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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This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. According to Busbecq, the merits for an important position in public service and authority should be based on character and ability, rather than privileges of birth, prosperity or social status:.

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.

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. No distinction is attached to birth among the Turks; the deference to be paid to a man is measured by the position he holds in the public service.

The Turkish Letters of Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq: A Biography

De Busbecq does this I think to show them in sharp contrast to the Ottoman court, although he does cast a very critical eye on the Turkish people at times. He started work in the court of the Austrian monarch Turkidh I in approximately Yet these are the famous Janissaries, whose approach inspires terror everywhere.

These remarks are astounding, even to us today. Amin rated it it was amazing Jul 19, Gives interesting comparisons of Europe and the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. A very ancient turiish. 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 bksbecq to victory, we to defeat.


Honestly three stars is too little but four is a bit too much. It makes me shudder to think of what the result of a struggle between such different systems must be; one of us must prevail and the other be destroyed, at any rate we cannot both exist ]in safety. These visits considerably increased in number with the agreement of concessions granted by the Ottomans. Lisa Morrow rated it it was amazing Sep 08, I found the spelling of some Turkish names of people and places quite amusing: He died a few days later.

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

What a contrast to our men! The dress of these men consists of a robe reaching down to the ankles, while, to cover their heads, they employ a cowl which, by their account, was originally a cloak sleeve, part of which contains the head, while the remainder hangs down and flaps against the neck.

De Busbeq’s description of these people is extremely critical, and his clear disrespect for this culture is evident.

The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history. Suleiman spelled Soleiman in the translation the Magnificent is perhaps the most distinguished figure in Turkish history, and his reign saw the greatest extension of Turkish power.

He goes on at such length to describe the Black Sea tribes in negative fashion that his comments and descriptions of their customs, beliefs, and history sound almost fantastical, and I found his thoughts on this culture inadvertently hilarious.

This normative statement certainly has political and social implications. The tone of De Busbecq in his letters when describing the Turks is overall very polite and at times reverential – he is clearly very impressed by the orderliness of the Turkish court and people, and he praises everything from their personal groomimg habits to the way Suleiman’s army sets up camp. Busbecq’s intellectual gifts led him to advanced studies at the Latin-language University of Leuvenwhere he registered in under the name Ogier Ghislain de Comines.


In addition to being an indispensable source of information about Ottoman bbusbecq more than four centuries ago, these letters also provide valuable lessons for policymakers.

Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq

In the case of the Balkans, for at least years, and in the Middle East for at least years, social life was very calm and stable. He praises the care and empathy the Ottomans show in training their horses, contrasting this with the cruel methods employed by Europeans.

Of this they eat once or twice a day, according to the quantity they have, without any bread, unless they have brought some biscuit with them This is the impression you get when he tells us that in the Ottoman Empire promotion in the army or government service more generally is purely on the basis of merit and not birth, the army is experienced and used to hardships, the people are frugal, pious, and willing to take up new inventions and innovations.

The “Turkish Letters” of Ogier G. For the duration of his service in the Ottoman lands, Busbecq constantly wrote letters to a friend in the Netherlands.

Augerius Gislenius Busbequius ; sometimes Augier Ghislain de Busbecq was a 16th-century Flemish writer, herbalist and diplomat in the employ of three generations of Austrian monarchs. No trivia or quizzes yet.

Delightfully entertaining reading, it also offers invaluable lessons on understanding and bridging cultural divides.