Ottoman Roundtables - I
13th January 2014, Don Juan Archiv
The first of the Ottoman Roundtables will be realized on 13th January 2014 and will be dedicated to the theme „Sefâretnâmes – Ottoman Embassy Reports“, and is considered part of the Sefâretnâmes – Ottoman Reports Edition project that Don Juan Archiv Wien has initiated as an international cooperation in 2010. The earliest of these documents known to date categorically considered as sefâretnâme (’book of embassy’) dates as early as 1419 and was written during the reign of Mehmed I (r. 1413–1421) by Hoca Gıyaseddin Nakkaş, the envoy of Shahrukh Mirza (r. 1405–1447), then ruler of the Timurid Empire, on the mission to China reigned by Emperor Yongle (r. 1402–1424; Ming Dynasty) – this is, indeed, a specific case where the envoy is Timurid but the document belongs to the sefâretnâme category. The latest sefâretnâme dates from the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876–1909) and stems from the envoy Mehmed Tahir Münif Paşa’s 1877 mission to Persia, at the time ruled by Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar (r. 1848–1896).
As for the sefâretnâmes written on missions to European states, the earliest one dates back to 1495 and originates from an embassy to Pécs in the Apostolic Kingdom of Hungary; the last two from Europe were written during the era of the resident embassies instituted by Sultan Selim II (r. 1789–1807): from Lombardy in the Austrian Empire in 1838 by the ambassador was Mehmed Sadık Rıfat Paşa who was on his Vienna mission during the reigns of Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808– 1838) and Emperor Ferdinand I (r. 1835–1848), and from Paris in 1845, by ambassador Abdülrezzak Bahir Efendi during the reign of Abdülmecid I (r. 1839–1861) and Louis Philippe (1830–1848). Other European states on which sefâretnâmes were written are Holy Roman Empire (8 reports between 1665-1792), France (8 reports between 1721-1845), Russia (8 reports between 1722-1794), Poland (3 reports between 1730-1758), Sweden (1 report 1732), Prussia (3 reports between 1763-1798), Spain (1 report on 1787 mission), and Great Britain (3 reports between 1793-1832).
There are 50 such documents known to exist, of which manuscript copies are held not only in institutions in the Turkish Republic (as, for instance, in Topkapı Palace Archives with a collection of 105 manuscripts and in Istanbul University Library with 26 manuscripts), but also widespread in various European institutions in Vienna (11), Paris (6), Basel (3), Berlin (2), Munich (1), Gotha (1), Halle (1), Uppsala (1) as well as in Cairo (6). Of these, Vienna holds the most number of sefâretnâme manuscript copies outside of Turkey, belonging to the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (7) and Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (4).
Don Juan Archiv Wien has composed a complete register of the entire corpus of the Ottoman sefâretnâmes for further research purposes which can also be seen online.
The participants to this first Roundtable are cordially invited to reflect to the theme with respect to their own fields of expertise and with regard to possibilities of their institutions, so as to bring a channel of exchange and to provide a discussion on possible new angles to research on the subject.
Participating Guests to Ottoman Roundtable – I
(names in alphabetical order)
Johannes Feichtiger (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institut für Kulturwissenschaften und Theatergeschichte)
Ingeborg Formann (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Sammlung von Handschriften und alten Drucken)
Seyfi Kenan (Istanbul, Marmara University & Centre for Islamic Studies)
Markus Köhbach (Universität Wien, Institut für Orientalistik)
Ernst Petritsch (Wien, Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv)
Gisela Procházka-Eisl (Universität Wien, Institut für Orientalistik)
Claudia Römer (Universität Wien, Institut für Orientalistik)
Solveigh Rumpf-Dorner (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Sammlung von Handschriften und alten Drucken)
Florian Schwarz (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Institut für Iranistik)
Concept and Organisation
Matthias J. Pernerstorfer, Suna Suner, Hans Ernst Weidinger