What is Ottoman Historiography? Competing and Converging Narratives in 15th- and Early 16th-Century Rumeli

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Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 20194:00PM - 6:00PMNatalie Zemon Davis Seminar Room (Sidney Smith 2098)
100 St. George Street
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In the first decade of the 16th century, the historian Kemālpashazāde (d. 1534) composed an elaborate History of the Ottoman Dynasty, in which he included a lengthy account of the pre-Ottoman past of the Balkans (Rumeli) based—after a thorough redaction—on an apocryphal Christian work of medieval Bulgarian history. By taking this peculiar case of convergence between Muslim and Christian historical narratives as a starting point and trying to locate it in its proper cultural and political contexts, this talk will embark on an attempt to tackle the wider issue of the make-up and dynamics of historical writing in a period of ideological experimentation in the nascent Ottoman imperial enterprise. It will explore the competitive nature of various historiographic strands originating in Rumeli and relating its history, as well as possible venues of interaction between them, in order to demonstrate how the consolidation of the dynasty’s authority in the region was paralleled by a process of appropriation of its past through the merger of these originally competing traditions.


Delyan Rusev
University of Sofia and University of Chicago


Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations

Department of History

Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

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