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Géographie historique du monde méditerranéen

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Hélène Ahrweiler

Première partie. Contributions sur le monde méditerranéen

Early modern times travellers as a source for the historical geography of Byzantium: The Diary of Reinhold Lubenau1

Johannes Koder

Texte intégral

  • 1 Except for the addition of references and some minor changes this paper is printed here in the for (...)

1I do not think it necessary to speak to this auditory about the general importance of the so-called Early travellers and their diaries and reports. All of you know, that geographical, topographical and demographical information on the Eastern Mediterranean is rare and that Byzantine chronicles and historians do not help very much to enlighten the darkness.

2I think, too, that you agree with me, that there exists no break between the last Byzantine centuries (xiii-xv) and the early Turkish period (till the end of the xvith c), and that there are many lines of continuity, especially concerning topography and demography, but also with regard to the economical and agricultural situation. These facts justify the use of the Early travellers of the 15th-17th centuries, with some caution, as sources for the situation of the Eastern Mediterranean Islands and Coastlands in the late Middle Ages, especially in researching the topography of these regions.

  • 1 One exception is C. Mango, A Forged Inscription of the Year 781, in: Zbornik Radova Vizantol. Inst (...)
  • 2 For information on Lubenau see the Edition of W. Sahm, Beschreibung der Reisen des Reinhold Lubena (...)

3I would like to speak to you today about Reinhold Lubenau, a 16th century traveller, who—unlike most of the Italian, French and other early modern times sources—remained nearly1 unknown still in our time, and this, as I believe, mainly for two reasons. First of all, his diary remained unpublished until the beginning of the 20th century. The first, and to my knowledge, only edition by W. Sahm, was printed in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Soviet Union) between 1912 and 1930, in the times of the first world war, so that a normal distribution was made difficult. In the second place there are some linguistic problems: Lubenau wrote in German, and his 16th century language is, even for Germans, often difficult to understand.2

  • 3 Cf. J. v. Hammer, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches IV, Pest 1829, 144ff. and J. W. Zinkeisen, Ge (...)

4Before speaking about his diary I shall give some biographical indications about the author. Reinhold Lubenau was born in Königsberg (Prussia) in 1556, the same city where he was to die 75 years later, in 1631. He was trained as a Pharmacist and he was pursuing this profession in several cities of Eastern Europe till 1587, when he came to Vienna, then capital of the Habsburg emperor Rudolf II (1576-1612). Here he had the possibility to join the emperors delegation to Constantinople, which had the difficult task to deliver the so-called “present” to the Sublime Porte. This annual tribute was paid on the basis of several peace treaties (the last in 1584), but in the last two or three years the Turkish-Austrian relations had deteriorated remarkably. Though open war did not break out until 1592, the members of these delegations had to work under rather bad conditions; for example they had always to be aware of the danger to be beheaded by the Turks, especially when the delegation, who had to succeed them, did not arrive in Constantinople in time (every delegation had to wait in Constantinople, as hostage, for one year, until the arrival of the next one).3

  • 4 Burton succeeded William Harebone in this office in April 9th, 1588, cf. Hammer IV 157, 207ff., an (...)
  • 5 Hasan-Paša, in 1587 successor of Ibrahim-Paša, was born in Venice, where his sister was still livi (...)

5This time they would have to wait for nearly two years, and so Lubenau—always quarreling, besides, with the Catholics, being himself a Protestant—was happy to get away from this unlucky company with the help of his friend, the ambassador of Queen Elizabeth at the Sublime Porte, Edward Burton.4 Burton recommended him as a British subject to the former beglerbei and new Kapudan Paša of Algier, Hasan-Paša, a Venetian renegade, who just at this time went on a journey around the Mediterranean in order to inspect Turkish military bases.5

  • 6 For his itinerary see the map, fig. 1.

