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Asian, Middle Eastern and Ethiopic Manuscripts

MS 4687/9: cunieform tablet
  • Some of the earliest texts in Manuscripts & Archives are incised in cuneiform script on clay tablets from Sumeria (modern day Iraq); the tablets are upwards of two thousand years old (MS 4687)
  • There are over 70 Arabic manuscripts including some with Persian, Samaritan, Turkish, Hebrew and Hausa linguistic associations. A large proportion of the texts relate to the Islamic religion and laws; included are nearly 20 Korans
  • The Syriac collection of 12 items contains significant material: it has recently been fully catalogued (see Bcheiry below)
  • There are 14 texts of Ethiopic origin; they are almost all religious and the languages represented include Amharic and Ge’ez. They date from the 17th to 19th centuries
  • There are over 70 manuscripts in Persian. They include literary and historical works, grammars or dictionaries and epistolary material (MSS 2798-2861)

Other material originating in India includes a 19th-century treatise on music (MS 1637) in the Kannada language and "Arithmetic tables to count and write higher numbers" (MS 2744. See Colas below). There are also paintings depicting religious figures (MS 1761) and occupations (MS 1760).

The small Chinese collection includes 40 drawings on silk presented by Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough (1795 - 1837).

The Library has a small number of items catalogued under the following subject headings:

Armenia, Hindustani, Turkish, Coptic, Servian, Tibetan, Pashto, Japanese, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Malaysian, Tamil, Pali, Burmese, Hebrew, Malabar and Babylonia.

There are materials relating to the study of Eastern languages:

  • MSS 2723-2724: the papers of Lieut. Col. Eric G. Haig
  • MSS 5902-11: the papers of J.A. Storey
  • MSS 2799-2680: the Robert Atkinson collection which includes phonographic recordings of Chinese dialects in the 19th century

The College Archives has some 19th- and 20th-century papers of the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission to China which includes committee records, photographs, printed material and objects.

Catalogues and Bibliography

Catalogues for individual collections are available in the reading room of Manuscripts & Archives.

I. Bcheiry, Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in Trinity College, Dublin Patrimoine Syriaque 1 (Parole de l’Orient: Kaslik, 2005)

R. Cleminson, A Union Catalogue of Cyrillic Manuscripts in British and Irish Collections (University of London, 1988)

G. Colas and U. Colas-Chauhan, Manuscrits Telugu: Catalogue Raisonné (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1995), pp. 56-7

M.J. Geller, "A Kultmittelbeschwörung in Trinity College Dublin", Zeitschrift für Assyrologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie 91 Sonderdruck (2001), p. 225

J. Gwynn, "On a Syriac manuscript belonging to the collection of Archbishop Ussher" Trans R.I.A. 27 (1886), pp. 269-316

R. Hillenbrand (ed), Shahnama: The Visual Language of the Persian Book of Kings (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004)

G. James, Colporul: A History of Tamil Dictionaries (Cre-A: Chennai, 2000), p. 660

J. Knappert, "The discovery of a lost Swahili manuscript from the eighteenth century", African Language Studies 10 (1969)

H. Kruse, ‘Ein audionishes Nachtgebet on römishen Brevier’, Oriens Christianus 66 (1992), pp. 75-97

J.D. Pearson, Oriental Manuscript Collections in the Libraries of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1954)

C.H. Roberts, "The Slavonic Calvinist reading primer in Trinity College Library" Long Room 28-29 (1984)

G.J. Toomer, Eastern Wisdome and Learning. The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996)

W. Wright, The Book of Kalīlah and Dimnah: Translation from Arabic into Syriac (Amsterdam: APA-Philo Press, 1981)