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Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

Ottoman Turkey

Persian literary works and language made an enormous contribution to the evolution of Ottoman imperial identity, especially in the early years of the dynasty. From modest beginnings in the early 14th century, the Ottomans expanded westwards, crossing into south-eastern Europe in 1360 and establishing their second capital at Edirne, in Thrace. Like their fellow Turkic rulers in later empires – the Mughals in India and the Safavids in Iran by the early 16th century – the Ottomans incorporated elements of Persian culture and its ancient Iranian prototypes.

By the mid-15th century, Edirne attracted scholars, poets and artists from across a vast region that shared the interrelated way of life and civilisation of Turko-Persian culture. Sultan Murad II (r 1421–51) and his son Mehmet II (r 1451–81) collected luxury editions of classic Persian poetry as a necessity of cultured kingship. Both also wrote verse in the Persian-language literary tradition. Despite their close proximity to Christians, who formed the majority population of their newly conquered European territories, the Ottomans still looked primarily to Persianate models for their royal palaces, courtly behaviour, books and literary culture.

After Mehmet II’s defeat of Byzantine Constantinople in 1453 and its transformation into the third and last Ottoman capital (Istanbul), Ottoman literature developed its own style and was increasingly written in Turkish. Yet Persian stories and themes remained key components, and the Ottomans continued to be enthusiastic consumers of luxury manuscripts produced in the workshops of Iran.

Love & devotion in the UK

The Bodleian Libraries is showing its own presentation of the Love and devotion exhibition at the Exhibition Room, Bodleian Library, in Oxford, England, between 29 November 2012 and 28 April 2013.

Learn more about how you can visit this exhibition on the Bodleian Libraries website.

Conference

Love and devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

This two-day conference held in April 2012 featured distinguished international guests and Australian specialists exploring cultural convergences in literature, the arts and architecture, history and philosophy within Persia's cultural sphere and Europe, from the 11th century to the present day.

For information on keynote speakers & topics discussed, visit our conference page

Visit the exhibition

The Love and devotion exhibition took place from 9 March to 1 July 2012. In-depth information about the exhibits and themes can be found on this website.

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