Historiography of Ottoman Europe

Fezleke-i tevarih / Fisleche

Translated Title
The Epitome of History (English)
Çelebi, Katib [(Mustafa b. Abdullah, Hacı Halife) ] (1608-1657) | URL | URL | VIAF | ISNI
Publication Type
Anonymous English translation of Katib Çelebi’s Fezleke-i tevarih / Fisleche (“The Epitome of History”). It covers the years 1639-1648 (AH 1049-1058) – the reign of sultan Ibrahim. The Ottoman text has survived in one (autograph) copy – Istanbul, Süleymaniye, Atıf Efendi 1914 (the extant edition – Istanbul 1286-7/1860-70 is not very accurate). The English translation – probably made for Sir William Trumbull († 1716), British Ambassador to Constantinople from 1686-1691 – is the oldest version of the work in foreign languages. An interesting anonymous “Account of the author of Fisleche” prefaces it (ff. 1-2r): “The author of Fisleche was Mustapha son of Abdulla call’d Hagi Calife and amongst the learned Kiatib Chelebi. He was born in the noble citty of Constantinople and being of the troup commanded by his father rose in it by usuall degrees, and by the fate of his stars took to reading and writing. In the year 1032 he was clerk to the Register of the accounts of Anatolia. In 33 he went to the war of Terquman, and in 35 going to the war of Bagdat he was a clerk at the Barh: Mukabele. In 36 & 37 he was at the siege of Erzirum and in 38 came with th Mussulman army to Constantinople – where he applied himself to his studies. In 1043 the army going to winter at Aleppo under the command of the Vizir Mahomet Pasha he took up a resolution to perform his pilgrimage and therefore proceeded from Aleppo and went to Arabia, and having fullfill’d his pilgrimage, the royall camp being then at Diarbequir, he came to this citty and was honour’d with the conversation and acquaintance of severall learned men during that winter. In 44 he went with Sultan Murad Han to the war of ¬¬|| Kevan, and in 45 return’d being fully persuaded that in that year at the war he had seen fighting and accidents enough, and coming to Stamboll with a settled resolution to study an estate happened to fall to him which he laid out in books, & began his studies with great desire and assiduity. In 46 he made himself master of those books. In 47 a rich merchant of his relations dying & some hundred thousands of aspers falling to him by that means, by the divine assistance he run through the course of his studies, and having laid out three load of his money (300 000 aspers) upon books, with the rest he provided himself all necessaries and an house, and married, and the rest of his estate he made a fund to live upon. In 48 when Sultan Morat Han went to Revan in the expedition against Bagdat he went not to the war but heard the lectures of Areche Mustapha Effendy. In 49 he was a constant auditour of Kurst Abdullah Effendy the reader of Sancta Sophia. In 50 he heard the lectures of Kesehe Mahomet Effendy the reader of the Solimania, & 1051 applying himself to history he wrote his annalls call’d Fizleche. In 52 he studied the Usul Hadis (the sayings of Mahomet) and || in 53 and 54 he read lectures in the law. In 1055 the war of Candia beeing broke out, he happen’d to have a difference with the head Chalif of the Mukabele and upon that chose a retir’d life for 3 years. In 56 he read lectures upon subject according to his own fancy, and in 57 he wrote his history called Takrin in a language mixed of Turkish and Persian and finish’d it in 2 moneths. At the latter end of 1058 the Mufty Abdurrahim Effendy sent him to Kogia Mahomet Pasha the supreme Vizir who receiv’d him with very great honour and kindnesse and according to his desire promoted him to be second Chalif. Where by having sufficient to live upon, he retir’d with his modicum, and it not pleasing God to make any addition to his fortune, he was pleas’d with his solitude and content with his condition.”
  • British Library | Add MS 72561 (Trumbull Papers CCCXX), ff. 3-157
  • Incipit:
    “Anno 1049. The arrivall of the victorious emperour at Constantinople. In the beginning of the spring his august Majestie returned from Mesopotamia to Stambol...”.
Secondary Literature
Sultan Ibrahim , Sir William Trumbull , British Ambassador to Constantinople , Annals
Geographic Keywords
Süleymaniye Mosque