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23 results
The Book of Kings
Shahnameh Baysonqori is a copy of Shahnameh (Book of kings) composed by the highly revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The importance of Shahnameh in the Persian-speaking world is comparable that of Homer’s epics in the West. The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdgerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. The tales are based on earlier historical works, but are mixed ...
Contributed by
National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Jerusalem Delivered
La Gerusalemme liberata (Jerusalem delivered) is a verse epic by the late-Renaissance Italian poet Torquato Tasso (1544–95). Written in the eight-line stanzas common to Italian Renaissance poetry, Tasso’s masterpiece is known for the beauty of its language, profound expressions of emotion, and concern for historical accuracy. The subject of the poem is the First Crusade of 1096–99 and the quest by the Frankish knight Godfrey of Bouillon to liberate the sepulcher of Jesus Christ. Tasso was born in Sorrento, in the Kingdom of Naples, and his interest ...
Contributed by
University Library of Naples
The Lusiads
Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads) is the national epic of Portugal. Written by the poet, soldier, and sailor Luís de Camões (circa 1524–80) and first published in 1572, it celebrates the great Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1469–1524) and the achievements of Portugal (known during the Roman Empire as the province of Lusitania, hence the title) and its people in venturing out into the Atlantic, rounding the tip of Africa, and forging a path to the East Indies. Manuel de Faria e Sousa (1590–1649) was a Portuguese historian ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Selections from the Shāhnāmeh of the Learned Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsi, May he be Blessed and May his Sins be Pardoned
This manuscript from the early 17th century contains selections from the Shāhnāmeh (Book of kings), the epic-historical work of Persian literature composed at the end of the tenth century by the poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). This beloved epic of pre-Islamic Persia (present-day Iran) was widely read in Persia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. The manuscript contains three half-page paintings showing different battles. The text is preceded by an introduction and table of contents (folios 1b−6b) and is written in black ink in a nastaʻliq script. The pages are ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Shahnameh
Shahnameh (Book of kings) was composed by the revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdegerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. Considered the national epic of Iran, the book was widely read throughout the Persian-speaking world. This manuscript copy was made in India in the 17th or 18th century. The text is written in nastaʻliq script ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Hrotsvitha's Poems
This 11th century manuscript is the only to survive to transmit the complete text of the epic and dramatic works of the first German poetess, Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim. Corrections and marginal notes are entered in the hand of the humanist Konrad Celtis, who used the manuscript as a printer's copy for his edition of Hrotsvitha's works published in Nuremberg in 1501. The manuscript once belonged to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Emmeram in Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg) and reached Munich in 1811. Born around 935, Hrotsvitha was a canoness ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
The Lusiads
Presented here is the first printed edition of Os Lusiadas (The Lusiads), the national epic of Portugal, published in Lisbon in 1572. Composed by the poet, soldier, and sailor Luís de Camões (circa 1524−80), the poem celebrates the great Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1469−1524) and the achievements of Portugal and its people in venturing out into the Atlantic, rounding the tip of Africa, and forging a path to India. The poem is comprised of ten cantos, each with a variable number of stanzas. Each stanza is written ...
Contributed by
National Library of Portugal
Ramayana
The oral tradition of the Burmese Ramayana story can be traced as far back as the reign of King Anawrahta (active 1044−77), the founder of the first Burmese empire. The story was transmitted orally from generation to generation before being written down in prose and verse and as a drama. The earliest known written Burmese version of the Ramayana is Rama Thagyin (Songs from the Ramayana), compiled by U Aung Phyo in 1775. A three-volume copy of the Rama story called Rama vatthu was written on palm leaf in ...
Contributed by
The British Library
The Feast of Iskandar and Nushabah from Niẓāmī's "Iskandarnamah"
The painting on the recto and the text on the verso of this fragment describe an episode in Niẓāmī's Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great), the last text of the author's Khamsah (Quintet). In his work, the great Persian author Niẓāmī Ganjavī (1140 or 1141–1202 or 1203) describes the adventures and battles of Alexander the Great as he travels to the end of the world. On his way to the Land of Darkness, he visits the queen of the Caucasian city of Barda, Nushabah, in order ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Shirin and Khusraw
Shirin va Khusraw (Shirin and Khusraw) is a story written in the 12th century by Shaykh Niẓāmī Ganjavi (circa 1140-1202), based on a tale found in Shahnamah (Book of kings), the epic-historical work of Persian literature composed at the end of the tenth century by the poet Firdawsi (circa 940–1020). The legend was well known before Firdawsi and further romanticized by later Persian poets. The story chosen by Niẓāmī was commissioned by and dedicated to the Seljuk Sultan Tughrul and to the sultan’s brother, Qizil Arsalan. This copy ...
