Celebrating 500 years of Arabic poetry, an exhibition of beautiful Persian manuscripts that range from Medieveal times to the 18th-century.

The Bodleian Library has one of the finest collections of Persian manuscripts in the world, thanks to a group of adventurous scholars who travelled to the Ottoman Empire and donated the books on their return.

When the Bodleian was properly founded in the 1500s, it already owned a number of Korans and a large collection of Persian love stories.

It is these beautiful poems that now go on display, in particular a series of exquisitely illustrated manuscripts from the court of the Sultan of Ghaznah who, it is said, had 400 poets in his retinue. The books reveal why the West has long been fascinated by Persian literature and how European writers such as Dante, Chaucer and Shakespeare were inspired by the symbolism in their prose.

Bodleian Library

Broad Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3BG

01865 277 627


Opening times

Mon – Sat, 9am – 5pm

Sun, 11am - 5pm

Free to all

10% off in shop

Valid to 31 December 2019

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