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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 3a


According to the traditions of former ages, recorded in the Bastan-nameh, the first person who established a code of laws and exercised the functions of a monarch in Persia, was Kaiumers. It is said that he dwelt among the mountains, and that his garments were made of the skins of beasts.

His reign was thirty years, and o'er the earth
He spread the blessings of paternal sway;
Wild animals, obsequious to his will,
Assembled round his throne, and did him homage.
He had a son named Saiamuk, a youth
Of lovely form and countenance, in war
Brave and accomplished, and the dear delight
Of his fond father, who adored the boy,
And only dreaded to be parted from him.
So is it ever with the world--the parent
Still doating on his offspring. Kaiumers
Had not a foe, save one, a hideous Demon,
Who viewed his power with envy, and aspired
To work his ruin. He, too, had a son,
Fierce as a wolf, whose days were dark and bitter,
Because the favouring heavens in kinder mood
Smiled on the monarch and his gallant heir.
--When Saiamuk first heard the Demon's aim
Was to o'erthrow his father and himself,
Surprise and indignation filled his heart,
And speedily a martial force he raised,
To punish the invader. Proudly garbed
In leopard's skin, he hastened to the war;
But when the combatants, with eager mien,
Impatient met upon the battle-field.
And both together tried their utmost strength,
Down from his enemy's dragon-grasp soon fell
The luckless son of royal Kaiumers,
Vanquished and lifeless. Sad, unhappy fate!

Disheartened by this disastrous event, the army immediately retreated, and returned to Kaiumers, who wept bitterly for the loss of his son, and continued a long time inconsolable. But after a year had elapsed a mysterious voice addressed him, saying:--"Be patient, and despair not--thou hast only to send another army against the Demons, and the triumph and the victory will be thine.

"Drive from the earth that Demon horrible,
And sorrow will be rooted from thy heart."

Saiamuk left a son whose name was Husheng, whom the king loved much more even than his father.

Husheng his name. There seemed in him combined,
Knowledge and goodness eminent. To him
Was given his father's dignity and station.
And the old man, his grandsire, scarcely deigned
To look upon another, his affection
For him was so unbounded.

Kaiumers having appointed Husheng the leader of the army, the young hero set out with an immense body of troops to engage the Demon and his son. It is said that at that time every species of animal, wild and tame, was obedient to his command.

The savage beasts, and those of gentler kind,
Alike reposed before him, and appeared
To do him homage.

The wolf, the tiger, the lion, the panther, and even the fowls of the air, assembled in aid of him, and he, by the blessing of God, slew the Demon and his offspring with his own hand. After which the army of Kaiumers, and the devouring animals that accompanied him in his march, defeated and tore to pieces the scattered legions of the enemy. Upon the death of Kaiumers Husheng ascended the throne of Persia.

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