137 results in English
The Book of Kings
Shahnameh Baysonqori is a copy of Shahnameh (Book of kings) composed by the highly revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The importance of Shahnameh in the Persian-speaking world is comparable that of Homer’s epics in the West. The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdgerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. The tales are based on earlier historical works, but are mixed ...
General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún: The Florentine Codex. Book VIII: Kings and Lords
Historia general de las cosas de nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. Commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, the manuscript consists of 12 books devoted to different topics. Book VIII is concerned with kings and nobles, forms of government, elections of rulers, and the customs ...
History of Byzantium
This Greek manuscript on parchment dating from the 12th to the 13th centuries is one of the most valuable codices in the National Library of Spain, treasured for the richness of its illumination. The work, by Ioannes Scylitza (flourished 1081), is a history of the Byzantine emperors from 811 to 1057, covering events from the proclamation of Michael I Rangabe in 811 to the reign of Michael VI in 1056–57. The manuscript contains 577 miniatures by different artists. Most of the scenes are accompanied by a caption that explains ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
Codicil of Queen Isabel the Catholic, Executed at Medina del Campo, on November 23, 1504
On November 23, 1504, three days before her death, Queen Isabella of Spain signed, in Medina del Campo, a codicil before the same notary, Gaspar de Gricio, and five of the seven witnesses who had been present on October 12 for the signing of her last will and testament. In the testament, the queen addressed the fundamental aspects of government by the Catholic monarchs. In the codicil, besides reaffirming what she had stipulated in the testament, she addressed questions directly affecting peninsular government and showed her concern for Spanish policy ...
Contributed by National Library of Spain
Kokand Khanate. City of Kokand. Palace of Said Khudoyar Khan, with Soldiers of the Kokand Khan's Army Standing Outside the Entrance, and a Russian Officer Standing in the Center
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
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Kokand Khanate. Solemn Reception in the Khan's Court at Assak
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Kokand Khanate. Gate of the Kokand Palace in the City of Kokand. Exterior View, with Soldiers of the Kokand Khan's Army Standing Outside the Entrance
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
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Kokand Khanate. Gate of the Kokand Palace in the City of Kokand. Soldiers of the Kokand Khan's Army Standing in the Interior Courtyard of the Palace
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
History of Shah Abbas the Great
This early 19th-century manuscript contains a history of Shāh ʻAbbas (1571−1629, reigned 1588−1629) and his predecessors, composed in the late 16th or early 17th century by a contemporary. The manuscript most likely was written in Iran. The paper is a light cream, glazed laid stock. The text is written in nasta'liq script, 23 lines to the page, in black ink, with red ink used for headings, keywords, and some punctuation. Catchwords appear on verso pages. ʿAbbās I, also known as ʿAbbās the Great, was one of the ...
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Ismāʻīl, the Persian Ambassador of Ṭahmāsp, King of Persia
Melchior Lorck, or Lorichs (1527–circa 1590), was the most brilliant graphic artist in 16th-century Denmark. He was born in Flensburg of distinguished parents; the Danish kings took up residence in the Lorck house when visiting the city. In 1549 King Christian III gave Lorck financial support to go on an educational journey. Lorck’s wanderlust led him throughout Europe and in the end to Vienna, where he gained employment with Emperor Charles V. From 1555 to 1559 Lorck was one of three ambassadors sent by the emperor to Constantinople ...
Trevelyon Miscellany, 1608
Thomas Trevilian, or Trevelyon, a London craftsman of whom little is known, created his miscellany in 1608 when he was about the age of 60. The bulky manuscript of 290 double-sided folios contains texts and images appropriated from books, woodcuts, and engravings of his day. Part one of the manuscript (leaves 3–36) consists of historical and practical information: a time line; an illustrated calendar; moralizing proverbs; a series of computational tables and astronomical diagrams; lists of families linked to William the Conqueror; distances between London and cities around the ...
Białowieża Forest
Białowieża Forest lies partly in southwest Belarus and partly in eastern Poland and is situated on the watershed of the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. As early as the late 14th–early 15th centuries, under Jogaila, grand duke of Lithuania and king of Poland, Białowieża, which is still the largest primeval forest in Europe, became a protected natural territory. This book by Georgīĭ Kart︠s︡ov contains information about the location and size of the forest, its topography, vegetation, and the history of royal hunting from the 1500s to ...
