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Transcript of Shahnameh
Callie Johnson Background Pre-Islamic Persia Zoroastrianism Follow prophet Zoroaster
One god, Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord") - 1st monotheistic
Creation is pure and deserves respect
Distinction between good (Heaven) and evil (Hell)
View of humans:
Human free will
Everyone complex - no archetypes
Even the best have flaws
Influenced many other Abrahamic religions
Died after 1,000 verses - rise of Zoroaster
940 CE: Born in Iran near Toos
Landowner and father of 2 children
Devoted life to writing Shahnameh
For Samanid princes of Khorasan
Paid only 20,000 dirhams - legend?
1010 CE: Finished Shahnameh
1020 CE: Died in poverty and neglect Poets of the Shahnameh Persia's national epic
Written in Farsi - most were speaking Arabic
Modern Farsi is very similar to Ferdowsi's Farsi
Written at a time when national independence had been compromised
Studied by current Iranian poets
Still read and told The Shahnameh's Influence The Shahnameh In Its Entirety AKA "The Epic of Kings"
62 stories, 990 chapters, 55,000 rhyming couplets
Legends & histories of kings from primordial times
the Arab conquest of Iran in 7th century CE
Both accurate account of history and interesting story (fact & legend)
Zoroaster's original view of human condition
Many come and go
Lasting - Iran; sunrises/sunsets General Sections Consists of three sections: Mythical Age 4%
Stories - creation & first man:
Story of first man (Keyumars) - becomes first king after period of mountain dwelling
His grandson (Hushang) - discovers fire and establishes Sadeh Feast in its honor
Reasoning behind traditions
Historical work = simplicity, predictability, swiftness
**ZOROASTRIANISM** Heroic/Legendary Age 65%
Manuchehr’s reign the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great
Sagzi/Sistani heroes - backbones of empire
One hero = Iran
Describes feudal society
Tone = epic, moving; Language = rich, varied
**ROSTAAM AND SOHRAB** Historical Age 30%
Ashkanian Dynasty: history of Alexander Ardeshir I (founder of the Sassanian dynasty)
Tells of semi-mythical adventures of actual historical Kings
Reigns and adventures
•Fall of Sassanids and Arab conquest of Iran
Narration = romantic, poetic
**KINGS AND HISTORY** The Big Picture Main messages:
The need for humanity to reflect on historical events to improve its future
Avoid evils and strive for good
To preserve the value of Persian history as a whole
1) Creation - evil is external
2) Evil permeates human nature
3) Evil permeates nobility
4) Everyone is evil Epic Characteristics The Shahnameh as a Literary Epic Poetry
One poet (mostly) - Ferdowsi
Accurate historical information and legends blended
Figurative language and details 550 BCE 330 BCE 2002 March (cc) image by jantik on Flickr Cyrus the Great battles Medes people 550-330 BCE First Persian empire - Achaemenid Alexander the Great sacks Persepolis 150-200 CE 600 CE 200-600 CE (cc) image by jantik on Flickr Hellenistic period General Characteristics Sassanid Empire rises Islamic conquest by Arabs Read aloud - drums
Ceremonies on holidays
Gatherings in tea houses
Persia's national epic
Recalls the struggles of Iran - changing dynasties and conquests
Rostaam - "bravest of the brave"
Subject of epic announced in first lines
Long epic composed of many epyllions
Takes place in Iran over hundreds of years
Ex. Rostaam becomes boy in 5 days
Preservation of Zoroastrianism and Iran's identity at stake Rostaam and Sohrab Plot Rostaam's Birth Son of King Zal (the king with white hair) and his wife Princess Rudabeh
Rudabeh endured significant pain during labor
King Zal burns a magical feather to signal to Simorgh, magical bird and his guardian
Simorgh arranges for first caesarean birth
Five days after birth size of young boy
Weeks after birth size of young man Adventures of Rostaam 7 feats: kills lion, slays dragon, cleaves withc, etc.
Attains Rakhsh - finest horse - many adventures together
Rakhsh disappears during the night
Rostaam searches across Persia for him
Rostaam meets Princess Tamina in Samangan - become lovers
Rostaam finds Rakhsh and returns home The End Nine months later, Tamina gives birth to Sohrab - Rostaam's son
Sohrab - mightiest Turanian warrior
Turanian army sends Sohrab to fight Rostaam (without telling him his opponent's name)
Sohrab fights Rostaam; Rostaam stabs Sohrab
While dying, Sohrab recalls his admiration of Rostaam
Rostaam mourns while he watches his only son die - tragedy (no resolution) Epic Hero Characteristics Events dealing with war
Rostaam = warrior, leader, and speaker
Rostaam possesses Rakhsh - magical horse
Long, perilous journey to find Rakhsh
Undertakes a task in which most warriors have failed to succeed in - 7 feats; taming Rakhsh; wrestling Sohrab
Rostaam defeats Sohrab in battle
Climax occurs at very end - Rostaam v. Sohrab in battle
Suspense builds - Rostaam does not know his son in battle
Equal foes = Rostaam stabs Sohrab with his sword Rostaam vs. Campbell's Hero Shahnameh Rap Bibliography Clayton, Sally. Shahname Synopsis. British Library, 2005. Web, 16 Sept. 2012.
Eduljee, K. E. Zoroastrian Heritage. Heritage Institute, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.
Karunsky, Alex. Carleton College. Carleton College, 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 13 Sept.
Ferdowsi & The Shahnameh. Shahnameh, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.
The Islamic World to 1600. The University of Calgary, 1998. Web. 2012 Sept. 2012.
"The Shaname." British Library. British Library, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.
The Shahnameh. Rostam: Tales from the Shahnameh, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.
“The Shahnama Project.” Princeton. Princeton University, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.
Shahnameh.eu. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012.
“Zoroastrianism.” BBC Religions. BBC. BBC, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. Crossing 1st Threshold Woman as Temptress Supernatural Aid Birth Road of Trials Call to Adventure Refusal to Return Ultimate Boon Spark Apotheosis Atonement with Father (cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr Difficult birth; 1st caesarean birth; royalty Son of king - becomes warrior; defends Iran Attains finest horse -Rakhsh Loses Rakhsh and sets out to find him 7 feats; searches Persia for Rakhsh Love affair with Tamina during search Rostaam v. Sohrab; Rostaam stabs Sohrab Sohrab recalls admiration for Rostaam and dies; Rostaam realizes he killed his son Rostaam won battle - defends Iran Rostaam mourns his son's death