The Toponymy of Iran’s Frontiers from the Perspective of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh

Document Type : Original Article


1 - Assistant Professor of History, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

2 - Assistant Professor of Political Geography, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran


The term Frontier demarcate the relative limit of political-space territory unites in pre-Westphalia era and the word boundary shows the exact and official limit of land area of modern states. Limitation of the size of historical, political- spatial units depends on period of time and ruling political, economic and social structures. Toponymy is a knowledge that studies geographical names. This knowledge reveals many hidden facts and historical, social, linguistic and geographical events which were vanished and just a name remained. Hence, it is linked strongly to geography, history and linguistics sciences, and has entered in the area of issues related to identity over the past few decades. This article focuses on determining the frontiers of Iran in Ferdowsi­'s Shahnameh. Since Shahnameh is an epic work, it does not have temporal and spatial nature. So, its Content analysis could be done based on word frontier which requires the use of knowledge of Toponymy.
The research methodology adopted here is descriptive-analytic, and data gathering procedure is based on library findings.
Result and Discussion
Due to the variety of sources used in writing Shahnameh and constant changes in places’ and individuals names, analysis of location and geographic arena of Iranian historical and cultural structures in Shahnameh is difficult. Shahnameh narratives are not temporal and spatial like other national epics since transparency of time and place is more storied and mythological events will be near to history and will decreases the value of their epic. Ferdowsi by reliance on historical sources and concepts like:" Shah Jahan", "Haft keshvar" and "Iranshahr" somehow has demonstrated Iranian sovereignty over the world and its center.
This article is based on the assumption that Toponymy in Shahnameh on the one hand reflects geographic Iranvij names in Avesta as a source of Shahnameh codification and on the other hand shows the efforts made during Sassanid era to adapt mythological toponymies of Avesta with Geographical realities of Iran plateau. Also, Shahnameh is not necessarily a pure geographical-historical work and it is related to the thought of ferdowsi and the resources he used. Ferdowsi in Shahnameh has not directly paid attention to the delimitation of geographical Iran, but indirectly investigated Iran's Historical and cultural borders according to political and historical events on both global and Iranian scale has.