Moʿin Moṣavver | Manuscripts | Shahnama of Ferdowsi

Manuscript F, no. 6-355

Bārānuš, the Caesar of Rum, before Šāpur to Conclude a Peace Treaty

Location: Current whereabouts unknown.
Formerly in the Ettinghausen Collection, Princeton who acquired it from the Kraus Collection, New York.
34.5 x 22.0 cm. (after Sothebys)
13.4 x 14.9 cm wide (after Grube)
Text area: 26.1 x 14.9 cm (scaled)
Signature: not signed.

Šāpur's response to the peace proposal (see ms.F, no.6-354) sent to him by Bārānuš (Jovian) was positive. Šāpur's terms were harsh, but Bārānuš was elated with the response for he knew that further battles with the Sasanian king would be harmful to his empire. The accompanying text states that Bārānuš (Valerian) read the response to his letter, then told his people to gather their valuables, and give them to the king. At the end it adds that Bārānuš forgave Shåpur. Jovian and Šāpur concluded a peace treaty in AD 363.

The illustration portrays Bārānuš arriving with his caravan. Bārānuš is portrayed on the right side of the miniature, seated on a rectangular, four-footed throne. Before him trays of food and decanters are set on the floor; behind him stands a sword-bearer. Bārānuš, dressed in a long robe and tall headdress of the Ottoman type, stands erect before Šāpur. His apparel identifies him as a Rumi; the black emblem on his headdress signifies he is of royal rank. To the left of Bārānuš is another bearded dignitary of uncertain identity, wearing a long robe and turban, who might alternately be construed to be a lieutenant of Bārānuš, or an advisor of the shah. On the far left, next to the frame, an attendant stands holding a long-necked flacon. The setting is the interior of a palace, probably intended to be Ctesiphon. The floor in the foreground is decorated with arabesques; the walls consist of two panels painted with foliate decoration framed by tiled columns, and a tiled doorway in the center.

Painting references:
Grube, Kraus, no.170 (illustrated).
Sothebys London, 25 April 2012, Lot 479

Text references:

Warner, VI, pp.355-57.

Photo courtesy of Sothebys.

Robert Eng

Last Updated: September 22, 2015 | Originally published: September 22, 2015