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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

Qarun and his tribe swallowed up by the earth

A larger image of Qarun and his tribe swallowed up by the earth, Jami' al-Tawarikh, 1305-14

Shelfmark: Or.Ms.20
Holding Institution: University of Edinburgh
Title: Jami' al-Tawarikh (World History)
Alternate Title: Compendium of Chronicles
Subset Index: f.9r detail
Creator: Rashid al-Din Ṭabib
Creator Nationality: Iranian
Creator Role: Author
Date: c.1306CE or c.1314/15CE

Detail of miniature from the Compendium of Chronicles by Rashid al-Din. Shows Qarun (Korah), son of Izah, who is present in both Muslim and Christian tradition, being swallowed by the earth, along with eleven other individuals. Qarun can be seen in the centre of the image and is shown pointing at Moses, threatening him. In the Muslim tradition, Qarun is referred to as a minister of the Pharaoh, who boasted that his great wealth was due to his great knowledge, which caused Allah to make the earth swallow him. This is represented by the chests and vessels towards the right of the miniature. In the Christian tradition, he is swallowed after rebelling against Moses and the Israelites, explaining why he is featured in the miniature.
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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