IN Iranian tradition the short reigns of Gayomart, Hoshang, and Tahmurath were followed, Firdausi says, by a period of seven hundred years during which Jamshid ruled the Iranian world. Jamshid is the Persian form of Yima Khshaeta ("Yima the Brilliant"), the name of a very ancient hero of the Indo-Iranians, and his epithet of "brilliant," which is also applied to the sun, corresponds not only to the early but also to the later conception of this monarch. Firdausi says that he "wore in kingly wise the crown of gold" and that on his jewelled throne he
"sat sunlike in mid air.
The world assembled round his throne in wonder At his resplendent fortune." (1)
In the Avesta Yima is the son of Vivanghvant, who first offered the haoma to Ahura Mazda. Continuing, the poet describes him as
"Brilliant, and with herds full goodly,
Of all men most rich in Glory,
Of mankind like to the sunlight,
So that in his kingdom made he
Beasts and men to be undying,
Plants and waters never drying,
Food invincible bestowing.
In the reign of valiant Yima
Neither cold nor heat was present,
Neither age nor death was present,
Neither envy, demon-founded.
Fifteen years of age in figure
Son and father walked together
All the days Vivanghvant's offspring,
Yima, ruled, with herds full goodly." (2)
 Thanks to the Glory which long accompanied him, Yima subjugated the daevas and all their imps, taking from them riches and advantage, prosperity and herds, contentment and renown (3); and Firdausi has faithfully preserved this tradition, declaring that for three hundred years of Yima's reign
"Men never looked on death;
They wotted not of travail or of ill,
And divs like slaves were girt to do them service;
Men hearkened to Jamshid with both their ears,
Sweet voices filled the world with melody." (4)
The golden age of Yima is an essential element of Zoroastrian chronology. The period between Angra Mainyu's invasion and Zarathushtra's religious reform is divided into three millenniums. The first was the reign of Yima, during which the good creation prevailed, and then came the dominion of Azhi Dahaka (Dahhak), when demons ruled over the world, this being followed by a period of struggle up to Zarathushtra, whose birth Iranian tradition places in 660 B.C. (5)
Firdausi is obviously wrong in making Jamshid reign seven hundred years only, for it is quite clear that the reigns of Jamshid and Dahhak are in complete parallelism and must last a thousand years each (6). For the Zoroastrians, who conceived illness, death, cold, etc., as the direct products of the Evil Spirit, it was quite natural to admit the existence at the beginning of the world of a period in which the good creation had not yet felt Angra Mainyu's deleterious influence; and the Iranian climate, moreover, was likely to lead to such a conception, since after a glorious and luxuriant spring it offers the drought of summer and the cold of winter (7).
In the Shahnamah Jamshid says that he is both king and archimage (8), and this seems to have been the old tradition. Yima had been both the material and the spiritual educator of mankind, but the Zoroastrians wished to emphasize that the religious teacher of the Iranians was Zarathushtra, and so they made Yima say to Ahura Mazda:
 "I was neither made nor tutored
To receive the faith and spread it";
whereupon Ahura Mazda replies:
"If thou, Yima, art not ready
To receive the faith and spread it,
then further my creatures, then increase my creatures,
then show thyself ready to be both the protector and the
guardian and the watcher of my creatures." (9)
Accordingly Yima introduces men into their earthly abode like a king of settlers opening new countries to his people each time they fall short of ground to cultivate. He receives from Ahura Mazda a golden arrow and a scourge inlaid with gold, and he undertakes to secure to his subjects a delightful abode with neither cold nor wind, full of flocks and herds, men, dogs, and birds. Three fires protected that beautiful land, the Frobak on the mountain in Khvarizm, the fire Gushasp on Mount Asnavand, and the fire Burzhin Mitro on Mount Revand (10), but under such favourable conditions flocks and men increased so much that after three hundred years had passed away, there was no longer room for them. Then Ahura Mazda warned Yima:
"'Yim, Vivanghvant's beauteous offspring,
Earth in sooth is overflowing
Both with small beasts and with great beasts,
Men, and dogs, and flying creatures (11),
And with ruddy fires red blazing.
Nor indeed can they find places, small beasts and great beasts and men.'
