MS. Marsh 81 (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)
Oriental Manuscripts Marsh Collection
The volume contains 100 leaves. Folios 99b and 100ab are blank.
The copy is undated. The copyist’s name is given as ʿAlāʾ al-Simnānī. The appearance of the paper, ink, and script suggest a dating of the ninth/fifteenth or early tenth/sixteenth century. It must have been produced before an owner’s note dated 946 (1539) was placed in it. It is a complete copy. The second maqālah begins on folio 28b, and the third on folio 72a. Near the beginning of the second and third maqālahs there is a curious circular marginal decoration in silvery ink, probably added by a later hand.
Hippocrates, as well as the name of his treatise being commented upon, are given at the beginning of the text. The commentator is not named directly, but on four occasions (folios 41a, 58a, 73a, and 88a) al-fāḍil al-Qurashī is named at the beginning of a gloss. The attribution to Ibn al-Nafīs was confirmed by a comparison with British Library, MS. Or. 5914. The beginning of a copy now in Leiden, however, (MS. Or. 1296 Cod. 49, I Gol.) is quite different; see Dozy, de Jong and de Goeje, Leiden, iii. 223−4). No other copies were available for comparison.
The name of the copyist of the Bodleian copy, ʿAlāʾ al-Simnānī, was taken by later owners and by the early cataloguers to be the name of the commentator, while Pusey then suggested in his emendations to Uri’s catalogue (UAM) that the author was ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn ʿAlī al-Ḥazm al-Qurashī, known as Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 687/1288).
The edges have been trimmed from their original size. There is slight soiling from thumbing. Folios 1 and 10 are guarded.
19 lines per page.
The text area is frame-ruled. The text is written in an inelegant but fairly consistent medium-small Naskh. The word min is consistently written in an unusual way, with the nūn hooked back beneath the word. It is written in dense-black ink with headings in red; there are occasional red overlinings. Black overlinings were added later. There are catchwords. The text being commented upon is usually introduced by the phrase qāla Ibqurāṭ and the gloss by al-sharḥ.
- Marginalia There are marginalia in several hands, some corrections marked by ظ or ص ح. In a marginal note on folio 5a, Galen’s commentary is cited. Within the text itself Galen’s commentary is also cited (e.g. folios 37a, 37b, and 47b). On the title page, folio 1a, three different hands have entered notes stating that the volume is a commentary on the Prognostics of Hippocrates, with the commentary by ʿAlāʾ al-Simnānī (or, according to one of them, ʿAlāʾ al-Faḍl al-Simnānī, and for the third simply al-Simnānī). A fourth hand, as a way of identifying the contents, has written: Sharḥ Taqdimat al-maʿrifah maʿa Kitāb al-Tadāruk.
- Paper Three European watermarked papers were used in the construction of the volume. Folios 1–20 and 70–99 are a smooth, semi-glossy cream paper with a thickness of 0.10–0.14 mm and an opaqueness factor of 6; folios 21−40 are a biscuit paper with a consistent thickness of 0.09 mm, while folios 42–9, 51–2, 54–7, and 62–9 are thinner cream papers of even greater translucency (opaqueness factor of 7 to 8) and a thickness of 0.08 mm. All three papers have vertical, slightly sagging, laid lines, single chain lines, and watermarks of stars with possibly an anchor (or scissors) as well as various wavy designs.
The volume is bound in pasteboards covered with European marbled paper and edges in light-brown leather, with envelope flap. The endpapers and pastedowns are modern.
Provenance and Acquisition
On the title page there is a carefully written owner’s note (in yet a different hand) for Khusraw ibn Muḥammad al-Karmāsī (?) dated 946 (1539); the reading of the final portion of the name is uncertain, for it could be read as الكرماسي or الكرباسي or even الكردي. There is also a trace of a seal impression that has been obliterated. The volume is from the private collection of Jacob Golius (d. 1667) who acquired manuscripts in the 1620s (mostly in Syria). The manuscript was purchased in 1696 by Narcissus Marsh, Archbishop of Armagh
Bequeathed to the Bodleian Library by Narcissus Marsh, Archbishop of Armagh, upon his death in 1713. On the front endpaper there is an old shelfmark: N.226.
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