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The Oxford History of Historical WritingVolume 3: 1400-1800$
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José Rabasa, Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo, and Daniel Woolf

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199219179.001.0001

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Ottoman Historical Writing

Ottoman Historical Writing

(p.192) Chapter 9 Ottoman Historical Writing
The Oxford History of Historical Writing

Baki Tezcan

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Ottoman historical writing in the period from 1400 to 1800. The two oldest extant pieces of Ottoman historical writing were produced in the post-Timurid era as segments of epics in Turkish verse which were presented to the sons of Bayezid I. Ahmedi's İskender-n âme [Book of Alexander] was the first one. It was presented to Prince Süleiman and includes an account of the Ottomans from their beginnings to the time of composition. The second one was Abdülvasi Çelebi's Halîl-nâme [Book of Abraham], which was presented to Mehmed I in 1414, after the latter had secured his succession to his late father by eliminating all of his competing brothers, and includes the account of a battle that had taken place between Mehmed I and his brother Prince Musa the previous year. Battle accounts, such as the one found in the Halîl-nâme, eventually came to constitute a genre in Ottoman historiography called the gazavât-nâme, or ‘book of exploits’, which was marked by a mixture of facts and conventions related to heroic epics.

Keywords:   Ottomans, historiography, epics, gazavât-nâme, book of exploits

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