Then at noon Yima went forward to the light, in the direction of the path of the sun,
And earth's surface he abraded
With the arrow, made all golden,
With the scourge he stroked it over,
'O thou holy, dear Armaiti (12),
Go thou forward, stretch thyself out
to bear small beasts and great beasts and men.'
 Then Yima made this earth stretch itself apart a third
larger than it was before. There small beasts and great
beasts and men roved
Just as was their will and pleasure,
Howsoever was his pleasure." (13)
But a time came when the earth was even thus too small, so that Yima had once more to perform the same rite; and he did this yet again, making the earth increase in size by one third on each occasion, so that after nine hundred years the surface of the world became double what it had been at first.
"Then Ahura Mazda, the Creator, convened an assembly with the spiritual Yazatas (14) in the famous Airyana Vaejah, at the goodly Daitya (15). Then Yima the Brilliant, with goodly flocks, convened an assembly with the best men in the famous Airyana Vaejah, at the goodly Daitya. Then Ahura Mazda spake to Yima: 'O beauteous Yima, son of Vivanghvant! On the evil material world the winters are about to fall, wherefore there shall be strong, destructive winter; on the evil material world the winters are about to fall, wherefore straightway the clouds shall snow down snow from the loftiest mountains into the depths of Ardvi [Sura Anahita] (16). Only one-third of the cattle, Yima, will escape of those who live in the most terrible of places (17), of those who live on the tops of mountains, of those who live in the valleys of the rivers in permanent abodes (18).
Till the coming of that winter
Shall the land be clad in verdure,
But the waters soon shall flood it
When the snow hath once been melted,
and, Yima, it will be impassable in the material world where now the footprints of the sheep are visible. Therefore make an enclosure (vara) long as a riding-ground (caretu) on every side of the square; gather together the seed of small cattle and of great cattle, of men and dogs and birds and red, blazing fires. Then make the enclosure long as a riding-ground on every  side of the square to be an abode for men, long as a riding-ground on every side of the square as a stall for cattle.
In their course make thou the waters
There flow forth, in width a hathra;
And there shalt thou place the meadows
where unceasingly the golden-coloured, where unceasingly the
invincible food is eaten.
And there shalt thou place the mansions
with cellars and vestibules, with bastions and ramparts.
"'Gather together the seed of all men and women that are the greatest and the best and the finest on this earth; gather together the seed of all kinds of cattle that are the greatest and the best and the finest on this earth; gather together the seed of all plants that are the tallest and the sweetest on this earth; gather together the seed of all fruits that are the most edible and the sweetest on this earth. Bring these by pairs to be inexhaustible so long as these men shall stay in the enclosure. There will be no admittance there for humpback or chicken-breast, for apavaya lunacy, birth-mark, daiwish kasvish (19) mis-shapenness, men with deformed teeth or with leprosy that compels seclusion, nor any of the other marks which are the mark of Angra Mainyu laid upon men. In the largest part of the place thou shalt make nine streets, in the middle six, and in the smallest three. In the streets of the largest part gather a thousand seeds of men and women, in those of the middle part six hundred, in those of the smallest part three hundred. With thy golden arrow thou shalt mark thine enclosure,
And bring thou to the enclosure
a shining door, on its inner side shining by its own light.'" (20)
At this Yima was much at a loss and wondered how he could ever make such an enclosure. Ahura Mazda, however, told him to stamp the earth with his heels and to knead it with his hands, as people do when now they knead potter's clay; and  then Yima made exactly what Ahura Mazda had commanded. When all was ready, Ahura Mazda provided the vara with special lights, because only once a year can they who dwell there see sun, moon, and stars rising and setting, so that they think that a year is but one day. Every fortieth year a male and female are born to each human pair, and thus it is for every sort of animal. These men live a happy life in the enclosure of Yima, but since Zarathushtra, the prophet, had no access to it, the religion was brought thither by the bird Karshiptar (21).
