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© Tughra - Rogers Fund, 1938 - The Metropolitan Museum New York, USA
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Main Entries

As there is no equivalent of Franz Babinger’s Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke (1927), in order to establish the mandatory (preliminary) corpus of the historiographical sources composed in Ottoman Europe, one has:

a) To check the results of oher projects devoted to the writing of history, such as the “Historians of the Ottoman Empire” [] and the “Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle” [Graeme Dunphy et al. (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle I. A-L;II. J-Z, Leiden : Brill 2010;];

b) To read the recent studies dedicated to the topic, like, for example, the ones by Petre Guran (“Slavonic Historical Writing in South-Eastern Europe, 1200-1600”, in Sarah Foot / Chase F. Robinson / Ian Hesketh (eds.), The Oxford History of Historical Writing II. 400-1400, Oxford : Oxford University Press 2012, pp. 328-345) and Konrad Petrovszky (Geschichte schreiben im osmanischen Südosteuropa. Eine Kulturgeschichte orthodoxer Historiographie des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts, Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz 2014);

c) To consult the histories of different South-East European literatures, such as the history of Albanian literature by Robert Elsie; the monograph on the development of spiritual life in Bosnia under the influence of Turkish rule by Ivo Andrić; the anthology of ancient Bulgarian historical literature edited by Ivan Bozhilov; the histories of Modern Greek literature by Konstantinos Th. Dimaras, Borje Knös, and Mario Vitti; the history of 18th century Romanian literature by N. Iorga and other histories of the Romanian literature; the history of Serbian Literature in the Age of Baroque by Milorad Pavić, etc.;

d) To extract relevant titles from extant bibliographies and repertoires, such as the monumental bibliographies of Émile Legrand (Bibliographie hellénique, Bibliographie albannaise, Bibliographie ionienne), the repertoire of internal manuscripts 15th- to 18th-century Romanian chronicles by Ioachim Crăciun and Aurora Ilieș, and the “Albanian” bibliography by Shpëtim Mema and Afërdita Sharrëxhi (Albanica I. Bibliography of the 15th-18th Centuries, Tirana: National Library 1998);

e) To extract relevant data from the extant catalogues of manuscripts and ancient books.

For each main entry (to be found in the Main Section), that is, for each primary source, the following info are given (as accurate as possible): a) name of the author; b) title (in original and in English translation); c) description of the contents and, if necessary, brief presentation of controversial issues, such as the authorship, the date, the genre, the significance, etc.; d) location of the manuscripts; e) key publications, i.e. editions and translations; f) secondary literature; g) key words. If any of the manuscripts, key publications, and references is available online, coordinates are provided. The description of the context, the location of the manuscripts, and the identification of the key publications are particularly important. They are informative and, at the same time, offer fundamental data for anyone trying to grasp the research potential of a main source.

However, as “authorship” and “originality” did not have the same meaning in early-modern times as they do today, and because the context is important, if a text were transmitted by miscellanea, this miscellaneous collection is also treated as a main entry. In this case, the following info are given (as accurate as possible): a) current location; b) date, place of composition, and language; c) size; d) title and description of the contents; e) incipit and explicit; f) scribe; g) references; h) key words. This data are extracted from catalogues (if available and reliable), or, whenever possible, from the direct study of the manuscript. They help us grasp the meaning conferred to a text by the compiler of the manuscript, and this meaning can and many times is different than the meaning of the same text circulating independently.

Describing both individual works and miscellanea, HOE offers a more complete set of data on the historiography of Ottoman Europe than ever before.