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Iranian studies

Though history of the Iranian studies at the Jagiellonian University started in 1919, the first lecture on Persian literature was delivered in Latin by Wilhelm Münnich in 1824. The origins of teaching the Persian language and literature are related to Tadeusz Kowalski (1889-1948) who initiated the Islamic studies with three Oriental languages being lectured, namely Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

The Department of Oriental Philology, established after 1945, was carrying on these traditions, however, as years were passing, the division into three specializations was becoming more and more distinct, namely to Arabic, Turkish and Iranian studies. In 1972 the Department was transformed into the Institute of Oriental Philology at the Jagiellonian University, consisting of four chairs of Arabic, Turkish, Iranian and Indian studies, and Franciszek Machalski (1904-1979) became a head of the Chair of Iranian Studies as an independent scientific and research unit. 

Beside the Islamic studies, the home base of the Iranian studies in Kraków were the Indian studies with their linguistic traditions. Helena Willman-Grabowska (1870-1957) was a lecturer of Indian languages, as well as the Old Persian and the Avestan languages in the Chair of Sanskrit and the Indian studies she was a head of. After the Indian studies were dissolved in 1948 her disciple Tadeusz Pobożniak (1910-1991) was giving lectures on Sanskrit and Old-Iranian and Hindi languages for Iranologists.

After the World War II the origins of Iranian studies in Kraków were moderate. For the first two decades Franciszek Machalski was supported only by faculty members of the Department of Linguistics (for example, Wojciech Skalmowski, b. 1933, d. 2008, a literary critic, an essayist and
a long-time associate of the Polish-émigré literary-political magazine of “Kultura”) and visiting scholars (for example, Władysław Dulęba, b. 1920, d. 1987, a translator of Persian classical literature, and Andrzej Pisowicz, b. 1940, an Armenologist and Iranologist.

Except for the short period in the early 1950s, there have been no native speaker lecturers at the Iranian studies in Kraków for decades. Cultural and scientific-oriented relations with Iran were briefly intensified in the late 1970s, when some scholarships for faculty members and students were granted and the first lecturer arrived in 1977. Unfortunately, the Iranian Revolution and martial law in Poland suspended this cooperation until the end of the 1980s, when lecturers reappeared and it became possible to go to Iran for scholarships. Some of notable contributors to Iranian studies in Kraków are Mas'ud Frasjan, the co-author of the new version of the Persian language script written by Andrzej Pisowicz in the 1970s, Azizollah Joveini, an expert in classical Persian literature, and Sa'id Hamidian, a specialist in the field of contemporary Persian poetry. Currently, there are two Iranian lecturers teaching classes within the Iranian studies in Kraków.

Nowadays, the Chair of Iranian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Jagiellonian University is a scientific and research unit educating specialists in the field of literature, languages and culture of Afghanistan, Iran, Kurdistan and Tajikistan. The scope of researchers’ interests includes Persian classical and contemporary literature, Middle Persian literature, history of Persian lexicography, historical Iranian linguistics, culture of Iranian peoples and history of the Iranian universe. Among various professions, our faculty members and graduates work as translators, intercultural relation advisors, diplomats, journalists, editors and specialists delivering lectures for military personnel. 

Current staff members:

  • Head – dr hab. Kinga Paraskiewicz, prof. UJ
  • prof. dr hab. Anna Krasnowolska
  • Joanna Bocheńska, PhD – head of the Section of Kurdish Studies
  • Karolina Rakowiecka-Asgari, PhD
  • Renata Rusek-Kowalska, PhD
  • Tomasz Gacek, PhD
  • Mateusz Kłagisz, PhD – head of the Department of Interdisciplinary Eurasian Research
  • Ignacy Nasalski, PhD
  • Soraya Musavi, MA
  • Hayedeh Vambakhsh-Smurzyńska, MA
  • Zuzanna Błajet (PhD student)
  • Radosław Kanarkowski (PhD student)
  • mgr Katarzyna Wąsala (PhD student)


  • Anna Cieślewska, PhD (programme NCN „Fuga 2”)
  • Artur Rodziewicz, PhD (programme NCN „Fuga 2”)
  • Marcin Rzepka, PhD (UP JP2)


More information here.

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Biographical entries

Franciszek Machalski (1904-1979)

Franciszek Józef Machalski was born on July 5, 1904 in Braddock near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States as a son of Polish immigrants. When he was six years old, his family returned to Poland. He graduated from the state gymnasium in Łańcut (1916-1924). He began his studies at the Faculty of Humanities at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv in 1924. At first, Machalski chose Polish philology as the main field of studies and German philology as a secondary subject. From the second year he began to study Indian philology (Sanskrit under Prof. Stanisław Stasiak) and later languages and culture of Arabs and Persians at the Oriental Institute with Prof. Zygmunt Smogorzewski. Ultimately, it was New Persian and the culture of modern Middle East that became the main field of his scientific research. He graduated from the university with the following degrees: Master of Philosophy in Polish Philology, Master of Philosophy in Oriental Studies (his thesis entitled Oriental Influences in the Works of Antoni Lange), and Ph.D. in Philosophy in Arabic and Persian philology (the thesis entitled The characteristics of Muhammed's prophecy written under the direction of Prof. Smogorzewski).

In 1931 his academic career was stopped due to the closure of the department after the death of Prof. Smogorzewski. After that, until the outbreak of World War II, he worked as a teacher in secondary schools: first in Tłumacz (school year 1931/32), and then in Tarnopol.

After the outbreak of the World War II and eastern Poland being invaded by the Soviet Union, on the night of June 22-23, 1941 Franciszek Machalski was arrested by the NKVD and deported deep into the USSR to the gulag in Verkhneuralsk. He was released on January 30, 1942, together with other Polish citizens and was allowed to join the Polish Army II Corps created in the Soviet Union on the basis of the Sikorski-Mayski agreement. On April 3, 1942, Franciszek Machalski came to Iran. Here he joined the Polish Association of Iranian Studies, of which he was an active member (and also the secretary and later the chairman of the board) until the end of his stay in Iran. These three years were a particularly important period in Machalski's life; at the same time these were very important years for the history of unofficial Polish-Iranian cultural relations.

Machalski, due to his (initially rather theoretical, later gradually improving and finally reaching the perfection) knowledge of Persian and Muslim culture, found himself in a special situation, playing the role of translator and intermediary. He actively joined the educational and cultural activities of Polish emigration. He worked as a teacher, visited Polish schools scattered in various parts of Iran and took part in organizing scout units. Machalski left Iran in early 1946 to work at the Polish Institute of Middle Eastern Studies in Beirut, then renamed the Polish Institute.

"Fate of war throws him to the Middle East and Iran. Blessing in disguise, one could not ask for better, because Machalski dedicated the last years of his oriental studies at the university to Persian philology. In spite of the difficult and unfavorable conditions of war, Franek, as always diligent and accurate, did not waste the opportunity and acquired such a perfection in the field that (after the war, when he became a professor of the Jagiellonian University) Reza Pahlavi at the First World Congress of Iranologists in Tehran in the autumn of 1966 was amazed with the correctness and ease with which Machalski uses the monarch's native language." (Frantz 1972: 189)

In July 1947 Franciszek Machalski returned to Poland, where in the city Bytom he joined his wife and three children repatriated from Tarnopol in 1945. In 1951 he started working as a contract lecturer at the Jagiellonian University. Initially, these were only commissioned lectures on the descriptive grammar of New Persian language. He began writing his post-doctoral thesis on the historical Persian novel soon after returning to Poland. Two years later, on October 1, 1953, he was awarded the position of assistant professor at the Department of Oriental Philology at the Faculty of Philology at the Jagiellonian University. The department was headed by prof. Tadeusz Lewicki, an Arabic studies researcher, a colleague of Machalski from the period of his studies in Lviv. Under his guidance first MA theses in Iranian studies were written; in his diary, under the date June 20, 1956, he noted: "We have released the first three MAs in Iranian literature into the world. Maybe it will be a happy beginning of our new >>Kraków school<<. Bohdan Pałecki wrote a historical-literary work on Abulkasim Lahuti, Dolores Szczepanik provided a fragment of Ibn Balkhi about the Sasanian history (with a good commentary) and Radosława Zubrzycka submitted a paper on the measuring time in Avesta. After considering my amendments, we are going to print the first two works. As for the last one, I have not decided yet. " Three years later, on April 27, 1956, Franciszek Machalski obtained the academic title of associate professor and on 1 May of the same year he was appointed as an independent science worker. Respected and valued, in 1966 he was appointed
a deputy dean of the Faculty of Philology of the Jagiellonian University. On May 1, 1972, he took over the leadership of the Department of Iranian Studies of the Jagiellonian University created due to his efforts. In 1969 he became an associate professor and worked in that post until his retirement in 1974. His former student, prof. Piotr Chełkowski from the University of New York recalls:

