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Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings Vol 9, Abolqasem FerdowsiThe first modern critical edition of the Shahnameh was prepared by a Russian team led by E E Bertels, using the oldest known manuscripts at the time, dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, with heavy reliance on the 1276 manuscript from the British Museum and the 1333 Leningrad manuscript, the latter of which has now been considered a secondary manuscript In addition, two other manuscripts used in this edition have been so demoted It was published in Moscow by the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in nine volumes between 1960 and 1971.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1970 میلادیشاهنامه فردوسی در نه جلد؛ مسکو، انستیتو ملل آسیا، 1966 میلادیا شربیانی Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings, Abolqasem Ferdowsi, Dick Davis (Translator), Azar Nafisi (Foreword)Among the great works of world literature, perhaps one of the least familiar to English readers is the Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings, the national epic of Persia This prodigious narrative, composed by the poet Ferdowsi between the years 980 and 1010, tells the story of pre Islamic Iran, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab invasion in the seventh century تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه دسامبر سال 2007 میلادیا شربیانی The history of the world is a history of jerks Starting with Gilgamesh, our earliest epic hero, who makes everyone wrestle him until they are exhausted then goes off to sleep with their wives while they pray to the gods to deliver them, to Achilles sulking in his tent, the Athenians sentencing Socrates to die because he talks too much, or Tacitus writing of how Caligula, Claudius, and Nero ruled through assassination and manipulation.Sure, there are always a few levelheaded, intelligent fellows, like Caesar, Odysseus, the Sire de Coucyand in the Shahnameh, Rostambut even they can't escape the machinations of the headstrong, foolish jerks that surround them As far as Epics go, the Shahnameh is one of the darkest I've read, with a jerk quotient that's off the charts The whole thing progresses as a series of blood feuds, deadly (and tragic) misunderstandings, endless duels over minor points of honor, fathers against sons, sons against mothers, uncles against everyone, mistrust and malicious rumor, and greeddriven betrayals.Sure, there are a few genuinely reasonable guys throughout, but you can always bet that, in the end, some unstable noble with a chip on his shoulder is going to mess everything up However, that isn't to say that the jerks are nonsensical or comically evilpretty much every one has a good side, a sense of honor, a familyit's just that most of them seem to have the emotional selfcontrol of a toddler.It reminded me of the nobles in A Distant Mirror who would spend all of their crusading gold on matching green silk doublets and then show up to the battle without armor or supplies Certainly, I never found the characters' actions unlikely, though I would have appreciated a bitexplanation from Ferdowsi on precisely why certain individuals kept making the same stupid errors Much of the depth and sympathy in the Iliad stems from the fact that Homer uses the power of rhetoric to make it easy to understand the motivations behind all the pointless conflicts.Ferdowsi is a masterful writer, however, and his prose is full of a vital energy, a poetry of odd and evocative metaphors that made the scenes somethingthan simply realmade them mythical The image of an elephant's legs being so stained with man's blood that they seem to be 'pillars of coral', or Rustam's statement that, though he serves the Shah, he is still king of the world, his horse a throne, his sword a seal, his helm a crown, or this description of the coming of a Great Prophet (though I am unsure which one) to Persia: He reared throughout the realm a tree of godly foliage, and men rested beneath its branches And whosoever ate of the leaves thereof was learned in all that regardeth the life to come, but whosoever who ate of the branches was perfect in wisdom and faith Unfortunately, this translation is incomplete, ending before the coming of Eskandar (Alexander the Great), the full poem being longer than the Iliad and Odyssey combined, so it seems the rest shall have to wait.Also delightful, particularly for the devoted fantasist, is the depiction of remarkable and wondrous magics of many sorts, from guardian spirits and races of magical beings, both fair and wicked, to great wizardkings who transform into poisonspitting serpents and watch the world through crystal globes It is always inspiring to witness depictions of magic that truly surprise and mystify the reader, capable of suggesting a marvelous world somewhere beyond our own.Of