Society and Culture in the Early Modern Middle East: Studies on Iran in the Safavid Period (Islamic History and Civilization)

SOCIETY AND CULTURE IN THE EARLY MODERN MIDDLE EAST
  • Book Title:
 Society And Culture In The Early Modern Middle East
  • Book Author:
Andrew J. Newman
  • Total Pages
448
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About the Book – SOCIETY AND CULTURE IN THE EARLY MODERN MIDDLE EAST


The volume comprises a collection of 20 of the 43 papers presented at the Third International Round Table on Safavid Persia, held at the University of Edinburgh in August, 1998 and edited by the Round Table’s organiser.

The Third Round Table, the largest of the series to date, continued the emphasis of its predecessors on understanding and appreciating the legacy of the Safavid period by means of exchanges between both established and ‘newer’ scholars drawn from a variety of fields to facilitate an exchange of ideas, information, and methodologies across a broad range of academic disciplines between scholars from diverse disciplines and research backgrounds with a common interest in the history and culture of this period of Iran’s history.

NEW LIGHT ON THE REIGN OF SHAH ‘ABBÀS: VOLUME III OF THE AFÛAL AL-TAVÀRÌKH

In circumstances already noted briefly elsewhere,1 while routinely checking early manuscripts of Iskandar Beg Munshì’s Tàrìkh-i ‘Àlam- àrà-yi ‘Abbàsì, I came across a chronicle that had been incorrectly catalogued as Iskandar Beg’s history in the Library of Christ’s College, Cambridge.2 

Subsequent closer inspection of the text revealed it to be the third volume of the Afûal al-Tavàrìkh of Faûlì b. Zayn al- ‘Àbidìn Khùzànì, covering the reign of Shah ‘Abbàs. The name of the author appears as Faûlì b. Zaynal b. Khvàjeh Rù˙-Allàh Ißfahànì in a deleted passage (f. 20r) at the end of the index (see Plate 1).

It is not necessary to substantiate this identification here,3 though I will make some observations on the author at the end. Rather, this paper will concentrate on the issues raised by the discovery of the manuscript and by its unfinished state, and evaluate the significance of the work for the study of Shah ‘Abbàs’s reign.

In the space avail- able, it is not possible to pursue all these questions fully, but I hope to point to some of the directions that might prove fruitful in future.

The investigation of this large and rich text is still in progress. Ms. Dd.5.6 reached Christ’s College from the collection of John Hutton of Marske in Yorkshire (d. 1841), who is described by Peile as a patron of societies for agriculture, literature and science. ‘He made a very valuable collection of books, chiefly Oriental (also 50 mss. Arabic, Persian, Hindustani—catalogue published by F. Jenkinson, Univy. Librarian).’

These were inherited by his brother Timothy of Clifton Castle, who left them to the College in 1861.4 This simple statement proves to be more mysterious than it seems.

First, there is no record of F. Jenkinson’s catalogue of Hutton’s manuscripts ( Jenkinson was Cambridge University Librarian from 1889 to his death in 1923), nor of any competence on his part in this field.5 Secondly, though the catalogue mentioned is presumably a draft version of Browne’s, this was not published until several years after Peile’s reference to it.

Thirdly, Browne identifies only twenty of the Christ’s mss. as the gift of Hutton, not fifty, but a brief inspection of the whole collection reveals that forty-eight of the volumes bear Hutton’s bookplate, and two others, which lack their original covers, were certainly his too.6 The manuscript itself is of large dimensions: a text block of 9

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