The Avesta does not give any precise indication as to the time of the coming of the winter predicted by Mazda, and though it looks as if that scourge afflicted mankind in ancient times, later books show that this was not the case. The fatal and destructive winter is to occur in the last period of the world. Three hundred years before the birth of Ukhshyat-nemah (one of the sons of Zarathushtra who are to be born in the last millennium of the world) the demon Mahrkusha will destroy mankind by snow and frost within the space of three years, after which Yima's enclosure will be opened and the earth will again be populated. The name of this demon Mahrkusha means "Destroyer, Devastator," and is of Iranian formation, but in later times it was confused with the Aramaic word malqos, "autumnal rain," so that in more recent texts the idea of the fatal freezing winter was abandoned for that of the deluging rain of Malqos (22).
A tradition which dates from very ancient days represents Yima as diverging at a certain moment from the path of justice. He commits a fault, and from that instant he loses his Glory and his kingdom and finally is put to death, while a devilish being named Dahhak (the old Avestic dragon Azhi Dahaka) extends his power over the world of the Aryans.
As to the nature of Yima's sin some uncertainty prevails in the tradition. Nevertheless, there are certain hints that this fault consisted in having rendered his subjects immortal by giving them forbidden food to eat, and in the Gathas of Zoroaster  the poet prays to Ahura Mazda in order to avoid such sins as that of Yima, who gave men meat to eat in small pieces, as it was offered to the gods in sacrifice (23). A late book, on the other hand, relates that Yima unwittingly gave meat to a daeva (24), although the most current form of the legend is that Yima "In his mind began to dwell on Words of falsehood and of untruth." (25)
Firdausi explains that Yima's lie was in reality a sin of presumption.
"One day contemplating the throne of power
He deemed that he was peerless. He knew God,
But acted frowardly and turned aside
In his ingratitude. He summoned all
The chiefs, and what a wealth of words he used!
The world is mine, I found its properties,
The royal throne hath seen no king like me,
For I have decked the world with excellence
And fashioned earth according to my will.
From me derive your provand, ease, and sleep,
Your raiment and your pleasure. Mine are greatness
And diadem and sovereignty. Who saith
That there is any great king save myself?
Leechcraft hath cured the world, disease and death
Are stayed. Though kings are many who but I
Saved men from death? Ye owe me sense and life: They who adore me not are Ahrimans.
So now that ye perceive what I have done
All hail me as the Maker of the world." (26)
The tyrant is seated on his throne, surrounded by his courtiers. From his shoulders spring the serpents. From a Persian manuscript of the Shahnamah, dated 1602 A.D., now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
2. JAMSHID ON HIS THRONE
The king administers justice and is attended not merely by human servitors, but also by divs ("demons") in monstrous guise, murghs ("birds"), and paris ("fairies"). The figures show a mixture of Indian and Chinese influence, and it has been conjectured that the miniatures in this manuscript are the work of a Mongolian or Turkistan artist well acquainted with Persia, but living in northern India. From a Persian manuscript of the Shahnamah, dated 1602 A.D., now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Whatever Yima's sin may have been, the king soon received his punishment, for the Glory (Khvarenanh), an emanation of divine radiancy that gave prestige to the Iranian monarchs, deserted him immediately and left him trembling, confounded, and defenceless before his foes. The first time that the Glory departed from Yima, it was in the shape of a Vareghna bird, and Mithra, the lord of broad pastures, whose ear is quick to hear, and who has a thousand senses, seized it. The second time that the Glory departed from Yima the Brilliant, it was seized by Thraetaona, the victorious hero who after a thousand years was to take from the devilish Dahhak (Azhi Dahaka) the realm which Yima lost. The third time it was the manly-minded Keresaspa who seized the Glory, and who also was to be a valiant and victorious ruler of the Iranians (29).
