Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

tan, in order to render it more ornamental, was defirous of adding to it fix minarets, in the form of turrets : but as this wa the characteristic distinction of the mosque at Mecca, his project was opposed by the mufti. The prince was politic enough to respect this remonftrance, while he was determined to accomplish his design; and he added a seventh minaret to the mosque of the prophet. To this building is the academy annexed. The fultan Mahamud, forming a design to build a mosque in the most modern tafte, procured various plans and models from Itals, England, and France, But the plan which he formed from these, being presented to the religious, they objected that it resembled a Christian temple rather than a mosque, and advised him to give it more of the Mohammedan form, that he might not offend the populace, and expose himself to an insurrection. Obliged to submit in part, he united the owo styles of architecture; adding the elegance of the European, to the majesty of the Ottoman manner. Osman the third, having completed the building, obtained a fetfa from the mufti to give it the name of Osmania; and as it had not been completed and confecrated to Gud, be was empowered to consider it as his own property. The academy has three colleges and three profeflors, exclufive of the interpreter of the Koran, and the muderis who teaches arithmetic. The students are from 150 to 170 in qumber. In the year 1178 of the Hegira, (1764, Chrift.) Mustapha III. erected a university at Laleli, which has several colleges, five profefiors, and about 130 ftudents. The academy of the fulcana Valide was erected by the late emperor Aldullahmid, in the year 1194 (1780, Christian æra). It takes its name from the mother of Mohan. med IV. The principal is profeflor of geometry and aftronomy, well skilled in the law, poffeffed of much ornamental learning, and is very polite and communicative. The students amount to about 180. They have separate chambers, take but one meal in the twenty four hours, and may not have a wife; these regulations being thought necessary to keep the head clear, and the mind at ease. For a more circumstansial account of these institutions, we refer to the work itself. The Abbé proceeds to treat of the public libraries of Constantinople. We Thall give the plan in the words of the author :

• I propose to communicate to the public, an account of the moft distinguitheu libraries, to notice their founders, and the time in which they were founded; to mention the clasies of books, and the number of volumes in each class; and to particularize such manuscripts as are most wor:hy of distinction; adding occahonally, some notes of my own. This essay, which is the fruit of much pains and expence, by being presented to the republic of letters, may, perhaps, excite some perlon well skilled in the Oriental languages, to form, under the auipices of some generous and powerful Mæcenas, a digehed catalogue of all the manuscripts in the Turkish libraries, which will enrich ihe literature and sciences of Europe with a new fond of knowlege.'

Mohammed

[ocr errors]

Denis,

1,91 Mohammed the second opened the first public libraries for the UTE ttomans at Constantinople; these were afterward multiplied by

2 he munificence of fulcans and visirs, and the philosophic spirit of Faxhe learned. On the principle that the value of a thing increases

an our eftimation in exact proportion to the difficulties of ob. 20:taining it, the minute description given of the library of the Se

qaglio, with a complete catalogue annexed, will be deemed a wie i moft invaluable prelent to the public.

• This library, the Abbé observes, has been hitherto inacceffible to beira ftrangers. Travellers who have spoken of it, and the learned who des have reasoned concerning it, sitting in their studies at their eafe, have

confided in vague and fabulous reports. The Abbé Sevin, who went

to Constantinople in the year 1728, to purchase Greek manuscripts * for the king of France's library, was not able to penetrate into this

Sanctuary. He was told that the sultan Amurat had entirely de. archa Atroyed every Greek manuscript. This answer, which satisfied the trait traveller, was given merely to avoid an express refusal. I made va. ied men rious attempts to see this library, but I was long deceived by num

berless promiles and evasions. I sought to obtain a catalogue, but it was diflicult to know for a certainty if there was one.

