Musleh al-Din Abdollah Saadi is one of the most recognized poets in Persian literature. His long life spanned the entire 13th century, considered the classical period of Persian lyric poetry, which historically coincides with the first Mongol invasions, begun in the autumn of 1219, which caused the fall of the Abbasid caliphate.

The new Mongol rulers formed new courts far removed from local populations and showed little interest in the Ghasida (eulogy) literary genre, then in full swing. Rather, they were interested in alluding to his political and territorial conquests in the prose of historical works. In the process of lyrical poetry production, the genre of Ghasida lost its importance in favor of the poetic genre of ghazal (sonnet), which reached its technical perfection with Saadi.

A century earlier, poets expressed their loving feelings and emotions primarily in the introductory part of Ghasida, devoting little attention to ghazal, but devastating Mongol invasions changed the social landscape and fostered mysticism and the desire to escape from the world. On the other hand, the new Mongol rulers stimulated the literary genre of historiography, eager to have their exploits passed from generation to generation. Against this historical and literary background, Saadi was born in 1184 in Shiraz, in the Fars region. What we know about him is based on compilations of biographical information on poets, along with an anthology of poems and autobiographical information on his works. His father died when he was only 12 years old.

Saadi, already initiated into Sufism by the great mystic Suhrawardi, spent the last period of his life in serenity and died in Shiraz in 1291. Saadi’s literary output is varied. He only achieved fame after his return to Shiraz in 1256-57, when he composed Bustán (The Orchard) which is written entirely in verse and, a year later, Golestan (The Rose Garden), the majority of which consists of prose, considered as his main works.


Leave a Reply