"I started my Iranian studies in 1953 at the Jagiellonian University. In addition to the Persian language, Arabic and Turkish were also taught. After the first year at the Department of Oriental Studies (as it was called by then), I knew and I felt that Persian language and literature will be my field of specialization. Professor Franciszek Machalski was one of the main reasons for my decision. Machalski taught Persian as a living, vivid and - at the same time - deeply rooted language. He often reminded us that after the Arab invasion of the seventh or eighth century, Arabic dominated and eradicated old languages in a vast territory from the Zagros Mountains in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the West. Only Persia did not change its language. Machalski loved Iran and tried to convey this love to his students. It was strange that his lectures and classes, especially Persian language and literature, were conducted in the style of secondary school teachers - Machalski taught Polish language and literature in schools for almost twenty years in the remote part of Poland and also in Tehran and Beirut. He often had to share his time between school and university. In spring 1971 in New York I met my friend Professor Wojciech Skalmowski, who at that time took up the post of visiting professor at Harvard. As we were recalling the old times at the Jagiellonian University, we ended up talking about our lecturers. When we mentioned Professor Franciszek Machalski, Skalmowski said: "It does not matter whether it was a gymnasium or university atmosphere, it is important that we learned Persian very well. His enthusiasm for Iranian studies was infectious. " In 1966 I met Professor in Tehran. I proposed a small trip by car to the vicinity of Demawend and Professor's eyes lit up. On the way we went here and there, so that the professor could talk to local people. Everything interested him, from people working in the field, to small shopkeepers in small towns. (...) But Machalski's main interest was Persian contemporary literature. His book, titled La lettérature de l'Iran contemporain in three volumes, was devoted to poetry. Machalski was recognized as a pioneer in this field and is still regarded as the one who paved the way for young scientists in Iran as well as outside it."  (Machalski 2016: 7).

For many years Franciszek Machalski was the President of the Kraków Branch of the Polish Oriental Studies Society. He was also a member of the Oriental Studies Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and a long-time editor of the annual "Folia Orientalia". He died on January 24, 1979 in Krakow. He was buried in the cemetery in Bronowice.

According to Prof. Krasnowolska, he was the one who performed the enormous thankless, pioneering work, brought up the next generation of Iranian studies researchers and created the foundations without which there would be no Iranian studies in Kraków today.



W. Frantz, Odłamki wspomnień przez przetak pamięci przesianych, Kraków 1972.

A. Krasnowolska, Franciszek Machalski (1904-1979), ”Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Złota Księga Wydziału Filologicznego”, J. Michalik (ed.), W. Walecki, Kraków 2000.

F. Machalski, La littérature de l’Iran contemporain, vol. 1: ”La poésie persane de l’époque du ‘réveil des Iraniens’ jusqu’à coup d’état de Reḍā Ḫān” (environ 1880-1921), Wrocław 1965, vol. 2: ”La poésie de l’époque de Reḍā Šāh Pahlavi 1921-1941”, Wrocław 1967, vol. 3: ”La poésie persane après la seconde guerre mondiale”, Wrocław 1980.

F. Machalski, Z ziemi perskiej do Polski, introduction, compilation: K. Paraskiewicz, K. Paraskiewicz, Kraków 2016.

Władysław Dulęba (1923-1987)

Władysław Dulęba was born in the town of Tłumacz in Stanisławów province (now: Ukraine, Ivano-Frankivsk). He was a student of the renowned Jesuit school in Chyrów, but his graduation took place in Tłumacz in 1941, already under Soviet rule. At the end of the war he came to Kraków and in 1945 he started studying English and Oriental studies at the Jagiellonian University. As a student, he took up a job at the editorial office of the periodical Głos Anglii (the Voice of England), published in Polish by the British Foreign Office the Polish Voice in England in Kraków (1946-49), which was soon closed by the communist authorities of the Polish People's Republic. For many years (1950-1973) he was associated with Państwowe Wydawnictwo Muzyczne (the State Music Publishing House), where he specialized in iconographic documentation and editing of album books on Polish and European classical and folk music (he has edited 11 volumes). During this period he also translated English poetry (poems by Eliot, Scottish and English ballads).

He completed his Iranian studies after a long break in 1965 and in the same year he began to teach classical Persian literature at the Chair of Oriental Studies at the Jagiellonian University. However, it was only in 1973 that he obtained the permanent post there. In 1979 he defended his doctoral thesis Legenda Cyrusa w Šāhnāme Ferdousiego (The legend of Cyrus in Šāhnāme) and in 1986 he obtained his postdoctoral degree with the dissertation entitled Klasyczne podstawy poetyki perskiej (Classical foundations of Persian poetics). His scientific achievements includes also articles on Persian epic mythology and the translation of Persian poetry. Scientific research of Dulęba on the Persian epic poetry focused primarily on the relationship between the epic and historical narrative and on the hypothetical identity of certain epic heroes with the representatives of the Achaemenid dynasty long forgotten in Iran.

Władysław Dulęba died unexpectedly of a heart attack in the summer of 1987 in Vancouver, Canada, where he went to visit his son.

Dulęba became famous above all for his translations of Persian classical poetry. His main achievements in this field include: Wybór gazali Hāfeza (Selection of gazals by Hāfez, 1st edition 1973 and second extended edition 1979), an anthology of New Persian poetry, composed of three volumes (published in 1977, 1980 and 1986), starting with the earliest historical monuments (9th-10th centuries) and ending with 20th century poets and a complete translation of the Shāhnāme of Ferdousi - a monumental epic poem from the 10th/11th century, based on the oral tradition and written sources of pre-Muslim Iran. This huge translation project of about two thousand pages of typescript still awaits complete publication. During the life of the translator (1981) only a selection from Šāhnāme was published and posthumously the first volume of the planned edition of the whole, edited by A. Krasnowolska (2004). Another work by Władysław Dulęba, translation of a fragment of Leyla's Romantic epic Nunnam Majnun (12th century) is also awaiting elaboration and publication.


Władysław Dulęba's works in the field of Iranian studies:

Kto to jest Hafiz?, ”Literatura na świecie” VI, 1971, p. 155-159.

Jak tłumaczyłem Hafiza, ”Literatura na świecie” VI, 1971, p. 174-175.

Potrójna trudność przekładu z poezji perskiej, ”Z teorii i historii przekładu artystycznego”, J. Baluch (ed.), Kraków 1974, 101-106; przedruk w: ”Pisarze polscy o sztuce przekładu (1440-1974)”, Poznań 1977, p. 388-393.

Mit rodu Sāma w Šāhnāme, ”Sprawozdania z posiedzeń komisji naukowych PAN oddz. Kraków”, t. XVIII, Kraków 1974, p. 77.

Was Darius a Zoroastrian? ”Folia Orientalia” XVIII, 1977, p. 205-209.

Gazale Dżalaluddina Rumiego w interpretacji Józefa von Hammera i Tadeusza Micińskiego (text comparative analysis), ”Studia o Tadeuszu Micińskim”, M. Podraza-Kwiatkowska (ed.), WL, Kraków 1979, p. 403-432.

Opowieść o Cyrusie w Šāhnāme, ”Studia Indo-Iranica” (Prace Komisji Językoznawstwa PAN No 52), ed. L. Bednarczuk, A. Czapkiewicz, Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, Wrocław – Warszawa – Kraków – Gdańsk – Łódź 1983, p. 39-44.

Klasyczne podstawy poetyki perskiej, Wydawnictwo UJ, Kraków 1986.

The Epos and History on the Example of the History of Feridun in Šāhnāme, ”Folia Orientalia” XXIV, 1987, p. 159-172.

Chronogram symboliczny w poezji perskiej, ”Poetyka orientalna i jej recepcja w Europie” (Zeszyty Naukowe UJ No CMXXXII: Prace Historycznoliterackie 70), A. Czapkiewicz (ed.), Kraków 1989, p. 125-131.

Patriotic Themes in the Shahname, ”Afghanica. The Afghanistan Studies Newsletter” IV, 1989,
p. 4-6.

The Cyrus Legend in the Šāhnāme, Kraków 1995.


Translations from Persian:

Hafiz, Gazale, ”Przegląd Orientalistyczny” 4 (48), 1963, p. 299-304.

Z poezji perskiej: Rudaki, Mos’abi, Rabi’a-e Qozdari, Dżalaluddin Rumi, Hafiz, ”Oficyna poetów” 1 (8), Londyn 1968, p. 27-31.

Hafiz, Gazele, ”Literatura na świecie” 6, 1971, p. 128-138.

Maulana Dżalaluddin Rumi, Gazale, ”Znak” 209 (11), 1971, p. 1290-1292.

Hafiz, Gazale, ”Znak” 209 (11), 1971, p. 1293-1297.

Pieśni miłosne Hafiza. Wybrał i przetłumaczył W. Dulęba, WL, Kraków 1973.

Dywan perski. Wybrał i przetłumaczył W. Dulęba, WL, Kraków 1977.

Pieśni miłosne Hafiza. Wybrał i przetłumaczył W. Dulęba, wydanie drugie poszerzone
i poprawione, WL Kraków 1979.

Drugi dywan perski. Wybrał i przetłumaczył W. Dulęba, WL, Kraków 1980.

Ferdousi, Księga Królewska. Wybór, przełożył i opracował W. Dulęba, PIW, Warszawa 1981.

Trzeci dywan perski. Wybrał i przetłumaczył W. Dulęba, WL, Kraków, 1986.

