Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

RSPA 106 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Jones Collection

Royal Society Arabic and Persian


1 copy of Kitāb al-Ḥamāsah by Abū Tammām

Language(s): Arabic

This ms has a title page f.1r in Arabic which includes an index.

Jones wrote two prefatory notes. On f.1v "This book was copied from a manuscript on transparent paper traced at Oxford on an inestimable copy of the Hamasah which Pocock had brought from Aleppo and on which he set a high value. I gave ten guineas to the boy who traced it and I value this book at least at twenty guineas. W. Jones 26th Nov 1788". On f2r "The Hamasah or Ancient Arabian Poems collected by Abu Temmam".

Incipit: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم. باب الحماسة. قال بعض شعراء بلعنب واسمه قريظ ابن أنيف.
Explicit: انقضى الباب ةبانقضائه تم كتاب الحماسة
Colophon: قد تم هذا التحرير بأمر قدوة الأكابر وعدوة الأعيان وعين الوجود والزمان فخر القضاة والحكام محرر القضايا والأحكام مخدومنا سر وليم يونس الذي هو أحد حكام العدالة العالية السلطانية بدار الأمارة كلكتة المحمية على يد زاير الحرمين الشريفين الحاج عبد الله المكي وذلك يوم الجمعة المباركة الثاني من شهر صفر الخير سنة ألف مايتين وثلاثة من الهجرة والحمد لله رب العالمين.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Pro patria, GR, J.W. and Taylor watermarks on strong cream European paper.
Extent: ff.iii+203+iv
Dimensions (leaf): 315 × 195 mm.
Dimensions (written): 200 × 100 mm.

European numerals in pencil.


There is hardly any damage; f.127 and f.128 are ripped but have been repaired. The binding is slightly damaged between f.1 and endpaper.



Black thuluth script with rubrications in the hand of al-Ḥajj ʿAbd Allāh al-Makkī


The pages are part-burnished over the text and have gilding around the edge.


There are many annotations by Jones particularly in chapters 1 (Ḥamāsah), 2 (Marāthī) and 4 (Nasīb). These are principally the metre on certain poems and translations of others (of either the whole or a part) into English. There are also some notes in Latin. He also occasionally transliterates the name of the poet and write a note about him, e.g f.125v.


Half-leather India Office maroon-brown binding with marbled endpapers

Accompanying Material


Origin: 2_Ṣafar_1203 AH; 2 November 1788 CE ; India

Provenance and Acquisition

RSPA 1-118 were presented to the Royal Society in January 1792 by Sir William and Lady Jones. According to Wilkins, this manuscript was presented by Sir William Jones.

The Royal Society's collection of 280 Persian and Arabic, and 86 Sanskrit manuscripts were transferred to the India Office Library in 1876.


India Office Library

Record Sources

Manuscript description based on E. Denison Ross and E. G. Browne, Catalogue of two collections of Persian and Arabic manuscripts preserved in the India Office Library (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1902), p. 70 no. CVI


Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card for admissions procedures contact British Library, Registering for a Reader Pass. Contact apac-enquiries@bl.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript. For information on catalogues and ordering manuscripts see Finding and ordering Persian manuscripts in the British Library.

Funding of Cataloguing



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