GLOSSARY

Dr. Tanaka drew upon actual historical terminology in developing the world of Arslan (though he employs certain terms differently than their historical usage). The following is an incomplete and constantly updating list of terms and references, researched to the best of my abilities. Corrections and suggestions are most welcomed!

Entries are listed in the following manner:

term: meaning in Arslan-verse (RL usage/historical references)

See the glossary at Tumblr if you prefer the terms listed roughly in order of appearance.


TITLES/SOCIAL POSITIONS | RELIGION/MYTHOLOGY | MEASUREMENT | FOOD | FLORA/FAUNA | WEAPONRY | MISCELLANEOUS | PHRASES | UNSOURCED

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TITLES/SOCIAL POSITIONS (back to top)

Eran: Commander-in-Chief of Pars. (Eran Spahbod)

Shah: King of Pars. (Shah)

Marzban: General in command of 10,000 cavalrymen. Highest-ranking military officer after the Eran and the king; only twelve of them exist in Pars at the start of the story. (Marzban, “border defender”)

Mardan: In-text translation given as “Warrior”. (RL meaning = “man”)

Shergir: Pronounced sheer-gheer. In-text translation given as “Lion-Hunter”, an honorary title given to warriors who have single-handedly defeated a lion. (seems to be an actual name, but the title has no historical equivalent I’m aware of.)

Athanatoi: The Parsian king’s elite guard, numbering 5000 cavalrymen. (Persian Immortals, Zhayedan, Praetorian Guard)

Tahir: epithet translated literally as “Double Blade General” (Tahir ibn Husayn, “The Ambidextrous”)

wispuhran, wuzurgan, azadan, azat, ghulam: The five social classes of Pars at the beginning of the story. Respectively — the royal caste, the noble caste, the knighted caste, freemen, and slaves. (wispuhr/wuzurg, azadan, azat, ghilman)

shahrdaran: Provincial governors who are allowed their own standing troops and are thus basically the most influential among the nobility. In-text translation uses the term 諸侯, which is commonly but not quite accurately translated into English as “dukes” or “princes.” For various off-topic reasons, I don’t support the “feudal lord” translation for 諸侯. (sometimes spelled sahrdaran)

dibir: A court scribe/secretary of state of Pars. (also seen spelled as dipir; dibir)

framatar: Royal steward/prime minister of Pars. (framatar, see also this comment)

retak: Parsian page boy/attendant. (King Husrav and His Boy)

zanj: a black slave. (Zanj, zangi)

ghajargypsy. (Ghajar, but see also this)

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RELIGION/MYTHOLOGY (back to top)

azhdahak: three-headed dragon (Azhdahak, Zahak)

Ialdabaoth: The Lusitanian god. Name means “sacred ignorance” in ancient Lusitanian. (Yaldabaoth, actual etymology unclear but commonly given as “son of chaos.” Several spelling variations exist, e.g. Yaltabaoth, Jaldabaoth… but I’m partial to Ialdabaoth due to Indiana Jones and the Latin alphabet scene :P)

Mithra, Anahita, Tishtrya, Verethragna, Ashi: Currently known deities of the Parsian pantheon. Respectively — omniscient god of war, oaths, and loyalty; fertility goddess presiding over all waters; rain god; god of victory; goddess of luck and beauty + patron of maidens (Mithra, Anahita, Tishtrya, Verethragna, Ashi)

Nakir, Azrael, Sorush: Angels in Parsian cosmology. Respectively, “Judge of the Dead”, “Herald of Death”, and “Herald of Fate”. (Nakir, Azrael, Sorush)

magpat: a high priest of the Parsian faith (magu-pati, mobad)

jinn: spirits (jinn)

kahina: priestess (kahina)

huma: undying bird (Huma/Homa bird)

ghul: corpse-eater (ghoul)

