Arabic Manuscripts in Trinity: The Huntingdon Collection (part 2)

In my last post I introduced the Arabic manuscripts beqeathed to Trinity College Library in the seventeenth century by Robert Huntingdon, provost of the College from 1683-92. I also conveyed that the later treatment of these materials by librarians – the physical placement of them on shelves – shows that their integrity as a single collection was recognized.

In this post I will give a short description of Huntingdon’s ten Arabic manuscripts. This will give an indication of the breadth of his interests and his reach as a collector. Among them are some rather old manuscripts with strong links to the respective “original” or master copies as well some that would have been recent when Huntingdon purchased them.

The table is organized according to the call numbers of the current library catalogue (based on the Abbott catalogue published 1900). It includes information as to the manuscripts’ placement on the shelves (by reference to the 1745 Lyon Catalogue), summaries of the manuscript description in the Abbott Catalogue, and a more detailed which hopefully stimulates further research into the Arabic collection at Trinity Library.

MS Abbott / old order Description Abbott Addit. descript. 
1518 / B.2.14 [also: B.3.36] Historical fragment on Mansour, 17th century, folio format, paper, Huntingdon (1682) light European leather binding; sides detached; 59 fols., 303×208 mm; no title, no colophon = fragment or part of a multi-volume work?; small-scale illuminations; very clear naskh or thuluth; the manuscript looks like an expensive copy, perhaps for a high-standing Mamluk patron? Content: historiographic, revolves around the Manṣūrī hospital (māristān) and its construction by sultan al-Malik al-Manṣūr; the subject is from the Mamluk period((fol. 12a mentions one “Qāḍī Ḍiyāʾ al-Dīn in 758/1357.)); the first two fols. might have been added at a later point: they speak of policies towards a church (kanīsa) and Christians selling alcohol; they lack the decorations of the remainder of the manuscript > were they the reason why Huntington bought the manuscript?
1519 / B.2.15 [also: B.3.36] Astrology, 1037 AH, folio format, paper dark European leather binding; sides detached; 22 fols., 306×204 mm; Content: “new taqwīm”/Calender for (from?) 1037; made in Cairo; red/black ink; contains illustrations, several astronomical tables and graphs; fol. 1a: two more ownership notes, the first struck through, the 2nd from “a Sunday in Rabīʿ I 1085”; fol. 21b: another note but struck through; fol. 1b: TCD note: “Bibliotheca Celeberr: Academia Dublin:”.
1520 / B.4.8 [also: No. 6] Islamic Law by Shafi’i al-Kadrisi, folio format, paper dark brown oriental binding; short title on book cut; 256 fols., 276×184 mm; incomplete (on both ends) work on Islamic law / creed; last fol. shows catchword; shift in writing hand between fols. 94-96; frequent marginal annotations; fol. 1a carries two ownership notes; fol. 2a: TCD note: “Celeberrima Academia Dublin”.
1521 / B.4.9 Islamic Law by Taj al-Din al-Subki, paper, 819 AH brown European leather binding; inside marbled paper; short title on book cut; 221 fols., 270×174 mm; black and brownish ink;  quire count in Arabic; several fols. stick together; frequent marginal annotations in black ink > wet ink imprints on fols. 31b-32a, 33b-34a. Content: “Tarshīḥ al-tawshīḥ” by Tāj al-Dīn al-Subkī; fol. 221b: two colophons for master copy (aṣl) and new copy; 1) written by ʿAbd al-Wahhāb b. al-Subkī on 12.03.771; his father – the author – died on 08.12.771 (>copy made directly under guidance of the author!); 2) copied for himself by Maḥmūd b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Khaṭīb al-Dahsha on Monday, 13.08.819 (the copy is thus only one generation removed from the author!); fol. 1b: TCD note: “Juclytio(?) Academia Dublin:”
