Database of medieval Anatolian texts and manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Turkish

IslamAnatolia: The Islamisation of Anatolia, c. 1100-1500

Funded by the European Research Council (grant number 284076)

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The aim of this database is to contribute to the study of the intellectual and literary foundations of medieval Muslim Anatolia, from the establishment of Turkish rule under the Seljuqs to the emergence of the Ottomans as an imperial state. The data contained in this digital tool presents the geographical and temporal concentrations of the production, copy and circulation of certain texts or types of literature. The database includes all literature produced in Anatolia (excluding archival and epigraphic materials) in Arabic, Persian and Turkish from the late 12th century, when our earliest texts are composed in Anatolia, up to c. 1450. In literature, we include fields of textual production as varied as poetry, history and astronomy alongside Islamic law, Sufi treatises and theology, as the same text might have multiple meanings for different audiences.

The database allows users for the first-time to understand which texts were composed, read and circulated in medieval Anatolia by offering codicological data collected directly from the manuscripts by our research team. The core of the data includes literary works composed by Anatolian authors (that is those individuals who composed a work while living in Anatolia) and texts originally composed outside of Anatolia but bound with ‘Anatolian’ works in the same codex in order to give an idea of the type of manuscripts that circulated in the region. Some Anatolian texts from the period only survive in later copies, and some are lost entirely. Information about such texts has been included to better represent the literary milieu of medieval Anatolia. Although authenticity is virtually impossible to verify for many of such works, database users are presented with the available evidence for these cases. Anatolia is understood as roughly approximating the current Asian territories of Turkey, although works produced in Europe in the early 15th century are also included. However, no effort has been made to comprehensively survey literary production in the Jazira region, most of which had been incorporated into the Dar al-Islam in the Umayyad period and which thus has a distinct intellectual history to other parts of medieval Anatolia.

The database contains details of the title(s), authorship, patronage, contents of each text and biographical information of each author. In addition, where possible information about date and place of copying of individual manuscripts is included; although the project team has seen as many manuscripts as possible, however, not every manuscript included here could be examined, and where information is derived from secondary sources this is indicated. Where texts have been published, or discussed in the secondary literature, references are provided in a bibliographical section attached to the manuscript record. Finally, a filiation of works is established by which users can navigate different copies of the same work or different works by the same author by clicking on the hyperlinks provided.

This database aims to provide a resource for future scholarship by offering for the first time a reliable database of Islamic texts from medieval Anatolia along with information about their circulation. Clearly, given the loss of some texts and the extensive amount of manuscripts available, this project never aimed to reconstruct completely the intellectual environment of medieval Anatolia, but to offer a substantial initial representation of over 7000 manuscripts to enhance further research in the future.

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