I'd like to find the primary sources (if any) for a Persian mythical land called Shadu-kam. It's supposed to be the realm of the Peris, a kind of fairyland, but I can't seem to find much about it.

I discovered the name in Umberto Eco's The Book of Legendary Lands, where it's described very briefly:

...Persian romances often mention the blissful land of Shadu-kam.

I started digging, and I found a bit more detail in Thomas Keightley's The Fairy Mythology, Volume 1, published in 1828. I have no idea if Keightley is trustworthy, but he writes:

Jinnestân is the common appellation of the whole of this ideal region. Its respective empires were divided into many kingdoms, containing numerous provinces and cities. Thus in the Peri-realms we meet with the luxuriant province of Shad-u-kâm (Pleasure and Delight), with its magnificent capital Juherabâd (Jewel-city), whose two kings solicited the aid of Cahermân against the Deevs, and also the stately Amberabâd (Amber-city), and others equally splendid. The metropolis of the Deev-empire is named Ahermanabâd (Aherman's city); and imagination has lavished its stores in the description of the enchanted castle, palace, and gallery of the Deev monarch, Arzshenk.

It's an old book, so transliterations don't always match their modern versions.

Regarding the hero Cahermân mentioned above, he later adds:

The Cahermân Nâmeh is a romance in Turkish. Cahermân was the father of Sâm, the grandfather of the celebrated Roostem.

This would seem to make Cahermân match the Nariman of the Shahnameh. But I haven't been able to find anything about Shadu-kam in the Shahnameh, nor can I find any information anywhere on this Cahermân Nâmeh romance.

I've found other books that mention Shadu-kam, but most seem like they're just repeating Keightley. The Keightley book might even be Eco's source, but it's hard to tell.

Does anyone know of any primary sources?

  • 2
    Hi Brian. I've taken an initial look at this question. I think you're right when you say that most of the sources that mention Shad-u-kâm are copying Keightley. You are also right to be skeptical of Keightley: he was writing when the field of folklore was just getting started, which means that accuracy wasn't a really big concern of his. Looking at his writings, my initial impression is that he was motivated by a desire to project Christian concepts onto Persian mythology (although a lot of parallels do exist between the two, Keightley seems to have gone above and beyond in this).
    – user62
    Mar 2, 2016 at 17:00
  • 1
    You're on the right track when you mention the similarities between Caherman and Nariman: remember, translation techniques have improved vastly since Keightley was alive. I could be wrong, but my initial impression is that the best way to answer this question would be to try to search for parallels between Shad-u-kâm and some other concept in persian literature. However, keep in mind that it's possible that Keightley made this story up: at the time he was writing it was really common for researchers to pass off stories they wrote as genuine literature.
    – user62
    Mar 2, 2016 at 17:06


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