Shahnameh analysis

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Shahnameh analysis

Tens of thousands of verses of poetry merge together myth, legend and history, chronicling the reigns of Persia's kings. Written in the 11th century by Ferdowsi, one of the giants of Persian poetry, it tells the story of the struggle between good and evil, between god which god is somewhat ambiguous, left for the reader to decide and the devil. It lies at the heart of Persian literature, a glittering thread weaving through Iranian culture, stringing together each chapter of the nation's history.

All of them are from British collections. Many are incomplete.

Shahname Synopsis

Britain and Russia played tug-of-war with some of the manuscripts, as they did over Iran itself, finally tearing them apart, each nation hoarding its lonely leaves. Others are in Iran, Dublin and New York. In early manuscripts the pictures are modest, fitting within the text. But as the centuries pass they expand. Trees blossom exuberantly beyond the margins, dominating the page.

The mouths of dragons gape wide, ready to swallow the verses whole along with Rostam, the hero. To accommodate the pictures' increasing splendour the words are squeezed in around them, the texts becoming tangled in the branches of trees as heroes on horses slay their demons below.

shahnameh analysis

With many more manuscripts than could be displayed in the exhibition, the catalogue I. Photographed in close-up, the extraordinary detail of the pictures and ceramics in the exhibition becomes apparent.

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It plunges deep into the complexity of the art of the manuscript, the use of colour, perspective and symbolism. It is a shame that both books provide so few translations of the extracts they refer to, though the exhibition catalogue has a few more to offer.

Ferdowsi went to great lengths to avoid any words drawn from Arabic, a stark political statement after the turmoil of the Arab conquest of Persia in the seventh century. Small wonder then that so many Iranians regard him as the saviour of the Persian language.

The exhibition determinedly avoids making any modern political analogies. But at a time when better understanding Iran should be a priority for all, an exhibition that explains a poem known as the Iranians' identity card can only be an excellent thing.

This article appeared in the Books and arts section of the print edition under the headline "The book of kings". Reuse this content The Trust Project.Consisting of some 50, " distichs " or couplets two-line verses[2] the Shahnameh is one of the world's longest epic poems.

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It tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of the Persian Empire from the creation of the world until the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century. Modern IranAzerbaijanAfghanistan and the greater region influenced by Persian culture such as GeorgiaArmeniaTurkey and Dagestan celebrate this national epic. The work is of central importance in Persian culture and Persian languageregarded as a literary masterpiece, and definitive of the ethno-national cultural identity of Iran.

Shahnameh for a New Generation: The Epic of the Persian Kings

Ferdowsi started writing the Shahnameh in AD and completed it on 8 March Many such accounts already existed in prose, an example being the Abu-Mansuri Shahnameh. A small portion of Ferdowsi's work, in passages scattered throughout the Shahnamehis entirely of his own conception. The Shahnameh is an epic poem of over 50, coupletswritten in early Modern Persian. It is based mainly on a prose work of the same name compiled in Ferdowsi's earlier life in his native Tus.

The first to undertake the versification of the Pahlavi chronicle was Daqiqia contemporary of Ferdowsi, poet at the court of the Samanidswho came to a violent end after completing only 1, verses. These verses, which deal with the rise of the prophet Zoroasterwere afterward incorporated by Ferdowsi, with acknowledgment, in his own poem. The style of the Shahnameh shows characteristics of both written and oral literature.

Some claim that Ferdowsi also used Zoroastrian naskssuch as the now-lost Chihrdadas sources as well. The text is written in the late Middle Persian, which was the immediate ancestor of Modern Persian. A great portion of the historical chronicles given in Shahnameh is based on this epic and there are in fact various phrases and words which can be matched between Ferdowsi's poem and this source, according to Zabihollah Safa.

According to one account of the sources, a Persian named Dehqan in the court of King Anushehrawan Dadgar had composed a voluminous book in prose form, known as Khoday Nameh. Ferdowsi obtained the book through a friend. The Shahnameh provides a poetic account of the prehistory and history of Iranbeginning with the creation of the world and the introduction of the arts of civilization fire, cooking, metallurgy, lawand ending with the Islamic Conquest of Persia.

