‘SIYAQAH’ WRITING IN THE OTTOMAN ARCHIVES DOCUMENTS AND
ITS HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
(By Assoc. Prof. Said ÖZTÜRK)
Beyond signifying a style of writing, the term ‘Siyaqah’ had been used before the Ottomans to indicate the profession of accountancy. The profession of accountancy, known as “Sanat al-Siyaqah” (the Art of Siyaqah) or “Fenn al-Siyaqah” (the Science of Siyaqah), developed in the Saljuqid and Ilhanid States, thus influencing the financial organization and accountancy manners and techniques of the Ottoman State.
Siyaqah was an official style of writing and numerals used in the accountancy registration of the Ottoman State, particularly at the various offices of the financial administration. Those clerks that worked in Turkish financial administration had been using this style for four hundred years. All kinds of items of incomes and expenses pertaining to the State over an extensive area from the Middle East to the Balkans, from Crimea to the southern coasts of the Mediterranean Sea had all been registered in this style of writing.
The first difficulty those who will do researches on the Turkish economic and financial history will be encountered with is the language and writing style of the collections of this sort of documents and books. We know that Siyaqah writing and numerals had been used until the last quarter of the 19th century particularly in the Ottoman financial organization. Accordingly, it is a scientific obligation for those who will do studies and researches on such archives documents as take place among the references of Turkish economic and financial history to be acquainted with writing style and numerals of Siyaqah, for they could decipher and interpret thousands of collections of books and millions of documents pertaining to our economic and financial history only through this style of writing. Without being cognizant of Siyaqah writing and numerals and without being familiar with the style of registers one’s benefit from the rich archives materials and particularly such documents on economic and financial subjects bequeathed to us from the Ottoman State would be restricted.
In this indispensable reference book for researchers and enthusiasts will you find the historical development of SIYAQAH writing, which was used in almost every age in the Ottoman Finance, in the Written Surveys of Provinces and in documents about the Ottoman Economic history, along with thousands of examples as related to Siyaqah. This work is read as a textbook at American universities.
(490 pages, 1st quality)