Nizami Ganjavi, was born around 1141 in Ganja, the capital of Arran in Transcaucasian Azerbaijan, where he remained until his death in about 1209.
His father, who had migrated to Ganja from Qom in north central Iran, may have been a civil servant.
his mother was a daughter of a Kurdish chieftain; having lost both parents early in his life, Nizami was brought up by an uncle.
Nizami was married three times, and in his poems laments the death of each of his wives, as well as proferring advice to his son Muhammad.
Nizami Ganjavi lived in an age of both political instability and intense intellectual activity, which his poems reflect.
but little is known about his life, his relations with his patrons, or the precise dates of his works, as the accounts of later biographers are colored by the many legends built up around the poet.
Although Nizami Ganjavi left a small corpus of lyric poetry, he is best known for his five long narrative poems, of which the Haft Paykar, completed in 1197, is his acknowledged masterpiece.
The region of Azerbaijan, where Nizami lived and wrote, had in his time only recently become the scene of significant literary activity in Persian.
Poetry in Persian first appeared in the east, where in the tenth and eleventh centuries it flourished at the courts of the Samanids in Bukhara and their successors the Ghazvanids, centered in eastern Iran and Afghanistan.
When the Ghazvanids were defeated in 1040 by the Seljuk Turks and the latter extended their power westwards into Iraq, which was predominantly Arabophone, Persian literary activity similarly spread westwards to the Seljuk courts.
Nizami brought about a comparable expansion of the language of poetry, as well.
Nizami Ganjavi was among the first poets in Iran to wed the lyric style of court poetry, with its rhetorical intricacy and metaphoric density, to narrative form, and his language is as much a presence on the narrative stage as are the characters and events it depicts.
For him, discourse or eloquent speech (sokhan), or more particularly, the precise, beautiful, and signifying language of the poet, is his dominant concern.
For Nizami, poets have a status nearly divine.
The five long poems, known collectively as the Khamsa (Quintet) or Panj Ganj (Five Treasures), composed by Nizami in the late twelfth century, set new standards in their own time for elegance of expression, richness of characterization, and narrative sophistication.
They were widely imitated for centuries by poets writing in Persian, as well as in languages deeply influenced by Persian, like Urdu and Ottoman Turkish.