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Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāma

Ferdowsi’s Shāhnāma

Millennial Perspectives

Edited by Olga M. Davidson and Marianna Shreve Simpson

ISBN 9780674726802

Publication date: 12/23/2013

Ferdowsi's Shahnama: Millennial Perspectives celebrates the ongoing reception, over the last thousand years, of a masterpiece of classical Persian poetry. The epic of the Shahnama or Book of Kings glorifies the spectacular achievements of Iranian civilization from its mythologized beginnings all the way to the historical time of the Arab Conquest, when the notionally unbroken sequence of Iranian shahs came to an end. The poet Hakim Abu'l-Qasim, who composed this epic, was renamed Ferdowsi or "the man of Paradise" in recognition of his immortalizing artistic accomplishment. Even now, over a thousand years after his death in 1010 CE, the impact of Ferdowsi's epic poetry reverberates in the intellectual and artistic life of Persianate cultures all over the world. Ferdowsi's Shahnama: Millennial Perspectives undertakes a new look at the reception of Ferdowsi's poetry, especially in the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries CE. Such a reception, the contributors to this book argue, actively engages the visual as well as the verbal arts of Iranian civilization. The paintings and other art objects illustrating the Shahnama over the ages are as vitally relevant as the words of Ferdowsi's poetry.


  • Olga M. Davidson is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations at Boston University.
  • Marianna Shreve Simpson is a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Book Details

  • 124 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Ilex Foundation