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The Shah Namah: The Epic of Kings (Forgotten Books) - Softcover

9781605067858: The Shah Namah: The Epic of Kings (Forgotten Books)
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"Shahname, or Shahnama "The Book of Kings", is an enormous poetic opus written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi around 1000 [AD] and is the national epic of the Persian speaking world. The Shahnameh tells the mythical and historical past of Iran from the creation of the world up until the Islamic conquest of Iran in the 7th century.

Aside from its literary importance the Shahnameh, written in almost pure Persian, has been pivotal for reviving the Persian language subsequent to the influence of Arabic. This voluminous work, regarded by Persian speakers as a literary masterpiece, also reflects Iran's history, its cultural values, its ancient religions (Zoroastrianism), and its profound sense of nationhood. Ferdowsi completed the Shahnameh at the point in time when national independence had been compromised. While there are memorable heroes and heroines of the classical type in this work, the real, ongoing hero is Iran itself. It's thus an important book for all Persian speakers of the Iranian world, including Afghanistan and Tajikistan, to other Persian speakers of Central Asia, Pakistan, India and as far as China,as well as the many Iranians living abroad all around the world since the Revolution of 1979.

This book is also important to the remaining 200,000 Zoroastrians in the world, because the Shahnameh traces before the beginning of Zoroastrianism (Mithraism age) to the defeat of the last Zoroastrian king by Arab invaders.

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. A single sheet from the former (now Aga Khan Museum) was sold for Euros 904,000 in 2006. The Bayasanghori Shahnameh, an illuminated manuscript copy of the work (Golestan Palace, Iran), is included in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register of cultural heritage items." (Quote from

Table of Contents:

Publisher's Preface; The Shahs Of Old; Feridoun; Zal; Zal And Rudabeh; Rustem; The March Into Mazinderan; Kai Kaous Committeth More Follies; Rustem And Sohrab; Saiawush; The Return Of Kai Khosrau; Firoud; The Vengeance Of Kai Khosrau; Byzun And Manijeh; The Defeat Of Afrasiyab; The Passing Of Kai Khosrau; Isfendiyar; Rustem And Isfendiyar; The Death Of Rustem

About the Publisher:

Forgotten Books is a publisher of historical writings, such as: Philosophy, Classics, Science, Religion, Esoteric and Mythology.

Forgotten Books is about sharing information, not about making money. All books are priced at wholesale prices. We are also the only publisher we know of to print in large sans-serif font, which is proven to make the text easier to read and put less strain on your eyes.

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About the Author:

"Hakim Abol-Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi, more commonly transliterated as Ferdowsi, (935-1020) was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Persia (Iran).

Ferdowsi was born in the Iranian province of Razavi Khorasan, in a village near Tus, in 935. His father was a wealthy land owner. Ferdowsi was a pious Muslim.His great epic, the Shahnameh ("The Epic of Kings"), to which he devoted more than 35 years, was originally composed for presentation to the Samanid princes of Khorasan, who were the chief instigators of the revival of Iranian cultural traditions after the Arab conquest of the seventh century.

When he was just 23-years old, he found a "Shahnameh" written by Abu-Mansour Almoammari; it was not, however, in poetic form. It consisted of older versions ordered by Abu-Mansour ibn Abdol-razzagh. The discovery would be a fateful moment in the life of the poet. Ferdowsi started his composition of the Shahnameh in the Samanid era in 977. During Ferdowsi's lifetime the Samanid dynasty was conquered by the Ghaznavid Empire.

After 30 years of hard work, he finished the book and two or three years after that, Ferdowsi went to Ghazni, the Ghaznavid capital, to present it to the king. There are various stories in medieval texts describing the lack of interest shown by the new king, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, in Ferdowsi and his lifework. According to historians, Mahmud had promised Ferdowsi a dinar for every distich written in the Shahnameh (60,000 dinars), but later retracted and presented him with dirhams (20,000 dirhams), which were at that time much less valuable than dinars (every 100 dirhams worth 1 dinar). Some think it was the jealousy of other poets working at the king's court that led to this treachery; the incident encouraged Ferdowsi's enemies in the court. Ferdowsi rejected the money and, by some accounts, he gave it to a poor man who sold wine. Wandering for a time in Sistan and Mazandaran, he eventually returned to Tus, heartbroken and enraged.

He had left behind a poem for the King, stuck to the wall of the room he had worked in for all those years. It was a long and angry poem, more like a curse, and ended with the words:

"Heaven's vengeance will not forget. Shrink tyrant from my words of fire, and tremble at..." (Quote from

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  • PublisherForgotten Books
  • Publication date2008
  • ISBN 10 1605067857
  • ISBN 13 9781605067858
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages228
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Hakim Abol-Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi
Published by Forgotten Books (2008)
ISBN 10: 1605067857 ISBN 13: 9781605067858
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