course, to any student of the tradition of the cultural epic, the great work which captures the spirit of a people and an age, and sets the precedent for all works to follow, few works are equal in scope, artistry, and influenceperhaps only that of Homer and Virgil, the Ramayana and Mahabharata of India, the Four Great Novels of China, and the Bible. This is perhaps the greatest collection of stories I have ever read! It is a true dream book; if you love wonder stories, myths and heroic epics this is the kind of saga you dream about Every story is better than the one preceding it and it keeps mounting until it reaches heights of imagination and storytelling that are all but untouchable As in Persian poetry the language is rich, layered and achingly beautiful It is basically a long family saga but it never gets too complicated to follow A perfect book: humanizing, imaginationexpanding and a towering work of literature. The olden kings gave us the gift of a peaceful holiday.Calling for wine and musicians at the onset of springThey forgave, they forgot, and drank their worries away.This is a review of the edition of Shanameh published by the Quantuck Lane Press It is an adaptation, as labeled on the first page; it is certainly shorter than the full text as listed for the Penguin etc editions But it is accompanied by beautifully ornate, full illustrations on every page, original to the edition, and the text certainly seems adequate to get a good sense of the full work This is a large scale (about 14 inches tall and 10 wide) deluxe production The one I have from the library is covered in bright green cloth with a gold and maroon emblem on the front The illustrations are stunning, and repay close attention You can see several twopage spreads using the ‘’ button below the large picture of the cover at: is a long tradition of illustrations for the Shanameh, both for Iranian patrons and for export to the Ottoman Empire and India The introduction doesn’t discuss how this fits into Islamic prohibitions of figurative art There was a major exhibition of Shanameh art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art several years ago, and it would be interesting to compare these contemporary, but traditional, illustrations with the ones in the catalog: says Ferdowsi wrote this between 977 and 1010 It portrays Iran from earliest time until the Islamic conquest in the seventh century The only religion mentioned in it is Zoroastrianism.The translation/adaptation is a mix of prose and poetry, although my extracts here only quote the infrequent poetic pieces Ferdowsi’s original consists of 50,000 couplets As in the Bible, some people live for hundreds of years, while others age and die around them There are fairies and demons, although in this adaptation humans are by far the main characters I’m not going to try to summarize the Wikipedia commentary of the Shanameh’s importance in Persian history, language and literature here; but learning about the role of the poem would be well worth while The lack of any useful forward or notes in this book is a drawback but it is clearly not meant as a scholarly or complete versionthis edition is about the story and the art.At first the names and genealogy go by at dizzying speed, but the story settles in to a tale of three of four generations of two main familes in Persia and a handful in Turan, to the northeast of modern Iran (Turkmenestan) A surface reaction is that nothing changes from Herodotus to today’s New York Times: the lead story is endless rounds of vengeance and beheadings Massive armies and endless battles For generations and generations This is the national epic of Iran, the stories all children presumably hear from infancy They also hear beautiful prose and poetry, and they hear about heros who try to cauterize the last emotional wounds and stop the cycle of revenge.False confidence leads a foolish man to slaughter.He stomps on solid ground but it turns out to beA layer of straw floating on a puddle of water.At a deeper level, there is an epic story of dynasties and political negotiations about what kind of government will prevail Ferdowsi is also an incredible psychologist His kings and warriors are always in flux between their impetuous impulses and reflective wisdom The world is full of mysteries as it makes and breaks Love and wisdom forsook them both, nor didOne of them pause to correct his mistakes.Fish, onager, and beasts of burden in their mangersKnow their own, but greed so blinded father and sonThat they faced each other as strangers.He portrays many of the early kings of Persia and weak or disastrous rulers, who embroiled their countries in unnecessary wars and were vindictive or unappreciative of the brave defenders Other rulers, however, were upright and wise, and fostered art, science and justice There is a touching story of one king at only sixty years old, worn down by