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A19th Century Secaatnâme: Terci-i Bend-i Şecâ’at-nâme-i Osmânî

Gülay Durmaz


The word Şecaat is of Arabic origin. The lexical meaning is “bravery” and “courage”. In terms of its genre, it can be evaluated in gazavatnâmes. Gazavat is the plural word of gaza. When analysed in terms of historiography, the pieces written on excursion and reign period, namely gazavatnâme and zafernâmes, constitute the first type, Tevarih-i Âl-i Osmanlar, the second type, and universal history studies constitute the third type. Gazavatnames, reflecting the Ottoman war policies and the spirit of gaza, are seen as critical works in terms of both history and literature. Gazavatnames were first encountered in Arabic literature with the name of megazi. There have been those who accepted danişmendnâme and battalnâme in the Seljuk period as gazavatnâmes. When the gazavatnâmes in our literature are evaluated according to their topics, they can be categorised in three groups. First, works depicting a sultan and his works and important events such as Selimnâme, Süleymannâme. Secondly, the works that the person who carried out a gaza were also prominent: such as Barbaros Hayreddin, Köprülü Fazıl Ahmet, Tiryaki Hasan, Özdemiroğlu and Osman Pashas. Third, artefacts depicting a particular excursion or conquest of a fortress such as Gazanâme, fetihnâme or zafernâme. In the XV.century, the works of gazavatnâme began to be written, and more extensions were made in the XVI. century. When the Ottoman Empire started to decline, and its raids stopped, the works written in this type decreased accordingly, and the disappearance of the gaza tradition caused the gazavatnames to lose their continuity. Gazavatnames were seen as poetry and prose in classical literature. As an example of the Şecaatnâme type, Şecaatnâme by the Asafi Dal Mehmed Çelebi written in the XVI century can be presented. In the piece where the Ottoman Eastern expeditions in the period of Sultan Murad III are mainly dealt with, the conquests of Özdemiroğlu Osman Pasha were specifically explained and the events between Çıldır Victory in 1578 and Pasha's death in 1585 constituted the main subject of the work. The work examined in this article is “Terc-i Bend-i Şecâ’at-nâme-i Osmânî”. It is a work of the XIX. century. It was written by El-hac Mehmet Re’fet Efendi from Süleymaniye. The work was registered in A.E Poetry in 1336, and it starts with a dibace. Then, there are the poems and verses written for the Sultan of the time, Abdülaziz and his lineage. The section which the work was named after starts from the seventh page and continues for forty-one paragraphs. There is no mention of a particular gaza or victory described in Şecaatnâme. Mostly, Sultan Abdülaziz and the innovations made during his period were included. In accordance with the spirit of Şecaatnâma, the heroism and bravery of the state and the nation were emphasised. In this respect, it may be possible to include the work in the group of "gazavatnames", which describe the main events with a sultan and his works, among the gazavatnames that are evaluated according to their subjects. However, the fact that the work we have is an example of the XIX. century and the change that emerged in this period manifests itself in this type, distinguishes the work from its traditional structure. Such that the type of Şecaatnâme, which is generally dealt with in verses and mesnevi verse, is in the form of terci-i bent here. In the piece, the spirit of “Şecaat” was tried to be provided by stating the discourses based on the bravery and heroism of the state and the nation and the innovations realised by Sultan Abdülaziz, the sultan of the time. In this article, “Terc-i Bend-i Şecâ’at-nâme-i Osmânî”, a work of the XIX. century was examined. When evaluated in general, the place and importance of Şecaatname, which is categorised among the gazavatnâmes in the classical literature, is emphasised. Then, information was provided about Sultan Abdülaziz and his actions to understand the period included. In the chapter about the background of the piece, the life and works of Mehmed Refet and the content of “Terc-i Bend-i Şecâ’at-nâme-i Osmânî” are investigated. At the and of study, text it given.