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THE VANGUARD, LYING DOWN?

By
D. N. MacKenzie
Dr. D. N. MacKenzie was born in London in 1926. He passed
his B.A. degree in Classical Persian in 1951, M.A. in 1953 and Ph.D. in
1958. He studied Kurdish from 1953-55 and was appointed as Lecturer
in Kurdish in 1955. He has published Kurdish Dialect Studies-I and II,
1961-62. He has latterly worked mainly in the field of Pahlavi studies.

Peso bay.
The authorities are more or less unanimous in recognizing a
'foot' in the last syllable of the Persian word pesva 'guide, leader'
and its antecedents. Salemann, dealing with the nominal suffix
-al, in Pahlavi, says :1 'It is questionable whether pyswf"!t·, -Jy,
Armenian pesopay, NP 7>elvay belongs here; it could more easily
go back to -paBa.' Horn is more definite: 2 'pesva "leader" (lit.
"in front-foot"), Pahl. pesupa (what does the u mean? is it anaptyc-
tic ?), Paz. pesawai.' Bartholomae, most uncharacteristica]]y, paid
scant heed to the Pahl. spellings and transcribed the word 1,espa~-
(ih) at every occurrence in his AIWorterbuch, s. vv. darn-yo.
frat1Jma8wa- 695, draoman- 770, paurvatat- 872, and lwet- 428,
n. 4 (where also paspa6ih).
The Pahl. spelling, however, cannot be ignored. The word
occurs six times in the Pahlavi Yasna: 3 (......,) ...... e.Jli\.J~e.r Y. 5, 2. 3Q, 11,
13. 60, 2. -'<.!--e.,~1ve.i Y .. 33, 14. 57, 25 . .....,. . . . e,~e., once, Y. 3:2, 11.
The spellings with medial -Jw- answer one of Horn's questions.
They represent no short, anaptyctic vowel, but a full -o-, as in
the common suffix _)wnind = -omand. They also corroborate the
evidence of the Arm. pesopay. What then is this -o-? It cannot
be got from pes ( < •patyasi-, Slu. pratyak~am)4 or paba-. Rather
must the word be analysed as early Middle Pers. pes-opay >
pesobay (Manichaean MP pyswb)y > ""'pesoBay (Paz. posaBae > NP
pesva. The initial o- of the second element immediately suggests
1. Gru11driss der lra11ische11 Philolo11te, I, 1, Mittelperstsch, p. 278, n. 2.
2. tdem, I, 2, Ne11peratache Schrtftsprache, p. 50.
s. ed. Ervad B. N, Dbabbar, 19!9; G!oeeary, pp. 91, 92.
4. Henning, quoting Andreas, Z.I.I., ix, 2298 •
THE VANGUARD, LYING DOWN? 131

a preverb, original ava or abi, and parallel forms such as NP


pes-raw, zJes-bin, pes-,..as that in opay, later obay, a verbal present
stem is to be seen. Happily one such word occurs, though not
for certain in Pahlavi.1
In three of the published Manichaean MP texts a verb )wb)y-
(i.e. obay- or oBay-) occurs, once in the causative form ),wb)yn-.
Till now there is no agreement on its meaning. W. B. Henning
first 2 tentatively derived the stem from •ava-padaya-, 'V' pad, with
the meaning 'glide down' or the like. Later3 he suggested a
transitive meaning 'to place' or perhaps 'suspend', apparently
connecting the word with the ambiguous Pahl. stem ..::::l""· But
his previous explanation of the verbal noun IW..::J",', 4 as being from
the verb spelt in Man. MP hrnb)sfn, hrnb)h- 'to cast down, demo-
lish', is surely correct. The Pahl. lmb'dsn', i.e. harnbayisn or
hambahisn, means 'demolition' or 'felling' of a tree, as in the
passages from the Madiyan i hazar dadestan 5 discussed by Sale-
mann, Manicltaica, iv, 34-5, and Bartholomae, Mir. Mund., i, 15.
B. T. Anklesaria's translation 6 of Greater Bundahishn 131 3 ,
hambayend 'they demolish', is also preferable to Bartholomae's
(Mir. Mund., iv, 13), though he has not recognized the same word
in his edition of Drayisn i Ahreman o d"iiwan, 1: 7 o leaf sawed, koj
haniag be hambayed 'go to the mountains and cast them all down.'
It is worth reconsidering the Man. MP passages.
(a) M 98 I V, 12-17: 8 ud parisp ew i az rosn zarM,g xwarasanillah,
1. The word ~ .... eJ\f I Pahl. Vend. ix, 32 (ed. Dastur H. J'Blllaep, p. 401, n. 65), is too
uncertain to be of use. Perhaps in the gloss to Y. 9, 1 (Hom Ya;t): ,ntlwk )wp)yt' sltwst',
2. Z.I.I., ix, 188 1\
S. B.S.O,A.S., xii, 45.
4, B.S.O.S .• ix, 83.
· · l 15
5. ed. J. J. Modi, pp. 89 , 40
6. Za11d-1'ikasi11, eh. XX, F, p, 168-9. Read, better: zamig wi%ng an ast ka-s cis-e
abar frud Pahilcnfiid 'the earth's cry is that when something falls down on it'. The Eama
misreading (ptkwp- for ptkp-) occurs in the Paz. Menog i Xrad, Ix, 9·10.
7. Zand·C Voh4man Yasn, 1957, pp. 87, 188.
8. F. W. K. Miiller, Bancisclirifteii-Reste, II, S7f.; Sa.lemann, Man. Studie11, I, 16;
A. V. W. Jackson, Researches in Manichaeism, 82, ·52,
132 SIR J. J, ZARTHOSHTI MADRESSA CENTENARY VOLUME

