Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings


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Sep 29, Meg rated it really liked it Shelves: A retelling of the classic 10th century Iranian epic poem by the poet Ferdowsi, written over a period of 30 years. This Persian collection of stories is filled with kings, heroes, warriors, demons, and magical animals. The illustrations are exciting stylized, colorful double page chronicles of events, black and white line drawings, and artistic vines bordering the pages with floral designs. The stories vary in length but capture the enticing tales such as Simurgh, the giant bird, the hero Rustam A retelling of the classic 10th century Iranian epic poem by the poet Ferdowsi, written over a period of 30 years.

The stories vary in length but capture the enticing tales such as Simurgh, the giant bird, the hero Rustam and his son Sohrab, and the wicked king Zahhak. Dec 13, Rosanne Hawke rated it it was amazing Shelves: It covers half of the scope of the Shahnameh up to the death of the hero, Rustam, but as it is written for a child audience it does not show how he died.

The book is beautifully presented with each page illustrated by Shirin Adl showing characters and colourful page borders.

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Aug 23, Noushin Naziripour rated it really liked it. Enjoyed reading this folktale from ancient Persia! The stories will take children's imagination to a different world! I think boys would enjoy this book more than girls as the illustrations, stories and myths are filled with heros, kings, magical animals and demons.

Feb 19, Sheila rated it it was amazing Shelves: Loved these tales of old.


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Aug 07, James rated it it was amazing. A true ly excellent book. Having read many Ancient Greek works, reminiscent of Homeric Works. A great insight into Persian literature and culture. Oct 24, Amy added it Shelves: We love the tales of old Iran so far. Jan 12, Edward Sullivan rated it really liked it Shelves: A handsomely designed and illustrated collection of wonderfully retold stories from the Perisan epic Shahnameh.


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  4. Tibbles Fautima rated it really liked it Nov 26, Kiaa rated it it was amazing Mar 04, Michelle Anjirbag rated it really liked it Sep 13, Emma rated it liked it Jul 14, Sahana Jha rated it it was ok Jan 17, Josh Stone rated it liked it Oct 14, Ashmal rated it it was amazing Apr 20, Dale rated it it was ok Jan 13, Persian Rugs rated it it was amazing Jan 27, Shirin Lavasani rated it it was amazing Feb 26, Marie Abadikhah rated it it was amazing Feb 11, Adil Minocherhomjee rated it it was amazing Jun 28, Mel rated it it was amazing Apr 23, Zulfiqar rated it it was amazing Jun 30, Chewlinkay rated it really liked it Dec 31, Matt rated it really liked it Feb 10, Deeksha Lal rated it really liked it Jul 01, Wrong author maybe 4 29 May 09, As a window on the world, Shahnameh belongs in the company of such literary masterpieces as Dante's Divine Comedy , the plays of Shakespeare, the epics of Homer- classics whose reach and range bring whole cultures into view.

    In its pages are unforgettable moments of national triumph and failure, human courage and cruelty, blissful love and bitter grief. In tracing the roots of Iran, Shahnameh initially draws on the depths of legend and then carries its story into historical times, when ancient Persia was swept into an expanding Islamic empire. Now Dick Davis, the greatest modern translator of Persian poetry, has revisited that poem, turning the finest stories of Ferdowsi's original into an elegant combination of prose and verse.

    For the first time in English, in the most complete form possible, readers can experience Shahnameh in the same way that Iranian storytellers have lovingly conveyed it in Persian for the past thousand years. This translation of the Shanameh is well done. A brief mention of the Arsacid dynasty follows the history of Alexander and precedes that of Ardashir I , founder of the Sassanid Empire.

    After this, Sassanid history is related with a good deal of accuracy. The fall of the Sassanids and the Arab conquest of Persia are narrated romantically.


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    Ferdowsi did not expect his readers to pass over historical events indifferently, but asked them 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 singular message [ original research? The task of Ferdowsi was to prevent this history from being lost to future Persian generations. According to Jalal Khaleghi Mutlaq, the Shahnameh teaches a wide variety of moral virtues, like worship of one God; religious uprightness; patriotism; love of wife, family and children; and helping the poor.

    There are themes in the Shahnameh that were viewed with suspicion by the succession of Iranian regimes. During the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah, the epic was largely ignored in favor of the more obtuse, esoteric and dryly intellectual Persian literature. Later, there were Muslim figures such as Dr. Ali Shariati , the hero of Islamic reformist youth of the s, who were also antagonistic towards the contents of the Shahnameh since it included verses critical of Islam. After the 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 the Shahnameh , but none of them could quite achieve the same degree of fame and popularity. Some experts [ who?

    Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings - Firdawsī - Google Книги

    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.

    It is claimed that Ferdowsi went to great lengths to avoid any words drawn from the Arabic language , words which had increasingly infiltrated the Persian language following the Arab conquest of Persia in the 7th century. Ferdowsi is even quoted:. I have struggled much these thirty years in order to keep Persian ajam meaning non-Arabic, or specifically Iranian. Ferdowsi followed this path not only to preserve and purify the Persian language, but also as a stark political statement against the Arab conquest of Persia. This calls into question the idea of Ferdowsi's deliberate eschewing of Arabic words.

