The definitive translation by Dick Davis of the great national epic of Iran—now newly revised and expanded to be the most complete English-language edition A Penguin Classic Dick Davis—“our pre-eminent translator from the Persian” (The Washington Post)—has revised and expanded his acclaimed translation of Ferdowsi’s masterpiece, adding more than 100 pages of newly translated text. Davis’s elegant combination of prose and verse allows the poetry of the Shahnameh to sing its own tales directly, interspersed sparingly with clearly marked explanations to ease along modern readers. Originally composed for the Samanid princes of Khorasan in the tenth century, the Shahnameh is among the greatest works of world literature. This prodigious narrative tells the story of pre-Islamic Persia, from the mythical creation of the world and the dawn of Persian civilization through the seventh-century Arab conquest. The stories of the Shahnameh are deeply embedded in Persian culture and beyond, as attested by their appearance in such works as The Kite Runner and the love poems of Rumi and Hafez. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
The Shahnama, written in the tenth century by Firdawsi, is the national epic poem of Persia. It chronicles at great length (nine volumes in the full English translation, currently out of print) the reigns and deeds of the earliest Persian kings, over fifty of them, in four dynasties - the Pishdadians, Kayanians, Ashkanians, and Sasanians. This book, illustrated with early Persian paintings which depict the deeds described, presents in easily accessible language a summary and re-telling of the Shahnama. It covers the entire epic in one volume, includes an introduction, together with lists of kings and dynasties, and thereby provides a concise overview of, and introduction to, this key work.
Firdausi's great epic poem, The Book of Kings or Shahnama, does for the formative myths, legends and early history of Iran what Homer's tales do for the ancient Mediterranean civilizations. It narrates the history of mankind from the creation of the world, putting Iran at the centre of the Universe, from the dawn of time to the destruction of the Persian Empire in the early 7th century AD at the hands of the conquering Muslim Arabs.One of the Bodleian Library's treasures is a copy of this Iranian national epic, commissioned by Ibrahim, the grandson of the great Timur and governor of Shiraz in southern Iran from 1414 to 1435. This royal manuscript is bursting with extraordinary and highly original paintings, which were extremely influential on later illustrators.This book explores the literary context of the poem, Firdausi's world and the manuscript's royal provenance. It also provides a brief overview of the story and the illuminations. It then looks in greater detail at the individual miniatures, their meaning and technique and also includes helpful extras such as a glossary of Persian terms and a list of the dramatis personae. This is a beautiful book exploring the mysteries and legends surrounding a rare and treasured manuscript.
A masterpiece of Persian Classical epic, the Shahnama or Book of Kings was composed by Abu'l-Qasem Ferdowsi at the beginning of the eleventh century. Because the Shahnama presents itself as a chronicle of the reigns of the shahs from the primordial founders to the Sasanian dynasty which ended in 651, scholarly attention has centered on the question of its historical accuracy. Addressing the literary as well as the historical and mythological aspects of the Shahnama, Olga M. Davidson makes this centerpiece of Iranian culture accessible to Western readers. Drawing on recent work in epic studies and oral poetics, Davidson considers analogies with Classical and medieval European narratives as she investigates the poem's social contexts. Her interpretation of the Shahnama focuses on both the figure of the poet himself and on his protagonists-the superhuman hero Rostam and the historical or historicized shahs. Exploring the Shahnama as an example of court poetry designed to glorify the idea of empire, Davidson identifies as a driving force of Ferdowsi's narrative a strong current of antagonism between king and hero. Ironically, she shows, it is the epic hero himself who poses the greatest threat to the concept of kingship that he is sworn to defend. Poet and Hero in the Persian Book of Kings will be welcomed by readers working in such fields as comparative literature, Middle Eastern Studies, folklore, literary theory, and comparative religion.
"The publication of this book commemorates the one thousandth anniversary of the completion of the Shahnama, the Persian national epic, which was written down in more than 50,000 couplets by the poet Firdausi. It also celebrates the most lavishly illustrated version of this text, a manuscript produced for the Safavid Shah Tahmasp, who ruled Iran from 1524 to 1576"--Director's Foreword, p. 7.
