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Ashi: Celestial Goddess of Ancient Persia

Augudt 9, 2006


Reza Moradi Ghiasabadi
Translator: Sam Sheykh-ol Eslami

Cassiopeia/ Cassiopee constellation is one of the constellations that are near Pole Star and can be seen at all night at northern celestial. In contrast with Pole Star Cassiopeia is proportion of Ursa Minors and Ursa Major these two are always rolling at tow sides of Pole Star.

Cassiopeia’s second and third groups of stars are more than other constellations so as a result it is one of the brightest constellations of celestial. Some of the stars of this constellation used to be more shinning and some of them had supernovas. One of these supernovas was Brahe that around 400 years ago suddenly it became so shiny that it could be seen even at daylights. Today knowledge has shown that Kappa star of Cassiopeia was the shiniest star of whole celestial but its exact time hasn’t been defined yet .Powerful radiation fountains which are the result of Cosmology exploitations at Cassiopeia constellation has been founded (For more information about this finding you should see: J. Bennett, The Cosmic Perspective, 1999, p 569).

Cassiopeia like other celestial objects has its effect on mythology and beliefs and ancient. At ancient Greek Cassiopeia is a queen that because of what she had done she has been sent to sky for torturing. She should roll around pole Star in front of her jealous husband.
But Iranian beliefs about Cassiopeia are totally different from Greeks. Here and at Avestan texts it is called Ashi which at Pahlavi language it has changed to “Art/Ard” .Ashi`s origin meaning is portion and plenty but after that gets character and became independent & lavish goddess. It was imagined like a beautiful girl that is sited on a bench at sky and is protecting spring blooms.

Seventeenth Yasht (part) of Avesta which is on of the oldest parts of Avesta is dedicated to Ashi and at this part this Persian beautiful goddess has been prayed by beautiful and attractive songs.

She has always known of a good epithet and donor of happy and good life for humankind. And against Greek beliefs is a donor of good and happy life. A life that every one hope to have her help:

“The good Ashi, the beautiful Ashi, the shining Ashi you make happiness for men whom are on your way by your holy Ascent .There are good smell happy life and friend ships at those houses that house which you walk in it. The good Ashi if you help men, they will make a country with enough food. Indeed good for people who get help from you please help me you donor and powerful” (R. M, Ghiasabadi, Avesta -e Kohan, Tehran, 2002, in Persian).

At this part shining and ascent phrases are because of Cassiopeia constellation .There are a lot of shining stars around this constellation and because of that .Cassiopeia is of the shiniest constellations and because of it’s position which is in near pole star it is called one the highest objects of sky.

At “Mehr Yasht” of Avesta`s songs which are for preying Mithra is a helper of Mitra (we previously surveyed it relation with Pole Star) and with it’s seven friends make an eight member group (eight constellations) that are Mithra Helpers.

Although Ashi or Cassiopeia is of the most beautiful constellations is also one of the most beautiful queens in Persian beliefs and also and a glorious part of Avestan texts.

A lot of Persian astronomers have described Cassiopeia. Sowar- ol Kavakeb by Soufi- e Razi is one of the good books about it. He had made a list of thirteen starts of this constellation and their position at sky. He also had made a chart of Cassiopeia and it’s stars .As we see from Soufi’s descriptions may be shining stars of this constellation was much more than today and maybe he saw a sudden shining of Cassiopeia like what Tiko Brahe Danish astronomer reported at sixteenth century maybe during Soufi’s life it was like sixteenth century.

Ashi or Ard/Art is name of twenty fifth day of month in different Persian Calendars. Birouni at its book Al- Tafhim had reported that this day at Sogdian Calendar is Ardukh and at Khwarazmian Calendar is Arjoukhi. As a result name of Ardoukhshou that are on east Persian coins can be related to Ashi.

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