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Ferdosi,Firdusi or Firdousi


Ferdowsi’s Full name: Hakim Abol-Qasem Persian poet. Born 935, near Ṭoos, Iran died 1020. Many legends surround his name but few facts are known about his life. He gave the final and enduring form to the Persian national epic, the Shahnameh (completed с 1010; "Epic of Kings"), a poem based mainly on an earlier prose history. His language is still readily intelligible to modern Iranians, who regard the poem's nearly 50,000 couplets as a sonorous, majestic evocation of a glorious past.
(Wikipedia) - Haku012Bm Abu'l-Qu0101sim Firdowsu012B Tu016Bsu012B, more commonly transliterated as Ferdowsi (or Firdausi, Firdavsi), (940u20131020 C.E. ) is a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies. Ferdowsi is best known for his literary epic Shahnameh, to which he devoted most of his life. Shahnameh was originally drafted by Ferdowsi for the Princes of Samanids, who were responsible for revival of the Persian cultural traditions after the Arab invasion. Ferdowsi would live to see the Samanids conquered by the Ghaznavids. The new ruler Mahmud of Ghaznavi would lack the same interest in Ferdowsi's work as that shown by the Samanids, resulting in him losing favor with the royal court. Ferdowsi died in 1020 C.E. in "poverty and embittered by royal neglect" though confident that the work that he had created would last the test of time. Written at the end of the tenth century and the beginning of the eleventh century C.E. , Shahnameh mainly concerned pre-Islamic Iran, through its fictional protagonist, Rostam, a Persian hero and legend who is a greater-than-life figure living for more than five hundred years, undergoing seven trials of strength, battling foes of man, beast, and dragon, and serving more than five Persian monarchies. Ferdowsi's Rostam is an epitome of bravery, heroism, and loyalty to the Persian throne. Rostam however is more than just a legend and a hero, in that he is constantly on the edge, and always resolute to assert that he is "his own man" able to define his own destiny and make his own choices, regardless of needs of others even those of the kings he so faithfully serves. Ferdowsi lived at a critical historical period and so his book not only reflects the uncertainties and challenges of the era but his own resilience and determination in creation of a stable Persian literary identity that was unique and different from its Arab counterpart. Ferdowsi in fact was a "dehqan" or a member of the indigenous landed aristocracy who had in a severely attenuated way survived the Arab conquest and now had to adapt to the new world order. Shahnameh in many ways reflects this ongoing challenge. Ferdowsi For the village in Iran, see Ferdowsi, Iran. Hakīm Abul-Qāsim Ferdowsī Tūsī حکیم ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی Born Died Occupation Ethnicity Period Genres
Statue of Ferdowsi in Rome, Italy
940 CE Tus
1020 (aged 79–80) Tus
Samanids and Ghaznavids
Persian poetry, national epic

Hakīm Abul-Qāsim Ferdowsī Tūsī (Persian: حکیم ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی‎), most commonly known as Ferdowsi (فردوسی; also spelled as Firdausi; 940 – 1020 CE), was a highly revered Persian poet. He is the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and the Persian-speaking world.

The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the Arab invasion of Persia in the seventh century. After the fall of the Samanids, he dedicated his work to the new ruler, Mahmud of Ghazni, who was also a great patron of Persian arts and literature.

The Shahnameh chronicles the legendary history of the pre-Islamic kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III. Ferdowsi spent over three decades (from 977 to 1010) working on the Shahnameh, which became one of the most influential works of Persian literature.

  • 1 Life
    • 1.1 Family
    • 1.2 Background
    • 1.3 Life as a poet
    • 1.4 Tomb
  • 2 Legend
  • 3 Works
  • 4 Influence
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links
Life Family

Ferdowsi was born into a family of Iranian landowners (dehqans) in 940 C.E. in the village of Paj, near the city of Tus in the province of Khorasan, now in northeastern Iran. Little is known about Ferdowsi's early life, even his precise name is in doubt. According to the 13th-century Arab translator of the Shahnameh, Bondari, the poet's full name was "al-Amīr al-Ḥakīm Abu’l-Qāsem Manṣūr ibn al-Ḥasan al-Ferdowsī al-Ṭūsī". It is not known when or why he adopted the pen name "Ferdowsi" ("man of paradise"). The poet had a wife, who was probably literate and came from the same dehqan class. He had a son, who died aged 37, and was mourned by the poet in an elegy which he inserted into the Shahnameh.


