Home Page   •   Blog   •   Site Contents   •   Contact

Zoroastrian Heritage

Author: K. E. Eduljee





The epic

The Poet Ferdowsi


Writing & Books

Oral Tradition

Ferdowsi's Sources

Khvatay-Namak / Khodai-Nama

Achaemenian Era Book of King - Basilikai Difeterai


Other Legends

Ferdowsi's Original Work Lost

Differences in Shahnameh Copies

Reconstruction of an Authoritative Shahnameh

English Translations

Spelling of the Names

Resources-Persian Text


Ferdowsi's Manuscript

Earliest Surviving Manuscript Copies Known

Recent Manuscript Discovery in Beirut

Illuminated Manuscripts

Great Mongol/Demotte Manuscript

Bayasanghori Manuscript

Tahmaspi/Houghton Manuscript

Elation, Regret & Hope

Shahnameh's Characters

The Heroes - Story in Brief

English Translation

W = Warner & Warner
A = James Atkinson
Z = Helen Zimmerman

1. Prologue W

2. Creation W

3. Gaiumart W

3. Kaiumers A

4. Hushang W

5. Tahmuras W

6. Jamshid W

7. Zahak W

3-7. Shahs of Old Z

8. Faridun W

9. Minuchihr, Sam, Zal, Rustam W

10. Naudar W

11. Zav W

12. Kai Kaus 1 W

13. 7 Courses of Rustam W

14. Kai Kaus 2 W

15. Kai Kaus 3 W

16. Warriors W

17. Suhrab W

18. Siyawush W

19. Kai Khusrau 1 W

20. Kai Khusrau 2 W

21. Farud W

22. Kai Khusrau 3 W

23. Rustam W

24. Rustam's Exploits W

25. Bizhan W

26. Gudarz W

27. Great War W

28. Passing of Kai Khusrau W

29. Luhrasp & Gushtasp W

30. Gushtasp & Zardhusht W

31. Asfandiyar's Seven Stages W

32. Asfandiyar W

33. Asfandiyar's Fight with Rustam W

34. Rustam & Shaghad W

35. Bahman W

36. Humai & Darab W

36a. Humai & Darab A

37. Darab & Dara A

38. Sikandar A

Satire on Sultan Mahmud A

The Heroes - Story in Brief


The Characters

Locale - Sistan

Pahlavans & Their Role


Zal Woos Princess Rudabeh

The Birth of Rustam

Rustam's Horse Rakhsh

Rustam Meets Princess Tahmina

The Tragedy of Sohrab

Page 3

Chapter 1
The Beginning of History - The Pishdadian Dynasty

The Greaness of Gaiumart and the Envy of Ahriman

What saith the rustic bard? Who first designed
To gain the crown of power among mankind?
Who placed the diadem upon his brow?
The record of those days hath perished now
Unless one, having borne in memory
Tales told by sire to son, declare to thee
Who was the first to use the royal style
And stood the head of all the mighty file.
He who compiled the ancient legendary,
And tales of paladins, saith Gaiumart
Invented crown and throne, and was a Shah.
This order, Grace, and lustre came to earth
When Sol was dominant in Aries
And shone so brightly that the world grew young.
Its lord was Gaiumart, who dwelt at first
Upon a mountain; thence his throne and fortune
Rose. He and all his troop wore leopard-skins,
And under him the arts of life began,
For food and dress were in their infancy.
He reigned o'er all the earth for thirty years,
In goodness like a sun upon the throne,
And as a full moon o'er a lofty cypress
So shone he from the seat of king of kings.
The cattle and the divers beasts of prey
Grew tame before him; men stood not erect
Before his throne but bent, as though in prayer,
Awed by the splendour of his high estate,
And thence received their Faith.
He had a son
Named Siyamak, ambitious like his sire,
A youth well favoured, skilled, and fortunate,
His father's Life, whose joy was gazing on him,
That fruitful offshoot of the ancient stem.
That Life the father cherished tenderly,
And wept for love, consumed by dread of parting.
Thus time passed onward and the kingdom prospered,
For Gaiumart had not an enemy
Except, in secret, wicked Ahriman,
Who led by envy sought the upper hand.
He had a son too, like a savage wolf
Grown fearless, and a host of warriors.
The son assembled these and sought his sire,
Resolved to win the great Shah's throne and crown,
Whose fortune joined with that of Siyamak
Made the world black to him. He told his purpose
To every one and filled the world with clamour;
But who told Gaiumart about the foe?
The blest Surush appeared in fairy-form,
Bedight with leopard-skin, and told the king
The projects that his foes were harbouring.

How Siyamak was Slain by the Hand of the Div

News of that foul div's acts reached Siyamak,
Who listened eagerly; his heart seethed up
With rage. He gathered troops, arrayed himself
In leopard-skin, for mail was yet unworn,
And went to fight. When host met host he came
In front unarmed to grapple with the son
Of Ahriman. That horrible Black Div
Clutched at, bent down that prince of lofty stature
And rent him open. Thus died Siyamak
By that foul hand and left the army chiefless.
When Gaiumart heard this the world turned black
To him, he left his throne, he wailed aloud
And tore his face and body with his nails;
His cheeks were smirched with blood, his heart was broken,
And life grew sombre. All the soldiers wept,
Consumed upon the flames of woe, and wailed
As clad in turquoise-coloured garb they stood
Before the portal of the Shah. All cheeks
Were wine-red, for all eyes shed tears of blood.
Birds, timid beasts and fierce, flocked to the mountain
With doleful cries in anguish, and dust rose
Before the court-gate of the mighty Shah.
When one year had passed thus the blest Surush
Was sent by God; he greeted Gaiumart
And said: "Lament no more, control thyself,
Do as I bid, collect thy troops and turn
Thy foemen into dust, relieve earth's surface
Of that vile div and thine own heart of vengeance."
The famous Shah looked up and cursed his foes,
Then, calling by the highest of all names
Upon his God, he wiped his tears away
And prosecuted vengeance night and day.

How Hushang and Gaiumart went to Fight the Black Div

The blessed Siyamak had left a son,
His grandsire's minister, a prince by name
Hushang - a name implying sense and wisdom.
It was the lost restored and fondly cherished,
And therefore being set on war the Shah
Sent for the prince and frankly told him all :-
"I mean to gather troops and raise the war-cry,
But thou being young shalt lead for I am spent."
He raised a host of fairies, lions, pards,
And raveners, as wolves and fearless tigers,
But took the rear, his grandson led the host.
The Black Div though in terror raised the dust
To heaven, but his claws were hanging slack
Frayed by the roaring beasts. Hushang saw this
And putting forth his hands like lion's paws
Made earth too narrow for the lusty div,
Then flayed him, lopping off his monstrous head,
And trampled him in scorn thus flayed and shent.
The days of Gaiumart had reached their close
When he achieved this vengeance on his foes;
He passed away, the world was for his heir,
But see who hath had glory to compare
With his! He owned this tricky world and made
The path of gain his path, and yet he stayed
Not to enjoy, for like a story done
Is this world: good and ill abide with none.

Go to Top

» Site Contents

Search Our Site: