عنوان مقاله [English]
Shāhnāmeh of Ferdowsi, as the valuable work of epic literature, shows collection of cultures and beliefs of Iranian people from the farthest times to the era of Ferdowsi. In this book, Ferdowsi narrates the story of Iranian kings and heroes from mythological to historical times; it is a collection of beliefs, cultures and rituals that kings, heroes, natural elements and animals are its actors. Elephant is among these actors. All the epic, mythological and ritual motifs related to elephant are not mentioned in Shāhnāmeh, so in order to achieve a comprehensive overview of the animal, inevitably, other Persian epic books, written after Shāhnāmeh and affected by it, should be studied. By using comparative-analytical approach, the authors of the present article try to extract, classify and analyze the motifs of elephant and its related themes in Shāhnāmeh and other ten epics including Bānūgoshasp-nāmeh, Borzu-nāmeh, Bahman-nāmeh, Jahāngir-nāmeh, Sāmnameh, Shahriyār-nāmeh, Farāmarz-nāmeh, Kok koohzād, Kūsh-nāmeh, and Garshāsp-nāmeh. The most important motifs include: Ahurian-Ahrimanian motifs, elephant totem, killing elephant by hero, metamorphosis to elephant, presence of elephant in army, its role in games, interpretation of dreams and so on.