The work is not precisely chronological, but there is a general movement through time. Some of the characters live for hundreds of years but most have normal life spans. The only lasting images are those of Greater Persia itself, and of a succession of sunrises and sunsets, no two ever exactly alike, yet illustrative of the passage of time.

The work is divided into three successive parts: the "mythical", "heroic", and "historical" ages. Father Time, a Saturn-like image, is a reminder of the tragedy of death and loss, yet the next sunrise comes, bringing with it hope of a new day. In the first cycle of creation, evil is external the devil. In the second cycle, we see the beginnings of family hatred, bad behavior, and evil permeating human nature. The murdered prince's son avenges the murder, and all are immersed in the cycle of murder and revenge, blood and more blood.

In the third cycle, we encounter a series of flawed shahs. It is only in the characterizations of the work's many figures, both male and female, that Zoroaster's original view of the human condition comes through.

shahnameh analysis

Zoroaster emphasized human free will. All of Ferdowsi's characters are complex; none is an archetype or a puppet. Traditional historiography in Iran has claimed that Ferdowsi was grieved by the fall of the Sassanid Empire and its subsequent rule by "Arabs" and "Turks". The Shahnamehthe argument goes, is largely his effort to preserve the memory of Persia's golden days and transmit it to a new generation so that they could learn and try to build a better world.

This portion of the Shahnameh is relatively short, amounting to some 2, verses or four percent of the entire book, and it narrates events with the simplicity, predictability, and swiftness of a historical work. After an opening in praise of God and Wisdom, the Shahnameh gives an account of the creation of the world and of man as believed by the Sassanians.

This introduction is followed by the story of the first man, Keyumarswho also became the first king after a period of mountain dwelling. Almost two-thirds of the Shahnameh is devoted to the age of heroes, extending from Manuchehr's reign until the conquest of Alexander the Great Eskandar. This age is also identified as the kingdom of Keyaniyan, which established a long history of heroic age in which myth and legend are combined. A brief mention of the Arsacid dynasty follows the history of Alexander and precedes that of Ardashir Ifounder of the Sassanid Empire.

After this, Sassanid history is related with a good deal of accuracy.It tells the story of ancient Persia, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab-Islamic invasion in the seventh century.

Brilliantly translated into prose and verse in the naqqali tradition by the poet and Ferdowsi scholar Dick Davis and magnificently illustrated with miniatures from the greatest Shahnameh manuscripts of the 14th to 17th centuries in museums and private collections around the worldthese volumes give English-language readers access to a world of vanished wonders. There are also a glossary of names and their pronunciation, a summary of the complete Shahnameh, and a guide to the Persian miniatures which illuminate the tales.

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Vast empires rise and fall, the rule of noble kings and cruel tyrants, the fortunes of a people buffeted by contending tides of history. Larger than life individuals are vividly depicted—the impulsive, pleasure-loving king Bahram Gur, the wise, long-suffering vizier Bozorjmehr, the brave rebel Bahram Chubineh, his loyal defiant sister Gordyeh, and many others—but we also see many vignettes of everyday life in the villages and towns of ancient Persia, and in this part of the Shahnameh Ferdowsi indulges his talent for sly humor much more than in the earlier tales.

The poem rises to its magnificent climax in its last pages, when the tragic end of an era is recorded, and Ferdowsi and his characters look with foreboding towards an unstable and fearful future.

Times Literary Supplement It is almost impossible to exaggerate the influence of [the Shahnameh] on the national culture of Iran…it marks the definitive emergence of New Persian as a language of literature and culture… in much the same way as the Authorized Version of the Bible anchored English. The vigorous simple language of the poem is easily comprehensible to educated Iranians a thousand years after it was written.

His lively, natural English prose certainly allows the reader to enjoy the narratives as adventures, romances and moral tales in the way they were always intended.

The liveliness of the style gives an interesting, action packed and sometimes moving epic…For the first time ever, it is possible for the reader of English who has no Persian to get a feeling for and understanding of one of the great monuments of world literature.

Choice, W. Hanawayemeritus, University of Pennsylvania.

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With this volume, Davis completes his prose and verse translation of most of the Shahnameh, the Persian national epic, which Firdawsi completed in about CE.

He found a felicitous combination of prose and verse that seems just right for its purpose. The verse sections are particularly good, and one wishes for more. The physical book is sumptuous. The design is consistent throughout the three volumes, but the opulence seems to increase with each.

