Hacı Ali
(d. 2nd half of 17th c.)
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Little is known about H.A.’s life. Evidence suggests that he lived in the 17th century and held various clerkships (katib). He also worked as a scribe in Egypt during the governorship of Sarı Tarhuncu Ahmed Paşa (d. 1062/1652), upon whose suggestion he composed a work entitled Ahbarü’l-Yemani in 1060/1649 and described himself as “Mevlana”. H.A. related the events he witnessed during his pilgrimage in a work entitled Tuhfetü’l-hüccac, which he composed in 1074/1663-64. In 1083/1672, he participated in the Qamaniçe expedition as secretary of the imperial council (divan-ı hümayun katibi) and penned the day-book (ruznamçe) of this campaign under the title Fethname-i Qamaniçe. H.A. is sometimes confused with Gelibolulu Mustafa Ali.


In 1060/1649, during his clerkship in Egypt, H.A. translated Qutbuddin Muhammad b. Ahmad’s Arabic work entitled Barq al-Yamani fi al-Fath al-Usmani into Turkish as Ahbarü’l-Yemani. The translation was a response to governor Ahmed Paşa’s (d. 1063/1653) questions about Yemen. Most of this work seems to be a direct summary of the Arabic text, but H.A. also composed original segments. Ahbarü’l-Yemani’s introduction includes additions to Qutbuddin’s work. H.A. also expanded his translation by adding the accounts of the warriors who participated in the conquest of Yemen, the travelers who visited the country, and the scholars who researched Yemen. The original work, entitled Barq al-Yamani, ends in 981/1574 with the account of the battle of Halqu’l-vad (Halqu’l-vadi/Goletta), at which Sinan Paşa (d. 1004/1596) was the commander-in-chief of the Ottoman forces. H.A., however, brings his translation up to his own time.

The Süleymaniye Library (Hamidiye 886) manuscript, catalogued under the title Ahbarü’l-Yemani, was copied in 1077/1668 by Mustafa b. İbrahim. He also expanded it by adding commentaries (şerh). In 1082/1671 Mustafa b. Rızvan added the summarized version of these commentaries to the main text and changed the title to Telhisü’l-barqü’l-Yemani. These copies appear to belong to two different works, but the chapter and section headings are identical.

As is clear from its earlier date of composition and clearly recorded commentaries, Ahbarü’l-Yemani is the copy closest to the autograph manuscript and thus needs to be the basis for any discussion concerning the content of the work. It consists of an introduction, five parts, and a conclusion. The introduction explains the reason for the translation and reorganization of the work. The first part consists of fifteen chapters and gives an account of three generations of rulers of Yemen before the Ottoman conquest; the second part contains thirty-six chapters and explains the conditions leading up to the conquest of Yemen by the Ottomans; the third part consists of sixty chapters and relates the conquest of Yemen by Sinan Paşa; the fourth part includes eleven chapters and covers the reigns of viziers and governors-general who ruled Yemen from Sinan Paşa up to Haydar Paşa; and the fifth part consists of five chapters and narrates the rebellions of Yemen’s local rulers and imams. The conclusion discusses the disruption of Ottoman domination in Yemen from 1030/1620-21 onward and explains the factors leading to the heretical beliefs of Imam Qasım (d. 1029 /1620) and his descendants. 

Fethname-i Qamaniçe

An account of the daily events that transpired during the Qamaniçe (Kamianets-Podilsky) campaign of 1083/1672. Fethname-i Qamaniçe is an important historical source because it reveals details about an Ottoman military expedition of the 17th century. H.A. relates events he personally witnessed as the secretary of the imperial council (divan-ı hümayun katibi). The work is arranged according to the stations (menzil) of the Ottoman army during the campaign under discussion.

Fethname can be divided into four sections: an introduction, a narrative of the journey to Qamaniçe, an account of the siege, and a discussion of the return trip. In the introduction H.A. summarizes the political events of 1082/1671-72, the conflict between the Poles and the Ottomans to establish their supremacy over the Cossacks, and the expedition led by Halil Paşa (d. 1096/1685), the warden of Özi (Ochakov), in the winter of 1082/1671-72 to help the Cossack ruler (hatman) Petro Doroşenko (d. 1676). After this section, H.A. describes the physical and spiritual preparations for the campaign, discusses the delivery of decrees inviting the provinces (such as Rumeli, Bosna, Anadolu, Sivas, Haleb, Qaraman, Diyarbekir, Maraş, Adana) whose turn had come to participate in a military expedition (sefer eşme), and mentions the summons of the sultan’s preacher (saltanat vaizi) Vani Mehmed Efendi (d. 1098/1687), who was in Bursa, to boost the morale of the army. According to Fethname, the tugs and royal standards were raised and the imperial tent (otag-ı hümayun) was pitched in the gathering place of the army in Çuqur Çayırı near Edirne on 2 Muharram 1083/30 April 1672. After Mehmed IV moved into his tent on 9 Muharram 1083/7 May 1672, the army waited there for twenty-seven days (2a-8a).

