Eshpavad (Isaric: אשפבאד, Persian: اسب باد, wind horse) is a golden winged-horse of Isaric mythology. It appears only once in Isaric literature, in the legend of Shaushanah, but the creature's role in the story is so integral that it has become a treasured symbol of the Isaric people. It is featured at the center of the Isaric ambassadorial flag.
In Isaric myth
The Isaric etiological, or founding, myth known simply as Shaushanah, recounts the story of the Isar's ancestors' exile from Israel by the hand of Sargon of Assyria (circa 720 BC), their temporary bondage in Medo-Persia, their migration to Colchis, and their subsequent rise to power through a prophetess/judge named Shaushanah among a group of Iranian tribes called the Gemirians (AKA Cimmerians).
According to the myth, the northern and southern Cimmerian tribal alliances became embroiled in a large scale civil war, which even involved native Colchan tribes as well as Scythians. Eshpai, also called Bera Eshp, was leader of the southern Cimmerian alliance, and had as his wife a mixed Hebrew-Madaean woman named Shaushanah, who had formerly been his uncle's slave. On the eve of battle, an angel appeared to Shaushanah and gave her an urgent message to bring to her pagan husband who was encamped far away on the battlefront. With no means of transport, Shaushanah entreated the angel for help, at which point he summoned from heaven a great flying horse with golden mane. The horse would later be named "Eshpavad" by Eshpai, who won the war and became king over a united Cimmerian kingdom because of the message that his wife brought to him with Eshpavad's help. Today, Eshpavad is hailed by Isars as the "helper of heralds."
Relation to other Central Asian myths
The concept of a flying horse, or "wind horse," that aids man in various ways, particularly in the conveyance or transport of a message, prayer, or object, is common within Central Asian myths. Tulpar of Turkic mythology and Lungta of Tibetan mythology are well-known examples. A Western, or European, correlation to these is Pegasus of Greek mythology, though the role and nature of Pegasus is notably different.
There is a definite link between Isaric myth and the myths of Central Asia, especially to those of the Caucasus region, which support the claim of Isars to have matrilineal descent from Central Asian equestian tribes like the Sarmats and Alans, from whom large numbers migrated to Europe between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD.