Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 985 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Iskandarnāmah (Book of Alexander) by Niẓāmī Ganjavī, (d. ca. 1203)
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): خدایا جهان پادشاهی تو راست * ز ما خدمت آید خدائی تو راست.
Explicit: برگ ۲۳۶ر (folio 236a): هر ازآن درود از جهان آفرين * سوى روضهٔ سید المرسلین.
Colophon: برگ ۲۳۶ر (folio 236a): تمت تمام بعون الملک العلام کتاب سکندرنامه بری من نصنیف حضرت زبدة الواثلین قدوة العارفین غواض بحر المعنوی سالک مسالک مصطفوپی مولاناي حضرت نظاامي گنجوي مدس الله سره بتاریخ بیست و جهارم صفر المظفر در سنه ۱۱۹۴ هجري بروز پنجشنبه بوقت ظهر تحریر یافت بخط کج مج بنده‌‌ٔ کمتبرین امام الدین والد شیخ علي غفر الله ذنوبه و ولده امین برب العالمین.
Explicit: برگ ۲٤٠پ (folio 240b): هر که خواند دعای طمع دارم * ز آنکه من بنده کنه کارم
Colophon: برگ ۲۴۰پ (folio 240b): الهی هر آنکس که این خط نوشت عفو کن گناهانعطا کن بهشت تمت تمام بعون الملک العلام بتاریخ بیست و یکم شهر ربیع الاول سنه ۱۱۹۴ هجری.
Colophon: Two colophons, the first occurs on folio 236a, at the end of the work proper, completed by Imām al-Dīn vālad-i Shaykh ‘Alī on 24 Ṣafar 1194 AH (1 Mar. 1780 CE), the second after the postscript on folio 240b, dated 21 Rabī‘ I 1194 AH (27 Mar. 1780 CE).
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of straight-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury-coloured laid paper handmade in Europe with an unidentified heraldic watermark, with ~10 laid lines per cm and 23 mm between chain lines.
Extent: 240 folios, 4 flyleaves (ff. ii + 240 + ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 185 × 108 mm.
Dimensions (written): 128 × 64 mm.
Foliation: Unfoliated.


Undetermined, but primarily quaternions throughout. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Text in fair condition, with moderate water damage and discolouration in areas.


 Written in 2 columns with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with subheaders in red by Imām al-Dīn vālad-i Shaykh ‘Alī.


Ruling: Vertical column dividers in single-ruled lines, with the surrounding margins double-ruled, and the header on folio 1a triple-ruled, all in red.

Marginalia: Notes written in the margins in various hands throughout. Bookplates:
The final right flyleaf b side (f. ivb): ‘Bequeathed by Samuel Robinson, of Wilmslow, 1884’, with ‘Class: 284; Section: 147, 112; Prog. Nº 39155’
Left pastedown: ‘Samuel Robinson, Blackbrook Cottage, Wilmslow’.


Rebound in the mid to late 19th century by the Winstanley in Manchester, probably for former owner Samuel Robinson.

Resewn on four recessed cord supports, with stiff-leaved endpapers of ivoury adhered to red machine-made wove papers oversewn at the beginning and end. Edges trimmed, finely sprayed in dilute red earth, then decorative front-bead endbands sewn in yellow and red silk threads at head and tail. Case-bound, tight-backed, in half burgundy morocco-grained goatskin leather with five false bands on the spine, and double-combed 'nonpareil' marbled paper sides.

Blind double-fillet lines paletted at head, tail, and beside the bands on the spine, and also along the paper facing the boards. Spine titled
NAMEH.’ and ‘M.S. PERS.’ at tail.

194 × 122 × 35 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In poor condition, with the left board detached. and abrasion to the exterior. Boxed.

Owens College Library, Manchester blind embossed stamp, single-ruled.

19 × 21 mm.


Origin: Completed by Imām al-Dīn vālad-i Shaykh ‘Alī, possibly in the Ottoman empire; 21 Rabī‘ I 1194 AH (27 Mar. 1780 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Manchester merchant and scholar Samuel Robinson (1794–1884) of Wilmslow, the author of Persian Poetry for English Readers (1883), who donated it to Owens College (the original institution that evolved into the of The University of Manchester today).

Transferred to the John Rylands Library in 1972 after it merged with the University of Manchester.

Record Sources

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


The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader, see Becoming a Reader for details. Please contact uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.


    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. 277–278.

Funding of Cataloguing

The John Rylands Research Institute


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