Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

RSPA 26 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Jones Collection

Royal Society Arabic and Persian


Part of Firdawsī's Shāh-nāmah; third of four in Jones collection.

Language(s): Persian

Incipit: چو شنید رستم بر انکیخت اسب *** بمیدان درآمد چو ازر کشب
Explicit: نبرد رهام کودرز با بادمان

This manuscript does not have a basmalah.

The manuscript was likely commissioned and copied for a European (possibly Jones himself), given the choice of paper, the lack of basmalah and the pristine condition, which suggests no previous owners or users.

This is the third of four manuscripts which together comprise a section of the Shāhnāmah. The catchwords and text run on from one manuscript to the next with no break. The other manuscripts in this series are MSs RSPA 24, 25 and 27. Jones's copy of the complete text is MS RSPA 23.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Strong white European paper with "C&S's" watermark.
Extent: ff.iii+264+ii
Dimensions (leaf): 220 × 170 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160 × 120 mm.

European numerals in pencil.


Textblock in excellent condition. Completely broken binding.



Very neat black taʿlīq with rubrications.



On f1r, Jones has written "Book III رمز رستم با برزو Rustam and Borzū"


Brown leather and board binding. Completely broken.

Accompanying Material


Origin: 1700 - 1792 CE ; India

Provenance and Acquisition

RSPA 1-118 were presented to the Royal Society in January 1792 by Sir William and Lady Jones. 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. 21 no. XXIV-XXVII


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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