Persian Manuscripts : Salīm-shāhnāmah

İdrîs Bitlîsî, d. 1520Idrīs Bidlīsīادريس بتليسي, Ebülfazl Mehmed Efendi, d. 1574Abū'l-Fażl Muḥammad Efendīابو الفضل محمد افندى

Persian Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'> The <i>Salīm-Shāhnāmah</i> (Book of Salīm Shāh), chronicles the reign of the Ottoman ruler Selim I (1470–1520; r. 1512–20). The author, Idrīs Bidlīsī (d. 1520), served Sultans Beyazid II (1447–1512, r. 1481–1512) and Selim I as an administrator throughout the empire. He intended it as a sequel to his <i>Hasht Bihisht</i> (Eight Paradises), which recounts the reigns of the first eight Ottoman rulers prior to his patron. Thematically, he divided the work into two parts: the first features four discourses on Selim’s early years, his religious devotion, ethics, and literary works, while the second recounts events in Selim I's life until his death and succession by his son Sultan Suleiman I (1495–1566, r. 1520–1566).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The text alternates between prose narration of events followed by lines of poetry that recast the same in <i>muqtarib</i> metre, hence a richly nuanced literary style that dramatically departs from works by prior Ottoman historians. The author recounts many events that he witnessed towards the end of Selim I’s reign; however, he died soon after his patron in 1520 and never completed it. After his death, his son Ebülfazl Mehmed Efendi (d. 1574) compiled and edited his father's various surviving drafts to which he added a preface, then in 1566–67 presented the completed work to Sultan Selim II (1524–1574, r. 1566–1574), the subject's grandson and namesake, as an accession gift. Since this lavishly illuminated volume in the Rylands bears a dedication to the same ruler on folio 4a, it must have been completed within a seven-year period after 1567 but before Selim II's death in 1574. Therefore, this manuscript appears to be one of the earliest extant copies of this work, probably copied from the original holograph text.</p>

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