6Lubenau accompanied him as his guest for more than six weeks, from September 26th to November 15th, when they arrived at the island of Chios.6 In Chios he takes his leave of Hasan-Paša and continues his journey by a Venetian trade vessel. So he is able to visit Crete (November 21st-30th), the Ionian Islands, esp. Corfu (December 5th-15th), and Ragusa; he arrives in Venice on January 22nd 1589. From here he returns to his hometown, after a short visit to Rome, Sicile, and Southern Italy.

  • 7 Cf. I 9 and II 179ff. (Sahm).

7During his journey he was writing down his impressions and adventures, as well as the informations he got from the Kapudan Paša and his crew, or from the natives. Apart from his notebooks he used to draw views and groundplans of different objects—in the introduction of his diary he mentions seventy sketches of towns and fortresses, and even more views of ancient monuments and statues. But unfortunately nothing is preserved: partly his drawings were confiscated at the Akropolis of Athens by the Yeni Çeri, while the rest of them probably got lost soon after his death.7

8Taking the material from his notebooks, Lubenau wrote the manuscript, on which the only edition is based, in 1628, three years before his death. As there are about forty years between the journey and his final manuscript, which he probably wished to be printed, there may be errors in the diary, resulting from mistakes in the notebooks, but also from misunderstandings after so many years and by confusion of unbound sheets of the note books. For example, he reproduces the text of a Latin inscription in Famagusta, Cyprus, describing also its position at a town-gate near the harbour, which I could not find in the CIL-Volume on Cyprus. Mrs. Michaelidou-Nicolaou from the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia had the kindness to inform me, that the inscription actually is to be found in Ancona, therefore in CIL Nr. IX.—But in general I have the impression, and I think that I can demonstrate this, that his report is accurate and trustworthy.

  • 8 Cf. ibidem I 280, 293, 300, 305, II 7, 106, 118, 141, 152, 156, 182, 184, 186, 217.
  • 9 Cf. ibidem I 136, 156, II 113.
  • 10 Cf. ibidem I 135f., 149f., 155.
  • 11 Cf. ibidem I 136, 142, 147, 152-158.

9Lubenau’s general education seems to have been rather good, as he mentions or quotes for example the Latin authors Cicero, Ovidius, Plautus and Vergilius, the Greeks Herodotos, Polybios, Ptolemaios8 and John Chrysostomos, the church historians Eusebios and Sozomenos,9 the Byzantine writers John Zonaras and Planudes (about him he only states: 150 years ago here lived a monk named Planudes, who translated the verses of Cato into Greek).10 Very often he quotes the Jewish traveller Rabbi Benjamin from Tudela.11

  • 12 In II 57-66 (Sahm) one may find a Turkish-German Glossary of some 700 words, which may be of some (...)
  • 13 Probably the question is of the Πολιτιϰὴ ἱστορία Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, first printed in 1584 by Mart (...)

10I cannot tell, of course, whether he read or learned about all these authors before, during or after his stay in the Levant, but surely he knew Latin very well before joining the delegation, and he learned enough Italian and Turkish during his stay in Turkey (he also knew to write in Arabic characters) to make himself understood by the natives.12 He also knew enough Greek to copy some inscriptions and to read Greek manuscripts, because he mentions that during his stay in Constantinople he paid several visits to the Patriarch Jeremias II, who was afflicted with an eye trouble and wanted Lubenau to help him. They became friends, and he was informed by the Patriarch and his protonotarias Zygomalas about the history of Constantinople; he also could use the Patriarch’s “secret chronicle”, as he calls it, to gather material about the contemporary political history.13

11Perhaps I should also mention, before speaking about the contents of the diary, that the only manuscript, Lubenau’s autograph of 883 pages, which was used by W. Sahm for his edition, was kept in the municipal library (Stadtbibliothek) of Königsberg before World War II, but I do not know, if it survived the year 1945. The diary in the printed edition covers some 670 pages.