Contributed by
Allama Iqbal Library, University of Kashmir
Parzival
Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his medieval German epic poem Parzival, which consists of more than 24,000 lines, in the first decade of the 13th century. It tells the story of the juvenile fool Parzival who, having grown up in the seclusion of the forest, is ignorant of the world and causes much grief as he ventures out to become a knight. He arrives at the Castle of the Grail, but fails to pose the question to the sick King Fisher Anfortas about the source of his suffering—a question ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
Parzival
Wolfram von Eschenbach composed his medieval German epic poem Parzival, which consists of more than 24,000 lines, in the first decade of the 13th century. It tells the story of the juvenile fool Parzival who, having grown up in the seclusion of the forest, is ignorant of the world and causes much grief as he ventures out to become a knight. He arrives at the Castle of the Grail, but fails to pose the question to the sick King Fisher Anfortas about the source of his suffering—a question ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
Heliand
The Heliand is an epic poem in Old Saxon that was first written down in around 830–840. The poem, whose title means “savior,” recounts the life of Jesus in the alliterative verse style of a Germanic saga. At about 6,000 lines, the Heliand is the largest known work written in Old Saxon, the precursor of modern Low German. The name of the poet is unknown, but some information about him and the origins of the poem can be gleaned from a Latin preface printed by Matthias Flacius Illyricus ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
The Song of the Nibelungs (Codex A)
The Nibelungenlied (The Song of the Nibelungs) is the most famous heroic poem in Middle High German. It tells the story of the dragon-slayer Siegfried from his childhood and his marriage to Kriemhild to his murder by the evil Hagen and Kriemhild's subsequent revenge, culminating in the annihilation of the Burgundians or Nibelungs at the court of the Huns. Originally based upon an older oral tradition, the poem was written down about or shortly after the year 1200, probably at the court of Wolfger von Erla, Bishop of Passau ...
Contributed by
Bavarian State Library
Beginning of Niẓāmī's "Iqbalnamah"
This illuminated folio continues the beginning of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Iqbalnamah (The book of progress), the second of two sections in the last book, Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great), of the author’s Khamsah (Quintet). It follows the first two illuminated folios of the book and provides multiple subhan (praises) of the Creator, as well as a eulogy on Muhammad, the Lord of the Messengers. Niẓāmī introduces each of his five books with introductory praises of God and His Prophet before launching into a narrative. The verso of ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Colophon of Niẓāmī's "Sharafnamah" and Title Page of Niẓāmī's "Iqbalnamah"
This folio contains the last lines and colophon of the Sharafnamah (The book of honor), the first section of the fifth book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Khamsah (Quintet) entitled Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great). On the folio's verso appears the beginning of the second section of the Iskandarnamah called Iqbalnamah (The book of progress), arranged in an illuminated title page, which contains a heading written in white ink: Kitab Iqbalnamah-yi Shaykh Nizami, 'alayhi al-rahmah wa-al-maghfarah (The book of progress of Niẓāmī, mercy and forgiveness upon him). The ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Colophon of Niẓāmī's "Makhzan al-Asrar" and Title Page of Niẓāmī's "Khusraw va Shirin"
This folio contains the illuminated title page of the second book of Niẓāmī's Khamsah (Quintet), entitled Khusraw va Shirin, and the colophon of the preceding work, Makhzan al-Asrar (The treasury of secrets). Written during the last few decades of the 12th century, the Khamsah consists of five books written in rhyming distichs. Along with Firdawsī's Shahnamah (Book of kings), the Khamsah stands out as one of the great monuments of medieval Persian poetry. It is about the love relationship of the last great Sasanian ruler, Khusraw Parvīz (590 ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Beginning of Niẓāmī's "Khusraw va Shirin"
This illuminated folio contains the introductory praise dar tawhid-i Bari (to God and His Unity, or on the Unity of the Creator) of the second book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Khamsah (Quintet), entitled Khusraw va Shirin. It continues the text of the first two folios of the book, also held in the Library of Congress, and thus completes the praise of God typically found at the beginning of each book of the Khamsah. This first section is then followed, as seen on this folio, by an examination of the istidlal ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Bahram Gur in the Yellow Pavilion
This text describes an episode from the Haft Paykar (Seven thrones) of Niẓāmī Ganjavī (died 1202−3), the fourth book from his Khamsah (Quintet). In this romantic allegory of love and frustration, Sassanian ruler Bahram Gur (died 438) visits seven pavilions on each day of the week. Here, Niẓāmī describes the ruler's visit to the gunbad-i zar (yellow pavilion) on a Ruz-i yakshamba (Sunday), an anecdote represented on the folio's verso. In this tale, Bahram Gur is disappointed by his concubines and convinces a woman, who first refuses ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
Khusraw Kills a Lion
This painting depicts an episode from the second book of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Khamsah (Quintet) entitled Khusraw va Shirin. In this book, the adventures and battles of the Persian king Khusraw are described, and his love for the Armenian princess Shirin. At a feast one day Khusraw and Shirin were sitting and drinking together (per the folio's verso) when suddenly a lion approached the royal pavilion. Thereupon, the king, albeit drunk, made a fist, hit the lion in the ear, and killed it on the spot. The painting follows ...
Contributed by
Library of Congress
The Poem of the Cid
The document shown here is the sole surviving manuscript copy of Poema del Cid (The poem of the Cid), the crowning piece of Castilian medieval epic literature and the earliest Spanish epic poem to have survived complete. The poem recounts the story of Castilian nobleman Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, who lived in the second half of the 11th century. El Cid (meaning lord) battles against the Moors in an effort to restore his honor after being unjustly accused of stealing money from the king. The poem, in its written form ...
Contributed by
National Library of Spain