Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

MS. Marsh 71 (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)

Oriental Manuscripts Marsh Collection


Summary of Contents: The volume contains 97 leaves. Folios 1a, 17a, 18b, and an unnumbered folio between 17 and 18 are blank. There are four preliminary folios: folio ia has Arabic and Latin titles for the first item in the volume, with the lower quarter torn away; folios iia, iiia, and ivab have Arabic pious phrases, prayers, and a note of purchase for 20 dinars, written in Maghribī script; folios ib, iib, and iiib are blank.
1. ff. 1v-15v

Divination by verses of the Qurʼān, here given with their magic interpretation in Turkish

attributed to Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq

Language(s): Arabic, Turkish


GAL I 67
[Ethé 2203]
2. ff. 16r-16v
Author: Anonymous
Language(s): Ottoman Turkish
3. ff. 20r-92r
Incipit: بسم الله ... قال العبد الفقير الى الله تعالى المعترف بذنبه الراجي عفو ربه صفى الدوله مالك ابن ابي النجم المسيحى المتطبب عفا الله عنه سالني بعض الاخوان المتعلمين بصناعة الطب ان اجمع له دستورا يستضي به فى حفظ الصحاه وعلاج الامراض العارضه على الاكثر بالادويه والاغذيه
Explicit: فقطعه واجب ان امكن والا افسد جملا البدن فاصلح احوال المريض ان يقطع له ذالك العضو ولا يفسد جمله بدنه تم الكتاب بعون الله وتاييده
Colophon: وكان الفراغ من نسخه نهار الاثنين اول يوم فى [شهـ]ر شعبان المبارك سنه واحد بعد لالف لانبينا [كذا] ادم عليه السلام

This is a unique copy of a medical manual concerned to a large extent with regimen and therapeutics. Nothing is known of its author or compiler, Ṣafī al-Dawlah Mālik ibn Abī al-Najm al-Masīḥī al-mutaṭabbib, except that he must have worked between the time of Ibn al-Tilmīdh (d. 549/1154 or 560/1165) and 1593, when the copy was completed. It is stated in the manuscript that it was compiled by Ṣafī al-Dawlah Mālik ibn Abī al-Najm al-Masīḥī from extracts taken from the Aqrābādhīn by Ibn al-Tilmīdh. Despite its apparent derivative nature, however, this treatise is quite different from the Aqrābādhīn of Ibn al-Tilmīdh.

The copy was completed by an unnamed copyist on 1 Shaʿbān 1001 (3 May 1593).

The copy is complete. Between the end of the treatise and the colophon (folios 89a4–92a6), the copyist has inserted a statement that all the drug recipes found in this treatise are in reality taken from the formulary aqrābādīn of Amīn al-Dawlah (ibn al-Tilmīdh), after which he added a number of recipes of his own. وارشاده واعلم وفقك ان جميع ما وصفته فى هذه الدستور من الادويه سواكانت سفوفا او حبا او نقوعا او لعوقا او مطبوخا او فتلا او حقنا فان جميع ذلك منقول من اقرابادين امين الدوله وهو المشهور فى زماننا هذا والمعمول عليه . وقد ذكرت لك ايضا وفقك الله فى هذا الدستور من الصناعه الطيبه ما لم تجده مدونا فى كتاب وقد ذكرت فى هذه الدستور مركبات تدعو الحاجه اليها صفة نقوع حامض ... تم الدستور المبارك المبارك المبارك

Dimensions 19.5 × 13.8 (text area 14.3 × 9.2) cm; 15 lines per page. The author is named at the beginning of the treatise. No clearcut title is given in the treatise itself. Folio 18a is a title page, giving the title Kitāb al-Dustūr al-bīmāristānī along with the author’s name: كتاب الدستور البيمارستاني تاليف صفي الدوله مالك ابن ابي النجم المسيحى رحمه الله تعالى

