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Lament for Siavash: On Death and Resurrection

Published Date: February 15, 2024

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March 19, 2024
English & Persian
6.14 X 9.21 inches

About the Book

Equally literary analysis and a deep dive into the timeless ingredients of our collective humanity—love and greed, fear and malice, cowardice, loyalty, treachery, and courage—Lament for Siavash is considered Shahrokh Meskoob’s best work on the eleventh-century Iranian national epic, the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. It interweaves Zoroastrian and Zurvanite mythology and religion, Arsacid heroic poetry, Sasanian history, and Islamic mysticism to relate the story of the death of prince Siavash and his resurrection as his son Kay Khosrow—the perfect man.


Meskoob’s concept of the hero celebrates ethical integrity, an ideal that in his telling was diminished in Sasanian society in the early Middle Ages and which, following the Arab invasion in the seventh century, devolved into a fatalistic ethos of martyrdom in Shi‘ite Iran. While highlighting the supremacy of the cosmic order over humanity, the commentary underscores every individual’s freedom to willfully act on their own conscience and self-purpose, thus offering the reader a heroic definition of the meaning of life. Read Lament if you wish to wrap yourself in the most spirited values articulated in Iranian civilization.


About the Author

Mahasti Afshar’s superb English translation perfectly captures the Persian original, in particular Meskoob’s terse and complex prose-poetic constructs, while her textual notes provide insightful information for the general reader and the scholar alike. A foreword by Stanford Iranian Studies Director Abbas Milani confirms Meskoob’s status as an Iranian scholar for our times.

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