Hazhir Teimourian

Backgammon Vs the Sword

Drinking Arak Off an Ayatollah’s Beard: A Journey Through the Inside-Out Worlds of Iran and Afghanistan

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Da Capo Press 327pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

Cho Iran nabāshad, tan e man mabād

Bedin būm o bar, zendeh yek tan mabād.

(If Iran should die, let me die also.

Let no man breathe in this dear land.)

Perhaps more than anyone, Ferdowsi, the epic bard of the late tenth century, ensured that Iran and Afghanistan are not members of the Arab League today. In his Book of the Kings, the Shāhnāmeh, he gave fresh life in Farsi (or New Persian) to the myths and chronicles of pre-Islamic Persia that still survived in the Zoroastrian, Middle Persian texts and folk memory of his time. 

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