Campus Gotha, Gotha Research Library

After 1683: The Circulation of Türkenbeute Manuscripts

13. Apr 2022, 6.15 pm
Gotha Manuscript Talks
Gotha Research Library (FBG)
Dr. Paul Babinski (Kopenhagen)
Event type

Lecture by Dr. Paul Babinski (Kopenhagen) as part of the series "Gotha Manuscript Talks". The event will be held in English.

In the years following the Ottoman retreat from Vienna in 1683, waves of orientalia looted from the conquered cities of Ottoman Europe came westward with returning soldiers and traveling merchants. In a short time, hundreds of Türkenbeute manuscripts arrived in private collections, circulating as trophies of war, exotic souvenirs, and objects of scholarship. Some of these manuscripts contain inscriptions that describe the circumstances of their looting, casting light on the violence that followed conquest. On the flyleaves of others, we find traces of the legends told about them, their status as gifts, and their gradual consolidation in major collections. Other inscriptions provide glimpses of their earlier Ottoman readers and the world from which they were torn.

This talk will use a variety of sources—letters, works of scholarship, and the manuscripts themselves—to retrace the lives of looted manuscripts, focusing on the dispersal of Buda’s collections in 1686. The trajectories of Buda’s manuscripts show both the wide reach of Türkenbeute and the broader shift in German orientalist scholarship toward the study of Islamic sources.

Paul Babinski is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the ERC Synergy Project ‘The European Qur’an. Islamic Scripture in European Culture and Religion 1150-1850 (EuQu)’ at the University of Copenhagen. His work focuses on early modern orientalist scholarship and the movement of philological knowledge between the Near East and Western Europe. He is currently writing a book on how early modern orientalists read the Qur’an.

About the event series

In 2022, the Gotha Research Library will continue the successful webinar series "Gotha Manuscript Talks" in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Konrad Hirschler (University of Hamburg). Thematic foci are the effects of violence on manuscript cultures and the provenance of manuscripts outside Europe.

Format: Lecture 45 min + discussion 45 min

Participation: via Webex

to the Webex Room

About the anniversary year of the Gotha Research Library 2022

[Translate to English:] Logo "Bücher bewegen"

2022 is a particularly eventful year for the Gotha Research Library. We are celebrating our 375th anniversary of foundation. Under the guiding principle " Bücher bewegen" ("Books move"), you can expect a series of events on site and on the web. The anniversary year is at the same time a caesura in the history of the research library and a time of great challenges. We are moving a large part of our books out of the east tower of Friedenstein Palace, where the library has been housed since the end of the 17th century, in order to renovate the building. At the same time, we want to create optimal opportunities for our users in the library and in virtual space to continue researching and working with each other and with our outstanding library objects and collections.


Curator of the Oriental Manuscript Collection
(Gotha Research Library)
Gotha Research Library (Gotha, Schlossplatz 1)