eragihah ud xwa.rparan;;,hah ol,ayenid ud abaz o zamig i rosn


hangaft 'and (he) .... ?.•• a wall (round the material world) from
the world of light eastwards, southwards and westwards and
brought it back into contact with the light world'.
(b) M 781 II R, 4-11 (as 30-37): 1 ud tab(ar) fi] az
ud 'wisobag pad
das(t) darem, u-rn safser ud [ciJlan i hassftd i armas i pak
1>eramon obayed, u-m aspason ig gnwisn ud asnawisn i
frestagan [... J abag ast 'and in my hand I hold a sharp and
destructive axe, and whetted sword and dagger of pure
adamant .. ? •. around me, and I have with me the whip of
speech and the hearing of the angels .... '
(c) M 536 V 8-11 (as 535/6, 36): 2 ud han sozisn i xesmen i nun
peramon harnA·iswnr obayid [u]d ( pa)risp(i)d ud pad ested 'and
that angry burning by which the whole cosmos is now .. ?••
and walled and protected all round.'

Henning preferred to see a preterite obay1,d in both passages,


but the context in (b) suggests a present tense form. He also
rejected the interpretation (pa)risp(i)d in favour of *fraspid 'thrown
aside", but the occurrence of parisp in (a) makes the reading as a
denominative verb more attractive, despite the defective spelling
(prsp- for prysp-).
If we now recall the MP pesobay, and particularly its earliest
recorded use in Arm. zaur pesopay, 'the leading troops, van-
guard',3 it appears that a factor common to all four contexts is
'keeping' or 'protection', by wall or weapon, fire or force. It is
possible to translate opliy- > obay- 'defend, guard, protect,
secure', thus:
(a) 'he caused a wall to secitre (the material world all round),'
(b) 'sword and dagger defend me round about,'
1. Heuning, B.S.O.A.S., xii, 4.0,
2. ibidem, 45.
3. Hiibechmann, Ann, Gra111., I, 200.
THE VANGUARD, LYING DOWN? 133