Memoirs of Babur
This book is a lithograph edition of the Persian translation of Bāburnāmah (Memoirs of Babur), the autobiography of Ẓahīr al-Dīn Muḥammad Bāburshāh (1483–1530), the first Mughal emperor of India. Bāburnāmah originally was written in Chagatai Turkish and was translated into Persian during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The translation was undertaken by Bairam Khan (died 1561), an Afghan bureaucrat and military commander who served under Emperor Humayun and who was briefly appointed regent over his successor, Emperor Akbar, when Akbar was a child. This book was printed ...
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Worthy Advice in the Affairs of the World and Religion: The Autobiography of Emir Abdur Rahman Khan
This work is an autobiography of 'Abd al-Raḥmān Khān, emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. It is styled, however, as a manual of advice and a mirror for princes. It is divided into 16 chapters, which are arranged according to the topics on which the author provides advice and worthy examples, in this case drawn from his own conduct. Subdivision by topic of this kind mimics the pattern of books in the advice genre. The colophon dates the work to the month of Muharram of 1303 AH (October–November ...
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Indian Celebrities: Amir Abd al-Raḥmān
This photograph of the Afghan amir, Abd al-Raḥmān Khān (circa 1844–1901), is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Abd al-Raḥmān Khān was known as the “Iron Amir” because of his skill and forcefulness in suppressing rebellions against his authority. He is credited with creating a centralized state in the aftermath of the war, based on a cabinet called the Supreme Council, a general assembly called the Loya Jirgah, and the army. His achievements included the introduction of some ...
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The History of the World-conquering Nāder
Tārīkh-i jahānkushā-yi Nādirī (The history of the world-conquering Nāder) is a historical study of Iran and Afghanistan during the reign of Nāder Shah (1736−47), written by a contemporary. Nāder was born in 1688 into a humble pastoral family. He established his reputation as a skilled military commander in fighting with Afghan forces that had invaded Iran in 1719 and that for a time occupied Isfahan. He assumed the throne as ruler of Iran in March 1736. His reign was marked by wars with the Afghans, Mughals, Dagestanis, and Ottomans ...
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Biographic Sketch of Mohammad Ali, Pacha of Egypt, Syria, and Arabia
Biographic Sketch of Mohammad Ali (1769–1849), composed by an unknown author, was published in Washington in 1837. Muḥammad ʻAlī was pasha and wali (governor) of Egypt within the Ottoman Empire from 1805 until his death. The book begins by comparing him to Napoleon, noting that they shared the same birth year and the same “insatiate ambition.” The author describes Muḥammad ʻAlī’s military service under the Ottoman governor of Kavalla in Rumelia (northeastern Greece). Muḥammad ʻAlī also became a tobacco dealer during this period, an experience that probably inspired ...
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Selections from the Shāhnāmeh of the Learned Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsi, May he be Blessed and May his Sins be Pardoned
This manuscript from the early 17th century contains selections from the Shāhnāmeh (Book of kings), the epic-historical work of Persian literature composed at the end of the tenth century by the poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). This beloved epic of pre-Islamic Persia (present-day Iran) was widely read in Persia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. The manuscript contains three half-page paintings showing different battles. The text is preceded by an introduction and table of contents (folios 1b−6b) and is written in black ink in a nastaʻliq script. The pages are ...
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The Book Known as “The Sulṭānī History”
Tārīkh-i Sulṭānī (The Sulṭānī history) is a historical study of the Afghan people and the rulers of Afghanistan from the beginnings of Islam to the mid-19th century. The work was published as a lithographic print in Bombay (present-day Mumbai) in 1881. This copy has been rebound, with “Ṣaḥāfī Sulṭān Muḥammad, Kabul" gold-stamped on the back cover. The title page and pages 3−4 are damaged and repaired with no loss of text. The last page (page 291) has been repaired and missing text added in ink in a later hand ...
