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Adolf Friedrich Graf von Schack: The Pioneer of Translating "Shahnameh" into German

We take immense pride in acknowledging Adolf Friedrich Graf von Schack (1815 – 1894), a distinguished German poet, art and literary historian, renowned for his monumental work in translating the Persian epic "Shahnameh" (The Book of Kings) into German. His translation was not only a literary feat but also a cultural bridge between the East and the West.

In the preface of the second volume of his translation, Von Schack reflects on his achievement with great satisfaction. He writes, "Having succeeded in introducing the great Persian's poems in Germany, it is perhaps hopeful that their imperishable vitality will gradually earn them the same popularity in our country as they enjoy in the East. The interest in them is not tied to any transient phase of cultural history; it is based on the eternal and unchangeable in human nature and can therefore neither become outdated nor appear foreign under any sky."

Von Schack's translation, which came out in three volumes, remains a testament to his dedication and passion for Persian literature. Today, these volumes can still be found in antique bookstores, and a complete online version of "Heldensagen des Firdusi" (1851; digital copy of the 2nd, expanded edition 1865) is available for those who wish to delve into this classic work.

His contribution to bringing "Shahnameh" to the German-speaking world has been invaluable, opening doors to a rich literary heritage and fostering a deeper understanding between diverse cultures.


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