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An illustration in the 1305-14
Jami‛ al-Tawarikh
by Rashid al-Din.

Universal History

or Compendium of Chronicles

Ğāmi‛ al-tavārīḫ. Rašīd al-Dīn Fazl-ullāh Hamadānī

The dying Rustam shoots Shaghad

Detail of miniature from the Compendium of Chronicles by Rashid al-Din. Shows the mythical Persian figure Shaghad killing his brother, the hero Rustam. Rustam's horse Rakhsh can be seen to the left of the miniature, having fallen into a pit full of pointed stakes, which had been prepared by Shaghad. Rustam's bow belt and quiver can be seen falling to the floor behind. The final, fatal arrow of Rustam, which struck his brother in his chest, can be seen exiting Shaghad's back.
Source: Edinburgh University Library, Scotland Digital Books

No. 25     The dying Rostam shoots Shaghad

Rashid al-Din, Jami’ al-Tawarikh (‘Compendium of Histories’)

Il-Khanid: Tabriz, 1314
Opaque watercolour, ink, gold and silver on paper
Edinburgh University Library, MS. Or. 20, fol. 15v

In Rostam's old age his envious brother Shaghad plotted his death. He had traps dug and set with blades in the hunting grounds round Kabol. The faithful steed Rakhsh sensed danger and hesitated, but Rostam urged him on and both of them fell into a pit. This is depicted on the left. Rostam, who has climbed out and persuaded Shaghad to bend his bow, shoots an arrow with his last strength through the tree that Shaghad is hiding behind, killing him, as seen on the right. The tree's twisted trunk mirrors the contorted figure of Rostam's treacherous brother.

This is one of the earliest Shahnameh illustrations that are precisely datable. It belonged not to a Shahnameh manuscript, but to a copy of the Jami’ al-Tawarikh (‘Compendium of Histories’) that draws on the Shahnameh as one of its sources.

Text Source: The Fitzwilliam Museum.

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