On folio 19b an ornate cursive hand has given a table of contents for the volume in which this particular treatise is given the title Kitāb al-Minhāj wa-dustūr al-ʿilāj, and it is stated that this treatise was extracted from the Aqrābādhīn of Amīn al-Dawlah Hibat [Allāh] ibn al-Tilmīdh but compiled by Ṣafī al-Dawlah ibn Abī al-Najm al-Masīḥī: كتاب المنهاج ودستور العلاج منقول من اقرابادين الشيخ الريس الفاضل النفيس امين الدوله هبه [الله] بن التلميذ تغمده بالرحمه ... عنى بجمعه صفى الدوله بن ابى النجم المسيحى المتطبب عفى الله تعاله عنه

The text area has been frame-ruled. It is written in a medium-large, careful Naskh with occasional vocalization, in black ink, with headings and text-breaks in red. Occasionally a tāʾ marbūṭah is written as an everlasting knot. On the opening page (folio 20a) the margins are decorated with four four-petalled flowers drawn in red and black ink. There are catchwords.

The smooth, glossy, ivory paper has a thickness of 0.10–0.12 mm and an opaqueness factor of 6 to 7, with occasional imperfections and creases. The vertical laid lines are straight, with single chain lines and three different watermarks, including one consisting of pendent triangles within a circle and another incorporating the letters E and B. The paper is worm-eaten at the edges and slightly soiled. The edges have been trimmed from their original size.

There are some corrections by the copyist.

*where Uri misprints CLIX for XLIX see Steinschneider ZDMG VIII, 378

Language(s): Arabic


NCAM-1, Entry No.131
Golius Sale Cat., Med. Qu. 9
GAL I 488
UT, 311 entry XLIX (49) mistakenly written CLIX, item 2
[Uri Turc. 49* (2), with corrig. Nicoll p. 619]
NPAE, 619
4. ff. 92r-95v
Incipit: مما عنا بنسخه المولي المالك سيزدافيد الحكيم الملكي من اهل الافقسيه غفر الرب له ولولديه ولجميع المسلمين امين و السبح لله دايم . زياده فى الكتاب . مثال السبيب العفونه مثال المرض الحمى مثال العرض الصداع
Explicit: الحمد لله رب العالمين رب يسّر صفة طلا لتسكين الحراره والوجع اجمع وجدت يحتاج الى تحليل الورم يوخد تحاله وحطمي مصحون وورد البا بونج يدق ما يجب دقه ويحبل بما[ء] فاتر ويوضع على كاغد ويمد على المفصل نافع ان شا الله تعالى امين تم تمت بحمد الله وعونه وحسن توفيقه

This short tract opens with recipes for tiryāq and ends with an embrocation for lessening fever and pain. The latter is written on folio 95b in an area demarcated by red ink lines roughly having the outline of a handled mirror. Nothing further is known of this author. His name is given as al-mawlá al-mālik Sīz Dāfīd al-ḥakīm al-malakī min ahl al-Afqusīyah. The latter is perhaps intended to be read as al-Lafqusīyah, the Arabic and Turkish form of Nicosia on the island of Cyprus. The title of the essay suggests that it was intended as an addendum to another work. The identity of this work is uncertain, but it is possible that it is the treatise immediately preceding it in the manuscript volume, namely, Kitāb al-Dustūr al-bīmāristānī by Ṣafī al-Dawlah Mālik al-Najm al-Masīḥī, whose dates are also uncertain.

The copy was made by the same copyist, and on the same type of paper, as the previous item in the volume, which was completed on 1 Shaʿbān 1001 (3 May 1593) by an unnamed copyist.The copy appears to be complete.

Dimensions 19.5 × 13.8 (text area 14.3 × 9.2) cm; 15 lines per page. The author and the title are given at the opening of the short treatise. The text area has been frame-ruled. It is written in a medium-large, careful Naskh with occasional vocalization, in black ink with headings and text-breaks in red. Occasionally a tāʾ marbūṭah is written as an everlasting knot. The final recipe and end of the treatise are written within a red ink border. There are catchwords.

