Sources of Persian Mythology in English?
October 3, 2010 1:54 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for sources on Persian mythology from the pre-Arab era, in English.

I was born in Iran but have lived in Canada since I was three years old. I'm now 25 and looking to connect with my roots.

I'm looking for ancient Persian mythology and stories (ideally pre-Arab era, Zoroastrian etc.) and any sources would be appreciated. While I can speak and understand Farsi, I can't read it.

Bonus points for suggestions that come with analysis and essays on the stories themselves.
posted by multiphrenic to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: In English, Mary Boyce is a well-known and respectable source. I'd expect this work would meet at least some of your needs.
posted by gimonca at 2:40 PM on October 3, 2010

This might be offbase or completely obvious but: Shahnameh ?
posted by Lorin at 2:50 PM on October 3, 2010

Response by poster: Gimonica, that's amazing. Thank you.

Lorin, I've been looking at the Shahnameh but find a lot of the story is lost on me because I'm missing the context in which it was written but Mary Boyce's book looks like it might fill that gap.

Thanks again everyone..I love this place.
posted by multiphrenic at 3:28 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: While this isn't specifically about mythology, you might want to take a look at Richard Frye's The History of Ancient Iran, which is focusing mostly on the pre-Arab conquest period. I suggest it because you mention not being familiar with the context. I was going to add an Amazon link, but I guess it's out of print. Presumably it should be available at a decent library?
posted by bardophile at 11:33 PM on October 3, 2010

I second the Frye book; also, there's a nice, short, well-illustrated book called Persian Myths (Amazon) by Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis that would probably be useful.
posted by languagehat at 10:50 AM on October 4, 2010

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