Abolqasem Ferdousi, Księga Królewska. Szahname, vol. I, Przełożył z oryginału perskiego
W. Dulęba; wstęp, przypisy, opracowanie filologiczne i literackie A. Krasnowolska, Nomos, Kraków 2004.



T. i S. Cieślikowscy, Nota. (Uwagi bardziej osobiste), ”Iranica Cracoviensia. Cracow Iranian Studies in memory of Władysław Dulęba”, A. Krasnowolska (ed.), Cornelius Publishing House, Cracow 1996.

A. Krasnowolska, W. Duleba – translator and scholar, ”Oriental Languages in Translation”, Vol. 3, Polish Academy of Sciences – Cracow Branch, Publications of the Oriental Committee Vol. 27,
A. Zaborski, M. Piela (ed.), Polish Academy of Sciences Press, Cracow 2008.

J. Pstrusińska, On Władysław Dulęba’s Translations of Mawlana Jalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), ”Oriental Languages in Translation”, Vol. 3…

K. Soja-Blumhoff, W. Dulęba (1920-1987), ”Iranica Cracoviensia”...

K. Soja-Blumhoff, Bibliography of the Works by Władysław Dulęba, ”Iranica Cracoviensia”...

K. Wolski, Okruchy wspomnień, ”Oriental Languages in Translation”, Vol. 3…

Marijan Molé (1924-1963)

Marijan (Marian Stanisław) Molé, born in Ljubljana, came to Kraków as a small child (1925), when his father, Vojeslav Molé, a Slovenian art historian, a Byzantinist, poet and translator, received the chair of art history at the Jagiellonian University. After the outbreak of World War II (autumn 1939), the family left for Yugoslavia. Marijan graduated from secondary school in Ljubljana and in 1942 he began studying linguistics (Indo-European and Slavonic linguistics), which after the closure of the university in 1943 he continued on the path of self-education. In 1945 the Molé family returned to Kraków. Marijan began linguistic and oriental studies at the Jagiellonian University. In 1947 he obtained a master's degree in Indo-European linguistics after presenting the thesis Kategoria rodzaju gramatycznego w języku hetyckim (the Category of Grammatical Gender in the Hittite language) and one year later (1948) he defended his Ph.D. in Oriental Studies: Gäršāsp-nāmä ‘Asadī’ego z Tūs a legenda o Kṛsāspie. Przyczynek do badań nad formacją i rozwojem epopei irańskiej (Garšāsp-nāme by Asadī of Tūs and the legend about Kṛsāspia. A contribution to research on the formation and development of the Iranian epic). The promoter of the work was Prof. Tadeusz Kowalski, who did not live to see Molé's promotion. Already as a Ph.D. student, Molé taught Iranian courses in the Department of Oriental Studies. After the promotion, he was employed as a full-time lecturer. In 1949 he received a scholarship from the Polish government for a scientific trip to Paris, from which he did not return. In Paris he studied at École Pratique des Hautes Études (ÉPHÉ), École des Langues Orientales Vivantes and Collège de France, his master was Jean de Menasce. He met other prominent Iranists (Benveniste, Massignon, Corbin). In the years 1955-59 he was on a scholarship in Iran. While in his early scientific activity (Kraków, early Paris) Molé was interested primarily in the mythology and religion of pre-Islamic Iran, during his stay in Tehran he dealt with Shiite Islam and Sufism, as well as continuity of religious concepts in Iranian culture. He prepared critical editions of numerous treatises of Muslim scholars. In 1958 he defended his second doctorate at the Sorbonne (Problème zoroastrien et la tradition mazdéenne). In 1960 he was employed on a temporary contract (chargé de recherches) in ÉPHÉ, but despite the efforts of de Menasce, who considered him his successor, he did not get a permanent job. He died in unexplained circumstances in the spring of 1963, leaving abundant scientific achievements (part in manuscript).


Early Works by Marijan Molé:

Gäršāsp-nāmä ‘Asadī’ego z Tūs a legenda o Kṛsāspie. Przyczynek do badań nad formacją i rozwojem epopei irańskiej (Asadi Tusi’s Garšāsp-nāme and the legend of Kṛsāspa. A contribution to the study of the formation and development of Iranian epos), unpublished doctoral dissertation, 1947, Archiwum UJ, sign. WHum. 196.

“Z historii prasłowiańskiego ě w słoweńskim” (“From the history of the proto-Slavic ě in Slovenian”), Rocznik Slawistyczny XVI, 1948, p. 24-27

”Kilka uwag o rozwoju prasłowiańskiego systemu wokalnego” (“Some remarks on the development of the proto-Slavic vocal system”), Sprawozdania Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności, I, 1948, p. 18-21

„Rustam a Kṛsāspa. Przyczynek do badań nad formacją eposu irańskiego” (”Rostam and Kṛsāspa. A contribution to the study of the formation of Iranian epos”), Sprawozdania Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności XLIX, 1948, no 6, p. 269-272

”Legenda o Yamie w 2 fargardzie Vendidād i początki dualizmu irańskiego” (”The legend of Yama in the 2nd fargard of Vendidād and the beginnings of Iranian dualism”), Sprawozdania Polskiej Akademii Umiejętności XLIX, 1948 no 7, 355-359

“Contribution à l’étude du genre grammatical en Hittite”, Rocznik Orientalistyczny XV, 1949, p. 25-62.

“Iranian notes” Lingua Posnaniensis I, 1949, p. 244-251

“Garshâsp et les Sagsâr”, La Nouvelle Clio III (1951), 1-2, p. 128-138

“La structure du premier chapitre du Vidēvdāt”, Journal Asiatique 1951 (239), p. 283-298

“Le partage du monde dans la tradition iranienne”, Journal Asiatique 1952 (240), p. 455‑463

“Un poème persan du comte de Gobineau”, La Nouvelle Clio IV (1952), 3-4, p. 116-130

“Some remarks on the nineteenth fargard of the Vīdēvdāt”, Rocznik Orientalistyczny XVII, 1953, Memorial Book of Tadeusz Kowalski, p. 281-289

“L’épopée iranienne après Firdōsī”, La Nouvelle Clio V (1953), 1-10, p. 377-393

“Deux notes sur le Rāmāyaṇa”, Hommages à Georges Dumézil, Bruxelles 1960, p. 140‑150



Czekalska Renata, ”Helena Willman-Grabowska (1870-1957)”, in: J. Michalik, W. Walecki (eds), Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Złota Księga Wydziału Filoloficznego, Kraków 2000, p. 223-230.

”Ingarden Roman”, in: Wielka Encyklopedia Powszechna PWN t. XII, Warszawa 2002

Kowalski Tadeusz, Studia nad Šāh-nāme (Études sur le Šāh-nāme) avec résumé français, t. II-II, Kraków 1952-1953.

Makowska Rita (ed.), Tadeusz Kowalski 1889-1948. Materiały z posiedzenia naukowego PAU w dniu 19 czerwca 1998, Kraków 1999.

Smoczyński Wojciech, ”Jan Safarewicz (1904-1992)”, in: Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Złota Księga, op. cit., p. 597-604.

Smoczyński Wojciech, ”Jerzy Kuryłowicz (1895-1978)”, Uniwersytet Jagielloński. Złota Księga, op. cit, p. 477-490.

Zaborski Andrzej, ”Tadeusz Kowalski (1889-1948)”, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Złota Księga, op. cit, p. 409‑417.

Wojciech Skalmowski (1933-2008)

He was born on June 24, 1933 in Poznań, where he attended the Karol Marcinkowski gymnasium. In 1951-1956 he studied Oriental Philology and Linguistics at the Jagiellonian University. In 1956 he wrote his master's thesis entitled Etymologia nowoperska 1893-1950 (New Persian Etymology 1893-1950) under the guidance of prof. Jerzy Kuryłowicz. After graduating, he became a scholarship holder at the Humboldt University in Berlin (1956-60), where he studied ancient Iranian and New-Persian languages under the supervision of Prof. Heinrich Junker. Here he obtained a Ph.D. degree in the humanities after submitting the dissertation entitled Sprachstatistische Untersuchungen zur persischen Sprachentwicklung (Berlin 1960). After returning to Kraków and validation of the Berlin diploma, he became an adjunct at the Department of General Linguistics at the Jagiellonian University, where he conducted classes for students of Iranian studies. Prof. Andrzej Pisowicz, one of his students, recalled years later:

"As an academic teacher, he impressed us, students of this field (and I have been one since 1957), in every respect: he already had a Ph.D. and knew the Persian language well. He was surrounded by the aura of a modern, western scientist who, with all the richness of philological knowledge, in some sense also represented exact sciences, as mathematics linguistics was approaching them. And at the same time - tall, with the tight cut hairstyle, he resembled American actors. Wojciech Skalmowski was a great didactic. He was trusted not only because of his deep knowledge, but he also managed to win the listeners' sympathy with his personal culture and sense of humor. At that time (1960s), Iranian studies were not popular among students, and this created a cozy atmosphere during classes. Especially lectures and exercises conducted by Dr. Wojciech Skalmowski were characterized by unrestrictedness, directness and certainty that the intellectual effort of the student, supported by the master, would bring good results. " (Pisowicz 2008: 41).

