Khosrow (word)

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Khosrow is a male given name of Iranian origin, most notably held by Khosrow I of Sassanid Persia, but also by other people in various locations and languages. In some times and places, the word has come to mean "king" or "ruler", and in some cases has been used as a dynastic name.

Khosrow is the Modern Persian variant. The word ultimately comes from Proto-Iranian *Hu-sravah ("with good reputation"), itself ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₁su- ("good") + *ḱléwos ("fame").

The name has been attested in Avesta as Haosrauuaŋha (𐬵𐬀𐬊𐬯𐬭𐬀𐬎𐬎𐬀𐬢𐬵𐬀)[1] and Haosrauuah, as the name of the legendary Iranian king Kay Khosrow. This is the oldest attestation.

The name was used by various rulers of Parthian Empire. It has been attested in Parthian-language inscriptions as "hwsrw" (𐭇𐭅𐭎𐭓𐭅), which may be variously transcribed and pronounced.[2] The Latin form was Osroes or Osdroes. The Old Armenian form was Khosrov (Խոսրով), derived from Parthian, and was held by several rulers of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia. The name is still used in modern Armenian.

Notable as to the use of Khosrow as a title is the father of Mirian III of Iberia who was known as k'asre (Old Georgian). This led to confusion, as some historians thought that Mirian III must therefore be the son of a Sasanian ruler, and not a Parthian one.

The name was notably used by several rulers of Sassanian Empire. In their native language, Middle Persian, the name has been spelt variously as hwslwb (Book Pahlavi script: hwslwb in Book Pahlavi script), hwslwb', hwsrwb, hwslwd, and hwsrwd' in Pahlavi scripts. The name has been variously transliterated as follows: Husrō, Husrōy, Xusro, Khusro, Husrav, Husraw, Khusrau, Khusraw, Khusrav, Xusraw, Xusrow, Xosrow, Xosro.*[3][4] The Greek form was Khosróēs (Χοσρόης) and the Latin form was Chosroes and Cosroe. The Middle Persian word also means "famous" or "of good repute".[5]

The New Persian variant is خسرو, which can be transliterated as Khusraw, Khusrau, Khusrav, Khusru (based on the Classical Persian pronunciation [xʊsˈɾaw]), or Khosrow, Khosro (based on the modern Iranian Persian pronunciations [xosˈɾoʊ̯] and [xosˈɾo]).

The word was borrowed into Arabic as Kisrā or Kasrā (كسرى‎), a variant which come to be used in New Persian (کسری‎) as well. In Islamic Persia, kisrā became a strong byword for tyrannical pagan kingship, and is used as a general shorthand for Sassanian rulers (hence also "Taq-e Kasra", literally "Arc of Kasra"),[6][7] as pharaoh is used for pre-Islamic Egyptian rulers.[8]

The Turkish variant is Hüsrev, derived from Ottoman Turkish (خسرو‎), itself from New Persian.


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  2. ^
  3. ^ The "h" in Pahlavi spellings can used for both /h/ and /x/ (transliterated as "kh" or "x"). The letter "d" probably represents /j/ (transliterated as "y") here. The second "w" may represent long /oː/ here, particularly when followed by "d" and "b", otherwise it may be considered the diphthong /aw/ (transliterated as "aw", "av", or "au"), but Middle Persian, unlike New Persian, did not have diphthongs.
  4. ^
  5. ^ MacKenzie, David N. (1986). "husraw", in A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-713559-5. p. 45.
  6. ^ Kurz, Otto (1941). "The Date of the Ṭāq i Kisrā". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. (New Series). 73 (1): 37–41. JSTOR 25221709.
  7. ^ Stevens, Phillips, Jr (1975). "The Kisra legend and the distortion of historical tradition". The Journal of African History. 16 (2): 185–200. doi:10.1017/S0021853700001110.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Iqbal, Javid (2011). "Lands of Chosroes and Pharaohs". Archived from the original on 24 September 2012.

See also[edit]