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Tur is a mythical character in the Persian epic Shahnameh (c. 1000 CE). Tur is the second son of the Iranian mythical king Fereydun and brother of both Salm and Iraj. His name, meaning "brave", was given to him by his father when the young prince bravely fights the dragon that had attacked him and his brothers. When Fereydun divides his empire among his sons, he gives Turkistan and China to his second son Tur. This is the mythical beginning of the nation of Turan of the Avestan age, the neighbor and rival of the Iranian. Some of the most important characters of Shahnameh, such as Afrasiab, are his descendants.
Tur in the Shāhnāmeh
Being the national epic of the Persian-speaking world, written by Hakim Abu ʾl-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi (940–1020 CE), the Shāhnāmeh mainly tells the mythical past of the Persian empire. According to Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāmeh, Fereydun (also pronounced Farīdūn) was the son of Ābtīn, one of descendants of Jamshid. As king, according to the myth, Farīdūn ruled the country for c. 500 years. Eventually he divided the kingdom to his three succeeding sons; Salm, Tur, and Īraj. The oldest son Salm inherited the western lands called Rūm (Asia Minor). Tur inherited all the lands north and east of the Oxus, as far as China, called Tūrān (Central Asia). Iraj was Fereydun’s youngest and favored son and inherited the best part of the kingdom, namely Iran. This aroused Iraj’s brothers’ envy and encouraged them to murder him. After Iraj’s murder, Fereydun enthroned Iraj’s grandson, Manūchehr. Manūchehr’s attempt to avenge his grandfather’s murder initiated the Iranian-Turanian wars.
- Edward A Allworth,Central Asia: A Historical Overview, Duke University Press, 1994. pp 86
- I. M. Diakonoff, The Paths of History, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 100: "Turan was one of the nomadic Iranian tribes mentioned in the Avesta. However, in Firdousi’s poem, and in the later Iranian tradition generally, the term Turan is perceived as denoting 'lands inhabited by Turkic speaking tribes.'"
- According to Prof. Gherardo Gnoli: "Iranian tribes that also keep on recurring in the Yasht, Airyas, Tuiryas, Sairimas, Sainus and Dahis". G. Gnoli, Zoroaster's time and homeland, Naples 1980
- Edgar Burke Inlow. Shahanshah: A Study of the Monarchy of Iran, Motilal Banarsidass Pub, 1979. pg 17: "Faridun divided his vast empire between his three sons, Iraj, the youngest receiving Iran. After his murder by his brothers and the avenging Manuchihr, one would have thought the matter was ended. But, the fraternal strife went on between the descendants of Tur and Selim (Salm) and those of Iraj. The former – the Turanians – were the Turks or Tatars of Central Asia, seeking access to Iran. The descendants of Iraj were the resisting Iranians.
- http://www.medievalists.net/2009/01/04/barbarian-incursions-the-coming-of-the-turks-into-the-islamic-world/ Bosworth, C. E. "Barbarian Incursions: The Coming of the Turks into the Islamic World." In Islamic Civilization, Edited by D. S. Richards. Oxford, 1973. pg 2: "Hence as Kowalski has pointed out, a Turkologist seeking for information in the Shahnama on the primitive culture of the Turks would definitely be disappointed."
- A king's book of kings: the Shah-nameh of Shah Tahmasp, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Tur