A Journey into the World of Shahname: Reading the Story of Zāl and Rudābe.

May 4 – June 22, 2024

About the course

Languages: English, Persian

Duration of the Course: 8 weeks (May 4 – June 22, 2024) 

Frequency: 1 class per week, every Saturday

Duration of the Class: 2.5 hours

Class starts at: 9pm Yerevan time (6pm Paris; 7pm London; New York 1pm; LA 10am)

Participation Fee: 140 USD

Application deadline: May 3

Level of Persian: Intermediate, Advanced

Location: Online (Zoom Classroom)

Text Edition: Abu’l Qasem Ferdowi. The Shahnameh (The Book of Kings). Edited by Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh. Volume 2. Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, California, New York. 1990.

Activities: Reading the text of Shahname; academic analysis of the text; manuscript readings; Shahname in arts; homework; homework checking; discussion of questions; homework articles.

Registration requirements: Please click on this link and fill in the form. After confirmation, you will be kindly asked to process the payment, after which you will get a confirmation together with the details about the first class.

Note: All the materials will be provided by the instructor.

Who We Are

Description of the Course:

The course is designed for those Persian-learners who have achieved an intermediate or advanced level of fluency in Modern Persian, and want to explore the Early Classical Persian literature as well as to enhance and streamline their language skills.

During this 8-week course, we will meet 1 a week and delve into the romantic and beautiful story of Zāl and Rudābe, and familiarise ourselves with Classical Persian grammar, stylistics and lexicon. Parallel with this, we will be analyzing the etymology of certain culturally relevant words, learn about the cultural concepts of the time of Ferdowsi, read manuscripts and discuss artwork based or connected to the Shahname.


The structure of the classes:

At the beginning of each class, we will have a brief discussion of the passages that were given as homework, and discuss questions related to the text. After that we will proceed to reading the passages of the day, analyze the characteristic grammatical and lexical features of the text, and improve our pronunciation. At the end of each class, we will have voluntary activities, such as reading manuscripts, having discussions in Persian, discussing a specific topic about Classical Persian literature (ancient orthography, classical pronunciation, translations, etc.).

Here are the main extra activities we will be doing in the class:


● Hands-on exploration of Persian manuscripts
● Familiarization with the Iranian scholarly tradition and publications
● In-depth analysis of Classical Persian grammar, drawing parallels with Modern Persian
● Talks about the history of the Persian language, pre-Islamic and Islamic literature, and parallel literary traditions

● Etymological excursions



Course Objectives

  • Acquire a rich vocabulary with insights into the etymology and meaning of hundreds of Classical Persian words.
  • Develop a foundational understanding of Classical Persian grammar and phonology.
  • Learn the principles of old orthography by reading the oldest surviving manuscript of the Shahname and other historical manuscripts.
  • Gain insight into the miniature tradition associated with the Shahname.
  • Explore pre-Islamic Iranian literary traditions and their lasting impact on Islamic traditions
  • Get familiar with the scholarly research on the Shahname, including critical editions.
  • Get the necessary tools to independently read the Shahname.

By taking this course, the participants will get a deep familiarity with the cultural milieu of the Shahname and its immortal creator, Ferdowsi. The course will help students to gain a deeper appreciation of this masterpiece and Classical Persian literature in general.

Join us in our in our exciting trip to the depths of the Book of Kings


Ruben S. Nikoghosyan


Ruben S. Nikoghosyan (Yerevan, Armenia)
Number: +37498513969 (WhatsApp)

Email: nikoghosyanruben@gmail.com