Persian Literature

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Persian literature differs from the common definition of “literature” in that it is not confined to lyrical compositions, to poetry or imaginative prose, because the central elements of these appear, to greater or lesser degrees, in all the written works of the Persians.

More about: Persian Literature


  • c. 522 BCE
    Behistun Inscription of Darius I; considered the first example of Persian literature.
  • 330 BCE
    Literature of the Achaemenid Empire lost in its conquest by Alexander the Great and the burning of library of Persepolis.
  • 224 CE - 651 CE
    Middle Persian dialect in use during the period of the Sassanian Empire; written literature develops in response to religious texts.
  • 651 CE
    Sassanian Empire falls to invading Muslim Arabs; Zoroastrian texts and Sassanian literary works destroyed.
  • 750 CE - 1258 CE
    Persian literature and culture revive under the Abbasid Dynasty.
  • 819 CE - 999 CE
    Persian literature flourishes under the Samanid Dynasty which encourages some its greatest poets.
  • 859 CE - c. 940 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Rudaki, "the father of Persian Literature".
  • c. 935 CE - 977 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Daqiqi who makes first attempt at writing the Shahnameh, The Persian Book of Kings.
  • c. 940 CE - 1020 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Ferdowsi, author of the literary masterpiece Shahnameh, The Persian Book of Kings.
  • 1048 CE - 1131 CE
    Life of the Persian mathematician, scientist, scholar, and poet Omar Khayyam.
  • 1080 CE - c. 1131 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Sanai, author of The Walled Garden of Truth.
  • c. 1141 CE - 1209 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Nizami.
  • c. 1145 CE - c. 1220 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Attar.
  • 1207 CE - 1273 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Rumi, considered one of the greatest literary artists in the world.
  • 1210 CE - c. 1291 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Saadi.
  • 1315 CE - 1390 CE
    Life of the Persian poet Hafiz Shiraz, considered the greatest Persian poet and among the greatest in the world.