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(quintet), a group of five long mathnawi (narrative poems) by a single author in Persian, Azerbaijani, Old Uzbek, and Turkish literature. Nizami Ganjevi was the first author of a khamseh. His work consisted of the tales The Treasury of Mysteries, Khusrau and Shirin, Layli and Majnun, The Seven Beauties, and Iskandar-namah (Book of Alexander). However, it is unlikely that Nizami Ganjevi regarded his five mathnawi as a structural whole. The term khamseh arose later, probably among the scribes who compiled manuscripts containing all five narrative poems of Nizami.
Later, numerous poets wrote groups of five works in imitation of Nizami’s Khamseh, for example, Amir Khusrau, Khwaju Kermani Kamal al-Din, A. Navoi, A. Jami, and the 15th-century Turkish writer Hamdi Çelebi. In regard to form, the narrative poems of Amir Khusrau and Navoi are closest to the mathnawi of Nizami.