Print Name

Great War Image From the Shahnameh by Ferdowsi - c. 977-1010

Print Description

Great War image from the Shahnameh - a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi for Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni between c. 977 and 1010 - Wellcome. 

The seminal work of Persian literature is the Shahnameh, an epic poem that recounts the history of pre-Islamic Persia or Iranshahr (Greater Iran). The Shahnameh contains 62 stories, told in 990 chapters with 50,000 rhyming couplets. It is divided into three parts—the mythical, heroic, and historical ages. Written in modern Persian, the Shahnameh is a work of poetry, historiography, folklore, and cultural identity and is a continuation of the age-old tradition of storytelling in the Near East.

Under the patronage of the Samanid dynasty, Hakīm Abul-Qāsim Firdawsī Tūsī (Ferdowsi) began his epic poem in 977, taking thirty-three years to complete it. The Shahnameh was written at a time when modern Persian had started to flourish and the structures and standards for the language were being set.

After its first appearance in 1010, the Shahnameh directly affected the epic and poetic works of all Persian speakers and writers for centuries. A number of scholars credit the continuity in modern Persian to the Shahnameh. It influenced not just Persian speakers but also the cultures of Turkic peoples in Central Asia, Azerbaijan, and the Ottoman Empire, as well as the Georgian, Kurdish, and Pashto literary traditions. The Shahnameh continues to be one of the main pillars of the modern Persian language. - LoC

£25.00 GBP
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