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The John Rylands Research Institute

Turkish Collections research

About 195 items make up the Turkish or Ottoman Collections, mainly acquired in the Crawford purchase of 1901.

The texts range from the 15th century to the 19th century, with the majority from the 17th and the 18th centuries. Most are written in Ottoman Turkish, but 12 have texts written in Çagatay, the literary eastern variant of the language. There is also one manuscript with Turkish and Armenian texts in Latin transcription.

The texts include:

  • Anthologies (divans) of poetry
  • Narrative poetry (mesnevis)
  • Fables and stories
  • Commentaries
  • Books on grammar
  • Letters, including documents issued by Ottoman institutions
  • Guides for dervish novices
  • Biographies and biographical dictionaries
  • Travelogues
  • Library catalogues
  • Dictionaries and vocabularies
  • Texts on religious ethics, jurisprudence, history, geography, cosmography, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physiognomy, music and genealogy

Current research projects

Nil Palabiyik, a Research Associate at the Institute, is working on "Learning Turkish in Europe, 1500–1700".   The project looks at the learning of Turkish for scholarly, diplomatic, religious and commercial purposes through the medium of manuscripts and printed books - Turkish language aids and reference works, including lexica, thesauri, grammars and phrasebooks produced in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries - against the backdrop of complex relations between Turkey and Europe.