A Seventeenth-Century Odyssey in East Central Europe

The Life of Jakab Harsányi Nagy


In A Seventeenth-Century Odyssey Gábor Kármán reconstructs the life story of a lesser-known Hungarian orientalist, Jakab Harsányi Nagy. The discussion of his activities as a school teacher in Transylvania, as a diplomat and interpreter at the Sublime Porte, as a secretary of a Moldavian voivode in exile, as well as a court councillor of Friedrich Wilhelm, the Great Elector of Brandenburg not only sheds light upon the extraordinarily versatile career of this individual, but also on the variety of circles in which he lived. Gábor Kármán also gives the first historical analysis of Harsányi’s contribution to Turkish studies, the Colloquia Familiaria Turcico-latina (1672).

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Gábor Kármán, Ph. D. (2009), Eötvös Loránd University, is a research fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of History (Budapest). He is also the author of a monograph on Transylvanian foreign policy after 1648 (in Hungarian).


1 The Beginnings of an Ecclesiastical Career

2 In the Service of the Prince

3 Years of Turmoil

4 The Court Councillor of the Great Elector

5 The Bureaucrat and the Intellectual

6 Harsányi’s Changing Image of the Turks


Appendix 1 Known Copies of the Colloquia
Appendix 2 A Glossary of Place Names from the Eastern Half of Europe

All interested in the history of early modern East Central and South-Eastern Europe, diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire; as well as seventeenth-century Turkish studies.
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