Literature: Translations of the Shahnama, partially translated by Helen Zimmern. / B.W. Robinson, The Persian Book of Kings. (London and New York, 2002) / A.G. and E. Warner, The Shahnama of Firdawsi, 9 vols. (London, 1905-25) / Shah-Nama by Ferdowsi (Translated by Reuben Levy). Chicago 1967. The University of Chicago Press

The BOOK of KINGS (partial translation)

The Manuscripts of Shahnameh


The Epic of Kings by Hakim Abol Qasem Ferdowsi Tousi

The Shahnameh or the Epic of Kings was a project first started by Daqiqi. Daqiqi’s work did not go to waste, as it was later used by the great Persian poet, Firdowsi. The work of Firdowsi, a 9th Century Persian poet, born in 935, provides important evidence in relation to the history and development of the Persian Empire. Fedowsi proceeded to spend 36-thirty six years of his life penning the sixty thousand verses or bayts or one hundred twenty thousand lines, creating the Book of Kings. Ferdowsi’s clear aim in writing the Shahnameh was to revive the Persian history and culture or Ajam. As Ferdowsi himself says “Ajam zinda kardam bad-in porsi”-"Ajam (Persian history, culture and language) is revived by this work".

The Shahnameh begins with the details of Gayomard or Kayumars, the first king of Persia in the Shahnameh. Who was the first man or first mortal ancestor of the Persians, as mentioned in the Avesta a pre-Christian Holy book of Persian religion Zarathustra. The Shahnama or "Book of Kings" is the longest poem ever written by a single author. The Epic of Kings is divided into legendary, prominent and historical sections.

The Shahnameh details the descendants of Gayomard, including King Jamshed, who build the Persepolis in today’s Iran, and which is called Takhte-Jamshed, the throne of Jamshed. The Shahnameh confirms thatJamshed’s grandson was known as Feridoun, whose three sons were Salim, Tur and Iraj. Feridoun prepared a test for his sons to see if they were worthy to inherit his kingdom. The first two sons failed the test and Iraj was revealed as worthy. Feridoun divided his kingdom, and gave the north west of his kingdom to Silim. The north east of his kingdom he gave to Tur, and the southern part of his kingdom he gave to Iraj, including the capital Persepolis. Silim and Tur eventually murdered their brother Iraj because they were discontented with their father’s decision. The Shahnameh confirms that Afrosiab was a descendant of Tur and he proclaimed himself Lord of Persia. He too was evil like his ancestor and was greedy to rule over the whole of Persia…..