The Shahnameh is a collection of stories and myths from ancient Iran, filled with kings, heroes, princesses, magical animals and demons. Written as an epic poem by the poet Ferdowsi in the 10th century, it is one of the great classics of Persian literature. The tales include the Simurgh, the giant bird who brings up an orphaned king in her nest on a craggy rock, wicked King Zahhak with his man-eating snakes, and above all the story of the great hero Rustam and his son Sohrab.Elizabeth Laird is passionate about bringing this great epic poem to the children of western cultures, as well as retelling it for Iranian children living in the West.
Shahnama: The Visual Language of the Persian Book of Kings presents the first comprehensive examination of the interplay between text and image in the celebrated Persian national epic, the Shahnama, written by the poet Firdausi of Tus. The Shahnama is one of the longest poems ever composed and recounts the history of Iran from the dawn of time to the Muslim Arab conquests of the seventh century AD. There is no Persian text, in prose or poetry, which has been so frequently and lavishly illustrated. Offering fresh insights through a range of varied art-historical approaches to the Shahnama, the essays in this volume reveal how the subtle alterations in text and image serve to document changes in taste and style and can be understood as reflections of the changing role of the national epic in the imagination of Iranians and the equally changing messages - often political in nature - which the familiar stories were made to convey over the centuries.
The selected adventures of Persia's Hercules, from Iran's great national epic No understanding of world mythology is complete without acquaintance with Rostam, Iran's most celebrated mythological hero. According to the Shahnameh (the tenth-century Book of Kings), this titan, magnificent in strength and courage, bestrode Persia for 500 years. While he often served fickle kings - undergoing many trials of combat, cunning, and endurance - he was never their servant and owed allegiance only to his nation's greater good. Anyone interested in folklore, world literature, or Iranian culture will find Rostam both a rousing and illuminating read. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout world history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Princeton's Great Persian Book of Kings presents the first comprehensive examination of a beautifully decorated yet relatively unknown manuscript of the Shahnama (Book of Kings), created in 1589-90 in the flourishing cultural center of Shiraz. Held by Princeton University and called the Peck Shahnama after its donor, the work ranks among the finest intact 16th-century Persian manuscripts in the United States. Composed more than one thousand years ago, the epic poem Shahnama narrates the story of Iran from the dawn of time to the 7th century A.D. Its 50,000 verses and countless tales of Iran's ancient kings and heroes have been a vital source of artistic inspiration in Persian culture for centuries. Author Marianna Shreve Simpson offers a detailed discussion of the Peck Shahnama, including its origins, history, and artistic characteristics. All of the manuscript's intricately illuminated and illustrated folios are reproduced with stunning new photography, and each is accompanied by commentary on its narrative themes and artistic presentation. An essay by Louise Marlow explores the manuscript's extensive marginal glosses, an unusual feature of the Peck Shahnama.
In Khwadāynāmag. The Middle Persian Book of Kings Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila analyses the lost sixth-century historiographical work of the Sasanians, its lost Arabic translations, and the sources of Firdawsī's Shāhnāme.
A collection of stories and myths from ancient Iran filled with kings, heroes, princesses, magical animals, and demons. Written as an epic poem by the poet Ferdowsi in the 10th century and retold here in prose.
