Sources for Early Ottoman History | Christopher Markiewicz

106.     Inşa Collections

Researchers focusing on the period of Ottoman history predating the establishment of what we know as the classical Ottoman bureaucracy and the earliest surviving court records are faced with major challenges when it comes to source material. In this episode, Christopher Markiewicz discusses one type of source that can be used to study this period: insha collections (inşa mecmuaları). While these collections of letters can be used to study diplomacy and the earliest formation of an Ottoman professional bureaucracy, Chris explains some of the ways in which these sources could potentially be used for a wide variety of historical topics related to cultural and social history of the early Ottoman Empire.


Christopher Markiewicz is a PhD candidate at Chicago University focusing on early modern Ottoman history.
Nir Shafir is a PhD candidate at UCLA focusing on history of science and intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire. (see
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University. (see

Citation: "Letter Collections as Sources for Early Ottoman History," Christopher Markiewicz, Chris Gratien, and Nir Shafir, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 106 (May 10, 2013)

Note for the listener: This podcast is based in part on primary source research. It also makes use of publicly available information and draws from the following works below, which are also mentioned during the course of the episode. For the purposes of academic citation, we encourage you to consult these works. 

Left to Right: Chris Markiewicz and Nir Shafir
Istanbul, March 2013

Feridun Beg. Mecmū‘a-yı münşe'āt es-selāṭīn. Istanbul: Daru't-tiba‘ati'l-amire, 1274/1858.

Sa‘di Çelebi. Tacizade Sa‘di Çelebi Münşeatı. Istanbul: İstanbul Matbaası, 1956.

Ubayd Allah Ahrar. The letters of Khwāja ʻUbayd Allāh Aḥrār and his associates. Leiden: Brill, 2002.

Şinasi Tekin. Kırımlu Hafız Hüsam Teressül (Hacı Selimağa, Nurbanu No:122/5). Cambridge, MA: Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures, Harvard University, 2008.

Şinasi Tekin. Menāhicüʾl-inşā; Yaḥya bin Meḥmed el-Kātibʾin 15. yyʾdan kalma en eski Osmanlıca inşâ elkitabı. Giriş, dizin, tıpkıbasım. Cambridge, MA: Orient Press, 1971.

Hasan Ali Esir. Münşeat-i Lami‘i Trabzon. Karadeniz Teknik Üniversitesi Matbaası, 2006.

Music: Zeki Müren - Katibim


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