Basic Information

Type/Species: Western Dragon
Origin: Persian Mythology, Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

About Asdeev / Asdiv

Asdeev was the monstrous white dragon of ancient Persia, [3] or in some accounts, Asdeev was a Dev that could transform into a white dragon. [1] In either case, he was the adversary of Rostam, the mythic hero. [4]

Rostam and Rakhsh, his steed, ventured out to fight the White Demon. On their travels, they encountered many trials, one of which was defeating a dragon so power that nothing could tame him and 'from which no elephant had ever escaped.' [2]

As the hero settled down to sleep, Rostam instructed Rakhsh not to fight off anything, as his steed had already been injured. [2] That night, Asdeev exploited the hero's instruction by sneaking up in total darkness. Asdeev was curious about who would dare sleep in his portion of the mountains, given that no elephant, lion, or demon risked doing such a thing. [2]

Rakshs spotted Asdeev and woke Rostam, but the night clogged the hero's eyes and prevented him from seeing any danger at all. Asdeev enjoyed the discord between the two as the dragon's stealth enabled him to elude the hero. [2] Rostam warned Rakshs not to wake him unless danger was near before going back to sleep. [2] Again, the dragon approached and again Rakshs woke Rostam, who was furious as his steed for waking him for no reason. With an angry threat, Rostam went back to sleep. [2]

Finally, on the third time Asdeev appeared, Rostam roared with licks of flame from his mouth. Rakhsh, no fearful of Rostam as well as the dragon, did his best to chase the dragon off before waking the hero up. Rostam awoke and finally spotted Asdeev, and drew his sword to engage the beast in conflict. [2]

Rostam demanded that the dragon his name, but the dragon refused. Instead, Asdeev taunted Rostam over and over again. [3] Rakhsh came to aid the hero, so he sunk his teeth into the dragon's shoulder blade. Rostam took up his sword, and eventually smote off Asdeev's head. [3]

Asdeev's body streamed blood, which was full of noxious poison. So horrific was the poison that even the earth around his body became petrified. The hero and his steed rode on. [3]

Note: The Third Trial of Rostam's strength and the Story of Asdeev have been combined, despite the fact that some manuscripts illustrate this dragon as purple or red. Since the dragon refused to tell Rostam his name, it is possible that Asdeev the White Dragon was the Third Trial of Rostam and Rakshs.

Physical Description

Asdeev was a western-style dragon, slender with solid white scales. [4]

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Footnotes

  1. Bane 36
  2. Firdowsi [Shahnameh Trans. Davis] 154
  3. Firdowsi [Shahnameh Trans. Davis] 155
  4. Rose [Dragons] 27

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.