Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition

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S̲h̲āh “king”, and S̲h̲āhans̲h̲āh
(1,050 words)

“king of kings”, two royal titles in Persian.

They can be traced back to the Achaemenid kings of ancient Persia, who, from Darius I (521-486 B.C.) onwards, refer to themselves in their inscriptions both as xšāyaθiya “king” (from the root xšay- “to rule”, cognate to Sanskrit kṣáyati “possess” and Greek κτάομαι “acquire”) and as xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām “king of kings”. Even earlier the title “king of kings” had been used by the rulers of Assyria and of Urartu (in the Caucasus) and it is not unlikely that the Persians adopted it from the latter (see O.G. von Wesendonk, The title “King of Kings” , in O…

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Blois, F.C. de, “S̲h̲āh “king”, and S̲h̲āhans̲h̲āh”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 26 June 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_6744>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007



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