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Shâhnâmah (The Book of Kings)

The Shâhnâmah or “The Book of Kings” is an epic poetry that is of central importance for the Persian culture. The Book of Kings is written by the poet Adbul Kasim Mansar Firdausi (c. 940-1020)Created by: NYPL's Public Domain ArchiveDated: 1020
Manûchihr beheads his uncle Salm in battle.
The Shâhnâmah, which is also known as “The Book of Kings” was written between 977 and 1010 CE by Persian poet Abu ʾl-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi. That is the longest epic poetry ever composed by a single person and it consists of 60,000 verses. The Shâhnâmah tells about the Persian Empire, pre-Islamic kings, and knights, including Alexander the Great (Iskandar). The timeline of the events this poem describes span from the very creation of the world until the Arab conquest of Iran and is divided into three parts: the "mythical", "heroic", and "historical" ages.
"The Book of Kings” has not only historical importance but also regarded as a literary masterpiece, which has a huge influence on modern Persian language, Zoroastrism and its adherents and cultural identity of modern-day Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The Shâhnâmah, or The Book of Kings, by the poet Adbul Kasim Mansar Firdausi (c. 940-1020) is the Persian national epic. It recounts the history and exploits of the pre-Islamic kings and knights, including Alexander the Great (Iskandar).

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138 Media in collectionpage 1 of 2
Zâl (with a black beard) celebrates the birth of a son.
Rustam's Sixth Feat: he kills the dîv Arzhang.

Rustam's Sixth Feat: he kills the dîv Arzhang.

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Tûr kills his brother Îraj.

Tûr kills his brother Îraj.

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Garsîvaz, the brother of Afrâsiyâb, is executed.

Garsîvaz, the brother of Afrâsiyâb, is executed.

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Rustam shoots Isfandiyâr in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow.

Rustam shoots Isfandiyâr in the eyes with a double-pointed arrow.

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Kay Khusrau kills the shah of Makrân in battle.

Kay Khusrau kills the shah of Makrân in battle.

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Surkhah, the son of Afrâsiyâb, is executed by Zavâra.

Surkhah, the son of Afrâsiyâb, is executed by Zavâra.

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Rustam's Third Feat: he kills a dragon.

Rustam's Third Feat: he kills a dragon.

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Bahman and his courtiers look at the body of Farâmarz.

Bahman and his courtiers look at the body of Farâmarz.

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The execution of the murderers of Darâ as ordered by Iskandar.

The execution of the murderers of Darâ as ordered by Iskandar.

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Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript
Furûhil and Zangûlah fight. - Persian manuscript

Furûhil and Zangûlah fight. - Persian manuscript

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Shâhnâmah  = The Book of Kings. p. 253.

Shâhnâmah = The Book of Kings. p. 253.

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Abtin, a descendant of Jamshîd, makes love to the daughter of the Scythian king.

Abtin, a descendant of Jamshîd, makes love to the daughter of the Scyt...

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Rustam's Seventh Feat: he kills the white dîv.

Rustam's Seventh Feat: he kills the white dîv.

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The sîmurgh brings Zâl to Sâm.

The sîmurgh brings Zâl to Sâm.

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Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  = The Book of Kings. p. 288.

Shâhnâmah = The Book of Kings. p. 288.

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Rustam shoots Ashkabûs. - Persian manuscript

Rustam shoots Ashkabûs. - Persian manuscript

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Ruhhâm cuts off the arm of the sorcerer Bâzûr.

Ruhhâm cuts off the arm of the sorcerer Bâzûr.

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Farâmarz kills a Turanian before the fortress of Hisâr.

Farâmarz kills a Turanian before the fortress of Hisâr.

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Siyâvush stands captive before Afrâsiyâb and members of his court.

Siyâvush stands captive before Afrâsiyâb and members of his court.

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Suhrâb captures Hajîr. - Persian manuscript

Suhrâb captures Hajîr. - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14ht-15th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

[Illuminated chapter heading.] - Persian manuscript

[Illuminated chapter heading.] - Persian manuscript

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Ruhhâm chases Bârmân. - Persian manuscript

Ruhhâm chases Bârmân. - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated book page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript
Pîlsam fights an Iranian hero.