his duties, climbing a mountain in winter to die, disappearing, and the heroes who accompanied him against his counsel dying in the blizzard as well One gets a sense of the different cultural background of simultaneous political and military leaders and dynasties that I read as a very old tradition that may be a source of the later approach to the very different scopes of political and religious rule, when compared to the modern West Just a guess.Women are not omitted There is a story that is very close to the Greek Phaedre, with disastrous results Other women are mothers with wise advice, beautiful daughters and brides, and brave widows committing mass suicide to avoid capture as war booty Horses are just about as important as lovers As the supreme hero Rostam is finally returned in state to his city after a gruesome death by treachery at the end of the work, his faithful horse is treated to the same honored trip via a bejeweled platform on an elephant.Magnificent buildings decay by the dint of timeAnd exposure to the elements wrecks even a house of flintBut the poetic edifice I have erected in rhymeShall endure the contagion of the rain and the sun For three decades have I thus suffered to restoreThis Persian tongue and now my work is done. Shahnameh: The Epic of Persian Kings is a formidable book most translations do not include the entire manuscript Having read parts of the translation by Dick Davis, I was informed that a new translation was in the works, just as I prepared for a visit to Iran during the summer of 2012 quite conveniently taking a minicourse on the book, taught by Prof Ahmad Sadri, who just happened to be the person doing the new translation The new translation in an oversized format within a slipcase, with wonderful illustrations by Hamid Rahmanian, appeared in 2013.The Shahnameh comes with a considerable preamble because it is perhaps the most important book within Iran, a mix of mythology, history epic poetry, detailing 4 love stories 4 tragedies, 60,000 lines in all and the source of performance art in Iranian cafes elsewhere in the country It is said to be twice the size of Homer's Odyssey Iliad combined, expressed in an active voice (unlike Homer), with some of the tales going back to the 5th century B.C.E and ending at about the time of the time of the Arab conquest of Iran in 651 C.E The conquest caused the displacement of the Zoroastrian religion by Islam, though Zoroastrian New Year is still proudly celebrated in Iran in March Reading the new translation is akin to reading a graphic novel, with beautiful computergenerated illustrations by Rahmanian on every page, making it farvisually dynamic than other translations The author of the Shahnameh, Ferdowsi (which means paradise in Farsi or Persian) speaks directly to the reader often inserts what might be called guidelines for ethical action Among the things the book accomplished was to preserve the language of Iran when the conquering Arabs had demanded that it be replaced by Arabic Thus, the Shahnameh is not just an epic book of stories but a source of Iranian pride that incorporates science, art, philosophy especially Persian culture language, all in ferment after the Arab conquest The stories of folk heroes such as the knight Rostam (a sort of Persian superman figure who lived 800 years) match Persia (today's Iran) against the forces of the mythical empire of Turan, or the East, an area that today includes Turkmenistan, the old Silk Road area of China similar regions and Rostam seems the invincible force called on periodically to rescue those kings who have made decisions that imperil them Rostam is also a sort of Oedipus in reverse, killing his own unrecognized son As a word of warning, there are countless bloody battles beheadings, including some of theheroic folks within the epic Alas, even valiant always resourceful Rostam his incredible horse Rakhsh are ultimately betrayed by a family member and perish.While the Persian kings are portrayed with halos, they are quite fallible often need to be rescued and their various misdirections of authority are explained by authorial cautions in italics Ferdowi calls the specific chapters tales but cautions that they are allegoricalrendered myths or truths revealed in disguise There is a magical quality about the book, in part because of the exceedingly colorful illustrations by Rahmanian but also because of the inserted bits of wisdom offered by Ferdowsi:There is no parity between joy grief in this den of strife; One thing remains after we're gone: a good name; And that's the lesson of Kay Khosrow's life Life is full of mysteries to ponder; None can unravel this riddle of existence: So don't squander your labors on the surface of the stories; Look instead at the truths behind the signs; Where faith reason are at peace The fickle world, capriciously grants favors ever inflicts unjust pain Fortunate is the