Primary sources

Primary sources

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This is a list of a few non-European primary sources. There are many, many others of course, and I will be adding to this list.

Contents

Collections and specialized libraries:

  • World Digital Library

    World Digital Library

    The World Digital Library (WDL) is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress. The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and inter-cultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and among countries. As of late 2015, it lists Read More
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

    Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

    The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection is an extensive map collection owned by the Perry-Castañeda Library at The University of Texas at Austin. Many of the maps in the collection have been scanned and are available online, and most of these maps are public domain. There is a great, free, online collection of historical maps. Read More
  • The Jarring Collection, Lund University

    The Jarring Collection, Lund University

    The Jarring Collection consists of 560 manuscripts from Eastern Turkestan, today's Chinese province of Xinjiang. The books date from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The collection not only mirrors Eastern Turkestan society and culture with its classic and folk literature, Islamic religious manuscripts, judicial and historic documents, manuals of medicine, trades and mysticism etc., but also contains documents from the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden in Eastern Turkestan. Read More
  • ALVIN

    ALVIN

    Alvin is a Swedish portal which collects digitalized material from Swedish research libraries, most of it concerns historical sources. There is a lot of different stuff here, but some of it pertains to the world outside of Sweden and Europe. Read More
  • Global Middle Ages

    Global Middle Ages

    Welcome to the Global Middle Ages Project, an ambitious effort by an international collaboration of scholars to see the world whole, c. 500 to 1500 CE, to deliver the stories of lives, objects, and actions in dynamic relationship and change across deep time. Read More
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China and East Asia:

  • Sunzi and modern management techniques

    Sunzi and modern management techniques

    The Art of War is a manual of military strategy and tactics traditionally ascribed to Su Wu, 544-496 BCE, better known as Sunzi, one of the generals active during the Spring and Autumn period. Read More
  • Sayings of Confucius

    Sayings of Confucius

    Confucius, 551 BC – 479 BCE, was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. Read More
  • Laozi

    Laozi

    Laozi was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching[2] and the founder of philosophical Taoism, and as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Read More
  • Han Feizi

    Han Feizi

    The Han Feizi is an ancient Chinese text attributed to foundational political philosopher, "Master" Han Fei. It comprises a selection of essays in the "Legalist" tradition on theories of state power, synthesizing the methodologies of his predecessors. Apart from administration, it touches on diplomacy, war and economics. Its 55 chapters are the only such text to survive intact, most of which date to the Warring States period mid-3rd century BC. Read More
  • International Dunhuang Project

    International Dunhuang Project

    IDP is a ground-breaking international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet and to encourage their use through educational and research programmes. Read More
  • British Library, Chinese Collection

    British Library, Chinese Collection

    The Library has over 100,000 printed books and 2,500 periodical titles in the Chinese language. Read More
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India:

  • Mahabharata

    Mahabharata

    The Mahabharata is an epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pandava princes. It also contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or purusharthas. Among the principal works and stories in the Mahabharata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Ramayana, and the Rishyasringa, often considered as works in their own right. Read More
  • The Kama Sutra

    The Kama Sutra

    The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian Hindu text written by Vātsyāyana. It is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behaviour in Sanskrit literature. Contrary to western popular perception, the Kama Sutra is not exclusively a sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life and other aspects pertaining to pleasure oriented faculties of human life. Read More
  • The Arthashastra

    The Arthashastra

    The Arthashastra is an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy. Likely to be the work of several authors over centuries, Kautilya is traditionally credited as its author. Read More
  • On Yuan Chwang's travels in India, 629-645 A.D.

    On Yuan Chwang's travels in India, 629-645 A.D.

    Xuanzang, 602–664, was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang dynasty. Read More
  • Memoirs of Babur

    Memoirs of Babur

    Baburnama, or the Memoirs of Babur, is the autobiography of the founder of the Mughal Empire. Read More
  • Hamzanama

    Hamzanama

    The Hamzanama narrates the legendary exploits of Amir Hamza, an uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, though most of the stories are extremely fanciful. In the West the work is best known for the enormous illustrated manuscript commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in about 1562. Read More
  • Padshahnama

    Padshahnama

    The Padshahnama is the official history of the Mughal empire, written during the reign of Shah Jahan. Read More
  • Ibn Battuta, Rihla

