The Story of a Lost Book: Two Recent Studies on the Khwadāynāmag

In: Iran and the Caucasus
Sebastian Bitsch Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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The Arabic historiographical tradition is considered to be one of the most important textual sources for the reconstruction of Sāsānian history. Historians such as al-Ṭabarī, al- Masʿūdī or al-Thaʿālibī explicitly claimed to have used older material of Persian origin. The basis of their accounts seem to have been translations, excerpts and adaptations of translations, which commonly are traced back to the Middle-Persian “Book of Kings”, the Khwadāynāmag. While it may be assumed a scientific consensus that there were in the late Sāsānian period books dealing with Iran’s history, the opaque character of this historical tradition has repeatedly given rise to scientific controversy over the question of whether there was one or several books bearing the title Khwadāynāmag, when the content was first written down, whether the tradition could be regarded as sound or not, which earlier sources finally became a part of the Khwadāynamag, etc. In the following, two inspiring recent contributions to the research on the Khwadāynāmag will be presented.

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