The Contents of Lubenau’s Diary

12Wherever Lubenau is going to, he is interested in everything new, and therefore it is difficult to find a preference in the objects of his curiosity. As a pharmacist—and half a physician—he gathers thoroughly every information on medicine, pharmacology and botany; but also on food and cooking.

  • 14 Quotations or entire texts of inscriptions are to be found in the following pages of Sahm’s editio (...)

13In addition to these professional interests he is concerned with the customs and traditions, the history and languages in general, and of course he deals with the monuments of the cities and regions he is visiting. He gives us, for example, the full text of some thirty Latin and Greek inscriptions, not only ancient ones, but also medieval and contemporaneous. Many of them of course are edited better in modern editions, but some of them are still of interest.14

  • 15 15. II 111ff. (Sahm), cf. also ibidem I 140.

14As an example for his information on living conditions in the 16th century I would like to quote some of his remarks on the problems concerning timber and fire-wood supply. He often speaks about the shortage of both and gives particulars about the fire-wood situation in Constantinople. While visiting the Izmit gulf he tells us, that in a little village, named Casilik (today Kazikliköy, in the sheet Bursa 40o29° of the 1: 200 000 map of Turkey) they gather much fire-wood from the nearby mountains. Here they cleave it, make it up into bundles and transport it by boat to Constantinople, where it is sold, and—as a proprietory product—yields much profit to the sultan. Fire-wood is so very expensive, that in many thousand households of Constantinople all over the year they never light a fire, but take all their warm food to be cooked in one of the 2276 bake-houses or cook-shops, which have cauldrons and pans embedded in bricks and burn a minimum of wood.15

  • 16 II 268 (Sahm).

15Woods with big trees, which could be used as timber, are so exceptional, that he mentions them as something extraordinary; in Crete, for example, he mentions some beautiful cypress-groves and tells us, that he could buy in Candia a rather expensive set of twelve chests, fitting one into the other.16 There may, of course, be some objections to draw direct conclusions from Lubenau’s account to the situation in the last Byzantine centuries, but it is probable, that at least the supply problems of fire-wood may have been very similar to his time.

  • 17 Ibidem I 133 - II 69.
  • 18 Cf. ibidem I 140 and 168.

16Our main interest in the diary of Reinhold Lubenau of course lies in his topographical description of towns, sites and monuments, which either disappeared or changed in their state of preservation since he saw them. The biggest part—the entire third book—17 is concerning the city of Constantinople and her surroundings, as he had to stay there for about fifteen months. First he describes the town wall and its fortifications, and gives the names of the 26 gates, which were in use in his time. He also tells exact figures.18 The city has 4 492 bigger and 2 984 smaller streets, 2 276 bakehouses, 947 wells and 5 852 mills (run by horses); 44 Greek churches, 70 Jewish shools, 485 mosques, 625 medresses, 110 hospitals, 876 public bathes, 419 Imarets and 162 Karavanserays.

  • 19 As he calls it, (I 172-176, Sahm), but he mentions also, that the correct name is ἡ μονὴ τῆς παμμα (...)
  • 20 The Greeks in his time call it “Suluna”, but the old name was “Periuleptae”, he says in his descri (...)
  • 21 Cf. I 188ff. (Sahm).

17After a short report on the Turkish capture of Constantinople in 1453 there follow long descriptions of St. Sophia, the Hippodrome, the Sultan’s zoological gardens, Constantine’s Palace, the columns, Yedikule, the saray, the great mosques, the patriarch’s see at St. Luke,19 the Armenian patriarch’s see at Peribleptos,20 the Bezestan and other market places, and so on. A special chapter is devoted to the so-called “German House”, the German emperors embassy,21 which was situated in the former St. John’s monastery near Constantine’s column (there he also gives the texts of all inscriptions, amongst them one Greek, too: ἢ πίθι ἢ ἄπιθι). He describes the palaces, churches and the houses of the ambassadors in Galata and Skutari, and the writes about the aqueducts of Constantinople.