In 1968 Wojciech Skalmowski went on a scholarship to Iran. This proved to be permanent leaving of his motherland and the beginning of his emigration. During his stay in Tehran the so called March events took place in Poland and Skalmowski, like most of the Polish intelligentsia, received news from his country with disgust. He started efforts to travel to the USA and in the end he received an invitation from the renowned Iranologist, Prof. Richard N. Frye. Thus Skalmowski started working at the Harvard University in 1969:

„(…) right now I have to start working on a reading text for students for the next classes. This text is going to be in the Yaghnobi language that is spoken by ca. 2,000 illiterate shepherds in some valley on the northern slopes of the Pamirs. It is quite funny, when a member of Kraków intelligentsia, fallen out of his saddle, is translating a fairytale in that language at Boston outskirts to the audience consisting of Americans, Persians and one Slovak guy who has also fallen out of his saddle” (Mrożek and Skalmowski 2007: 35).

After spending a year in the USA, Skalmowski started working at the Flemish-speaking Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven at the Faculty of Orientalist and Slavic Studies.

Apart from his linguistic interests, Wojciech Skalmowski was also an expert on literature. As early as during his studies in Kraków he met Sławomir Mrożek who was a student of Oriental studies at the Jagiellonian University for a short time. The correspondence of both writers was an important element of the Polish cultural life of the second half of the twentieth century (Mrożek – Skalmowski. Listy 1970-2003, Kraków 2007). From 1968 to 2000 he published (under the pseudonyms "Piotr Meynert" and "Maciej Broński") numerous reviews of books, literary translations and essays in Kultura, a Polish emigration periodical published in Paris.

He was the author of about 100 scientific publications on general, Iranian and Dardic linguistics, and on Persian and Polish literature. An outline of his scientific achievements is provided by the volume Studies in Iranian Linguistics and Philology (Kraków 2004).

He received many prestigious awards and decorations, including the award of Kościelski Foundation in Geneva, Officer's Cross of the Order of Leopold II (Belgium), Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2004).

Professor Wojciech Skalmowski never forgot his Alma Mater. All the time he kept in touch by phone and letters with his colleagues and students who stayed in Kraków and continued to study Iranian at the Jagiellonian University. In 1999, after retiring, he returned to Kraków, where in the summer semester he lectured on the Middle Persian language. Before his death he donated to the Department of Iranian Studies of the Jagiellonian University his priceless collection of books.

He died on 18 July 2008 in Brussels. His grave is in Wrocław at the Św. Wawrzyciec (St. Lawrence) parish cemetery.


Selected publications:

Ein Beitrag zur Statistik der arabischen Lehnwörter im Neupersischen, ”Folia Orientalia” III, Kraków 1961, p. 171-175.

Über einige statistisch erfassbare Züge der persischen Sprachentwicklung, ”Folia Orientalia” IV, Kraków 1962, p. 47-80.

Das Nomen im Parthischen, ”Biuletyn Polskiego Towarzystwa Językoznawczego” 25, 1967, p. 75-89.

Problems of tense in generative grammar, ”ITL – Review for Applied Linguistics”, III, 1969, p. 109-113.

On the notion of subcode in semiotics, ”Sign, Language, Culture”, R. Jakobson et al. (ed.), The Hague 1970, p. 34-40.

Transitive verb constructions in the Pamir and Dardic languages, ”Studia Indoeuropejskie. Etudes Indo-européenes”, J. Kuryłowicz et. al (ed.), Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, Wrocław 1974, p. 205-216.

Elamite and Akkadian translations of the Old Persian periphrastic perfect, ”Folia Orientalia” XVII, 1976, p. 217-229.

Notes on the ghazals of Sa’di and Hafiz, ”Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica”, no. 10, 1979, p. 255-273.

Parishan Khatak: Poet’s Plea for Pashto, ”Studia Indo-Iranica. Prace Komisji Językoznawstwa 52, PAN, Oddz.
w Krakowie”, L. Bednarczuk, A. Czapkiewicz (ed.), Wrocław/Warszawa 1983, p. 127-134.

Języki nowoirańskie, Języki dardyjskie, ”Języki indoeuropejskie”, vol. 1, L. Bednarczuk (ed.), Warszawa 1986,
p. 161-214.

The Meaning of the Persian ghazal, ”Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica”, no. 18, 1987, p. 141-162.

The linguistic importance of the Dardic languages, ”Journal of Central Asia” 8(1), 1985, p. 5-15.– Dative counterparts in Pashto, ”Case and grammatical relations across languages. The Dative. Vol. 1: Descriptive studies”, W. Van Belle, W. Van Langendonck (ed.), Amsterdam/Philadelphia:  1996, p. 396-406.

A bewildering ghazal of Hafez, ”Iranica Cracoviensia. Cracow Studies in Memory of Władysław Dulęba”,
A. Krasnowolska (ed.), Kraków 1996, p. 265-271.

Iranian heterography and Aramaic: some reflections, ”Irano-Judaica IV”, Sh. Shaked, A. Netzer (ed.), Jerusalem 1999, p. 151-158.



S. Mrożek, W. Skalmowski, Mrożek - Skalmowski. Listy 1970-2003, Kraków 2007.

A. Pisowicz, Językoznawca i miłośnik literatury pięknej. Wspomnienie o profesorze Wojciechu Skalmowskim (1933-2008), ”Alma Mater, Miesięcznik Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego”, no. 108, November 2008, p. 41-43.

Piotr Chełkowski (born 1933)

Piotr Chełkowski (Peter J. Chelkowski) was born in 1933 in Lubliniec, one of the oldest towns of Silesia. As he recalls, his interest in the world of the Orient began in his childhood from the Persian carpet hanging above his bed (K. Szczęśniak, 2011). In 1951 he graduated from the local high school. He is a graduate of the Institute of Oriental Studies in Kraków. While studying there, he also joined the State Theater School in Kraków. Although theatrical studies were only a one year long episode (1955-1956) in his academic education, the interest in drama manifested itself in his later scientific work.

After finishing his studies in 1959, he obtained a scholarship from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where he devoted his time to learning the history and culture of the Muslim Middle East. In London he also met his future wife - Stefania. Three years later he left for Iran, where he studied Persian literature at the Tehran University and where he obtained a doctoral degree.

In 1968 he began working for the New York University in the field of cultural history. In 1970-1973 he was the Director of bachelor studies at NYU and later the Director of the Middle East Studies Program (1975-1978, later also in 1988-1991).

His book, titled Ta'ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran, published in 1979, is a fundamental item in the study of Shia religious performances. In the '70s and' 80s he conducted television programs devoted to Iran and Western Asia ('Iran and Western Asia') as well as to the history of Islam ('1400 Years of Islam'). He also made documentaries (e.g. ‘The Rite of Passage / The Passage of Rite’).

In the years 1988-1991 Piotr Chełkowski was the Dean of the Faculty of Middle Eastern Languages ​​and Literature of the New York University. He also worked as the Director of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for New Eastern Studies.

In addition to New York University, he also taught classes many times as a visiting professor at other universities, including the University of Venice, the University of Columbia, Stanford University, Harvard University and others.

He is a member of numerous scientific societies, such as the Society for Iranian Studies, the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the Polish Institute of Arts and Science in America, the Council on National Literatures, the La Scuola Internazionale di Scienze Neurologiche (Venice) and Madinat al-Hikmah Trust (Karachi). In many of them he sits or sits in the management circles.

He is a member of advisory councils of scientific journals: Iranshenasi. A Journal of Iranian Studies and Iran Nameh. A Persian Journal of Iranian Studies.

He is a laureate of numerous grants and scholarships awarded by various institutions, including the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, the Washington Square College Research Grant, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Institute of Turkish Studies, etc.

Among the many prizes and awards, Piotr Chełkowski was twice awarded the Golden Dozen Teaching Award (New York University: 1989, 1996), the prize of the American Association of Academic Publishers for the book: Mirror of the Invisible World (American Association of University Presses) and the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.


Selected publications:

Ta'ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran, New York University Press, New York 1979.

Staging a Revolution: The Art of Persuasion in the Islamic Republic of Iran (wspólnie z H. Dabashi), New York University Press, New York 1999.

Mirror of the Invisible World, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1975.

Studies in Art and Literature of the Near East in Honor of Richard Ettinghausen (red.), University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City 1974.

The Scholar and the Saint: Studies in Celebration of Abu'l Rayhan al-Biruni and Jalal al-Din Rumi (redaktor), New York University Press, New York 1975.

Ta'ziyeh: Honar-e Bumi-ye Pishrov-e Iran, Entesharat-e Elmi va Farhangi, Tehran 1988

Community Process and the Performance of Muharram Observances in Trinidad (wspólnie z F. Korom), „The Drama Review”, vol. 38 (2), 1994, s. 150-175.

Islam in Modern Drama and Theatre, „Die Welt des Islam” 23/4, Leiden 1984, s. 45-69.

Iranian Theatre, "McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Religion", Vol. 3, Second Edition, New York, 1984, s. 54-58.

