Extended Synopsis of the project proposal
The working title of the project is „Evliya Chelebi and Croats, new perspectives“. About thirty years ago a manuscript that is rightfully regarded to be the autograph of the Evliya Chelebi’s travelogue (original title Seyahatname in Ottoman language which is translated in English as „Book of travels“) was found. Today the manuscript is preserved in Library of Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Saray Kütüphanesi) in Istanbul in Republic of Turkey. Evliya Chelebi is the most famous Ottoman traveller and writer, and probably the most cited Ottoman author by present-day world historians. His entire Seyahatname in Ottoman language and Latin characters was recently published (at the beginning of the 21th century) in Istanbul in ten volumes. This Ottoman traveller from the late 17th century visited certain Croatian regions and left valuable descriptions of topography, demography, geography, administration, urban institutions, social and economic systems, religions, languages, folklore etc. Extremely important for Croatian history are volumes V, VI and partly VII.
A critical edition and translation of original manuscript of Evliya Chelebi’s V, VI and VII book in Croatian language does not exist. We do possess translation of Hazim Šabanović which was made on the base of a printed version from 1900 which was not original manuscript but a copy of a variation of Chelebi’s travelogue. Even a brief insight in original text shows dramatical differences and alterations in quantity of text (there is up to 35 percent more text in manuscript) and quality of informations (in almost every section which speaks about certain Croatian area or settlement or historical event there occure substantially new informations, which are frequently deeply and thoroughly different from those in Šabanović’s version or which even contradict to some data from old and uncomplete printed version). The aim of this project is to investigate „missing link“ of narative sources for Croatian history in Early Modern Period, i.e. to criticaly analize the Chelebi’s autograph, to translate parts of V, VI and VII book from Ottoman in Croatian language, to make terminology commentaries, footnotes, references and annotations, and to produce supporting and corresponding historical articles which would provide or enabled easier apprehension and more profound knowledge about Evliya Chelebi’s biography, travelogue, bonds with Croats and, finally, about Croatian Early Modern History. A picture of Croatian society, or more correctly societies, in different political frameworks which is given in Seyahatname has never been a subject of scientific researches. With this project Croatian history acquires entirelly new contribution in the field of full explanation and interpretation of early modern national integration, ecohistorical determinants, social and ethnoconfessional structures and processes. Without realization of this project the imageries of connections between Croats and Ottoman Empire, as well as about Croatian Early Modern History would be deficient and even inaccurate. Such a project is expected to contribute substantially to filling the gaps in the Croatian and international historiography, and, even more important, to a more balanced perceptions of the past, plus to the improvement of mutual understanding between Croatia and Turkey, with possible positive effect in the whole of Southeastern Europe. Also, this project can significantly contribute to the revalorisation and revitalisation of the Ottoman material and unmaterial heritage in Croatia and, in that way, conduce to the current positive developments in Croatian-Turkish international relations.
The project’s proposal is competitive and inovative in relation to existing researches in Croatian historiography because it is intentionaly directed to evaluation of completely unknown authentic and original historic material.
This project has to be realized by a group of six distinguished scholars whose scientific qualifications are based on so far achieved results and international reputation in History, Turkology and Ottoman studies. Principal Investigator will be professor Nenad Moačanin, internationaly recognized Historian and Ottomanist. Team members are selected according to their experience and competence to contribute to the project implementation. The number of team members (5 persons) is optimal according to their specializations. Two Team members are specialists in Ottoman and modern Turkish language with main field of scholarly interest in Croatian –Turkish lanquage contacts through history (linguistic subgroup). Assigment of Marta Andrić will be to translate source from Ottoman to Croatian language. The role of professor Ekrem Čaušević will be supervision of translation and fabrication of a linguistic study with the topic about idiom of the Turkish language in Bosnia and Croatia in Chelebi’s travelogue, its role in transmission and adaptation of turcizms in Croatian language. Evliya’s notices about Croatian language also will be a subject of a linguistic researche.
Three other team members are early modern historians (historic subgroup), of whom Nataša Štefanec is a specialist for Croatian history in regional and imperial framework of the Habsburg Monarchy and Military Border, Vjeran Kursar is an Ottomanist specialized in legal, religious and cultural history and Islamic law, and Kornelija Jurin Starčević is an Ottomanist specialized in demographic, socio-economic and military history. Their assigment will be to produce critical analyses of the mentioned source with commentaries, glosary and supplement historical articles. This project implies field researches especially in Turkish (for instance in Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi and Topkapı Saray Kütüphanesi in Istanbul), Croatian and other archives and libraries. All Team members will do field researches, especially throughout the second and third phase of the project. In the second phase historic subgroup will carry out the most field research (from 6th to the 24th month). In the third phase linguistic subgroup will undertake control field research to Istanbul in order to compare Evliya’s autograph with their’s translated version (from 24th to the 30th month).
All team members will devote huge amount (at least 60% -70%) of their total working time to project implementation. The project will substantially contribute to the training of young Croatian scientist because three of five team members are postdoctoral students. Also, this project will help to strenghten the central and leading position of Turkology and Ottoman Studies at University of Zagreb in whole Southeastern Europe.
The logistic basis of the researche group will be in Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Faculty of Philosophy) at the University of Zagreb. The mentioned institution gives strong and concrete support to this project.
Methodology of work and activities will be appropriate for the sugested research project. The estimated duration of the project is three years in four phase, in which:
1. phase (from the 1st to the 6th month of the project duration) – six months of preparatory work based on regular meetings: identification of key problems, research topics, definition of concrete research activities, creation of the project website, professional training of postdoctoral team members etc.
2. phase (from the 6th to the 24th month of the project duration) – eighteen months of: fabrication of translation, field researches in order to collect nessessary primary and secondary sources and literature, critical analyses of the Chelebi’s text, production of commentaries and supplement articles, organization of a workshop in Zagreb closely related with the project topic and attendings to international conferences in order to disseminate research results.
3. phase (from the 24th to the 30th month of the project duration)- six months of: archival researches as a control of phase two, further critical analyses, production of commentaries and supplement articles, attendings to international conferences.
4. phase (from the 30th to the 36th month of the project duration) – six months for completition of all activities and doings on books. Publishing of the critical edition of Evliya’s travelogue. Public presentation and dissemination of research results. Attendings to International conferences.
The project should resulte in the publication of critical edition, translation of parts of V, VI and VII volume (parts relevant for Croatian history) of Seyahatname with annotations and footnotes, bibliography, glosary, supplement articles etc. The style and the accessories will be in accordance with scientific proposition for Humanities and liberal arts. Book might have about ??? pages of the main text each, with a number of addenda. The final amount of pages might reach ???.
From the methodological side, now it will be possible to introduce new and fruitful generic skill in the frame of common and general critic of sources, namely defterology. In endavour to establish precise reliability of certain sections of Evliya’s travelogue, data from Ottoman tax records and other relevant archival sources (defters) will be used as additional tools and confronted with Evliya’s accounts throughout the process of investigation and critical evaluation. There was no attempt in Croatian historiography to link informations from Evliya’s text with informations from other Ottoman historical sources, such as tax records.
This research will bring completely new knowledges which can be implemented in educational process in the curriculum of the obligatory and the optional courses in the frameworks of Croatian Modern History Studies and Turkology Studies.