عنوان مقاله [English]
One of the features of oral poetry in Aryan-Indo-European tribes is the usage of epithets in their epic and religious works. After conducting research in oral poetry in Yugoslavia and comparing results with literary features of Iliad and Odyssey, researchers concluded that these epithets along with the name of characters are based on formulas. Homer had learned these formulas from the previous oral tradition and had used them for the meter of his poetry. In Yashts the usage of noun-epithet formulae shows the use of this literary technique in the ancient Persian’s oral poetry; verses that after being written, have preserved the literary techniques of oral tradition. A thorough exegesis of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh offers various pieces of evidence that the noun-epithet formulae in this work has not been devised by the creative mind of Ferdowsi, but most probably, they have been taken from Ferdowsi’s sources such as Abumansouri’s Shahnameh which is the translation of Khodaynameh. Therefore, it can be concluded that the Pahlavi version of Khodaynameh has been written according to oral poetry and has had this potential of being recounted by minstrels in various places.
This essay is written based on descriptive-analysis method. It attempts to know what the epithets and noun-epithet formulae are and what their role is in oral poetry. On the other hand, this essay wants to explore the reasons for the repetition of noun-epithet formulae in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Furthermore, it will try to determine in which era these epithets have been more popular. Also, we can see noun-epithet formulae in Yashts and Ferdowsi's Shahnameh which brings us to the question of whether these noun-epithet combinations have been made by Ferdowsi or they are rooted in older literary tradition. Is it possible to attribute these combinations to oral poetry, songs that have been collected and written down from Khodaynameh which later in the Islamic era became Ferdowsi's source.
Based on oral poetry and the way of its composition with formulaic methods, Olga Davidson conducted a research about Ferdowsi's Shahnameh and found out that Ferdowsi has used oral resources some of which have been poetry. Ultimately, she attempted to show that Ferdowsi is an oral minstrel who like ancient oral minstrels, has paid attention to poetic traditions of the past by writing Shahnameh according to his own unique style. In so doing, Ferdowsi has benefitted from Zoroastrian minstrels and other poets whose names have been mentioned in Shahnameh. Davidson has collected verses that are repeated in the beginning of every letter:
نخست آفرین کرد بر کردگار First he praised God the omnipotent
نخست آفرین کرد بر دادگر First he praised God the all-just
According to the rhyme, Ferdowsi has used some words as the formula for these two lines:
کزو دید نیک و بد روزگار From whom he saw good and bad fortune.
کزوی است پیروز به روزگارWho gives glory to one's fortune.
کزو دید پیروزی و روزگارWho grants him victory and fortune.
خداوند پیروزی و زور و فرLord of Victory, chiefs, and luminous glory.
خداوند مردی و داد و هنرLord of mankind, justice, and knowledge.
کزو دید مردی و بخت و هنرfrom whom there is manliness, fortune, and wisdom.
کزو دید پیدا به گیتی هنرfrom whom art came into existence
Here, we cannot depend on Davidson’s evidence of Shahnameh as formulae, because Davidson does not prove the traditional feature of letter writing. She attempted to use the simplest aspect which is phrases create patterns based on each other to show the existence of formulae in Shahnameh. But here we analyze the other kinds of which can be proven to be traditional; combinations that have been made by putting proper nouns with artistic epithets which are repeatedly used throughout Shahnameh.
Combining nouns and epithets can be traced back to the oral poetry. Khodaynameh is a book of songs which has been collected and written in Sassanid era. In the Islamic period, noun-epithet combinations came in to Abumansouri’s Shahnameh from Khodaynameh's translation which later came to Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. So, we can find features of oral poetry in Ferdowsi's Shahnameh.
According to points mentioned above it can be concluded that one of the techniques used in oral poetry that has been transferred from one generation of minstrels to another and has had an important role in the syllabic meter of oral poetry has been the usage of noun-epithet combinations. The minstrels have used these combinations repeatedly as pre-fabricated formulae in their poetry. Thus, they regularly filled same parts of the meter with fixed syllables. This feature has been used not only in the works of ancient literature such as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey but also it has been used in contemporary oral poetry such as epic poems in Serbian Guslars. In Iran, the use of noun-epithet combinations in Yashts and Zoroastrian priests’ emphasis in its oral preservation shows that this oral technique has had an important role in the ancient religious works.
Since poets such as Rodaki and Monjik Tarmizi who lived before Ferdowsi and other poets such as Farrukhi Sistani, Unsuri Balkhi, and Manuchehri Damghani who were unfamiliar with Ferdowsi's Shahnameh have used the same epithets as Ferdowsi, it can be concluded that these epithets were not the result of Ferdowsi's creativity in Shahnameh's as he has most probably taken them from Abumansouri’s Shahnameh. On the other hand, we know that probably Abumansouri’s Shahnameh has been the translation of Khodaynameh which has been written by four Zoroastrian priests based on an order from Abu Mansur Abdal Razzaq. Therefore, noun-epithet combinations most likely have been transferred from Khodaynameh to Abumansouri’s Shahnameh and later they have found their way to Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. According to this, we can say that Khodaynameh was the work which its different stories were collected and written based on popular oral poetry. This feature has preserved its written version that has been collected to be chanted by minstrels and Zoroastrian priests in Sassanid period. The minstrels and singers most likely have inherited this method from the works of Parthian Gōsān and Sassanid priests. The epithets that have been used in Shahnameh, are basically rooted in the tradition of minstrelsy. Besides, the character names in the story formed formulae that helped the poets or minstrels complete the meter of verses and then coordinate it with his own music.
It seems that Sassanid kings decided to collect this oral poetry and have them written down for their political and religious propaganda. Therefore, they persuaded Zoroastrian priests to collect and compose new sections, and create a new work which is nowadays called Khodaynameh. The translation of this work after Islam formed the basis of Abumansouri’s Shahnameh in the Islamic period. The artistic and literary features of this work were the main reasons that it became poetry (prosodic poetry) by Ferdowsi and Daqiqi. Perhaps, the tradition of composing in a style similar to Khodaynameh has been inherited by the poets of Islamic period as well. The culture and tradition which were transferred to Zoroastrian priests and minstrels by Parthian Gōsān as oral techniques in Sassanid period were also transferred to their successors. As Masoudi Marvazi, Daqiqi, and Ferdowsi bequeathed these techniques to them, now, it was their turn to compose Khodaynameh in prosodic meter and in a new style.