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Aura of Kings

Legitimacy and Divine Sanction in Iranian Kingship

Series: Bibliotheca Iranica: Intellectual Traditions Series 10
Availability: Out of stock
Published: 2003
Page #: viii + 192
Size: 6x9
ISBN: 1-56859-109-8
plates, bibliography, index

Quick Overview

The Divine Glory or farr-e izadi (Old Persian: khvarnah) is an everlasting principle of Iranian political ideology usually invoked to project legitimacy of rule and divine sanction. Persian literature abounds with references to the ruler’s Divine Glory, and scholarly studies often emphasize the centrality of this theme to the topic of authority and power. Yet, little attention has been devoted to the visual symbolism of farr and its potential for shedding more light on our perception of ancient Iranian history. In a culture where the written word is scarce and, when available, is metaphoric and evasive, the pictorial document can be as valuable as text, and iconography can be developed into an essential tool of historiography.

In The Aura of Kings, Abolala Soudavar traces the symbolism of the farr or Divine Glory to its early origins and demonstrates its continuity across Iranian history. This important and very readable study sheds new light on the formulation and development of the symbolism of kingship in Iran and her geo-cultural neighbors, and contributes toward a better understanding of the Iranian worldview in general, and the propagation of the aura as a visual symbol of farr in particular.

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