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Persian literature spans two and a half millennia, though much of the pre-Islamic material has been lost.

Its sources have been within historical Persia including present-day Iran as well as regions of Central Asia where the Persian language has been the national language through history.

As one of the great literatures of mankind the Persian literature has its roots in surviving works in Old Persian or Middle Persian dating back as far as 522 BCE, the date of the earliest surviving Achaemenid inscription, the Bisotun Inscription.

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After the Abbasids came to power (750 CE), the Persians became the scribes and bureaucrats of the Islamic empire and, increasingly, also its writers and poets.

Persians wrote both in Persian and Arabic; Persian predominated in later literary circles.

Persian poets such as Sa'di, Hafiz , Rumi and Omar Khayyam are well known in the world and have influenced the literature of many countries.

Pre-Islamic Persian literature Very few literary works survived from ancient Persia.

This is partly due to the destruction of the library at Persepolis.

Most of what remains consists of the royal inscriptions of Achaemenid kings, particularly Darius I (522–486 BC) and his son Xerxes.

Zoroastrian writings mainly were destroyed in the Islamic conquest of Persia.

The Parsis who fled to India, however, took with them some of the books of the Zoroastrian canon, including some of the Avesta and ancient commentaries (Zend) thereof.

Some works of Sassanid geography and travel also survived albeit in Arabic translations.

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