Memories of the war in the sea, Safai's History of the Ottoman conquest of Naupaktos and Methoni

By Murat Menguc
Submitted to Session P4330 (Ottoman Seas 2, 2016 Annual Meeting
Ottoman Empire;
13th-18th Centuries;
LCD Projector without Audio;
This paper will focus on the unique manuscript of Safai’s Fethname-i İnebahtı ve Modon, written in 1500 to celebrate the 1499 Ottoman conquest of Naupaktos and Methoni. The author was once a sailor who served in the Ottoman navy. He later became the personal secretary of grand vizier İskender Paşa, and the secretary to Beyoğlu Sufi Convent. Afterwards, Safai established his own convent, which was frequently visited by distinguished Ottoman sailors like Kemal Reis. Safai argues that he was personally present during the conquest of Naupaktos and Methoni and composes an eyewitness account of the expedition. He explains the preparations, the voyage, early encounters in the Aegean islands, major battles, and the victory, almost always discloses from whom he gathered the information he recounts. Two specific sections of the book are apologies, one composed on behalf of Kemal Reis. Thus, the motivation behind the book appears to be also an advocacy of sailors. The text embodies detailed eyewitness depictions of the activities and perceptions of some of the naval warfare and the Aegean. This presentation will map the Ottoman navy’s itinerary according, and highlight what the book has to offer in terms of Ottoman ideological and geographical perception of the Aegean and greater Mediterranean.