Freydun (Persian: فریدون - Freydun; Middle Persian: Frēdōn; Avestan: Θraētaona), also pronounced and spelled Fereydun, Faridun and Afridun, is the name of an Iranian mythical king and hero from the kingdom of Varena. He is known as an emblem of victory, justice, and generosity in the Persian literature.
Traitaunas is a derivative (with augmentative suffix -una/-auna) of Tritas, the name of a deity or hero reflected in the Vedic Trita and the Avestan Thrita (Θrita). Both names are identical to the adjective meaning "the third", a term used of a minor deity associated with two other deities to form a triad. In the Indian Vedas, Trita is associated with gods of thunder and wind.
Trita is also called Aptya (Āptya), a name that is probably cognate with Athwiya (Āθβiya), the name of Thraetaona's father in the Avestā. Traitaunas may therefore be interpreted as "the great son of the deity Tritas". The name was borrowed from Parthian into Armenian as Hrudēn.
Thraetaona in Zoroastrian literature
In the Avestā, Thraetaona is the son of Athwiya, and so is called Athwiyani (Āθβiyāni), meaning "from the family of Athwiya". Originally, he may have been recorded as the killer of the dragon Zahāk (Aži Dahāk), but in Middle Persian texts, Dahāka/Dahāg is instead imprisoned on Mount Damāvand.
In the Shahnāme
According to Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, Freydun was the son of Ābtin, one of the descendants of Jamšid. Freydun, together with Kāve, revolted against the tyrannical king, Zahāk, defeated and arrested him in the Alborz Mountains. Afterwards, Freydun became the king and, according to the myth, ruled the country for about 500 years. At the end of his life, he allocated his kingdom to his three sons; Salm, Tur, and Iraj. Iraj was Freydun's youngest and favored son, and inherited the best part of the kingdom, namely Iran. Salm inherited Asia Minor ("Rum", more generally meaning the Roman Empire, the Greco-Roman world, or just "the West"), and Tur inherited Central Asia ("Turān", all the lands north and east of the Oxus, as far as China), respectively. This aroused Iraj's brothers' envy, and encouraged them to murder him. After the murder of Iraj, Freydun enthroned Iraj's grandson, Manučehr. Manučehr's attempt to avenge his grandfather's murder initiated the Iranian-Turanian wars.
|Legendary Kings of the Šāhnāme
1800-2300 (after Keyumars)
- A king's book of kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Freydun
- First Iranian Legendary Heroes and Heroines: A Research Note by Manouchehr Saadat Noury
- Encyclopedia Iranica article