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Iranian Collection

Collection Details

Iranian Collection held at University of Cambridge Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

The Iranian Studies section of the Library covers the language and literary texts in Pahlavi, Khotanese, Soghdian, Ossetic and Georgian. There are also inscriptions and religious texts in the original languages of the Zoroastrian and other ancient Iranian religions. This collection relates to the teaching of ancient Iranian languages and texts which took place in the Faculty in the past but are now no longer taught. The section is no longer added to except by gifts and bequests but its contents relate to those studying Persian, Assyriology and Central Asia.

History and development

The collection dates back to the founding collections of the Library. It grew under the stewardship of Sir Harold Bailey and later Dr Ilya Gershevitch whose interests centred on this field. Teaching in this area ended in 1980 and the collection has not been consistently added to since, although it remains complementary to other sections of the Library.


The major strengths of the section lie in the areas of language teaching material and religious texts.

General arrangement and access regulations

The Iranian collection forms one section of the Faculty Library. All the books about Iranian studies and in ancient Iranian languages shelved together using an in-house classification scheme. Some older volumes are shelved in a basement store within the Faculty building.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Central Asia and the Caucasus, Near & Middle East and North Africa.


Georgia, Iran.


Anthropology, Archaeology, History, Language, Literature, Philosophy, Religion.

Languages as linguistic focus

Avestan, Khotanese, Ossetian; Ossetic, Pahlavi, Sogdian.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types


Total size of collection

550 volumes

Size of collection - vernacular

150 volumes

Size of collection - western

400 volumes

Collection Management Information

The collection is not being actively developed.

Content date range

1850 to present

Collection Catalogue Information


Included in the Union Catalogue of Departmental and College Libraries which is part on the Cambridge University Library on-line catalogue.

Links to other collections

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