Ferdowsi's time was a quite chaotic time. There was the concern that the Iranian culture and Farsi language to be ignored and forgotten and the Arabs overcome all the aspects of Iranian life. It is then, that Ferdowsi, as an ingenious physician, diagnoses the pain and finds the treatment. He neither blames or advises. He speaks to people with the language of art, and the epical stories that he collects from everywhere are constructed in a framework of strong and eloquent poetry by the epical language, reminding people about the old glorious and magnificent era: the era of Cyrus the Great with the statement of peace and freedom for human beings; the era of peace, friendship and brotherhood.
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the epic poem the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, the 'Book of Kings', which has been at the heart of Persian culture for the past thousand years. The poem recounts a legendary history of Iran from the dawn of time to the fall of the Persian Empire in the 7th century and serves, in a sense, as a creation myth for the Persian nation. The Shahnameh took Ferdowsi thirty years to write and, consisting of over 50,000 verses, is said to be the longest poem ever written by a single author. Laced with tragedy, Ferdowsi's epic chronicles battles, romances, family rifts and Man's interior struggle with himself. Although the stories may not always be true they have a profound resonance with Iranians even today, and the poem has been referred to as both the 'encyclopaedia of Iranian culture' and the identity card of the Persian people.