From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Persian literature spans two and a half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost. Its sources often come from far-flung regions beyond the borders of present-day Iran, as the Persian language flourished and survives across wide swaths of Central Asia. For instance, Rumi, one of Persia's best-loved poets, wrote in Persian but lived in Konya, now in Turkey and then the capital of the Seljuks. The Ghaznavids conquered large territories in Central and South Asia and adopted Persian as their court language. There is thus Persian literature from areas that are now part of Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia. Not all this literature is written in Persian, as some consider works written by ethnic Persians in other languages, such as Greek and Arabic, to be included.
Surviving works in Persian languages (such as Old Persian or Middle Persian) date back as far as 650 BCE, the date of the earliest surviving Achaemenid inscriptions. The bulk of the surviving Persian literature, however, comes from the times following the Islamic conquest of Persia circa 650 CE. After the Abbasids came to power (750 CE), the Persians became the scribes and bureaucrats of the Islamic empire and, increasingly, also its writers and poets. Persians wrote both in Arabic and Persian; Persian predominated in later literary circles. Persian poets such as Sa'di, Hafiz, Rumi and Omar Khayyam are well known in the world and have influenced the literature of many countries
- The Book of One Thousand and One Nights
- Middle Eastern literature
- World literature
- Persian literature in Western culture