An English Translation of Georgius de Hungaria's Treatise on the Customs, Living Conditions, and Wickedness of the Turks (1481) Open Access

Stevenson, David Ryan (2016)

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This work is the first English translation of the Tractatus de moribus, condictionibus et nequicia Turcorum by Georgius de Hungaria, originally published in Latin in 1481. Georgius was enslaved by the Turks for over twenty years, and had the rare opportunity to witness the Ottoman Empire firsthand. His Treatise discusses his observations on Islamic practices, early Sufism, and Ottoman culture, comparing it to the Christian world in Europe. Georgius was a young Byzantine living in the Transylvania region, then part of Hungary, when he was taken by the advancing Ottoman troops and enslaved. He later secured his freedom and came to Rome, where he became a Dominican monk and wrote about his life experiences. While the Treatise was originally overlooked, it achieved prominence when Martin Luther translated it into the German.

Table of Contents

Introduction on the Text. 1

Forward to the treatise on the customs, affairs, and wickedness of the Turks. 2

Prologue. 3

Chapter One: How the Turks came to posses and inhabit the eastern land and region. 6

Chapter Two: How the sect of the Turks increased and received the name Turk. 8

Chapter Three: How terrible the sect of the Turks is, and how much one must fear them. 11

Chapter Four: How the persecutions of the body and of the soul differ among themselves. 14

Chapter Five: On the concern that the Turks have for seeking out and capturing Christians. 16

Chapter Six: How the Turks maintain the captives, and how they buy and sell them. 19

Chapter Seven: On the Turks' greed for possessing slaves and maidservants, and on the flight and freeing of slaves. 22

Chapter Eight: About the ones who were not reluctant or compelled, but who offered or threw themselves voluntarily into this danger. 24

Chapter Nine: About the reasons, through which Christians are persuaded and prefer this sect to the faith of Christ, and on the many types of reasons for doing so. 28

Chapter Ten: About the particular reasons of experience. 32

Chapter Eleven: About these reasons, which attract others and greatly confirm the Turks in their error. 36

Chapter Twelve: Concerning the virtuous conduct of the women of the Turks. 39

Chapter Thirteen: About the supernatural and spiritual reasons, and first, the profession of faith and law of the Turks. 42

Chapter Fourteen: About the supernatural and religious reasons. 49

Chapter Fifteen: Further discussion on the supernatural reasons and prodigies and deceitful signs. 55

Chapter Sixteen: Whether any reasons are sufficient for carrying the faith away from Christians. 59

Chapter Seventeen: About the interpretation of the reasons. 62

Chapter Eighteen: About the great future progress of this sect that is considered from their foundation. 68

Chapter Nineteen: About the interpretation of the remaining reasons. 72

Chapter Twenty: About the reasons that draw one back from the error of the Turks. 78

Chapter Twenty-One: About the second and third reasons that bring Christians back from the error of the Turks, which are ignorance and obstinacy. 83

Chapter Twenty-Two: About a certain notable event that happened in Turkey, to confirm what was said above. 87

Chapter Twenty-Three: About the advantage of the Christian religion. 93

Epilogue: An account that testifies to the truth of the things that have been said. 99

Appendix A: These are two sermons in the common tongue of the Turks, and the translation of the aforementioned sermons into Latin. 101

Appendix B: An opinion of the abbot Joachim about the sect of Mechomet. 102

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