Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts

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Oriental (non-western) manuscripts summary listing

March 2014: the descriptor [good/fair/poor/unusable] in square brackets following a manuscript's title indicates its current physical condition as assessed by Oxford Conservation Consortium in January-July 2014. Those in poor condition will not normally be produced for researchers, and those rated unusable not produced at all, until conservation treatment has been carried out in order to prevent further damage during consultation. Poor or unusable manuscripts may also not be fit to photograph safely, including by staff. If you do want to consult or request images from a manuscript that is not currently in a state to produce or photograph safely, please let us know - active research interest is of course a key factor in determining our conservation priorities.

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Digital images of the college's manuscripts are placed online as they are created, usually on demand. Images are linked to from individual entries on these catalogue pages. The digitisation programme is shaped by researchers' requests rather than e.g. starting with MS 1, so if you require images for your research from a manuscript only partially photographed or not yet represented in the Flickr collection, please get in touch to have it added to the 'to-do' list.


323. Turkish Imād al-Islām (the old title is: The Pillar of Islam, or The Faith; an Explication of the Faith and Religious Rites of the Turks).(AH 979 = AD 1571/2) [condition: fair]

324. Turkish 'Umdat al Hukkām, by Pīrī Effendī (the old title is : The Pillar of Government, being a Collection of the Laws and Customs of the Mohammedans). (AH 1112 = AD 1700/1) [condition: good]

325. Arabic (AH 1113 = AD 1701/2). al-Durr al-muntakhab fī tārīkh mamlaka Halab, an anonymous abridgement of Nuzhat al-nawāzir fī raud al-manāzir, a history of Aleppo by Abu 'l-Fadl Muhammad b. Muhammad b. al-Shihna al-Halabī (d.890/1485). [condition: good]

326. Turkish (AH 1026 = AD 1617). Tārīkh-i Muntakhab (the old title is: A Compendium of the Turkish History: beginning from Adam.) [condition: good]

327. Arabic (1 Ailūl 7086 of Creation = 1 September AD 1578.) Christian writings in translation: (1) Kitāb al-Burhān, an account of a conversion to Christianity, ascribed to Ya'qūb al-Yahūdi (Jacob the Jew); (2) The Twelve Testaments of Stomatathalassa to his disciple Theon. (3) Yuhannā al-Dimashqī (St John Damascene), Discourse on the Annunciation; cf Paris BN fonds arabe 151; (4) Prayers to the Virgin, followed by other prayers upon various occasions. [condition: fair]

328. Arabic (7050 of Creation = AD 1542) Psalter and Old Testament Chronicles, translated into Arabic.[condition: fair]

364. Hebrew. Pentateuch (the beginning lost), Ruth, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Esther and the Haftaroth. (Dated AM 5063 = AD 1303.) [condition: good]

365. Arabic. Halbat al Mujallī, a commentary by Abu 'l-Yumn Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Amīr Hājj al-Halabī on Munyat al-musallī, a well-known treatise on prayer by Sadīd al-Dīn al Kāshgarī (Dated Safar 1125 = February.March AD 1713) [condition: good]

366. Amharic. Contents not described. Inside the front cover is: 'Amharic MS, purchased of Abyssinian Monks at Jerusalem, and presented to the College, 1880, by Rev GJ Chester.' [condition: fair]

368. Persian. Sa'dī, Būstān. (Colophon dated 7 Dhu 'l-Qa'da 801 (11 July 1399, but this appears to be an 18th century transcript.) 166ff; arabic numbering omits 55. [condition: good]

369. Persian. Hafiz, Dīwān. (Apparently 18th century) [condition: good]

370. Persian. Sa'dī, Gulistān. (Dated 28 Rabī' ii 958 = 5 May 1551) [condition: good] images online

371. Armenian. 'Armenian Songs' (wth a few in Turkish), a list of 84 titles is inserted in the MS. (C18, first half) [condition: poor] Contents of MS 371 images online

372. Armenian. 'Book of Prayers.' (C18 or 19) [condition: poor] images online

373. Armenian. 'Breviary or Book of Hours.' (C18 or 19) [condition: fair]

374. Turkish, in Armenian characters. 'Service-book for the Mass.' (C18) [condition: fair] images online

375. Armenian. 'Treasury of Truth, comprising (1) brief collection of Christian teaching, (2) translation of Cardinal Borromei's will, copied by the hand of George son of Haji Feduhi AD 1766' with 'a collection of prayers and hymns to the Virgin, etc.' (C19) [condition: good]

376. Arabic Koran. (Probably C16) [condition: fair]

377. Hebrew The Book of Esther, with the prayers on a separate slip of parchment wrapped round the stick. (C17 or 18) [condition: good]

