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Encyclopedia > Shahname
Shahnameh
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Shahnameh
Shahnameh
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Shahnameh
Scenes from the Shahnameh carved into reliefs at Tus, where Ferdowsi is buried.
Scenes from the Shahnameh carved into reliefs at Tus, where Ferdowsi is buried.

The Shahnameh (Persian: شاهنامه ) (The Book of Kings or The Epic of Kings, also written Shahnama), written by Ferdowsi around 1000 AD, is the national epic of Iran (Persia) and tells the mythical and historical past of Iran from the creation of the world up until the country's Islamization in the 7th century. This masterpiece of world literature is not only of utmost literary importance but has been groundbreaking for the development of the Persian language, and constitutes a monument in the cultural heritage of Iran. Download high resolution version (635x877, 148 KB)Shahnameh This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (635x877, 148 KB)Shahnameh This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (556x836, 154 KB)Shahnameh This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (556x836, 154 KB)Shahnameh This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Image File history File links Tus_shahnameh. ... Image File history File links Tus_shahnameh. ... Categories: Iran geography stubs | Cities in Iran ... Persian (known variously as: فارسی Fārsi or پارسی Pārsi, local name in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Tajik, a Central Asian dialect, or Dari, another local name in Tajikistan and Afghanistan) is a language spoken in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... Ferdowsi Tousi (فردوسی طوسی in Persian) (more commonly transliterated Firdausi, Ferdosi or Ferdusi) (935–1020) is considered to be one of the greatest Persian poets to have ever lived. ... // Events World Population 300 million. ... A national epic is an epic poem or similar work which seeks or is believed to capture and express the essence or spirit of a particular nation; not necessarily a nation-state, but at least an ethnic or linguistic group with aspirations to independence or autonomy. ... For other uses of this term see: Persia (disambiguation) The Persian Empire is the name used to refer to a number of historic dynasties that have ruled the country of Persia (Iran). ...


It has been called the "Persian Quran" by Ibn al-Athir, even though this title is not known among the Persian speakers but somehow indicates the importance of this book for all Persian speakers from Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, to other Persian speakers of central Asia, as well as in India, Pakistan and as far as China. Izz ad-Dīn Hassan Karam pour Athīr (1160–1233), was a 13th century Iranian/Persian historian born in Cizre in Northern Kurdistan province. ...


There is an ongoing controversy among scholars about the sources of the Shahnameh. Ferdowsi's epic is probably based mainly on an earlier prose version which itself was a compilation of old Iranian stories and historical facts and fables. However, there is without any doubt also a strong influence of oral literature, since the style of the Shahnameh shows characteristics of both written and oral literature.


Some of the characters of the Epic are of Indo-Iranian heritage, and are mentioned in sources as old as the Avesta. Its language, Persian with very few Arabic loanwords used, is characteristic of the Persian epic style. The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, an epic poem of over 60,000 couplets, is based mainly on a prose work of the same name compiled in the poet's earlier life in his native Tus. This prose Shahnameh was in turn and for the most part the translation of a Pahlavi work, a compilation of the history of the kings and heroes of Iran from mythical times down to the reign of Khosrau II (590-628 A.D.), but it also contains additional material continuing the story to the overthrow of the Sassanids by the Arabs in the middle of the 7th century A.D. The first to undertake the versification of this chronicle of pre-Islamic and legendary Persia was Daqiqi, a poet at the court of the Samanids, who came to a violent end after completing only 1000 verses. These verses, which deal with the rise of the prophet Zoroaster, were afterward incorporated by Ferdowsi, with due acknowledgements, in his own poem. Persian (known variously as: فارسی Fārsi or پارسی Pārsi, local name in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Tajik, a Central Asian dialect, or Dari, another local name in Tajikistan and Afghanistan) is a language spoken in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... The Arabic language (Arabic: ‎ translit: ), or simply Arabic (Arabic: ‎ translit: ), is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... The epic is a broadly defined genre of poetry, and one of the major forms of narrative literature. ... A couplet is a pair of lines of verse that form a unit. ... Categories: Iran geography stubs | Cities in Iran ... Pahlavi is a term that refers: (1) to a script used in Iran derived from the Aramaic script, and (2) more broadly, to Middle Persian, the Middle Iranian language written in this script. ... Khosrau II (sometimes called Parvez, the ever Victorious), King of Persia, son of Hormizd IV of Persia (579–590), grandson of Khosrau I of Persia (531–579). ... Abu Mansur Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Daqiqi (935/942-976/9801), sometimes refered to as Daqiqi (also Dakiki, Daghighi, Persian: دقیقی) was an early Persian poet, from Tus, Bukhara, Samarkand or Balkh (sources vary). ... The Sāmānid dynasty (875-999) was a Persian dynasty in Central Asia, named after its founder Saman Khoda. ... Zoroaster, in a popular Parsi Zoroastrian depiction. ...


After Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, a number of other works similar in nature surfaced over the centuries within the cultural sphere of the Persian language. Without exception, all such works were based in style and method on Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, but none of them could quite achieve the same degree of fame and popularity.


Some experts believe the main reason the Modern Persian language today is more or less the same language as that of Ferdowsi's time over 1000 years ago is due to the very existence of works like Ferdowsi's Shahnameh which have had lasting and profound cultural and linguistic influence. In other words, the Shahnameh itself has become one of the main pillars of the modern Persian language. Studying Ferdowsi's masterpiece also became a requirement for achieving mastery of the Persian language by subsequent Persian poets, as evidenced by numerous references to the Shahnameh in their works. Persian (known variously as: فارسی Fārsi or پارسی Pārsi, local name in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Tajik, a Central Asian dialect, or Dari, another local name in Tajikistan and Afghanistan) is a language spoken in Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ...


The Shahnameh is one of the few original national epics in the world. Many peoples of the world have their "own" national epics, but more often than not, the original theme of such national epics are borrowed from other, usually neighbouring, cultures. This is not the case with the Shahnameh, which is based on original Persian stories.


The Shahnameh has 62 stories, 990 chapters, and contains 60,000 rhyming couplets, making it more than seven times the length of Homer's Iliad. There have been a number of English translations, almost all abridged. In 1925, the brothers Arthur and Edmond Warner published the complete work in nine volumes, now out of print. The Homère Caetani bust at the Louvre, a 2nd century Roman copy of a 2nd century BC Greek original. ... The Iliad (Ancient Greek: Ιλιάς, Iliás) tells part of the story of the siege of the city of Ilium, i. ... 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Contents


Introduction

The Shahnameh, also known as the Persian Quran, is an impressive monument of poetry and historiography, being mainly the poetical recast of what Master Ferdowsi and his predecessors regarded as the account of Iran's ancient history; an account which already existed in a less appealing form in prose works, especially in the Shahnameh of Abu Mansur Abd-al-Razzaq. A small portion of Ferdowsi’s work, in passages scattered throughout the Shahnameh, is entirely of his own conception. In addition to the profound descriptions of various scenes and phenomena, this work expresses his reflection on life, his religious and ethical beliefs and his admiration of virtue, his praise for his patrons, and his references to the sources he used. The rest of the work is divided into three successive parts: the mythical, heroic, and historical ages. Also known as Shahnameh/Shahnama (Šāhnāmé) Shahnameh Shahnameh Scenes from the Shahnameh carved into reliefs at Tus, where Ferdowsi is buried. ... Historiography is the study of the way history is and has been written. ... Ferdowsi Tousi (فردوسی طوسی in Persian) (more commonly transliterated Firdausi, Ferdosi or Ferdusi) (935–1020) is considered to be one of the greatest Persian poets to have ever lived. ...


