From what I understand Khosrow I, being the leader of the Persian Empire of 532 CE, had the title/name. What is the origin of the name Khosrow?

According to Google Translate, "khosrow" in Persian means King, but I was unable to determine if that meaning came first or Khosrow I did or Julius Caesar did.

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    From Wikipedia, it appears that Khosrow I ruled more than 200 years after Caesar's death. Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:23
  • @sempaiscuba I am not confused about the time between Khosrow I and Caesar, my question is about the name itself.
    – The Z
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 16:57
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    Fair enough. I made the comment in reply to your statement'I was unable to determine if that meaning came first or Khosrow I did or Julius Caesar did'. I was simply pointing out that Julius Caesar was much earlier than Khosrow I. Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 17:01
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    @The Z variations of Khosrow are used similar to Casear. The Roman name Caesar became an imperial title. Khosrow I and Khosrow II became so famous that variations of Khosrow were used to refer to the entire 400 year sassanian Dynasty instead of just those two monarchs. The Arabic form Kisra is used in Aladdin, for example. The princess of China sees the palace made by the Genie and says that not all the kings of the Kisra had so splendid a palace. Continued.
    – MAGolding
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 17:37
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    @The Z Continued. Though Caesar and Khosrow/Chosroes were both used as titles as well as names, they were not confused. For example caliph Yazid III said: "I am the son of Chosroes, my ancestor was Marwan, Caesar was my grandsire and my grandsire was Khagan.[3] making a clear distinction between the two names. historum.com/threads/…
    – MAGolding
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 17:47

3 Answers 3


No. The Persian name is a derivation or descendant of the legendary Kay Khosrow. Looking at the list of name bearers Khosrow reveals that the name is in much longer use than 532 CE.

Variants of the name کیخسرو‎
Husrav, Xusro, Khusro, Khosrau, Khusrau, Chusrau, Khosro, Khosru, Khosrow or Khusraw. In Greek it is sometimes rendered C(h)osroes or Osroes. Arabic it's Kisra (Kisrā) and Turkish Hüsrev. Note that in Kaisar is the Turkish word for Caesar.

The meaning of Khosrow would be "of good standing" or as Wikipedia puts it:

The name Kay Khosrow derives from Avestan Kauui Haosrauuah,2 meaning "he who has good fame".

And on Wiktionary:

From Middle Persian 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩‎ (hwslwdy /Husrōy/), [Book Pahlavi needed] (hwslwb' /Husrōy, Husrav/), from Old Median *Husrava, from Proto-Iranian *Hhuĉráwah ("renowned, famous").

Compare the Encyclopaedia Iranica entry:

KAYĀNIĀN vii. Kauui Haosrauuah, Kay Husrōy, Kay Ḵosrow
The name Haosrauuah is a vriddi formation of *husrauuah “he who has good fame” and ought to mean “good fame” by itself. The later forms, in fact, seem to be descended from *hu-srauuah, although shortening of the initial syllable is possible. The Pahlavi form is usually spelled hwslwy, hwslwd, or hwslwb, all of which should probably be read as Husrōy. The Persian form may derive from this, or it may have been remade in analogy with compounds with -sraw. (On the morphological irregularities of the Avestan name, see Humbach and Ichaporia, 1998, p. 137.)

In the Avesta. The Avesta contains more details about Kauui Haosrauuah (Figure 3) than any of the other kauuis, except Vištāspa. His standing epithets are “stallion of the Aryan lands” (arša airiianąm dax́ iiunąm) and xšaθrāi haṇkərəmō “.?. for command,” where haṇkərəmō has not yet been conclusively interpreted (Yašt 5.49, 15.32). It is also transmitted as haṇkərətō “put together” (Yašt 9.21)

Whereas Caesar is very unlikely to be related.

  • It is quite interesting that they are completely unrelated. Do you know if anyone of that time noticed the similarity in the two titles "Kisra" an "Kaiser".
    – The Z
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 22:52
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    @TheZ It seems to be quite the case. For example, have a book here that states that Khosrow wrote a letter to his Byzantine competitor (upon learning of his death) that plays with exactly that: Shah Kisra writes to Kaiser. These examples seem to be numerous, quite understandably. Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 23:04
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    FWIW (for those trying to get their bearings about the Proto-Iranian root), Wiktionary points out: “From Proto-Indo-Iranian *Hsuĉráwas, from *Hsu- (“good”) +‎ *ĉráwas (“fame”). Equivalent to *Hhu- (“good”) +‎ *ĉráwah (“fame”). Cognate with Vedic Sanskrit सुश्रवस् (suśrávas, “famous”), Ancient Greek Eὐκλῆς (Euklês).” Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 13:28

As others have said, the names and titles of Caesar/Kaiser and of Khusrau/Khosrow/Chosroes/Kisra are unrelated. But there is a famous historical example of someone claiming to be related to both Caesar and Khosrow.

The Caliph Yazid III (701-744) recited a poem about his exalted ancestry:

I am the son of Chosroes, my ancestor was Marwan, Caesar was my grandsire and my grandsire was Khagan.[3]

Which I discuss in post number 5 in this thread: https://historum.com/threads/emperor-maurice-and-khosrow-ii-of-persia.127393/1

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    Admits right in the answer that it isn't answering the question, but in this case either because its fun, or I'm still sick or something, I don't care. +1.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 8, 2019 at 18:46
  • Interesting stuff. Do you know if Yazid was claiming to be related to Julius Caesar through Maurice or just to Maurice as a Caesar of Rome? Did he even know about Julius Caesar?
    – The Z
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 1:30
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    @The Z I assume that it is Caesar as emperor and not Caesar as a relative of Gaius Julius Caesar. No doubt if Yazid III asked Christian Greek reading scholars in Syria he could easily find out that Maurice was the first man in his family to become Kaiser-i-Rum, "Caesar of Rome", marrying the daughter of Tiberius II Constantine, who in turn was adopted by Justin II, and so on and so on back through the centuries. Maurice's ancestry was Greek, Armenian, or possibly from old Rome. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_(emperor)
    – MAGolding
    Commented Feb 9, 2019 at 21:55

The word Caesar or later in Russia Tzar and in Germany Kaysar or Caysar drives from ancient Iranian title for kings, KAY-SAR, comprised of tow words: KAY meaning crown and SAR meaning the head. In Persian mythology going back more than 2500 years written in the Book of Kings, you'll find a dynasty called KAYA-NIAN, plural for KAY, referring to the first kingdom, used as titles, literally means KINGS. Unless we believe that these are all coincidences we have no choice but assume this title was somehow borrowed by the Romans and later Europeans.


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