The History of the Maritime Wars of the Turks

This book spans the Turkish Empire’s expansion from the conquest of Constantinople to that of Crete, and recounts the story of Barbarossa, whom Süleyman the Magnificent appointed commander of the imperial navy, and many other highlights of Ottoman history. Katip Celebi is one of the classic authors in the Turkish language, and this book is his key historical study. Although it was reprinted numerous times in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic, the only previous English edition was a 19th-century translation of the first part of the book. This new edition comprises a reprint of this text plus new commentary by Svat Soucek, an internationally renowned scholar of naval history. The editor also provides a new introduction and extensive summaries and translates highlights of pertinent passages in the previously untranslated texts. The few early Turkish editions embellished with lavish illustrations have never been available to general readers, except for those with access to the rare books departments of leading research libraries. This is the first English-language edition to reproduce those illustrations.


Kâtip Çelebi (1609-1657) was the quintessential Ottoman intellectual. He was a scholar and one of the most eminent travel writers in the long history of that genre. His History of the Maritime Wars of the Turks was the first book published in the Ottoman Empire in a lavish, illustrated edition.

Svatopluk Soucek is the author of works relating to Central Asia and Central Asian studies and a compiler of works in the Oriental division of the New York Public Library. His books include Piri Reis and Turkish Mapmaking after Columbus and A History of Inner Asia.