The Mythical Age

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 Sasanians. This introduction is followed by the story of the first man, Gayumarth, who also became the first king after a period of mountain dwelling. His grandson (Hushang, son of Siamak) accidentally discovered fire and established the Sadeh Feast in its honor. Stories of Tahmureth, Jamshid, Zahhak, Kaveh, Freydun and his three sons Salm, Tur, and Iraj, and his grandson Manuchehr are explained in this section. This portion of the Shahnameh is relatively short, amounting to some 2100 verses or four percent of the entire book, and it narrates the events with the simplicity, predictability, and swiftness of a historical work. Naturally, the strength and charm of Ferdowsi’s poetry have done much to make the story of this period attractive and lively. + Michelangelos depiction of God in the painting Creation of the Sun and Moon in the Sistine Chapel Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, one of the manifestations of the ultimate reality or God in Hinduism This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Head of king Shapur II (Sasanian dynasty A.D. 4th century). ... Sadeh is an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated 50 days before nowrouz. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Zahak, Zahhak, Zahak-e Tāzi or (Arab Zahak) also knwon as Bivar-Asp, which means [he who has] 10,000 horses in the Pahlavi (middle Persian) language, and Avestan Āži-Dahāk) is a mythical figure of ancient Persia (Iran). ... Statue of Kaveh in Isfahan Kaveh the Blacksmith (کاوه آهنگر in Persian) is a mythical figure of ancient Persia who leads a popular uprising of Persians (Iranians) against a ruthless Arab ruler, Zahak (Dhaka). ... Salm is a river in: Germany, tributary to the river Moselle, see: Salm, Germany; Belgium, tributary to the river Meuse, see: Salm, Belgium. ... Tur or tur can stand for: abbreviation of: Arbaah Turim, by Rabbi Yaakov Baal ha-Turim. ... Iraj Weeraratne is Sri Lanka’s maestro of hip-hop and the island’s new generation star. ...


The Heroic Age

Almost two-thirds of the Shahnameh is devoted to the age of heroes, extending from Manuchehr’s reign until the conquest of Alexander the 4th c. BCE Macedonian warlord. The main feature of this period is the major role played by the Sagzi (Saka) or Sistani heroes who appear as the backbone of the Persian Empire. Garshasp is briefly mentioned as is his son Nariman, whose own son Sam acted as the leading paladin of Manuchehr while reigning in Sistan in his own right. His successors were his son Zal and his son Rostam, the bravest of the brave, and then Faramarz. Bust of Alexander the Great in the British Museum. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Categories: Iran geography stubs | Provinces of Iran ... The term Persian Empire refers to a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau. ... Categories: Iran geography stubs | Provinces of Iran ... ZÃ¥l (زال in Persian) was a mythical warrior of ancient Iran. ... Rostam Slaying the Dragon- A miniature Painting by Master Mahmoud Farshchian. ...


The feudal society in which they lived is admirably depicted in the Shahnameh with accuracy and lavishness. Indeed, Masters’s descriptions are so vivid and impressive that the reader feels himself participating in the events or closely viewing them. The tone is significantly epic and moving, while the language is extremely rich and varied. +


Among the stories described in this section are the romance of Zal & Rudabe, the Seven Stages (or Labors) of Rostam, Rostam and Sohrab, Siavash and Sudabe, Rostam and Akvan Div, the romance of Bižan and Maniže, the wars with Afrasiab, Daqiqi’s account of the story of Goshtasp and Arjasp, and Rostam and Esfandyar. Sohrab is one of Shahnamas characters. ... Abu Mansur Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Daqiqi (935/942-976/9801), sometimes refered to as Daqiqi (also Dakiki, Daghighi, Persian: دقیقی) was an early Persian poet, from Tus, Bukhara, Samarkand or Balkh (sources vary). ... Esfandiar or Esfandyar is an Iranian legendary hero. ...

Rostam Slaying the Dragon- A miniature Painting by Master Mahmood Farshchian.

It is noteworthy to mention that the legend of Rostam and Sohrab is attested only in the Shahnameh and, as usual, begins with a lyrical and detailed prelude. Here Ferdowsi is in the zenith of his poetic power and has become a true master of storytelling. The thousand or so verses of this tragedy comprise one of most moving tales of world literature. Image File history File links Rostam&Rakhsh. ... Image File history File links Rostam&Rakhsh. ...


The Historical Age

A brief mention of the Ashkanian (Arsacids) dynasty follows the history of Alexander and precedes that of Ardeshir the founder of Sassanid dynasty. After this, the Sassanian history is related with a good deal of accuracy. The fall of the Sassanian and the Arab conquest of Iran are narrated romantically, and in a most moving poetic language. Here, the reader could easily see Ferdowsi himself lamenting over this catastrophe, and over what he calls the arrival of “the army of darkness”. The Arsacid Dynasty ruled Persia. ... Bust of Alexander the Great in the British Museum. ... The Sassanid Empire in the time of Shapur I; the conquest of Cappadocia was temporary Official language Pahlavi (Middle Persian) Dominant Religion Zoroastrianism Capital Ctesiphon Sovereigns Shahanshah of the Iran (Eranshahr) First Ruler Ardashir I Last Ruler Yazdegerd III Establishment 224 AD Dissolution 651 AD Part of the History of... The Islamic conquest of Iran (637-651 CE) destroyed the Sassanid Empire and led to the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Iran. ...


