Persian literature is probably one of the world’s oldest and best-known. It can be traced back to 522 BC and the Bistun Inscription the earliest surviving Achamenid writing. While there are interesting works in prose, it is in poetry where Iranian literature is at its most brilliant. Flourishing over a period of more than a millennium, it was esteemed and imitated well beyond the confines of its Iranian homeland. The literature of Turkey and India developed under its influence.
Persian poets such as Ferdowsi, Sa’di, Hafez, Attar, Nezami, Rumi, and Omar Khayyam, are well known in the West and have influenced the literature of many countries. Persian literature has been considered by scholars such as Goethe as being one of the four main bodies of world literature.