ĀZĀDA, name of a Roman slave-girl of Bahrām Gōr. According to Ferdowsī (Šāh-nāma [Moscow] VII, p. 273, vv. 153ff.) and Ṯaʿālebī (Ḡorar, pp. 541f.) Bahrām Gōr, during his stay as a young man at the court of his Arab mentor the Lakhmid Monḏer b. Noʿmān, became the owner of Āzāda (Āzādvār in Ḡorar), who was a fine harpist. Whenever a hunt was arranged, Bahrām would place her behind himself on his camel and take her with him to the hunting ground. On one such day Āzāda expressed sympathy for the gazelles instead of praise for Bahrām’s prowess. Bahrām took offense, flung her to the ground, and let his camel trample her. According to Ṯaʿālebī, Monḏer had the event painted in the palace of Ḵᵛarnaq at Ḥīra. Neẓāmī incorporated the story into his Haft paykar (ed. H. Ritter and J. Rypka, Istanbul, 1934, p. 87, vv. 1f.), but altered the girl’s name to Fetna and gave the story a happy ending. The hunting scene has been a popular theme for miniaturists.
Originally Published: December 15, 1987
Last Updated: August 18, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 2, p. 174