Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

MS. Huntington donat. 18 (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)

Oriental Manuscripts Huntington donat. Collection


Summary of Contents: The volume contains 130 leaves. It is a collection of miscellaneous pieces in Persian and Arabic in an unusual format. Through the greater part of the volume, four (and sometimes five) different texts run side by side on the same page. The centre of each page usually has two columns of writing; some treatises will be written in the right column of the front-side of a leaf and continued in the left-hand column of the back-side, while others will occupy the left column of the front-side of a leaf and the right-hand column of the back-side; the item catalogued here falls in the latter category. For a list of the other items, see the Concordance of Manuscripts (Appendix I)in Emilie Savage-Smith; A New Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Volume I: Medicine, Oxford: OUP, 2011, and SEB I, cols. 1093−6 no. 1904, for further details.
1. ff. 1v-29r (top lines)

A collection of traditions on all that is forbidden to Muslims, with a Persian paraphrase

*?= Brock.ʼs Abu ʼ1-Ḥ. A.b.M. al-Maḥāmilī aḍ-Ḍabbī (GI 181)

Language(s): Arabic, Persian


Appendix Traditions
[Ethé 1904 (1)]
2. ff. 30v-36r, centre-column (left on recto, right on verso)
Language(s): Arabic


GAL I 179
[Ethé 1904 (13)
3. ff. 93v-99v, bottom lines
Author: Anonymous
Language(s): Arabic


Appendix Prayers
[Ethé 1904 (10)]
4. ff. 93v-103v
Author: Anonymous

to top lines only of f. 103v

? identifiable with known versions

Language(s): Arabic


Appendix Traditions
[Ethé 1904 (5)]
5. ff. 96v-103v, centre-column (left on recto right on verso)
Incipit: بسم الله ... القضايا الابقراطيه الداله على الموت ويسمى كتاب البثره وجد فى كتب ابقراط عالم اليونانين ما ذكر انه كان جعله فى درج عاج
Explicit: واذا كانت تحت الرقبه بثره فى الجفن الاسفل من العين [fol. 103b]اليسرى بثره بيضاء فاعلم ان صاحبها يموت الى احد عشر يوما من اول مرضه تمت القضايا الابقراطيه بعون الله تعالى وحسن توفيقه والصلوه على محمد واله واصحابه اجمعين امين يارب

An Arabic translation of a Greek compilation on prognosis and the signs of death based on skin affections, arranged in twenty-five premises (qaḍīyahs). It was written in the fourth or fifth century AD in Alexandria but spuriously attributed to Hippocrates and alleged to have been found in his tomb. Yaḥyá ibn al-Biṭrīq (d. c. 210/825) translated it into Arabic, and it circulated under several different titles, including Risālah fī al-Qaḍāyā, Risālah fī ʿAlāmāt al-mawt, Risālah al-qabrīyah, al-Qaḍāyā al-Ibuqrāṭīyah al-dāllah ʿalá al-mawt, Kitāb al-durj li-Ibuqrāṭ, and Kitāb al-sirr. Its Latin translation also went under several titles, including Secreta Hippocratis, Capsula eburnea, De pustulis et apostematibus significantibus mortem, and De indiciis mortis.

The copy is unsigned and undated. It has been added to the volume by a fairly recent hand.* A Persian text written by an earlier hand surrounds the text of the treatise on three sides. The treatise here catalogued occupies the right centre section of the verso folios and the left centre section of the recto folios. It is a nearly complete copy, but with textual differences from the edition by Kuhne. The beginning of the eighteenth qaḍīyah is missing, as is the entire twentieh one.

*in a hand much later than the rest of the MS. [= ?13th cent.]

Dimensions 17.0 × 12.1 (text area of the relevent sections 6.0 × 5.5) cm; 6–8 lines per page. The title is given as al-Qaḍāyā al-Ibuqrāṭīyah al-dāllah ʿalá al-mawt at the start of the tract (folio 96b2) and simply as al-Qaḍāyā al-Ibuqrāṭīyah at the end (folio 103b). On folio 96b3 it is also said to be called Kitāb al-bathrah.

The text area has not been ruled. The text is written in a small, casual, inelegant Naskh, written with almost no diacritical dots and a number of ligatures using dense-black ink. The qaḍīyahs are marked with an overline, without any heading such as qāla.

The smooth, semi-glossy beige/brown paper has a thickness of 0.13–0.24 mm and an opaqueness factor of 4. It is slightly fibrous, with occasional patches of thinner paper scattered throughout. The laid lines are vertical and sagging, with no visible chain lines. The paper is water-stained and worm-eaten, with slight foxing and light soiling through thumbing.

There are no marginalia.

Language(s): Arabic


NCAM-1, Entry No.11B
SEB I, col. 1095 entry no. 1904 item 23
GAL I 203
[Ethé 1904 (23)]
6. ff. 103v-129r, centre-column (right on recto, left on verso)
Language(s): Arabic


GAL I 433
[Ethé 1904 (22)]

Physical Description

Form: codex
29 ff. 7 ff. 7 ff. 11 ff. 8 ff. 27 ff.


The volume is bound in a nineteenth-century European library binding of tan leather with blind tooling. There are modern pastedowns and endpapers.


Origin: n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d.* n.d.

Provenance and Acquisition

The collections of Robert Huntington, d. 1701.

Presented to the Bodleian Library by Robert Huntington, d. 1701 between 1678-1683.

Record Sources

Manuscript description based on Emilie Savage-Smith; A New Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Volume I: Medicine, Oxford: OUP, 2011


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Funding of Cataloguing



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