Tue, 21.11.2023 18:15

Visualising Persian History: the illustration of Persian manuscript histories

Webinar series "Pre-modern Islamic manuscripts"

Hybrid lecture by Prof. Charles Melville | University of Cambridge - BIPS

in cooperation with the Department of Art History, University of Vienna

Abstract  How did medieval chroniclers writing in Persian narrate their past and present history and – the main focus of this paper – how were the historical events depicted in the manuscripts in which their work was written? The research presented here concerns the illustration of Persian chronicles in manuscripts produced between the thirteenth and the early nineteenth century, but the history they cover goes back to the earliest memories of the Iranian past, the Biblical prophets and rise of Islam, reflecting the formative role of religion in shaping political history.  Over this long span of time, artists (and sometimes the historians themselves) chose some events to be illustrated and others not. These choices, explored here, must tell us something about the Iranians’ own view of the significant moments in their history and how it was perceived.


This is the 2nd lecture in the webinar series for the new academic year 2023-24 - organised by the NoMansLand research project (FWF Y 1232) dedicated to the study of Islamic manuscripts in pre-modern Iran and Central Asia.

Convenor: Project team "Nomads' Manuscripts Landscape" in cooperation with the Department of Art History, University of Vienna

For a list of upcoming lectures in the webinar series, please see Webinar series "Pre-modern Islamic manuscripts"



21 November 2023
6.15 pm - 7.30 pm

Hybrid lecture

Department of Art History
University of Vienna
Garnisongasse 13, 1090 Vienna
Seminar room 1 (ground floor)



Webinar series "Pre-modern Islamic manuscripts"