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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Lands from the Shahnameh in Pakistan

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Turan "The Land of Turya" now lies in present-day Pakistan.

In the Persian epic Shahnameh, the term Turan refers to the inhabitants of the eastern-Iranian border and beyond the Oxus.

In the tale Davazdah Rokh (Twelve Combats) the opposing armies of Iran led by Kay Khusrow and those of Turan, under the command of Afriasiab face each other on the border. In all twelve pitched battles, known as "mard o mard" between the heroes of both armed forces, the Iranians emerge victorious.

The legend follows the following fights: (Persians first, Turya later)

Fariburz and Golbad Viseh

Giv and Goruye Zereh

Gorazeh and Siamak

Foruhal and Zangolah

Rohham and Barman

Bizhan and Rooyin

Hojir and Sepahram

Zange-ye Shavaran and Akhvast

Gorgin and Andariman

Bartah and Kohram

Goudarz and Piran

Gostaham and Lahhak, followed by Farshad

At the end, Goudarz kills Piran and the war ends. However, Gostaham, despite not being the appointed commander by Khosrow, chases Lahhak and Farshad, Piran's brothers. He kills them both. However, he too suffered severe injuries in the fight. Bizhan takes him to Khosrow, who saves Gostaham's life by tying a panacean bead around his arm. The war ends with the death of King Afrasiab of Turan.

In some manuscripts of Shahnameh, the story is entitled az Yazdah Rokh (Eleven Combats), not counting the last fight between Gostaham and Piran's brothers.

The war ended with Persians emerging victorious, and a festival was held in honour of Khosrow, the King, and Goudarz, the leading general of the military.

Lore also has it that the fight took place in the area near Zibad Gumbad, one of the most famous monuments in the Razavi Khorasan Province. It is believed to be the last refuge of Yazdegerd III, whose death signalled the collapse of the Sasanian Empire. Other legends have it that the battle was fought at the Black Mountain, in what was then known as Khorasan. There is a black mountain "Tor Ghar" in Waziristan, Pakistan. On modern maps, it borders Afghanistan, in the medieval world, it is plausible that it bordered the "Greater Khorasan" region!


This blog has been written by Komal Salman.

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