ĀʾĪN-NĀMA, Arabic and New Persian form of Middle Persian ēwēn nāmag (“book of manners”), a general term for texts dealing with the exposition of manners, customs, skills, and arts and sciences. Cf. Masʿūdī’s equivalent, ketāb al-rosūm (Tanbīh, p. 104). The term might apply to texts of diverse subject matter. E.g., the treatise Wizārišn ī čatrang refers to an ēwēn nāmag containing the rules for playing chess (par. 38; Pahl. Texts, p. 120). The instructional text “on the manner of writing letters” (abar ēwēnag ī nāmag-nibēsišnīh) may be considered another example of the genre (Pahl. Texts, pp. 132-40; R. C. Zaehner, “Nāmak-nipēsišnīh,” BSOS 9, 1937, pp. 93-109). Texts providing Zoroastrian religious instruction could also be included in this category. Dēnkard 3 cites a chapter on instruction (āmōg) from an ēwēn nāmag of Ādurfarnbag Farroxzādān (p. 145.16; J. de Menasce, Le troisième livre du Dēnkart, Paris, 1973, p. 147); and Dēnkard 4 derives from that same chapter. Manučihr, in Dādistān ī dēnīg, Question 87, quotes from an ēwēn nāmag words of advice from teacher to students (Cod. Avest. Pahl. III/1, fol. 195 v.16). Possibly it is Ādurfarnbag’s work, for a decree of that priest is cited in the same Question.

Among Muslim authors the āʾīn-nāma genre aroused great interest. Masʿūdī (loc. cit.) mentions such a text amounting to thousands of pages; he says the complete manuscript was in the possession of mobads and nobles. It included a gāh-nāma (“book of ceremonial”). In the early 2nd/8th century various non-religious āʾīn-nāma texts were translated into Arabic (by, e.g., Ebn al-Moqaffaʿ; see Fehrest [Tehran1], p. 364). Ebn Qotayba cites such translations with the formula “I have read in the āʾīn . . .” He cites this source regarding, e.g., social manners, rules of war, archery, polo, and prophesying, (ʿOyūn al-aḵbār, Cairo, 1383/1963, I, pp. 8, 112-15, 133-34, 151-53). Bīrūnī refers to a Ketāb al-āʾīn in discussing the mummy preservative in the Sasanian treasury and in describing the stone found in the heads of large serpents (Ketāb al-ǰamāher fī maʿrefat al-ǰawāher, Hyderabad, 1355/1936, pp. 204, 207). An abridged Arabic version of an āʾīn-nāma contains sayings attributed to Ardašīr I; these deal with the customs and duties of the nobility and reflect the caste system of Sasanian society (M. Grignaschi, “Quelques spécimens de la littérature Sassanide,” JA 254, 1966, pp. 91-128). See also Adab i.


Christensen, Iran Sass., pp. 62ff., 72, 217ff., 318, 402, 416, n.

M. Moḥammadī, “Āʾīn-nāma,” al-Derāsāt al-adabīya 1/2-3, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 15-39.

(A. Tafażżolī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: December 15, 1984

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc, 7, pp. 691-692

Cite this entry:

A. Tafażżolī, “ĀĪN-NĀMA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/7, pp. 691-692; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ain-nama (accessed on 28 March 2014).