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Old Garment from a New Tailor: The Reception and Reshaping of Epic Material in Early Medieval Iran

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AbstractThe corpus of epic material produced in the New Persian language, best known by Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāma, is preoccupied with narrating Iran’s past. In this article, the production milieu of the epic material during post-Conquest Iran is explored. This is undertaken by tracing the sources of the Sistani Cycle of Epics, a body of literature, which recounts the stories of Rostam, his ancestors and his progeny. The discussion of the sources of this body of epics reveals what seems to be an abundant interest in narrating multiple, diverse and contradictory events of Iran’s pre-Islamic past. The existence of a plethora of varying narrations raises several questions such as the impetus for transmission of these varying narratives, and the nature of Iranian historiography.

Affiliations: 1: Journal of Persianate Studies


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