The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

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THE SHAHNAMEH (Book of Kings) is the national epic of Iran composed by the poet Ferdowsi between 980 and 1010 AD. It tells the story of ancient Persia, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab-Islamic invasion in the seventh century. Brilliantly translated into prose and verse (in the naqqali tradition) by the poet and Ferdowsi scholar Dick Davis and magnificently illustrated with miniatures from the greatest Shahnameh manuscripts of the 14th to 17th centuries (in museums and private collections around the world), these volumes give English-language readers access to a world of vanished wonders. This is a new slipcase set--limited to 300--of the three volumes below. THE LION AND THE THRONE, volume I of this series of the major stories of the Shahnameh, covers the first third of the poem and broaches the themes of Ferdowsi s epic: the origins of civilization; the notion of kingship; tenderness and a longing for justice and social order. The stories in this volume include: The First Kings; The Demon-King Zahhak; Feraydun & His Three Sons; The Story of Iraj; The Vengeance of Manuchehr; Sam & the Simorgh; Zal & Rudabeh; Rostam, the Son of Zal-Dastan; Iran & Turan; Rostam & His Horse, Rakhsh; Rostam & Kay Qobad; Kay Qobad & Afrasyab; Kay Kavus; War Against the Demons of Mazandaran; The Seven Trials of Rostam; The King of Hamaveran & His Daughter Sudabeh; The Tragic Tale of Sohrab. There are also a glossary of names and their pronunciation, a summary of the complete Shahnameh, and a guide to the Persian miniatures which illuminate the tales. FATHERS AND SONS, volume II of the series, opens and closes with tales of tragic conflict between a king and his son: Prince Seyavash and Prince Esfandyar are both driven from the court by their foolish fathers to confront destiny and death in distant lands. Interwoven with Seyavash s story is the tale of his stepmother Sudabeh s lust for her young stepson, and of his escape from her tricks by the famous trial by fire; Esfandyar s story involves the last combat of the great Rostam, a fight to the death which leads to Rostam s own demise at the hands of his evil brother Shaghad. Between these two stories the reader travels through a wondrous landscape of romance (Bizhan and Manizheh), demons (the Akvan Div), heroic despair (the tale of Forud) and mystical renunciation of the world (Kay Khosrow's mysterious last journey). SUNSET OF EMPIRE, the third and final volume of the series, moves from mythology and legend to romanticized history. Here the mighty events that shook ancient Persia from the time of Alexander of Macedon s conquest to the Arab invasion of the seventh century are reflected in the stirring and poignant narratives of Ferdowsi, the master poet who took on himself the task of preserving his country s great pre-Islamic heritage. Vast empires rise and fall, the rule of noble kings and cruel tyrants, the fortunes of a people buffeted by contending tides of history. Larger than life individuals are vividly depicted--the impulsive, pleasure-loving king Bahram Gur, the wise, long-suffering vizier Bozorjmehr, the brave rebel Bahram Chubineh, his loyal defiant sister Gordyeh, and many others--but we also see many vignettes of everyday life in the villages and towns of ancient Persia, and in this part of the Shahnameh Ferdowsi indulges his talent for sly humor much more than in the earlier tales. The poem rises to its magnificent climax in its last pages, when the tragic end of an era is recorded, and Ferdowsi and his characters look with foreboding towards an unstable and fearful future.

cover of The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kingsauthor: Abolqasem Ferdowsi
ASIN or ISBN-10: 1933823410
binding: Hardcover
list price: $395.00 USD
amazon price: $395.00