Ancient epic tales to go on display in Istanbul

Ancient epic tales to go on display in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Ancient epic tales to go on display in Istanbul

Historian and researcher Rinaldo Marmara says he revised all the documents about Turkey in the archives. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The oldest copy of the Dede Korkut myths, a series of epic tales narrating the life of ancient nomadic Turks and their pre-Islamic beliefs, will be showcased in Istanbul between Dec. 15 and March 15, 2014.

The 1,500-year old copy, which belongs to Vatican archives, originated as a series of epics orally told and was transferred into written form over the generations. Another ancient copy of the tales is currently located in Germany.

Historian and researcher Dr. Rinaldo Marmara, the press secretary of the Vatican who led the work of displaying the copy in Turkey, gave the Hürriyet Daily News further information about the transfer process. “For the first time, Turkey is to host an exhibition presenting a piece from the Vatican archives. Last year, in cooperation with Bahçeşehir University and on the initiative of the University’s Board of Trustees Chair Enver Yücel, we established a department entitled ‘Turkey-Vatican Diplomatic Relations.’

Thanks to the contributions of this department, we are able to bring this work to Turkey,” Marmara said.

“Also, within Bahçeşehir University, we will organize courses titled ‘Turkey-Vatican Diplomatic Relations,’ and ‘Vatican’s Confidential Archive Documents.’ Students who become successful in them will go to the Vatican for research. This unit is the first one in Turkey,” Marmara said.

Marmara said annually only 12 exhibitions could be held all over the world with documents from Vatican archives. “It should be kept in mind that bringing such a precious piece to Turkey is a demanding process, there are certain procedures for that such as issuing the safety of the work and examining the exhibition hall,” Marmara said.

Turkish history in Vatican archives

“I revised all the documents about Turkey in the archives. There are various kinds of documents among them, including private letters of Ottoman Emperors, and some texts representing their relations with the Vatican,” Marmara added.

When asked whether the content of these documents could change the official history of the Turkish Republic, Marmara said, “History is history. We are talking about the documents on Turkish history that are neither interpreted nor processed.”

With regard to the possible future projects regarding Turkey, he said, “There are some foreign-sourced handwritings narrating Turkey. Next time we could exhibit them in Turkey.”

Marmara said each Pope opened a different period of the archives to research.