Ẓahīrī of Samarqand’s ‘Sindbādnāma’
A Mirror for Princes
It is now more than sixty years since Ben E. Perry published his groundbreaking studies on the ‘Sindbādnāma’ in an essay entitled ‘The Origin of the Book of Sindbad’ (1960), in which he surveyed and discussed the vast literature about the genesis and dissemination of this book. Since then, the book’s Oriental career, from its inception in pre-Islamic Iran to its amazing world journey in the form of mediaeval European translations, adaptation, transformations, or imitations, remains still at the stage where Perry left it. The Persian and Arabic versions of the book have not received the kind of attention that a comparative study of an exemplary sample of world literature of this magnitude entails. Just to narrow the gap in the division between ‘the West’ and ‘the Rest’, I propose to look briefly at the contents of Ẓahīrī of Samarqand’s Persian ‘Sindbādnāma’ (written c. 1161) not as a misogynistic text but, rather, as a ‘mirror for princes’.
Keywords Sindbādnāma; Mirror for Princes; Translation Movement; Persian Political Thought
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