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An illustration in the 1305-14
Jami‛ al-Tawarikh
by Rashid al-Din.

Universal History

or Compendium of Chronicles

Ğāmi‛ al-tavārīḫ. Rašīd al-Dīn Fazl-ullāh Hamadānī

Moses in the Bullrushes

A larger image of Moses in the Bullrushes, Jami' al-Tawarikh, 1305-14

Il-Khanid: Tabriz, 1307
Edinburgh University Library, MS. Or. 20
Fig. 40; p258 Min Yong Cho.

Shelfmark: Or.Ms.20
Holding Institution: University of Edinburgh
Title: Jami' al-Tawarikh (World History)
Alternate Title: Compendium of Chronicles
Subset Index: f.7v detail
Creator: Rashid al-Din Ṭabib
Creator Nationality: Iranian
Creator Role: Author

Detail of miniature from the Compendium of Chronicles by Rashid al-Din. Shows infant, Musa (Moses), being found by women from the emperor's household. Fearful at the growing strength of the Israelite population, the Egyptian pharaoh had ordered that newborn Hebrew boys be killed. Moses' mother sent him floating down the River Nile, from which he was rescued and adopted by the Pharaoh's sister, Queen Bithia, who is shown on the right with long black tresses. Of the other two women visible on the right of the illustration, one has lighter coloured skin and is likely to be the Israelite who became the child's nurse.
Arguably the greatest treasure in the library, the Jami' al-Tawarikh, or Compendium of Chronicles, 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. Written by the scholar and courtier Rashid al-Din (d.1318), 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. It is one of the three main sources for the life of Genghis Khan and is considered to be one of the most important medieval documents in the world.
Sources: Hukk, M (1925), A descriptive catalogue of the Arabic and Persian manuscripts in Edinburgh University Library, Hertford. Talbot Rice, D. (1976), The Illustrations to the World History of Rashid al-Din, Edinburgh.
Source: Edinburgh University Library

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