Dieter Weber, Testing Food and Garment for the Ōstāndār: Two Unpublished Documents from the Pahlavi Archive in Berkeley, CA

<b>Berk. 149. </b>Bancroft Library, Berkeley, CA.
Berk. 149. Bancroft Library, Berkeley, CA..

The Ōstāndār, usually interpreted as a governor of a province (ōstān, NP ustān), is omnipresent in the documents of the “Pahlavi Archive” but nowhere is his name mentioned. Since the documents reflect the situation of the region south of Qom in the late 7th and early 8th centuries the ×stāndār in question must have been the one of that province.

The “Pahlavi Archive” provides us with two documents that illustrate the way in which things to be delivered to the ōstāndār were “tested” before they reached the governor. In one case (Berk. 77) garments for the cold season were to be examined by various persons as to whether or not they would be adequate for the ōstāndār. In the second case (Berk. 149) meat was rejected by a person who must have had a function similar to that of a praegustator. These two unique documents are presented here for the first time; they provide us with interesting information on this aspect of the social life of Zoroastrians in early Islamic times.