On the “Secretariat of the Official Historian” in the Ottoman Empire

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Other Title
  • オスマン朝における「修史部局」の位置づけ
  • オスマン チョウ ニ オケル シュウシ ブキョク ノ イチヅケ シュウシ ブキョク ブンルイ ニ ゾクスル ブンショ ダイチョウグン ノ チョウサ カラ
  • An Investigation of the Documents and Registers Classified as Belonging to the Secretariat of the Official Historian
  • 「修史部局」分類に属する文書・台帳群の調査から

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Ottoman official historians (vekâyi'-nüvîs, vak'a-nüvîs) wrote uninterrupted official Ottoman history from the beginning of the 18th century to the end of the Ottoman Empire. Continual historical writing of this kind must have required institutional support. Although former research on this subject has indicated that the various secretariats (kalem) gave information to the official historians, little is known about their concrete relationship.<br>Previous research indicated that there was a “Secretariat of the Official Historian” (vekâyi'-nüvîs kalemi). It is said that this secretariat, whose chief was the official historian, was under the Imperial Cabinet (dîvân-i hümâyûn, “Supreme Courts”) or the Office of the Grand Vizier Gate (bâb-i âsâfî, “Gate of Sublimity”). But the study of the documents (belgeleri) and registers (defterleri) classified as belonging to this secretariat, which are stored in the Ottoman Archives (Basbakanlik Osmanli Arsivi), has been neglected, and there is little agreement as to their character. This paper investigates the relationship between the official documents and the official historians through an examination of those documents and registers.<br>There are 15 documents and 3 registers classified under the Secretariat of the Official Historian in the Ottoman Archives. I examined all of them and compared them with the chronicles of the official historians. I found that they were composed of various materials in no particular order. 11 documents and registers are not concerned with official history at all; the other 7 at least deal with the same theme as the official chronicles. However, none of these documents or registers bear directly on the chronicles.<br>It follows that the documents of the Secretariat of the Official Historian were probably not the ones given systematically to the official historians. This fact leads us to question even the existence of a “Secretariat of the Official Historian.”



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