōdah “kin-marriage,” which is also referred to as a usual Zoroastrian practice in the Acts of Anāhīd but without the specific term; p. 578.9); and ʾšwqr, fršwqr, zrwqr, zrwn (“Ašōqar, Frašōqar, Zarōqar, Zurwān,” i.e., Zurwān as the Fourfold God [tetraprósōpos in the Byzantine anathemas], p. 577.6-7 and 11-12). The Acts of Anāhīd comment that the god Ohrmazd was hermaphrodite “like his father Zurwān” (p. 592.10f.). It names the god’s mother as kwšyrg (p. 592.17-18); variant forms are kwšyzg and kwšwryg, probably representing a name *Xwašxwarrig “she whose fortune is fair” (see discussion in Zaehner, Zurvan). 


Text in P. Bedjan, Acta martyrum et sanctorum II, Paris-Leipzig, 1891, pp. 576 f. and p. 592 (Figure 1).

Excerpts tr. in Th. Nöldeke, “Syrische Polemik gegen die persische Religion,” Festgruss an Rudolf von Roth, Stuttgart, 1893, pp. 34-38.

The corresponding passages from the 5th cent. Armenian, Eznik of Kolb, are given in Louis Mariès, Le De Deo d’Eznik de Kolb, Paris, 1924.

Nöldeke’s tr. is given in R. C. Zaehner, Zurvan. A Zoroasrrian Dilemma, Oxford, 1955, pp. 434-37; see also pp. 64-65, 151, 154, 155.

J. P. Asmussen, “Das Christentum in Iran und sein Verhältnis zum Zoroastrismus,” Studia Theologica 16, 1962, pp. 11 f.

Idem, Xuāstvānīft. Studies in Manichaeism, Copenhagen, 1965, pp. 220 f.

J. Bidez and F. Cumont, Les mages hellénisés II, Paris, 1938, pp. 107-11.

(J. P. Asmussen)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 430

Cite this entry:

J. P. Asmussen, “ACTS OF ĀDUR-HORMIZD AND OF ANĀHĪD,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/4, p. 430; an updated version is available online at (accessed on 7 February 2014).