The Shahnameh or
book of kings is a compilation of history, myths, traditions, religious lore and
philosophy and folktales that was compiled and rendered into verse in the then
language (Farsi) by
about 990 in the reigns of the
Ghaznavid dynasties. The Shahnameh covered the entire history, culture and past glories
beginning with the creation of the world and the period before
The Shahnameh has become the cultural centerpiece of
culture. It was based on the oral traditions and recorded history extant at
time it was compiled.
The Shahnameh can be divided into several parts, corresponding to the
mythical, heroic, and historical ages.
In the first cycle of creation, evil is external (the devil). This text is
based primarily on the oral history of religious bards or muba'ads.
In the second part we see the beginnings of family hatred, bad behavior, and
evil permeating human nature. Shah Ferseyun's two eldest sons feel greed and
envy toward their innocent younger brother and, thinking their father favors
him, they murder him. The murdered prince's son avenges the murder, and all are
immersed in the cycle of murder and revenge, blood and more blood.
In the third cycle, there are a series of flawed shahs.
In the next cycle, all the players are evil.
The Shahnameh incorporated an unfinished work of the poet Daqiqi, the Garshaspnameh,
that relates the rise of
The Shahnahmeh incorporates and argues for the monotheistic theology of
Zoroastrianism rather than
mourned the fall of the
empires and the conquest by Arabs
and Turks. The Shahnameh preserved the real or imagined memory of
golden age and transmitted it to posterity, building a
national tradition against the encroachments of the Turks, the Arabs and the
November 10, 2010
Synonyms and alternate spellings:
History of modern Iran