GORGĀNI, FAḴR-AL-DIN ASʿAD

GORGĀNI, FAḴR-AL-DIN ASʿAD (fl. ca. 441/1050), poet, best known for his verse romance Vis o Rāmin, completed in 447/1055 or shortly thereafter and dedicated to the Saljuq governor of Isfahan, the ʿAmid Abu’l-Fatḥ Moẓaffar b. Moḥammad. Virtually all that is known about this poet is derived from his own statements in his poem; three lyric fragments attributed to him have been preserved in anthologies (see Moḥammad-Jaʿfar Maḥjub, ed., Vis o Rāmin ba moqaddama-e mabsuṭ wa ḥawāši wa taʿliqāt …, Tehran, 1959, p. 14 and notes). Like his patron, who came from Nišāpur (Maḥjub, ed., sec. 6, vv. 7-8, 26), Gorgāni also came from the east—from Gorgān, as his nesba indicates, where, it would seem, he became attached to the train of the first Saljuq sultan, Ṭoḡrïl (429-55/1038-63). Sometime after Ṭoḡrïl conquered Isfahan, he appointed the ʿAmid Abu’l-Fatḥ Moẓaffar as its governor and left the city in his charge when he departed for further campaigns. Gorgāni, who states that he had business there, stayed on in Isfahan, rather than accompanying the sultan, and approached the ʿAmid, who took him under his protection (Maḥjub, ed., sec. 7, vv. 10-16). One day, as they were conversing, the ʿAmid asked him, “What do you say about the tale of Vis and Rāmin?” Gorgāni replied, in some detail, to the effect that this story existed only in “Pahlavi” and was thus both incomprehensible and “unpoetic”; how much better it would be if put into proper meter and rhyme, with fine wording and deep meanings, of which the reader/hearer could take advantage (Maḥjub, ed., sec. 7, vv. 29-55; on the language of the source, see ibid., pp. 17-22, and Storey/de Blois, V/1, pp. 162-63 and the references cited there). The upshot was that the ʿAmid commissioned Gorgāni to versify the story properly. In the exordium, Gorgāni praises Sultan Ṭoḡrïl (particularly for his “peaceful” conquest of Isfahan and for his restoration of order in the city), his vizier Abu Naṣr Kondori (murdered in 456/1064), and the ʿAmid. As the concluding section indicates, the poem was presented to the patron as a “gift for Mehragān”: “For this festival, no one has brought a greater tribute; upon your order, I have told a tale beautiful as a blooming garden, containing wise proverbs like fruits, and love-songs [ḡazal-hā] like spring basil” (Maḥjub, ed., sec. 105 vv. 102-7); in the conclusion, Gorgāni also praises the ʿAmid’s three sons and predicts their brilliant future.

See also VIS O RĀMIN.

Bibliography: Given in the text.

For further references, see Storey/de Blois, V/1, pp. 164-67.

(Julie Scott Meisami)

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