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Walters Ms. W.664, Epic of Alexander the Great

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Shelf mark



Epic of Alexander the Great

Text title

Vernacular: اسكندر نامه


Authority name: Ahmedî, 1334?-1413

As-written name: Aḥmet bin Ibrāhīm Aḥmedī

Name, in vernacular: احمد بن ابراهيم احمدي

Note: Author dates preferred by cataloger: d. 815 AH / 1413 CE


Copied by Kamāl ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Qarāmānī in a clear, vocalized naskh script, this manuscript of the Epic of Alexander the Great or the Alexander romance (Iskendernāme) by Aḥmet bin Ibrāhīm Aḥmedī (d. 815 AH / 1413 CE) was completed in Aleppo (Ḥalab) in 891 AH / 1486 CE. Written in two columns and surrounded by a frame, it opens with an illuminated title page (fol. 2a), followed by an incipit page with illuminated titlepiece inscribed al-mulk li-Llāh al-wāḥid (Supreme authority belongs to the One God).


Mid Jumādá II 891 AH / 1486 CE


Ḥalab (Aleppo, Syria)


As-written name: Kamāl ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Qarāmānī

Name, in vernacular: كمال بن عبد الله القراماني

Note: The scribe's name is followed by a qualifier: of (min) Sulṭān Jam ibn ʿUthmān. The nisbah of his name, al-Qarāmānī, appears to point to the Qaramanid dynasty of south-central Anatolia and the Mediterranean coast land that reigned there from 654 AH / 1256 CE -- 880 AH / 475 CE.




Literary -- Poetry


The primary language in this manuscript is Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928).

fol. 245a:
  1. Transliteration: qad waqaʿa al-farāgh min Kitāb Iskandarnāmah bi-ʿawn Allāh wa-ḥusn tawfīqih /1/ fī awāsiṭ shahr Jumādá al-ākhar sanat iḥdá /2/ wa-tisʿīn wa-thamānimiʾah ʿalá yad al-ʿabd al-faqīr /3/ ilá Allāh taʿālá Kamál ibn ʿAbd Allāh /4/ al-Qarāmānī min Sulṭān Jam (?) ibn ʿUthmān ḥāmidan /5/ li-Llāh taʿālá wa-muṣalliyan ʿalá Nabīyih Muḥammad wa-<ā>lih /7/ wa-musalliman bi-madīnat Ḥalab ḥamāhā Allāh [subscript: 891] ʿan al-karb /8/ wa-al-āfah /9/
  2. Comment: In Arabic in tawqīʿ script, containing title of the work, name of the scribe, and date and place of copying

Support material


Main text of thick, non-European paper; flyleaves of Italian paper bearing a watermark: crescent with human profile in a shield and the initials LGC


Foliation: i+245+i

Fol. 245b gives the following computations: leaves (awrāq) 243; lines (saṭr) 34 (two lines for each couplet); verses (bayt) 7973


Catchwords: Written on versos, often shaved

Comments: Consists of quaternions and quinions


23.0 cm wide by 33.0 cm high

Written surface

17.0 cm wide by 25.0 cm high

  1. Columns: 2
  2. Ruled lines: 17
  3. Framing lines in blue, black, and gold

fols. 2a - 245a:
  1. Title: Iskendernāme
  2. Author: Ahmedî, 1334?-1413
  3. Scribe: Kamāl ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Qarāmānī
  4. Incipit: ذكر بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم * ...
  5. Hand note: Written in large, vocalized naskh script in black ink with chapter/section headings in blue; colophon in tawqīʿ script
  6. Decoration note: Illuminated title page with title and author’s name in upper and lower panels and a round medallion (shamsah) (fol. 2a); incipit page with illuminated titlepiece with the inscription al-mulk li-Llāh al-wāḥid (fol. 2b); framing lines in blue, black, and gold


fol. 2a:

  1. W.664, fol. 2a
  2. Title: Illuminated title page
  3. Form: Title page; medallion
  4. Label: This illuminated title page has the title and the author’s name in the upper and lower panels and a round medallion (shamsah) in the middle, with no inscription.

fol. 2b:

  1. W.664, fol. 2b
  2. Title: Incipit page with illuminated titlepiece
  3. Form: Incipit; titlepiece
  4. Label: This incipit page with illuminated titlepiece is inscribed al-mulk li-Llāh al-wāḥid (Supreme authority belongs to the One God).


The binding is not original.

Brown leather (with flap), blind-stamped and decorated with a central oval and pendants


Walters Art Museum, 1931, by Henry Walters bequest


For more information on the Alexander romance, see "Iskandar Nāma." Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed. s.v.

Minorsky, Vladimir. The Chester Beatty Library. A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts and Miniatures. Introduction by J. V. S. Wilkinson. (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, 1958), 407.

Richard, Francis. Catalogue des manuscrits persans. (Paris: Bibliothèque nationale, 1989), 193.


Principal cataloger: Gacek, Adam

Catalogers: Landau, Amy; Smith, Sita

Editor: Bockrath, Diane

Conservators: Jewell, Stephanie; Quandt, Abigail

Contributors: Barrera, Christina; Emery, Doug; Herbert, Lynley; Noel, William; Simpson, Shreve; Tabritha, Ariel; Toth, Michael B.; Valle, Chiara


The Walters Art Museum


Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Access Rights, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode. It is requested that copies of any published articles based on the information in this data set be sent to the curator of manuscripts, The Walters Art Museum, 600 North Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21201.