Once the army departed from the plain of Çuqur Çayırı, it arrived at the first menzil, the village of Çömlek, and then set out for İsaqçı (Isaccea) on the Danube where the soldiers enjoyed an abundance of provisions due to the successful transfer of grains from both land and sea. The soldiers left their extra belongings and garments at the İsaqçı fortress for safekeeping and then crossed the Danube via bridges built by army engineers. They arrived at the plain of Qartal (Kagul), where both statesmen and soldiers left their belongings and clothes and donned simple garments and headgear. The army moved north from Qartal and arrived at Çuçure (Podu), an important logistical military base on the River Prut near the Moldavian center Yaş (Iaşi). Here the soldiers finalized their preparations while waiting for the completion of the construction of a bridge which was being built on the River Prut. In Çuçure the whole army participtated in a formal procession. The governors-general, governors, and janissary officers (aga) all donned robes of honor in accordance with their ranks, and the soldiers took provisions (25a-42a). Wallachian forces joined the Ottoman army at the closest menzil to the enemy border, called Pınarbagı (Melnitsa Podolskaya), and the Crimean troops joined at the next menzil. Afterwards the army marched toward their target, Qamaniçe. They stopped at thirty-five stations between Edirne and Qamaniçe. After the capture of the fortress of Qamaniçe on August 17, the army moved on to Bucaş (Buczacz). The Ottoman army concluded the Treaty of Bucaş with Poland (Lehistan) on September 23 and then commenced its return trip (42a-120b). On the way back to Edirne the army stopped at all stations, and the provincial forces left as the army came to their respective provinces (120b-136b).

H.A. records the name (or names) of each menzil along with the date and time of arrival and the length of stay at each station. Fethname also addresses issues such as weather and road conditions, difficulties related to these conditions, unplanned stays, visits and inspections of cities and fortresses near menzils, presents and bonuses given to boost morale, and the distribution of salaries to the palace servants/janissary guards (qapuqulu). H.A. also mentions the sultan’s hunting trips on the way to and back from Qamaniçe.

Fethname provides concrete evidence that each menzil was not only a stopping place for the army to acquire provisions but also an area of economic activity (129b). The menzil at the village of Musa Beg is a good example. According to Fethname, a temporary market was created within the army camp, where grains, bread, vegetables and fruits brought by villagers and townsmen from neighboring areas were sold at market price (narh-ı cari). H.A. states that Ottoman officials intervened when sellers inflated prices. Fethname also reports how provincial troops and armies of vassal states joined the Ottoman army at various menzils. H.A. explains that robes of honor were awarded to commanders of these troops after processions before Ottoman officials (e.g., 17a).

Fethname also treats military festivities organized at important menzils (18b), such as İsaqçı, which was a significant gathering place on the northern expedition route in Rumelia. H.A. explains in detail the appointment of one skirmisher (çarhacı) and one billeting officer (qonaqçı) at each menzil for the next one (28a). From Qarasu (Novodari) onward, the narrative follows a mixed-up chronology. For example there is an entry on 30 Safar although the month of Safar includes only 29 days.

H.A. went to Hijaz and related his observations of the pilgrimage and the places he visited in his work entitled Tuhfetü’l-Hüccac. It consists of an introduction and six parts (1074/1663-64). A manuscript copy of the work is located at the Süleymaniye Library under the accession number Esad Efendi 386/6.


(1) Ahbarü’l-Yemani

Manuscripts: (1) Istanbul, Millet Kütüphanesi, no. 657; 243 fols., 25 lines, coarse nesih. Babinger records it erroneously as Millet Kütüphanesi 801 (GOW, no. 154). (2) Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Hamidiye 886; 226 fols., 25 lines, nesih. (3) Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Hamidiye 921; 320 fols., 27 lines, nesih. As Telhisü’l-barqü’l-Yemani. (4) Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Reisülküttab 632; 320 fols., 25 lines, talik. This moisture-damaged manuscript was copied by Molla Halil; its date of copy is not recorded.

(2) Fethname-i Qamaniçe

Manuscript: (1) Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Lala İsmail Efendi, no. 308, 136 fols., 15 lines, nesih.

General Bibliography

Emin Yaqıtal. “Osman III.’ün tahta çıqışının bildirilmesi için 1755 yılında Lehistan Devleti’ne büyükelçi olaraq gönderilen Ali Aga’nın bu görevle ilgili manẓum sefaretnamesi.” Ta’rih-i Osmani Encümeni Mecmuası, 13 (1328/1910), 151-155. Bursalı Mehmed Tahir. Osmanlı Mü’ellifleri, vol. 3 (Istanbul, 1342/1923), 47. Franz Babinger. Osmanlı Tarih Yazarları ve Eserleri (Ankara, 1982), no. 154. Antoine Galland. Istanbul’a Ait Günlük Hatıralar, trans. Nihat Sırrı Örik (Ankara, 1987), 109-130. Bogdan Murgescu. “İsakça.” Diyanet Vakfı İslam Ansiklopedisi, vol. 22 (2000), 489. Mustafa Nuri Türkmen. Kamaniçe Seferi’nin Lojistik Hazırlıkları. PhD Dissertation (Ankara University, 2002). Hulisi Yavuz. Yemen’de Osmanlı İdaresi ve Rumuzî Tarihi, vol. 1 (Ankara, 2003).

Mustafa Türkmen
August 2005