|Royal inscription: For Idaddu, grandson of Ebarat, son of Kindaddu, shepherd of the sun-god, beloved of Inana, king of Anshan, king of Simashki and Elam, Kiten-Rakittapi, the chancellor of Elam and chief scribe, his servant, made this vessel for him.|
MS in Neo Sumerian on bronze, Elam, South-west Iran, 2000-1950 BC, 1 flat shallow vessel, possibly a lid, diam. 20x4 cm, 11 lines in cuneiform script, ruled, within a frame.
Context: The same inscription is also on a bronze pot, which clearly represents the bowl's compantion piece, sold at Christie's in 2001, 25 April, lot 23.
Commentary: The present inscription gives evidence of the ancestry of 2 kings, and the name of a hitherto unknown grand vizier. This inscription is of great historical importance, since it established that Idattu I was the son of Kindattu and the grandson of Ebarat I, thus confirming the chronological sequence recorded in the "Shimashki Royal List".
Published: Andrew George, ed.: Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schøyen Collection, Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology, vol. 17, Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection, Cuneiform texts VI. CDL Press, Bethesda, MD, 2011, text 18, p. 21-22, pl. XIII.
THE XERXES QUADRILINGUAL ALABASTRON
MS in Old Persian, Elamite, Neo
Babylonian and Egyptian on cream coloured alabaster, Syria, 485-465 BC, 1 jar,
h. 42 cm, diam. 18 cm, panel of inscriptions forming a "T", the top bar: (3x14
cm), 3 lines in Old Persian semi-alphabetic cuneiform script, Elamite
cuneiform script and Neo Babylonian cuneiform script; the vertical shaft:
(10x3 cm), in hieroglyphs, Xerxes' name within a cartouche.
Context: MS 4536/3 of Xerxes, MS 4536/2 of Antaxerxes.
Commentary: Some jar fragments with quadrilingual inscriptions are known (British Museum has 5 small fragments of Xerxes and a heavily restored jar of Dareius, but no complete examples). Together with MS 4536/2 this is the only known complete example of a quadrilingual royal inscription. The 2 jars also illustrate the vast extension of the empire. While MS 4536/1, with the royal insciption of Xerxes, was found on the coast of Syria, MS 4536/2, with the royal inscription of Artaxerxes, as well as MS 4536/3, were found on the empire's eastern border, in Northern Afghanistan. The first 3 lines are in the same languages and in the same order as the famous Behistun Rock inscription of King Dareius in South West Iran, used by Sir H.C. Rawlinson to decipher the cuneiform scripts about 150 years ago. The present jar is a Behistun Rock inscription in miniature, but with hieroglyphs in addition. Cf. MS 204, Miniature Rosetta Stones.
|Published: Andrew George, ed.: Cuneiform Royal Inscriptions and Related Texts in the Schøyen Collection, Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology, vol. 17, Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection, Cuneiform texts VI. CDL Press, Bethesda, MD, 2011, text 92, p. 192, pl. LXXVI.|
|FIRDAUSI: SHAHNAMA, THE BOOK OF KINGS|
MS in Persian on paper, Kashmir, 18th ca., 293 ff. (-ca. 10), 32x20 cm, 4 columns, (27x14 cm), 25 lines of Nasta’liq script, headings in red over 2 columns, margins ruled in black and colours, 3 illuminated headpieces, 16 large miniatures in colours.
Binding: Kashmir, 18th c. red morocco, sewn on 4 cords.
Context: The present ms constitute the first 2 volumes, including all of the mythical and heroic ages, of a complete version in 3 volumes. The 3rd volume would have included the historical age from Alexander the Great to 651.
Most 16th-17th c. mss are truncated versions, comprising only about half of the complete work, ending either with Alexander the Great (323 BC), or with Queen Humay, but with additional texts.
The complete work has 62 stories, 990 chapters and nearly 60,000 rhyming couplets, spanning about 4000 years. According to Firdausi the final edition contained some 60,000 verses, while the most complete and reliable mss surviving have no more than a little over 50,000 verses.
Provenance: 1. Sam Fogg, London.
Commentary: The Shahnama or Shah-nameh, the Book of Kings, is the Persian national epic. It was completed in 1010, based on earlier prose versions, particularly a Pahlavi (middle Persian) work, the Khavatay-namak, with the history of Persia from the dawn of history (King Gayumarth) up to Khusru II (590-628). Daqiqi added some 1000 verses which deal with the rise of Zoroastrianism up to the Arabic conquest and the fall of the last Sassanian king in 651.
