The work was completed exactly 1,000 years ago by the Persian poet Ferdowsi, who dedicated his life to crafting its 60,000 verses. His rhyming couplets give the history of Persia as it was then understood, from the beginnings of time. It ends with the fall of the Persian empire at the hands of the Arabs and Turks.
Breathtaking miniatures from the finest Persian Shahnameh manuscripts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, many of them published here for the first time, heighten the emotional impact of the text.
Restoration of a statue of Abulqasem Ferdowsi located in one of Rome’s squares, which is named after the Persian poet, has been completed. A team of Italian experts spent two months refurbishing the artifact, Iranian acting attaché in Rome Akbar Qowli told the Persian service of the IRNA on Saturday.
The epic was written over the course of 35 years, begun in the 10th century and finished in the 11th century by the poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi when the Persian Empire was a memory and Arabs dominated what is now the nation of Iran.
Ferdowsi Tousi (فردوسی طوسی in Persian) (more commonly transliterated Firdausi, Ferdosi or Ferdusi) (935–1020) is considered to be one of the greatest Persian poets to have ever lived. Among the national heroes and literary greats of all time, Ferdowsi has a very special place.
His life-long endeavor, dedication and personal sacrifices to preserve the national identity, language and heritage of his homeland put him in great hardship in his lifetime but won him fame and honour for one of the great literally masterpieces of all time.
Aside from its literary importance, the Shahnameh, written in almost pure Persian unmixed with adoptions from Arabic, has been pivotal for reviving the Persian language after the massive Arabic influence. This voluminous work, regarded by Persian speakers as a literary masterpiece, also reflects Persia;s history, cultural values, ancient religions (that is Zoroastrianism), and profound sense of nationhood. Ferdowsi completed the Shahnameh when national independence had been compromised. While there are memorable heroes and heroeines of the classical type in this work, the real, ongoing hero is Persia itself. Therefore it is considered an important book of Iran.
Ferdowsi’s unwavering commitment to reconstruct Iran’s royal history and revive the tale of its legendary heroes, has imbued his poetry with a balanced and effective historical sense. The continuing impact of his masterpiece on generations of Iranian poets and the innumerable attempts to imitate his style is the clearest testament to the seminal role he played in the survival and refinement of the Persian language.
The Shahnameh chronicles the legendary history of the pre-Islamic kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III. Ferdowsi continued work on the poem after the Samanids were conquered by the Ghaznavids.
The Shahnameh or “Book of Kings” is the longest poem ever written by a single author: Abu’l-Qasem Ferdowsi, from Tus in northeastern Iran. His epic work narrates the history of Iran (Persia) since the first king, Gayomart, who established his rule at the dawn of time, down to the conquest of Persia by the Muslim Arab invasions of the early 7th century CE.
May 15 is annually celebrated by Iranians as Fedowsi Day. Many art and cultural festivals are held across the country to commemorate the great Iranian epic poet. Ferdowsi, one of the greatest Iranian poets, was born in 935 CE in a small village named Paj near Tous in Khorasan which is situated in today's Razavi Khorasan province in Iran.
Professor Melville says there's often a sense that Ferdowsi lamented the end of the pre-Islamic era. "He wasn't a court poet, a flatterer. And it's possible that he was suspected of Zoroastrian sympathies, the pre-Islamic religion. So he wasn't accepted by the religious authorities either."