    The Shahnameh has 62 stories, chapters, and some 50, rhyming couplets, making it more than three times the length of Homer 's Iliad , and more than twelve times the length of the German Nibelungenlied. According to Ferdowsi himself, the final edition of the Shahnameh contained some sixty thousand distichs. But this is a round figure; most of the relatively reliable manuscripts have preserved a little over fifty thousand distichs. Nezami-e Aruzi reports that the final edition of the Shahnameh sent to the court of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni was prepared in seven volumes. The Shirvanshah dynasty adopted many of their names from the Shahnameh.

    The relationship between Shirwanshah and his son, Manuchihr, is mentioned in chapter eight of Nizami 's Leili o Majnoon. Nizami advises the king's son to read the Shahnameh and to remember the meaningful sayings of the wise. Indeed, despite all claims to the contrary, there is no question that Persian influence was paramount among the Seljuks of Anatolia. When we take into consideration domestic life in the Konya courts and the sincerity of the favor and attachment of the rulers to Persian poets and Persian literature, then this fact i. Shah Ismail I d. Although the epic was left unfinished, it was an example of mathnawis in the heroic style of the Shahnameh written later on for the Safavid kings.

    The Shahnameh 's influence has extended beyond the Persian sphere. Professor Victoria Arakelova of Yerevan University states:. During the ten centuries passed after Firdausi composed his monumental work, heroic legends and stories of Shahnameh have remained the main source of the storytelling for the peoples of this region: Giunashvili remarks on the connection of Georgian culture with that of Shahnameh:.

    Georgian ideology, customs, and worldview often informed these translations because they were oriented toward Georgian poetic culture. Conversely, Georgians consider these translations works of their native literature. Farmanfarmaian in the Journal of Persianate Studies:. Despite some popular belief, the Turanians of Shahnameh whose sources are based on Avesta and Pahlavi texts have no relationship with the ethno-linguistic group Turk today.

    According to Richard Frye , "The extent of influence of the Iranian epic is shown by the Turks who accepted it as their own ancient history as well as that of Iran The Turks were so much influenced by this cycle of stories that in the eleventh century AD we find the Qarakhanid dynasty in Central Asia calling itself the 'family of Afrasiyab' and so it is known in the Islamic history.

    Turks, as an ethno-linguistic group, have been influenced by the Shahnameh since advent of Saljuqs. I've reached the end of this great history And all the land will talk of me: I shall not die, these seeds I've sown will save My name and reputation from the grave, And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim When I have gone, my praises and my fame.

    Much I have suffered in these thirty years, I have revived the Ajam with my verse.

    New Translation of 'Persian Book of Kings'

    I will not die then alive in the world, For I have spread the seed of the word. Whoever has sense, path and faith, After my death will send me praise. This prediction of Ferdowsi has come true and many Persian literary figures, historians and biographers have praised him and the Shahnameh.

    Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings

    The Shahnameh is considered by many to be the most important piece of work in Persian literature. Western writers have also praised the Shahnameh and Persian literature in general. Persian literature has been considered by such thinkers as Goethe as one of the four main bodies of world literature. When we turn our attention to a peaceful, civilized people, the Persians, we must—since it was actually their poetry that inspired this work—go back to the earliest period to be able to understand more recent times.

    It will always seem strange to the historians that no matter how many times a country has been conquered, subjugated and even destroyed by enemies, there is always a certain national core preserved in its character, and before you know it, there re-emerges a long-familiar native phenomenon. In this sense, it would be pleasant to learn about the most ancient Persians and quickly follow them up to the present day at an all the more free and steady pace.

    Sargozasht-Nameh or biography of important poets and writers has long been a Persian tradition. Some of the biographies of Ferdowsi are now considered apocryphal, nevertheless this shows the important impact he had in the Persian world. Among the famous biographies are: Famous poets of Persia and the Persian tradition have praised and eulogized Ferdowsi. Many of them were heavily influenced by his writing and used his genre and stories to develop their own Persian epics, stories and poems: Many other poets, e.

    Hafez , Rumi and other mystical poets, have used imageries of Shahnameh heroes in their poetry. The Shahnameh 's impact on Persian historiography was immediate and some historians decorated their books with the verses of Shahnameh. Below is sample of ten important historians who have praised the Shahnameh and Ferdowsi: Illustrated copies of the work are among the most sumptuous examples of Persian miniature painting.

    Several copies remain intact, although two of the most famous, the Houghton Shahnameh and the Great Mongol Shahnameh , were broken up for sheets to be sold separately in the 20th century. The Mongol rulers in Iran revived and spurred the patronage of the Shanameh in its manuscript form. The Timurids continued the tradition of manuscript production. For them, it was considered de rigueur for the members of the family to have personal copies of the epic poem. The Safavid era saw a resurgence of Shahnameh productions.

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    In honour of the Shahnameh 's millennial anniversary, in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge hosted a major exhibition, called "Epic of the Persian Kings: Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC also hosted an exhibition of folios from the 14th through the 16th centuries, called "Shahnama: In Hamid Rahmanian illustrated a new English translation of Shanameh translated by Ahmad Sadri using images from various pictures of old manuscripts of the book to create new imagery. Scholarly editions have been prepared of the Shahnameh.

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