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Book details

Set of two volumes
1536 pp, hb, in English.

The subject of this two-volume publication is an 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 dawn of the sixteenth century.

The first volume contains twenty-eight interpretative essays on this fascinating document, authored by a team of scholars from diverse disciplines, including Islamic and Ottoman history, history of science, arts of the book and codicology, agriculture, medicine, astrology, astronomy, occultism, mathematics, philosophy, theology, law, mysticism, political thought, ethics, literature (Arabic, Persian, Turkish/Turkic), philology, and epistolary. Following the first three essays by the editors on implications of the library inventory as a whole, the other essays focus on particular fields of knowledge under which books are catalogued in MS Török F. 59, each accompanied by annotated lists of entries.

The second volume presents a transliteration of the Arabic manuscript, which also features an Ottoman Turkish preface on method, together with a reduced-scale facsimile.


  • The Spatial Organization of Knowledge in the Ottoman Palace Library: An Encyclopedic Collection and Its Inventory (Gülru Necipoğlu)
  • Between Amasya and Istanbul: Bayezid II, His Librarian, and the Textual Turnof the Late Fifteenth Century (Cemal Kafadar)
  • Learning and Sovereignty in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (Cornell H. Fleischer)
  • Artistic Aspects of Sultan Bayezid II’s Book Treasury Collection: Extant Volumes Preserved at the Topkapı Palace Museum Library (Zeynep Atbaş)
  • Arts of the Book: The Illustrated and Illuminated Manuscripts Listed in ʿAtufi’s Inventory (Zeren Tanındı)
  • “The Ottoman Muse Fluttered, but Poorly Winged”: Müeyyedzade, Bayezid II, and the Early Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Literary Canon (Judith Pfeiffer)
  • Books on Exegesis (tafsīr) and Qurʾanic Readings (qirāʾāt): Inspiration, Intellect, and the Interpretation of Scripture in Post-Classical Islam (Mohsen Goudarzi)
  • On the Hadith Collection of Bayezid II’s Palace Library (Recep Gürkan Göktaş)
  • The Section on Prayers, Invocations, Unique Qualities of the Qurʾan, and Magic Squares in the Palace Library Inventory (Guy Burak)
  • The kalām (Rational Theology) Section in the Palace Library Inventory (Abdurrahman Atçıl)
  • Books on Islamic Jurisprudence, Schools of Law, and Biographies of Imams from the Hanafi School (Himmet Taşkömür)
  • Books on Islamic Legal Theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) (Mürteza Bedir)
  • Books on Sufism, Lives of Saints, Ethics, and Sermons (Cemal Kafadar and Ahmet Karamustafa)
  • Books on Ethics and Politics: The Art of Governing the Self and Others at the Ottoman Court (Hüseyin Yılmaz)
  • Books on Medicine: Medical Knowledge at Work (Nükhet Varlık)
  • “Books on Agriculture (al-filāḥa) Pertaining to Medical Science” and Ottoman Agricultural Science and Practice around 1500 (Aleksandar Shopov)
  • On the Works of a Historical Nature in the Bayezid II Library Inventory (Cornell H. Fleischer and Kaya Şahin)
  • Books on the Wonders of Creation and Geography in ʿAtufi’s Inventory (Pınar Emiralioğlu)
  • Books on Arabic Philology and Literature: A Teaching Collection Focused on Religious Learning and the State Chancery (Tahera Qutbuddin)
  • An Ottoman Order of Persian Verse (Sooyong Kim)
  • Books on the Secretarial Arts and Literary Prose (Christopher Markiewicz)
  • Turkish/Turkic Books of Poetry, Turkish and Persian Lexicography: The Politics of Language under Bayezid II (Ferenc Csirkés)
  • Books on Occult Sciences (Noah Gardiner)
  • Books on Astrology, Astronomical Tables, and Almanacs in the Library Inventory of Bayezid II (A. Tunç Şen and Cornell H. Fleischer)
  • Astronomical and Other Mathematical Sciences (Jamil Ragep, Sally Ragep, Sajjad Nikfahm-Khubravan, Fateme Savadi and Hasan Umut)
  • Books on Mathematical and Mixed-Mathematical Sciences: Arithmetic, Geometry, Optics, and Mechanics (Elaheh Kheirandish)
  • Books on Logic (manṭiq) and Dialectics (jadal) (Khaled El-Rouayheb)
  • Philosophical Manuscripts: Two Alternative Philosophies (Dimitri Gutas)
  • APPENDIX I: Preliminary List of Manuscripts Stamped with Bayezid II’s Seal in the Topkapı Palace Museum Library (Zeynep Atbaş)
  • APPENDIX II: Preliminary List of Manuscripts Stamped with Bayezid II’s Seal and Transferred from the Topkapı Palace Inner Treasury to Other Library Collections (Zeren Tanındı)
  • APPENDIX III WITH PLATES FROM MANUSCRIPTS AT THE TOPKAPI PALACE MUSEUM LIBRARY: Some Books Bearing the Seal of Bayezid II and/or Dedications to Him: A Comparison of Titles Inscribed by His Librarian and Corresponding Entries in the Library Inventory (Gülru Necipoğlu)
  • APPENDIX IV: Translation of ʿAtufi’s Ottoman Turkish Preface to the Palace Library Inventory (Gülru Necipoğlu)
  • APPENDIX V: Translation of ʿAtufi’s Arabic Preface to the Palace Library Inventory (Mohsen Goudarzi)
  • Preliminary Material Volume II
  • Principles Observed in Transliterating MS Török F. 59
  • Transliterated Text of MS Török F. 59
  • Facsimile of MS Török F. 59

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