From the second part of the Shahnameh:

Five hundred years did Feridoun rule the world, and might and virtue increased in the land, and all his days he did that which was good. And he roamed throughout the kingdom to seek out that which was open and that which was hid, and wrong was righted at his hands. With kindness did he curb the sway of evil. He ordered the world like to a paradise, he planted the cypress and the rose where the wild herb had sprouted.

What does it signify to "plant the cypress and the rose where the wild herb had sprouted"? Does this represent the conquest of civilisation over wilderness, by replacing wild plants with cultivated ones? Or is there more symbolism to these specific plants mentioned?

1 Answer 1


The cypress was the most popular tree for Persian gardens. Roses also have a long history. Therefore, giving the cypress and the rose lets the poet avoid using a generic "tree" and "flower" and use archetypal garden plants.

For instance, Omar Khayyam made use of both

Iram indeed is gone with all his Rose,
And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
But still a Ruby kindles in the Vine,
And many a Garden by the Water blows,


Perplext no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow's tangle to the winds resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress--slender Minister of Wine.

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