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Démons iraniens

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Philippe Swennen

Representing the Lie in Achaemenian Persia

Bruce Lincoln

Résumé

Le présent article prend pour point de départ la phrase “la Tromperie devint grande” (drau̯ga… vasai̯ abava) attestée en DB §10. Après avoir souligné l’emploi particulier de l’adverbe vasai̯ afin de modifier le verbe bav-, on démontre que cette phrase décrit la Tromperie telle qu’émergée du néant, puis ramifiée, transmutée, démultipliée et répandue en tant que démon contagieux et corrupteur. S’ensuit une discussion qui explore la question de savoir comment ce processus fut théorisé. Elle se concentre sur les textes (avestiques, vieux-perses, plus quelques épisodes tirés d’Hérodote), où la Tromperie est associée à l’incapacité d’entendre ou de comprendre correctement ainsi qu’au fait, connexe, de n’avoir pas d’oreilles (avestique a-sru- et a-guš-). La mutilation des yeux, nez, oreilles ou langues des rebelles (DB §§32 – 33) pourrait être un aspect de la même construction idéologico-symbolique, associant la présence de la Tromperie à des défauts de compréhension et de communication.

Texte intégral

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1Within the Achaemenian corpus of royal inscriptions, demonic entities first appear in DB §10, a passage whose many subtleties demand close attention. Having recounted how Cambyses killed his brother, hid the deed, then embarked on foreign conquests in 525 B.C.E., the text records the consequences of his actions.

  • 1 DB §10: yaθā Kambūjiya Mudrāyam ašiyava, pasāva kāra arīka abava utā drau̯ga dahyau̯vā vasai̯ abava (...)

“When Cambyses went to Egypt, then the people/army became vulnerable to deception (kāra arīka abava) and the Lie became great (drau̯ga… vasai̯ abava) throughout the land/people — in Persia and Media and other lands/peoples.”1

  • 2 Lincoln, forthc., 45–54. The argument highlights DB §63, where the gullibility denoted by arīka is (...)
  • 3 The term occurs only in the Bisitun inscription. Twice, it describes aspects of the situation in 52 (...)
  • 4 Nowhere does the text assert it was wrong for Cambyses to commit fratricide and such an act may hav (...)

2Elsewhere, I have shown that the adjective arīka denotes a certain weakness of character or intellect that renders a person susceptible to believing a falsehood.2 All other occurrences of this word treat situations early in the reign of Darius (i.e. between 522–520) and in that context arīka is always the object of the verb “to be” (Old Persian ah-).3 Only in DB §10 is it governed by the verb “to become” (Old Persian bav-), signaling that at the earlier historic moment of 525, this state of gullibility was newly emergent, for the change signaled in this passage is qualitative, not quantitative: the people are said to become arīka, not to become more arīka. The causal chain is thus threefold: 1) The King committed certain wrongs, the most grievous of which was hiding the truth from his people;4 2) The people’s ability to discern reality was consequently diminished and they became vulnerable to falsehood; 3) A worse evil then entered the world, as is signaled in the phrase drau̯ga… vasai̯ abava, which I, like others, have translated inadequately as “the Lie became great”.

  • 5 On the semantics of this verb and its Indo-Iranian cognates, see Batholomae 1904, col. 927–33, Mayr (...)
  • 6 The passages where bav- occurs with a noun, pronoun, or adjective as predicate can be tabulated as (...)
  • 7 Translations treating vasai̯ as an adjective include Benveniste – Meillet 1931, 231: “le mensonge e (...)

3The verb of that phrase is bav- once more, and once more its force is inchoative.5 Its usage here is unusual, however, and that in two ways. First, in the overwhelming majority of cases (47/52), bav- occurs with a predicate that specifies some qualitative transformation of the verb’s subject, as when someone not (yet) a king somehow is installed in the royal office with full power and dignity, or when a previously docile population suddenly acts in ways that make manifest its simmering discontentment and challenge the ruling order.6 While most translators treat the phrase that concerns us as if it possessed the same kind of predicate (e.g. “the Lie became great”), this is, in fact, a distortion, for vasai̯ is not an adjective, but an adverb.7 As such, it modifies the action, describing the way the Lie came-intobeing, rather than what it became.

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  • 8 Thus, Benveniste – Meillet 1931, 149 and 230–31, Kent 1953, 33, 35, 66, and 207, Brandenstein – May (...)
  • 9 vasai̯ occurs with the following verbs: jan- “to smite, smash, defeat” (16x); ava-jan- “to kill” (1 (...)

