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(Abu Abdillah Jafar ebn Muhammad). Born circa 860 in the village of Rudak, now in the Tadzhik SSR; died there 941. Tadzhik and Persian poet, regarded as the founder of poetry in Farsi.
Rudaki won early renown as a singer, musician, and rhapsodist and probably as an author as well. According to tradition, he was blind from birth, but he nevertheless received a good scholastic education and knew Arabic. For more than 40 years he headed a galaxy of poets at the court of the Samanid rulers of Bukhara, attaining great glory and wealth. Not long before his death, however, he was exiled and died in poverty.
According to tradition, Rudaki wrote more than 130,000 couplets; another tradition, setting the figure at 1,300,000 couplets, seems far-fetched. Of his output, fewer than 1,000 couplets are extant. The qasida The Mother of Wine (933), the autobiographical Ode to Old Age, and about 40 quatrains (rubaiyat) have been preserved in their entirety. Also extant are fragments of panegyric, lyric, and didactic works, fragments from the narrative poem Kalila and Dimna (translated from Arabic, 932), and five other narrative poems.
Panegyric and anacreontic themes in Rudaki’s poetry are combined with faith in human reason and a summons to learning, virtue, and active participation in life. The laconicism, simplicity, and lucid imagery in the poetry of Rudaki and his contemporaries are typical of the classical (Khorasan, or Turkestan) style of Persian literature that they established, which survived until the late 11th century. A mausoleum has been erected on what is believed to be the site of Rudaki’s grave in his native village.
WORKSIn Russian translation:
Stikhi. Moscow, 1964.
Lirika. Moscow, 1969.
REFERENCESBertel’s, E. E. Istoriiapersidsko-tadzhikskoi literatury. Moscow, 1960.
Mirzoev, A. M. Rudaki: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from Tadzhik.)
Tagirdzhanov, A. T. Rudaki: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo; istoriia izucheniia. Leningrad, 1968.
Nafisi, S. Ahval va ash’ar-e Abu Abdallah Jafar ebn-e Mohammad-e Rudaki Samarqandi, vols. 1–3. Tehran, A. H. 1310–19 (A.D. 1931–40).
Tal’man, R. O., and A. Iunusova. Rudaki: Ukazatel’ literatury. Dushanbe, 1965.
A. N. BOLDTREV