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IRANIAN MYTHOLOGY

FORÛD


 

By: Jalal Khaleqi-Motlaq

 

 

(or Ferôd), son of Sîâvakhš and half brother of Kay Khosrow. His mother is Jarîra (according to the Š; Tabarî mentions Borzâfarîd as her name), the eldest daughter, or the sister (Mojmal, ed. Bahâr, p. 29), of Pîrân, the commander-in-chief of Afrâsîâb's (q.v.) army. In his first campaign against Afrâsîâb to avenge the murder of Sîâvakhš, Kay Khosrow instructs Tôs, his commander-in-chief, not to take the route crossing Forûd's territory of De‘-e Kalât (Kalâ Dez or Dez-e Forûd in the area of Sarakhs according to Bundahišn 9.38) in order to avoid a clash between the army and Forûd. Tôs, however, ignoring the king's instruction and the advice of his officers, leads the army toward Kalât. Forûd, on the advice of his mother, decides to join the Iranian army in avenging the murder of his father. Forûd knows none of the Iranians, so he takes along with him a hero called Tokhúâr, who is to point out to Forûd the paladins in the Iranian army. Tôs, seeing two men watching the movements of the army from the peak of the mountain, becomes suspicious and sends Bahrâm, son of Gôdarz (qq.v.), to kill or capture them. Forûd reveals his identity to Bahrâm, who returns to the army with the news. Tôs interprets Bahrâm's action as an act of insubordination and a sign of the enmity of the Gôdarz family. Thereupon, he sends his son-in-law, Rêvnîz, to accomplish the mission. Forûd, who sees that, contrary to the previous arrangement with Bahrâm, a different person is approaching, considers it as an act of treachery and a direct personal affront. He therefore kills Rêvnîz and then Zarasp, the son of Tôs. Thereupon Tôs resolves to take the field himself to avenge the murder of his son and son-in-law. Forûd, unwilling to disrupt the campaign and the original plan of the Iranian army, refrains from killing Tôs but shoots down his horse. Humiliated and on foot, Tôs returns to the camp under a barrage of laughter and ridicule from the ladies of the fortress who had been watching from the parapet. Deeply affected, the Iranian heroes take this as an insult to their honor and the prestige of their army. Gêv (q.v.), Gôdarz's son, considers Forûd's action less tolerable than the rashness of Tôs and sets off to face Forûd. He, too, suffers the same fate and withdraws on foot amid an onslaught of ridicule and derision by the women. Even his own son, Bê‘an/Bî‘an (q.v.), taunts him with bitter words. After his father hits him with a whip, Bê‘an vows to destroy Forûd and sets off in the company of his uncle, Rohhâm. Forûd, unable to withstand the joint attack of the two, withdraws to the fortress wounded and dies moments later. His mother slaughters Forûd's horses, sets the castle on fire, and kills herself beside her son. The ladies of the castle also kill themselves by jumping from the walls as desired by the dying Forûd so that they may not fall captive to the enemy (Š, ed. Khaleghi, II, pp. 296-97, 321, III, pp. 27-59; Tabarî, I, pp. 605-6; Ebn Balkhî, p. 44).

 

 According to Bal´amî (ed. Bahâr, I, p. 603), Tôs had no intention to fight Forûd, but it was Forûd who was belligerent from the outset. Kay Khosrow's instruction that the army should avoid the route by Kalât also suggests that Forûd was expected to be hostile. Bal´amî's report may reflect the idea of a dispute between the two brothers over the question of succession to the throne, to which Forûd, as the elder brother, could have had a legitimate claim. Age alone, however, cannot always be the deciding factor, since other considerations such as religion, nationality, and the status of the mother's family are also significant (cf. Herodotus, 5.2-3). Forûd's mother is the daughter of Pîrân, whereas Kay Khosrow is the son of Farangîs, Afrâsîâb's daughter, which makes Kay Khosrow outrank Forûd on the mother's side.

 

 The suicide or killing of women lest they fall into the hands of the enemy has historical parallels. The Parthian king Phraates IV killed all his concubines before fleeing to Scythia from the forces of Tridates II (Gutschmid, p. 103).

 

The legend of Forûd is one of the most dramatic episodes in the Š. The poet's skillful depiction of characters greatly enhances the dramatic effect of the story, which develops around the main theme of a conflict resulting in repeated clashes of heroic honor. At first the reader's heart goes out to Forûd, whose honorable intention is to join his brother's army, while Tôs, with his arrogant rejection of Forûd's extended hand of friendship, seems to be the villain. But, as the story develops and Tôs becomes the subject of constant humiliation, the original antipathy towards him turns into sympathy, creating a kind of balance of legitimacy on both sides of the conflict, thereby bringing the story to a dramatic climax.

 

 

 

Bibliography

A. Enjavî, Ferdowsî-nâma, 3 vols., Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, III, pp. 185-93 (popular versions of the story). 

A. V. Gutschmid, Geschichte Irans, Tübingen, 1888. M. Mînovî and M. Rowšan, ed. with commentary, Dâstân-e Forûd az Šâh-nâma-ye Ferdowsî, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1990. 

J. Khâleqî MotÂlaq (Khaleghi-Motlagh), "´Anâser-e derâm dar barkh-î az dâstânhâ-ye Š," Èrân-nâma 10/1, 1370 Š./1991, pp. 52-75.

 

 

 

 

 

Source/Extracted From: Encyclopaedia Iranica

 

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