Firdausi (Ferdowsi/Firdawsi/Firdusi/Firdousi) was a pseudonym for Ol-Qasem Mansur (ca. 935-1020). The Persians regard Firdausi as the greatest of their poets.
The miniatures start with the Court of King Gayumarth, the majority dealing with Rustam’s adventures, and ending with Bizhan in battle.
|JEAN DE COURCY: CHRONIQUE DE LA BOUQUECHARDIÈRE, OÙ HISTOIRE GRECQUE ET ROMAINE|
MS in French on vellum, Paris (or Loire Valley), France, 1470-80, 322 ff. (- ca. 40), 42x30 cm, 2 columns, (30x21 cm), 48 lines in a handsome regular lettre bâtarde, headings in red, 2-line chapter initials in burnished gold on red and blue grounds with white tracery, 27 3-to 4-line initials in leafy and floral design in colours andwhite tracery on burnished gold grounds, 5 very large (over half-page,) miniatures in rectangular or arched compartments above large initials in colours enclosing flowers on liquid gold grounds and on coloured panels with liquid gold tracery, with full illuminated broad borders of coloured acanthus leaves, small coloured and burnished gold leaves and flowers on hairline stems, by an illuminator in the circle of the Coëvity Master (Henri de Vulcop).
Binding: France, 18th c., quarter mottled calf over pasteboards, sewn on 6 cords, spine title gilt.
Provenance: 1. Jane Delaguelle (ca. 1600); 2. G. Nouhen (18th c.); 3. Royez, Paris (ca. 1822); 4. Sir Thomas Phillipps, Cheltenham, Ph 132 (1822-1872); 5. Katharine, John, Thomas & Alan Fenwick, Cheltenham (1872-1946); 6. Robinson Bros., London (1946-1967); 7. Sotheby's 28.11.1967:112; 8. Major J.R. Abbey, London (1967-1969); 9. J.R. Abbey Will Trust, London (1969-1989); 10. Sotheby's 19.6.1989:3025.
Commentary: Of 23 copies known, this is the only one in private ownership. Among the earliest illustrations of cannons and hand-held firearms.
Jean de Courcy wrote his gigantic chronicle 1416-1422. Its popular title "La Bouquechardière" is taken from the name of the author's estate as seigneur de Bourg-Achard in Normandy. It covers the period from Creation to Caesar, mainly focusing on Greek history, but also covers Old Testament history, Assyria and Rome.
Exhibited:The Bibliophile Society of Norway's 75th anniversary. Bibliofilklubben 75 år. Jubileumsutstilling Bok og Samler, Universitetsbliblioteket 27.2 - 26.4.1997.
|NIKETAS AKOMINATOS CHONIATES: CHRONIKE DIEGESIS (CHRONICLE NARRATIVE), COVERING THE PERIOD 1180-1206, INCLUDING THE FALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE TO THE "CRUSADERS" IN 1204, AND THE EVENTS FOLLOWING|
MS in Greek on paper, Venezia, Italy, 1541, 304 ff. (complete), 33x24 cm, single column, (25x14 cm), 30 lines in Greek cursive book script by Nicolaos Kokolos, signed, titles and initials in red.
Binding: Venezia, Italy, 1541, limp vellum, sewn on 5 thongs.
Context: The remaining Kokolos MSS, ordered by King François I to be copied in Venezia, and several copies of the present MS, are in Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
Provenance: 1. Guillaume Pellicier, Venezia, French ambassador (1541-1568); 2. Claude Naulot (1573); 3. Collège Louis-le Grand (Collège de Clermont), Paris (17th c. - 1764), auction catalogue, nr. 236; 4. Gerard Meerman, The Hague (1764-1771); 5. Johan Meerman, The Hague (1771-1815); 6. Meerman collection Auction, catalogue IV(1824):396; 7. Radink (bookseller), Amsterdam; 8. Sir Thomas Phillipps, Cheltenham, Ph 6767 (1824-1872); 9. Katharine, John, Thomas & Alan Fenwick, Cheltenham, (1872-1946); 10. Robinson Bros., London (1946-1978); 11. Kraus cat. 153(1979):94, acquired Sep. 1989.
Commentary: The text is the primary source of the period based upon what Niketas experienced himself, and what he learned from contemporaries.