Edhem Eldem: “From blissful indifference to anguished concern: the transformation of Ottoman perceptions of antiquities, 1799-1869”

Open to the Public
Nador u. 13
Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 5:30pm
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Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm

While the promulgation, in 1869, of the first Ottoman law on antiquities can be considered as the formal

beginning of Ottoman archaeology, we have very little direct information, other than western accounts and

reports, concerning earlier attitudes and policies of the Ottoman State with regard to archaeological sites and

remains. As a preliminary to an ongoing effort to produce an “Ottoman History of Archaeology,” this lecture

analyzes, on the basis of Ottoman archival sources, the evolution of the Ottoman perspective on antiquities,

from the Elgin marbles to the Venus of Milo, from the siege of Athens to the ‘discovery’ of Nineveh, and from

the first Ottoman attempt at creating a museum to the 1869 bylaw.

Edhem ELDEM is a professor at the Department of History of Bo

visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University and at the École des Hautes

Études en Sciences Sociales, in Paris. Among his fields of interest are foreign trade in the Levant in the

eighteenth century, Ottoman funerary epigraphy, the development of an urban bourgeoisie in late-nineteenthcentury

Istanbul, the history of the Imperial Ottoman Bank, and late-nineteenth-century Ottoman first-person

narratives and biographies. He has also realized a number of exhibitions on historical themes. His latest project,

in collaboration with Zeynep Çelik and Zainab Bahrani, concerns the history of archaeology in the Ottoman

lands. His publications include: