ČIŠPIŠ (OPers. č-i-š-p-i-š, Elamite Zi-iš-pi-iš, Babylonian Ši-iš-pi-iš), Old Persian personal name. The incorrect reading Čaišpiš is still occasionally seen (e.g., W. Hinz and H. Koch, Elamisches Wörterbuch, Berlin, 1987, p. 1293). The Greek form of the name is given by Herodotus (7.11.2) as Teíspēs or Tíspēs. The name is probably Iranian, but its etymology has not yet been established (see Iranisches Personennamenbuch I/2, pp. 17-18). It does not seem to be connected either with the name of the old Hurrian storm god Tešup, with that of the Cimmerian sovereign Teušpa, or with the (Elamite) byname Za-iš-pi-iš-ši-ya of a certain Irdumašda (i.e., *Ṛtavazdā), which appears on PF 1801.5 but cannot be interpreted as *Čaišpišiya “belonging to Čišpiš” (see Schmitt, p. 28).

Čišpiš (ca. 675-640 b.c.e.), was the son of Achaemenes, the legendary founder of the Achaemenid dynasty and the father of Darius’s great-grandfather Ariaramnes. He is named only in Darius’s own genealogy (DB 1.5f.bis = Dba 8bis; Kent, Old Persian, pp. 116, 134) and in its somewhat longer counterpart in Herodotus (7.11.2); Herodotus mentioned two different persons of this name, one being Achaemenes’ son and Cambyses’ father and the other being Ariaramnes’ father and Cyrus’s son. The only other attestation of the Old Persian form is in the Ariaramnes inscription (AmH; Kent, Old Persian, p. 116), which is, however, a late forgery. The Elamite form is also found on the Persepolis seal no. 93 of Cyrus I (7th century b.c.e.), which was still in use until 500 b.c.e.: Walther Hinz read the inscription on the seal as [v.K]u-raš h.An-za-an-[ir]-ra šak Še-iš-be-iš-na “Cyrus, the Anzanian, son of Čišpiš” (ZA 61, 1971, p. 300); the spelling of the name, diverging from that in the Bīsotūn inscription, is noteworthy. In the famous Cyrus cylinder from Babylon (539 b.c.e.) Ši-iš-pi-iš is named as the great-grandfather of Cyrus II, with the titles great king and king of (the city of) Anshan.

The evidence thus shows that Čišpiš was the father of both Cyrus I and Ariaramnes, the common ancestor of the two lines of the Achaemenid clan. Nothing else is known about him with any certainty; it may be inferred that, after being freed from Median supremacy during the so-called interregnum, he expanded his small kingdom, which was an Elamite vassal state, according to 7th-century docu­ments, by conquering Anshan/Anzan and Fārs.

A private person bearing the same name (Elamite Zi-iš-pi-iš) and connected with the place Zila-Umpan in Elam is mentioned on the Persepolis tablets PF 388.3f. and 524.3, from 503 and 502 b.c.e. respectively, as the recipient of various quantities of grain.



Given in the text. See also G. G. Cameron, History of Early Iran, Chicago, 1936, pp. 31-32, 179-80.

R. Schmitt, “The Medo-Persian Names of Herodotus in the Light of the New Evidence from Persepolis,” Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 24, 1976, pp. 25-35.

(Rüdiger Schmitt)

Originally Published: December 15, 1991

Last Updated: October 20, 2011

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