Conference of the birds

Plato’s Phaedo

This Treasure is paired with: Plato’s Phaedo (On the soul)

Attar’s birds journey in search of a king, an allegory of the Divine known as the Simurgh, shown here with an elaborate tail. When the birds find their king, they see themselves: in achieving a vision of the divine, they realize that they are the Simurgh (literally, ‘thirty birds’). A masterpiece of 12th-century Sufi mysticism, the text in Persian echoes Platonist thought on the connection between the soul and the divine intellect.

This Treasure isn’t currently on display in the Weston Library.