Section 2 - When and Where Did Chess Start?

The Persian 'Book of Kings' (562 AD) - Ardashir (226-41 AD) commemorated in a romance (c. 560 AD). - The Chatrang-namagh (7th C) - Firdausi (c. 940-1020). - Chess in the Shahnama (1008) - Unreliability of the story.


The story of how the Shahnama, the collection of Persian legends in verse, came to be written is itself complicated by an admixture of legend. The origins of the project lie in the sixth century AD, a period for which we lack a reliable account of Persian history. The Parthian Empire and culture came to an end in 225 AD. The new Sassanian rulers deliberately eradicated all credit and reference to the old Pahlavi Parthian Empire. The Sassanian dynasty which ruled Persia from 226 to 636 did not possess a 'sense of history'; even where records existed, they were subsequently lost in the turmoil of the Arab invasion and the following years of Mohammedanization and Arabization of the Persian Empire in the period around 636 AD.

Anticipating the impending doom of the Empire, the record of Shahnama was ordered and set down. It is said that in 562 the Khagan (Emperor) Chosroes I - known as Anushirvan, 'of immortal soul' - gave orders that a collection of all the tales relating to the ancient kings of Persia should be compiled and deposited in the royal library.


Chess: Its Origins Volume II - Section 2 Continued...

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