Shia Muslim Processional Performance, "The Drama Review", Vol. 29, No. 3, MIT Press, 1985, s. 18-30.

Ideology and Power in the Middle East (współredaktor i współautor), Duke University Press, 1988.

Narrative Painting and Painting Recitation in Qajar Iran, „Muqarnas. An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture” vol. VI, E. J. Brill, Leiden 1989, s. 98-111.

Hangami ka na zaman zaman ast va na makan makan ast, "Iran Nameh", vol. IX, No. 2, 1991, s. 212-222.

Muharram in South Trinidad, "Folia Orientalia", vol. 29, 1992-1993, s. 55-64.

Il rito del passagio, il passagio del rito (współautor), "Teatro e Storia", vol. 17, Bologna 1995, s. 97-111.

Muharram, "Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East", 1996, Vol. 3, s. 1273-1275.

Ta'ziyah, "The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World", 1995, Vol. 2, s. 185-186.

Józef Reczek (1936-1988)

Józef Reczek was born on February 16, 1936 in the village called Łęki, close to the city of Brzesko in Southern Poland. He attended the High School in Brzesko, from which he graduated in 1953. In the years 1953-1959 he studied Slavic and Polish philology at the Jagiellonian University. In the years 1960-1972 he worked at the Polish Academy of Sciences (Pracownia Słownika Staropolskiego). In 1967 he obtained a doctorate after submitting the work entitled Bohemizmy leksykalne w języku polskim do końca XV wieku (published Wrocław 1968). In 1972, he began working at the Department of General and Indo-European Linguistics at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He obtained his post-doctoral degree in general and Indo-European linguistics on the basis of his publication Najstarsze słowiańsko-irańskie stosunki językowe (ie. The oldest Slavic-Iranian language relations, 1984). He was a member of the Polish Society for Oriental Studies, Linguistic Commission, Committee of Slavic Studies and the Commission of the Oriental Studies Branch in the Polish Academy of Sciences Kraków Branch.

The rich scientific output of Józef Reczek (over 150 publications) gives only a general idea of ​​the author's extensive knowledge and interests, which in the earliest period focused on the issues of Polish and Slavonic lexicology in a very broad sense of the term. Apart from etymology his works were dedicated to the adaptation of borrowings, semantic calques and onomastics.
In the the 1960s Józef Reczek focused on contacts between Slavic and Oriental languages. He was particularly interested in the oldest examples of such contacts, which are attested by lexical loans from Iranian languages. Józef Reczek wrote several publications on this topic and over time this direction of research has become the dominant one. The results of his research were presented in a systematic manner in his already mentioned post-doctoral thesis. The impact of his work was important, as he introduced a more precise chronology as the basis for dating the Slavic-Iranian contacts. He was the author of the chapter on Old and Middle Iranian languages in the book ”Języki Indoeuropejskie” (ie. Indoeuropean Languages, edited by L. Bednarczuk).

One should also mention his research in the field of religious studies. He conducted research on Zoroastrianism, Zurvanism and Manichaeism, from which he passed to Christian gnosis and St. Augustine. He had a great advantage over the "professional" religious scholars, as he read all the texts in the original. He did not publish many of his texts on religious studies, and most of them, for example a work on Manichaeism the writing of which was interrupted by his death, will be probably never accessible for the readers.

As far as his didactic activity is concerned, during his years of work at the Jagiellonian University he taught general linguistics and methodology of linguistic research for students of almost all philological specializations. He also taught the religions of old Iran and the state of research in Iranian studies to the students of Oriental studies.

"He was very attached to the idea of university studies in traditional, good sense. Delivering reliable knowledge to his students, he could not stand irresponsibility and dishonesty - these are the only moments when this gentle man became ruthless, reacting with hard and bitter words."(

He died on February 13, 1988 after several months of illness, before his 52nd birthday. He was buried according to his last wish at the parish cemetery in Szczepanów.


Selected publications:

Bohemizmy leksykalne w języku polskim do końca XV wieku, Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, Wrocław 1968.

Najstarsze słowiańsko-irańskie stosunki językowe, „Rozprawy Habilitacyjne. Uniwersytet Jagielloński t. 92”, Kraków 1985.

Języki staro- i średnioirańskie, „Języki Indoeuropejskie”, L. Bednarczuk (ed.), Warszawa 1986, s. 121-160.

Polszczyzna i inne języki w perspektywie porównawczej, Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, Wrocław 1991.

Pokłon Magów (przekład i opracowanie). „Apokryfy Nowego Testamentu. T. 1: Fragmenty. Narodzenie i dzieciństwo Maryi i Jezusa”, M. Starowieyski (ed.), Wydawnictwo WAM, Kraków 2005, s. 347–349.

Andrzej Pisowicz (born 1940)

Andrzej Pisowicz was born on November 2, 1940 in Siedliska near the town of Miechów in southern Poland. He attended the elementary school in Tarnowskie Góry. In 1957 he graduated from a high school in Słupsk, and shortly thereafter he began studying Iranian studies at the Institute of Oriental Philology at the Jagiellonian University. At that time, students of Iranian studies attended the lessons of the Armenian language and Andrzej Pisowicz was noticed by the visiting professor Wacze Nalbadian from Armenia, who issued for the gifted student a personal invitation for a scholarship to Yerevan. There Andrzej Pisowicz spent two years (1961-1963) studying the Armenian philology in an individual mode. He obtained his master's degree in 1963 at the Jagiellonian University. His master's thesis was dedicated to the study of the Armenian dialect of the village of Pharpi (later published under the title Esquisse d'une grammaire du parler arménien de Pharpi and Un texte arménien dialectal du village Pharpi).

After completing his studies, he started working in the Jagiellonian Library, the Kraków branch of the Ossolineum publishing house and in the Bureau of Nuclear Techniques Devices as a librarian, translator and proofreader. In the 1966/67 academic year he completed post-graduate studies at the universities of Paris: Ecole des Langues Orientales Vivantes in the field of Western Armenian and Persian languages as well as in the department of ancient Eastern languages at the Institut Catholique (Old Romanian). In 1970 he became a full-time employee of the Jagiellonian University. In the academic year 1972/73 he attended a scholarship in Tehran, where he improved his Persian language skills. In 1974 he defended his doctoral dissertation (for which he obtained the Third Degree Ministerial Award), later published under the title Le développement du consonantisme arménien.

From 1976 until 1994 (with several breaks) he was the head of the Department of Iranian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University. In addition, for five years (1989-1994) he was the deputy director of the Institute of Oriental Philology.

In 1985 he obtained the postdoctoral degree in the humanities in the field of linguistics in Iranian and Armenian. His habilitation thesis was published under the title Origins of the New and Middle Persian phonological systems. However, his promotion to the rank of associate professor was delayed for many years due to his involvement in the opposition activity at the end of the communist era in Poland. He was finally promoted in 1988.

In the years 1988-1991 he traveled three times for three-month scholarships of the Pax Christi foundation to Vienna.

In the academic year 1992/93 he was granted a scholarship of the Tempus Foundation in Leiden, where he collected materials for his academic work in the field of armenistics and in the second semester he lectured in Armenian dialectology.

An important aspect of the academic activity of Professor Andrzej Pisowicz was didactics. Master's seminars in the field of Ianistic linguistics, descriptive grammar of Persian language, practical science of this language, Armenian language, and later also Ossetian and Kurdish - all these classes have always been met with great appreciation of students. He conducted doctoral theses, reviewed doctoral dissertations and doctoral dissertations.

In 2002 Andrzej Pisowicz became an associate professor at the Jagiellonian University and shortly thereafter he received the title of professor of humanities from the President of the Republic of Poland. In 1994-95 he worked as a counselor at the Polish Embassy in Tehran. In 2006 Professor Andrzej Pisowicz retired.

He is a member of many scientific associations, including Association Internationale des Etudes Arméniennes and Societas Iranologica Europaea. His numerous publications concern Iranian and Armenian studies, as well as general and Indo-European linguistics. Particularly noteworthy are: Armenian Grammar and Origins of the New and Middle Persian Phonological Systems.


Selected publications:

Hayataṙ leheren vaveragrerə (Documents in Polish Written in Armenian Script) – together with V. R. Grigoryan, „Banber Matenadarani”, vol. VII, Erevan 1964, p. 225-236.

Mutations consonantiques dans le dialectes arméniens modernes, „Folia Orientalia” VII, 1965, p. 183-225.

Phonétique du parler arménien du village de Pharpi, „Folia Orientalia”, X, 1969, p. 65-89.

Esquisse d’une grammaire du parler arménien de Pharpi (I-ère partie), „Folia Orientalia”, XII, 1970, p. 215-240.

Esquisse d’une grammaire du parler arménien de Pharpi (II-ème partie), „Folia Orientalia”, XIII, 1971, p. 209-231.

Esquisse d’une grammaire du parler arménien de Pharpi (III-ème partie), „Folia Orientalia”, XIV, 1972, p. 53-64.

Le développement du consonantisme arménien, Polska Akademia Nauk, Oddział w Krakowie, „Prace Komisji Językoznawstwa”, no. 43, Wydawnictwo PAN, Wrocław – Warszawa – Kraków – Gdańsk 1976.

