An illustration in the 1305-14
Jami‛ al-Tawarikh
by Rashid al-Din.

Universal History

or Compendium of Chronicles

Ğāmi‛ al-tavārīḫ. Rašīd al-Dīn Fazl-ullāh Hamadānī

Eskandar (Alexander the Great) enters the Land of Darkness


A larger image of Eskandar (Alexander the Great) enters the Land of Darkness, Jami' al-Tawarikh, 1305-14.

Ms Or 20 f.19r Iskandar extends his realm into northern regions perpetually shrouded in fog, miniature from the 'Jami' al-Tawarikh' of Rashid al-Din, c.1307
Il-Khanid: Tabriz, 1314
Opaque watercolour, ink, gold and silver on paper
Edinburgh University Library, MS. Or. 20, folio 19r
Source: Edinburgh University Library, Scotland Digital Books



Eskandar, or Alexander the Great, went into the Land of Darkness to seek the Water of Life, but failed to find it. Here, he sends his horse forward into the swirling darkness. His followers look anxious and even two of the horses stare at each other, uncertain of what they are about to encounter. The flame-like protuberances on Eskandar's helmet probably allude to his identification with the qur'anic figure Dhu'l-Qarnayn ('Lord, or Possessor, of Two Horns').

Il-Khanid: Tabriz, 1314
Opaque watercolour, ink, gold and silver on paper
Edinburgh University Library, MS. Or. 20, fol. 19r
Source: The Fitzwilliam Museum

Previous: The dying Rostam shoots Shaghad, f15v      Next: Jurjays Miraculously Protected When Tortured by the King of Mosul for Refusing to Worship Idols, f26r
Back to the Jami‛ al-Tawarikh of 1305-14