Shahnama (also Shahnameh) is the “Book of Kings” in poetic form written by the poet Firdausi (also Ferdowsi).
In Mahmud’s court there were many scholars, poets and artists but there was none that can be compared with Firdausi, whose name has been immortalized because of the compilation of the world-famous `Shahnama’.
In this great work Firdausi has given a vivid picture of the early history of’ Persia and has written some splendid lines in praise of his master, i.e., Mahmud.
Because of this single work Firdausi is regarded as one of the most famous Persian poets and is often called “The Persian Homer.”
Poet Firdausi originally belonged to Khurasan but because of his exceptional poetic qualities Mahmud kept him in his court in order to honour his exceptional qualities.
It is said that Mahmud had promised to pay him one gold Mohar for every verse of Shahnama but when the whole book was ready Mahmud offered him 60,000 silver coins for the same number of verses, instead of paying 60,000 gold Mohars. Firdausi was naturally enraged to see all that naked breach of trust. He returned without accepting anything and died broken hearted, but not before he had added some defamatory lines against Mahmud at the end of his Shahnama.
It is said that when Mahmud came to know of these defamatory verses against him he realized his own mistake and at once dispatched 60,000 gold Mohars to be paid to Firdausi at his native town (which is now called Meshed). But the Persian poet was not destined to receive them. It is really tragic that Firdausi died before the reward reached him.
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