Rustem

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Sohrab and Rustem – Iran – West Asian stories

By |2018-04-07T17:04:55+00:00September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

The death of Sohrab (Iranian painting) This story is probably an old Indo-European story that Persian people told even before they moved south into Iran about 2000 BC. It's probably related to the German story of Hildebrand and the Greek story of Achilles and Penthesileia, though sometimes Rustem is also a trickster like Odysseus, or like the Indian Krishna (you may want to compare [...]

Br’er Rabbit and the briar patch – American literature

By |2017-08-14T10:19:38+00:00August 14th, 2017|History|

A briar patch - a big thorn bush So Br'er Fox had caught Br'er Rabbit and this time Br'er Fox said he was going to cook Br'er Rabbit and eat him up for good! Br'er Rabbit was mighty scared. He begged, "Oh, Br'er Fox, I don't care what you do with me, so long as [...]

Shahnameh – Islamic Literature

By |2017-07-26T09:31:51+00:00July 26th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Death of Iskandar (Alexander), from the Great Mongol Shahnameh (Iran, 1330s AD) In the 900s AD, Central Asia was the most civilized part of the world. The universities and libraries of Iran and Afghanistan were famous for a thousand miles in every direction. The Iranian Al-Tabari had recently finished writing his huge Islamic History. Here, in [...]

Rustem swims away – a story in the Shahnameh

By |2018-04-07T17:04:30+00:00July 26th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

The Devil carries Rostem Like Odysseus or Anansi, Monkey or Br'er Rabbit, the Iranian hero Rustem was a trickster. He uses quick thinking to get out of this fix: Once when he was sleeping alone outside on the ground next to his horse Rukush, Rustem was trapped by the Devil, and the Devil started to carry him away. Rustem [...]

Rustem’s death in the Shahnameh

By |2018-04-07T17:04:30+00:00July 26th, 2017|India, Literature|

Rustem kills the treacherous Shaghad When he was an old, old man, Rustem really did die (according to the story in the Shahnameh). Rustem died from treachery and betrayal, by his own half-brother Shaghad. One day Rustem was riding through the forest on his horse Rakhsh, when suddenly they fell into a pit. Shaghad had dug [...]

Arabic language and literature

By |2018-04-08T01:10:49+00:00July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Sabataean writing Arabic is in the Semitic language group. Semitic languages seems to have gotten started before the beginning of writing, somewhere near modern Syria. They spread from there through Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan down to the Arabian peninsula. Because the Arabian peninsula was more isolated, people there kept speaking an older version of the language. [...]

Medieval Islamic historians

By |2018-04-09T10:31:10+00:00July 25th, 2017|History, Islam, Literature|

A page from Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, from Herat, Afghanistan, about 1444 AD. Now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge Islamic historians began by translating Greek historians like Herodotus and Thucydides into Arabic. But soon historians wrote in Arabic about the history of the Islamic Empire.  One example is the huge history written by al-Tabari about 900 AD. Al-Tabari had done a lot of [...]

The Monkey and the Crocodile – Jataka Tales

By |2017-07-20T17:57:47+00:00July 20th, 2017|India, Literature|

A monkey eating a mango Crocodile's mother asked him to bring her Monkey's heart to eat, so Crocodile tried to trick Monkey and get his heart. "Hey Monkey!" he said, "Let me swim you over to that island, to get some yummy mangoes!" "Sure thing!" said Monkey, and he hopped on Crocodile's back for a ride. [...]

Penthesileia and Achilles – Greek mythology

By |2018-04-23T10:11:12+00:00July 16th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

Achilles and Penthesileia, on an Athenian vase painted by Exekias Penthesileia (pen-tha-sill-AY-ah) was the Queen of the Amazons, in Greek mythology. The Amazons were a group of warriors who were all women and girls. Penthesileia's story happens a little before the time of the Trojan War, in the Late Bronze Age. So Penthesileia and the Amazons lived to [...]

Hildebrandsleid – a tragic story

By |2018-04-21T13:19:56+00:00June 27th, 2017|Literature, Northern Europe|

Pictish battle (Aberlemno, Scotland, ca. 700 AD) The story of Hildebrand is one of the earliest stories written in German. Nobody knows who wrote this story or exactly when, but we think somebody must have written this version about 700 AD. The earliest copy of the story that we still have was written [...]