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Hakim Abol-Ghasem Ferdowsi Toosi (940-1020 AD)

World Famous Persian (Iranian) Poet

Ferdowsi was born in Khorasan in a village near Toos, in 940. His great epic the Shahnameh, to which he devoted most of his adult life, was originally composed for the Samanid princes of Khorasan, who were the chief instigators of the Tomb of Ferdowsi in Toos, Iran, Near Mashhad revival of Persian cultural traditions after the Arab conquest of the seventh century. During Ferdowsi's lifetime this dynasty was conquered by the Ghaznavid Turks, and there are various stories in medieval texts describing the lack of interest shown by the new ruler of Khorasan, Mahmud of Ghazni, in Ferdowsi and his lifework. Ferdowsi is said to have died around 1020 in poverty and embittered by royal neglect, though confident of his and his poem's ultimate fame.

The Shahnameh or The Epic of Kings is one of the definite classics of the world. It tells hero tales of ancient Persia. The contents and the poet's style in describing the events takes the readers back to the ancient times and makes he/she sense and feel the events. Ferdowsi worked for thirty years to finish this masterpiece.

An important feature of this work is that during the period that Arabic language was known as the main language of science and literature, Ferdowsi used only Persian in his masterpiece. As Ferdowsi himself says "Persian language is revived by this work".

Another Account of Ferdowsi's Life and Work

Abolghassem Mansour-ibn-Hassan Firdausi Tousi, known as Firdausi, was a prominent figure in Iranian poetry who was born in Tous in 941 A.D., lived during the Ghaznavids era, and died in 1020 A.D.
His major epic work of Shah-Nameh, of nearly sixty thousand verse-lines, can be divided into three different eras : the mythological era, the heroism era and the historical era.
The parts on myths include all from the Gayomart age until Fereydoun.
The heroic parts start from Kaveh's rebellion and end with Rostam's murder.
The historical parts deal with events that come after the Kianid's era.These are also closely related with the legends and epics.
- The following are among the most notable features of this masterpiece :

Feraydun Embraces Manuchehr
  • Descriptions of natural scenery, combat zones, heroes, armies, etc.
  • Interesting exaggerations and innovation in mythical narrative styles.
  • Combination of love stories with the elements of epic.
  • Wise messages and advice found in every story.
  • The harmony between the language and style of speech and the subjects of epics.
  • The eloquence and simplicity of the language.
  • Preservation of many old Persian words.

The great epic poet of Iran came from a wealthy family. He was a true patriot and loved Iran and Iranians. The epic stories which he turned into poetry were sometimes told even before his time. Such stories as those taken from Abu-Mansouri's Shah-Nameh, or others as in Daqiqi's Garshasp Nameh, stories about Rostam and Garshasp family narrated perhaps by "Azad Sarv", and other stories such as "Duel between Bijan and Gorazan", "Story of Alexander", etc. .
Selected samples of his work are accessible in Persian.


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