Above and under the giraffes that appear in the many copies of this work.


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Ferdowsi; Shahnama, (The Book of Kings) (1000) Persia

Taken from: Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings By Abolqasem Ferdowsi

                    The negative Images of Blacks in some Medieval Iranian Writings by Minoo Southgate


This book which is the national epic of all Persian speaking people does hardly mention East Africa. Among the illustrations in the book however there is one (called Sulayman enthroned) where all people and animals of the world have gathered and which shows a giraffe. The different drawings come from different mss.


When night came, a black cloud spread over the army, making the world as dark as a Zangi’s face.
The earth seemed like a sea of pitch, from which all light had gone into hiding.

The night was still as dark as a Zangi’s face when someone came to Kay Khosrow from Gostaham, the son of Nozar.

What with the dust sent up by the army and the dust from the crumbling ramparts,
the world became as dark as a Zangi’s face;
you’d have said a black cloud had arisen, and that the air was like a lion’s maw.
He went on hastening towards a place. Where the world's light by darkness was effaced.
The night was dark as face of Zangi black. No moon shone out ;
there was of stars a lack. Thou would'st have said in fetters was the sun


Out of his other works the following sayings got extracted:

Do not hope for any good from the ignoble, for the Zangi will not turn white by washing. (from his Satire on Mahmud of Gazne)



In the book there is also a war against the people of Ethiopia