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  • 5/14/2011

Ferdowsi Books

the_div_akvan

Scenes from the Shahnameh carved into reliefs at Ferdowsi's burdial in Tus, IranHis masterpiece, the Shahnameh, is the most popular and influential national epic in Iran and other Persian speaking nations.

The Shahnameh (Book of Kings), or "The Great Book" consists of the translation of an even older Middle Persian work titled the Book of Lords. It has remained exceptionally popular among Persians for over a thousand years. It tells the history of old Persia before the Arab conquest of the region. This tale, all written in poetic form and in Darī Persian, starts 7,000 years ago, narrating the story of Persian kings, knights, system of laws, religion, victories and tragedies. It is significant to understand that Shahnameh is not just a literary work, but also has elements of history. It covers some 3600 years in four dynasties, the first dynasty of which is mythical, the second legendary, and those in third and fourth historical, spanning the historical events of 150 B.C.E. to 632 C.E. It is perhaps Ferdowsi's genius to allow his fictional character Rostam to maneuver through what is essentially historical accounts of late Sassanid kings.

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The main source of Ferdowsi for historical and some of the mythological events was "Khodaynama", a book which was gathered and written during the Sassanid era. Though commissioned by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni to write a poetic version of an old book with expected applaud for the king Ferdowsi takes on a far greater task incorporating Persian history, and his desire for a new Persian identity. This task was to take him some thirty years or more, which he reflects upon in one of his verses:

“ ... I suffered during these thirty years, but I have revived the Iranians (Ajam) with the Persian language; I shall not die since I am alive again, as I have spread the seeds of this language ... ”

One of Ferdowsi's well known verses is the following, reflecting in part his educated view point:

توانا بود هر که دانا بود

"Knowledge is power

Source: wikipedia.org


Other Links:

Baba Jan Ḵhorasani

Baba Kuhi

Mirza Habib Esfahani

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