Ferdowsi(Located in Tous)
Hakim Abu ʾl-Qasim Ferdowsi Tusi (935–1025 CE), was a highly revered Persian poet and the author of the epic of Shahnameh (the Persian “Book of Kings”), which is the world’s longest epic poem created by a single poet, and the national epic of Iran and the Persian-speaking world. Having drafted the Shahnameh under patronage of the Samanid and the Ghaznavid courts of Persia, Ferdowsi is celebrated as one of the most influential Persian poets of all time, and an influential figure in Persian literature.
Ferdowsi was born into a family of Iranian landowners in 935 (or 940) C.E. in the village of Paj, near the city of Tus, in the Khorasan region of the Samanid Empire, currently in the Razavi Khorasan Province of northeastern Iran. Little is known about Ferdowsi’s early life. 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.
Ferdowsī was a Shia Muslim, which is apparent from the Shahnameh itself and confirmed by early accounts. In recent times, however, some have cast doubt on his religion and his Shi’ism, and have suggested that he was a deist.
Life as a poet
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 proseShahnameh 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 with any certainty 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 by the Society for the National Heritage of Iran on the orders of Rezā Shāh, and has now become the equivalent of a national shrine.