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The Ottoman Turkish calendar of histories: a rare, 18th-century manuscript of one of Katip Çelebi's most important works

Taqwim al-Tawarikh.
[Turkey, early 18th century]. 8vo. Ottoman Turkish manuscript written in red and black ink, in a small and neat nastaliq hand within a gilt frame (ca. 27 lines to the page). With a hand-drawn gilt floral headpiece at the start of the work. Contemporary(?) Ottoman gold-tooled brown goatskin, with an oval medallion (şemse) within a decorative frame (zencirek) on both boards, a gold-tooled front flap. [89], [2 blank] ll.
€ 15,000
Beautifully heightened with gold, very rare Ottoman Turkish manuscript of the "Calendar of histories" by Katip Çelebi (1609-1657), who is also known as Hajji Khalifa. He was one of the most important 17th-century Ottoman authors and scholars. The work is an annalistic chronicle from the creation of Adam until 1648, when it was written. Originally written in a combination of Turkish and Persian, it is one of the rare historical works in Persian to have the form of a chronology, as most others are histories of dynasties or general histories. Eighteenth-century manuscript copies of this work are very difficult to find and rarely as luxuriously executed as the present manuscript.
Taqwim al-tawârîkh was intended as an index to Fadhlakat al-tawârîkh ("Compendium of history"), written in 1639 by the same author, but as the index was written almost a decade later, it was expanded to cover important figures and events up to 1648. The calendar contains numerous chronological tables, which are preceded by an introduction. There are tables of the pre-Islamic and Islamic dynasties, Ottoman sultans, Sheikhs and grand viziers, and important events from every year. These are followed by an afterword. It became incredibly popular as a reference work and it was continued after Çelebi's death by several 18th-century authors. It was later translated into Latin, Italian and French.
Çelebi was born as Mustafa ibn Abd' Allah in Istanbul. He served in the army and took part in many military campaigns during the 1620s and 30s. However, he is mostly known for his academic accomplishments and received the sobriquet Katip Çelebi (learned scribe) because of it.
With the bookplate of Otto Oren Fisher mounted on the front pastedown and the bookplate of Josephine H. Fisher on the last free marbled endpaper. The binding has been restored with reddish brown goatskin around the spine and the fore-edge of the backboard and flap, the binding shows some signs of wear, with some loss of material at the foot of the spine. The top outer corner of leaf [20] has been restored, wormholes in the bottom margin of leaves [55-70], without affecting the text, minor (ink) stains on some of the leaves. Otherwise in very good condition.
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Autographs, documents & manuscripts  >  Manuscripts & Documents
History, law & philosophy  >  History
Middle east & islamic world  >  Turkey & Ottoman Empire