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Persian Poetry

Ferdosi, the poet
Ferdosi was born in about 940, near Toos. He lived in Toos and was the son of a landowner. He is famous for writing the Iranian national epic, Shahnameh or Book of Kings, taking him over 25 years to complete 50,000 couplets, or double verses. Ferdosi developed rubai (quatrain) epochal style of historical poems.

The Shahnameh, based on ancient sources that interweaves Persian myths, legends, and historical events, relates the history of Iran from the creation of the world to the Arab conquest in the seventh century. From numerous sources including many oral histories he created this tome of the entire history of the Iranian people. Even today, story tellers known as naqqal can recount large parts of Shahnameh from memory.


Rustam conquers the White Demon

Hoping to earn money for his daughter's dowry, Ferdosi took the Shahnameh to King Mahmud who promised him 60,000 gold coins. However, the king did not keep his promise and gave him the same sum in silver.

In the Shahnameh, stories of thirty five monarchs can be equated with real life persons. The rulers of the earlier part of Shahnameh are mostly known from the Avesta and have little to do with the actual Achaemenian kings. The last part of the Shahnameh presents a comparatively factual record of the Sassanian kings.


Ferdosi Persian Poetry
Ferdosi books
Ferdosi Tomb