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States of the Empire of the Great Lord, also Known as Sultan and Emperor of the Ottoman Turks in Three Parts of the World: Europe, Asia, and Africa
Jacques Chiquet (circa 1673−1721) was a French cartographer who published two atlases, both of which appeared in 1719: Le Nouveau et Curieux Atlas Geographique et Historique (New and curious geographic and historical atlas), a world atlas with 24 maps; and Noveau Atlas Francais (New French atlas), an atlas of France with 15 maps. Presented here is Chiquet’s map of the Ottoman Empire, which spread over parts of the three continents of the old world: Africa, Asia, and Europe. In the lower left is a small inset map showing ...
Chronicle of Japan, Volumes 1 and 2
Nihon shoki (Chronicle of Japan) is the first official Japanese history book, edited by Imperial Prince Toneri and others and completed in the fourth year of the Yōrō era (720). The 30 volumes cover the period from the mythological age to the time of the Empress Jitō (end of the seventh century). The first and second volumes, which deal with the mythological age, have been highly regarded in Japan since ancient times. The oldest existing manuscript of Nihon shoki dates from the Heian period (794−1185). The first published edition ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
History of Nadir Shah Afshar
Waqiat-i Nadiri (literally “Events of Nadir”) is a historical manuscript that chronicles the political and military career of Nādir Shāh, who was born in 1688 and rose to power in Iran during the 1720s; he became shah in 1736. He is known as a military warrior famous for his campaigns in Iran, Afghanistan, northern India, and Central Asia. He was assassinated by his officers in June 1747. The name of the author of this work, Mohammad Mahdi Munshi ibn Mohammad Nasir (also seen as Mahdī Khān Astarābādī), appears on page ...
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The Rising of the Propitious Twin Stars, and the Amalgamation of the Oceans
This manuscript is volume one of Matla us-Sadain wa Majma ul-Baahrain (The rising of the propitious twin stars and the amalgamation of the oceans) by 'Abd al-Razzāq Kamāl al-Dīn ibn Isḥāq al-Samarqandī (1413−82). The book offers a semi-official account of the political history of the late Mongol khanates and Timurid polities in the Caucasus, Iran, Khorasan, and Mawarannahr. Volume one documents the period from 1316, when Abu Said Bahadur Khan, the last great Mongol khan, came to power in Persia, to the death in 1405 of Timur, founder of ...
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Shahnameh
Shahnameh (Book of kings) was composed by the revered Iranian poet Abū al-Qāsim Firdawsī (940–1020). The book recounts in verse the mythological history of ancient Persia and tales of the famous heroes and personalities of Iranian history, from legendary times to the 7th-century reign of Yazdegerd III, the last king of the Sassanid dynasty. Considered the national epic of Iran, the book was widely read throughout the Persian-speaking world. This manuscript copy was made in India in the 17th or 18th century. The text is written in nastaʻliq script ...
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Annotated ʻĀlamgīrī Jottings
This lithographic book, published in 1875 in Lahore, present-day Pakistan, is a volume of letters written by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (1618–1707, reigned 1658–1707) to his sons, daughter, friends, and ministers. It also includes jottings, as in an occasional journal, on events and other things that caught his attention. The marginal printed notes were added by an unknown person and probably postdate the work itself. After imprisoning his father, Emperor Shah Jahan, and killing his brothers, Aurangzeb crowned himself emperor of India and assumed the title ʻĀlamgīr (meaning ...
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Belgium
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Belgium is Number 26 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The book covers physical and political geography, political history, social and political conditions, and economic conditions. The section on geography ...
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The Crown of Histories
Shown here is volume one of the two-volume Taj al-Tawarikh (The crown of histories), which is the autobiography of 'Abd al-Raḥmān Khān, ruler of Afghanistan between 1880 and 1901. After long years in exile in Central Asia, Rahman came to power in Afghanistan with the support of the British, by whom he was later patronized financially, politically, and militarily. He began to suppress various social groups who opposed and threatened his rule, such as the Hazarah and Ghilzai tribes of central and eastern Afghanistan. He also exiled rival individuals and ...
