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Books on Astrology, Astronomical Tables, and Almanacs in the Library Inventory of Bayezid II

Şen, A. Tunç; Fleischer, Cornell H.

This study focuses on those books pertaining to astrological and practical celestial pursuits that are listed in the inventory of manuscripts in the book treasury of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, commissioned by the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II from his royal librarian ʿAtufi in the year 908 (1502–3) and transcribed in a clean copy in 909 (1503–4). This unicum inventory preserved in the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Könyvtára Keleti Gyűjtemény, MS Török F. 59) records over 5,000 volumes, and more than 7,000 titles, on virtually every branch of human erudition at the time. The Ottoman palace library housed an unmatched encyclopedic collection of learning and literature; hence, the publication of this unique inventory opens a larger conversation about Ottoman and Islamic intellectual/cultural history. The very creation of such a systematically ordered inventory of books raises broad questions about knowledge production and practices of collecting, readership, librarianship, and the arts of the book at the turn of the fifteenth century.

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Title
Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library
Publisher
Koninklijke Brill NV
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004402508

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September 4, 2019