Yima, deprived of the Glory that made his power, was over come by a being of decidedly mythical nature, the famous serpent Azhi Dahaka, whom we have seen to be an incarnation of the storm-cloud. In later texts this monster is called by a Semitic name, Dahhak ("the Man with a Sarcastic Laugh"), but this is merely a popular etymology, a pun on his real appellation. He is now an Arab king, living in Babylon, and in the Avesta itself we read that Azhi Dahaka, the triple-mouthed, offered sacrifice to Ardvi Sura in the land of Bawri (Babylon), wishing to become the ruler of the world and to make the seven regions of earth empty of men. Although his prayer was not granted to such an extent, he overcame Yima and made captives of his two sisters, Sanghavak and Arenavak (30). If in the Avesta Azhi Dahaka still has three mouths like the dragon, in the Shahnamah he is completely a man, though he has two  snakes springing from his shoulders, where they grew through a kiss of Angra Mainyu, a legend which recurs in Armenia. In the presence of this monstrous fiend Yima
"fled, surrendering crown, throne and treasure,
Host, power and diadem. The world turned black
To him, he disappeared and yielded all." (31)
For a hundred years he hid himself, but then appeared one day in the Far East, on the shores of the Chinese sea, where his foe, informed of the fact, gave him no respite, and sawing him asunder, freed the world from him. In the older texts it is Spityura, a brother of Yima, who sawed Yima in twain (32). Sometimes it is explained that he was in a hollow tree, where he had concealed himself; but by the command of Dahhak the stem of the tree was severed by the saw, and with it the man inside (33).
The story of Yima is the most interesting and the only extensive myth of the Iranians, and it is certain that the legend dates back to Aryan, or at least to Indo-Iranian, times.
As the Avesta knows of Yima, son of Vivanghvant, so the Veda speaks of Yama, son of Vivasvant. As Yima is the chief of a remote kingdom, a marvellous realm where there is neither cold nor suffering, so Yama is the ruler of the fathers, the departed souls, with whom he revels in a huge tree. Just as Yima's vara is concealed either on a mountain or in some recess where sun and moon are not seen, Yama's dwelling is in the remote part of the sky. While Yima calls a gathering of men to assemble them in his vara, Yama collects the people and gives the dead a resting-place. Yima has opened the earth for mankind; Yama is "lord of the settlers" (vispati) and "father." Yima has found new countries, following a road toward the sun; Yama has a path for the dead to lead them to their abode, being the first to die and having discovered "a way for many." A bird brings messages into Yima's vara; Yama has the owl or the pigeon as his envoy.
 In spite of these points in common, there is an important discrepancy. Yama is the first mortal being and is clearly associated with death and with a kingdom of the departed, whereas Yima is simply a monarch of ancient times, his reign is a golden age for mankind, and his enclosure has no clear location.
This divergency is explained by the fact that the Iranians had another legend for the first man: the story of Gaya Maretan, which dates back to the Aryan period. Thus, owing to the desire of the Iranians for a more coherent system of mythology, the concurrent legend of Yima has been transferred into later, though still primeval, times, although Yima has remained--and this is very eloquent--the first sacrificer, the patriarchal lord of mankind at the dawn of history.
The story of Yama as it is in India (34) is clearly a legend accounting for the origin of man, but the primitive shape of the story is probably an elemental myth. Several scholars have endeavoured to show that Yama originally was the sun, and although this has never been conclusively demonstrated, there is much to be said in favour of the hypothesis.
It is certain that in the Veda Yama is often treated as a god. He is the friend of Agni and sometimes is identified with him. He is the son of the deity Vivasvant ("Whose Light Spreads Afar"), who most probably was at first the rising sun (35) and who was also father of the Asvins (the morning and the evening star).
The evidence concerning Yama-Yima is, on the whole, that he is the setting sun. He follows the path of the sun to go to a remote recess, whither he leads all men with him. The path of the sun was a very natural symbol of the path of human life, the same words were used in Sanskrit for the death of men and for the sunset (36), and Indian literature declares that the sun is the sure retreat. The sun is a bird or has birds as its messengers, like Yama; and like a sun-god Yama has two steeds, golden-eyed and iron-hoofed.
 In Iran the solar nature of Yima is rather more accentuated than in India, and the old epithets of Yima are striking in this respect. He is commonly called khshaeta ("brilliant"), an adjective which is at the same time the regular epithet of the sun (hvare khshaeta, Persian khurshid); and moreover he is khvarenanguhastema ("the most glorious, the most surrounded with light") and hvare-daresa ("who looks like the sun, the sun-like one"). These epithets, which are very natural as a survival if Yima had once been the sun, would be incomprehensible if he was originally the first man and nothing more. He is also hvathwa ("with goodly herds"), an adjective that very possibly alludes to the stars following the setting sun in his retreat, especially as stars are said in Vedic literature to be the lights of virtuous men who go to the heavenly world (37), so that they would thus form the natural flock of Yima. Yima's golden arrow reminds us strikingly of a similar missile in the hands of his father Vivasvant in the Veda, by means of which he sends men to the realm of the dead (38). Other luminous gods, like Apollo, show the same features, and it seems not improbable that these arrows are the rays of the sun.
