Rostam’s Fight with the White Dīv in the Context of the Primeval Myth of the “Rain Shaman”. Theory of Polish Researcher Maria Składankowa

Document Type : Original Research Article


Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Poland


In the 1980s, Polish researcher Maria Składankowa promoted in her publications a theory stating that the representatives of the Sistani family described in Ferdowsī's Šāh-nāma were reflections of the rainy and sunny steppe shamans. The four main representatives of this lineage were said to alternately represent these particular shamans beginning with the primordial and rainy shaman personified by Sam and ending with the solar shaman in the form of Sohrab. Another rain shaman according to Składankowa was to be Rostam. This article aims to introduce Składankowa's theory to the international research community and to subject it to verification. The battle between Rostam and White Dīv, which was the seventh trial in Rostam's cycle of seven trials, was used for verification. This is a clash between two national heroes and the circumstances of this battle blur the boundaries between what is commonly understood as good and as evil. Thus, this is an example that perfectly demonstrates Składankowa's theory of rejecting religious notions of good and evil and focusing on the primeval connection between man and nature when it was man's greatest ally and enemy. Neither Rostam nor White Dīv, according to Składankowa's theory, are therefore completely good or completely evil, like any element of nature, which can be a life-giving or destructive force. Identified with good forces, the sun warms the earth and causes vegetation but can also cause drought and the death that follows. Identified with evil forces, rain can cause floods, but without it, vegetation will die. There is no absolute good or absolute evil in nature. Nor is there one in the battling Rostam and White Dīv. Ferdusī's description of this combat in Šāh-nāma clearly goes back to this primeval myth leaving the story universal.


Main Subjects

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