AZIŠMĀND, one of the few Middle Persian exclusively legal terms designating “obstructed or hampered justice” (see Shaki, “The Obstruction of Justice,” Archív Orientální 45, 1977, pp. 48-53). The Mādayān ī hazār dādestān, our only source of information, offers various instances of this juridical case and its judicial consequences in twenty-odd paragraphs, all of which seem to have originally been included in its chapter 22, entitled Dar ī azišmānd. Apart from the Mādayān the word occurs in connection with legal terminology once in the Nīrangestān (ed. D. D. P. Sanjana, Bombay, 1894, fol. 110r.4) and once in the Dēnkard (ed. Madan, p. 706.14-15: zamān ī rāyēnišn ud pād ud azišmānd ud ēraxtagīh padiš “the time of process . . . and its observance and obstruction and the sentence thereby”).

The evidence for the fundamental meaning of the term is provided by a few unambiguous passages of the Mādayān. In pt. 1, p. 12.9-13 the azišmānd is occasioned by the defendant’s unwillingness to identify his own property; in pt. 1, p. 75.11-12 it is caused by the advocates (ǰādag-gōw) of one party contradicting each other. However, the conclusive support for the interpretation of the term as “obstructed or hampered justice” comes from the Nīrangestān, in which Av. aδāiti frāraiθyanąm “denial of right” (see AirWb., col. 1020) rendered by Pahlavi adahišnīh ī frāz dādestān “not according access to justice, i.e., the hampering of justice,” is in turn glossed by its parallel expression aziš mānd. The relational pattern of the syntagm thus resolves into az-iš mānd, where the verb māndan is used in the sense of “to be hindered, hampered,” and - refers to the legal process. Other, untenable, interpretations of the term include “interdictum” (A. Pagliaro, “Aspetti del diritto sāsānidico: hačašmānd "interdetto",” RSO 24, 1949, p. 120) and “contumace” (A. Perikhanian, “Le contumace dans la procédure iranienne et les termes pehlevis hačašmānd et srā’,” in Memorial Jean de Menasce, ed. Ph. Gignoux and A. Tafazzoli, Louvain, 1974, pp. 305-26).

In its extended sense azišmānd is employed in relation to the juridical implications of withholding a promised grant (Mādayān, pt. 2, p. 9.3-5). It may also result from the default of one party (pasēmāl ō gōw nē šawēd “the defendant fails to appear in the court,” Mādayān, pt. 1, pp. 73.13-74.1; az pasēmāl nē *šudan azišmānd bawēd “the process becomes obstructed because of the defendant’s default,” pt. 1, p. 73.10-12). It is also used to denote the prejudicing of one’s right, a person’s claim to the possession of a property (azišmānd pad dārišn, pt. 1, p. 10.12-13), or of one’s claim to the ownership of his private property (azišmānd pad xwēšīh dāštan wizūdan, pt. 1, pp. 10.16-11.2).

The court may concede one to three instances of azišmānd, in accordance with the gravity of the case, beyond which it rules in favor of the offended party (Mādayān, pt. 1, pp. 10.12-13, 10.16-11.2, 11.16-12.9).



Editions of the Mādayān ī hazār dādestān: J. J. Modi, Mâdigân-i-hazâr Dâtistân (facs. ed. of pt. 1, fols. 1-55), Bombay, 1901.

T. D. Anklesaria, The Social Code of the Parsees in Sasanian Times or the Mâdigân-i-hazâr Dâtistân, Part II, Bombay, 1912.

S. J. Bulsara, tr., The Laws of the Ancient Persians as Found in the "Mâtikân ê hazâr Dâtastân" or the Digest of a Thousand Points of Law, 2 vols., Bombay, 1937.

A. G. Perikhanian, tr., Sasanidskiĭ sudebnik, Yerevan, 1973.

Search terms:

 ازیشماند azishmand  azishmaand

(M. Shaki)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 3, p. 261