There are a very few textual corrections of the text, possibly by the copyist.


NCAM-1, Entry No.195
Golius Sale Cat., Med. Qu. 9
UT, 311 entry XLIX (49) mistakenly written CLIX, item 2; this part is not distinguished from earlier portion
NPAE, 619; this item is not mentioned
5. ff. 96r-97v
Incipit: يا رب سر لم يزل مخزونا • مكتما بين الورى مكنونا فى صحف محجوبه مطويه • مصونه مستوره مخفيه
Explicit: فهذه جمله ما كان ذخر من سر بقراط الحكيم واعتبر فاحفظ ان كنت حفيظا للحكم فانت فى الطب رفيعا كالعلم تمت القضايا الخمس والعشرون والحمد لله وحده وكفى

The copy is unsigned and undated. It is a nearly complete copy of the poem, with a total of ninety-three couplets.

Dimensions 19.5 × 13.8 (text area c.13.7–15.5 × 7.2–10.5 varying) cm; 17–19 lines per page. The title is given at the end as al-Qaḍāyā al-khams wa-al-ʿishrūn. There is a heading on folio 96a1 reading منظومه لطيفه تجمع علائم ابقراط المنذره بالموت : ‘An elegant poem comprising the prognostics of Hippocrates signalling death’.

The text area has not been ruled. The text is written in a later, much more casual and personal hand than the main item in the volume. The casual and personal Naskh, written in black ink, is not fully dotted and there are some ligatures. On folio 96a the poem is written in two columns (couplets 1–16), but from couplet 17 onwards columns are no longer employed and the verse-breaks are not clearly indicated. On an earlier folio in the volume (folio 19b), giving a brief table of contents, a later ornate hand has described this poem as: وفيه منظومه تتضمن العلايم والاقاريب المنذره بالموت السريع والبطى من نظم المرحوم الشيخ شمس الدين بن مكى عفى الله تعالى عنه In it [the manuscript] is a poem comprising the signs and revelations giving warning of [both] swift and slow death, from the poetry of the late al-shaykh Shams al-Dīn ibn Makkī.

The reference might be to Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Makkī (dates uncertain), the author (or compiler) of various poems on medicine, such as on venesection, on the evacuation of humours, and on circumcision, all of which are in Rajaz metre; see Brockelmann, GAL S, ii. 1030 no. 36 (1, 2); al-Munajjid, ṭibb, 330 no. 508; Iskandar, Wellcome, 213, 207−8; and Bethesda, Maryland, NLM, MS. A 34 items 5−7 (Savage-Smith, NLM).

In the margin of folio 96a a later hand has rewritten the first two couplets of the poem. In the margin of 96b a later hand has written the second half of the twenty-first couplet, the second half of the twenty-sixth couplet, and the second half of the twenty-eighth couplet, while in the margin of 97a the second half of couplets seventy-four, seventy-six, and eighty-one are recorded. At the bottom of folio 97b a later hand has written the opening sūrah from the Qurʾān, and a second reader has written a Persian note vertically.

Fragment only

*where Uri misprints CLIX for XLIX f. 97v contains the Fātiḥah

Language(s): Arabic


NCAM-1, Entry No.12B
GAL I 203
UT, 311 entry XLIX (49), mistakenly written CLIX (159), item 3
[Uri Turc. 49* (3), with corrig. Nicoll p. 619]
NPAE, 619, gives the title recorded by the later owner on folio 19b and attributes it to Shams al-Dīn ibn Makkī

Physical Description

Form: codex
16 ff. 1 ff. 73 ff. 4 ff. 2 ff.


The volume is bound in boards covered with European marbled paper. The doublures are of marbled paper folded over. The endpapers are ivory paper with vertical laid lines and single chain lines.


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

Provenance and Acquisition

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 by Narcissus Marsh, Archbishop of Armagh, upon his death in 1713.

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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