It is not easy to gain access to the Seraglio, and yet less to see the library,

which is in the most retired part of the building. The Turks also, five of

naturally diftrustful, superstitious, and full of prejudices, believe that

a single glance of an Infidel's eye on these manuscripts, would enla the danger this palladium, on which the safety of the Ottoman empire dela depends. '

At length, after three years, he was so fortunate as to obtain his desire by the friendly aid of a nobleman now resident at Madrid, who was intimately connected with men of the first rank at Conftantinople, and found means to procure transcrip's of the catalogue at diftant intervals, through the hands of a page of the Seraglio, who clandestinely transcribed a few lines every day. It now appears that the merits of this literary curiosity have been much enhanced. It is in itself inferior to some of the other libraries. Commentaries, explanations, marginal notes, &c, on the Koran, occupy the largeft portion; to thele fucceed treatises on jurisprudence, also with commentaries and marginal notes. The hiftories are not numerous, and are chiefly confined to the Ottoman empire. Under philosophy, we observe the mysteries of nature, the truths of Plato, of Pliny, and Aristotle's logic. Two questions, however, are resolved by this acquisition, which have long divided the learned world. It has been asserted that there were no manuscripts in this library in any other languages than the Oriental; but it now appears that it contains several in the Greek, Latin, and other European languages. Many of the Jitera!i have cherished the idea that the Decades of Livy, the works of Tacitus, and the poems of Homer, were depofired in this library. It was even asserted, on the establishment of a printing-preis ar Conftantinople, that the works of Livy were going

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

alder

to be printed off in the Turkish language. But all these bo are diffipated ; as neither of these works can be found. Ame? otner curioficies contained in the library of Mohammed the second is the Koran in Cufic * characters. The learned Abbé herc takes occasion to present us with a differtation, in the forsa a letter addressed to Signior E. Borgia, secretary of the company de propaganda fide, on two very ancient manuscripts of the Ksan, and some Cufic coins, which reflect much light on orienu! literature. This letter dispiays profound erudition, and muca critical acumen.

1 The learned author proceeds to give, in the third volume, : circumftantial history of Turkish typography. It is a well know fact, that the Greeks, Armenians, and Jews, have printed bocks at Constantinople, for several years pait. The Pentateuch was publihed by the Jews in the Chaldean, Persian, Arabic, and Hebrew languages, in the year 1646. At the end of the book of Genesis is found the foliowing sentence: This book of Gers was printed in the house of Eliezer Soncino. Nay, in the year 1488 an Hebrew Lexicon, under the citle of Leffons for Youth, wa ilued from a press at Conftantinople. But no printing-frefs was established among the Ottomans before the year 1726. This event introduces a new and important æra in Turkish literature. As it will, probably, in a course of years, by diffusing knowlege, lead to a total revolution in the sentiments and manners of the Turks, the following account of its introduction cannot be unacceptable to our readers. It is taken, the Abbé in forms us, from the Supplement to the Ottoman annals of Rascid, printed at Conftantinople by Celebi Zadé Effendi, in the Turkilh language.

Said Effendi, who had accompanied, in his youth, his father Monammed Effendi in nis embafly to Paris, amid a muloitude of other useful curiosities which engaged his attention, was ftruck with the ingenuity of the invention of printing, and the facility with wbich books were, by these means, multiplied. On his return to Constantinople, he communicated the affair to Ibrain Efendi, a lover of literature; and they united their influence to remove every obstacle that might oppose itself to so novel and arduous an undertaking. Ibraïm circulated a treatise in manuScript, in which he enlarged on and enforced the advantages arising from so curious an invention; and presented the work to the grand vizier Ibrażm Pacha, who was an encourager of literature.

* The Cufic character is not be confounded with the Coptic or Egyptian. It is supposed to be the invention of Marar, the lon of Mora, who fourished a little before the prophet. It takes its name from the city Cufa, where it was used by the learned. li continued in use till toward the end of the third century of the Hegira: when It was fupplanted by the Arabic character.

