The world of the turks described by an eye-witness: Georgius de Hungaria's dialectical discourse on the foreign world of the Ottoman empire

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Abstract

Georgius de Hungaria (b. 1422/23) went through extraordinary experiences while being a slave in Ottoman Turkey for the two decades after he had been captured in 1438. In his subsequent account, Tractatus de Moribus (first written down in 1481/82), he not only reflects upon his woeful experiences as a slave, but also provides detailed information about Ottoman culture. For some time Georgius seems to have been on the brink of converting to Islam and experienced forms of mystic visions that confirmed this new belief. But he eventually returned to Christianity and later, while writing his account, made every attempt to assert his firm adherence to Christian teachings. As a critical analysis of his treatise demonstrates, however, his open admiration of Ottoman culture is undeniable, and his sharp criticism of Islam ultimately proves to be the writer's self-defense against a deep-seated fear of having transgressed traditional European norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-279
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Early Modern History
Volume7
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History

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