one who supplants worries for serenity of the heart, calms his covetous nature shares his wealth, without fears petty qualms.Out of context, this may seem like fortune cookie wisdom but appearing after battles lost, children slain, willful alliances that fail, family disloyalty untold mistakes of judgement, Ferdowsi's commentary is uplifting The author believes in divine forces, inescapable fates and reminds the reader that life in impermanent, thus cautioning to avoid greed attempt to be happy because all else is illusory It seems appropriate to have at long last read The Persian Book of Kings because the epic book by Absolqasen Ferdowsi was finally completed after 30 years in 1010 so by doubling that date, we have 2020 At book's end, the author comments:Magnificent buildings decay by the dint of time; And exposure to the elements wrecks even a house of flint; For 3 decades have I suffered to restore; This Persian tongue now my work is done.*There is a helpful genealogy of the main characters an excellent introduction to the illustrations by Hamid Rahmanian, a creative effort that took 10,000 hours to achieve **Included within my review are photo images of the translator, my friend Ahmad Sadri; the image of the author, Ferdowsi two examples of the wonderful illustrations by Hamid Rahmanian in this new version of the Shahnameh, an epic book I very much enjoyed. .READ PDF ♟ شاهنامه [Šāhnāme] ♩ شاهنامه فردوسی تا امروز توسط ناشران مختلف بارها چاپ شده و روانه بازار کتاب شده است در بیشتر موارد به دلیل تمایل ناشران به انتشار چاپ‌های لوکس و نفیس از این کتاب و همچنین حجم فراوان نسخه‌های تک جلدی هدف اصلی کتاب که طبعاً می‌بایست خوانده شدن باشد تحت‌الشعاع قرار گرفته استانتشارات کاروان از مجموعه کتابخانه میراث خود به تازگی شاهنامه فردوسی را در ده جلد قطع جیبی داخل قاب روانه بازار کتاب کرده است وجوه تمایز و مشخصات اصلی شاهنامه انتشارات کاروان به شرح زیر است:خوش دستی و خوش‌خوانی کتاب و امکان حمل و نقل راحت و آسان در هر مکان و زمان تدوین دو نمایه جامع برای کتاب یکی نمایه نام‌ها و دیگری نمایه مکان‌های شاهنامه توسط پژوهشگر و نویسنده معاصر محمد قاسم زاده که سالیان دراز است که روی داستان‌ها و اسطوره‌های شاهنامه تحقیق و پژوهش می‌کند برای اولین بار نمایه جامع شاهنامه همراه بامتن کتاب شاهنامه به چاپ می‌رسد برای اولین بار انتشارات کاروان نسخه معروف به چاپ مسکو را با طبقه‌بندی داستانی به چاپ می رساندفصل بندی‌های درخشان ژول مول شاهنامه پژوه فقید فرانسوی بر متن شاهنامه اجرا شده استابیات حذف شده نسخه مسکو در چاپ انتشارات کاروان داخل کروشه آورده شده تا اولاً رعایت امانت متن به جا آورده شود و در ثانی به فهم بهتر داستان‌‌ها کمک کندشاهنامه انتشارات کاروان با وسواس فراوان بارها نمونه‌خوانی و غلط‌ گیری شده و از این رو بدون اغراق یکی از کم غلط‌ ترین نسخه‌های موجود در بازار است Time is beneficial when reading this one.I originally started this July 2017 and am now finished December 2018 That would be a year and a half spent with this book And it's so incredibly appropriate because this book is a chronicle of Persia's history told through the lineage of its kings.This book begins with the Persian creation story with all of its absolute wild, unpredictable magical elements The early stories contain magic mythological creatures I'm sure if you grew up with classic Western Fairy tales, there's one that will shock you: 'Western writers stole that idea from here!' Trust me, once you read it, it's unmistakable which one I'm referring to.The bulk of this amazing book are travelling, letters, battles, marital allegiances, powerful women the men who fail to take the solid advice of their ladies Some of the battles are pretty exciting to read when the dust rises up we lose sight of who's winning Other battles shifts of kingly power are difficult to follow because anytime you condense 1000's of years of history into 900 pages, there's going to be A LOT of names mentioned with how they all relate to each other Don't fret though, just read on.Dick Davis' language sings all through Persia's history His approach to task is fantastic He condenses each of the original books The original length is a collection of encyclopedias of course So he's vey systematic about what he includes and how he showcases some of thepoetic scenes In his introduction, he admits to leaving out some offending passages that newcomers to Persian literature could be turned off by Instead, he evens out the coverage of many kings which is a slight change from the original author, Ferdowsi's approach He does this to give acomprehensive coverage of the original book within a limited number of pages Some kings still receive a whole lotattention this reflects the original What I appreciate most of all with Davis' translation is he renders this epic poem into a highly readable edition for those completely unfamiliar with Persian Literature or even the culture of this entire world its history It doesn't read like a beginner's book, there's still plenty of complexity to keep the most avid reader busy looking up