Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 141 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A Latin-Persian miscellany of eight works, all probably copied by—and all but one likely authored by—Autrian orientalist and dragoman Franz Lorenz von Dombay (1758–1810), who served the Habsburg government as interpreter in Tangier, Madrid, Zagreb and Vienna. Undated, but probably completed in the late 18th century CE.
Language(s): Latin, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish
1. 3a
Title: Rudimenta Linguae Persicae

A grammar of the Persian language in Latin in seventeen chapters, later published by von Dombay.

Language(s): Latin and Persian
2. 27a
Title: Mas̱alhā-yi Zabān-i Fārsī
Title: مثلهای زبان فارسی

A collection of a hundred Persian expressions and proverbs with Latin translation by Levinus Warner, published in Leiden by Johannes Maire (ca. 1576–1657) in 1644 (cf. title page, f. 27a) as Proberbiorum et Sententiarum Persicarum Centuria collecta et versione notisque adornata a Levino Warnero. Title page published in Schmidt, fig. 22.

Language(s): Latin and Persian
3. 39a
Title: Sententiae Persicae Quinquaginta

A collection of fifty Persian sentences, with Latin translation.

Language(s): Latin and Persian
4. 46a
Title: Proverbiorum Turcicorum Centuria I

A collection of a hundred Turkish proverbs, beginning with an elif, with Latin translations. For fully transliterated transcriptions of the Ottoman, see Ekinci, pp. 57–60.

Incipit: Ası̣lacaḳ sụda boġulmaz = Suspendendus aquis non submergitur.
Language(s): Latin and Ottoman Turkish
5. 58a
Title: Proverbiorum Turcicorum Centuria II

A collection of a hundred Turkish proverbs, beginning with the letters elif and vāv, to those beginning with cīm and çīm, with Latin translations. For fully transliterated transcriptions of the Ottoman, see Ekinci, pp. 61–64.

Incipit: Ölüler içün aġlama deliler içün aġla = Ob mortuos non fle, sed ob stultos
Language(s): Latin and Ottoman Turkish
6. 70a
Title: Proverbiorum Turcicorum Centuria III

A collection of a hundred Turkish proverbs, beginning with the letters cīm and çīm to those beginning with ā, with Latin translations. For fully transliterated transcriptions of the Ottoman, see Ekinci, pp. 64–68.

Incipit: Çūn tīr-i ḳażā kemān-i ḳaderden atı̣lur siper-i ḥazer ile defʿ olunmaz = Cum sagitta decreti ex arcu providentiae jaita est, scuto cautionis non repellitur
Language(s): Latin and Ottoman Turkish
7. 82a
Title: Proverbiorum Turcicorum Centuria IV

A collection of a hundred Turkish proverbs, beginning with the letters ā and mīm to those beginning with mīm, with Latin translations. For fully transliterated transcriptions of the Ottoman, see Ekinci, pp. 68–72.

Incipit: Ṭamʿa-kār olmazsa ḍolandırıcı aç kalur = Nisi avarus foret, deceptor famelicus mansisset.
Language(s): Latin and Ottoman Turkish
8. 94a
Title: Proverbia Turcica Quadraginta

A collection of forty Turkish proverbs, beginning with the letter nūn to those beginning with a yā, with Latin translations. For fully transliterated transcriptions of the Ottoman, see Ekinci, pp. 72–74.

Incipit: Ne Șāmʾuñ sȩkeri neʿArabʾuñ ḳara yüzi = Nec saccharum damasci, nec mauri vultus nige’
Language(s): Latin and Ottoman Turkish

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Straight-grained, ivory-coloured paper with a ‘Pro Patria’ 'Maid of Dordrecht' watermark above the initials ‘F R K’ measuring 106 × 99 mm. , with ~9 laid lines per cm and 24 mm between chain lines, produced in the 18th century. Published: Heawood, no. 3696 and Churchill, no. 139.
Extent: 98 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 98 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 322 × 203 mm.
Text dimensions vary throughout
Foliation: Foliated in modern pencilled Arabic numerals on the uppper-right corners of the a sides, with 45Aa duplicated, hence over by one.


Apparently comprised of different booklets completed at different times then subsequently bound together. Primarily sexternions 1XIII(26)1VI(38)1IV(45)4VI(93)1III-1(98). No catchwords.


Text in excellent condition.


