Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 973 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The second part of the first volume of the Ḥabīb al-Siyar (Beloved of Biographies) continued from Persian MS 272 completed by the author Ghiyās̲ al-Dīn ibn Humām al-Dīn (ca. 1475–1535) known as Khvāndamīr (1487–1524 CE), in 937 AH (1530–31 CE). A popular general history covering the pre-Islamic period up to the time of Shāh Ismāʿīl I, the entire work consists of a preface, an introduction, three volumes—each of which contains four sections appended with lists of names of prominent figures associated with each period—followed by an epilogue. This volume covers the early Islamic period up to the medieval Khwarazm empire. An unidentified scribe completed this volume on 22 Jumādá II 1055 AH (16 Aug. 1645 CE) during the reign of Safavid ruler ShāhʿAbbās II..
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): ربنا اتنا من لنک رحمه و هی لنا من امر
Explicit: برگ۵۷۳پ (folio 537b): ...تو زشاهان روزگار که داد.
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of heavy-weight, cross-grained, heavily flocked, buff-coloured, sized and polished paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~5 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 373 folios (ff. 373).
Dimensions (leaf): 295 × 170 mm.
Dimensions (written): × mm.
Foliation: Unfoliated.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


In good condition.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.

Inscriptions: Folio 1a bears a price of 10 rupees.


Quarter bound in brown goatskin leather with 'antique spot' patterned marbled paper sides.

270 × 165 × mm.

Binding in good condition.


Origin: Probably completed by an unidentified scribe in Greater Iran; 22 Jumādá II 1055 AH (16 Aug. 1645 CE) during the reign of Safavid ruler ShāhʿAbbās II.

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned by Jean-Baptiste Gentil (1726–1799 CE) as per his seal impressions on folios 1a and 3a. Presumably sold by Gentil before his death or by his family thereafter; however the circumstances of the volume's arrival in Britain remain unclear. Note that although Siavash Rafiee-Rad implies that Samuel Robinson of Wilmslow formerly owned this manuscript, we find no external nor internal evidence to suggest this.

Unknown. Probably transferred from the University of Manchester Library to the John Rylands Library after the institutions merged in 1973.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description derived from Siavash Rafiee-Rad, 'Persian Manuscripts in Samuel Robinson’s Collection in The John Rylands Library' (2017).

Record created and manuscript description amended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the volume in hand.


To book an in-person or online appointment to consult the manuscript, visit Using the Special Collections Reading Rooms. For any other enquiries please email uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk.


    P. Bockholt, Ein Bestseller der islamischen Vormoderne Zur Verbreitung von Ḫvāndamīrs Ḥabīb as-siyar von Anatolien bis auf den indischen Subkontinent (Vienna: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 2022), pp. 127, tbl no. 5, 130, Appendix 252–253.
    S. Rafiee-Rad, 'Persian Manuscripts in Samuel Robinson’s Collection in The John Rylands Library', Manuscripta: A Journal for Manuscript Research, Vol. 61, No. 2 (2017): pp. 256–257.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum, 1879), pp. 98–102 [BL Add. 23508, &c.].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. 1 Pt. 1 (London: Luzac & Co., 1927), pp. 101–102, 104–109, no. 125 (3).

Funding of Cataloguing

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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