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Two Poetical Histories Mentioning the Ottomans' Eastern Expeditions in the Period of Sultan Murâd III: Âsafî’s Şecâat-nâme and Harîmî’s Gonca-i Bâğ-i Murâd  

Süleyman EROĞLU  


Works on history occupy an important place among the poetical and prosaic products of the Turkish literature. An important part of our literary products deriving their subjects from history are composed of works on wars re- flecting the holy war spirit in the Muslim Turkish society. Works on holy war appear before us generally under such names as gazaname, fetihname, zafername and sefername, but gazavatname has been used as a common name. In our literature, the first gazavatname examples deriving their subjects from our history are encountered starting from the 15th century on. The gazavatname type of works, the numbers of which highly increased together with the 16th century, continued to increase in number at the end of the century during the sultanate years of Sultan Murad III, who was sitting on the Ottoman throne, too. The Ottoman Eastern (Caucasian) Expeditions launched during the sultanate years of Sultan Murad III are rather important in terms of not only history and politics but also literature. The conquests starting in 1578 and continuing until 1590 in the Ottoman Eastern geog- raphy did not only expand the Ottoman domination area but they also allowed for the compilation of a remarkable number of literary works. Especially, the victories gained under the lead of Özdemiroğlu Osman Pasha became a source of inspiration for some poets. Hereby, the works penned by the poets of the period are not only each a his- torical document shedding light on the last period of the sixteenth century Ottoman history but also they each have the nature of a poetical history. Among the poets penning works in the type of poetical history about the Ottoman Eastern Expeditions during the period of Sultan Murad III were Âsafî and Harîmî, the two mostly-mentioned sol- dier poets raising in the second half of the 16th century. Âsafî, whose actual name was Mehmed, was born in Siroz (Serres). The first government office which he took following his educational life was the clerkship of the Imperial Council (Divan-ı Humayun). Âsafî, who was assigned to the office of writing biographies under the auspices of Özdemiroğlu Osman Pasha following the clerkship of the Imperial Council, personally took part in many battles taking place in the Ottoman Eastern geog- 54 raphy between the years of 1578 and 1585. Having been taken prisoner in the hands of Iranians in the end of 1582, the poet managed to escape from captivity in the middle of 1585 and participated in the Tabriz Expedi- tion along with Özdemiroğlu Osman Pasha. Having been assigned to the Beylerbeylic of Kefe following the conquest of Tabriz, Âsafî was appointed to the office reisülküttap in 1590. Having been discharged from the office of reisülküttap in 1593, Âsafî died in 1605. Âsafî left two literary works behind him, which we know with the names of Şecâat-nâme and Cezîre-i Mesnevî. Together with Âsafî, another one of the poetical history writers raising in the second half of the 16th century was Harîmî. The poet, whose actual name was Ibrahim and penname was Harîmî, was born in Küta- hya. A poet having a divan and known with the pen- name of Rahîmî and also known as Rahîmî-zâde due to his father underwent a good learning period and then took office in the Imperial Council. Having been sent to Baghdad as a sergeant of Dergâh-ı Âlî by the order of Sultan Murad III in 1575, Harîmî participated in the Eastern Expeditions in 1578 with the Ottoman army under the command of Lala Mustafa Pasha. Harîmî firstly took part in various struggles and public improve- ment in the regions of Çıldır, Tbilisi, Şirvan, Revan and Kars along with Lala Mustafa Pasha. Having partici- pated in the Tabriz Expedition under the sirdarship of Özdemiroğlu Osman Pasha, Harîmî took part in the Gence Expedition under the sirdarship of Ferhad Pasha following the Tabriz Expedition. Moreover, having continued his service in battlefields after the end of the eastern expeditions lasting 12 years during the sultan- ate of Sultan Murad III with the treaty reached in 1590, Harîmî fell a martyr in the defeat to which the Ottoman army went down in 1594 in the vicinity of the Hatvan Fortress, one of the border fortresses in Rumelia. Harîmî is known with his works entitled Zafer-nâme-i Sultân Murâd Han, Feth-i Tebriz, Gonca-i Bâğ-ı Murad and Kitâb-ı Gencîne-i Feth-i Gence, which he penned on the Eastern Expeditions, the most important campaigns of the period of Sultan Murad III. In this article, some information will be given about the lives and the works of Âsafî and Harîmî, two soldier poets who lived in the 16th century, and their masnavis entitled Şecâat-nâme and Gonca-i Bâğ-ı Murâd, each of which was a poetical history, will be introduced.