Early Qur’ans from the Jean-Joseph Marcel collection

Jean-Joseph Marcel (1776-1854), having been appointed the head of the printing shop dispached to Egypt together with Napoleon’s military troops, stayed in Alexandria and Cairo from 1798 to 1801. Beside executing his direct duty of publishing newspapers for the French Army and leaflets for the Egyptians, he was also mastering his knowledge of Arabic and collecting antiquities. After his return to Paris, Marcel became the head of the Republican printing house. Twelve years later, after Napoleon’s downfall, he was discharged from public service and started to publish his own works and research.

His collection of Islamic materials contains about 2000 parchment leaves forming 130 items, all written on parchment except one, which is written on paper. Thanks to the National Library of Russia, the Marcel collection is now accessible online. Enjoy!

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