Shahnameh which has been composed by Abolqasem Ferdowsi about a thousand years ago is one of the most important epics in the world and is the best source that reflects the political beliefs, customs, and rites of the Iranians. Shahnameh, composed of approximately 50 thousand verses, is a masterpiece of Persian epic and the best source which reveals the identity of the Iranians. The last edition of Shahnameh by Ferdowsi was done in the lunar years 401 or a thousand years ago. The millennium of the grand Shahnameh was celebrated by Iran and UNESCO in the year 2010. Shahnameh describes the victories, the defeats, the courage, the character, the customs, rites, and aspirations of the Iranians from ancient times (starting from Kiumars, the first legendary king of the world) until the dissolution of the Sassanian Empire by Arabs in the seventh century A.D.
Besides its historical importance, there are many independent stories scattered in the book which are not directly connected to the sequence of the historical events. Among these stories, one can refer to the story of Zal and Roodabeh, Rustam and Sohrab, Bijan and Manijeh, the Haftvad Giant Worm, etc. The stories of Rustam and Esfandiyar and Rustam and Sohrab are considered rare masterpieces of art. But it must be noted that Ferdowsi was not the founder of the epic himself.
In fact, these were ancient legends that were related from mouth to mouth and from generation to generation among Iranians, yet it was Ferdowsi who worked for over 30 years with determination and zeal to record it in his great national epic.