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Tahmina visits Rustam

Tahmina visits Rustam

Leaf from a disbound manuscript of Firdausi, Shahnama (Book of kings), copied c 1430 for Ibrahim Sultan of Shiraz

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Ouseley Add 176, fol 82r

The warrior knight Rustam is the primary hero of the Shahnama and credited with almost supernatural powers. Once, while searching for his lost horse Rakhsh, he spends the night in the palace of the king of Samangan.

Tahmina, the king’s beautiful daughter, asserts her aristocratic freedom by appearing in Rustam’s bedchamber as he sleeps. She asks him to father her child in return for her assistance in finding his horse.

The text recounts that Rustam immediately takes up Tahmina’s offer and in the morning his horse has been found. Rustam returns to Iran without seeing Tahmina again, unaware he has fathered a son.