Kai Khosrow or Kay Khosrow[pronunciation?] (Persian: کیخسرو) is a legendary king of the Kayanian dynasty and a character in the Persian epic book, Shahnameh. He was the son of the Iranian prince Siavash who married princess Farangis of Turan while in exile. Before Kai Khosrow was born, his father was murdered in Turan by his maternal grandfather Afrasiab. Kai Khosrow was trained as a child in the desert by Piran, the wise vizier of Afrasiab. His paternal grandfather was Kay Kāvus, the legendary Shah of Greater Iran who chose him as his heir when he returned to Iran with his mother. The name Kai Khosrow derives from Avestan Kavi Husravah, meaning "famous".
After a battle between Iran and Turan to avenge Siavash, Iran gained a decisive victory and Afrasiab was killed by Rostam. Kai Khosrow became king and reigned over Iran for about 60 years, a legendary period of enlightenment. He was known as the righteous king, who is also praised in the Avesta. The Gharar al-seyar by Tha'alebi Marghani, written in Arabic in the 10th century, describes how Kai Khosrow's reign removed the darkness from Iran, making him loved by his subjects. The Shahnameh also mentions Kai Khosrow as a legendary king of his time, in a similar way that Cyrus II of Persia was described, such as his respect for other religions and peoples, his civility, righteousness and dedication to the restoration of temples.
Cup of Kai Khosrow
The Cup of Jamshid or, in reality, the Cup of Kai Khosrow (Cup of Djemscheed or Jaam-e Jam, or cup of Kai Khosrow in Persian: جام جم) is a cup of divination which, in Persian mythology, was long possessed by the rulers of ancient Persia. The cup has also been called Jam-e Jahan nama, Jam-e Jahan Ara, Jam-e Giti nama, and Jam-e Kei-khosrow. The latter refers to Kaei Husravah in the Avesta, and Sushravas in the Vedas. This Cup was used just once and by Kai Khosrow in his reign to find were Bizhan was, who had gone to the Turan border as an ambassador. Bizhan had become romantically involved with Manizheh, the daughter of Turanian king Afrasiab. Manizhe clandestinely brought him to her bedroom, and when Afrasiab found out he threw Bizhan into a pit and expelled Manizheh from the castle. Everyone in Iran thought that Bizhan was dead except for Kai Khosrow who saw him alive in the Cup. Kai Khosrow then sent Rostam to rescue Bijan. And this became another beautiful example of Rostam's adventures and victories.
The cup ("Jām") was said to be filled with an elixir of immortality and was used in scrying. As mentioned by Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda, it was believed that one could observe all the seven heavens of the universe by looking into it (از هفت فلک در او مشاهده و معاینه کردی). It was believed to have been discovered in Persepolis in ancient times. The whole world was said to be reflected in it, and divinations within the Cup were said to reveal deep truths. Sometimes, especially in popular depictions such as The Heroic Legend of Arslan, the cup is visualized as a crystal ball. Helen Zimmern's English translation of the Shahnameh uses the term "crystal globe".
Retirement from kingship
Kai Khosrow was an ascetic king who did not like the kingship and its ceremonies. He renounced his kingship and gave his treasures away to the widows, orphans, the blind and poor among his subjects. He chose Lohrasb as his heir and then went away, never to return. Today people of Shazand in the Markazi province of Iran believe that he came to Shazand, went to the mountain to pray and he is still alive. This ancient town derives its name from Shah (king) and zende (alive).
Advice to Lohrasb
Some of his advice to Lohrasb about the kingship, war, people and civility is mentioned on the Shahnama and Gharar al-seyar and also Khwatay namak :
- "Oh Lohrasb! The oldest kings made towns beside the rivers, be aware you should go to them and create new jobs and be aware to follow them and be careful about what they have done!"
- "Lohrasb! The King is like the water and can clean the things but if itself becomes embarrassed then nothing could become clean!"
- "After each battle and war, look after the ordinary people and care about them, because in the war the king is like a surgeon physician, who first cuts the body and also cauterizes (as disinfectant) and then sews and an applies an ointment to the wound."
- غرر السیر ترجمه محمدعلی روحانی انتشارات دانشگاه فردوسی مشهد
- Sixty years Khosrow Kingdom in the Shanahmeh (Persian)
|Legendary Kings of the Shāhnāma
2691–2751 (after Keyumars)
|Legendary Kings of the Shāhnāma