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Design of the Monument to Alexander I, by Sculptor Martos, 1828
The monument to Tsar Alexander I (1777−1825) was unveiled on October 23 (October 11, Old Style), 1831, to commemorate Alexander’s visit to and death from illness in Taganrog, a village in southern Russian located on the north shore of the Sea of Azov. The tsar’s widow, Elizaveta Alekseevna, chose the site for the monument. Most of the money for its construction was donated by the imperial house of Romanov; the rest was raised by the residents of Taganrog. The bronze figure of the emperor at full height ...
Design of the Medal and Token Commemorating the Construction of the Monument to Nicholas I in Kiev, Kiev Province, 1895
This ink and watercolor document contains designs for the medal and the token issued to commemorate the construction of the monument to Tsar Nicholas I (1796−1855, reigned 1825−55) in Kiev. The designs are by the academician in architecture Vladimir Nikolaev (1847−1911), who also designed the pedestal for the monument. Nikolaev was the municipal and eparchial (diocesan) architect of Kiev at the time and designed many churches and mansions in the city. The statue of Nicholas was by the sculptor Matvei Afanas’evich Chizhov (1838−1916). The monument ...
Emperor Alexander II with the Children: Sergei and Maria
This photograph, taken in 1860 or 1861, shows Tsar Alexander II (1818−81, ruled 1855−81), with two of his eight children: Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna (born 1853) and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (born 1857). Alexander is seated in a chair, three-quarters to his left, wearing a military uniform. The grand duchess is leaning on her father’s right knee, facing forward; the grand duke is sitting on his father’s left leg.  Alexander was most respected for his emancipation of the serfs in 1861, and his domestic reforms included ...
Family of Emperor Alexander III
This photograph of the family of Tsar Alexander III (1845−94) was taken about a year before his death from nephritis. Also shown in the photo are Empress Maria Fedorovna (1866−1928), Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich (1868−1918), Grand Duke George Alexandrovich (1871−99), Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (1875−1960), Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna (1882−1918), and Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich (1878−1918). Empress Maria Fedorovna, also called Princess Dagmar, fled Russia in 1919 with other members of the Romanov family aboard the British battleship HMS Marlborough. She settled and ...
Russian Royal Family at Borodino, 1912
This photograph shows Tsar Nicholas II (1868−1918) and Tsarina Alexandra Fedorovna (1872−1918) with their daughters and other notables, walking on the train platform after arriving at Borodino Station on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino. The second individual from the right is Baron Vladimir Borisovich Frederiks (1838−1927), a minister of the imperial court who was close to Nicholas II. During Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, Russian and French armies clashed on the Borodino battlefield, situated to the west of Moscow ...
Certified Charter Confirming the Election of Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov as Tsar of Moscow State
This book, published in Moscow in 1906, contains a copy of the certified charter confirming the election of Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov (1596−1645) as ruler of the Tsardom of Muscovy in 1613. The reproduction of the charter appears after page 96, following a lengthy introduction by Sergei A. Belokurov. Copies of the charter were made at Moscow University in 1904 by the Imperial Society of History and Antiquities of Russia to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the society. Belokurov, a historian of the Russian Orthodox Church and an active member ...
Imperial House of Romanov
This publication was produced in 1913 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. It contains an introduction, a genealogical sketch on the Romanov boyars, and a short history of the Romanovs in 17 chapters. The volume also includes biographies, portraits, and photographs of the members of the dynasty. In the introduction, “Three Centuries of the House of Romanov,” Elpidifor Barsov (1836−1917) provides a brief historical overview of the context of Romanov rule. He describes first “the time of troubles” preceding the election of Mikhail Fedorovich, the first ...
Album Commemorating the Tercentenary Anniversary of the Imperial House of Romanov
This book is one of many works published in Russia in connection with the celebration, in 1913, of the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov. The author, Ivan Bazhenov, was a church historian, theologian, and local historian in Kostroma. In his introduction, Bazhenov states that the goal of the publication is “to give the readers an opportunity to understand and evaluate the great significance of this anniversary and at the same time to awaken their gratitude for the founder of the Romanov dynasty.” He begins by describing Russia before ...