According to Ferdowsi, the final edition of the Shahnameh contained some sixty thousand distiches. But this is a round figure; most of the relatively reliable manuscripts have preserved a little over fifty thousand distiches. Nezami-Aruzi reports that the final edition of the Shahnameh sent to the court of Soltan Mahmud was prepared in seven volumes. Sassanid king, Bahram Gur is a great favourite in Persian tradition and poetry. ...


The Shahnameh's Message

Ferdowsi’s style is that of a superb poet. His epic language is so rich, moving and lavish that it truly enchants the reader. Personal touches in the Shahnameh prevent it from falling into a dry reproduction of historical narratives. No history has been so eagerly read, so profoundly believed, and so ardently treasured in Iran, as has the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. If a history were ever to influence its readers, the Shahnameh has done and still does so in the finest way. Where many Iranian military and religious leaders failed, Ferdowsi succeeded. With the Shahnameh, the revival and immortality of a nation became possible.


Ferdowsi did not expect his reader to pass over historical events indifferently, but asked him to think carefully, to see the grounds for the rise and fall of individuals and nations; and to learn from the past in order to improve the present, and to better shape the future.


The Shahnameh stresses that since the world is transient, and since everyone is merely a passerby, one is wise to avoid cruelty, lying, avarice, and other evils; instead one should strive for justice, truth, order, and other virtues which bring happiness, ease, and honor.


The singular message that the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi strives to convey is the idea that the history of Iran Zamin (Iran Shahr) was a complete and immutable whole: it started with Gayumarth, the first man, and ended with his fiftieth scion and successor, Yazdegerd III, six thousand years of history of Iran. The task of Ferdowsi was to prevent this history from losing its connection with future Iranian generations. The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Empire (in Persian: Sasanian) is the name used for the third Persian Empire (226 - 651). ... Yazdegerd III, (also Yazdgird III) (made by God, Izdegerdes), king of Persia, a grandson of Khosrau II, who had been murdered by his son Kavadh II in 628, was raised to the throne in 632 after a series of internal conflicts. ...


Shahnameh Scholars

Dr. Jalal Matini, Editor of Iran Shenasi, http://www.iranshenasi.net/englishIndex.html Shahrokh Meskoob(Born 1924 Babol, Iran) was an outstanding Persian writer, translator, scholar and University professor. ... Mir Jalaleddin Kazzazi is an outstanding master of Persian literature and a renowed Iranologist. ...


See also

Rostam Slaying the Dragon- A miniature Painting by Master Mahmoud Farshchian. ... // A Arash B C D E F G Goodarz H I J K Kaveh L M N O P Q R Roham , Rostam S Sam T U V W X Y Z Zal Other Links shahnameh , Ferdosi ... This article does not make a clear distinction between fact and fiction. ... Rudaba or Roodabeh (رودابه in Persia) was Daughter of Mehrab Kaboli. ...

Sources and references

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Terminology of Arms and Armor used in the Shahname: a Comparative Analysis  "Swords and Maces" - (The ... (2281 words)
As is known, the Shahname served as a symbol to legitimize the power of the ruler of Iran.
This of course is the reason why the miniatures from the Shahname from the Timurid, Safavid, and later periods depict the warriors armed with a curved sword, as in these eras, the curved sword had become highly popular, a fact which was again depicted in the Iranian artwork.
In the Shahname, Ferdowsi uses the adjective sabok to signify the lightness of a blade.
Shahname (2904 words)
Only a few of the stories in the Shahname have a prologue, and that which begins the tale of Sohrab is among the longest.
As modern readers, we are inclined to see Sohrab’s desire to overthrow Afrasiyab and Kay Kavus and replace them with the far worthier figure of Rostam as commendable, as a protomodern anticipation of rule by merit rather than by inheritance.
Because so much of the Shahname details the terrible dilemmas posed for decent, moral, and pious men, such as Rostam and Gudarz here, by the bad policies of foolish and inept rulers, it is hard to see Ferdowsi as in any sense a convinced and enthusiastic royalist.
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