In spite of its recent remarkable refashioning and impetus, the history of historiography during the Early Modern period has shown little interest in South-Eastern Europe. Clichés like the supposed “backwardness” of this area or the allegedly suffocating “Turkish yoke” functioned as an inhibitor. The existence of a plethora of competing local national narratives did not help either.
However, the PhD research carried by Konrad Petrovszky at Humboldt University challenged both cultural prejudices and historiographical self-imposed boundaries and put South-Eastern Europe on the historiographical map. Through a systematic multi-linguistic, interdisciplinary, and comparative investigation of Orthodox history writing in Ottoman Europe during the 16th and 17th century, Konrad placed this historiography in its proper social and communicational context. Published in 2014 by Harrassowitz, "Geschichte schreiben im osmanischen Südosteuropa. Eine Kulturgeschichte orthodoxer Historiographie des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts" is but one of the results of this long-time investigative effort.
The DFG project entitled "A Bibliographical Database of Historiography in Ottoman Europe (15th-18th Century)" / "Bibliographische Datenbank zur Geschichtsschreibung im Osmanischen Europa (15.-18. Jh.)", implemented by the Department of the History of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey and the University Library of the Ruhr-University in Bochum, is part of the same effort. Inspired by the seminar "Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke by Franz Babinger (1927)" and by the repertory of the 15th-18th century manuscripts containing chronicles pertaining to the Romanian history ("Repertoriul manuscriselor de cronici interne", 1963), it aims to present the history writing of 15th to 18th century Ottoman Europe in all its diversity. Its focus is on the Orthodox history writing, but other types of history writing are also taken into account.
The HOE-stamped blue dromedary was inspired by an assertion made by the Imperial ambassador to Constantinople Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq (1555) and by an engraving from Count Marsili’s Stato Militare dell’Imperio Ottomano (1732). According to Busbecq, the Ottoman Empire owed its existence to rice and camels, that is, to a very resistant food and to a highly reliable means of transportation. According to Marsili, the dromedary was the Ottoman equivalent of the nowadays heavy armed war machines – a fast, resilient, easy manoeuvrable two-cannon attack weapon. As it also carried commercial goods and as it became a constant presence in Ottoman Europe as part of the caravans, we have discarded the weapons, painted the beast in blue, and turned it into a symbol of mobility and cultural exchange. In addition, from Matthew’s (19: 24) camel to the Psarian camels of Modern Greek proverbs, the one-humped even-toed ungulate was constantly associated with the impossible. Our logo thus suggests that those who enter HOE database might encounter uncommon texts and images.
We thank our late team member, André Hagenbruch (04.04.1971-18.05.2016), for the beautiful logo he made for us!