The Bundahishn

Knowledge from the Zand

1897 | 25,140 words

A collection of texts related to Zoroastrian cosmogony and cosmology. The contents focuses on the Zoroastrianism's creation myth, and the first battles of 'Ahura Mazda' and 'Angra Mainyu'. Most of the chapters of the compendium date to the 8th and 9th centuries. The Bundahishn ("Creation"), or Knowledge from the Zand. Translated by E. W...

Chapter XXVI - Measuring Distances

A Hasar[1] on the ground is a Parasang of one thousand steps of the two feet. A Parasang[2] is a measure as much as a far-seeing man may look out, see a beast of burden, and make known that it is black or white. And the measure of a man is eight medium spans. [3]

Footnotes and references:


Av. hâthra of Vd2.25, Vd8.100-102, Tishtar Yasht 23, 29. The statements regarding the length of a Hasar are rather perplexing, for we are told that it 'is like a Parasang' (Chap. 14.4), that 'the length of a Hasar is one-fourth of a Parasang (Chap. 16.7), and that 'a medium Hasar on the ground, which they also call a Parasang, is a thousand steps of the two feet when walking with propriety' (Farhang-i Oim-khaduk, ed. Hosh. p. 42), To reconcile these statements we must conclude that a Hasar is like a Parasang merely in the sense of being a long measure of distance, that it is really a mille passus or mile of the Romans, and that it is a quarter of the actual Parasang. At the same time, as it was usual to call a Hasar by the name of a Parasang, we are often left in doubt whether a mile or a league is meant, when a Hasar or Parasang is mentioned. The Farhang-i Oim-khaduk (p. 41) also mentions other measures of distance, such as the tachar (Av. tachara) of two Hasars, the asvâst (or aêast) of four Hasars, the dashmêst (Av. dakhshmaiti) of eight Hasaras, and the yôjêst (Av. yijaiasti or yujaiasti) of sixteen Hasars.


A Parasang is usually from 3 1/2 to 4 English miles, but perhaps a Hasar is meant here.


Reading vitast-i miyânak instead of vitast damânak. The Farhang-i Oim-khaduk (p. 41) mentions three kinds of spans, the Av. vitasti (Vd8.76, 78, Vd17.5) of twelve finger-breadths (angûst), or about 9 inches, which is a full span between the thumb and little finger (the one mentioned in the text); the Av. dishti (Vd17.5) of ten finger-breadths, or about 7 1/2 inches, which is a span between the thumb and middle finger; and the Av. uzashti (Pahl. lâlâ-asht) of eight finger-breadths, or about 6 inches, which is a span between the thumb and fore-finger.

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