FRAHANG Ī OĪM, an Avestan-Pahlavi glossary so named after its first entry, Av. oīm glossed by Pahl. ēwag, though the work is introduced with the lengthy title: “On the understanding of the speech and words of the Avesta, namely, what and how its zand is.” A more comprehensive statement introduces the work (chap. 2a): “These are the words from the Avesta: male and female; singular and conjoined (i.e., dual and plural); goodness and badness; least, middling and greatest; from-it-ness, which comes from that, and with-it-ness, which moves with, and to-it-ness, which is connected; the administration of justice; according to (the one) to whom the word of the Dēn has come (i.e., Zoroaster), in as much as the Avesta differs from Zand.”

The first edition of the text was given by Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron (q.v.) in 1771, followed nearly a century later in 1867 by that of Destur Hoshengji Jamaspji and Martin Haug. Owing to the liberties these editors had taken in improving the readings of the mss. (see West in Grundriss II, p. 87), a new edition was published by Hans Reichelt in 1900, with an index following in 1901. Finally, the text was again edited by Gert Klingenschmitt in 1968. The Frahang is found within two authoritative mss., K20 and M51, the latter being the more reliable. According to Klingenschmitt’s analysis of the colophons, the ms. of Mehrbān (ca. 1325) contained in K20 and that of Pešōtan in M51 (1397) are copies of a lost ms. of Rostam (ca. 1269 C.E.). The date of the Frahang itself is impossible to establish with certainty. It is clear that the author(s) possessed a much more complete text of the Avesta and Zand than what has survived today, for a great many of its quotations of Avestan words and phrases have no correspondence in extant texts. In those cases where we do have both Avesta and Zand, either of single lexical items or of phrases, the Zand quoted in the Frahang is found to be identical, or nearly so, to the known Zand. One should conclude that, as a general principle, most of the Pahlavi in the Frahang derives from the Zand.

The content and arrangement of Frahang ī oīm are so various that it is difficult to see in it the coherent work of a single author. As one would expect in a frahang, a large part of the work is devoted to Pahlavi glosses to Avestan words. Yet, there are many sections in which Avestan phrases are quoted and glossed with often lengthy explanations in Pahlavi. In a few places there appear to be elements of a grammar. Despite the heterogeneity of the text, there does seem to be a persistent preference for vocabulary from legal literature, including frequent quotations from the Vendidad. In fact, the longest digressions in Pahlavi are in sections dealing with jurisprudence. In chapter 25, for example, the Avestan baoδō.warštahe provides the opportunity for quotation of an extensive paragraph from the Zand that goes far beyond the simple lexical equivalent bōdō-waršt. Such digressions may be evidence for multiple authorship over time.

Although the vast majority of glosses show that the traditional Zand quoted was informed by a fairly accurate knowledge of Avestan vocabulary, they show also that the author(s) of the Frahang did not possess a scientific linguistic understanding of Avestan nor a vocabulary for expressing linguistic concepts. Avestan nouns and adjectives are cited in a specific case as it would appear in context, rather than in the stem or one particular case such as the nominative singular, and without an already existing vocabulary for “singular,” “dual,” and “plural,” the author(s) must have recourse to a cumbersome descriptive exposition (chap. 2c). There is an awareness of differences between standard and Gathic Avestan (chap. 2d). While Frahang ī oīm follows the usual practice of glossing a single Avestan word with a single Pahlavi word, it also takes note of multiple meanings.



J. Darmesteter, tr., Le Zend Avesta III, Paris, 1893, pp. 13-28.

H. Jamaspji and M. Haug, An Old Zand-Pahlavi Glossary, Bombay and London, 1867.

G. Klingenschmitt, “Frahang-ī ōīm: Edition und Kommentar,” Ph.D. diss., University of Erlangen, 1968.

H. Reichelt, “Der Frahang i oīm,” WZKM 14, 1900, pp. 177-213; 15, 1901, pp. 117-86.

(William W. Malandra)

Originally Published: December 15, 2000

Last Updated: January 31, 2012

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