4Most often, vasai̯ occurs with verbs of smiting or building. In both instances, it suggests the vast extent of what has been done and the number of those affected. This is consistent with the accepted etymological analysis, which establishes it as the locative form of an unattested noun (*vasa- or *vas-) derived from the verb *vas-, “to will, wish, desire”.8 Literally, then, vasai̯ means “at will”, and it is used when one speaks of destroying a great many enemies (DB §29: “my army smote that rebel army at will”, kāra haya manā avam kāram tayam hamiçiyam aja vasa), building many good things (XPf §4: “I built that which is superior at will”, vasai̯ taya fraθaram akunavam), and similar examples.9

5The only other time vasai̯ appears with the verb bav- is a formulaic blessing-and-curse Darius addressed to future readers of his inscription at Bisitun.

  • 10 DB §§60–61: yadi imām handugām nai̯ apagau̯dayāhi, kārahyā θāhi, Auramazdā θuvām dau̯štā biyā, utāt (...)

“If you do not conceal this declaration and you proclaim it to the people, may the Wise Lord become a friend to you, may your progeny become great [lit.: come into being at will], and may you live long! If you conceal this declaration and do not tell the people, may the Wise Lord become your slayer and may your progeny not come into being.”10

6The binary structure of this passage is elegant in its simplicity. Either one assists Darius in propagating his message, or one does not. If one does, three blessings follow; if not, two corresponding curses. The verb bav- is used in four of the five anticipated outcomes, always in the optative mood. Of greatest interest to us, however, are the two phrases that speak of progeny, which are identical save for one word. Here, the crucial contrast is between becoming “at will” (vasai̯) and “not” () becoming (Table 12.1).

Contrasted blessings and curses in DB §§60–61 (cf. §§66–67).

Blessings to the Inscription-Proclaimer

Curses on the Inscription-Concealer

Relation to the Divine

May the Wise Lord become a friend to you, Auramazdā θuvām dau̯štā biyā,

May the Wise Lord become your slayer, Auramazdātai̯ jantā biyā,

Lineage continuity

And may your progeny come into being at will, utātai̯ tau̯mā vasai̯ biyā,

And may your progeny not come into being. utātai̯ tau̯mā mā biyā.

Personal lifespan

And may you live long utā dargam jīvā.

7The combination of the verb bav- and the adverb vasai̯ thus denotes a process of transformation that is both quantitative and qualitative, punctual and ongoing: a move from potentiality to existence to proliferation and abundance. Thus, the man whom Darius addresses is imagined to have no children at the moment he reads the inscription, for if he behaves badly, it is promised he will die without offspring and thus be relegated to utter non-being. In contrast, should he behave well, not only will he live a long life, but descendants will follow and his line will flourish for countless generations to come.

  • 11 Both the Akkadian and the Elamite versions of DB §10 also stress multiplicity, translating vasai̯ b (...)

8Beyond this formula of blessing (repeated verbatim at DB §66), the only other passage in which the verb bav- and the adverb vasai̯ occur together is that with which we began: DB §10, which describes the inception of the Lie as an event that has continuing consequences (with the verb in the imperfect). Accordingly, we are meant to understand that in 525 B.C.E., when Cambyses left Persia for Egypt, “the Lie” came into being “at will”, much like the progeny described above. Which is to say, the Lie emerged from nothingness, ramified, mutated, multiplied, and spread: a contagious, corrupting evil.11

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  • 12 For philological analysis of the related verbal and nominal forms in the various Indo-Iranian langu (...)
  • 13 DB §52 summarizes the historic narrative developed in DB §§10–51, naming all nine of the rebel-king (...)
  • 14 The formulaic accounts of rebellion that appear in DB §§11–12, 16, 22, 24, 33, 38, 40, and 49 thus (...)

9The phrase drau̯ga… vasai̯ abava thus announced the expectation that once extant, the Lie would reproduce and disseminate rapidly. According to Bisitun, the Lie first appeared in 525, and by 521, nine different individuals had falsely claimed to be king of one land/people or another. In each case, it is said “he lied” (adurujiya, from duruj-, the verbal root corresponding to drau̯ga-)12 and these lies infected vulnerable populations who consequently turned rebellious.13 A consistent pattern is traced in these events: deception produces delusion, which produces disorder.14 At every step, one is meant to perceive the insidious force of the Lie.