Discourse on Universal History
This work is a translation into Arabic of Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet’s history of the world, Discours sur l’histoire universelle (Discourse on universal history), in which the author argues for the divine right of kings. Bossuet’s book, originally published in 1681, is regarded as a classic statement defining the monarch as the embodiment of the state. Bossuet wrote the book for the benefit of the crown prince of France and based his argument on an interpretation of Biblical history. The work was translated by ‘Abd Allah al-Bustāni. It was ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
The Book of Sublime Marvels of the History of Constantinople
Kitab al-Tuhfah al-Saniyah fi-Tarikh al-Qustantiniyah (The book of sublime marvels of the history of Constantinople) is a historical miscellany, which opens with a brief history of the city of Constantinople from earliest times to the author’s own day. It includes descriptions of noteworthy features, such as impressive buildings, gardens, cemeteries, bazaars, and opulent residential quarters. This portion of the work might be considered a guidebook for Arab visitors. The author expresses his admiration for the city and praise of the sultan in a way that seems aimed at binding ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
“History of the Caliphs” by al-Sūyūtī and “Primary Indicators of Well-Regulated States” by al-Hasan al-ʻAbbāsī
This volume contains two works, Tarikh al-Khulafa’ (History of the caliphs) by al-Sūyūtī (1445−1505) and Athar al-Uwal fi Tartib al-Duwal (Primary indicators of well-regulated states) by al-Hasan ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-‘Abbāsī (died circa 1310). Al-Sūyūtī is renowned for his writings in the Islamic sciences, although not necessarily for this historical work. History of the Caliphs remains in print as a standard summation of the Sunni view of the rule of succession after the Prophet Muhammad’s death. The work reveals a gift for selection and synthesis rather than ...
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Lamp of Kings
Sirāj al-mulūk (Lamp of kings) is by Muḥammad ibn al-Walīd al-Ṭurṭūshī, a Maliki imam also known as Ibn Abū Zandaqa. Al-Ṭarṭūshī was born in Tortosa in Catalonia (in what was then al-Andalus, present-day Spain) in 1059 or 1060. He died in Alexandria, Egypt in 1126 or 1127. The topic of the Sirāj al-mulūk, his most famous work, is political theory. The present edition was published in 1888−89 by Maṭbaʻat al-khayrīyah in Cairo. According to Kitāb iktifā' al-qanūʻ bimā huwa matbuʻ min ashhar al-ta'ālīf al-arabīya fī al-maṭābiʻ ...
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Yearbook for 1887
This volume is a yearbook for 1887, treating political events in Egypt for that year, covering activities in various ministries and governmental offices. The work is divided into 12 sections, with each devoted to a month. In the entry for January, for example, we read of the arrival in the port of Alexandria of the crown prince of Italy, the future King Victor Emmanuel III, and the state functions that were held in his honor. In the section devoted to April, we read the obituary of Muḥammad Sharif Pasha, the ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
History of Islamic Conquests
Tarikh-e Futuhat-e Islamiyah (History of Islamic conquests) is a two volume work chronicling Islamic historical events, particularly wars, battles, and conquests. It is also known as Tawarikh-e Islam (History of Islam) and Futuhat-e nabawai (Conquests of the Prophet). This lithographic copy is a Persian translation from the original Arabic work by Sayyid Ahmad ibn Sayyid Zayni Dahlan (1816 or 1817−86), an eminent scholar of Mecca and Medina. The translation was a collective effort by “scholars of Herat . . . for an Afghan audience to know about the history of Islam.” It ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
“Siraj al-Tawarikh,” or History of Afghanistan
Siraj al-Tawarikh (literally, Histories of light) is a work on the modern history of Afghanistan by Faiz Muhammad Katib Hazarah (1862 or 1863−1931), one of the earliest historians in Afghanistan. The book was commissioned by Emir Habibullah Khan, ruler of Afghanistan in the early 20th century. Siraj al-Tawarikh is generally agreed to be a four-volume text covering the period between 1747, when Afghanistan under Ahmad Shah Durrani, the founder of the modern state, emerged as an independent polity in Khorasan, and 1919, when Amanullah Khan, Habibullah Khan’s son ...
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