Ferdowsi (941–1020) was a prominent poet of the Persian Empire who undeniably revitalised Persian language through an epic. The work, consisting of about 60,000 rhyming couplets, is known as Shâhnâmeh or "Book of the Kings". An apparent mythology, it depicts Persia's triumphs and failures from ancient times towards the end of Sassanid's rule (651) and the rise of Islam; it is an epic which has retailed Persia's historical evolution, with independent stories of heroes, lovers, evils, plots and tragedies. Typically, it has alluded to a story of an Iranian super-hero, Rostam, and his chivalry and bravery at every front in "Haft Khan" or "Seven Stages".
Shâhnâmeh stories were inspired by the ancient Persian tales handed down from generation to generation until Ferdowsi immortalised them as poems reflecting Persia's culture, history and origin. Since then, Shâhnâmeh stories have been retailed by Persian speakers from India to Central Asia and the Mediterranean coasts, and story tellers have recited the poems at public places. There are myriad copies of Shâhnâmeh, but Baysonghori Shâhnâmeh, inscribed on the International Memory of the World register in 2007, is considered a masterpiece. It was calligraphed in 1430 for Prince Baysonghor; it totals 700 pages, and is decorated by 22 delicate miniatures and the finest gold illuminations. It is the only illuminated Shâhnâmeh of this quality in one piece, surviving from this period in Persia. It has always been maintained in the court's libraries to avoid damage. The work mirrors the zenith of Persian art, language, culture and civilization and hence is of great cultural and historical value.