The Khordah Avesta, a Zoroastrian prayer book


A 17th century copy of a Zoroastrian prayer book.

What is the Khordah Avesta?

The Khordah Avesta (‘Little Avesta’) contains prayers, hymns and invocations recited by priests and lay people in daily worship. The contents are not uniform but generally begin with two of the holiest prayers: the ashem vohū and the yathā ahū vairyō, followed by various other prayers including the five niyāyishn (hymns of praise) and the five gāh (prayers for the five daily watches). This copy concludes (ff. 65–7) with two short works in Persian on the Pazand and Avestan alphabets.

This manuscript

This beautifully written manuscript is dated 30 Ardibihisht AY 1042 (1673), and was copied by the priest Hormazyar Faramurz Qiyamdin at the request of the English Agent Kunvarji Nanabhai Modi probably on commission for Thomas Hyde (1636–1703). Hyde, who was Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford and also the Royal Translator of Oriental Languages, used it as a model for the special Avestan type he created for his History of the Persian Religion published in 1700.

View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.

Full title:
Khordah Avesta (‘Small Avesta’)
1673, India
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Royal MS 16 B VI

Full catalogue details

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