In the second book of the Shahnameh, King Feridoun tests his three sons by appearing to them as a dragon. The eldest son runs away, the middle one takes up arms against the monster, and the youngest one seeks to cow it with words. Afterwards, Feridoun gives his son names according to this event:
"O my sons, listen unto the words that I shall speak. The raging dragon whose breath was danger was but your father, who sought to test your hearts, and having learned them gave way with joy. But now will I give to you names such as are fitting unto men. The first-born shall be called Silim (may thy desires be accomplished in the world!) for thou soughtest to save thyself from the clutches of the dragon, nor didst thou hesitate in the hour of flight. A man who fleeth neither before an elephant nor a lion, call him rather foolhardy than brave. And the second, who from the beginning showed his courage, which was ardent as a flame, I will call him Tur, the courageous, whom even a mad elephant cannot daunt. But the youngest is a man prudent and brave, who knoweth both how to haste and how to tarry; he chose the midway between the flame and the ground, as it beseemeth a man of counsel, and he hath proven himself brave, prudent, and bold. Irij shall he be called, that the gate of power may be his goal, for first did he show gentleness, but his bravery sprang forth at the hour of danger."
After this Feridoun divides his kingdom into three parts for his three sons:
When Feridoun had thus opened his lips he called for the book wherein are written the stars, and he searched for the planets of his sons. And he found that Jupiter reigned in the sign of the Archer in the house of Silim, and the sun in the Lion in that of Tur, but in the house of Irij there reigned the moon in the Scorpion. And when he saw this he was sorrowful, for he knew that for Irij were grief and bale held in store. Then having read the secrets of Fate, Feridoun parted the world and gave the three parts unto his sons in suzerainty. Roum and Khaver, which are the lands of the setting sun, did he give unto Silim. Turan and Turkestan did he give unto Tur, and made him master of the Turks and of China, but unto Irij he gave Iran, with the throne of might and the crown of supremacy.
What is the significance of the names Silim, Tur, and Irij?
- Do they somehow denote the sons' behaviour when faced with the dragon - for example, in the Persian language, does "Silim" suggest cowardice, "Tur" bellicosity, and "Irij" wisdom?
- Furthermore, do these names relate to the lands given to each son? I noticed that "Tur" forms part of the words Turan and Turkestan (these being originally Persian words), while "Irij" is similar to Iran, but the word "Silim" bears no relation to Roum or to "Khaver" (where is that?)