Some remarks on Christian Terminology in Persian, „Folia Orientalia”, XXI, 1980, p. 171-174.

Phonetic Characteristics of the Dialect of Polish Armenians, „Studia Indoiranica. Papers in Honour of Prof. Tadeusz Pobożniak. Prace Komisji Językoznawstwa PAN, Oddział w Krakowie”, no 52, 1983, p. 85-90.

The Development of the Middle Persian System of Obstruents, „OLA 16. Middle Iranian Studies. Proceedings of the International Symposium organized by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven from the 17th to the 20th of May 1982”, Leuven 1984, p. 15-24.

Origins of the New and Middle Persian Phonological Systems, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, „Rozprawy habilitacyjne”, no. 101, Kraków 1985.

Język ormiański, „Języki indoeuropejskie”, L. Bednarczuk (ed.), t. I, PWN, Warszawa 1986, s. 341-396.

Developmental Tendencies in the Voiced-Voiceless Opposition of Explosive Consonants. (On the Basis of the Data from Persian and Armenian), „Problemy języków Azji i Afryki. Materiały II Międzynarodowego Sympozjum Warszawa-Kraków 10-15 listopada 1980, PWN, Warszawa 1987, p. 233-238.

Interdialectal Borrowings in in the Early New Persian, „Linguistica e filologia. Atti del VII Convegno Internazionale di Linguisti tenuto a Milano nei giorni 12-14 settembre 1984, Brescia 1987, p. 445-450.

Czy stopień pokrewieństwa językowego można wyrazić liczbami opierając się na badaniach tekstów (uwagi na temat nowej metody statystycznej prof. Witolda Mańczaka), „Biuletyn Polskiego Towarzystwa Językoznawczego”, XLI, 1988, p. 113-119.

An Armenian Popular Version of the Iranian Rustamiade, „Folia Orientalia”, XXIX, 1992-1993, p. 195-204.

Słownik pisarzy radzieckiej Armenii, Koło Zainteresowań Kulturą Ormian przy Oddziale Warszawskim Polskiego Towarzystwa Ludoznawczego, no. 22, Warszawa 1992.

Frequency and Irregular Sound Change in Colloquial Persian, „Folia Orientalia”, XXX, 1997, p. 111-112.

Teatr ormiański, „Teatr Orientu. Materiały z sesji naukowej”, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Instytut Filologii Orientalnej, Kraków 1998, p. 47-55.

Czy regres polskiej transkrypcji? Uwagi sprowokowane pisownią obcych nazw geograficznych w nowym „Atlasie encyklopedycznym PWN”, „Język Polski” 1999, no. 5, p. 379-382.

Weitere kurdische Wörter im Türkeitürkischen Dialektmaterial, „Folia Orientalia”, XXXVI, 2000, p. 237-245.

Gramatyka Ormiańska. Grabar – aszcharabar (Armenian Grammar. Grabar – aszcharabar), Wydawnictwo Księgarnia Akademicka, Kraków 2001.

Nazwy osobowe Ormian. Próba objaśnienia, „Słownik etymologiczno-motywacyjny staropolskich nazw osobowych, cz. 7 – Suplement”, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, Kraków 2002 (2004), p. 31-41.

The Possible Influence of Kurdish Dialects on Colloquial Persian (the Definites Suffixes -é), „Folia Orientalia”, XXXIX, 2003, p. 177-180.

Mały słownik ormiańsko-polski, polsko-ormiański (współautorzy: Sz. Sedojan, N. Ter-Grigorian), Księgarnia Akademicka, Kraków 2006.

Barbara Mękarska (born 1942)

Barbara Mękarska, née Friedberg, was born in 1942 in Kraków. In the years 1960-65 she studied Iranian studies at the Institute of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University. She obtained the master's degree in 1965, presenting the thesis entitled Bactrian inscription from Surkh Kotal. In 1967-71 she completed doctoral studies at the Department of General and Indo-European Linguistics at the Jagiellonian University, after which in 1972 she obtained her Ph.D. in Iranian linguistics after presenting the dissertation under the title Szyk wyrazów w zdaniu średnioperskim (i.e. Word order in Middle Persian sentences). In the same year she started working in the Department of Iranian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University (now the Institute of Oriental Studies) as an adjunct, later a senior lecturer. In the 1976/77 academic year she was granted a scholarship in Iran at the University of Mashhad. She retired in 2007.

In her didactic work Dr. Mękarska focused on linguistic issues that were her scientific domain. She mainly conducted lectures on historical and descriptive grammar.

In her scientific work she neither limited herself to linguistic issues, nor avoided other aspects of Iranian studies, hence her lectures and publications referred to the traditions of Persian art in Poland and on Polish researchers of peoples and Iranian languages. She was also interested in Polish-Iranian contacts.

Dr Mękarska held the position of head of the Department of Iranian Studies several times. For many years she has been a member of the Oriental Studies Commission of the Kraków branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences and has been its secretary for several years. She is also a member of the Societas Iranologica Europaea.

In the years 1995-98 she participated in the implementation of one of the first TEMPUS-PHARE programs in Poland: Student Mobility for the Study of Religious Interaction. Christianity, Judaism, Islam. From 1996 she was the coordinator of this program at the Jagiellonian University.

She has published about 20 scientific articles in journals dedicated to the oriental and linguistic  studies. She gave a dozen or so presentations at Polish and international conferences, concerning mainly the Middle Persian language, development of the New Persian, translations of Avesta and Old Polish inscriptions, and the evolution of syntax in the history of the Persian language.


Selected publications:

An Attempt at the Reconstruction of the Baktrian Language System, „Folia Orientalia”, XV, Kraków 1973, p. 149-165.

Word order in Middle Persian, „Folia Orientalia”, XXII, Kraków,1981-1984, p. 23-67.

Znajomość rodzimych dialektów wśród młodej inteligencji w Iranie, „Zeszyty Naukowe Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego – Prace Językoznawcze”, vol. 76, 1984, p. 151-158.

Specifite des traductions persanes des langues iraniennes anciennes, „Folia Orientalia”, XXXVI, Kraków 2000, p. 197-204.

Odmiany języka perskiego uwarunkowane historycznie i regionalnie, „Biuletyn Polskiego Towarzystwa Językoznawczego”, vol. 61, 2005, p. 5-11.

Persian Art. And Artifacts in Polish Collections (co-authored with B. Słotą i D. Malarczyk), „Encyclopaedia Iranica”, 2009,

Jadwiga Pstrusińska (born 1947)

Jadwiga Pstrusińska was born on March 1, 1947 in Kraków as a daughter of Antonina Zofia Wiśniowska and Henryk Pstrusiński, soldier of the Home Army and Righteous Among the Nations. She is a graduate of Kraków's Oriental studies, specializing mainly in the field of afghanology, secret languages of Central Asia and interdisciplinary studies. At the Jagiellonian University she also received all academic degrees and the title of professor. She is known not only as a scientist, but also as a traveler, author of literary texts and translator of Afghan poetry.

In the years 1970-2007 she was an employee of the Department of Iranian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Philology. In 1972 she became a member of the Polish Oriental Studies Society. In the years 1973-1976, she studied at the Faculty of Humanities at Kabul University as a recipient of a scholarship granted to her by the government of Afghanistan. During her stay in Afghanistan she conducted field research. The toughest expeditions include reaching the settlements of the Afghan Kyrgyz at the end of the Wakhan Corridor in the summer of 1974. Shortly after returning from Afghanistan to Poland she began her several-year stay at the University of Oxford (1985-1989). In the years 1985-1989 she was a member of the Oxford University Polish & Central European Society. Also in 1985 she joined the European Society for Central Asian Studies, and later in 2005-2007 she was the vice president of that society. In 1987, she received the Airey Neave Memorial Scholarship Award in the House of Commons. In the same year, she began working at the University of Oxford as a Research Assistant in the Department of Ethnology. In the time of the Afghan exodus she was delegated to the Refugee Studies Center, where she conducted research in the field of her scientific interests and also acted as a tutor, preparing young researchers for the field research in Pakistan. At the same time she was affiliated with Wolfson College. She was also a co-founder of the Oxford University Aghanistan Society, playing the role of Academic Advisor, and after returning to Poland she co-founded the Polish-Afghan Cooperation Committee. In 1989 she went to Oxford again, receiving temporary membership in St. Catherine College as a Visiting Fellow. She used her experience from this eminent university for the benefit of her home institution.

Jadwiga Pstrusińska is also a laureate of the Award of the Standing Conference of Rectors of European Universities (1991). After returning from Oxford University, in 1992-1993 she was the deputy director of her home Institute of Oriental Philology at the Jagiellonian University and in 1993-1994 she was the chairman of the Council of this institute. At the same time she was increasingly developing her interdisciplinary interests in the Eurasian area, which in 1995 resulted in her stay at the Center for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth as Visiting Fellow. After her return she launched a Celto-Asian seminar, soon transformed into the Section of Interdisciplinary Eurasian Studies, of which she was a long-time manager.

