The Main Sources of Ottoman History: Chronicles

Since 1980s studies on the social and economic history have dominated historical scholarship in Turkey and this resulted in the negligence of political history. This negligence has recently become a significant issue in Turkish historiography. Most of the studies on social and economic history in this respect are neither social history nor economic history. Moreover, due to the lack of sufficient background for political history, they are quite ambiguous. As opposed to the common belief, the historiography of Ottoman political history has been considerably neglected and therefore has not yet been completed. In this context, the chronicles are the principle sources for Ottoman Political history. Hence, the completion of the transliteration of these chronicles is the foremost task of Ottoman historians. The Ottoman chronicles starts very late when compared with the foundation of the Empire. Although the empire was established at the very end of the 13th century, our earliest chronicle dates back to the beginning of 15th century. Yahşi Fakih Menâkıbnâmesi is the first Ottoman chronicle; however, unfortunately, copies of this chronicle did not reach to present time. Therefore, Ahmedî's İskendernâme is the earliest chronicle that survives. It was with the reign of Bayezid II that the expansion and consolidation of the Ottoman Empire was also reflected to the proliferation of the chronicles. This article examines these chronicles as the principal sources of Ottoman political history.


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