Nomenclature of the Peries TaleNames play a vital role in defining a people and a person. Names have meanings that bring life to a character, instantly signifying religious or political namesake and the history that has influenced a lineage. Our appellations can carry an array of character traits, or signal to others who we are or where we come from, instantly informing others of the heritage that has influenced and gently shaped us. In Leyden’s Tales of the Peries, we are introduced to a disparate cast of characters, from various times, places, and cultures. This interplay works to further explore a dynamic at work in the history of eclectic Persia.
Azur Shah - (Azar/Atar) is the 9th month of the Parsi calendar, meaning “holy fire”.
Lullulah - Luluah is a common Parsi name meaning pearl or doe. It isn’t a far stretch to the name Lullulah, the wife of King Azar. There is a comedic disparity utilized here to further elaborate on both the amount that Lullulah is devalued and how un-doe-like, how vengeful and full of wrath she could be.
Gheti Ruh in Parsi means good behavior, purity and sanctity
Khujastah means happy or blessed and Musahib means companion, comrade, favorite, associate or friend. As Vizir to the King, Khujisteray ben Moosahib could be described as both of these things.
Roshen – “light, clear, luminous”. Zemir is a modifier pronoun and when taken together, Roshen Zemir means “enlightened”.
Danish Bait – one of the Ottoman King’s vizirs and uncle of Melech Mahommed “Bits of Knowledge” “Fealty, homage” – book. Danish: knowledge, wisdom, intelligence consciousness, awareness
Filsoof – Vizir to the King of the Peries (Gheti Afroz’s father) “Philosopher”
Sheik Sunian of Baghdad is very appropriately titled. Sunyan means governor or head of the family.
Malik (mahommed) – master, king, lord or god. This developed, it is believed after a series of kings in the 12th century AD all with the name Malik. Another Malik of note was Malik Nazr (175 AD) – a contemporary of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. As a literal translation, Melech can also mean “Queen” or “Estate”.
Meher Anglez and Shok Anguz – performers for the Peries, perhaps great musicians; Gheti Afroz entreats her brother Ansar Shah to have them perform in her palace for Anu Shah
“Shok” literally means “doubt”. Is it possible that even these characters, who are only briefly referred to, could hold a meaning that is only recognizable to someone who speaks Persian? What could it mean if the Peries call upon the agents of doubt to amuse them? Does this fit with the image of the Perie that we have come to know?
Lok Angur the Hourito - an attendant who presents wine to Melech Mahommed “Angur” means grapes. It is simply to farfetched to imagine that this relation between the attendant’s name and function is a coincidence.
Izrut Afra – a Perizadi in the palace of Gheti Afroz; captures the heart of Anu Shah. Afra literally means “Maple”. This use of a tree or plant name is still often seen in fairy literature and lore today.
Khalifah – vicegerent of Suliman the Prophet (a magician and last of the Greath Kings in the Shah-Namah). This literally means “Caliph”
Gheti Afroz’s literal modern Persian translation is “Luminous Time”. This definition helps the reader to understand the paradisiacal persona exhibited by the Peri, and the shining appeal that Gheti naturally exudes. It is no wonder that Melech is drawn to Gheti like a moth to the flame - or perhaps this situation is more similar to the moth and the bug-zapper for all the punishment that he faces as a result of his infatuation. Interestingly, the original Parsi connotes an igniting, a kindling, or an inflaming quality that holds in it the dual quality and nature of the Perie, that ability to be both a positive and destructive force (see Zoroastrianism and the Peries).
Names and their backgrounds have an intriguing correlation with religion. Parsi often ties to Zoroastrianism, and Arabic to Islam. Overall, the names used in the Tales are predominately Parsi, but Arabic winds its way throughout. In one instance, this religious interaction is clearly evident. When Roshen Zemir is traveling, he is brought to the door of a grand palace by a giant snake. In order to enter, Zemir must invoke a great deity. On page 151 of Tales of the Peries, Leyden makes reference to the “names of God (Surei Fatteha Ushlass)”. But where do these names come from? One might imagine that this was a name from the Avesta. But the Avesta does not mention Surei, Fatteha, or Ushlass among the 101 names that refer to the same Ahura Mazda – the Supreme Being represented as a deity of goodness and light in Zoroastrianism. But if these names can’t be found in the Avesta, where can they be found? Leyden says simply that the name can be found in the “chapter of victory”. Researching the “chapter of victory” further, one will come across the Qu’ran, chapter 48, which speaks of the triumph of the monotheistic believers over the polytheistic unbelievers. This is just one of many instances in which the interaction between mono and polytheism that comprised the development of Ancient Persian culture is incorporated into the folklore. But what do these references say of the dynamic between Zoroastrianism and Islam, between the words of Zoroaster and those of the prophet Muhammad? When taken as a whole, the passage fluidly mixes Zoroastrian and Islamic allusions, such as the Zoroastrian mirror and description of a Div (on page 152). Many Western readers would not have knowledge of this nuanced interplay.
Boyce, Mary (1996). History of Zoroastrianism, Vol. I, The early period http://www.iranchamber.com/calendar/articles/iranian_months.php
Gandhi and Husain. “The Complete Vook of Muslim & Parsi Names.” HarperCollins Publishing (1994).
Panaino, A. “The Lists of Names of Ahura Mazda and Vayu.” Vol. 404. Instituto Italiano Per L’Oriente (2002)
http://translate.reference.com/translate?query=روح&src=fa&dst=en http://www.freetranslation.com/ http://translate.google.com/