Ferdowsi's Role in the Evolution of Persian Language

Based on his reading of some of the writings of Martin Heidegger, the author attempts to evaluate the impact of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh on the evolution of the Persian language. It was Ferdowsi who found the poeticity of Abu Mansuri’s Shahnameh lacking in its recounting of Iran’s ancient and epic history. Furthermore, Ferdowsi also utilized most effectively the newly invented poetic measures and meters in his masterpiece. These meters, according to the author, motivated and enabled Iranian poets to devise a more expressive and imaginative poetic language.

In elaborating on the poet’s mastery of rhetorical flourishes and eloquent expressions, the author suggests that Ferdowsi far surpassed his contemporary poets and writers in expressing his message in clear and dramatic modes. Such clarity and eloquence can not but be a byproduct of the intertwining of the language and poetic imagination. Ferdowsi’s unique contribution to the flourishing of Persian language in part rests on this unprecedented ability to weave an intangible web between his fertile poetic imagination and the newly invented poetic measures and meters.

Ferdowsi’s contributions also relate to his use of short and pulsating verbs, innovative adjectives, both simple and compound, descriptive phraseology unencumbered with verbs, similes of natural forces and phenomena, and finally rhythmic word structures for arousing a variety of emotional responses in the reader. Furthermore, Ferdowsi’s unwavering commitment to reconstruct Iran’s royal history and revive the tale of its legendary heroes, has imbued his poetry with a balanced and effective historical sense. The continuing impact of his masterpiece on generations of Iranian poets and the innumerable attempts to imitate his style is the clearest testament to the seminal role he played in the survival and refinement of the Persian language.

Ahmad Kazemi Musavi
Current Issue: 
Past Issue