News ID: 314785
Published: 0813 GMT July 14, 2021

Oldest copies of Shahnameh kept at Italian and British museums

Oldest copies of Shahnameh kept at Italian and British museums

The oldest but incomplete version of Shahnameh (a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi), dating back to 614 AH (after hijra), is kept at Florence Library in Italy and the oldest complete version which goes back to 675 AH is preserved at London Museum in Britain, said Abolfazl Khatibi, a distinguished Shahnameh researcher.

He added, “We can say that none of the Shahnameh manuscripts in Iranian libraries are very old or authentic and that they could not help correct the epic poems,” according to a report released by the National Library and Archives of Iran, IRNA wrote.

The member of the Academy of Persian Language and Literature noted that according to the list prepared by Iraj Afshar, an iconic figure in the field of Persian studies, on Shahnameh manuscripts, the oldest version of the poem at Iranian libraries dates back to 809 AH, adding it is preserved at the Parliamentary Library of Iran.

He said that the second oldest version which is known as Baysonghor Shahnameh, dating back to 833 AH, is kept at the Golestan Library in Tehran.

“Among the undated versions in Iran, the manuscript known as Sa’dloo that dates back to the end of the seventh century AH or the first half of the eighth century AH is more important than others”, Khatibi noted.

He added that this copy is kept in the library of the Great Islamic Encyclopedia Center in Tehran.

He referred to a copy of Shahnameh which was newly purchased from a private collection and said that experts believe that it dates back to the eighth century AH.

He explained that it is not a complete version, because it consists of one-fourth of the Shahnameh.

“This manuscript has a few handwriting errors and it is very easy to read,” he said, adding that the version is not decorated with any painting or illumination.

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