This book is meant to convey the beauty and importance of ancient Iranian coinage from the Achaemenid period, when the first coins were struck during the rule of Darius the Great in the early sixth century BCE, to the end of the Sasanian period, when Yazdgerd III lost his life in northeastern Iran in the seventh century CE. Hence, the articles and coins cover more than a millennium of history, art and ideology in this wonderfully designed book. In his essay, Pierre Briant explores the theme of Achaemenid kingship and ideology, where the king stood close to the gods and its people held his throne of kingship. In my chapter, I discuss the importance of coinage for understanding the Sasanian notion of kingship, based on the symbols and legends depicted on coins. By looking at the developments and changes of Sasanian coinage, one is able to understand the ideological shifts and political aspirations of the king of kings in late antiquity. Jennifer Rose explores symbols associated with the Zoroastrian religion on ancient Iranian coins throughout the millennia. She discusses the motifs and themes related to the Iranian tradition from the Achaemenid to the Seleucid, Parthian, Kushan and the Sasanian Empires. Antonio Panaino discusses the idea of kingship as reflected on the coinage and textual material in the Achaemenid and the Sasanian periods. He makes a distinction between the divine and sacral notions of kingship, and the idea of the king's xwarrah or Royal Glory, who was the representative of Ohrmazd on earth.
The great Persian poet Firdausi's epic Shahnama, or 'Books of Kings', written at the turn of the eleventh century CE, is a seamless tapestry of historical and legendary material prominently featuring battles and individual struggles with fierce demons and enemy champions. The first known illustrations of the poem date to the early fourteenth century CE. The splendidly illustrated and illuminated late sixteenth-century Eckstein Shahnama (so called from a distinguished previous owner, Bernard Eckstein) is one of an important group of so-called 'truncated' Shahnamas which end Firdausi's narrative with Alexander the Great. These manuscripts were long regarded as Persian, but new research suggests that, though the text is Persian and the style of the painting is apparently Persian, they were actually produced in imitation of Persian examples by Turkish workshops. This richly illustrated study confirms the Ottoman origin of this and other manuscripts in the group and demonstrates the Eckstein Shahnama in particular to be a representative example of Ottoman manuscript painting and to have had itself a significant influence on later production.
The Shahnameh, an epic poem recounting the foundation of Iran across mythical, heroic, and historical ages, is the beating heart of Persian literature and culture. Composed by Abu al-Qasem Ferdowsi over a thirty-year period and completed in the year 1010, the epic has entertained generations of readers and profoundly shaped Persian culture, society, and politics. For a millennium, Iranian and Persian-speaking people around the globe have read, memorized, discussed, performed, adapted, and loved the poem. In this book, Hamid Dabashi brings the Shahnameh to renewed global attention, encapsulating a lifetime of learning and teaching the Persian epic for a new generation of readers. Dabashi insightfully traces the epic’s history, authorship, poetic significance, complicated legacy of political uses and abuses, and enduring significance in colonial and postcolonial contexts. In addition to explaining and celebrating what makes the Shahnameh such a distinctive literary work, he also considers the poem in the context of other epics, such as the Aeneid and the Odyssey, and critical debates about the concept of world literature. Arguing that Ferdowsi’s epic and its reception broached this idea long before nineteenth-century Western literary criticism, Dabashi makes a powerful case that we need to rethink the very notion of “world literature” in light of his reading of the Persian epic.
The Epic of Kings - Hero Tales of Ancient Persia by Firdausi and translated by Helen Zimmern. Contains 18 Stories of Persian Heroes by Ferdowsi, also transliterated as Firdawsi, Firdusi, Firdosi, Firdausi, was a Persian poet and the author of Shahnameh ("Book of Kings"), which is the world's longest epic poem created by a single poet, and the national epic of Greater Iran. Ferdowsi is celebrated as the most influential figure in Persian literature and one of the greatest in the history of literature. It is possible that Ferdowsi wrote some early poems which have not survived. He began work on the Shahnameh around 977, intending it as a continuation of the work of his fellow poet Daqiqi, who had been assassinated by a slave. Like Daqiqi, Ferdowsi employed the prose Shahnameh of Abd-al-Razzaq as a source. He received generous patronage from the Samanid prince Mansur and completed the first version of the Shahnameh in 994.
Immerse yourself in the distant past with this epic poem from the Persian tradition. Penned more than one thousand years ago by the famed poet Ferdowsi, The Shahnameh weaves history and myth into a lyrical, action-packed work of art that you won't be able to put down. This book is a must-read for folklore connoisseurs.