The brilliancy of Yima was so deeply rooted in tradition that Firdausi is still more definite about it. As we have already seen, Jamshid sits like the sun in mid air, his fortune and his throne are resplendent, and the royal Glory shines brightly from him. That this dates back to ancient sources is proved by the fact that Firdausi has a very curious sentence about Yima which is not at all in keeping with the nature of Jamshid as a worldly king; he puts in the monarch's mouth the words, "I will make for souls a path toward the light." This is taken from the passage already quoted from the Vendidad in which Yima goes toward the path of the sun to open earth for men, and it shows that this typical action of Yima may originally have been meant for the dead: Yima used to lead the departed toward the sun, on the way of the sun that is the path of Yima.
 The end of Yima is also very characteristic. When his brilliancy quits him, the world turns black to him and he vanishes. When he appears again, it is in the distant east, where the sun rises.
A solar year-myth seems likewise to have been involved in the story, for Yima is the founder of the feast of Nauruz, the New Year's Day that with the Persians occurs in March at the beginning of the radiant spring. Yima's vernal kingdom is destroyed by the demon of cold and frost (Mahrkusha), yet the sun and life do not disappear forever from the world, but are kept in reserve for the next spring, like the beings in Yima's vara. As we have seen, the legend of Yima as told in the Vendidad expressly says that in the vara one year is one day. The disappearance of the sun in winter is thus assimilated to its daily departure to the remote recess in the world of darkness, and the story of Yima's century of concealment until he reappears in the East is very much in the same spirit.
The connexion of Yima with a tree reminds us of Yama's abode in a high tree, and in the Atharvaveda an arboreal dwelling-place is the home of the gods in the third heaven (39).
No doubt other stories have come to be mixed up with the solar myths of the departed souls. Thus the legend of Yima's defeat by a storm-cloud monster, Azhi Dahaka, is probably borrowed from the very prolific storm-myth of which we have heard so many times. The abduction of Yima's two fair sisters and their release by the storm-god Thraetaona is a mere variation of the release of the imprisoned cows by this god (40), although the sisters are at the same time, possibly, a reminiscence of Yama's two brilliant steeds.
The description of the monster's victory over Yima in Firdausi has many features of a storm-myth:
"The king of dragon-visage came like wind
And having seized the throne of Shah Jamshid
Slipped on the world as it were a finger-ring."41
 The palace of the dragon, which is called kvirinta, is compared to a bird with large wings (42).
Finally, the story of Yima and Yama is closely related to that of the twins Yama-Yami or Yima-Yimak, who after much hesitation agree to have intercourse with one another and become the parents of mankind. In Iran the tradition is a doublet of the legend of Mashya and Mashyoi, in which similar hesitations occur. It seems clear enough that such a story has been invented to account for the propagation of human beings from one single pair.
Since the word "Yama" means "twin," it is fairly probable that this story belongs originally to Yama, although it is also possible, as several scholars admit, that Yami has been invented later and that Yama was primarily the twin of an other being, perhaps Agni (fire of earth and fire on high), or that he was the soul of the departed considered as the alter ego of the living man (43). It might seem preferable, however, to abide by the most natural explanation and admit that Yama is the male twin of Yami. Now the twin pair had to come from some pre-existent being, as was the case with Mashya and Mashyoi, who sprang from Gaya Maretan's seed. In the legend of Yima, some traces are left of a story that made the first pair arise from the violent division of one being. Yima is sawn asunder a curious feature which is much in the spirit of mythical stories among people of fairly elementary culture. Among the Indo-Europeans we know of the Indian first man Purusa, who differentiated himself into two beings, husband and wife. On the other hand, the Slavonic people tell the story that the moon, the wife of the sun, separated herself from him and fell in love with the morning star, whereupon she was cut in two by the sword of Perkunas. Comparing this myth with the Iranian legend that the seed of the primeval ox was preserved in the moon, one wonders if there are no traces of that Indo-European tradition in the story of Yima. At all events it is clear that Yima's legend combines several conceptions  concerning the first man and the dead. The old myth of the pair issued from the first giant became mixed with a more poetic conception which made the setting sun the first departed, the father of the fathers, as well as with a myth of winter, and possibly with a moon-myth accounting for the division of the moon into quarters and a storm-myth in its classical tenure. The idea of Yima's sin is so very Zoroastrian in its form that it can scarcely be regarded as belonging to the original story. In the primitive myth Yima obviously fell a victim in a struggle with a dragon of darkness (cloud or night). There was, however, perhaps a tradition of a fault committed by the first men, accounting for the evils reigning on earth, a conception which is, as a matter of fact, very widely spread, quite independently of any Semitic or Christian influence.
