Rereading and Disambiguation of one of ferdowsis Hemistiches “yeki bande rumi be kerdare pol” based on current Iranian Dialects

One of the difficulties of old texts is understanding underused words that have no trace in dictionaries. One of such texts is Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, that despite the efforts of researchers, the number of couplets and words with no clear meaning is innumerable. The investigations conducted considering such types of words and couplets show that researchers resort to the study of cultures and old texts to discover the meaning and attempt to refer to texts contemporaneous with that work and trace the words in other works or old cultures to get to the closest meaning; however, there are words and combinations that have no trace in the old and classic cultures. It seems that there is another way to get to the correct meaning of the words that are often ignored in the research. This method is taking advantage of Iran’s classic dialects for finding the correct meaning of the words and unfamiliar combinations that are still ignored. The investigations show that many of such dialects, despite considerable changes and transformations, have preserved many of the old words and idioms.


This article has been written based on content analysis and library method. The researcher, first, refers to the results of the findings of other researchers as regards the combination be kerdare pol, then, he investigates this combination in Iran’s different dialects via current dictionaries and offers new meanings after having rejected previous theories. 


The seemingly difficult and complex phrase be kerdare pol is used in two different parts of Shahnameh: first, in the story of Bijan and Manijeh, and second, in the story of Esfandiar’s escape from his father’s lasso. Sajjad Aidenloo considers this combination to be one the most ambiguous similes in Shahnameh (Aidenloo, 2012, 874). Kazazi considers this simile to be raw and beyond one’s ken (Kazazi, 2007, 364). As far as the studies done by the researcher show, no meaning has been found for this combination. Khaleghi Motlagh writes about this word: "it seems the way of this bande rumi zadan was called pol (bridge) with the circumstances of it unclear to the researcher (Khaleghi otlagh 2006, 99). Kazazi writes: "maybe bande rumi has been likened to pol (bridge) as it unites the two hands which unite the banks of two rivers" (Kazaazi 2007, 364). He adds "maybe the word is read as pal which is a short form of paal that has found its use in paalhang which is a wooden arrow placed on a rope with the hands open tied from the two sides (ibid., 364). The writings of this word has not been the same. In a version from Moskow, this word is registered as mal (Ferdowsi, 2004, 32). In some versions, it is bal (Ferdowsi, 2007, 333 footnote). Having reviewed previous statements, Reza Ghafoori, ultimately, comes to this conclusion that, in investigating this ambiguous simile we should not conceive pol in its current meaning. What is meant by this word is a tool for fastening the prisoners and, probably, torture. Besides, because in Shahnameh, Bijan and Esfandiar are tied to Roman chains like pol and, also, in two Persian epics, namely, Saamnameh and Daftare Delgosha, Saam and Ataabak are tied to pol, therefore, this probability exists that pol was a tool not used for all prisoners but for those strong heroes who might tear the fetters apart and escape (Ghafoori 2016, 110). All these findings are based on guesses and assumptions. The questions that still remain unanswered are that what is the exact meaning of pol? what is the meaning of be kerdare pol? The researcher has resorted to all current dictionaries from the Iranian dialect to answer these questions. It seems that the meaning of the hemistich is clear considering the following points: a) this word in the dialects of davani (a language of southeastern Fars), abduyi (a northwestern Iranian language), konde dialect and Mamasani luri (a dialect of luri language common among the lurs of Mamasani) (Salaami 2005, 70-1), banafi, papuni, dosirani, richi, somghani, gavkoshki, mosghani, nudani (Salaami 2004, 72-3), balyani, birukani, hayati, lordarnegani, mahboodi (Salaami 2005, 64-5), garashi and shurabi (Salaami 2006, 88-9) and in the Bushehri dialects (Mirshekar 2012, 81) is in the form pal meaning tress and braiding the hair. This word is pronounced as pel with this very meaning in the luri dialect (Izadpanah 2006, 22; Azarli 2009, 85). Interestingly, this word is pronounced as polg in the lari dialect (Eghtedari 2006, 65); therefore, this viewpoint can be posed that the origin of the word has been pol, which, over the lapse of time, has sunken into oblivion in the standard language, but still remained as three different types, namely, pal, pel and pol. b) field studies done by the researcher reveal interesting points from these regions: a) braiding pol/pel/pal is a relatively specialized task not to be handled by all women. Women, after taking a bath, sit behind other women to braid their hair. Braiding pol is done in a way that the woman who wants to do it, divides the hair into three equal parts and, then, starts braiding. c) One of the women and men’s beauty manifestations has been considered this long hair. In the past, in order to torture sinful women, they braided the long pol of women round their hands and dragged them on the ground or would loop their pol round their necks like a rope. d) In the present time, strings are woven by goat hair with different pronunciations in every dialect. Sometimes, women’s long hair would become a source of weaving a small string.


The findings of this study are three points: a) the investigations of the researcher in the current Iranian dialects show that the complex word in the combination be kerdare pol exists in some dialects used in three different types pol, pel, pal. It seems, considering the fact that this word is rhymed with ghol (fetters) in existing literature, hence, the original pronunciation of the word has been pol that, gradually, has become common as pal and pel in the dialects b) in all the dialects studied, the word pol is used in the sense tress. In other words, women’s braided tress, often, having been braided, takes the form of a rope or string c) if we accept that Ferdowsi’s intention by pol is women’s tress; therefore, the present ambiguity in the hemistich “yeki bande rumi be kerdare pol” is removed and, thus, it is interpreted as “a Roman string like women’s braided tress.”

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Journal of The Iranian Studies, Volume:19 Issue: 37, 2020
71 - 82  
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