Neẓāmī

or Niẓāmī orig. Ilyās Yūsuf Niẓāmī Ganjawī

born с 1141, Ganja, Seljūq empire
died 1209, Ganja

Greatest romantic epic poet in Persian literature.

Little is known of his life, except that he spent it in what is now Azerbaijan. Only a handful of his qaṣīdahs (odes) and ghazels have survived; his reputation rests on his great Khamseh ("The Quintuplet"), a group of five poems totaling 30,000 couplets, in which he brought a colloquial and realistic style to the epic. The fourth poem, The Seven Beauties, is considered his masterpiece.

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▪ Persian poet
in full  Elyās Yūsof Neẓāmī Ganjavī , Neẓāmī also spelled  Niẓāmī 
born c. 1141, Ganja, Seljuq empire [now Ganca, Azerbaijan]
died 1209, Ganja

      greatest romantic epic poet in Persian literature, who brought a colloquial and realistic style to the Persian epic.

      Little is known of Neẓāmī's life. Orphaned at a young age, he spent his entire life in Ganja, leaving only once to meet the ruling prince. Although he enjoyed the patronage of a number of rulers and princes, he was distinguished by his simple life and straightforward character.

      Only a handful of his qaṣīdahs (“odes”) and ghazals (“lyrics”) have survived; his reputation rests on his great Khamseh (“The Quintuplet”), a pentalogy of poems written in manavī verse form (rhymed couplets) and totaling 30,000 couplets. Drawing inspiration from the Persian epic poets Ferdowsī and Sanāʾī, he proved himself the first great dramatic poet of Persian literature. The first poem in the pentology is the didactic poem Makhzan al-asrār (The Treasury of Mysteries), the second the romantic epic Khosrow o-Shīrīn (“Khosrow and Shīrīn”). The third is his rendition of a well-known story in Islāmic folklore, Leyli o-Mejnūn (The Story of Leyla and Majnun). The fourth poem, Haft paykar (The Seven Beauties), is considered his masterwork. The final poem in the pentalogy is the Sikandar or Eskandar-nāmeh (“Book of Alexander the Great”; Eng. trans. of part I, The Sikander Nama), a philosophical portrait of Alexander.

      Neẓāmī is admired in Persian-speaking lands for his originality and clarity of style, though his love of language for its own sake and of philosophical and scientific learning makes his work difficult for the average reader.

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Universalium. 2010.

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