A Key to the Treasure of the Hakim
A Key to the Treasure of the Hakim
Artistic and Humanistic Aspects of Nizami Ganjavi’s Khamsa
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Table of Contents
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Introduction “A Key to the Treasure of the Hakim”
1 Nizami’s World Order
2 The Hidden Pearls of Wisdom: Desire and Initiation in Layli u Majnun
3 Descriptions and Images – Remarks on Gogand Magog in Nizami’s Iskandar Nama,Firdawsi’s Shah Nama and Amir Khusraw’s A’ina-yi Iskandari
4 Nizami’s Cosmographic Vision and Alexander in Search of the Fountain of Life
5 Drinking from the Water of Life – Nizami, Khizr and the Symbolism of Poetical Inspiration in Later Persianate Literature
6 The Enigma of Turandot in Nizami’s Pentad. Azada and Bahram between Esther and Sindbad
7 What is it that Khusraw learns from the Kalila-Dimna stories?
8 The “Wasteland” and Alexander, the Righteous King, in Nizami’s Iqbal Nama
9 A Mystical Reading of Nizami’s Use of Nature in the Haft Paykar
10 The Nizami Manuscript of Shah Tahmasp: A Reconstructed History
11 Nizami Ganjavi, the Wordsmith: The Concept of sakhun in Classical Persian Poetry
12 Teucros in Nizami's Haft Paykar
13 “Let Even a Cat Win your Heart!” Nizami on Animal and Man.
Illustrations to Chapter 10
Already published in the Iranian Studies Series:

Reviews and Features

"The list of the authors is representative of the international studies on Nizâmi at the present moment. If only for this reason, the appearance of this rich and many-sided volume of essays is of the greatest importance."Johannes Thomas Pieter de Bruijn, Professor Emeritus of Persian at the University of Leiden.

Johann Christoph Bürgel, Christine van Ruymbeke (eds)

A Key to the Treasure of the Hakim

Artistic and Humanistic Aspects of Nizami Ganjavi’s Khamsa

This “Key” to the Khamsa consists of thirteen essays by eminent scholars in the field of Persian Studies, each focusing on different aspects of the Khamsa, which is a collection of five long poems written by the Persian poet Nizami of Ganja.

Nizami (1141-1209) lived and worked in Ganja in present-day Azerbaijan. He is widely recognized as one of the main poets of Medieval Persia, a towering figure who produced outstanding poetry, straddling mysticism, romances and epics. He has left his mark on the whole Persian-speaking world and countless younger poets in the area stretching from the Ottoman to the Mughal worlds (present-day Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, India) have found him an inspiration and have tried to emulate him. His work has influenced such other immense poets as Hafez, Rumi, and Saadi.

His five masnavis (long poems) address a variety of topics and disciplines and have all enjoyed enormous fame, as the countless surviving manuscripts of his work indicate. His heroes, Khosrow and Shirin, Leili and Majnun, Iskandar count amongst the stars of the Persian literary firmament and have become household names all over the Islamic world.

The essays in the present volume constitute a significant development in the field of Nizami-studies, and on a more general level, of classical Persian literature. They focus on topics such as mysticism, art history, comparative literature, science, and philosophy. they show how classical Greek knowledge mingles in a unique manner with the Persian past and the Islamic culture in Nizami’s world. They reflect a high degree of engagement with the existing scholarship in the field, they revive and challenge traditional views on the poet and his work and are indispensable both for specialists in the field and for anyone interested in the movement of ideas in the Medieval world.
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Johann Christoph Bürgel

Johann-Christoph Bürgel is professor emeritus of Islamic studies at Bern University and has received several prizes for his Nizami translations.

Christine van Ruymbeke

Dr. Christine van Ruymbeke is Soudavar Lecturer in Persian Studies aan Cambridge University.