Pîlsam fights an Iranian hero.

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Akvân dîv about to fling the sleeping Rustam into the sea.

Akvân dîv about to fling the sleeping Rustam into the sea.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Kay Khusrau celebrates on his return to Iran.

Kay Khusrau celebrates on his return to Iran.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript
Rustam spears Pîlsam and lifts him into the air.

Rustam spears Pîlsam and lifts him into the air.

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A second episode in the battle between the armies of Farâmarz and Mihârk.

A second episode in the battle between the armies of Farâmarz and Mihâ...

Public domain image of painting, 15th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions - Picryl description

Gurûy executes Siyâvush. - Persian manuscript

Gurûy executes Siyâvush. - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Iskandar visits with King Darâ (Darius) in a garden.

Iskandar visits with King Darâ (Darius) in a garden.

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Kubâd kills the Turanian warrior Bârmân.

Kubâd kills the Turanian warrior Bârmân.

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Zâl before the palace of Rûdâbah.

Zâl before the palace of Rûdâbah.

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Manûchihr lifts his fleeing uncle.

Manûchihr lifts his fleeing uncle.

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Manûchihr beheads his uncle Salm in battle.

Manûchihr beheads his uncle Salm in battle.

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Zahhâk enthroned listens to the archimages who predict his overthrow by Farîdûn.

Zahhâk enthroned listens to the archimages who predict his overthrow b...

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Farâmarz slays Mihârk. - Persian manuscript

Farâmarz slays Mihârk. - Persian manuscript

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The dying Bahrâm places a crown on the head of his successor Shâpûr.

The dying Bahrâm places a crown on the head of his successor Shâpûr.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Suhrâb menaces Rustam with a knife.

Suhrâb menaces Rustam with a knife.

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Afrâsiâb and his troops pursue the army of Qarân.

Afrâsiâb and his troops pursue the army of Qarân.

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Front cover of binding - Persian manuscript

Front cover of binding - Persian manuscript

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Farîburz, the son of Kay Kâ'ûs, hits Kâlbad.

Farîburz, the son of Kay Kâ'ûs, hits Kâlbad.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Rustam captures Kâmûs. - Persian manuscript

Rustam captures Kâmûs. - Persian manuscript

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Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Rustam shoots Shaghâd. - Persian manuscript

Rustam shoots Shaghâd. - Persian manuscript

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Bartah cleaves open Kuhram's head with his sword.

Bartah cleaves open Kuhram's head with his sword.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

[Title page] [Sarlawh?] with "marginal drawings of gold plants, trees, and animals".

[Title page] [Sarlawh?] with "marginal drawings of gold plants, trees,...

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Back cover of binding - Persian manuscript

Back cover of binding - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated book page, 14ht-15th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Rustam kills Alkûs. - Persian manuscript

Rustam kills Alkûs. - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  = The Book of Kings.

Shâhnâmah = The Book of Kings.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

The baby Rustam in swaddling clothes is suckled by one of his ten wet nurses.

The baby Rustam in swaddling clothes is suckled by one of his ten wet ...

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Jamshîd enthroned flanked by an angel and a swordbearer.

Jamshîd enthroned flanked by an angel and a swordbearer.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated book page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

[Illuminated chapter heading.] - Persian manuscript

[Illuminated chapter heading.] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

An episode in Farâmarz's fight with Mihârk.

An episode in Farâmarz's fight with Mihârk.

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A third episode in the battle between the armies of Farâmarz and Mihârk.

A third episode in the battle between the armies of Farâmarz and Mihâr...

Public domain image of medieval art, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description

Garshâsp captured the dîv Mahrâs.

Garshâsp captured the dîv Mahrâs.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Rustam wrestles with Suhrâb. - Persian manuscript

Rustam wrestles with Suhrâb. - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Rustam drinks wine with Kay Qubâd.