No detail is overlooked, and the publishers out do themselves here in the taste and splendor of their reproductions of Persian miniature paintings. Summing Up: Essential. No collection of Middle East studies or art history should be without this three-volume set. This marvelous translation of an ancient Persian classic brings these stories alive for a new audience.

His Shahnameh is rendered in an exquisite blend of poetry and prose. The scheme works brilliantly. His work shall not die. At dawn the next morning Bahram called for wine, and his courtiers began another round of merry-making. At that moment the headman of a village entered with a present of fruit: he brought camel-loads of pomegranates, apples and quinces, and also bouquets of flowers fit for the royal presence.

The king welcomed this man, who had the ancient, noble name of Kebrui, and motioned him to a place among the young men there. He handed him a large goblet of wine, that held two maund. In front of all the nobles there he reached out and seized it. As he started back on his journey across the plain, the wine began to take effect. He urged his horse forward, leaving the crowd who were accompanying him behind, and rode to the foothills of a mountain.

A black raven flew down from the mountain and pecked out his eyes as he slept. The group that had been following along behind found him lying dead at the foot of the mountain, with his eyes pecked away and his horse standing nearby at the roadside. His servants, who were part of the group, began wailing and cursed the assembly and the wine. Wine is forbidden to everyone throughout the world, both noblemen and commoners alike.

A year passed, and wine remained forbidden. No wine was drunk when Bahram assembled his court, or when he asked for readings from the books that told of ancient times. She had a little wine hidden away; she brought her son back to her house and said to him.

The boy drank seven glasses down, and then an eighth, and the fire of passion flared up in him immediately.A thousand years ago, Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kingswas written, capturing the tragedies and joys of the human existence with its wonderful tales of love, loss, deception, adventure, heroes, and anti-heroes.

The story has lived on as an undeniable classic throughout the centuries, but how many people today own a copy of the book -- or have actually read it? With the publication of Hamid Rahmanian's magnificently illustrated Shahmaneh, now is the time to bring this classic into the home. This edition is simply breathtaking: illustrations dance across every page, each telling a story in a thousand intricate and beautiful artistic flourishes. Accompanied by a translation of the text that is charming, accessible, and rich in the nuances of the Persian language, it is a treasure that will be cherished and handed down to subsequent generations.

Over 10, hours were spent on creating the illustrations for this classic tale by the great Persian poet Ferdowsi, and once can well see why. Fusing classic Persian art and modern collage-like sensibilities, Rahmanian employs cutting edge graphic design technology and incredibly rich color to create a thoroughly captivating depiction of one of the greatest epics of all time. One can find oneself immersed in each page indefinitely, exploring the intricacies and beauty of illustrations that have the detail of traditional miniature Persian art.

Hamid Rahmanian has truly created a gem of a book that will delight readers and introduce them to the rich heritage of Eastern mythology. In the history of literature, Shahnameh stands next to the giants of mythological and epic tales like Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, Nibelungenlied and Ramayana.

Written in the year AC by the Persian Poet Ferdowsi, it is the longest poem ever written, standing at 60, heroic verses. Ferdowsi collected the oral histories, traditions and fables of the region that went back thousands of years, and then wove them together into one monumental work: Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings.

The epic includes four traditional tragedies and three love stories; this is the first time these stories have been introduced to the public in an accessible and modern way.

Beyond the beautifully and accessibly translated text, it's the illustrations of the book that truly stand out. Capturing hundreds of years of visual history from the region, each page is a visual feast for the eyes, a labor of love that in some cases took upwards of hours to create. Hamid Rahmanian, a documentary filmmaker and artist, started working on this book about four years ago. His wife and creative partner, Melissa Hibbard, and Hamid wanted to introduce the mythology of Shahnameh to a Western audience in an accessible way.

They tried a few different forms, including a pop up book for children, a traveling puppet show and an iPad application and settled on the current book format when their publisher, Jim Mairs, saw the first round of illustrations and fell in love with them, not knowing anything about the stories.

Professor Sadri translated and adapted the text. Melissa worked on the project as the editorial director. It was a dream fulfilled when The Quantuck Lane Press, a publisher known for its exquisite art books and limited editions, published the book just last month.