Written from left-to-right in a European manner in 1 to 2 columns, with 15 to 25 lines per page. Unruled, but folded to create vertical columns as guides.


Written in clear black naskh and Latin by Franz von Dombay .

  • The left pastedown bears what may be an unidentified shelf mark ‘1/E’.
  • The first left flyleaf b side (f. ib) bears what appears to be another shelf mark, ‘B.1.’, probably in Dombay's hand.
Bookplates: The left pastedown bears three bookplates:
  • A large bookplate of Frederic North, 5th Earl of Guilford (1766–1827) numbered ‘Nº 123’.
  • Bland MSS 363’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘141’ written aside.
  • ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/B’


Probably bound in the late 18th century for Franz von Dombay.

Unsupported sewing on several stations. Spine lined with cloth, edges left untrimmed. No endbands. Covered in half decorated pastepaper on the spine and fore-edge of the boards with finely spattered pebble marbled paper sides.

Spine panels palleted with triple fillets, with a red paper label titled
, all in gold.

315 × 217 × 26 mm.

Binding in good condition, with minor abrasion along the edges.


Origin: Completed by Franz von Dombay (1758–1810), possibly in Vienna; undated, but probably late 18th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

After Donbay's death, presumably sold by his family then later acquired by Frederic North, 5th Earl of Guilford (1766–1827), evidently after his succession in 1817 as per his bookplate, possibly in Italy, and catalogued by Machell Stace (1764–1842) (now British Library Add Ms 16180–16181), then taken to Corfu.

North intended to bequeath his library to the Ionian Academy (Ιόνιος Ακαδημία) which he established as a university in 1824; however, the government refused his stipulations, So, his surviving family members retrieved and sold his library through the London firm of Robert Harding Evans (1778–1857) at eight auctions between 1828 to 1835, with this volume appearing in the final sale on 16 Nov. 1835.

Possibly purchased at the sale by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865) for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead.

After Bland's death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in June, 1866, paid in two instalments of £450 and £400, and then moved to Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1908 to the John Rylands Library, Manchester.

For a description of the contents, see Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester and for a full transliterated transcription, see Mehmet Uğur Ekinci's (2013) essay.

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript handlist by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description 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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


    W. A. Churchill, Watermarks in Paper: in Holland, England, France, etc., in the XVII and XVIII centuries and their interconnection (Amsterdam: Menno Hertzberger, 1935), p. ci, no. 135.
    Franz von Dombay, Grammatica Linguae Persicae = Taʻlīm-i Ṭūṭī-yi Zabān-i Fārsī. Vindobonae: apud Albertum Camesina, 1804.
    Mehmet Uğur Ekinci, 'Franz von Dombay'ın (1758-1810) Türkçe Atasözleri ve Deyimler Derlemesi [Franz von Dombay’s (1758-1810) Compilation of Turkish Proverbs and Idioms]' Türkbilig, no. 25 (2013): pp. 55-74.
    R. H. Evans, Catalogue of the Remaining Portion of the Library of the Late Earl of Guilford Removed from Corfu...: Which Will Be Sold by Auction by Mr. Evans... on Monday November 9th and Seven Following Days (London: Printed by W. Nicol, 1835), p. 85 no. 1567.
    E. Glasgow, 'Lord Guilford and the Ionian Academy'. Library History, Vol. 18, No. 2 (July 2002): pp. 140-143.
    E. Heawood, Watermarks, Mainly of the 17th and 18th Centuries (Hilversum: Paper Publications Society 1950), p. 47, pl. 491, no. 3696.
    A. Hobson, 'Frederick North, Fifth Earl of Guilford'. Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society: Great collectors and their grand designs: a centenary celebration of the life and work of A. N. L. Munby , Vol. 15, No. 3 (2014): pp. 73–83.
    J. R. Hodgson, '"Spoils of Many a Distant Land": The Earls of Crawford and the Collecting of Oriental Manuscripts in the Nineteenth Century'. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 48 No. 6 (2020): pp. 1023, 1038 n66.
    Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester (Leiden: Brill, 2011), pp. 302–303.
    Jan Schmidt, Franz von Dombay, Austrian Dragoman at the Bosnian Border 1792–1800'. Wiener Zeitschrift Für Die Kunde Des Morgenlandes, No. 90 ((2000)): pp. 75–168.
    C. von Wurzbach, Biografisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, Vol. III (1858), pp. 353–354.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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