"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, January 31, 2022

The Western Armenian Diaspora

My two books in ecclesiology both gave pride of place to the Armenian Church, so I always keep an eye out for new scholarship on Armenia and Armenian Christianity. In March of this year we shall have published The Rise of the Western Armenian Diaspora in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire: From Refugee Crisis to Renaissance by Henry R. Shapiro (Edinburgh University Press, March 2022), 336pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this:

This book traces how Armenian migrants changed the demographic and cultural landscape of Istanbul and Western Anatolia in the course of the seventeenth century. During the centuries that followed, Ottoman Armenian merchants, financiers (sarrafs), authors, musicians, translators, printers and bureaucrats would play key roles in Ottoman trade, cultural life and even governance, that is, in most spheres of the empire's economic and cultural life. This book shows how that cosmopolitan world came into being.

Using both Ottoman Turkish and little-known Armenian sources, Henry Shapiro provides the first systematic study of Armenian population movements that resulted in the cosmopolitan remaking of Istanbul. In the first part of the book he documents the Great Armenian Flight, showing how the global crisis of the seventeenth century (war, climate change, famine) impacted the historical Armenian population centres of the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia and led to mass migrations and resettlement in Western Anatolia, Istanbul and Thrace. In the second part of the book Shapiro links this history of migration and the refugee crisis with the development of intellectual and cultural life in Istanbul and Western Anatolia – the rise of the Western Armenian Diaspora.

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