Three Rare Uzbek Manuscripts at the Bodleian Libraries (with Nicholas Kontovas)

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Nicholas Kontovas, the Nizami Ganjavi Subject Librarian and Curator for Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Ottoman Turkish at the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. Kontovas offered an illuminating discussion on three extraordinary manuscripts from the Timurid Empire, each holding immense historical and cultural significance for not just Uzbekistan, but also Central Asia and the Middle East.

His focus on one manuscript, MS Eliot 127, penned in 1581, delves into the lives and works of renowned poets in Persian and Turkic languages. This manuscript is believed to have inspired later works and serves as a testament to the rich literary traditions of the Timurid period. Kontovas also explored the linguistic nuances of the time, highlighting how the language of modern-day Uzbekistan became the lingua franca for Turkic writers in the East.

His insights align seamlessly with the interdisciplinary ethos of the Bodleian Libraries, a treasure trove of resources for the study of Central Asia and the Middle East. The presentation not only enriched our understanding of the Timurid Empire but also underscored the invaluable academic resources available at the University of Oxford for the study of these culturally rich regions.