Page images
[ocr errors]


In the following pages two Persian works of considerable rarity are now, for the first time, clothed in a European dress, and offered to the Oriental Translation Committee, which has on all occasions evinced such zeal in promoting and diffusing the study of Eastern literature. For the use of these Tracts (illustrating Asiatic Geography) I am indebted to Sir William Ouseley, in whose valuable and extensive Collection of Manuscripts they are preserved. To him also I must acknowledge further obligations: together with the two Manuscripts, he communicated to me some passages of a translation which he had himself begun to make from them several years ago, but which he discontinued on undertaking the publication of his "Travels in various Countries of the East." These passages I have gladly incorporated with my own part of the translation, availing myself, at the same time, of a few hints for short notes, which he obligingly added to his communication; and I shall here transcribe an extract from his answer to my Letter requesting some literary and biographical anecdotes of Sddik Isfa/i/ini, and an account of the two works which, at Sir William's suggestion, I had undertaken to translate: —*


"Of the two Persian Manuscripts which I have much pleasure in consigning to you, each is a complete and distinct composition,

* See the " Catalogue of several hundred Manuscript Works in various Oriental Languages, collected by Sir William Ouseley, LL.D., &c." In this Catalogue (which was printed last year, 1831, and intended for private circulation,) the Geographical Tracts of Sddik hfahani are noticed (p. 11) under the titles of " Tahkik al liab," (two copies, No. 300, in quarto, and No. 381, in folio,) and " Takwim al Buldan," No. 383, a folio MS.

although, as both treat on the same subject, they are bound together in one volume. The first work, entitled 'Tahkik al Irab,' (t-jl^cJI j&=J) gives, in alphabetical order, the names of countries, cities, rivers, and other objects geographically interesting, with short descriptions. The second MS. is entitled

'Takwi'm al Buldan,' (Jjjjl ^) and likewise exhibits, in alphabetical order, the names of various places, with descriptions, (shorter than those given in the former work,) also the degrees of longitude and latitude. From what points these are computed the author does not state; but it is evident that he follows those eastern geographers who, like Nasir ad'din Tusi, Hamdallah Kazviiii, and Ultigh Beig, calculate their longitude (eJjJlA-^^jl) 'from the Fortunate Islands,' and their latitude (lyJ L±-^1) 'from the Equinoctial Line.'

"Respecting Stidik Isfahdni (as our ingenious author is commonly styled) I have been able to obtain but little information. His principal work, the 'Subhh Sadik,' (joLe ge a General History of Asia,) occupies four large folio volumes: one of these, comprising the ancient part, is in my Collection. He composed also on different subjects, chiefly historical, many tracts, (some of which I possess,) constituting a Miscellany denominated 'Shahid Sadik' (jjlo jjsLi): to this belonged the two tracts now in your hands, and I believe that it did not contain any other work on the subject of geography.

"In one of his historical compositions he is entitled at full length Mirzti Muhammed Stidik ben Mirzti Muhammed Stileh Zobeiri Isfahtini, Azadtini. * A note made above thirty years ago by an accomplished friend, who brought those historical manuscripts to Europe, states that Sadik Isfahtini had visited many parts of India, where he died about one hundred and fifty years before; t

* ^lyiuol ^SjX>j Jle «Vsr« \j^ ^ jjLo J^sr< \j^t, Jlj1 .1 We may reasonably suppose that Muhammed Stileh

derived the surname Azadani from the village of Azadan, which Sadik describes as a place belonging to Isfahan. (See the "Tahkik al Irab," p. 2.)

+ I have lately fouud a date which proves that Smith. Isfahdni was employed on his gTeat work, the "Subhh

« PreviousContinue »