  • 15 DB §54: θāti Darāyavauš xšāyaθiya: dahyāva imā, tayā hamiçiyā abava drau̯gadiš hamiçiyā akunau̯š, t (...)

“Proclaims Darius the King: These are the lands/peoples that became rebellious. The Lie made them rebellious, because these men lied to the people/ army.”15

  • 16 The usual tendency is to treat the Lie as robustly personified. As Herzfeld 1938, 140 put it, with (...)

10Several questions remain, however: Was the Lie theorized as a personified entity or an abstract force? Comparisons to the arch-demons of Zoroastrianism (whether known as Aŋra Mainiiu, Ahriman, or Gannag Mēnōg) suggest the former, but nothing in the Achaemenian inscriptions really speaks to this question.16 Further: How does the Lie operate? Who is vulnerable to it? Does it exist apart from the act of lying? Or is it always embedded in the practice of certain deceitful humans?

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  • 17 The term appears at Yašt 19.94 and 95 only. Translators are divided on the question of whether this (...)
  • 18 Vīdēvdād 18.30: tūm zī aēuua vīspahe aŋhǝ̄uš astuuatō anaiβiiāstiš hunahi. Significantly, the quest (...)

11Avestan texts provide only a bit more information about the Lie’s nature. Still, use of the adjective dušciθra- “of evil seed” calls attention to the Lie’s uncanny ability to multiply and spread, consistent with our reading of the Achaemenian data.17 This theme also recurs in the longest description of the Lie in any Avestan text, Vīdēvdāt 18.30–59, which exploits the feminine gender of the noun (Avestan druj-) to personify the Lie as female. In response to the question “Do you, alone of all embodied beings, really give birth without consort?”,18 the Lie describes how she is constantly being impregnated by certain human offenders (e.g., those who refuse to give charity when asked, or men who experience nocturnal emissions), a trope that not only emphasizes her extraordinary powers of reproduction, but suggests an ongoing symbiosis between flawed human actors and impersonal-cum-demonic forces, leading to the multiplication of both.

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  • 19 The two relevant verbs seem to differ in their emphasis. Avestan guš-, gaoš- refers chiefly to the p (...)

12Older Avestan texts shed a bit more light on this symbiosis, calling attention to defects of human hearing that are simultaneously enabling conditions and adverse consequences of the Lie’s assault, a situation signaled by compounds where privative a- is prefixed to verbs of hearing (Avestan a-guš- and a-sru-).19 Thus, for instance, Yasna 31.1 contrasts two audiences addressed by the speaker: the faithful, who find his words “best” (vahištā) and those under sway of the Lie, by whom the same words go “unheard” (a-guštā).

  • 20 Yasna 31.1: tā vǝ̄ uruuātā marәṇtō, aguštā vacā̊ sǝ̄ṇghāmahī | aēibiiō yōi uruuātāiš drūjō, ašahiiā (...)

“Remembering these rules of yours, we proclaim unheard words (aguštā vacā). | To those who destroy the creatures of Truth by the rules of the Lie, | But these (words) are best for those who would be faithful to the Wise Lord.”20

13The hope is that the words in question will transform men of violence. Should the latter remain unable to hear them, however, the Lie’s continuing influence will produce further acts of destruction. The argument is circular, treating what others might differentiate as cause and effect as mutually supportive conditions, both of which are necessary and neither of which has (temporal or logical) priority. Thus, those affected by the Lie develop defects of hearing that make them susceptible to lies and hostile to Truth.

  • 21 Regarding the nature of such attentive hearing ( “hearkening”) in the Zoroastrian context, see the (...)

14The situation is similar in Yasna 44.13, which contrasts proper and improper hearers, i.e. persons who are and those who are not deeply attentive to the teachings of the good religion.21 Proceeding from this, it thematizes the former group as resistant, and the latter receptive to the Lie, while subtextually implying that the Lie produces the very non-hearing that is the condition of its own hospitable reception.

  • 22 Yasna 44.13: tat̰ θβā pәrәsā, әrәš mōi vaocā ahurā | kaθā drujәm, nīš ahmat̰ ā nīš.nāšāmā | tǝ̄ṇg ā (...)

