Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings By Abolqasem Ferdowsi

    Shahnameh:

    Baught the book as a gift and two main issue with physical quality of the book.* There is sticker with a price tag which could not be removed. I wanted this to be a gift.* More importantly some of the pages on the book was not cut correctly. What I mean is as the book is made of pages which is cut and about 30 or 40 pages was not cut straight. 1040 pages The book is large, but the writing has the easy movement of a folk story. A great insight into Iranian myth and history. 1040 pages Having watched a documentary on Persia, I decided I had to read this Iranian national epic and this abridged translation seemed to be the best one available. At over 900 pages it is a very long saga of quarreling kings and heroes, filled with moral messages about the fitness of kings to rule, and a timely warning that life is fleeting. Here the supernatural elements include giant birds, magic leaves, angels and demons and the hero Rostam's ferocious strength, and kings crossing rivers without drowning. I really enjoyed the exotic Eastern aspects with rich cities, and sands of the desert, and kings hunting wild asses (rather than stags or boars) with falcons and cheetahs (rather than hounds), and warriors using lariats and maces as well as swords and lances, and riding elephants as well as horses. I enjoyed the dynamic between the empires of Iran, and China, and India, and the West, and finally the Arabs who scorned the riches of the Persian kings. An introduction gives the historical context of the saga which perhaps wasn't as detailed as I would have liked, since it is pseudo history rather than the ancient history of Darius and Xerxes, and I wondered if any of the characters were based on real historical characters or borrowed from folklore. Alexander the Great is referred to as a Christian, perhaps reflecting the religion of the neighbouring Greek speaking Byzantines when the epic was written. The stock phrases used throughout these kind of ancient sagas, which is one of the complaints by the reviewers, are by their nature repetitive. Warriors have the hearts of lions, strength of dragons or sea monsters, and are as tall as cypress trees, and women have faces shining like moon with musky hair, and there are so many troops on the battlefield that insects cannot pass between them. A bizarre image was warriors having jewels and gold coins poured over their heads like confetti, as well as processions of elephants and women carrying treasure, reminding me of the Arabian Nights. And yet I quite enjoyed the variations on the sun appearing as a bright lamp in the sky, a gold coin, and a black cloak of night being pulled back. Although there is a list of names at the end of the book, I feel a family tree of the main characters would have helped since most of the conflict is between rival kings of Iran and Turan descended from a common grandfather, whose fortunes ebb and flow throughout the saga and it can be hard to keep track of who is the son of who. Some of the verses do seemed forced, but overall I enjoyed what it was, a pseudo history of Persian history told in an abridged form through prose and verse. 1040 pages Davis says in his excellent introduction (but don’t try to read it before reading the text unless you are already an aficionado of Persian history and literature) that he is writing for the general reader.Well that’s me and he has done a cracking job. At first his gentle, rhythmical apparently simplistic style can seem naïve, until as the centuries of years and pages pass you start to get the wisdom of the philosophy of the text which somehow goes with the beguiling rhythms of the speech, somewhat like a long fairy tale spoken out loud from a rocking chair.I felt I had learned a huge amount of the spirit, the culture and the wisdom of ancient Persia.This ancient poem (mostly translated into poetical prose) tells the story of Persia from than a thousand years BC up until the triumph of Islam, and indeed commences with a creation myth. It was written perhaps based on written and oral records about 1000 years ago at a time when there was a particular interest in pre Islamic culture. The author Ferdowsi speaks with a voice representing the religion of the time – pre Zoroastrian or Zoroastrian. For reasons that Davis is unable to entirely explain it misses out the great Persian Emperors any student of ancient history is familiar with, like Cyrus, Xerxes etc – Davis thinks the author Ferdowsi was spellbound by the history of Eastern Persia/Western Afghanistan which especially the earlier part actually covers.It does include a fascinating account of Alexander (called Sekander), which account as Davis mentions divides the earlier accounts of fantastic heroes most notably Rostam and the later modern and morally ambiguous historical tales of the Sasanid kings.All these tales are however told with relish for the drama inherent in them.The Persian style appears to be one of delight in this world – the women, the wine, the countless jewels and wealth but at the same time religious devotion and brief but profound meditations on morality descend on us typically at the end of every adventure.This book is a great delight, and anyone who likes a good tale and has an interest in Persian history is in for a treat. 1040 pages This may well be the great Persian epic, but in that case Heaven help Iran. There are occasional moments of relief, like Kay Khusrow's self analysis, or Ardeshir's just administration, but these are only oases in a desert of vaunting vainglory sprinkled with base treachery. I've long felt I ought to read it, and now it's done, and I'm sorry to have so bestowed my time. 1040 pages

    The definitive translation by Dick Davis of the great national epic of Irannow newly revised and expanded to be the most complete English language edition

    A Penguin Classic

    Dick Davisour pre eminent translator from the Persian ( The Washington Post)has revised and expanded his acclaimed translation of Ferdowsis masterpiece, adding than 100 pages of newly translated text. Daviss elegant combination of prose and verse allows the poetry of the Shahnameh to sing its own tales directly, interspersed sparingly with clearly marked explanations to ease along modern readers.

    Originally composed for the Samanid princes of Khorasan in the tenth century, the Shahnameh is among the greatest works of world literature. This prodigious narrative tells the story of pre Islamic Persia, from the mythical creation of the world and the dawn of Persian civilization through the seventh century Arab conquest. The stories of the Shahnameh are deeply embedded in Persian culture and beyond, as attested by their appearance in such works as The Kite Runner and the love poems of Rumi and Hafez.

    For than sixty five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English speaking world. With than 1,500titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust theseries to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up to datetranslations by award winning translators. Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

    Review ó PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ò Abolqasem Ferdowsi