World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0001581103
Reproduction Date:

Title: Zal  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Rostam, Rudaba, Simurgh, Nariman (father of Sām), Mehrab Kaboli
Collection: People with Albinism, Shahnameh Characters
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Zāl (Persian: زال‎‎, "Albino") is a legendary Persian King who ruled over Zabulistan and one of the greatest Persian warriors in Shahnameh.[1] He is the father of the equally legendary Persian hero, Rostam.


  • Background 1
  • Zal and Rudabeh 2
  • Later life 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Zal came from a family, whose members were legendary warriors, who for generations, served in the Persian army as great generals. His father, Sam and, later, his son, Rostam were great heroes of Persia.

An [2][3][4][5]

The mighty and wise Simurgh gave Zāl these three feathers to burn when in trouble. She would appear as soon as the feathers were lit.[4][5]

Zal and Rudabeh

Zal meets Rudaba.

After reuniting with his son, Sam made every effort to redress past wrongs. Manuchehr, too, gave the young man due regard. When Sam went off to wage war in Mazandaran, Zal, recommended to the elders, was given Sam's kingdom.

Setting forth on a royal progress to view his eastern provinces, Zal at every stage held court and called for wine, harp, and minstrelsy. In Kabul, Mehrab, a vassal King descended from the evil Zahhak, paid homage with gifts of horses and slaves.

Learning of Rudabeh, Mehrab's beautiful daughter, Zal lost his heart in love. But the affair was to progress slowly. Once even, Zal came near Rudaba's palace where Rudaba gave her tresses to Zal as a rope and he immediately climbed from base to summit.

Zal's marriage ceremony

Zal rightly feared that his father and Manuchihr would disapprove his marrying a descendant of Zahhak, and while Mehrab generally approved of the young prince, some of Zal's actions made him bristle. Zal accordingly wrote a letter to his father and requested him to agree to his marriage,reminded him of the oath he had made to fulfill all his wishes.

Sam and the Mubeds, knowing that Rudaba's father, chief of Kabul, was Babylonian from the family of Zahhak, did not approve of the marriage.

Finally, the ruler Sam referred the question to astrologers, to know whether the marriage between Zal and Rudaba would be prosperous or not and he was informed that the offspring of Zal and Rudabeh would be the conqueror of the world. When Zal arrived at the court of Manuchihr, he was instructed by the Emperor to showcase his skills. Zal was asked highly difficult questions and riddles by the emperor's wisest men, which Zal proceeded to answer them correctly.

The emperor then held a tournament for Zal, to prove himself against the royal warriors. Zal proved himself unparalleled in marksmanship (archery) and in fighting from horseback. The great warrior hurled his javelin with such strength, that he was able to impale three shields at once. Finally Zal succeeded in defeating Menuchehr's warriors and lifted an enemy warrior of his horse with complete ease. Impressed, Menuchehr gave his approval of Zal and Rudaba's marriage.

The marriage was celebrated in Kabul, where Zal and Rudaba had first met each other.

After a while, Zal and Rudabeh get married. Rostam, the great Persian hero, is born from their wedlock.

One of the feathers Simurgh gave Zal, he used when his wife Rudaba was in a difficult labour and it looked like she would lose her life as well as the unborn baby. The Simurgh appeared and instructed him to run a feather across his wife's belly like a knife. That is how Rustom was born.[5]

Later life

Zal brought up and trained Rostam. He had another son with Rudaba, named Zawara. He sent Rostam on many campaigns. Zal later ruled Zabulistan and served as a general and advisor to the king. He became famous for his military victories against the Turanians and against many barbarians.

Zal lived for more than three centuries, outliving his wife, Rudaba. He sired a son, Shagad, with a servant woman. Although he was warned by counsellors, that the child was evil, Zal refused to abandon, lest he commit the same mistake his father, Sam did.

When Esfandiyar challenged Rostam, Zal warned his son not to fight, as he was aware that Esfandiyar's murderer would be doomed. When Rostam returned, grieveously wounded, Zal healed him and summoned the Simurgh, to find out a way to defeat Esfandiyar.

Later, Zal lived to see his sons kill each other, and the fall of his family. Esfandiyar's son, Bahman, avenged his father's death by invading Zabulistan. Zal was too old to fight, and Bahman threw the ageing king in prison. Bahman later withdrew to Iran, and Zal once again ruled as king. The great king later, died of natural causes and his dynasty splintered.

See also


  1. ^ Davidson, Olga M. (1994). Poet and hero in the Persian Book of kings (Digitized May 14, 2008 ed.). Cornell University Press. p. 76.  
  2. ^ A History of All Nations (Digitized Nov 23, 2005 ed.). Original from the University of Michigan. 1864. 
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Donna (1997). "page 116-118". Folklore, Myths, and Legends: A World Perspective. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 536.  
  4. ^ a b Reed, Elizabeth Armstrong (1893). "XI". Persian Literature: Ancient and Modern. Original from Harvard University (Digitized Feb 5, 2007 ed.). S. C. Griggs and company. p. 419. 
  5. ^ a b c Khayyam, Omar; Edward FitzGerald (1900). "The Sha Nameh, pages 50-67". In Translated by  

External links

  • Zal Featured in Rostam Comic Book
    • A king's book of kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Zal
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.