Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 398 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Volume 1 of the Ḥabīb al-Siyar (Beloved of Biographies) 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 first volume, completed by ‘Abd al-Ghafūr valad-i Qāz̤ī Muḥammad Ja‘far in Jalalpore 17 Ẕū -al-Qa‘dah 1146 AH (21 Apri. 1733 CE), covers the early Islamic period.
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): لطایف اخبار لآلی نشار انبیاء عالیمقرار شرایف آثار یعانی رثار(؟) سلاطین ذو الاقتدار جمید الاثر...
Explicit: برگ ۲۳۳ر (folio 233a): کو هیج ذکر مناثین(؟) چون مست غمت * چون هست غمت ذکر چه غم دارم من.
Colophon: برگ ۲۳۳ر (folio 233a): تمام شد مجلد اول کتاب حبیب السیر فلله الحمد و المنت. تمام شد بعون الله الملک الحي القیوم جلد اول جبیب السیر تباریخ هفدهم روز جمعه شهر ذو القعده سنه ۱۱۴۶. کاتب الخروف فقیر حقیر اضعف العباد عبد الغفور ولد مرحم مغفور قاضی محمد جعفر ساکنا جلالپوری سرکار بهگر
Colophon: Completed by ‘Abd al-Ghafūr valad-i Qāz̤ī Muḥammad Ja‘far in Jalalpore 17 Ẕū -al-Qa‘dah 1146 AH (21 Apri. 1733 CE).
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: 461 folios, 7 flyleaves (ff. v + 461 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 321 × 210 mm.
Dimensions (written): 244 × 122 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in black Hindu-Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides throughout.
Foliation: Pencilled Arabic numerals on the initial flyleaves.


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


In good condition, with moderate water historical repairs at the beginning and end.


Written in 1 column with 23 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with red subheaders by ‘Abd al-Ghafūr valad-i Qāz̤ī Muḥammad Ja‘far.

Table of Contents: written in another hand on the third right flyleaf b side to fifth a side (ff. iiib–va).
Inscriptions: Bookplates: Left doublure: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘1/B’, ‘Hamilton MSS No. 315’.


Probably rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in Multan for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton between 1850 and 1863, since it comports with others rebound for him at that time.

Sewn two stations, unsupported, with edges trimmed and Islamic-style twined chevron endbands in green and red silk threads at head and tail. Covered in full, tight-backed polished red goatskin leather over pasteboards, with squares at the edges, and defined joints, but without a flap (type III binding per Déroche). Internal doublures of the same leather, with the excess width adhered to the first and last flyleaves, with strips of paper applied over top to disguise the overlaps.

Board margins ruled with double yellow lines. Spine titled in handwritten yellow nasta‘līq.

335 × 228 × 77 mm.

In good condition. Some whitened salts on the interior


Origin: Completed by Completed by ‘Abd al-Ghafūr valad-i Qāz̤ī Muḥammad Ja‘far in Jalalpore; 17 Ẕū-al-Qa‘dah 1146 AH (21 Apri. 1733 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner in Delhi. He acquired over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts, from which the British Museum selected 352, now held in the British Library.

Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder of Hamilton's collection in 1868.

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.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue 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.


    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. 253–256.
    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

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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