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  • Lecture

Dioscorides Disordered: Penn's Persian Kitab-i Hashayish

Marianna Shreve Simpson, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies Research Associate

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Friday, February 16, 2024, 12:00 - 1:30 pm EST
Open to the Public

Hosted by: SIMS and Kislak Center

First folio of LJS 278, an incomplete copy of Dioscurides' Kitāb-i Ḥashāyish, showing two botanical illustrations of unidentified plants.

Although the medieval history of the textual transmission of Dioscorides' De materia medica from the Greek to Syriac to Arabic is well-documented, the text's early modern translation from the Arabic (Khawass al-Ashjar) to Persian (Kitab-i Hashayish) has been little studied. Likewise, scant attention has been paid to the few illustrated copies of the Persian version known today. By good fortune, a portion of one such rare Kitab-i Hashayish--probably datable to the seventeenth century and with its folios totally out of textual order--belongs to the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (LJS 278). This presentation introduces the manuscript's codicology, production, iconography, and painting styles, as well as the methodology employed in an effort to reconstruct its original textual sequence. Also under consideration here is the uncertain attribution of LJS 278, a problem directly related to its provenance.   

Event Series

Featured image: Opening leaf of a copy of Dioscorides, Kitab-i Hashayish, the Persian translation of De materia medica. The manuscript has been attributed to the Deccan region of India, A.H. 1004 [1595] or 1054 [1645]. (LJS 278, fol. i)