Esfandiyar, son of Goshtasp of Iran, went to the Brazen Hold to free his sisters who had been abducted by Arjasp of Turan. Disguised as a merchant, he entered Arjasp’s fortress, found his sisters, signalled to his army outside to attack the castle, and slayed Arjasp.

Esfandiyar, son of Goshtasp of Iran, went to the Brazen Hold to free his sisters who had been abducted by Arjasp of Turan. Disguised as a merchant, he entered Arjasp’s fortress, found his sisters, signalled to his army outside to attack the castle, and slayed Arjasp.

On his way to release his sisters from Turanian ruler Arjasp in the Brazen Hold, Esfandiyar encountered Seven Perils — the counterpart of those experienced by Rostam when he rescued Key Kavus (both paralleling the Labours of Hercules).

On his way to release his sisters from Turanian ruler Arjasp in the Brazen Hold, Esfandiyar encountered Seven Perils — the counterpart of those experienced by Rostam when he rescued Key Kavus (both paralleling the Labours of Hercules).

Siyavosh, the son of King Key Kavus, returned to his father’s court from Sistan in south-east Iran, where he had been trained by Rostam. The king’s wife, Sudabeh, fell in love with Siyavosh. When he rejected her advances, she accused him of violating her and ‘borrowed’ her nurse’s stillborn twins as evidence. Here, Key Kavus watches Siyavosh and his black horse emerge unscathed from the ordeal set him, to prove his innocence or guilt.

Siyavosh, the son of King Key Kavus, returned to his father’s court from Sistan in south-east Iran, where he had been trained by Rostam. The king’s wife, Sudabeh, fell in love with Siyavosh. When he rejected her advances, she accused him of violating her and ‘borrowed’ her nurse’s stillborn twins as evidence. Here, Key Kavus watches Siyavosh and his black horse emerge unscathed from the ordeal set him, to prove his innocence or guilt.

After his fire ordeal, Siyavosh went into exile and was murdered on the order of the Turanian king, Afrasiyab. Key Khosrow, the son of Siyavosh and King Afrasiyab’s daughter, returned to Iran as prince and decided to avenge the murder of his father. He sent an army to Turan, instructing them to avoid the castle of his half-brother, Forud. But the army commander, Tus, approached the castle and when Forud offered to join the avenging army, Tus attacked him. Here, we see Forud shooting Tus’s…

After his fire ordeal, Siyavosh went into exile and was murdered on the order of the Turanian king, Afrasiyab. Key Khosrow, the son of Siyavosh and King Afrasiyab’s daughter, returned to Iran as prince and decided to avenge the murder of his father. He sent an army to Turan, instructing them to avoid the castle of his half-brother, Forud. But the army commander, Tus, approached the castle and when Forud offered to join the avenging army, Tus attacked him. Here, we see Forud shooting Tus’s…

Key Khosrow spent the night reading the Avesta (the primary collection of sacred Zoroastrian texts) and bade his companions farewell. In the morning they searched for him in vain, fell asleep and were buried in the snow.

Key Khosrow spent the night reading the Avesta (the primary collection of sacred Zoroastrian texts) and bade his companions farewell. In the morning they searched for him in vain, fell asleep and were buried in the snow.

In this illustration, the youthful Manuchehr is centrally enthroned and juxtaposed with the maturing warrior Rostam seated on the left. The painting does not illustrate a specific incident in the Shahnameh and Rostam is not even mentioned in the text, though he was born in the reign of Manuchehr.

In this illustration, the youthful Manuchehr is centrally enthroned and juxtaposed with the maturing warrior Rostam seated on the left. The painting does not illustrate a specific incident in the Shahnameh and Rostam is not even mentioned in the text, though he was born in the reign of Manuchehr.

Ardeshir killed the worm by pouring molten lead into its mouth. He then had Haftvad and his son Shahuy suspended from gibbets and shot with arrows — this image illustrates their gruesome fate. On the right, Ardeshir, crowned and under the royal parasol, makes a gesture known as ‘biting the finger of surprise’.

Ardeshir killed the worm by pouring molten lead into its mouth. He then had Haftvad and his son Shahuy suspended from gibbets and shot with arrows — this image illustrates their gruesome fate. On the right, Ardeshir, crowned and under the royal parasol, makes a gesture known as ‘biting the finger of surprise’.

this image depicts Key Khosrow’s successor, Lohrasp, enthroned. Here we see figures characteristic of the Il-Khanid court: young attendants wear split-brimmed Mongol caps with their hair in bunches, while old, bearded figures with aquiline profiles have turbans. The latter have long written scrolls and pen-boxes.  They are Persian bureaucrats, indispensable to the running of the empire. The lotus decoration on the throne back is typical for the period.

this image depicts Key Khosrow’s successor, Lohrasp, enthroned. Here we see figures characteristic of the Il-Khanid court: young attendants wear split-brimmed Mongol caps with their hair in bunches, while old, bearded figures with aquiline profiles have turbans. The latter have long written scrolls and pen-boxes. They are Persian bureaucrats, indispensable to the running of the empire. The lotus decoration on the throne back is typical for the period.

The story of Alexander the Great, called Eskandar in the Shahnameh, is an important chapter in the epic. On his way from India to North Africa he made a stop in Mecca, which may be seen as a rite of passage in his long journey towards self-discovery.

The story of Alexander the Great, called Eskandar in the Shahnameh, is an important chapter in the epic. On his way from India to North Africa he made a stop in Mecca, which may be seen as a rite of passage in his long journey towards self-discovery.

This double-page image captures the splendour of the Persian court. On the right, Lohrasp, who has just succeeded Key Khosrow, is enthroned among courtiers and entertained by musicians beside the pool, while an attendant offers him pomegranates and another one, behind the throne, holds his sword.

This double-page image captures the splendour of the Persian court. On the right, Lohrasp, who has just succeeded Key Khosrow, is enthroned among courtiers and entertained by musicians beside the pool, while an attendant offers him pomegranates and another one, behind the throne, holds his sword.

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