Khwadāynāmag The Middle Persian Book of Kings


Khwadāynāmag. The Middle Persian Book of Kings by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila analyses the lost sixth-century historiographical work of the Sasanians, drawing on a large number of Middle Persian, Greek, Arabic, and Classical Persian sources.

The Khwadāynāmag is often conceived of as a large book of stories, comparable to Firdawsī's Shāhnāme, but Hämeen-Anttila convincingly shows that it was a concise and dry chronicle. He also studies the lost Arabic translations of the book, which turn out to be fewer than hitherto thought, as well as the sources of Firdawsī's Shāhnāme, showing that the latter was only remotely related to the Khwadāynāmag. It also becomes clear that there were no separate "priestly" and "royal" Khwadāynāmags.
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Biographical Note

Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, PhD (1994) is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies (University of Edinburgh). He has published on Classical Arabic literature and historiography, including a recent edition of al-Maqrīzī’s al-Ḫabar ʿan al-bašar Vol. V, Section 4: Persia and Its Kings, Part 1 (Brill 2018).

Table of contents


1 The Khwadāynāmag and Its Context
 1.1 Preliminary Issues
 1.2 Middle Persian Historical Material
 1.3 Early Sources in Other Languages
 1.4 Oral Tradition

2 Transmitting Materials over a Linguistic Border
 2.1 The Translation Movement and Its Context
 2.2 Translations of Middle Persian Texts
 2.3 The Alexander Romance
 2.4 Translation in the First Millennium

3 Arabic Translations of the Khwadāynāmag
 3.1 The List of Ḥamza
 3.2 Translators and Their Translations
 3.3 Mūsā ibn ʿĪsā al-Kisrawī
 3.4 Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ and Nihāyat al-arab
 3.5 Sources and Nature of These Translations
 3.6 Pre-Islamic Iran in Early Arabic and Persian Historical Texts
 3.7 The Contents of Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ’s Translation

4 Classical Persian Shāhnāmes
 4.1 The Other Shāhnāmes
 4.2 The Prose Shāhnāme
 4.3 Balʿamī
 4.4 Al-Thaʿālibī
 4.5 Firdawsī
 4.6 Firdawsī, al-Thaʿālibī, and Pahlavi Texts
 4.7  Nāme Literature

5 Two Case Studies
 5.1 Rustam in Arabic and Persian Literature
 5.2 Armāyīl and Garmāyīl: The Formation of an Episode in Firdawsī’s Shāhnāme

6 Back to the Khwadāynāmag
 6.1 One Khwadāynāmag. Or Many?
 6.2 The Contents, Size, Sources, and Date of the Khwadāynāmag

7 Translations of the Key Texts Concerning the Khwadāynāmag
 7.1 Agathias
 7.2 al-Masʿūdī
 7.3 Ḥamza al-Iṣfahānī
 7.4 The Prose Shāhnāme/Preface
 7.5 Ibn al-Nadīm
 7.6 Balʿamī
 7.7 Firdawsī
 7.8 al-Bīrūnī
 7.9 The Mujmal



All interested in Sasanian and early Arabic historiography, Firdawsī's Shāhnāme, and Sasanian history.