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It is available for purchase all over the country in bookstores and on their website. In an interview with Hamid Rahmanian, he explains the book's significance, its parallels to today's Iran, and the artistic and cultural significance of his illustrations and the book as a whole.

What is the significance of this book coming out at such a crucial time in Iran's history? What people here in the West know about Iran is mostly headline politics. Very few people know anything else about the country. This book offers a more sophisticated look at what Iran has contributed to [in terms of] civilization and gives a broader look at its culture, art and history.

What's new about this book? What does it add to our knowledge of Iran and its history and culture?Son of Zal and Roudabeh, father of Sohrab.

He can only be ridden by Rostam, the only man strong enough to tame him. He is the most powerful and beautiful horse in all the land. Born an albino and abandoned as an infant by his father, Zal was raised by Simurgh a phoenix like creature to be a great Pahlevan. Son of Saum, husband of Rudabeh and father of Rostam.

Fiercely proud and independent, he is always looking for an opportunity to rebel. Kai Kobad: Book 4 Wise reclusive prince and son of Manuchehr who grew up in a hidden Alborz mountain palace.

His short reign of seven years comes to an end when he is killed by Afrasiab during a battle. Together,they have two children, Rostam and his younger sister Zohra. Rudabeh nearly dies while giving birth to Rostam. He is the son of Nariman, and grandson of Garshasp. This is a Kingdom which spends much of its history battling and threatening Persia or Iran. Simurgh: Book 4 Great winged creature in the shape of a bird who finds infant Zal and decides to raise him as one of her own.

Strong enough to carry off an elephant, she looks like a kind of peacock with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion. Possessing many strengths, he has an insatiable appetite for power and revenge. Tahmineh: Book 1 Beautiful daughter of the King of Turan. Smitten with Rostam from the first time she laid eyes on him, she becomes his lover and unbeknown to him, the mother of his son — The great Turanian warrior, Sohrab.

Turaj: Book 2 The assassin, a fierce and unbeaten warrior from unknown lands with a long list of victims in his wake. Hired by Afrasiab to terminate Rostam. Turaj will test his strength against Rostam and his legend. The King of Hamavaran: Book 2 Tucked away in the hidden valleys of the steep mountainous North Eastern mountains, Hamavaran is a lesser kingdom or satrapy within greater Iran.

The King of Hamavaran is the adoring father of the beautiful Soodabeh. Certainly the right kind of woman to sit at the side of the King of Iran! Fiercely jealous of all who come into contact with the Kai, and a force to be reckoned with. Siavash: Book 3 The young gallant prince, son of Kai Kavous and a maiden of the court.

A great warrior and heir to the Persian Iranian throne. Kind and well loved by all, he is perceived as a threat to the plans of Soodabeh and Afrasiab, who ultimately plan his downfall. Princess Gurdafarid: Book 1 Daughter of the King of the White Castle — Gazdaham, Brave trained warrior who does not get respect she deserves for her battle skills, because she is a woman. Fierce warriors who put up a good fight, they are however, no match to our Hero Rostam.

Green Dragon: Book 3 Appearing in a dream sequence while Rostam is in a deep depression over the death of his son, the Dragon is a character from one of the seven trials Haft Khan that Rostam must overcome during his youth. Helps Rostam recover his horse Raqsh after he was stolen by bandits. Proud and independent minded king of a land that is constantly battling with Iran. Da-ee plays a pivotal role in training Sohrab to evolve into the great warrior he becomes.

Special Offers Rostam: Search for the King. Social Media. Our whole team was honored to receive this award and we thank WAALM for considering our book and bestowing this honor upon us.

Contact E-mail: info theshahnameh.The Shahname, literally meaning 'Book of Kings,' is structured according to the mythical and historical reign of 50 Persian Kings. The epic can be roughly divided into three parts: the first part tells of the mythical creation of Persia and its earliest mythical past; the second part tells of the legendary Kings and the heroes Rostam and Sohrab; the third part blends historical fact with legend, telling of the semi-mythical adventures of actual historical Kings.

