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Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. [1880], at

p. 98


1. A Hâsar 1 on the ground is a Parasang of one thousand steps of the two feet. 2. 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. 3. And the measure of a man is eight medium spans 3.


98:1 Av. hâthra of Vend. II, 65, VIII, 280, 287, 291, Tîstar Yt. 23, 29. The statements regarding the length of a Hâsar are rather perplexing, for we are told that it 'is like a Parasang' (Chap. XIV, 4), that 'the length of a Hâsar is one-fourth of a Parasang' (Chap. XVI, 7), and that 'a medium Hâsar on the ground, which they also call a Parasang, is a thousand steps of the two feet when walking with propriety' (Farhang-i Oîm-khadûk, ed. Hosh. p. 42). To reconcile these statements we must conclude that the Hâsar is like a Parasang merely in the sense of being a long measure of distance, that it is really the 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 Hâsar by the name of a Parasang, we are often left in doubt whether a mile or a league is meant, when a Hâsar or Parasang is mentioned. The Farhang-i Oîm-khadûk (p. 41) also mentions other measures of distance, such as the takar (Av. takara) of two Hâsars, the asvâst (or aêast) of four Hâsars, the dashmêst (Av. dakhshmaiti) of eight, Hâsars, and the yôgêst (Av. yigaiasti or yugaiasti) of sixteen Hâsars.

98:2 A Parasang is usually from 3½ to 4 English miles, but perhaps a Hâsar is meant here.

98:3 Reading vitast-i miyânak instead of vitast damânak. The Farhang-i Oîm-khadûk (p. 41) mentions three kinds of spans, the Av. vitasti (Vend. VIII, 243, 245, XVII, 13) 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. disti (Vend. XVII, 13) of ten finger-breadths, or about 7½ inches, which is a span between the thumb and middle finger; and the p. 99 Av. uzasti (Pahl. lâlâ-ast) of eight finger-breaths, or about 6 inches which is a span between the thumb and fore-finger. Other measures mentioned by the same authority are the pâî (Av. padha, Vend. IX, 15, 20, 29), 'foot,' of fourteen finger-breadths, or about 10½ inches; the gâm (Av. gâya, Vend. III, 57, &c.), 'step,' which 'in the Vendîdâd is three pâî,' or about 2 feet 7½ inches, 'and in other places is said to be two frârâst' (Av. frârâthni in Vend. VII, 76, 79, 87); so the frârâst, which is probably the distance from the neck to the extended elbow, is half a gâm, or from 15 to 16 inches. Two other measures are mentioned in Vend. VII, 7 9, 87, 90, IX, 8, the Av. frâbâzu, 'fore-arm or cubit' from elbow to finger-ends, which is about 18 inches (or it may be a half fathom); and Av. vîbâzu, which is probably the 'fathom,' or extent of the two arms out-stretched, from 5½ to 6 feet.

Next: Chapter XXVII