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Bozorgmehr, Sculpture on Bozorgmehr Square, Isfahan, Iran

Bozorgmehr-e Bokhtagan (Middle Persian: Wuzurgmihr ī Bōkhtagān), also known as Burzmihr, Dadmihr and Dadburzmihr,[1] was a Iranian nobleman from the Karen family,[2] who served as minister of the Sasanian king Kavadh I (498-531), and later as Grand Vizier under his son Khosrau I (reign 531–579), and then as spahbed under Hormizd IV. According to Persian and Arabic sources, he was a man of "exceptional wisdom and sage counsels" and later became a characterisation of the expression. His name appears in several important works in Persian literature, most notably in the Shahnameh.[3] The historian Arthur Christensen has suggested that Bozorgmehr was the same person as Borzūya the physician, but historigraphical studies of post-Sassanid Persian literature, as well as linguistic analysis show otherwise.[3] However, the word "Borzūya" can sometimes be considered a shortened form of Bozorgmehr.[4]


Bozorgmehr is first mentioned in 498, as one of the nine sons of the powerful nobleman Sukhra.[2] After Kavadh I had reclaimed the Sasanian throne from his younger brother Djamasp, he appointed Bozorgmehr as his minister. After the death of Kavadh, his son, Khosrau I, appointed Bozorgmehr as his Grand Vizier. During the reign of Khosrau's son Hormizd IV, Bozorgmehr was appointed as spahbed of Khorasan.[2] According to Ferdinand Justi, Bozorgmehr was later executed by the order of Hormizd IV.[3]

Grand Vizier Bozorgmehr challenges the Indian envoy to a game of chess.

An early reference to Bozorgmehr is found in the Aydāgār ī Wuzurgmihr, in which he is called an argbed—a high-ranking title in the Sassanid and Parthian periods. Among other sources, later mention of him is made in the Shahnameh and in Ṯaʿālebī’s Ḡorar and Masʿūdī’s Morūj.[3]


Several Middle Persian treatises by Bozorgmehr such as the Ayādgār ī Wuzurgmihr ī Bōxtagān and Wizārišn ī čatrang ("Treatise on Chess") as well as the original versions of the Ketāb al-zabarj, a commentary on Vettius Valens’s Astrologica, and Ketāb Mehrāzād Jošnas (Mehrāḏar Jošnas) as well as the Ẓafar-nāma, a book in Persian said to have been translated from Middle Persian by Avicenna, are attributed to Bozorgmehr.[3]


  1. Pourshariati (2008), p. 115
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Pourshariati (2008), p. 114
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Khaleghi Motlagh, Djalal (1990). "BOZORGMEHR-E BOḴTAGĀN". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Vol. 4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. BORZŪYA, Encyclopedia Iranica