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The World of an Ottoman Horseman Soldier: Kabudlu Mustafa Vasfi

19 October 2017
Free to visit, drinks after
WHAT's NEW?! Fall Lecture Series
Lipsius Building
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

A unique manuscript

Kabudlu Mustafa Vasfi was a deli (irregular horseman soldier) in the Ottoman army and saw service against rebellions in the Eastern Anatolia and later in Rumelia in the reign of Sultan Mahmud II. Kabudlu wrote a book in 1834 called Tevârih, in which he mentions his campaigns, travels and memories. At the beginning of the book, he writes that he composed a tevârih (chronicle) by providing accounts about the cities, wars and deaths he witnessed, although the book is a kind of travelogue and memoir. The book has crucial importance not only because it is a unique manuscript, which sits in the Special Collection of the Leiden University Library, but also because it demonstrates the worldview of an Ottoman irregular soldier, a member of a group about whose daily life there is so little information.

About Ömer Koçyiğit

Ömer Koçyiğit studied History at MA level at the Bogazici University where he focused on the relationship between Africa and the Ottoman Empire. He graduated from Bogazici in May 2014, with a thesis titled “From Sufi Movement to Statehood: The Mahdi Uprising in the Ottoman Sudan, 1881-1885.” He was accepted in the PhD programme of Leiden University (Humanities) in 2014. Koçyiğit's research focus is on the legitimacy of the Ottoman Caliph and some opponent movements like Sudanese Mahdists and Wahhabists in terms of Islamic concepts of leadership. In this regard, he is interested in the discussions of scholars from different regions such as Istanbul, Hejaz and Sudan, and their publications and networks of the 19th century. From December 2015 to December 2016 he was at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) as a researcher.