[Pseudo-] Sindbād ca. 6th/12th c.

Book of Tales

As is the case with so many collections of tales, which have been passed from generation to generation through both oral and written tradition, the origins of the Sindbād-nāmah (or The Book of Sindbad, or The Book of Seven Viziers) are not known with absolute certainty. For our purposes here, the Arabic and Persian sources are most relevant since it is from those two languages that W.A. Clouston bases his English translation that appears on this website. An Arabic version based on an earlier Pahlavi version existed as early as the 4th/10th century. Whereas a poeticized Persian version of the tale (which was based upon a Persian prose version from the 12th century) appeared ca. 777/1375. The basic framework of the Sindbād-nāmah is as follows:

“A young prince, commanded to keep silence for seven days by his teacher, the sage Sindbād, is accused by one of his father’s wives of having attempted to seduce her; he is condemned to death, but the king’s seven viziers take turns in delaying the execution from day to day, each telling a story designed to show the perfidy of women. Each evening, their work is undone by the guilty wife, who tells the king a story presenting the contrary case. After seven days the prince, permitted once more to speak, exculpates himself and then pardons his accuser”.


Sindbād-nāmah     Book of Sindbad