"The Shahnameh and Persian Poetry"
Dick Davis

Although the Shahnameh is the first major work of Persian literature, and is considered by many to be its single greatest achievement, Ferdowsi's epic poem is apparently very different in kind from most of the Persian literature which follows on from it. The talk will examine the ways in which the Shahnameh nevertheless exercised a profound influence on subsequent Persian literature, even though this may not be immediately obvious.

"Chronicles of Shahnameh: Mythology or History?"
Arash Afraz

Shahnameh of Ferdowsi summarizes a significant portion of Persian mythology. Being the most elegant one, Ferdowsi’s masterpiece is not the only Shahnameh ever written. In fact, “Shahnameh” was a common term for “history of the Shahs” in the Persian courts of 9th and 10th centuries. Is there a reflection of true history in Shahnameh stories as implied by its name? In this lecture, I will briefly sketch the mythological tree of Shahnameh’s characters and pars it into four main mythological periods. Then I will speculate about the parallels between the major mythological events/characters of Shahnameh and the history of greater Iran. This will be done with special emphasize on the analysis of Kay Khosrow’s character.

"Science Around the Time of Firdawsi’s Book of Kings"
Elaheh Kheirandish

This presentation is about scientific traditions around the time of Firdawsi’s ‘Book of Kings’, and it includes a short film accordingly titled ‘Early Science, ca. 1000 CE’. Some aspects of the presentation, such as the nature and meaning of Persian scientific traditions are extensions of two recent exhibits at Harvard and Brown Universities, respectively titled ‘Windows into Early Science’ and ‘Windows into Early Science and Craft’, and displayed in conjunction with courses offered on Arabic and Persian scientific traditions. Other aspects, including relevant scientific and literary sources featured in a recent John Hay Exhibit, which integrated manuscripts from Brown’s Minassian Collection with a focus on Persian traditions, are more fully addressed in the film.