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Rustam

by Micha F. Lindemans
The most famous hero of the great Persian Epic of the Kings, Shahname, by Firdaus (completed in 1010 CE/400 AH). Rustam was the son of Zal who was born with gray hair and educated at the court of King Minuchihir. When the boy was ten years old, the white elephant of the shah broke loose, but Rustam hit the animal with a club so that it fell down dead. Later he caught and tamed the stallion Raksh, which stayed faithful to him ever after.

Then one day, his horse was stolen while he was sleeping in the wilderness. He followed the tracks and came upon a city where he was well received. During the night, the daughter of the king appeared to him and explained that she had stolen the horse because she wanted him as her husband. Rustam and the princess, Tamine, were married and when Rustam had gone back to his endless battles, his wife gave birth to a boy whom she called Sohrab. Later in his life, unknown to him, Rustam killed his own son.

Although not really dateable as a historic person, he died somewhere in the 6th century, perhaps by treachery. In his life he had served a succession of Persian monarchs: Kay Kobad, Kay Ka'us and Kay Khosrau. He also fought many mythical monsters such as the dragon and the White Demon.


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