Eran Eransahr: Dr Raham Asha

Ērān and Ērānšahr (by Dr. Raham Asha) :The Pārsīg term ērān means ‘the Aryans’, and ērānšahr was the name of the Persian kingdom in the Sasanian period.1 Šābuhr in his great inscription presents himself as the ‘ruler of Ērānšahr’2.

Pārsīg ēr comes from OPA arya- (or, possibly, ārya-).3 Five nations are recognized among the Perso-Aryans, namely the airya ‘Aryan’, tūirya ‘Tūr(ān)ian’, sairima ‘Sarmatian’, sāini ‘Sāinyan’, and dāhi ‘Dāhyan’.4 Despite this division, these Perso-Aryans all also belonged to the Aryan lands and nations and they were called thus5, distinct from the non-Aryan lands and nations6. This is not strange, for we notice that in later times the term pārs(īg) ‘Persia; Persian’ was used to designate all Aryan peoples and lands; the name Pārs became synonymous with the name Ēranšahr.7

The extension of the term Aryan reveals itself in two respects, royal and religious:

1. Where there is the law of the (Aryan) king8, we may call there the Aryan land.

2. An Aryan is the one who at the proper time has chosen the Good religion9, and wears the sacred girdle. He who has not

performed the “initiation” by wearing on the girdle10 becomes “non-Aryan”.11 The Aryans thus represent the community of the Good, distinct from the wicked.12

In the ideal Aryan society is revealed the union of (royal) power and (good) religion under the divine protection; this divine element is called xvarǝnah (Pers. farr), meaning grosso modo ‘Fortune’ or ‘Glory’.13 The king represents three members (Av. pištra-, Pers. pēšag) of the Aryan society, and also imposes the “law of the king” to the non-Aryans of his kingdom.


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