“This I ask you, speak truly to me, Ahura:
How do we drive the Lie from ourselves
To those full of non-hearing (asruštōiš pәrәnā̊ŋhō)?
They do not delight in associating with Truth.
They do not derive pleasure from asking questions of Good Mind.”22

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15Several Younger Avestan passages use the same vocabulary to develop the same kind of argument, as in the formula that concludes Vīdēvdāt 16 and 17.

  • 23 Vīdēvdād 16.18 (= Vd. 17.11): vīspe druuantō tanu.drujō yō adәrәtō.t̰kaēšō yō asraošō vīspe asraošō (...)

“All liars are embodiments of the Lie, who are unconstrained by proper religious choice, who are non-hearing/disobedient (asraošō). All those who are non-hearing/disobedient are untruthful. All those who are untruthful are criminals whose bodies are forfeit.”23

  • 24 Cf. Yasna 60.5: “In this house, may Attentive hearing/Obedience (Sraošō) vanquish non-hearing (asru (...)
  • 25 Herodotus 3.61.
  • 26 Herodotus 3.69: νῦν ὦν ποίησον τάδε· ἐπεὰν σοὶ συνεύδῃ καὶ μάθῃς αὐτὸν κατυπνωμένον, ἄφασον αὐτοῦ τ (...)

16Other passages from the Younger Avesta use the same signifiers to make the same point,24 as does a celebrated narrative from Herodotus: the episode in which Otanes charged his daughter Phaidyme to discover if her husband was the rightful King, as he claimed, or an imposter, as Otanes suspected. The problem was difficult, for as we were previously told, not only did the imposter bear the same name as the man he supplanted, but their appearance was near identical.25 Describing the sole way to differentiate the two, Otanes instructed Phaidyme: “Now, therefore, you must do this. When he lies with you and you know he has fallen asleep, handle his ears. If he seems to have ears, consider that it is Smerdis, son of Cyrus, who lives with you; if not, it is Smerdis the Magus”.26

  • 27 The same detail is found in Justinus 1.91 (where Cambyses, not Cyrus is said to have cut off the ear (...)
  • 28 Aly 1921, 99–100.
  • 29 Bertin 1890, 821–22, accepted by How – Wells 1912, I 275.
  • 30 Demandt 1972, 90–101.

17Many ingenious explanations have been offered for this curious detail (found only in classical sources).27 In it, some have seen a folkloric motif taken from Oriental romance,28 some the result of folk etymology (assuming that the title of Magus was misinterpreted as meaning “no ears,” mā guš),29 and some imagine it resulting from conventions of Greek art, which gave Persians helmets, crowns, or coiffures that normally covered their ears.30 More simply, one may understand that whatever its ultimate origin may be, the Herodotean narrative posits the same syllogism we have already observed in Avestan texts.

Smerdis, sonofCyrus: SmerdistheMagus
:: +Ears: -Ears
:: King: Imposter
:: Truth: Lie

  • 31 Herodotus 3.69: τοῦ δὲ Mάγου τούτου τοῦ Σμέρδιος Kῦρος ὁ Kαμβύσεω ἄρχων τὰ ὦτα ἀπέταμε ἐπ᾽ αἰτίῃ δή (...)

18Explaining how it is the imposter came to suffer this defect, Herodotus alludes to an earlier episode, but supplies no relevant details, saying only that “during his rule, Cyrus had cut off the ears of Smerdis the Magus, for no small reason,” suggesting that this was the royal response to some serious offense.31 An unrelated scene makes clear the crime for which ear-lopping was judged appropriate.

  • 32 Herodotus describes the privileges granted to the “Seven Noble Persians” who overthrew Gaumāta at 3 (...)
  • 33 Herodotus 3.118: οὔκων δὴ Ἰνταφρένες ἐδικαίου οὐδένα οἱ ἐσαγγεῖλαι, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι ἧν τῶν ἑπτά, ἐσιέναι ἤ (...)

“Intaphernes wished to enter (the royal chambers), thinking it was his right to be admitted because he was one of the Seven.32 The gatekeeper and the usher would not permit it, saying the king was in bed with a woman. Believing that they told lies (pseudea legein), Intaphernes did these things. Drawing his sword, he cut off their ears and noses, and having threaded these on the bridle of a horse, he tied this around their necks and let them go.”33

19The case is clear. One cuts off the ears — perhaps along with other organs of sense and communication — to mark those convicted of lying. In doing so, one gives tangible form to the moral, spiritual, or dispositional defect that inclines such people to falsehood in the first place. For it is their failure to hear and heed the truth that lets the Lie penetrate their minds and bodies, from which vantage point it can reproduce itself as they begin to speak and practice deceit.

