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An Azanian Trio

Three East African Arabic Historical Documents

Edited by James McL. Ritchie and Sigvard von Sicard

This work consists of the translation and annotation of three East African Arabic / Swahili manuscripts together with the original texts. They cover aspects of the history of the coast from the early Himyaritic period up to the beginning of the 20th century. By the use of earlier, in some cases hitherto unused Arabic sources, the authors of the texts have contributed to a fuller picture of the East African coastal history. The texts relate directly to works on East African coastal history that have appeared since the latter part of the 19th century. They are presented against the background of general Arabic and Islamic history. The annotations indicate, and some case stress, significant hints and references to matters that need to be borne in mind, along with archeological and other evidences.

Lives of the Prophets

The Illustrations to Hafiz-i Abru’s “Assembly of Chronicles”

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Mohamad Reza Ghiasian

In Lives of the Prophets: The Illustrations to Hafiz-i Abru’s “Assembly of Chronicles” Mohamad Reza Ghiasian analyses two extant copies of the Majmaʿ al-tawarikh produced for the Timurid ruler Shahrukh (r. 1405–1447). The first manuscript is kept in Topkapı Palace and the second is widely dispersed. Codicological analysis of these manuscripts not only allows a better understanding of Hafiz-i Abru’s contributions to rewriting earlier history, but has served to identify the existence of a previously unrecognised copy of the Jamiʿ al-tawarikh produced at Rashid al-Din’s scriptorium. Through a meticulous close reading of both text and image, Mohamad Reza Ghiasian convincingly proves that numerous paintings of the dispersed manuscript were painted over the text before its dispersal in the early twentieth century.