Their son Rostam married Princess Tahmina. This is the story of four generations, of fathers and sons, courage and skill, love and honour, war and grief, and of fathers making mistakes — sometimes putting their mistakes right, sometimes forgetting. This theme of fathers and sons reoccurs throughout the epic. Sam thinks his son is either an old man or a demon and orders the baby to be taken to the foothills of the Alborz mountains and left there.

Zal is found by the magical Simorgh, the phoenix like bird with red and gold feathers who has her nest on the summit of the mountain. She carries the baby to her next and brings him up as her own. Some years later King Sam is reminded in a haunting dream how badly he has behaved towards his son.

Sam feels remorse and sets out to the Alborz mountains to see if his son might still be alive. He finds his son a grown handsome young man, well brought up by the bird.

shahnameh analysis

Zal doesn't want to leave the Simorgh, but she gives him one of her feathers and tells him if he is ever in trouble he must burn the feather and she will come to his aid.

Zal hears a description of Rudabeh, daughter of Mehrab, who has "lashes like raven's wings Zal falls in love with the description. Rudabeh hears equal praise of Zal and his "mammoth strength. And Zal is equally worried, for Rudabeh is an ancestor of the evil serpent King Zahhak.

Zahhak grows a serpent on each of his shoulders which must be fed with human brains. Despite these obstacles they vow to meet, Rudabeh offering to let her hair down Rapunzal like from her tower so that Zal can climb up and see her.

Zal doesn't wish to hurt her and so they use a rope instead. The subject of many many paintings.

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They promise each other their hearts and can love no other. All the families agree to their marriage, which overcomes the negative influence of the past. Their wedding lasts 30 days. Rudabeh is pregnant, in great pain and unable to give birth. Zal remembers the Simorgh's feather. He burns it and the Simorgh appears.

The bird orders and arranges the first caesarean birth, giving Rudabeh healing herbs and stroking her with her feathers. Rudabeh gives birth to a huge son, "a lion cub", Rostam. Rostam is a miracle baby and has grown into a boy within 5 days and to the height and strength of a young man within weeks.

As a child he is the only on able to kill a white elephant that is rampaging unstoppable through the palace.

shahnameh analysis

Rostam is sent to the White Mountain to get rid of rebels. He disguises himself as a merchant carrying salt, knowing that they need salt and will want to buy.

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He overcomes the rebel fortress single-handedly and is hailed a champion. Rostam needs a horse and so all the horses in the kingdom are paraded in front of him.

He places his hand on each horse's back and each horse buckles under his strength and their bellies touch the ground. Then he sees a young foal, "brave as a lion, as tall as a camel, as strong as an elephant. Rostam is the only one who can catch and saddle the foal. He says that the foal will be his war horse and calls the foal, Rakhsh, Lightning.Among the meanings suggested are "stinging" source uncertain"burning" cf. Sanskrit dahana"man" or "manlike" cf. Khotanese daha"huge" or "foreign" cf.

He is described as a monster with three mouths, six eyes, and three headscunning, strong, and demonic. Being representatives of the Good, they refused.

He is described as a sorcerer who ruled with the aid of demons, the daevas divs. He was handsome and clever, but had no stability of character and was easily influenced by evil counsellors.

Ahriman therefore chose him as the tool for his plans for world domination. They could not be surgically removed, for as soon as one snake-head had been cut off, another took its place. About this time, Jamshidwho was then the ruler of the world, through his arrogance lost his divine right to rule. Two men, called Armayel and Garmayel, wanted to find a way to rescue people from being killed from the snakes. Every day, they saved one of the two men and put the brain of a sheep instead of his into the food, but they could not save the lives of both men.

Those who were saved were told to flee to the mountains and to faraway plains. He proclaimed himself in support of Fereydun as ruler. First excavated in the 19th century by British archeologists, Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization has been studying the structure in 6 phases.

Stories of monstrous serpents who are killed or imprisoned by heroes or divine beings may date back to prehistory, and are found in the myths of many Indo-European peoples, including those of the Indo-Iranians, that is, the common ancestors of both the Iranians and Vedic Indians. Thus, although it seems clear that dragon-slaying heroes and gods in the case of the Vedas "were a part of Indo-Iranian tradition and folklore, it is also apparent that Iran and India developed distinct myths early.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the city in southeastern Iran, see Zehak. For the village in Hormozgan Province, see Zahak-e Pain.

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