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Shahnama Project

A comprehensive collection of manuscripts of
The Shahnama, the Persian epic 'Book of Kings'.

News & Events

Welcome to the Cambridge Shahnama Project website

This site brings you a comprehensive collection of manuscripts of the Shahnama, the Persian epic 'Book of Kings', completed by the poet Firdausi in AD 1010, together with a display of the miniature paintings in each one. There are currently about 1500 manuscripts and single pages recorded, 20,000 records of paintings, and 15,000 images from all over the world, now accessible with a few clicks of a mouse.

It allows you to see and compare all the different depictions of a particular scene in the story, produced over a period of almost 600 years, and to look through the manuscripts held in different collections.

Recent publications

New publications of Shahnama Studies

Firdawsii Millennium Indicum: Proceedings of the Shahnama Millenary Seminar, the K R Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai, 8-9 January, 2011, edited by Sunil Sharma and Burzine Wagmar, was published by the K R Cama Institute (Mumbai, 2016).

Shahnama Studies III, The Reception of the Shahnama, edited by Gabrielle van den Berg & Charles Melville, was published in Studies in Persian Cultural History, vol. 12 (Leiden: Brill, 2018). For this and other titles in the series, click here.

The Arts of Iran in Istanbul and Anatolia. Seven Essays, edited by Olga Davidson and Shreve Simpson, has been published in Ilex Foundation Series no. 20 (Washington DC, 2019), with several essays on Shahnama manuscripts.

New features and developments

The site is currently undergoing extensive reorganisation, especially to the front pages and will be relaunched in September 2019. Please be patient while the improvements are carried out. Meanwhile, we welcome any feedback about the site or about any of the information it contains.

This is a result of work initially supported by a Resource Enhancement grant from the AHRC, 2007-2009. Further enhancements are planned and new data is being added at regular intervals.

Since 1 October 2010, the Project has been located in the Shahnama Centre, 1 Fitzwilliam Street, Cambridge CB2 1QH, tel: 01223 339851. The establishment of the Centre was made possible by a generous benefaction from Mrs Bita Daryabari. The supporting post of Director of Research was initially made possible by grants from the Aga Khan Development Network, the Iran Heritage Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust. The Centre welcomes visiting scholars and suggestions for future collaborations. Our library is n the process of being catalogued and made accessible on line. For further details about the Shahnama Project, contact Charles Melville: cpm1000@cam.ac.uk and for the Centre, Dr Firuza Melville: fia21@cam.ac.uk