Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, The Turkish Letters, 1. Ogier de Busbecq () was a Flemish nobleman who spent most of his life in the service. Busbecq, a Fleming, was the ambassador of the Holy Roman Emperor at the Sublime Porte (the Turkish Sultan’s court in Constantinople) from A native of western Flanders, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq served in several posts as diplomatic representative for the Habsburg ruler Ferdinand I (King of.

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Brianne Galgano rated it it was amazing Jun 04, However, his curiosity, luckily for the reader, means the author gives the most random details such leters plant life, as tudkish as the most outrageous facts such as slavery. Edward Seymour Forster Translator. Return to Book Page. Paperbackpages. He served as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople and in published a book about his time there, Itinera Constantinopolitanum et Amasianumre-published in under the title of Turcicae epistolae or “Turkish Letters”.

Busbecq’s most famous mission was to the Ottoman Empire at the zenith of its power and glory during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. Busbecq reveals himself as ambivalent about Ottoman society and culture. The Ottoman experience turkissh social and cultural life provides valuable lessons for those nations that live in these regions today: One of the letters is of particular interest as it sheds light on certain historical aspects related to the Janissaries, the well-trained Ottoman guards.

The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq: A Biography by Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq

He studied in famous schools and like his father and grandfather he followed a career as a servant of the crown. On such occasions they take out a few spoonfuls of flour and put them into water, adding some butter, and seasoning the mess with salt and spices; these ingredients are boiled, and a large bowl of gruel is thus obtained.

A classic account of Ottoman Constantinople and Ottoman politics in the midth-c. Each man in Turkey carries in his own hand his ancestry and his position in life, which he may make or mar as he will. Can we doubt what the result must be? He lauds the social mobility and preferment through merit he discerns in the Ottoman Empire as a way of criticising the nepotism and incompetent leadership of Europe’s aristocracy.


If a man be dishonest, or lazy, or careless, he remains at the bottom of the ladder, an object of contempt; for such qualities there are no honours in Turkey!

Busbecq, then in his early thirties, had been sent to finalise a peace treaty and as a result of the foregoing warfare between the Hapsburgs and the Ottomans, he was very concerned about the strength and power of t As ambassador of the Hapsburg Emperor to Suleiman the Magnificent, Ogier de Busbecq turkiah to have spent most of his time in the Ottoman Empire effectively under house arrest in Istanbul which rather limits his value as busbexq witness to life among the Ottomans at the beginning of the s.

These remarks are astounding, even to us today. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikisource. On his part, the Caliph also sent many gifts to Charlemagne, one famous one being a clock.

However, Busbecq, after a prolonged visit to the Ottoman sultan, had the chance to evaluate the Janissaries and he developed some sympathy with them. A major resource for anyone interested in the Ottoman Empire at the height of its powers. Power, when in the hands of the righteous, becomes an instrument for stability and balance.

Busbecq was given the assignment of using diplomacy to check the raids of the Turks into Hungary, and he proved very effective with his quick sympathy, appreciation of the Turkish character, and patience.

Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq

He died a few days later. They purport to be private letters to a friend but were conscious literary creations to commemorate his embassy to the Ottoman Empire for posterity.

On ours are found an empty exchequer, luxurious habits, exhausted resources, broken spirits, a raw and insubordinate soldiery, and greedy quarrels; there is no regard for discipline, license runs riot, the men indulge in drunkenness and debauchery, and worst of all, the enemy are accustomed to victory, we to defeat. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source.


Yet these are the famous Janissaries, whose approach inspires terror everywhere.

Internet History Sourcebooks

What a contrast to our men! If a man be dishonest, or lazy, or careless, he remains at the bottom of the ladder, an object of contempt; for such qualities there are no honors in Turkey!

The second time that de Busbecq travelled to Constantinople modern day Istanbul to try to broker a peace between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottomans, his state becomes almost that of a prisoner.

No permission is granted for commercial use of the Leters.

Christian soldiers on a campaign refuse to put up with their ordinary food, and call for thrushes, becaficos [a small bird esteemed a dainty, as it feeds on figs and grapes], turksh suchlike dainty dishes! Dec 10, Sincerae rated it it was amazing Shelves: These letters describe his adventures in Ottoman politics and remain one of the principal primary sources for students of the 16th-century Ottoman court. His task for much of the time he was in Constantinople was the negotiation of a border treaty between his employer the future Holy Roman Emperor and the Sultan over the disputed territory of Transylvania.

About Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq.

Historically speaking, Western Europe has always been in contact with the Ottomans through commerce or other forms of international relations. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Other than some of the big names fromt this period of Turkish history – Suleiman, Roxelanna – I was unfamiliar with a lot of the details surrounding this period prior to reading this book.