378. Ethiopic. Prayers of the Virgin Mary. [condition: fair] images online

382. Hebrew. Old Testament, with additions - Neubauer (see MS 364) no 2542. (AM 5251 = AD 1491) images online [condition: fair]

385. Pali. 1-9. A Kamma-vācā, one of the common catechetical manuals of Buddhism (published by O Frankfurter, Handbook of Pali 1883, 141-50.) 10-21. Another, imperfect at end (apparently the text published from an Eton College MS by GLM Clauson, Journal of the Pali Text Society 1906-7, 1-8). [condition: fair]

386. Pali. Part of the Vinaya-pitaka, a canonical work on monastic discipline, being the Pācittiya and Sekhiya, which complete the Bhikkunī-vibhanga (edited by H Oldenberg, Vinaya-pitaka iv, 1882, 1-207.) [condition: fair]

426. Canarese (?) An unidentified work on 122 palm-leaves between wooden boards. [condition: fair]

427. Hebrew. One sheet from a Roll of the Law (54 lines) in a large hand. [condition: good]

428. Hindustani. Contemporary copy of the 19th century Land Register of the village of Dharmpur in the Punjab, together with the original of a lecture in English on the Indian village-community, based upon it, by Sir James Wilson (Balliol 1874). [condition: fair] Conservation treatment 2016-17 - handle with care.

446. Arabic. 'Unwān al-Sharaf, a treatise of Shāfite Law by Sharaf al Dīn al-Mukrī. (Probably C19. Formerly numbered 364 and 365A.) [condition: good]

447. Persian. Hāfiz, Collected Poems. (AH 1315 = AD 1897.) 242 ff. 11 1/2 x 6 1/2". No ornament. [condition: fair] Provenance: On the first page is 'Present from Mirza Mohammed to Colonel CA Kemball' and in another hand 'and from him to CN Seddon'. Given to Balliol with MSS 448, 449 and 450 by Mrs Barbara Pocock and NR Seddon (Balliol 1929) in memory of their father Cn Seddon (Balliol 1889), University Lecturer in Persian. images online

448. Persian Yūsufi, Jāmi 'al-fawā id, a treatise on medicine preceded (ff 1-5) by some anonymous medical verses. (late C16) 100ff. 6 3/4 x 4 1/2". Written in black and red, with a few illuminated headpieces. First leaf of text damaged. [condition: unusable] Provenance: Given to Balliol with MSS 447, 449 and 450 by Mrs Barbara Pocock and NR Seddon (Balliol 1929) in memory of their father CN Seddon (Balliol 1889), University Lecturer in Persian.

449. Persian. Jāmī ('Abd al-Rahmān), a selection from his poetry and prose. (AH 931/2 = AD 1525/6.) 189ff. Much disordered and some missing. 9 x 8 ". Little ornament. [condition: fair] Provenance: Given to Balliol with MSS 447, 448, and 450 by Mrs Barbara Pocock and NR Seddon (Balliol 1929) in memory of their father Cn Seddon (Balliol 1889), University Lecturer in Persian.

450. Persian. Jāmī, Dīwān, copied by Ahmad ibn Muhammad Taqī al-Shīrazī. (AH 1288 = AD 1871.) 316 ff. 8 3/4 x 6". No ornament. [condition: good] Provenance: Given to Balliol with MSS 447, 448, and 449 by Mrs Barbara Pocock and NR Seddon (Balliol 1929) in memory of their father CN Seddon (Balliol 1889), University Lecturer in Persian. images online

452. Koran. [condition: unusable] no further description yet available.

472. MS – on palm leaves [condition: fair]. Palm leaf manuscript, probably copied in the last few centuries, of one of the canonical texts of the Pali canon, the Brahmajala sutta.  It is provided with a sort of interlinear gloss, or to be more precise, each sentence of the sutta is followed by a re-statement of the sentence in a more grammatically complete and orderly way.  This is then followed, in the second half (or .6, really) of the manuscript by a Sinhala translation and annotation, and at the end there is some as yet unidentified additional material. [Many thanks to Prof C Minkowski for this information.] Further description needed. Provenance: gift of Dame Stephanie Shirley.

476. MS on palm leaves, no further description as yet. Provenance: given to Prof B Blumberg as Master of the College.


MSS 1-50

MSS 51-100

MSS 101-150

MSS 151-200

MSS 201-250

MSS 251-300

MSS 301-350

MSS 351-400

MSS 401-450

MSS 451-475

- Anna Sander

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Updated 12.v.17
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