Tag Archives: Shahnameh

The Middle Persian Book of Kings

Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko. 2018. Khwadāynāmag: The Middle Persian Book of Kings (Studies in Persian Cultural History 14). Leiden: Brill.
The Khwadāynāmag is often conceived of as a large book of stories, comparable to Firdawsī’s Shāhnāme, but Hämeen-Anttila convincingly shows that it was a concise and dry chronicle. He also studies the lost Arabic translations of the book, which turn out to be fewer than hitherto thought, as well as the sources of Firdawsī’s Shāhnāme, showing that the latter was only remotely related to the Khwadāynāmag. It also becomes clear that there were no separate “priestly” and “royal” Khwadāynāmags.

Shahnama Studies III

van den Berg, Gabrielle (ed.). 2017. Shahnama Studies III: The Reception of the Shahnama. Leiden: Brill.

Shahnama Studies III focuses on the hugely successful afterlife of the Shahnama or Book of Kings, completed by the poet Firdausi around 1010 AD. This long epic grew out to be an icon of Persian culture and served as a source of inspiration for art and literature, leaving its traces in manifold ways. The contributors to this volume each treat an aspect of the rich legacy of the Shahnama and offer new insights in Shahnama manuscript studies, the illustration of the Shahnama, the phenomenon of later epics, and the Shahnama in later texts and contexts. Continue reading Shahnama Studies III

Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes

Askari, Nasrin. 2016. The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes (Studies in Persian Cultural History 9) Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Nasrin Askari explores the medieval reception of Firdausī’s Shāhnāma, or Book of Kings (completed in 1010 CE) as a mirror for princes. Through her examination of a wide range of medieval sources, Askari demonstrates that Firdausī’s oeuvre was primarily understood as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly elites. In order to illustrate the ways in which the Shāhnāma functions as a mirror for princes, Askari analyses the account about Ardashīr, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, as an ideal king in the Shāhnāma. Within this context, she explains why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr.

Nasrin Askari, PhD, (2012), University of Toronto, has completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia, and will be working on her next project at the University of Oxford as a Bahari Visiting Scholar in the Persian Arts of the Book.

Ferdowsi’s presentation of Zoroastrianism in an Islamic light

Ghazanfari, Kolsoum. 2015. Ferdowsi’s Presentation of Zoroastrianism in an Islamic Light, Journal of Persianate Studies  8 (1). 23 – 41.

Composed in 10th and 11th century ce, the Shāhnāmeh (The Book of the Kings) contains Iranian ancient history since the first king, Gayumart/Kayumars, up to the end of Sasanian era. One reason behind its popularity is the poet’s method and art in describing and explaining ancient religious elements in such a way that it does not cause religious bias among Zoroastrians and Muslims. This article shows that Ferdowsi has employed various methods to read religious issues of ancient Iran in the light of the social, cultural, and religious spirit of his own time. In his epic narratives, Ferdowsi paid serious attention to contemporary beliefs and social conditions, and this can account for the popularity of the Shāhnāmeh and its lasting influence.


Ethics of War and Peace in the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi

Mahalati, Mohammad Jafar Amir. 2015. Ethics of War and Peace in the Shahnameh of FerdowsiIranian Studies. 48(6), 905-931.


This article provides an overview of the ethics of war and peace in the most important and normatively influential work of epic literature known in the eastern lands of Islam, namely the shahnameh of Ferdowsi (d. 1020 CE). As one of the greatest sources of the Iranian cultural identity for over a millennium, Shahnameh (lit. The book of kings) defines normative ideals in the ethics of war and peace within narratives that connect the ancient history of Iran to its mythical eras and in effect to both the medieval time of the epic’s authorship and modern Iranian identity. By identifying limits, standards and legitimacy for war and peace in Shahnameh, this article aims to facilitate an Iranian contribution to the global literature and practice on peacemaking that has deep roots in the Islamo-Persian tradition.

The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature

The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature

Iranian Studies, volume 48, Number 3, May 2015. Special issue: “The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature

The special issue of the Journal of Iranian Studies, guest-edited by Franklin Lewis is dedicated to studies on Shahname within a  “world literature”  framework.

Iranian Studies is a peer reviewed journal of history, literature, culture and society, covering everywhere with a Persian or Iranian legacy, especially Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus and northern India.
Continue reading The Shahnameh of Ferdowsi as World Literature

The Kurdish Šāhnāma

Chaman Ara, Behrooz. The Kurdish Šāhnāma and Its Literary and Religious Implications. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.

The Kurdish Shanama and its Literary and Religious Implications, as the result of a long-time fieldwork in the cultural spans of Zagros, focuses on the newly survived epic-heroic narratives known as Razm-nama, Jang-nama or Shanama. In this work, author draws attention to the existence of an unexpectedly rich epic-heroic tradition in literary Gurani (a composite idiom used in the Zagros regions) and strongly suggest that this tradition is largely independent of the Ferdowsi’s Shahnama but has many common features with other works of the Sistani cycle of epics and the Persian Naqqali tradition. This work addresses the structural and contextual similarities and differences between this tradition and its counterparts in Persian literature, and subsequently proposes a new understanding of the term Shahnama and the term Xwadaynamag. In this work, Chaman Ara, challenges the common understandings of the concept of Gurani, and presents analysis and descriptions of some linguistic features of the theory of Gurani literary language.
See here for the ToC and the Preface to this volume.
Behrooz Chaman Ara received his PhD in 2014 from the Institute of Iranian Studies of the Georg-August University of Göttingen. His research focuses on the Kurdish languages, literature and cultures.

Digitised copy of Shahnameh

A digitised copy of a Shahnameh dated 614 H./1217 and held at the Italian National Library in Florence is now available online.

Access the digitised version here, or read more about the manuscript here.

سندیت تاریخی شاهنامه

دریایی، تورج. ۱۳۹۲. سندیت تاریخی شاهنامه. در تورج دریایی، ناگفته‌های امپراتوری ساسانیان (هزاره‌های دنیای باستان ۲)، ۹۱–۱۰۹. تهران.

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