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Persian Language and Culture

Why Study Persian/Farsi?

It has been said that if you would like to learn about a region, its people and its culture, it is crucial to learn its language(s), literature and history.

Persian, a language that belongs to the Indo-European family of languages, is spoken by more than 100 million people around the world. It is the primary language of Iran, and is widely spoken in Afghanistan, the central Asian republics, and to some extent in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. The name Persian was first used by the Greeks and later the Romans to refer to the people of Iran who referred to themselves as Iranians. The name of the country officially changed in 1936 from Persia to Iran.

Classical Persian continued uninterruptedly for thousand of years. The golden age of Persian literature is said to have begun in the tenth century with the poet Rudaki of Samarkand and was followed by numerous other outstanding poets such as Ferdowsi (Iran’s Homer), Hafez, Sadi, Omar Khayyam and Rumi (Mowlana). Today for any serious student of Islamic philosophy and mysticism a knowledge of Persian is essential since most of the Middle Eastern mystics were of Persian origin.

For more than half of its 2500 years of history Iran was a world power and as such left its indelible mark on the Iranian plateau, Caucasus, Anatolia and the Indian subcontinent. In every court and kingdom from the above mentioned regions the civil servants, courtiers, and kings spoke and wrote in Persian.

Persian Picture 1

Persian Script