The Shahnameh is a thousand-year-old epic that tells mythical tales of ancient civilizations. It’s an often-overlooked seminal work of world literature. Its 62 stories are told in 990 chapters through 50,000 couplets of poetry that took 30 years for its author Ferdowsi to complete.

The Shahnameh is written in modern Persian, which makes it understandable in spite of its age. I remember as a young boy spending hours at the library reading through its many magical stories, marvelling at its fantastic creatures, and feeling proud of the fact that I could understand its poetry with little help. …

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