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  • 34 It is not clear why these two rebels were treated more harshly than the other seven. It may be rele (...)

20Darius inflicted much the same punishment on two of the rebels he suppressed in his first year on the throne (522–521 B.C.E.), Fravarti and Tritantaxma.34

  • 35 DB §32: Fravartiš agrabiya anayatā abi mām, adamšai̯ utā nāham utā gau̯šā utā hizānam frājanam utāš (...)

“Fravarti was captured. He was led before me. I cut off his nose, his ears, and his tongue and I put out one of his eyes. He was held bound at my gate. All the army/people saw him.”35

  • 36 Nylander 1980, 329–33. Martha Roth and Matt Stolper have been kind enough to confirm for me that Ny (...)

21Here, it is worth noting that the Assyrians and Babylonians do not seem to have employed this same pattern of mutilation, although a copper head was found at Nineveh that had its ears and nose cut off, its left eye gouged out, and its beard broken (conceivably a substitute for the impossible task of extracting a statue’s tongue). Having studied this object closely, Carl Nylander concluded that the damage was inflicted by Median troops when they took Nineveh and overthrew Assyrian power in 612 B.C.E., drawing on an Iranian symbolic repertoire that used (literal) defacement to inflict humiliation and dishonor.36

  • 37 I have discussed the importance of olfactory codes for recognition of the Lie elsewhere. See furthe (...)

22Whether or not Nylander was correct in adding this datum to the dossier, we can offer a more precise interpretation of the Achaemenian practices. Although they were surely meant to inflict both shame and pain, their purpose was also didactic. Toward that end, the faces of captured rebels were made into object lessons, on which otherwise invisible forces and processes were given concrete form. Those who beheld poor Fravarti were meant to read from his mangled features that he was both a victim and an agent of the Lie, drawing these further conclusions. 1) This is how the Lie enters and infects men who cannot hear and whose senses are defective.37 2) This is how the Lie reproduces itself, when such men say garbled things that infect and mislead others. 3) Lies and liars thus produce confusion and violence by misperceiving and misrepresenting the truth. 4) Ultimately, such people suffer retributive violence from the defenders of truth, led by the King, and this restores proper order.

23Conceivably, Darius and his agents — scribes, as well as soldiers and hangmen — made these points with a sincere and ingenuous belief that inspired confidence in the empire and the rightness of its mission. Like all human subjects, however, they too were capable of misrecognition and misrepresentation. And here opens the epistemological and moral abyss of lies about the Lie, lies about the lying other, and lies about the truthful self…

Notes

1 DB §10: yaθā Kambūjiya Mudrāyam ašiyava, pasāva kāra arīka abava utā drau̯ga dahyau̯vā vasai̯ abava, utā Pārsai̯ utā Mādai̯ utā aniyāuvā dahyušuvā.

2 Lincoln, forthc., 45–54. The argument highlights DB §63, where the gullibility denoted by arīka is contrasted with more serious manifestations of the Lie at the level of speech (drau̯jana) and that of action (zūrakara), reflecting the familiar Indo-Iranian system of classification by thought, word, and deed, on which see Schlerath 1974, 201–21.

3 The term occurs only in the Bisitun inscription. Twice, it describes aspects of the situation in 522–21 B.C.E. (DB §§8 and 63); twice, that of 521–20 (DB §§72, and 75). In all four passages, use of the verb ah- is stative, denoting a condition that persists unchanged in the present from what it was in the past.

4 Nowhere does the text assert it was wrong for Cambyses to commit fratricide and such an act may have fallen within his royal powers. Hiding the deed may suggest guilt, but more importantly this constitutes a wrongful act itself, for such concealment is an offense against the truth, on which moral and cosmic order depend. One probably should also understand the King’s prolonged absence from the imperial center as a wrongful act that disrupts proper order.

5 On the semantics of this verb and its Indo-Iranian cognates, see Batholomae 1904, col. 927–33, Mayrhofer 1986–2001, II 255–57, and Hendriksen 1948, 206–215.

6 The passages where bav- occurs with a noun, pronoun, or adjective as predicate can be tabulated as follows. In none of these does any adverb appear.

