The Book of Jāmāsp the Sage (Kitāb-i Ḥakīm Jāmāsp) is a rendition of a popular Zoroastrian apocalyptic tradition, telling a history of the world from its creation to its end through a series of horoscopes. It was composed in the south of Iran during the third quarter of the thirteenth century, in response to the Mongol conquest of the region. Most other extant texts in the tradition, known generically as the Decrees of Jāmāsp (Aḥkām-i Jāmāsp), were prepared during the dissolution of the Great Seljuq Empire in the early twelfth century. Social changes in Iran in the intervening century are reflected in the way that the Decrees are updated for the Book of Jāmāsp the Sage. The text therefore provides unique insight into popular local intellectual culture during a dynamic period of Iranian history. It uncovers a perspective on history, religion, and science that was far removed from the Mongol court and its royally sponsored chronicles.
This project is the first ever study of the Book of Jāmāsp the Sage, based on a half dozen extant manuscripts. The goal is to elucidate the historical, intellectual, and social contexts—from Astrology to Zoroastrianism— for the text’s creation and to show how the text exemplifies the hybrid and syncretic cultural life of Mongol Iran. We are also preparing a full edition and translation of the text, with textual and historical commentary, which will be published in print and digital formats.
The Book of Jāmāsp the Sage is based at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Iranian Studies, and is supported financially by the Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF), projects M-3187 “Rethinking History” and Y-1232 “Nomads Manuscripts Landscape.” The Academy of Sciences has provided additional financial support through the Holzhausen-Legat.