Hakīm Abu'l-Qāsim Ferdowsī Tūsī (Persian: حکیم ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی) known as Ferdowsi (فردوسی; also spelled as Firdausi; 940–1020 CE) was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies. The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the Arab invasion of the seventh century. The Shahnameh chronicles the legendary history of the pre-Islamic kings of Iran from Keyumars to Yazdegerd III. Ferdowsi continued work on the poem after the Samanids were conquered by the Ghaznavids. The new ruler Mahmud of Ghazni, a Turk, may have lacked the interest in Ferdowsi's work shown by the Samanids, resulting in him losing favor with the royal court. In later passages of his poem, Ferdowsi complains about poverty and the ravages of old age. Ferdowsi spent over three decades (from 977 to 1010) working on the Shahnameh, which became one of the most influential works of Persian literature. Life
Ferdowsi was born into a family of Iranian landowners (dehqans) in 940 C.E. in the village of Paj, near the city of Tus in the province of Khorasan, in northeastern Iran. Ferdowsi was a Shi'a Muslim, which is attested by the Shahnameh and also confirmed by early accounts. Little is known about Ferdowsi's early life, even his precise name is in doubt. According to the 13th-century Arab translator of the Shahnameh, Bondari, the poet's full name was "al-Amīr al-Ḥakīm Abu’l-Qāsem Manṣūr ibn al-Ḥasan al-Ferdowsī al-Ṭūsī". It is not known when or why he adopted the pen name "Ferdowsi" ("man of paradise"). 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. Background
Ferdowsi belonged to the class of dehqans. These were landowning Iranian aristocrats who had flourished...