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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Making connections

Investigate the connections between Persian and Western stories using the texts and discussion questions below.

This activity is linked to the Persian poetry – links to the West inquiry unit and targeted at VELS Level 5–6 students. Refer to the curriculum outcomes to see how this unit aligns with VELS.


  • 1001 nights – examine this popular collection of stories originating from Persia, the Middle East and India that is also known in English as The Arabian nights.
  • Alexander the Great – compare representations of the man known as Iskandar in Persian historical and literary works (including the Shahnama), and as Alexander the Great in the West.
  • Prince of Persia – consider the ways these popular computer games and graphic novels draw on 1001 nights and the the Shahnama.
  • Rostam: tales from the Shahnameh – explore the ways in which these comics are influenced by the Shahnama.
  • 'The tale of Rostam and the white div' – investigate parallels between this story from the Shahnama and the Greek myth of Hercules and his 12 labours. (Refer to 'Stories, images & translations' on the Useful websites page.)
  • Layla and Majnun – explore parallels between this Persian tale of star-crossed lovers and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Discussion questions

  • Consider the origins of the poems or stories you're investigating. For example: when was it written, who was its author and what country did it come from?
  • What myths, legends or beliefs are associated with this tale?
  • What connections can you see between this tale and its western counterpart?
  • How does the story differ from its western counterpart?

Love & devotion in the UK

The Bodleian Libraries is showing its own presentation of the Love and devotion exhibition at the Exhibition Room, Bodleian Library, in Oxford, England, between 29 November 2012 and 28 April 2013.

Learn more about how you can visit this exhibition on the Bodleian Libraries website.


Love and devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

This two-day conference held in April 2012 featured distinguished international guests and Australian specialists exploring cultural convergences in literature, the arts and architecture, history and philosophy within Persia's cultural sphere and Europe, from the 11th century to the present day.

For information on keynote speakers & topics discussed, visit our conference page

Visit the exhibition

The Love and devotion exhibition took place from 9 March to 1 July 2012. In-depth information about the exhibits and themes can be found on this website.

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