FIRDAWSI'S "SHAHNAMA": ALEXANDER JOURNEYS TO A LAND INHABITED BY CREATURES WITH GIGANTIC EARS

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June 30, 1620
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Jahangir 1605–1627

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The Shahnameh (Persian: شاهنامه‎, romanized: Šāhnāme pronounced [ʃɒːhnɒːˈme]; lit. ' 'The Book of Kings'') is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran. Consisting of some 50,000 "distichs" or couplets (two-line verses), the Shahnameh is one of the world's longest epic poems. It tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of the Persian Empire from the creation of the world until the Muslim conquest in the seventh century. Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and the greater region influenced by Persian culture such as Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and Dagestan celebrate this national epic.

The work is of central importance in Persian culture and Persian language, regarded as a literary masterpiece, and definitive of the ethno-national cultural identity of Iran. It is also important to the contemporary adherents of Zoroastrianism, in that it traces the historical links between the beginnings of the religion and the death of th