ABŪ MANṢŪR MAʿMARĪ, minister (dastūr) of Abū Manṣūr b. ʿAbd-al-Razzāq (d. 350/961), a military commander of Khorasan under the Samanids. When the latter decided to have a Šāh-nāma composed in New Persian, he instructed his minister to gather in Ṭūs a number of Zoroastrian scholars and dehqāns; under Maʿmarī’s direction they translated the Pahlavi Xwadāy-nāmag (q.v.), expanding it with material from other sources. The work was completed in Moḥarram, 346/April, 957 and became the major source for Ferdowsī. The work, generally referred to as Šāh-nāma-ye Abū Manṣūrī, is lost except for the introduction written by Maʿmarī, which provides all that is known about him. Numerous copies of this introduction, usually replete with mistakes, have been preserved in old manuscripts of Ferdowsī’s Šāh-nāma. In this introduction Maʿmarī’s family is traced back to a Sasanian kanārang (military governor) under Ḵosrow II. Although this genealogy is questionable, there can be little doubt that Maʿmarī was one of the Iranian nobles who were trying to preserve the culture of pre-Islamic Iran.
M. Qazvīnī, Bīst maqāla, Tehran, 1332 Š./1953, II, pp. 5-90.
V. Minorsky, “The Older Preface to the Shāh-nāma,” in Studi Orientalistici in onore di Giorgio Levi Della Vida II, Rome, 1956, pp. 159-79; repr. Bīst maqāla-ye Mīnorskī, Tehran, 1964, pp. 260-73.
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 19, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 4, p. 337