Before relating the stories concerning other legendary kings of Iran, we should point to the large development which Yima s story received in later times. All kinds of great deeds were attributed to King Jamshid, especially his institution of castes, his medical knowledge, and his works as a constructor.
"Then to the joy of all he founded castes
For every craft; it took him fifty years.
Distinguishing one caste as sacerdotal
To be employed in sacred offices,
He separated it from other folk
And made its place of service on the mountains
That God might be adored in quietude.
Arrayed for battle on the other hand
Were those who formed the military caste;
They were the lion-men inured to war
The Lights of armies and of provinces
Whose office was to guard the royal throne
And vindicate the nation's name for valour.
The third caste was the agricultural,
All independent tillers of the soil,
The sowers and the reapers men whom none
Upbraideth when they eat.
The fourth caste was the artizans. They live
By doing handiwork a turbulent crew." (44)
 This tradition of Yima's activity is probably fairly ancient. He was indeed the material organizer of mankind, and the castes were already in existence in the days of Zoroaster, for the Gathas know of a caste of priests, of nobles or warriors, and of farmers. The location of priests on the mountains curiously recalls the fact that the heroes of ancient times are represented in the Avesta as offering their sacrifices on the mountain-tops, and Herodotus reports the same thing concerning the Persians in his day: "It is their wont to perform sacrifices to Zeus, going up to the most lofty of the mountains; and the whole circle of the heavens they call Zeus." (45)
Regarding the farmers Firdausi says, in the passage from which we have just quoted, that,
"Though clothed in rags,
The wearers are not slaves, and sounds of chiding
Reach not their ears. They are free men and labour
Upon the soil safe from dispute and contest.
What said the noble man and eloquent?
'T'is idleness that maketh freemen slaves.'"
This high appreciation of the agricultural caste is also very much in the spirit of Zoroastrianism.
As regards his medical skill, Jamshid is said to have known
"Next leechcraft and the healing of the sick,
The means of health, the course of maladies." (46)
Moreover he made use of his marvellous power to search among the rocks for precious stones, he knew the arts of navigation, and his wisdom brought to light the properties of all things. It is doubtful, however, whether his functions as a healer were primitive, for the medical art is more properly ascribed to Faridun (Thraetaona) or to Irman (Airyaman).
Yima's works as a constructor were better known, and many an old ruin today is still ascribed to him by the Persians. This fame is, Firdausi continues, a result of his subjugation of the demons, whom he instructed how to
 "Temper earth with water
And taught them how to fashion moulds for bricks.
They laid foundations first with stones and lime,
Then raised thereon by rules of art such structures
As hot baths, lofty halls, and sanctuaries."
Even more is ascribed to Jamshid by the writers of Muhammadan times. As a wise king of great brilliancy he was assimilated to Solomon, while as a primeval monarch and probably as the builder of the enclosure against the destructive winter he was confused with Noah. Either on account of this or because his wisdom brought to light the properties of things he was supposed to have discovered wine. Mirkhond tells an anecdote about this (47). Having tried the taste of the juice of grapes, the king observed a sensation of bitterness and conceived aversion for it, thinking that it was a deadly poison. A damsel of the palace, seized with violent pain in her head, longed for death and accordingly resolved to drink of the juice that was deemed poisonous. She did not die, however, but drank so much of it that she fell into a beneficent sleep which lasted an entire day and night. On awaking she found herself restored to perfect health, and for this reason the monarch ordered the general use of wine.
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