A Turkish academic couple discovered an epic poem in Latin with nearly 5,000 lines written by an Italian poet in honor of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Fatih Sultan Mehmet, during the Renaissance period.
The work, titled “Amyris, de vita et gestis Mahometi Turcorum imperatoris” (Emir: The Life and Conquests of Mehmet the Turkish Emperor), was written by poet and historian Gian Mario Filelfo in 1475.
It was discovered by Filiz Barin Akman, a lecturer at Ankara Social Sciences University, and academic writer Beyazit Akman.
The couple told Anadolu Agency about the discovery, features and current studies on the work, which has not been translated into Turkish or English until now and has not been the subject of any academic review.
Stating that they are working on the perception of Turks and Islam in the West, Beyazit Akman said: “We were constantly trying to find new resources. In our research, we have seen several references to this work and the author, but we had never seen the work. Citations to this work were also citing through citations. We have not encountered a study that reads and interprets the work from beginning to end.”
Akman said they have a facsimile of the work printed in Italy in 1978 and underlined that they will try to reach the original Latin manuscript from the Bibliotheque de Geneve library in Geneva, Switzerland.
“There is no doubt that orientalist historiography has a great influence on the fact that the work has not been known to this extent until now.”
Noting that they first want to translate this work into Turkish and English and then analyze it, he said:
“Undoubtedly, this work is no different from [Italian painter Gentile] Bellini’s portrait of Fatih. What one did with the art of painting, the other did with literature. It is of great importance that the work is presented to our own people and to the access of other cultures with up-to-date translations. With this study, we aim to fill this gap.”
Work emerges as result of Fatih’s gentleman nature
Filiz Barin Akman conveyed the story of the writing of the work, which consists of four parts, in the following words:
“Othman Lillo Ferducci of Ancona, the brother-in-law of a Venetian merchant residing in Canakkale, was among the prisoners taken when the Conqueror conquered Istanbul. The merchant sends a letter to the Sultan asking for his relative to be released. Fatih releases the prisoner of war without demanding any ransom,” she said.
“Influenced by this gentlemanly act of Fatih, the Italian merchant added the name Osman, the founder of the Turkish state [Ottoman Empire], to his name as an indication of this proximity. He asked his friend, the Renaissance poet Gian Mario Filelfo, born in Pera in Istanbul in 1426, to write an epic poem about Fatih Sultan Mehmet, describing his achievements and conquests. His aim was to thank the Sultan and express his gratitude to him.”
Noting that the Turkish and English translations of the work from the Latin original will be brought to the attention of the readers, accompanied by detailed literary readings and explanations of the historical context, Akman said that they aim to put the book on the market in a few months.
*Writing by Seda Sevencan
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