Persian Literature

Persian literature (Persian: ادبیات فارسی‎) is one of the world's oldest and most well-known literature. It spans two-and-a-half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan, as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has historically been the national language. For instance, Molana (Rumi), one of Persia's best-loved poets, born in Balkh or Vakhsh (in what is now Afghanistan or Tajikistan), wrote in Persian, and lived in Konya then the capital of the Seljuks. The Ghaznavids conquered large territories in Central and South Asia and adopted Persian as their court language. There is thus Persian literature from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan, Tajikistan and other parts of Central Asia. Not all this literature is written in Persian, as some consider works written by ethnic Persians in other languages, such as Greek and Arabic, to be included. At the same time, not all literature written in Persian is written by ethnic Persians/Iranians. Particularly Indic and Turkic poets and writers have also used the Persian language in the environment of Persianate cultures.

Described as one of the great literatures of mankind, Persian literature has its roots in surviving works of Middle Persian and Old Persian, the latter of which date back as far as 522 BCE (the date of the earliest surviving Achaemenid inscription, the Behistun Inscription). The bulk of the surviving Persian literature, however, comes from the times following the Islamic conquest of Persia circa 650 CE. After the Abbasids came to power (750 CE), the Persians became the scribes and bureaucrats of the Islamic empire and, increasingly, also its writers and poets. The New Persian literature arose and flourished in Khorasan and Transoxiana because of political reasons - the early Iranian dynasties such as Tahirids and Samanids were based in Khorasan.

Persians wrote both in Persian and Arabic; Persian predominated in later literary circles. Persian poets such as Ferdowsi, Sa'di, Hafiz, Attar, Nezami,Rumi and Omar Khayyam are also known in the West and have influenced the literature of many countries. Persian literature has been considered by such thinkers as Goethe one of the four main bodies of world literature.

Read more about Persian Literature:  Dictionaries, Persian Phrases, The Influence of Persian Literature On World Literature, Persian Literature Awards, Authors and Poets

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