About the Author
"Hakim Abol-Qasem Ferdowsi Tusi, more commonly transliterated as Ferdowsi, (935-1020) was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Persia (Iran).
Ferdowsi was born in the Iranian province of Razavi Khorasan, in a village near Tus, in 935. His father was a wealthy land owner. Ferdowsi was a pious Muslim.His great epic, the Shahnameh ("The Epic of Kings"), to which he devoted more than 35 years, was originally composed for presentation to the Samanid princes of Khorasan, who were the chief instigators of the revival of Iranian cultural traditions after the Arab conquest of the seventh century.
When he was just 23-years old, he found a "Shahnameh" written by Abu-Mansour Almoammari; it was not, however, in poetic form. It consisted of older versions ordered by Abu-Mansour ibn Abdol-razzagh. The discovery would be a fateful moment in the life of the poet. Ferdowsi started his composition of the Shahnameh in the Samanid era in 977. During Ferdowsi's lifetime the Samanid dynasty was conquered by the Ghaznavid Empire.
After 30 years of hard work, he finished the book and two or three years after that, Ferdowsi went to Ghazni, the Ghaznavid capital, to present it to the king. There are various stories in medieval texts describing the lack of interest shown by the new king, Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, in Ferdowsi and his lifework. According to historians, Mahmud had promised Ferdowsi a dinar for every distich written in the Shahnameh (60,000 dinars), but later retracted and presented him with dirhams (20,000 dirhams), which were at that time much less valuable than dinars (every 100 dirhams worth 1 dinar). Some think it was the jealousy of other poets working at the king's court that led to this treachery; the incident encouraged Ferdowsi's enemies in the court. Ferdowsi rejected the money and, by some accounts, he gave it to a poor man who sold wine. Wandering for a time in Sistan and Mazandaran, he eventually returned to Tus, heartbroken and enraged.
He had left behind a poem for the King, stuck to the wall of the room he had worked in for all those years. It was a long and angry poem, more like a curse, and ended with the words:
"Heaven's vengeance will not forget. Shrink tyrant from my words of fire, and tremble at..." (Quote from wikipedia.org)