The Book of Kings

Authored by the persian poet Abu l-Qasem Ferdausi (940/41 - 1020 AD) the Schahname ("Book of Kings") tells the entire story of the old Kings of Iran in 62 myths with over 50.000 verses - beginning in the ancient Persia until the Islamic conquest by the Arabians in the year 651 AD. As templates Ferdausi used ancient myths and legends that were bequeathed in written sources and orally passed tales. Ferdausi completed his works in the year 1010 after 35 years.

The epic is divided into three sections: The beginning is formed by the mythical kings that introduced civilisation (use of fire, development of cuisine, metal work, introduction of traditional festive days and so on). At the core stands the "heroic" age and at the ending the "historical" age with its account of the kings of the last pre-islamic dynasty of Iran, the Sasanides. Particularly the teachings of the Sasanides' central zoroastric religion plays a vital role for the epic. Hereto belongs first and foremost the constant fight between good and evil. Also the idea of a divine glory that surrounds the kings is based on old Iranian concepts.