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Historiography and the Shoʿubiya Movement*

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AbstractThis article examines the ways in which Iranian mytho-history was woven into the narratives of Islamic history. It argues that the inclusion of narratives such as the ones that equate several of the earliest Iranian mytho-historical kings to the earliest Koranic prophets or claim that Persian was the language of the prophets from Ādam to Esmāʿil, reflects the concerns of the Shoʿubiya movement. The paper also analyzes the ways in which these Iranian kings are represented in the Avesta as paradigmatic rulers and how their essential function as good rulers is retained in the later mythos and, hence, texts so that they are equatable to the prophets. The paper argues that these narratives reflect not only a concern for equality among Iranians as Muslims, but also the ways in which intellectuals negotiated the interstitial spaces between culture and politics.

Affiliations: 1: Columbia University


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