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The Lion & the Throne: Stories from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, Volume I Hardcover – Sep 18 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mage Publishers (Sept. 18 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0934211507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0934211505
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 19 x 28.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,335,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Ferdowsi was born in Khorasan in a village near Tus, in 940. His great epic the Shahnameh, to which he devoted most of his adult life, was originally composed for the Samanid princes of Khorasan, who were the chief instigators of the revival of Persian cultural traditions after the Arab conquest of the seventh century. During Ferdowsi's lifetime this dynasty was conquered by the Ghaznavid Turks, and there are various stories in medieval texts describing the lack of interest shown by the new ruler of Khorasan, Mahmud of Ghazni, in Ferdowsi and his lifework. Ferdowsi is said to have died around 1020 in poverty and embittered by royal neglect, though confident of his and his poem's ultimate fame.

Ehsan Yarshater was born in 1920 in Iran and received a Ph.D. in Persian Language and Literature from the University of Tehran and a Ph.D. in Old and Middle Iranian from London University. He is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Columbia University where he founded the Center for Iranian Studies in 1968 and started the Encyclopaedia Iranica in 1974. He currently lives in New York where he teaches and edits the Encyclopaedia Iranica. This monumental project will record the details of the history, culture, and achievements of Iranian peoples throughout history.

Dick Davis was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1945 and educated at King's College, Cambridge (B.A. and M.A. in English Literature), and at the University of Manchester (Ph.D. in Medieval Persian Literature). He is currently associate professor of Persian at Ohio State University. He lived for eight years in Iran (1970-78), as well as for periods in Greece and Italy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His other translations from Persian include Borrowed Ware: Medieval Persian Epigrams (Mage, 1997), My Uncle Napoleon (Mage, 1996), The Legend of Seyavash (Penguin Classics, 1992), and with Afkham Darbandi, The Conference of the Birds (Penguin Classics, 1984).

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By Ramin on Jan. 21 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Book of Kings, or Shahnameh in Persian, is a compilation of ancient Iranian stories put in Persian verse by Ferdowsi in the 10th Century. Its earliest stories describe the period from the golden age of Elamite civilization to the birth of the prophet Zoroaster. Despite its blend of fantasy and history, this book has been Iran's emotional link to its past for a thousand years. The book itself survived the incredible devastation of the Mongol invasian to become a testament to patriotism and a text book on leadership. This translation includes some magnificent works of manuscript art/calligraphy from the version commissioned by the first two Safavid shahs. (A chapter by Stuart Welch masterfully analyzes the history and techniques of the artwork.) To grasp the moral power of the Book of Kings on Iranians one should recall that its stories have been used by rulers and revolutionaries alike to justify their actions, or inspire reaction, for centuries. The story of Kaveh the Ironsmith (the first non-introductory story of this volume) was used by the revolutionaries to inspire Iranians to rise up against the monarchy in 1979. I for one am very happy to finally see a complete English translation of this international literary classic, and can hardly wait for Volumes 2 & 3. My only criticism of this edition is its price. I hope Mr. Davis did not want to have this compete with the Houghton Shahnameh for exclusivity!
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Format: Hardcover
I recently saw this book as well as the second volume in the planned three-volume set in the gift shop at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., in connection with an exhibit of art work from various Shahnameh manuscripts currently on display. In all fairness to the publisher, it should be pointed out that this is a gloriously illustrated art book, not simply a text. The full-color enlargements of miniature fragments from medieval Persian manuscipts are breathtakingly beautiful, and the high price no doubt reflects the fact that this book was very expensive to produce. It is exquisitely produced and for those who can afford it well worth the cost. The rest of us should urge our public libraries to acquire it!
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By Bukkene Bruse on Jan. 6 2003
Format: Hardcover
In this first of three planned volumes, Dick Davis begins his effort to provide a fairly broad translation of the Shahnameh. He effectively utilizes the prosimetrum form, a mixture of verse and prose (naqqali in Farsi), where verse is used to accentuate periods of heightened tension.
In addition to being a fine literary accomplishement, this series of volumes is quite beautiful and heavily illustrated throughout with reprints from 16th and 17th century manuscripts. The books are very sturdy and make for excellent display.
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By Simosh on May 4 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have been looking for a version of the shah nameh that both adults and children could enjoy, for years. I was first exposed to these stories as a child by my grandfather and I have never forgotten them. The Heroism, Romance and Tragedy that one is exposed to in these stories is truly exhilarating. It is simply but lyrically translated.The book also has beautiful reproductions of the persian paintings on the shah nameh which are an added treat.
I eagerly await the two volumes which are yet to come.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
in fairness to the publisher Sept. 6 2000
By Jeffrey D. Sokolow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I recently saw this book as well as the second volume in the planned three-volume set in the gift shop at the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., in connection with an exhibit of art work from various Shahnameh manuscripts currently on display. In all fairness to the publisher, it should be pointed out that this is a gloriously illustrated art book, not simply a text. The full-color enlargements of miniature fragments from medieval Persian manuscipts are breathtakingly beautiful, and the high price no doubt reflects the fact that this book was very expensive to produce. It is exquisitely produced and for those who can afford it well worth the cost. The rest of us should urge our public libraries to acquire it!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Exquisite! Jan. 21 2000
By Ramin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Book of Kings, or Shahnameh in Persian, is a compilation of ancient Iranian stories put in Persian verse by Ferdowsi in the 10th Century. Its earliest stories describe the period from the golden age of Elamite civilization to the birth of the prophet Zoroaster. Despite its blend of fantasy and history, this book has been Iran's emotional link to its past for a thousand years. The book itself survived the incredible devastation of the Mongol invasian to become a testament to patriotism and a text book on leadership. This translation includes some magnificent works of manuscript art/calligraphy from the version commissioned by the first two Safavid shahs. (A chapter by Stuart Welch masterfully analyzes the history and techniques of the artwork.) To grasp the moral power of the Book of Kings on Iranians one should recall that its stories have been used by rulers and revolutionaries alike to justify their actions, or inspire reaction, for centuries. The story of Kaveh the Ironsmith (the first non-introductory story of this volume) was used by the revolutionaries to inspire Iranians to rise up against the monarchy in 1979. I for one am very happy to finally see a complete English translation of this international literary classic, and can hardly wait for Volumes 2 & 3. My only criticism of this edition is its price. I hope Mr. Davis did not want to have this compete with the Houghton Shahnameh for exclusivity!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The search is over May 4 2003
By Simosh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have been looking for a version of the shah nameh that both adults and children could enjoy, for years. I was first exposed to these stories as a child by my grandfather and I have never forgotten them. The Heroism, Romance and Tragedy that one is exposed to in these stories is truly exhilarating. It is simply but lyrically translated.The book also has beautiful reproductions of the persian paintings on the shah nameh which are an added treat.
I eagerly await the two volumes which are yet to come.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful!! Jan. 6 2003
By Bukkene Bruse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this first of three planned volumes, Dick Davis begins his effort to provide a fairly broad translation of the Shahnameh. He effectively utilizes the prosimetrum form, a mixture of verse and prose (naqqali in Farsi), where verse is used to accentuate periods of heightened tension.
In addition to being a fine literary accomplishement, this series of volumes is quite beautiful and heavily illustrated throughout with reprints from 16th and 17th century manuscripts. The books are very sturdy and make for excellent display.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Slightly disappointing... Oct. 17 2007
By NPW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Though enjoyable, this edition is not *quite* as sumptuous as I hoped - some of the reproductions are, sadly, blurred.


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