Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Add. 1570 (University Library, Cambridge University)

Oriental Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Though not a pandect, this magisterial codex, likely produced in a royal scriptorium by at least ten scribes (Feśśeḥa Ṣeyon, Yoḥannes, Takla Hāymānot, Zamikā’ēl, Zakrestos, Kefla Gabre’ēl, Habta Mikā’ēl, Takla Māryām, Takla Abrehām, Fequra Iyasus), contains the vast majority of books belonging to the Ethiopian Old Testament canon. The codex is fully intact except for the loss of one sheet, the innermost bifolium of its twenty-sixth quire, resulting in the absence of nearly all of Micah and Joel. The concluding leaves of the codex contain records in Amharic of various property sales, chiefly from the late-eighteenth century, transacted between members of the Ethiopian nobility. The date of the work is written in the first colon at the end of 2 Kings: the 27th year of Särs’ä Dəngəl's reign.
ff. 1r-7r

Extracts from

Title: Enoch
Language(s): Geez
ff. 7r-87v
Title: Pentateuch
Language(s): Geez
f. 17-34
Title: Genesis
ff. 35-48
Title: Exodus
ff. 49-59
Title: Leviticus
ff. 60-73
Title: Numbers
ff. 74-87
ff. 88r-96v
Title: Joshua
Language(s): Geez
ff. 97r-104v
Title: Judges
Language(s): Geez
ff. 105
Title: Ruth
Language(s): Geez
ff. 106r-116v
Title: 1 Samuel
Language(s): Geez
Title: 2 Samuel
ff. 126r-135v
Title: 1 Kings
Language(s): Geez
ff. 136r-145v
Title: 2 Kings
ff. 146
Title: A list of Judah’s Kings, Israel’s Kings, and Prophets
ff. 147r-163v
Language(s): Geez
ff. 147r-153v
Title: Proverbs
ff. 154r-156r
ff. 156v-163r
ff. 163r-173v
Title: Job
Language(s): Geez
ff. 174r-188r
Title: Isaiah
Language(s): Geez
ff. 188v-199v
Language(s): Geez
ff. 188v-190v
Title: Hosea
ff. 191r-192r
Title: Amos
f. 192v
Title: Micah

Only the first 5 verses remain. The rest and hearly the whole of Joel being contained on two leaves, now missing.

f. 193r
Title: Joel

Last verses and colophon only.

f. 193r
Title: Obadiah
f. 193r
Title: Jonah
f. 193v
Title: Nahum
f. 194
Title: Habakkuk
f. 195r
Title: Zephaniah
ff. 195v
Title: Haggai
ff. 196r-198r
Title: Zechariah
ff. 198v-200r
Title: Malachi
ff. 200r-227v
Title: Jeremiah
Language(s): Geez

The four works associated with Jeremiah are treated as one.

f. 225
Title: Baruch
ff. 226r-227r
f. 227v
ff. 228v-236r
Language(s): Geez

4 Esdras 3-14

ff. 236v-243v
Title: Daniel
Language(s): Geez
ff. 244r-267v
Title: Ezekiel
Language(s): Geez

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 267 ff.
Dimensions (leaf): 42 × 35 cm.


3 columns, 40 lines per leaf. Folios 1-4 and 56 are blank.


Written in black ink.

  • Marginalia The work contains some Amharic marginalia; the concluding leaves ff. 260-267 contain sales contracts and property listings, written in Amharic, of members of Ethiopian nobility, dated roughly to 1750-1780.
  • Marginalia After the colophon on f.173v some quotations from a comentator have been added.


Thick wooden boards. Red bling tooled leather.

The book has been heavily restored with new endbands, sewn on supports, board edges and corners recovered. The second of the double leaf has been removed.


Origin: Late 16th cent. during the 27th year of Sarsa Dengel, Negus of Ethiopia, -1597ሠርፀ ድንግል f. 146, CE; Ethiopia. The second colophon states that the work was translated by Jacob the Israelite from Hebrew to Ge‘ez, and was written by the scribe Waldä Giyorgis for Queen Maryam Səna the wife of Sarsa Dengel, Negus of Ethiopia, -1597 .

Provenance and Acquisition


According to a note on the inside front cover, the manuscript was acquired during the Napier expedition: “Abyssinian Bible. Taken from King Theodore at the storming of Magdala by the officers of H.M. Madras engineers and presented by them to Captain Sotham(?) of H.M.H. transport “Middlesex” June 1868”. Donated to Cambridge University by Armbruster, C. H. (Carl Hubert), 1874-1957 on 19 August 1957

Record Sources

Description based on Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library / by Edward Ullendorff and Stephen G. Wright; with a contribution by D.A. Hubbard.Cambridge University Press.1961 . Codicological description enhanced by Ted Erho


Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card for admissions procedures contact Cambridge University Library Admissions. Contact near_eastern@lib.cam.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript


    Catalogue of Ethiopian manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library / by Edward Ullendorff and Stephen G. Wright ; with a contribution by D.A. Hubbard., Ullendorff, Edward (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1961)

Funding of Cataloguing



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