Thursday, June 23, 2016

Shahnameh genealogy (a start anyway)

I’ve been participating in The Shahnameh Reading Project 2016, with Tessa Gratton & Kate Elliott. (It’s never too late to join. Click that link and get in on this epic.) It’s been great fun but there are quite a few people to keep track of in the stories. I did some searching but had no luck finding any family trees.

To better understand the connections between the noble families in Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings (and because I needed a break as I was pissed at Garsivaz) I flipped back to the beginning and started taking notes in the hopes of putting together a genealogy. As it happens, a character can be around for quite some time before it’s mentioned that they are a prince (I’m looking at you, Tus) - or maybe it just takes me a while to figure it out - so I started lists of nobles and warriors, as well. Below, with some commentary, is what I have through The Legend of Seyavash. In the Dick Davis translation we are reading that’s p. 1 through p. 280.

A wee legend for my trees:

Feraydun’s ancestors:

My only issue with this one was that Faranak was a bit vague with how many father-sons were between Abetin and Tahmures.

Feraydun’s descendants:

I was a bit puzzled by the origins of Zav and Kay Qobad. When they were first chosen as kings (Zav because Nozar was beheaded and Kay Qobad because Zav died) I assumed it was because Persia wanted to be ruled by Feraydun’s descendants through Iraj’s line so they went searching for even the most obscure relatives. So, yeah, it’s a bit annoying we have heard nothing of them during all the drama but that’s ok, I can adjust. However, my mind was totally blown to discover that Tus is Nozar’s son. (How did I miss this? Was it really not mentioned? I still haven’t found a mention of it previous to what we are about to start reading if you don’t count the Glossary of Names at the end of the book.) Tus is Nozar’s son and is around and yet he’s not wanted for the throne? Anyway, the genealogical point is that I didn’t think there was any justification for linking Zav and Kay Qobad to Iraj directly.
Quick side note: Did anyone else notice that King Sarv hung around to fight for descendants that are not from his daughter’s line? I thought that was interesting.

Kay Qobad’s descendants:

Pretty straightforward except for Fariborz. I was going to assume he was Sudabeh’s child but he just seemed too old, what with the battles and all. The timing of Fariborz, Seyavash, Sohrab, and Sudabeh’s “young children” is still a bit fuzzy for me. I’m going with the suggestion already put forth that Sohrab happened during Seyavash’s fostering and I’m personally hypothesizing that Fariborz is older than all of them (sorry that’s not really reflected by where I put him in the tree).

The great champions of Persia are pretty important so I made them their own tree:

And we wouldn’t want to forget about the Arab kings (shoulder snakes!):

That’s it for the trees but since you never know where another Tus might be hiding here is a list of Persian nobles and warriors. The passage of time and generations is very fluid but I did try to list them across columns as time/reigns pass.

Then since Seyavash spent so much time in Turan (and even married Farigis) I did a list for their nobles and warriors, too.

And that’s it (well, almost. I have a Mazanderan list, too;). Again, all feedback/corrections welcome. I hope this helps other readers. It was quite enjoyable for me and has really enhanced my connection with the entire epic.

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