SŪR SAXWAN

A new addition to Encyclopaedia Iranica

SŪR SAXWAN (Banquet Speech), a Middle Persian text about a court banquet held in the Sasanian Empire (Cereti, p. 181; Macuch, 2009, p. 168). The mention of three generals (spāhbeds), the three quadrants introduced with the military reforms of King Kawād and his son Ḵosrow I, suggests that the text was written between the sixth and the seventh centuries CE (Tafażżoli, 1998, p. 293; Gyselen, 2001; Daryaee, 2007). Further evidence of its dating can be seen in the presence of an official in charge of the drōn ceremony, a moment of feasting in a Zoroastrian court. Sūr saxwan is a unique text in the Middle Persian corpus as it provides insights into the courtly manners adopted during a royal meal and the rituals and eulogies accompanying them. First, the eulogist provides blessings to the deities, the king, and the courtiers, who are named according to their rank and seating, perhaps in a fashion similar to the lost Sasanian Gāh-nāmag (Macuch, p. 183).