Rostam and Sohrab poster
Rostam and Sohrab poster
Tahmineh the wife of Rostam
Back stage
Back stage

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Rostam and Sohrab – Battle of the Kings,

Which is the name of the first internationally released Phoenix’s 3D animation movie directed by Kianoush Dalvand, produced in 2012, is an adaptation from original heart breaking story from Shahnameh Ferdowsi. The production of this animation starting from 2007, was the 1st step of a long journey which now lead to 3 Little Kungpoo Goats and City of Wishes, as Phoenix’s last fantastic 3D animations.

Backstage of Rostam and Sohrab acting


Introduction: The epic Persian poem, Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) by Ferdowsi, is a treasure trove of mythological and historical stories from ancient Persia. Among the many captivating tales within Shahnameh, the story stands out as one of the most tragic and emotionally charged narratives. This heartrending tale explores themes of love, betrayal, and the clash between generations. In this essay, we will delve into the story , examining its characters, plot, and the profound impact it has had on Persian literature and culture.

 The Status and Tomb of Ferdowsi- Toos_ Iran
Tomb of Ferdowsi- Toos_ Iran

Background: Shahnameh chronicles the history of Iran from its mythical beginnings to the Islamic conquest. The story is set during the time of the Persian hero Rostam, who serves as a prominent figure in the epic. Rostam, renowned for his extraordinary strength and courage, is both a celebrated warrior and a tragic hero burdened with his own flaws and destiny.

Plot Summary: The story unfolds against the backdrop of a long-standing feud between Persia and Turan, the land of Rostam’s adversaries. Tahmineh, the daughter of the Turanian king, falls in love with Rostam and becomes pregnant with his child, Sohrab. However, due to the political tensions and enmity between their respective nations, Tahmineh conceals the identity of Sohrab’s father.


Years later, Sohrab grows into a skilled warrior, fueled by a desire to prove himself in battle. Unaware of his true lineage, Sohrab seeks to confront Rostam, whom he views as the embodiment of Persian valor. Hearing of a mighty Persian warrior who possesses a reputation matching his own, Rostam sets out to meet his challenger, unaware that it is his own son.

The fateful meeting between Rostam and Sohrab takes place on the battlefield. They engage in a fierce combat, with Sohrab displaying incredible skill and bravery. The encounter becomes a tragic struggle between a father desperately trying to protect his country and a son seeking acknowledgment and identity. Rostam, recognizing Sohrab’s exceptional talent, becomes conflicted but is determined to fulfill his duty.

In a cruel twist of fate, Rostam ultimately overpowers and mortally wounds Sohrab. As Sohrab lies dying, he reveals his true identity to Rostam, who is devastated by the realization of his actions. In a heartbreaking moment of grief and remorse, Rostam embraces his dying son, cursing the stars and lamenting the loss of the young life he unwittingly extinguished.

Themes and Symbolism: The story resonates with audiences due to its exploration of profound themes and symbolic elements. It delves into the complexities of identity, the consequences of miscommunication and mistrust, and the tragic nature of destiny. The conflict between duty and personal relationships, as embodied by Rostam and Sohrab, highlights the emotional turmoil faced by individuals caught in the midst of societal and political conflicts.

The story also examines the generational divide between Rostam and Sohrab. Rostam represents the older generation with a wealth of experience, while Sohrab symbolizes the youthful energy and aspirations of a new era. Their tragic encounter becomes a poignant reflection of the clash between tradition and change, the cyclical nature of life, and the inevitability of the passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

an old painting of shahname, the last scene of the Battle

Impact on Persian Literature and Culture: The story of has left an indelible mark on Persian literature and culture. It has inspired countless adaptations, including plays, operas, and visual artworks, demonstrating its enduring relevance. The tale serves as a cautionary reminder of the consequences of pride, miscommunication, and the devastating impact of conflicts on families and individuals.

Moreover, the story’s exploration of identity, sacrifice, and the complexities of human emotions has made it a source of contemplation and introspection for generations. Its tragic narrative has become ingrained in Persian cultural consciousness, providing profound insights into the human condition and the moral dilemmas faced by individuals in times of war and strife.

Conclusion: The story of Rostam and Sohrab from Shahnameh Ferdowsi remains a poignant and heartrending tale in Persian literature. Its exploration of themes such as love, betrayal, and the clash between generations continues to resonate with audiences, transcending time and culture. The tragic fate of Rostam and Sohrab serves as a reminder of the complexities of human relationships, the consequences of pride and miscommunication, and the profound impact of war on individuals and families. This timeless story has left an enduring legacy in Persian literature, enriching the cultural fabric of Iran and captivating the hearts of readers and audiences worldwide.

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