Selected Translations (chronological)


1785 - Joseph Champion, tr. The Poems of Ferdosi, vol. 1 (Calcutta). Reprint (London: Cadell and Debrett, 1788).

1814 - James Atkinson, tr. Soohrab: a Poem, Freely Translated from the Original Persian of Firdousee, being a portion of the Shahnamu of that celebrated poet (Calcutta: Hindoustanee Press). 2nd edition, enlarged, 1828. Atkinson was a member of the East India Company's Bengal Medical Service.

1815 - Stephen Weston, tr. Ferdoosee, Episodes from the Shahnamah (London: for the author)

1819 - Samuel Robinson, Sketch of the Life and Writings of Ferdusi. Transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Societyof Manchester. Reprinted for the author, 1823. Reprinted in revised edition, (London, 1876).

1832 - James Atkinson, tr. Firdausi: Shahnameh (London: Oriental Translation Fund)

1882 - Helen Zimmern, tr. The Epic of the Kings: Stories Retold from Firdusi (London: LT. Fisher Unwin). Consists of prose selections; not reliable for scholarship.

1905-1925 - Arthur and Edmond Warner, trs. The Sháhnáma of Firdausí, 9 vols. (London: Keegan Paul). Reprinted Routledge, 2000. A complete English verse translation of the Mohl edition.

1907 - Alexander Rogers, tr. The Shah-namah of Fardusi (London: Chapman and Hall)

1967 - Reuben Levy, tr. The Epic of the Kings. Persian Heritage Series. (London: Routledge and K. Paul) xxviii+423pp. Reprint, Mazda publications, 1996. A prose translation, with certain sections abridged in the form of a prose summary.

1987- Jerome Clinton, tr. The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam: From the Persian National Epic, the Shahname of Abdol-Qasem Ferdowsi. 2nd revised ed.(Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996).
Persian-English facing page, blank-verse translation with notes and glossary.

1992 - Dick Davis, tr. The Legend of Seyavash, (Penguin Classics). Blank verse translation.

1999 - Jerome Clinton, tr. In the Dragon's Claws: The Story of Rostam and Esfandiyar from the Persian Book of Kings (Washington, D.C. Mage Publishers). Blank verse of the Esfandiyar story.

Dick Davis, tr. Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings by Aboloqasem Ferdowsi. New York: Viking Penguin, 2006. Dick Davis’ prose (with some verse) English translation of nearly the entireShâhnâmeh is an important and monumental scholarly achievement, as it makes Ferdowsi accessible (in ways that previous antiquated verse translations didn’t) to English reading audiences who do not know Persian or may have never even heard of Iran’s most famous poet not named Rumi. On the downside, however, is the fact that Mr. Davis inexplicably leaves out not only the opening two hundred or so lines of Ferdowsi’s all important prologue but also much of the poet’s powerful, poignant, searching commentary, interspersed throughout the text, which taken together give the work its poetic vision and help the reader understand what concerns (e.g. religious, philosophical, epistemological) may have motivated Ferdowsi’s extraordinary poetic output. All we can hope for now, short of a new translation, is that Mr. Davis corrects this oversight in subsequent editions.

2006 - Dick Davis, tr. Shahnameh: the Persian book of kings by Abolqasem Ferdowsi. Foreword by Azar Nafisi. (New York: Viking). xxxvii, 886 pp.
Prose translation, with some excised portions (including the exordium), and selected passages in English verse. This is a one-volume re-edition of earlier versions from the Davis translation, as published initiially by Mage, with lavish illustrations from the pre-modern manuscript tradition, in three volumes: Vol. 1, The Lion and the Throne (Mage Publishers, 1998); Vol. 2, Fathers and Sons (Mage Publishers, 1998); Vol. 3, Sunset of Empire (Mage Publishers, 2003). The excerpted stories concerning Rostam also appeared separately as Rostam: Tales of Love & War from Persia's Book of Kings (Washington, DC : Mage Publishers, 2007), xxv+291 pp