The Utilization of the Verb "Barxīzīdan" in Describing "Havāmm" and Spontaneous Generation within Ancient Persian Texts

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Department of Persian Language and Literature, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


This study examines the usage of the verb "barxīzīdan" in ancient Persian texts with a specific focus on its application in referring to "havāmm" and "xalq al-sā'ah". These texts, which incorporate elements of zoology, commonly employ Arabic terms to categorize animals based on their habitat and mode of movement. Furthermore, they contain references to a distinct group of animals believed to have been created according to the naturalists' beliefs of ancient times, known as "xalq al-sā'ah". This research aims to offer a thorough and analytical exploration of how translators and writers who have demonstrated an interest in the Persian language have utilized "barxīzīdan" from two semantic domains to denote these two animal groups. By carefully examining the zoological content of these texts and combining specialized knowledge in zoology with linguistic expertise, it becomes possible to discern subtle nuances in meaning between the terms "xīzandigān" and "barxīzandigān". This study primarily focuses on Tuhfat al-Ghrāib by Hāsib Tabarī, a scholar of the 5th and 6th (AH) centuries, which stands as the earliest known Persian encyclopedic text of its kind. Additionally, other texts, including a translation of Nahj al-Balāgha, likely from the same time, and Nuzhat Nāmah by Shahmardān Rāzī, are examined from this perspective, along with other zoological encyclopedia texts, to validate this classification criterion within ancient texts. Our findings suggest that Hāsib Tabarī has attributed a novel significance to the term "barxīzandigān" ("xalq al-sā'ah" creatures) within the context of his work, a meaning not previously documented in other dictionaries.