Learn Persian through the Shahname Syllabus
The course is about two tightly related things, Shahnameh, the epic book of Firdawsi, and the Persian language. It is designed to serve as an introduction to the rich linguistic, historical, mythological and cultural background of this bulky masterpiece of classical Persian literature. The main goal of the course consists in serving as a means for advancing and improving the participants' knowledge of Persian (classical and modern), as the conversations and discussions will be conducted in Persian and students' use of the Persian language will be encouraged. Each day’s lesson will include intense readings in Shahnameh, accompanied with grammatical, lexical, stylistic and etymological explanations of the difficult passages and words. Every day students will be given new assignments and will participate in discussions of various homework articles about the Shahnameh.
In the first week of the course “Learn Persian through the Shahname”, we are going to learn the basic principles for reading the text of the Shahname - the ‘Book of Kings’. During week 1, the students are going to learn hundreds of new words, countless expressions and important grammatical features, without knowing which, the reading of the Shahname is practically impossible. Etymological and philosophical connotations of various words and expressions will not be ignored, while explanations will be given about different cultural aspects of the text. After finishing the first week, the students will be able to read and understand a significant part of the Shahname. The stories that are going to be read, include the stories about the first kings, Jamshed, Zahhak, Siavash, Rostam, etc.
In the second week of the course “Learn Persian through the Shahname”, we will focus over the more detailed explanation and exploration of the text of the Shahname. This week’s primary goals will be study of the different structural aspects of the text, the comparison between the different editions of the text, and more attention will be paid to the relationship between the classical Zoroastrian and folk traditions. All these will be done while paying careful attention to the progress of Persian among students. The stories that will be read in this week, will be from the later, semi-mythological chapters of the Shahname, and will include the stories about Key-Khosro, Goshtasp and Arjasp, Esfandiar and Rustam and other epic heroes.