    Ibn Battuta, Rihla

    Muhammad Ibn Battuta,1304 – 1368 or 1369, was a medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar, who is widely recognised as one of the greatest travelers of all time. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Middle East, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. This link covers his writings on Read More
  • Nagarjuna, The Tree of Wisdom

    Nagarjuna, The Tree of Wisdom

    The Tree of Wisdom is a metrical translation in Tibetan of a Sanscrit ethical work entitled Prajnya Danda, written by Nagarjuna who flourished in the fourth century of the Buddhist era (about 100 B.C.), The Tibetan version was probably made about the 11th century of our era but the exact date has not been determined. Read More
  • The Mulfuzat Timury

    The Mulfuzat Timury

    The Malfuzat-i Timurī is supposedly Timur's own autobiography, but almost certainly a 17th century fabrication.The scholar Abu Taleb Hosayni presented the texts to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, a distant descendant of Timur, in 1637–38, supposedly after discovering the Chagatai language originals in the library of a Yemeni ruler. Even as a fake, the story is still interesting. Read More
  • British Library, Maritime Southeast Asia

    British Library, Maritime Southeast Asia

    The British Library holds about 500 manuscripts from Indonesia and the Malay world. Highlights include illustrated Javanese manuscripts from the early 19th century, royal letters in Malay from the courts of the archipelago, some of the earliest known Batak divination manuals (pustaha) from Sumatra, illustrated Balinese palmleaf manuscripts, and royal Bugis diaries from the court of Bone in Sulawesi. The largest collection is in Javanese (250), followed by Malay (120), Batak (33), Bugis (32), Balinese Read More
  • Indian Ocean in World History

    http://www.indianoceanhistory.org/ Read More
  • Nagarakretagama

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarakretagama http://jejaknusantara.com/terjemahan-nagarakretagama Read More
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Muslim caliphates:

  • Muqaddimah

    Muqaddimah

    The Muqaddimah, is a book written by the Arab historian Ibn Khaldun in 1377 which records an early view of universal history. Some modern thinkers view it as the first work dealing with the philosophy of history but the book also deals with Islamic theology, political theory and the natural sciences of biology and chemistry. Read More
  • A Viking Burial on the Volga

    A Viking Burial on the Volga

    Ahmad ibn Fadlan was a faqih, an expert in Islamic jurisprudence, who accompanied an embassy dispatched by the Abbasid caliph to the Bulgars living along the river Volga, in today’s Russia. They encountered many interesting peoples along the way, but Ibn Fadlan’s account is most famous for what he says about the “Russiyah,” a group of people which historians have identified as Varangians or Vikings. Read More
  • Averroes

    Averroes

    The Digital Averroes Research Environment (DARE) collects and edits the works of the Andalusian Philosopher Averroes or Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn Aḥmad Ibn Rušd, born in Cordoba in 1126, died in Marrakesh in 1198. Read More
  • Ibn Battuta, Rihla

    Ibn Battuta, Rihla

    Muhammad Ibn Battuta,1304 – 1368 or 1369, was a medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar, who is widely recognised as one of the greatest travelers of all time. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included trips to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Africa, Middle East, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China. Read More
  • Travels of Ibn Jubayr

    Travels of Ibn Jubayr

    Ibn Jubayr, 1145-1217, was a geographer, traveler and poet from al-Andalus. His travel chronicle describes the pilgrimage he made to Mecca from 1183 to 1185, in the years preceding the Third Crusade. His account of Baghdad is particularly famous. Read More
  • Mishneh Torah

    Mishneh Torah

    The Mishneh Torah is the most renowned work of the celebrated medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides (1135–1204). The text long served as the authoritative code of Jewish law; even now, it remains a living document, consulted by rabbis and scholars. Law books do not traditionally benefit from lavish illustration; this, however, is an absolutely sumptuous book. Read More
  • Muslim Journeys Bookshelf

    http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/ Read More
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Mongol khanates:

  • Secret history of the Mongols

    Secret history of the Mongols

    The Secret History of the Mongols was written for the Mongol royal family some time after Genghis Khan's death by an anonymous author and probably originally in the Uyghur script, though the surviving texts all derive from transcriptions or translations into Chinese characters dating from the end of the 14th century. This is a new open source translation made by Igor de Rachewiltz in 2015. Read More
  • Altan Tobchi