Image 10000000000002CE000001B78B82FB99AB9F9D38.jpg

DNb §§2b and 3b have predicates of a somewhat more complex sort and these passages have not been included in this table. They do not change the general point, however, that in the vast majority of cases, bav- takes a nominal, pronominal, or adjectival predicate and is not modified by an adverb.

7 Translations treating vasai̯ as an adjective include Benveniste – Meillet 1931, 231: “le mensonge est devenu abondant (litt. ‘beaucoup’) dans les provinces”; Asmussen 1960, 46: “blev løgnen stor i landet”; and Lecoq 1997, 190: “le mensonge fut considérable parmi les peuples”. The alternative is no better, for those who preserve the adverbial force of vasai̯ regularly distort the sense of the verb it modifies. Thus, Herzfeld, 1938, 140: “drauga schaltete nach belieben”, Kent 1953, 119: “the Lie waxed great in the country”; Schmitt 1991, 51: “Falsehood grew greatly in the land”.

8 Thus, Benveniste – Meillet 1931, 149 and 230–31, Kent 1953, 33, 35, 66, and 207, Brandenstein – Mayrhofer 1964, 152. Cf. the Avestan vasǝ̄ (adverb, based on the singular accusative of vasah- <vas-, thus “at will”) and the adverbial use of uštā (singular locative of ušti-, also <vas-) in the blessing formula of Yasna 41.4: “May you aid us long and at will”, rapōišcā tū nǝ̄ darәgәmcā uštācā.

9 vasai̯ occurs with the following verbs: jan- “to smite, smash, defeat” (16x); ava-jan- “to kill” (1x); kar- “to build, make, do” (6x); ah- “to be” (3x); bav- “to become” (3x);1dā- “to give” (1x).

10 DB §§60–61: yadi imām handugām nai̯ apagau̯dayāhi, kārahyā θāhi, Auramazdā θuvām dau̯štā biyā, utātai̯ tau̯mā vasai̯ biyā, utā dargam jīvā. θāti Dārayavauš xšāyaθiya: yadi imām handugām apagau̯dayāhi, nai̯ θāhi kārahyā, Auramazdātai̯ jantā biyā, utātai̯ tau̯mā mā biyā. Much the same formula recurs at DB §§66–67.

11 Both the Akkadian and the Elamite versions of DB §10 also stress multiplicity, translating vasai̯ by mādu and iršeikki, respectively, both of which mean “many”. The Akkadian further underscores the point by translating Old Persian drau̯ga ( “The Lie”, singular) by pirṣātu ( “lies”, plural).

12 For philological analysis of the related verbal and nominal forms in the various Indo-Iranian languages, see Mayrhofer 1986–2001, II 760–61.

13 DB §52 summarizes the historic narrative developed in DB §§10–51, naming all nine of the rebel-kings and saying of each “He lied (adurujiya). He proclaimed ‘I am X (≠ his given name or lineage). I am King in Y.’ He made Y rebellious”. The same assertions are repeated in the minor inscriptions at Bisitun, which identify the figures depicted in the relief sculpture (DBb-DBj).

14 The formulaic accounts of rebellion that appear in DB §§11–12, 16, 22, 24, 33, 38, 40, and 49 thus follow a regular sequence: 1) A pretender rises up (hau̯ udapatatā); 2) he lies to the people/army (kāram [or: kārahyā] avaθā adurujiya); 3) they become rebellious (pasāva kāra… hamiçiya abava); 4) and defect to the pretender (abi avam ašiyava); 5) he seizes the kingship/ kingdom (xšaçam hau̯ agr̥bāyatā); 6) and assumes the title of King (hau xšāyaθiya abava).

15 DB §54: θāti Darāyavauš xšāyaθiya: dahyāva imā, tayā hamiçiyā abava drau̯gadiš hamiçiyā akunau̯š, taya imai̯ kāram adurujiyaša.

16 The usual tendency is to treat the Lie as robustly personified. As Herzfeld 1938, 140 put it, with reference to the warning of DB §55 ( “Protect yourself boldly from the Lie”, hacā drau̯gā dršam patipayauvā): “Das heißt nicht ‘cave sis mentiare’, sondern fast ‘cave satanam’.” All six occurrences of drau̯ga- (DB §§10, 54, 55, 56, DPd §3 [2x]) are ambiguous on this point and can accommodate either a personified or a wholly abstract understanding of what “the Lie” represents.