Rustam drinks wine with Kay Qubâd.

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Bîzhan kills Balâshânwith a mace.

Bîzhan kills Balâshânwith a mace.

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Above, Bîzhan fights Rû'în. [] Below, Hajîr leads away the dead Sipahram.

Above, Bîzhan fights Rû'în. [] Below, Hajîr leads away the dead Sipahr...

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Farâmarz kills Takhânû in battle.

Farâmarz kills Takhânû in battle.

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Shâhnâmah  = The Book of Kings. p. 253v.

Shâhnâmah = The Book of Kings. p. 253v.

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Farûd shoots Zarasp, the son of Tûs.

Farûd shoots Zarasp, the son of Tûs.

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Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Gurâzah lifts Siyâmak above his head.

Gurâzah lifts Siyâmak above his head.

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Iskandar (Alexander the Great) cuts off the head of a dragon.

Iskandar (Alexander the Great) cuts off the head of a dragon.

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, 15th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Rustam kills Suhrâb. - Persian manuscript

Rustam kills Suhrâb. - Persian manuscript

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Zâl kills the Turanian hero Kulbâd.

Zâl kills the Turanian hero Kulbâd.

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Tawurk, the grandfather of Garshâsp, captures Sarnud of Hind (India).

Tawurk, the grandfather of Garshâsp, captures Sarnud of Hind (India).

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Rûdâba giving birth to Rustam.

Rûdâba giving birth to Rustam.

Public domain image of medieval and early renaissance painting, 14th century, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description

Rustam slays Qulûn. - Persian manuscript

Rustam slays Qulûn. - Persian manuscript

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Gustaham fights Lahhâk. - Persian manuscript

Gustaham fights Lahhâk. - Persian manuscript

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Isfandiyâr, who has cut off Arjâsp's head, holds the dead man's crown.

Isfandiyâr, who has cut off Arjâsp's head, holds the dead man's crown.

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Isfandiyâr's Fifth Exploit: he kills the sîmurgh.

Isfandiyâr's Fifth Exploit: he kills the sîmurgh.

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Rustam hits Kâfûr. - Persian manuscript

Rustam hits Kâfûr. - Persian manuscript

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Gîv fights Lahhâk. - Persian manuscript

Gîv fights Lahhâk. - Persian manuscript

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Shâhnâmah  [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Shâhnâmah [Text Page] - Persian manuscript

Public domain reproduction of illuminated manuscript page, classical or archaic, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description.

Kay Khusrau executes Afrâsiyâb. - Persian manuscript

Kay Khusrau executes Afrâsiyâb. - Persian manuscript

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Siyâvush playing polo with Afrâsiyâb.

Siyâvush playing polo with Afrâsiyâb.

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Kay Khusrau, on the top of a fortress, shoots a dîv who defends the castle of Bahman.

Kay Khusrau, on the top of a fortress, shoots a dîv who defends the ca...

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Rustam mounted on Rakhsh attacks Khabâs, the son of Akvân dîv.

Rustam mounted on Rakhsh attacks Khabâs, the son of Akvân dîv.

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Manûchihr and his army degeat the forces of Kâkvî, the grandson of Zahhâk.

Manûchihr and his army degeat the forces of Kâkvî, the grandson of Zah...

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The execution of Jamshîd by the order of Zahhâk.

The execution of Jamshîd by the order of Zahhâk.

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Mihrâs wrestles with Barzû's dîv before the entrance to the dîv's cave.

Mihrâs wrestles with Barzû's dîv before the entrance to the dîv's cave...

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Garshâsp hits a lion with his mace.

Garshâsp hits a lion with his mace.

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Garshâsp, an ancestor of Rustam, kills a dragon with a lance.

Garshâsp, an ancestor of Rustam, kills a dragon with a lance.

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Afrâsiyâb gives Pîrân a robe of honor.

Afrâsiyâb gives Pîrân a robe of honor.

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Gushtâsb enthroned in a garden.

Gushtâsb enthroned in a garden.

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