Art And Culture

Mithridate in Persian

Mithridate in PersianMithridate in Persian

The Persian translation of Mithridate, a tragedy by Jean Racine (1639-1699), one of the three great French playwrights of the 17thcentury, has been brought out by the Tehran-based Parseh Institute for Translation and Publication of Books.

The play has been translated into Persian by veteran translator Qasem Sonavi, 78, who recently completed the two-volume anthology of ‘Dinner Under the Chestnut Trees and Other Stories from French Writers,’ Honaronline reported.

Mithridate was first performed in 1673 at Hotel de Bourgogne in Paris, the most important French theater in the era. Since the very first show, the play was a great success.

The main character is drawn from ancient history.  Mithridates VI Eupator reigned over the kingdom of Pontus  and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia (now Turkey) from about 120–63 BC. Famous for having acquired immunity to poison through ‘mithridatization’ or the gradual self-administering of larger doses of poison, he resisted the Romans for long. Finally he kills himself after being betrayed by his own son.

Over the centuries, the play became increasingly rare on stage and a hardly performed work of Racine, but the legend of ‘mithridatization’ and  ‘mithridaticum,’ a semi-mythical remedy with as many as 65 ingredients, used as an antidote for poisoning, still lives on.

The Persian work is titled ‘Mehrdad.’ The 312-page book includes an explanation of the play, an analysis of mithridatization, a history of the Pontus kingdom and description of historical characters in the play.


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