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Vis and Rāmin


Vis and Rāmin

"The two lovers", Vis and Rāmin. A Persian miniature painting by Reza Abbasi.

Vis and Rāmin (Asad Gorgani (فخرالدين اسعد گرگانی) in the 11th century.

The story dates from

  • Vīs u Rāmīn, The Persian Epic on The Love of Vīs and Rāmīn, by Fakhr al-dīn Gorgānī, Persian Critical Text composed from the Persian and Georgian oldest manuscripts by Magali A. Todua and Alexander A. Gwakharia, edited by Kamal S. Aini (Tehran 1970). Digitized text: University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
  • Vīs u Rāmīn, audiobook, recorded by Ahmad Karimi Hakkak at University of Washington, USA.
  • Dick Davis (January 6, 2005), "Vis o Rāmin", in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online Edition. Accessed on April 4, 2010.[8]

External links

  • Gorgani, Fakhraddin. Vis and Ramin Trans. Dick Davis. Washington DC: Mage, February 2008 ISBN 1-933823-17-8. [7]
  • Vīs and Rāmīn, by Fakhr al-Dīn Gurgānī, translated from Persian by George Morrison, UNESCO Collection of Representative Works: Persian heritage series, no. 14, xix, 357 p. (Columbia University Press, New York, 1972). ISBN 0-231-03408-3.

English translations

  • Julie Scott Meisami, Medieval Persian Court Poetry, Princeton, 1987.
  • Vladimir Minorsky, "Vis u Ramin: A Parthian Romance," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. XI, 1943–46, pp. 741–63; Vol. XII, 1947–1948, pp. 20–35; Vol. XVI, 1954, pp. 91–92; "New Developments". Vol. XXV, 1962, pp. 275–86.


See also

  1. ^ a b Dick Davis (January 6, 2005), "Vis o Rāmin", in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online Edition. Accessed on April 4, 2010.[5]
  2. ^ Gvakharia, Aleksandre "Georgia IV: Literary contacts with Persia"], in: Encyclopaedia Iranica Online Edition. Accessed on April 4, 2010 at [6]
  3. ^ George Morrison, Julian Baldick et al. (1981), History of Persian Literature: From the Beginning of the Islamic Period to the Present Day, p. 35. Brill, ISBN 90-04-06481-8.


وُ یا چرخ فلک هر زیب کش بود
بر آن بالا و آن رخسار بنمود

تو گفتی فتنه را کردند صورت
بدان تا دل کنند از خلق غارت

لب و زلفینش را دو گونه باران
شکر بار این بدی و مشکبار آن

جمال حور بودش، طبع جادو
سرینِ گور بودش، چشم آهو

چو ماه نَو بر او گسترده پروین
چو طوق افگنده اندر سرو سیمین

نشانده عقد او را درّ بر زر
بسان آب بفسرده بر آذر

ده انگشتش چو ده ماسورهء عاج
بسر بر هر یکی را فندقی تاج

چو ابر تیره زلف تابدارش
بار اندر چو زهره گوشوارش

چو شاه زنگ بودش جعد پیچان
دو رخ پیشش چو دو شمع فروزان

چو شاه روم بود آن ری نیکوش
دو زلفش پیش او چون دو سیه پوش

بچهر آفتاب نیکوان بود
بغمزه اوستاد جادوان بود

دو رخسارش بهار دلبری بود
دو دیدارش هلاک صابری بود

روا بود ار خرد زو خیره گشتی
کجا چشم فلک زو تیره گشتی

تنش آبست و شیر و می رخانش
همیدون انگبینست آن لبانش

گهی گفتی که این باغ بهشتست
که یزدانش ز نور خود سرشتست

تنش سیمست و لب یاقوت نابست
همان دندان او درّ خوشابست

رخش دیبا و اندامش حریرست
دو زلفش غالیه، گیسو عبیر است

گهی گفتی که این گنج شهانست
که در وی آرزوهای جهانست

سیه زلفینش انگور ببارست
زنخ سیب و دو پستانش دونارست

گهی گفتی که این باغ خزانست
که در وی میوهای مهرگانست

بنفشه زلف و نرگس چشمکانست
چو نسرین عارض لاله رخانست

گهی گفتی که این باغ بهارست
که در وی لالهای آبدارست

خرد در روی او خیره بماندی
ندانستی که آن بت را چه خواندی

چو قامت بر کشید آن سرو آزاد
که بودش تن ز سیم و دل ز پولاد

Original Persian:

An excerpt where the beauty of Vis is described (from Vis and Ramin Trans. Dick Davis. Washington DC: Mage, February 2008 ISBN 1-933823-17-8):


Some scholars have suggested that Vis u Ramin may have influenced the Tristan and Iseult legend, and the two plots have distinct resemblances. Nevertheless views have differed about the connection between these two stories.[3]

The great scholar Vladimir Minorsky did a four part study of the story and was convinced of its Parthian origin.

