The Sistani Cycle of Epics and Iran’s National History

On the Margins of Historiography

Series:

This work examines the entire corpus of the Sistani Cycle of Epics, both parts included in Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāmeh and those appearing in separate manuscripts. It argues that the so-called “epic literature” of Iran constitutes a kind of historiography, encapsulating reflections of watershed events of Iran’s antiquity.

By examining the symbiotic relationship of the texts’ content and form, the underpinning discourse of the various stories is revealed to have been shaped by polemics of political legitimacy and religious conflict. This discourse, however, is not abstract. The stories narrate, within their generic constraint, some of the affairs of the Sistani kingdom and its relationship to the Parthian throne, mainly from the first century BCE to the end of the second century CE.

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Biographical Note

Saghi Gazerani received her doctorate in History from Ohio State University in 2007, and has been since researching and publishing on various aspects of medieval Persian literary and historical genres.

Table of contents

Table of Content

Title page
Table of Content
Acknowledgements
Transliteration
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations

INTRODUCTION
1. THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT
1.2. THE SCYTHIO-PARTHIAN KINGDOM OF SISTAN
1.2 THE RULING FAMILY IN SISTAN IN ANCIENT TIMES
1.3 THE OTHER PARTHIAN FAMILY
2. THE APPROPRIATION OF AN AVESTAN HERO AND THE BIRTH OF THE HOUSE OF ROSTAM
2.1 GARSHĀSP’S GENEALOGY
2.2 GARSHĀSP AND THE FOUNDING OF SISTAN
2.3 THE REPERTOIRE OF HEROIC MOTIFS
2.4 ANOTHER VERSION OF THE STORY/HISTORY
2.5 FOOTPRINTS OF A RELIGIOUS CONFLICT
3. THE ZENITH OF SUREN POWER
3.1 ROSTAM’S EARLY HEROIC CAREER
3.1.1 BAB-RE BAYĀN
3.1.2 KOK-E KUHZĀD
3.2.2. THE HAFT-KHĀN
3.2 HISTORICAL REFLECTIONS
3.2.1 A TIME OF ALLIANCE
3.2.2 THE SPECIAL STATUS OF THE HOUSE OF ROSTAM
3.2.3 THE BEGINNING OF THE END : THE ADVANT OF LOHRĀSP
4. THE DOWNTRODDEN SISTANI HEROES
4.1 BORZU
4.2 JAHĀNGIR
4.3 SHAHRIYĀR
5. THE POLEMICS OF MAKING HEROES AND ANTI-HEROES
5.1 FARĀMARZ IN QANNUJ
5.2 TRANSFORMATION OF HEROIC IMAGERY
5.3 FARĀMARZ AND BAHMAN: THE FINAL SHOW DOWN
5.4 BAHMAN THE ANTI-HERO PAR EXCELLENCE
EPILOGUE
APPENDIX A: THE SISTANI CYCLE OF EPICS: STORIES AND THEIR MANUSCRIPTS
ROSTAM STORIES NOT INCLUDED IN THE SHĀHNĀMEH:
GARSHĀSPNĀMEH
BAHMANNĀMEH
FARĀMARZNĀMEH
BĀNU-GOSHASPNĀMEH
BORZUNĀMEH
SHAHRIYĀRNĀMEH
JAHĀNGIRNĀMEH
APPENDIX B : NARRATIONS OF BAHMAN’S REGIN
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

Readership

All interested in ancient Iranian history and Persian Classical literature, and also anyone interested in non-Western historiography and the relationship between epic and history.

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