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).

At the outset of the prose epic Darabnameh, Bahman, son of Esfandiyar and known as Ardeshir, rules in Iran. He is told that a dragon has appeared in the mountains and is causing havoc with the herds. He goes alone to deal with the threat and suddenly the fire-breathing dragon emerges and swallows him. This is the only incident in which a monster triumphs over a hero, and it may represent the mythologized version of a political event.

At the outset of the prose epic Darabnameh, Bahman, son of Esfandiyar and known as Ardeshir, rules in Iran. He is told that a dragon has appeared in the mountains and is causing havoc with the herds. He goes alone to deal with the threat and suddenly the fire-breathing dragon emerges and swallows him. This is the only incident in which a monster triumphs over a hero, and it may represent the mythologized version of a political event.

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.

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.

In pursuit of the fleeing Afrasiyab, Key Khosrow came to the mighty Sea of Zareh. A large inland body of water in the Shahnameh, the Sea of Zareh is now a marshy border area between Iran and Afghanistan, fed in part by the Helmand River. With provisions for a year, Key Khosrow set sail towards Afrasiyab’s stronghold of Gang Dezh. He encountered strange sea creatures during the seven-month voyage.

In pursuit of the fleeing Afrasiyab, Key Khosrow came to the mighty Sea of Zareh. A large inland body of water in the Shahnameh, the Sea of Zareh is now a marshy border area between Iran and Afghanistan, fed in part by the Helmand River. With provisions for a year, Key Khosrow set sail towards Afrasiyab’s stronghold of Gang Dezh. He encountered strange sea creatures during the seven-month voyage.

The story of Haftvad and the worm, introduced into the epic immediately before the Sasanian period, may be understood as a myth of the arrival of silk production in Kerman. Girls from poor families meet to spin cotton. Haftvad’s daughter finds a worm in an apple. Taking this as a token of fortune, her father feeds the worm, which grows massively, as does his wealth and social standing. Haftvad builds a city on a hill and names it Kerman. This arouses the concern of Shah Ardeshir by Dust…

The story of Haftvad and the worm, introduced into the epic immediately before the Sasanian period, may be understood as a myth of the arrival of silk production in Kerman. Girls from poor families meet to spin cotton. Haftvad’s daughter finds a worm in an apple. Taking this as a token of fortune, her father feeds the worm, which grows massively, as does his wealth and social standing. Haftvad builds a city on a hill and names it Kerman. This arouses the concern of Shah Ardeshir by Dust…

Bahram Gur, who has recently ascended the throne of Iran, rides into a wood and confronts the lions there. The hunting of lions was the archetypical sport of Persian kings

Bahram Gur, who has recently ascended the throne of Iran, rides into a wood and confronts the lions there. The hunting of lions was the archetypical sport of Persian kings

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…

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 visiting the Ka‘ba, Eskandar (Alexander the Great) led his troops to Egypt. Queen Qeydafeh of Andalus (Candace of Meroë) sent a spy to make a portrait of him. Eskandar came to Qeydafeh’s court disguised as his ambassador, but the queen recognised him and he had to admit his true identity. The illustration departs from the text.

After visiting the Ka‘ba, Eskandar (Alexander the Great) led his troops to Egypt. Queen Qeydafeh of Andalus (Candace of Meroë) sent a spy to make a portrait of him. Eskandar came to Qeydafeh’s court disguised as his ambassador, but the queen recognised him and he had to admit his true identity. The illustration departs from the text.

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