1522 / B.4.10 Islamic Law after the four imams, compiled by Abu Bakr ʿAbd Allah, paper, 1048 AH brown European binding; inside marbled paper; short title on book cut; 286 fols., 269×174 mm; black/pink ink; minimal colophon. Content: “Manāt al-iḥkām fī ʿilm al-inshāʿ(?) wa-ʿilm al-sulūk wa-l-aḥkām“; frequent marginal annotations; loose paper slip: one side with information on a wedding; fol. 1a: 2 ownership notes beginning with “intaqala”; 1) ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-Ṭūmānī, Kātib al-ḥukm al-sharīf … from shaykh Aḥmad al-Ḥamawī, the book seller in Aleppo… in Muḥ. 1048; 2) is partly overwritten and erased; fol. 124a: collation note by “Muṣṭafā b. Yūsuf, mawlā of the Dār al-naṣr wa-l-fatḥ [in] Qusṭanṭiyya”; damages in paper (see below). fol. 1b: TCD note: “Celeberr: Academia Dublin:”.
1523 / B.4.11 Astronomy by Shams al-Din and Bahr al-Din, paper brown European leather binding; 64 fols., 249×174 mm; black ink. Content: astronomical treatise “Kitāb mukhtaṣar al-Kharaqī fī ʿilm al-hayʾa = al-Tabṣira fī al-hayʾa = Kitāb al-tabṣira fī al-hayʾa al-falak” by Bahāʾ al-Dīn Abū Muḥammad al-Kharaqī; book is out of order: bāb 5 on fol. 2a – bāb 2 on fol. 7b – bāb 4 on fol. 9b – bāb 6 on fol. 10a; fol. 61a: illustration of placement of miḥrāb (half page); fol. 64a: colophon gives title and author, not scribe or date; fol. 64b: several notes; fol. 1a: ownership notes: 1) …Ismāʿīl b. … al-Ḥanafī…; 2) … ʿAbd al-Laṭīf… . Fol. 1b: TCD note: “Inilyta(?) Academia Dublin:”.
1524 / B.4.12 Inheritance law, paper brown European leather binding; inside marbled paper; 177 fols., 248×174 mm; black/pink ink. Content: “Kitāb al-shajara mushtamal ʿalā al-ḥisāb bi-ṭarīq al-jabr wa-l-muqābala” on inheritance law; part until fol. 9 restored, paper changes from oriental to European, hand changes, after fol. 8 frequent annotations > probably a restoration of the beginning; several marginal annotations mention stops in formalized reading of the manuscript (“balagha qirāʾa”, e.g. fols. 119b, 127b, 130a, 138b-140a, 142a, 148b, 150a); fol. 177b: colophon: written in 915 AH by Jamāl al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm al-Wartharī(?) by origin, al-Shāfiʿī by madhhab, al-Wahhābī/al-Wahhānī(?) by pedigree; fol. 1b: TCD note: “Celeber: Academia Dublin:”.
1525 / B.4.13 History, Prophetic Traditions, paper brown European leather binding; inside marbled paper; 91 fols., 254×166 mm; extensive worm damage, some pages stick together; black/red ink; mistakes in recompilation: quire from fol. 70a to fol. 74b upside down, catchword on fol. 90b does not match; Content: “Dhakhāʻir al-ʻuqbā fī manāqib dhawī al-qurbā” by Muḥibb al-Dīn Aḥmad b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Ṭabarī (1218-1295); five ownership notes on fol. 1a, one dated 9?3; three more notes on fol. 91b (1 erased); colophon fol. 91a has no information. 
1527 / B.5.20 [also: G 44] MTM: 1) fragment by al-Qazwini; 2) History by Abu Fada’il, quarto, paper brown oriental binding, European paper with watermark (crescent on crown), 49 fols., 215×110 mm; Content: MTM: 1) fols. 3a-4b several notes (sg. fāʾida); 2) fols. 5a-44b calendral/astronomical work also on Christian months; 3) fols. 38a-44a “Risāla fī rubʿ al-muqanṭar / Qaṭf al-zuharāt fī al-ʿamal bi-rubʿ al-muqanṭarāt”; second fol. and last three fols. blank; few annotations in one hand.
1528 / B.5.21 [also: No. 10] About Ibn al-Farid, 1/12 format, paper; 1020 AH brown oriental binding (title on cover); 62 fols. (plus 3 dust leaves each in the front and back), 199×110 mm, black/red ink, text framed. Content (accord. to outside title): “Kitāb sayyidī ʿUmar [Ibn al-Fā]riḍ raḍiya Allāh taʿālā ʿanhu”; no title in the work, but it begins with acknowledging Ibn al-Fāriḍ and the text’s transmission through Cairo and the Ḥijāz (fols. 2b-3a), colophon (fol. 61a): compiled by shaykh Nūr al-Dīn in Cairo in Rabīʿ I 750; note to sell this book for its weight in gold, front inside+fol. 1b; ownership note fol 1a; further notes fols.  1a-2a, 61b-62b; 2 reading notes back inside; fol. 2b TCD note: “Bibliotheca Academ: Dublin:”.
Cite this article as: Torsten Wollina, "Arabic Manuscripts in Trinity: The Huntingdon Collection (part 2)", in Damascus Anecdotes, March 15, 2020,

2 Replies to “Arabic Manuscripts in Trinity: The Huntingdon Collection (part 2)”

  1. Do you know if there is in these ten manuscript brought by Huntington some which are copied in Cairo by the coptic copist Abu al-Mina (Abulmene) ?
    Annie Vernay-Nouri

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