FARĀMARZ, son of Iran’s national hero Rostam (q.v.), and himself a renowned hero of the Iranian national epic. His adventures were very popular, especially during the 4th/10th and 5th/11th centuries (Balʿamī, ed. Bahār, I, p. 133; II, p. 687; Farroḵī, vv. 1027, 7654). According to the Tārīḵ-e Sīstān (p. 7), the exploits of Farāmarz comprised a twelve-volume account. What is known of his story today is derived from Ferdowsīʾs Šāh-nāma (q.v.), from the Farāmarz-nāma (q.v.), and a few other sources. In the Šāh-nāma Farāmarz’s most important exploit is his participation in Rostam’s campaign against Tūrān to avenge the death of SīāvaḵŠ. Farāmarz leads the army; kills Varāzād, the king of Sepījāb; and later captures Sorḵa, son of Afrāsīāb (q.v.; Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, II, pp. 385, 389-90; Ṯaʿālebī, Ḡorar, p. 217). He also kills Mehrnuš, son of Esfandīār (q.v.), and avenges the death of his father Rostam by killing the king of Kabul and by destroying Kabul (Šāh-nāma [Moscow] VI, pp. 283, 338-39). According to Šāh-nāma and Mojmal al-tawārīḵ, Kay Ḵosrow sends Farāmarz to conquer India (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, III, pp. 22-23; Mojmal, ed. Bahār, p. 49). These sources say nothing more about the Indian campaign, but it is the subject of the Farāmarz-nāma, which has come down to us in two versions. The adventures of Farāmarz are also mentioned in the epic Bānū Gošasp-nāma, although there he plays a secondary role to Gošasp Bānū (q.v.; see Cat. Bibliothèque Nationale, p. 18, n. 1194). According to this story Rostam places the infant Farāmarz in the care of his daughterGošasp Bānū. The rest of the epic recounts the adventures of Gošasp Bānū and Farāmarz, including their battle—while in disguise—with Rostam and Zavāra, which takes as a model the battle of Rostam and Sohrāb but has a happy ending. Another source, the epic Bahman-nāma (q.v.), gives in its second part an account of Farāmarz’s wars against Bahman (q.v.; Īrānšāh, pp. 191-340). In addition, the Nozhat-nāma contains two narratives about the adventures of Farāmarz in India (Šahmardān, pp. 329-33). Stories about him are to be found also in Armenian and Mandaean sources. In Armenian stories Fahrāmaz (an Armenian variant of his name) is the son of Golparī, whom Rostam marries after rescuing her from the castle of the Red Demon (dīv-e sorḵ). Among the main adventures of Farāmarz in Armenian sources is his battle alongside Zāl and Borzū against the shah of Darband, and the capture of a fire-colored stallion, which was destroying the king’s horses by driving the herds into the sea (Chalatianz, pp. 295-300). According to a Mandaean account the mother of Fīlamers (Farāmarz) is the daughter of the Chinese emperor (Petermann, pp. 108-9). In some Persian stories Rostam’s wife is Gēv’s sister, Šahrbānū Eram (Šāh-nāma, ed. Khaleghi, II, p. 347). Mojmal al-tawārīḵ states that the mother of Farāmarz and of his two sisters Gošasp Bānū and Zar Bānū, is Kay Qobād’s aunt (Mojmal, ed. Bahār, p. 25).

According to Ṭabarī and some other sources Farāmarz is killed by Bahman, son of Esfandīār (Ṭabarī, I, p. 687; cf. Balʿamī, ed. Bahār, II, p. 687; Šāh-nāma [Moscow], VI, pp. 347-49; Ṯaʿālebī, Ḡorar, p. 388; Īrānšāh, pp. 335-40.) However, this is not the only version of the story. According to Balʿamī, Bahman is the one who is killed in the battle with Farāmarz, while in Tārīḵ-e Sīstān the two make peace (Balʿamī, ed. Bahār, II, pp. 686-87; Tārīḵ-e Sīstān, p. 34). In Mojmal al-tawārīkò Farāmarz perishes in Kashmir, falling to his death from a horse; his body is taken to Sīstān and buried in Rostam’s ossuary (ed. Bahār, pp. 25, 463). There are also Persian folk tales about Farāmarz (Enjavī).


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

B. Chalatianz, “Die iranische Heldensage bei den Armenien,” Zeitschrift des Vereins für Volkskunde 14, 1904, pp. 295-300.

A. Enjavī, Ferdowsī-nāma, 3 vols., Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.

Abu’l-Ḥasan Farroḵī Sīstānī, Dīvān, ed. M. Dabīrsīāqī, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1349 Š./1970.

Īrānšāh b. Abi’l-Ḵayr, Bahman-nāma, ed. R. ʿAfīfī, Tehrān, 1370 Š./1991.

H. Petermann, Reisen im Orient, 2nd ed., 2 vols., Leipzig, 1965.

Šahmardān b. Abi’l-Ḵayr, Nozhat-nāma-ye ʿalāʾī, ed. F. Jahānpūr, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

(Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999