More Medieval Manuscripts

The Qatar Digital Library is a collaboration between Qatar Foundation, Qatar National Library, and The British Library. The library’s main focus is the history of the Persian Gulf, and its digital collection features large numbers of original documents, photographs, and drawings from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. But, taking advantage of the British Library’s exceptional collection of Arabic manuscripts, it also has digital copies of important medieval texts.

The digitized manuscripts aren’t transcribed or translated, which is something of a disadvantage for those of use whose Arabic, Persian, and Farsi is non-existent, but the QDL has also put up a large number of brief contextual essays that explain the importance of the manuscripts that have been digitized. Among the highlights: designs for water clocks, discussions of the pulmonary transit, astronomical observations, ninth-century scientific terminology,  and the role of Syriac Christian communities in Greek–Arabic translation. It’s a ten-year partnership, so hopefully there will be much more to come.

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