This collective study focuses on a unique anonymous medieval document on ornamental geometry featuring geometrical constructions and textual instructions in Persian. Selections from the unpublished work of Alpay Özdural (d. 2003) on this subject have been updated with original contributions by Jan P. Hogendijk, Elaheh Kheirandish, Gülru Necipoğlu, and Wheeler M. Thackston. The chapters interpreting this fascinating document are followed, for the first time, by a facsimile, transcription, and translation, as well as drawings of incised construction lines invisible in the photographed facsimile.
This publication intersects with the current interest in Islamic geometrical patterning as an inspiration for tessellation and parametrically derived forms in contemporary architecture and the arts. It aims to make this celebrated source more accessible, given its multifaceted relevance to historians of art, architecture, and science, as well as mathematicians, physicists, artists, and architects.
For those who wish to obtain a copy of the full, unedited original book manuscript of Alpay Özdural, where he discusses the mathematical properties of all geometrical constructions in the Anonymous Compendium as well as the step-by-step method for drawing each one, his work is available online at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5255416
Nasrin Askari explores the medieval reception of Firdausī’s
Book of Kings (completed in 1010 CE) as a mirror for princes. Through her examination of a wide range of medieval sources, Askari demonstrates that Firdausī’s oeuvre was primarily understood as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly elites. In order to illustrate the ways in which the
Shāhnāma functions as a mirror for princes, Askari analyses the account about Ardashīr, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, as an ideal king in the
Shāhnāma. Within this context, she explains why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr.
Why did premodern authors in the Arabic-Islamic culture compile literary anthologies, and why were these works remarkably popular? How can an anthology that consists of reproduced material be original and creative, and serve various literary and political ends? How did anthologists select their material, then record and arrange it?
This book examines the life and works of Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī (350–429/961–1039), an eminent anthologist from Nīshāpūr, paying special attention to his magnum opus,
Yatīmat al-dahr (
The Unique Pearl), and its sequel,
Tatimmat al-Yatīma (
The Completion of the Yatīma). This book is a direct window on to an anthologist’s workshop in the second half of the fourth/tenth century. It examines the methodological consciousness expressed in Thaʿālibī’s selection and arrangement, and his sophisticated system of internal references and cross-references to other works; how he selected from his contemporaries’ oeuvres; how he sought, recorded, memorized, misplaced, and sometimes lost or forgot his selections; how he scrutinized the authenticity of material, accepting, questioning, or rejecting its attribution; and the errors and inconsistencies that resulted from this process.
The Mongols’ Middle East: Continuity and Transformation in Ilkhanid Iran offers a collection of academic articles that investigate different aspects of Mongol rule in 13th- and 14th-century Iran. Sometimes treated only as part of the larger Mongol Empire, the volume focuses on the Ilkhanate (1258-1335) with particular reference to its relations with its immediate neighbours. It is divided into four parts, looking at the establishment, the internal and external dynamics of the realm, and its end. The different chapters, covering several topics that have received little attention before, aim to contribute to a better understanding of Mongol rule in the Middle East and its role in the broader medieval Eurasian world and its links with China.
With contributions by: Reuven Amitai, Michal Biran, Bayarsaikhan Dashdondog, Bruno De Nicola, Florence Hodous, Boris James, Aptin Khanbaghi, Judith Kolbas, George Lane, Timothy May, Charles Melville, Esther Ravalde, Karin Rührdanz