ĀRAŠ, KAY, Avestan KAVI ARŠAN, a member of the Kayanid dynasty in Iranian legend. He receives only passing mention in the Avesta (Yt. 13.132, 19.71), without reference to his father. The Middle Persian Bundahišn names him (p. 232.2; ms. TD1; Tehran, 1349 Š./1970, p. 199.10) and his three brothers (Kay Biyārš, Kay Pašīn, and Kay Kāyūs) as children of Kay Abīwēh, grandchildren of Kay Kawād (Arabicized as Qobād). The latter designation also occurs in the Dēnkard (p. 598.3, cf. Yt. 19.71). A variety of Muslim sources also make genealogical observations, but with distortion of the Mid. Pers. tradition. Ṭabarī (II, p. 617) makes Kay Āraš son of *Kay-Abībēh and ruler of Ḵūzestān; but he also regards the four brothers plus Kay Afneh (Kay *Aβbeh from *Abībēh) all as sons of Kay Qobād (II, p. 534). Baḷʿamī follows this version (Tārīḵ, p. 523). Dīnavarī reflects a similar tradition (p. 14), when he names Qābūs (Kay Kāvūs), Kay Abneh (*Abībēh), and Qayvas (for *Kay-Āraš?) as sons of Kay Qobād. The Šāh-nāma (Moscow, I, p. 74.191) identifies the four brothers of the Bundahišn account as Kay Qobād’s sons, and this view is repeated by Gardīzī (ed. Ḥabībī, p. 9). Ṯaʿālebī (Ḡorar, p. 457) has Kay Āraš as Kay Qobād’s son, but Kay Kāvūs as the latter’s son and successor (pp. 153-54). There are other versions which do not, however, name Kay Āraš. Ḥamza records Kay Fašīn (*Pašīn) as son of Kay-Aβīwēh (Beirut, 1961, p. 36), while Bīrūnī cites Kay Kāvūs as son of Kayanyah (*Kay-Abībēh; Āṯār al-bāqīa, p. 104). Similarly, in Maqdesī (Badʾ III, p. 147), Kay Kāvūs is son of Kāywanah (*Kay-Abīwēh).
The Aškānī (Arsacid) dynasty of Iran is regarded as descended from Kay Āraš. Ferdowsī asserts this lineage on the authority of a dehqān of Čāč (Šāh-nāma [Moscow], VII, p. 115.50, cf. p. 135.423). Ṯaʿālebī (Ḡorar, p. 547) traces the descent of Aškān (Arsaces), eponymous ancestor of the dynasty, back through Aškān (I) to Kay Āraš the son of Kay Qobād. Bīrunī, drawing on the Šāh-nāma, states that Ašk was son of Dārā, a descendant of “Araš” (Āṯār al-bāqīa, p. 117); and Ṭabarī, specifying Ašk as founder of the Aškānī dynasty, makes him son of Aškān the Great and a descendant of *Kay-Abībēh, the son of Kay Qobād (I, p. 709). Dīnavarī (p. 14) identifies Qayvas (i.e., Kay Āraš) as the ancestor of the Aškānīs. But Masʿūdī follows a different tradition and affiliates the dynasty with Sīāvoš, son of Kay Kāvūs (Morūǰ, ed. Pellat, I, p. 276).
See also Justi, Namenbuch, pp. 29-30.
A. Christensen, Les Kayanides, Copenhagen, 1931, pp. 18-19.
D. Monchi-Zadeh, Topographisch-historische Studien zum iranischen Nationalepos, Wiesbaden, 1975, p. 33.
Originally Published: December 15, 1986
Last Updated: August 10, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 3, pp. 267-268