he survival of a unique edition of Shahnameh, the long Persian epic poem, which is originally “hand-written” by Ferdowsi himself, is considered “possible” by some theorists, an Iranian literary expert has remarked.
Ali Akbar Pedram, an expert in Shahnameh studies, said in an interview with ISNA news agency that whereas some individuals believe that the manuscript of Shahnameh, originally inked by the poet, Ferdowsi, is destroyed, there are other theorists who stress the possibility of the survival of this pure-bred treasure. According to the latter, this firsthand manuscript is probably either kept in one of the villages in Iran, or it is still reserved in a collector’s assortment.
The oldest manuscript of Shahnameh belongs to nearly 200 years after the composition of the epic, and no earlier version has been found yet, according to Pedram, who added, “There exist merely 30 authenticated versions ofShahnameh in the entire world, and among these, the Florence manuscript in Italy is the most genuine.”
Addressing the importance of Ferdowsi's epic poem in Iranian culture, Pedram states that “Shahnameh is the biggest and richest encyclopedia of Iranian culture, and it mirrors the habits and traditions of ancient Iranians.”
Pedram, however, criticized Iranians’ current approach to Ferdowsi’s epic, noting that Shahnameh has been forgotten by the general population, and there are a few Iranians who could have memorized 10 verses of the poem.
Hakim Abulqasem Ferdowsi Tusi, the highly venerated Persian poet, was born in 940 AD in the city of Tus in northeastern Iran. He wrote his great epic work during the periods of Samanid and Ghaznavid dynasties. Shahnameh, literally translated as “The Book of the Kings,” is known as the longest epic poetry in history, composed by a single poet.
According to Ferdowsi’s own poem, he finished his masterpiece after 30 years of continuous work. Beyond being the loaded canon of purely Persian lexis,Shahnameh is the epic narration of Iranian national identity, derived from the grace of an ancient culture along with the gentility of a poetic language.