IX, 2013, 1

The Ottoman Chronicle “Tarih-i Sultan Bayezid” | p. 413–428

Bayezid II, Kilia, miniatures, Moncastro, Stephen the Great, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Arşivi


The novel chronicle “The history of Sultan Bayezid” (Tarih-i Sultan Bayezid) is an artistic masterpiece, whose manuscript is preserved in the former imperial palace from Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayi Müzesi Arşivi, Revan fund 1272. The manuscript comprises 41 folios with 10 colored miniatures. The text from folio 7 recto to folio 10 recto refers to the armed confrontations from 1484 and 1485 between Stephen the Great and Bayezid II for the Kilia and Moncastro citadels. The narrative is adorned with miniatures of Kilia (folio 8 recto) and Moncastro (folio 8 verso).

The present paper has two aims: first, to reveal the oldest miniatures of Kilia and Moncastro (made shortly after their occupation by the Turks) and, second, to translate into Romanian the passage about Bayezid’s campaigns from 1484 and 1485 against Stephen the Great.

Judging from their aspect, the miniatures are probably the creation of Matrakçı Nasuh and his manuscript miniature workshop. This renowned maestro, who did not hold any high office in the hierarchy of the Sublime Porte, had multiple scientific interests: translator (he translated from Arab), mathematician (he wrote studies) and arms inventor (this is where the nickname Matrakçı for the arms manufacturers comes from).