[2] The romance also has had its influence beyond Persian culture. The story became very popular also in

[1] The Vis and Ramin story had a noticeable influence on

A Persianate miniature from the 1729 manuscript of the Georgian adaptation of Vis and Rāmin.


Monikan takes Ramin hunting and Vis and the nurse with some other women attend a fire temple nearby. Ramin leaves the hunt, disguises himself as a woman to enter the temple, and flees with Vis. They go back to the castle and, with help from Ramin's men, kill the garrison and Zard as well. They then escaped to Dailam, on the coast of the Caspian Sea. Monikan is killed by a boar during the hunt. Vis and Ramin come back to Merv and Ramin sits on the throne as the king and marries Vis. Ramin reigns for 83 years. In the 81st year Vis dies and Ramin hands over the kingdom to his eldest son with Vis and goes and mourn on Vis' tomb for 2 years, after which he joins her in the afterlife.

Ramin thinks that his love with Vis has no future, so he asks Monikan to send him to Maah on a mission. There, Ramin falls in love with a woman called Gol and marries her. Vis finds about this and sends her nurse to Ramin to remind him of their love. Ramin sends back a harsh reply. Vis sends an elaborate message pleading with him to come back. At this time, Ramin was bored from his married life and after he receives the second message he goes back to Vis. But when he reaches Marv on his horseback in a snow storm, Vis goes to the roof of the castle and rejects his love. Ramin goes off desperately. Vis regrets what she has done and sends the nurse after Ramin. They reconcile.

Monikan takes Ramin along on a campaign against the Romans but Ramin falls sick and is left behind. Ramin goes back to Vis, who is imprisoned in a castle by Monikan and guarded by the king's other brother Zard. Ramin scales the wall and spends his time with Vis until Monikan comes back from the war and Ramin escapes.

When Monikan returns, he overhears a conversation between the nurse and Vis, and realizes his wife loves Ramin. Monikan demands that Vis prove her chastity by undergoing trial by fire. But Vis and Ramin elope. Monikan's mother makes peace between Ramin and the king, and they all go back to Marv.

Still mourning her father's death and her kidnapping, Vis refuses to give herself to Monikan for a year. Her nurse makes a talisman that renders Monikan impotent for one month. The spell can only be broken if the talisman is broken, and it is swept away in a flood and lost, so that Mobad is never able to sleep with his bride. Meanwhile, after many attempts to contact Vis, Ramin finally meets with her and the two consummate their love while Monikan is away at war.

On the journey back to Marv, Ramin catches a glimpse of Vis and is consumed with love for her, so much so that he falls off his horse and faints. Vis is given residence in the harem of Mobad and gifts are bestowed upon her. Vis's nurse also follows her to Marv, and attempts to persuade her to behave pragmatically, accept Monikan and forget Viru. Vis at first has a hard time accepting her fate, but eventually resigns herself to life in the harem.

Shahru gives birth to a girl and calls her Vis (or Viseh). She sends the infant to Khuzan to be raised by a wet-nurse who also happens to be raising Ramin, who is the same age as Vis. They grow up together. When Vis reaches adolescence, she returns to her mother, who marries Vis to her brother Viru. The marriage remains unconsummated because of Vis' menstruation, which by Zoroastrian law makes her unapproachable. Mobad Monikan finds out about the marriage celebration and sends his brother Zard to remind Shahru of her promise to give him Vis as his wife. Vis rejects Monikan's request and refuses to go. An aggrieved Monikan leads an army against Māh-abad. Vis's father, Qārin, is killed in the ensuing conflict, but Monikan also suffers a defeat from Viru. Monikan then takes his army to Gurab, where Vis is waiting the outcome of the battle. He sends a messenger to her, offering her various privileges in return for marrying him. Vis rejects Monikan's offer proudly and indignantly. Monikan asks advice from his two brothers Zard and Ramin. Ramin, who is already in love with Vis, attempts to dissuade Monikan from trying to marry her. However, Monikan's brother Zard suggests bribing Shahru as a way of winning over Vis. Mobad sends money and jewels to Shahru and bribes her to gain entry to the castle. He then takes Vis away, much to the chagrin of Viru.

The story is about Vis, the daughter of Shāhrū and Kāren, the ruling family of Māh (Media) in western Iran, and Ramin (Rāmīn), the brother to Mobed Monikan, the King of Marv in northeastern Iran. Monikan sees Shahru in a royal gala, wonders at her beauty, and asks her to marry him. She answers that she is already married, but she promises to give him her daughter if a girl is born to her.

Vis and Ramin, Les Ballets Persans. Choreography by Nima Kiann. Tirgan Festival. Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. 2011


The framework of the story is the opposition of two Parthian ruling houses, one in the west and the other in the east. The existence of these small kingdoms and the feudalistic background point to a date in the Parthian period of Iranian history. The popularity of this pre-Islamic story in the Islamic period is mentioned by the poet himself, and shows that there was a demand for ancient themes and traditional lore.



  • Framework 1
  • Synopsis 2
  • Influence 3
  • Excerpt 4
  • Notes 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • English translations 8
  • External links 9


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