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Alikberov A. & Rezvan E. Ibn Abī Khazzām and his “Kitāb al-makhzūn”: The Mamlūk Military Manual // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 1, No 1, July 1995. Pp. 21-28.

The article is dedicated to the 15th-century Mamlūk illustrated manuscript on the art of war from the collection of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St.Petersburg. The manuscript is titled Kitāb al-makhzūn fi djāті' al-funūn (Inv. No. С 686) and represents the work of the 14th-century author Ibn Abl Khazzam.

The creation of the manuscript dates back to the 50s— 60s of the 9th/15th century, when Djarbāsh al-Silahdar al-Mālikī al-Ashrafī, a Mamlūk military authority, ordered copies of several works on military art for his library. Following the example of sultan Qa'it-Bey, he ordered also a copy of the Kitāb al-makhzūn. The years that have passed since then have scattered al-Ashrafi's library all over the world. Two manuscripts from that library — Kitāb al-makhzūn by Ibn Abī Khazzam and al-Tadbirat al-sul-tanlyya by Muhammad b. al-Nasm (Inv. No. С 726) have been again reunited in the Institute collection.

A. P. Butenev (1787—1866), the Russian envoy to Turkey, bought this manuscript in Constantinople in April 1832; two years later he presented it to the Asiatic Museum of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (now the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies). According to the inscription on folio 107a of the manuscript, the MS was in Vienna in 1809 and was studied there by Count W. de Rzewusky.

Thus Kitāb al-makhzūn became the object of scholars' attention as early as the beginning of the 19th century. The treatise was often quoted and referred to. Two illustrations from the manuscript (fig. 50, 52) were reproduced in Gustave le Bon's book La Civilisation des Arabes, in the chapter titled Sciences physiques et leurs applications in 1884. In 1936 some other illustrations from the manuscript in photographs (fig. 3, 5, 15) and engravings (fig. 47, partially), as well as a photograph of a fragment of the text (page 80b), were reproduced in V. V. Arendt's article dealing with the so-called Greek fire. Two illustrations (fig. 50, 52) were used by A. Y. Hassan and D. R. Hill in their Muslim technology. An illustrated history, Cambridge University Press (1986).

The treatise represented by our manuscript was popular enough in comparison with other works of the same genre. Its popularity is confirmed, in particular, by the existence of several copies dating back to the 9th/15th — 10th/16th centuries. The manuscripts mentioned below have different titles and are of different size. Unfortunately, up to now we have been unable to obtain the copies of all the manuscripts. The textological analysis, as well as our attempts to establish any correlationts between the existing versions of the text and to find out the main sources of the text, its original title, etc. are basing mainly on the study of the manuscript fragments to which we have access…


The entire paper


Ibn Abī Khazzām
Kitāb al-makhzūn
Manuscripta Orientalia, selected papers

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