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Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh (Compendium of Chronicles by Rashid al-Din), 714 A.H. (1314 C.E.)

Identifier: Or Ms 20
Jami' al-Tawarikh (Compendium of Chronicles by Rashid al-Din)
Jami' al-Tawarikh (Compendium of Chronicles by Rashid al-Din)

Scope and Contents

This work, the greatest oriental treasure of Edinburgh University Library, is one of the supreme masterpieces of Persian book painting and one of the most important medieval manuscripts from either West or East. It was written by the historian and vizier to the Ilkhanid court, Rashid al-Din, and copied in Tabriz by the author's own scribes and illustrators. There is some debate as to the exact date of this manuscript, but it was almost certainly completed within the author's lifetime, making it one of the earliest copies in existence.
This work is a world history which encompasses a range of cultures, from China in the East, to Ireland in the West, from the time of Adam. It is written in the Naskh script and contains 70 illustrated folios.


  • 714 A.H. (1314 C.E.)


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open, but please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

While serving as a high-ranking adviser to the Ilkhanid court, the former physician and court historian Rashid al-Din (d. 1318) was commissioned to compile what would become one of the most important historical and artistic documents within Islamic intellectual tradition. The Jami’ al-Tawarikh was to be an illustrated history of the world as it was known to the Mongol court, covering not only the history of the Mongols, but also that of the Chinese, Franks and Indians. Situated in the highly international and multi-cultural city of Tabriz in modern-day Iran, the scriptorium of Rashid al-Din gathered artists from all parts of the Mongol empire and beyond.


3 boxes

Custodial History

The manuscript was created in the scriptorium of Rashid al-Din in Tabriz. The original manuscript left Iran and eventually passed to the court of the Mughals in India. It was divided into two parts around the mid-1700s, but both sections remained in India until the nineteenth century, when they were acquired by the British. The Edinburgh portion was acquired by Colonel John Baillie(1772–1833) of the East India Company, and together with other Islamic manuscripts, it was donated to Edinburgh University Library in 1876. The other portion was bequeathed to the Royal Asiatic Society and is now in the Khalili Collections.


Hukk, Mohammed, A descriptive catalogue of the Arabic and Persian manuscripts in Edinburgh University Library (Hertford: Stephen Austin, 1925), pp. 15-17.
Talbot Rice, David, The Illustrations to the World History of Rashid al-Din (Edinburgh: Basil Gray, 1976).


The volume has been disbound and the quires have been placed in individual folders.


45.09 cm x 33.56 cm


150 folios. Fols. 1-2 are missing, and fols. 70-107 are now in the Khalili collections.

Repository Details

Part of the Edinburgh University Library Special Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
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Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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