17 The term appears at Yašt 19.94 and 95 only. Translators are divided on the question of whether this adjective signals the Lie’s evil parentage (thus Hintze 1994, 390; Humbach – Ichaporia 1998, 169) or her evil progeny (thus Geldner 1884, 58; Lommel 1927a, 186, and others). Christensen 1941, 14, associated the use of this adjective with the feminine gender of the Lie, but stated the point very delicately, observing that “son individualité est peu marquee dans les Yašts, où elle a conservé, generalement, son caractère abstrait d’anti-type de Rta.”

18 Vīdēvdād 18.30: tūm zī aēuua vīspahe aŋhǝ̄uš astuuatō anaiβiiāstiš hunahi. Significantly, the question is posed by Sraoša, the personification of properly attentive hearing and full obedience to the divine word, who is occasionally construed as the Lie’s chief adversary (thus Yasna 57.15 [= Yašt 11.10] and Yašt 11.3).

19 The two relevant verbs seem to differ in their emphasis. Avestan guš-, gaoš- refers chiefly to the physical act of hearing, as is indicated by formation of the word for “ears” on this root (Av. gaoša-, Old Persian gauša-; cf. also Av. gaošāvara-, “earrings”, gaošō.bәrәz- “height of the ear”, and gaošō.srūta- “heard by ear”, on which see Bartholomae 1904, cols. 485–87). In contrast, sru-, srav- encompasses also the social, political, moral, and religious aspects of hearing, as is evident in sravah- “word, speech, teaching”, sruta- “that which is heard, known, celebrated, famed”, and sraoša- “hearkening, attentive hearing, obedience, and the discipline that comes from listening to what has been commanded” (Bartholomae 1904, cols. 1634–36, 1643–44, and 1648). Most fully on the last term, see Kreyenbroek 1985, and Benveniste 1945, 13–14.

20 Yasna 31.1: tā vǝ̄ uruuātā marәṇtō, aguštā vacā̊ sǝ̄ṇghāmahī | aēibiiō yōi uruuātāiš drūjō, ašahiiā gaēθā̊ vīmәrәṇcaitē | atcīt aēibiiō vahištā, yōi zarazdā̊ aŋhәn mazdāi.

21 Regarding the nature of such attentive hearing ( “hearkening”) in the Zoroastrian context, see the discussion of Kreyenbroek 1985.

22 Yasna 44.13: tat̰ θβā pәrәsā, әrәš mōi vaocā ahurā | kaθā drujәm, nīš ahmat̰ ā nīš.nāšāmā | tǝ̄ṇg ā auuā, yōi asruštōiš pәrәnā̊ŋhō | nōit̰ aṣ̌ahiiā, ādīuuiieiṇtī hacǝ̄nā | nōit̰ frasaiiā, vaŋhǝ̄uš cāxnarǝ̄ manaŋhō. Also relevant is Yasna 43.12, where the Lie is not named, but where Truth (Aṣ̌a) and Obedience/Attentive Hearing (Sraoša) are associated with the negation of non-hearing (nōit̰ asruštā) to set up the following relations.
Truth: (Lie)
Obedience/Attentive Hearing: (Disobedience/Inattentive Hearing)
Not non-hearing (nōit̰ asruštā): Non-hearing (asruštā)

23 Vīdēvdād 16.18 (= Vd. 17.11): vīspe druuantō tanu.drujō yō adәrәtō.t̰kaēšō yō asraošō vīspe asraošō yō anašauuanō vīspe anašauuanō yō tanu.pәrәθō.

24 Cf. Yasna 60.5: “In this house, may Attentive hearing/Obedience (Sraošō) vanquish non-hearing (asruštīm), may peace vanquish non-peace, may generosity vanquish non-generosity, may reverence vanquish irreverence, may the word rightly spoken vanquish the word falsely spoken, and may Truth vanquish the Lie” (vainīt ahmi nmāne sraošō / asruštīm āxštiš anāxštīm / rāitiš arāitīm ārmaitiš / tarōmaitīm aršuxδō vāxš / miθaoxtәm vācim aṣ̌a.drujәm). Also relevant is Yašt 11.2, where the bodily defects associated with the Lie are construed much more broadly: “(Obedience [Sraoša]) is the best repeller of the enmity of the liar (and) of liars. This is the best binder-and-eradicator of the foul eyes, foul understanding, foul ears, foul hands, foul feet, foul mouth of the male liar (and) of the female liar” (tat̰ druuatō druuatąm auruuaθō.paiti.dārәšta tat̰ druuatō druuatiiā̊sca aši uši karәna gauua duuarәθra zafarә dәrәzuuā̊n pairi.uruuaēštәm).