(c) 'the whole cosmos is now guarded and walled and· protected.'
The etymon of this obay- would be *abi-paya-, cf. Skr. abhi
v pa 'to guard'.
Plainly the compound 'guarding in front' could only deve-
lop after the establishment of the M P forms pes and opay-. The
late preservation of the -p- in the latter word, witnessed by the
Arm. spelling, was presumably due to the early loss of the preced-
ing vowel, thus *abipaya- > *aBpay- > opay-, later obay-.
ni -./pad.
Another present stem of similar form is the Manichaean
Parthian nibay-. 1 The meaning 'lay down' and the occurrence of
the corresponding Past participle nibast in Man. MP leave no
room for doubt that the verb derives from *ni-padaya-. 2
Of more interest is the related intransitive verb, continuing
Av. nipai'6ya- 'lie down'. In Man. MP only the Past participle
nbst occurs in published texts, and that in an isolated quotation
in a Turkish text. 3 In Pahlavi, however, the word is quite
common, though usually disguised.
Unfortunately the spelling of the Iranian word correspond-
ing to the ideogram .22jS""1.J (= Aramaic sM 'lie down, sleep') in the
Frahang 1 Pahlawig XIX, 10f., is corrupt in every MS. H. Junker,4
followiHg Bartholomae, read *nisitan; H. Nyberg/ *niyastan;
R. C. Zaehner, 6 *sayastan; and so on-all forms for . which no
evidence survives. The clue to the corrnct reading comes from
Kurdish, which preserves in common use a number of verbs lost
to Persian. 7 The verb 'to lie down, sleep' is in Northern Kurd.
1. Henning, B.S.O.S., ix, 85.
2, Henning, Z I.I., ix, 188 16 ; A. Ghilain, Essai mr la langue parthe, 70.
S. W. Bang and A. von Gabain, Tiirkische Tur/awTe:cte, ii, 15.
4, Frahang i Pahlavik, Heidelberg, 1912, p. 58.
5. Hil/sb11ch des Pehle11i, II, 168.
6. Zurvan, a Zoroastrian daemma, pp. 184, 857.
7. E.g. uniii 'bring'= Pahl. ll~tc;", 111"!~~_..; bizdyl!n 'be frightened', cf. Parth,
pzd-, Av pa,da11a-, 'frighten'; gul1iir 'change place' = Pahl. - ~...._,, ; hingli/tin 'hit a mark'=
Man. MP hng)pt 'bring together'; ha11iirti11 'send'= Man. MP 7111)r- 'direct'.
134 SIR J, J. ZARTHOSHTI MADRESSA CENTENARY VOLUME

'riivistin, niv-, which developed through niwist-in to Central Kurd.


nustin, nu-.1 This continues nibastan, *nibay- (cf. NKd. nivis-
< nibes- 'write', d- < day- 'give').

The expected spellings of such a verb in Pahl. would be


n~v, npstn', ,~_,e.:, npdyt', and they do occur, though very rarely. 2
Among the various forms in the Frahang, however, it is perhaps
easier to see *,~J' nbstn', ,~, nbdyt'. 3
Another form from the same origin may lie hidden in an
obscure passage of the Bundahishn, describing the merciful
release granted to the Sole-created Ox by Ohrmazd at the time
of Ahreman's onslaught. The Ox swallowed a potent drug and
(Gr.Ed. 43 15, Ind. Ed. 1011): pad ham zaman nizar ud wernar bud
i'e.11 [Ind. € 11e.:J be sud,fraz widard 'immediately became feeble
and i1.1 .... and passed away.' Anklesaria reads the signs in ques-
tion {l ptm,4 'her milk dried up', though frequent references to
the 'seed of the Ox' toxm/.fosr i gaw show it to have been male.
Zaehner:; translates loosely 'but his pain was short-lived', reading
u pim, 6 but avoiding the difficulty that as yet the Ox had had no
pain.
Usually, when the death of the Ox is described, e g. Gr.Ed.
464, 72 10 , the phrase pad dasn alag ( dast) obast 'fell to the right
side (hand)' is used. In the Wiztdagiha ; ; Zadspram, II, 9, it
appears in the very same context: nizar ud wemar bud ... ud widard.
It is reasonable, therefore, to seek a mention of the Ox's falling
in the words under discussion. Even the useless Pazend version
of the Ind. Ed. reads pa zam ba fot,
1. For otlier modern Iranian form&, v. G. Morgenstierne, Acta Orientalia, I, 27 4.
2, v. B. Geiger, W.Z.K.M,, xl, 116.
8. In MSS J, U,2 and U;;,
4. Ratlier pe,n 'milk', as H. H. Scliaeder also read, Studie11 zum anttke11 Synkretis·
mus, 219.
5. Teachings of the Magi, 48.
6. v. H. W. Bailey, B.S,O.S., viii, 1155.
THE VANGUARD, LYING DOWN? 135