By

y these means, it was diffused among the most considerable pernages in the empire. After many deliberations, in wbich the octors of the law were consulted, the mufti pronounced that ooks on religious subjects should be excluded; but all such as

eated of the Arabic language, history, and the sciences, might be rinted. This favourable sentence being obtained from the mufti, Abdullah Effendi, the grand vizier, procured a licence from the - mperor; and this edict of the sultan was inscribed in the anjais of the empire. Four fuperintendants were appointed to varch over the correction of the prefs, and to enforce the in:verial edict. Ibrahim Effendi was placed by Achmet the third ...t the head of this inftitution ; and the business was conducted in his own house, in concert with Said Effendi. These (wo earned men, being guided by the advice of the mufti and the noft intelligent of the Ottomans, made choice of such books as were deemed the muft necessary and the most useful to cultivate he minds of the people. Ibrahim Effendi wrote the life of Kiatib Celebi, named allo Hagi Calfah, a Turk juftly celebrated for his kill in the sciences. He translated the Journal of the Traveller, or the History of the Irruption of the Aguhans, their war with the Perfians, and the destruction of the Perfian empire; composed, translated, and corrected feveral other works, fuperintended every publication that issued from the press, procured engravings of geographical, hydrographical, and aftronomical charts, cast the. types, and was the foul of the printing.press. Two years elapsed from the time in which the imperial licence was granted to the

impresion of the first work. The Arabic dictionary of Wanculi marks the illustrious epoch which enriches the Ottoman

literature. It was published in the year of the Hegira 1141 (of the Chriftian æra 1728) in two volumes in folio, both being publish:d together. This work is highly valued by the Turks. All the Arabic words are explained and accompanied by quotations from the most celebrated Arabic authors, in order to ascertain the fignification and force of the word.'

The extent of this article will not permit us to give more circumstantial derails of the publications that have issued from the Ottoman press. We shall only observe that the subjects seem to be well chosen. The greater number confift of the history and annals of the empire of the Turks, and their wars with other nations, digefted in a regular series : which will doubtless furnish ample materials for a more authentic history of the eastern nations, as well as of the Turkish empire, than any that have yet been communicated to the public. The Abbé TODERINI gives very interesting and entertaining abridgments of most of the publications which he mentions.

Cog.

ART.

ART. XXVII. Geographische Geschichte des Menschen, &c. i.e. A Geographical E

tory of Man, and of the Quadrupeds which are dispersed over ** different Parts of the Earth; with a zoological Map, adapt: the same. By E. A. W. Zimmerman, Professor of Caroline Coik Brunswick. 8vo. 3

Vols. 1018 Pages. Leipfic. OWERFUL are the objections urged by many celebrzo

proficients in natural history, themselves, againf art. arrangements, in the study of that most extensive cience. Ti allege, and with justice, that no system can be perfe& unic. knowlege of the subject itself be perfect and complete : tha tbwho form artificial arrangements, ever attentive to more c'o." fimilarities, frequently place in the same class, bodies, wbosega. and leading characteristics are the most oppofite to each ote that too great a predilection for mere clarification, (whict, fact, is no other than forming a general index to natural biftor. is ape to draw the attention from what is the most intered and important in the science, to things which are the most in and may be merely accidental; and that it induces men to it. gine, that a familiar acquaintance with some favourite fyte conftitutes the essence of the science; although this abfurdity not greater than it would be to maintain with Hudibras,

That all a Rhetorician's rules

Lie in the NAMING of his Tools. Yet to discard systems altogether, is an oppofite error, of, per haps, a ftill more pernicious tendency. Without some arrang ment, a colle&tion of facts is but rudis indigefiaque moles, diffic.. to be retained in the memory; and almost useless from t. want of being directed to some determinate obje&t. It muft fu ther be granted that this natural love of system, which is but the lo of order, has been of much occasional benefit to the science. Fö the very attention which has been given to those peculiarities ca which systems are founded, have very confiderably increase: our knowlege of the minuriæ of nature, whether we receive a reject the favourite order that gave rise to these discoveries.

The grand defideratum is, to observe the due medium; chuse such a plan as may affist and direct the Atudent in his purfuit of knowlege, and not deceive or embarrass bim by Alighier fimilarities or differences. In our opinion, few plans have bera better calculated to answer this desirable end, than that propelei by Profeffor ZIMMERMAN, in the work before us. This te Jebrated author has laboured many years, with indefatigable industry, and no small degree of luccess, in the extensive vine yard of natural history. His plan of study has enabled him to contemplate zoology in general, in a singular and very ing point of view. Yet his principal attention has been directed to that branch of the natural hiftory of men and quadrupeds

interet

« PreviousContinue »