  • 22 Cf. ibidem II 3-9.
  • 23 Cf. ibidem II 69-119.

18During his stay in Constantinople Lubenau made two shorter journeys, one along the Bosporos to the Black Sea22 and the other to visit the cities of Brussa, Nikaia and Nikomedeia. His company did not dare to go to Ankara, too, because of the many soldiers then marching on this route to the Persian frontier.23

  • 24 Cf. ibidem II 255-261. For the current research on the historical geography of Chios within the Ta (...)

19Finally I should like to report all his observations on the island of Chios, in order to show the mixture of informations Lubenau offers to us:24 The island, he says, lies between Samos and Lesbos and was given to the Genuese by the emperor Andronikos Palaiologos. Its perimeter is 500 Italian or 100 German miles. The town has the same name as the island and has beautiful houses and streets (Lubenau did not see any better in Turkey outside Constantinople). There are many square towers and orchards (dates, oranges, lemons, figs, almonds). The natives prefer to live outside of the town in their gardens. Therefore there are more houses outside of the walls than inside.

20The town is famous for its trade, and one can meet here Greeks, Italians, French, English and Jews, but still no Turks. Near the harbour the merchants meet twice a day for trading on a big place, where they have their consulates, agencies and store-houses.

21On the island the natives grow mastic from the lentiscus-tree (he also describes the method to obtain it). The total production per annum amounts to a value of some 20.000-30.000 ducats, and the islanders have to give to the sultan a certain quantity of mastic instead of a tribute every year, that is 12.000 pounds, equal to 12.000 ducats.

22In Chios there are Latin and Greek churches, as well as a Jewish synagogue. The town is encircled by a double wall with ten strong, round bastions and a paved moat. There is a great harbour, named port magior, and another one below the citadel, separated from the big harbour by strong walls. Near of the harbour there are nine wind-mills, on the other side of the town there are twelve more.

23The gardens and houses extend for half a German mile to the mountains. On the tops of the two mountains near the town there stand two chapels, St. Rochus and St. Nicolas. Another high mountain, the Pellinaios, has famous marble quarries.

24Apart from the town of Chios there are also other ports all over the island, for example Mastico and Delfino, each one provided with a strong castle. Two miles from Chio is a village of some sixty houses, where Homer is said to be born (Lubenau doesn’t believe it). The natives do not only grow mastic, but also vegetables, wine and corn. They also breed partridges, which become as tame as sheep. That is Lubenau’s report on Chios.

25To sum up: Lubenau not only presents a vivid picture of Constantinople and several places in the Levant at his time, but also gives, often trustworth, informations on ancient and medieval monuments and history, which should be taken into consideration when working on late byzantine topography.

Notes

1 One exception is C. Mango, A Forged Inscription of the Year 781, in: Zbornik Radova Vizantol. Inst. 8/1 (1963) 201-207.

2 For information on Lubenau see the Edition of W. Sahm, Beschreibung der Reisen des Reinhold Lubenau, vol. 1-2, Königsberg i. Pr. 1912-1930 (Mitteil. aus der Stadtbibl. zu Königsberg i. Pr. 4-8). — J. Koder, Ἐνας Γερμανός ταξιδιώτης στη Χαλϰίδα του 1588, Ἀρχ. Εὐϐoϊϰών Μελετών 14 (1968) 344-353. — Idem, Η Κύπρος στα 1588. Από το ἡμερολόγιο του Γερμανού περιηγητή Reinhold Lubenau (Με ένα παράρτημα ανωνύμου γερμανιϰού ϰειμένου του 17ου αιώνα), Ἐπετηρίς Κέντρου Ἐπιστ. Ἐρευνών, Κύπρος (to be published).

3 Cf. J. v. Hammer, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches IV, Pest 1829, 144ff. and J. W. Zinkeisen, Geschichte des osmanischen Reiches in Europa III, Gotha 1855, 582ff.