The reading npdm calls to mind the Man. Parth. nbdm(n),


i.e. niba'&m(an) 'couch' < *ni-pad-man, 1 cf. Parth. nsdm, MP nsym,
Pahl. inscription nsdmy f 6V"JI, i.e. *nHad-man- > nifa'&rn > nisem,
NP nisim, nis;;.man 'seat'. Rather than a noun, however, the Pahl.
npdm may represent an old Present Middle participle *nipadya-
mna- > *nibem 'lying down', which has become indistinguishable
from the expected MP form of the word for 'couch'. niMm sudan
would then be a compound verb meaning 'to lie down' (cf. Jrod
suda,i 'go down').
Corroboration is to be found in the Pahl. translation of the
Hadhokht N ask fragment; 2
I, 10. 'Which is the one recital of the Asha that is worth a
thousand others in greatness, goodness and fairness?'
11. Ahura Mazda answered, 'It is that one, 0 righteous Zarathush-
tra, yam ba na xl)afna'&a ustryarnno a·va'!i}uhabdomno a,~orn staoiti
=Pahl. ka mard be xufsed i pad xwab ......,~ll, ~~ ul-nibemisnih ud
be-xufsisnih ahlayih stayed. Bartholomae translates the Avestan
'the Asha which a man recites stretched out to sleep and falling
asleep.' ul-nibemis1iih stands for ustryamno 'stretched out' < us
.v star. The prefix ul, which has misled West and Darmesteter
into translating 'starting up' from sleep, is merely the regular
Pahl. rendering of Av. us-, uz..;.., What remains is a verbal noun
formed from our word nibem, here used as a denominative present
stem 'to lie down'.
In Denkard IX, 20 (Sudgar N ask, 19 = ed. Madan 80917 ff.)
there occurs abag-nibemisnih, used to mean 'lying with' a whore,
Ohrmazd's prohibition of this being glossed ku-s abag ma xufs
'do not sleep with her'.
Addendum:
[K. M. JamaspAsa has kindly brought to my attention B. N.
Dhabhar's article on 'Pahlavi nipadamisnih', Khareghat Memorial
'Volume, I, 1953, 131-4 (= Essays on Iranian subjects, 1955, 128-32),
. 1. v. M&ry Boyce, B.S.0.A.S~. xiv, 442, n.4,
2 ed. AS&, Haug and West, p. 275.
136 SIR J. J. ZAR_THOSHTI MADRESSA CENTENARY VOLUME

in which the above passages on · nibern and others· from the


Denkard are quoted, leading to a similar conclusion.]
* * * * *
There was no question of sleep when the Evil Spirit made
his f,irst aggression. Of the forces of Ohrmazd, we are told at
.Gr. Bd. 45 10 , 'for ninety days and nights the spiritual gods were
joined in 5triving against the Evil Spirit and the .demons in the
world, until they overcame them and threw them into Hell.'
Later (Gr.Bd. 71 1- 3) the statement is repeated and a scriptural
authority given, in Pahlavi translation. B. T. Anklesaria 1 read
~nd translated · (my transcr~ption and italics): Qiyon gowed,
nawad 1'0Z u,d sab *a-xweb ttd d-tisn bud hend menogan y(l,zdan pad
an ardik-karih ''As one [better, He] says, "The spiritual Yazats
were sleepless and thirstless for ninety days during the waging of
the conflict1' .' '
One coulcl understand the gods being sleepless, but a-tisn
1thirstlessness' seems out of place. The MSS. DH and TD 2 have
no t but a plain. p, or -c.. H. W. Bailey accordingly read: 2
90 rob sap axvaB ut acandisn* but hend, but aiso considered
apo'oisn for . the . starred word, translating both as 'motionless'.
Btlt !untrembling' and 'not running' seem no more appropriate
than 'thirstless'.:;
The phrase 90 :roz sab, however, is unsatisfactory. The
plural ending -an i~ required, as at Gr. Bd. 45 10 , 62 7 : 90/30
lwc/YWM sp)n'. If we allow for the confusion in the Pahlavi
script caused by the addition of -)n to an ideogram ending in alef,
a possible reading,of tl}e_ whole sequence is 90 YWM LYLY,A[>Pn
GBRApwdsn ... , i.e. ~O roz-sabiin mardyoyisn bud hend menogan
yazdan 'for ninety days and nights the spiritual gods were running
like men'. Behind this last bald translation there lay perhaps an
Avestan wo.rd such as *viro.taxti- 'running (into battle) like a
hero'. Here was a vanguard far from? . lying down.
, l • . •

1. Zand-l!kasih, · eh. VI, ·I, 1, .P· 84-5.


2. Unpublished thesis of 1988, kindly made available. in typescr.ipt to interested students
of the subject.