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Shahnameh Ferdowsi, World of Heroics

By Soudabeh Sadigh'

With creating the epic masterpiece of Shahnameh in 30 years, Ferdowsi made his name eternal until the end of the world in literature of Iran and the whole world. Every year the commemoration day of this great Persian poet is celebrated widely by Iranians on May 15.

Tehran, 16 May 2007 (CHN) - Hakim Abdul Qasim Firdawsi Tusi, more commonly known as Ferdowsi, is one of the most revered Persian poets. He was born in 935 AD in a rich family in Iranian Khorasan province and it is said he died in poverty around 1020. His tomb is located in city of Toos in Khorasan Razavi province, where every year millions of his lovers attend to pay tribute to this great poet.

He devoted more than 30 years to compose his masterpiece of Shahnameh, which is the most popular and influential of the Iranian national epics. Shahnameh or the "Epic of Kings" or "Book of Kings", consists of the translation of an even older Pahlavi (Middle Persian) work. It is still one of the most popular books among Persians after more than one thousand year. In Shahnameh the pre-Islamic history of old Persia before the Arab conquest of the region has been described through classic tales which starts from 7000 years ago by telling the story of old Persian Kings, the mystical and historical past of Iran up until the Arabs invasion of Iran in the 7th century.

An important factor about this book 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. This ample work, regarded by Persian speakers as a literary masterpiece, also reflects Iran's history, its cultural values, its ancient religion (Zoroastrianism), and its profound sense of nationhood. As Ferdowsi himself says "Persian language is revived by this work". Ferdowsi completed the Shahnameh at the time when Iran's national independence had been compromised. While there are memorable heroes and heroines of the classical type of this work which in fact the real, ongoing hero is Iran itself.

Shahnameh is a very popular book not only among Iranians but also all Persian speakers in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, parts of Central Asia, Pakistan, India and even some parts of China. Shahnameh is also important to the remaining 200,000 Zoroastrians in the world, because it traces the beginning of Zoroastrianism to the defeat of the last Sassanian Zoroastrian king by invasion of Arabs.

Its reputation even goes far beyond the above mentioned countries and its popularity is not just limited to Persian speakers. It has been translated to different languages so far including Russian and English. According to Washington Post, the new translation of Shahnameh by Dick Davis had been greatly welcomed by the readers of fiction stories in the United States. Dick Davis is the greatest modern translator of Persian poetry, who has turned the finest stories of Ferdowsi's original into an elegant combination of prose and verse for the first time in English language in the most complete form which give the chance to readers to enjoy Shahnameh in the same way that Iranian storytellers have conveyed it in Persian for the past thousand year. Considering that Shahnameh sweet stories are not just appropriate for adults, some pieces of Shahnameh stories have been also translated in simple language for children.

With creating the masterpiece of Shahnameh, Ferdowsi is not dead, he is alive is heart of all Persian lovers who every year pay tribute to this great poem on his commemoration day.

This year on May 15, a special ceremony was held in Ferdowsi Square in Tehran in commemoration of this everlasting Persian poet with presence of his lovers and artists from Khuzestan, Chahar Mahal Bakhtiari, Fars, and Lorestan province who came to pay their tribute to this great poet by performing some traditional and cultural traditions such as citing verses of Shahname, narrating Shahnameh tales, playing drums, etc. The commemoration day of this great poet was also celebrated in the tomb of this great poet in city of Toos with attendance of president of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization.

This is the translation of the Epic of Shahnameh Ferdowsi by Helen Zimmern:

I am deathless, I am the eternal Lord For I have spread the seed of the Word

... Payvand News - 5/17/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/17/07 ... --

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