Ferdowsi belonged to the class of dehqans. These were landowning Iranian aristocrats who had flourished under the Sassanid dynasty (the last pre-Islamic dynasty to rule Iran) and whose power, though diminished, had survived into the Islamic era which followed the Arab conquests of the seventh century. The dehqans were intensely patriotic (so much so that dehqan is sometimes used as a synonym for "Iranian" in the Shahnameh) and saw it as their task to preserve the cultural traditions of Iran, including the legendary tales about its kings.

The Muslim conquests of the seventh century had been a watershed in Iranian history, bringing the new religion of Islam, submitting Iranians to the rule of the Arab caliphate and promoting Arabic culture and language at the expense of Persian. By the late 9th century, the power of the caliphate had weakened and local Iranian dynasties emerged. Ferdowsi grew up in Tus, a city under the control of one of these dynasties, the Samanids, who claimed descent from the Sassanid general Bahram Chobin (whose story Ferdowsi recounts in one of the later sections of the Shahnameh). The Samanid bureaucracy used the New Persian language rather than Arabic and the Samanid elite had a great interest in pre-Islamic Iran and its traditions and commissioned translations of Pahlavi (Middle Persian) texts into New Persian. Abu Mansur ʿAbd-al-Razzāq, a dehqan and governor of Tus, had several local scholars compile a prose Shahnameh ("Book of Kings"), which was completed in 957. Although it no longer survives, Ferdowsi used it as one of the sources of his epic. Samanid rulers were patrons of such important Persian poets as Rudaki and Daqiqi. Ferdowsi followed in the footsteps of these writers.

Details about Ferdowsi's education are lacking. Judging by the Shahnameh, there is no evidence he knew either Arabic or Pahlavi. Although New Persian was permeated by Arabic vocabulary by Ferdowsi's time, there are relatively few Arabic loan words in the Shahnameh. This may have been a deliberate strategy by the poet.

Life as a poetFirdausi and three Ghaznavid court poets

It is possible that Ferdowsi wrote some early poems which have not survived. He began work on the Shahnameh around 977, intending it as a continuation of the work of his fellow poet Daqiqi, who had been assassinated by a slave. Like Daqiqi, Ferdowsi employed the prose Shahnameh of ʿAbd-al-Razzāq as a source. He received generous patronage from the Samanid prince Mansur and completed the first version of the Shahnameh in 994. When the Turkic Ghaznavids overthrew the Samanids in the late 990s, Ferdowsi continued to work on the poem, rewriting sections to praise the Ghaznavid Sultan Mahmud. Mahmud's attitude to Ferdowsi and how well he rewarded the poet are matters which have long been subject to dispute and have formed the basis of legends about the poet and his patron (see below). The Turkic Mahmud may have been less interested in tales from Iranian history than the Samanids. The later sections of the Shahnameh have passages which reveal Ferdowsi's fluctuating moods: in some he complains about old age, poverty, illness and the death of his son; in others, he appears happier. Ferdowsi finally completed his epic on 8 March 1010. Virtually nothing is known for sure about the last decade of his life.


Ferdowsi was buried in his own garden, burial in the cemetery of Tus having been forbidden by a local cleric. A Ghaznavid governor of Khorasan constructed a mausoleum over the grave and it became a revered site. The tomb, which had fallen into decay, was rebuilt between 1928 and 1934 on the orders of Reza Shah and has now become the equivalent of a national shrine.


According to legend, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni offered Ferdowsi a gold piece for every couplet of the Shahnameh he wrote. The poet agreed to receive the money as a lump sum when he had completed the epic. He planned to use it to rebuild the dykes in his native Tus. After thirty years of work, Ferdowsi finished his masterpiece. The sultan prepared to give him 60,000 gold pieces, one for every couplet, as agreed. However, the courtier Mahmud had entrusted with the money despised Ferdowsi, regarding him as a heretic, and he replaced the gold coins with silver. Ferdowsi was in the bath house when he received the reward. Finding it was silver not gold, he gave the money away to the bathkeeper, a refreshment seller and the slave who had carried the coins. When the courtier told the sultan about Ferdowsi's behaviour, he was furious and threatened to execute him. Ferdowsi fled Khorasan, having first written a satire on Mahmud, and spent most of the remainder of his life in exile. Mahmud eventually learned the truth about the courtier's deception and had him either banished or executed. By this time, the aged Ferdowsi had returned to Tus. The sultan sent him a new gift of 60,000 gold pieces but as the caravan bearing the money arrived in Tus it met a funeral procession: the poet had died from a heart attack.

