Islam and the Humanities

Conference 2018

Kaya Şahin

Associate Professor of History, Indiana University, Bloomington

To Observe, to Record, to Memorialize (ca. 1582): Depicting the Circumcision of an Ottoman Prince

In the summer of 1582, Sultan Murad III organized a circumcision ceremony for his son, Prince Mehmed. Next to its unprecedented duration and scope, the ceremony became one of the most extensively recorded events in early modern Ottoman history. The contemporary and near-contemporary testimonies include archival sources, accounts in general historical works, and “books of celebration” (sūrnāme) devoted to the event. The archival and textual sources are further enriched by miniatures (found in a history of Murad III’s reign and a sūrnāme), which portray scenes from the celebrations. My presentation will discuss the different ways in which the celebrations were recorded as an event, and memorialized as a rite of passage.

Kaya Şahin is associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington, with adjunct status in the departments of Central Eurasian Studies, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. He is the author of Empire and Power in the Reign of Süleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013; Turkish translation, 2014), as well as articles on apocalypticism, governance, history-writing, and early modern Orientalism. He is currently working on a history of Ottoman public ceremonies in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries CE.​