references for a few years at least For those poetic scenes, often they are key moments in the story that I'm sure Persian folks know well love Davis kept them in poetic language with meter rhyme These are some of the most beautiful parts of the book makes me want to read a poetic translation of The Shahnameh Not only because they are emotionally driven scenes but also because Davis writes like a poet.Here's an example from near the beginning This brief poem describes the birth of Rostam, the greatest hero in this book And one of the coolest characters I've read during my epics project so far.He'll master all the beasts of earth and air,He'll terrify the dragon in its lair;When such a voice rings out, the leopard gnawsIn anguished terror its unyielding claws;Wild on the battlefield that voice will makeThe hardened hearts of iron warriors quake;Of cypress stature and of mammoth might,Two miles will barley show his javelin's flight.(Rostam, The Son of ZalDastan, The Birth of Rostam, Page 104105)The one shortcoming is I wish this edition contains a map for the various locations everyone traveled to There are quite a few and a map would improve my understanding of the text immensely I'm sure many of these place names have been renamed over time so google maps is no help whatsoever I've tried searching for maps of The Shahnameh online, but with no English success so far If you're interested in getting into Persian Literature, of course the well known poems of Rumi and other mystics are a great starting point As an introduction, I highly recommend The Conference of the Birds, also translated by Dick Davis.This could be a great book if you enjoy epic long tomes filled with adventure, complex who's who, some mythological elements, history some references to writing as it's developing throughout history with plenty of battle scenes some romance mixed in.Keep in mind, it's 900 pages with almost constant warfares, so it's certainly not for everyone The shifts in power keeping track of who's who why they have a grievence was the most grinding aspect of this read The battles certainly were not grinding to read for some reason.A brief video review: My literary travels around Iran continued this month with Shahnameh, and boy was it a long trip Clocking in at 854 pages (not including glossaries and indices), it took me nearly a month to read, and not for lack of interest; the stories are, for the most part, fascinating.Originally, my plan was to sample stories from Shahnameh to get an idea of Persian mythology Shahnameh is roughly the Persian equivalent of The Odyssey or Beowulf, covering stories of Persian heroes and historical events Unlike Western epics, however, it does not focus on one hero, but chronologically explores the reigns of Persia's kings from roughly 600 BC to the Arab invasions of the 7th Century AD 1300 years is quite a lot to cover, even in 854 pages, and the translator, Dick Davis, still chose to leave out what I'm guessing are the really boring parts The translation is wellwritten and intriguing, but not entirely in verse (unlike the original) Davis chooses select portions to commit to poetry, using prose for the majority of the text, and this was fine with me It made for a quicker read while dealing with the essence of the story.I loved the early stories the best, those about Sam, Zal, and Rostam, the epic heroes on par with Achilles Rostam in particular is a legendary warrior (not a Persian king) whose trials and travails keep the Persian nation safe and secure from the various invading forces And boy, was Persia invaded a LOT The later stories take onof a historical account that can be likened to Herodotus or Thucydides, and frankly, it's a bit repetitious: New king is crowned! New king rules justly King marries daughter of Chinese/Byzantine emperor to form alliance Someone gets invaded anyway Hero goes off to fight and save Persia King slights hero and he gets cranky King recognizes fault/King gets angry, begins to rule unjustly/drinks too much King repents of flaws on deathbed New king is crowned! (repeat)Actually, the middle bit about the hero sounds a lot like Achilles, but this plot sequence begins with Rostam and recycles all the way through the reigns of various kings With Rostam it is new and interesting, but by the time I got to Bahram Chubineh 700 pages later, it was old hat In his forward, Davis makes it clear that the deliberately cut the repetitious bits, but when the stories of kings and heroes mirror each other due to flaws in human nature, there's not much to be done Overall, I'd recommend the first 300 pages or so The rest is interesting, but if you're tight for time you can still get the general idea. An extraordinary book, I believe that this book has saved my mother tongue respectful language, Persian, it has saved our history All true iranians owe Ferdousi This is the book we need to remember ourselves.