|Title||POSSIBLE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN HISTORICAL EVENTS AND THE PLOTS OF IRANIAN PRINCES EXILED IN CHĪN AND B.SĪLĀ DEPICTED IN KŪSHNĀMA|
Vol. 21 No. 1
pp. 37~63 (all 27 pages)
Kūshnāma; Chīn (China); B.sīlā (Silla); Peroz; Iranian epic
Given the Iranian literary tradition of retelling history by combining legends of pre-Islamic provenance with Islamic-era historical knowledge, this article seeks to place the wealth of information embedded in the Iranian epic Kūshnāma (Book of Kūsh) against the historical context in which its creators composed the epic by consulting select historical and geographical works. According to this epic, after the Iranian king Jamshīd was killed by the Tāzī chieftain Żaḥḥāk, his descendants took refuge in Chīn, Māchīn and B.sīlā. The study for this article utilizes classical Muslim works and Chinese sources in order to elucidate the possible connections between historical events and the plots of tales about exiled Iranian princes as depicted in Kūshnāma. For example, the ancient East Asian kingdoms of China and Silla are the prototypes for Chīn, Māchīn and B.sīlā in Kūshnāma. As a result, this article proposes that Kūshnāma’s narrator might have integrated aspects from a variety of sources—most importantly, the long-standing oral and written traditions of Iranians, and fragmentary evidence pertaining to ancient China and the Korean Peninsula as recorded in Perso-Arabic literature—into the epic’s narrative. Analysis of such a narrative demonstrates that information acquired as a consequence of long-distance East-West exchanges assimilated into the collective memory of Iranians who lived in the early twelfth century. It further indicates that the features of such an exchange phenomenon bear a close resemblance to the material and cultural exchanges that occurred at a much earlier time all over the Eurasian continent.