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Ottoman Book on Cuneiform: آثورى و كلدانيلره مخصوص خط ميخى حقنده معلومات مجمله [Asurî ve Keldanîlere mahsûs hatt-i mihî hakkinda malûmat-i mücmele / General Information on the Calligraphy Specific to Assyrians and Chaldeans].

250.00

 

The first Ottoman book on cuneiform, written by scholar and Armenian nationalist Karapet J. Basmadjian

 

16°: 27 pp., [5 pp.] blank, later cloth binding with debossed prnaments and gilt lettering (margins slightly age-toned and with tiny tears, otherwise in a good condition).

 

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The small pamphlet is the first Ottoman book on cuneiform. It was written by an Armenian scholar Karapet J. Basmadjian and based on the latest western researches. Two years later the book was published in French language in Venice.

The author, Karapet J. Basmadjian (1864 – 1942), later became a leading Armenian exile, intellectual and activist for the cause of his people. It should be noted that his biography is sometimes difficult to research in Western European languages, as his name had been transliterated from Armenian into Latin script in a bewildering variety of ways, such that he is often alternatively known as ‘Garabed Basmadjian’, ‘K.Y. Basmadjian’, ‘K.Y. Bamachian’, and even ‘Bamachean’.

Basmadjian was long an outspoken advocate of Armenian independence and as a result found himself no longer welcome in either Ottoman or Russian controlled lands; he was based in Paris for most of his life.

He was a historian, archeologist and numismatist of estimable reputation, with most of his works focusing on research that revived and confirmed the significance of the historical Armenian kingdoms and their origins. These include Inscriptions cunéiformes vanniques de Manazgert (Venice, 1897); Lewon V. verjin T‘agawor Hayots‘ (Paris, 1908), a work on King Leo V, the last ruler of the Cilician Kingdom; Les Inscriptions arméniennes d‘Ani, de Bagnaïr et de Marmachên (Paris, 1931); and Manuel de numismatique orientale de l’antiquité et du moyen age (Paris, 1932-6), amongst others.

Even more prominent than his scholarly works, however, were his patriotic tracts and maps that justified the reestablishment of an independent Armenian state with ample territory, predicated upon its historical grandeur. His defining text in this regard was Le Droit arménien depuis l‘origine jusqu‘à nos jours, mémoire présenté au congrès international d‘histoire comparée (Paris, 1900).

During World War I, as the notion of an independent Armenia emerged as a realistic possibility, Basmadjian was one of the protagonists of the Paris-based group of Armenian intellectuals lobbying the Western powers to back their cause. In addition to the present map, he produced two other cartographic works that supported historical Armenian claims, Carte de l’Arménie ancienne (Paris, 1916) and Arménie, revendications arméniennes dressée par K. J. Basmadjian (Paris, 1919), a map depicting the maximal territorial claims of the short-lived First Republic of Armenia (1918-20). Even long after the collapse of the First Republic, Basmadjian worked tirelessly to reassert Armenian self-determination.

References: OCLC 759747521, 947191529, 224916967, 697606809; Özege 1146.

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