25 Herodotus 3.61.

26 Herodotus 3.69: νῦν ὦν ποίησον τάδε· ἐπεὰν σοὶ συνεύδῃ καὶ μάθῃς αὐτὸν κατυπνωμένον, ἄφασον αὐτοῦ τὰ ὦτα· καὶ ἢν μὲν φαίνηται ἔχων ὦτα, νόμιζε σεωυτὴν Σμέρδι τῷ Kύρου συνοικέειν, ἢν δὲ μὴ ἔχων, σὺ δὲ τῷ Mάγῳ Σμέρδι.”

27 The same detail is found in Justinus 1.91 (where Cambyses, not Cyrus is said to have cut off the ears of the Magus). Nothing similar is recounted in the Bisitun inscription and the accompanying relief actually contradicts the story, Gaumāta’s left ear there being fully apparent.

28 Aly 1921, 99–100.

29 Bertin 1890, 821–22, accepted by How – Wells 1912, I 275.

30 Demandt 1972, 90–101.

31 Herodotus 3.69: τοῦ δὲ Mάγου τούτου τοῦ Σμέρδιος Kῦρος ὁ Kαμβύσεω ἄρχων τὰ ὦτα ἀπέταμε ἐπ᾽ αἰτίῃ δή τινι οὐ σμικρῇ.

32 Herodotus describes the privileges granted to the “Seven Noble Persians” who overthrew Gaumāta at 3.84 and the role played by these men is confirmed by DB §68. See further Gschnitzer 1977 and Briant 1996, 119–27 and 140–49. The episode of Intaphernes is discussed by Gschnitzer at pp. 26–29 and by Briant at pp. 143–44.

33 Herodotus 3.118: οὔκων δὴ Ἰνταφρένες ἐδικαίου οὐδένα οἱ ἐσαγγεῖλαι, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι ἧν τῶν ἑπτά, ἐσιέναι ἤθελε. ὁ δἑ πυλουρὸς καὶ ὁ ἀγγελιηφόρος οὐ περιώρων, φάμενοι τὸν βασιλέα γυναικὶ μίσγεσθαι. ὁ δὲ Ἰνταφρένες δοκέων σφέας ψεύδεα λέγειν ποιέει τοιάδε· σπασάμενος τὸν ἀκινάκεα ἀποτάμνει αὐτῶν τά τε ὦτα καὶ τὰς ῥῖνας, περὶ τὸν χαλινὸν τοῦ ἵππου περὶ τοὺς αὐχένας σφέων ἔδησε, καὶ ἀπῆκε. One probably should understand the same accusation of untruth to be implicit when similar mutilations were inflicted on Zopyros (Herodotus 3.154, where the victim’s lies follow his self-mutilation) and the wife of Masistes (Herodotus 9.112, where punishment is inflicted on the malefactor’s mother, rather than the lying/adulterous woman herself). Xenophon, Anabasis 1.9.13 is also relevant, but much more general in its description.

34 It is not clear why these two rebels were treated more harshly than the other seven. It may be relevant that they both — and they alone — claimed to be descendants of Cyaxares, last king of the Medes, thus representing themselves as rightful heirs to the royal line usurped by Cyrus. If valid, this claim was stronger than that made by any other rebel and thus may have demanded particularly emphatic refutation.

35 DB §32: Fravartiš agrabiya anayatā abi mām, adamšai̯ utā nāham utā gau̯šā utā hizānam frājanam utāšai̯ ai̯vam cašma āvajam, duvarayāmai̯ basta adāriya, haruvašim kāra avai̯na. The Akkadian version of DB §33 gives the same description of how Tritantaxma was treated, but the Old Persian text omits extraction of his tongue. Presumably, this was a scribal error (thus Lecoq 1997, 200), but the detail may hold some deeper significance.

36 Nylander 1980, 329–33. Martha Roth and Matt Stolper have been kind enough to confirm for me that Nylander was correct in his assessment of the Assyro-Babylonian punitive repertoire. See further, Roth 2007, 207–18.

37 I have discussed the importance of olfactory codes for recognition of the Lie elsewhere. See further Lincoln 2006, 213–241.

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