Learn/ Educators/ Curriculum Resources/ Art of the Islamic World/ Unit Five: Courtly Splendor in the Islamic World/ Chapter Three: The Making of A Persian Manuscript—The Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp/ Themes of the Shahnama

Themes of the Shahnama

Although the majority of the stories in the Shahnama involve battles and struggles between the forces of good and evil, other themes include love, humor, and the supernatural. One of the principal themes concerns kingship and the relationship between sovereigns and their subjects. Over time, the poem became an emblem of royal power and legitimacy, and a kind of didactic handbook for young princes and rulers. The book's inherent connection to kingship led many rulers of Iran to commission manuscripts of the Shahnama for their own royal libraries.

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