4 Burton succeeded William Harebone in this office in April 9th, 1588, cf. Hammer IV 157, 207ff., and Zinkeisen III 418-433.

5 Hasan-Paša, in 1587 successor of Ibrahim-Paša, was born in Venice, where his sister was still living then. Between 1578 and 1587 he served two times as Paša of Algier. He died in 1589, cf. Ε. de zambaur, Manuel de Généalogie el de Chronologie pour l’histoire de l’Islam, Bad Pyrmont 1955, 82. See also Hammer IV 165f., 211f., 701, and Zinkeisen III 279f.

6 For his itinerary see the map, fig. 1.

7 Cf. I 9 and II 179ff. (Sahm).

8 Cf. ibidem I 280, 293, 300, 305, II 7, 106, 118, 141, 152, 156, 182, 184, 186, 217.

9 Cf. ibidem I 136, 156, II 113.

10 Cf. ibidem I 135f., 149f., 155.

11 Cf. ibidem I 136, 142, 147, 152-158.

12 In II 57-66 (Sahm) one may find a Turkish-German Glossary of some 700 words, which may be of some interest for orientalists.

13 Probably the question is of the Πολιτιϰὴ ἱστορία Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, first printed in 1584 by Martin Crusius in his Turcograecia (reprinted in the CSHB, 1849). As these editions end with the year 1578, and as Lubenau states, that this chronicle “is continued from year to year by the protonotarius, at my times Theodosius Zygomalas” (I 133, Sahm), it seems, that it was continued at least during the reign of Jeremy II (d. 1595). On the relations between Crusius and the patriarch see now D. Wendebourg, Standen politische Motive hinter dem Briefwechsel zwischen der Tübinger Theologischen Fakultät und Patriarch Jeremias II.? JÖB 32/6 (1982) 125-133.

14 Quotations or entire texts of inscriptions are to be found in the following pages of Sahm’s edition: I 135, 144, 146, 148, 156, 176, 190-192, 209-211; II 6, 32, 98, 102f., 106-108, 112-116, 135, 144-146, 175, 180, 220f., 230, 236, 245f., 251, 268, 280f., 283.

15 15. II 111ff. (Sahm), cf. also ibidem I 140.

16 II 268 (Sahm).

17 Ibidem I 133 - II 69.

18 Cf. ibidem I 140 and 168.

19 As he calls it, (I 172-176, Sahm), but he mentions also, that the correct name is ἡ μονὴ τῆς παμμαϰαρίστης, and that the Turks expelled the Patriarch from here during Lubenaus stay in Constantinople (he departed on September 26th, 1588) and therefore promised to give to him instead Constantine’s Palace, because they wanted to convert the church into a mosque—so he speaks about the Fethiye Camii, cf. W. Müller-Wiener, Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls, Tübingen 1977, 132-135.

20 The Greeks in his time call it “Suluna”, but the old name was “Periuleptae”, he says in his description (I 176f., Sahm). From this it should be clear without doubt, that Sulu Manastir was in Armenian hands in Lubenau’s times, cf. Müller-Wiener, op. cit. 200-201.

21 Cf. I 188ff. (Sahm).

22 Cf. ibidem II 3-9.

23 Cf. ibidem II 69-119.

24 Cf. ibidem II 255-261. For the current research on the historical geography of Chios within the Tabula Imperii Byzantini—program (Austrian Academy) see e.g. J. Koder, Chios-Lesbos-Thasos, in: European Science Foundation, Activité Byzantine. Rapports des Missions effectuées en 1983 (to be published), and Idem, Die Ägäis-Inseln im Mittelalter, Siedlungsgeschichte und Topographie: die Beispiele Chios und Lesbos, in: Forschungsmagazin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz 2/85, 73-75.

Notes de fin

1 Except for the addition of references and some minor changes this paper is printed here in the form in which I read it at the final conference of the European Science Foundations Steering Committee for Byzantine Studies in Athens, January 11th-14th, 1984.

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