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Oriental Manuscripts. Near Eastern Collection: Islamic languages

Collection Details

Oriental Manuscripts. Near Eastern Collection: Islamic languages held at Cambridge University Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

The collection includes texts in all traditional branches of Islamic learning, belles-lettres ('adab'), history and science.

History and development

The first Islamic manuscript was donated to the Library in the year 1632. Since then, the collections have been expanded continuously, by donation, as the result of collecting trips to the Near East, and from around 1800, through systematic purchase.

Strengths

The collection of Islamic manuscripts in Cambridge University Library is one of the largest in the country, and there is a significant number of titles in all the three principal Islamic languages. Among other subjects, poetry and history are particularly well represented. There are some very early manuscipts, and a large body of papyrus documents from Egypt, dating back to the 8th-16th centuries. Also, there is a significant number of Indian local histories written in Persian, Babi and Baha'i texts, some of which are unique, and a unique archive of correspondence from early modern Iran.

General arrangement and access regulations

The mansuscript collection is arranged by language, or in individual collections.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.

Languages of material

Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928).

Subjects

Geography, History, Language, Literature, Medicine, Philosophy, Politics and government, Religion.

Names relevant to the collection:

  • Erpenius, Burckhardt, J.L., Palmer, E.H., Browne, Edward Granville, 1862-1926, Arberry, Arthur, Michaelides Pote, E.E.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Manuscripts.

Total size of collection

(figures are estimates) 1700 codices in Arabic 1250 codices in Persian 500 codices in Ottoman Turkish plus: 220 Arabic and Persian codices of the Pote collection, Eton, housed in the UL. 257 Arabic and Persian codices of the Pote Collection, King's College, housed in the UL. 1000 Arabic paper and papyrus fragments in the Michaelides collection ca. 12000 items in the papers of E.G. Browne 486 codices in the E.G. Browne collection

Collection Management Information

The collection is being actively developed, and the average intake has stayed the same.

Annual intake

ca. 10 items

Content date range

0 to 0 AD

Collection Catalogue Information

Catalogue

For an overview of the Library's main collection, please refer to the work by Dalby cited above. There are catalogues and hand-lists for the individual components of this collection, all of which are listed in section D13 of the Reader's Handbook to Cambridge University Library (available online at http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/Handbook/D13.html)

Catalogue transliteration schemes

Library of Congress (LC) or other systems

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