    Altan Tobchi

    The Altan Tobchi, or Golden Summary, is a 17th-century Mongolian chronicle. It is generally considered second in dignity to the Secret History of the Mongols as a historical chronicle and piece of classical literature. It is a major source of knowledge on the "Chingisiin Bilig" or Wisdom of Genghis, a code of ethical conduct specifically directed toward future generations of Mongolian ruling nobility. Read More
  • Jāmiʿ al-Tawārīkh

    Jāmiʿ al-Tawārīkh "Compendium of Chronicles"

    The Jāmiʿ al-Tawārīkh "Compendium of Chronicles" was commissioned by Ghazan and initially was a history of the Mongols and their dynasty, but gradually expanded to include the entire history since the time of Adam to Rashid al-Din's time. Read More
  • Juvaini, The History of the World Conqueror

    Juvaini, The History of the World Conqueror

    Atâ-Malek Juvayni, 1226–1283, was a Persian historian who wrote an account of the Mongol Empire, History of the World Conqueror. Juvayni visited the Mongol capital of Karakorum twice, beginning his history of the Mongols conquests on one such visit . He was with Ilkhan Hulagu in 1256 at the taking of Alamut and was responsible for saving part of its celebrated library. He had also accompanied Hulagu during the sack of Baghdad in 1258. Read More
  • The Mulfuzat Timury

    The Mulfuzat Timury

    The Malfuzat-i Timurī is supposedly Timur's own autobiography, but almost certainly a 17th century fabrication.The scholar Abu Taleb Hosayni presented the texts to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, a distant descendant of Timur, in 1637–38, supposedly after discovering the Chagatai language originals in the library of a Yemeni ruler. Even as a fake, the story is still interesting. Read More
  • G. Mend-Ooyo

    G. Mend-Ooyo

    G.Mend-Ooyo was born on the open steppe of Dariganga, in the eastern part of Mongolia, and grew up herding livestock and riding swift horses. He is a writer who is deeply connected with his roots in nomadic culture, and his work shows a profound spiritual respect for the earth and for the natural world, and an unbroken link with nomadic life, with the peaceful steppe of his homeland, and with the tradition of Mongolian wisdom. Read More
  • British Library, Mongolian Collection

    British Library, Mongolian Collection

    The Mongolian collections at the British Library comprise several thousand items, including around ninety rare woodblock prints of Buddhist sutras and religious works. Read More
  • Manchu archery

    http://www.manchuarchery.org/articles-manchu-archery Read More
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Africa:

  • Ibn Battuta, Rihla

    Ibn Battuta, Rihla

    Muhammad Ibn Battuta,1304 – 1368 or 1369, was a medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar, who is widely recognised as one of the greatest travelers of all time. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the known Islamic world as well as many non-Muslim lands. His journeys included Read More
  • Timbouktou Manuscript Project

    Timbouktou Manuscript Project

    Home » About » Project Project Researchers at work, Timbuktu Researchers at work, Timbuktu Since 2002, when the idea of the formation of the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project first emerged, we have been involved with various aspects of the study of the manuscript tradition of Timbuktu, Mali. This city was a great centre Read More
  • National Museum of African Art

    National Museum of African Art

    The National Museum of African Art is the Smithsonian Institution's African art museum, located on the National Mall of the United States capital. Its collections include 9,000 works of traditional and contemporary African art from both Sub-Saharan and Arab North Africa, 300,000 photographs, and 50,000 library volumes. It was the Read More
  • The Zamani Project

    The Zamani Project

    Welcome to the African cultural heritage and landscape database. Developed at the University of Cape Town, the Zamani Project attempts to capture the spatial domain of African heritage. You can have access to the different data types available on this website by clicking on the buttons or you can chose Read More
  • Aluka Heritage Site

    Aluka Heritage Site

    World Heritage Sites: Africa is made up of 20 sub-collections and more than 57,000 objects. Selected sub-collections include the Heinz Rüther Collection from the University of Cape Town, the Kilwa Archive from the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), and the Smithsonian Heritage Collection. World Heritage Sites: Africa links visual, Read More
  • Timbuktu Manuscripts

    Timbuktu Manuscripts

    The Timbuktu Manuscripts Collection offers an unparalleled window into societies and intellectual traditions of the Western Sudan from the late 15th century onward. The manuscripts are now under grave threat from a variety of sources, both natural and human. Read More
  • The Heinz Rüther Collection

