Chapter

“We Rejoice in Your Heroic Deeds!”

Joel Thomas Walker

in The Legend of Mar Qardagh

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245785
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932197 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520245785.003.0004
“We Rejoice in Your Heroic Deeds!”

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This chapter uses evidence from Persian literature and art—including the Middle Persian Chronicle of Ardashīr (ca. 600), the Shā hnāma of Firdowsi, and the late Sasanian cliff reliefs at Taq-i-Bustan—to illustrate the Sasanian narrative models behind the court scenes of the Qardagh legend. Previous scholarship, while noting the existence of these parallels, has largely overlooked their significance. The “heroic deeds” of Mar Qardagh represent an adroit recasting of the epic traditions of the Sasanian world. Few, if any, Syriac Christian texts betray a comparable fluency in the imagery and underlying ideals of Sasanian epic. Qardagh's hagiographer artfully combines Sasanian epic motifs with scriptural models of “holy war” to portray his hero as a Sasanian Christian warrior. The chapter thus highlights a rarely considered component of Syrian Christian tradition.

Keywords: Persian literature; Sasanian narrative models; Qardagh legend; Mar Qardagh; Syrian Christian tradition

Chapter.  23939 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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