Šāhnāmah pronounced "The Book of Kings", also transliterated Shahnama), is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran. Consisting of some 50,000 "distiches" or couplets (two-line verses). The Shahnameh is the world's longest epic poem written by a single poet. It tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of the Persian Empire from the creation of the world until the Arab conquest of Iran in the 7th century.
Shahnameh is a comprehensive repertoire and one of the greatest literary masterpieces in the world, which includes the myths, events and history of Iran from the beginning to the Arab invasion of Iran in the seventh century.
In Shahnameh, from the fifty kings (including the three ladies) who ruled this land, it is a historical theme. Shahnameh is divided into three parts of mythology (from the time of Kiyomars to the kingdom of Fereydun), Pahlavani (from the rise of Kaveh the Blacksmith to the death of Rustam and the rule of Bahman Son of Esfandiyar) and historical (from the kingdom of Bahman and the rise of Alexander to the opening of Iran by the Arabs).
The Shahnameh has had a great influence on the orientation of the Persian culture, as well as the glorious reflections of world literature, and great poets like Gauth and Victor Hugo have praised its magnitude. William Jones is the first to speak about Ferdowsi and Shahnameh in England and even Europe. Jones noticed the similarities between the Persian language and the Indo-European languages, and this was achieved through the study of Shahnameh in Persian. For the first time in 1793, a selection of the Shahnameh by S. F. G. Vahl was translated into German. Graf Von Ludolf then translated another in 1811.
March 2, 2009 was the end of the millennium of Shahnameh. The celebration of the Millennium of Shahnameh with the presence of representatives from 192 countries affiliated with UNESCO in Paris, France, was held at the foundation of this global institution in partnership with the Ferdowsi Foundation. Also, the celebration of the Millennium of Shahnameh was held in various countries under the pretext of its registration at UNESCO, including Berlin, Germany.
May 15, every year, lovers of Persian literature, celebrate the book and its poet, including the activities that take place on this day,is reading the Shahnameh and "Naqali'. The Naqali is a single performance which performs by a actor-singer who reads distinguished stories of the Shahnameh. The actor-singer "mourshed"displays pictures of Shahnameh's scenes before the eyes of viewers, pointing to the images and narrates the story. Yalda nights, literature gatherings which called "shahname khany" and during Norouz ceremonies.