    The Heinz Rüther Collection

    The Heinz-Rüther Collection is a unique attempt at capturing the spatial domain of African heritage by accurately recording its physical and architectural nature and dimensions. Sites are seen in the context of their physical environment and landscapes surrounding sites are documented based on satellite and aerial imagery, wherever possible. The Read More
  • Artheos

    Artheos

    RTHEOS introduces traditional art pieces, essentially ancient works of art of Africa, whose choice and selection are based on the authenticity and aesthetic. The plastic appealing of these works, often remarkable, is systematically accompanied by a text describing the object and its origin. The authenticity of the objects, whose antiquity Read More
  • Kebra Nagast

    Kebra Nagast

    The Kebra Nagast, or The Glory of the Kings, is a 14th-century[account written in Ge'ez written by Is'haq Neburä -Id of Axum. The text contains an account of how the Queen of Shebamet King Solomon and about how the Ark of the Covenant came to Ethiopia with Menelik I. It Read More
  • Fetha Nagast

    Fetha Nagast

    The Fetha Nagast, "Law of the Kings," is a legal code compiled around 1240 by the Coptic Egyptian Christian writer, 'Abul Fada'il Ibn al-'Assal, in Arabic that was later translated into Ge'ez in Ethiopia and expanded upon with numerous local laws. Read More
  • The Kano Chronicle

    The Kano Chronicle

    The Kano Chronicle is a written account of the history of the Hausa people who inhabit northern Nigeria. This chronicle, a list of rulers of Kano stretching back to the tenth century AD, tells of eleven clans of animists who were warned by their spiritual leader that a stranger would Read More
  • Indian Ocean in World History

    http://www.indianoceanhistory.org/ Read More
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Americas:

  • Garcilaso de la Vega, Royal Commentaries of Peru

    Garcilaso de la Vega, Royal Commentaries of Peru

    Garcilaso de la Vega, the first native of the New World to attain importance as a writer in the Old, was born in Cuzco in 1539, the illegitimate son of a Spanish cavalier and an Inca princess. Although he was educated as a gentleman of Spain and won an important place in Spanish letters, Garcilaso was fiercely proud of his Indian ancestry and wrote under the name EI Inca. Read More
  • Cracking the Mayan code

    Cracking the Mayan code

    The Mayan script, also known as Mayan glyphs or Mayan hieroglyphs, is the writing system of the Maya civilization of Mesoamerica, currently the only Mesoamerican writing system that has been substantially deciphered. The earliest inscriptions found which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BCE in San Bartolo, Guatemala. Maya writing was in continuous use throughout Mesoamerica until the Spanish conquest of the Maya in the 16th and 17th centuries. Read More
  • Aztec codices

    Aztec codices

    Aztec codices are books written by pre-Columbian and colonial-era Aztecs. These codices provide some of the best primary sources for Aztec culture. The pre-Columbian codices mostly do not in fact use the codex form (that of a modern paperback) and are, or originally were, long folded sheets. They also differ from European books in that they mostly consist of images and pictograms; they were not meant to symbolize spoken or written narratives. Read More
  • Maya codices

    Maya codices

    Maya codice sare folding books stemming from the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, written in Maya hieroglyphic script on Mesoamerican bark cloth, made from the inner bark of certain trees, the main being the wild fig tree or amate. The codices have been named for the cities where they eventually settled. The Dresden codex is generally considered the most important of the few that survive. Read More
  • Guaman Poma

    Guaman Poma

    Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala, 1535– 1616, was a Quechua nobleman known for chronicling and denouncing the ill treatment of the natives of the Andes by the Spanish after their conquest. Today, Guaman Poma is noted for his illustrated chronicle, Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno. Read More
  • Edward Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico, 1831

    Edward Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico, 1831

    Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough, was an Irish antiquarian who sought to prove that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were a Lost Tribe of Israel. His principal contribution was in making available facsimiles of ancient documents and some of the earliest explorers' reports on Pre-Columbian ruins and Maya civilisation. Several of these volumes are available at Internet Archive. Read More
  • American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Artifacts

    American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Artifacts

    Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala, 1535– 1616, was a Quechua nobleman known for chronicling and denouncing the ill treatment of the natives of the Andes by the Spanish after their conquest. Today, Guaman Poma is noted for his illustrated chronicle, Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno. Read More
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