Miscellaneous Arabic manuscripts in the Bodleian Library

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Manuscripts of various provenance classified under 'MSS. Arab'. Includes manuscripts discovered during the excavation of the remains of a library and charter room of the Coptic monastery of St. Apollo at Deir el-Bala'izah, near Rifeh, by Prof. Flinders Petrie in 1907.

Other highlights of the collection are an illustrated Arabic version of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides, bequeathed to the Library in 1926 (MS. Arab d. 138), and the recently discovered Book of Curiosities, a late 12th-century or early-13th century manuscript containing a series of rare maps and astronomical diagrams (MS. Arab c. 90).

The shelfmarks of this collection are: MSS. Arab. a. 1-3 (R), b. 1-2, 3-4 (P), 5, 7-9 (P), 10-11, 12 (P), 13, c. 1-36, 37 (P), 38, 40-2, 43-53 (P), 54-7, 58 (P), 59, 60-1 (P), 62-4, 66-7, 69, 70-1 (P), 73-5, 76 (P), 77-85, 86 (R), 87-90, d. 1-7, 9-13, 14 (R), 16, 19-20, 22-5, 28-30, 32, 35-9, 41-3, 44 (P), 45-74, 75 (P), 76-84, 90 (P), 91, 92-6 (P), 97-8, 99-102 (P), 103-12, 113-17 (P), 118 -134, 137-63, 164-72 (P), 173-83, 185-95, 197-209, 210 (P), 211-23, 225-55, e. 1-4, 6-15, 17-19, 23-9, 32, 34, 37-43, 45-53, 55-66, 68-9, 70-8 (P), 79-96, 97-9 (P), 100-30, 131 (P), 132-9, 142-3, 144-8 (P), 149-245, f. 1-4, 6-8, 12-28, 29-33 (P), 34-41, 43-9, 50-9 (P), 60-80, g. 2-3, 4-5 (R), 6, 7 (R), 8-10, 11-23 (R), 24-7, 29 (P), 30, 31 (P), 32-3, 34-41 (R).

Administrative / Biographical History

The manuscripts were acquired from various sources including Professor Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, Archibald Henry Sayce, and Rev. Greville John Chester.

Petrie (1853-1942) first visited Egypt in 1880 to survey the Great Pyramid of Khufu in Giza. He spent the next fifty years excavating in Egypt, before turning his attention to Palestine in 1926. Further details on Petrie, and on A.H. Sayce (1845-1933), Professor of Assyriology at Oxford, may be found in the Dictionary of National Biography. See Who Was Who in Egyptology for a brief biography of Rev. Greville John Chester (1831-92), graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, and author of the Catalogue of the Egyptian antiquities in the Ashmolean museum, Oxford (Oxford, 1881).

Conditions Governing Access

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk).

Acquisition Information

Acquired between 1819 and 2002. The manuscripts found at Deir el-Bala'izah were given by, and bought from Petrie in 1908 and 1909 respectively. Manuscripts were also bought from and bequeathed by Prof. Sayce in 1888 and 1933, bought from Rev. G.J. Chester between c.1878 and 1899, and bought in Tiflis through the British Museum in 1923.

Note

Collection level description created by Susan Thomas, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Some of the manuscripts are in Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series, with references to the oriental and other manuscripts (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vols. II, V-VI, nos. 3116, 8751, 8791, 28120-49, 28155-7, 28298-336, 28478, 28774, 29492, 29615, 29680, 29897-8, 30122, 30139, 30841-4, 30888, 31234, 31315, 31445, 31598-9, 31724, 31982-4, 32350-3, 32373, 32486-8, 32589, 32903, 33015-20, 33338-44, 33450-1, 33705, 33978-9, 34632, 34634-9, 34699-713, 35232-6, 35237-41, 35299-307, 35308-15, 35486-7, 35830-41, 36337-47, 36982-3, 36999-700, 37001-8, 40032-4.

For a complete record of the Bodleian's Arabic manuscripts see the card catalogue in the Oriental Reading Room, which also has a subject index.

Related Material

For further Arabic manuscripts see the oriental manuscripts of Thomas and John Greaves (MSS. Greaves), Archbishop Laud (MSS. Laud Or.), and John Selden (MSS. Arch. Seld. A; MSS. Selden Superius; MSS. Selden Supra).

Geographical Names