Persian Manuscripts : Salīm-shāhnāmah

İdrîs Bitlîsî, d. 1520, Ebülfazl Mehmed Efendi, d. 1574

Persian Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'>The <i>Salīm-Shāhnāmah</i> (Book of Salīm Shāh), is a historical chronicle of the Ottoman ruler Selim I (1470–1520; r. 1512–20). The author, Idrīs Bitlīsī (d. 1520), was an administrator who served Sultans Beyazid II (1447–1512, r. 1481–1512) and Selim I 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, the work is divided 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). It alternates between prose narration of events followed by lines of poetry that recast the same in <i>muqtarib</i> metre.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>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 the work. After his death, his son Ebülfazl Mehmed Efendi (d. 1574) collected and edited his father's various 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 is dedicated 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 is likely one of the earliest extant copies of this work.</p>

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