The Shahnameh: Iran's National Epic

Cultural Outreach Events

The Shahnameh: Iran

Day 2 of a two-day conference examining Iran's national epic, composed in the 10th century CE by Iran's national poet Ferdowsi.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Faculty Center
Sequoia Room
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic, was composed from a prose literary archetype in the 10th century CE by Iran’s national poet, Ferdowsi (c. 940 – 1020 CE), whom many Iranians consider to be the father of their language. It exists in more than a thousand complete and fragmentary manuscripts, some of which are beautifully illustrated by excellent specimens of classical Persian art. It is some 50,000 distiches (100,000 lines) long, which makes it nearly twice the size of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. The Shahnameh as Iran’s national epic is central to Iranians’ sense of cultural identity. It is the text that defines who is culturally Iranian regardless of that person’s citizenship, language, or religion. In addition to Iranians who live in Persia proper, many Tajiks, Kurds, Beluchis, and others relate to the narrative of the Shahnameh as their “ethnic history.” For this reason, its influence and importance extends beyond the borders of Iran and the limits of Persian literature.

Participating in the conference will be approximately nineteen scholars coming from Iran, Europe and throughout the United States including Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, Ohio State University, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, and the University of Virginia. They will gather to discuss the Shahnameh in relation to a variety of topics: Iranian national identity; approaches to literary theory that include narratology, oral literature, performance studies, and folklore; translation theory; philological and manuscript studies; gender studies; and art history.



Wednesday May 26: Faculty Center, Sequoia Room

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Panel 3: Textual and Manuscript Studies

Chair/Discussant: Touraj Daryaee, University of California, Irvine

Nader Mottalebi-Kashani, Editor, Nameh-ye Bahārestan (International Journal of Manuscript Studies)
Kufic Panels in the Florence Manuscript of the Shahnameh (in Persian)

Iraj Afshar, Tehran University
Codicological Notes on the Newly Discovered Manuscript of the Shahnameh in the Bibliotheque Orientale of Saint-Joseph University, Beirut (Ms. NC.43).

Jalal Khaleghi-Motlagh, University of Hamburg
A Brief Report on Another Edition of the Shahnameh

Lunch open to the public

2:00-5:00 PM: Panel 4: Historical Perspectives on Shahnameh Studies

Chair/Discussant: Hossein Ziai

Mohammad-Jacfar Yahaghi, Ferdowsi University, Mashhad
Ferdowsi Studies at Ferdowsi University (in Persian)

Ehsan Yarshater, Columbia University
Primary Researches on Ferdowsi and his Shahnameh



Cost : Free and open to the public.

Johanna Romero, Center for Near Eastern Studies
(310) 825-1455

Sponsor(s): , ILEX Foundation, Farhang Foundation