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Title: Kavis in the Ancient National Iranian Tradition
Author(s): IRANNEJAD, A. Mani
Journal: Iranica Antiqua
Volume: 55    Date: 2020   
Pages: 241-277
DOI: 10.2143/IA.55.0.3289197

Abstract :
The function of kavis and the concept of kāvya have been variously treated in Iranian studies, given their diverging paths in Indo-Iranian traditions. The Indo-Iranian myth of kavi seems to be inherited from a Proto-Indo-European 'insightful' smith in conjunction with dragon slaying. The special knowledge and thus the wondrous power of fashioning the mace for dragon slaying, termed kāvya, was expanded to include the power of healing shared with the dragon slayer. From the original myth, the Indian tradition highlights the special knowledge, which obtained a verbal attribute; while the smith function and his product, i.e. the metallic weapon are singled out in the Iranian tradition. This latter association presumably led to the adoption of the title of kauui by local chieftains in the Iranian world as early as the Old Avestan period, consequently leading to a dynasty of kauuis, known as Kayāniān or Kayanids. It is argued that this dynasty, postdating the Gāθic kauuis and having the primordial mythical kauui as its eponym, can be historical and the authority behind the first Iranian kingdom in East Iran.

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