BBC R4’s In Our Time today, another fine example of something about which I knew nothing before the programme. The ancient Shahnameh or Persian Book of Kings – a single continuous poem of rhyming couplets, longer than the Odyssey and Iliad together – written by Ferdowski.
Interesting after commenting on the Seven Pillars of Wisdom documentary only the day before, to think of the importance of old culture-bearing books to modern affairs. This time not the US in Iraq, but the Iranians when at war with Iraq, finding their culture under threat, preserved in its verses, repeating what had been done when the Mongols invaded and expelled the Arabs.
Anyway, a fascinating work and an excellent programme on so many levels, where the contributors’ knowledge and enthusiasm take over the whole flow. Melvyn happy to have screeds of ancient Persian read out on air, for their poetic value, notwithstanding the cultural, philosophical and historical value of their content. One for the common “Aryan” heritage pile (in the original rather than perverted sense of the word).
On another level, even academic experts are humans with their own interests and hopes, and all the better for it. I could go on.