Professor Charles Melville

Professor of Persian History, Fellow of Pembroke College, Founder of Shahnama Project

Biographical Details

Charles Melville is Professor of Persian History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Pembroke College. He has a BA (1st class Hons.) in Arabic and Persian from Cambridge (1972), an MA in Islamic History (London SOAS, 1973) and a PhD on the Historical seismicity of Iran (Cambridge, 1978). His main research interests are in the history and historiography of Iran in the Mongol to Safavid periods (13th-17th centuries), and the illustration of Persian manuscripts. He is the founding editor of Pembroke Papers, an occasional series devoted to Persian studies, which has now been transformed into ‘Studies in Persian Cultural History’, published by Brill of Leiden. He is vice-president of the British Institute of Persian Studies and a member of the Research Committee; vice-chairman of the Iran Heritage Foundation’s Academic Council and president of The Islamic Manuscript Association, based in Cambridge. He has travelled extensively in Iran and Central Asia.

Recent publications

F. Abdullaeva & Charles Melville, The Persian Book of Kings. Ibrahim Sultan’s Shahnama (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2008); Barbara Brend & Charles Melville, Epic of the Persian Kings. The art of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh (London, 2010); Charles Melville (ed.) Persian Historiography, vol. X, A History of Persian Literature, general ed. E. Yarshater (London, 2012); “The Royal image in Mongol Iran”, in Lynette Mitchell & Charles Melville (eds) Every Inch a King: Comparative studies on kings and kingship in the ancient and medieval worlds (Leiden, 2013); “The illustration of history in Safavid manuscript painting”, in Colin P. Mitchell (ed.) New Perspectives on Safavid Iran: Empire and Society (London, 2011), pp. 163-97 and “The itineraries of Shahrukh b. Timur (1405-47)”, in D. Durand-Guédy (ed.) Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life (Leiden, 2013), pp. 285-315.