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Turkish Manuscripts

Date range: 15th-19th centuries

Medium: Manuscript

Number of items: 195 items

Most items are written in Ottoman Turkish, but there are twelve items with texts in Çagatay, the literary eastern variant of the language. There is also one manuscript with Turkish and Armenian texts in Latin transcription. They range in date from the 15th century through to the 19th, the majority of dated examples being from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The subject range is wide, including:

  • Anthologies (divans) of poetry;
  • Narrative poetry (mesnevis);
  • Fables and stories;
  • Commentaries;
  • Books on grammar;
  • Letters, including documents issued by Ottoman institutions;
  • Guides for dervish novices;
  • Biographies and biographical dictionaries;
  • Travelogues;
  • Library catalogues;
  • Dictionaries and vocabularies;
  • Texts on religious ethics, jurisprudence, history, geography, cosmography, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physiognomy, music and genealogy.

The items were mainly acquired in the Crawford purchase of 1901; a small number of Turkish manuscripts are found in the Gaster collection, including a Karaite manuscript in Hebrew script. Texts in Turkish can also be found amongst the Arabic and Persian manuscripts.

See also:

Further information:

Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester (Leiden: Brill, 2011).


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