Shahnameh

By Abolqasem Ferdowsi, Dick Davis (translator),

Book cover of Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

Book description

Dick Davis, "our pre-eminent translator from the Persian" (Washington Post) has revised and expanded his highly-praised translation of Ferdowsi's masterpiece, including more than 100 pages of newly translated text. Davis's elegant combination of prose and verse allows the poetry of the Shanameh to sing its own tales directly, interspersed sparingly…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Shahnameh as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Shahnameh is the story of the birth of the Iranian people, told in a series of wonderful stories.

In the beginning, in a time of myth and legend, the Persian kings fight the devil, and sometimes they win and sometimes they are tempted into sin. Here are great heroes like the paladin Rostam, wicked queens like the young and beautiful Sudabeh, endlessly scheming against her husband’s son and heir, and the evil serpent-king himself, Zahhak.

These are the legends that have shaped Iranian culture for more than a thousand years, given definitive form in Ferdowsi’s epic tale.

This is one of the monuments of world literature and is considered to be the most important work ever composed in Persian. Compiled and versified a thousand years ago from heroic legends dating back a thousand or more years before that, the Book of Kings celebrates Iran’s pre-Islamic history and is the single greatest marker of Iranian cultural identity today.

From Richard's list on Iranian history and culture.

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