I guess it's only fitting that as a guy who edits a site called Epic India Magazine that I'm fascinated by epic poems and stories. I can date it back to the first time I read a version of Beowulf when I was a kid, and I've been hooked on them ever since. After that it became a matter of simply discovering them in order to read them.
First of course was Homer and the Odyssey, and that was followed by reading Virgil's Aeniad (in Latin - not because of any great ambition but solely because I was taking Latin in high school as I had no other course options left if I wanted to collect enough credits to get into university without taking any math or science). Then there was Sir Gawain And The Green Knight, in translation, because Old English is pretty much indecipherable as far as I was concerned.
Of course there have been all the modern equivalents as well that started cropping up in the fantasy genre with The Lord Of The Rings and Narnia for openers and continues today with Steven Erikson's Malzan Books Of The Fallen and of course Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. Just as I was starting to lose interest in the genre, there's only so many good versus evil Judeo/Christian-based myths you can take, I stepped outside the shelter of Western culture to discover another world.
In 2005 I began reading Ashok Banker's modern adaptation of Valmiki's 3,000-year-old epic poem The Ramayana that told the story of the great Indian hero Rama. Since then I've been keeping my ears open for word of other stories from other cultures that I could sink my teeth into. I've always been a firm believer in the theory that you can learn more about a people by reading their stories than through a history or other text book. So when the opportunity to read excerpts from the Persian epic The Shahnameh (The Epic Of Kings) by Hakim Abdol Qasem Ferdowsi Tousi (935 - 1020 CE) arose I was very interested.