Glossary beginning with S

the glossary
Click one of the letters above to be taken to a page of all terms beginning with that letter.
saqi

The young man or courtier who pours the wine and passes the wine cup at literary gatherings and court parties.

sarlau

A completely illuminated page at the beginning of a manuscript, often on the verso of the shamsa folio (compare with ʿunvan).

senmurv

A mythical creature with the head of a dog.

shah

The title traditionally used by Persian kings or rulers.

shahi-sevani

Devotion to the figure or office of the shah during the Safavid period.

shamsa

From the Arabic word for ‘sun’; an illuminated device at the beginning of a decorated manuscript, usually round like a rosette, and occasionally lobed. The shamsa commonly contains the work's title or a dedication to its patron, or both.

shaykh

A term of respect for a wise person, a religious scholar, or the leader of a tribe or religious group (literally, ‘elder’).

simurgh

A magnificent, multicoloured and resplendently feathered mythical bird; in the Shahnama it protects Rustam’s family. Sometimes used as a symbol of the Divine, as in ʿAttar’s The conference of the birds.

Sufi

An Islamic mystic.

Sufism

The mystical tradition of Islam aimed at the pursuit of the living reality of spiritual life and the inner experience of the Divine.

sultan

From the Arabic word for strength or ruler; a title used by rulers of the Ghaznavid, Seljuq, Ottoman and Mamluq empires.

sura

A chapter of the Qurʾan.