Yadegar-e Zariran

The Yādegār-e Zarirān [jɒːdeˈɡɒːɾe zæɾiːɾˈɒːn] (Persian: یادگار زریران) or Ayādgār ī Zarērān (English: "Memorial of Zarēr"), is a short Middle Persian (Pahlavi) text of ancient Iranian epic poetry. The story is preserved in a unique manuscript written in AD 1322. The Avesta mentions the struggle of Vištāspa and Zairivairi (whose name became later known as “Zarēr”) against the “wicked Arəǰat.aspa” (Yašt 5.108, 112, 117, cf. Yašt 19.87) and establish the antiquity of this story of “Wištāsp’s battle”.[1] According to the Iranologist Mary Boyce:[1] the Ayādgār ī Zarērān retains the conventions of heroic epic, with rich hyperbole, fixed epithets, and an abundance of similes and formal repetitions. It thus attests, in both subject-matter and treatment, the long cultivation of Iranian minstrel poetry.


The story celebrates an event of early history in the Zoroastrian faith. It tells the tale of the old religious wars of Zoroaster's time, and recounts the heroic deeds of a champion named Zarēr. This hero is also mentioned in Shahnameh of Ferdowsi.

King Wishtasp, who accepted the “pure religion of the Mazda-worshippers” (dēn ī abēzag ī māzdesnān), is sent a messenger by king Arjasp, the king of the Hyons. Jamasp, minister of Wishtasp, predicts that Zarir, brother of Wishtasp, and many of the kins of Wishtasp will be martyred in the future battle. When the battle occurs, Zarir fights heroically, but is slain by a foul Hyon by the name of Widrafš i Jadu "Wīdrafš the sorcerer". But the son of Zarir, Bastwar, despite being forbidden to battle by his uncle Wištāsp, goes to the battle field and finds his father's body.

After finding the body, he utters a moving lament:

Oh, increaser of the delight of my soul! why are you silent? Oh, brave man, decorated with precious amulets, why silent? Oh, why is thy fast horse silent? When this was your wish that "I may be allowed to fight with the Khyaonas," how is it that you have fallen dead in our war like a man without a place or corner? The winds have spoilt your crown, hair, and beard; the horses have crushed your clean body with their feet; the dust has covered your garment. But now what am I to do? because if I were to alight from the horse and if I were to hold yours, my father's head, into my sides, and if I were to remove the dust from thy garment, and then if I could not get up again on my horse expeditiously, then perhaps the Khyaonas might come and kill me also as they killed you. Then they will take the credit of two names that "We have killed Zarir, the commander-in-chief of Iran, and we have killed Bastwar who is his son.

Bastwar afterwards joins the battle and slays many Hyōns in revenge. He also obtains revenge for his father's death and shoots an arrow through Wīdrafš’ heart. Then, the cousin of Bastwar, the hero Spandyād (In the Shahnameh Esfandyar), the son of Wištāsp, ends the battle by capturing Arǰāsp, mutilating him, and sending him abject away on a donkey whose tail was cut.

He then states:

Go and tell what you have seen from my --the hero Spandyād --hand; otherwise how can the Khyaonas know what has happened on the day Farvardin, in the constellation of the dragon, in the war of Wištāsp?

Modern plays

A modern play based on the story was written by Qotb al-Din Sadeqi with casts including Mostafa Abdollahi, Kazem Hozhir-Azad, Esmayil Bakhtiyari and others.[2]


  1. 1 2 Ayadgar-i Zariran in Encyclopedia Iranica, by Mary Boyce. Online Accessed Dec 2010 at
  2. Jam-i Jam Online News, "Yadgar-i Zariran comes to the Scene" in Persian, accessed March, 2009

External links

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