Since 1996 she has been a member of the Oriental Studies Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Committee of Oriental Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and since 2001 of the Central Eurasian Studies Society (then within Harvard University). She also held the position of Head of the Section of Oriental Sources and Numismatics at the Institute of Oriental Philology. Head of the Department of Iranian Studies in the same institute (1994-1999). As an employee at the Institute of Oriental Philology of the Jagiellonian University, she also worked didactically and organisationally, expanding the contacts of the mother unit with Polish and foreign scientific institutions. In the years 2002-2016 she acted as an independent expert in the languages and cultures of Afghanistan in the Swiss scientific unit "Lingua" operating within the local Ministry of Justice and Police. From 2007 to 2017 she was a research and didactic worker at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw simultaneously conducting English-language lectures for Collegium Civitas (2011-2013). Didactic activities in Warsaw were focused primarily on the Afghan area and in recent years she also conducted interdisciplinary lectures for the students of all the faculties of Warsaw University. Let us add that in 2016 the governor of the Voivodship (province) of Mazovia appointed Jadwiga Pstrusińska as a member of the Council at the Asia and Pacific Museum.

Among the greatest educational, didactic and organizational merits of Jadwiga Pstrusińska, one should mention, inter alia, finding in Afghanistan a previously unknown text, the Pashtun code of honor, which she made available for the readers in Polish and English as well as the difficult research on the secret languages of Central Asia, including the publication of a monograph on the secret languages of Afghanistan, and organizing regular lectures on Afghan philology and cultures of Afghanistan. The mother institute also owes her the Section of Interdisciplinary Eurasian Research, which includes Afghanology Archives, to which she transferred most of her collection, including many items brought from Afghanistan and the region. To date, several thousand items have been cataloged. The transfer of a further part of the Afganological collection of Jadwiga Pstrusińska is already established on the basis of a testamentary record. Undoubtedly, an important achievement of this researcher is the inauguration of interdisciplinary seminars and lectures and publications in the field of, among others, biosociolinguistics - so named by her, and taking into account the latest results of population genetics research, which she presented not only at Polish universities, but also at numerous international forums.

At present, Jadwiga Pstrusińska is still a member of the Oriental Studies Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Committee of Oriental Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences,
a member of the Council of the Asia and Pacific Museum in Warsaw and a member of the Polish Institute of World Art Research and a member of the Advisory Board of the European Society for Central Asian Studies


Selected publications:

Paṣ̌to au Dari – Selection for studying the official languages of Afghanistan and its literature, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków 1985.

Magati. Some notes on an unknown language of Northern Afghanistan, „Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford”, XVII/2, Anthropological Society of Oxford, Oxford 1986.

Afghanistan 1989 in Sociolinguisic Perspective, „Central Asian Survey”, Society for Central Asian Studies, London 1990.

Old Celtic Cultures from the Hindukush Perspective, Księgarnia Academicka, Kraków 1999.

O tajnych językach Afganistanu i ich użytkownikach, Księgarnia Akademicka, Kraków 2004.

Secret Languages of Afghanistan and Their Speakers, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne 2013.

Wiersze afgańskie spisane z dawnych notatek afganologicznych, przekład z języków dari i paszto, Wydział Orientalistyczny Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, Warszawa  2014.

On the origin of Iranian-speaking nomads of the Eurasian Steppes in the light of human population genetics, „Anabasis. Studia Classica et Orientalia”, no. 5, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Rzeszowskiego, Rzeszów 2014, p. 191-200.

Genetyka populacyjna w służbie orientalistyki, „Orient w poszukiwaniu tożsamości, II Ogólnopolska Konferencja Polskiego Towarzystwa Orientalistycznego. Warszawa 20-21 października 2014”, A. Bareja-Starzyńska, M. M. Dziekan (eds.), Warszawa 2015, p. 23-31.

Język(i) celtycki(e) w Azji Środkowej?, „Na szlakach dwóch światów. Studia ofiarowane Profesorowi Jerzemu Hauzińskiemu”, A. Tetrycz-Puzio (ed.), Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pomorskiej w Słupsku, Słupsk 2016, p. 59-66.

Podstawy poetyki pasztuńskiej, Wydział Orientalistyczny Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, Warszawa 2017.

Content of paṣ̌tunwali - the Pashtun code of conduct, „Rocznik Orientalistyczy”, PAN, Komitet Nauk Orientalistycznych, vol. LXX, book no. 1, Warszawa 2017, p. 5-19.


The Afghanistan Studies Newsletter, founded by Jadwiga Pstrusińska in Oxford, published there and - later on - in Kraków should also be mentioned, as well as numerous publications of which she was a scientific editor.

Anna Krasnowolska (born 1949)

Anna Krasnowolska was born on January 19, 1949 in Kraków. In 1967 she started Iranian studies at the Chair of Oriental Philology (currently the Institute of Oriental Studies) of the Jagiellonian University. One of her first fields of research were similarities in folk rituals among Slavs and Iranian peoples. Discovering of common origins deeply rooted in Slavic and Iranian folklore convinced the young researcher to start another studies in the field of Slavic ethnography at the same university (1969-71).

She became an Iranian studies graduate in 1972, presenting and defending the thesis called Fargard 21 Videvdāt as a magical text (analysis of Avestan text)[1]. That year she started working in the Department of Iranian Studies at the Jagiellonian University.

Her first direct contact with the widely defined Iranian universe took place during the student trip to Afghanistan where she was a guide and an interpreter. Finally, in January 1978, just before the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution, she went to Iran for internship at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad.

In 1983 she defended her doctoral thesis called Epic cycles in Ferdowsi’s Šāhnāme[2] and in 1992 she was awarded the grant of the Scientific Research Committee allowing her to go for a monthly research internship to Iran. In 1994 she spent three months in Uppsala participating in the internship in the Institute of African and Asian Languages.   

In 1998 Anna Krasnowolska defended her post-doctoral thesis called Some Key Figures of Iranian Calendar Mythology. In this book she provided comprehensive analysis and synthesis of Iranian folklore beliefs and rituals in the area spreading from Kurdistan to the Pamir Mountains and related to time count methods used in agricultural and herding communities in winter and spring and their fautors. Thanks to vast source material, referred geographical area and included conclusions, this groundbreaking and impressive book is not just an important source of information on continuity of Iranian folklore, but also constitutes the base for research on Indo-European folklore, including Slavic and Iranian similarities.

In 2015 Mrs. Krasnowolska received a professor title for entirety of her scientific work and the book called Mythes, croyances populaires et symbolique animale dans la littérature persane (Studia Iranica, Cahier 48, Paris 2012) published on the basis of five lectures given at Conférences d’études iraniennes Ehsan et Latifeh Yarshater in 2010 in Paris (CNRS, Mondes iranien et indien, Sorbonne Nouvelle, INALCO, EPHE).

Prof. Krasnowolska has released more than 150 publications in the field of science and popular science and has served as a dissertation supervisor for ca. 90 master theses and 3 doctoral theses.   

Moreover, she was the director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Jagiellonian University from 1999 to 2002 and the Department in this Institute (2000-2017). She is a member of Societas Iranologica Europaea (member of the council from 2003 to 2011 and vice-president from 2007 to 2011), Association for the Study of Persianate Societies, the Oriental Studies Commission at the Kraków branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences (current vice-president) and the Oriental Science Committee at the Polish Academy of Sciences (member of the council from 2003 to 2007).

The fields of interest of Prof. Krasnowolska, being the literature and the widely defined culture of Iranian universe, are rather embedded in issues and phenomena related to the area of this civilization itself than in literary periods. These fields include such issues like continuity of ideas, topics and forms from the pre-Islamic period until now; permanence, evolution and changes in functions of Iranian national myths occurring for ages; continuity and transformation of religious, social and aesthetic concepts and relations between oral and written tradition and folk and high culture. Her research is based on knowledge of source texts being crucial for the Persian culture, including the Iranian mythology and Persian epic. In the field of Iranian epic poetry she pays particular attention to oral sources on written literature and the issues of authorship, individualism and tradition. She is also interested in the fields of intertextuality in Persian classical and contemporary literature, presence of epic and mythical motifs in contemporary Persian literature and the image of a stranger in Persian literature (including Polish people in Iran during the World War II and the issue of culture clash). She has also been working quite a lot on history of Polish Iran-related research and the issue of Polish Orientalism. Prof. Krasnowolska is also an author of several translations (Persian literature into Polish and Polish poetry into Persian).   

[1] Original title in Polish: Fargard 21 Videvdāt jako tekst magiczny (analiza tekstu awestyjskiego).

[2] Original title in Polish: Cykle epickie w Šāhnāme Ferdousiego.

Marek Smurzyński (1954-2009 )

Dr. Marek Smurzyński was a researcher in the field of Polish and Iranian studies. He worked as an adjunct at the Department of Iranian Studies of the Jagiellonian University, employed at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Jagiellonian University since 1998.

