The Shahnameh

The Persian Book Of Kings

Recommended by Ali Ansari, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #40 in Epic, Ranked #97 in Middle East

THE SHAHNAMEH (Book of Kings) is the national epic of Iran composed by the poet Ferdowsi between 980 and 1010 AD. It tells the story of ancient Persia, beginning in the mythic time of Creation and continuing forward to the Arab-Islamic invasion in the seventh century. Brilliantly translated into prose and verse (in the naqqali tradition) by the poet and Ferdowsi scholar Dick Davis and magnificently illustrated with miniatures from the greatest Shahnameh manuscripts of the 14th to 17th centuries (in museums and private collections around the world), these volumes give English-language readers... more

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Ali Ansari Yes, the Shahnameh is an epic poetic rendition of what is generally described as the national myth of Iran. It is in effect a creation myth which looks at mythical and legendary kings down into the historical period of the last two pre-Islamic dynasties. What Ferdowsi, the author of this poem, did at the cusp of the 11th century was put this monumental prose material into poetic form. And this was a form that could be memorised so that the history and identity of a people who had suffered defeat in a conquest could also be maintained for prosperity. The edition I am looking at is an abridged... (Source)

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