Şanizade Mehmet Ataullah: An Example of Ottoman History Writing and Thought of History


As regards its content, history deals with states of the possibilities. One aspect of history concerns events that have actually occurred in the past; while the other involves keeping records of these events. This ground corresponds to one the ranks of being. Modern view of history has emerged out of this ground. In ancient times, however, history was perceived differently. This paper studies vakanuvis Şanizade Mehmet Ataullah’s Tarih-i Şanizade (Şanizade’s History), a work on early 19th century. Particularly central to this study are (i) the existential background of early 19th century Ottoman historiography, and (ii) the methods of historiography employed. The problem is addressed within the context of the historical work by Şanizade, who was contemporary with Mahmud II. Methods of recording historical events, and of assessing them, are analyzed against that background of the ontological viewpoint and the epistemological approach, dominant at the time in the Ottoman vakanuvis tradition. The issue is discussed within the framework of Şanizade’s thought of history and his methods of historiography. The main argument put forth in this study is that Şanizade’s History has allowed a range of alternating values from ontological and epistemological perspectives.


Şanizade Mehmet Ataullah Ottoman Historiography Thought of History Vakanuvis