He was born in 1954 in a working class family in the city of Łódź. In 1976 he graduated from the Polish Studies Department at the University of Łódź (his master's thesis was dedicated to the Polish translations of the works of the Austrian poet, Georg Trakl). While studying Polish philology he was a member of a students theater. He also attended a seminar on Eastern cultures, popular among the so-called "unruly youth", led by Sławomir Cieślikowski. From this period, his first publications and papers on oriental subject matter testify to his interests in the field of Indology (see the article Wstęp do rozważań nad indianizmem w twórczości poetów Młodej Polski, published in Prace Sekcji Indianistycznej Studenckiego Koła Naukowego Polonistów. Wydawnictwo UŁ, Łódź 1976, p. 3-10; or the paper presented at the scientific meeting of the Łódź Scientific Society entitled Akszepa jako chwyt litotetyczny. Ironia, which was published in Sprawozdania z Czynności i Posiedzeń Naukowych LTN, Rocz. XXX, 9, 1976). Over time, he reoriented his interests within the oriental studies and eventually in 1978 he began studying Iranian studies at the University of Warsaw. After graduating in 1982, he went to Iran for two years to work as a translator for the Polish enterprise called Budimex in the construction of the Isfahan power plant. After returning to Poland, in 1986 he obtained a master's degree in Iranian Studies at the University of Warsaw, delivering the thesis on the function of mythical paradigms in defining the concept of movement in the writings of Ali Shari'ati. In 1989 he went to Iran again to study the history of literature and the Persian language at the Faculty of Literature and Humanities at the Tehran University (Goruh-e Farhang-o Zabān-hā-ye Bāstāni-ye Dāneškade-ye Adabiyyāt-o 'Olum -e Ensāni) and after the validation of the Polish MA title in 1993, he took up doctoral studies there. Over time, his Iranistic interests evolved towards Sufi poetry, which resulted in a doctoral dissertation devoted to Sanā'i, written under the direction of Prof. Šafi'iye Kadkani and entitled Tashih-e enteqādi-ye Seyro-l-'ebād elā-l-ma'ād-e Sanā'i-ye Qaznavi va sāxtār-e tamsili-ye ān (Critical editing of the poem Seyro-l-'ebād elā-l-ma 'ād [The journey of the faithful to the place of return] Sanā'i from Ghazna and its allegorical structure), which he defended at the Tehran University in 1997.

After obtaining his Ph.D., he decided to return to Poland. In 1998, together with his wife, Hayedeh Vambakhsh-Smurzyńska, he was employed at the Department of Iranian Studies at the Jagiellonian University. Initially, he worked as a contract lecturer and as a Persian language teacher and since 2002 as a senior lecturer. In 2007 he was appointed as an assistant professor. At the same time he worked as a sworn translator of the Persian language. In 2005 he went to Kabul for a few months as a translator for the mission of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF / NATO).

In February 2008 he fell ill with leukemia. He died on December 12, 2009 in Kraków, leaving his wife and 9-year-old son, Eljasz.


The scientific interests of Marek Smurzyński within Iranian Studies and Humanities were extensive and comprised of such research areas as Sufism, postmodern novel, text anthropology, translation theory, history of Iran and Islam, philosophy of politics, Kurdish film or contemporary Afghanistan. His literary publications include: Elementy klasycznej liryki perskiej we współczesnej noweli perskiej, [in:] Poetyka orientalna i jej recepcja w Europie, ed. A. Czapkiewicz, Kraków 1989, p. 155-70; or Il romanzo postmoderno nell'Iran postrivoluzionario (Postmodern novel in post-revolutionary Iran) [in:] L'Iran e il tempo. Una società complessa, ed. A. Cancian, Rzym 2008, p. 181-196; publications in the field of text anthropology: The Veiled Text in the Islamic-Persian Textual and Its Authoritative Power, [in:] Texts of Power. The Power of the Text. Readings in textual authority across history and cultures, ed. C. Galewicz, Kraków 2006, p. 129-137, or The Anthropological Aspect of Manuscripts’ Multiplicity in Persian, [in:] Iran. Questions et Connaissances, Vol. II, ed. M. Szuppe, Paris 2002, p. 203-11. In the field of research of Persian mystics he published such papers like Seir al-‘ebad elal-ma’ad of Sana’i from Ghazna as a poem of initiation, [in:] In the Orient Where the Gracious Light… Satura Orientalis in Honorem Andrzej Pisowicz, ed. A. Krasnowolska, K. Maciuszak, B. Mękarska, Kraków 2006, p. 167-171; and The Description of Spatial Relations in the ‘Aql-e Sorkh of Shehab al-Din Yahya Sohravardi as Mystical Mind Training, [in:] Erzählter Raum in Literaturen der islamischen Welt/Narrated Space in the Literature of the Islamic World, ed. R. Haag-Higuchi, Ch. Szyska, Wiesbaden 2001, p. 57-67. As far as the problems of translation studies are concerned, he was the author of the texts like Hezār nokte-ye bāriktar az mu [in:] “Negah-e now” Vol. 34, 1997, p. 177-183, or The Parataxis of Persian Narration and the Problems of the Segmentation of a Translated Text, [in:] Oriental Languages in Translation, ed. A. Krasnowolska, B. Mękarska, Z. Zaborski, Kraków 2002, p. 185-90. His publications on socio-cultural issues include Paradigms of Movement in Ali Shariati [in:] “Hemispheres. Studies on Cultures and Societies” Vol. 6, 1989, p. 33-59 and The Limits of the Open and the Hidden in Persian Culture [in:] “Przegląd Orientalistyczny” Vol. 2 (146), 1988, p. 159-166. The text Zawłaszczona cudowność kurdyjskiej powszedniości w irańskim filmie M.R. Aslaniego “Czigh”, [in:] International Conference on Kurdish Studies, red. A. Krasnowolska, M. Rzepka, Kraków 2004, p. 71-78 is dedicated to the studies on Kurdish cinema.

He also published chapters on Iran and the Islamic world (covering the period from the 16th to the 18th century) in collective historical works, e.g. The Islamic world [in:] Great history of the world. The World in the 17th Century, ed. A. Podraza, Warsaw 2005, p. 607-631; The Islamic world [in:] The great history of the world. The World in the 18th Century, ed. P. Franaszek, Warsaw 2005, p. 343-67; Iran under the rule of the Safavids and their successors (XVI-XVIII centuries), [in:] Historia Iranu, ed. A. Krasnowolska, Wrocław 2010, p. 559-697.

He was also the editor of the special issue of the quarterly "Pol-e Firuzeh" vol. 4, No. 13, autumn 1383 (2004), dedicated to Poland and Polish-Iranian cultural relations, for which he prepared a list of Polish books on Iran (Ketābhā-ye montašer šode dar zamine-ye irānsenāsi dar Lahestān, ibid., p. 206-214).

Valued as an expert in the international Iranian environment and a member of Societas Iranologica Europaea (SIE) and Middle East Studies Association (MESA), he took part in numerous congresses, among them: The Wondrous Words - The Poetic Mastery of Jalal al-din Rumi (London 2007), The Third Biennial Convention on Iranian Studies (Tbilisi 2007), The Sixth Biennial of Iranian Studies (London 2006), Narrative: An International Conference (Berlington, Vermont 2004), 5th European Conference of Iranian Studies (Ravenna 2003), The First Biennial Convention of ASPS (Dushanbe 2002), The Third Biennial Conference on Iranian Studies (Bethesda, Maryland 2000) and 4th European Conference of Iranian Studies (Paris 1999). He also participated in the research project "Intellectual Traditions of the East" conducted by the Jagiellonian University in cooperation with the CNRS in Paris.

In addition to his scientific career Marek Smurzyński actively participated in Iranian cultural life. As a translator, he promoted Persian literature in Poland and Polish contemporary poetry in Iran. Although his attitude towards Iran, Persian culture and literature was strongly marked with emotion, in his research he managed to keep the distance of the theorist perceiving the phenomenon in a broader perspective. As a translator, he published a Polish translation of the poem by Sohrāb Sepehri Sedā-ye pā-ye āb (Głosy u brzegu wód, Łódź 1994), "Ognista Mądrość" by Sohrawardi [in:] "Znak" No. 512, 1998, p. 83-85. However, his most important achievement in this field is the poetic translation of 32 mystical mysteries by Moulana Jalāloddina Rumi, W mgnieniu słów. Poezje (Kraków 2008), to which, together with Mariusz Koluch, he also recorded the album.

Among the translations of Polish poetry into Persian one should mention the translation of the poems of Wisława Szymborska in collaboration with Šahrām Šeydā'i and Čuk Čekād, titled Ādamhā ru-ye pol (People on the bridge, Tehrān 1997), as well as the translation of the Message of Mr. Cogito and the Report from the besieged city by Zbigniew Herbert ("Kār-nāme" No. 31, month of ābān / October-November 1381/2002), translation of the poem Zasłona by Tadeusz Różewicz (Parde-ha, "Gardun" No. 19-20, month mehr 1370 / September-October 1991) and four poems by Jacek Kaczmarski ("Negah-e Nou" No. 35, winter 1376-1377 / 1997-1998 /).

As a charismatic lecturer, a brilliant erudite, talented actor and poetry reciter and hypnotizing dancer-improviser, Marek was a soul of the party and companion of many cultural and social meetings. He left a gap that nothing and no one can fill.