Chahar Maqala. (“Four Discourses”)

Of Nizami-I-’ Arudi of Samarqand Revised Translation Followed by an Abridged Translation of Mirza Muhammad’s Notes to the Persian Text


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ISBN : 9781619521452


Author : E. G. Browne


Pages :


Year of Publishing : 2020


Binding : Hardbound


Publisher : Impact Global Publishing Inc. USA


Ahmad ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘All of Samarqand, poetically named Nizami and further entitled ‘Arudi (the “Prosodist”) flourished in the first half of the sixth century of the hijra (twelfth of the Christian era), and seems to have spent most of his life in Khurasan and Transoxiana. What we know of him is chiefly derived from this book, which contains a good deal of autobiographical material. The events in his life to which he refers lie between the years 504/1110-1111 and 547/1152-3, and we find him successively at Samarqand, Balkh, Herat, Tus and Nishapur. He was primarily a poet and courtier, but he also practised Astrology and Medicine when occasion arose. His poetry, in spite of the complacency displayed by him was not, if we may judge by the comparatively scanty fragments which have survived, of the highest order, and is far inferior to his prose, which is admirable, and, in my opinion, almost unequalled in Persian. It is by virtue of the Chahar Maqala , and that alone, that Nizami-i-‘Arudi of Samarqand deserves to be reckoned amongst the great names of Persian literature.

Not less remarkable than the style of the Chahar Maqala is the interest of its contents, for it contains the only contemporary account of ‘Umar Khayyam, and the oldest known account of Firdawsi, while many of the anecdotes are derived from the author’s own experience, or were orally communicated to him by persons who had direct knowledge of the facts. The book is therefore one of the most important original sources for our knowledge of the literary and scientific conditions which prevailed in Persia for the two or three centuries preceding its composition, which may be placed with certainty between the years 547/1152 and 552/1157, and with great probability in the year 551/1156.

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