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MEASUREMENT (back to top)

farsang, gaz, amaj: Units of length. Respectively, ~5 km, ~1 m, and ~250 m. (parasang, guz, amaj)

dinar, drachm, mithqal: Forms of currency. Gold, silver, and copper respectively. (dinar, drachm, mithqal [alternatively miskal])

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FOOD (back to top)

nabid: wine (nabid)

sharbat: fruit punch or chilled dessert (sharbat)

fuqah: beer (previously brain derped this as boza, actually “fuqa” from the same source)

bistandud: pancakes made from a wheat flour/water mix (I have good reason to believe this is borrowed from the name of a different medieval Arab dish, but no online references)

tifshilah: lentil soup (tifsilah, tafshila, tabshila, tifshiliyya)

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FLORA/FAUNA (back to top)

sher: lion (sher [shir])

yuz: [snow] leopard (yuz)

shahin: falcon (falconry, shahin)

laleh: tulip (lale)

bolbol: nightingale (bolbol [bulbul])

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WEAPONRY (back to top)

acinaces: Parsian shortsword (acinaces)

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MISCELLANEOUS (back to top)

kariz: Underground aqueduct system. (qanat)

oud: A type of lute (oud)

barbat: Another type of lute (barbat)

dimas: crypt (Ad Dimas)

pairi-daiza: [royal] hunting preserve (pairi-daiza, paradise garden, compare English deer parks)

bahaneh: In-text translation given as “manzai.” i.e. a farce. (standard RL meaning = “excuse”)

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PHRASES (back to top)

marde-e mardan: a warrior among warriors. In text this is given [erroneously] as “mardan-e mardan”. (IRL more literally “a man among men”; compare with the typical “___ of ___” construction, e.g. Shahanshah)

“Hadid! Hadid!”: spell spoken to the jinn (Arabic for iron, traditionally used to ward off jinn)

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“SHRUG” (back to top)

ghadaq (ガーダック): sorcery that permits its user to move through the earth undetected (see notes for discussion)

resen (レセーン): translated literally as 黒蓮, black lotus, nonexistent plant in reality (currently translated as “resin,” see notes for that particular section)

murr (ムルル): translated literally as 油薬, ointment. Myrrh? (“Murru”)

raishal (ライシャール): translated literally as 水晶笛, crystal flute.

7 thoughts on “GLOSSARY

  1. M.A.KH says:

    Mardan in Farsi is equivalent for Men in English
    Marzban Also means border defender
    dipir i think dabir would be more accurate.
    azhdahak is an Persian myth in Shahnameh which is Also known by the name Zahak you can see for your self here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahak
    azhdahak mean the one who look like dragon
    in actual myth he was a tyrent king with two snakes on his shoulders
    I hope these become handy for you
    Best Wishes
    M.A.KH

    • T. E. Waters says:

      THanks for the notes. Can you explain a little more about dipir vs. dabir? I remember finding several different spellings of the word when I was doing research, but settled on dipir because that seemed closest to the Japanese pronunciation.

      As for azhdahak, the reason I was a bit confused about that one is because there’s a character or entity later on in the series who is actually named Zahak too but written differently in the Japanese. (Or at least that’s what I remember from the OVAs, which didn’t always have the best translations.) I haven’t read far enough yet to figure out whether or not they’re supposed to refer to the same thing in the books, but I’ll add that to the notes.

      • M.A.KH says:

        dabir(دبیر) is Farsi word which now a days means teacher but back in Sassanian era it was used to describe court writers.
        it essentially refer to anyone whose job is directly concocted with reading & writing.
        Best Wishes
        M.A.KH

  2. M.A.KH says:

    i think Mithqal(مثقال) used as a unit of mass.
    i hope i don’t irritate you with my constant commenting of thing like this.
    sorry for my poor English writing knowledge.
    With Best Wishes
    M.A.KH

  3. M.A.KH says:

    Kariz is more accurate than karez because one must an “E” sound before z.
    Best Regards
    M.A.KH

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