Works Main article: ShahnamehScenes from the Shahnameh carved into reliefs at Ferdowsi's mausoleum in Tus, Iran

Ferdowsi's Shahnameh is the most popular and influential national epic in Iran and other Persian-speaking nations. The Shahnameh is the only surviving work by Ferdowsi regarded as indisputably genuine. He may have written poems earlier in his life but they no longer exist. A narrative poem, Yūsof o Zolaykā (Joseph and Zuleika), was once attributed to him but scholarly consensus now rejects the idea it is his. There has also been speculation about the satire Ferdowsi allegedly wrote about Mahmud of Ghazni after the sultan failed to reward him sufficiently. Nezami Aruzi, Ferdowsi's early biographer, claimed that all but six lines had been destroyed by a well-wisher who had paid Ferdowsi a thousand dirhams for the poem. Introductions to some manuscripts of the Shahnameh include verses purporting to be the satire. Some scholars have viewed them as fabricated, others are more inclined to believe in their authenticity.

InfluenceMausoleum of Ferdowsi in Tus, Iran

Ferdowsi is one of the undisputed giants of the Persian literature. After Ferdowsi's Shahnameh a number of other works similar in nature surfaced over the centuries within the cultural sphere of the Persian language. Without exception, all such works were based in style and method on Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, but none of them could quite achieve the same degree of fame and popularity as Ferdowsi's masterpiece.

Ferdowsi has a unique place in Persian history because of the strides he made in reviving and regenerating the Persian language and cultural traditions. His works are cited as a crucial component in the persistence of the Persian language, as those works allowed much of the tongue to remain codified and intact. In this respect, Ferdowsi surpasses Nizami, Khayyam, Asadi Tusi, and other seminal Persian literary figures in his impact on Persian culture and language. Many modern Iranians see him as the father of the modern Persian language.

Ferdowsi in fact was a motivation behind many future Persian figures. One such notable figure was Reza Shah Pahlavi who established an "Academy of Culture" in Iran, in order to attempt to remove Arabic and Turkish words from the Persian language, replacing them with suitable Persian alternatives. In 1934, Reza Shah set up a ceremony in Mashad, Khorasan celebrating a thousand years of Persian literature since the time of Ferdowsi, titled "Ferdowsi's Millenary Celebration" inviting notable European as well as Iranian scholars. Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, is a university established in 1949 that also takes its name from Ferdowsi.

Ferdowsi's influence in the Persian culture is explained by the Encyclopædia Britannica:

The Persians regard Ferdowsi as the greatest of their poets. For nearly a thousand years they have continued to read and to listen to recitations from his masterwork, the Shah-nameh, in which the Persian national epic found its final and enduring form. Though written about 1,000 years ago, this work is as intelligible to the average, modern Iranian as the King James version of the Bible is to a modern English-speaker. The language, based as the poem is on a Dari original, is pure Persian with only the slightest admixture of Arabic.

See All 26 items matching Ferdowsi in Media Gallery

A bust of Ferdowsi created by Afshin Esfandiari in National Museum of Tajikistan. Ferdowsi was a famous Persian poet, creator of Shahnameh (Epic of Kings) which is a narrative the Iranian history since the beginning of time until the fall of the Sassanian
Mashhad: A young Iranian artist works on a Painting on a wall from Shahnameh of world-famous Ferdowsi. However, pan-Arab Aniranian zealots ordered destruction of more than 2000 meter square of artwork depicting Talebanism towards Iranian national heritage
An illustration from Qajar era Iranian painter Darvish Sevrugian from Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. Having received an important letter of their army commander Geshdawz, Giv, Goodarz, Bahram, Farhad and Gorgin meet at Toos to discuss it.
The Statue of Ferdowsi, the great Iranian poet in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, third university in Iran. Ferdowsi's materpiece, Shahnameh is an Epic of Kiani Kings since Kiomars (Giomarta in Avesta), first human to be created by Ahouramazda.
A fine page of Shahnameh of Ferdowsi dedicated to Shah Tahmasp, the second king of the Safavid Dynasty. It's the result of artwork by best artists of the time starting 2 years before Shah Ismail's death and finished by his son.
A miniature Painting visualizing a tragic scene from Shahnameh Ferdowsi where Rostam unknowingly kills his own son Sohrab.Shahnameh chronicles the legendary history of the kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III.

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