'Guided by the Almighty’: the journey of Stephan Schultz in the Ottoman empire, 1752–6: Jan Schmidt
Among the many travel books published in Europe before , I will examine here one which stands out from the average, less original texts. Firstly, the author, Stephan Schultz, does his utmost to rely on his own experiences rather than what he read in the books of his predecessors. Secondly, it is exceptional in that the author was fluent in many languages and held weighty conversations with both indigenous Europeans (‘Franks’) and Ottomans in their own tongue, jotting down the results for inclusion in his book. If conversations are described at all by travel writers, they are often limited to trivialities or, often insipid, anecdotes. Many western travellers spoke little other than their mother tongue and Latin (if they had received a higher education), let alone Arabic or Turkish, were dependent on interpreters, or were not really interested in
what the locals had to say. Schultz’s scholarly and, particularly, philological proclivities ensured that he was, exceptionally, interested in linguistics and Ottoman literary culture. His book contains several passages in which he discusses local languages, script and writing, manuscripts and printed books.